When I was 9, we moved to a place where we could be outside as long and as much as we wanted. I’ve written of that place before – and probably will do so again – but I can remember the giddiness of feeling free when we moved. Biking with friends until late into the evening, walking the sandy/rocky spit of land that jutted into the lake, and being deliciously surrounded by a natural world that had not been possible in the urban sprawl of my early childhood.
The sun was bright and hot in summer. It streamed through every window, highlighting the nooks and crannies of our house. It blinded me as I rode my bike down the neighborhood streets, dazzling me when it hit quartz in the sidewalks. It was weak but trying in the winter, still trying to highlight the corners of the house like it was searching for a secret. The sun bouncing of the snow caused snow glare every year but it was beautiful for that little while before snow turned to brown or yellow mush, filling the streets with grossness. I loved the sun.
Growing older, I hid from the sun. I moved my bedroom into the basement with two tiny windows that didn’t let in natural light. I wore dark clothes, hiding from the sun’s probing rays with sunglasses and long hair. I never went outside for long in summer, hating the heat that dark pavement trapped and released. The sun and I had a hate/hate relationship and the darkness I hid in only fed my depression. I preferred the dark and wanted to keep hidden from the sun in every way.
It’s funny how things have changed. The sun is with me every day. It shows me the wonder of the natural world and the wonder of my own home. Sometimes he speaks to me, telling me tales of beauty and heartache. And sometimes, he is merely silent as I wander around, lost and confused. But he is always there.
Make the Same Mistakes
The time change in March 2020 brought with it a seeming unreality. There was no way we were facing a pandemic like the flu of 1918. There was no way that this could be true, but the steady stream of the 24-hour news cycle seemed to say otherwise. Lockdown was on the horizon and all I could think was that Ra had shown back up at the worst possible time. How on earth could I honor him in any real way while being stuck inside all the time? He laughed when I asked him about it in a panic, as if to say the things we’ve been making together transcend location. He made me feel like a toddler and I pouted.
Eventually, I began going outside for extended periods of time. While I worked at my kitchen table, I would step onto the back porch and watch the sun slowly sail by me in the sky. I took calls outside and ran projects from the tiny, little deck behind my porch. I was working my job but I was also communing in a quiet, unobtrusive way with him. Sometimes, I swear he was calling out to me. Other times, it was like a deep ache that demanded I step outside.
The walks I started going on in the evenings added to the unreality of lockdown. No cars. One or two joggers socially distancing from me, or vice versa. A speed walker crossing the street to stay distant from me. But beneath all the surreal feelings of those evening walks was the heat of the sun in my hair and on my skin and the special playlist enticing me as I walked. I found so many places where Ra seemed to be staring back at me and I was happy to find him there. I needed that feeling of him nearby as the year continued to heap more bullshit down on everything and everyone.
I haven’t felt really hopeful in a long time. I feel like we’re all watching the end of the world with ennui. Maybe I’m not that wrong in that assessment. But when I stepped outside, earbuds in and music playing for Ra or whatever other god I was focused on via music, I could feel a certain dull flutter in my soul. It might have been the remnants of hope but it might have also been nothing more than the lies I sometimes tell myself; lies of a positive nature that cannot possibly be real.
Ra told me I should probably be focusing on myself. I told him that I was pretty self-focused at the moment. I had no idea what he meant and wouldn’t until Osiris showed back up.
Hard to Open Your Eyes
When you start to read about the afterlife, as a beginner, you get hyped up on the rebirth of the sun god. He heads to the underworld to be reborn from the body of Nut every night so that he may live again. But when you dig into it a little deeper, the rebirth cycle is couched a little bit more in terms of Ra needing to remerge with Wesir – who is encapsulated as the physical body of Ra in this instance – for that rebirth process to really take place.
I’ve joked over the years that when you find Ra, invariably you’ll find Wesir behind him and vice versa. It’s the underworld texts that really solidify that connection in a way that just writing or joking about it doesn’t adequately convey. The ties between them both are so apparent to me now that I don’t see one without feeling the other.
So, I wasn’t shocked when Osiris picked up the battle cry of the self and annoyed me into submission. It’s the only way my stubborn ass will do anything nowadays. He annoyed me so much and so completely that I was a shit and he was a shit back. But I eventually started to focus inward in a way that I hadn’t before. He was smug about it and I continued to be a shit about it.
When we got to the sticky parts, I ran away. I couldn’t look that deep anymore. I had taken a candle flame to the nooks and crannies of my soul and seen things I had always been happy to keep hidden. There was no prep for it either; it just happened. I broke down and felt like I was nothing more than a snowbank melting on the side of the road, falling in on myself a little more each day.
Today, I am a dirt streaked puddle at the corner of the road. Sticks and seeds and trash litter the puddle so completely now that I’m not sure where the waste ends and I begin.
Find a Place Where You Don’t Have to Hide
Wesir had warned me that the work I began for the Mysteries would continue beyond it. I knew that. I knew it going in and I knew it going out, but it was nice to know that he did not want me to stay as a half-formed snow/slush beast slowly melting on the side of the road. When I told him that, he laughed at the imagery but turned serious.
“You’re stubborn. You always have been. But you’re starting to see that, stubbornness be damned, it’s time to do what you have always put off. You have a very long road from here.”
Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and cry a little. On those nights, I can feel him close by as if waiting for me to turn to him for comfort. I won’t until I’m ready for it at any rate. I’m not the kind of person that trusts or relies on others because just about everyone – god, human, whoever – has failed to meet me where I want them to. Part of that is my fault and I’ll admit it. But the fun thing about breaking yourself down is that you can see your faults finally; you just might not be able to figure out how to fix them yet.
I’ve often hidden myself from others. I don’t want anyone to know the real me because, deep down, I’m 98% sure the real me is a nightmare that should have been put down long ago. That 98% part of my surety is also pretty sure I have no redeeming qualities. That 98% of me is a fucking liar. And Wesir agrees she lies as easily as she can to keep the real me hidden and scared.
Baring your soul to the gods is a lot harder than most people would have people believe. The vulnerability that maybe was once common in the face of one’s gods seems to have been burned out of humanity by the constant fight and struggle of life. Or maybe that vulnerability has always been so hard to achieve and everyone who says otherwise is as much a fucking liar as the 98% of me that says I should have been put down years ago.
Mental health wise, I’m doing pretty shitty. But I’m not hiding behind a mask much anymore. Fuck it. This is me and yeah, I’m a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of pieces missing. I’m tired of wearing a customer service mask throughout my whole life because “some things are best kept hidden”. I’m not fucking hiding anymore.