Far Too Long

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It’s appropriate that today is Samhain. I made the conscious decision to turn to paganism and witchcraft 21 years ago today. I realized tonight as I was driving around that I can’t define my path or my practice, and I need both to a great deal. I need to get my happy (or, as it has been lately, not-so-happy) ass back into a practice. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I meant it just as much every time, that I need to start from the ground up and rededicate myself to this endeavor.

If anyone has any suggestions on where to start, please let me know. My first step is The Inner Temple of Witchcraft, by my close, personal friend, world-famous author Christopher Penczak. It even has CDs!  It’s only 300-some pages. I can do that.

I’ve got a kick-ass High Priestess who will help with my Remedial Spelling classes (OMG, that would be a GREAT series of workshops! Need to talk to her about that!!) and get me back on track.

My friend Ryan sent me his outline for putting together a personal practice. I need that more than anything to keep me centered, grounded, steady.

I have never looked back since that October day. I don’t plan to look back, ever. I love my spirituality, I love my faith, I love everything that it has opened up for me. I need to strengthen and reaffirm it. This will happen. It will make me a better person.

So Mote It Be.


My Insecurity — Let Me Show It To You

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eeyore1

It’s never pretty when one does far too much navel-gazing. I never feel adequate enough. It bothers me a great deal.

I have an amazing husband. Most days, I don’t know why he bothers with me.

I have a great job and fantastic co-workers. It’s an entire office full of knit-worthy people. Seriously. Every single person in this office, I would knit something for. Every day, I feel like I frustrate them and let them down.

I’m very good at my chosen profession. I can not clue in to how to do this job well. And I don’t even know if I’m good enough to keep it. Six months in, I should have some confidence in what I do. Not so much.

I feel like a giant fraud in my faith most days. I know what works for me, but is it fair to try and teach others when I don’t know what works for them? I don’t know what to do anymore.

I haven’t been running in weeks, and I have a 15K this weekend and it’s going to take me 2.5 hours to finish it (it does have an awesome goodie bag, though, so that’s something). I’m somewhat alright with that, but damn, I want to do it faster. I can’t even seem to finish the goddamned Couch-to-5K program and I think I’m going to run a half-marathon in two years? High much?

I feel very, very adrift. Again. Still. And the shittiest part of all of this is that I know that it’s not me with the doubts. I mean, they’re my doubts, but right now, they just feel completely unmanageable. My seasonal affective disorder didn’t hit until January or February last winter, and it was super light for me. This year, it’s already hitting, and it’s hitting hard as fuck.

Two songs have been on repeat in my brain today: Mama’s Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert (“Go on and hide your crazy”) and If You’re Going Through Hell by Rodney Atkins. And now it’s adding Morning Comes by Delta Rae.

I need more light in my world. I need more peace in my world. I need more me in my world. And gods above and below, I need it soon. I hate feeling like I’m losing my shit. I’m terrible at coping with the way the world moves around me, and it’s getting worse as I get older. A year on a remote plot of land with just learning how to be me again. That wouldn’t suck.


Marriage Equality, Part Two

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This is a reply I made to someone on Facebook.

Not everyone believes in the same God. Or Gods. There is a guideline of separation of Church and State in this country. Marriage equality has NOTHING to do with religion. Nobody’s religious views will be affected by it. Churches who don’t believe in it won’t be forced to perform same-sex marriages. My faith (and Mojie’s, for that matter) allow, affirm, and celebrate when people make a commitment to one another. So does my mother’s; she’s an ELCA Lutheran. So does my friend Zach’s. He’s an ordained United Church of Christ minister. By saying that “God” has said this, you take away the voice of their faiths.

If you believe that marriage is for the sole purpose of procreation, do you also support the dissolution and banning of marriages who have zero intention of having children? Or the ones entered into by women past the age of menopause or sterile men? Would you support legislation to require an opposite-sex couple who enter into marriage to have at least one child? If your answer is ‘no’ to any of those, that argument is invalid.

This is completely for the CIVIL equality. There are 1138 rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples by the federal government that are not an option for anyone who’s not in an opposite-sex marriage, including things like property inheritance, hospital visitation, and child custody. My father and stepmother were married in a civil ceremony by a Justice of the Peace. They’ve been married for 30 years. Is their marriage any less valid because they weren’t married in a church? Or because they don’t have children of their own?

How is anyone asking you to give up your rights? There are exactly zero ways that this would impact your rights or your life. You say that you “Do not and Will not stand and let someone try to shove there (sic) beliefs down my” throat. By fighting against what others believe, isn’t that what you’re doing? In this instance, nobody wants to take away any rights from you. At all. Ever. We want equal rights. You want special rights, rights that are not afforded to other people.

I’m sorry you had horrific experiences with some people growing up. I got beaten up by straight people while growing up. I don’t hate straight people, and I’m not trying to take away their rights, simply because I know that not all straight people are the same, just like not all gay people are the same.

All we want is to be treated like Americans instead of being treated like second-class citizens.


Just My Quiet “A-ha!” Moment

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Someone on Facebook asked tonight,

[W]hat was your ‘burning bush’ moment? What did that feel like? (Just kind of genuinely curious.)

I was 17. We were in the mountains east of my hometown, visiting friends for Thanksgiving. It was overcast and chilly and kind of barely snowing (you know, what passes for “OMG OMG OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!” in Columbus. Six flakes a minute). Something in the air just didn’t feel right. I told my mom I was going to go for a walk. I was gone for about four hours, just hiking through the trees.

When the wind blows through pine trees, it sounds like no other sound, especially when you’re that far away from civilization (about 30 miles from the nearest town, six miles past the county line and, as such, off the paved road), and that kept me company for the entire afternoon. I saw a porcupine waddle around a big-ass rock. I saw a small herd of deer. I saw a black bear (who should have been asleep long before that) off in the distance. There were eagles. I heard the world around me. I stopped by a small stream that wasn’t yet frozen over, but was only a fraction above it, with the most amazing-tasting water ever created.

I was very quiet when I got back, and Mom waited until I was ready to talk. She listened and thought I was talking about God. I might have been. I don’t think I was. I think that’s the day that I started straying from that path and onto one that suited me better. She understands now, and we’ve both been very supportive of each other’s paths. She knows why I went my direction, and she knows that our paths aren’t that dissimilar.

Even more than 20 years later, I can still feel that wind on my face, the snowflakes touching my skin, hear the whisper of the trees, feel the ground under my boots, see the color of that enormous sky, smell the potential of the earth. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. I could totally live there.

Blessed be.


Adrift. Again.

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Forgive me. It’s been four weeks since my last post.

Not a lot has changed since last I wrote, O Great Internet. I’m maintaining my weight (still ~250 pounds); I’m not losing, but I’m also not gaining. I’ve tried making better food choices, and that seems to be going well. I’ve been snacking on healthier things (oranges and strawberries lately, with some popcorn if I crave salty snacks). Hell, I even had a salad with dinner tonight. I haven’t been to the gym in two months, and I probably won’t go this week, since the Resolutioners are there, and I hate the thought of being seen as one of them.

I’ve been doing a lot of sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. I went through the entire run of White Collar and Hot in Cleveland. We’ve also watched the full first season of Game of Thrones and all of Star Trek: Enterprise. Fun shows, for very different reasons. I need to get the first part of this season of White Collar so I can catch up very soon, and I need to get the second season of Game of Thrones in a format I can watch on my large TV from my very comfortable couch instead of on my good-sized computer monitor from a mostly comfortable computer chair. I’m working my way through Burn Notice right now; I’m not completely sold on it yet. Though, honestly, I do love the glitter out of Ms. Sharon Gless. She makes me happy; I’d listen to the woman read the phone book. (And, dammit, I can get Cagney & Lacey on Netflix DVD but not streaming. WHY DO YOU HATE ME, NETFLIX??)

I haven’t just been sitting there, though; I’ve been knitting like a crazy man. I finished a double-sized (meaning ten repeats instead of the five in the pattern) Citron in a gorgeous pewter and amethyst for The Sister, and I’m just a bind-off away from finishing Anna for the same Sister. The Citron was mindless and made for a great traveling project, but by the final increase section, I was over 900 stitches, and knitting or purling that many stitches makes you want to stab your eyes out with the needles. Anna, on the other hand, takes a little more paying attention, and it’s paying off. It’s gorgeous, it’s in a 70/30 merino/silk blend, and it’s a fantastic deep blue-green colorway called Kenai. I’ll admit that part of the reason I picked that colorway was the name. Kenai was the name of the main character in Brother Bear, so it’s appropriate that it’s going to my sister. (And yes, I know it’s also a city in Alaska; there’s no emotional attachment there. Yet. One never knows, I may end up on a trip there at some point.)

There hasn’t been a lot of movement in the last month on my video game alter-egos. I haven’t been in the mood to play much, sadly, but I’ve got a ton of screenshots from before the end of City of Heroes (though, warning, that link makes COHers very sad), and I’ll turn them into blog posts at some point, I hope. I’m also still doing some hellacious rep grinding on World of Warcraft. It takes FOR.EV.ER. but I’ll get what I want. OH YES I WILL. Guild Wars 2 is fun, as well. My little Asuran Engineer hit level 40 a while back, and my Sylvari Elementalist (named Shadow Glitter) is also a hell of a lot of fun to play.

Not much to report on the job front. I’ve had a few interviews, but nothing’s come of them. I’ve got one on Monday, and I hope that it goes well. It could be a very large turning point for us if I get it. I’ll ask for more job mojo and leave it at that. I also think I need a new interview outfit, but we’ll see what happens with that.

Aside from that, O Great Internet, there’s not much to report. Same goals from last year stand: eat better, exercise more, lose weight, read more, pray more, blog more, be most smartest (though, if you need to click that link, how are we even friends?), be more authentic to myself. I realize that there are a lot of people out there who really couldn’t care less about me because they’ve made up their minds about me without, y’know, really getting to know me or caring if I’ve even changed who they think I am, and that’s their own issue, one that I refuse to make mine. There will be no shoving me into their molds; if someone doesn’t like who I am, well, they can waltz themselves right out of my life.

Here’s to a massive ass-kicking to 2012. You deserve it for sucking so badly. 2013, you’ve got a pretty low bar to get over. Perhaps you should get to it.

Much love. Blessed be.


Workin’ it

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Three times in the last week, I’ve made it to the gym. GO ME. I’m pretty damn happy about this. I’m doing a strength-foundation workout that I found on RealJock (link is so very not safe for work; you’ve been warned). It’s kicking my ass. Tonight, I added an extra set on most of the exercises I’ve been doing and holy shit, do I hurt. I’m gonna sleep VERY well. I’ve also been keeping up (and, well, surpassing, because I’m an over-achiever sometimes) the Morning Mile Challenge from NerdFitness, and it feels awesome. I’m not always doing it in the morning, but I’m getting at least one mile in a day. Kinda proud of myself.

Still working on getting my food choices smarter, and that’s still not easy. I’m kind of a picky eater, and some foods are more challenging for me than others, but I’m doing what I can. I have asparagus that I’m going to make this weekend, I hope, and we have some orange cauliflower that we’ll be mashing up, too. Kinda looking forward to them. There are ways to make this easier and better, and I will do my damnedest to find them and make this happen, because I need to make it happen.

I finished a pair of cabled fingerless mitts this week, and I have a pair of kicky red cabled gloves on my needles to finish next. It’s kind of nice that I don’t have gigantic paws; most glove patterns are made for women’s medium or large hands, so I’m pretty safe with most of them. I hate sizing patterns, mostly because I suck at it.

Still nothing on the job front, but my unemployment kicked in this week. That will help until I get something. Help, because it’s not a lot. It’s not supposed to be a living, and I can’t wait until I can tell them to stop it. In the meantime, I’ve been working on a church program for Mom (link to Mom’s blog, which needs to be updated, hint hint hint), and I’m pretty proud of the way it turned out. I used my Mad Office Skillz, and it’s pretty awesome. I also have a hefty data entry project on which I’m working, and I’m designing some office documents for a friend’s new business. Those are heavily on the agenda for next week, I think.

Still reading Evolutionary Witchcraft with JaguarMoon. I’m not as enamored of it as I want to be. It’s nice to see another path, but I don’t know that that path is for me. I’m a little skeptical of it, but I think that has more to do with it being out of a book. I deal better with the experiential side of it, and the Feri rituals I’ve seen or of which I’ve been a part have been amazing. I’m pretty sure that that’s what the difference is for me.

I’m also still working my way through the Wheel of Time series. I’m on book five, The Fires of Heaven, right now. The final book, book fourteen, A Memory of Light, comes out in January, and I hope to be caught up by sometime in February or March so that I can get the final book on my Kindle and finish the series. I know that there are a lot of people who pooh-pooh this series because it’s so freakin’ wordy and loooooooooong, but I bough the first one, The Eye of the World, when I was working at Jack & Jill in high school, and it’s been with me ever since. It’s one of those things that I give my sister Sarah shit about, because there is crayon ALL THROUGH my copy of EotW, thanks to her little four-year-old self. No, she’ll never live it down. She knows why she doesn’t get to borrow my books. I don’t care that she’s almost 28. No.

People keep asking how I am. My standard answer is, “I’ve been better. I’ve also been worse, and I’m getting better.” The anger is mostly gone, though it spikes every once in a while, but that’s to be expected, I think. At some point, it will be gone, with little flares of bitterness and cranky-face. I’ll move on to better things, I’m sure, and life will move itself inexorably forward. It will take me along, as it always does. I will bounce back. And until I’m bouncing again, there are video games, there are rockin’ hot workouts, and there are good times with good friends.

And I will take this life, and I will make it my bitch.

So mote it be.


Happy Place

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I’m listening to the playlist I made for the Art of Ritual Class November Daily Meditations. I just hit Brothers Beautiful by Jeffrey Altergott. I miss all you beautiful bitches. You know who you are.

Oh, and now I’m going to cry. Again. You Raise Me Up by Celtic Woman. Oh, and then Fuckin’ Perfect by P!nk.

So much love. I miss my brothers, badly. For one glorious week a year, I feel as if I’m part of something amazing, even just tangentially or just on the outskirts. I know what some of my friends will say, that I’m not tangential or on the outside looking in. It feels that way a great deal, though. I know that it’s important for this event to happen, and I know that I’m a big part of making it happen. It still doesn’t stop me from feeling that way during the event. It’s why I retreat to my tent so often. I can’t talk about it while I’m there, though. Seems like nobody wants to hear me be all Debbie Downer. So I keep it to myself. I’m not okay with it, but I don’t want to bring anyone else down while I’m there. And I know it’s my deal, and I need to figure out how to fix it.

I figure if I keep playing songs like this, they’ll work as affirmations, and eventually, I won’t feel so broken. Eventually. Not today, though. Still broken.

This is my family.
I found it, all on my own.
Is little, and broken, but still good.
Yeah, still good.

Preach it, Brother Stitch.


Derailed…a little

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Editor’s Note: Anyone on my Facebook knows what happened on Friday, so I’m not going to rehash it here. I am still searchable on here, and there will be no discussion of it here. If you have questions, well, send me a message over there.

I’m a week late in my update, but hopefully I’ll be able to add a second update this week. We’ll see what happens.

1) I haven’t started walking yet. Meant to this morning, but it was rainy, and I’m kind of whiny, so I didn’t go out. The sun is out now, so as soon as I’m done with this post, I’m taking the dog out and then I’ll head out to the streets for a while. On the weight front, two weeks ago, I was at 253.6, last week I was at 252.8 (a loss of .8 pounds, woo!), and this week I’m at 253.8 (a one pound gain, boo!), which means that in the five weeks since BTW, I’m showing a net gain of 2.6 pounds. I want to revise my goal of “lose 25 pounds”  to “be at or below 225 pounds by next BTW.” I’ll edit the original post to reflect that. That puts me at 28.8 pounds until my first weight goal. I can totally do that in a year.

2) My coven and I are reading Evolutionary Witchcraft together. We’re doing it in a book group kind of format, and we’re taking it slow. Prologue and first chapter are due by the 22nd. I also need to talk to a covenmate about helping with the rituals. She said she’d help, and with Samhain just around the corner, we need to get on it.

3) So not sure where to start with the podcast. Need to talk to Scott and see what I can get away with. I know that there are places that host on the cheap. Will need a new domain. Will need the right software. Will need a format, themes, music, and quite possibly a co-host or two. I have Ideas. Now just need Follow-through. Yeeeeesssssss…. The power of the airways!

4) Blogging: I’m doing it! Woo, go me! Or, y’know, something…

I finished a shawl. It’s beautiful and orange and geometric. I could have made it bigger, I think, but I didn’t and now it’s too late. Sad cowboy. I’m working on two sweaters and a blanket that have been hibernating for a while. They’re not portable, but I’m not going anywhere, and I have Netflix.

So, yeah, things got a little sidetracked. It will get better. I will make it better. And to those who doubt? Yeah, I don’t need you in my life.


Goals: Let Me Show You Mine!

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My close, personal friend and world famous author, the ever-fabulous Michael Thomas Ford, has started something on the Between the Worlds Facebook group. He asked for volunteers to be grouped up together. My group got all of their goals for the next year in last week, but because I suck at timeliness, mine came in today.

1) Lose 25 pounds before BTW. This is going to lead into subgoals of:

  • Start walking at least twice a week, for a minimum of 10 miles per week.
  • Make smarter food choices. Learn what that means and how to do that.

2) Live my spirituality. Again, subgoals of:

  • Meditation
  • Studying (Lord and Lady, but I hate reading non-fiction books)
  • Write at least one new ritual.
  • Write an article for publication, either online or in print.
  • Rewrite the JaguarMoon rituals for continuity

3) Start a podcast. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years. Time to do it. And along with that goes…

4) Blog more. I’ve got a damn high writing skill; I just need to get my shit together and get more motivation to start writing more. Minimum of once a week.

What does this mean? Well, I’m most likely going to be blogging my weekly check-in sessions, because that will at least get me writing, right? I’ll be able to post progress on my ritual and on my article (though the JMC rituals will only be accessible to coven members). I’ll also be posting my weigh-ins (because that will be fun for me) and probably distances. At some point in the next year, I’d like to get back into running, but I don’t want to set that goal and not be able to achieve it.

Anyone who knows me will notice the lack of anything knitting related on this list. Knitting goals are meaningless for me, simply because I will always knit. There are a few projects to finish and get sent out, but they’ll get done and get sent out. I’m not afraid of that. I don’t have to push myself to do that.

What I’ve got, though, I can set my mind and energies to. Here’s to a good year.


Re-Entry

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I wrote on Facebook today:

Dear tower of glass and steel and made-stone, you suck. I can see the sun but not feel it. Far below, I can see the trees bend in the breeze, but it does not touch me. I can’t touch the earth, but neither can I touch the sky or hear the birds. This is not how we were meant to be. Are we better off like this? No.

and

Day Two of re-entry. I don’t like being in the city. As I told Mom, I want to be back out in the middle of nowhere. It’s funny how that’s changed over the years. If we could survive on 10 acres with just a garden and a couple of goats, I’d totally do it. And maybe some chickens. Possibly a couple of sheep.

This year’s re-entry from Between the Worlds to the regular world is harder to get through than last year. It was an amazing week filled with laughter, relaxation, workshops, rituals, and the best brotherhood in the history of ever. I think it’s getting harder and harder every year to get through that feeling that these men are scattered and that very few of them are near enough to make seeing them easy, for the most part, and that’s making me very sad.

I keep waking up in the middle of the night, and being in a solid bed instead of an air mattress feels awkward. Not having the wind or the sun in my face during the day because it’s blocked by the glass of my 16th story office window feels unnatural.

What sucks the most, though, is that there’s not as much laughter around me, and the laughter that does exist isn’t the “right” kind. Random, heartfelt laughter from everywhere. Songs and drumming and talking. The cool, damp feel of the air in the morning while still cuddling under the blankets. The sheer awesome amount of stars at night. The smell of wood smoke. The colors of nature and the chosen plumage of my brothers.

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate my creature comforts of big fuzzy blankets at night, of a kitchen that has all of my stuff in it, a washing machine and dryer, flush toilets, the Internet. But they come at a price. I’m getting to the point in my life that I’m not sure if the price is worth it anymore. Wishing to live in the worlds of my books is useless because it won’t happen, but figuring out a way to not be constantly surrounded by concrete and steel should just take some planning and some work, right?

Let’s hope so.

Blessed be.