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23 September, 2009

Monster of Mothers

I am the monster under the bed.

(Apparently under the big bed, the one that holds 'all of you'.)

I am off the edge of your map, and I am prowling. You make noise and flash lights as if I might be driven into the imaginary by your denial, you pretend I am not there, and by that pretending you cast my shadow large and misshapen, huge and slavering and consuming things you thought you knew.

I come in the night and seduce away what you thought was yours, what would live by the rules of civilised climes, the way you thought things should be. I am nothing but a shadow, not a creature of substance; what you know of me matters not against what I mean. Perhaps I am the shadow of a real evil, nothing but the hound of a cult trailing along in the footsteps of other unreality. Perhaps I am the demoness herself, spiked and sorcerous.

But - I tell you this - never forget that in the shadow that you made there is a child.

Because there is where you will meet the real beast.

Do not forget my daughter, treat her as an irrelevance, dismiss her. Do not attempt to use her as a leverage point to peel away one or another of her parents. Do not attempt to wail and claw at the horror of a child cradled in such darkness as mine, because I will want to introduce you to darkness then, I will want to and I will hold back because her innocence will not be stained with blood so unworthy.

I will hold back a while. I will wait you out, I may try to laugh because the fairy tales are so comically twisted and unreal. I will let you tell your stories if they help you sleep at night. I will swallow up my own pain at being driven away and warped into shadows, my reality ignored because you must have your stories and hold them up over what is real. I will bleed for you, you who live in the light and order of civilised lands and must have tidiness and hold the borders of your world strong, and believe me, I bleed every moment my humanity is less important to you than your fictions and your "It's just wrong, I can't tell you why." I will let you fucking flay me alive with your weapons of annihilation, without denying that that is what you are doing to me.

I will do this for you.

So long as you leave my child alone, cradled within the arms of her family.

I am the monster of mothers, and you who live in Heorot should leave us be.

17 September, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Alias

Dianne Sylvan wrote recently at her Dancing Down the Moon about feeling alienated, isolated, or separated from the overall pagan community, and I sort of want to write about that (to the best of my current somewhat frazzled ability).

I feel, more often than not, very complicated about 'pagan community'. In ways that often remind me of my nasty breakup with science fiction fandom, more than anything else: the sense of "This is a space built for people like you, so long as 'people like you' is appropriately edited for content", the sense of "Let's bond over all this stuff we have in common (without noticing when we don't actually have any of this stuff in common)."

Like the person who commented recently that sexual domination has no place in paganism, because that shit is evil, yo. (And the people who followed up on that with, more or less, 'How can you be so nasty to people who are into BDSM? It's not like it's rape fantasies!' didn't exactly help with that, even though that's not one of my things.) Or, more benignly, all of the people talking about the autumn equinox, what are you doing, tell me about your plans, introduce me to this festival, and it's not my fucking festival and even though I accept the genero-pagan wheelyear as really damn popular and that people aren't asking me specifically what I'm doing for Someone Else's Bloody Holiday, I am, for one reason or another, just tired and touchy about it. Or a recent "How can we update the triple goddess concept to suit more people?" Or whatever.

So when I look at public-sphere paganism I see, well, I see:

Mother goddess and Her horned heterocentric consort, in a circle, on the sabbats or by moonphases, spellcasting, Greek-derived ceremonial magic elements, eco-religion as dogma, sexuality is sacred but not any of that pain blood domination stuff, an it harm none, not a Satanist you know, everyone is a priest, and so on. Let us meditate on nothing whatever substantial and then do a spiral dance.

None of this connects to me, seeing as I'm a full-up polytheist who hasn't gotten the work done to sort out her goddamn liturgical calendar aside from the 'hey, someone's got a holiday, I can handle an excuse for a party' level, not much for the magical foo as commonly done and overall over my attempt to categorise everything by classical element, too genderqueer and kinky for a nice sex ritual, not overly hung up on being nice, possibly technically a Satanist in some interestingly askew ways, cranky about being shoved into a priestly role inappropriately by idiots, and so on.

Which means that, in the overwhelming majority of public pagan spaces, I feel like an idiot.

Feeling like an idiot is not conducive to meaningful religious experience.

I'm entirely capable of going to Someone Else's Religious Ritual and having a meaningful experience, mind. I did it all through my going-to-church childhood; I have decent odds of pulling it off when I attend PantheaCon; in a lot of ways, my own religious practice group is built around making meaningful Someone Else's Religious Ritual for all parties present, not pushing anyone notably further out of their comfort zone than anyone else. But this sense of specifically-for-someone-else-that-they-assume-is-me feeling is a bloody mess. PCon is deliberately a kind of religious smorgasboard anyway, and I approach it as such.

I'm left with this sense of "What the hell do I do here?", mostly, in it all. Because the public stuff is so unsatisfying - and it was unsatisfying even before I settled into my current religious orientations. But there's no space for people like me to do our thing (even if people-like-me, by which I mean me, as I'm the only one doing my particular thing really, had our shit together to be able to pull off a public thang if we wanted to), because the cast-your-circle, invite-your-pair-of-sex-differentiated-deities, do-your-spell, be-happy-and-have-cake stuff is so fucking normative that one can get screamed at for a, "Sorry, I can't help you, it's not my holiday" let alone actually showing some reality.

So people like me stop showing up.

And apparently people like Dianne Sylvan, who's actually published books about Wicca and thus presumably had some greater personal stake in Wicca-like religion than I do, stop showing up too.

Who the hell shows up anymore?

It's a real problem.

15 September, 2009

On Demand

This is going to be damned hard to write, okay, so I'm going to start out asking you to bear with me here. I've been trying to write it on and off for a couple of weeks, and have made not so much with the headway, so ... yeah. (Some of the wanting to write is wanting to try to untangle what's in my head so maybe it can get better, too, which makes the frustrated inability to articulate even more aggravating.)

I think I'm gonna try being blunt rather than getting the nuance right to start out with, because hitting the precise spot is more energy than I've got. Again, bear with me, I'm navigating the shoals here.

Motherhood has completely fucked up my d/s.

Not in the way one might expect from the cultural pressure stuff, the whole "Now that I am a Real Adult, I must put aside these Foolish Things Of My Youth" bullshit.

Here's the thing.

Okay, here are the multiple things.

The first one is a general new-parent thing, I think. It's amazing how much of my life just drops into Little Foot's adorable orbit. Even aside from the time I invest in caring for her, holding her is one of these simple joys that persists. (And I'm constantly torn between wanting to hold her when I'm good and happy with it and knowing that I'm fully capable of burning myself out emotionally on overcontact, and trying to balance the "I must hold my kid" with the "If I don't have someone else hold her right now I'm going to go totally fucking batshit.") I have amazing levels of help - not just that Little Foot has a four-parent family, but also miscellaneous parents and friends coming by - my dad's been here most recently and taking a lot of Sitting Down Under The Baby duty, for example. I know I would not be functioning terribly well without that help.

And at the same time, I feel horrifyingly alone. Because all this energy goes to helping-me-with-the-baby, not helping-me, and ... I've been articulating to the husbands a bit that I have a snuggle shortage. It's helping a little, to sit with my lion and lean on him for a while, or my liege coming up and just ... talking with me for a bit before he heads off to class. That's getting me back trending at least not away from sane. But there's this increasing level of awful neediness in me, and I don't know what to do about it, and I have to balance it with the fact that Little Foot is much more fragile than I am and less capable of taking care of her own needs, to understate a smidge.

And there's another thing. It doesn't matter how hard I kink for service stuff, I am 24/7 on call for a master who is nothing but demanding and has essential claims on use of portions of my body. This is exhausting. And it doesn't leave me much flexibility for more negotiated service, either; it's hard not to meet a request with snappishness, not because I resent the request, but because, say, an afternoon of Grunty McFusspot and her pants-related events or her habit of shaking my nipple like a terrier who's finally gotten a grip on a long-pursued rat does not leave me feeling generous and full of warm, giving spirit. Which is not a get-out-of-commitments free situation by any means, but it does add a layer of stress to the whole experience.

So while I'm needing care and support - and would truly love to have some of the protective restorative energy that some of the d/s we do affords me - I wind up feeling like I have nothing to offer right now. Enthusiastic service is a bit rough. I can fetch tea, so long as I'm not Sitting Down Under The Baby, and that's about what I'm up for. And I have a hard time asking for things, even as I recognise that I have standing orders to do so, especially when I don't feel I have anything to balance the scales with.

It of course does not help that I had twelve stitches put in my chassis, and while that appears to have healed up, I have a ridge of scar tissue running up one side of certain rather sensitive bits of anatomy (a direction I rather prefer than down the perineum proper, but nonetheless it has its inconveniences) and my lochia is only now appearing to resolve itself. Sexual frustration has surfaced occasionally, and often gone in really awfully messy dissociative direction, because - again - for all that I enjoy sexual service, being cut off from any form of the possibility of physical reciprocation meant that it was intensely onesided and mostly underscored the sense of body-failure without offering satisfaction to me. Touch was treacherous, unsafe, with its risks of going places that ached too much to bear. Normal sexual reactions in a partner that I would ordinarily enjoy felt like being cornered, pressured, trapped; my incapacity exposed and still demanded upon. This has not been pleasant.

And, on top of it all, I'm intensely emotionally vulnerable, not in ways that promote intimacy; rather, they promote a sort of isolating self-protection. My liege is busy with a major renovation project, with being in school, and with helping take care of Little Foot; my ability to read his current emotional state is heavily dependent on a lot of factors, primary among them how well my ability to connect to people is going (not well, of late) and how relaxed he is (not very, of late). Which means I go all paranoid about questions like whether my inability to do little service things without emotional drama or the fact that Little Foot needs care or whatever else are upsetting him, and am unable to judge reactions sanely. And really, going around asking "Are you mad at me?" every time that particular anxiety demon pops up is a good way to make people mad at me ...

Okay. That's out of my head, more or less. All stuff I've said in bits, so it better not shock any relevant party. And I really should have gone to sleep when Little Foot did, alas, as I was up with her last night, but ... mrgh. Stuff in head. Gah.

Feeling a little crazy today.

10 September, 2009

Not Even The Mommy Trap

An acquaintance linked to a post about 'rescuing' a woman from the workplace in order to have her fulfil her godly-appointed role as a housewife. Or something like that. Bonus fun woman-is-a-subset-of-her-man bullshit, the whole nine yards.

The acquaintance replied to this by saying, well, if you stay home - with or without kids - I don't agree with your choice. I won't hassle you about it, but I don't agree with it.

I'm not replying. Er. I'm not replying directly, I'm passive-aggressively going and fuming about this where said acquaintance probably won't ever know it got mentioned, because I am not fucking up to dealing with this.

Because my first reaction to this has nothing to do with the housewifery, has nothing to do with the fact that I have a month-old child who needs constant care and attention, who I think is better cared for by one of her parents than by other people who we would have to pay for it (and of course that counts as real work because it's caring for other people's children, right?), has nothing to do with all that angel of the household bullshit even in vague theory.

My first reaction to this is, "Well, it's a fucking good thing I don't need your consent for my disability management, now, isn't it?"

Haven't I fumed about this sort of thing before? Why, yes, I have.

And the fact that my health management means that I'm working from home and thus available to give Little Foot the care she needs (even though I know in some cases a professional might be able to do a better job, because a professional doesn't have my mental health disability to manage in the first place) is a bonus, a somewhat precarious bonus on a rough day when I need to hand her off so I don't fracture myself, but a bonus nonetheless.

But the being here? This is me trying to keep my mind more or less in one goddamn piece.

And you know, I feel I can't talk about this shit without including a tagline about how awful it is that some people think that women need to be dragged out of work because it's Inappropriate To Womanhood to be there, and isn't that monstrous? Because I have to make the appropriately pious kowtowing to the outrage in order to point out that something is fucking ablist or ask who the hell is going to take care of Little Foot then?

I ... just ...

... the fucking fuck.

(Pardon. Profanity is the crutch of the inarticulate motherfucker.)

If I don't say anything I won't get Tone Argumented about it.

A couple of links, meanwhile:

How American Health Care Killed My Father - I'm not in agreement with all of it, but a lot of it is right up my alley, and some of the rest is stuff I hadn't thought of and might need to reevaluate on.

Lactate on your own time. Oh, for ...