bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Month: July, 2015

Month for Loki, Day 9: Beginnings.

This is my third year of making July a Month for Loki, and I feel a bit like I’m cheating to be using a writing prompt.

I figured that I might as well answer this particular prompt today for two reasons.

First, for the three years that I’ve been dedicating July to Loki, I’ve always found myself at one point or another in the month attempting to answer this question in a post.  So, in that regard, I have written perhaps six variations of my answer to this question in the past three years, but I’ve always been reluctant to actually post it for various personal reasons.  So there’s that.

Secondly, there’s the ‘inevitable nudge’ reason: this is a question that has come up on several occasions during five – count ’em five – separate conversations that I’ve had with others this week.

So, here goes…

How did I first become aware or know of Loki?

The truth is, I’m not entirely certain.

On the one hand, I could say that I’ve known of Loki since I was a kid, but I’ve only been considering myself as Lokean in the past three years.

There seems to be a weird dichotomy there – how could I have always known of Loki but never noticed Loki in my life?  This is the reason why I read other’s answers to this question with great interest but I’ve been reluctant to post the answer to this question myself.  Simply because I don’t like to share a lot about my upbringing or childhood because it was, in a word, dysfunctional.  And the shame factor gets pretty high when I consider that, yes, there is no doubt that I was considered a ‘weird’ kid by family and strangers alike – and not to put too fine a point on it, I learned at a young age that the way that I experienced the world was not normal.  When pressed, my mother and my three older siblings often attempt retroactively to put a positive spin on things by insisting that they thought of me as simply an ‘imaginative’ and ‘sensitive’ and ‘easily spooked’ child,  but they are reluctant to admit to how they reacted towards my imagination, my sensitivities, and the reality of why I was often deeply affected by — if not terrified — of damned near everything on a daily basis until I was about 13 or so.

In short, it had become deeply ingrained in me that there are many thoughts, feelings and experiences that, if I talked about them with others, garnered me anywhere from looks of mild concern (oh sweetie, that sounds scary) to grimaces of discomfort (oh my goodness, that’s an awful thing to talk about [swiftly changes the subject]) to lectures of outright dismissal and warning hissed through gritted teeth (If you keep talking about that, people are going to think you’re crazy, so stop talking about that right now / Shut up!)*

And so, here I am.

But I did have an imaginary friend.

I suppose that a lot of children do.  I often wonder if other children have imaginary friends as moody,vivid and strange as the imaginary friend that I had had.  I mean, I suppose that every child has an imaginary friend that is uniquely theirs – a wonderful, engaging, usually benign being.  I was always delighted to find others who had imaginary friends, and I mostly enjoyed sharing details about mine.  I guess that everyone thinks their imaginary friend is different or unique…but I didn’t notice how different or how unique that mine had been until I was an adult.

You see, I had an imaginary friend in kindergarten. I thought that I had made up that imaginary friend because I was lonely.   I had made a ‘real’ friend named Jenny Glickman in first grade, and she had an imaginary friend, so I made up an imaginary friend for myself, too.  The ‘friend’ I made up was supposed to be a lot like Jenny’s; but hers was a young girl, and mine…was sometimes a girl, sometimes not.  Jenny’s looked like her, she said, and shared the same birthday and everything.  Mine had a birthday, but I thought that it was a secret (which Jenny thought was weird but funny) so I didn’t know how old mine was.  And mine – even though I made zir up – didn’t look like me at all, which Jenny also thought was weird.

She couldn’t ‘see’ hers, but I drew pictures of mine all the time.

Jenny and I made up stories about our imaginary friends, and we spent recess either telling each other the stories that we made up, or pretending to ride horses with them.  The ‘riding horses’ detail kinda sticks out in my mind, I think because it seemed to be the only interest that our imaginary friends seemed to share.  We could all agree that we liked horses.

I remember going home and telling my mother about Jenny Glickman and how I had an imaginary friend just like she did.

And I remember my mother’s response: ‘Well that’s nice. So you have two imaginary friends now?’

And I laughed, and I felt confused.  I argued that no, I only had the one that I had with Jenny Glickman.  And I’ll never forget how she corrected me, saying that I had had an imaginary friend long before I went to school or met Jenny Glickman.

Truth is, we were talking about different things.  She was talking about the Shadow in the Dark.

(You may remember that I’ve written about the Shadow in the Dark here).

So…yeah.

If you want to consider the Shadow in the Dark  as an ‘imaginary friend,’ that’s fine.

The Shadow in the Dark was, at first, quite terrifying to me.  Hardly like an imaginary friend…since aren’t imaginary friends supposed to be ‘friendly’ rather than terrifying?

But the Shadow in the Dark was the reason that I would have done almost anything to avoid going to bed at night.  Looking back on it, I had typical elaborate bedtime rituals that I had hoped would prolong the process, such as needing a snack, brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom, needing to have a story read or a specific stuffed animal in order to fall asleep, etc.  As it is with most, my parents were only slightly annoyed by many of those typical avoidance maneuvers — unless I was still awake three hours later trying to prolong my actual bedtime. (Sometimes I would be the only one left awake at midnight or 1 AM, when they’d notice light leaking out from the bottom edge of the closed bathroom door, and they’d find me sitting on the edge of the tub, praying for sunrise.)   They were baffled by my behavior because they couldn’t understand whatever in the world that I could have been so afraid of.  They thought it would comfort me to assure me that I wasn’t alone in the dark, since I shared a room with my older sister; but I quickly realized that the presence of my older sister didn’t seem to deter the SitD from showing up.  (If anything, the SitD would simply stand quietly by my bed until my older sister fell asleep.)  A few times, I thought that I was being clever by burying myself underneath a layer of assorted stuffed animals, thinking that I could fool the SitD into assuming that I wasn’t there…or maybe I could make myself so difficult to find in that pile of toys that the SitD would give up and leave.

Psht.  Right.

At any rate, I gave up trying to avoid the SitD, and over time, I began to feel less anxious about zir presence… but I still wouldn’t have considered zir much of a friend.

First of all, it seemed obvious to me that the SitD was an adult…a moody yet soft-spoken adult presence that definitely felt much older than my parents.  Whenever zie spoke first, it seemed only to ask me either of two questions, in a curiously business-like manner:

Do you know who I am?

or

Do you want to come with me?

~~~

Do you know who I am?

Zie never answered who zie was, no matter how many times that I would try to guess.  It seemed an endless guessing game, and in the end, the SitD’s identity a remained a strange, puzzling mystery for many years.*

Though there were times when I thought that I was so close to figuring out zir identity, because zie would allow us both to abandon the yes/no pattern after a while, and zie would give me a tantalizing hint:

Are you older than my dad?  Yes.  Do you live in this house? No.

Does my dad know you? Yes.  Are you a friend of his? No.

Are you a stranger? No.  Do I know you?  Perhaps.

I don’t think so.  I don’t remember you. (Zie chuckles)  [calls me a nickname that my grandmother calls me.]

Do you know my [grandmother]?  Yes.

Do you want to come with me?

I didn’t say ‘no’ right away.  I asked zir to tell me where we were going, or why zie wanted me to go with zir.  As it was with the previous question, zie would usually only answer yes or no to questions that I asked, and offered very little information otherwise:

Where are we going? Somewhere with me.  Can my parents come (with us) too? No.

What if they won’t let me (go)? It doesn’t matter.  Why not? Because I am asking you.

At first, I feared falling asleep, because I was afraid that I would be taken away anyway…but then. later on, it seemed to be very important that I make the choice whether or not to go.

It still strikes me today as to how profound that felt – to have an adult -invisible or not, in dreamspace or not – seek my consent, and then, to realize that same adult would honor my choice.

But, at any rate, it took a while before the SitD went away.

And despite what my parents may have hoped, there was nothing imaginary about the Shadow in the Dark.

~~~

And, in 2008, like sneaky tons of bricks often do, I began to connect the dots as to Who my Shadow in the Dark was, a little over three decades since He went away.

~~~

* Gods please forgive others who would demand that a child discuss their experiences (paranormal or not), only to respond to their experiences with such invalidation and aggressive dismissal.  But not surprisingly, it was not until I had my own children that I began to realize the fear that was obviously inherent in the responses and reactions that I received from others; it concerns me in that I have come to consider myself in that ‘skeptical  onlooker’ category as well — but perhaps that is a shadow-work entry for another day  this month.

**In writing this entry, it occurs to me that He may have considered our guessing game to be quite an entertaining pastime rather than the frustratingly repetitive process that I thought it to be.

On (not) meeting expectations.

I feel as if I have not been up to my normal posting standards during ‘Month for Loki’ this year.

I could hide behind the excuse that I made on 1 July that I began the month a little at loose ends because I was flying in to spend that first week of July in Washington DC….and anyone who has been following me for the last two years or so would be aware of the particular challenges that I have been facing every fscking time that I have visited DC since February 2013.

For those that may not know, the first week of July these past three summers has been rife with drama of an excruciating degree, usually involving my closest relationships.

Or, if I put it bluntly, my marriage.

But this year, I was lucky.  I reached the end of this past week feeling closer concerning all of my closest relationships, including my marriage(s).

Imagine that, despite the fact that for these last three summers, I have asked myself, what would the month of July be if not for a few well-placed explosions to my comfort zones?

And yes, there was still some excruciating drama that, ironically, exploded like gasoline-soaked fireworks on July 4th; there wasn’t any dispute of that.

The drama began, as it often does, with expectations.*

Luckily, I’ve become more than used to drama leading to challenges.

But I am a Lokean, after all, and so, for the first time in quite a while I found myself feeling energetically empowered by the challenges rather than defeated by them.

For that sense of empowerment, I’d like to thank Loki first and foremost, but there is also no doubt that I could not have succeeded in enjoying my D.C trip nearly as much  if not for the love and support of my kid, V, and several dear friends who, unfortunately, don’t read this blog on a regular basis.

And I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t give sort of a shout-out to thank Dave Grohl and his band, the Foo Fighters, who – in quite a spectacularly Lokean manner – were the welcome catalyst for that…er, explosion that occurred on July 4th.

davegrohlshreds

(It was the Best of You, indeed.)

As much as I would like to say more about the workings of that catalyst, I have promised that I would trust Him and let things play out completely as they should.

Don’t want to fuck with my wyrd y’all.

 

And that, my friends, is why I haven’t been meeting my own posting expectations this month.

*

expectation

 

 

lokipiechart

“She put on a lot of weight”

This post made me cry…and made me cheer for the author.
Because there is so much more to us all than what we think that we see when we look at each other.

Kathy Sebright

I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of years on the fourth of July. It was hot and humid here. My sweaty hair was stuck to my face. My brave little boy was in my big yellow double running stroller, the strap tied a bit too tightly around my arm digging in. My oldest son was running behind me with my husband. I was surrounded by an amazing group of people out there representing the church we attend, showing love for our community by passing out a few thousand popsicles in the parade. My face was flushed red from the heat and the exertion of running to keep up while pushing a nearly 100 pound load and simultaneously handing out popsicles with one hand while the other steered the stroller. I handed this person a popsicle, smiled, and offered a short, but enthusiastic, “Hey there!” As I…

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Month for Loki, Day 7: A Guided Meditation*

(*Well, not really.  This is from Jason Headley on YouTube…but I truly believe that *if* Loki made a guided meditation video, it would go something like this.)

It’s called the ‘Fuck That’ meditation.

Enjoy!

Month for Loki, Day 6: Building community, building energy.

Sometimes I think that I have forgotten what’s important.

So I attended a discussion recently on building community.

I had hoped that attending this discussion would give me some hands-on strategies for building community….instead, I realized something else entirely.

It turns out that this particular ‘building community’ discussion definitely had a particular Lokean spin on it for me.

From the start, the invited speaker admitted that the basis of his philosophy of community that he was there to discuss was based upon the premise that we are all energetic beings – made of energy – and that we are all looking for love in this world.

Following that, he continued along that love is pure energy in itself and that is what we seek to get for ourselves but it is also what we seek to share with each other .

The whole thing about energy, he insisted, could be explained entirely through physics:

Energy is never destroyed, it just changes form.

We are energy contained in a body temporarily but our energy is timeless and limitless and ancient.  In a sense, we are made of similar stuff as the Gods are made.  We are as much of Them as They are of us, and that is what attracts Them to us, and us to Them.

Simply put, we are energy carried through time and we are just trying to grow and learn.

Therefore, the meaning of life is to love and to grow and to experience ‘being’.

And I almost cried because it finally connected in my head: That is what He has been talking about, what He is always talking about, when He says:

You are energy.  You are a force of love. 

Let your love be the energy that it is, pure and simple. 

Get away from agendas and petty concerns and the shit that gets tied up in what humans manufacture to keep themselves from that truth.
It’s not that this is the first time that this has ever blown my mind –  because I know this.

I am in a perpetual state of my mind being blown open by that truth; I am always learning and re-learning that truth.

It seems to be the only truth: Be.  Just allow yourself to be.  Experience ‘being’  Love is sharing that experience of being.  We are all made of that energy.  Make it positive not negative.  Move forward, don’t get mired.

I learn; I forget.

Meanwhile, when I forget, I get mired again in petty human manufactures.

And I have to remind myself constantly that these worries, these fears that I have are manufactured; that I can choose to ignore manufactures that hurt me, that seek to constrain joy, constrain the full manifestation of being.

I have to remind myself that I am not damaged; I am no more or no less of the energy that I was at the beginning of time.
And that is a comforting thought.
Nothing has been destroyed.  The existence of energy is permanent; anything else is just details, window dressing, constraints. 
You are not broken; you’ve just forgotten that you are an energetic being who has gotten mired in manufactured constraints.
Let others be. 

If you can help another to realize the constraints, fine.  But, ask yourself: are you adding to their constraints with your own petty constraints?  

(I hate to admit it, but…probably.)
So. Let those go. 

That is not who you are. 

That is not who they are. 

So. If  I can help someone see that we are all just energetic beings – made of energy having a human experience – rather than being a rock or a tree or a timber wolf this go-round – then I have done all I can do?

Pretty much.

Just love.  Just be.  Seek joy.  Be the joy that is in this world.  Grow.  Help others grow.  Remember what you are.

~~~

RamDassquote

 

Month for Loki, Day 5: Re-Connection

I know, I know; I was going to post about yesterday’s concert, but I’m still processing.

Today I had the opportunity to visit with four friends whom Keegen and I have not seen in nearly two years.  One of these friends even threw a sort of impromptu party for me, complete with all my favorite foods and drinks.  As well, the four of us had two years of catching up with each other to do, so we spent most of the day cooking, eating, drinking, and most of all, engaging in some weird and wonderful conversation.

You know how it is often said that your true friends can go for long periods of time without speaking and yet, when you  reconnect with them, the easy comfort of being together again seems as if Time had never passed at all?

Well, I realized today that these four people are *exactly* those sort of friends.  We laughed until our sides hurt and we cried and we talked and we listened to each other until way past sunset.  The hours just flew by and suddenly it was time to go our separate ways again.

But I do not feel the slightest bit frustrated or sad by the fact that the hours passed so quickly.   As a matter of fact,  not only was I was well-fed, had good company, and was wonderfully entertained for the day, I felt seen and heard and most of all, loved.

And that’s more than I could ever have wanted.

Month for Loki, Day 4: Concert

Happy 4th of July!

Exhausted from Foo Fighters and friends concert at RFK this afternoon.

Will edit/add more details tomorrow.

Must sleep now.

Month for Loki, Day 3: Pretty

Today I did something that I haven’t done in over 15 years.

I went and got a manicure.

nails

 

And then, I did something that I’ve never done.

I got myself a pedicure as well.

toes

(I’d never done so because I’ve always felt sort of guilty.  I’ve always been a service-oriented person.  While I’ve given myself pedicures, and I have given others pedicures, somehow I’ve never gotten around to getting one myself.)

 

Technically, it wasn’t just a pedicure.

Much to my surprise, this encompassed a little more than simply someone else painting my nails.  This particular salon offered their clients their pedicures in some swanky shiatsu massage chairs from Brookstone, and I got a 30 minute foot massage and my choice of  over a dozen genres of  music to listen to through headphones that were provided while I was getting said massage.

(And again, I’ve given many a foot massage, but I’ve never been on the receiving end of a foot massage myself, let alone one while sitting in such a comfortable leather chair listening to soothing music.)

I’m telling you, it was pretty swank…and a very welcome treat.

And I had a good hearty laugh when a woman sitting next to me – who was also getting a pedicure – leaned over and demanded to know why I was getting ‘special treatment.’

When the technicians asked her what she was talking about, she pointed to me and blurted out:

“Why does her chair have a vibrator and mine doesn’t?”

The technicians just looked at each other, and deadpanned, “Ma’m, we’re sorry but this is not that kind of salon.”

It seemed to take a moment for the woman to realize the meaning of their response, but I could not help myself and I burst out laughing.  Then the technicians started laughing too, because I don’t think that they could help themselves anymore either.

It was rather funny, and I couldn’t help but think to myself that this was truly a superb moment of trolling worthy of  Loki Himself.

I left the salon feeling relaxed, pampered and oh so…pretty thusly:

 

And in regards to Loki, I know that He would have been pleased to note that I engaged in some self-pampering today, as I see Him as a Deity Who – along with Freyja-  teaches lessons involving reciprocity and recognizing our own self-worth.  

He knows that it pushes me out of my comfort zone to receive attention and service from others at times, and Loki was there to remind me that I deserve to receive just as much as I give and I am worthy of the attention and service that I received from others today.

And I left the salon feeling pampered and pretty and most of all, worthy of the joy that I felt in receiving.

 

Hail Loki ❤

~~~

 

 

 

Month for Loki, Day 2: Smile.

 

 

SceithAilm on DeviantArt has done it again:

 

the_man_with_the_tattered_smile_by_sceithailm-d8b6wet (1)

 

 

The Man with the Tattered Smile.

I love this rendition of Loki; the subtle tattoos, the jingle bells, the gorgeous braiding…!

Honestly I don’t think that she has ever drawn anything that I haven’t liked.