(Again, this is basically a copy/paste from my facebook – this was originally posted as a comment on the original post. The original post has been shared at least 20 times, and I wanted the people who had shared it, to be able to see the update if they read the comments).
I went back in to the deli today… it was very “pretty woman”-ish.
I asked the owner if he remembered me… and he said no. I said “what time did you close yesterday?” He said “6pm, I close at 6pm unless I am sick, and then I go home when I go home.”
“I came in here a little after 5 last night, and you were mopping the floor behind the counter… I told you I wanted to buy a sandwich, and you said ‘no, we are closed’, you told me that the kitchen was closed… so I asked you if I could buy an ice cream cone, and you said no”.
“Oh, you came here with that man”
“Yes, I brought a homeless man with me, I wanted to buy him some food”
“Kitchen was closed, all I had was turkey, I was waiting for a delivery, even today, all I have is turkey. All I can sell is turkey sandwiches.”
“You didn’t say that. You said that you were closed, and that I couldn’t even buy an ice cream cone”
“Well, I am old, I did not hear you”
“But you replied to me when I asked, you told me to go to Jimmy John’s”
“Do you know that man, he has someone buy him a meal today? She bought him a pizza slice and took it to him”
“Do you realize that the man is homeless, that maybe he relies on the kindness of others to survive?”
“What does it matter to me if a customer comes in and has money to pay, I give them food”
“It matters because *I* was going to buy the food. I had my credit card out, and wanted to BUY a sandwich, and when you said the kitchen was closed I said I would like to buy an ice cream cone and you told me no, go to the Jimmy John’s”
“Well, I care not if he is homeless, I have a business to run, I can’t give things away.”
“No one expected you to. I wanted to pay for a meal for the man. And short a meal, I wanted to buy him an ice cream cone. But you would not let me. And that is sad, and I was heartbroken at the thought that people mean so little. I just wanted you to know that.”
And then I left.
In the long run, I don’t know if my telling the man that what he did was mean will matter. I doubt it. I learned back in kindergarten that calling people mean, even if they were, had little to no effect. But I could not just leave it. I needed to tell him. I wanted him to admit he was wrong, though most of me knew that wasn’t going to happen. So I settled for getting clarification that what happened was done intentionally.
Despite his words today, his excuses that he did not hear me, even though he clearly answered me when I spoke to him, that he did not remember me or our exchange, but could converse plainly and evenly about exactly what happened, that he was sorry, though he clearly was derisive toward Michael, and any attempt to help or show him any kindness, I at least walked away knowing without a doubt that what I experienced yesterday was not some kind of miscommunication. That it was intentionally done.
I did, at least, get clarification that Michael was allowed to finish his meal in peace last night, and that he was not disturbed or bothered after I left. I am happy for that. For him. For a bit of peace and comfort after such a humiliating event.
You know… it is one thing to sit here online and pontificate the various “sides” of the debates on homelessness, and the poor and/or destitute in this country. We all do it, for whatever place on the spectrum of opinion we happen to land (I myself am a socialist in this regard, and believe that it would be for the betterment of all if the entire country followed the lead of UTAH -of all places-…and gave the homeless shelter, especially since there are 24 empty homes for every homeless person on the street) but it is quite another to come into head on contact with it from the perspective of a comfortably middle class life.
I can’t even really put into words right now just how upset I am with humanity in general, and with one specific deli owner in particular. How horrible and despicable we are as a group of primates. Even I, who sit in the lap of solidly middle class luxury, who once did things that many of you would cringe at because of being poor, who has had the brushes with homelessness, can indeed forget, or gloss over, the loss of humanity that being destitute brings, in our fight to save the masses of people who are falling further into poverty every day.
Even when I was poor – even when I was whoring my body out for money to pay the bills, I was still a white girl-woman who came from solid enough middle class that I didn’t ever *look* that bad off. I still got to take showers at my grandmother’s house, or sleep on her sofa from time to time… I still had food in my belly every day, even if I did have to fuck random to get the last of the money I needed to pay my car note to my grandfather because it was the one piece of real security I had – the one thing that kept me from ever being *that kind of poor*, because that car meant I could work, that I never had to sleep in the open, or lose the few belongings I kept with me. It was a super-luxury, even if it was a geo metro.
Today, in my solidly oblivious middle class life, I was running late to get to the coffee shoppe, to buy a tin of overpriced tea for a gift swap of completely frivolous things. So, they were already closed when I got to the door.
I had my hair braided, my glasses on, a black and white striped “dressy” tank top, an ankle length hand embroidered gypsy skirt, and black sandals. I only tell you this, to give you an idea, that for once, rather than bumming around in jean shorts and a wife beater, that I actually LOOKED like the solidly middle class white woman that I am.
So, as I’m turning away from the shop, I let out a sigh and said “damnit, now I have to come back again tomorrow!”… and as I was saying this, a man was walking up onto the sidewalk from the other side of the street.
He was quite obviously unkempt. He was wearing a black t-shirt with a gold design on the front… it was obviously in need of a washing, but it was in solid condition, no rips or obvious holes or tears. He was wearing dark denim jeans that had seen better days, but again, no obvious rips or tears. His shoes were worn through in several places, however, and you could see what used to be white socks peeking through the toes. His skin was flaky, his eyes were swollen, and his teeth were yellowed. His hair stood up on end in clusters of spikes, wild, not unlike what you’d expect Albert Einstein’s hair would have looked like if he were a black man.
“Missed last call?”
“Yes, apparently so. Guess I will have to come back tomorrow.”
“It happens. At least its a nice day”
“Yes, that it is… You have a good night, k?”
… At this point I turned and started walking back to my truck. I had parked halfway up the block.
“Ma’am? I hate to ask you, but, well, you wouldn’t happen to have some spare change would you? I don’t need a lot, but even a quarter would help me.”
“Well, I don’t carry cash, but come with me and I will dig out what I have in my change cup for you”
“That’s ok… I’ll just wait here, I don’t want to get in trouble for walking with you, or have your boyfriend jump out of the car and attack me or think I’m following you or something”
I turned around to look at him, and waved with my hand… at this point I started to feel a bit as if I was talking to a child…
“No, really, it’s ok, you can walk with me. I’m only parked half way up the block, and no one is going to attack you, I promise. Just come with me so I don’t have to walk back down this way. I don’t know how much I have, but I will give you the change out of the cubby in my car. K?”
Rather than waiting for him to respond, I turned back and continued to walk, figuring he’d either follow or stay put – either way, I was going to give him change, I just didn’t want him to feel paranoid about walking with me. Turned out, as I was digging through the cubby for all the silver change (I never give anyone pennies, though I suppose it all spends, I always try to give anyone who asks at least silver if I don’t have cash… it was always my experience that counting pennies was one of the most humiliating things to do when I was poor – nothing screams “I can’t take care of myself, pity me!” like counting pennies on a counter.) he walked past my truck and was standing in the brick space between the restaurant I had parked in front of and the shoe store next door. He had his hands together in front of him and he was staring at his shoes. I honestly now wonder if he thought I was going to “forget”…
I turned around to look for him, spotted him, and walked over to him. As I held out my hand I said “Hey! I’m sorry this is all I have. I never carry cash with me any more. But it’s at least $2, so it will hopefully help you a little bit.”
“That’s ok, you’ve done more for me than anyone has. I just want to say, that I don’t know really what to say right now. That you talked to me, you said hello to me, and now you are giving me money. I think it is too much. You are doing too much. I can’t even tell you, that it was just so nice to have someone say hello to me.” And he tried to give the money back to me!
“No, no. Really, please. Keep the money. It’s the least I can do, and I wish I could do more, but it’s all I’ve got on me. Besides, if you give me back that change, I am going to take you across the street to the deli and buy you a meal. That’s your choice, the $2 or a meal.”
“Why are you being so nice to me? That’s insane, you can’t buy me a meal. They wouldn’t let you anyway… but you can’t buy me a meal, you’ve already done too much for me.”
“Because you’re a human being? Because I’m a human being. Because it’s the right thing to do. You asked me for money, and I choose to believe that those who ask, who risk asking, actually need it, so I am giving it to you. You need it, and I have it. It’s very simple. I don’t even know your name, but I don’t have to. You are a person, and you asked me for help, so I am giving it to you.”
“My name is Michael. Like the angel. Do you think God is looking out for me?”
“Well, I am here, and want to help you, so I guess he is, isn’t he?”
“Will you pray for me? And tell god I’m trying. I’m not doing to good, though.”
” You’re here. You are alive. You are surviving. I’d say you’re doing the best you can given the circumstances. And yes, I will pray for you.”
And, God forgive me, I did. I had to swallow the feeling of hypocrisy rising in my throat as I held this man’s hand and prayed out loud to a God I have never trusted… but it wasn’t for me, it was for him, and so I prayed to his god, for him, holding his hand in the middle of the sidewalk – with people gawking at me – or more likely at him… and I didn’t even care. And when I was done (it was quick… I’m not one for windy prayers, even if I am wordy about everything else), I held onto his hand and pulled him closer to the edge of the sidewalk and said “ok, now we’ve prayed, lets go get something to eat”…
And here is where things get ugly. He said to me, as we were crossing the street – “I can’t go in there with you, they won’t let me. They’re not going to like it, and they’re going to tell me to leave. I’m all dirty, and can’t shower, and they’s going to know with you being dressed up and me not that you’re not with me and they’re going to want to know what I’m doing following you into a place”…
“I don’t care. They will let you. You are with me, and I am buying you a meal. It’s all money. They don’t care who’s eating the meal.”
And we stepped into Noels Deli… and I was slapped in the face with the reality this man lives with day in and day out.
The sign said “OPEN”. The hours posted said they didn’t close for another hour. The door was unlocked. Michael walked in behind me, and stood off to the side, not far from the door. He was staring at the floor and ignored me when I requested he sit while I ordered food. As I crossed to the counter, passed the little sitting area, the man behind the counter looked up from his mop and said “be careful the floor is wet, don’t walk there”… and then he stood up fully…and looked at me… and then looked at Michael.
I stopped just at the edge of the dining area and said “that’s fine, I would like to buy a sandwich, please. I cannot read the menu from here, so what kind of sandwiches do you have?”
He replied “no sandwiches, we’re closing” – while looking past me and straight at Michael. And I replied, well, ok then, if you cannot make a sandwich, how about an ice cream cone?”, because the ice cream freezer was right there, and the cones were right there, and the lights were still on… And he again replied, “No, we are closing, I cannot sell you any food, try the Jimmy John’s down the street”.
And behind me Michael said “see, it’s ok, I told you, they’re not going to let you buy a man like me food.”
“Well, he might not, but lets just go down the street and we’ll get a sub at Jimmy John’s. It’ll be fine.”
And while we were walking to the sub shop – this man… this HUMAN fucking man… who would not walk beside me. He walked to my right and 2 paces behind me as if he were a fucking dog. He said to me “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry that I am no better than this, that you’re being so nice to me. I’m sorry I bothered you back there and started this whole thing”.
This man was apologizing to me for existing in my space. For talking to me. He asked me for a quarter and I offered to buy him dinner, and his response was to apologize to me for existing.
And then it got worse. Jimmy John’s did indeed allow me to buy the man food. Though I think at that point, nothing about my demeanor would have allowed anything else to happen. The fact that it was staffed by 4 kids, the oldest of whom couldn’t have been older than 22 or so, made it relatively easy, I don’t think any of them would have had the balls to stand up to me with other customers in the store. While I was standing there ordering his meal, he asked the kid behind the counter if he knew of a public bathroom anywhere near by. I told him, at this point, I am sad to say, much in the same tone I use with my kids that says ‘stop being stupid’
“Never mind that, there is a bathroom right over there down that hall, go use it”… and thankfully he did… and I ordered his meal while he was gone. When he came back – he *APOLOGIZED TO THE KID BEHIND THE COUNTER FOR USING THE BATHROOM* and fell all over himself to reassure the kid that he hadn’t made a mess and that he washed up everything he touched while he was in there. And I swear to all the gods I hold holy, it was all I could do not to cry right there.
So he held that meal like it was a baby, and we turned and I sat at a booth by the door… and invited him to join me.
Most of the next 15 minutes was a stop and start. He ate, and then we talked – mostly he ate, and I talked. I wanted to encourage him. I tried to find the words to explain that not everyone thought he was worthless, that he was less than a dog. That he was a human, and that I was sorry that people treated him as if he didn’t deserve his humanity… and I asked him never again to apologize for just being… whether he was in a place, or just standing on the street… he is a human being and has just as much right as the rest of us to exist on this planet.
He pulled a little 2×4” spiral notebook out of his pocket – and that’s when I noticed the hospital wrist band. He’d been discharged sometime in the last day or two – and his name was not Michael… I don’t actually remember his name – only that it began with an R… and it really didn’t matter. This man introduced himself to me as Michael, like the angel…and so that is who he is. But he wanted me to look at his notebook, and so I did. There were sketches, rough outlines that looked like street graffiti. There were little bits of notes on the top of several pages… it was his journal. “it’s hot today. no where to go.” “sittin on the park bench with a bottle of water some man bought me n here come 50 runnin up on me threatening me cuz I got an open container” “all there is is people and trash people and trash”… and at the very end of it, a note from a man named “Glen H”… who had written a note “Michael, Never forget God loves you. You are going to be OK. Just keep trying, and don’t give up”.
So I added my own note. “Never let them take your humanity. Never apologize for who you are, or where you have been. You are a human. You deserve respect. You are a child of God. You are a child of the Goddess. And there are people in this world who will always try to do right. You keep going, and you will make it.”
And I hope, against all the worthless humanity that exists in this world who think that people like Michael are worthless, unworthy of respect, unworthy of their own dignity, and unworthy of a few meager pennies and a couple of hot meals… that someday that will be true.
In the meantime, I am sitting here with my eyes filled with tears, and my heart full of rage… that I live in a “free country”… the land of rights and freedoms… and there are people 10 miles or less from my door who couldn’t even buy a meal if they had the money to do so. And I wonder what in the hell makes this country so fucking great?
And now, to add a post script to this. Most of the above was copied and pasted from the status update I posted to facebook shortly after I returned home – it’s been edited for clarity, but not for content. Not every part of the conversations were remembered verbatim, but the gist of the conversation is there, where I couldn’t remember the details, I explained rather than quoted.
I have never used Yelp before tonight. I left a review there, and on facebook, detailing the basics of the incident inside of the deli. What I’ve left out of both, is that, I have never before in all my years, been stunned into absolute silence. What I felt in that deli was nothing less than prejudicial malice. In my search for the facebook page or website for the deli, I discovered something else entirely, and I don’t even know how I feel about divulging it… though anyone who knows how to use google could do the same.
You see – the man who owns the deli – he’s a Muslim immigrant from Egypt. And, stereotypical and broad brush though it may be – all I can think is, of all the people I would have expected that kind of behavior from, that sort of prejudice from… I am floored once more. One would think, that having experienced prejudice (and lets face it, he’s a Muslim in America, there is no way he hasn’t), that it would predispose people to be just slightly less likely to shun others for their differences – whether of race, religion, or financial situation. Maybe I am naive.
I empathize with, relate to, the poor and homeless in this world because I have been there. My experience, no matter how shallowly connected, gives me, I feel, some perspective on what they go through, day in and day out. But, shallow it is, because nothing I’ve ever experienced prepared me for the blatant malevolence I experienced today.
Part of me really wants to go back to the deli tomorrow (since I have to go back to the coffee shop anyway), and hand him a piece of paper:
And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly. [Holy Quran 2:280-281]
Therefore, do not oppress the orphan, nor repulse the beggar.” [Holy Quran 93:9-10]
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
As I told a friend… I am now torn. Between scouring the internet for something to restore my faith in humanity… or hold on to my “righteous anger” (as my partner called it) and do… I don’t even know what with it…
In the last 2 years I have been struggling, or just outright ignoring in some cases, anything related to my spiritual life. I had, by action and circumstance, been separated for quite some time from what I considered to be my spiritual leadership – those whom I was spending time with, learning from – by spending time with them if not actually in student/teacher relationships with. It became difficult to try to focus on my own spiritual growth and connections with the gods that I felt had called me without some form of group practice, however irregular and sporadic. That sporadic connection was enough to keep me motivated between visits.
In the last couple of months, this spring, as the world around me thawed out and sprang to life, I started feeling pushed to reconnect. Dust off the altars, pay attention. It started with a reading from Raven K… and I’m slowly but surely finding my way.
Inspiration yesterday came from needing to work on a craft exchange for a witchcrafting group I belong to. Today, a different group got to talking about Appalachian folk magic and practices – a region I am descended from, where my immediate ancestors hailed from – vs my far more ancient Norse by way of England by way of the American colonization…. One of the problems I’ve had, while I do feel connected to my Norse ancestors, it is a weak connection at best, I don’t feel their presence all that strongly and I have had much difficulty in trying to establish a closer relationship with them. I still pay them homage, as they deserve, but a relationship with them eludes me still.
But, upon thinking of my immediate ancestors – those from Appalachia – I already *have* a relationship with them. I *knew* them, in this life, and so, it seemed like a lightbulb went on – “aha! why not start by kindling the relationships that already existed”… my great-great grandmother was a Christian to be certain, as were my great-great-great aunts and uncles…but they were Appalachian Christians – and what’s more – they were only 1 generation from their roots as Muncee-Lennape Indians.
When the Walking Purchase forced many of the Muncee peoples west, some stayed behind. My great-great-grandfather was born in Cape May Courthouse New Jersey. My great-grandfather was born in Cape May Courthouse…. My grandfather was born there as well… And when he was a child, the family moved to Appalachia – specifically into westernmost North Carolina. And there they lived, and married, and passed on stories and “superstitions”.
It is funny, that in paganism, the association with wolves as totems or spirit animals is so overdone as to be a sarcastic cliche… No matter how truly I felt that affinity – no matter that it was that particular affinity that helped form my relationship with Odin, and foster my connection, however tenuous, with my Norse ancestors… it was still a cliche – one I occasionally questioned or occasionally felt bouts of secret guilt about… was I just being a cliched poser? was that why my connections felt so tenuous?
But you know, in spite of having, years before becoming pagan, an interest in my family history – of spending hours in ancestry.com and libraries, creating our family trees… there was much about my family I didn’t know. My great aunts and uncles had already done that side of our family tree – I had all of the dates and family connections and knew who are kin were (and where they all scattered to)… so I never looked very deeply at my Lenape family.
My surname, had my family continued the Lenape matrilineal tradition, would be Muncey (a variant of Muncee that was changed when my great grandfather moved from New Jersey to North Carolina)…. because we were originally of the Muncee clan of the Munsee tribe. 1/3 of the original Lenni Lenape tribe. The totem of the Munsee Tribe…. the wolf.
And now, I must be off… the next generation needs my attention… things to ponder… and perhaps tonight I shall sit with the Muncey’s and see what happens.
She loves the moon. She loves to be outdoors. She loves to dance barefoot in the grass and play with sticks and dig in the dirt bare handed.
She is, for now, making it a bit easier to introduce her to the life of loving at least the dirt worshiping part.
Putting her to bed tonight this was the refrain in my head:
Good night, Moon.
Good night, Stars.
Good night, Ancestors, near and far.
Watch over me tonight and let me rest,
So I can try again tomorrow, to be and do my very best.
Random life bits: Today I got a new phone, which isn’t really new, but it is to me, so good enough. I then promptly lost my old phone, before I could get all of the photos and videos of my daughter off the memory card in it.
I realized tonight that I am currently spending 21 hours a week putting my child to bed – either for naps or at bedtime. I have decided that I really need to consider stripping her bedroom bare and locking her in it until she figures out how to go to sleep on her own. Spending an entire day of my week just putting her to bed is ridiculous at her age.
I also realized tonight just how ill suited I am to parenthood. I wished, for a heartbeat or two, that I could have a job, just so I’d have an excuse to pay the exorbitant daycare fees ($115 a week) to get her away from me for a while. While I do think that she needs some kind of socialization with other kids, I cannot justify paying $460 a month for the 6 months a year I would be unable to avail myself of their services. Which sucks. Because I REALLY want to put her in daycare.
I am finally putting the altar(s) back up. What was originally one altar with a side space for storage of necessities is now 2 altar cabinets…
Where the original altar was all one cohesive, albeit generic, altar – whose original point was to have something of both of us melded together into one, the secondary altar, the one on the dresser, is coming together as 1 place, but altars to multiple deities/figures. I don’t know why, I haven’t examined it in too much detail. I’ve simply been unpacking boxes and putting things where they seemed to need to go. Rebuilding the altars at this point is an exercise for my mind…a way of starting to reconnect with the gods that I thought had given up on me since my detour into places they didn’t want me to go.
I need to go out and get journals soon. During a rather impromptu meditation session last night, letters and thoughts slipped through my mind, things that are clamoring inside of me that need to be written – but that aren’t necessarily for public consumption. In part inspired, I’m assuming, by a podcast I listened to on Loki yesterday, one of the thoughts was a need to compose my thoughts on him, to finally address why every time he has shown up in my life I have shown him the door. I think it is time to address that fear/anxiety.
The altar as it was originally set up. I had once asked my partner, in a fit of insecurity about the status of our relationship, to marry me. He promptly said no. My response, since he still insisted that his home was my home regardless of the status of our relationship and what we called it, was to create this altar – some of his life, some of mine, all blended together. He added his own touches to it as well. That was almost 3 years ago. It is now time for the altar to morph into something new, it is time to honor the gods the way I should be.
I’d call it “rules for living through retrograde”. A very good post for surviving the emotional upheavals of this particular Mercury Rx period.
“When the Gods want to punish us, they answer our prayers” – Oscar Wilde (via Sex, Gods, and Rock Stars)
I always dislike starting a new blog. It isn’t nearly like the excitement of starting a new journal, in fact, I find it much more akin to those awful awkward first days of school, where no one knows anyone so the instructor helpfully makes everyone stand up one at a time and try to blurt out enough of an introduction about themselves to “get to know” everyone.
In a way, I suppose, that an introduction/explanation post isn’t really necessary – I mean, there *is* an “About” page, right? Oh well, lets get on with this…
For those of you who *don’t* like to use a dictionary, allow me to explain:
The Pyrrhic Mother – Pyrrhic: adjective: success with heavy loss
(I assume, “the” and “mother” don’t really need explanation).
I admit here to using the word Pyrrhic just a wee bit inappropriately. Generally speaking, when one uses the term, they are speaking of victory in battle despite having incurred huge losses in order to obtain the victory. Suffering the death of a child is indeed a heavy loss, but this is about more than just that loss. I believe that I have a job to do. I have a relationship that is owed to the Gods. I made promises to certain deities and I have not been fulfilling those promises. I let day to day life get in the way, and so, slowly, and rather painfully, they have been removing the obstacles in my life that would continue to keep me from fulfilling those promises.
The death of my younger child in 2002 is what led me to the Gods, it was the catalyst for leaving an apathetic relationship with the God of Christianity, which had long been a one-sided, and to my perspective, a very unloving and distant relationship. I never felt as though I belonged to Him. I found Odin, and he found me (which is a story unto itself, that I will not go into now), and promises were made. A teacher, a shaman, was practically handed to me on a silver platter by Him, and being relatively young in the relationship, and still very naive about the whole situation, I thought I could continue to have a normal life *and* do whatever it was that Odin seemed to think I should be doing. I was wrong, and I have been paying the price for my arrogance at that assumption ever since.
I will give all of the gory backstory in other posts, it isn’t relevant right now. What is relevant right now is that over the course of 3 EVENTS, I was told, in no uncertain terms the following things:
1, that I had to give up living in continuous mourning for my lost child. I have had no contact with her since she died and found her way to Hel. But my Shaman has developed a relationship with her so in some small way, when I am emotionally able to hear it, I occasionally will get messages from her – either from my Shaman or from others who have relationships with Hel, who has passed on messages from her. But I had no choice, in order to do what They wanted me to do, I NEEDED to return to the land of the living. And that, I actually did.
2, that I would never, Ever, have another child, despite the best medical interventions health insurance could buy. First the vasectomy reversal didn’t work (fertility specialist verified), and then I developed Endometriosis, was discovered to be allergic to my husband’s sperm, *and* my uterus was hostile and killing off sperm as well. Then my husband and I (who are poly) both became involved with partners who were adamant they wanted nothing to do with continuing our romantic relationships if husband and I went through with fertility treatments to have a child. And then just to make certain I wouldn’t want to physically, an incident occurred that blew 2 of my lumbar disks, pinched both sciatic nerves, and damn near crippled me for almost a year.
Then about a year later, when I could finally walk again, I started getting heavily involved in my “meat life” and allowed my spiritual life to start sliding back to the realms of “if I have time”… and I never quite seemed to have the time. My relationships suffered – my relationship with my husband became strained. My relationship with my “second husband” became long distance, and then even LONGER distance, and then it too, became strained. Somewhere in all of this (again, posts for another day) my business took over my life – and that was when things started to crash for me, because I then ignored Everything to do with Them, and They were no longer willing to be patient with me.
In the summer of 2010, I walked the labyrinth and walked between the worlds for the very first time. I don’t remember exactly what the contents of those conversations were, but when I stepped out of the labyrinth and walked back into this world, all I could do was cry out “why do I have to lose so much? how much are they going to make me give up?” And the resounding answer – as much as it takes to get my attention. First, the third relationship I had started had to go. Then over the course of the next month, I almost lost my second relationship, and then my husband’s girlfriend delivered an ultimatum – her or me – and he actually thought about it for several days. Then I had to close my business because I was too depressed to function, let alone work 18 hours a day. I spent the rest of that summer in bed, curled up in a ball, trying to figure out (and ignoring the obvious) just why my life was suddenly collapsing around me, and being terrified I was losing everything. What I should have realized, was that the God’s, in their wisdom, were giving me an easy way out. And I, stupid meat sack that I am, chose not to take it.
And just to drive the point home, I think, all of the protections that had kept me from getting pregnant, failed – and at the end of that summer, I got pregnant with “the miracle baby”. You see, I couldn’t balance full time mother-hood *and* whatever it was the God’s needed me to do. But my oldest child will be 18 this year. I was *thisclose* to being done with my obligations to my children and then I would pretty much have been a free agent for time to dedicate to whatever God/dess walked into my life and thwapped me on the head. I was *told* not to have any more children. I was told by my second husband he wanted nothing to do with raising any more children – he was miserable about the whole idea. My first husband’s first suggestion was abortion – but I cut him off before he could finish the word. I still thought about it, but I couldn’t voice it. Then he did something that prevented me from having one, and that was all she wrote.
And once again, here I sit, wondering how I’m going to get myself out of this mess. You see, at the end of it all… I lost all of the essential parts of my marriage to my husband after the baby was born. Then I lost my uterus. I lost the scar I sheltered on my body as a reminder of the terrifyingly short life of my second child. I lost my connection to the Gods, however tentative and tenuous it was. 3 years down the line from their offer of an easy way out, I am struggling with how to disentangle my life so that I can get back to being where I need to be.
And now I have this child, this renewed contract for 16 more years of motherhood. 16 more years that I cannot dedicate my life fully to my Gods. 16 years that I promised Them, that I will now be incapable of following through on. 18 years when you add in the 2 that I have completely ignored them in favor of trying to save something that should have died a long time ago, ignored in favor of being a more attached and more attentive parent. Now I have this beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed, genetic throwback to my Nordic ancestry (her father and I both have families full of, brown hair, brown eyed eastern europeans and native americans in more recent family history). Her name means “gift of the goddess”. But was she a gift after so many years? Or was she a means to an end, a way to get me out and back on the path I belong on?
She is both. And that is the biggest struggle of all of this. She is both a gift, I believe, of my ancestors (thus the genetic throwback), and she is the Gods’ means to an end. I will only be able to give them part time service and dedication for the next 16 years, after ignoring them wholly for almost 3 years now. So she will eventually be responsible for the 18 years I will dedicate to her, she will have to pay that debt for me out of her lifetime. How that will be paid back, I don’t know, and it isn’t for me to say. That will be between her and the God’s when the time comes and the Haminga must be done, and the weregild will be paid. But, in her coming, she paved the way for much of my other life to be freed – the loss of the business, and then the loss of what was essential to my marriage – at this point we are married in name and finances only – any emotional or spiritual connection has been lost. So what energy I would normally have spent on the business and the marriage – that is what I now will be giving to the God’s. And then in 16 years when my contractual obligation to full time motherhood is up and the next “easy way out” comes, then I will be able to dedicate the rest of the energy to them that I will have to divert to her in the meantime.
Let’s just hope that this blog, among other daily/weekly/monthly practices, will keep me from having to pay the ultimate price again. If the God’s need me whole, I won’t no matter what I do. If they can use me broken, then both my child and my relationship with my second spouse are also a price I may have to pay in the future. I will be doing everything I can in the meantime to make sure I never have to pay that price.
Is this thing on?