Today I’m going to talk to my doctor about needing help

and I don’t want to.

I don’t want to talk about how my anxiety has gotten so bad, and my depression has also gotten worse, that all my mental wherewithal goes into staying detached from what my mind tries to tell me about myself (worthless, pointless, hopeless, pathetic).

I don’t want to talk about how I have tools in place — the detachment that I practice, which isn’t disassociation so much as releasing any value-judgment, and  bringing in compassion, so I can look and name and see, and even feel, without being invested in the feeling; meditation; writing; following the Snugatru (all the snuggles!!) path — and that they’re no longer helping.

I don’t want to talk about how, when the anxiety reaches a fevered pitch, and becomes so overwhelming that my skin feels so tight, that I want to claw it off, or that I want to go run screaming into traffic (which I never do), or I have the impulse to bang my head into the wall (rare) or slam myself in the head with my own fists (less rare), not because I’m angry, and not because I want to hurt myself, but because everthing is spiralling out of control and nothing else is working.

I don’t want to talk about how, because I can name the tools that I have, that have worked before, that should still be working, and because I can explain why I feel they’re not working, because I can articulate what I’m experiencing so long as you catch me at a mellow point, that I feel I should be able to just try a little harder, put in a little more effort, and they will suddenly work again — and because that’s not working, it just feeds back into pathetic, worthless.

I don’t want to talk about how my standard follow up to ‘there’s no point to anything’ (‘so why not do what you want to do?’) isn’t working any more.

I don’t want to talk about how I’ve made choices in my life so that my limits are met, so that I can cope with becoming overwhelmed through knowing myself, and knowing those limits, and being aware and mindful — isn’t enough anymore.

I don’t want to talk about how , as an introvert, decompression time is essential, and none of my decompression activities are working any more. Not even sleep, because my dreams are as anxious ridden as my waking hours.

I don’t want to talk about picking fights with Beth because it’s a distraction from the activity in my mind, and feeling badly about picking a fight with her — because, I can see myself doing it while it’s happening, and they are never over things I’m actually truly upset about — feels better than how it feels in my head, on my own. And how is that for fucked up? Her being frustrated or angry or short with me is a huge step up from how I am on my own.

I don’t want to talk about needing help.

I would never, ever, ever expect anyone else to deal with this much internal interference on their own.  Why  do I expect it of myself?

I’m exhausted. There are things I want to do, things I want to get written, connections I want to make, courses I want to participate in. I can’t even think straight any more.

I don’t want to need help.

But I’m going. And I’m going to talk about these things — or Beth is going to talk for me.

See you on the flip side.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not okay right now.

Let’s just file this under Keeping It Real, shall we?

It’s been building for a while. I haven’t written any substantial fiction since the wee beginning of January – I’d wanted to have WWC totally done (and it’s dancing at close to done as I write) long before now. I’d wanted to have moved on to the second story. I look at Beth, and I keep wanting to be motivated the way she is, and I’m not. Instead, I’m tired all the time, and when I’m not tired I’m exhausted, and generally apathetic about my goals. I’m overwhelmed almost all the time, and I’m struggling to find ways to decompress in a house that is always bustling with noise and activity. (I’ve started weekly walks to the river, and that seems to help, but I need something more.) Meditation only helps so much, because much of the over stimulation is  stress carried home from the day job (nothing bad, just the stress of being understaffed at the present) and there is no quiet to be had in my house anyway. None. Ever.

I’ve got my eyes on that course I wrote about, and I’m excited about it  — but my mind is already whispering why it’s stupid to sign up for it, if I do, when it opens for enrollment, because I get overwhelmed so easily from outside pressure, so why do I think I can do this? I already know that I’ll be dropping pretty much everything during the course. (Warning you now: if I get in, correspondence is going to become even  less reliable than it currently is). I’ve spent the last week feeling like I wanted to claw out of my skin, and yesterday was spent fighting with Beth and resisting the desire to self-harm. (I’m less of  a cutter and more of a slam my head into walls sort of person.)

My plans for my days off were simple: get my taxes done, write some on the story, grocery shop. That’s it. Simple.

I grocery shopped. That’s it. That’s what I managed.

Frustrated. I can say, well, work and schedule all over the place, and stress, and so nice walk decompressing by the river was important — and it’s true, it’s true! But, I’m always tired. I’m always on the verge of being overwhelmed. It never  goes away.

And that’s not true. I know it’s not. But it’s been a while, and it’s hard.

#

I’m not okay. It feels hopeless. It feels pointless. Deciding that I really, truly want to focus on the writing in a serious way means that I’m deciding to set the devotional stuff aside (it doesn’t, not really, but serious, focused study would take a backseat.) I need ritual, and study fuels me, but writing is also very spiritual for me. I’m realizing that keeping at my daily devotions and writing is important, and the rest can fit in when and how it can, and that’s good enough. But those feelings that convince I suck because I can’t manage it all, equal, are strong, and hard to navigate through right now.

Normally, I trust Poseidon instead of my feelings. Normally, detachment  from them is the goal, but I’m thick in their grasp, and they’re heavy, and it’s hard.

#

Beth brings up medication again, and she’s right. I keep saying, ‘Let me try to deal with this on my own,’ because having to talk to someone not family about this is undesirably. I don’t want to. I’d rather be in this moment, in this feeling, than have to do that. It’s not their business, and I don’t want to.

I feel that, if I could shake the tired-all-the-time feeling, if I could get back to a point of “it doesn’t matter, so I’m going to do what I WANT TO DO,” I’d be okay. But I only ever want to be in bed, these days. And, I want to honor burn out and exhaustion and not turn myself into a productivity machine, because I don’t like that solution, either, so I resist.

VitD helps with this, a lot. So much. I remember, when I was taking it (and the mag, to cut down on migraines) that  the depression, the want to stay in bed all the time and just distract myself, was less. It was easier to overcome. Beth says that medication might help, and it would, and I’ve done that before — but it requires taking pills every day, and  I already don’t keep doing that with the VitD, so how much would it really help?

This is my last attempt to deal with this on my own, which is why I’m sharing. Going back to the supplements that I know help, and we’ll see if I stay on top of that. (I have loved ones, right now, who may be laughing — how much do I nag about regular medication taking with them? Do I stay on top of my own? HA!) If I can’t, or I don’t, it’s time to pony up and go talk to my doctor.

New writing goals: get WWC done before I head back east.

New tax goals: pay someone to do them for me. (too many forms, it’s too confusing, I can’t handle it right now.)

New professional goals: take the fucking course if it comes up again, and allow that you’re going to be prickly about doing something new and having people SEEING YOU do something new. Do it anyway.

Have I mentioned how awesome Beth is? On Wednesday I popped off on her because she offered advice when I wanted her to just listen. “Stop trying to help and fix things unless I ask for it!!” Yesterday, it was the opposite. “Why can’t you see that I need help with this? Do I really have to ask for it??” Maybe not,  Jo, but you do need to be consistent, damn it.

When Poseidon says bring an umbrella . . .

I hesitated on sharing this, because my first thought was, “Why would He care about whether or not I brought an umbrella? Surely this back-and-forth could just as easily have been a conversation between me and myself. How silly, to attribute part of it to a god.”

Except, I share my life with Him, and He weighs in on various seemingly trivial bits of my life, and yeah, sure this particular bit could very easily conversations between me and myself, a part of myself, of my reason and logic and inner thinking that I may have trained myself, over the years, to view as Poseidon. When it comes to these small interactions, I admit that it could just as well be me as it could be Him — but it makes me happier to believe it’s Him. It makes me happier to live in a world where this sort of interaction is possible, and at the end of the day, I do believe that the gods and spirits are not only capable of such intimate interactions with us, but that some of They may seek such intimate interactions out.

I also believe that it is possible to become used to this to the degree that the following can happen.

My mood has not been the greatest of late. I feel rushed and stressed, and I’m working on that. Yesterday was the first day of my work week, and I tend to have a really hard time with stress while getting ready to leave, so I may have been lashing out a bit. (Sorry, Beth!) As I was leaving,  the sky was clouding over, and I made it down my front steps before an urge came over me to go back and get an umbrella. I fought this urge, and it persisted. I was already laden with packages to mail for  Wytch of the North and I did not want  one more thing to carry.

The urge pressed harder upon me, so I turned around and found my umbrella. I snarled at Beth, “I can’t even fucking decide whether I want to bring an umbrella or not on my own!” and stormed back out of the house.

I didn’t make it halfway to my bus  stop before the sky opened up and rain poured down.

Let me make something clear here: there is little I hate more than being stuck in wet clothing. The rain was cold, and it was serious about raining for a bit, and I was immediately grateful that I had the umbrella.

As I waited for the bus, horror slowly crept over me. Now, Poseidon is a good sport when it comes to my moods — it’s almost like He knows something about sharp mood swings, and harsh tempers. He weathers the swells in my moods fairly  well. There are reasons I say that He is generous. He is unfailingly generous with His tolerance of my irreverence. But as :I waited for that bus, I caught a sense of  attention from Him as He waited for me to realize  what I’d done, for me to realize what had  happened.

Leaving aside the fact that my venting my anger on Him is acceptable to Him, so long as it’s either over something valid or is me at a breaking point when I have little control over my temper — lately,  it’s been a struggle, but yesterday I didn’t take one minute to sit and breathe and even attempt to rein it in. I was just snarly and I embraced that. So that’s not okay, and He called me on that shit. But leaving that aside?

Poseidon told me to take an umbrella with me.  It’s almost like He had insight  into how the rain storm might behave, and was offering guidance. *facepalm*  The only acceptable response to Poseidon saying to bring an umbrella is to take the flipping umbrella. And maybe a “thank you,” could be nice, too.

 

Expectations, Disappointments, Detachment — a follow up.

12650719_10207680563665932_2088365479_n.jpg

We’re in the process of re-arranging the living room in our house, to utilize the space better. It’s going to take time, and work, but the space that They on at the moment is very much temporary. I’m not even sure that the surface area will be the same (though it might be, and if so, there will be a cloth in the works, too).

All in all, I think this worked out of the best. Something to remember for the future maybe, Jo. Sometimes expectations falling through allow for something else better to happen.

Now to actually maybe start using the space and offering Them hospitality.

“If you wanted to go somewhere, to see puja done in a temple space, I’d go with you,” Beth said when I got home today. “I’ll even call and get information first,” she said, as I told her that, indeed, there are two possible places in our city.

Lakshmi is infiltrating Beth’s consciousness. Look at my shock.

Expectation, Disappointment, Detachment — Keeping It Real

Those of you who know me already know that, while I write of the value of detachment when it comes to emotional responses to things, and the value therein, I struggle a lot with finding the balance between expectations and disappointment.  For the majority of my life, I’ve dealt with this by simply not looking forward to things, by not having expectations of positive results or experiences or whatever, centered around myself. I’ll be the first to admit that a huge, huge part of this a remnant from earlier in life, and it’s rooted in superstition. If you don’t think about the good thing you want, if you don’t draw attention to it, then it has less of a chance of falling through or being ruined by someone  who wants to ruin things for you. Don’t name the thing, don’t think about the thing, and maybe the thing might come to pass.

There are a few problems with this approach. One important one is that I’ve developed a bit of a resentment toward people (generally Beth) having the ability to look forward to things. Events or experiences, but also physical things. Connected to this is a small thread of my not being as interested in physical things (except for knitting, the things that I do and make do not require the acquisition of stuff), and so when you look around my house, a lot of what you see is stuff related to Beth. She’s got more books out, she’s got more stuff out — and as she makes things, this makes total sense, but one result of this is that I often find myself feeling like I’m not connected to my home through my stuff. I feel like I’m crashing at Beth’s.  (We’re working on this both in that I’m allowing myself to acquire more books, and in that we’re creating a writing nook for me in our wee apartment, yay!) I don’t resent the people, mind you. I love Beth and I cherish her support, and her presence in my life. But I resent that people have the ability to look forward to things.

There are other problems, too. The inability to Work toward positive outcomes; the prison that carefully guarding your thoughts can become; the struggle with accepting that you deserve good things while trying very hard to not think of good things happening to you . . . it’s interesting. I’m at the point where I can accept good, unexpected things happening, but planning and working toward good things that I want? It’s harder.

Harder still is seeking out religious material that I find appealing, and having it work out. There’s a history of this, and I’m struggling to decide how to best handle it. Commission a painting of Poseidon? It arrives broken. Order a picture of Matsya? It arrives –eventually — and is not entirely as expected. Order a picture of Vishnu and a picture of Lakshmi that I really adore, in this new exploration during which I’m rather open and sensitive and unsure anyway? They finally arrive, and they’re gorgeous — but the seller was rather fast and loose with dimensions, and the 5×7 that I ordered (and bought frames for, and purchased a 5×7 Ganesh image to go along with) are actually 4×6.

20160130_063845

Maybe shouldn’t be a big thing. But I have a history of daring to be excited about something, having it not quite work out, and having that crashing disappointment that is rather rooted in my sense of worth and isn’t just about the disappointment. I feel stupid for looking forward to it, I feel stupid for thinking I get to have this thing I wanted, and I struggle to not see this as a reminder that I ought to be happy for whatever I get, and forget about even the smallest of desires.

I’m tempted, always, to use this as an example of further detachment being desirous, except I don’t buy that. I don’t buy that I would be encouraged  — in this case, by Poseidon — to purchase things just to have it not turn out. He was as excited about that Poseidon painting as I was, and sometimes shit just happens. I just don’t have a healthy, adult relationship with expectations and disappointments, and I think part of this is me trying to find my way there.

Last night I had a full-blown panic attack over this. Not just over this, of course. It was a high stimulation day, thanks to having my ears cleaned out the day before and being able to hear again. Didn’t realize how muted my hearing had gotten, and there was so much noise yesterday.  I should have realized when I got home and discovered that the idea of dinner (pasta with alfredo sauce) was displeasing because it was going to have too much flavor. Too much flavor in bland food is always a signal that I’m overwhelmed. So, that happened, and then dinner was too much, and the trying to settle for bread and peanut butter was too messy, and then I just couldn’t handle anything and I was in a corner trying to stay inside my skin, trying to not go running through traffic, trying to breathe. The sounds of the house around me *hurt*, and I could just about see the sound waves.

Eventually Beth let Corbie at me, and he sat and used his weight to ground me, and threw his nose in my eyes  a few times, and there may have been kisses. Such a good dog. My hero.

But I hate that this small thing has the ability to tip the balance of the scale from holding on and being able to navigate through these waters to all hands on deck, may day, may day! I hate how raw and sensitive I feel about all this, and I hate that a dimensional change in two flipping photos results in me deciding that They’re all laughing at me, practically salivating to see my next let-down, my next disappointment.

Mostly, this morning, I’m ashamed, and committed to not be, because panic attacks happen, and I never pretended to be good at this, and if I’m going to work through to the point of getting good at this — of being able to handle disappointment, of allowing myself to look forward to something so much that I *can* be disappointed — well, the process is going to be messy. Nothing to be ashamed of, there.

(Maybe I should just stick with books? Books are always book-like. They are constant)

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.

The Fine Art of Overwhelming Ones Self, Despite Knowing Ones Self

We’re a week into August, and oh boy, July was quite a month. If only the Vigil for the Bulls had happened, it would have been quite a month, but the Vigil was not the only thing that happened. July was a month of one thing after another, and I leave the month being profoundly grateful (Corbie’s alive!) but also a bit more grounded than I’ve been in some time.

The thing about becoming distracted by life is, it happens gradually. We don’t realize right away what’s happening, and suddenly we’re down a path we never meant to be on, ignoring our truths, ignoring what we know of ourselves, setting ourselves up for failure when we’re trying to push ourselves maybe a bit more toward our goals.

I started this year with the idea that it was going to be the year of Writing All The Things. Despite the fact I cannot sustain a NaNoWriMo pace, I made a goal to have 150k words written by the end of July. And then I made sure to add to the pressure by adding more projects in. In February, instead of working on the novels I wanted to finish, I wrote 20k on the Sacred Marriage book. And then I dabbled at The Pagan Experience. And then, and then, and then!

*sigh*

It took the mounting dissatisfaction spreading through most areas of my life before I realized that i had a serious problem going on that was more than the general, constant mild depression that I live with. July lent clarity to my vision. While I can’t say I traced this dissatisfaction back to just one source, I did track its cause back to one critical factor: letting myself neglect to honor the things I know about myself. One of these things is: if I get overwhelmed, my response is to shut down.

I’m surrounded by Makers. Beth is forever working tirelessly on her store. She puts in long hours — often 16, never fewer than 10 — and she works 7 days a week. I have a number of friends who are also always making, who are always doing, something is always being created. Me? I flirt with things. Drawing. Sculpting. I want to have artistic skill sets, but never enough to want to put the time into developing them. Not because I don’t want to learn these things, but usually because I don’t want to take the time away from writing. In my mind, it’s always time that I could be spent writing or story building or researching.

Bear in mind, most of the year this year has been spent Not Writing. I set down the Sacred Marriage book in April. In May and June I hand wrote a few chapters for the novel a number of times, but I haven’t typed them up yet. I’d wanted to be done with book 3 of the series by the end of July (at roughly 50k words each) but I’m only just closing on the final few chapters of the first book.

2015 is clearly not the year of Writing All The Things. Why?

I can point to things — working for Beth, dealing with some serious injury recovery time and a whole world of pain that I did not expect, Grim’s illness and death and establishment as a dominant spirit in our household — and these contribute, to be sure. But, I set myself up for failure right out of the gate because I ignored one thing I know about myself: if I have too much on my plate, I shut down. A mental to-do list that stretches across the whole of the year is too claustrophobic-making, it’s too much pressure, too much expectations on me, too much demand on my time. Yes, it’s all things I want to do and accomplish but one of the things I need to remember is, that doesn’t matter. Pressure is pressure. Stress is stress. The mind may be able to differentiate between good and bad stress, but the body does not care.

If I have too many books in my immediate to be read pile, I get burned out and reading becomes a chore. I can’t decide which to choose first and so I go to Youtube or FB or any other distraction, because the pressure is too much. If I have too much yarn, it becomes impossible to decide what to knit next, and so I will never be one to have a stash, and I do not buy yarn without knowing what I’m making with it. What on earth made me decide that I could fill my entire year up with writing projects, complete with drawn out outlines (thus taking away much of the fun of discovery) and that I could work that way? Because it wasn’t just the novel project, no. It was the Saced Marriage book, and it was getting a few other stories released, and it was getting Poseidon: A Narrative finished up, and, and, and . . .

And it spiraled out of control, and spread, and I don’t know that this is the root of all of that, but I do know that when my writing is stoppered up, when I’m not okay on that front, everything else suffers.

So, a reminder to myself, and use it if it’s useful to you: it’s okay to have been distracted. It’s okay to forget the truths you know about yourself . . . but it’s important to check in and to see, from time to time. And it’s okay to decide to not push yourself in ways that will only make you miserable. I want to be a writing machine, I do. But not at the cost of stifling my heart and choking my soul. Not at the cost of the joy of writing.

Challenging my own shit, or, “Isn’t one enough?”

In the last few number of months some really cool things have happened. It’s interesting to remind myself that, since I’ve been in “Are you SURE you can keep working, do you need a medical LOA?” sorts of pain during the last five months, that cool things have also happened. (Though, a sad amount of writing). One of those things is, I’m in contact with two other Poseidon wives, and I know there are more out there.

This is cool in a number of ways. !!!!!!!YAY POSEIDON!!!!!! takes up the king’s portion of that coolness, but that’s not all. When the first “sister-wife” contacted me, months and months ago (we’ve been corresponding for a bit longer than five months) I was able to face my conviction that I would not be jealous when others started talking about being wed to Him and see if I was right. (While it’s a silly thing, at first glance, to be jealous of others being involved with your gods and spirits, it is a human thing, a reaction that comes from the idea of scarcity when it comes to Them, the difficulty in remembering that while They may not be infinite, They are certainly closer to it than we are, and it is also an insecurity issue. Jealousy comes from a not-totally-okay place, and it’s something I strive to meet with compassion. We all have our shit.) I have had loved ones express jealousy over others from time to time, and I’m certainly not judging, but I’ve also been the most vocal Poseidon devotee that I’ve been around for a long, long time, and I know enough about myself to know that my theories of my feeling don’t always match my feelings in reality.

At the same time . . . . Poseidon. Second only to Zeus in the stories that have come down to us of His wooing (and sometimes not bothering to woo) mortal women. It never entered my mind that I could be All Things to Poseidon, or that He’d suddenly become “just mine.” Poseidon . . . is not one to make a big deal about species, and He’s dropped hints here and there that there are other, mortal spouses (or the equivalent there-of) that are not human (I rarely talk about this, mostly because it’s not mine to talk about in detail) and He’s had me meet some of His less mortal, more Divine spouses. So, while I didn’t, until recently, have the experience of interacting with other humans married to my Husband, the idea that I did not share Him was never really in my mind.

Still, it was interesting, and nice to discover that I wasn’t jealous. Go me. Less because I’m proud of being not jealous and more because, hot damn, my sense of security in o/Our relationship is pretty solid. I knew it was, but it’s always nice to be reminded.

(That’s not to make me sound awesomely evolved, btw. Jealousy DID come up, DID raise its head, over something completely silly. Owning it and sitting with it, and having my own moment of, “But that was MY thing!! It was special, I want to keep it, waaaah!” with Him being very sympathetic but in an eyebrow arched, ‘There are practical reasons involved that are real outside of you and are things other people face, and so why would this just be yours?’ sort of compassionate way. OUR relationship is my special thing with Him, and that’s all. But, yeah. I’m not evolved, folks.)

~*~*~*~

One of the people I’m in contact with is involved with more than one deity. Not judging there, so am I. But in our correspondence, they spoke of being reluctant to speak of it with people they don’t really know, because of push-back they’ve gotten, of being involved in a spousal way, with more than one deity or spirit. I’ve seen the push-back against others in similar circumstances myself; I admit that I’ve had moments myself of less than kind, “Because one isn’t enough?” thoughts. Ultimately one’s path is one’s path, and I’m too far in that camp to entertain thoughts for long about how people might be Doing Polytheism Wrong — because what we share or don’t share is up to us and the only person whose intentions, heart, thoughts, experiences we know are only our own — to get too caught up in, “WHY do you need seven gods to marry??”

It’s not my business. Beyond that, why is it okay, since we as pagans are not necessarily caught up on monogamy is the only way to be married, that some of us have a knee-jerk negative reaction against people talking about being married to more than one god. Why is being wed to one okay with us but more than that isn’t? Those of us in these relationships know — gods, how we know — that being wed to a god or spirit does not make us a special unique snowflake, so why, then do we turn on those who talk about being wed to more than one spirit or god and accuse them of the same things we’re accused of?

I cannot conceive of having  more than one Husband. That doesn’t  mean that He and I are not involved, together, with Others. We are. Sometimes in a working way, sometimes in a recreational, building-bridges way, and often in a sexual way. I’m celibate “meat” side, and my part of o/Our marriage is only open when Poseidon says it is, and with Whom, and more often than not, He’s part of it, and sometimes sexual energy is metaphoric and I know that, and sometimes it’s not, and who cares, get out of my bed. But! Poseidon is my first thought upon waking. He gets my morning and evening prayers. He’s my last thought upon going to bed. I try to fall asleep with His name upon my lips. He’s my center, my hearth, my foundation. I cannot conceive of having anyone else come near that sort of dedication . . . which means it won’t happen, because that’s not the relationship w/We have. I’m not on-fire passionately obsessed with Him, but I am steadfast.

That’s me. That’s u/Us together. And while I cannot wrap my head around the idea that other people could have as meaningful a connection with anything less in terms of attention given to the relationship, and while the idea of having to spread that sort of attention across to Others boggles my mind and leaves me with “do not want” feelings . .. well, that’s me.

The idea that people are being censured because they dare to develop relationships as the gods and spirits lead them to do so does not sit well with me. The idea that they may be looked upon as greedy, as clingy, as needy, as less dedicated because they have more involved, does not sit well with me. The idea that they may be setting themselves up as special, the preconceived idea that they think they’re better than others (an idea I have not actually heard any of them voice, mind you) leaves a bad taste in my mouth. At the very least I am reminded of people scoffing at the notion that Odin would be interested in anyone who is not a political leader, as He is the ‘God of Kings.’ and here I am, this little nobody in a crappy job that pays the bills, not being a hero, not doing anything world-changing with my life, just loving Him and calling Him Dad, and do I believe these other people who don’t know me or my relationship with Him, or do I believe Odin? (That’s not actually a question, just in case you don’t realize. Imma go with Odin, thanks.)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I don’t want people to think I’m judging them and their experiences. I’m really, really not. Conditioned reactions DO come up, and when they do and i’m aware of them, I challenge the shit out of them, because I don’t like them. I don’t like that my first reaction to people talking about being involved with Loki and Thor and Zeus and such-and-so is to shake my head and roll my eyes, and when that happens, I call myself on my own shit. I’m talking about it, though, because I think it’s important to be honest about our own short-comings. Thinking about jealousy and the myth of scarcity in religion brought this to mind, and I wanted to talk about it, both as a thing that happens in general, and my less than stellar reactions to it. Because even after being involved with Them for so long? I still have ugly moments. I do not, in actual fact, always have my shit together, and I think it’s important to own that and also to share that.

Your business with your gods and spirits is your business. No one has the right to pass value-judgments. If you are, question why. If people are judging you based on your relationships, please realize that that’s a reflection on them, not on you. If the gods and spirits are leading you to a better, more confident, more nourishing, more wholesome place, what business is it to anyone else?

Gratitude: sometimes I have it, sometimes I jump right into the blame game.

I’ve been needing new shoes for months, ever since we realized that my new boots were the root (hah!) of my leg pain and I went back to my old shoes (complete with cracks across the bottoms) in the interim. Nothing says ‘put shoe shopping off, hell put everything off another day’ like intense sciatica flare-up. Still, I made a token effort before yesterday by visiting closer stores that sold shoes, in hopes to get some. Because of various needs (gout; unsteady ankles that prefer wide-bottomed shoes; spending all day on my feet; gout) despite the fact that I don’t like the sneaker look, I need to wear sneakers. For some ungodly reason this year they’re all brightly colored. Nary a nice, subtle, soft brown to be found. There’s one particular brand I stick with because they are historically safe bets with good wear and little break-in time. Yesterday, in my flurry of Getting Shit Done (because my errand day, today, has been usurped by GemFaire and Beth and I are re-upping Fiberwytch’s stash) I decided, hell, I’m doing everything else, why not go and get this taken care of? So,off I went to the actual big box shoe store.

This store is on one corner of a busy intersection. Two four lane roads, and I was there the beginning of rush hour. Now, to be fair, the road I was crossing was the least busy of the two, and where the bus dropped me off, it was just as easy to walk to a crosswalk that spanned the one street as it was to go and cross at the intersection. I figured, further from the four way crossing would be better, and the crosswalk was a big one. No light, but huge signs and a median and big stripe-y crosswalk. When I reached I looked both ways, because I’m a conscientious pedestrian, because cars are big and fast and heavy and I’m soft and squishy, and because I’m injured. I have a sprained knee and the quirky sciatica, and I’d rather wait to cross than rush across. So I looked. The three cars that I saw — and I had a clear view down to the lights — stopped for me. One in the lane right by me, and two coming from the other side around the bend, all breaking because hey look at me. I was already through the first lane when I heard squealing tires like mad, and focused on the opposite side of the road, because two seconds ago, when I started crossing, the only car on *my* side of the road was the one I was crossing in front of.

And then there’s this pick up, accelerating right before the tires start making that weaving sound they make when you’re trying to avoid hitting something but can’t veer too far from your lane, and I look up in time to see them barreling down on me. Crazy close. Like, oh, let me just suck in my gut and feel the caress of your side view as you rush past me, you asshole. Close enough that the option was to step back, because if I had tried to dive for the median they would have clipped me.

I’ve had more close calls in this city with cars than I have *anywhere else* and I’ve been a pedestrian in places like New York, and Philly, and Boston. Masshole drives, you guys, but it’s these drivers out here that don’t pay attention and are conditioned to having big open spaces, that are the scariest I’ve ever had to deal with. EVERYONE around you is stopped. Maybe, I dunno. Pay attention to flow of traffic? Maybe?

I had that lovely split second to decide, “jump forward or backward?” and then, “Shit, Beth is gonna be mad.” and then, “Aw, my brother,” and then they were passed me. I could barely stand I was shaking so hard, and then? My immediate reaction, and this is why I’m sharing it here, was anger and blame directed at Poseidon.

Poseidon encourages me from time to time to push beyond points of social overstimulation. Not always. But yesterday I was up early to go grocery shopping, and generally grocery shopping is my one task for the day I do it on because it takes so much out of me. It was worse because I had to go earlier than I normally do, on a different day, and so I had to deal with crowds. Coming home the bus was crowded, and I take my cart because, hey, sciatica, and when I can’t tuck into a bay on the new buses with my cart, I stand in the wheelchair bays because sitting with the cart in painful for me right now. So I tucked myself into the bay, and then this guy got on, pointed out that the seat near me was empty and that I could sit down. I insisted I was fine, and he said it two more times. So I was annoyed already that some random dude on the bus wanted to tell me how I should be on bus. (Chivalry isn’t, by the way, when you try to force the woman to sit when she doesn’t want to sit. don’t get your fee-fees hurt, just accept her first thank you, I’m good here, and let it go. But I digress.) Normally I would come home and just stay home, but He was all, “hey you need those shoes, you’re not going to have time before next weekend to go, I’m really kinda tired of you not getting new shoes to see how much wearing year old shoes with falling about bottoms is making your leg keep hurting so much, why don’t we just go get shoes?” He’s smart, because sometimes if I have “must do these things” hanging over my head (new shoes. Taxes. mow the lawn if it ever stops raining and my back says I can/hire someone to mow the lawn) they begin to get too heavy and overwhelming in their own way. So, mental health and physical health, He’s helpful that way. And I went.

And then I almost died.

And I thought, “I’m so fucking I went shopping for shoes. Great idea, don’t You feel like an asshole now, way to set me up.” Which, is knee-jerk reaction, and panic, and fear, and blinding relief, and did I mention panic. (Yes, I basically called Poseidon an asshole. Not the first time. Do I recommend doing so? Not really. Can He take it? Yeah, you know, my experience tells me Their pretty good about sussing out motivations for things like this. Sophisticated beings, these Powers). After I staggered to the sidewalk and sat for a while (where’d the knees go?) I realized where my thoughts had been, and realized, I didn’t need to have noticed the truck. They’d only started applying the breaks less than three car-lengths from where I was, when I looked their way they were closer still. It was less squealing and more tires-on-pavement-swerving that I heard. My brain could have frozen rather than jumping into the quick calculations of which way to move (I love my brain. I LOVE my brain. I do not freeze up in these situations, I love my brain). I could have been roadkill, splat.

“Er, I suppose what I meant by asshole was thank You.” I managed to amend.

Because sometimes, jumping into the blame is knee-jerk. Sometimes it’s borne out of immediacy and instinct and fear. Cultivating gratitude is just that — cultivation. I don’t think it’s something most of us are born with, and fear of our mortality is powerful.

I did not almost die yesterday because my gods are neglectful. I survived yesterday because my gods have my back.