Neil Gaiman has done it again – with some lovely words to ponder on this first day of 2017:
I would like to take a moment to wish all of my readers a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.
May we all find the bravery we need to step forward into the darkness – together.
May we all find the joy that we are seeking in this world – together.
Then, everything’s *not* fine.
2016 has been a rollercoaster..and I don’t think that it has just been a rollercoaster for me.
Look at the rest of the world, I suppose.
It would seem that everyone is struggling with something…not just me.
Not just my struggles.
I haven’t been posting, mainly because I’ve been keeping to the relative safety of writing in my notebooks, because 2016 has brought so many changes to my life that when I look back upon where I was, emotionally and spiritually, on this day in 2015, I am agog at how much has changed in my relationships, my attitudes, my writing….hell, even my devotional/spiritual practices.
As a matter of fact, so much has changed in my devotional practice that my head is sort of… spinning.
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least.
At the end of 2015, I was coming out of a major depressive episode.
Certain aspects of my life were either stagnant or evolving in a direction that I didn’t want to travel. I felt stuck and sad and angry.
I had decided to end relationships with several persons whom I’d come to over-value so much that I’d thought of these folks as the basis of my spiritual community….so deciding to cut ties with those friends felt like cutting ties with my sense of community.
As well, I felt stagnant in my spiritual relationships. I needed something to change but I didn’t know what or how
Though I had hope for 2016, I’d never in a million years expected the changes that were in store for me regarding my marriage, my circle of friends (or whom I would have considered my circle of friends), how I’d come to spend my free time,the people, places and things I would come to value, the skills that I would develop or the way that my devotional/spiritual practices would be completely overhauled.
Yes, my spiritual practices would suffer a complete overhaul in 2016.
And that is why I have chosen WorldBreaker as the title of this post.
Because, oddly enough, in retrospect, one of the only constants I see in the pattern of 2015 to 2016 was …Loki
And yes, that is true…I am working with Loki now.*
Though in late December 2015, I’d even gone as far as to pack up all of my altars -including His – because I was feeling disconnected from all of Them.
I was throwing what was essentially a tantrum of enormous spiritual proportions.
I was trying so hard to feel and to do, and yet all I could feel was an immense sense of frustration and disconnection.
I was feeling what I thought that I was supposed to feel and I was doing what I thought was the ‘work’ that I needed to do…
And yet I was ….not.
Though I will admit what I did feel was this:
“ I wish you all had one neck and I had my hands around it.”
(Those, by the way, are the second to last words of convicted murderer Carl Panzram, just before he was executed at Leavenworth Penitentiary in 1930)
(Do you see the WorldBreaker yet?)
Because that, my friends, is how I felt (inwardly, of course) about the whole business of not just the day to day functionings of my mundane life, but my spiritual life as well.
In late 2015, I definitely felt that if Life were a person, I wanted to choke that motherfucker out…and hard.
But I am not a violent person, so I could not even begin to guess where those feelings of rage were coming from at the time.
But I do…now.
(Yep. That was me…being upset. And oh…not working on my shit. But boy, did I think I was!)
So, what changed?
Well, I can’t exactly write a recipe book now, can I?
It was my journey from 2015 on and through all of 2016 that required a change in attitude towards a lot of situations that I didn’t particularly like that involved people that I didn’t particularly like.
I was entrenched in a battle of control and blame in my mundane life, and I was believing that these situations were somehow within my realm of control… but they were not.
I was the face of acceptance on the surface, but underneath all of that, I was angry and withholding.
I kept telling myself that I had let go of the past, but I had not….not entirely.
I was full of assumptions and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I was waiting and hiding and grumbling to myself.
I had expectations based upon assumptions, and I was feeding an ugly vicious cycle of blame and insecurity.
In short, I was living in the past, but thinking that I was moving on.
I thought I was open. I thought I was being accepting and fair and loving and generous. I thought that I was letting go. I told myself constantly that I was holding myself accountable. I was convinced that it was I who was fair and open and honest…and others were not.
It wasn’t me who refused to be, it was them.
And in my spiritual life – well, there’s a mirror. I was insecure, tentative…also angry.
I had so much stuff on my altars. I was meditating every day. I felt like I was constantly giving Them time, giving Them energy, giving Them thought.
So why was I having the dark night of the soul? Why was I feeling a fallow time? Why did I feel so disconnected?
You refuse to be open.
You refuse to be generous.
You do not allow….
You do not permit….
It will begin…when you begin.
And so, in 2016, I began without even being aware of what I was beginning.
(Enter the WorldBreaker, stage left.)
Looking back upon the year, I realize that there were many occasions wherein I was thrust into many uncomfortable situations.
I look back upon these uncomfortable moments and I recall feeling forced to explain myself in many ways.
A lot of these moments featured me being forced to examine myself – my social anxieties, my prejudices, my decisions, my beliefs.**
But 2016 also rewarded me – the year even brought me a lot of growth, and even some new friends – or rather, I re-connected with myself in re-connecting with several ‘old’ friends – which led to my social circle increasing exponentially and unexpectedly at the same time.
As well, 2016 brought me joy in unexpected places (Arizona) and heartache in others (Washington DC)…but in the end, the slow change toward actually letting go of my need to control/create a specific outcome led to unexpected and entirely unforeseen outcomes.
While I do not have a lot of the same people in my life that I had had in 2015, I do have people in 2016.
As well, in 2016, I have done things that I never thought that I would do, I experienced things that I’d never dreamed of experiencing before, and craziest of all, I am actually working with yet another God that I had once insisted that I would *never* work with.
(Hel, as recently as two months ago, I would have refused to even look at Him, let alone work with Him in any way.)
Funny, how things can change so completely and so abruptly, eh?
But that, my friends, is the story of a decision for another day entirely. 😉
So that was the trajectory of my 2016.
A year of rapid, dramatic (sometimes even melodramatic) emotional and spiritual change for me.
Courtesy of a relentless Breaker of Worlds.
Hail Loki, indeed ❤
*In retrospect, I realize that up to a point, 2012-2015 was essentially ‘making a good show of working with Loki’ compared to actually ‘working with’ Loki
**I felt ashamed, exposed…and about three months ago, it peaked in that a few folks even vilified me for speaking my mind, for writing what I wrote in this blog. And yes, it stopped me. A lot.
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.
<<<<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
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
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.