13 March 2011

How I screw myself in arguments

This morning I checked my bank account, since I like to make sure I haven't made any drastic miscalculations. I noticed a twelve dollar service fee with no explanation offered. With furrowed brow, I checked out the statement, which told me if I fulfilled their requirements I could avoid said fee. Direct deposit:no, that won't work, keep fifteen hundred dollars in the account:yeah no, etc. I realize that this account is just not meant to work with my freewheeling (read financially floating) self-employed lifestyle. So I should change banks, right?
Of course it's not that simple. I start thinking about the ramifications of changing my personal accounts, for the same bank has my business accounts and a decent chunk of credit card debt. I engaged in a good three or four minutes of nebulous fussing while getting dressed, thinking of any potential issues, which dredged up a whole thought process about banks, and how they need to make money too...
There! That! That right there is how I fuck myself over in arguments. As I think through all the various ramifications, I think myself onto middle ground. Which means in most instances, by the time I get to the actual discussion, I'm not arguing my side, I'm arguing the middle. Which lands me way closer to the opposing side by the end of a discussion.
I love to understand motivations and subtext. Maybe this comes from a lifetime of addiction to ridiculously long fantasy series with clever plots and scheming villains, perhaps I watched Dangerous Liaisons at a young and formative age, but I sort of try to see the discussion from the other side.
All of which ends up with me having to haul myself back to my side so I can clearly express my needs before passionately persuading ...err...compromise.

26 June 2008

Love letter to Gomez

If you bike in the Chicago burbs, you may have seen me. I'm the one hustling along with the crack-monkey grin. You see, I love my bike.
It's been like dating, I've had to straddle a few before I found exactly the right fit. There was some squandered money, until I decided that the longer rides I was taking justified a nicer bike that fits me and my needs. I cannot understand the love of mountain bikes, especially in this flat, manicured trail having portion of Illinois. They're like the bike version of an SUV. They require a ton more energy to push along, they aren't all that comfortable, and it's not like 90% of the people who have one are going to be doing any of the extreme types of riding the bike is built for.
So Gomez, my bike, he is tall and has mid weight tires, not only for streets, but not hugely knobbled for the gravelled hills I won't be seeing. He's a guys bike (mostly because that was less expensive for all the same features and I don't see the point of bike sexism).
As to the biking itself, well, the small part of my mind that likes to make contingency plans for the collapse of society is much pleased by the fact that I can finish up a twenty mile ride in just over an hour. The cheap bit of my brain is WAY pleased with being able to drive once a week or less. It just makes me feel free and effective and happy, and gives me a measure of respect for how cool my body can be.
Also...I love how the witch's theme music from Wizard of Oz always goes through my head every time I ride, and it just keeps getting funnier!!

22 June 2008

This is a fiction piece, a short story which may become a long story and may also garner some illustrations....we shall see.

Raising Al

“Did you bring the myrhh?”
“Of course. Here’s the poppet.”
Both of us, Vivian and I, were shivering with excitement. She lit the quarter candles, called the directions and cast the circle round with salt,water,smoke and flame. I readied our altar as Vivian paced solemnly round me deosil. We crossed our fingers and thought hard about how invisible we were. I laid our poppet, actually a mildly reconstructed cabbage patch doll, on his grave. We linked hands over the top of the poppet and meditated to build energy, I felt jittery as she started softly chanting. I focused hard on feeding is into the ether, calling, seeking creating a funnel with the poppet at the end. I marked him with a glyph and joined the chant with his full name. Alphonse Gabriel Capone envisioning it a beacon to guide him home…or lodge him in the doll that was a much more whole receptacle than the remains laying below. I felt a snap, a draining, and the jitters were gone. I sagged on my knees.

We each pricked a thumb and put the required three drops of blood upon the doll’s lips. We purified the circle with a smoking bundle of sage. Vivian closed the circle, walking with our athame and laying its blade flat to my heart as she finished. I felt slightly revived and looked to the poppet. No trace of movement from the doll.
“I told you, we should have used a handmade doll. he doesn’t feel welcome.”
“Maybe we should have stuck to the Latin.”

“or dug up a bit of his original body…?
“Ah well.” I said. “There’s always next Samhain.”
“True enough. Hey, Heather, could you get the gym bag?” I picked up the black nylon bag she indicated. We stalked quietly back across Mt. Carmel towards our house. I felt heavy with disappointment, but tried to focus on being stealthy. The cops tend to ignore the explanation of religious service when you creep around the graveyard at three a.m. on Hallows morning.
“Man, this bag stinks.”
“Vivian, keep your voice down. You wanna get caught?”
“I didn’t say anything!”
We both stopped, electric chills zooming down our legs, and crouched in the shadow of the huge central mausoleum. With the slight dip in the land, we were cupped in a moonlit city of the dead. Vivian tenderly laid down her burden and it squirmed as if a cat were trapped inside. We looked up at each other in the moonlight, insane grins looping our jaws.
A stuffed hand poked out savagely as she slid down the zipper. The doll sat up in the chill light of bella luna and shook it’s brown mop of yarn hair. The insipid plastic pout didn’t change as the rough growling voice berated us. “What the hell died in here? Your ass? What the..? “ The wide childish eyes never moved nor blinked but his head rotated jerkily on the stretchy fabric neck. “this ain’t Miami!”
Vivian looked at me and nodded gently. I am the diplomat when we meet new people, she likes to sit back and observe quietly. “No, Mr. Capone. You have been dead for quite a long while. My name is Heather, this is Vivian. We’re ummmm, witches. Your soul kind of slipped and was lost, so we brought you back into, well, a sort of replacement body.”
he rotated his head down to take in his little stuffed body. We tried to be kind and dress him in a pinstripe suit so he’d feel better than a diaper and overalls. He still wasn’t happy as he realized he had little to no sensation and no, hmm, male equipment.
“what the fuck is wrong with you? This isn’t no replacement. This is.....is...” He was sputtering and we were concerned about official involvement. I gently suggested that we take this to the house. He sighed and pushed himself to his squishy feet. he toddled a few steps and went straight don on his cushy signatured rump.
“here, Mr. Capone, I’ll give you a ride.”
Vivian picked him up and we moved along towards the house. He was silent and when I glanced over Vivian gave me a wry grin. His face was snuggled into the sweet cleft of her breasts. We squirmed through the gate and ran home, afloat with success. Al had nothing to say of his jouncing ride. we panted into our living room and flipped on lights. Vivian set Al on the papasan and we grabbed some grounding peanut butter bread and soy milk. He grumbled but settled in with interest when we turned on the t.v.
“So, how come you ladies put me in this little package? Afraid?”
I laughed at him.”No, too hard to smuggle a full size poppet into the graveyard.” Vivian nodded in ruefull memory.
“I don’t get it. I was in prison, Miami……I died, then.....” He shuddered and I laid a calming fnger on his sloping shoulder.
“You were in the land of Set. ‘
“ The land of what? I’m a catholic! I mean...mostly.”
Vivian and I both rgimaced. “Your soul wasn’t bright enough for Yahweh or his son to see, and you most likely disregared Charon, Anubis, and Hel. So, you went to...limbo, hell, the desert....”
“Heather is a priestess of Anubis. It’s her sacred duty to pull souls like yours back for assistance .”
I nodded sagely. “well, you can also assist us.”
“Hmm, never something for nothing, especially with broads.”
“Hey, man, they don’t call it a Karmic balance for no reason, Mr. Capone.”
He died too soon to think hippies, but he did call us freaks. We were both exhaustde and having a mellow swooping high of successful spellwork, so we just giggled like goons.
“So whatta ya want?”
“Well, it’s getting late, or early. So we’ll explain all that tomorrow night. Unfortunately, while the eye of Horus blazes you will rest. you are a child of Thoth and Anubis.”
His rigid face gave no clue to what he thought of this bit of information. But his body language did brighten considerably when we asked whose bed he would like to share.

01 April 2008

Diving deep in a well of hate

They other day a client I met at a shop I used to work at casually mentioned one of my former co-workers. This co-worker is someone I hate. I know, hate is such a strong word, and I hate that I hate this person. I don't want to devote this energy to the hatred. I have a reaction that makes me feel physically ill, drunk on this hate. This person is someone I am sure does no good for anyone in this life, a self-professed bully, a racist, a sexist, this person is ugly body and soul.
As well as fueling the occasional entirely petty and non-threefold-law respecting curse, this is an occasion to think on the nature of hate. (Note that I am positive with the amount of ill this person spreads, I have no fears on rebounding negativity.) Like love, I can't turn it off like a tap, there is no way of gaining a chokehold on this raging beast. I am in a passionate hate affair. I no longer even hate my ex-husband this way, having cheerfully achieved indifference as to his existence.
Raven Kaldera, a wise neopagan author, ( to name drop, I totally met him, and he was really interesting, as was his boy) has said that one must let one's monsters free to play occasionally lest they break out of their prisons and rampage. I think having this person as a target may let the hate monster stretch and leave everyone else that I value untouched, but this, unfortunately, is not the case. Once hate gets free, it stirs the silt on it's way to the surface, and teeth grinding resentment and anger come along for the ride, along with the scampering and malformed hate cousin, self-hate.
Overall, like when falling in love, when everything is bubbly and giddy and warm, treading through the hate makes everything angry and hard. I have to check my knee-jerk nastiness over and over. I think that letting anger out can be good, but when it gets loose in a relationship there is a ton of fall-out to clean up, and it can damage trust permanently. I have worked hard on my trust and gentleness with myself, turning off the shitmouthed commentator, and try to apply this to my friends as well. Overall, this makes me hate the hate harder, since because of it I'm on edge. I can't turn it off, I can't starve it out. It's a major influence on my decision to remove myself from the regular exposure to the object of my odium, and those similar. It may also be the main reason I've never been very successful at the friendlier and more well-lit paths of paganism. On the other hand, it can make for a fantastically effective petty curse.

09 March 2008

Fear the mindkiller

I am opening a shop in my industry, which is a small, cantankerous and secretive world only recently come up from the underground. There is an attitude in that world of playing fast and loose and defiant, with a strange and disturbing streak of unexpected conservativeness. I'm tired of dealing with working in an environment I have no control over, with shop owners who are either crazy, on drugs, or both. Not to say good people don't exist in the industry, I have met some wonderful people, most of whom had a similar discomfort at how a lot of our colleagues behave.
So I'm striking out and doing my own thing. It's a fearsome unmarked path, and thus far fraught with a lot of red tape. I suspect the red tape is a result of the industry's former underground thing and the horrible reputation it has garnered thereby. I am well out of my comfort zone in such a wide variety of ways, that I'm not sure I would recognize that beloved zone if I were to spot it again. So why? Why haven't I gone the far easier route and picked up a gig at another shop? I am talented enough that thus far job-getting hasn't been a struggle.
Most of it has to do with my attitude on fear. If something really frightens me I have to face it. (excluding really unlikely to need skills like swimming with sharks or skydiving) That whole fear is the mindkiller quote from Dune sunk in deep as a kid, and I do so want to be a human.This is why, despite my panic attack inducing fear of ladders and roofs, up I went to clean gutters last year. This stubbornness keeps pushing me through despite my morbid fear of dealing with 'the authorities,' my tension over what people may say about me behind my back, my horror of complete financial failure, and the long list of lesser fears that whisper to me of an easier way out.
My mother told me to petition Hecate for help, and I had to laugh. She's so not my patron goddess and lucky unlucky me, most of the gods I am close to like to bat me around and test my mettle for a long while before making everything easy all at once. Or, in more agnostic viewpoint, something in my psyche makes me torture myself and get all wrought up for a long time before things work out. Maybe it makes things feel more worthwhile, it certainly doesn't make all the crap I worry about any more realistic or easily resolved.
I suspect that whether oor not I'm successful business-wise, this will still be rewarding in an educational sense. And things do turn out all right, eventually. All prophecies come clear in retrospect, even if hindsight is fishy to me.

02 March 2008

My wound

I call my heterolifemate my wound. Without her it would be far easier to close out everyone and be a fortress, but she opened me up...thus, my wound.
She came into my life shortly before the catastrophic end of a very bad relationship. We had been circling each other in a wary fashion for a bit of time, starting to hang out, but the defining moment came the night my husband left me. For a bit of back story, he was very possessive and had wormed his way in with my mother and chased off most of the friends I had left after we moved from Missouri. Being naturally a bit of an introvert, I didn't develop an extensive new network of friends after the move. It also didn't help that he would get in a screaming rage if I was ten minutes late from work.
I was a manager at a Borders store, and I was supposed to go in about eleven the day after he left. I was up all night because he left no note, so I had been calling police, hospitals, his friends, and pacing the house. At one a.m. I saw he had taken all of his medications and I knew he wasn't coming back. Of course I didn't sleep after that, so I called in sick the next day. My wound was working in the back office and overheard the other manager's end of the conversation. She called me a little while later and told me she had overheard, then calmly told me she was coming over after work and spending the night.
I had a stream of visitors that evening, including a childhood nemesis-friend (complicated story) and her family, all of them mouthing platitudes about how this is going to be okay, and it's really the best thing and here's some chocolate. For months after I hated chocolate.
But I fell in love with my wound that night, though it took me months to own up to it. The minute the visitors left, she looked over at me and cracked me up with snide remarks on their platitudes and brilliant imitations of their oh-so-sorry-for-you speeches. The last thing I had wanted to hear at that point was a bunch of, well, it'll be better for you, you'll see. I GOT DUMPED. FOR A WOMAN TWICE MY AGE! He didn't leave a fucking note!
She made no drama and platted no platitudes, she slept on my couch without saying "if you need anything...blah blah." She didn't say, she did. It was so entirely what I needed.
She tempted me into playing hooky from work to run around the mall and buy clothes and new glasses for the first time in years. We took pictures of meat I threw out of the car window, back when we both ate meat. We sat alone in the house together on New Year's Y2K getting drunk and waiting to see if anything at all of interest would happen. She moved in that year, and has lasted through a million life changes. New house, those five post-divorce years when I was more insane than usual, becoming vegetarian, quitting smoking, going to pagan camp the first time and drowning my car on the way, and a bunch of other crazy adventures that add up to seven plus years of good times.
I usually stun people when I say during all this time we've never really fought. Oh, I've had times when I'm pissed at her (both justly and just because I'm screwy in the head) or she's pissed at me(ditto) but we are generally good at adjusting without fireworks. It just hurts too much when it's not right between us.
I started this post from someone asking about our relationship in a live journal group on polyamory, and besides having a sweet stroll down memory lane and making myself feel all gooshy, I wanted to take a poke at why I think our relationship works as well as it does.
1. Sex is not love. I'm straight, sucks, but I can't help it. Love is action for both of us in a lot of ways, but for us, that action is not usually cuddling and is definitely not sexual. Sometimes it's whipping up some brownies at midnight, sometimes it's getting hauled out of bed to pick up my drunk incoherent ass.
2. Because you've hooked up with someone you love AND have sex with, that doesn't mean that your non-sexual love is now an option to be tossed aside. Both of us have been ill-used this way. This society crams the idea of the sexual couple disappearing up each other's bums into some dream world of their own so hard that it's sickening. We prioritize each other, even when we are involved with sex partners.
3. Being a voyeur and having a ton of compersion helps. Just 'cuz I can't bring the sexual healing doesn't mean I can't stand it when Dr.Love brings the cure! My wound is a HOT HOT HOTTIE and I love thinking of her getting well laid with the partner/s of her choice. And overhearing it gives me the giggles/lusties. And she's not above winkling details of my sexploits out of me either. We're both hopeless pervs.
4. I almost hate this one, but it's true. Close friends she hates don't last, and vice versa. Acquaintances, occasional drinking buddies, okay, but close friends have to be chill with the psuedowife. This goes double for lovers, of course, and a billion times as much for potential live-ins.
5. We ignore society's shoulds, and have a grand time living our lives together in our way. Surprisingly, no lightning bolt or cosmic progress report has flattened us yet. Fuck everybody else if they can't take the joke.
6. Negotiate negotiate negotiate! It helps she lets me get away with swanning around like the diva I am, but I absolutely have to consider her feelings/how she will be affected in anything I choose to do. As I said, it hurts too much if things aren't right between us.

28 February 2008

Me and manies

I'm going to discuss something inordinately private in this post, something I regard as more a private issue than sex (obviously) or disgusting habits. I write today of religion. I'm far more open about it than I used to be, but I'm still pretty secretive about my specific beliefs when I discuss the topic. I loosely identify as pagan, or neo-pagan, or as a witch when I'm feeling slangy. In reality, I'm a bit of an animist, a pinch of discordian, a whiff of pantheist and a dab of polytheist. Everything is gods, gods are many,gods are in everyone, immanent and transcendent, eternal and instantaneous. I study a bit of Khemetic faith and ritual (called as I was by the desert's bastard son), I have partied with that venerable old fiend Dionysus, and run wild with his grape frothing my mouth. Opposing ideas coexist in uneasy truce, different pantheons shoulder each other aside.
I have inordinately strict morals but they are not yours, I can almost guarantee. I have yet to live up to my own tight standards, but I strive at it everyday. With such a gods-drenched life, I can't help but to live my faith daily. It's hard not to follow every stated aspiration with a deadpan "I'm on a mission from gods." I am.
Sometimes that mission is no more than to bring a smile, or do that one thing that may guide someone into more useful pain. Currently the mission is lengthy and arduous, but I don't feel unfairly equipped for this peak.
Of course, concluding this wee post, I feel as if I've still said nothing of the specifics of my belief, even though I've waxed on and espoused all but monotheism. In this I think of taoism, the tao that can be spoken is not the tao. And now I dash aside from all of this and have a faux hotdog, fnord.