bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Marriage.

This post has been knocking around in my head all day.

The other day, someone – whom I would have considered a friend, unfortunately – made some rather pointed commentary about ‘the feminist struggle’ as it concerned her daughter’s experience with men.  And in her comments, she relied on a rather tired joke about marriage that concerned how men -including her own husband – were hopeless and/or helpless to perform certain household chores without assistance or intervention from the women in their lives.

husbandchild

She considers herself a feminist, she says.

She believes in gender equality, she insists.

She loves and respects her husband, she claims.

And yet, she doesn’t see how this belief that she holds about men’s ‘inherent incompetence’ could be seen as an unhealthy, if not disrespectful belief about men.

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This is not to say that I have never found myself engaging in thoughts and behavior that play into traditional marital stereotypes – hell, I’m living what is essentially a marital stereotype – but I felt a bit dismayed to consider that she believed that her husband needed her in ways that she didn’t need him, and that, she believed, was the essence that made their relationship such a healthy, stable marriage.

Her husband was emotionally dependent on her, she said, and that was the secret to their happy marriage.  She wants him in her life, but he needs her in his, and she prefers him that way.  Dependent.  Terrified to be without her.  Checking in constantly to make sure that he’d done something right.

And then to encourage her daughter to seek such a man for a husband.

I find that a bit disturbing.

I wondered if she’d ever considered that feminism might be a belief that both genders deserve respectful treatment.   That we – as a society of human beings – need to recognize that there are imbalances in the current society that are reinforced by attitudes regarding gender, and that both genders will benefit from any changes made to those attitudes.  That a change in society begins with a change in attitude.  Change the attitude, change the belief, change the world.

But her attitude – that men are essentially helpless or hopeless – is exactly the sort of limiting attitude that, if turned about, would likely be deemed misogyny.

Meanwhile, I found her encouragement to her daughter to find a ‘needy’ man disturbing in that the very qualities that she valued in her ‘happy marriage’ could also be applied to a dysfunctional, if not emotionally abusive marriage.

Misandry.  It’s a thing.

Perhaps this bothers me so much because I am the mother of two sons.

Or even more so, I am fighting against my own upbringing and my own issues with being emotionally abused that I cannot stomach someone glorifying such unhealthy qualities in a marriage as ‘happy’, when if the roles were reversed, those same ‘feminist’ friends of hers would be moving heaven and earth to convince her to get the fsck out.

 

A burning love letter.

During this past month, as I have been slowly making my way through Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson, by Dagulf Loptson.

I am heartened to find corroboration in my belief that one of Loki’s major aspects is as a God of Fire.   Now while Loptson connects Loki with specific forms of fire – as both the funeral pyre as well as metaphorical fire of illumination/knowledge – I am delighted to see someone else confirm so many of the personal connections that I have made in my own practices.*

Though I know of several more reconstructionist Lokeans  whom I have argued with, who hasten to point out that the connection of Loki with fire is nothing more than a case of mistaken identity – as there is that one instance wherein Loki is loosely conflated with Logi (to whom Loki lost to in that eating contest in Sturluson’s Eddas) and how supposedly, the only other incidental but still mistaken connection was popularized in Richard Wagner’s four part opera, often referred to as The Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen).

But, in light of my own experiences, I have always disagreed with the assertion that Loki as a God of Fire is based merely upon accidental conflation that led to mistaken identity.

So three cheers for Peer Corroborated Personal Gnosis, indeed🙂

~~~

But arguments notwithstanding, I’ve always equated Loki with fire, as He has often written me a burning love letter through pandoramancy

Pardon Me by Incubus

Burn The Cure

In Your Eyes Peter Gabriel

I Caught Fire in Your Eyes The Used

And His latest….

I Am the Fire Halestorm

And that has always been with His assertion:

I would like to see you burning.

burnhigher

~~~~~

*As well I cannot express enough how exciting it is to gain new knowledge for my path, as Loptson has threaded so many correlations between Loki and Agni, the Rigvedic deity of fire, divine knowledge, and conveyor of sacrifice to the Gods.

 

Perhaps we are all monsters.

At first, I hated this song.

Like really *hated* it.

There was something about Tyler Joseph’s sing-song delivery of the lyrics that just annoyed the heck out of me.

And yet, almost from the day that I first heard this song, it would *not* get out of my head.

It became a really insistent earworm, nearly on par in annoyance factor with ‘It’s a Small World.’

Then, a dear friend of mine reminded me of the possibility that it could be another example of pandoramancy.*

So, I did what I always do when I come across an incidence of pandoramancy?

I concentrated on listening to the lyrics the next time the song randomly came up.

I thought about what sort of emotions, thoughts and associations came immediately to mind while listening.   And since I am a person who is rather particular about words, I Googled the lyrics, so I could familiarize myself better with the lyrics as well.

But it all seemed to no avail, since the lyrics seemed, at first, surprisingly much simpler than I ever would have expected, and yet, the main thing seemed to be how annoyingly repetitive they were:

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

Welcome to the room of people
Who have rooms of people that they loved one day
Docked away
Just because we check the guns at the door
Doesn’t mean our brains will change from hand grenades
You’re lovin’ on the psychopath sitting next to you
You’re lovin’ on the murderer sitting next to you
You’ll think, how’d I get here, sitting next to you?
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

We don’t deal with outsiders very well
They say newcomers have a certain smell
Yeah, I trust issues, not to mention
They say they can smell your intentions
You’re lovin’ on the freakshow sitting next to you
You’ll have some weird people sitting next to you
You’ll think “how did I get here, sitting next to you?”
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget
(Watch it, watch it)

(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know
(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know

Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away
And now they’re outside ready to bust
It looks like you might be one of us

Written by Tyler Joseph • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

Okay.   The first thing that struck me (aside of the 4 (!) repetitions of that rather long chorus) was the repetitive use of the words they and them and the phrases sittin next to you, watch it, and after all I’ve said please don’t forget.

So I immediately grasped the overall message that whoever they are, they are different than you or me.

They are – let’s see –

Psychopaths.

Murderers.

Weird people.

Freakshows.

So the song definitely seems to be a warning.

And there They are sitting next to you (the listener), and yet you don’t know how these dangerous people suddenly got to be sitting next to you.

Maybe you might love them for their differences ( as in loving on[the psychopath/murderer/freakshow]  sitting next to you) but still fear them on some level….because you must watch it.

Because there are possibly valid reasons.

The singer goes on to explain that perhaps you should be nervous, because it’s been established that they are not only dangerous, but abused and distrustful of those who aren’t like themselves.  They are easily triggered (take it slow/ don’t make any sudden moves) aggressive (brains will change from hand grenades ), paranoid  (Wait until they ask you who you know), and perhaps are prone to display distinctly animal traits of perceiving the intangible (newcomers have a certain smell and they can smell your intentions).

But, surprisingly, by the end of the song, there’s quite a strange twist.

Suddenly not only has the singer identified himself as being one of them (We don’t deal with outsiders very well and Yeah, I have trust issues, not to mention) and he is warning you
Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away

But you didn’t listen, so…

And now they’re outside ready to bust

Perhaps it is because
It looks like you might be one of us

 

Damn.

So perhaps this is not just a song about the difference between criminals and law-abiding citizens, or even humans versus non-humans but more about how appearances deceive and behavior might not be so telling after all.

Perhaps you never know who is different, who actually is the monster.

Hell, it might even be …you.

Perhaps we are all monsters…it’s just a matter of perception.

~~~

Though on a whole other level, some fans have theorized that the deeper meaning of this song is actually aimed toward the newest fans of the band – as the fans of Twenty One Pilots – the Skeleton Clique – can seem pretty devoted.

And I can attest to their devotion, as I had the pleasure of seeing Twenty One Pilots perform at The Big Ticket in the autumn of last year.

Between the incessant high-pitched prolonged screaming of the pockets of barely post-pubescent females in the crowd, I also noticed that most every fan knew all the lyrics of nearly every song and it would seem that almost every single one of those fans sang those lyrics at the top of their lungs throughout the entire show.  You could really tell who was a fan and who was not, to put it mildly.

~~~~

*Pandoramancy is when a random song seems to be not so random after a while.  A song which is not just an earworm, but a song that suddenly engenders a reaction in the listener that is oddly dramatic or meaningful through either sudden association or several random yet repeated coincidences.  As well, though an incidence of pandoramancy might only occur once, upon listening, there seems to be an over-reaching personal message for the listener inherent in the lyrics, based upon specific situational associations.

Pandoramancy can also refer to a form of divination that uses a playlist (containing a wide variety of music) and music storage software system (such as Pandora or Spotify).  This divination operates wherein the querent will direct a question towards the Gods, and the querent then sets the playlist on shuffle, and the next song that comes up on the playlist is the answer.)

 

We are all stories

“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

                                              —  Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human 

The Fox

originalthreadfox

also here on my DeviantArt

Another distraction.

Before I got distracted, there was something that I’d been meaning to write about for a long time now.

A topic that I tried to write about it before – about the epiphany I’d had earlier this month regarding ambient noise – and I recalled that it was about being an empath.

As a child, the more sensitive I became – the more emphatic I became – the more that sort of noise calmed me, made me feel safe.  Because I was afraid.

I wrote about how I used to crave the comfort of sound – the t.v, music, talking! –  but how once I started getting in touch with Them (realizing and following my path) – suddenly I wanted quiet.  I needed quiet.

I get irritable with the noise that seems constantly present these days.

I don’t mind so much I suppose by ambient noise being present during the day – such is life, such is the sound of human activity…but

At night?

It reminds me…. the familiar sort of noise – the drone of the television especially- that seems calculated to mask, so one can *think* – perhaps even so one cannot get distracted by Them.

I wonder because it’s the exact masking tactics I used throughout my childhood…using repetitive ambient sound as a cover that masks the overwhelming silence.

Maya Angelou’s final words, her last post on Twitter message concerned this very concept:

 “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

Voice of God, indeed.

There was a time when I ran from that quietude, when I ran from myself, and from Them and Their messages.

 

This is no longer true of me.

 

 

 

 

 

buriedwithin

The thoughts I have today.

I cannot believe that it has been 15 years.

September 11th 2001 was a day that changed my world in many ways that I will never forget.

And my memories of this particular day highlight many of the personal changes that my life has gone through since.

My oldest son, N, was my only child.

While N had always been an insatiably curious kid, what I remember most about the few months before the September 11th attack was the frequent conversations that we had that seemed centered upon his newfound life goal to become a soldier, and later, a police officer.

It had become obvious that he had a deep, intuitive respect for those who helped others, as well as those who were willing to put their lives on the line to defend what was ‘right’ and ‘good’ and ‘just.’    For N, it wasn’t just the idea of being a hero, it was the concept that there was a profound meaning to be found in service to others.  He admired people in his world who felt that it was important to stand up for others, and he wanted to be one of those people.  He saw the future of accomplishing this ideal by joining the military, and he had a deep respect and admiration for those serving – or who had served – in the military.

So, as you may imagine, the highlight of his summer in 2001 was attending our local Memorial Day parade.

I remember him begging me to allow him to stand as close as he could get to the front of the crowd so that he would be able to see those who marched in our local post contingents from the American Legion and the VFW.   He spent the next forty-five minutes waving and saluting all the soldiers, sailors and airmen.  I watched him sit with quiet, rapt attention during all of the speeches, prayers, and moments of silence that followed those parades.  But he had been the most eager and honored to shake the hands of so many local veterans and politicians that day, he’d been barely able to contain himself.

It was a day full of bright spots despite the atmosphere of respect and remembrance.

I remember most of all, the elderly WWII veteran who stood at the podium and spoke of the ultimate and extraordinary sacrifice that his brethren had made in service to their country, and how we as a society must honor them, and we must never forget them.   While I can heartily agree with that sentiment, I found myself taken aback by his next point, and his next action, wherein this veteran suddenly pounded the podium, as if in anger or frustration, that ‘young people these days do not understand the price of freedom.  People today do not know the meaning of honor or sacrifice, and perhaps we need a war to remind them.  Damn your innocence!’

I was shocked and dismayed by the blunt thoughtlessness of this veteran’s comment that day, and even today, I am haunted by that sentiment – as if the only way that society can progress towards understanding honor and sacrifice is through experiencing grief at the loss of human lives, and the damning of youth and innocence.

I do not know what happened to that angry WWII veteran, but I do know the focus of the conversations that I had with my son revolved around that man’s words that evening.  My son asked me if America should feel badly that we are not at war.  My son asked me if I knew what going to war felt like, if I knew how war changes things.  And I was honest with him, and I told him that we had been lucky thusfar, that America was not at war, and it seemed a foolish thing for a soldier – present or former – to wish that a war would occur.  I told him that that veteran was likely just upset because he had likely seen and experienced a lot of terrible things during the war in which he served.

~~~

How hauntingly ironic that 106 days later, the world changed.

My son was 7 ½ years old.

~~~

And in the intervening years, my son has gotten to see what America looks like when it goes to war.  He has listened to the debates and he has known several soldiers (older relatives and family friends) who have gone to fight, defend, and protect others in the Middle East.

He has seen how his world, and the world outside of us, has changed in innumerable ways.

My son did not become a soldier.  He had developed other personal life-goals in the meantime between then and now.

But today, I cannot help but think – likely somewhat melodramatically – have our young people learned enough about the price of freedom?

Do we as a people know the meaning of honor and sacrifice yet?

Post-ritual pandoramancy

This is a perfect example of pandoramancy.

I had never heard of this song before – and yet it was suggested on my recommended play list on YouTube – and because I’d left my playlist on autoplay, it played through without my having chosen it early yesterday morning.

But  it conveys certain aspects of my feelings quite well.

The Other.

<<<<see previous post for context<<<<<<

1 September 2016 – Day 2

The visualization today requires one to look in the mirror and ask oneself:

What is being hidden? What is holding you back?

When I looked into the bowl – I saw myself, at approximately age 10 or so.  I was crying, I was cutting – words into my skin.

And then I saw myself (at age 6 or 7) sitting at a table, deep in concentration.

I am making things out of clay.

My mother is there, but she is cleaning the kitchen.

(I am remembering, I am hearing snippets of my mother’s commentary:  Stupid little junky things and making such a mess.

These were things my mother hated: messes and ‘junky things.’

And I am making a mess.

According to her, I am sitting there, always making ‘stupid little junky things.’  My mother hated them; but my father collected them.  I see them lined up on the top of his bureau, these things I’ve made.

I watch myself trying not to cry, trying not to listen or to care about what is being said.

I feel defeated.

Suddenly, the words

strong

and

creative girl

run through my head as I consider my younger self in this vision.

It is difficult to see her.  I want to push this away.

I want her to be someone who is not afraid to say ‘No’

I want her to be the sort of child who is not afraid to stand up and tell her mother:

You are wrong. 

That is not true.

I am more than you know. 

I am more than you think. 

Where is she? The one who can do – the one who is unashamed – to create, to be, to shine?

She is crying.  I am crying.

Suddenly I remember those words, said just a few nights ago:

How dare you dull yourself for others….

I saw a girl who stopped trying.

The girl who gave up, who accepted their words

their ridicule

their anger

feeling like she deserved this treatment.

The quiet girl who simply tried harder to be perfect.

I wanted to show you…the one who decided to accept their opinions rather than creating herself. 

This is the one who hid.

This is the one you hid.

And then, I saw a ten-year old  girl pinned to the wall of a well-lighted bathroom – disassociating from the humiliation of what her mother is doing.

‘Come here, will you? Stay still! Just let me…goddamnit, I am trying to help you!….’

Feeling ashamed.  Trying to disassociate from the pain of fingernails digging into skin; face feeling hot and swollen…. and crying.

‘You know, you’d be so pretty if you would just let me fix…let me get this….’

I feel ANGRY.

This is the girl who holds it all in.

This is the girl who doesn’t complain.

This is the girl who didn’t think that she could win, so she didn’t fight.

This is the girl who acquiesced.

I wish that I could tell that girl that she did not deserve that  —  she did not have to accept that treatment – she didn’t have to allow her mother to do that.

I realize that this is why I have always inwardly cringed a little bit at those words Accept and Allow.

This is why I Can’t.

Because I realize when I accepted that – I accepted the unacceptable along with the acceptable and I allowed behavior that should not have ever been allowed.

And why?  Because I thought that if I was ‘good,’ I would be loved…but I was never good enough.

‘Here.  Step into the light.  Look at your face…let me fix that….’

Crying didn’t help.  Anger didn’t help.  Physical resistance only led to escalating altercations that just exacerbated things between my mother and I.

So what did I do — to cope?

I learned to ‘fix.’

Like my mother, I compulsively examine my face in the mirror.  I pluck my eyebrows and pick and scratch at the skin of my face, trying to fix.

I am wrecking my skin. I routinely  over-pluck my eyebrows.

And she ‘taught’ me how, because at some point, she stopped pinning me against the wall – because I learned to do these things to myself – to fix.

But I always feel so ugly afterwards.

Each time I tell myself that I won’t do it again.

Until the next time, every time that I feel or see an ingrown hair growing crooked or feel a bump or a flake of dry skin.   I always think my ‘fixing’ will make things better.

So I spend a lot of time examining my face in bathroom mirrors, looking for the slightest flaws – lumps, discolorations, hairs.

I also pick and scratch and worry the skin around my fingernails and at the tips of my fingers… and while I do not bite my fingernails, I try to keep them short enough so I can’t.

I convince myself that I’ve gotten better, you know.

Because it has to have been a good 25 years since I had gotten so lost in scratching or picking that the only thing that broke me out of my stress-induced reverie was that my fingers were bleeding.

When I’m stressed, I lightly – though compulsively – scratch my scalp.  (I still actually find head-scratching rather soothing.  Head-scratching is one of the only OCD things that I still do that doesn’t seem to do too much damage, but I can be obsessive about it, and thus feel ashamed enough to sit on my hands on my particularly ‘bad days.’)

It is OCD.

But the important difference between my mother and I – is that I respect the bodily autonomy of others.

And I have been through enough therapy to realize that what my mother did was abusive and wrong

This is hard.

You must step into the light…

But I realize that I am the one holding me back.