So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

30 May, 2008

Goddesses and Bellies

I liked the neo-pagan triple goddess concept a lot better when I was younger.

And part of that was me still being in my concussed duotheism period, in which I kept trying to wodge the divine into gender-based boxes, never mind that I suck at fitting me into a gender-based box and why should the divine be any less wacky than a single embodied human? I may be large and contain multitudes, but there's only a countable infinity of ways I can be weird. A deity has curves.

(That's a really weird math joke. Just nod and smile.)

It seemed so real and physical and focused, this sort of down in the mud-and-blood notion of what a lifecycle looked like. It was lived reality, not a problem; of course things should reflect.

And then I noticed that that concept didn't have much in the way of similar cycles for men, and that was kind of weird.

And then I noticed ...

... so here's the thing ...

The whole structure depends on fertility patterns, right? And the status of a woman depends on the status of her uterus: unripe, in use, past use. This is ...

... limiting. Cramping, in all kinds of non-referential ways.

(And then I started to get to know actual goddesses, do my research, and started having my brain shattered by the notions some people have about what a crone is. Or what have you. Trying to impose a modern-Romantic system on figures much older and without that sort of fluff. So it only gets worse from there.)

And I was on the pill for a couple of years, off it for a couple of years, on it for seven more, and now that I'm off it again I like chocolate and my moustache-area hair is coming in darker, and I have no idea what to make of that at all, and I can't even pretend to fit myself into this phases-of-womanhood shit, even making allowances for motherhood not necessarily meaning bio-offspring, but all kinds of other things.

Where am I?

Bleeding like whoa, and philosophical about it, I suppose.

23 May, 2008

The Colour Of Your Argument

A while back, the webcomic XKCD posted this comic titled 'Jealousy'. Which, well, I wouldn't ordinarily blog about.

And, as is usual for XKCD, the livejournal RSS feed for the comic included a ridiculous number of comments. Which, again, I wouldn't ordinarily blog about.

Sometimes I skim at least the visible comments on the first page. And, of course, it's been long enough that the feed as expired that I can't pull up the comments word-for-word, which just goes to show I'm a flake who's behind on her blog queue, but hey.

And of course there were a few smug poly people who said something to the effect of, well, you know, if they were just poly this sort of shit wouldn't be a problem. Which I mostly roll my eyes at as predictable, though at the moment I'm sufficiently annoyed by one of the smug poly assholes of the universe that I want to amend that to, "Free clue, guys: being poly doesn't make it work out. Being poly doesn't mean that people don't have to make choices, sometimes hard ones, about who they want to be with. Being poly doesn't magically make it not hurt. Being poly doesn't mean that jealousy flies away on little gossamer wings to plague someone less enlightened than thou. Being poly may give you more perceived options for dealing with that sort of thing; it may also get you into more of that sort of situation. Grow the fuck up."


One of the comments there was really striking, though. And it went something like:

"Blah blah fat ugly poly slob women oh this wouldn't happen if you were just poly!"

I run into this occasionally, and it blows my mind. "The only people who are poly are ugly! The only people who are poly are fat!" The anti-poly bigotry comes extensively linked with sizeism and looksism, and with an occasional leavening of ablism (especially mental health ablism). It seems a strange thing to say to someone with multiple partners. "You only have more than one lover because you're so unattractive!" Generally aimed at women.


And if I dig into this a little, I'm pretty sure I dig up some of the expectations of good and valuable women there. It reminds me of the runin with the giant fuckwit who was convinced that the only reason a woman could possibly want more than one partner was because she perceived herself as too damaged to "deserve" one all to herself. Such a woman must be willing to be used for sex by anyone who would have her, and didn't have the assertiveness or standing to demand exclusivity.

If the "high-value" women are presumed to have the standing to demand a monogamous relationship, then, logically, the ones who don't have a monogamous relationship must not be the valuable ones. And since "value" on a woman is marked in terms of desirability, they must all be the ones the poster thinks unfuckable.

And I've encountered people who say, more or less, "But really, whenever I see a poly gathering, all the women are gigantic, and ...."

And I've started going to a poly social gathering more or less regularly, because I have an hour to kill before a class I'm taking around the corner from the coffee shop where it's held, and I think about who shows up, appearance-wise, and the major trait that I can think that's most common to that crowd is:

Dyed hair.

Generally in cool colours like blue or purple.

There's the fellow with the white curly hair and the purple streak who was talking about his son's post-college-graduation plans this week. The woman with the blue-dyed hair who looks luminous when backlit. The punky-looking woman with the short-cropped pink-dyed hair. The woman with subtle purple streaks. The geeky-looking young woman with the end of her braid done in lovely green. (There are also the couple of big bald guys, an occasional polo-shirt-wearing guy who will speak quietly about being a submissive, a woman whose black hair is done in about a hundred tiny braids, an assortment of quietly professionally-dressed people who come by after work, and so on. Ordinary people. Many of whom have dye.)

Hell, I've been known to have a green streak, and I need to make another go at dyeing my tips blue. I got some advice at the poly social a few weeks ago, after all.

Does this mean anything about the demographics of polyamorous people? No. Most of the poly people I've met in other venues don't have dyed hair.

It means that the poly social is held in the coffee shop with the tattooed-and-pierced-and-dyed androgynous baristas, in a community full of geeky weirdos who cultivate the sorts of jobs where nobody throws a fit if they come in magenta.

The size demographics, attractiveness demographics, whatever? Look completely normal. Maybe a little older than the standard people who hang out in the coffee shop with the alty androgynous baristas, overall, less studenty around the edges. But ... just people.

22 May, 2008

Brain on Fire

The proper word is probably "imbas", but not many people know that one. (Filidecht practitioner Erynn Laurie defines Imbas thus in her sidebar: "Imbas is an Old Irish word meaning poetic inspiration, with overtones of ecstatic mysticism." She has a whole entry about it too.)

My brain is on fire.

Do you know that feeling? There's that sudden arclight spark, just a moment, that illuminates everything, and suddenly all the connections are clear, for just a moment, just a searing moment that burns into the mind's shape of the world and goes again like lightning, leaving afterimages to taste and chase.

My brain is on fire.

I spent two years studying the Anderson Feri Tradition with Thorn Coyle, finishing in spring of 2007. And spent the following year integrating, building on what I learned there, sorting myself out. And, after some consultations about balancing my responsibilities and needs, I have taken up studying with Thorn again, as of last night.

My brain is on fire.

The first work for this study was meditation on a particular poem written by Victor Anderson, a man not unacquainted with imbas. And I, trying to catch up with my classmates, read it, and ...

My brain is on fire.

My brain is on fire in one of those ways that is so intensely, individually tuned to who I am and where I came from. I can chase the threads of this spark back to the winter of 1985, in one case, sitting with an issue of Sky and Telescope in my lap reading about the approach of Halley's Comet. I can track it to looking for the divine in the night sky and finding Her, a process that began sometime in my mid-teens as a conscious process. I can track it to the beginning of this month, when the answer I gave when asked to give divination was "It is bright light in darkness."

My brain is on fire.

It is on fire with the dance of light and dark, the starkest Twins. It is on fire with the metaphysics of the black body radiation curve. It is on fire with the loving nature of finitude and the way illumination swallows gloom. It is on fire, on fire, on fire.

I tried to explain what's in my mind to my husband, shine it all out, the way it is on fire, and he smiled at me and told me I was cute.

You can only shine what you have.

And feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn't end
But slowly drifts into sleep
The stars are the greatest thing you've ever seen
And they're there for you
For you alone you are the everything

-- R. E. M., "You Are The Everything"

17 May, 2008


[ This was written several days ago and held for posting pending some level of resolution to the issues involved. Things are better now; I may write about some of that at some point. ]

I think the phrasing "hard limit" may have something to do with how much it hurts when one smashes through it.

I know that one of my responses to pain, to damage, is dissociation. It's an ongoing wrestling match in my head, at times, to deal with things that distress me, because there's this layer of protective detachment to get through before one can even begin to deal with the problem, and I'm too tired to figure out how to fight with it enough that it will let go.

So there's this void there, where there should be warmth.

And there's a void in one of the places that I would turn to in distress, for comfort, for support, if it weren't for the fact that there's a hole there where it ought to be, where that protection has pulled out the connections.

And that makes it that much the worse, the wanting to reach and the feeling of hands-passing-through-shadow, unable to get there; it's almost enough to cause a freakout all on its own, even without the hurt. Even though I know that once I'm safe enough, healed enough, to unravel the detachment, to find all the places things connect, to be okay again, I will be able to have that back, there's still the screaming, flailing panic: what if it's lost? What if it's gone? What if I can't find it again? I used to say "better at respecting my boundaries than I am", and get the loop of the mistake, the reminder, the several reminders after that, the push, and finally the return to what was only edge, so I didn't break entire until after, and have the agitated wail of having tried to defend my boundaries from someone who had never truly threatened them before, having tried, not knowing how to let go after having not entirely succeeded.

I fall back on protocol, almost robotically. I can't feel it right now, but I fall back on it, doing as I'm told perhaps in the hope that it'll shake me into a place where it brings me joy again. Perhaps because I don't want to break it more than shoving it into the curtained part of my mind where I can't reach it already does. I hear comments that would inspire me into anticipatory acts of service, extracting the request from the statement, and logic them through until I come up with that response on pure familiarity of thought, not because of the driving emotion.

The awful thing about damage to trust is the way one has to start trusting again to fix it. But can't get theah from heah, as is said among my people. And this is said, and ... there's the little wailing self that says, "I sat down when you asked me to. I leaned on you. I let you touch my throat. I fumbled through to the halting explanation that I could make. That's all I got. If you want more bridge, you have to build it from your side, because it's fighting every moment I don't pull away, right now, and my head is still against your shoulder. That's as much victory as I can do on my own right now."

"Mine." It was not stated as a question, but there was that tremulous edge, the hint of almost rising tone, that brought it up to the edge of being there.

"I want to be." I do. I think I do.

I don't remember how.

14 May, 2008

Quiet Evening at Home

"Is there sour cream?"
"I think so. You'll have to go check."
"That means I'll have to get up."
"Walking is like that."
"I wanted to be certain of dip before I got up!"
"Nothing in life is certain."
"There is no sour cream in the fridge."
"Alas and alack."

"What do we want to do for dinner?"
"I think there's some chicken in the fridge. Uh, freezer."
"Could you start it defrosting? I'll get sour cream on the way home."
"Okay. And my cheese?"
"I'll look."

"There's sour cream now. They didn't have the cheese."
"Well, that's dairy."

At which point we had some conversations about how we were doing in Tribal Wars and a bit of me eavesdropping on his World of Warcraft setup. And I commented about one of the pleasanter and more entertaining aspects of being a space alien; it's nice to have some every so often.

"Could you start some rice to go with this?"

"I've put some flavoring stuff in the rice."
"Did you hear me comment on the rice?"
"Yeah. Checking on the chicken."

"This is going to be kind of dry. We should maybe do something with it?"
"I can make a sauce?"
"That'd work."
"Any ideas?"
"There's just pepper on the chicken, so something that goes with whatever you did with the rice."
"I'll just do a basic cheese sauce, then."
"That sounds good."

"Sauce is done. Rice is still going. You want to wait?"

Sounds of animated violence are drifting over the back of the couch now.

Just a quiet evening at home.

I've been seeing people commenting recently about running relationships on feminist principles, and have been vaguely sort of wondering what they mean by that. Ideology is hard. I should go check the rice.

13 May, 2008

O My Head

My therapist and I talked a little at the end of our session about getting me a referral to a psychiatrist.

Because I'm tired of being crazy, and the week or so of persistent pain has given me ... a certain lack of emotional stability, because I just don't have the resources. And where I'm trying to be in life, I can't afford the luxury of running anymore.

Trying to articulate how I feel about this mostly drives me to fits of ellipses.

I have made fudge with cinnamon, though. If you all are really nice to me I may post the recipe. Hah.

10 May, 2008

What's In A Name?

I breathe a theology of words.

Language is a holy thing, a thing of power, threaded through with the power of raw creation, the power to speak the name of a thing and bring it into being, evoke it, make it more real.

This is the power that humankind shares with the gods: we have words. By our words, by our ability to draw concept into reality, we make and break the world.

We make and break both large worlds and small.

Sometimes the word is "Mine".

Sometimes my response is, "Your what?"

Because there is the underlying theology of it, the spiritual drive: name me, claim me, speak this real, take up the power of the gods and name, what am I? Which of my kaleidoscopic shapes is forefront in your mind at this moment?

"My lover", sometimes, close and sexual and partnered. "My blanket", a laughing snuggling claim demanding warmth and comfort. My friend, my partner, a pattering of nouns each blowing a little reality into one piece or another of the complicated shape that is what is a relationship.

I breathe words of heirarchy, of mastery, into his ear, just to hear them said. To speak them real. To invite him to speak back, at times; other times to plead for it, to ask to hear myself recognised. Sometimes just to say it, to have it said, breathed out again like the sun breathes out dawn, not changed, but asserted in the real as Re-Horakhty asserts morning.

And here is the deep magic, one of the secret powers: when a thing that is seen, recognised, and named true is a thing that, in another world, cannot be shown, cannot be seen, will be taken as shameful, defective, broken - when that thing can be heard and celebrated and named aloud - that is power.

It is the power to be the thing from the dark.

It is the power of being seen, recognised, named, heard, known.

It is the power of the ringing words that have the power of the gods, the naming of a thing as real.

To recognise power, to name it, to have someone see it and be aware of it and move in the space of the named thing.

There are words that come out of the primal dark places, the places where things are unspeakable - or at least treated as unspeakable, and thus live in the space between denial and absence. There is, sometimes, "my sacred whore", whispered or growled or spoken with dark red undertones of emotion, and with the rich velvet intensity of reality.

There are words spoken then that some people would call degrading.

And I don't understand how that could be.

These are god-words, full of spirit, going bump in the night, speaking of the power of the shadow-things with teeth. It is not degrading to be.

Name me.

05 May, 2008

How I Learned

I was a weird shy kid in high school, a little on the young side, a little inexperienced. I wound up, freshman year, hanging out with a few other mostly weird shy kids, a group that eventually formed into a dynamic social group consisting, largely, of the sort of weird shy kid who had never had a dynamic social group before.

It was the last day of school senior year; the exam for the last class of the day. There were a few of us who were in that class, students in that year, who might never see each other again. It's an odd feeling, the triumphant escape and the mellow bittersweetness of knowing that each of us is going their separate ways.

The exam finished; the bell rang.

One of those first friends, back from freshman year, came up to me as I was gathering my things. "Hey," he said. "I want to tell you something?"

"Oh?" I had my things together; I looked at him. He looked nervous, perhaps shyer than normal, full of light anxiousness that might, if played a little more dramatically, go to fidgeting or handwringing.

"I'm gay." There was a long silent pause, and then he said, "... is that okay?"

Is that okay?

I put my arms around him and hugged him tightly. I had no words, because he had broken my heart.