Strobe Light Clarity: What I am about to see clearly

I think I am going through a moment of clarity when it comes to public Pagan writing. I’ve ventured out online only to be shut down or bullied off over and over. I’m starting to understand how it all works – and how a good chunk of people vilify others to make names for themselves. It’s not so much about the ones that do that – it’s about the people that buy into it and support the vilification, or who go along with it for fear they will be the next ones vilified if they don’t.

For a long time I interpreted being spiritual is “trying to understand others.” It’s not. Sure, I can try – but I am obligated only in terms of my behavior. Spirituality is about listening to God. It is about treating people well. But I’m aiming to be spiritual, not saintly. If people are taking actions intended to cause me distress, I am under no obligation to be the least bit understanding.

My distinction: believe whatever you want to believe. Talk it up. But I will watch what you actually do. It’s what you do that counts more than what you say.

If you use words to cause someone pain, that counts as an action, not as one of your ideas. And I will count it against you.

This is my clarity.

It’s quite liberating.

Supplies: Strobe Light Clarity

Oh, the times of black-white strobe light clarity… I’ve had too many. So many I might be shades of grey blind. One stands out, though: my junior year of college. My roommate, who seemed just fine with my whole Wiccan lifestyle, suddenly had a problem with it after I started hanging out with a guy with a mohawk and completely lost her shit when I started dating a black man. Rather than talk to me about any behaviors she had a problem with, she would plant her ass in front of my bed and watch Country Music Television on my TV, ignoring me when I asked her to please watch something else when I was in the room. She bitched at length to the floormates that we all ate meals with – and they began sniping at me, dropping apropos of nothing comments like, “You need to learn to compromise,” when one girl demanded I give her my chair and other ridiculous, female-social-violence stunts, up to and including going through the mail on my desk when I was out and then asking my boyfriend about the various bits of mail I got.

One day I “found” a card my floormates sent to my roommate (because it was basically glued to the door) “comforting” her with comments like “Ditch the witch and move in with me!”

When I asked my roommate, if she was so unhappy, why she didn’t move out, she didn’t answer – as if she hadn’t heard the question I’d asked while looking straight at her, as I offered to review the ground rules with her. She had been concocting more and more “ground rules” and even attempted to propose a curfew when she decided she had a problem with me spending the night at my boyfriend’s.

Finally, as I Vax chatted with someone they’d been badmouthing me to (who was amused by it) I realized… these bitches were trying to control me. It wasn’t even about me disrupting their lives – any disruption that happened was very, very minimal because I was at work, with my boyfriend or at the computer lab. But they had routinely disrupted mine, especially my roommate – refusing to learn how to use call waiting when she knew I was going out with a gay man for the evening, sending someone to knock on the door after I’d told them I needed to not be interrupted (and was told I “looked possessed” when I asked them angrily what the disruption was about) and even trying to tell me to drop a friendship I had formed before I met them because one of the floor girls was interested in him.

It ended with me lining up and yelling at them for their shitty behavior.

They then used the first excuse to report me for an alcohol violation that my roommate obviously staged. (I was over 21, and  my roommate, knowing that I still had liquor in the room and would be removing it later, made a big point of walking in and gasping when she saw the bottle … that she’d known about for eight weeks.)

Oddly, the report never got to the point of a disciplinary hearing… and the girl’s soccer team members on the floor told me that they were cheering for me. They’d watched how the girls’ behavior played out… and absolutely no one took their side. My “punishment” was assignment to a single room; I did not have to pay the additional single fee.

By the end of the next semester the girls did the same thing to another girl on the floor that they’d done to me. The pattern was the same: they were fine with her and all her foibles until she got a boyfriend.

I don’t think those girls made any other friends the entire time I was there. But boy, they sure stared at me a lot when they saw me.

 

Strobe Light Clarity: Restlessness, Anger, etc.

I have yet to learn to recognize restlessness as a breakthrough. When I’m in it, I’m frustrated. I’m bored. It felt worse when I lived in Mankato – when you’re bored and in Mankato, unless you have a ton of friends (and as an introvert, I don’t) you’re stuck with your boredom. In Minneapolis there are more diversions. The worse, for a long time, was when I’d get stuck with that restless feeling while I was with someone. I’d want to go dance out – and the people I were with never wanted to – any dancing had to be on their terms, at all time. Looking back, this only happened with people determined to come out the victor in the friendship, those who saw our association as a competition rather than as a means of comfort and sharing. It was always the needy women, the narcissistic ones, that kept me from dancing my way to soul healing.

I’ve learned to be very suspicious of people that don’t dance … and especially those that don’t want me to dance.

Supplies: Shadow Maker

Shadow Makers…the things and people that cause you to fear creating.

Rejection often triggers my shadow maker…nothing like a rejection slip to dive me down that I must climb for ages to be at a point where I am OK making submissions again. Persistent missed-the-point criticism also does it. This is different from when I don’t make myself clear – when I write something that other readers get immediately but that sails over the head of an editor, etc. that’s when I have problems.

As to who installed the Shadow Maker…my sister. She would practically grab creative works of mine out of my hands and then say something cutting; it was her entire purpose for grabbing it. She was nasty with poetry, dance (you call that dancing?) and with my desire to understand the way people socialized so I could have a chance at being liked outside the home since no one inside my home liked me at all. As an adult, I am finding my way back to poetry and enjoying it again, I am a wonderful dancer, the kind people stop to watch at clubs and when it comes to likability…well, everybody’s damaged these days so it’s really about knowing who to pick.
I realize now that somewhere for her was a bigger nastier Shadow Maker that left her afraid to submit anything original ever; when asked about why she didn’t send her work out into the world or even do the writing that gave her pleasure it was always one excuse after another. Maybe it was my mother that set her creativity button to off. Seems likely.

If anyone in my life right now thinks I’m too big for my britches, they are keeping snide comments about my weight to themselves. Seriously, it’s hard to say. I am not pretending to be modest about anything anymore…somehow that has made me more relatable to most of my friends. There’s one friend who I just plain love and she loves me who is at times visibly uncomfortable with what I can accomplish. I don’t think it’s jealousy – more of a fear of loss. But I don’t know. I can see she would rather not talk about it.

When my Shadow Maker is activated… I go fetal and then I go fanfic.

Ruth, Dawn, Jaime , Tonya, Mike, Carstens (though I don’t know her as well) all help me to set my Shadowmaker higher. Although sometimes their faith in me makes me feel fraudulent -and then I overdo the striving.

Supplies: Tricksters

Tricksters look a lot like crazymakers in the Artist’s Way books. These are actual people that find ways to stand between you and your goals, whether that’s conscious or subconscious. Most of the time it’s semi-conscious. They kind of know they’re causing you problems but they kind of don’t want to acknowledge that perhaps their spiritual and emotional emergencies are timed.

Tricksters I have known.
well, I can’t name names because tricksters are inveterate drama queens. Especially when truth telling makes them look bad.

Drama queens: people that need rescuing, usually on or around a big day of my own. It could be my birthday (more than once!) It could be the day I have a big presentation, a big party, a deadline. On these days these folks have something that needs my attention or rescue – just mine – and I’m a very bad friend if I don’t come running. Even so, I won’t be thanked (or worse, thanked in a dismissive, patronizing way) and when my big day does arrive anyway, I have actually been told by these people how my happiness makes THEM feel horrible and therefore I am a bad person for being happy. It could be a new relationship, an award, anything – these people just can’t be happy for me.

Notably the spell of three works: deny them three times and they disappear from my life.

There are so many false goals I’ve pursued I can’t even count. The perfumery was the biggest one. It was only ever meant to sustain me during my first marriage. Beyond that, I have what I need to make unique supplies since I actually do practice magic.

The false goal that tricks me these days is recognition. Recognition is a valid goal – but I am getting it for all the wrong things, sometimes in the wrong ways.

I have, since starting this path, gathered friends that do help me aim true. Tonya and Lisa, always. Jaime and Dawn are both surprising gifts. There’s no faux wisdom or authoritative delivery with them – it’s about listening and understanding. These are good people.

The Right to Write: the Tangled Walk

The assignment is “go for a walk… untangle a problem.” I decided to fix the problem of my plus-size fashion blog in my mind, and head to the coffee shop 1.2 miles off to the east. I took my camera. I saw things – wonderful things. I found lavender sprouting wild from the corner of a property, overseen by apple trees. I saw the earliest signs of fall, on the trees that always turn first. I found manhole covers with giant petals painted around them. A man with a strange, broad nose and a small dog with an aura that reached out like a hound commented on the holes on the street. I ate a croissant, drank cafe au lait, wondered what it will be like to do the exact same thing in Paris. My hands leave greasy fingerprints on the copy of the Northeaster newspaper.

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On the way back, I thought sad things. They were not necessarily true things. About how other people do not celebrate my life – which is not true. At a throwaway telemarketing job in college, a woman made a point of throwing me a goodbye party. This was all the more gratifying as a former classmate that bullied me in school had to sit and smile through all the proceedings, and while I never enjoy watching people seethe, I did enjoy her seeing that she was alone in thinking of me as a lesser being. At Mankato State, co-workers sprung a surprise birthday cake on me.  I never got wedding showers or graduation parties; only Mike’s family sent me sympathy cards when Dad died –  but I did, at different and highly unexpected points in my life,  get acknowledgment. I may not feel or sense appreciation from people who “should” appreciate me (no one is obligated to.) But I am deeply appreciated, and from the most unexpected of places.

I worked my way through Audubon park, marveling that I never noticed the trail cutting back onto a residential street. I wondered at the people who lived in the apartment/house overlooking it. I thought of a friend I haven’t seen since January; I miss him, and I think he is angry with me. I shove away my feelings of failure over this.

Anger at another friend visits me.  He is quite impressed with himself for losing weight – and if he is happier, I am happy for him – but who is proselytizing his experience as though it is a formula for ALL experience, despite a complete absence of medical credentials to support his unintentionally bullying contentions. His intention is to motivate. His understanding that the body and its appearance is secondary to its miraculous capacities is still lacking. I feel attacked, but I know that whatever this is about, it’s not my battle – and on the unlikely chance I am being attacked, the real cause has nothing to do with this bio-political difference. If the second option is the case, I honestly don’t care what the problem is.

I otherwise wholly appreciate his motivation, as I attempt much the same thing in a more gentle manner.

I don’t know where the sad thoughts came from. I don’t know what triggered it. I found a new handmade bag shop, full of miraculous objects cut in rhinestones and made from upcycled everything. A dog with a zipper up its back sat over a bowl. Mother of pearl watches and cameos shared space with giant fleur-de-lis necklaces. Nothing should have made me so suddenly sad.

On the way home, I reconjured my original examination of the plus size blog. I realized I had solved nothing, and concluded that things aren’t clear yet. I need to work through more trauma, more sad, to make more room on the interior work-table for such a powerful project. I need to spend more energy on clearing and cleansing, and to leave things as they are for now.

I checked my mail on the way back into my apartment. I “clearing” kit I ordered from Lucky Mojo arrived, much sooner than I expected. I consider it my answer. For now, clear, cleanse, center, and focus on my spirit. That is my answer. The solutions will come to me later.

 

 

10 items with emotional weight

Hmmm, this is hard as I expend effort not getting attached to “stuff.”

  1. My God Jar – for me, it really is about getting something out of my head and seeing that the universe takes care of it. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, and often enough it becomes moot by itself.
  2. My Artist’s Way books – right now, these are my guiding light. Really.
  3. My disappearing TARDIS mug – I’ve wanted one since I was a little girl. So I gave it to myself. Every time I see it, I squee a little.
  4. My protection charm jewelry – I actually do feel a little safer when I wear it
  5. My wedding ring – It represents a commitment to a partnership, but it also reminds me of the struggle I have between social acceptability and my true desires. It also makes me wish the bike Mike bought me years ago wasn’t stolen, as it was the most remarkable of his romantic gestures.
  6. Tiny! spoons – I get entirely too amused by tiny, tiny teaspoons, so Mike bought me a pack of them. I use them for mixing measures of goat’s milk and for eating ice cream slowly. I get a small giggle whenever I see them.
  7. The Daria print that hangs behind my desk – it was given to me by friends I met in Daria fandom; while life has made us less present in each others’ lives, I still cherish and feel grateful for the  experience I have had and still have with that connection.
  8. My book boxes – I have these boxes that look like books; I buy one a year. I use these to store my journals and the like. While it’s not a particularly clever disguise, it satisfies me – these banal book-boxes that contain my secrets in plain sight. It’s more about knowing the weight of the boxes is the weight of my journals, which is the weight of my inner life.
  9. My topaz ring – It was my sweet 16 ring, that my parents gave me a day late, alongside wilted roses after the dog ate my birthday cake. I wish they’d had the sense to just throw out the roses, but my family was always so wrapped up in themselves that they couldn’t even conceive I had emotions about anything, least of all on my birthday. It’s a yellow topaz, which have been mined out of existence. You can only get them on antique rings. It’s my birthright, enough so that I had my father move it to his safe deposit box so my sister couldn’t steal it and pawn it. It’s the only sign I have at all that my family at any point respected and valued my life.
  10. Tiny Willendorf – a woman who was a member of MSUPagan brought a tiny Willendorf back from a festival for me. She said that its unapologetic fat-and-sexy energy reminded her of me. I’ve always cherished it, and I do find its presence reassuring.

the Right to Write: 10 items in my environment

1. Camera

Black and rectangular, its wristband trails like a fuzzy tail, as though a squirrel went through a dishwasher.

2. The postage scale

Atop my computer, a brighter silver than my CPU. It represents convenience, efficiency, the cost of $15 a month. I’m not even making enough these days to justify the cost, but I so love the convenience.

3. Rubber stamp

It reminds me of a judge’s gavel, with the wood handle. It looks so official. You’d never know it’s for stamping “please recycle” on all my packages.

4. The blue pencil holder

Purchased in a package with a bright blue stapler and bright blue scissors. The stapler and its matching remover broke or disappeared years ago. The scissors live in a box in my bedroom, where I use it in collage/art journaling. It is metal, smooth, reflective.  I remember how strangely my roommate looked at it when I first brought it home, back in that period between divorce and the next cohabitation.

5. Bluetooth

Black, tiny, the speaker phone pointing upward. I haven’t used it yet, and I don’t like it as well as my old bluetooth, the actual bluetooth. Given that the cyberman episodes of Doctor Who have left my terrified of these things, I’m surprised at my own brand preference/peculiar snobbery. It really is a stupid thing to care about, and brand preferences are in all but a few situations a manner of creating limitations rather than overcoming them.

6. Two bottles of acrylic spray sealer, with white caps and lavender labels.

Little gay army soldiers, standing at attention until I must complete my next act of decoupage.

7. Lavender scrunchy, strangely textured.

I took it off and forgot it – usually I just put my hair up with colored pencils. I probably wore this home after a workout.

8. The red stapler

Purchased after I started working for myself. It’s a good quality swingline, and makes a satisfying click noise. It’s come to represent the point where you can choose to be a victim, or to NOT be a victim. My former neighbor would often bitch about how his own red stapler was stolen; the moral of his story was “I was a victim.” Notably, he made no effort to take the stapler back. In the movie, the guy got his stapler and a lifetime on a beach vacation. NOT being a victim. A bizarre little talisman for me in my self-employed life.

9. The cigar box, with a Janus-like image of Antony and Cleopatra in a seal on the side.

I used to smoke cigars, but this I got from a woman off of Craig’s list. It houses post-it notes, still valid blogging ideas for Fat Chic. I haven’t touched it in over six months, as my energy is spread elsewhere.

10. A polished rock with a bear claw printed on it.

Picked up in a grab bag sale from a local occult shop; I don’t know of a particular meaning for it. The bear claw is a left claw, and I am left-handed, so I appreciate the association.

the Right to Write: Bad Writing on Purpose

according to the every awesome Weekly World News, this is a chupcabra. It could also be a blurry chihuahua.

For reasons of pure villainy, Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath have been raised by the dead by two Nietchzian cults for what one witness calls a “Celebrity Death Match.”

When asked as to the purpose of such a match, a black-clad adherent of the nihilist ways responded, “Nobody knows, and nobody cares.” He then lit a cigarette, ashing and igniting a nearby tree on his way across the parking lot to the Har Mar mall. “If you’ll excuse me, we have a serious schedule of standing outside under trees looking spooky,” he said.

A copy of the Necronomicon was found on top of a Cub foods garbage can, near the trees where the nihilists hang out and smoke. The Necronomicon had no comment.

Further probing (we asked his mom) revealed that while Mr. Hemingway and Ms. Plath are indeed flesh again, they too seem apathetic as to the outcome of the match. Upon inquiry, Plath seemed far more interested in expressing distress at the rapid disappearance of honeybees.

Hemingway refused an interview unless compensated with Viagra.