Password Protect Your Perils

This is hardly the first time this will be mentioned, nor will it be the last. I’m hardheaded and stubborn, so naturally I didn’t really take the advice seriously to use passwords in my practice. I didn’t think I would need one. Little me doing spirit work or flouncing around on the astral? No chance.

Oh naïve me, you’re a dumbass.

I’ve seen a bunch of great posts on passwords in a practice, but something bothered me. There didn’t seem to be anything reminding people that they don’t have to be actual words.

Maybe I’m just blind and forgetful. What I mean is, it can be several words, it can be a phrase, it can be a sound, sight, smell, touch. A memory. It can be an idea or subject, it can be a specific use of magic or illusion, or manifesting a particular thing in a particular way. A literal secret handshake even.

All these thoughts came to me while trying to make up my own password. I don’t know what other beings see when they look at me, so I had to be cautious not to pick anything too obvious or that could be easily guessed just by looking at my energy or companions. I worship a Jackal and I bangs with wolves Over There (for those of you unfamiliar with AAVE, “bangs with” means friends with, chills with, greatly enjoys, has great affection for, hangs out with, etc). At this point I’m practically part of a pack. However, because of how brains work I now could only think of pretty straightforward stuff, like wolves or jackals, and I even tossed out anything that had to do with kids or healing. Can’t do water or scorpions, snakes or anything like that either.

Since I didn’t want it to be too difficult or too much effort, I left it off for a moment and one of my songs started playing on my phone and I had my answer. I have several favorite songs, but I don’t sing in the astral (would be interesting though). My “password” is to sing a favorite song. Since I sing those songs IRL for fun, as offerings, to power my wards, to entertain, and to soothe myself, Z and Dapper, it seems like a good deal. They know at least three each, so there isn’t a reason they can’t sing one. Since there’s more than one, if I’m still suspicious I can just ask for another.

All in all, don’t be a stubborn dummy like me. Passwords don’t have to be actual words, and they can be helpful even in the event of shenanigans on this plane. Use your imagination, play on your strengths as well, keep your practice safe.

Magic Considerations

So, I’ve been thinking extensively about magic recently. I’ve always been interested in magic and witchcraft, but so far I haven’t really found a system that works for me. Some of it is laziness. I don’t want to remember all these words, or gather all these materials, and perform all this ritual (don’t get me wrong, I love ritual, but I’m not inclined to do it for spellwork). It’s also expensive (and yes, I know there are plenty of inexpensive substitutes for things, but it still costs me money and pulls from household resources that have to be replaced). All the pomp and prettiness is actually fairly distracting, and it often puts me off wanting to do it at all. Questions of effectiveness pop up as well. Further, I have a cat and boyfriend to worry about, and nothing is more distracting than other creatures wondering what you’re doing and is it possible for you to make a snack. (I kid, Z is actually really good about that stuff, especially if I warn him beforehand. Though, he has been known to be mega distracting if he’s very bored and/or hungry.) So, doing more “traditional” spellwork is difficult, because getting the stuff and doing the ritual is tricky. Not to mention, keeping all of that stuff out of the way where my stupid kitten can’t hurt herself on it or injure it. I had to move my feather representing ma’at because she played with it when I wasn’t in the room.

This complicated relationship with more traditional, physical magic has made me consider how to make my own shit up. I was pretty successful with the last couple batches of heka, but I still feel like doing more. I’m still working on heka usage and how to make it work even better, especially because I do still need some physical component. I know, I’m difficult. The other thing is I’m still not really sure what will actually be useful to me. For example, the popular visualization of connecting with roots to the earth and drawing up earth energy, as well as popular grounding techniques, don’t work for me. Earth energy leaves me feeling wired and sick and I can’t get rid of it, no matter what I do to ground. I simply have to wait for it to dissipate, which can take a couple of days. This is also my problem with heka, I somehow manage to draw up too much energy and then can’t get rid of it all. Maybe that’s more about the common heka practice of identifying oneself with a god and commanding from their authority, but it’s still an issue. Another issue is that, since my hospitalization last year, my body has a lower tolerance for anything woo or magical. Most magical systems don’t/can’t take this into account, and often don’t have suggestions for those who find themselves incompatible with the energy used or getting sick from trying to use it.

And now I realize that I’m complaining about ableism in magic and paganism. Hmm. So, I’ve been trying to think of ways to overcome these obstacles and figure out magic that will work for me. I’m very much a physical and intuitive touch person. Especially in the astral, I will know you more by your energy and other incorporeal sensation than by your face or voice. I have excellent visualization skills, but even that ties into my sense of touch (feeling my visualizations gives more clarity). I also know that this quirk does mean I need something physical to help focus and such, but I don’t know what to use yet. Also still puzzling that out, but it does make crochet magic fairly viable. There’s limitations even to that though, because not all crochet projects can be done in one sitting, and it’s tough to maintain focus for extended lengths, especially if you’re using words. On top, distraction also plays a role here, because cats and yarn, and because humans need/want stuff and crochet can be put down mid-stitch. This can all serve to derail crochet magic in progress, especially if it’s a larger or more complex project.

I was thinking of doing more research into elemental magic (it works well for me, but earth magic isn’t compatible with me), especially because plants are very helpful beings and I have plants. However, finding info is hard and it often still requires more physical objects and ingredients than I might like. I also want to learn more about healing, on this plane and in the astral. Recently though, someone brought up some different ideas. False doors (a common thing in ancient egypt) and mirrors. Now, I don’t know much about mirror magic but it’s an interesting thought. I do know a little about false doors. Mirrors so far seem to be excellent for traveling and trancing, protection (mentioned specifically for warding a false door) as are knives. I don’t know how to safely do anything much with knives, it was just a thought that came in handy during an astral trip and I stabbed the shit out of a vampire. Obviously knives are also excellent for protection.

The other thing is I was thinking of poppets more. I mentioned a little while ago, probably on my tumblr, that I really liked someone’s suggestion of using stuffed animals as guardians and familiars. I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while, mainly about what I’d want the animal to be and what I’d want them to do. I also recently thought of using poppets and sympathetic magic more. Something I definitely need to learn more about, but it’s a start.

The problem, as I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, is finding something I can do with low energy and difficulty concentrating. The fact that my body does not react favorably to magic (or at least what I’ve been trying) and astral traveling or such while awake is a major roadblock. I can’t get through as much of a book or focus on research in one sitting as I used to. Having the eternal struggle of rpg, video games and fiction coming up in search results makes it even harder to effectively utilize when I do have energy and focus. The fact that the vast majority of magic information resources don’t consider those who are chronically ill, fatigued or otherwise lacking in mental or physical stability and ability, if they don’t outright tell us to go away until we get better. Yeah, yeah, I’m not mentally stable, my low energy and asthma and pain and whatever causes this twitching and shaking makes me mildly disabled, but I’m not going to not do magic. It’s seriously ableist and a major dick move to tell sick people they can’t do cool, interesting, and fun things simply because they aren’t healthy. To tell someone who is chronically ill and will probably never 100% recover, if they ever started in “optimal” health to begin with, that they aren’t allowed to do something and will be refused knowledge, is an asshole thing to do. Give us warnings, teach us how to be safe and utilize our limits, don’t just shun us. Unfortunately, even in magic and paganism, neurodivergence, chronic illness and disability is still shunned and ignored. Hence my problem.

So, what say any of you? Any ideas for me to try? Books or other resources to recommend?

Quiet Jackals and Silent Wolves

In January I had a very serious mental health crisis. I probably should have gone to the hospital, it was that serious. However, I am poor and black and Z doesn’t know enough about mental health and the health system to know when to take me and how to keep me safe and cared for once I’m there. It was rough. The issue of mental health in the pagan community is a touchy topic. There are a lot of people with issues, and way too much fluffy, bad abusive, nasty or ableist advice for them. There’s good advice obviously, but oh do humans love to fling shit. I avoided this issue by not bringing it up outside of my safe spaces where I’m surrounded by supportive, loving people who know what I’m talking about when I mention my suffering. Yesterday one of those people made an interesting post responding to something on tumblr. One of her suggestions for resolving the problem she discussed is what has finally brought me back to my blog.

One of the problems I had during this severe bout of depression and suicidality was paranoia. Truly I have not felt such powerful paranoia in my short life, especially towards my spiritual life. The fact that I’ve been harassed by a malevolent spirit for two or three months only magnified the issue. I couldn’t discern anything. Was I being tricked? Was I being attacked? Is this really Dapper or Anpu, Kali or Aset? Even though I cleansed and warded and purified, was my house still vulnerable? Was I? Did I cut the link the spirit was using to hurt me? Were Z’s nightmares tied to this? Was Dapper ok? Was any of this even real or a very long lasting and elaborate delusion? Was I sicker and crazier than I ever thought I was? What if I had really done nothing but hallucinate, or worse, I’d been abandoned?

I can attest the post-breakdown Fallow Time is one of the most difficult and agonizing types of Fallow Periods. It felt like everything was wrong, like nothing was real, like I couldn’t be sure about anything. The fact I do derealize when my depression is very severe made it worse. Even the slightest nudge or attempt to contact was muddled and confused. I couldn’t figure out what anyone was saying or what anyone wanted, if I was even sensing them, if I was doing it correctly (I know, silly to think you could feel something incorrectly, but you’d be surprised if you don’t have a sensory issue or mental health problem and have a firm security in your perception of sensations). One thing that still pops up is whether I’m actually even wanted or poking around at the “right god”. Does Anpu really want me? Am I bothering Him or being useful in any way? Should I reach out to other gods? Am I even actually sensing other gods? Do they want me? Would any of this shit I’m thinking about doing be even the least bit useful or beneficial?

Why, oh why, dear gods and goddesses, was it so. fucking. unbearably. horrifically. silent?

Not that it mattered that it was silent. In the intensity of my fear and paranoia that I was being tricked or suckered by an opportunistic spirit or the bitch demon who attacked me made me shove away anything I did sense in abject panic. I didn’t (and don’t) know if my wards are anything more than pathetic little screens, with the gracious help of three and a half plants (cuttings of two of the plants, still just branches with little roots) and a dinosaur. I don’t know if my cleansing and purification, all the magic and heka I attempted, actually worked and will keep that spirit bitch away. I don’t know if her hold is broken. And for whatever reason every divination I’ve done (asked for from others, and not done for myself) keeps mentioning being wary of new help from nowhere and new people.

While my panic has settled down immensely, the worry and concern is still there. Especially because I still don’t know what to do about Anpu. See, it’s not that he’s ever mean or anything, nothing of the sort, I just don’t know what to make of him. I get this sense when I look at him. It isn’t anger or rejection or anything clear and obvious, it’s simply a very uncomfortable and confusing sensation. It incites worry. More like he’s looking at me, wondering what exactly to do with me. I’ve had this feeling ever since I started down this path, and it has made me question my path choice just as much as my god choice. However, I always come back here, because even though plenty of religions make sense to me and have elements I’m looking for, this is the one that works, sorta, and I’m trying not to give up or dish out when there isn’t precisely anything wrong and nothing else is reaching out to me the same way.

I know that Dapper doesn’t come as close, probably worried that his presence is bad for my health or could adversely affect me or attract attention. His concern has some rational basis, I’ve found that I cannot try and actively astral anymore and need to be wary of physical-astral contact or connection. It seems to aggravate whatever it is that causes me to twitch and shake even a year past when I initially went to the hospital. Magic on this plane is also a little harder and wears me out more. Not to mention, Dapper does have enemies and interacts with less than savory characters (his job is not an easy one) and is very strong. His weak, mewling human is an easy target. Especially easy when she can barely control any magic, astral transformations or effectively ward. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anpu asked him to stay back for a while as well.

I mention all this to a purpose, not simply to inform or lament that my mental health sucks (which it does). My friend’s suggestion in that tumblr post was that, a way to help others is write to them about your experiences and how you deal with it. Help others learn to cope and change the narrative. Unfortunately I can’t say I have any sage advice, since I’m only just pushing past the giant wall in my spirit between me and my shrine and still struggling to figure out what I do next. But, I want people to know they aren’t alone in their suffering at least, that I understand such problems, such pain, down to my bones. Heh, even my shadow shudders in pain at times, and I feel my astral wolf self bare fangs and growl. She doesn’t like the pressure and agony of depression either.

Plenty of people will tell you a truth, that it is possible to get through it, that things change and get better. I also understand your truth, that change is a long time coming more often than not, that relief is usually difficult and very incomplete and often rife with fear that it will break again, which it usually does.  I understand the truth that knowing relief will come rarely brings as much hope as we’d like, or eases the stranglehold of our broken spirits. We know it’s supposedly temporary, that our minds are telling us lies so powerful it shakes our bodies, our faith, our souls. We know many truths intellectually. We also know one particularly bitter truth, and that is that the lies feel so intense, so true, that it can be easier to believe them sometimes, or to ignore the truths of hope, because waiting for that hope to manifest is unbearable. Because being told those truths can cause the clamp of our illness’ lies to worsen, because sure we know we’ll get relief in theory, but when will it come? And when it does come, will it last, and will I survive to get there? That is one of the hardest questions to ask, because it is so difficult to answer.

It sucks. To put it far, far too simply. The fear hurts. The doubt hurts. The stifling silence definitely hurts. But you’re not by yourself. Even though the tension is suffocating, I’ve got a cozy blanket and your favorite hot drink. I’ve got your pet and my pet and we can watch them play. Tell me your favorite internet thing and what encouragement you really need and I’ll always show up when I see you suffering with those things. You’ve got a friend here. Misery loves company for many reasons.

Maybe we can try and come up with ways to hold out until the crashing stops together. Or at least I’ll crawl out of my hole and remind you that I care, that I appreciate your presence. That even if I don’t say much I’m peeking out from under my rock, looking at you with the eyes of a kitten, wondering if you’re ok, if you need me to jump out at you and half-startle you into a smile and wrestle with your feet. And if you do, I’ll bring damn near anything I can possibly bring to give you even a smidgen of relief. So, there’s that at least.

Please Stop Acting as if Maternity Leave is a Vacation

Originally posted on TIME:

When Valerie Jarrett took to LinkedIn to announce that President Obama would sign a Presidential Memorandum giving federal employees at least six weeks of paid sick leave when a new child arrives, everybody thought the same thing: “Valerie Jarrett’s on LinkedIn?”

After people got past that, the general online response was even more juvenile, to wit: if people want to have kids, we, the taxpayers, shouldn’t have to pay for their time off.

Look, I know parents can be annoying, always acting as if some non-accomplishment— “he grew another hair!”—is the equivalent of inventing the next Uber.

But, quite apart from the fact that the future of the species depends and, barring some spooky cloning breakthroughs, will always depend on people making new people inside their bodies, the truth is that family leave is not a vacation.

Do not worry, child-free federal workers, that your parenting co-workers will be…

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On Being Chronically Ill, Black and Poor

Today isn’t a great day for me. Really, the whole week hasn’t been that good, and December was a terrible month too. Actually, scratch that, 2014 was a positively awful year for my health. It’s not looking too good so far for 2015 either, but I’m trying to be hopeful.

See, I’m a Chronically Ill Person (CIP). I’ve been a sensitive, sick person most of my life. I always got the virus or germ going around as a kid, god forbid it was a stomach bug or a respiratory infection. Seriously, have you ever had a cold and asthma? No? Let me tell you, it’s terrible. What is normally a three or four day adventure in illness becomes a two week adventure with the chance of a hospital visit when you add asthma in. Flu or bronchitis? Better bundle up until you can’t move to protect your chest from the cold weather, because even walking pneumonia (aka, pneumonia lite) can hospitalize you. Be prepared to be so high on albuterol, cough medicine and prednisone that you shake in your sleep and cough until you vomit (I’ve done both). That is, if you can sleep, because sometimes you’re too jittery to sleep.

And asthma is actually the one problem I have that is the most controlled and least troublesome. Mainly because I’m supremely used to it, and there are a lot of resources and knowledge at my fingertips. Except medication, that shit is expensive. I manage my asthma on the least expensive vitamins I can get (ionic minerals like magnesium, calcium, selenium and zinc are good for asthma), caffeine, and judicious use of “fuck walking up this hill right now.” Also, by least troublesome I mean that I am used to it and handling it, not that it isn’t severe and ridiculously reactionary at the most random times (seriously, what bothered me last week may not bother me this week, but I’ll have an overblown reaction to something I’m constantly exposed to out of nowhere). Fun shit right?

But that is not the least of it! My life would be much easier if all I had to deal with was asthma. No, I have to deal with lots of other chronic health ailments. The fun life of a CIP is that, very often we get avalanched by new shit. Oh, you got used to asthma and chronic insomnia? How about worse asthma! We’ll throw in depression and anxiety too, and interpersonal issues! Worse insomnia! Crippling exhaustion, joint pain, muscle pain, brain fog, dizziness, even worse depression and anxiety.

Some of my issues improved when I graduated high school. Asthma improved, and the horrid exhaustion, brain fog and dizziness hadn’t started yet, those actually started in 2010, along with palpitations (which are sporadic nowadays) on a regular basis. My health did not improve, it hovered for a while from then to 2012, when my mental health took a dive. My health improved some in 2013 when I partially moved out, and initially improved when I completely moved out in 2014, however it took another nose dive close to spring. I ended up hospitalized with “atypical, seizure-like symptoms.” I was hospitalized for five days, had two CAT scans, an MRI, an EEG and several blood tests. I was discharged with a diagnosis of psychopathic movement disorder (a nice way of saying, your brain made you sick, aka, you crazy). I still have muscle spasms and twitching, sometimes that disrupts my strength and ability to walk unaided. Did I mention the dizziness, brain fog, nausea, abdominal pain, and such? Feeling lightheaded, unbalanced (like I could fall over or collapse, but not dizzy), weakness (generalized and specific), muscle and joint pain, and what is probably nerve pain? Yes? Good. Let’s not forget, that despite cold weather, especially cold, dry air, being a serious asthma trigger, it is the only thing that provides even a modicum of consistent relief, especially if I was just overheated, which I get easily. And being overheated makes me feel infinitely worse and always has.

See, but I can hear people already. Go see a doctor. Get a new one. Go see a specialist. Go to therapy (cuz all depression and anxiety everywhere always responds to that). I’ve done all of that already. I’ve seen five doctors in the last four years (we’re only a week into 2015, so I’m still operating from 2014), which is actually a miniscule number compared to what most undiagnosed CIP’s go through. I’ve seen five therapists. The issue, is the matter of money.

I live in America, the land of Fucking People Over, especially poor people, like myself. This means that I have limited options for receiving low cost health care, if I can find it, because there isn’t universal healthcare and I have shitty insurance. Insurance companies hate me, because they hate all sick people. They like my boyfriend, because he’s rarely sick, and only went to the hospital over a particularly bad stomach virus, because I forced him to. I have the hospital I went to calling me three times a week to collect the 500$ I owe them because I don’t even have 20$ to get a new inhaler. So, I’m actually in physical danger of another hospitalization (because asthma can kill you! Fun shit right?) since I can’t afford a basic medication. Oh, and this was after my insurance initially denied to cover my hospital stay and denied covering the ambulance. That would have left me thousands of dollars in debt, for a five day stay that yielded absolutely no viable answers or treatments as to what the fuck is wrong with me. Did I mention the ambulance was eight thousand dollars? Yes, a rolling box that took me from one hospital (the one near my house), to the hospital I was admitted to an hour away, cost 8,000$. Our car doesn’t cost that much in a year, even with gas, maintenance and insurance thrown in, and it’s a new Volkswagen. I’m twenty-three, and they were going to leave me with as much debt as my school loans because I got sick.

I’m a student, I’m black, and nobody wants to hire me to work. I cannot afford to visit doctor after doctor, or even try new medications, supplements or even change my diet. I want to change my diet, I don’t have enough plant food in my house. I love fruits and vegetables. I can’t afford to buy fresh veggies, and I sure as shit can’t afford fruit. I can barely afford meat. If Zolfyer was willing to be vegetarian I could stretch the budget more, but he needs calories and fat, because he’s a healthy, slender athlete and I would like him to stay the first and the third, and he would like to gain weight. I can’t feasibly add more fresh, whole foods and variety to my diet. I can’t plant a garden, I can’t afford pots and soil and seeds because we live in an apartment. Being poor sucks ass. I don’t want to be poor. I’d like to work, but my resume is skewed towards childcare, and because I don’t drive and am a student, no one will hire me. Most decently paying childcare jobs need very specific hours, and require a car, luxuries I don’t have. I can’t afford a second car (we really can’t afford the first one, but because we’re young and have no credit history, the only place, literally the ONLY place, that would give us a car was Volkswagen, and they made us take a new one and get super insurance on it, and Z absolutely needed a car. It was impossible for him to keep his job without it) or the scooter/bike I would be more comfortable learning to ride.

I desperately want to get better, but I can’t even afford to improve my diet from cheap, boxed and processed foods to the more expensive, healthier options. Good food is for people with money, I need to fill my kitchen on 100$ a month, for the whole month. Getting diagnosed and treated is also for people with money, because I can’t afford a copay at my doctor, or a specialist. I can’t afford to shop around for a doctor or a specialist. I can’t afford to receive tests, nor can I afford medications. I simply, can’t, pay for it. The only reason I have a phone is because someone else pays the bill. Z’s phone is about to get turned off. We’re praising the gods that gas has gone down, because now we can fill the tank on 25-30$ instead of 40-45$ We’re happy that my transferring to a new school means I won’t need a transpass or tokens (because public transportation).

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I’ve tried all the usual avenues before now too. I’ve tried eating healthier when I could afford it or was living at home. Didn’t work. I got a ton of tests done. Told me nothing. I’ve had ultrasounds and scans of my internal organs and brain, normal. I’ve tried working out, made everything, including asthma, worse. I’ve tried herbs, supplements, yoga, prayer. The only things I haven’t tried are osteopathy and other body work, like acupressure/puncture and massage. I’m sure you can guess why I haven’t, it rhymes with runny. Oh, and cleanses, also because of that funny “m” word and also because I’m not in the mood to sit on the toilet for days.

Let’s move on to the next part of the title, because I’m sure you’re wondering what my being black has to do with any of this. Well, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, says:

Racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be poor or near poor. In addition, Hispanics, Blacks, and some Asian subgroups are less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to have a high school education.

Disparities in quality of care are common:

  • Blacks and AI/ANs received worse care than Whites for about 40% of measures.
  • Asians received worse care than Whites for about 20% of measures.
  • Hispanics received worse care than non-Hispanic Whites for about 60% of core measures.
  • Poor people received worse care than high-income people for about 80% of core measures.

Disparities in access are also common, especially among Hispanics and poor people:

  • Blacks had worse access to care than Whites for one-third of core measures.
  • Asians and AI/ANs had worse access to care than Whites for 1 of 5 core measures.
  • Hispanics had worse access to care than non-Hispanic Whites for 5 of 6 core measures.
  • Poor people had worse access to care than high-income people for all 6 core measures.

Few disparities in quality of care are getting better:

  • Fewer than 20% of disparities faced by Blacks, AI/ANs, Hispanics, and poor people showed evidence of narrowing.
  • The Asian-White gap was narrowing for about 30% of core measures, the largest proportion of any group, but most disparities were not changing.

That’s what being black has to do with it. Along with the fact that I’m plain disbelieved. My doctors don’t believe me when I tell them how severely sick I am. They look at me (especially as an overweight asthmatic) and don’t believe that I’m sick without cause. Being female doesn’t help, since females are “hysterical” anyway right? They just tell me to exercise. That’s it. Eat less carbs and exercise. It’ll magically give you more energy, and if you tell me it doesn’t work or makes you worse, I’m just going to tell you to keep doing it, because “it always feels worse before it gets better.” Or, “it works for my other patients.” “I have asthmatic patients who are athletes, surely you can take a walk around the block every day.” No, I can’t, I live in an unsafe, polluted neighborhood because that’s what I can afford, and my marital status, credit, and blackness aren’t used against me. I’m also horrifically paranoid about getting attacked or kidnapped and who wants to deal with getting catcalled? So no, you myopic bastard, I most certainly cannot walk around the block as a pollution, weather, and exercise sensitive asthmatic. Not when I can barely make it up the hill that I walk up every day for months. Oh, I thought your body gets used to exercise after time. WHY AM I NOT USED TO IT SIX MONTHS LATER THEN?

Sorry, touchy subject for me. Still, I find that I really can’t even fully express my symptoms to my doctors sometimes. If they don’t start talking over me as soon as I mention my pervasive exhaustion, they blow off other symptoms. I can’t even get to articulating some of my more alarming symptoms, especially the mental illness ones. Every physical issue I have has some “explanation” and well, my tests are normal, so it must just be in your head or not as serious as you’re making it out to be. Except it’s not, I know what’s in my head, and it’s a pretty scary place by the way, but I don’t know how you’d react to exactly how scary it is, and you’re questionnaire doesn’t ask or is too specific (or not specific enough), so I’m not going to tell you doctor. As well, I know these symptoms aren’t in my head, because sometimes when my mind is being a loser, my body gives me a brief break, and vice versa. Besides, I can’t afford a worse diagnosis than depression and anxiety, not when I can’t afford an inhaler, because the closest pharmacy wants 50$ for what should be a 10-20$ prescription, much less whatever it’ll cost for you to give me the crappy SSRI or anti-psychotic instead of the shiny, new shit you’ll give to your skinny, white patient which are still expensive. I can’t afford to have to go through multiple medications to find one that works either. I can’t afford it because it means my insurance company will discriminate against me even more. I can’t afford it because, even though it would probably benefit me to have such a diagnosis to access services, I don’t have the energy or patience to jump through the hoops to get those services. Nevermind that if I can jump through all the hoops, well I’m not quite as sick as I am trying to make out to be am I? Oh, silly me, it wouldn’t matter since services discriminate against me as a black female too. Heaven forbid I’m a drug-addled welfare queen! Seriously, having kids fucks you over only slightly less than not having kids when you’re seeking assistance, especially considering that many states require you to jump through hoops of flaming shit in order to keep benefits, and that is extremely difficult with children, but without children you might not qualify at all, or qualify for less than you genuinely need.

I say all this, to complain about being sick. I’m extremely frustrated with my health, especially my mental health, and my inability to even attempt to fix it. Meanwhile, my health is hobbling my efforts to get the resources I need to try and fix said health. Fun times as a sick person.

The Everyday Sexism of Women Waiting in Public Toilet Lines

Originally posted on TIME:

If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve a) spent time fidgeting in a long line waiting to use a public toilet, b) delayed a bodily function because you don’t want to or haven’t the time to waste standing in line to use a public toilet, c) considered sneaking into a men’s room—illegal in some places, or d) cursed loudly because of all of the above.

Faced with a long restroom line that spiraled up and around a circular stairwell at a recent museum visit, I opted not to wait. Why do we put up with this? This isn’t a minor pet peeve, but a serious question. Despite years of “potty parity” laws, women are still forced to stand in lines at malls, schools, stadiums, concerts, fair grounds, theme parks, and other crowded public spaces. This is frustrating, uncomfortable, and, in some circumstances, humiliating. It’s also a form of discrimination, as…

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Knotsense

A while ago I discussed the idea of crochet magic as a form of knot magic. To be a woman of my word and because it’s a craft that’s easy for me, that I already have plenty of supplies for, I actually did some crochet magic.

Now, because I’m Kemetic I used heka to enchant a pair of gloves I was making for Zolfyer. Since we’re moving and a lot of complex things are going on with our finances, I focused on blessings, prosperity, strength and creativity (because he’s an artist). It worked wonderfully, since I was basically mumbling and focusing over the gloves the entire process of making them, they exude energy and magic just picking them up. I am very pleased with the success of binding magic to the crochet. I have to admit I’m a little concerned that I charged the hook too though. I’m not always going to be enchanting things after all.

The crochet hooks are useful conduits, and I don’t particularly have to direct energy through my fingers since you hold your project, your hook and your yarn with both of your entire hands. I can’t say whether some materials are better than others as far as hooks go. I only have metal and plastic hooks (and bamboo, but those are a pain in the ass to crochet with because they provide friction. Excellent for beginners or with slippery yarns, not so much for more experienced crafters like me and less silky yarns. Gods help you if you’re using acrylic or cotton). If someone else uses other materials, like different woods, glass or something, let me know if you notice a difference yeah? Also, if someone both crochets and knits, I’m curious if the different crafts have different ease of use with enchanting.

Here’s an annotated version of the heka I used. It can be modified to directly bless hands, and if you throw arm related words in, it can be used to bless arms and arm-related things. Just the same, this heka can be used for anything worn on the hands. This is not exactly what was said, since I’m writing this down after the fact.

You are blessed. Your hands are full of blessings. Prosperity pours down on you. Your blessings are so great as to overflow. They pile into your hands until they are full, and fall at your feet to bless your home. They bless the very ground you stand on, and even your feet. Your whole life is full of blessings. Prosperity comes to you. It surrounds you and fills you up. You never lack for anything.

Your hands are powerful and full of strength. Your hands are that of Atum. They are the hands of Ra. Your hands are those of Ptah. You create your world with your hands. They are mighty and powerful. You are Khnum, who crafts his desires and breathes life into them.

You are Wepwawet, who scouts ahead. You find the best path to your goals. With your hands you open the way, you destroy the obstacles before you. You crush your enemies with your mighty hands. Obstacles fall before you, powerless to stop you. You find the best way, with your hands you open the gates to your desires. You are the Mighty God. You are He with a Strong Face.

You are Anubis, who protects. You are He Who is One with Ma’at, your hands are full of ma’at. You protect those you love, with your hands those you cherish are protected. You bless everything you touch, your loved ones are blessed by you. You exude ma’at from your fingers, prosperity leaks from your fingertips. Your hands are Anubis’, you bring calamity upon your enemies. You destroy those that stand against you. You bring calamity on the enemies of your loved ones. You are the strongest god. You are Lord of Heaven and Earth, Lord of Light.

You create the prosperity you seek. With your hands you create your blessings. Like Khnum creates with his hands, so you create what you seek. You make new what is broken, you replace what is lost. Like Anubis your mighty power binds what is broken.

You are Ra, who drives the sun boat. You brighten the world and drive away isfet. Your power is the mightiest. You are Set, the powerful god. You drive away isfet with your powerful hands. With your hands you slay the Demon Snake. You drive away the Snake of Isfet with your power. Isfet falls to your feet, powerless. The Snake is crushed between your fingers. Your enemies cannot stand against you. Obstacles fall away with no power. You are He Who Protects the Barque, and isfet flees before you. In your presence, isfet cannot stand.

You are Djehuty, the wisest god. With your hands you make powerful plans. Your plans are wise, they are full of ma’at. You make ma’at with your hands, you make your plans succeed with your power. Your wise plans succeed. Your mind is full of creativity. Inspiration comes easily, it overflows. As Djehuty your hands perfectly execute your plans. Your creativity is expressed beautifully with your hands. Your hands make true your inspiration. Your wisdom is shaped into reality. You succeed in bringing your thoughts to the world, you express your thoughts as you see them with your hands.

Your ideas are blessed. You bring your loved ones into your prosperity. Your blessings overflow from your hands and bless others. You create your blessings, prosperity is poured into your fingers. Only ma’at falls into your hands, your hands only spread ma’at. Isfet is not here, you receive no isfet, you give no isfet. It is defeated, it cannot stand against you.

 

(At this point I was almost done the glove. I then enchanted it with a way to maintain and strengthen the spell).

This spell will not fail. It cannot be broken, even if the threads unwind. It is strengthened when you are happy. When you are blessed it grows stronger. When you are prosperous it is renewed. When you succeed it is refreshed. This glove cannot be lost. If it is lost, its twin will find it, it will find its twin when it is lost. They cannot be separated. When its twin is refreshed, it is refreshed; when it is refreshed, so is its twin. When it grows stronger, its twin is strengthened; it is strengthened when its twin grows stronger. It renews its twin when it is renewed, when its twin is renewed, so is it. They cannot be lost, they will always find you. If you lose them, they will find you, if they are lost, you will find them. They bless the one who finds them, they bless the one who returns them to you.

After this, make sure the gloves know their twin, and make sure they know who their owner is, otherwise there’s no point to most of the last enchantment. I suggest having whoever you’re giving them to verbally claim them and wear them soon after they’re made and given to the receiver. Unless you’re making them for yourself, in which case claim them and wear them. Happy enchanting!