Saturday, December 27, 2014

Not All Religions

(If you aren't keeping up with the most recent fucked up things the cops are doing in the US, go read about it or other things on race in America before reading my random shit.)

Every now and then I subject myself to reading atheist articles against religion. Inevitably, I get incredibly angry at the proselytizing, the logical fallacies, and that they lump all religions into one: Christianity as it occurs in most of America. Occasionally, the article will be a broader attack on Judeo-Christianity, and even more rarely an indictment of fundamentalist Islamists as well. Having spent way too much of my time arguing with people (yay high school speech and debate) the logical fallacies and the total ignorance of non-monotheistic, non-hierarchical religions leads to me foaming at the mouth in fury. I start stomping my foot and screaming "Not all religions!"

Right about there I need to hit pause. "Not all _____!" is never a good sign of an argument. Not all men are cissexist, sexist, rapists, but enough are that lumping all of them in together is important for  the safety of many folk who are not cis men. Not all gamers are fans of #gamergate, but as a dude looking geek, I am very careful about expressing my love for games in a way that makes it VERY clear that I'm no fan of that particular shitstorm. And anyone who says "Not all white people are racists" are pretty much deluded because honestly all white people in America are fucking racist. The only question is how much any given white person is willing to WORK ON THAT SHIT.

Regardless, most of the atheists writing those indictments of religion are coming from a place of pain. Stomping my foot saying "Not all of us!" can very much just invalidate that pain.

Not all Heathens are racists. Enough Heathens are that I step very carefully around anyone calling themselves Heathen. Any non-racist Heathens have to address the racism in their midst, because simply saying "Not all of us are like that" doesn't help deal with the fact that the folkish fuckwads drive a lot of people away.

So, I'm working on stopping my furious reaction when atheists spout off illogical arguments, at their generalized indictments of religion. I'm working on being able to engage in productive conversations, including giving them better arguments instead of logical fallacies. But, I will still not stand for getting witnessed to about atheism.

After all, not all atheists are illogical, proselytizing, douchebags.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Remembering Our Fallen Trans Family

Tonight was the beginning of the Transgendered Right of Ancestor Elevation.

Today was also my testosterone shot.

Tonight I carefully made sure of my materials, my words, and then I showered. I showered physically and did more than a little spiritual cleansing. I grounded and centered. I shaved, so I would be smooth faced as I walked into this rite. I washed my hands, loaded up my syringe, and pumped testosterone into my body. It went in smooth, none leaked, no blood spilled. I felt my dead with me then.

My injections are weekly, and after almost five years I am remarkably bad at them. I have always injected myself. Initially, I had no problem. But these days, I usually bleed. I try not to bleed all over my bathroom floor, but it's my floor so I worry less than I would have when I did not live alone. I bleed, and they hurt. Not all the T gets into me.

Tonight's shot was not lined up perfectly, but it went smoothly. No blood. No minor seepage of my testosterone oil to wipe up even. Nothing. My dead were with me, celebrating in the glory of my injection.

I gathered things together, a white cloth for the alter cloth. A fabulous purple, sequined cloth from a lesbian wedding to go with it. A white candle I had on hand for ancestor work. Handmade incense to carry my words. Matches. A large cool glass of clean water.

The first night of elevation, and I was overwhelmed. Eight more glorious nights of specific attention. Of remembering. Of love and touch. Of comfort. Of carrying their tears and anger.

Hail to all those Fallen Trans Dead. May you drink deep. May you never thirst. May you find what you seek, and know that you are remembered. We miss you. Hail to our Fallen.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sometimes It's Better Not To Ask

I am one of those people who almost always wants to know. My romantic partners have to be ridiculously open with me, due to a combination of being way too smart, knowing them incredibly well, and epic trust issues. I want to learn, to engage... even when the answer is shit. I'd much rather hear that a partner has HPV and is now a much higher cancer risk. I'd much rather be told I'm on the chopping block to get laid off in the next month. I was the little kid who always asked why and the adult whose career is about knowing how to research anything.

I have not been asking a lot of things recently. This past weekend I specifically avoided asking someone who could actually have given me a clear answer about whether I was a psychic vampire. I have been avoiding asking my Runes most of the serious questions I'm trying to figure out.

I've been avoiding asking, because I'm not ready to get told the answer.

It is only partially about not knowing, but it's much more about recognizing that knowing may lead to needing to really DO something and a lot of things I am far from ready to take action on. I've checked in on some important things, like "Is this random urge to run away just springtime escapist fantasy or is it from Someone?" But the fact is I'm not ready to take on a massive change.

There is a massive change heading my way, I know that. And I also know that I probably won't be ready for it once it arrives. But there is a HUGE difference between recognizing Something Big is on my horizon and inviting More Giant Things right into my life. I'm not signing a contract, I'm not delving into anything. I'm trying to get my shit under control, trying to get each day/week/month to the point of rightly respecting the Spirits and Gods in my life. I've got too much on my plate as it is. I'm an ADHD-kid who never quite grew up and so daily practice is pretty much the biggest challenge. And I'm facing it, slowly, and not very well, but I'm facing it.

So, now isn't the time to go around with a bowl saying, "Please Sir, can I have some more?" Nope. Not read for it. When Someone decides I've sat still too long and dumps something on my lap, that's one thing. When I really do think I need a kick in the pants, I ask for one. Okay, more like I hang a spiritual target on my ass and a sign on my back saying "Kick Me!" because I never was one for subtly. I'm not ready to offer hardly anything. I'm not ready to agree, to covenant, beyond my present obligations... because I need to do better on those first.

I don't ask because I'm not ready to deal with the consequences.

I don't ask because sometimes knowing IS agreeing. Knowing means I have to take action. For now I'm trying to learn. Trying to get good practices under my belt for when said Major Shit hits the fan. Working on my signal clarity, working on divination skills, my mediation skills... yeah a lot of skills. I'm not ready to know, not ready to ask, because I am still on basic algebra. Multivariable Calculus is still beyond me.

With the right teacher, concentrated effort, and the time, I can get to that higher level really fast. But I know better than to dive in right now.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weirdly Out of Options

It's interesting how something that is a serious problem and a massive inconvenience can also benefit my life.

For lack of anything better to do, I've been "forced" to meditate, ground and center every single night the last few nights before I go to bed. I know I should do this anyways. It's really helpful, I fall asleep faster, and sleep better when I do all three shortly before bed. As someone with serious sleeping problems (it's been called disordered before), anything that helps is a boon. Yet, for some reason, these three things are massively difficult to force myself into. And it is forcing. Sometimes violently forcing myself to do things.

It's partly a matter of focus. Getting myself to sit down and just do it can be almost an insurmountable task. There's an extent to which if you don't have ADD/ADHD, you don't get it. You don't get how massively painful it is to force oneself to do something that you can't seem to focus on. It isn't even a question of wanting. There are things I genuinely enjoy, but can hardly bring myself to do because the forcing, it hurts. Literally hurts. If my hyper focus decides that it won't chose a certain activity, then that activity is not on the list of things I can easily do.

It isn't about my mind not being able to calm down. It isn't even just fidgeting too much. It's getting up and doing the most random shit before I even realize "Oh yeah, I was going to ground and center." It's being halfway through getting out the eggs before I realize I was going to meditate, not cook. It's jittery, excitability, movement and racing thoughts, even when I'm so tired I can barely move.

Except right now I have nothing else to do.

No cooking, no logging onto my computer, no texting or calling, nothing. I can't even read or write after about 11 at the moment. Well, not without extreme visual difficulty.

There isn't anything else to get up and do so eventually, I'm able to force myself to meditate. Eventually, I ground and center. And then I meditate some more. Because I finally have the focus, the time, and the space for it. So, I do my offerings, and I take my time. I find ways to stay up and fuck up my sleep still, yet...

This way the meditations are done. I am grounded and centered. And despite the anxiety inducing disaster that has forced this weird time upon me, despite the literal anxiety attack consuming my evening, I am doing better because of it.

Maybe when things work out (and I get a new place to live), I can continue with my meditating. Maybe then it won't take as much forcing, because of this time when there isn't anything else. Sometimes, being out of options is the best option.

Monday, March 25, 2013

PBP: Fasting and Feasting

I can't fast in a traditional "eat no food" sort of sense. I can't go a day without food, even if it just sun up to sun down. I can't even skip meals. I'm not diabetic, but I do have issues with blood sugar, and when I don't eat I end up doing silly things like passing out and ending up with a nice lump on the back of my head.

I fast by cutting things out of my life, and not around food. I fast by not allowing myself to watch Netflix for a month. Or taking a weekend to unplug from everything, internet, phone, tv, the works. Usually I unplug at cons. These days it is a bit harder as there are things structurally in my life that make unplugging problematic for others and not just myself, but I'm still working that out. At some point, I'm going to attempt the exercise of a silent weekend. Preferably, while camping or otherwise away from my home where I hear everything in the streets nearby. Silent weekend. Unplug things that are not necessary  and turn them all off. Turn off the phone, the music, even the fan. Journal, write, read, but do not talk or otherwise make noise. Sit with the silence. This is an endeavor I hope to accomplish at some point.

But one of the points of fasting is appreciating the feast. The abundance. And other than the verbal expression of gratitude to the people in my life who contribute to said abundance, other than occasional mentions of it to the Gods, Spirits, and other such Beings in my life, I am terrible at appreciating abundance.

I didn't think of things in these sorts of terms. Partly because I shy away from dichotomies. Boundaries are flexible, blurry things in my mind and life, as are definitions. So, thinking of feast as opposed to fast (or famine) is a difficult endeavor for me. They aren't dichotomous in the sense of opposites, but in the sense of complements, of counterparts.

Except a ritual last week (and why this entry is going up late) made me rethink my paradigms around these subjects. I was a ritual guide for another, and their ritual was one of cutting away unhealthy things and appreciating the abundance of healthy things in their life. Part of the ritual was a literal feast of abundance. There was more than we could eat or even offer. The rest were leftovers, intentionally, to be eaten at another time.

Also, it was actually a good example of giving freely to the Gods as well, because this individual decided at various points to give more in offerings than planned. They basically decided at various points that they wished to offer more, and so they did. I'm always pleased when people decide that to offer more (especially when such offerings create no hardship,) the Gods appreciate an abundance as well. But, as usual, I digress.

I fast in part to appreciate the feast. Now, I am working on structuring a new ritual for my life, feasting to appreciate the times of famine. Be it a dinner with friends, or perhaps just an overabundance of good reading, there are plenty of times for a moment of thanks, a moment of appreciation and a moment for my Gods.

Fasting I use mostly as a form of cleansing, and especially as ritual preparation  Time that feasting takes it's own place in my life as something beyond the mundane.

Friday, March 8, 2013

E is for Expressing Emotion

Oh, I wrote my previous E and D posts. They just never made it up onto this blog. Either written in my journal or in "unfinished" posts, they were done enough for me but not enough for public. Except all three were done in a manner that I eventually decided wasn't meant for public, that the need was to write them at all. 

Also, in case this wasn't clear. I'm trans, FAAB, and will refer to my youth as a girl and my present existence that isn't binary.

I hate crying in public. Not to say I haven't ever shed tears in public, after all, how would I realize I hated it if I had no experience with it? I hate crying in public but I've certainly done my share of it. Hell, I spent my last semester of high school crying almost every day through class. Or before class. Or after. Yeah, lot of tears then. A lot of tears that summer too. Tears from stress, tears from pain, and especially tears of heartbreak.

I never used to cry in movies. I was one of three girls in my seventh grade class who didn't cry when we were taken to see a (truly bad) movie that involved some pretty gruesome and depressing deaths. I just found the movie tedious and badly done. I never cried at/in a movie until I was 18. And that movie I went to see alone. Opening night, I sat in the theater, surrounded by strangers, glad that no one I knew could look over in the dark and see the tears on my cheeks. Outside of the movies, I cried far too easily. I cried when people yelled. Not because of any particular emotional response actually, just a side-effect of the way I grew up. Despite being good at handling pain and fear, they still made me cry. And tears made me feel weak.

I don't cry much anymore.

Tears don't come to my eyes. They haven't in the last three plus years since I started testosterone. My emotions express themselves without tears falling from my eyes and it is a massive relief. Pain can lace my face, fear or hurt lining my eyes without a tear falling. Shaking, trembling, shouting, whispering, I can chose my preferred methods of expression. Excepting movies.

At first, I thought it was just that the Star Trek reboot movie happened to have incredibly powerful emotional associations (to events that some of my closest friends are still coping with PTSD over.) Until I realized that the tears sprang to my eyes and my throat closed up at more and more movies. Films done right induce massive swells of emotion. Music and lighting can evoke so much, even when I don't give a shit about the characters. Maybe it's the bombast, or the sudden silence startling you into the realization of how much something has gone wrong... but movies bring tears to my eyes all the damn time.

Each time my throat closes up, each time my eyes start leaking, it hurts. It doesn't hurt in the sense that I'm in emotional pain and this is some of that pain leaking out, it hurts in that I am out of control.

Every tear is an ordeal.

I cannot control it. I do not always understand it. I am stripped of control and the masks I have so carefully constructed. I am stripped of defense and the armor of pleasant amusement that I have cultivated as my default expression. I am at a loss as to why I'm crying. I'm not brought to tears from a powerful scene exactly. It isn't the gut wrenching, knife twisting, moments that tend to do it. I'm just as likely to cry at a overly bombastic ridiculous action sequence as a class Joss Whedon tear-your-heart-out-and-chop-because-he-lives-on-the-tears-of-his-fans moment.

Every tear is an ordeal.

It may be witnessed if I'm watching something in public. It may be a private ordeal, alone in my room before I fall asleep. I cannot let the moment rest. I can't let it just be. And maybe that's why it keeps happening. I cannot let it rest until I understand, and I have yet to understand it. Maybe I'm supposed to be learning a lesson and failing.

Every tear is an ordeal.

One that I don't understand. I don't know what I'm supposed to be learning. Maybe even just to be more open and expressive. Maybe to let things be. I don't know. And, maybe there is no point. It isn't that I'm insisting that this comes from Someone. That this is because of Something. That this ordeal must be caused by the Universe for some purpose. I can learn something without all of that.

Not every ordeal is set up for you, not every ordeal is expected. Not everything is a path set before you, sometimes you trip and fall on your face, and end up breaking three ribs. Those random accidents, those genuine coincidences? Those can be ordeal too. The difference is in how you look at them. So, I chose this path.

I chose to make each tear an ordeal.

The alternative is for it to mean nothing. I've been an existentialist for longer than I can remember. The fact is, in the long run, none of it matters. Which is why all of it matters to me. Every tear, every tremor of my body, every coursing stream of self-hatred I feel as another tear slides down my cheek is of meaning to me. I inscribe each tear into my body and mind. I ask why. I search for meaning, for cause.

And so far, I've failed this ordeal. And that is okay too.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

C is for Courting

Late... due to Nemo. The storm, not the fish.

Sometimes Deities stay at a distance. Spirits stay out of your life, and the mundane remains the focus of your life. Sometimes the world comes crashing down around your ears as Someone decides to get involved. But there is an in between space. Sometimes, you get courted.

Courtship... in so many ways a prelude and yet it is often all consuming. Outside of the spiritual/religious realms, we as a society are taught to fixate on the early stages of relationships. Does I like them? Do they like me back? Were they flirting? Why do I always make a fool of myself in front of them? Is this a date? On and on, we are engrossed to exhaustion. NRE comes and suddenly logic flies out the window. It is no surprise that something so dominant in our societies has become a tool of the Gods.

Though don't be surprised either if they use courting techniques that aren't so common anymore. They have many more years of courtship rituals to draw upon, and They will use whatever They so chose.

A flower here. A whisper there. Spaced out, wondering if it's all in your heard or if that Someone is actually noticing you. Not being sure if you actually want Their notice, because in so many ways that can be terrifying. Is terrifying. Even the questioning "Is this what I want?" can shake a person to the core. This courtship can come out of nowhere. It isn't always your "type" of Deity who comes knocking and doing the equivalent of asking you out. (For some people, not equivalent, they are being asked out by said Deity.) The courtship is a choice. It's a dance. They step, you step, perhaps a slow waltz, perhaps it's capoeira.

It is a two way street. Yes, you can go out and court Them, but just like with people, They have every right to reject you. Maybe you'll get a reason, such as "you're not what I'm looking for," and that will probably suck a lot. Rejection is like that. And it is rejection, so don't forget to treat it as such, and respect how much it will probably suck for you to feel said rejection. But as I said, two way street, you are perfectly allowed to reject them. Except, rejection has consequences. This will probably not endear you to Them. Perhaps it will slide by, with little effect. On the other hand, rejecting Hermes right before a lot of travel could very well lead to canceled flights and mechanical errors. I'm not saying this is likely, but if Someone is going through the effort to court you, just be prepared for the potential reaction if They're suit is rejected. Though that isn't how a failed suit necessarily ends. Sometimes things just fall to the wayside, sliding out of your life unnoticed until they day you sit up and realize it's been gone for a while. That happens too.

I like being courted, by mortals or by Them. I like courting too. I appreciate the structure of reaching out, learning about one another, and most importantly, the easy ways to refuse. Yeah, rejection sucks, but at least through courtship there are viable routes of rejection. "I'm just not that into Y/you" is a completely legitimate response, and approaching things this way makes that response appropriate.  I'm a huge fan of consent, and this is one of the easiest ways for any and all parties to have an appropriate "out" early on. Not to mention it's a good deal politer on our side of things, instead of banging down the door begging for attention.

But for me, the biggest "Holy shit this makes sense" part of the courtship thing? I'm an oblivious person. In fact, I can (and have) sat friends down and explained every nuance of the body language of someone who was flirting with them. I broke it down and laid it out so they could both understand and reciprocate. Someone flirts with me? I'm totally clueless. Someone attempts to court me? I don't notice a damn thing, even when that Someone isn't at all subtle about it.

Thank you flashing neon signs of subtly.