I am open, and I am willing

Hey folks. I know I haven’t been writing here much lately. I’m working on my book a bit, it’s coming along nicely, actually. I got a bit of a boost from a reader here who commented with support for my writing (thanks!) and got going on it. Also, I haven’t had anything sworddancerly to report. I haven’t heard from any of my biological family, I’ve not been triggered by anything and life is going pretty well. Mostly I’m just busy at work.

I’ve also started working out with a personal trainer. For folks that can afford it, I recommend it. I would say overall it’s cheaper than joining a gym, because there’s no way I’d go regularly to a gym. Too many thin, fit people there, it’s off-putting. And the music is loud, and… well you get the picture. My trainer brings us to a gym that’s only for trainers, so the only people there are out of shape, older people like me, and their trainers. My wife and I go together.

On the survivor front, I made it really clear to the trainer that I was a “no pain, no pain” kind of gal and not a “no pain, no gain” gal, and that one of my main motivations for working with a trainer was to avoid injury or being too sore or exhausted to work at my main job. I just wanted to learn to have fun moving my body, and do things that made me feel strong and powerful. I like working with the trainer because I can ask questions right away like: “am I doing this right?” or “my knee hurts when I do that, is there another way to do it?”.

I'm guessing Xena would know how to dance on a sociopath's grave....Photocredit: Unknown.

I’m having a lot more fun than I thought I would. I really like the free weights and feeling all strong lifting them. I’ve got a big body (tall and big boned, not just curvy) so I do have quite a bit of power and it’s nice to feel it. I’m actually bigger than your average guy, which is kind of nice to realize if I’m walking on a street at night. I’m aiming to be a big strong sword-dancing amazon. I’m getting what are starting to look like fit-looking muscle bulges on my arms too. Okay, I’m starting to fit the lesbian stereotype, and that’s fine. If I end up looking like Xena or Wonder Woman, that’s just fine with me. (Actually, I do look quite a lot like Xena already…)

My wife is having some challenges lately to do with her work, and is pretty depressed. As per normal, she won’t let me do anything to help, so I’m kind of stuck here waiting for her to figure it out. Depressed people aren’t very creative in thinking about solutions to their own problems or seeing options, which is frustrating to be around. She’s also got chronic pain and what I think is sleep apnea. None of which she’ll do a lot about. I know, it’s hard when you’re depressed to do anything. I think back to when I was depressed in my early healing, though, and know that I fought pretty persistently through it, sneaking around my limitations. Okay, I didn’t have energy to do anything, I’d work on getting enough rest. Okay, I was crying all the time, I’d give myself permission to cry as much as I wanted till it cleared. Okay, I was low energy all the time, I’d make sure I at least took my vitamins.

I’m not one of those perky pollyanna types, really I’m not. I think I’m pretty honest about calling it as I see it when there is a bad situation going on.

Speaking of bad situations, my country is going to hell in a handbasket and I’m really worried about it. We’ve elected a prime-minister (our national head of government) who is evil. George Bush-calibre evil. He’s on record as wanting to dismantle our universal health care system and social safety net. He squeaked in the last two times with a minority government, which means he can’t do much that would really annoy the other two parties elected, but now he’s got a majority, which means he can really do anything he wants. This is one guy I’d like to dance a sword dance for (or on).

This guy is anti-marriage equality, anti-women, and a right-wing religious nutball with creepy eyes. Someone put a video on youtube of him speaking, comparing his manner and words to Emperor Palpatine (who later is the evil emperor, Darth Vader’s boss) from Star Wars, and the comparison is apt. I like to refer to him as ‘Voldemort’. He thinks global warming is a hoax, sent our citizens to for ‘enhanced questioning” in other countries by less torture-averse allies of the US and has taken down pictures of all the past Canadian leaders and replaced them with multiple copies of his own face.  I just can’t believe that the good, decent, let’s take care of each other citizens of Canada elected this creep. He seems to have a lot of money behind him, and used it to saturate the airwaves with ads, particularly attack ads on the other parties. He’s sneaky and Machiavellian, and is right now dismantling all the government accountability and freedom of information services so that when he really gets going doing evil, it will be hard to find out before it’s too late.

It’s kind of like the ‘abuser always win’ problem with survivors. Justice for us (well me) has been so sparse it’s easy to get hopeless. My religious Pagan self says, it’s part of the Goddess’ plan perhaps, and sometimes a loss is the way to a greater gain. Our most progressive party in Canada also won a lot of seats in the last election and is now official opposition, but with a right wing majority in parliament, all they can really do is complain.

The nutballs within the Christian faith (don’t worry, we all have our nutballs, I’m not being anti-Christian here) are going on about how we are in a time of tribulation and the world is going to end and such. I have to say it seems like a time of tribulation to me too, but they’re causing it. A lot of them are against doing anything for the environment because they want to get the end of the world  over with. I say to them, “Don’t you want to hedge your bets?”. It seems like doing evil (destroying the environment and making species extinct and people starve to death  and such…) in the name of religion is still evil. Just saying.

So I’ve been doing a lot of praying lately. My God(dess) is more of an ’empower the people and you sort it out’ kind of god, which isn’t nearly as comforting as a “don’t you worry your pretty head, I’ve got it all in hand” kind of god. The Earth, Gaia, a living and most likely sentient organism, has an complexity and intelligence that is vast and beyond me. She makes this planet function so incredibly beautifully, and it breaks my heart to know that she is wounded by our actions.  I can only hope that each of our hope, goodness and willingness to take right action in the world on Her behalf will be enough to overcome and heal this cancer of greed the way the way a healthy body routinely dispatches cancer cells before they get out of hand. May the less literal soul of Canada do the same.

Photocredit: unknown

As children’s author Dr. Seuss would say “unless people like you care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not”. The only generally agreed upon moral rule of Neo-Paganism is “an it harm none, do as thou wilt” , which means: As long as it harms no-one or nothing, do as you will. The quality of ‘will’ is important in Neo-Paganism, where we literally believe that you can will things to happen to a certain degree, much in the way that other people pray for things to happen. I am ‘willing’ everything to work out in the best possible way as hard as I can right now. I am ‘willing’ the world supply of Goodness to be blessed and increase.  Anything more specific is too simplistic to have an impact on this chaos; I’m trusting in the mysterious forces for good in the universe to work things out, and am willing to cooperate in any way I can.  Compost, eat organic, sustainable transportation, stick up for others, stick up for myself, vote, help ethical politicians and groups, speak up and out, I am willing.

Holly Near has a great song the lyrics of which were written in response to the US’s dark period governed by George Bush. I can only hope we get our own Canadian version of Obama to clean up the mess this bastard is making too. It’s a grieving song and a hopeful alliance with goodness and change song. Here are the lyrics.

“I am open, and I am willing, for to be hopeless, would seem so strange. It dishonours those who go before us, so lift me up to the light of change.  There is hurting in my family, there is sorrow in  my town. There is a panic all across the nation. There is wailing the whole world round. But I am open, and I am willing, for to be hopeless would seem so strange, it dishonours those who go before us. So lift me up to the light of change. Give me a mighty oak, to hold my confusion, and give me a desert, to hold my fears. Give me a sunset, to hold my wonder. And give me an ocean, to hold my tears. May the children see more clearly, and may the elders be more wise. May the winds of change caress us even though it burns our eyes. For I am open and I am willing, for to be hopeless would seem so strange. It dishonours those who go before us, so life me up to the light of change.”

May it be so.

More great Holly Near songs: Gentle Angry People ; Fired Up

Bailing vs Being Self Protective, a case study…

Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.- Albert Schweitzer
I’m fine. All is well. There’s no drama, generally or abuse wise, in my life.

Except, I feel edgy and menstrual, which in itself is probably the cause of the edgy.

I have a performance this Friday. I’m not looking forward to it. I’d like to be better prepared, but feel like I’d be wimping out if I bailed.

I really really want to bail. Firstly, my guitarist who would normally play for me can’t make it, so if I want accompaniment, I have to sing with a recording. I’ve never done that before, and don’t have a lot of faith in the sound tech for this event. This in itself gives me a good reason to bail, as I told the organizer my acceptance was contingent on my guitarist being able to make it.

What is actually a bit worse is that I volunteered to help with the opening blessing, and yesterday got an email letting me know who the other priestesses are to be. One of them is a woman who is an ex housemate. We had to kick her out of the shared house we lived in because she was bullying me.  What this looked like was a lot of yelling and imposing body language on her part and a lot of cringing and ineffective arguing on mine, much like my experience was with my father/abuser. Generally she did the worst stuff when no-one was around to witness, until one day my wife came home when she was at it and intervened. We lived together during the time shortly after my father/abuser was in a car accident and I thought he would die, so I was quite fragile and definitely in no shape to defend myself the way I would normally do. It is the first time since I left my home with my parents that I have felt that afraid and helpless.  At one point I was so afraid of her that I left my wife and dog at the house and went to live with a friend for two weeks, so I could make it through to the time she was due to move out. It was a close thing as to whether she would succeed in bullying me to leave or would leave herself.

This happened over six years ago, and I have run into her at events from time to time since then. Mostly I ignore her and don’t initiate contact with her, and that works out tolerably. Since she seems to have gotten into leadership roles in the community, I’ve mostly bowed out completely so I don’t have to be around her. This has cost me opportunities to priestess and be in community, but honestly there are other things about this community that don’t fit well either. Priestessing a blessing together would require interaction.

Generally, the more orthodox Pagan protocol for these types of situations, is that if two members of a circle have a conflict they cannot resolve, it is the responsibility of the parties to put it aside during the ceremony completely, or if they cannot, to withdraw. It’s kind of like “speak now or forever hold your peace” at weddings. Some circles even ask “is there peace on the circle” before starting to ensure that people have a chance to withdraw if they need to. I’m on the orthodox end of things when it comes to pagan ethics, and this community isn’t, so withdrawal wouldn’t be required of me by community standards, but is absolutely required by my own standards.

I have stopped going to religious events in my former community because this bully is quite active in leadership roles. At the time, she was angry that she was kicked out of our house, not accountable for her behavour (as bullies seldom are) and has no doubt spread her perspective among the other people in our formerly shared community. One or two of her friends, when I have run into them, show signs that they have been told something (I’m not sure what) that makes them cooler toward me. The way Pagan opening ceremonies work is that the people doing the opening have to stay to the end and participate in the closing, so I wouldn’t be able to leave if the going got tough.

My third reason for wanting to bail is that, I lead a choir that has offered to perform that night, and we’re just not ready to perform publicly.

The fourth reason is that there are lots of other performers, and we probably won’t be on till about three hours in, and I’ll be fried from the priestessing and the waiting and even less likely to be able to perform competently because of it.

One other glitch is that the organizer has disclosed to me that she has BPD and I know rejection, if she takes it that way, might be particularly painful for her.

I don’t want to do a bad job in a hostile environment as my first time performing in awhile in front of people who may have been poisoned against me. I don’t think it would be good for my currently fragile performer’s soul.

I am an amazon; I can get through anything, but do I want to? I really should let the organizer know now, so she can find someone else for the opening.

_____

Okay, I’ve finished drafting my bail email to the organizer. I haven’t sent it yet, but I should do soon, as the gig is less than a week away.

Now I’m not certain. Is this a challenge I should accept, making myself visible and possibly a target, or a valid warning that I should avoid?