When I hit my senior year in high school, I ended up taking a statistics class to fill in a block of time. I thought it wouldn’t be so bad if I tried it out; it wasn’t like I needed the credit or anything. While the class did talk about statistics and the proper methods to getting them and a whole bunch of other things that I’ve since forgotten, I will admit that the class spent a good portion of its time as a free period.
For the first few months, I mostly sat around and took studious notes when it was required, ignoring everyone else when the class went to free period. I spent much of my time either writing in my journal or watching the kids around me do amazing things with a chess board.
I can remember sitting on a desk while the teacher and one of his prized students in chess club did their brand of magic with the plastic pieces on the board. I had never bothered to learn how to play because I had never been introduced to it before then. But as I watched them move pieces, I realized that I wanted to learn.
Before too long, I found myself being taught to play.
It took two students about half of a class period (we had 85 minute class periods) to teach me the basics with the moves and what was allowed, what wasn’t allowed. And then we began to play.
Whenever we had free time, we would play. I’m not sure what it is about the game of chess that I find so mesmerizing or what it was that had me liking it so much. I do know that the first time I beat one of the chess club kids in my class, I felt like I was King Kong: I could take on the world.
Since high school, I have had very few moments to play chess. I did not own a chess board and had no reason to purchase one. My ex-husband thought he was a learned individual and I feel as though he played with some of his friends, but he never thought to ask me if I would like a game or six. It was probably for the best as he would have probably bested me and he was a bit of a sore winner.
My SO spent much time as a kid playing chess and was given a glass and crystal chess set one year. This is currently living in a dusty box on one of our bookcases. Once in a while, my SO, our son, and I will sit down and play rounds of chess. I always win against our son (who still doesn’t quite understand how the pieces move or why) and the SO almost always wins against me.
I don’t truly know what I’m doing a lot of the time and I am mostly moving pieces based more on intuition than knowing how to beat somebody, but I enjoy myself.
I have often felt that my relationship with Sekhmet is best summed up in one of those complicated chess maneuvers that the big names use.
I was looking through random gambits the other day when I found the “French Defense.” I’ve heard it of it before and have probably employed it without realizing it. (I’m not huge on learning that stuff.) While I was watching videos of the French Defense at work, I couldn’t help but think of this in relation to how things have been with Sekhmet over the years…
The French Defense is employed by the black side of the board. There’s more to it than this, but this sum up is pretty sound, “The French Defense is a sharp counterattacking weapon against white’s first move [front and center]. From black’s first move, he looks to block the a2-g8 diagonal which is usually a big weakness for black and prepares to take control of the light squares in the center…”
The opening salvo is front and center with the white pieces. A single pawn is moved down, which is then answered by a counter pointed black pawn. This is done a second time. After the third move, the black pieces move to crowd the white in a diagonal pattern. Unless the appropriate gambit is employed, it is difficult to do much more than sit back and watch the inevitable check mate occur.
While I was watching videos of this pattern being employed, I couldn’t help but see myself in the white pieces of the chess board. I was young and naive once. I lived my relationship with Sekhmet like it was some grandiose, be-all, end-all to the world. I went blindly forward, right down the middle of the fucking board. Years later, I’ve looked up and I can’t help but notice that I’m surrounded on all sides by the black pieces and I can’t find a way out of the mess…
Obviously, I should have employed the Milner-Barry Gambit to get clear.
Instead, I chose to tread across the diagonal attacking front of black pieces, sneering up at her as she made her moves and then watching meekly as she took piece after piece.
There is little left to protect my king; this either ends in stalemate or in check: my decision either way.
I have known for years what it was that Sekhmet has wanted from me. While I may not have been incredibly open regarding what those desires were, I have always known. I have also always fought against it; I was not pleased to discover that what I wanted and what she wanted were not the same. I did not like the idea that I had entered into a relationship with her under her preconceived notions. Seeming to sense this, she let it go and we danced our dance of not acknowledging the long game.
Last night, I sat down and did a full work up with everyone. I reached out to Heru-Wer; I sat with Hetheru; fuck, I even bothered to reach out to my akhu, which doesn’t occur very often anymore. It was all very informative (or not, as in the case of Heru-Wer who seems to passionately hate the idea of using divination in any context), but the most informative was my chat with Sekhmet. The message was simple, you drive the car now.
My initial response was, “the fuck is this,” followed quickly by maniacal laughter. For years, I’ve been pushing back against her in every possible way imaginable, hating the inevitability I sensed coming. It feels like the end game is finally upon us and in this, finally, she tells me that I can make the decisions. I can veer off the track or keep the race going.
It’s the inevitability I’ve been feeling regarding these changes that I have bucked against the hardest, but also the preconceived notions of others when added into the mix. I will admit that a large part of the reason I’ve been having so much angst regarding this is because of those notions from outsiders – I didn’t want to be what they think and see. I wanted to be me and I wanted my own spin on everything.
Well, I’ve done all of the bits about me.
I’ve put my own spin on everything.
As lazy and impious as things may seem over on this mystically bewildered turnpike, it gets results. It has managed to see me through a long, hard road of nothing but pain, blood, and fear. I’ve managed to come out of it with my sense of humor mostly intact, with my affinity towards the simple things, and I have still managed to formulate something that works. I know that things are changing and I know in what direction they are headed, but I can take a bit of pride in myself and the haul I’ve created in the interim.
The new journey is up to me, of course, because that’s how things are. They can lead you by the nose but when it comes to the big things, consent is more important, I think, than we realize. Sure, I’ve been led around and force-fed the answers up to now but it’s my turn to make an informed decision. The problem is that I’ve been led around so much and force-fed the answers for so long that I have to hesitate on whether or not the final result is based on what I actually want or is based on what she actually wants.
That’s the rub: I don’t know my own mind about it, or at least I didn’t last night.
I’ve slept on it and pondered on it a bit.
Last night, I thought that my instinct to just keep on keepin’ on was merely because I didn’t actually know what I wanted. But that’s not true. I do know what I want: even with that other stuff in the mix, what other people might see when I finally bother to discuss it openly, I can handle all of that. I’m a wiser, older person than I was when my head first got broke the fuck open and the shit began drowning me. I can be content with what she wants.
But that still doesn’t negate the idea that maybe, just maybe, I want to stay up late and eat candy for dinner… for just a little while before I buckle down to the tasks at hand.