Once Upon A Time There Was A Witch Named Tannev.

She wasn’t born a witch, few are, but for some twenty-five years she proudly considered herself one.  Others thought of her as one, too.  

Tannev was quite happy with her chosen Pagan path and had many friends of like mind she met with, celebrated with and even cried with. It was a happy, peaceful life for the most part and not one Tannev left behind entirely of her own free will.  It was more a fading away as one might witness a person walking into a misty, gray fog.  There would be only two that the Witch would remain close to, two delicate links in a fragile chain.  Though she wanted to go back, time and circumstances kept her from those Tannev had for so long thought of as her lost family and home for ten years.  It had taken her a long time to find them but losing them had proven far too easy, slipping her away.  One year, the two diminished to one, filling Tannev with much sadness. It always made her a little nostalgic and melancholy to think of those bygone days even though she knew she could never really walk down that spiritual path with the belief she’d once had.

Tannev forged ahead, the Hermit, wandering alone again. It was, she figured, the way it was meant to be for her.   

One dreary, moonless night, Tannev met a man who was one of true Darkness and one might say, Evil.  He called himself T’so.  Tannev grew to admire and even to love T’so despite his wicked and deceptive ways but even he could not convert her as he would have liked. She’d walked that Path once, too and knew the dangers and he could not turn her towards it again.  Tannev valued goodness, honesty and love about all other things.  T’so was none of those things. She would not bow to his wishes and he soon tossed her aside. Ironically, in his efforts to sway her, T’so pointed Tannev to a series of manuscripts that would brighten her Path instead of darkening it.

Within these ancient manuscripts Tannev learned of a God above God and, more important than that, of the Divinity Within.  Tannev’s eyes opened.  This Gnosis, this Knowing, became her new Path and she was a Witch no more. 

Though Tannev may appear to still be walking alone even to this day, she knows otherwise.  She’s never alone for her Heart is always with her and within that Heart dwells that Spark of Spirit that is her personal Divinity.  

 GTh. 77:2-3

“Split a piece of wood – I am there.  Lift the stone, and you will find me there.”

Honoring The Dead

I won’t be visiting any cemeteries today despite it being Memorial Day.  I understand it’s a the symbolic thing to do. I understand the comfort that can be gained by sitting at a graveside and talking to whomever is buried there. I know what it is to be there and sob and remember and miss someone so deeply you wonder how you’ve made it this far without them. I’ve nothing against those that chose to place the flowers and mementos. I’ve done it myself countless time and probably will do it again. I even think it’s an important thing to do as part of the whole mourning process.

What I don’t agree with is only doing this once a year or doing it out of some sort of family obligation and peer pressure. Doing it for those reasons, as far as I’m concerned, has no meaning. Furthermore, I have my doubts about all the Spirits getting together to show up at these cemeteries to check out the superficial trinkets so many chose to leave for them. “It’s a nice gesture,” you might say. “It shows I care about and remember that person.” Well, so does a pictures on a wall or keeping something special that same person gave you while alive. So does re-telling the stories those that have left prior have told you and adding the stories of your time with them. Share who that person was while they were living. Make your memories the memories of another.

Someone once told me that the only Spirit that ever dies is the one that is forgotten. I keep the Spirits of my ancestors and friends alive by honoring them in my heart, by putting them into my stories, by sharing and remembering. 

So, no, you won’t see me at any cemeteries today placing flowers on graves. I’ll go another day with my camera. I’ll take my time and wander around, remembering the times I spent in such places with my grandmothers, my father, my friends and my children. Maybe someone else will be with me and in that case, I’ll share with them why I love these places so much. I’ll hope that in doing so my stories will be passed down and honored after I am dead and gone.

 

Head Space For Rent

Been wracking my brain all day about what to put into this weeks Blargh. As I was skimming through Facebook I saw a post by Danielle Colby (from American Pickers) and one of the bits of wisdom she had to offer struck me as noteworthy.

She wrote:  “Be careful who you decide to rent space in your head to, that’s prime real estate! Important beautiful things could be dwelling in that space where you are allowing darkness and hate to squat.”

In the past few years I have kicked out a few of my head space rentals as in people I thought were my friends, people I thought cared about me as much as I did them, people I deeply and truly trusted with a part of my Self. Finding out how little I meant to them after so many years has left a very deep and lasting scar on my soul. When I love, I don’t love half way. I don’t make half promises. I don’t lie about my feelings. Foolish, I suppose, for me to believe everyone else does the same thing for clearly they don’t.

Sadly, this has made me very gun shy about making new friends and getting involved in new relationships of any kind – be those romantic or platonic. I have accepted that in all the previous cases of relationships gone bad, I will never understand why these people did and do what they do. I am still working on letting that all go, still working on getting the ghosts of these things out of that rental space in my head and filling those rooms with new and positive people, experiences, ideas and dreams. There are moments when I have sudden and overwhelming feelings of insecurity about myself and my worth to others. When you have been used and abused (on both a mental and sexual level) it makes you look at everyone and everything in a way that someone who has not survived that situation will never understand.

Logically, I know I am worthy and lovable and a good person. I know I probably tolerate the inconsiderate behavior of others more than I should simply because I don’t want to be rejected. Feeling unwanted and unappreciated still take up way too big of an apartment in my head. The tiniest gestures of kindness and love go a long way with me, maybe they go too far. I don’t know. Maybe my wants and needs are too simple.

Back to those I have kicked out – more or less – a couple of them might still have a bit of closet head space rented – in all cases it was a complete, out of the blue shock! Years and years of lies. Years and years of being told one thing while the opposite was true. Even gifts were all only given to benefit them, not because they cared in any way. The thought behind the gift was more along the lines of “What will I get in return’ instead of ‘I hope she really likes this because I care about her and want her to enjoy it’. They say that it’s the thought that counts when gift-giving. Guess I got a whole lot of nothing from these people. Of course, this all only leads to making my self-doubt seed deeper. Why didn’t I see any of this? Am I really that blind? You’d think that in the nearly 10 years I was with my last ‘beau’ that fact that he told me twice, MAYBE three times that I looked nice would have been some sort of clue!

It’s hard work keeping those ghost of the past out of my head. I’ve been writing a lot more which is a great help. I’ve been in what I still call a new relationship even though we’ve been together almost a year and a half now. So far he’s not shown any signs of being just one more ‘abuser’ in the long line that has preceded him. Do I look for those signs? I’d be a liar if I said no. Of course I do. I can’t help it. I’ve been programmed to not trust as easy as I used to. He is making it easier though day by day and night by night.

But, as Danielle so wisely reminded me today, if I continue to let darkness and hate, bitterness and doubt dwell in that prime real estate in my head, I am preventing important beautiful things from dwelling there instead. I have already witnessed how getting rid of the negative makes room for the positive. Each time I have taken an important step in letting go of some one or some thing that makes me sad or makes me just feel bad or uncomfortable, something new and wonderful has stepped in to take its place. That is what I need to continue to remind myself. Remember what good came of something instead of all the bad that came before it. But then, without the bad, I could never really appreciate all the good that I have now – like the man who so easily stepped into my heart the last time I refused to be taken advantage of.

Spring is in Full Bloom. Warm winds are blowing through the house, taking away the cobwebs and stagnation of rooms left closed for too long. The doors are left wide open to let the fresh air in, the scent of flowers and rain. That’s what I want. Even the closet doors need to be opened, everything hauled out, sorted and without a doubt, at least half of what’s in there can be gotten rid of. It’s time to perform a couple of exorcisms because those former friends have made it clear they don’t want any part of who I am so why the hell should I hold onto any part of them anymore? If anyone is unworthy it’s them, not me.

Squatters, be gone!

Write Here. Write Now. Oh, look, shiney!

Got up early Saturday morning fully intending to hunker down and write for a few hours before I had to get ready to take my mom out for lunch and a movie for Mother’s Day Weekend.  Ah, the best laid plans…. *sigh*

My fella left for work at 4:30am. My son was gone by 7am. That left me alone with Nona the Guinea Pig who, once she’s been given her morning grape, baby carrot and handful of timothy hay is very quiet when it comes to company. I fired up the computer, brought up my file for “That’s What Shadows Are Made Of” and as is my habit, reread and edited the last thing I wrote. Now, it was time to continue with the story.  I had NO EXCUSES! None, zip, nada, zilch.

Well, ya know, I should probably get that load of jeans going in the washer first. I’ve been without an electric dryer for little over a month now and with it being a rainy day, knew I couldn’t dry the clothes out on the line. I’d taken down the makeshift line I’d put up in the spare room so after I got the jeans sorted out and chugging along, went about the task of putting up a new line in the back room. Even though it was raining, it was still warm enough to open the back room door for a fresh breeze to blow through a bit. That all took me 30-45 minutes. Satisfied, I warmed up my coffee again and headed back to the computer. I sat there pondering my next great paragraph then…

Oh wait, I haven’t checked Facebook yet! I should do that quick otherwise I’ll be distracted by the thought I haven’t done so.  And so passes another 30-45 minutes by which time, you guessed it, the washer announces that it’s done with the jeans. Off I got to get those hung up on my new line and of course, I have to start another load while I’m up and about. Getting kinda hungry. Well, I’m up now so may as well make myself some breakfast.

And so, thirty minutes goes by while I do all that. Right! Time to sit down and get back into writing what my brain has been processing to write. I settle back into my chair, a fresh, hot cup of coffee in hand. I do manage to write about two or three pages before it’s time to hop in the shower, get dressed and spend the rest of the day with my mom. 

We went to see The Great Gatsby out in Binghamton. It was a fine film but we both agreed it could have been A LOT better if they’d not ‘hip-hopped’ it up and used music that was actually from the time period. The 1920s had some awesome tunes!

By the time I returned home it was nearly 8:00pm and my mood to write has all but evaporated into thin air. There’s always tomorrow! Sunday! Mother’s Day! The day when Mom gets to do what she wants and the rest of the world be damned!! I *WILL* sit down and I *WILL* write. No one and nothing is going to distract me.

Except, there’s still the matter of laundry to do, of course. And the house is a mess. I really need to clean Nona The Guinea Pigs cage and it would be so much more relaxing if I didn’t have to look at the carpet that needed to be vacuumed weeks ago.The dining room could use a tidy and oh, I should get the pork tenderloin and veggies prepped and in the crockpot so I don’t have to think about dinner for the rest of the day. That’ll be good cuz then I can write. Wow, look at all those dishes. They can wait. Gonna write, right after I clean take care of Nona.

At about 9:30 my son emerges with my Mother’s Day card and an invitation to go out to breakfast. Mind you, I’m still slopping around in my night clothes. I finish with Nona and go hop in the shower and get dressed. At the first two stops we are greeted by packed diners. We end up going to Banana Curve Diner in Sayre, PA. Never too late for breakfast there. Arrive back home about noon. The sun is shining and there’s that little matter of working on the outside area of the back room. It will only take a little bit of time to haul out the old dog house platform and do a bit of raking. While I’m out here and the weather is holding, I may as well lay some bricks, flagstone and rocks at this back entrance, too!

Mr. Jim arrived home from work about 4:30, by which time I’ve cleaned the living room, dining room and downstairs bathroom. The aroma of crockpot goodness is starting to fill the house. Laundry is drying nicely and my back step is looking not so bad at all. I’ve accomplished a lot and feel really good about it…. but…. I never even opened the file for “Shadows” and frankly, I’m too damn tired after dinner. I don’t want to think about plots and characters and all that anymore.

Maybe next weekend.

Oh, wait. I’m supposed to be meeting with my friend Sherry then.

 

Gelotophobia – Fear of being laughed at or ridiculed.

He’s bigger than you! He’s meaner than you! He’s about to take your lunch money! For the past couple weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about bullies. If only they were limited to the sort of person noted above. If only they were only in high school. If only we could all put our finger on exactly what a bully is.

Sadly, they come in all shapes and sizes and aren’t limited to the male of our species. From my experience the female variety are even worse! Male bullies usually just want to beat the snot out of you and take your valuables. Females don’t have to lay a hand on you to do damage. The females I’ve encountered, directly or indirectly, tend to go for the sneak attack. They scheme a lot more and the damage a female bully does leans more towards the mental/psychological than the physical. They may not be strong enough to kick sand in your face but they’ll still leave you feeling battered, bruised and helpless. I’ll never really understand why bullies do what they do. It makes them feel special and in-control and all that, but I can feel special and in control without stamping all over the feelings of another person. I’m sure there’s a galaxy of articles, books, speeches, classes, studies et al out there about these people. I’m not here to rehash any of those.

I’d like to say I completely lucked out in life and was never bullied by anyone but I can’t. In fact, a few years ago I was able to escape such a relationship. Sometimes finding out your partner is cheating on you is a good thing. It was the little push I need to get rid of his arse once and for all. I know my abuse wasn’t as bad as what some of my friends have had to endure. I like to tell the story of a friend of mine from high school and how I stopped him from getting pounded without lifting a finger.

We must have been sophomores. My friend, let’s call him Fred, through no fault of his own beyond being very smart, polite and sticking to his religious convictions of turning the other cheek, found himself cornered on a stairway during lunch. Unfortunately the school bully, we’ll call him Abner, shared the same lunch period. There was the usual ruckus through the masses, the whispering grapevine, through which I got wind of what was going on. With a hard, hot knot in my stomach, I pulled myself away from whatever book of witchery I may have been reading at the time and went to see what was going on. It wasn’t out of morbid curiosity. This was MY FRIEND and well, there wasn’t much to me back then but I’d be damned if I was going to let Fred get pounded. I’d beat the crap out of Abner myself if I had to. I’m not a violent person by nature, mind you, so punching Abner in the face would certainly be a last resort – though I can’t say I’d have minded doing it.

Upon my arrival to the scene, Abner was standing over Fred who was sitting on the steps. Abner was going through his Bully Posturing and Tough Talk. Abner was demanding Fred take the first swing, don’t be a chicken, you sissy, the usual shpeel. Fred wouldn’t do it cuz we all know, the one who throws the first punch is the one who started it, right? I knew Fred would never take the first swing and slowly nudged my way through the gathering peanut gallery until I was sure both Fred and Abner could see me. I casually crossed my arms and leaned against the nearby pillar and watched Abner. Maybe watch isn’t quite the right word.. more like, ‘evil-eyed’ the bad boy. If looks could kill, sorta thing. It was an unblinking, cold stare. After a few minutes Abner looked towards the crowd and saw me. I gave him an equally icy smile and shook my head ever so slightly back and forth.

Abner stood motionless and silent for a moment then looked at Fred and said, “She’s one of your friends, isn’t she?” Fred saw me and nodded. Abner looked at me again. I hadn’t moved an inch and my anger was increasing. It must have showed because Fred backed down. “She’s a witch or something. She knows stuff,” he said. Just about this time the school VP showed up and carted the two of them away. Not sure what the final outcome was back at The Office, but I’d like to think I played a role in preventing Fred from being hurt that day or any days that followed. I went back to my table and my book and finished my lunch now officially dubbed a witch. It was a title I’d carry with me for many years with a certain level of pride. Maybe that’s why I was never bullied too much.

But, as stated prior, bullies don’t just go away when you leave high school. I’ve come to think that the worse sort of bullies maybe aren’t though of as bullies at all, and maybe they don’t do what they do with any intention of harm, but what they say still hurts and makes the victim feel less of a person.

A lot of people suffer from phobias. Some are mild and easily overcome. Some are so bad the sufferer can’t leave their own home. I have a few phobias. I also have some deep-seeded insecurities that I am working to overcome. Facing ones fears to overcome a phobia is one thing but to have that fear pushed upon you is or to have that fear or insecurity totally ignored and mocked is completely different. If you’re a real friend to someone who is afraid of heights you AREN’T helping by taking them up in a twenty-story glass elevator. You don’t toss a snake or spider on someone who is deathly afraid of them. And you really shouldn’t mock anyone who has an insecurity about how they look or feel. That’s being a bully just as much as Abner was to Fred. The phobic feels bad enough as it is. You are making them feel worse, like they’re feelings don’t matter to you at all and like there is something more wrong with them than they already believe there to be. That doesn’t sound like a friend to me at all. It’s okay to be light-hearted to try and  make them feel better but don’t tell them what they are feeling is nothing or silly or stupid. It isn’t NOTHING! It’s very real. It’s very painful. An off-handed remark that what they are feeling doesn’t matter strikes just as hard as a punch to the jaw or a slap across the face. It makes you a bully.

I’m not talking about being overly Politically Correct either. In my mind, that’s a whole different ballgame.

Being kind to each other is so much easier than being cruel and it’s so much more rewarding. Words can hurt just as much a those sticks, stones and fists. Think before you speak and treat others as you would expect to be treated. Being respectful, even to total strangers, goes a long way.