Self-Isolation

I haven’t been particularly close to people lately. I honestly don’t really want to be though it does get lonely and painful at times when all you want is someone to snuggle with or just to talk to for a lengthy period. However, I got burnt badly one time too many and the result was that I started to retreat from allowing people to get too close. This process was unconscious at first to be honest, but I…just am tired of trying to make people like me. Too tired of pretending to be something I’m not.

It’s even occured to me that it’s the act of trying to make people like me and not letting myself act naturally that has put me in these situations in which I’ve been hurt. That I’ve been too focused on trying to please others to get something vaguely like something I want instead of taking care of myself emotionally and learning to say no when I’m offered something that isn’t enough instead of settling.

Problem is that I’m not entirely sure who I am anymore. I know who I once was in more than one respect, but I don’t know who I am now and how to unify the parts that are me. I almost feel lost and I’m so tired of feeling that way. Thankfully, I still have a connection with my primary deity Veles and know that he’s understanding and patient with me trying to figure things out.

There’s been small signs that I’ve been getting better as I start recovering from the job that I had to leave for health reasons. Things such as researching topics that I’m interested in and making stupid jokes for example. I’ve been spending a lot of my time managing my reactions to things and trying to untangle things, which makes me raw in such a way that I don’t feel like I’m really in a place to regularly interact with people.

In short, this is basically why I haven’t posted on here in forever. I just didn’t have anything to say, burnt out as I was. Plus blogging about one’s spiritual and religious practice is a type of vulnerability I wasn’t up to. Maybe I’ll be up to it in the future, but right now taking care of myself and getting myself to a point where I can feel comfortable with people again.

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I Will Not Tolerate This in My Heathenry

One of the most formative experiences of my childhood was an encounter that has strongly stayed in my memory ever since. It was also when I learned that such things as Neo-Nazis existed.

At one point when me and my parents were on vacation, we stopped at a small store that from what I remember was pretty much in the backwoods. I don’t know which state we were in, but it was still a pretty isolated place from what I could remember. We stopped there because we saw an advert saying that they had a kind of brand of ice cream that we liked (Hershey’s Ice Cream, which is oddly enough not related to the Hershey Chocolate Company despite their geographical proximity).

We never got the ice cream.

My parents, once we got close enough and maybe interacted with the owner a bit, saw the Swatzika displayed in one of the store windows and we left in a hurry, my mind impressed with the fact that was a bad sign, that this person was a person who was potentially dangerous.

And they are dangerous people. I consider them more of a danger to the United States than any foreign national. While everyone talks about the 9/11 attacks, I remember the Oklahoma City Bombing. Prior to 9/11 that was the deadliest terriorist attack on American soil and still is the deadliest one caused by a domestic terrorist, which we seem to often forget exist. Timothy McVeigh shared many of the ideas that later Tea Party members would also espouse. He also was interested in white supremacist ideas.

I remember seeing the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing on the TV when I was eight years old. I remember hearing about the children who died in the daycare. It was also a time when I was dealing with a lot of personal fear in my life.

Before 9/11, I was never taught to fear Muslims. I did not learn to fear them or hate them because of it either. I was 15 and more aware of the world. Instead, I had learned that Nazis and Neo-Nazis were the worst thing in the world and these are the people infecting the Heathen community. I find their presence in my most likely religious community to be deplorable and sickening.

And this is why I’ve decided to finally identify as a Heathen because I want to make it clear that this is not welcome in my religious spaces for if you are a white supremacist, that tells me more than just that you are racist. It probably also means you are anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic, cissexist and ableist. That you would consider my existence and the existence of the people that I love to be abhorrent and because of this, you have never been part of my people and therefore I do not owe frith to you in any sense. You are not welcome in my home. Hospitality is not due to you from me. I will not engage in ritual with you. If you call yourself folkish, then you are the enemy and do not belong in Heathenry.

I may be accused of “betraying” my people, but these people were never my people and they never considered me to be one of theirs. AFA and other folkish Heathens like them are the Daesh of Heathenry. You are the poison in our community, recruiting people for your campaigns of hate via the internet. And you will be banished from my doorway if you ever show your face, for you are incapable of being a good guest.

My Polytheism

I want to write a ‘My Polytheism’ post, adding to the diversity of posts out there about what each person’s polytheism looks like, but I have not been feeling very worshipful as of late. It’s hard to admit to myself, but I’m angry at my gods and spirits. Angry at myself too. Angry at most of the whole goddamned world.

Maybe that’s what my Polytheism looks like right now. An altar in need of work and renewal, but not having the energy to put the effort in. A knowing that Veles is more concerned than annoyed about that. That miasma does not play a single fucking role in my relationship to the gods. That they know that every shower is a victory against the time when I found it difficult to take showers regularly. A knowing that self-care is the goal, not some ideal purity that I must achieve just to deal with a deity.

It’s knowing that my gods know that I have ugly screaming meltdowns (though not so much anymore, I’ve learned to manage myself before I get to that point) and that they’ll still be there after they happen and during them. That I can cry on their shoulders when I have no one physically there in my life.

I’m upset at Veles for not bringing the thing I want into my life, but he says “be patient and wait” even though I am tired of waiting and struggling. My polytheism is doubt of the gods and that they really think that things are going to be okay, but trying to believe in them anyways. That there’s a reason I didn’t get the job where I wanted to move. Maybe there’s something I still need to do here or someone I need to meet here or I just need more time to work on myself before moving somewhere else. Maybe the stars were wrong and didn’t align right. Who really knows the mysteries of the gods and the spirits?

I’m also angry at myself for my misery because I know it’s partly my fault.

My polytheism is also the Firebird spirit trying to get me to come out more by positing it as a game. Sie is just as much as a trickster as Veles is, though their styles are different. Sie gives me dares. “Come out and chase me. Do things that are fun.”

My polytheism is a weird mixture of Norse, Slavic and Eclectic. Pop Culture lives in there: Sailor Moon, Harry Potter, other things that are meaningful. I still have yet to sort that out. There’s monsters like Koschei, whose death lives in a duck and an egg and a needle who dies and dies again, but still somehow lives in more stories. He lives in so many stories, even ones where he has a different name. My polytheism is also about all those stories. And creating. And shiny things that have been created. And dragons.

And tripping over your own shadow – or was it a spirit? – when walking in the park playing Pokemon Go because I’m still a child at heart who grew up with computers and is amazed at how far we’ve come in technology.

Finally, there is that strange bit where everything is tied back into my love of history. Perhaps the way I honor the dead of the battlefield may seem impious to such (naming a high level Pokemon after the general who died on that field, caught as the thunderstorm rolled in, but he’d be amazed at a Black man being president more so than my silly game), but I honor them in my own way. I’m a nerd and I honor like nerds do.

And as always, keep going forward as I have a job to go to, a blessing I can thank Veles for.

An Olympiad: Part One

It’s been four years since the last Summer Olympics.

It feels like it’s been longer. So much has happened in those four years.

On the night of the opening ceremony in 2012, I did not watch it. Instead I was at a gathering of people, getting to know new people. As much as it sometimes feels like a mistake as I ended up on the radar of a toxic person, it also planted the idea that I could look for a job in the city that the gathering was in as a stepping stone out of the small tourist town I used to live in.

The toxic person tried to reel me in with promises of things and I was slow in accepting and because of that I started to see patterns that were far too familiar. Trying to get me to move into their home even though I just met them and promises of a possible relationship. When I got the first chance to get out of this situation, I told them I needed to work on myself by myself and contact stopped. I blocked the person who I found to be toxic on as many places as I knew I could.

(This part of the story continues later, but not until after I had gained a certain stability that made me less vulnerable to their tactics.)

I fell into an episode of major depression on top of my usual background depression as a result of walking away from the social group that I had been interacting with. I came out of that situation with the feeling that I had no real value unless I had money and I was unemployed at the time. I had been made to feel guilty about the fact that I had not managed to get employed yet by the toxic person I had been targeted by even though I had Aspergers, knew I could not do retail or food service and had only just figured out how to get into office work via a temporary clerical work pool. This particular toxic person was unimpressed by the fact that all I had done was take the test to apply to get into said temp pool.

That was October 2012.

What I did then was write. I expanded on an idea that I had been toying around, writing a story centered around Koschei the Deathless as Catherynne Valente’s work had not satisfied me as I had wished it would when I read it. I combined it with another idea I was playing with, one that dealt with a dark lord who really wasn’t a dark lord. NaNoWriMo 2012 arrived and I threw myself into my writing, writing an entirely indulgent story that played on the things I wanted at the time, drew out onto paper the ache I had left from this toxic person who made me feel less.

This story was mine, though I would become very embarrassed about it in 2013. But it was a shadow work I needed to do and besides, first drafts are not final drafts. I let my main character hurt others and hurt themselves, become intensely involved with a demon (who would later become a land-spirit) and become a monster himself. I put in too much sympathy for the main character’s father and fridged his mother. But I wrote regardless because that toxic person did not understand why people read or why they wrote or why fiction sang to people’s blood.

That was the thing I found the most off putting to me. That they could promise relationships and room in their home, but they could not understand the most fundamental part of me, the most important part of me: that I was a creator, a person who imagines, dreams, writes and makes people’s blood sing just with the written word. The story was always the most important thing to me and I wanted someone who understand that. They would never understand that and it was not my job to teach them even if they had asked.

They were not a person I could allow into my world.

I also found a writing community online, though I was slow to get involved with it. I only managed to post one story to it before the end of 2012. That story is not canon in that universe anymore.

I met Veles, though I did not know that it was really Veles until the next year. He reached to me through the story via the character who first started off as the demon who seduced the main character with promises of power. Magical power that is. I just knew I was working with a spirit that lived in the other world, was associated with serpents and identified as a jotnar, inline with what my practice was (and still is to a certain together) like.

Of course, I also worked with Koschei via my writing. But in a sense Koschei stood for myself at that time. Because I felt like a monster who was too messed up to be desirable and that I needed to make myself better if someone would ever want me. Also I started wondering if I was transgender that year, but did not talk about it much with anyone except for a few people online and some people in the social group that had included the toxic person.

The toxic person said some pretty horrible things even if they were genderfluid themselves. They implied that the only “right” way to transition was to use natural foods to boost your testosterone and expressed disappointment that a DFAB genderqueer person decided to transition, including getting chest surgery. I was, at the time, a DFAB genderqueer person wondering if I was transgender and if I wanted to transition.

That was another reason I could not be around her.

2012 ended. I barely remember what I felt at the time, which probably is telling how bad my depression was at the time.

A prayer for protection

Dear Veles, please protect me from those who would take advantage of me and abuse me. I am scared of what is out there in the world and while there are good people, I am afraid that none of them would want me. That I am meant to be prey only. I do not wish to be either predator or prey. I just want to be me. Please help me find the way to that place.

Thank you.

(In the interests of putting more devotional content on here rather than just my personal shadow/heart work stuff.)

A fallow time?

The world is hurting and I don’t know what to do. My job ties my hands when it comes to activism, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t care and tells me to go out and do something, damn the consequences. Part of that is because honestly, I am tired of my job and I want out. And as I don’t deal well with financial insecurity, that means I need a new job. I am, unfortunately, not particularly experienced with searching for jobs and I am overwhelmed by the task of doing so. I want a job in a new city and there’s so many places to look that I don’t know where to start looking.

Plus the heat of summer is getting to me. This is the time of fire and storms and heat and I do not do well with two of those. The storms are the relief to the fire and heat and those I welcome. Water is a blessing at this time of the year. Remembering to drink water and stay hydrated is important and every time I drink from my glass or water bottle, I remember the blessing that water is for life. When I feel out of sorts and overwhelmed, sometimes it’s because I’m not hydrated properly.

And sometimes in a battle, the most kindest thing you can do is to provide is a drink of water.  Right now is a time that is testing people and the gestures you need to make might not be the loud ones, but the small ones just to help a person get a little further along. What I do at my job does that at the very least, even if I am stressed out by it. And maybe summer is the fallow time in my spiritual calendar. A time when I need to rest up and take stock of where I am so I know what to do when I finally have the energy again to move forward.

Then maybe I’ll know what to do then. In the meantime, I can survive this.

On Monsters

A few years ago, I read a post by someone about how blessed they were for having a partner that loved them despite their monstrous self. Of being different and mentally ill and trans gender and all the things that they were told they were not good because of.

I hated reading that post because it reminded me of all the things I did not and could not have. Because I am a monster that people do not want. They turn me away because I am too scary. I am only useful as a friend with benefits. Not as an actual person worth paying attention to and acknowledging in public. I am a dark secret that one keeps in their closet. I thought, I want to be something more. Something not hidden.

Part of the hiding is my own doing. I’m too scared because people who have been nice to me at first in the past turned out to be abusive and their niceness was only part of the ruse. I learned to not trust nice people because what if that was just a front. I am still suspicious of niceness. What do they want from me? What do they want to use me for? What do they want to shame me for? When will they use my emotions as a weapon against me?

Maybe I’m a monster who can’t be loved because no one can get close enough because I have learned to distrust kindness and more apt to bite the hand that reaches out to them than to respond nicely. Maybe because I’m so used to being told that I’m bad and that I’m awful because I do awful things and yes, I do bad things and so that makes me a bad person undeserving of love forever because bad people don’t get love.

And maybe my abusers were right to hurt me because I am an awful person. I mean. If I wasn’t an awful person, I would have a happy fulfilling relationship right? I mean that’s the club you need to be in to be accepted now. I’m 30 and no one wants me in a romantic sense and I don’t think anything is going to change because I’m a horrible trans man who clearly only just wants to be part of the privileged group. I don’t suffer as much as trans women so therefore I get written out of trans narratives and I’m regulated to the sidelines and being told that I am being represented by a person whose goddess castrates men, using a mythology that is relevant to trans femme experiences, but claims she stands for all trans people.

Trans men need their own mythology. But whatever, we’re monsters and just the same as cis men. We don’t need support because men are supposed to be able to stand on their own, but that’s toxic masculinity bullshit. Stop forcing that shit on us. I don’t care who you are, cis or trans. Stop forcing us and shoehorning us into toxic masculinity. I am tired of being invisible. I am tired of being a monster just because I am a DFAB who is more on the masculine side of gender fluidity. I still like things that are coded in this modern day as “female”. I still sometimes want to wear skirts and nailpolish and care about things. I hate the gender binary. I hate the fact that people want to enforce the gender binary by telling trans people that they have to stick to it just to be accepted as their identities.

I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore, but I’m tired of not having a local support network because I have no idea how to connect with others because of my aspergers. I’m tired of being a neurodivergent genderqueer trans gender queer monster that is not desirable by anyone. I’m tired. I don’t know where to go for help. I’m tired of helplines and chats where I can talk and talk and talk, but nothing gets done. I don’t feel the touch of another person’s hand on my skin. I’m afraid that someone will hurt me if I let them touch me.

I’m tired of hurting and having to protect myself and hurting myself in the process and I’m tired of feeling excluded because I am not normal and when I try and say I am not, people try and tell me that everyone is weird and I’m tired of my issues being downplayed. I’m tired of being surrounded by straight people offline. I’m tired of being a lonely queer person with no queer people to connect with.

I’m tired of being a monster who is unloved because he is a monster.

I hate being reminded of what I desperately want and cannot have.