The Rusted Hulk.

We all have darkness in our souls. I often wonder if that’s what the ancient Egyptians meant when they talked about the isfet that can infest a person’s heart. Maybe it was the darkness that can infect the soul and overtake it with bitterness, rage, and screams of futility. I don’t know if that’s really what they meant. I probably will never know unless I ask someone more knowledgeable and willing to teach me the tricks of that particular trade. On the days when I am more in tune with that darkness in my soul, I think about isfet and how you’re supposed to correct it so that you’re living in ma’at. I don’t have an answer for that, either.

Maybe one day I will, but today is not that day.

When I started this most recent batch of shadow work, I knew how it would end. Technically, it’s ended and the outcome is what I had predicted. The thing about me is that I’m predictable. I know myself well enough to know what the bottom line is, at least as far as I am concerned. I knew I would come out of it more wounded than I have been in a long time; hurt and alone; angry and sad. I am all of these things. The bitterness that I washed myself in for weeks is over now; it’s simple a mixture of sadness and regret, horror and pain.

Yesterday, when I was looking at the newness of myself after this most recent work, I saw myself as a rusted out hulk. I was like one of those old metal jungle gyms, shaped into a rectangle or square. The bars had broken due to years of disuse and were rusted, daring anyone who touched them with their threat of tetanus. I felt as though someone had taken a melon baller and ripped out my insides, dumping them for someone else to have. Nothing could fill me but sand and the darkness of my own soul. I still feel empty and yet, I also feel as if I’m still bleeding.

I am raw with it.

When I started down this particular brutal path, knowing what the ending would be, I asked others what I should do here. There was talk amongst my most trusted advisers and someone said that I should write about it. I write about it all often enough, but how many entries have I started about this particular batch of pain and suffering only to delete the thousands of words strung together? How many new entries had I written in my head, demanding that I release this all into the atmosphere because if I didn’t, I would end up drowning in the minutiae of the suffering that I had forced myself into? How many times have I heard a keening wail shouting throughout the darkened corner of my mind, unable to release and vent the anguish I was going through?

I bought a journal; I write in it sometimes. Most of my entries are nonsense. I don’t know if they’re particular prose like, but they’re raw… just like me.

In an attempt to wrest control from what’s happening around me, I assure myself that I am simply depressed. It’s just that time of the year and things have been rocketing out of control around me for the last few weeks. It’s only normal to feel like crying because you don’t like what dinner is. It’s only normal to feel as if the world is ending around you, but everyone keeps moving around as though they don’t sense it. It’s normal to feel as if everyone can see deep into your core and know that you are damaged and broken. It’s normal to be depressed because it’s just that time of year and it’s been so long since I’ve really sunk into a deep depressive phase anyway.

But I have to admit that I can tell myself anything I want to; it doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.

When the world around me, or rather deep within me, is full of isfet, I try not to look at it. Poking at it will only uncoil the snake that’s roosted itself within me and make it destroy me as thoroughly as Set kills A/poop each morning. Only in my particular case, I won’t be revisited the next morning and the next: it’s a one-time destruction and there will be no attempts; it just would be. Once the flames are out, I will be nothing but the rusted out hulk I’ve metaphorically announced myself as, my insides scooped out with that proverbial melon baller.

Maybe that’s why the ancient Egyptians really feared that particular serpent. It wasn’t so much the unmaking of the world that they feared but the unmaking of the veneer they had slathered over themselves to make it easier to live with the consequences of their realities.

I suppose you could say this particular batch of shadow work has made me a bit maudlin. Understatement of the fucking year.

I was pretty sure that I knew who I was and what things were going to be like before I started this little adventure. I just knew that this and this and this would be my life. I’m a complacent motherfucker; as much as I talk about all the things people need to do in order to stand up for themselves, I am that asshole that will only stand up for myself when I’m backed into a corner and have no choice any longer.

I stayed with my ex-husband for nearly seven years, not out of any other reason than because I always whispered to myself in the dark of the night that I could leave whenever I wanted if I so desired to do it. And it wasn’t until I was backed into a corner, knowing full well how this could and would turn out if I didn’t fucking do something… It was only then that the inner sense of self-preservation kicked in and I burned my house to the motherfucking ground, laughing while I did so.

(Metaphorically speaking. Please, no one think that I’m a pyro or something.)

As I was forced to look at myself form each new discovered angle, I found more within me than I had ever thought possible. And as I looked at myself in that mirror of shadow work, the bit that makes you stare so deeply into yourself that you can memorize the road map of where you’ve been and where you’re heading, I found myself horrified that I didn’t really know myself at all. Everything I thought I knew about who I am and what I wanted was thrown out the window with hardly a second thought. There was no laughter and no self-preservation here. I was forced to look at myself and all I found was a gaping, bleeding wound that just won’t fucking quit.

I don’t know if that’s the worst part or the best part about shadow work: in the aftermath, you only then realize how much you thought you knew and how much you didn’t know at all.

I keep trying to figure out how all of this works out in the end. I knew what the end result of this particular little adventure was going to be: I knew I would come out of it more wounded than I have been in a long time; hurt and alone; angry and sad. I am all of these things. The bitterness that I washed myself in for weeks is over now; it’s simple a mixture of sadness and regret, horror and pain. I am all of these things and I am more because there were parts of myself that I didn’t know and had no clue how they would merit in the end game. I knew I would be all of the above things but I’m more than that.

Chernobyl's Atomic Legacy  Explore #8

Chernobyl's Atomic Legacy # 8 via Flickr

I keep coming back to that image of a rusted out hulk, left forgotten and hollowed out into nothingness. I keep thinking of all those hours I’ve spent, looking at what has since become of Pripyat, the city that housed Chernobyl and its subsequent atomic disaster. I feel like the physical reminder of those images of a place forgotten. There is mystique in that place, something that I don’t have. But the images, the intensity of those images, fills me with something that makes me feel like we are kindred spirits, Pripyat and I. We are both on the same fucking page: lost to the annals of history, a minor footnote in the future that’s to come and the thousands of years that have since past.

I keep trying not to be fucking prosaic with all of this; legit. I keep falling into patterns that end up in that written fucking journal I talked about above. That white notebook that I keep hidden from the world in my purse, waiting for the spare moment when I can jot a few notes down and look them over later. I wrote the truth in that little beauty yesterday and I felt destroyed all over again for the truth of the words I used. I wanted to do nothing more than sit and stare, but the world keeps knocking even when I feel like I’ve been hollowed out and used up.

This week, while I tried to handle all of this with no one to talk to, I kept coming back to this entry that Devo wrote last year, around this time. I have come back to it a few times since she wrote it, but it’s been in the last few weeks that it’s made the most sense. She talks about burning her house down in that entry, something that I can appreciate and understand the reasoning for. While I don’t think burning down my house is particularly what I need to do, I know that I need to do something more than just writing in that white little notebook, hoping that someone will recognize that I am hurting and need help.

Help that, let’s face it, I would probably refuse to take because that’s just who I am: dichotomous and hypocritical, that’s me.

How many times has someone posted somewhere that they’re available if I need to talk and I ignore it? How many times have I received private message from people asking if I’m okay and I brush it off? It’s easy enough because they’re people I only know through the power of the Internet, so I don’t technically have to respond. I can ignore it and then the pain that I am living with isn’t real because no one in my reality actually sees how much I’m hurting.

What’s even worse is that I don’t know if it’s just the shadow work that makes me hurt or if it’s the conscious decisions I’ve made in relation to it. I decided on something clearly – I drew more than just a line in the sand, I fucking blew that sand up like I was the demolitions expert to the stars. There it is, I told myself, after doing it. I made a clear and concise decision. And I’ve been in the middle of my pain-filled world since then. I don’t know if it’s the buried truths of who I am that this shadow work has made me face or if it’s the simple fact that I’ve cut myself off to the point where it feels like half of my soul is missing. I am lost and alone, now, and it’s because I thought I was doing what was in my best interest.

I am so miserable that I want to scream for it. I want to sit in the bathroom, surrounded by the darkness both within my soul and in the room, crying while listening to the most depressing music you can possibly imagine. (I’ve been listening to something by Lana Del Ray on endless repeat for writing this entry. I’m sure she’s one of those singers that I shouldn’t like because she’s done something terrible and ageist or sexist or genderist or whatever, but the song man… The song speaks to that open wound within me and I can’t stop.)

On days like today where I can’t hide how much it hurts, I think about the darkness that festers in my soul and how best to scrub myself from it. Or maybe, the whole point in this is that it is part of the cycle of ma’at with its shades of gray and I have to learn to live with this portion of the isfet in my life. On days like today, I wonder at the isfet that infected my heart and whether or not it will damn me or be my salvation.

But truly, on days like today, I want nothing more than to have someone hold me tenderly as if I’m made of glass and even the hint of a breath in my direction will destroy me utterly and they know this instinctually and they don’t care so long as I’m not alone on a day like today.

The Act of Saying Goodbye.

As tomorrow begins the start of the intercalary days prior to my Kemetic New Year, I knew I had to get this entry written tonight or leave the story without an ending. As someone who always thought of themselves as an author, leaving something so open-ended was tantamount to failure.

There are a lot of things I haven’t mentioned in this year-long work with my ex-husband and all that I have put myself through in an attempt to prevent our traveling this road again. While my writing down every ounce of what happened between us in this current life was important, it was only a small part to the overall work that I had to go through. Much of the work that I put myself through had to do with astral shenanigans as well as reliving our past lives together. A lot of the work was such intense healing work that there are no words to describe what I had to put myself through in order to destroy the tether that bound our two souls. I’m going to finally describe what I did on the astral, minus the past life stuff, so that others who read this will know what NOT to do if they ever end up like me.

After Hekate made it abundantly clear that my ex-husband and I have been bound together, soul to soul, for numerous lives, I began to feel like I had a black, oozing cancer manifesting itself in my soul. This cancer would begin to eat away at every ounce of who I am and destroyed a lot of the connections I had been building over the years. It tended to come out in a physical way with self-destructive impulses, as well as depression, anxiety, and anger. These emotions, while I do experience them on my own, seemed to be multiplied and exacerbated no matter what sort of motions I went through in order to stem the tide. It was almost as if this cancer was trying to destroy me because I was attempting to remove it.

Much of the ooze – there really is no descriptor besides that for what his soul facet within mine was like – had become so integrated into my core soul components that a simple surgery like we would get at the astral doctor was out. I had to do a form of chemotherapy to remove it. With each dose of this form of astral chemo – usually in the form of watching a past life over and over again, trying to see it from clinical eyes instead of emotional eyes – would shrink the cancer a little bit at a time. And with each time I came back from that adventure, I would find myself more disconnected, more disillusioned, more depressed, and questioning my sanity all the more. While the last bit may not have anything to do with the connection I have with my ex-husband, it is something that I began to take note of right along with everything else as I fought back against the cancer eating away at my soul.

Around the time that Hekate began to make motions about leaving, I grew tired of waiting on the chemotherapy. A lot of the tired of waiting was my own fault. I put a lot of this off for longer and longer periods of time. This was, also, I’ve come to diagnose, a side effect of that soul cancer. With each entry I wrote here and each trip into the astral, I ended up coming back from it with less and less desire to work on the problem. I began to truly despair that I would get this done in a timely manner. And with Hekate leaving me in the good hands of Sekhmet to continue the healing process, I really knew that I had a choice here. I could continue down the tried and true path, taking my doses of chemotherapy each night or I could do something drastic.

Here’s a little known fact about me: I am the most impatient sonofabitch you ever did meet.

So, without any anesthetic or any warning, I reached into my soul and yanked the cancer out. I flung the dirty, the vile, the horrific thing away from me. And I fell to the ground.

Don’t worry, this is not recommended and I got my ass handed to me. Hekate decided that I was an idiot and that’s, actually, why she left when she did. Sekhmet cooed over me and yelled at me. I got a lot of yelling as I lay curled on my side for days in the astral. I didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t do anything. For large parts of it, I wasn’t even aware of what was going on in the astral because I hadn’t just ripped out the cancerous ooze that was my ex-husband’s binding to my soul, but I had also managed to rip out a large portion of my soul with it. And of course, since nothing was ever easy either because of myself or because this is my life, those soul pieces were now missing. With three-quarters of a soul, I began to slowly come back to myself. Most of the next few days were entirely devoted to Sekhmet yelling at me, Aset cooing over me and clicking her tongue, and Mut doing her motherly affectation.

I was pretty much in a daze.

I spent the next few months slowly going around and trying to find the piece of my soul that I had ripped out along with the cancer. Aset would send me places and I would begin to find what I needed in order to start piecing the puzzle of my soul back together. I don’t know how or why, but very much like the crystal from InuYasha, my soul pieces ended up all over the fucking place. I managed to gather up many of those pieces and brought them back to Sekhmet to have her bind them up and shove them back into place. The problem here is that not all the pieces were found – the cancer was still attached to some of the soul bits and I couldn’t figure out how to clean it off so I figured it was better to do without – and so that fit wasn’t complete. Sekhmet did… something… and the soul bits have managed to reform with one another. The fit isn’t total; it’s definitely not complete.

I don’t recommend doing this for a lot of reasons – the yelling, the pain, the daze, the stupidity – but above all, the problem is that when you are trying to re-grow soul bits to fit with one another, you end up kind of insane for a while. It’s very much like a broken mosaic that has to be refit together. Sekhmet used bits of herself to fortify what she was doing and got some other bits from some helpful other spirits we know. There were days where I didn’t know who or what I was and what I was supposed to be doing on the astral. Other days, I couldn’t remember how to get back to the astral at all. And in still other days, half of me was in the astral while the other half was living here, doing things and being alive.

Another reason why this was can be so difficult is because you end up with various personalities more at the surface than with other personalities. This is how you get to meet how many soul facets you have within you, but it’s not really a good idea if you have to, you know, like live a life or anything. I found two major personalities in my soul who are polar fucking opposites and there were days where I wanted to rip my head off of my shoulders because I was rapidly cycling from personality to personality. This was pretty much when I was given absolute fucking obvious testimony that I am (A) Sekhmet’s daughter and (B) not as crazy as I always just assumed.

While all of this insanity was going on with my woo life, I ended up doing some very cathartic in-this-life magix to assist in my moving on.

Sometimes, literally cutting cords is the most cathartic thing a person can do.

Sometimes, literally cutting cords is the most cathartic thing a person can do.

I went out and bought one of those shitty little rope toys you can purchase for your dog. I was hoping for a pure white one, but ended up with this kind of multicolored ribbon type for $1. I pinned my name to one end and my ex-husband’s to the other. I placed it as an offering upon Sekhmet’s shrine and over three days, I literally cut the cords.

It was during this time that I began to seriously consider what the step for these halves were. I knew that I needed to do something nurturing towards my half, but I wasn’t quite sure what I needed to do with the ex-husband’s half. It was then that I wrote my entry regarding the etiquette of saying goodbye. After a lot of back and forth with myself, I decided that as much as I still want to make him feel badly for what he did to me, it wasn’t worth it. Sometimes, the fact that we can say, “I really dislike what you have done to me and I would very much like you to acknowledge that you screwed me over, I am an adult and I can walk away.” As an adult, I decided I would be kinder to he than he has ever been to me.

This is what my half looked like when I was finished.

This is what my half looked like when I was finished.

With both of our halves in hand, I began to sing to myself as I braided charms into the ends. I placed little amulets for dreams, hope, success, spoons, and other type things on my end. I fed my half with all of the things I was hoping to find in my life without my ex-husband and his soul being bound to mine. Instead of searing the ends as I knew that would hurt terribly, I ended up tying off the ends so that they would “atrophy” and drop off, making it impossible for my half to adequately forge with his again. I added four jingle bells to it so that he would know I was coming if we meet again in the astral or if we meet in another life.

I did the same for his half because, again, I am the adult here.

I buried my half in a pleasant place beside a birch tree. The place that I chose was really no contest. I knew that I wanted to finish my half of the rite in a place where I was comfortable and where I could watch over that portion of myself over the years. Not only did I finish the rite in a place where I am happy and at peace – and honestly, whenever I go there, I feel like I am ‘home’ – but I also had TH assist me with the burial part. This was a symbolic way of showing that not only did TH help me completely in getting away from my ex-husband in this life, but that he has continued, over the years, to help me in contending with the horror and trauma from that time of my life. So, with hands held, we buried my portion of my soul in a pleasant, happy place.

I threw the ex-husband’s half in the trash.

It went to the dump yesterday.

And now, I can say that I am completely free.

The Etiquette of Saying Goodbye.

There is something about goodbyes, no matter how necessary that they may be, that are incredibly painful. I have had a whole host of goodbyes in my life, not many of them at my own behest, and none of them went over very well with my psyche or with my emotional health. There is something about removing someone who you have known for years from your life that is incredibly difficult. Even though you know that what you are doing could very well save your life and the lives of your friends and family, you still think that a goodbye – a final goodbye – is too much to bear. So, you don’t bother doing it and you live on in fear, hatred, anger, and pain until the final end comes or you finally have a single moment, a single second, to run screaming into the night.

Even knowing what life was like towards the end of my marriage, I am still finding it difficult to say goodbye.

I thought I should write a letter, at first, to explain that I forgave him for everything he had put me through. Knowing full well what he had done to me, to my personal growth, to the growth of my soul on the astral, and everything in between, I knew that I had to at least let him know that in some way. While I’ve said that bit here and there on the astral to that soul that once bound with mine, I no longer need to say it. And honestly, that’s not how I wanted to say farewell to a man who had been in my life for years and who had been in previous lives over and over and over again. While I am usually very good at writing and letters and the perfect wording of the point that I want to convey, I found myself still a little angry and still, perhaps, a little unable to forgive the binding of our souls.

I knew a letter wasn’t a good idea.

The thing that I have repeatedly come up against, knowing all that he has done to my in this life, has been the fact that it’s the binding of our souls for so many years that causes me the most heartache. While I cannot remember the exact life or the exact place when our souls united in a very unhealthy way, I do remember the emotions of that person and that aspect of my soul. I can remember the hope. I can remember the joy. And I can even remember the love that my soul—no. I can even remember the love that each of our souls had for one another. And I can remember holding hands while we were bound together with words that I have long forgotten. And I can remember that moment and the surety that if things didn’t work out in this life then they would clearly work out in the next.

I remember the innocence of that moment and not understanding the gravity of the situation.

And I can remember the hope, the joy, the excitement, and the love that we both turned to one another. And in that moment of those beautiful, wonderful emotions, we were bound together. And things didn’t work out in that life, so with hope and joy, we moved on to the next. And the next. And the next. And the next. And the next. There really are too many to count now. I have had to relive them all over and over again. And I can remember each moment when my soul searched humanity, scanning each person in front of me for that soul aspect that it needed for completion, for that one person they needed above all others. In some lives, we never met. In other lives, we started over again. And as time went by and each life did not end as we had hoped, as we had wanted, we went back to it again.

And over time, we both became disillusioned.

And over time, I began to want to get away and never return because each life was successively worse than the one that preceded it. It should tell anyone who has read that statement how much hell we both put ourselves through and we both put each other through over the years. We’ve killed one another. We’ve raped one another. We’ve beaten one another. We have done every untoward and awful thing to each other – both the physical shell of our souls and to our souls themselves – over the years and no resolution has ever come.

I understand now, I think, why certain other astral related things happened in this life. And I also understand now why certain people were brought to my life. And now, I understand what I must do. I must sever the tie completely. For all intents and purposes, that tie is actually severed. I feel peaceful and dreamy, sometimes, when I go to the place where that soul facet once rested. It’s a facet that I ripped out of myself and kept hidden in a safe place for the day when I could destroy the knots that bound our two souls together. That day has come and gone; the separation has completed. And now, it is finally time to say goodbye.

And I find myself horribly unable to do so.

I’ve gone back through many things in the last few weeks, preparing myself for this moment. While the letter writing thing failed, I looked in other avenues for a proper goodbye.

My issue here is that you can’t just kick someone to the curb after so many lifetimes together – there must be proper etiquette here, hm? However, I can assure anyone else who may have this issue in future that there is not. And I have to create that etiquette all my own. And with the words of Sekhmet in my ears – you’re too nice for your own damn good – I go searching for that etiquette. A simple goodbye, an easy farewell seems like such an anticlimactic end to so many years together, so many hurts together, and so many deaths at one another’s hands. Even with the very real right to just run the fuck away, even now, I find myself unable to do something so simple and so brave.

There must be a proper way to say goodbye.

I keep coming back to the day when our hands were bound together in a rite that neither one of us really understood. He understood it, his astral self anyway, far quicker than my simple little soul facet could. That soul piece is very kind and very nice and has always looked for that knight in shining armor. That very soul facet has always looked for the good in everyone. And it has been her downfall many a time, but not so much more than this particular time. With very real regret and sadness she is willing to say goodbye to a soul that shared her life with her so many times, but she still hopes that there is goodness in that soul and that love will find him one day.

Maybe not in this life and definitely not with her, but maybe in the next and with someone better suited.

I keep coming back to that day when our hands were bound together in a rite that neither of us could really understand. And I keep coming back to that because that was the ultimate moment of betrayal to me, the soul piece that did not willingly bind myself to a man who would kill me over and over again. This soul facet – me – looks back on that moment with pity and horror, knowing what will eventually happen and knowing that there was never anyone around who could have or would have stopped it. The person who I am today is partly because of that kind, sweet, simple girl soul facet who has always wanted a knight in shining arm, riding in on a unicorn with a defeated evil wizard’s head on his shield. But a smaller part of the person who I am today did not agree to that binding. And that smaller part is in control now, demanding that we say goodbye.

But she keeps reminding me that there must be some etiquette, something more than just a simple “va te faire foutre, trouduc” as I am wont to do, and this is why. That moment with hands bound. That moment with tears in their eyes. That moment of heart flutters. That moment of love swelling. That moment in the green grass of unknown time, surrounded by nothing but the flutter of wind, the smell of flowers, and hope on the horizon. She keeps bringing me back there and reminding me that we can’t just kick him to the curb. We can’t just toss him out without a single regret. We can’t just say “fuck the fuck off and die already” to someone who once loved us very much.

To run away from the heaviness that other soul keeps forcing on me, I have gone back through old stories and poems I wrote when I was living with that man. I’ve re-read old blog entries. I’ve gone through our relationship over and over again. I’ve found some very telling pointers in the last few hours that convey that I was fully aware, in a subconscious way, of what was going to happen. With chilling words, I’ve written about this very moment of bittersweet finality over and over again in various made up universes. And with each minute that I have read and re-read what once I wrote about us, I find myself very angry indeed because the soul facet who is stronger now – me – has had enough of this binding, of this connection and wants it all to fucking stop.

And now, I am supposed to say goodbye.

A part of me that is still a little angry and a little bitter wants to curse him still. He had known earlier than my soul facet what the hell had been done to our souls. He had known far sooner than this sweet, little facet and had done nothing to remove the binding. His soul learned faster than mine what was needed or could be done and what had been done between the two of us. Sometimes, I wonder if he knew even back then but that sweet, innocent soul facet assures me that is not the case. I’m more cynical than she is, though, and I have to wonder. Considering all the things he has done to me, astrally speaking, since the day he walked out of our home and said we could get a divorce, I have to think that he knows a hell of a lot more than I do about all of this shit. And that he’s known for far longer. But that sweet part of my soul that is loud, sometimes, and still colors my life in the realm of love and soul mates, swears that my cynical views are not all true and not always the way it is.

I would take her word for it, but I am cynical for good reason.

I have to say goodbye to a man who I have both loved and hated. I will be honest, I have never truly had to say goodbye-goodbye to anyone before. I have never been able to look at a situation and know that I will never, ever see them again in this life or the next or the next or even on the astral. I’m imbedding specific telltale signs in our souls – both his and mine – so that we won’t meet up again without knowing that the other one is bad news and walking the fuck away. I’ve also learned a thing or two, both in this life and in the astral, and I know what needs to be done now to make sure that things never happen like this to my sweet soul facet and to my cynical soul facet ever again.

This is all a novel experience for me, but I will be honest, I hope I never have to do this again.

In the meantime, we have to come up with proper etiquette on how to formally say goodbye before Wep-Ronpet this year. That is the time line we have both established with Sekhmet nodding grandly in the background at our choice. Why would we want to start another twelve month cycle with that ex of ours even slightly in it? We have other projects to work on, other shadow work to get done with, and it will probably take just as long and probably be just as difficult as this one person, this single soul, has turned out to be. We have work to do and that work mostly has to do with what “proper etiquette” of such a permanent goodbye is likely to be.

Sekhmet recommends a final goodbye with fire.

The sweet part of me thinks that we should wish him well and bury him so that “the soul will flourish and grow; the soul will find love again; the soul will learn to maintain its spoons; and it will do so without me.”

The cynical part of me is fond of the fire idea.

But the sweet one wins the day.

She wants to see him grow apart from her even as she grows apart from him and we’ll see it done.

We still need to figure out what a proper goodbye is, though.

And the clock is ticking…

Support Isn’t Real, Apparently.

This is what my religious is. Got it?

This is what my religion is. Got it?

Yesterday, I was pretty angry. I thought about blogging about it, but I’ve been paying more attention to that two-response rule that I’ve been mentioning lately. I decided it was more in my best interest to just hold off on off-the-cuff responses (mostly) and think about what I’m going to say. I actually haven’t really thought about how I want to address this, but I do know that I want to at least say something regarding it and then work off of that. So, let’s talk about what went down.

The other day, TH went over to his aunt’s house to help her out with a computer issue. Since her techno-geek son is living in Japan, she relies on TH to get the technology aspect going in her household. While he was there, she was perusing a jewelry site that had to do with Greek and Roman deities or something. (I honestly don’t know.) She was going through the list to TH, who kept shaking his head saying that while the pieces looked pretty, nothing she was talking about was something I had ever mentioned to him before and that he wouldn’t be anything unless he had heard me talk about it. From this, his cousin said, “Well, she changes her religion, like every day, so how do we know?” And TH took the lowest fucking road imaginable: he pumped his fist in the air and said, “YES. I’M GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES IT! But don’t tell her that.”

So, he told me instead…

… and I just kind of went to a quiet place for a while.

After rehashing this out here, I have to admit that I still don’t really know how to address the aspersions on my character and my religious practices. I know a general way, obviously, is to finally set it down in fucking concrete so that these idiotic miscommunications or misunderstandings really fucking stop. (If that Christian friend of mine is reading this, she’s probably chuckling it up.) But, I’m still really upset and angry with the entire situation. Not only is this another flagrant “I don’t really support you” moment from people who are supposed to care about me in some fashion (more specifically TH here), but after having discussed this before, it feels more along the lines of a betrayal. I’m probably taking this to a place I shouldn’t – betrayal seems a little harsh – but feelings often have a way of blowing themselves out of control without our say so.

I’ve thought about what the core issue could be. I’ve come down to a couple of ideas. I think that it could be because I’m not very loud with my religion, outside of the Internet, it leaves a lot of people confused and uncertain. I think that it could be, too, that I don’t have a concrete indicator of what I do and where I do it and why I do it to point at when people talk to me about it. But, these are all issues that I can rectify and possibly will… I haven’t decided yet. The thing is that I don’t really believe that I’m the only cause of this issue. Sure, I could talk about it more openly instead of shutting those conversations down, but it’s not like they ask for more than entertainment value… so why should I get butt-hurt in front of a group of people who need a monkey to perform for them? And that, I believe, is the very core issue here. I feel that when they ask me about it in such a public setting, they’re asking me to dance for them.

And honey, if I don’t dance for TH, then why the fuck am I going to dance for you?

Since the questions regarding my religious practices do only happen in such a public setting, I end up shutting the conversations down because I’m not comfortable discoursing to a large gathering of people about something of this magnitude. It’s not something minor that I can answer clearly, either. My religious practice(s) are very large and very time-consuming and it could take me, very much, hours to explain the whole shebang to people. But, since they don’t follow up these questions in a private setting, then I don’t feel obligated to continue. If they are truly curious, then I feel that they would seek me out, one-on-one. While obviously something is coming into my life that is going to force this issue (this is a clear indicator, issues with Christian friend are a clear indicator, and other “omens” that I have are clear fucking indicators), I should probably use these public forays on a familial scale as a bouncing off point.

But, I’m just not ready.

(Yeah, yeah, Devo, I know that I will get tossed off the cliff or jump myself, but just not yet.)

Another thing is that they don’t bother to seek out this blog, of which I do not hide in any context, and so therefore, again, they do not make the effort. It would be one thing if an effort was made, but they do not. Instead, they feel the need to, literally, talk shit behind my back. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t fly with me. I am nice, kind, and very supportive of these people and I feel that it is their fucking responsibility to treat me with like kindness. Call me crazy here, but isn’t there something about treating others the way you want to be treated? Luckily for these people, I don’t follow the same Golden Rules that they do. I treat others respectfully and kindly (for the most part) because it is a core tenet of my belief system. And you know, if you wanted to know that, I could have told you… but again, I guess that means that you need to put me on parade to do it.

A while back, I was having a conversation with TH about how no one, outside of my mini-community online, supports me religiously. I told him that he does, in a way, but aside from the Sister, I have no support. My mother doesn’t ask about it even if I talk about it. Obviously, I did not have real support from my Christian friend. In all honesty, this is a very real indicator that I don’t have anyone’s support in this endeavor and that really bothers me. I guess I feel like this should be reciprocated. I support them in their endeavors, either of a religious or non-religious nature, so why can’t I just be given a little fucking respect here? What do I do that makes it so easy for them to lose the respect? Is it just because I cannot comment in full length easily, as any Christian affiliated religious person would do, or is it merely because they think what I do is silly, fluffy, and unrealistic?

I’m sorry that the answers I could provide, if you took the time to find me and ask anyway, are not as straight-forward and easy. I’m sorry that my religious life isn’t as clear-cut as people would like it to be. Unfortunately, one of the things about paganism is merely that because it is such a large umbrella terminology for a whole slew of religious affiliations, we are more likely to look elsewhere and find comfort in similar practices. Christians rarely flow outside of their box of comfort, going from atheists to agnostics and heading back toward the Big Three often enough. They do not realize that it is not as easy as saying, “Baptist,” or “born-again Christian,” or “Catholic.” Religious practices in the pagan hemisphere are more wide-reaching than just a simple niche that we can easily fulfill.

But beyond all of that, really, it comes down to a simple fucking courtesy. I offer it to them, but I do not get it in return.

And that, right now, is the core problem here. No courtesy; no respect; no support; no nothing.

Even though I do not receive any of these things from my supposed family, who should love and respect my beliefs anyway, I am not going to sacrifice some of the core aspects of my beliefs to give it back to them. I find it very amusing that, in some instances, I am a better Christian than they are… and I’m not even a Christian! I do not judge. I do not talk behind their back. I offer them respect and courtesy, love and support. This is a part of who I am and what my practices are. And I will be the one laughing in the end because I am the one who does not doubt, does not question. My religion is my reality and I live in every day.

And all they can do is talk about people who are sure-footed and aware because they cannot take the time to merely ask.

Letters to the Gods: Sekhmet.

Dear Sekhmet, The One Who Holds Back Darkness;

Too often, I find myself lost and alone, as if I’ve been wandering the wilderness in search of the rudimentary needs and wants of humanity. It always feels like I’ve been doing this journey, on my own, for so long. And then, comes a time when I realize that as much as I say that I am alone and that I don’t rely on anyone that I remember that I have faith; that I have gods. Sometimes, people will tell me that I am rich in faith and those days, I feel like I know what I’m doing, I know where to turn when things get harsh, get wrong, get bad. But then I have days like today when the sky is akin to how I feel and I end up feeling as though I am lost and alone in an eternity of darkness ahead of me.

My lady, I just… it’s so wrong. I feel like I’ve done the work I was supposed. I feel like the lesson I was supposed to learn in this last year have come and gone. And I know that they are to an extent. I know where I was supposed to head and I’m proud of myself. I came out of that particular haze, knowing where I stand and what things will come and how it is supposed to be. My lady, I know all of these things so deep within my heart that it can hurt sometimes with the profound knowledge it contains. But then, I have days like today where the weather is my mood and my mood is the weather. It’s cold and angry and cloudy and moody. It is all together and I forget to turn…

The thing is that you know the plight. You’ve watched me. We’ve walked together in the sands and we’ve talked; we’ve chatted. I’ve poured my heart out to you. I’ve come to you with my tears and my snot. I’ve come to you with my anger and my rage. I’ve turned to you during all of these days and I often wonder, when will it begin to get together more smoothly? Some days, I cannot help but wonder if I only think that I learned the lessons you had intended for me in this last year and that is why I am constantly back at the crossroads, looking up and down and trying to figure out what I just end up in a giant circle.

Stationary and yet, not.

I turn to you, my lady, to help this burden, to help my burden. I need your light to hold back my darkness.

Satsekhem

The Magical Cure Search.

A quick note: This will be a new series of journal entries that are more painful, more personal, but necessary to an overall goal.

Whenever we think about magic and all that, everyone conjures an image into their mind’s eye. It’s the Hollywood technical supervisor doing the bitchingest special effects because they have a budget in the seven to eight digits arena. So, even though there is no “bippity boppety boo,” we tend to think of magic in that way without realizing. Too many cartoons or movies, what have you. I think after seeing so many shows and so many movies and imagining sparkly blue light shooting from your fingers/hands that you just get to the point where you think that maybe, just maybe there is the whole “bippety boppety boo” out there. Personally, I suffer from this problem, but it’s probably not the same as other peoples’…

You see, I’m looking for the magical cure. You know what I mean. We’ve seen that in the movies and cartoons and television shows, too. It’s that moment when the hero and heroine finds the right potion that they can swallow down to undo the end of the world or the terminal disease or gives them enough strength to overpower the ULTIMATE EVIL. Or, it’s that moment when Prince Charming (or Princess Charming) steps up to the person who is sleeping the hundred year sleep of oblivion and offers the kiss to end said curse. It’s the magical cure that we are all looking for, to an extent, and I’m no different. Sometimes, I think that the whole magical searching thing that I’ve been doing is to look for the magical cure. But, my magical cure isn’t just something that will give me the strength to battle it out with the ULTIMATE EVIL or save me from the terminal disease that is ravishing my insides. I’m looking for the magical cure for post traumatic stress disorder.

Trigger warning.

When I was sixteen years old, I was seeing a guy. I think we know where this is kind of going, considering my above statement. The thing is that this guy was just a guy. He was never my boyfriend and that would come up to bite me in the ass later. (Did you know that in Massachusetts you must have had a defining relationship with a person in order to get a protection order against someone? Yep. It sucks.) He and I messed around a few times and I thought that I really liked him. My best friend introduced us, actually. He was okay. I didn’t really see him as long-term boyfriend material because there were rumors about him being a man’s man: he had a lot of girlfriends on the side. He seemed nice. But, the thing is that he couldn’t have been too nice because when I said, “no,” he didn’t listen. The worst case scenario happened: I got to lose my virginity to a guy who I quasi-liked after I said no. What makes it worse than anything is that I could have yelled and screamed and it probably would have stopped. My mom was in the next room and my kid brother was right downstairs. Sure, he brought people over to keep my kid brother occupied with something while he took advantage of my naïveté. To say that I feel guilt about it is an understatement. To say that I let affect me to this day, also an understatement.

I’ve been letting it affect me every day after someone told me that I had been raped.

Oh, yes. It wasn’t just bad enough that I was taken advantage of by someone who I trusted. It wasn’t just bad enough that he had planned things out just well enough to get what he wanted when I wasn’t interested. It wasn’t until after I made mention it to an acquaintance that I began to wonder if I had been raped. This was months later. It explained some things about my behavior after the fact. I was more depressed and moody than usual. I was stealing in an effort to cry for attention. I was cutting more than normal and I was in such a downward spiral that it’s amazing I didn’t kill myself. But, I didn’t know why at the time. Then, I kind of mentioned it to an acquaintance and she said to me, “He didn’t rape you, did he?” I stared at her like she had said one of those words that George Carlin said you can’t say on the radio or TV or whatever. There was no way… there was… I told her no and stopped speaking to her after that (ever again, actually). It took me a while to get up the courage to give the instances in hypothetical jargon to my boyfriend at the time. He told me that what I was describing was rape. You see, back then, date rape was a term that no one knew or understood. Hell, half the time, I still don’t understand it, but that’s what happened to me.

I trusted someone to keep me safe and he took advantage of me.

To add insult to injury, he was charged as a minor even though he was eighteen at the time. In Massachusetts, he couldn’t be charged as an adult until after he hit the magical nineteen mark. So, we went to juvenile court and yet more insult to injury, he was found not guilty. There was a question the jury needed me to answer, but I had left already. It was hard enough trying to testify in a court case when my best friend bowed out and they said that my boyfriend was “no longer necessary” to the case. They were both witnesses to my state of mind, to my discussing the event, and all that jazz, but they weren’t needed to testify on my behalf. It was only me and my little brother and a jury said that he wasn’t guilty. Insult to injury, indeed.

With that in my background (amongst other sexual assaults that have since happened), I’ve been looking for a magical cure. I did the therapy thing because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You go and talk to a complete stranger for an hour and things get magically better. I took pills to keep me from having random panic attacks and I talked my fucking head off to people who I didn’t feel comfortable with. I practiced deviant sexual behavior as a kind of “get back at the man” thing or something. It was like he had warped me and destroyed me and no one believed me about it, anyway, so I might as well act like a whore. But things have changed since then. I’ve done a complete turnaround now: I don’t have sex at all. And no, I’m not joking.

To say that I am gun-shy is an understatement.

I can count on one hand how many times TH and I have sex in a year. I’m incredibly lucky and special to have a guy who won’t force me, like my ex-husband would. I am incredibly lucky and special to have a guy who let’s me run the game if/when I’m feeling horny enough to override the basic programming in me that says, “sex is dirty.” I am beyond lucky and special to have a guy who loves me even though I’m so fucked up in the head. During some of those moments when we do have sex and I end up crying about things that he can’t fix, I always tell him that I’m sorry I’m broken. I always tell him that he deserves someone less fucked up than me. He always tells me that if he was here for the sex, then he would have left a long time ago, but we’re pushing 5½ years together now.

This is why I’m looking for my magical cure.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, my mother said. And she’s right, to an extent. It might not kill you in body, but it sure might kill you in your soul. It’s like a stain, you know. It’s like feeling like there’s a giant stain that everyone can see but only I can feel it. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I know that I’m not the only girl in the world who has been raped by someone she once trusted, but sometimes, it feels that way. This is why I always say that people are less likely to help others when in pain because their pain is the only pain. Their pain is the most prolific pain. I know I’m not alone, but you know, sometimes, the stain is so big and black and dirty and angry that I can’t see passed it all. I can’t see through the forest for the trees, is what it is.

This is why I keep looking for my magical cure.

The thing is that I’m beginning to wonder if my magical cure will ever happen. I was sixteen when I was raped (the first time) and since then, I’ve been looking for something or someone who would make me feel better. The moments of liberty from the pain have been… all too brief. The joys of a new someone in your life. The blanketed numbness that comes from drinking too much. The thrilling numbness that comes from cutting oneself. The ability to tuck it all in the closet at the back of your mind. These magical cures don’t seem to be going so well because the overall issue is still there. I’m still gun-shy. I’m still hurting. I’m still in pain.

But, I’m going to keep looking because my momma didn’t raise no fool.

A Good Thing Takes the Place of What Is Good, And Just a Little Takes the Place of Much.

I… figured it out. I realized why Hwt-Hrw is so angry with me. It’s not what I thought it was, well at least, not entirely. Before, I was just talking out of my ass. I was spewing out the things that made sense to me. I was just saying the things that came to mind because it’s what has irritated Sekhmet in the past. Alike they may be, but one they are not. She’s not angry with me because of her shrine, though she would appreciate it being finished. She’s angry with me over the personal, over the reason that she’s here. It’s personal, so it’s going to suck.

Eleven years ago, as of last Wednesday, I was raped. I remember the night very clearly even to this day. The guy was nice to me and I had a Daddy-complex. All little girls who lost their daddies have one so I wasn’t any different. He was nice to me and he would call me and he flirted with me. He said he liked me, but he was mean to me, too. I just thought it was normal. I don’t know why–I had normal relationships before then. So why did I think his being mean to me was all right? I don’t know, honestly. I think partially this has to do with the fact that I never told my best friend at the time everything that had happened before the rape. Maybe if I had, she would have been able to forewarn me… but she was sixteen, too. She didn’t know anything anymore than I did.

It was my little brother’s birthday and he came over. He had his friends there. I didn’t like his friends because they were just… different, weird. He wanted to go upstairs but my mom was already in her room with the door shut. I didn’t want to go up there because I didn’t want to wake her up. I was scared of my mom and how angry she could get about things. She would freak out if she found a boy in my room, but he was persistent. And it seemed okay, right? We had had sex–though it’s possible we didn’t have full blown sex before because I didn’t bleed after the first time–so, did it matter? But that had been a month before the night he raped me and I had been cast aside.

I didn’t realize I was his last ditch effort after all of his other booty calls had denied him.

He wanted me to suck him off and I giggled nervously. My mom was right next door and my little brother was just downstairs, but he wanted me to suck him like a golf ball through a garden hose. I pretended like I was going to, but in the end, I said I wouldn’t. He wanted to have sex and I remembered telling him that we can’t because Nate was there and my mom was there. What I didn’t realize was that my mom wouldn’t wake up even if the house was shattering down around us because she was depressed and in the sleep of the depressed, the world could end. His friends were there to keep my little brother occupied while he did what he wanted. I was an idiot.

I told him no and I told him no but then I shut up because he was going to do it anyway. I stared at my wall because that’s all that I could look at. I had a bouquet from my sister-in-law’s wedding up there. The flowers were dried and yellowed with age. I stared at it while he did what he wanted to. He pulled back after only a few minutes and said, “I don’t want to cream in you.” Those words were branded into my memory.

Everything changed. I changed.

The worst part was that I didn’t know what had happened. No one talks about date rape because it’s harder to prove. I didn’t say anything because I thought it was consensual but I had said no. I remember saying it a few times and I remember telling him the reasons (my family) repeatedly. But, he hadn’t listened to you. With this comes guilt that not even a stranger rape can fathom. Because this rape was my fault because I knew him. I let him into my house. I had talked to him on the phone into the late hours and mooned over him in school. But I changed. Everything changed.

I’ve never been the same since then.

Anthony and I haven’t had sex in months. I don’t remember the last time we had sex… maybe in July? This week was the eleventh anniversary of my rape and it still effects me deeply and painfully. I can feel the tears in my eyes now.

Hwt-Hrw’s role is to help me with this. I am to turn to her in my times of distress, but I still turn to Sekhmet instead. She is, after all, my primary patroness. As the goddess of healing, isn’t it her job to help me? I should be healed. But, that’s the thing. I’m still technically healed. I cringe at the touch of Anthony’s hand near any of my “sexual bits” but I’m healed. Mentally and emotionally, the guilt only rears its head rarely. I didn’t realize that. There’s ever the pressing thought that I might see that bastard again, but I know I can handle that.

I’ve seen Tim the Molester twice in the last few months and I’ve handled it pretty well. I even checked him out at the store one time and I didn’t freak out or anything horrific. I had a slight panic attack later, but it was nothing. I was okay. So, if I see the fucktard who raped me, I know I can handle it. I know I can see his face and know that I am better than he is.

But, I’m still frayed. Destroyed. Distraught. I’m healed in ways that I didn’t realize, but there are other parts of me that are still destroyed. I feel guilt over that because isn’t it my fault? Shouldn’t I have fixed those patches first? If Jennifer can do it, then so can I. But I don’t know how and that’s what Hwt-Hrw is here for. She’s going to show me, to help me.

But, I don’t turn to her like I should. I don’t know how to turn to a goddess who is everything that I am not: sex, personified. I don’t know how to connect with her, in reality. I’m frightened over it, but I know I have to do this. I just don’t know how. Or where to start.