Bald wird der dunkle Hain belebt

In the immortal words of John Lennon, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. In my world, multiple sclerosis is what happens. I have been fighting some pretty gnarly symptoms as of late. aside from having a black spot in my vision in my left eye, I am also having significant weakness in my arms that is really fucking with my feng shui. Toss in a liberal dose of fatigue and a dash of leg pain, and you have a satanic salad of gloom. I have had to prioritize things, and life only gets more complicated. We just found out our landlords might want to sell our house, so we may be looking at having to move, which is NOT something I want to do. I am still redecorating my Paramour’s new house, I am still planning our trip to France in a month, WMFH has decided that German this quarter should be more like boot camp, and I am taking a singing class that I SO TOTALLY REGRET TAKING because I have to sing in front of the whole class (I am singing “Bald wehen uns des Frühlings Lüfte” by Haydn. WMFH was kind enough to sit with me and help me understand the lyrics and pronunciation. He was adorably excited to find the lyrics were rather Pagan in nature. The man is a complete sweetheart, and my heart breaks to think this is my last quarter of German). I am not a good singer. I am a loud singer, I am a powerful singer, but it is not pretty. Sigh. I guess the only thing to do is dive in, shame myself, and get it over with.

On the spiritual front, I have had so many things to write about I haven’t even known where to start. Co-priest and I spent Ostara with the Cascadia Protogrove in Seattle. They couldn’t have been lovelier if they tried, seriously a terrific bunch of people and very gracious. We are talking about inviting them up to the island for a ritual at some point, but as it stands right now, Co-priest is going to Trout Lake Abbey for Beltane, and as much as I would LOVE to go, right now I just can’t physically do it. Instead, I am staying home and doing my first solitary High Day ritual. I am a little worried about our Midsummer ritual, since we will all be in France until June 3rd. I really want to make it something special, but I am so bogged down with school and extra projects and travel.

My ADF reading? Nonexistent the last few weeks. I did appropriate my husband’s Nook eReader (gods I hate those things) to take with me to France. It makes reading all the out of print and PDF stuff that much easier. My meditation and daily devotionals are a complete scattered mess right now. I am trying to prioritize orthodoxy vs orthopraxy (which is a post I am STILL working on) and decide if it is more important I light the candles and offer the wine when I am physically taxed or more important that I do something purposeful with my time that I consider to be an act in service to the gods. If I approach preparing a meal for others in the spirit of hospitality, or infuse my academic studies with my spiritual goals, is that not more important? Reconstructionism isn’t just a belief, it is a way of life. While I feel like a bit of a failure for not having the stamina to do everything, maybe focusing on the things I can manifest in the real world are more important.

“Bald wehen uns des Frühlings Lüfte” (it’s the first song in this mix)

Girl, Interrupted

Sorry for the lack of posts, my MS has been causing me grief the last few days and I haven’t had much energy. Nothing very interesting to report at the moment, other than WMFH has me contemplating how the Anglo-Saxon concept of edwenden ties in with the concept of wyrd. More research is needed, but I have been preoccupied with helping my Paramour find a house closer to where I live, schoolwork, and German verbs. Oh, and I am totally rockin’ Princess Leiea hair today.

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I am part of the rebel alliance and a traitor!

Life’s a Banquet and Most Poor Suckers are Starving to Death

Mental Floss recently posted a conversation starter question: Some dates carry broad significance, and everyone remembers exactly what they were doing. February 1, 1993, is not among them. But think back to this date (ish) in 1993. What was going on in your life? If you could give your 1993 self three words of advice, what would you say?

1993 was the year I saw someone die. It was one of the most pivotal years in my life. I was 22, about to turn 23, my boyfriend at the time had just dumped me for our new roommate (who 10 years later turned out to be the Villain of my star-crossed love story) and I ended up having to move in with my grandparents. I was a high school drop-out with no skills and only fast food job experience, and my health was failing me. I had developed the first signs of Multiple Sclerosis, only because I didn’t have health insurance and had to rely on Medicaid no one gave a fuck. It would be almost 15 years before anyone would diagnose what was going on with me, and by then the disease had been whittling away at my spinal cord and brain long enough that the damage was done. I am still bitter about the fact that I can no longer dance, run, or walk without feeling like I am trying to run underwater. My cousin was working as a home hospice care worker and needed help with a patient who needed 24hr care. The family couldn’t afford to hire another CNA, so she brought me in cheap. The woman we were taking care of was only in her 60s, but after a lifetime of an abusive husband, criminals for children, and unrealized dreams she had just given up and taken to her bed. Eventually she started to develop health problems and was having small strokes that left her confused and partially paralyzed. Her esophagus stopped working and she would choke on anything you tried to feed her. She was a no-code (meaning no artificial means of life support, meaning no feeding tube) and we literally had to watch her slowly die of starvation and thirst.

I will spare you the details of what those 9 days were like, because they were nightmarish. That she lasted that long was remarkable. That modern medicine would do nothing to end her pain was unconscionable. My cousin and I discussed various ways to stop her suffering; a pillow over her face, an overdose of her morphine suppositories, but ultimately neither one of us had the stones to do it. We were girls in their early 20s, and even though both of us had already been through hell and back (she was a former drug addict and street kid who had been having a lesbian relationship with a meth-addicted prostitute, I spent my teens as a goth chick living off beer, potatoes, weed, and sex in a barn with a rock band. Welcome to the Jerry Springer side of my family) neither one of us were jaded enough to murder another human being, even if it would have been a mercy. The woman finally died one evening as we were sitting in her room watching “Hairspray” (I still can’t watch that movie). Her breathing became labored and eventually she just… stopped. People often talk about the miracle of birth, I am here to tell you that death is no less miraculous. One moment, there is a person there, even in a coma there is life there. Then, suddenly, it is gone. As sudden as shutting off a light or snuffing a candle, and just as easy. It left me with no doubt in my mind that there is something more to the state of “life” than just chemicals and synapses.

My life was never the same after that day. I spent weeks thinking about the decisions I had made with my life. In the following 12 months I got my GED, went to college to study anthropology, and eventually moved to Los Angeles to be with my best friend and pursue a career in the adult entertainment industry. Yes, I actually sought that out, because as a sex-positive third wave feminist I wanted that experience. I had spent my entire life the fat ugly duckling, I wanted to know what it was like to be a swan. I wanted to live my life, chase my dreams, explore my being, experience life in all its facets. And live it I did. Because I did not want to die at the age of 66 in a bed with 2 white trash hussies keeping death watch, riddled with bedsores and reeking like piss after having lived an unfulfilled and sheltered life. I have seen and done things in this lifetime that I can’t even begin to describe. Between my jobs in health care, child care, and sex work I have seen the human body do just about every thing a human body can do and then some. I have learned and grown and sought and reached with every fiber of my being and every ounce of my soul. I have loved and hated and raged and laughed. I have been seduced and worshiped and battered and reviled. I have been the hero of my own story as well as the villain (and believe me, no one can fuck up my life like I can). I worn so many hats, been called so many names. I have been a companion, a friend, a whore, a slave, a teacher, a nanny, a housekeeper, a boss, a receptionist, a health care worker, a student, an entertainer, a writer, a priestess, a housewife, a mistress, an assistant, a waitress, a model, an actress, and so many other things. And I am nowhere near done yet. Middle age is proving to be a great adventure, and I approach it with every ounce of anticipation, excitement, and horror as I have every other stage of my life so far.

So my 3 words of advice to my 23 year old self?

It’ll be AMAZING!

Since that day in 1993, I have tried to live my life according to the mantra of my favorite fellow diva/drag queen/gay man trapped in a woman’s body:

What I Really Think

Yesterday was a bad day.

Important detail: I have Multiple Sclerosis. I have probably had it since my early 20s, but I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid 30s. I have a cousin who also has MS who is only a few years older than I am and is already in a nursing home. I am still walking and talking, but what I have to go through to maintain that is colossal (and insanely expensive.) I take 58 pills everyday (I do a mixture of traditional and modern medicine). I require 2 intramuscular injections a week. I need a machine to help me breathe while I sleep. I have acupuncture once a week. Sometimes I still need a cane. I can’t walk for very far or very long, and sometimes the fatigue hits me so hard it’s literally as if my body is shutting down. I recently went grocery shopping when it hit and I was forced to sit in a Haggen’s parking lot, unable to get out of my car and having to pee for 25 minutes. At one point I seriously considered peeing in the car out of sheer desperation. My point being that when these things happen no amount of determination or will power can change the situation. Because of the damage the disease has done to my brain and spinal cord, everything I do requires 5 times the effort and stamina it requires other people.

For the most part, I try to maintain a “positive” outlook. By positive, I don’t mean cheerful as much as determined and driven. I don’t do cheerful, it ain’t my nature. I try not to let on how much my legs hurt, how tired I am, how much it breaks my heart when people want to do things that I can’t participate in. I think the most devastating loss is the fact that I can’t dance anymore. Believe me when I tell you I am not being mawkish when I say to dance every chance you get, because you really don’t know when it will be your last dance, and you will miss it more than you can imagine. I try to forge ahead with my life and not let the disease or the burden of my healthcare get in the way. But sometimes something small can trigger a cascade of rage and sorrow that I think runs under the surface for anyone in my situation.

In German class yesterday, they had the guy in charge of the “study abroad” program come in to talk to the class of predominately 16-24 year olds about they opportunities available for them to travel overseas. I watched these entitled little fucks ignore the guy and act completely disinterested, not to mention say things like “oh I lived in X country for 5 months, but I never bothered to learn the language” or “I lived in blah for a year on a military base, but I never left the base”. Meanwhile, I am sitting there, wanting to jump up and scream at these brats “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?? GO, FOR FUCK’S SAKE! BECAUSE ANY DAY NOW YOU MIGHT END UP 42 AND NEVER HAVING BEEN ANYWHERE!!” Because I never traveled. I’ve never left this country. I was always too poor or couldn’t leave my job or any number of stupid, stupid things. All at once, my situation crashed down on me, the fact that I will probably never travel, I will never go to Prague or Budapest, never visit Dublin or Berlin, never see a real castle, never be anywhere where the common language is anything but English. I will never see a building older than 300 years. I will never walk the streets of a medieval village or in the footsteps of my ancestors. The logistics involved in lugging my medical equipment and requirements are astronomical. My energy levels and physical limitations prevent me from really exploring a city or going to museums. I can’t travel alone and I can’t ask someone to just come along and be my damn nurse (Mr. Sigrun hates to travel.) I need to worry about medical insurance for travelers, making sure I have access to refrigeration and power supply, and a standard toilet, since any kind of insane crouching nonsense ain’t gonna happen. Not to mention the bullshit of airport rapist security and physical demands of air travel. An uncontrolable torrent of suppressed bitterness, self-pity, anger, and frustration filled my stomach. A sense of impotent rage at my own helplessness and feebleness came over me. From that point on, my day was pretty much a crap sandwich with a side of fuck fries.

Adding in the fact that I was already having one of “those” days where everything you touch falls apart, and the day just kept getting worse. Stubbed toes, bad drivers, ferry problems, missed connections, you name it. It culminated in having dinner at a friend’s house, where the glass of wine I was enjoying suddenly had a fly swimming in it. There was a woman I had never met before there, so I was trying desperately to repress the bile that had accumulated in my heart all day, but after a couple of glasses of fly wine I was feeling less like holding back. I was trying to riff passionately about a subject (coincidentally, Americans who don’t know how to behave themselves in another country), humorously but darkly as is my nature, when she said that one sentence that has haunted me my entire life,

“Gee, Sigrun, tell us how you really think!” *chuckle chuckle*

My good friends and husband got quiet for a moment and all instinctively leaned away from me, bracing themselves.

I snarled as inwardly I am capable and tried to brush it off in the most gracious way I could muster, which is to say like a bear dressed in a wedding gown, on its hind legs, trying to speak English, all flared lips and teeth and grunting.

I don’t think the new girl likes me, but then again, my first impression of her wasn’t that great. I HATE that saying. That is such a passive-aggressive, dismissive way of trying to shut someone down by making a joke out of their opinion. I also hate the fact that people tend to say that to women far more than men. Because a woman with a strongly held and passionately expressed opinion is an eyesore, to be scoffed at, negated, and ignored.

After dinner, I came home and had a good cry (because even fucking valkyries get the blues, dammit) while my husband made me a cup of hot cocoa to comfort me. As I was finishing it, a clump of undissolved powder at the bottom of the glass broke open and I ended up with a lungful of chocolatey goodness.

That day couldn’t end fast enough.

I really had no point to this post. Sigh. And so it goes…

When We Were Trees

The Transpersonal Experience in Indo-European Mythology, Folklore, and Music

Northern Heim, Southern Clime

On Maenads and Valkyries

Introspective Maenad

Thoughts of an Unlikely Dionysian

Pixiecraft: Adventures of Magick and Devotion

The Life of a Practicing Pagan and Traditional Witch

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

The House of Vines

where words grow like leaves

The Flaming Thyrsos

Memoirs of a Hekatean Wino

Syncretic Mystic

Exactly correct. You inhabit two worlds. So far, I see nothing strange.

Root Craft

Making magic in the dirt.

Eternal Bacchus

Dionysos from the end of antiquity to the present

eklogai

polytheist extractions

Black Witch

Life from a Black Pagan's Perspective

Aspis of Ares

A Devotional Exploration of Ares, the God of War

4 of Wands

A celebration of me and my interests. Unapologetically.

Down the Withywindle

All paths lead that way, down to Withywindle.

Ozark Pagan Mamma

Folk Magic, Druidism, Heathenry, & Pagan Parenting

beingaleaf

learning, growing, reaching, being :-)

The Druid in the Swamp

Druidic Musings from the Texas Gulf Coast

The Druid's Cosmos

An ADF Druid's trials, tribulations, musings, and victories

A Forest Door

Spirit-Work & Devotional Polytheism

The Wild Hunt

On Maenads and Valkyries

Pagan Reveries

"Everything is full of gods." - Thales

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