I disgust myself.
This week has been particularly difficult for me. Each morning, I wake up with tears in my eyes. And throughout the day, the feeling of an overpowering need to cry picks up or dissipates. There is no single event that pushes me to the brink of feeling as though I need to cry. I may have been driving to work and listening to the radio host, discussing the news that morning. I may have been sitting at my desk, attempting to figure out a billing issue that’s been going on for nearly a year now. I may have been laughing with my son as I try to tickle his feet. None of these particular instances – and there are many more of same vein – that do not really make anyone sit down and say, “Why, yes. I am feeling particularly sad about this thing and so I shall cry about it.” It’s not like I cried, either. I’m not one of those “let’s cry” kind of people, though I’ve been known to force the crying issue on purpose just to have a cathartic moment after a particular bad time. Whatever the cause behind these tears, it has led me to some other parts of myself that I have not been too thrilled to look over.
My mundane life has been very hard this week, which isn’t surprising. I have about $15 to my name right now. There are things that we need in this house. I’m nearly out of deodorant and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to steal some of TH’s to see me through before I can get to the store and purchase some. We have one roll of toilet paper, which needs to last until next weekend. (I’m thinking about asking TH to steal some from his mom’s house.) I noticed my front driver side tire is beginning to crack – similar to how the passenger side was cracking, but this time it’s near the rim and not near the tread. We’re nearly out of food since food stamps has decided to give me money each month, but has also decided that everyone needs a new card with their DMV photo on it and so, I have no card with which to use those benefits which started last month. (Since my last card was canceled in July and they decided on this picture-on-the-card thing, they won’t reactivate it so that I can feed my family.) I have about a half tank of gas, which has to last me until we get paid on Friday. So, I can’t go anywhere this weekend – such as to TH’s mother’s house to steal toilet paper – just to be on the safe side. It takes me about a quarter tank of gas to get to and from work each day, so I am going to have to borrow money, I think.
This has all added up – amid other things that I haven’t quite been stewing about in the last twenty four hours on the financial front – to some pretty depressing times.
Work has been particularly difficult this week, too. I’m not really surprised. My job sounds like it may be easy when I make random comments about it, but it takes a lot of out of you. I am a problem solver and a project manager. The problem solving is what takes up most of my time since the projects I work are usually months’ long affairs that don’t necessarily need my attention every day. Since we work repair situations for every single one of our clients – a unique service that only our telecommunications consulting company offers – it can get pretty crazy with the amount of repairs each one of us has going at any particular moment. I’ve been shunting most of my repairs to our newest team member who is… not cut out for this position. She’s getting it, but only after eight weeks of constant training and monitoring. We also suffer from severe personality conflicts and since I’m the one who has had to spend the most time with her during training, this is also pretty fucking draining. What makes it worse is that I have told my supervisor under no uncertain terms that she is not cut out for this job in any capacity and I keep getting overruled. When I brought this up to the other supervisor on staff – twice – I was given push back. I’ve stopped voice my opinions.
The worst part is that a lot of these repair situations should be fairly easy and they are. However, since I am having this new person do them all while I work on higher level project work and billing issues, I constantly have to take time out of my day to explain to her, again and again, why we do the things we do the way that we do them. She tells me that it’s “not logical” and that we have to “follow the truth.” Well, just because I know what the problem is – and nine times out of ten, when a repair comes in and I get a specific response from the site, I can tell you what the issue is – that doesn’t mean that she can’t follow the trail that we have to follow. She thinks that she understands how to do the job, but it’s a lot harder than what she thinks it is. We have to work within the framework that the carriers provide for us, which is usually convoluted and asinine. (I’m pretty sure the telephone carriers do this on purpose so that people won’t complain about issues with their phone lines or file billing disputes… thus why we all have jobs.) She is constantly coming back to me after I make her do something that she thinks is “stupid or ridiculous” and says that I’m right about X, Y, and Z. I know I’m correct. I’ve been working here for nearly a year now and I do know what I’m talking about.
I stopped complaining about her or the arguments she gives me. It’s like my voice isn’t being heard, so why bother?
No wonder why I often want to cry [while there].
My astral life has been very difficult this week, as well. To anyone who has been talking to me about this or has read my last two astral posts here, then you know I’ve been “white room’d.” I haven’t been able to leave the room since the 27th of October and it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to leave any time soon. This really wouldn’t be so bad except that the astral self that I am is very active and is always journeying. Literally, I do not stay in any particular place for more than a few hours. I do not make relationships with anyone or anything outside of the gods and spirits I have relationships with in this realm. I am a wonderer in the likes of which amazes me because, in this place I am very much the introvert. (Sometimes, I wonder if the personality types of our astral selves speak to the bits of ourselves, in this realm, that we wish we were like and can’t bring ourselves to be.) While I’m not alone in this white room, it’s been filled with a lot of hard truths and aching pronouncements from a certain lwa in my life.
I don’t mind that he’s able to explain things to me – and not lie about it – but it’s incredibly difficult to cage up a wild animal. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s so terrible because they’ve all conspired to cage the wild animal that I can be in that life or if it’s because, as a caged animal, I have to listen to all the horrors that I’ve been ignoring. The white room isn’t just about what’s going on over there and the integral health issues that I’ve been ignoring over there, but it’s also very much about who I am and what I’m doing over here. The bits I may not necessarily discuss, and I admit to not discussing much with anyone about this, are very painful. They aren’t quite a reliving of the traumas I’ve faced in this life as that will come later, but they are very painful anyway. Papa Legba is very much no holds barred here, but he’s kind enough to let me have the breaks I need in between each terrible truth to recover. I honestly don’t think any of the netjeru I have relationships with, even Sekhmet, would be nearly as kind about it. No, scratch that. I know that they wouldn’t. And that’s caused problems in and of themselves…
The white room is a terrible place for the animal that I am. In the few brief moments I give myself to think about this situation, I tend to envision a tiger in a very small cage, pacing back and forth and being unable to go anywhere. The cage for that tiger is the metaphor for the white room and of course, I am like the tiger. It feels very much like that. I have a difficulty with small and enclosed places, which can translate over into having hard times in large crowds. There are nights where I will wake up from doing something in that white room with a panic attack because I’ve been in that room for so long. It’s also difficult to explain how things over there can and will translate over here, but they do. The panic attacks at being stuck in a tiny place, even though it’s not really a tiny place, is enough to make me want out that much more.
But I’m at a staging point with the progress. I want to get on the next ship and do the next leg of our journey, but the rest of my soul isn’t ready yet.
And so, I wait.
And I cry.
And I whine.
And Papa Legba just lets me.
While everything is difficult, I find it harder and harder to term to the netjeru here. I’ve asked for time off from them, so this prohibits me from going to them with my anguish. I’m one of those assholes who will get what they want, realize it may not exactly be what they wanted, and then continue going with what I had asked for just out of sheer stubbornness. But, with each week since I’ve asked for that quiet time, the lwa grow louder. This is partially because the gods are missing, of course, but also because it is their time right now. My religion is very much two fold – in the spring and summer, it is the netjeru; in the fall and winter, it is the lwa. This has always been the case. But even during the winter of last year, when things were pretty fucking bad and I was growing desperate because my unemployment was getting ready to lapse, I could still pray to them and ask them for help. With each new conversation with Papa Legba, about the nature of souls and the nature of Bondye and the nature of voodoo and the nature of my faith, I’ve become more and more disenfranchised with my gods.
I find myself incredibly torn.
I disgust myself.
One of the things I never considered when I started walking down the road Papa Legba opened up for my two-plus years ago was how difficult it could or would make my relationships with the gods. I’ve gone from being a simple devotee with a myriad of relationships to several of the netjeru (and occasional other gods who straggle on by for a bit) to being a full-fledged sévité of the lwa. Well, full-fledged to some of them, anyway, and only depending on when they feel like answering that particular question. Suffice to say, my beliefs have changed just in the two years. I don’t doubt the gods. I don’t doubt that they are real. I don’t doubt that I have relationships with them and will, again, when they come back in the spring/summer. However, I find myself having a very difficult time with them because of how completely awesome Papa Legba is. He tells me the truth – there isn’t any subterfuge. He will answer my questions, within reason – without telling me something like “it’s for your own good.” (Though he does use this phrase, it’s usually at the tail end of explaining why something is happening.) Since he is so willing to hold my hand as I come back and back again to this great crossroads that is life, I find it harder and harder to continue my blind faith.
I disgust myself.
I am disenfranchised with my gods because they are not what I was always hoping for.
They’ve shown what they are, their true colors, and it makes me sad and angry.
I know that they are doing what they are doing for “good reason” but it doesn’t make anything any easier. I often ask Papa Legba why there is so much suffering going on in my life and the lives of my friends and the lives of everyone across the world. He always gets a sad look on his face and tells me that is what was created along with everything else, but that even the suffering can be a beautiful thing because it teaches us how to be strong in the face of adversity. These words make sense to me on a fundamental level, whether as an astral being or as a human being. However, what aggravates me beyond belief about this is that I’ve asked these questions of the netjeru time and time again, but never gotten so poetic a response. I’ve usually received something incredibly vague like, “it just is.” Well, why the fuck does it have to be that way? Sometimes, after responses like that from my gods, I would begin to think that maybe the Christians didn’t have it right and that we were being punished by some omniscient, omnipotent deity because someone fucked up once. It’s the way of the world to punish everyone for someone’s fuck up, so it stands to reason. However, I know that my gods are as real as die-hard Christians know that their deity is real.
Color me confused, but that’s an entry for another day.
All of this has culminated to a point where I find myself incredibly angry with everything.
One of the things about myself that I find interesting is that when I am really, really, really sad about everything is that I get angry. It’s almost as if the very idea of being sad about something just pisses me the hell off and I end up turning it into some extreme anger. This usually will come out in unintended (or possibly intended) ways like ranting about people, things, places, screaming in my car, listening to loud music, being spiteful, etc. I can’t say that any of this is a healthy reaction to sadness, but I can at least admit that this is a fucking issue.
On Saturday, I did a lave tet for myself, but not relating to any of this. I don’t doubt that everything that’s been going on this week is a part of that, and if I actually write that entry, I will explain why. (Note to self: maybe I should write that entry one day.) But considering what I did for the lave tet and the goal I had in mind when I created the wash, I have to admit that this really, really wasn’t what I was expecting. In a weak moment, I reached out to someone who was doing oracle services for free on Tumblr last night. And she… well, the oracle was pretty much spot on. I was told that I need to take care of myself because I just don’t. And this week has culminated in an ongoing feeling that I keep putting off everything that I need to do, with my shadow work and the astral stuff and my mundane life, for myself. I always have a really good reason why caring for myself isn’t nearly as important as caring about everything going on in the world.
But while suffering may be beautiful because it teaches us how to be strong, I’m not really learning how to be strong. All I’m learning is about how angry I can get because shit really fucking sucks.
Last night, I realized that I’m important. I haven’t really internalized this lesson, at all yet. But I’m hopeful that I can internalize it in the upcoming weeks as I begin to explore just how important I am, as a human being, as a devotee of the gods whom I’m angry with, as a servant of the lwa who bring my peace, but also and most importantly, as a fucking human being. I put off everything for everybody, which may not always be obvious in my actions or my comments, but it really fucking is the case. And as someone really fucking special to me – my little bit – reminded me that I am important. And as her words passed across the screen on my tablet, I realized that she was right and that the oracular session was quite right. I need to take care of myself. I need to stop caring about all of the stuff that’s going on and just come to grips with the fact that I am suffering and that shit is hard. I need to figure out how I am important in all of this and how best to get through it.
And I haven’t been able to, focusing on everybody else but me.
So, fuck it.
Changes are happening. Changes for the better, I hope. But I’m not going to sit around and play Fix It Felix for everybody. I’m too important for that. And I’m tired of letting pieces of myself go while I worry, rant, or doing magical workings for other people.
I hope this sounds selfish, I really do.
‘Cause, you know, I need to be so that I don’t burn out and destroy myself. That kind of goes against everything I’ve been going through and dealing with this week, this month, this year, these last few years. And I’d like to learn the fucking lesson, for fuck’s sake. I’d like to be able to look up one day and see that the suffering and hardships are in the past. I want to be comfortable, both in my skin and in my life. I want to be able to look at a sad patch in my life and say, “Well, this really sucks, but it was worse and I managed to get through that.” I want to learn the motherfucking lesson. And the lesson here is that I need to be a selfish twat for a while.
No fucks given.