When Ma’at Becomes Isfet 2

The funny thing about life is how easily things can turn around. One day you’re totally doing the right thing, the next you realize you’ve made a horrible mistake, or what you’ve been doing backfires spectacularly. Maybe you were using a routine that worked perfectly, and now find it doesn’t fit you anymore. This certainly ties into my last post, and I’m starting to think I’m in that changeover phase. I’ve realized things are no longer working how they were before, and it’s time to change. Will that mean that I’ll permanently not consider myself a Kemetic anymore, even though I still strongly identify with the religion and its tenets? Possibly, or this could be a pressured sort of situation.

By that I mean, multiple things have come together to force the old out and cause change. I’m a little complacent, yes, quite lazy at times, just as much as I’m dealing with a broken brain and an uncooperative body. Last night I was pondering meditation and came upon why, even though I can meditate, I don’t like to. This train of thought was born of reading a post by someone else (another point I’m going to make later was inspired by reading a post this evening) about movement and dance. Ironically it was not, in fact, Devo, but a witch I follow on tumblr. It made me realize that I also have difficulty quieting my body, much moreso than quieting my mind. It’s not that I can’t sit still, it’s that I have physical problems that make it uncomfortable to sit or lie in certain positions for extended periods. Further, while I can quiet my mind if I try hard enough, I don’t actually want to.

It is almost physically painful for me to quiet my mind. I am a thinker and a dreamer. I have a very loud brain, and it loves to craft ideas. More importantly, it’s depressed and anxious, it’s also angry (that’s what happens when you are told repeatedly that your emotions are too intense, invalid, shouldn’t exist and then heap abuse on top of it). It’s quite painful to have my brain sit still for any extended length. Even when I’m going to sleep, it’s busy. It’s also boring, but that’s something else entirely. I never really considered it that deeply before, but there it is. Am I willing to do it? Yes, I’ve meditated successfully before with visualizations. Even then, however, we can see that I’m not sitting in the total silence, blank mind sort of meditation.

As I said in my last post, I don’t intend to drop Anpu. I don’t intend to completely abandon what I know and love. Perhaps I should do some divination (something I’ve been avoiding because I’m nervous. I can tell that I’d get better readings if I worked intuitively instead of with the cards’ ascribed meanings, but I know I have sock puppet syndrome sometimes, and yay anxiety for making everything hard). Perhaps I should just poke around or toss a flare into the netjeru’s space. Lost puppy to a good home. Bakes. Has cat. Stubborn, not terribly consistent, easily bored, skittish. It would certainly be something, but I don’t know yet.

Starting on a new path and maintaining it was ma’at. It is now becoming stale, burdensome and useless. Isfet. I must either change my path or abandon it entirely, I must maintain ma’at.

I already elaborated on the biggest pain in the ass part of my life. I’d like to touch on some other things here. First about this movement as meditation part. I don’t know if that’s a good alternative for me. For one thing, I don’t have a lot of space, and anyone who has ever done yoga with pets knows that they get in the way. My kitten, for example, loves to be underfoot for reasons we can’t comprehend. We’ve nearly hurt her more than once because she walked right up behind us and under a raised foot. Really though, lack of space is a big factor, along with self-consciousness. I was thinking for a while that I could sing, but that takes more effort than one might think, and I’d potentially be doing it for several songs. Even just the change over would be distracting. Then I was thinking meditating with my plants, which I will likely give a try at some point. I’m going to keep trying to come up with other ideas as well.

Then there’s still magic. I plan to work more extensively with my plants and hopefully find info on devas and individual spirits. Water is a harder one for me, I don’t live objectively close to any bodies of water and I know that physical proximity helps me a lot. I recently found some nice sigil resources and need to go through those. I’d also like to learn more about clairsentience (touchy-touchy me) and other touch-based magic, therapies and divination. I also need to play around with what I’ve got, since I can feel in my bones that I’d get better readings from my cards if I did it by intuition.

Shadow work. I know I need to do shadow work. I will be honest and say I’m afraid. I’m also stubborn, because in some ways, for some things, with certain people, I don’t want to let things go. Very common thought process, I’m sure. Perhaps this is also why my practice and relationship went sour. Anpu did mention shadow work quite frequently. Even Dapper has scolded me for avoiding it, not that he should talk. I have very intense emotions. For someone who wasn’t taught healthy ways to handle intense emotions, trying to confront them and the fact they’ve been pent up and compounded for years is terrifying. It’s also angering, because I shouldn’t have to do this. I shouldn’t have to do this and the people who hurt me should be sorry and should have been sorry sooner.

I see why Kali wants me. She certainly knows all about getting carried away by strong emotions. Anpu is a god of change, which I brought up a few posts ago. Perhaps these things will get sorted out once my house is whole and calm and aired out.

I mentioned that there was another post I had read. This was about cocoons and change. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was certainly timely. It described reasons why one might feel a witchy change, a witchy cocoon phase, would be happening and the “symptoms” you might feel as it happens. I certainly feel like I’m going through that right now. It’s difficult.

I still feel like I’d benefit from a louder, more active god and more structure. It’s hard to find structure that works when your mind is very fluid. It’s always moving and always wants to move. Crochet is probably the only thing that really matches both structure and fluidity, but at the same time it’s very stimulating and creative. I suppose I could try that, since I do like making simpler things with the knowledge I know as opposed to following complex patterns. It depends on my mood. It just seems both difficult and silly to really meditate or even try to astral while crocheting. There are moments of focus necessary, even with simple designs and stitches. Won’t hurt to try though right?

Any suggestions for me out there? For example, where can I get a decent, tiny cauldron? Like, just bowl sized or something. Also, someone remind me to get cheap red pots as well, and a red pen, and ingredients for baking and yummy foods. I intend to celebrate wep ronpet this year, because I honestly feel like I need to. New year, new path, new god, new me. I may also reach out to Aset, I hear this is a special week for her. I haven’t talked to her in a while, and perhaps she or one of the other goddesses can help me here. I admit freely to being too scared of Kali to work with Her, it has kept me out of shrine honestly. They say all goddesses are one goddess in Hinduism, and there is quite a bit of overlap. I imagine it won’t hurt to ask Kali to be a little less frightening, or gentle, to give me a nudge or something in the right direction. A few hints perhaps of where or how I should look for information. (HINT HINT KALI, HINT HINT ANPU, HUMANS ARE HARDHEADED)

I love this religion a lot. I love these gods a lot. I love this community a lot. I just need more help. Something to go on, some direction, something that even my stubbornly fluid, lazy brain can happily latch on to and do. Or at least relentless pursuit and nagging until I get shit done (jk, that doesn’t work that well). I’m tired of long ass Fallow Times. I’m definitely tired of being unable to contact Dapper. I am tired of this cluttered apartment in this cluttered city where my windows view concrete and asphalt. Where are my plants, I need leafy hugs.

I do wonder what I’ll accomplish if I start working with my plants. Finding information on working with plant devas and individual plant spirits is a pain. Most green and plant magic is all about herbs and oils and whatnot. While I don’t mind that, I don’t have the luxury of doing that type of spellcraft, because I don’t have space for the plants and I don’t really cook with fresh herbs. My typical seasoning is mixed, so kitchen witchery is kind of weird. I can’t afford to just buy things willy nilly either. It’s so hard to really figure out what I want and what I need. I really just don’t know what I need and can’t articulate it.

Until then I’ll play around and just focus on planning for wep ronpet. Mayhaps I’ll finally join the KO beginner’s class. I don’t like their application honestly. I can understand it, and understand the reasoning for the questions on it. I just don’t like being asked those questions. They’re difficult to answer (which I suppose is the point), but they’re also often used to judge me and make things unnecessarily difficult. Sort of like “why do you want to work here” at job interviews. I’m lost and need help, y’all have pre-established structure and stuff. It may be time to break out Eternal Egypt again. Been a while since I read that. I’m ok with that though. Now if only I was any good at song-writing or music making and then I could sing.

I’m also wondering if I could make it a habit to pray or otherwise give offerings at sundown or something. Sundown is a little inconvenient, if only because it often happens around dinner time, which would be good for offerings I suppose. There’s always dawn and sunrise, but I’m not a morning person, and further I’ll be starting school soon. Sunset may be better. We’ll see, I may give it a try. 21 days to build a habit right?

Now it’s getting early, 5:33 am. I’m gonna play with my plants and cards for a bit, because why not? I am a horizon child, this is my time.

When Ma’at Becomes Isfet

Since March, Zolfyer’s cousin and his fiancee (henceforth to be referred to as Cousin and Fiancee) have been staying with us. They were about to get kicked out of their apartment, one of their roommates ditched them–like, packed up all his things, moved out in the four hours the house was empty, cut his phone off and hadn’t paid his share of the final rent or utilities, ditched– and Fiancee is pregnant. Further, Cousin’s mom is unstable, with a house that really isn’t fit to live in and Fiancee’s parents are racist (Cousin is black like us, Fiancee is white). Since they wanted to move north anyway and they didn’t have money or time to find a new apartment down south, they begged all of our family to let them stay. We told them they could stay here, although technically Fiancee was supposed to go back down south to finish school and graduate. Did I mention she’s 18 and he’s my age? No? She doesn’t have her high school diploma, her birth certificate or her SSID card. To say it’s a lunatic situation is an understatement and mostly irrelevant. That’s her life, I’m only going to get but so involved.

They came here in March. There is now four people in a one bedroom apartment, and a baby on the way. They also have two ferrets, and it was lucky that Fiancee had someone who was able to keep her snakes. We already have a cat, she’s currently lounging on our clean laundry with her pure black fur. Our house is very busy. Zolfyer and I accepted this and we’re doing our best to take it in stride. We assisted Cousin with his job search, having two HR professionals detail his resume, suggest jobs they knew were hiring and we even paid for some of the things he needed, such as bus fare, car insurance before he lost his car (no job=no money=repo) and something to wear for an interview. We scraped, scrounged and asked for money from our parents and siblings to make sure everyone was fed. We took them to one of the city’s biggest festivals as a treat and a distraction from the hard first month. Cousin got a job and we told him he’d only have to give us $100 a month so that he could save as much as he could, as fast as he could. We thought the baby was due in September, so first week of August you need to be out.

This is ma’at, helping others in desperate situations. Helping the people you care about and love. Making the world a little more orderly, more awesome. Being generous.

Then we realized, slowly, that this was not nearly as ma’at as we thought.

Cousin is argumentative. He has bad communication skills. He likes to give people the silent treatment when he is angry. A post he made today made clear that he believes he is never in the wrong, that he is always a victim.

People get upset with him unnecessarily because of the things he says. Why isn’t he allowed to have an opinion? Why is everything he says supposedly sexist, racist, wrong, hurtful or messed up? Why are people always attacking him? He’s also passive aggressive. He and I argued fiercely yesterday because I do not allow slurs to be used in my home. In this case it was “midget,” directed towards a short character, who may very well have been a child, in some inane video he posted on facebook. He’s made rape jokes in the past, though he wasn’t living with us at the time. I was in the wrong when I got upset at him and ruined his gaming mood. He ruined my gaming mood. He didn’t consider at all my feelings and why I was upset and took offense to it. He spent all day today posting passive-aggressive memes on facebook since I won’t let him say “midget” in my home and called him out for being sexist the day before.

I quote:

Normally i dont post my feelings on pictures and social media..but why..why..When i open my mouth its sexist, mean, assholish, or coming of wrong. I justthink shutting up and not saying anything like i did before i way better.People wouldnt get offended and attack if i did that.

For those who like pictures: Cousin's Nonsense

His passive-aggression doesn’t end there. We also discovered, over these painfully long four months, that he’s emotionally manipulative. Zolfyer used to have an anger problem because he spent his entire youth being bullied mercilessly and experienced loneliness and abuse at home. He was in anger management for seven years. I have only seen him angry enough to hit objects ten times, and that’s an overestimation. Somewhere between five and ten. I’ve only seen him angry enough to break objects twice, with the third time being an accident. The second time was last month, when Z was trying to explain to Cousin why he was angry and upset that he had blown him off, been passive aggressive and otherwise very dismissive, callous and belittling. The situation was that we were planning on going to a tournament (we play Cardfight! Vanguard) and Cousin and Fiancee were coming with us because they wanted to participate. Cousin was supposed to put up for gas and potential tolls. Coincidentally we had received news about unexpected extra money (debt really, increase in credit limit) and Cousin commented that he didn’t have the money to put up for gas like he’d promised. Now, not once earlier in the week had he mentioned that he’d be short the money. We wondered when he intended to tell us, and we knew why he was short, he’d purchased cards off of the internet. Both Cousin and Fiancee admit to not being very well educated in finances and being irresponsible, we were teaching them, Z had gone so far as to draw up a savings plan and carefully explain it.

Then Cousin and Z got into an argument about some cards that were worth money. I missed what initially started this, but the point is that it was part of the gas money disagreement and was also calling on their words and memories of events earlier in the week. Namely, the budget, what Z had written down for Cousin, which cards were supposed to exist, who was supposed to get them and why, and where they were supposed to be. Everything was supposedly recorded, and Cousin, in an attempt to be correct, tried to find proof he was correct. The paper didn’t say which was correct, although it supported Z’s story more. Z insisted he knew what he was talking about and what he had said. Cousin gave an angry non-apology (I’m sorry you think I’m wrong, sort of deal, I’m sorry you’re upset and arguing, type of thing). This made Z angry. Not only is it disrespectful, but it’s also dismissive, and manipulative. It’s belittling, contemptuous even.

Zolfyer largely hates conflict. He experienced it too much as a child, and being tormented and isolated makes him afraid of being disliked, however he pushed off the fear of backlash to confront Cousin about his behavior. Cousin continued being distant, passive-aggressive, dismissive, belittling and emotionally manipulative. Acting cool and collected, like he’s reasonable, never once admitting that he was wrong. Constantly turning things around and making non-apologies and double-bind statements to make it seem as if Z was being totally out of control and his memory was suspect. Eventually, when Z said that he wasn’t trying to fight but he was so totally frustrated by Cousin’s arrogance and his refusal to take any responsibility whatsoever, Cousin said “I’m not fighting, you’re the only one who is fighting. I’m totally calm.”

Thoroughly upset, frustrated and angry, feeling taken advantage of and like his memories and thoughts and feelings were being dismissed, ignored and feeling twisted into the bad guy position (which, considering his past history with emotional abuse, bullying and dealing with unintentional emotional neglect from extreme poverty, is totally triggering) he goes into our bedroom, slams the door and puts a hole in it. Then dents his mini fridge, mostly because he wanted to avoid putting a hole in the wall. I spent fifteen minutes cleaning and bandaging his hands. It took two weeks for his knuckles to heal.

This is an intense example. This is one of the most intense examples. Most of my other examples are much smaller, more low key. Cousin refused to go to the tournament, which meant that the two friends who were also going (this was a team tourney, you need groups of three, now they were one short) were assed out. Because he couldn’t grow up and get over himself, he failed two people who he made a commitment to. I had to go instead, because I tell our friends that I will always play if they need me. I’m not competitive and despise crowds, enclosed spaces and especially crowded enclosed spaces. Traveling also takes a lot of energy from me, and this tournament was in Maryland. I was extremely cranky and exhausted from the beginning, especially since, as an empath, arguments take a lot out of me just to be around (on top of that my deck was behind everyone else, so I was at a huge disadvantage because support for my clan didn’t exist yet). Cousin also acts this way towards Fiancee, including frequently getting angry at her and yelling at her when she confides or vents to us, then follows it up with telling her he’s “glad she has someone she can talk to and confide it.” Then, when she vents and confides, gets really angry at her again. Also gives her the silent treatment, going so far as to lock her out of their bedroom while they were still down south.

My intense example was yesterday, about him treating me with contempt. I don’t hit people or objects, so there won’t be any of that. I did, however, rant a metric ton to other people. If you’d like to see the rant detailing most of the situation, you may do so here. More clarifying information for that is this: Cousin was insistent that his future daughter could not have sex in his house before she turned 16, but his future son could. BGF and I asked him repeatedly to clarify, to elaborate, and all he had to say was “because that’s my girl, my princess and that’s my boy, my prince”. We asked why the boy got to but not the girl, we asked why was there a double standard, we asked why did it matter, we asked why could he but not she. We phrased it about six different ways, each, and he still gave the same answer. He insists I jumped down his throat and never gave him the chance to answer. He also told Z that I am always shoving my words down his and Fiancee’s throats. Among other things. He basically ranted to Zolfyer that I’m a huge problem to them and that I act in an unfair and antisocial manner. He hasn’t spoken to me all day, never even looked me in the eye.

If you’ve chosen to read this far, and have even read my rant, you’ll understand what I’m about to say next.

Ma’at is decaying. It is becoming isfet. It needs to change.

They are creating one hell of a toxic environment. They are literally taking up space, food and energy without giving a significant balance back. My house is dirty and smells from their ferrets. I’m tired of being confined to my room or the kitchen because their things are spread out in the livingroom and they can’t be bothered to clean up after themselves consistently unless someone starts cleaning. My bathroom stinks and is perpetually dirty because of the extra people taking long showers. They don’t seem to know how to get out of the shower without dragging water all over the floor, which means my rug gets soaked and nearly had to be thrown out from mold and mildew.

I am angry. I am perpetually angry because of things they do, or things they say. Usually to Z, but also to me. I am tired of being disrespected and treated with contempt in my own home. I am tired of my boyfriend being treated with contempt and disrespect in his home. He pays for literally everything, almost $2,000 per MONTH, with two jobs and freelance work and we only ask for $100 from them. He should not have anyone say to him, but especially not the person in his home out of the generosity of his heart “well, be glad you don’t work nine hours a day.” (I actually nearly went off on my mother for saying something about his work hours. People like to demean the fact his jobs are part-time and discount their value and the toll they take) He shouldn’t be experiencing the anxiety, insomnia and lack of appetite he got from the mortgage job on his way HOME. He shouldn’t feel like he can’t be in his living room or kitchen because of the dank energy and nasty, petulant, cocky attitude of his cousin.

I should not have to argue with anyone about whether it is or isn’t ok to use slurs in my house. 

It occurred to me, that I haven’t been able to connect or focus as well on my spirit work since they got here. Now, part of that is Dapper being sick, another part is that I quiet my plants and Dapper when there are guests over. Some of my frequent guests are sensitive, so it’s only considerate. However, a lot more than that has taken a toll on my practice. I do still think it best for me to reach out to other gods and explore other paths and ideas, but I do know their being here has significantly impacted my spiritual health as much as my emotional health. It isn’t ok. They need to go, we were already thinking about moving up their date because it turns out Fiancee is due in August, not September, but now we’re getting to the point of being thoroughly fed up.

I’m not saying I’m completely in the right. I know that I’m not. I am not exactly a “fair” debater. I have very intense emotions and extremely strong opinions. I also want people to mean what they say and say what they mean. I expect people to back their statements and opinions up, and not expect me to take them at face value. I don’t like it when people try to dodge. I do attack people sometimes, or otherwise “jump down their backs.” Could I have handled my particular intense example better? Hell yeah, I could have. I did try and be calm from the get go, since I was calm and wasn’t trying to fight when the disagreement began. I genuinely didn’t think he knew that the slur “midget” was a big deal since lots of people use it. I know that I can handle things better and that doubtlessly some arguments I’ve had with Cousin or Fiancee are my fault and escalated because of me. That doesn’t excuse their behavior either though.

This cannot continue. When ma’at turns to isfet, you must turn it back. When they leave, my home is getting the most thorough cleansing I can possibly give it. There will be execrations, to say the least. I don’t know what else I’ll do, I’ll figure it out.

 

Change

I’ve gone through one hell of a rough time recently. Depression has hit me like a sack of building, to the point of a panic attack and the worst dissociative episode I’ve ever had. Then there’s the heat, and ugh, I am extremely sensitive to heat and humidity. Not only does it make me feel horribly sick, yucky and sluggish, but high heat and humidity is strongly associated with more asthma flares. Why? Well, that would be because high heat and humidity contributes to smog and increases the concentration of pollution and pollen. Pollution and heat combined are by far my worst asthma triggers aside from dust, mold and very frigid air (usually plus exercise). I can take my various plant allergies, they usually just make me a sneezy, sniffly, red-eyed mess, but that smog man, that smog.

As followers may know, I struggle with depression quite regular and it fucks me over spiritually. On top of that, I still don’t know what’s causing these neurological-type symptoms. I do know that the exhaustion of a week-long asthma flare (don’t ever tell an asthmatic that they shouldn’t be tired after a flare. ever.), the struggle of the suffocating heat and my depression has made the last week and a half pure hell. This stress has made me seriously reconsider what I’m doing religiously/spiritually. I’ve mused on it for a while now, trying to figure out where I’m going, where I want to be, and if I’m on the right path. This recent spell of trouble has really spurred me to reevaluate.

For a while I feel like I’ve floundered. I prefer more structure and it’s hard to find that in Kemeticism that isn’t the overwhelming priestly stuff. The vagueness of ma’at only makes it more frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I love the netjer and I like and identify with a lot of the religious system. I love the mythology as well, and I love the community. I just, can’t figure out my head from my ass at home. I also like having things to do, which sounds weird from someone who enjoys worship, but I like goals and activities. Making shit up doesn’t work that well for me, as a depressed, sick introvert my brain works a little slow. Focus is hard to come by, so is energy, and clarity of thought or signal? Ha, surely you kid. Intense anxiety over my sanity is no picnic.

The other thing though, is that, despite my love of the netjeru, I can’t seem to connect with any of them. It’s not so much they don’t want me, a couple of them have at least shown interest and I could probably be confident that Aset is one I could rely on, but I really don’t feel connected to them. I understand that I’ve picked a quiet god, but I’m starting to think our relationship has changed, and we will no longer be the same devotee-devoted. I will likely still give him attention and pray to him, but I don’t think we’re the right fit for each other and I imagine he figured that out way before I did. Supposedly Kali is interested, I’ve received feedback from several avenues, but I really don’t know enough about Hinduism and lack the focus to learn what I feel is necessary to honor her properly. Further, she’s usually worshiped in a Tantric manner and I’m not interested in that form of worship. I can’t seem to find much for bhakti though, which frustrates me more. I am leaving space for her on my shrine, and if she wants me that badly she can chase me down and give the resources I need.

So now, I’m trying to focus on various questions that will help me pick a new direction. I need a focus, an aim, of what I should be looking for and learning about. I’m going to ask and answer them here, because recording things is good for me, and writing helps me organize my thoughts. Within three days I intend to change the name of this blog as well as its partner on Tumblr. As far as my tumblr goes, I mostly post social justice things to it, and so it doesn’t reflect what it was originally intended for. I will likely create another tumblog and connect this wordpress to that instead. Make no mistake, I won’t be leaving the kemetic community, they are totally awesome and I have a lot of friends there. I will just no longer identify as Kemetic unless a netjer tracks me down and drags me back.

What do I like? Well, I like reading, crochet, video games, wolves, dogs, cats, rabbits, the nighttime. Dinosaurs, dragons, werewolves. I like twilight and daybreak, sunrises and sunsets. I like the moon, I like streams, lakes and rivers. I have a love-hate with the ocean, it’s much to rough and large for me, the energy is overwhelming (and hydrophobia, fear of drowning, doesn’t help). I love plants, good heavens I love me some plants. Forests are awesome, especially mountain forests. Cool, autumn and spring weather. I like the quiet and slowdown of nature during fall and the quiet, waking up of spring. It helps that my asthma is best behaved during these months when extreme weather and high pollution aren’t usually concerns, and although I have plenty of allergies, they don’t usually make me too miserable. I’m fond of storms, but really I enjoy rain, mist and fog. It has a softness, gentleness to it that can shield you. I love after storms have passed, I’m not much for the buildup beforehand. I also like medicine, the body and helping people. I like the mind, even though it’s a pretty scary place. I like healing. I also like trying new things and thinking up wacky ideas, and I like my myths and anime. I could probably swing pop culture paganism.

What do I need out of a religious system? Support. Focus. Goals. Structure. Not necessarily church-level or something, just an established system and set of rules and guidelines to work within. Lattice-work to build on, basically. I also want a god-relationship. It’s just something I prefer, and was really a big reason I left Christianity to begin with. Another thing perhaps is energy work and other kinds of magic and spirit-y things.

What motivates me? Mostly other people. I’m not a self-starter, not for myself. Helping and caring for others is a big motivator for me. Oh, you need something? Oh, you fucked up and need help fixing it? Let me get started on that. Not very helpful when going after something for oneself is it? I haven’t yet found what motivates me for me yet, except perhaps enjoyment of a task, but even then it can be difficult. I’m really stuck in my head, I think about many different things, and I am an imaginer and worldbuilder at heart. I create elaborate things in my mind, and I can sit around all day daydreaming and creating a story, or thinking about my various interests, likes and values. INFP fits me well.

What makes me feel safe? Blankets, my sister and boyfriend. Silence and near silence. Classical music. Plants, especially trees, forests, mountains. Mist, fog and light rain. Cool weather with a soft wind. Low light, such as after a storm, at night, twilight and daybreak. I am a night owl and am often awake when others are asleep. I won’t be bothered, things are quiet, I’m not stressed by having to interact or be attuned to them. Hugs and physical affection, unless I am painfully and desperately overwhelmed. I’m a serious introvert and an empath, and tactile stimulation, auditory intensity and crowds upset me. This makes winter very hard, because the tactile stimulation of heavy clothes, shoes and coats often lowers my people tolerance, makes me tired and more emotionally volatile. Being affectionate to someone I’m close to is very soothing for me, people who know me IRL know I like hugs, poking, tickling etc, and that I can often be seen patting, stroking or touching Zolfyer. What can I say, he makes me feel safe and calm. Dogs and cats make me feel safe, pictures of wolves and african painted dogs as well. Stuffed animals.

What helps me focus? Music mostly, and talking to myself. Writing helps as well, as does crocheting. Visualization is a toss-up, but having a tactile focus greatly helps. I’m a hands-on learner, and I remember written words better than pictures or spoken words. Making my own charts, graphs, etc helps me remember and focus. Going over something with someone else, or teaching someone, also helps. I’m not a people person but helping others or working with a small group is a good way for me to work, especially if I can direct while working along them. This is why magic is more difficult for me, learning by hand, by trial and error, needing skills that aren’t necessarily tactile, having no one to help or discuss things with, etc, make it hard for me to find a system that works, especially because I’m very sensitive to the movement of energy within myself and working with energy is a bitch since it isn’t really tactile. It is, but not in the same way as, say, crocheting.

What do I enjoy with spiritual and energetic things? I enjoy the learning, the reading, the imagining. I enjoy feeling (there goes that INFP again) both emotionally and physically. The problem of course is that I’m a typical Scorpio with really intense emotions and so feeling can quickly cross from enjoyable to overwhelming and scary. I enjoy singing as well, which I’ve discovered is a good way to raise energy, though what kind I couldn’t exactly tell you. It’s more a way to focus than anything, but that doesn’t make it less valuable. I’ve yet to figure out a way I can use this consistently to my advantage. Dealing with plants is also fun.

What do I want out of a deity/spirit relationship? I don’t entirely know. I know I want a focus. I enjoy worship and veneration (gods if I can find somebody who has some hymns or something whose music isn’t lost omg) as well as playfulness. Having been with the netjer I value at least some looseness and willingness to tolerate sass and frustration. I want to feel protected, like I can rely on them to help me and be there for me when I reach out. I certainly need one who talks and interacts more. I know I need pushing, especially for shadow work, but I also need a soft touch, because I am diamond, so hard that I’m quite brittle. Or perhaps glass would be a better analogy, seeing as how you need diamond to cut glass, but it shatters quite easily. It’s forged in fire or from lightning, but so easily hurt. I suppose that means I need a glassworker. I certainly need to feel like they’re reliably there for me, fear of abandonment and loneliness is strong with this one.

What do I want my spirituality to do for me? Be a support system. Be a place I can turn when I am flailing, desperate and crushed. I need it to be reliable, consistent, motivating me to better myself. Giving me at least some direction in how to better myself. Interesting and able to be innovated. I also want to learn more about healing on various levels of energy and planes. I want to feel like I’m doing something, and not just wandering around aimlessly. I’d like to be traversing clouds for a purpose since I always have my head in them.

 

As usually happens when I have these issues, I talked to my twin. She had this to say

My intuition has been in high mode (thanks Neptune retrograde you sneaky bastard). I feel like we are looking at stuff and expecting something to crop up like Christianity, as far as having a big community and structured weekly rituals. Now, i know that you need structure more than I do, and you’ll probably do better if you can find a group that you can actually see and meet with.

I can agree with her here. I definitely do enjoy worship in groups, and having someone to talk to and play around with magic and energy work (and gods, give me feedback and practice!) would be very useful for me. Which will likely influence what sorts of things I’ll look in to, since many paths are small and don’t have widespread groups.

The other thing I realized is that the city makes me very tense. I don’t usually notice or realize just how stuffed up and tense I am until I go somewhere else, like visiting the mountains or something. It’s hard to let that tension go too, but escaping the hard, crackly, dense energy of the city for the energy of the mountains and forests is definitely a noticeable difference in my health on all levels. I’ve always loved plants, especially trees, and of course mountains and bodies of water have their own spirits as well. I imagine this very much connects with my wolfishness. My sister also mentioned that she very clearly thinks of me as a green witch, and I know how much I love water despite my drowning fear. Lakes and rivers are very awesome and quite calming, while also deeply foreboding in the way of a good horror movie. It’s an excitement, much like the night. The night is shielding, enveloping, but it is also dangerous in a much different way than the daytime. The same goes for fog and mist, weather I love, not only for being interesting and cool, but for being quiet and shielding as well, for having that same horror movie pulse that makes you take a deep breath and lean forward in your seat, waiting for the jump scare you know is coming and hoping to be surprised.

I think this will be good enough to make some kind of headway somewhere. Who knows. Any suggestions from ya’ll? I enjoy reading, so I don’t mind lots of suggestions or information.

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.

People, the Media and Mental Illness

If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s the media on mental illness. What else I can’t stand? Drama swarms. That’s what’s occurring right now, just like it does every time a famous person falls to mental illness (of which substance abuse is part). This is the same nonsense that happened when Michael Jackson died, or any other celebrity who has passed away because of their sickness since then. Don’t get me wrong, I love Robin Williams. He was a wonderful actor, a fabulous comedian and a fucking amazing human being. But because he died due to mental illness, the noise surrounding his passing is pissing me off.

You see, the illness is overshadowing his death and the media is using that. They aren’t reporting on the tragedy of losing a wonderful man, they’re reporting, in dramatic fashion, how a mental illness killed him. In some sense they are preventing his family and his fans from rest and mourning because they’re blowing things up that don’t need to be lambasted all over everyone’s computers and televisions. Yes, he was ill, yes it was his illness that killed him, but they don’t make so much noise over cancer or heart disease. Report it the same way you would if he had died from cancer or heart disease, because you’re just taking advantage otherwise. You’re just being sensational and annoying.

What really strikes me though, is how the same old narrative comes up again and again every time this happens. The fake, shallow, disinterested and evanescent pity and sympathy. The cries and pleas to people to “get help” and “be brave” and “find support”. The moaning and groaning of the horrors of mental illness that don’t mean jack shit. It means nothing because it’s all a farce. Nobody cares. Nobody, fucking, cares. The media doesn’t, and plenty of people who reblog and retweet and instagram and pinterest and facebook all these bullshit memes about depression and mental illness and go on and on about how they want to see change and be supportive and yammer about how people should get help do not care. 

Wanna know how I know? Because in two weeks, if that, those same people, those same media outlets, won’t have anything more to say on it. Well, the media will, actually, but it’ll be how a mentally ill black man, or serviceman hurt someone, or a crazy bitch drowned her kids or sold them on craigslist for crack money. It’ll be about how “omg that white man was such a nice person how could he shoot all those kids?” And “those fucking immigrants are stealing our jobs and killing each other!”

It’s the same bs that happens over bullying and student-led school shootings. “This kid was severely bullied, that’s why he shot those kids, we should do something about bullying and gun control!” Ha, hahaha, yeah, ok, where are you the next day then? Where is your noble ideals (which are so myopic and vague as to be useless), your renewed dedication to helping these people and kids have better lives and healthier minds?

It’s all bullshit because they don’t live up to their promises, they aren’t there. They don’t fucking show up because they don’t fucking care. That’s what I hate about this. There are a ton of people I know who care, and why do they care? Why, because they’re sick of course! There are healthy people who care too, but you’d be amazed at how even the genuine ones can be so damaging and short-sighted.

I would rather people say go fuck yourself than harp on in their self-righteous statuses and tweets. Here’s the thing, mental illness is not simple. Even for people with the same diagnosis, no patient is the same, no one experiences the illness in the exact same way. My depression does not strike me down the same way it does to my best friend. My other friend’s bipolar disorder doesn’t present the same way my aunt’s does. The meds that work for my online friends don’t do shit for me, or make me feel worse. I know more people who have given up on therapy because they’ve tried every kind out there at least three times than I’ve ever met people who say it works for them. In fact, I don’t think I know anyone it’s worked for, and if I do, I definitely can count them on my fingers, probably one hand.

These pointless narratives that crop up every time a famous person’s disease is plastered all over the internet drive me insane. They mean nothing because no one is invested. And moreover, this seesaw of interest and disinterest is hurtful. It hurts people. It hurts causes, the same way that an idiot volunteering for something they don’t know anything about is hurtful. The same way lying about your credentials hurts people. Worse than that even, because lives are at stake. I don’t think people really get this point.

All this talking about how mental health care should be more important, and more available and how more people should seek it is empty. There isn’t any follow up to actually make these things more important, available and affordable. I need mental health care, but I cannot afford it, I cannot find it and what I can find and afford is low quality and therefore useless to me. On top of that, those same people telling their sick friends cheerfully and forcefully about how they’ll be there for them abandon them or mistreat them, all while thinking in their minds how cool they are for being “supportive”. And out the other side of their mouth begrudge the ill for their illness, sometimes to their sick friends’ faces.

It is difficult to trust the healthy, because they see with clear vision and think with clear minds. They see things as easy because they are not mired in the swamp and covered in fog. Moreover it is difficult to convey to them your suffering and what they learn from casual conversation is so ridiculously oversimplified and full of prejudice that it doesn’t help them understand. Gods forbid if they’re willfully ignorant. So they tell you go to the doctor, go see a therapist. They tell you about all the articles on facebook they read and the advice columns they’ve seen, articles and columns you’ve read already and tried. They keep bringing them because the genuine ones are trying to help, but they’re not listening and they aren’t understanding. And if they’re the shallow ones who shout at the top of their lungs how helpful they are and yell the loudest about the torment of mental illness but don’t do anything about it, well they’re just stroking their own egos if they deign to help poor, weak-minded you. Why, you just need to get out more, or stop listening to that music, or try this yoga class, or eat this food, or try this supplement, or go see a doctor for heaven’s sake otherwise you’re not feeling that bad are you?

I truly hate the stigma around mental illness. Everyone has an opinion on it, but no one actually cares to learn about it. It’s weakness they say, it’s stupidity they say, it’s laziness, it’s attention whoring, it’s a personality flaw. You’re not feeling that bad if you don’t do xyz, you deserve it if you’ve ever done abc, if you would just blah blah blah then you wouldn’t be yadda yadda yadda. It’s easy to get rid of, it’s fake, there’s resources everywhere! Try harder! Oh my gods, your life isn’t that bad! There are happy kids starving in Africa, get over yourself! I know someone worse off than you who isn’t sick! I’m in just as bad or worse of a situation than you and I’m fine! Get a grip, pull yourself up by your bootstraps! Who do you think you are, having feelings, having sickness, losing strength? Who do you think you are, having difficulty? Who do you think you are, struggling? Who do you think you are, suffering?

Depression and mental illness are little demons that eat you. They eat your mind, your heart, your fucking soul. To use a concept from my religion, it is isfet, it is unmaking. These things are terrifying in their power to destroy, and they are not destroying to make room for growth. They are bombs, they are chemical fires, they are nuclear radiation. They are destroying in an attempt to crush, to vanquish, to wipe out. They are trying to make it impossible for things to ever grow again, and when things do manage to grow, because thankfully life is fantastically stubborn, they come back. And they are cruel in their working. They find the little bugs and weak seedlings, and crush them between fingers before pouring poison on the ground of your heart and mind.

And they keep coming back.

If you were alone in your house, and a gang came in with guns, knives, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and grenades, what would you do? You have weapons sure, but you’ll probably run out of ammo first, if your ammo is even useful. You might even have an army, you might be able to push them out and keep your house, but you’ll have problems. Your house is damaged, you might be injured. Things are broken, things are burned. You’re exhausted, you’ve used a lot of your ammo and your supporters are either dead or exhausted. But those bandits come back. Maybe it’s not the next day, maybe it’s not the next month even, or maybe it’s the next hour. But those motherfuckers are back, and they’ve got fresh bodies and more ammo than last time. You haven’t regained your strength and your ammo is either still low or just back to where it was before the first assault. Your house might be back in order, or it might not. Gods help you if you’re on the bad end of recovery. Let’s say you make it through that battle. Well now you’re even worse off. Guess what though? Those fuckers are coming back. Each time with new recruits, more and probably better ammo. Eventually you’re going to fucking lose.

Let’s say you go to your friends, family, coworkers for help right? Some of them will definitely help you. They grab their guns and are at your house within minutes. Some say they’ll come but never show. Some tell you no, at least they’re honest, and others ignore you. Still, after the second or third time, even the help you receive is going to be pointless. The commendable people who step up are going to get exhausted, and if they don’t, you’re all still too low on energy and ammo to hold the house. Well, maybe call for more back up? Those people who tell you no or ignore you are whatevers. There will always be people who just don’t care. But how about those who say they’ll show up? You have hope! You have reinforcements! And they don’t come. You call them again, and they might come up with some bullshit excuse, or tell you no. What was more hurtful? The people who said no or ignored you from the getgo? Or the hopeless disappointment from broken promises and careless betrayal?

Now we move on in this scenario. You keep reaching out. The bandits have your house, they’re hurting you and your supporters. But what do people say?

“You’re just full of it, those bandits aren’t that tough. You aren’t fighting hard enough.”

“Why don’t you just go get more weapons and ammo?”

“Why don’t you get used to it?”

“Why haven’t you called the Army?” (You have, they just can’t get to you. There are more important things for them to deal with. Or they expect some sort of compensation you can’t afford. Maybe they have a complicated process that makes trying to get their help pointless, or perhaps you just can’t get the right phone number. Maybe they’ve already come and only made things worse, or temporarily better).

“Have you thought maybe you attracted these bandits?”

“Your house is too cushy and well-guarded for you to be really suffering from such horrible bandits.”

“You just need to learn how to defend your house properly.”

What would you think? What would you do? These bandits aren’t going away. They’ve burned your house down. You’re hiding in the woods, trying to keep up guerrilla warfare. And oh gods, now they’ve got you. And they’ve locked you up in a cell. They know all the right ways to torture you. Maybe it’s drugging you, maybe it’s forcing you to suck down booze. Perhaps it’s throwing you into a dark pit, then suddenly turning on a hundred flood lights. Maybe they lock you in chains and then throw you on a roller coaster or strap you to a train. Or, it’s putting you in a tight closet, with just a match, for months.

Maybe they let you out every once in a while, or your supporters manage to break you out. It’s often a farce though, they know exactly where you are and they’ll come back for you. They’ll do even worse things then. Maybe they’re cruel enough to leave a little something for you. A gun with a single bullet, a belt, a bottle of pills with some water. A knife. Those drugs or booze they keep giving you. After a few more rounds of torture, maybe torture with a short lived freedom (which is its own kind of torture), those little things look better for yourself than the enemy. After all, a bullet won’t get you free of a house full of bandits. Nor will a belt or knife unless you’re James Bond or Jason Bourne.

This is mental illness. This is what you’re telling your loved one or friend or colleague to suck up, or what you’re trying to tell them to get rid of with sunshine and fake smiles and yoga and whatever else is the popular one-size fixes all thing. Sure, some of those things help, sometimes, but by themselves, especially for someone in the very depths of pain and sickness, they mean nothing but another thing to fail at and despair over. It’s shallow advice that doesn’t care. It is advice that does not care and is totally blind to the destruction of their hearts. It is simple to the point of being asinine and useless. It is myopic to the  point of being able to see your nose. You cannot just think away, or eat away, or exercise away, mental illness and for fuck’s sake stop telling people to do it.

Then there’s a little psychological phenomenon called learned helplessness. You see, when creatures are tormented and can’t escape, they learn there isn’t any point and stop trying to get away. The psychologist Martin Seligman first studied this phenomenon with dogs. He chained them inside a box where the floor delivered electric shocks (although some accounts say they were locked in a cage that did the same thing) and noticed that eventually the dogs stopped trying to escape. Even when they were unchained (or the door was opened) they didn’t move and wouldn’t move. They had to be dragged out and shown that now they could escape the situation.

People with mental illness experience learned helplessness. It is a chicken and egg case here, because sometimes it is the learned helplessness that contributes or causes the mental illness and sometimes it is the other way around. It doesn’t matter, people with this particular syndrome (and any sickness) need to be shown with love, compassion, sincerity and patience that there is a way out. But the way out needs to be clear, well informed and tailor made. Good intentions are not good enough. Anything less is insulting and damaging. Sometimes the way out is simply being the one who actually shows up when they say they will. It might not mean putting on your armor and grabbing your M-16 and C4, it might mean being the shield, it might mean bringing the food. It might mean just saying “I’m fucking here, no matter what happens.” You don’t have to try to fix everything, most times we don’t want you to, mainly because you can’t. You can make things better, but the problem, the broken program, the house being overrun by bandits, is in our heads, so you can’t directly fix it. We don’t need you to fix the problem, but we do need you to fix the IT center that handles our calls, we can’t just turn it off and back on again. We need you to fix the Army that should come and help us kick the bandits out of our house and keep them away. We need you to be there to back us up, to break us out, to bring the rations, the ammo, the shield, the attitude and dedication that you’re not leaving us stranded and broken no matter what. You don’t have to bring us everything at once, you don’t need to give us the newest shiny “cure” or suggestion. You just need to love us, to be compassionate to us, to be patient, to be sincere. You just need to do your damndest to understand and to listen.

What we need is love, not this loud and empty yelling to your ego. Not this pointless, hopeless charade that people call “helping” and “supporting.” What we definitely don’t need is yet another clueless asshole inflating and insulting the death of a person in a two-faced narcissism contest. What we don’t need is another person yelling at us to go get help when we have tried so hard to get help and simply can’t because the help doesn’t exist or doesn’t work. We don’t need another person telling us we’re frauds or fools or weak because we’re supposedly not listening to them. We don’t need people who will twirl their wands to make it look like they’re doing something and then walking away as soon as the shininess wears off, or turning around and slapping us in the face for asking them to make good on their promise to be there, or help or make help more available.

 

Something that many writers will tell you is that characters often take a life of their own. I have one character, a little girl named Elizabeth. She’s gutsy and sweet and way too honest as most kids are, and her dad is a recovered addict who suffers anxiety and depression. She asked her father what an addict was.

“An addict is a sick person who uses medicine the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.”

“Why would they do that?” She asks.

“Well, it’s because for a lot of them, they’re in pain. But, not just physical pain, like your arm hurting, but emotional and mental pain too.”

She ponders for a moment and climbs into his lap. “So, it’s like love pain?”

Now her father is laughing. “Love pain?”

“Yeah, like, not getting enough love hurts right? It hurts you all over, in your head and your chest and stuff.”

“Yes, it does.”

“So they’re hurting because they need more love. They have love pain!”

Chuckling. “Yes, I suppose many of them do have love pain.”

“Why do they stay addicts when they get more love?”

“Sometimes they can’t feel it. Being an addict makes you sick. You can’t smell when you have a cold right? So how would you know something is tasty?”

“Well you would tell me!”

“But, you still can’t smell it or really taste it yourself. You have to get better first.”

“Is it hard to get better from love sickness?”

“Haha, yes, it’s hard to get better from that, in both senses of the phrase, even when you’re getting lots of love and attention and good medicine.”

“You got better.”

“It took me a while, but lucky for me, a pretty little girl with more love than anyone was given to me. Even then, I still needed lots of help and love from others. I’m still sick, but not as much.”

“Well then I’ll just have to give you more love!”

We need more love, not more hype.

An Update

So school has started again. Class was OK today, it was hot in there, which was the main reason it wasn’t better. I’m particularly sensitive to the heat, and I despise being hot. It screws with everything and just makes me feel ill. On a positive note we were doing the microscopes and tissues labs so I got to look at cool things like cells in mitosis.

I’m trying not to be freaked out over school. It isn’t more work than before, but now I feel more fragile than I’m used to. I’ve always been sensitive, but now I feel like I’ve completely fallen apart. I had a dream a couple of nights ago. I was in one of my rooms, it could have just as easily been the bedroom and probably was, and I was standing. Z was near me, walking around and talking to me. He might have been cleaning (he does that) and was wondering if I was OK or needed help. I told him no and started drawing up energy. Now, usually, drawing up energy is a disturbing thing. I don’t mean unnerving, it merely disturbs my equilibrium because it’s strong, foreign energy. My energy tends to be low key and fluid, like a bathtub. When it’s high or gets stirred up then it’s more like a small river. I rarely get superbly upset or enraged, so I couldn’t give an accurate metaphor. Perhaps a short storm, a lot of noise and water and wind that peters out quickly and ends with either sunshine or overcast. I sense my own energy as muted, either blue or green (I sense most peoples’ energy in these colors unless there are emotions involved).

When I do magic or energy exercises I usually gather energy from the earth (except for recently where I’ve been using heka), and it is very strong and dense. Since I still have issues grounding, it can leave me overstimulated for days. So, this dream having me do just that was weird. Normally I wouldn’t do such an exercise if I’m feeling unbalanced. However, in the dream the energy was extremely muted and warm. It wasn’t overwhelming, nor was it fluid, electrifying, sparkling (like pop rocks), or speedy. It was more like syrup or honey, a dark forest green and enveloping as opposed to expansive. As I pulled this energy from the earth I made sure to spread it out so it touched every fiber of my being. It was then I realized I was shattered. Like a mosaic, the energy was becoming the frame and scaffolding to hold the pieces together. I’ve never had such a dream before. I’ve never seen myself hurt or shattered or broken. If I’m healing, usually it’s someone else who is hurt.

Quite frankly, I feel the dream is very accurate. I dropped myself off a cliff and broke apart. I was already fragile and unstable; I make jokes about being delicate all the time, but I never really took it too literally. I don’t think anyone has. I made a joke when I got out of the hospital that my brain can’t even do abnormality right. With conversion disorders, typically the patient isn’t really aware of their internal psychological suffering. Sure, they know they’re stressed, but instead of being plainly overwhelmed, they get physical symptoms instead. I’m plainly overwhelmed and getting physical symptoms, so, even doing conversion disorders wrong.

On top of that, school is still going and one class is getting blocked. Apparently I need both of my anatomy classes to take it (the class in question being microbio). The problem is that I’m still in anatomy 1 and can’t take 2 until summer. I can’t register for micro bio in fall because it needs both. I can’t take micro bio by itself because I can’t afford to pay out of pocket for it and financial aid needs at least part time status, ie two classes. The solution is either wait until the end of summer semester and pray that there’s still a seat left, or get special permission from the dean to register. I still have things to handle with the office of disability and of course the classes I currently have.

Then I found out I owe a lot of money on my taxes this year and I’m just trying to focus on not falling apart again. While I wait for doctor’s appointments and try to coordinate my healthcare. Did I mention my mom has to fight with the insurance company because they denied coverage for my hospital stay? See, this is why I need to move to Sweden or Japan. Or Germany. Right now I’m reminding myself that other people, capable people, are handling some of these problems. I’m reminding myself to breathe, breathe because for asthmatics breath is a hard thing to come by and stress worsens asthma. Breathe because I cannot fall apart again. Not like I did, not worse. Breathe because I am anchored, somehow, in the earth.

In the dream Z was right there. He stood next to me and watched patiently as I slowly and painstakingly anchored myself together and to the earth with magic. I am certain he lent his own energy, he was holding me up at some point. He does this very palpably in real life as well. Without him I’d be a horrible mess. I have at least some internal stability because of his support, patience and his providing external stability. He reminds me that I shouldn’t worry about things I can’t control, and that he and others are here to help and take care of things too. The entire week of spring break I slept horribly. Only two days did I get enough sleep, and sleep at night. The other days I would only sleep between 2-4 hours. If I got a nap it was way too long because I was getting the other 4-6 I missed and it was very restless. He slept on the couch with me for three days when I couldn’t sleep and got up when I couldn’t sleep in bed until I could. Actually, I probably wouldn’t have slept at all those three nights on the couch if he weren’t there.

Nonetheless, at this point we could use some more blessings. Lots of them actually. And I need a new brain or something, because I’m tired of feeling sick and broken and depressed. Too bad you can’t update your mind so easily.

A Short Poem

How could anyone remember
How can anyone forget
What it feels like to burn,
How it feels to disintegrate?

How can you know my pain
How are you aware
Of my endless suffering
And know the pinch of every hair?

Are you listening?
Can you see?
Do you feel?
Can you hear?

Is the pain in my heart too close
Or too near?
Is it far so you understand just with your eyes?
Is it too far for you to despise?

It’s eating my heart,
The flames will consume it
But how could they know?
They only see the reunion
Of acid and earth, whittling away at
Each other.
Murderous friends and blasphemous brothers.

Are you watching?
Can you smell it?
Is it acrid?
Are you jealous?

This poem is unfinished and subject to change