Wednesday, May 30, 2012

You Were Never Very Kind

Over the last week or so my group of friends (more specifically, most of the people in my coven) and I have been talking about our personalities. Part of this came from a discussion on a section of study we're going to be working on in about two years. I know that seems like a long way out, but honestly, sometimes studying the craft is a lot like college. You have to go through the courses in the correct order.

Anyway, we were talking about this particular part of study because its very intense. Its what we call "shadow work" and is much deeper than what we're doing right now. The entire course will focus on the darker part of the self- the parts of you that aren't necessarily pleasant. Its about facing your demons and dealing with the harder emotional aspects of life. This got us on a discussion of our personalities because we were thinking about who would be effected the hardest in our group. Taking time to emotionally prepare for a big journey is always important, and this one certainly will be. Later in the week I had a girl, Adidas, over and we were again turned to the topic of personality. Part of this stemmed from me filling her in on a piece of my personal drama I've been dealing with because my personality has made the situation more difficult, for better or for worse. She was getting a fill in because I was doing some work for her, and while she was over Sakura and I threw a tarot spread about my little issue.

It led me to think about me as a person, because honestly, these things make you think about what you're really like. If you were to think about yourself, and you were to ask how someone might describe you to a total stranger, what do you think they'd say? Honestly, I think the words nice, friendly, outgoing, compassionate, caring, bouncy are not words that would come to mind for me. They would describe Oscelot well, but not me. Sakura, for example, I would say is energetic, caring and funny. He has a ton of energy. He's really smart. So where do I fall?

If I were to stick with Wiccan explanations of my personality, there's be a strong general theme. Take, for example, the cards that usually represent me in a Tarot spread. When you are laying a tarot spread (the traditional Celtic Cross) and I come up in a reading I am always one of three cards: The Queen of Swords, The Empress, or The High Priestess. All of these are great cards, but they're not what you'd call fluffy bunny cards.

The Queen of Swords, for example, is a pretty aggressive gal. She's the representation of a woman alone. Key words for her would be strong will, sharp wit, sarcasm, ambition, independence, and perceptiveness. She's a woman who has known sorrow and now remains aloof. She is someone who has suffered loss and hardship. She can be intelligent, witty and analytical. She's strong willed and ambitious. Sometimes cold. She values prestige and success. And that's when she's in her upright position. When she's inverted she's even scarier. In fact, Anthony Lewis describes her in his "Tarot Plain and Simple" book as "a real bitch." His words, not mine. When she's inverted she is sly, vindictive and manipulative. She's embittered and hostile as a result of hardship or emotional lost. She is clever, verbally skillful and a very dangerous enemy because she operates in secret.  The Queen of Swords is the personification of wrath.

Honestly, I think this card suits me pretty well. If we're talking honestly, and I think we are, I can be pretty aggressive. I know I'm a smart girl, and I catch things other people don't think I do, which is fine because I generally use that information to my advantage later. I've known my fair share of sorrow and hurt, sometimes I think more than my fair share...but then, some of it I brought on myself. I won't lie, I'm very much like the inverted Queen of Swords when I have my angry on. I haven't been her as much in the last six months or so, and i think that's indication of my personal progress in dealing with my anger issues. However, when I am angry, there is no doubt I am all of those things. And truly, if you've done me a wrong and you think I don't know and I do? I'll admit I work in the shadows, because being patient works better for me when I know a payoff is coming, even if its only me watching you shoot yourself in the foot. 

The Empress is the mother card. She is the Jungian anima archetype. She is an earth mother, a regal woman. She is creative, and has power and authority. She is helpful, and full of influence. She is the representation of beauty, sensuality and fertility. On the up side, she represents the ability to receive and give love. Which is awesome. She is the card that represents the successful results of hard work. Inverted, she's a hot mess. She's icy, and emotionally unstable. She's promiscuous. She is the symbol of blocked development. I'm not the empress as often as I am the other two, but I think that's because most of the time when I pop up in a reading as her, its because I do have a nurturing side, of you're close to me.Still, if you've ever made your mom angry, you know how formidable she can be.

The High Priestess has been my bag more and more lately, and I honestly think I am okay without that. I mean, the virgin daughter archetype surely doesn't apply to me, but her being the representation of intuitive awareness is. Key words for her would be secrets, mystery in the inner world, trusting your inner voice, esoteric knowledge, looking within. As a person she is a psychic, a counselor and an adept. She is an intuitive confidante and a sensitive person. She is a female Luke Skywalker, a personal Fairy Godmother. Inverted she is a manipulative person. A secretive enemy who can be cruel. She is promiscuous and self destructive. She can be shallow and superficial. She is the symbol of willfully ignoring your inner voice.

If that's not me, I don't know what is, honestly. I can be a good friend, a good psychic. I can be intuitive and caring. I am sensitive. But truly, when you catch me on the flipside, I'm more unpleasant than that. I think the high Preistess is a symbol of my approaching balance, the person I can be once I have my anger more under control. Once I face my shadows. I am her more and more. I see her as an amalgamation of the two cards above.*

So, you know, looking at the tarot, I look pretty scary on paper. If you were to ask me what I am like to an astrologer they would tell you other things, also true. My Natal Chart is a great way to demonstrate that. For example, it would tell you my Sun sign, Capricorn, makes me serious and mature. I get angry when people get rewards after not working as hard as me. It (rightly) describes me as persistent, tenacious and tireless in my quest for things I want. However, it would also tell you my Gemini rising sign means I talk all the time, and that I love to read. It would tell you that I am extremely active by nature and that I look younger than I really am, and likely always will. It would tell you that I have a high level of nervous tension, too, and anyone who works with me can confirm that.

My moon sign, Aries, is indicative of why I have a tendency to hair trigger react and let things "all hang out." It explains that I get into trouble because I have a habit of acting before I think. It also mentions that I have quite a temper, but I don't hold grudges. This, for the most part, is true. I really do have a spectacular temper, but I can usually let it go- unless its something really big. I'm only human after all. Venus in Aquarius, as she occurs at the moment of my birth, explains why I tend to collect a lot of friends, but most of them are odd- even if I do find them exciting and different. And Mercury, my favorite little retrograde mover, was in Capricorn at my birth too. An astrologer would tell you that its why I'm interested in things that are practical and useful to me. It warns me of being narrow minded and dogmatic. It also points out that my sense of humor is both earthy and almost slapstick crude. If you've read this blog for any period of time at all you can confirm this yourself.

But say you're like Flyguy and you think astrology is a huge lot of hooey that anyone can bend to make sense. What other indicators are there of my personality? My totem animals are Panthers, Spiders, Owls and Turtles. None of those are particularly cuddly. (I could go into what they mean, and if you want me to some time, I will, but I think just thinking about them is enough, don't you?) My patron deity as a male is a Voodoo god of sex and death. My patron deity as a woman is a Voodoo goddess made of snakes. I mean, honestly, I couldn't swing a fluffy bunny if I tried. Even the closest things I get to cheerful- like Bacchus, are still pretty intense.

So where does this leave me? Are these things true? Yeah. I think if I'm honest with myself, they are. Are they the only true things about me? No, I don't think so.

I know that I can be a compassionate person. I wouldn't have 15 cats sleeping on my porch if I weren't. I'd just call animal control and be rid of them rather than trying to find them homes. (Although, believe me, the thought has crossed my mind- albeit briefly) I am loving and kind to people that I am close to. I feel the emotions of others very deeply. I can be cold and manipulative, but I can also be warm and open. I like people to like me, and honestly, my personality makes it so that I'm rather hard to love. So when someone makes an effort to know me, I'm an open book, and usually a blanket and a cup of tea to go with it.

My home is open to anyone I know. I have no problem listening to others. I care for people, and what happens to them. Even if I don't like them. Well, there's a few exceptions to that one too, but lets keep chalking that up to me being human. I'm always willing to brew a cuppa and sit down and listen. I'm very rarely judgmental.I know people make mistakes. I've made enough of them in my time to be willing to let that go.

If I love you there is no question about my loyalty. I will stick with it and give you 110%. Honestly, I have a habit of being overbearing in my affections for my loved ones. I can make you crazy with my affection. I've been accused, probably correctly, of treating my close friends like lovers. Well, short the sex. Absent that, its pretty close to the truth. I'll admit it. Whether its a shortcoming or a beneficial aspect of my personality I am unsure, but its there.

I think its impossible to give a complete, accurate description of one person to another. On paper, I look like a psychopath. And maybe I am, just a little. But then. I am also a really great, really fun person when you get to know me. If you take the time, I'm pretty cool. But then, I'm biased and full of my own power, aren't I?

If you were describing me to another person, and being honest, how would you do it? Leave me a message and I'll be happy to do the same for you. So long as you promise not to be offended by my now famed lack of filter.

Love you all, like I love myself.

*Incidentally, these cards are all from the Gilded Tarot deck and are very lovely. It is not one of the decks I use, but I might need to get ahold of them. Either way, those are not my artwork, I'm sure you know that.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'll Be Waiting, Time After Time

This week was a big week in news for me, as regards my dear friend Perpet. Most of you have been here long enough to know she is one of the very best friends I have ever had, if not the very best friend I ever had. She's a wonderful, caring person- not to mention a kick ass writer and a huge inspiration to me. This week was her and The Boy's four year wedding anniversary. I also found out this week that she's graduating, and she will have her master's by the end of this month. I couldn't be more proud. Seriously. Even if I had done it myself. I've never known someone who works as hard or is as brilliant as she is.

Over the last (good lord, has it been this long?) eight years, Perpet has been a great friend. We hit it off right away...she and I always had a natural rapport that has become much more than that over the years. I've seen her grow and change and become a very successful, determined woman. She was already, but man- it amazes me how much a person can apply themselves. I learned that from her. She's been there for me through a bad breakup, a terrible relationship, and I will never be more proud of who I chose to stand by me at my handfasting. She is, beyond a doubt, one of the few people I trust not only with my life, but my spirit as well. I know she is a person who can see things clearly, and who will shoot strait with me, even when she knows I don't want to hear what she has to say. Even if she is right. And she always is...

All this thinking about her has prompted me to think about friendship in general, because when you get to thinking about your best friend, you naturally think about the things that make them the person who is most close to you. I'll tell you something, I've been doing some evaluating, and I've come to the conclusion I am a damn lucky woman because I have several very, very good friends. They have taught me so much about what kind of person I am, and by watching them live, what kind of person I want to be. That's not to say I want to be just like my friends, I want to be just like me- but they do give me perspective when I need it most.

Some of the things I've learned, and been pondering over the last week:

A good friend will always love you, even when you're ugly. It doesn't matter what you're going through or where you are in your life. A good friend will stick it out with you. Perpet has done more than her fair share of this. While I'm dropping names, I might mention Flyguy and Sakura too. None of them are afraid to see me at my worst. If I had a dollar for every time one of the three of them was holding me while I was sick, or in the hospital or when I was a crying, shivering wreck I'd have a lot less bills to pay. A friend isn't afraid to see you sick, or hurting or angry. They aren't afraid to look at you when  there's nothing attractive about your appearance or your personality. I'm fortunate, because over the last few years, there have been a lot of times when I was an ugly person- I let my anger get in the way, or I let myself be sick because I didn't have the energy to be anything else. I let my fears take me over. And my friends, my very dear friends, were there the whole time, holding my hand and telling me I could get through this and of course I was beautiful to them, even if I was pale, shaky and covered in puke.

A good friend will call you on your bullshit. When you're wrecking your life they are there to tell you. Even when you don't want to listen. Even when it hurts. They love you enough to tell you. Are you mad at someone for no good reason? They'll tell you. Are you being selfish and shallow? Guess what? You're going to hear about it. Are you getting ready to make a decision that will mess your life up for a good deal of time to come? They aren't going to let you do it without telling you first that they would hate to see you do it. I'm grateful for all the times I've had someone to say "Alecya, you're being a dumbass, seriously." Most of the time they can bring me around. And when they haven't, I'm lucky they stuck it out and helped me through a mess I made all by my lonesome.

A good friend has your back, all the time. You can trust them. I can count on my hand the number of people I am not dating that I would trust with my life. Those are the people who matter most. Well, I take that back. Present company included (That's you Aravis, Mark and Swiss) I can count them on one hand. I'd say I have a few people who read this blog who would take a hit for me. Lord knows they've been there offering support and comfort when I needed it, even if they were thousands of miles away. Point is, these are the people I know I can tell my secrets to. The ones who will listen without judging me, the ones who will hold their peace and let me know that whatever it is I've got buried inside of me, they're going to help me carry that burden. When the shit hits the fan, these are the people who are going to be there, heavy object in hand, wanting to know whose ass they are going to kick first. I love them for it. These are the people I know who will help me out of a jam, loan me $10 if I need it, offer a hand when I feel like I've fallen so far I can't been seen by the world anymore. These are the people you can trust to never abandon you, no matter how bad its gotten, who only ask "what is it you need me to do?" And you know, the moment that they ask, that they'll do whatever it takes to make things right for you.

More than those things though, a good friend will make you laugh, make you smile. That's something that I think we sell short on the list of friend qualities because we take it for granted too often. The people I love most can make me smile just by seeing them. They do little things to make my day better. For example, Sakura dropped by work yesterday to see me, just because he knew it would make my day better. I love that about him. When I think I can't take another minute...he's there to bring a little sunshine into my life. I love that when I call my friends, or when I talk to them, they get to hear that full throated bark that is my excuse for a laugh, because they bring out the best in me. They make me happy, just by being near me. They're the people who always know what to say to make me smile. The people I share inside jokes with. The ones who understand my sense of humor and appreciate it. That counts for so much. When I've had a long day, or even a good one, its nice to know they are there at the end of it, ready to share, looking forward to relaxing and being there for each other, even in the good times.

And I want to say this, because this is important- the people who love me, the ones I love...they share my joy with me. There's never any jealousy about our lives. When something great happens (like Sakura getting a fabulous new job -congrats- or a pretty girl giving Flyguy her number) we're there to share that. I'm not bitter, I'm delighted, and nothing makes me happier than to settle down at my kitchen table, laugh and share a glass of tea and celebrate the wonderful things that happen to us. Because being a good friend is more than being there when the times get tough. Its about being there period.

My friends have taught me to celebrate every moment of my life. They've taught me to live every second to its fullest. Its a beautiful thing. I'm lucky to have people in my life that want me to grow and get better, who cheer on my successes and who dance with me for no good reason at all. In the Craft we have a phrase "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust". That's how I feel about my friends. It doesn't mean you never let each other down, because you're human and you're bound to screw up. And it doesn't mean you have to be okay with everything a person does. What it does mean is that you come from a place of love whenever you are with a person, that you love them in spite of their faults, unconditionally. And when a person does hurt you, you trust that you can work it out, and that you (or they) will make sure that never happens again, as much as you can. You trust that they have the intention of being good and loving you too. In Wicca, you cannot make magick in a circle without perfect love and perfect trust. You aren't even allowed into a circle without being in that state. I think true friendship works the same way, and that's why a good friendship feels magical.

To all my friends that I know read here, thank you. I am blessed to have you in my life. I am fortunate to have your love and trust, and I hope that I will always honor that. For all the things you have taught me, I hope at some point I have brought you clarity and insight too. I hope that I will always be the one you think of turning to when things start to suck, because Goddess knows I look to you when my world starts to spin a little too fast for my tastes. And to Perpet, my dear, darling friend, i know you're reading. I could say this in private, but I am-you know- completely unashamed of the wonderful friendship we have; you are a wonderful woman. I love you. Thank you for all the support and goodness you have shown me over the years. You are a blessing to my life. And I am more proud of you than you will ever know, because the joy and happiness you bring to my life is something that can never be properly expressed.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We'll Fast Forward To A Few Years Later

This week my cousin Mustang graduated from high school. A momentous occasion, no doubt. It was interesting for me, a strange feeling, because i am once again reminded that I am getting older. I remember when he was born. I remember babysitting him when he was just a kiddo. Wow. time flies.

I went to his graduation party tonight. It was a lot of fun. His family had a barbeque at their house and it was really nice. In part because I got to see my family. Okay, mostly because I got to see my family. I mean, everyone's a good cook and I was happy to go and celebrate with him but really, seeing him and his brother and sister, my aunt and uncle and their family was really nice. I don't get to see them as often as I would like to. I miss a lot of our family gatherings. Partly because I usually work and don't have enough advance notice to ask off for it. Partly because I am (well, we'll talk about it later) for the most part estranged from my brother Punk, and I opt out of a lot of family gatherings, thinking its probably better he gets to see them when he has the chance. I would hate to be the cause of him not going, and if something were to happen while he was there that I didn't like, I hate the idea of making a scene by peacing out early so I don't have to be a part of it.

So, for the first time in years, I got to spend a little time with my family. I was really happy about that. I might get to more soon, because Punk and I are talking again, and I think we'll be able to work out our issues, or at least, I hope we will. I've only got the one brother, you know, and I know I'm sentimental and all, but I feel like there's more to life than me holding a grudge.

Anyway, I saw my Aunt J's in-laws for the first time since they got married, I think, so in 20 years or so. Needless to say, we've all changed a little bit. I got to meet Mustang's girlfriend and his friends from work. It was nice, they were good kids, and I had a good time talking to them. They seemed to think I was funny, so they get points in my book because that means they appreciate my rather dry wit. I also got to spend some time with my little cousin Ginger, and that was fun. She's a great kid. I wish I was half as well rounded as she is when I was her age.

It was nice, and a good time was had by all. Kitten was welcomed like one of the family, and that meant more to me than I will ever be able to explain. It means so much to see them loving her and appreciating her for how great a person she is. I was able to let her alone, and she could talk to people and be normal around them. It was good. My mom said afterwards that she was telling my grandmother tonight how she couldn't see me with anyone else in the world, and how good Kitten is for me, and with me. I never thought I would hear those things coming out of her mouth. I was glad. (In case you are wondering, I totally would have taken Oscelot with us too, except she has bronchitis, and I didn't want her outside. She needs the rest,)

I got Mustang a card, and while I did put a folding gift inside it, I hope he takes the time to read the note I tucked in as well. I know at this time of year graduates get a lot of sentimental stuff from their family members telling them how great they are, and how awesome their lives will be now that they've moved on to bigger and better things. But I didn't really feel like that was appropriate. Instead, I told him things that I wish someone had told me at that age. I told him that when he gets to college, that he should keep his syllabus and read it all the time. There's always that hidden paper or test in that thing, and it will save your life every time. No one ever told me that. I reminded him to go to class, even when attendance doesn't count. And to remember that there's no such thing as "a short break from school" you're either in or out, and when you have to make that decision, its important to look long and hard at what's important to you.

I tried to tell him things that I know are true. Like everyone fucks up. They do. Its a fact. And that doesn't make us bad, it makes us human. The trick is to mess up when you've got support, and learn from it. I told him its okay to change his mind about things in his life. That's normal too. And I told him that he should live his life well by making choices that are good for him, that make his life better- and that he should try to do that without hurting other people if he can. But if he does, and this is important, apologize and make it right, because those are the first steps to adulthood. I can't tell you how much I wish I had someone to tell me those things, hard as they are to hear when you're 18 and the world seems to belong to you. Of course, I also told him that when he does fail, and when he's unsure, that I would be there for him. Because that's what you do for the people you love.

Having written the note, there seemed a million other things I wanted to tell him. Like how it sucks to have someone break your heart, and how you will inevitably screw someone's heart up too. But you live through it. I wish I'd told him that there will be a lot of dangerous stupid things he'll want to do in the next few years, and that I've done most of them, and he shouldn't. I can tell him first hand how drugs and alcohol screw up your life. And how there's never "just this once" because once is all it takes. I want to tell him life is unfair, but its what you do about that unfairness that makes your character. And that being yourself, and who you are when no one looks, when you're sure there's nothing and no one to judge you, is what makes you who you are. And that's all you get, you come into this world with that, and its all you get to take with you.

Of course, those are all things to be spoken of at a later time. And honestly I wouldn't have listened at that age, and probably he wouldn't either. Not because he's a bad kid, but simply because he's a kid. That's okay too. I just hope when the time comes, he'll know there's someone who's been there that is waiting to be there for him. I hope he knows that whether he needs to cry or yell or just have someone who'll nod at the unfairness of it all...I can be there for him. I would have liked those things. Of course, there's a good chance I could have had those things too. I love my aunts, and I know they would have been there for me if I had only though to ask them to be. But I never did. Hopefully by saying so, I'll at least be on his radar when the time comes.

I'd never want to be a teenager again, and I am famous for saying that though my life has not been easy, and the choices I made a lot of the time when I was younger were terrible for me in the end, I do envy that feeling like the world is yours and everything's good for a laugh and nothing seems impossible. Of course, knowing what I do now, I know that I can have whatever it is I set myself to. It just takes time and patience. Fortunately, I have a lot more of that now than I did at 18, and I suppose in the end, that's a pretty good trade.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Hate To Say It, But You Look Perfect Together

Its not too often that I get all riled up and make a political post, but this week has pushed me over the edge. i'm sure it comes as no suprise to you that the topic on my mind is gay marriage. i want to preface this whole spiel with the notice that, yes, as a gay woman, I am a little biased. Of course I am. As a woman who is "married" to another woman, my views on this topic are a little heated. But I do think I am able to look at this topic rationally, which is something I think many people are unable to do.

Oh- and before I forget: As always this is my space. I am all about honest and open discourse. You want to have a rational discussion with me about an issue? I am all for that. You want to flame me and call em a faggot and a dyke and tell me I'm going to hell? I think I get that enough off the internet. If that's your intention- go fine somewhere else to flame out. I will cheerfully delete your bigoted ass from my comments. I don't care if you disagree with me, but I do care if you can be respectful about it.

I want to start with an anecdote first, something that illustrates a bit of what its like for me to be a woman in a committed same sex relationship in the Midwest. I was working the other night at Casa Bueno, where most of our customers and all of my staff refer to Kitten as my wife, because that's what I call her. There are even people at my store who were at my wedding. One of our regulars was sitting at the bar having a drink with some of his buddies, also regulars of ours. They called me over and one of them asked me, "So, did you go to Iowa to get married? I meant to ask you that a long time ago." Iowa, for those of you who don't know, is the closest state to mine that has legal same sex marriages. I told him no, we didn't. First, we aren't Iowa residients, so applying for a marriage liscence would have been a pain in the ass. Second, my state does not recognize same sex unions, so it would have been pointless. All we would have accomplished was getting a peice of paper that said we were married. I wouldn't have even been able to take Kitten's last name, because my state still views me as a single woman. I explained that to them. Their response was, "So, if we found you a nice man right now, you could go out and marry him tonight?"

Well, no. Outside of being more than a little offended, I was flabergasted. I mean, I'm married. In my mind, I've made a lifetime commintment to my partner. That's not somethign I'm going to drop in a heartbeat just so I can run off with some dude, have babies and get tax breaks. Who would think that?

I think, other than the obvious religious objections, one of the things that frustrates me most is that people seem to view gay marriage as some sort of fad. Its someting that we do to look cool, or to show that we're "going steady" with our partners. But, in the end, in the minds of most people, I'm not truly serious about my committment to Kitten. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When it comes down to it, in most places in the country, gay marriage is a religious issue. That's my problem with it. I don't feel its right, or constitutional, for my personal life to be dictated by the rules of a religion that I don't believe in. Our country is not a theocracy. There is no state religion. So when its time to debate same sex unions, I want to have someone bring an argument to the table that doesn't invovle the phrases "the Bible says" or "In my religion" or "God thinks." Do you think gay marriage could hurt the economy? Cool, lets debate that, I have a list a mile long of ways it will help improve the economy. Hell, the cost of marriage liscnences and the words "gay wedding registry" ought to be enough to put that argument in my favor. Do you think somehow education or government spending will be effected? Tell me how. We'll put your ideas to the test. But please, please, please, give me soemthing to work with that isn't your religion.

Take abortion. Now, its legal in my country, although there are restrictions in some states and you know what, I agree with some of them. Do I believe in a woman's right to choose? Hell yeah I do. But I think she should choose early. Because late trimester abortions are pushing it for me on personal choice. I think the argument comes down to whether you are taking a human life. It is a socially accepted moray that you don't kill people. Its not done. Murder is wrong. In almost every religion ever. However, I'm willing to debate when life begins with you. Partial birth abortions? Not my thing. I don't like them. But I feel like its a woman's right to choose to get an abortion, when she first finds out she's pregnant. I know I have friends who would debate this with me, and we could, but the end result is the same. We're having an intellectual argument. Not a theology discussion. And for the record, even though I'm getting off track, I don't think abortion should be used as a method of birth control. That's what actual birth control is for.

I digress. The point I'm making is most hot button moral political issues can be discussed with reason and intellect, with reasoning that doesn't involve someone simply telling me that their religion says its bad, so I can't do it. Well, cool. Islam says a woman should keep her head covered, so we better do that too. Hell, the Bible says good Christians don't eat shellfish, cut their hair, wear mixed fiber fabrics or work on the Sabbath. But Christians find those things acceptable, right? And all of those things are out of the same book in the Bible that says gay relationships are wrong. I could debate this theology all day, and if someone wants to, awesome Lets hit the comments and throw down. But I'd rather not. Because in the end, your religion is your business. What you believe and feel is up to you. And I support you having the right to your own beliefs. But I feel I deserve the same respect.

There's a lot of people out there who will say that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. They'll say we deserve the same things as everyone else. I agree. I do. But to me, it has so much more meaning than me being able to change my name, get a peice of paper and go by Mrs. Kitten Tyger legally.  Here's the issue for me. When I die, I want Kitten to make the choices for me about my burial. When I'm sick, I want Kitten to be there with me, every moment, not needing to flash a power of attorney or remind my doctor that if they deny her access to me that she can file a lawsuit and get their medicare funding revoked. I want us to be able to own property together without having to jump through a million and one hoops at the property tax office and with mortgage and loan companies. I deserve those things because she and I are just as committed as my strait friends.

Spare me the commentary about how it violates the sanctity of marriage. Let me tell you something, if someone was willing to grant me some sort of union rights that allowed me those privledges and they wanted to call it something other than marriage so people would be happy I would take it. You could call it anything, so long as I had it. And I'm sorry, but my marriage to Kitten has already outlasted the average length of a heterosexual marriage in the US. Most don't make it past the first year. I'm rounding the corner to year three. And thirty years from now, I promise, someone will still be telling me that my marriage isn't as important, as valid or as special and how I won't make it once I sign that peice of paper that says we're really married and that's why I can't get married to her. Seriously? Stuff it.

Homosexual couples who are committed to each other go through so much more than strait couples. Imagine yourself married (if you aren't) and people telling you every day that what you have isn't special, that your love for the person you are married to is an abomination- an affront to the decentness of humanity. Tell me how you would look at your partner at the end of every day. If you went to work and had to pretend you weren't married. If you had to deal with the criticism of your coworkers and friends. Would you still come home at night and think they were the most wonderful, special part of your life? If you couldn't, one you don't love them enough, and two I've got you beat. You'll see a million tv shows and movies where boy and girl battle the odds every day because their families don't approve. Its romantic, right? Romeo and Juliet. Beautiful. Imagine now that's how you have to feel every day for all of your life because you made a committment, an unbreakable commitment, to someone you love. Imagine your family berating you for not marrying better, having more children -or children at all- telling you that the person you love is going to eternally damn your sould just for existing. It stops being romantic. It becomes a personal trial. How much do you really love them, is it worth it? For me, and for couples like me all over the US, it is. That's real love.

Forget money problems or the normal marriage issues. We get to deal with those too, by the way, because we're human and that's how it works when you get married. Nothing changes that, not even our genders. But we get to mess with all those other things on top of it. Think of how you'd feel if you and your spouse had to ask the government permission to have children. If they did give it to you, and they might not, you have to pay them the equivelent of a year's salary just to get pregnant. Not fun, huh? Wait- you say- the government cant tell you whether or not you can have children. Actually, my friends, they can. Every gay couple that wants children goes to enormous expense to have them. Here's why. Gay men have to adopt, which means they have to get permission from a government agency to have kids. And most of the time, only one man in that couple will be recognized as the adoptive parent if they do get permission. If that one dies, rther than go to the other dad, the kids will go into protetive custody because they are orphans. In my state, if you want to be artificially inseminated by a doctor, you can't be single. Its against the law. Unwed mothers? Totally legal. But the possiblitiy of a gay woman wanting children? We can't have that. So mny of the the women I know do at home insemination, which increases the risk of birth defects and also has a lower success rate on top of being more expensive. Oh, and if they die? Same as the gay men. Orphans and protective custody for the children, despite there being two parents.

How is this okay? I can't fathom it. Rationally, I can't think of how people think its morally acceptable to believe those things. And trust me, the problem above? Solved by a marriage certificate. Easy Peasy. But we can't have that. You know why? Gay people will raise gay children. Of course we will. (Because strait people only raise strait children.) I could argue all day about what a gay household versus a strait household might be like. It doesn't matter. Because once the doors close, its your business, not mine.

I was raised in a conservative Christian family. My mother is a die-hard Republican. Always has been. But sometimes, sometimes, things can change your mind. Like having a gay child. Mymom is still a Republican, but you know what? She's leaning Independent now. Because suddenly me having a wife that she loves and respects changes things for her. The idea that  I would never be able to have grandchildren for her (If Anna and I were willing to) because our state forbids it, is repellant to her. It frightens her to think that people are allowed to hurt me because I'm gay, and I have no legal recourse. She gets angry when some self-righteous religious asshole at her church or work tells her that I'm going to hell for loving someone who has taken care of me, committed to me, stood by me and loves me more than anyone has ever loved me. My mom likes Kitten. A lot. Its the first time I've ever seen her supportive of one of my relationships with women. Somehow, over the last three years, she's seen what love can do to change a person for the better. So she gets a little hostile when the nominee for her political party jups up and says her daughter has less a right to housing, jobs, and marriage than other Americans because of who she loves. I'm proud of her for that. I wish more people would think like that. Are she and I ever going to match up politically? Hell no, she's too conservative, and I'm too liberal, but we found a meeting ground when it came to something that touches both our lives in a very real way.

She called me the morning after President Obama made his announcement. She was delighted. She wanted to celebrate with me. After all, the President of the United States sat down with his family and talked about the issue and reached the same conclusion she had- not letting me get married is totally unfair, and most likely unconstitutional. She wanted to know how I felt. I told her how much it meant to me that the head of our government, the first major political figure in US history to do this, supports my right to love. Its encouraging. Its wonderful. It makes me feel good.

What I didn't tell her is that so long as that beautiful speech is followed by "but I'll let the states decide" nothing is ever going to happen for me. As of this week 31 of the 50 states in the US have banned gay marriage constitutionally. I need someone to make a nationwide change for things to work out for me and Kitten. As it stands, that's not a possibility.

I'm rambling now, and I suppose I've made my point, really. I'm frustrated. I'm tired of people who have nothing to do with my life making decisions about my life. I'm tired of people telling me my love is somehow less valuable or less important. I'm tired of people telling me that I should let their personal beliefs dictate the strictures of my life. Because that's bullshit. And I'm tired of all the people who parrot that this is how things have always been, and why bother changing them now?

My buddy Bobcat posted about Bristol Palin's blog about gay marriage on facebook this week. It made me laugh and honestly, its far better worded than I ever could, so I'm posting it here for your enjoyment. (Incidentally, if you aren't a US citizen, Bristol is the daughter of forner VP candidate Sara Palin, who made waves by having a child with her boyfriend out of wedlock while her very conservative mother was on the campaign trail.)

Bobcat Posts:
OK, I generally try to avoid any political comentary here, but I just couldn't resist. I just read Bristol Palins blog post about President Obama's support of same sex marriage, and I am just perplexed. she said :"in this case, it would've been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that's not a reason to change thousands of years o...f thinking about marriage."

There are LOTS of reasons to change thousands of years of thinking. If he had not, her unwed pregnant ass would have been sent away to shamefully deliver that baby. We would still be WALKING everywhere. The Obama's would not be sitting in the oval office, they would be cleaning it, or cutting the grass. her MOTHER would not have been able to run for ANY office, and Bristol herself would not have the notariety that she does, nor would she be able to express her backasswards opinions. Times are changing, Bristol. Get with it, or live in a cave.
Damn right Bobcat. Damn right.
For all of you who can get married or re maried- take time today to consider how very special your partner is, or might one day be. I'm very happy for you. For those of you, who like me, are still witing on making your love "legal" keep fighting the good fight. Nothing matters as much as your love- not a peice of paper, what anyone else thinks, or anything else. No one can dictate who you love. Give that special someone a kiss today, and celebrate your beauty. Goddess knows I do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Life Is Brilliant, My Love is Pure

Wow. Another month come and gone and I have been a very lazy blogger. I've been a very busy girl, though.

For those of you who aren't pagan, Tuesday was a holiday for us- Beltane. Most people call it May Day. For us, it is a holiday of fertility*. In our mythos, it is the day that the Lord and Lady connsumate their union. Its a really fun holiday. My coven had a really good time.

I actually started planning for Beltane way in advance this year, which is good. Last year, I might add, Beltane was the first holiday that our coven celebrated together so this year it was the one year anniversary of our founding. I've been trying to keep ahead of the game while the keeping ahead is good. Sakura and I are already planning Litha, our next holiday and Oscelot and I are working on Lammas together which is the one that follows after that. Its nice to have support and to have everyone pitching in.

The ritual went off without many issues. Now, originally we were going to do it outside, because its a great holiday for the outside and we like to be outdoors for ritual as much as possible. Unfortunately for our plans, though, it stormed the night before and our space was a bit like a bog. So, indoors we went. I wasn't bitter, its been hot already and the plants need the rain badly. I had backup plans anyway. Instead of a maypole we had a wreath that we baided indoors, so that worked out. We still giggled and had a good time. Rather than a belfire we had a big ring of candles in the floor, so we stepped over rather than jumped. But it was good.

For various and sundry reasons it turned out that only the founding members of our coven were able to be at ritual. It was a special night for us, we got to take time to look back and see how much progress we've made in the last year. Its meteoric, honestly. I'm really proud of everyone. Having that chance to be with the people we started with was really special. I enjoyed it quite a bit. We also got to take time to affirm the new goals we have for ourselves, and there is no doubt in my mind that we will meet them.

I look forward and i see us meeting our challenges head on. I'm excited to see the progress we're making. A year ago Oscelot could barely focus, and now she is earthing well, selecting a specialty and dare I say it- writing a lot better than I do when it comes to ritual prose and poetry. It puts me to shame. The stuff she wrote for this last one was beautiful and it stirred us in new ways. I was super proud. Sakura is becoming more and more the partner I've needed in the journey, and his wisdom and insight are always healthy for me. For being a fire sign, he has a remarkable way of grounding me. I suppose he's good at taming the fire inside me, the same way I am good at nourishing the things that grow inside of him. Kitten is a total powerhouse, and watching her work with her new specialty is amazing. Some nights we'll sit and work and do our instructions and I would swear she was tuning out from her place in the captains chair if it weren't for the fact that she always retains whatever it is we're talking about- whether she's listening or reading a book or staring off into space. I appreciate that about her.

As for me, I've found my no-space. I've learned to let things pass through me, so I can be more objective. I also have learned to make peace with my own psychic abilities, which are far different from those of the people in our group. It took me a long time to recognize that while I don't receive epic visions in meditation, I don't have wild dreams every night guiding me and while my vistis from my patron deities are far less frequent than those in our group, I still have gifts that other people can recognize. My innate sense of "knowing" is a wonderfl thing, something I took for granted up until recently. I never took time to appreciate that I can sense an aura without seeing it, that I can read tarot but I don't need the cards, that palmistry is second nature to me and that there's a letterbox in my head where I get direct messages without having to meditate. That's no small thing, and I didn't see that for a while.

With these moments of recognition, I can see where it is that I have most to grow. I have control issues still, personally and magically. The more I recognize it, though, the more I am able to learn control. I've began journaling more lately, and with it has come the realization that while I love myself, there are some parts of myself that I really don't like. I know (and don't object, those of you whom I know love me) that I am a vain person, that I'm proud, that I have a hard time letting things go and that I have a tendency to become obsessive about things. These are all faults, but they are things that if I face head on, I can turn to my advantage. Vanity can become confidence and self love. Pride can stimulate quiet humility and expertise when controlled. Obsession can become dedication if I allow myself to learn when and where to apply my ability to tune other things out in the determination to have what I seek. All of these things are good for me, if I let them be positive traits rather than negative ones. All I have to do now is learn how to do that.

Yesterday afternoon I cleansed, consecrated and empowered some of my newer magickal tools. One of them was a scrying mirror I purchased some months ago. At Sakura's wise suggestion, I empowered it with truth. I think he hit the nail on the head. With all of my abilities, I need to learn to seek what is real. What is honest and what is right. I think that's something I am learning to do. As I begin to use it, and as I work through my issues each day, I know that I have to take time to step away from my intense emotions, and my indecisions and feelings of doubt and become aware of what is true and real. I think my life will be much simpler if I can do that.

I expect things will get harder before they get easier. The last month hasn't exactly been a picnic for me. I know I spoke about the trip to the hospital, and I think even now I am feeling the effects of that visit. I am still tired quite a bit. Although I am no longer in pain, I know its almost time for me to cycle again, and I worry about how it will feel this time. I've been feeling more stressed, because the busy days are coming at work and I've got to keep my head on strait if I want to be successful there.

Personally, I've found my relationships becoming more complicated. I've discovered recently that some people I know are not entirely what I thought they were. This isn't a bad thing, just new. While it is something that takes perspective adjustment to get used to, I think its something that has made me as a person see things more clearly. I've discovered sometimes I make assumptions about people, and they aren't always right. I've discovered that I sometimes assume other people know how I feel, and they don't.

More than that, I've discovered that there are a lot of people in my life that I thought understood me, and they don't. It turns out that my motivations seem just as mysterious to other people as theirs do to me, regardless of how much I think I wear my heart on my sleeve. I think I'm really clear about my intentions through action and word. I feel like I'm honest about how I feel about things. But somehow, I'm not being clear enough. I find that frustrating, but I'll work to be more clear and to be more (heaven forbid!) direct about my wants, needs and opinions. Somehow, in the last month or so, I've discovered that even the people I know best, that know me best, are sometimes incorrect about the way I look at life.

I was discussing this with a couple of people the other day, because I am constantly suprised by the amount of people who see me as a cheerful person who is always in control. They see my life trucking along at a good pace. They see me as some sort of charismatic person who is able to win others over and get people to work with them at no cost of effort to myself. It amazes me. Because honestly, I'm not happy all the time. I have a happy life, but that's very different from me never feeling the effects of stress and anxiety. I have to work hard to control my emotions, and sometimes I don't think I do that great of a job at it either. I struggle, nearly every day, with the emotional burdens that I carry. My life does not run as smoothly as everyone seems to think it does.

Now, I do want to say, I have a good life. I have good friends that I love. I have a couple friends I am very close to, that I know would do anything for me, who accept me as I am- seeing those flaws other people look past and loving me (not just in spite of) because of them. I am learning to handle my stress and anxiety, i am becoming less stressed than I was. But those things that stress me out (work, coven issues, family issues, my personal and emotional issues, Kitten's school and work, etc) are never going to go away. I can only do my best to assimilate those things into my life in a manner that's conducive to me dealing with them. I'm extremely fortunate that I have people in my life who don't care that I'm an emotional mess sometimes, because they know that when they need me I'm going to be there to help them sweep up the remnants of whatever wreck they're in.

This has definately been  a month for reflection, growth and shadow work for me. I'm looking forward to May being a more upbeat, cheerful month. My garden is in bloom, the girls and I set about making the one in the back a little healthier. I've got big plans, and if Kitten's intership falls through I've already gotten permission to go ahead with her suprises, she'll jsut help us with them. Life at my work has been more peaceful lately, and its looking like we're getting some new stuff, making some big changes company wide, and i'm pretty excited about them. Of course, its also always a huge comfort to know I've got Shorty, Spice and Flyguy there for me, and not a day goes by that I don't work with either one of them, or with Oscelot. I've got a great support system.

In other interesting May Day news, I actually took the time to get flowers for some of the people in my life. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the custom, but on May Day you're supposed to get up early and leave flowers at the door of people you love. Each flower means something different, so selecting them is part of the fun. This year we got Kitten's mom Orchids. We actually bought her and my mom and Grandma potted plants so they could enjoy them for more than a few days. Orchids are for regal beauty. If I had a picture of Kitten's mom, I would post it so you could see, as Sakura puts it "There's no question where Kitten gets her good looks." I bought my mom a lavendar plant. Now, I didn't know when I purchased it (because I didn't have my book with me) lavendar is meant to mean distrust. I actually trust my mom now more than I ever have, so I think I look at it more as me not having the distrust anymore. Plus, Lavendar is a great flower for relaxation, and if there's anyone I know who needs to relax its my mom. I got my grandmother red asiatic (pixie) lilies. They're for majesty. I'm picking her up more next week, and I'll get a yellow one, because that's for gratitude. Those were special for me, because I didn't realize my great grandmother's home, where my Grandma now lives, used to have a full bed of them. When she passed on, my Grandma dug up the lilies for her sister, who loved them. For me, it was like giving may flowers to both my Grandma and Great Grandma, because they both loved them, and my Grandma missed them. Hence the reason I'm going to go get her more. I figure one plant is pathetic, but a whole bed as a suprise would take her breath away. The girls and I sent flowers to Flyguy too, he got Peonies for bashfulness, Irises which mean "your friendship means so much to me" and three roses- two yellow and one red for friendship and love. He asked for a cut bouquet and they look really pretty, even if I did only wrap them in newspaper.

I didn't get my coven mates flowers. Mostly because they either already have gardens, have no place to put them. I figure if they want flowers they know where my garden is, and they get all the roses and rose petal they want. Hell, bamboo too. Soon peonies, because my grandma promised me a start off my great grandma's bush, which will be awesome. Of course, I'll buy other bushes, but having my Grandma's bush will make them something special to me. Anyway, they get to spend ritual with me anyway, and we have gifts to share that have nothing to do with flowers.

I'll only bore you with one more May Day tale, and this is one you might find amusing. I sure did. Another tradition we have is to "bathe in the dew of the May" which pretty well means wash yourself with dew, rainwater or spring water collected on the first day of May. Its supposed to ensure you no blemishes and to make you beautiful. Now, whether or not you belive that, its a pretty fun custom. Since it was thunderstorming, I was unable to do what I had intended, which was hike down the the spring behind Happy Waffle and collect enough for the coven, since we were all meeting for breakfast. I could hear the rush of the lovely flash flood from the parking lot, so I figured that and the lightning and the dark were enough reason to hold off on that. So we had breakfast and washed in dew collected from our rain barrels. Well, our faces and arms anyway.

Kitten missed out on this, because she was at work. When we went as a group to pick her up we hicked down to look at the now happily flowing but not dangerous spring. Kitten asked me what the procedure was. I giggled. I had forgotten she hadn't done it, but she was determined to have her turn even if it meant dunking in her work clothes. So we sprung out on rocks in the middle of the creek, big fat ones we lay on in the summer while we put our feet in the water. Her and Oscelot stuck their heads right in. I opted for laying on my back and putting my head in the rushing waterfall beside the rock. Sakura, who stayed ashore because his shoes had a hole in them and he didn't have a spare pair, was obliged by Kitten - who filled up her ballcap and dumped it over him so he could wash too. We exchanged smiles, and according to tradition, compliments. You're supposed to tell the people with you what it is that makes them beautiful to you. It was a good time. I also think that Sakura got some good pictures of us looking like dorks while we got ourselves all wet.

In the end, though, I felt a lot more beautiful and a lot more clean. And that's what its all about, right?

I hope all of you got May off to a great start, and that you've got someone to tell you how beautuful and special you are. If not, you come find me, I bet I could help you out.

Blessed Be, my friends.

* In hindsight, I feel like I ought to point out that fertility is not just about having babies. Its also about growth and new life. It means fetility of mind and spirit- creativity and the ability or change yourself into something new and better. This holiday, for my coven at least, is also one where not only the Lord and Lady get married, but we celebrate our being wedded to the divine, and to all things. I felt like I should clear that up, especially for those of you who know how child free I am...etc.

As a personal post script- Swiss, if you're reading...I had three different references to William it Was Really Nothing this week. Actually, The Smiths have been inhabiting my life lately. They're taking over. Not that I mind, because you were right. I love them.