Something happened over this weekend, something which has been building for some time, something which left me utterly bereft. It left me feeling laughed at, mocked, rejected, discarded, unwanted, refuted . . . in a word, devastated. It led me to entertaining thoughts of suicide way beyond my somewhat standard “too skin crawly can’t deal must go step in front of a bus!” and my even more standard “I want to not exist any more.” (the former never comes with an impulse to actually step in front of a bus, it rather makes me seek out silence and stillness; the latter does not come with any impulse to actually do anything, I don’t want to die, necessarily; it the blacker moods, it just means I’m so overwhelmed that even having to *think* is too much). I don’t often think about suicide in a “I want to actually do this,” way, and the fact that the thoughts danced along those lines highlights, now, hours and days later, in retrospect, just how important it is to root out these particular thought patterns and convictions.*
By now you are likely wondering: what happened?? Well, I’ll show you!
Poseidon, with the help of Beth, sought out and purchased and gave to me, flowers. Beautiful flowers that are not overly smelly, that are delicate and awesome looking, complete with three peonies the exact shade of pink He so prefers on me. (much to my chagrin, alas.) Yes, that is right. My Husband took advantage of resources He has available that others may not have and decided to purchase flowers for His wife. But, that’s not all! He dared — DARED — to be excited about it. Around the time the purchasing was going on, I was hit with an overwhelming awareness of His excitement and pride — Look, look what _I_ have done, look what I am doing for you, ooh, look!
Around a month ago, Poseidon started pushing some things. I should have known that the pushing was only going to get more ?severe? the closer we came to this particular Special Day. There are a number of things about me, about us, that He is non-negotiable about. Awareness. Compassion. Worth. Worth as in, I have some and my opinions about whether that’s valid or not are irrelevant. And for quite some time, that’s where it has sat. We’re talking years, here. I will — and do — discount my convictions of unworthiness, because I know they are not built upon anything solid, because I know that if I applied the reasoning I have regarding my own self-worth to other people I would protest mightily that they were wrong, etc. So, when Poseidon says and when Odin says and when Beth says and when people who love me say that I have worth, that I mean something to them, that I matter, I agree to discount my own feelings on the matter. Those feelings are not trustworthy. In our relationship, Poseidon pushes this more, digs more deeply, pokes and prods at it more strongly and incessantly. A month ago, He started pushing harder. “You decide when our time together is finished for that particular moment. You decide, by dropping your head and hunching your shoulders and backing away, from Me, from My shrine, that you have taken up enough of My time, have ‘bothered’ Me enough. This is something that I am not pleased about. We’re going to address that.” And, we have been. I’ve been mindful of the difference between bashful head-ducking (which I do a lot, it seems, when He gets intense, horse or no horse) and the head-dropping submissive posture – and when I’ve failed to be mindful, He is quick to point it out to me. I’ve been very careful of waiting for His signal, adding a mental, “By Your leave?” before I step away from the shrine and go about my day. Not perfectly, but it’s a start. It’s a tad bit mortifying to be admitting to these things this far into my relationship with Poseidon, but it is what it is. What this is is not humility; it’s devaluing myself. ‘Don’t take any notice of me,’ my body language says. ‘I don’t want to be a bother, I don’t want to impose, I’m sorry for my presence even being a blip on Your radar, I don’t want to be any trouble.’
Part of the Special Day was, I wanted to share dessert with Him, horsed. We tried once, eight years or so ago, to do this very thing. It met with disaster. But surely, surely now, all this time later, all this work later, learning better, more effective skills to use in coping with stress (because good stress and bad stress are all still stress), building upon a firm foundation of trust and love and affection, surely now this would be something I could handle.
Poseidon is moody. Strongly, strongly moody. He does not really feel things lightly, and – not that one should compare the gods, but when you have two or more in your life, you tend to notice differences – He does not, at least in my interactions with Him, have nearly the . . . fluency of civility that, say, Odin can don like a hat. He has His very black moods, and He has His exuberance. He does not, again in my experiences with Him, ever merely look forward to something. So, I picked up quite a bit on His exuberance over the planned ‘date.’ And I felt fairly positive about it myself. Here, I was pushing myself beyond my comfort zones, I was raising my awareness of thought processes and habits that needed to be corrected, and I was raising myself one more: I was going to give Him this thing that He’d attempted before. I was going to show Him the progress I have made over the years! Look, look! I kept myself as much in a ‘today is sacred’ mindset as I could, considering I was at the day job, I sang some of o/Our songs, I recited my chant for Him, I did not misuse my body at the day job to trigger injuries in my weaker areas. I was mindful. I was good.
Except I made bad choices. I wanted to decide on a whim what we would be having. I wanted to peruse the wine options at my local grocery store, rather than what was available at my workplace. That one little bad decision began a spiral that soon became a plummeting descent. Because, see, the store was crowded. It was Saturday. And there were choices I hadn’t counted on. And so I couldn’t decide. At all. And then that threw the dessert into question (I’d wanted tiramesu, because, you know, tiramesu) because there were options, and then I started freaking out about money being spent on “non-essentials” (Hullo Protestant baggage, nice to see you again) and reminding myself that it was for an offering (but is it really, if I’m going to also have some?) and that it was for Poseidon (again, but is it really?) and that we could afford it (but what about all these other things?) and I’d planned on it, damn it!!! didn’t seem to matter. So, I paced around the grocery store, sweating and crying a little, and that bit of myself that knows to the very marrow that I’m not worth anything? Got a little bit louder. A little bit stronger. A little more convincing. Why was I putting myself through this? What was I going to gain? And, really, HE should know better, right? Why exactly was I not good enough the way that I am? You know what, fuck the dessert; He’ll just have to deal. If He doesn’t like it, He can look elsewhere.
And, I went home.
I knew, upon arrival, that I was Not Okay. Not steady, not stable, not sure that any part of the night should proceed at all. And, there were flowers waiting for me, already on the hearth shrine, all pretty and delicate, and sweetly scented, and with that damned pink that He really likes on me. And things got worse.
It was a decent battle, I’ll give Him that much. I was already running hot and cold, overwhelmed, and trying to both reject apathy and grasp it and plunge into its soothing numbness. I bathed and tried to reclaim the “this is holy” mindset, but it was elusive. And, in His moodiness, He bumbles. Not often. He pushes. He pushes relentlessly. But, I have a minefield in my head, in my heart, all rooted to this not-worthy conviction, and it’s impossible to win at times, for Him, for me. Half the time He makes out okay, because He skips words entirely. Sometimes He sticks with words, and . . . feh. So we had moments of my trying to pull away, and Him pushing, my making a case for the night being a wash, given the anxiety attack in the grocery, and feeling Him waiver – because if He agrees, well, then, see, I’m not worth putting up a fight for, but if He pushes things, well, He clearly wants me to be someone I am not. And, one ill-timed comment about not dropping my gaze sealed the fate of the entire experience. It is incredibly humbling to feel Him floundering, knowing that it’s sunk, that there’s no amount of a bailing that can be done to salvage anything, and still seeing Him try. He tried for some time, but He really couldn’t compete with the disgust I was experiencing.
I wanted out. For the first time in my life with Poseidon, I wanted out. I wanted away from Him; being aware of His existence in my life made me want to throw up, made my skin crawl in all the worst ways. Despite His claims in the past, He did want me to be someone I was not, I was not good enough the way that I am. I am not comfortable getting flowers, I am not comfortable knowing that I mean something to Him, I could not manage to share dessert with Him now any more than I could years ago, I made no progress at all, I am pathetic pathetic pathetic. I detached, curled up, and wanted to be able to blend into the wall, and, in the amazing ways of my people, I went to sleep. And I stayed there, more or less, for the next fifteen hours.
I awoke in fits and starts. I had happy thoughts, like: how would I kill myself? How do I even begin to unravel my life from Him? Could I take down the blog without losing everything, was there a way to do it slowly, to make it private and save the material as I had time to? Would I stop covering? How would I explain that? Forget the novel I’m writing – too much of some of the characters remind me of Him, so I’d have to scrap that. Maybe I’d even stop writing all together! The suicidal thoughts didn’t last very long; once I spoke them aloud they eased up substantially. I can’t say that I didn’t make any rash decisions because of our past; I didn’t make any rash decisions because there is so much that would have to change. It could be done – Odin assured me that it could be done – but it would require oh so much work, and really, I didn’t want to have to re-invent myself again. I dozed some more, cried a little, snuggled kittens and the pooch. (For the record, my boys are amazingly awesome.) I demanded that He leave me, that He at least make there seem to be a distance between us. I got, as I only ever get, a pointed “I am looking Over Here Now” sense from Him, and a stillness of movement, as if He held His breath. I threatened that I would end it between us, I told Him that I hated this, that I did not want to have to keep going through this, that He pushed too much, too soon, too fast. I told Him that I would rather apathy than this. I told Him I wish He’d never made Himself known to me, all those many years ago, that I would have been better off having never known Him. Through it all, He stood still and silent, while I seethed and communicated with Odin about the how-tos and the be-very-sures and the He-is-a-fucking-idiot-sometimes. He only broke His stillness and silence when, toward the end of yesterday, my anger toward Him spent itself out and I turned upon myself.
Because, I made bad choices. Because, upon reflection, because I know myself, I can point to the places where the responsibility of the disaster falls upon my shoulders and could have been averted if I had simply chosen to respond to what was actually happening. I fucked up the dessert sharing. It’s not a huge deal, and even if I had to muddle through not feeling like a loser because of it, I would have gotten there eventually. It was a thing I wanted to do for Him, and I couldn’t quite manage it, but it’s not like we don’t have this history of a relationship between us. He knows what He means to me. He knows what I wanted to do, with that sharing, and you know? I got into the grocery store. I was going to buy it. If I hadn’t decided that it had to be perfect, it would have been okay. If I had fucking gone in with a shopping list, it would have been okay. It’s how I have to shop and I’m okay with that, damn it. But, there was that, and there was His exuberance, and then, there were these flowers. Which are beautiful and sweet and thoughtful, and were for me. Just for me. Just for me, just because He wanted to and He could.
And that was were I lost it. Yes, I also put up a valiant fight to not lose it, at that point. But those flowers were the breaking point. Just for me, because He wanted to and because He could, and He did, and He did not bank or mask His pleasure at being able to do it. Maybe it would have been okay, without the later comment about dropping my gaze. Maybe . . . or maybe not. Maybe I would have seized upon some other thing to be angry about, to shut off over, something else, anything else, that would easier than dealing with the fact that my Husband giving me flowers is more than I can handle.
Later – yesterday? – we chatted, Beth and I, a bit about how much He feels, and I decided that was part of the problem, that He feels so much, and I don’t feel like that, and maybe we’re ultimately incompatible. Even that didn’t break His stillness or His silence. I wanted more space, I was heartbroken that I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) turn to Him in this pain, I wanted Him to go away, I wanted to shut off, I was still trying to figure out what my life would look like and how I would accomplish it without having to re-invent myself, when I went to bed. I cried, a lot. It felt like a break-up that I started, and wanted, and hated having gotten to that point. The only time during which He broke His silence and stillness was when I laid into myself for being so pathetic.
I slept another insanely long chunk of time. And I awoke tired of being heartbroken over what had happened. He was there, of course He was there. And we chatted, He and I, without words and with words.
I’ve held this lack of self-worth where it’s been for too long. Discounting that conviction? That’s a great first step in retraining myself regarding it. It is a good means to an end. It’s not the end. It’s not okay for me to exist with this conviction and simply ignore it. The conviction needs to go. The fact that He’s tackling my instinctual apology for taking up space, for existing, at the same time isn’t lost on me. I am not naturally apathetic; I trained myself to be that way, to strive to escape notice, to not draw attention, all for valid reasons that have not applied to my life for years. I’ve gotten loads and loads better about these things in my day to day life. Many of these issues you wouldn’t even know about if I didn’t tell you, unless you happened to know my tells, like Beth does. But with Him, where I know I am at my safest? I want to remain safe. I want to feel secure. I want to be loved as I am.
And, He does love me, as I am. He simply wants that to be freed, to be allowed to exist without apology, without hedging, and He wants the body language to reflect that. I don’t not feel things; I feel a lot of things. I’m frequently overwhelmed; you don’t get that way by being apathetic. We are not fundamentally incompatible. We are, as He pointed out lo those many years ago as I had my first mental breakdown, oh so very compatible. The crests and troughs of my moods have nothing on His. He is unflinching, He is steadfast, He is awesome.
Today has been a better day. I’m awed at how quickly I’ve processed through a lot of this. I have made progress in the eight years or so since we last attempted this, see? That had me in a black place for weeks, months! I went down deeper, into darker places this time, but it didn’t take nearly so long to see His points. Not that He wanted this weekend to happen as it did – no. He simply wants for me to be, with Him, to accept Him. Not only a little, not only the bits that I’m comfortable with. With the bits I’m horribly uncomfortable with, too – like His love for me. More, it’s time to really start weeding out the reasons for that discomfort. Or, to weed them out again. To find them and name them and release them.
Going to be working on that, for the time being. I find myself annoyed all over again that I have to do things like this. I spent a huge chunk of my 20s doing this sort of work. I’m mostly okay with having such an introspective, contemplative path, learning about myself, getting to really know myself and challenging things that I want to change. Being completely honest, it often feels very self-indulgent, you know? So what if it is? Carrying that self-disgust, that lack of self-worth is heavy, and it’s a burden, and I don’t want it. I have spent a long time learning to name the things, to understand where they come from, why they are there, and not so much time learning how to really release them.
I walked today, for a bit, and received some pretty amazing omens. He is not subtle, my Beloved God.
He’s made noise about working through the Lost Art of Compassion book. He’s made noise about some other books to guide self-reflection work. And I’m not at all lost to the fact that this is coming up as I am making serious headway into the novel – writing as a spiritual path and all. Boundaries and borders and boxes and compartments must go.
It was a long, hard weekend. I am heartsore but mending, grateful to no end for the champions I have, in Beth, who is willing to take on gods for me, in Odin, who has no qualms about expressing His ideas about what constitutes acceptable treatments for His daughters, and, really, in Poseidon, who loves me and cherishes me – whether I believe I’m worthy of it or not.
* taking time to stress: I am not suicidal, and I’m not fishing for reassurances as to my worth or my merits or whatever. The problem is not external feedback or experiences, it is all internal issues that I need to deal with — and that you may get to read about! I’m sharing because I think it’s important to see that, even after nearly two decades of an intimate relationship with Poseidon, stuff like this can and does still happen. And, the Gods can make mistakes! His generally involve words and missteps in the minefield of my heart. I may want to take this one all on myself, but He won’t let me. There reached a point where He ought to have ceased pushing, if He wanted a nice, nourishing experience, rather than the ordeal that it became. He has apologized, and won’t let me utter those two words, and while I am mending but still raw I wanted to share, because I think this shit is important.