2013 has been . . . a year. It has been a wretched year for many people I know and love dearly, and because of that I feel badly that, for me, it’s been a year of recovery and breathing, of holding still and letting the wretchedness of last year travel its course. I won’t lie — a decent amount of the beginning of this year was lost, to sleep and to wine. I’m not ashamed. My kind, we hibernate. I hibernated.
2012 came to a close and took my grandparents and one of our girls with it. We prayed that we would end 2013 with our household numbers stable, and so far it looks like we’ll be granted that — various tush troubles not-withstanding. (Anal sacs! The horrible, horrible things anal sacs can cause!)
I wrote a lot of material this year. More than I’ve written in any one year since 2001. More importantly, I wrote the first draft to the book I’ve been wanting to write, for Poseidon, during NaNoWriMo. It’s very, very far from being reader-ready, and I don’t know that I’ll return to it in any dedicated fashion until after the drafts for the series I’m working on are finished. NaNoWriMo proved to me that I could, indeed, without giving up more than a few hours a day at most, get those books written, and quickly. Which is good. Because the backlog of books that want out is not growing any shorter by my not writing.
I also hit a number of pivotal moments in my spiritual life. I’ve allowed joy to re-enter my practice, which is horrifyingly sad. I’ve remembered witchcraft. I’ve remembered that devotion can look any way that w/We decide it can look. Poseidon has asked me to focus less on the history and cultural context of Hellas, and to spread out my area of study to include places that touch the Mediterranean and the Agean seas.He’s reminded me of His original decree, that “names do not matter,” and He’s pulled me away from hemming myself too tightly into boxes. He’s reminded me that we are here, and now, and that study is amazing and fun and great, and cannot take the place of devotion here-and-now.
I love my books, you see.
‘Be the change you wish to see,’ has become a thing, for me. And to that end, this is the year that I lay down the guilt that I carry.
I’m laying down the guilt that I carry, that I am not the person people expect me to be, or that I assume they expect me to be.
I’m laying down the guilt that I carry, that I am choosing to live my life the way I am called to live it.
I’m laying down the guilt that I carry that I cannot save all my loved ones from hurts and wounds, self-inflicted or not, real or imagined, from the past or from the now. I don’t think they expect me to, really, but *I* expect me to, and I’m laying that down, too.
I’m laying down my survivor’s guilt. It’s bullshit. I made it through, and I don’t know why I made it through with the ability to build healthy, meaningful, nourishing relationships, and why the one brother did not, and it’s not mine to understand. I am surprised to discover how much of the survivor’s guilt I carry because I know his life must be horribly hard and sad and lonely, and that I don’t care to be in contact with him — but, I don’t care to be in contact with him, not even if such a thing could make things better for him, because I’ve given all I have to give to that situation, and I want no part of it.
I’m laying down the guilt I feel that I cannot be more — more social, more out-going. People overwhelm me. People I love overwhelm me, and it’s not personal against them, and it’s not up to me to make sure that they realize, after all this time, that it’s not that i don’t like talking to them constantly.
I’m laying down the guilt that my life choices have lead me to live a life of semi-seclusion, semi-monasticism. I love my life. I love the buffer, I love my gods, my spirits, my religion, my immediate family.
I’m never going to raise another child. I’m never going to wed a mortal human. I’m not going to have grandchildren. I’m not going to be part of the daily life of my nieces and nephews, of my brother, of my mother and my aunts. I’m going to study, and I’m going to do my devotions. I’m going to write. I’m going to adore Poseidon, I’m going to love Pops, I’m going to bring my gods into this world by my work and my words. I’m going to be openly and vocally pagan. I’m going to pray and contemplate, and heal, and practice compassion, even when it sucks. (Often, it sucks.)
I’ve long said that we are not nearly selfish enough when it comes to living our lives. I have become better able to give of myself to others only through having first becoming selfish about living my life for *me*. We need to know our limits so that we do not drain ourselves to depletion.
This guilt I carry depletes me, so I’m laying it down.
You should, too.