Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Care and Handling of Your Introvert

  1. Never feed them after midnight.
  2. Never get them wet.
Wait, wrong movie.

I've noticed new trend all throughout my Facebook news feed. Apparently it is now cool to be an introvert. Where were these articles proclaiming the badassery of the average introvert when I was in school? Where were the lists of top ten things everyone needs to know about introverts then? I would have eaten fewer lunches by myself if people had know how secretly awesome my weird personality quirk was. Or maybe I wouldn't and that would have been okay too, because I was the super cool introvert that just needed her space to regroup and recharge. 

Let me tell you though, as completely steller - is that still a word?- as being an introvert is, it's also 100% exhausting right now. The witchling and I are staying with The Fam whilst DH finishes up the house. Out of Town Fam is ALSO staying here for the holidays, which is actually very exciting. The witchling is always just right there, which is still great in my new mommy phase. 

My alone time to regroup and recharge? A 5 minute trip to the store to get a drink maybe once a day.

With all the lists and all the blogs and all the articles it's still hard for everyone to understand how hard it is to just hang out with people. Or how tiring it is to feel like you have to be "on" all the time, to smile, not to let your face fall into resting bitch face because then you have the go around of "What's wrong?" and "Is everything okay?" because these people are fantastic and genuinely care about you.  
So you can totally feed us after midnight, I prefer poptarts, but I'm not going to make a list of all the ways to help your introvert friends, or how to spot us like we're some mythical, magical creature or a majestic whale off the coast of Washington state. There are plenty of blog posts out there if that's what you're looking for. I swear, just google introvert. Like I said, we're totally "in" right now.

I have noticed how my introvert-with-social-anxieties-ness reflects in my magical life.

I tend to do my work at night, usually late, because of that stillness in the world that lets you believe, even for just a moment, that you are the only person alive. I can fully breathe in that moment, fully let go without worrying about having to make small talk, or having to remember to keep some pleasant look on my face.

Attending events has always been hard for me. I've had to push myself to go, and usually I spend the whole drive there feeling like I'm going to throw up and wanting to bail out of the car like some action movie hero.
Tuck and Roll!

When I do force myself to go to an event I tend to hang out near the back and not talk to anyone. If anyone approaches me I feel my butt cheeks clinch and I understand fully what a deer feels like between October 1 and January 15. 

If I do talk to these people and make new acquaintances it's hard to become friends with them and fully network because there are some days I just can't deal. My phone may ring and it stirs a pit of dread and despair within my poor nervous stomach.   

I've also made some fantastic friends because I found great people that got It.

I've had in depth conversations about the who, what, when, where, and why's of their personal brand of magic and ritual.

I've learned to raise great energy with others, and how to do it on my own.

I can sit in the mountains near my home for hours alone, just drinking in the silence and recharging my batteries without feeling the need to move or go or do. I can appreciate that the only sound is the wind rushing through the trees and across the boulders. 

It's a give and take, like everything in life. There is good and bad and some days, when I've not had a moment alone to even take a deep breath, it's a struggle to find the middle ground. Life and magic are about balance though, if you can't find it, strive for it.

My style of introvert may not be the same as yours, or you may be one of the rare mythical, magical creatures known as extroverts. Whatever the case may be at least on the internet no one has to eat lunch alone, we can all find our people.

Tune in next week as I try to get into the habit of blogging consistently.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Minor Rant

I live in the lovely, incredibly Christian state of Oklahoma. When I say incredibly Christian I mean it. Ada, population 17,000, has 51 churches. Oklahoma is indeed the Bible Belt Buckle and as a Pagan living here I've learned a few things, mainly to keep my mouth shut on most of my opinions. I scroll though my Facebook feed and see everyone I know posting exactly what is on their mind and I keep scrolling because I know 1. my opinion won't be popular 2. my opinion isn't wanted 3. my opinion will get me viciously (verbally) attacked, mostly by my own loving family.

It's a pretty depressing situation.

I guess I could say "fuck it" and post what I want, and I usually do, but some subjects are so hot button I simply don't have the emotional energy to deal with the hate anymore, because while I can read their opinion, disagree with it, respect their right to have that opinion, and keep scrolling, apparently I am an idiot to expect the same respect. It drives me crazy sometimes.

I love my faith, I love my path. I find it beautiful, it speaks directly to my soul and drives me to be a better person, but it's not an easy path to walk living where I do. I recognize it could be worse though, there are still people killed every day for being labeled "witch" and that brings me to the point of my post today.

It all started bright and early with this article on my newsfeed on Facebook. Basically it is a woman in the progressive state of Arkansas has declared her indoor shooting range a "Muslim-free zone."

Now I have a couple of different opinions about this. I dislike a whole lot of government involving its self in my business so if she wants to be a bigot, whatever. I reserve the right to boycott her store and call her out on her small mindedness. She reserves the right to refuse service and I don't want the government trying to change that because for every once of power we give them they take another fifty pounds.

Paranoid? Possibly, but I think at this juncture we all should be.

My problem is that she cites the Oklahoma "Muslim" beheading. I remember the original news cast, before they found out the man was Muslim. He beaded the women because he was fired, not because of his faith. When it came to light that the man was Muslim I knew that the focus would shift and things would be blown out of proportion.

Now there it is, in every article, his religious affiliation. It has been all over the news, including national news, and has been a Very Big Deal.

But, did you hear about the other Oklahoma beheading?

What? You didn't?

In this case a Christian man (nearly) beheaded another man for practicing witchcraft. This never even came up in the news. Not once. The only reason I found out about it was because OUT OF STATE websites posted something and my Google alerts picked it up.

Oh but he was on drugs so it was all the meth's fault.

You don't hear anyone saying they are going to ban Christians from their business for fear of their lives, despite Christianity's own bloody past, and present.

There are bad eggs no matter what the faith.

Here's my main issue though, I'm sure you're ready for me to get to the point. So many Americans are sheep, waiting to be told what to be afraid of.

The media blows ebola out of proportion, by the way there are no more cases of it in the US but we were all terrified of a pandemic.

It sensationalizes anything having to do with Islam.

"Holy cow did you hear that crazy person that did that bad thing had a brother's sister-in-law's uncle's cousin that read the Quran once?"

It keeps us so busy labeling and hating one another while the local and federal government engages in random stupidity. If we could spend a little less time being afraid, and a little more time on compassion, maybe we could pull ourselves out of this craziness instead of waiting for congress to do it for us.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Something... pink this way comes?

It was February 8th and DH and I had an unpleasant and daunting day ahead of us, we were to drive up to be with his family while his aunt was taken off life support. There was just one little thing I had to do before I woke him up to get ready for the day.

Yup. Pregnant for the first time. Not quite how I was expecting the day to start. I'd been peeing on sticks for so long I didn't possibly think this one would come up positive when none of the others had. Surprise. I, still in a bit of shock, shoved the positive test in DH's face as a wake up call and after convincing him that it was not a joke we went about our day as planned, with one unscheduled stop so I could pick up a new journal.

It was a strange day to say the least. I knew that DH's aunt would not make some magical miracle recovery. She was such an amazing woman and for the last 10 years had accepted me fully and treated me as if I were one of her own, offering me unconditional love, a shoulder to cry on when the loss of my own mother caught up to me, someone to vent to about anything, and teaching me so much about every aspect of life from cooking to fishing. I also knew she was tired, and had refused round two of a "treatment" that nearly killed her the first time, but I found comfort in my faith.

Paganism teaches us that the universe is about balance. Where there is life there is also death, and thankfully death is never the end.

Fast forward 3 months.

We have found out our little bundle is a girl, and she'll be making her debut in the first weeks of October. We've managed to get through the first trimester without any major freak outs, but each day I find myself afraid of something new.

The major fear that has overrun my thoughts lately, and the main reason for this post?

Pagan Parenting.

DH is agnostic and after a lengthy discussion he agreed that raising our daughter in my faith would be the right decision for our family. The problem I fear comes from the extended family.

Like most Pagans I was raised in a Christian family. We did the church thing every Sunday, and Wednesday, and sometimes Saturdays, faithfully. I went to church camp, did community work, and tried so very hard to be the good Christian girl I knew my family wanted me to be, and found myself battling depression when I felt I couldn't meet their expectations. My mother got sick, I got angry, and things got worse until I found that first book on Wicca.

Suddenly what I always felt and believed at my core had a name. Suddenly I wasn't staring at a lifetime of trying to force myself into a faith that just didn't fit. Suddenly I was free... to hide my faith from everyone I knew. Being anything but die-hard Christian is hard in the Bible Belt. As I got closer to graduating and getting out of my tiny home town I became more comfortable in my path and began, well, really just NOT hiding. I didn't come out of the broom closet crystals blazing, but I wore my pentacle openly and actually drew one on a "self portrait collage" assignment in art class.

Of course my grandma pulled my pentacle off my neck and told me to be careful lest a cross be burned in my front yard, and my principal tried to make me take my collage down, but I wasn't deterred.

So all of DH's family, and most of my family, knows that I'm Pagan. I don't hide anymore, and even post Pagan related things on Facebook, but it's not really something that we ever talk about, aside from the random "So is that a Wicca thing?" question.

Therein lies the problem. We're going to have to talk about it. We're going to have to have several discussions on the fact my daughter will not be raised Christian and what this means for us as a whole family. I have a feeling this is going to suck.

How do I explain to them that while I respect their faith and understand their good intentions when it comes to my child's own spiritual path I don't want her indoctrinated into a religion before she understands what it means.

Yes, I realize that I just said that I want to raise her in my faith, and that's the thing. My faith, not my religion. What does that mean exactly?

  • I don't ever want her to hate someone because they are different. It doesn't matter who they love, how they pray, or to whom they pray. What matters is doing everything that you can to be a good person.
  • I don't want her to be ashamed of herself, or her body. I want her to have a healthy self image and realize her self worth. There are too many broken girls out there willing to share their body with anybody in the mistaken hope that it means they will be loved, even if just for the night, I don't want one of them to be mine.
  • I want to give her the tools to be confident enough to make her own decisions. I want her to have the strength to look me in the eye and tell me Paganism isn't for her if she knows it's not the path she's supposed to walk. I want her to find her spiritual home, not because she was told she was going to hell if she didn't believe but because she knows in her soul it is where she is supposed to be. 
I hope my family understands that I'm trying to raise her to be a strong person. I hope they see past the titles of religion and into the heart of why I'm doing what I'm doing. I hope they don't let their good intentions get in the way of being our support system. They were each given the opportunity to raise their children the way they saw fit, and I only ask for that same courtesy.