Introducing: Holiday Ritual Kits

Jolene Poseidonae:

Signal boosting!

Originally posted on Wytch of the North:

Brand new in the shop: holiday ritual kits! Each kit sells for $28 and includes the following items:

1. ONE 4 oz wood wick candle in a seamless brushed metal tin with raised feet (to protect the surface of your altar), scented with one of my new holiday perfume blends.

2. 20 sticks of handmade incense in a matching fragrance.

3. ONE 5mL (1.35 drams) bottle of handmade perfume oil in a matching fragrance, made with pure essential oils in a base of organic sweet almond oil. The perfume is in a sealed amber glass bottle with a Euro-dropper reducer cap.

All of my perfume blends are made with 100% pure essential oils ONLY and are suitable for aromatherapy. They are also 100% vegan.

Purchased individually, my candle tins are $10, 20 sticks of incense costs $10, and my perfume oil is $15 per bottle, which would come to $35 for…

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People That Make My World Better

It’s almost as if admitting to fighting apathy right now made it stronger. Maybe it just meant I didn’t have to pretend as much right now. For all that I want to Keep It Real, I also try to make my writing positive, or uplifting, or cheerleady. I’m trying really, really hard to be the change I want to see in the world, and so while I like to Keep It Real, I also really want to build up rather than tear down. I want to cheer people on rather than dig into them. I don’t ever want to be another voice telling you why you’re doing it wrong or why your path is invalid.

I wanted to make this post especially way more happy and upbeat than it’s going to be. I wanted to celebrate the people whose existence makes my existence easier to commit to, whose presence — even if it’s only from a distance — remind me that I want to be in this world, and that I want to keep feeling the feelings. I am not okay at the present moment. It’ll pass; I work hard to not get invested in my emotions when sink below my baseline blue. Today is a day of “There’s no point to doing anything at all,” and “Every time I open my mouth I’m misunderstood, so why do I even bother?” and “I desperately do not want to be alone, but even when I’m in a room with others I feel isolated, rejected, unwanted, and unworthy.” Being convinced that I have no worth makes that gap between myself and others ever larger than it would otherwise be. I can’t even write today — I’m trying to finish up the book for real for reals and I spent two hours writing one paragraph and I’m not sure why I keep coming back to writing. Except, of course, I know exactly why, and this is what I mean by not being too invested in the feelings. I know much of them are bullshit. But they’re so easy to get stuck in. I know, objectively, that I’m exhausted and stressed out. I don’t know if I’m tired because I’m stressed out, or if I’m tired because I’m fighting off a cold, or if I’m tired because whatever else. I do know that when I’m exhausted my ability to cope goes entirely away. After trying to write for a few hours, I had to go to bed. Not to nap or rest or anything productive like that, but to be in bed with the dog pressed against me (Hero Dog super-powers activate!) and focus on not letting myself become invested in this numbness. When I felt like I could maybe face some more time out of bed, I got up and put some tea water on. When I forgot about my steeping tea for too long, making a new mug of it was not possible. I can’t even make tea correctly. There’s no point to trying to do anything at all, and so I went back to bed, instead.

This time without a hero dog.

So, I’m not in a good place right now. It’ll pass. Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, all of the things that are the reasons why I deserve to be alone and misunderstood and unwanted and unworthy will return to just being quirks of life, too many loved ones spread across time zones and filled with busy lives. Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that I’ll remember and be able to believe that people are generally good, often self-involved (as they should be!) and just because some one does not understand where I might be coming from does not mean they’re saying I’m wrong or unworthy or unwanted. Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, I’ll be back to being okay. In the mean time, I am not deleting all my social media (because no one would notice anyway) and I’m not going to take down my blog (because what good is it really doing?) and I’m not deleting all my books and stories (because I’m a useless hack who is only playing at being a writer). I am not, as much as I want to — and today I really, really want to. Today, I want the world to forget I exist, so maybe I can pretend that I don’t.

Keeping it real. Why the hell would I want to keep it real when real looks like this?


Even today, as I’m caught in hopelessness and bleakness, there are people whose presence in the world makes the world a more live-able place. I can’t say I’m happy to be in the world right now, but these people (in no particular order, and this is by no means a complete list) remind me that it’s not all horrible, and maybe, sometimes, it’s even good.

Beth. Maybe this is obvious? Maybe not? Beth is amazing. Not only does she put up with my dark periods (and has managed to learn how to navigate them even!) but . .. well, actually, that’s reason enough. I don’t know that there would be anyone else who would allow me to live so fully as myself, without judgment, with love and support. I worry sometimes that I’ve had a negative impact in how she tolerates others, but really I think our highly selective when socializing with other humans trait compliments each others’, and we’re well matched. Unlike me, she has this insane drive to keep pushing herself when things get tough (I’m more of a take my toys and go home person) and that’s a constant inspiration.

My friend Diane. Sure, she’s on my mind because she was just out visiting. Not only was she one of  the first pagan type people I’d ever interacted with, but she’s also been a great mentor and friend. I forget, when we’re not talking all that much, how much like me she is and yet how not like me she is. In my mind, all my close friends become introverts by nature, and I don’t know if I can say that about her. I mean, maybe? But she’s also really not. One of  her projects is the creation of a class whose name I can’t ever remember but which addresses LGBTQ issues in regards to healthcare and ageing. It’s something she saw a need for and then she created the class. And that pretty much sums up her personality type. “See a need for something, recognize I have enough of a skillset to make it happen, make it happen.” How can a person like that not make the world better, simply by being?

Anni aka Ahneke Greystone over at The Greystone Path.I discovered Anni’s Youtube the same time I discovered the Pagan Perspective (actually, because of having discovered the Pagan Perspective) during the Great Back Injury of 2013. She quickly became a friend and a mentor, and I gained so much through participating in her Journey of the Seeker course. Her love of learning and of exploration nourished me at a point when I was pretty much burned out on pagan interaction. One of the best things about that course for me was her emphasis on honoring our past experiences — acknowledging and accepting what you bring with you. the experiences that have shaped us up to this point in our lives. When we decide to place others into a “newbie” category, especially in spiritual discussions, we’re ignoring and discounting all the experiences they’ve had heretofore. She has helped me shift my ideas about the beginning of any exploration back to a place of wonder and awe.

Silence Maestas, author of Walking the Heart Road — which is my favorite primer on devotional polytheism out there. Also, dear, dear friend. Even when we’re not talking, the fact that Silence exists makes my world better. When we are talking, it’s generally about gods, writing, or cats, and all those things make my world better, too. (Or knitting, or food, or caffeine . . . ) Silence and Diane actually remind me a lot of one another, it terms of “see a need, have skillset, fill the need.” So that’s sorta neat.

My brother. Even though we’ve been playing phone tag (er — sort of? Playing phone tag would mean both people calling, so I guess I’ve just been playing super creeper stalker via phone) for what seems like forever (but is only since the beginning of August), my brother makes the world I live in so much better. Of all my blood family, I think he’s the only one who truly, truly “gets” me. We can go (and have gone) months and months without talking, and I never have to worry that he thinks I’m mad or resentful or some other stupid social game bullshit. I know that he’ll contact me over important things, and he knows I’ll do the same, and it’s all good. I love the way he brains, and I love the way he words, and I feel like we speak the same language (you know, that sarcastic, literal language) I miss him like whoa, but he’s the bestest brother ever — though, admittedly I’m biased.

And because I can’t think about my brother currently without thinking about the Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green — whose presence I even know about at all in part because of my brother and in part because of Silence — and because so many of their videos have been helping to fight off the apathy lately, I have to add the two of them (and maybe the general concept of Nerdfighteria?) to my list of people who make the world a bit better.

Beth and I have been marathon-ing on their vlogbrother videos (we’re almost done 2008). It’s been pretty awesome to watch. Yeah, I feel a wee bit peeping tom-ish over it all, but I don’t care. The growth of such catch-phrases as DFTBA and, my favorite, decreasing world suck and increasing the awesome have been really cool to watch, and the existence of such phrases have added more tools to my dealing with apathy and anxiety toolkit. Being able to see this animal that would become all of the things they’re doing and have touched and have inspired others to start is pretty amazing. Learning about them now and seeing how much they’ve done can be overwhelming; getting to see the humble beginnings is pretty fucking great, and I love the Internet.

(even if when I’m reading stuff now I’m totally hearing John Green reading stuff in my head. A small price to pay for more tools in the toolkit)


So, I’m not okay. I will be, again, and when I am, the fact that these people exist makes the world fucking fabulous. Right now, they make the world something I’m willing to suffer through. Sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for. Right now, that’s enough.

Edited to add:  I’m not posting this as a cry for help. I’m not asking my readers or friends to  cheer me up or try to make me feel better. I appreciate that this is a normal reaction — I know how helpless I feel when I can’t help my loved ones feel better. I am not suicidal.  This numbed, overwhelmed, helpless, hopeless feeling will pass, and knowing that it will  is part of why I can stay emotionally uninvested in these feelings. I’ve learned detached compassion — this is my biggest tool in my toolkit. I will be okay again, and knowing  my cycles, likely soon. So please don’t worry about me and this. It’s simply how I am.

Admission: Apathy happens.

Not all that long ago, I posted a bit about how I deal with apathy when it rears up, how I try to manage my anxiety, and what I avoid to in order to keep the anxiety levels down, and thus keep the apathy from seducing me with its wicked siren song.

What I didn’t mention was that, during the writing of that post, apathy had its claws in me. I was slightly numb, and comfortable in that slightly numb space, after having a great but non-routine few days. A dear friend was out visiting, someone I had not seen in three years, and it was great. We had a good visit, we caught up a bit, she loved on my critters. It was a few days of lots of stimulation — as breaking out of your routine can do — and it was good, good stuff. I wish she could have stayed longer.


The annoying thing about stress is: the body does not differentiate between stress brought about by good things (which we generally call excitement) and stress brought about by bad things. The differentiation, near as I can tell, is all in how we think about it. For whatever reason, how I think about things is not strong enough to psych my body into responding differently. Good, even great things that I could look forward to (and enjoy in the process) make me anxious. They make me tired. They kick me into wanting to retreat mode immediately after.

So, we had company. I  was able to talk about project ideas and get immediate feedback. I was able to talk about project ideas of hers. Just being with someone who is not from your immediate family and does not live in your city allows you to ability to see your city anew, to see your surroundings anew. I felt a wee bit like a tourist, and it reminded me of how I felt about this place when we first arrived. I went a few places I hadn’t been before. It was just *neat*.

When she left, my mind was awash in plans and ideas and places to take projects. I want to get Marriage out, I want to finish the Sacred Marriage book, I have a series I’m plotting out called Cultivating Compassion, I have the Midnight Circle to begin, and there’s a number of other blog posts that I want to get to. SO MANY THINGS. Being jarred out of the same old, same old shook up the routine, and that’s not a bad thing. The problem for me is, too many awesome ideas is overwhelming. I’m the person who cannot have a stash of yarn, because then there’s too much potential and I can’t make a decision. This morning, I have to run errands for the store, part of which means going to the post office. There are two post offices I can go to, and I woke up fretting over which one to go to. More than two options is worse. Ugh.


Then! Then, I pulled my back out, and my sciatica flared up. Fucking sciatica. Anxiety plus unrelenting pain equals apathy looks good. I lost a week to just dealing with the pain, and dealing with after effects of heavy painkillers. (My favorite? The conviction I had one night that, since it was dark when I closed my eyes, closing my eyes would result in my suffocation) (Sleep did not happen much that night) In the middle of that pain, it was very attractive to sink into the apathy.

It’s happening in waves, now. I have moments when I’m free of it and I’m excited but in a held back way, about things. I have posts I need to make, about the people I let into my awareness that help me claw back to ‘good’, about the importance of cultivating friendships and being selective about what you allow to influence you. There are posts I want to make, but won’t because there’s no point, about the way many of us in the pagan communities insist on talking to and thinking about one another. I will make a post about my current heroes, the lightposts who’ve made it easier to keep caring, instead.


Thanks to the subscribers of my subscription stories (the dawesomest of my dawesome fans!) and supporters who have donated anyway, the missed day of work without pay is so longer scary, and I thank you for that. My pay has been cut anyway due to decreased hours, so I was really nervous about bills next month; now I’m not, and that’s thanks to YOU, so thank you :)

For now, I must run to the post office.

Starting to park some references … and possibly … vlog?

Jolene Poseidonae:

Reblogging this because getting to peek at the stuff BusyNurseResearch is talking about is *fascinating*, and I suspect that there are people who read my blog for whom this might be relevant.

She posts a VR later on, and article titles and thoughts on said articles, as well — which I want to try to track down and get my hands on.

She’s also a dear, dear friend, so yes, part of this is support. But the majority of this is admiration for the work she’s doing, and the focus her study and teaching has taken.

Originally posted on Busy Nurse Research:

My original intent when I started this blog was to use it as a place to “park” references for myself and anyone else who is interested in studying gender and sexual minority health.  Essentially, the idea was to mostly use it as an annotated bibliography of sorts.

So that hasn’t really happened.  At all.  Even a little.

I’m now taking a course in researching rare/hidden groups as part of the LGBT Public Health certificate at Drexel University.  Starting with the readings for that course is probably as good a place as any.  I need to come up with responses to the readings every week, so coughing up an annotated bibliography is how I would generally start with that anyway.

One of the options for actually submitting said reading response, though is to submit a video.  Now, writing responses comes very easily to me.  I do it all the time and…

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Got a few dollars? Wanna help Sombody’s Cat get some dental care?

It occurs to me that I’ve got some cat-lovers on my readership. I posted about Terence over at TruePaganWarrior discovering a sweet, sweet kitty who needs some dental work. This cat is not Terence’s (yet) (I’m telling you, Poseidon has a thing for felines) but he’s looking to get this work done anyway, and is asking for help.

Somebody’s Cat has a gofundme campaign going, and if you have anything at all to spare, maybe go and drop a few dollars? Dental work is expensive, not having it when you need it is miserable, and this poor (declawed!) kitty has either lost his people, or has been dumped. Please spread the word, and send whatever prayers and aid you can.


Jolene Poseidonae:

Some thoughts from Terence on hospitality, or xenia, and whether the gods only test us on this front in human guises. More importantly (yes, you read that right), Terence shares the discovery of a new friend who might benefit from the help of others.

In writing about this encounter and his response, Terence helps to remind me that some people are awesome and respond the correct way to a creature in distress. I’m so grateful there are people like you and your wife in the world, Terence. Keep us posted on his progress!

Originally posted on True Pagan Warrior:

I’m going to put it out there:  I suck at hospitality.  Even for a modern person, I am not the ideal.  I barely remember to bring a gift when I’m staying at someone’s house, or wine to offer with dinner.  I don’t like unexpected guests, and sometimes even dread the expected ones, or at least I do in anticipation.  Xenia, the relationship between host and guest, is not exemplified by my behavior.  In that way, I’m probably a bad Hellenist.

2015-09-28 15.26.44Yesterday, we had a shabby visitor.  He first tried to jump into my wife’s car as she left for work, then made an impression on each other person in the household as they went outside.  Our first impression, mostly from body language, was that this old cat was female, and extremely friendly.  She would go to any human she noticed, and was particularly interested in coming through the door into…

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Lemme just say this right here: Beth is my hero.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been dealing with chronic pain issue since December. It’s been improving — and arguably would improve more if I’d actually go to PT about this, which I think I’ve finally reached the “okay, I’ve done what I can on my own, next step please!” point. In the spring, pain levels were high enough and constant enough that death seemed like a solution. I went to my doctor instead, and I started some exercises with the help of medication, and thing improved.

Lemme also say: nerves are stupid.

I’m having a pretty wretched flare-up. I’d gotten used to my leg pins and needling all the time. I got used to there being moments of feeling like my leg was being crushed in a vise. So long as it is not all the time with the vise, I’m good. But over the weekend I pulled my back out, and I can’t do that anymore without the nerve going along for the ride, it seems. I’ve been pretty useless, and worse, kind of a bitch.

Beth has taken care of me pretty well. She withstands my medicine-induced paranoia. (“But it’s dark when I close my eyes! I’ll suffocate!!”) and my panic over not being able to sleep, and my sobbing when the boring, pinching, twisting pain becomes too much. Yesterday she tore the house apart looking for heating pads she knew we had to have, and would not stop until she had one on my leg. She’s kept me in wine. She’s kept me entertained and distracted when she could, and she’s sat with me when, again, there was sobbing.

(I cried a lot, last night.)

This isn’t going to stay at this level of bad. It’s already not as horrible as it was on Saturday, and I’m going to see my doctor on Friday about this, so PT will be happening, only for real. The panic over dealing with new people is not as strong as the pain, anymore. So, yay?

But: Beth is my hero, and you all need to know it. Thank you for being by my side during this. You rock.

A Response to the Pagan Perspective’s coverage of ‘Godspousing’

Recently, the Pagan Perspective covered the topic of godspousery.  (You can watch them here, here, here, and here.)This was an interesting development, and a bit surreal to see come up – even after all this time, even with knowing that the tradition of marrying Powers is growing within pagandom, I’m always surprised to hear or see those on the “outside” talking about it. The topic is as near and dear to my heart as you might suspect, but I’m used to it being a fringe topic. It’s bizarre in a way that I can’t quite get into words, to see it discussed in the wider pagan community.

I thought, after viewing the videos, that I’d do a VR to them, because I find that there are things I want to talk about, but I’m fairly certain I’ll be preaching to the choir with this, and I just don’t feel like doing a video. I enjoy watching videos, and now and again I enjoy making them, but they’re invasive in a way that writing isn’t, and I’m all hermit-y and everything right now. (I did get an awesome blooper of my very helpful dog listening to me talk at myself, and I may share that. Maybe. At some point.) But doing a VR is just beyond my ability or desire right now, and also: the subject is huge, and I don’t know the legalities of repeating the question when it wasn’t asked to me, and so on.

To paraphrase and explain: the viewer asking the question wanted to know whether or not the hosts of the Pagan Perspective “believed in godspousing.” They went on to explain that they’d come across a woman claiming to be a spouse of Loki’s, but that she spoke so flamboyantly about it that it was hard to give her credit. They wanted to know what the Pagan Perspective hosts thought about the limits and form our relationships with the gods could take, how far those relationships should go. The viewer conceded that they had no issues with people being godspouses, but . . .

Four of the hosts responded. Now, what you need to know about the Pagan Perspective is that they are a group of different sorts of pagans, who answer questions from the basis of their particular traditions or paths. I generally find the hosts (and there are a number of them) to present their responses in a respectful manner; it’s part of why I like watching their videos. They remind me that pagans can be respectful even when they don’t agree.

Despite this, I watched the videos with trepidation. The topic of godspousery can be a hot button topic for a lot of people. Would this be the end of my being able to watch the Pagan Perspective?

I was actually surprised that a number of the hosts admitted to not believing in gods, period. The general consensus was: if it’s not hurting anyone, who cares? Which is fair enough, and that’s largely my yardstick, too. But I was frustrated in general with how the topic was handled. I’ve sat on it for a bit, and I’m still frustrated, by a few things, and so, I’m writing about it.

The primary thing that frustrated (and frustrates me still) is how the question was phrased. I’ve already talked about my knee-jerk reaction to ‘godspousing’; that’s not what I mean here. I’m frustrated by the language used by the viewer. “Do you believe in godspousing?” as if their believe matters. Do you believe it concrete? Do you believe in January? People marry gods. People marry Powers. You may not believe those Powers exist. You may not believe that those Powers marry humans. January may not be part of your calendar – but, people are marrying gods, they’re marrying Powers. Your belief or lack there of changes nothing.

I’ll own that this question may have been framed poorly. Perhaps the viewer meant: what do you think about this godspouse phenomenon? They have meant: do you believe that gods actually marry humans? The former is a fair question – we explore things we haven’t been exposed to before by asking questions and seeking the opinions of others. I have issues with the latter meaning, though. I have issues with people outside a tradition or practice approaching others who are also outside a tradition or practice to decide whether a tradition or practice is valid. Their opinions on the matter may be interesting, but it would be a bit like asking a non-Catholic what their opinion on transubstantiation is – you don’t go to other outsiders to help you form your opinion unless you’ve already formed an opinion and just want support for that.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we use language, and how language allows us to frame our thoughts. So, I’m sensitive to this framing of a question that, intentionally or not (and I think, not) sets the answer up to be definitive and authoritative.

I’m also frustrated with the judging of other peoples’ paths. “I don’t have a problem with godspousing, but the way she talked about her relationship was flamboyant.” In one of the videos, the host spoke of MarvelLoki versus Mythic Loki, and of course this brought to mind the PopCulture Pagan kerfuffle, and I was even more frustrated. As if the gods can only reach us through an approved (by us) medium; as if myths are anything more than ancient pop culture that has withstood the test of time.

In fairness, I don’t think, by and large, that people mean to judge the validity of the paths others are walking. I think part of this is cultural baggage from growing up in a monotheistic society. There has to be a right way for everyone to be, because clearly, there has to be. I think we do it without realize we’re doing it, and I think it’s important to exam why we ask what we ask, and why we feel a need for our paths to be validated by others. I find myself thankful on a nearly daily basis that my foundation with Poseidon was laid privately, and that I do not care if people think I’m batshit crazy.

I’m frustrated, too, that none of the hosts bothered to reach out to godspouses to talk about this topic with; especially frustrating because the second part of the viewer’s question was regarding research and sources.

In the end: if you’re curious about godspousery, ask a godspouse. (I’m open to questions.)  Read the blog of a godspouse –there’s a number of us. We aren’t all married to Loki, and our lives as godspouses look different from one another’s. In fact, the only thing I’d be confident saying that all godspouses have in common is that we believe in the personhood of our god(s). Beyond that – huge range.

And I’ll level with you: there are people who talk about being married to gods or powers that make me wonder if they really, truly are – but then I check myself. Because what I believe about their life does not matter one whit, and it’s not my business. If you’re looking because you want to pass judgment, or you want to laugh at these deluded people, that’s your loss. Many of our lives are better because of our marriage to our Spouses. Being able to appreciate the different forms that our lives can take can only enrich our species; closing our minds to that which we don’t immediately understand or do not want for ourselves makes our lives smaller and poorer.

Apathy as a response to Anxiety, and Depression is an asshole, too.

Recently, someone asked me how I dealt with apathy when it comes up. I’m not sure that I can really talk apathy’s role in my life and how I deal with it, without starting at the beginning. Feel free to jump to the bullet points if TL;DR.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is not meant to be a “do this and you’ll get a handle on your apathy, depression, and anxiety.” This is simply how I’ve dealt with it, what has helped me, and what my coping methods are. If you find that you cannot deal with this on your own, seek help.

I’ll spare you the details of my childhood, and sum up by saying: I grew up in an alcoholic home and had responsibilities at a young age that I don’t feel young children ought to have without also having a solid skill set of coping methods. Even without added responsibilities, though, it’s a very common thing for children in these situations to wind up with a savior complex, and then guilt that they cannot save those they feel they ought to be able to save – in my case, my mother and also my brother. I couldn’t make it better, I couldn’t stop things, I couldn’t do anything. (Of course not, I was a child!) I think apathy, in these situations, is a sign of being overwhelmed. In fact, I think apathy is often a sign of being overwhelmed, of being over-stimulated, to the point where one can either go stark raving mad, or one can just shut off. I shut off.

Not totally, not all the time. I loved animals. I adored my brother, even when I resented having to take care of him so much. I had a safe haven at my grandparents’ house, where I could just draw and read and write and be with my brother without having to make sure he was eating or was entertained, because my grandparents would see to that. I had friends, and we’d often escape into the woods or the library. I’ve written before, that it was like there were two of me who were living two different lives, because I have good memories of these awfully hard years, but I also have memories of hating people, hating adults, for not helping, for not making it stop, for not rescuing me and my brother(s).

Because all of this started so early – my earliest memories are of my father’s alcoholic violence – it is impossible for me to know if anxiety, which is, of this triumvirate, my biggest demon, is inherent to me or if it was a conditioned response. For practical purposes, it does not really matter. Apathy was my default response to crushing anxiety. Looking back now I can see things like, I fall upon the highly sensitive spectrum, and really one of the main coping skills I have is to avoid becoming too over-stimulated, but it wasn’t until my mid- to late twenties that I discovered that. Until I was sixteen or so, I hated people, I hated myself, I hated being alive, and I did not want to be alive. A key note here is that, I was never suicidal. There were a few times when I was pushed to the edge of murder, in my desperation, and I fantasized about killing my father. Often. In detail. I suspect that suicide was never a major contender as a coping method because if I died, who would take care of my brother? Who would be his buffer? My desire to make sure he was okay drove much of those years, and so, suicide never entered the picture. I wanted life to stop, but in that vague sort of everything just go away sense. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please, please talk to someone and get help.

A few things happened when I was sixteen. My father had been kicked out finally the year before, so there was breathing room of a sort. We adopted a dog (under nefarious circumstances, but I wouldn’t know that for years) and he attached himself to me. And, the summer of my 16th year, I met Poseidon. If you’re interested, you can read more about that here. The important bit is, my heart was open on a regular basis to this dog who would become one of my best best best friends, and I reached a point in life where I could not continue as I was. It felt as though I was the walking dead, and I broke. I wasn’t looking for a god or a spirit or a power; I wanted answers, an explanation, or an end.

I can’t talk about my dealing with apathy without talking about Poseidon, because He was and remains my number one coping method. He is the one who took all that power I gave to our species, all our special evil nature, and brought it back to the realm of the animal. He is the one who freed me from the idea that we are in any way special, which allowed me to have breathing room to figure out how to deal with these feelings. By doing this, I began with Him a long, evolving but never ending process toward healing, and then, toward building up a toolbox to help me live a functional life despite the marvelously wretched things my brain can do.

At first, He simply demanded that I be aware. He asked that I be aware of my emotional reactions, and maybe try to figure out the context of those reactions. He asked that I be aware of my reactions to other people, and He tapped into my passion as a storyteller to see if I could figure out a story that would explain why people reacted in harsh or thoughtless or cruel ways. He encouraged my study of Buddhism. Not long after, He began asking that I push my comfort zone, that I expose myself to public situations, that I allow myself to be open and seeking in select public-ish spaces. At this point, my religiousness was all internalized, and I could barely stand before His shrine in my own private home and offer incense or a candle without becoming a sobbing wreck. So, the crippling shyness had to go.

In my twenties is when I really tackled the toolbox. I had all these avoidance and survival tools that worked so well in the hostile situation growing up, that no longer served. In fact, they were making everything horrible. I’d moved in with Beth, I embraced being a devotee to Odin and a wife of Poseidon’s, I changed my life almost completely, and I should have felt better, right? I’d struggled with wanting to focus more and more on spiritual stuff, but felt torn, in my then-relationship, and I hadn’t wanted to end it, but it was more and more clear that it would be unfair to us both to continue, and it was just awful. Awful, awful, awful. If I wasn’t trying to convince Poseidon I was unlovable by being unlovable, I was trying to save Him from the mistake He was making in having anything at all to do with me, and when I wasn’t doing either of those I was trapped in a conviction that this was all a trick, and once I believed Him, the Cosmic Joke would be revealed and all would point and laugh at my expense.

At some point, apathy kicked in, and it kicked in high gear. This was about a two year struggle, and despite They’re doing Their level best to make inroads and to lay the foundation for a better coping skill set, I was only intellectually learning things. I was introduced to the idea of high sensitivity to environments, and I recognized myself as such, but it was intellectual, it didn’t carry over to real life. I intellectually knew about detaching ones’ self from one’s feelings, and that reactions based on feelings were not necessarily the way to go, because feelings are fleeting. I didn’t care so much about putting these things into practice, because it didn’t matter, because I didn’t deserve any thing, and certainly not to feel okay and certainly not happiness or even contentment or, like, a stable mind.

This period of depression and apathy did not end until I sought medical help. I reached a point where I was going to work, coming home, and sleeping. I had some other medical stuff going on, but I didn’t even care about trying to figure those things out until I was getting medical help for the depression. I didn’t seek help out on my own free will, either, or not entirely, because, you know, you’re supposed to be able to do this on your own, and also, you do not talk to people about these things. Right?
It was a combination of Beth’s support and also a horrid incident in which I watched a child almost get hit by a car (he didn’t) without really feeling anything at all – except, later, horror at my lack of reaction. He was crossing the street. I saw the car coming, I saw him stepping out and not seeing the car, and I did not care. It did not matter.

So, yeah. Drugs. They can kind of be awesome. I did not stay on the drugs (and arguably maybe I ought to have) because I lost insurance, but by then I had coping methods in practice that I was more or less okay. To be clear: depression is not the ruler of my triumvirate of mental issues; anxiety is, and apathy is my default response to anxiety (or even just being over-stimulated). My emotional state is what I refer to as my baseline blue. I am rarely what I could describe as “happy”. I am most of the time content. I don’t actually trust “happy” and in my worldview, it’s a dangerous goal. Contentment is better. It’s less disappointing when it slips away, it’s easier to achieve, it’s just more realistic. I have moments of joy – there’s nothing quite like a good book, a cup of tea, and small animals sharing the bed with me – but through the roof happy is an uncommon emotional response that I actually avoid because of its over-stimulating properties.

How do I keep myself from slipping into apathy on a regular basis?

  • I know my limits. One of the triggers of apathy for me is over-stimulation, and so this means I need to keep myself from becoming overwhelmed. At first glance, this seems like a no brainer, right? Don’t do things I don’t like doing, don’t agree to things I don’t want to do, makes sure I have enough decompression time, etc. Except, it’s not just a matter of things I don’t like doing. There are things that I enjoy that I need to make sure I don’t do. I’ve learned through trail and error. I can’t browse indiscriminately at bookstores or libraries. Same thing with yarn stores and thrift stores and, well, all stores. I need to know what I’m going for and stick to my list. I also have a three-chore limit when dealing with errands, and that’s pushing it. I do my utmost best to make sure that I either have time to come home between errands, or I move those errands around. An example: I’m the courier for Beth Wodandis Designs, and sometimes I have to visit the Post Office on days when I also have to grocery shop. That is the limit of what I can do for that day, and often, instead of doing both on the same day, I’ll space them out. While I love having days off from the day job during which I can simply stay home, piling up errands all onto one day is a recipe for disaster, and even if some of those errands are ones I enjoy (going to the library) I have to be mindful of overwhelming myself.
  • I accept that sometimes I live in a bubble. There are stretches of time during which I ignore the plight of the world. I adhere to the “think globally, act locally” adage, but often – and especially when the impulse toward apathy is strong – I think locally, and locally in this case tends to be the four walls of my house. I strip my practice back to basics, and I disengage from the wider world. I spend time with Poseidon, I drop almost all outward devotional activities, I pray and I meditate and I read a lot of fiction that nourishes my spirit and my imagination.
  • I honor the fact that, while I’ve made progress with regards to my dislike for my species, being around people is overwhelming. I’m not anti-social, but I’m extremely selective about the situations I’ll put myself into – and I’m okay with that. I’ll never be an activist that is changing the world on the front lines, and I’m okay with that. I’m a homebody. I don’t want to be out in nature, most of the time. Most of the time, I want to be home, with my family. I do take walks and I do spend time by the river, but that’s not every day, it’s not even every week. I don’t travel about the area for fun. I snuggle Corbie and the cats for fun. Home is my sanctuary, and I love my home.
  • I don’t judge myself. This I couldn’t have achieved without Poseidon, and without the fear of the Cosmic Joke, or my complete conviction of unworth. I realize that the standards I hold myself to I wouldn’t dream of holding anyone else to, and I admit that I believe everyone has inherent worth, simply because they are. I realized this, and still I could not shake this conviction of unworth – so I gave it to Poseidon. I decided that, since He is Poseidon and He is bigger, knows more, sees more, since He is (as He put it) a grown-up god who can make up His own mind about things, that He must see something I don’t, and that I would trust Him over myself in this. It sounds easy on paper. It is easier now, with over ten years of practice doing it behind me, but it takes that practice to make it easier, and it’s never exactly easy.
  • I live a semi-secluded life. The majority of my interactions with people are either at my day job or online. We don’t have many friends who live close to us, and we don’t seek making friends with people who live close to us. For myself, the space that online communication creates is exactly what I need, for the most part. The people who are part of my family are people who understand and honor that, who know that I need to make phone dates, who know that I won’t answer the phone usually unless it’s planned, and who may not understand, exactly, but at least accept that’s how it is.
  • I avoid unnecessary drama. I don’t play social games, and I have no patience for them, and the friendships I cultivate tend to be drama free. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and speak up if you have a concern or a problem. Don’t let it fester. Because of this, the friendships I have with my chosen family are the sorts where, we can go months without talking, and we don’t take it personally. My brother is probably the best example of this. He is arguably one of my favorite people ever. When we do talk, we talk a lot, and his friends are amused by the fact that while he is also not much of a phone person, it’s understood that when I call, he’s going to take the call, be excited about the call, and also, will be on the phone for at least an hour. But we’ll also go months and months without talking, and neither of us feel slighted.

This could have been a faster, more streamline process if I’d been willing to seek therapy. I’m lucky in that I have a few friends who are in the medical field, and a friend who shared skills she picked up by going to therapy herself. I have a natural inclination for over thinking (hello again, anxiety) and I harnessed that power to study on my own the ways that people deal with anxiety, and also to self-examine my own responses to things. I like to know why things are as they are, and this helped fuel my studying.

I don’t want apathy in my life. Apathy kills my writing, and it makes it harder to connect with my gods. These two things are, even when I don’t care about apathy harming me, are what I fall back on time and again. They are the drive to keep apathy from taking root.

When it sneaks in before I catch it? I scale everything back to basics. I retreat. I give myself permission to do this, and I do not judge myself because of it. Judging myself only makes it worse, and I still have to climb out of it.

There is a reason why I cannot stand the proclamation that our gods are not therapists, and this is it. Poseidon was very much my first and most powerful therapist, and I will be damned if I pretend otherwise. Our gods are whatever the fuck They decide to be, to us, and They are the ones who get to decide what They will be, along with us. I will not discount the help Poseidon gave me. I won’t pretend that I am not who I am, because of Him. I won’t pretend that my health, my ability to function as a person, my ability to be compassionate and kind to others, isn’t His doing.

What works for one person may not work for everyone. Cultivating one’s life toward one’s need is a hard, long process that not everyone can do to the same extent. The trick is to find what works for you, and to stick to it. I could not have done any of this without medication to get me to a stable place, from which I was able to build my coping toolbox. I accept that there will be bad days that are brought about by good things. Things that I’ll choose to do knowing that I’ll likely be a wreck afterwards – and I plan for being a wreck. I accept that while I wish I could be excited about things (writing projects! Visits! Ideas!!) that mostly they come with a crushing sense of anxiety, and that I’ll need to put blinders on to some degree in order to keep moving forward.

My biggest tool against apathy is keeping my anxiety in check. Some might see this as being a slave to my anxiety; I think of it more as knowing and honoring my limits, and being okay with them.

Book update, do people actually change, and the Pagan Perspective covers “godspousing!”

Most exciting thing first: the complete first draft of A Marriage of Land and Sea is FINISHED!!!! We’ll leave aside the fact that I know I need to rewrite the last 2k of the book. I’ve waffled about whether that counts as finished or not, but I think it’s important to celebrate the steps of book making along the way, because if I don’t, I spend a long time working on something and considering it “not done yet” and that can mess with my mind. The first 9 chapters have already been seriously edited, so it’s really the last three that I need to focus on. And then, another go-through once it’s gone out to the subscription group (which may actually be getting a name in the near future). I want to have it released to the public maybe mid-2016? It sits at 53k words right now, and I’m just pleased as punch. Except for the last 2k. Which, whatever.

Anyway: YAY!!!!


To go in a different order than my title suggests: the Pagan Perspective* has covered the topic of godspousery this week. I had something of a rant about this written up, but I’m not going to post it. I do have an idea for a response video, and also the inclination currently to actually make it, and so I might. The responses have been interesting and somewhat surprising: more of the hosts admitted not believing in gods than I expected, but beyond that I find the phrasing of the question: “Do you believe in godspousing,” to be problematic, and not just because “godspousing” is wince-inducing for me (which is actually a lot of what my ranty post was about, and then I decided that I was being an asshole, and I called myself on my own shit — Why do I have a problem with “godspousing” as a noun becoming a verb when “shouldering your responsibility” is acceptable? Because of the newness of it. And if I acknowledge that languages are alive and not static, and that slang happens, and that purposefully being pedantic over things rather than being willing to communicate and address the actually topic is snobbish and not something I want to be or do, then I need to maybe let that particular rant go. So I did.)


So, I think I’m the last person on the internet to have found the Vlogbrothers. My own brother pointed them out to me years and years ago, but beyond letting CrashCourse entertain me, I really haven’t paid them much attention until this week. And really? The lifegoal of “increasing the awesome and decreasing the suck” seems like a pretty decent goal. Which got me to thinking about myself (it’s all about ME!!!!) and how I’ve changed, or how the story I’ve told about myself has changed over the years. I think about how fostering compassion has wrought these changes in me. I think of all the opportunities for apathy to get a toe-hold in, with me, and, it does. Often. But never for long. I think about how i used to despise people and how now, while I can’t deal with many of them for long periods of time, and while conflict drains my ability to deal with people even faster, and while there’s less and less time I’m even willing to commit *to* conflict . . .I want to be kind. I want to be compassionate. I want to build up rather than tear down, and I want to exchange ideas carefully and not take things personally. Which can neatly be summed up with wanting to increase the awesome and decrease the suck, right?

One could argue that this is and has always been the “real” me, that I simply had to get to this place and unlearn all the crap I learned to survive early on . . . but that discounts having been there, and I’m not sure I agree with telling past-me that that me was not “real” somehow. So, I think: people can and do change, and I don’t agree with the idea that they don’t.

And that’s my navel-gazing for today.

*If you aren’t familiar with the Pagan Perspective, it’s a collaboration between a group of pagans from different traditions who field questions from the wide pagan community and answer them on Youtube. I discovered them during the great back injury of 2013, and in general, I enjoy their responses. The biggest take-away I gain from watching them is the same thing I gain from listening to or reading other people from other walks of life share their experiences and thoughts, and that is that people are people are people. We are awful and we are kind and we are horribly mean and short sighted and aspire to greatness and just are people.