Depression is an asshole. On this, I think we can all agree. I’ve written before about how of the power-duo that is depression and anxiety, anxiety is the more active in me, but depression is pervasive, and it is tenacious, and it is sneaky as fuck. It is the root of the belief that I have no inherent self-worth, despite the perhaps paradoxical conviction that we are born inherently worthy. (Possibly more accurately to my worldview, the concept of ‘worth’ as we use it when it comes to life has no real place in, you know, life, living, and the natural world, but I digress). I’ve been engaged in rewiring that particular conviction of unworth for about a decade, and I’ve made progress. My default setting is and has been, I’ll trust Poseidon’s judgment on my worth since I clearly cannot trust mine. Slowly, slowly, largely by ignoring my conviction and trusting in His, I’ve made progress, and that approach works for me.
One manifestation of this conviction of unworth is my reluctance to look forward to things, to get excited about things. When it comes to situations or events, my anxiety feeds into this, and in those areas, I’m pretty much resolved that this is simply how it’s to be, and that’s okay. I don’t look forward to events with people, or socializing, or like, for an immediate example, going to the movies. (Beth and I are going to see Into the Heart of the Sea this week, our first cinema trip since Les Mis came out.) (This may be a bad example; I’m going to love seeing this movie and its big waves) (actually, movies may be the sole exception?) (argh). Once, we took a trip up to Portland with friends at the time to see some revels. I thoroughly enjoyed having gone. The stress of being away from home, the travel time up, the being ‘on’ for the whole two days, traveling back home, being in a crowded theater . . . Ugh. Just, ugh. I did not enjoy any moment of any time during the event; I enjoy having gone. That’s just how I am, and it’s mostly okay. During the entire event, I look forward to being home.
This manifests more for material objects. I rarely allow myself to become excited about getting something especially for me, or allowing something, any one thing, to have especial meaning for me – because something always happens to ruin it or mar it or just make it less. Poseidon prayer beads? Sure, but it took years to get them just so, and they broke pretty quickly. Commission a Poseidon painting by a beloved artist whose art I’d already purchased before and had it be perfect? Yes, and it was, indeed perfect, except for it broke en route so the painting – which is gorgeous, and whose colors are amazing – has a tear in its canvas. Finally cave and get the Vishnu picture you like the looks of? Sure, but it’s going to take forever and a day to get to you, and when it arrives you’ll see just how wildly different colors can look between photos and screen display.
It sounds trivial, and to a degree, maybe it is. But I’m fighting an uphill battle with the idea that I get to have or want things, that I get to look forward to having something. Spending money on myself that is not on books is incredibly difficult (often, Beth has to do it for me). And, when the thing in question could have some sentimental meaning or emotional impact, it’s even harder to get me to be excited or be receptive to it, because the higher one’s hopes are, the harder they fall and the more splendidly they shatter, and it’s a small step for me to cross over into the the land of, “I don’t deserve anything, what was I thinking?” and it’s such a wretched feeling.
Omens abound. For those of us who interact with the Spirits, we know how readily omens present themselves. The Powers speak to us constantly, if we but listen.
I dislike that much of my back and forth with Poseidon can still slip into the realm of needing reassurance that He really does know His mind. There are larger gaps, I guess – longer stretches of time when I don’t need that reassurance, and smaller time periods during which I do, but the depth of my insecurity feels like it’s about the same. I still brace for Him to change His mind. Why the hell wouldn’t He? I’m a mess.
It’s tempting, so much, to take negative happenings as ill omens. Say, for instance, you purchase a picture of a god whose worship you are on the fence about, whose connection with your own Beloved you’ve been introduced to by your Beloved. Hypothetically speaking, of course, but let’s say that your Dearest, who has repeatedly clung to His name, suggests that maybe this name, too, is a part of Him, and that you should explore that. Suppose He gives you a year before beginning to really start poking at you about it, and wanting to know why you hesitate, wanting to know, don’t you trust Him, reminds you that you beg Him with every breath to take you deeper into His mysteries. Say all these things, and say you purchase the picture. Say you let it sit for weeks in your home, and say that on an auspicious day, you frame it and you hang it and you admire it. You allow the warmth of contentment, the joy of perfection, the pleasure at having this thing sit just so above your shrine, to settle around you. You allow the glow of accomplishment, of having done the thing, of feeling His pleasure at your doing this thing and starting to release this not-quite-resentful but certainly not-best-pleased feeling you’ve been harboring for months. Say you offer incense and a libation. You dare to begin to relax in this feeling, and you decide that you are truly excited now and not anxious. Excited, and looking forward to where this might take you.
It would be the easiest thing in the world, then, when the frame comes crashing off the wall, when the glass shatters into a bazillion pieces, knocking over and breaking your handmade super-special statue along with it, to decide it was all wrong, that the affection you felt from your Beloved was wrong, misunderstood, that THIS is the sign that it was not well received, that this study should not be undertaken, that you are right all along to not be excited about things, that you do not deserve things, and this serves you right for daring to think yourself worthy of such things.
Omens abound. As I swept up glass fragments, with a lump lodge in my throat and tears burning my eyes, I held this awareness in my mind. This was a rejection, a clear sign that this action was not wanted. I tried it on for size, and I’ll admit that part of me grasped for it. The familiar feeling of hopelessness, of bleak existence, the sting of disappointment. It would be the easiest thing in the world, to step over that line, to wrap that blanket around me. Omens abound, and so do the Powers, and how could I read this as anything other than His displeasure?
I know my Beloved. He would not make me look directly at His affection of my having done this thing, for fear of it spooking me, but neither would He allow me to ignore it, and so, even now, I can feel His pleasure at my having done this thing. At taking my discomfort, framing it, and putting it on my fucking wall. Of admiring it and admitting, I love this picture, this picture is perfect, this is what the shrine needed all along. There are Powers who set Their people up for having the rug swept out from under them; Poseidon is not that way with me. He is careful and He is gentle and He is kind. He is ruthless and brutal when it comes to self-examination and exposing vulnerability to make it not be vulnerable (I’m writing this, you’ll note. I don’t want to. I want to cry, still.) but He is kind and gentle. He is an expert at pushing me to the point of overwhelmed but not numb. Too much, and I go numb, and He keeps me at that line.
Setting something up for it to fail spectacularly is not His style.
I wrapped my arms around myself and held – have been holding – my disappointment close to me. I’ve been using it to ward of feelings of dejection. I’ve been holding myself still in this disappointment, making myself feel it washing over me, savoring the feeling of excitement turned sour. I’ve been soaking in this feeling of impermanence. He’s taken the opportunity to speak of looking forward to things, and of how obtainment is not the point. The looking forward to things is the point. Enjoying things as you have them, and being flexible when you lose them that the loss does not cause you overmuch pain. There was a collective intake of breath in my house, as the last bits of glass tinked to the floor. Beth, Poseidon, Odin, the cats, Corbie – everyone held their breath, and most of them waited to see how I’d react. Would I tailspin in a black depression? Would I decide this was His message for me? I wanted to. The familiar pathway was there, waiting for me. But, I breathed, and I held the pain, and I accepted it.
Omens abound. Even as I write about this, so close to bedtime, my heart is still sore, still raw, and that lump that was in my throat has settled around my heart. The only omen I will see in this is that I need to be more careful in hanging pictures. I will not doubt His reactions, His directions, or His affection. I will not deny His pleasure in any part of this, and I will allow Him to teach me the proper way to enjoy that which is impermanent.
The frame will be replaced. The image will be rehung. But likely not until after the New Year.