Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Stormy Day

Okay, I'm up.

Disappointing trip to the mailbox, but there was a lovely roll of thunder accompanying me down the driveway and the gentle patter of rain walked me back to the house.

So thick, these clouds.  This darkness pervades, and makes my thoughts thick and slow, too.  I am heavy.  Like the wan light struggling to shed its leaden shrouds, I struggle to shed this weight of shades and shadows.

I wonder, sometimes, is it better to be aware as I am that it's not real?  That this feeling isn't real?  That it's the result of faulty wiring, malfunctioning messages of the mind, misfiring neurons?  Or would it be easier if I didn't know, if I believed this was true and everything and all there was or would be?

Is it better to know that there may be hope? Better to cling to that hope and risk being dashed against the rocks of disappointment for the possible transcendence of its fulfillment?  Or to dwell in a twilight of hopelessness without knowing the lofty heights of potential and clarity?

The lights on the tree sparkle, and Sprout is watching cartoons and laughing like a loon, and I have people who love me despite myself, and I know that is good, but right now it is foreign to me, unreachable.  I can see but not touch, and the more I reach, the more slippery it gets, the farther it recedes, and like trying to hold a fistful of water, the harder I grasp the less I can keep.  I feel so far away.

Today I do not want to be open.  I want to be closed up, to curl around this wounded, tender, never-quite-healed place within me and protect it from the world and everything that hurts.  Today I would like to be bundled in the soft warmth of my cozy bed, perhaps with an adamantine shell for extra protection.  I don't want to feel anything - no hope, no despair, no love, no sorrow, no loss, no joy, no misery, no happiness, none of this wondering when I stopped being worth anything to the people who should value me the most, no wondering when I became so ephemeral in the world that is supposed to help me be solid and present and real, no wishing that I could let go of this need for approval or at least acceptance from places I will never find them.

I do not want to be open.

So I open myself a little more.

In the end, I can't let the illusion become more than what is real.  I can't let it win.  The smile?  Is brittle and may shatter at the slightest provocation, but it is pasted on my face because it doesn't want to be there.  I am open, and every aching, raw, miserable inch of me is there to be poked, prodded, judged, and left deeply scarred, because it's the only way I know for it to scab over and some day, with luck and love and perseverance, maybe heal into a puckered, cicatrix of a whole soul.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


It's almost Yule - two days away and I'm almost-but-not-quite ready for it.  Here's the annual repost with alterations to make it current.
Happy Yule, y'all!

Wait, what? Yule - you know...Yule? The holiday that some people celebrated waaayyy before that poor wee baby was supposedly born in a pile of hay? Evergreens ring a bell? Holly? Ivy? Mistletoe??

OK, go get a snack and a nice beverage (eggnog on the right, pink punch in the center, pick a bottle from the high chair to spike it with)(yes, the high chair is our bar - the Evil Genius doesn't need it any more, Sprouthas long outgrown the use of it, and it's an heirloom that I want to keep on display - so why not??) and get comfy. All set?

Yule, or Winter Solstice, is a celebration of the returning light.

Yep, it's that simple.

The God is reborn today, and the days will lengthen with his growth, into the fullness of Summer. In some villages, way back in the past, hearth fires would be extinguished (a brave thing when you didn't have Zippos or matches or even two sticks to rub together). They would be relit from brands taken from a community balefire, lit by the sun himself with a little help from some glass (or a hidden coal or two - c'mon, we weren't above a little showmanship, back then), thereby bringing the sun (and, one hoped, his blessings) into the home. It also kept the community united, because everyone shared the same fire, the same light and heat. Cool, huh? Gotta love a religion that encourages playing with fire. Ahem.

The fir tree was (and is) a symbol of life lasting even through death, the promise of life and light renewed, and a reminder that beneath the snow, the Earth-heart beats on. Holly and Ivy were green, too, but they were also symbols of the Green Man, the Forest Lord, Jack o' the Green - the God primeval. The Holly King and the Ivy King, the old and the young, the constant, changing balance. Deep stuff, yo.

Mistletoe is still used in a fairly traditional way, although it wasn't always just kissing done under the stuff. I still use the leaves and occasional berry when I make love bundles for people (Note - a love bundle isn't a love spell, it is meant to strengthen what is already there, not coerce or sublimate the free will of another. I don't DO love spells, so don't even ask.)(I mean it.), and it's a terrific symbol. It was also a fertility and aphrodisiac herb, but only symbolically - even wigged out Druids knew the stuff was toxic!

We light a yule log, in our house one that's cut from the trunk of last year's tree (the rest of which is providing habitat and nutrients in the woods out back). Old tales say if it lights on the first try and burns for twelve hours, we'll have good luck...this year, I'm soaking one end in water, first. What? We need all the good fortune we can get...don't you??

This year we are spending Yule at Mum's, lighting the burn pile, celebrating the returning light with a little spark of our own. We'll collect some of the ash and bring it home to add to the ash jar and sprinkle around the foundation for a blessing.

Sometimes a group of us will get together and just spend a quiet day nibbling snacks, enjoying each other's company, and taking a break from the holiday insanity out there among the English. If we exchange gifts, we try to make them ourselves, or give things that encourage and nurture our spiritual or creative selves. Things will be a little sparse this year, what with Someone being all in prison and whatnot (in case you didn't know, it can be expensive to have someone in prison, but that's a tale for a later time).  I want the kids to have a nice holiday so I have gone a bit overboard, but Sprout is just beginning to understand the concept of The Holly King (our version of Santa) and what presents are and she's really excited about them, and this is the last year before the Evil Genius is a teen (holy carp!!!) and things will change between us in the coming years.

But mostly, it's a celebration of the returning sun, the waxing light, the cycle renewed.

Happy Yule - When the days be cold, may your hearth be warm. When the nights be long, may your fire burn bright. When the wind blows, may you find snug shelter. When tree and field are bare, may your larder be full. May you never know Winter's chill a moment longer than you care to, nor hunger nor want, and should you find you have all that you need and a bit more besides, may you find someone who will gladly take what you offer and live better for the receiving. Blessed be.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Glimpse

I have a doctor's appointment today.  Nothing untoward, just a simple check-up.

I will make it a multi-purpose trip - the doc is up near mom's place so I'll go wash my shirts in her laundry machine (mine eats my shirts, hers is far kinder to them) while I'm at it.

My brain is screaming at me, telling me to cancel, not to go.

This is nothing unusual.  It is why sometimes I don't listen to my instinct, because my instinct is often irrational.  My instinct is in league with my Variety Plate and cannot always (or even often) be trusted.

Don't get me wrong, when it comes to confrontation or real, imminent danger,my instinct doesn't mess around.  It does a good job and, when I don't ignore it, saves me a good deal of grief.  But I am not currently in imminent danger.  What is wrong is, I have to leave the house.

Going to the doctor for a simple check-up begins with an internal fight the moment the appointment is made.  A small voice tells me "That's a bad day to go, you should cancel" as soon as I walk out of the office.  Then, as the day approaches (and it's every six months I go, so there's lots of approach), my mind tells me all kinds of things that mean I'm too busy to go.  When I refuse to cancel, things escalate.  I start to think about my horrible diet and how I am not at all practicing self care and he's going to yell at me.  By the time it's the day of the appointment ohmygosh I have to leave the house help help help I am, internally a mess.  The xenophobia and agoraphobia kick in and I don't even want to go into the garage, let alone all the way out into the world.
This appointment is going to suck.  I have not taken my meds as I should.  I have eaten and drunk many things that I shouldn't.  This is part of a self-destructive cycle, and it will mean I shall be chastised by the doctor (who is really a terribly nice fellow and very good at his avocation and I did warn him that I am a difficult patient at best).  The cycle has to stop.  The way I am eating, the way I am living, will kill me.

So today I am fighting with myself.  No kidding, my heart is pounding!  I wasn't always like this.  Depression, yes, and then OCD and paranoia, but this...this...anxiety...is only a couple of decades old.  It's probably the youngest of the things on the plate.  It is mighty big sometimes, and vigorous, and just going to the grocery store can feel like a trial.  Leaving the house to be confronted by my own actions?  Too much.

My new shrink says I have anxiety and depression with a psychotic element (but I'm harmless, really!!!) (it's the paranoia, my old and faithful bugaboo, that is the element, in case you wondered) and my counselor is helping me sort it all out, but I have to leave the house to make things better.

My brain doesn't seem to grasp that logic and is screaming at me as I type that I have other things I need to do and can't I just this once reschedule and look, the sky may fall at any moment and people are horrid and there is gun violence and religious hatred and politicians run rampant in the streets and...and...pant...pant...pant...

My mind goes around and around and gnaws on itself, and this is constant, constant, every damned day, exhausting and occasionally overwhelming, and it's all internal so nobody sees it and it's easy to dismiss as not-real, irrelevant, because the cracks and leakage and rubble from past tussles are all in my head but if you could see in there, just catch a glimpse, it would rival any photograph of war-torn landscape you've ever seen!

I know it's not real.  It feels real enough, but I know it isn't.  It is my imagination on steroids.  It is the voice of the child I was who had no control over what others did to her, said to her, made her do.  It is the voice of fear trying to shatter the seemingly fearless shell I wear and I cannot let it win, not today.  Other days I can choose to change plans and stay in bed or curled up on the lounge with my kids watching movies, but today I can't.  Today I have to gird up my loins (which sounds much nicer than "suck it up, buttercup") and adult.

I don't want to adult.

I don't want to do anything.

Up and at 'em.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Hatred is a cage.  Fear is a cage.  I will not be caged.  I will not hate.  I will not fear.  I will fly free.

Who will fly with me?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

An Inch At A Time

I am working at reclaiming myself.

This means personal work,but also working to reclaim the space around me, namely Casa de Crazy.  If one's environment is a reflection of one's inner state, it is painfully clear that I'm a complete wreck.

It all needs cleaning, purging, sorting through, and more cleaning.

Taken as a whole, it's too much.

So a little at a time I am taking it back.

The kitchen counters are cleaner and less cluttered.  I can see the couch.  Laundry is always behind, but less so today than yesterday.

This morning I cleaned my bathroom counter and swept the floor.  Washed the sink and faucet.  Cleared some boxes from the garage (race things that will be given out at a holiday event rather than sitting and moldering in my garage).

Most days I am tired, whipped, even when I've only just gotten up.  Mental weariness takes a different kind of rest to ameliorate, and I don't have what I need to deal with it so it grinds on me.  I ache physically, too, for no other reason than I have no idea why.

It's going to take a lot of small actions to clean up this big house, take back my home, get myself back, but I'm taking them.

An inch t a time.