Righteous indignation

Foxchild over at The Unveiling of a Pagan Spirit told me about an appalling case of injustice in the US court system yesterday. It is the story of Tory Bowen, a young woman who was raped on October 30, 2004. To sum up the case, the judge denied her the right to use numerous words (rape, sexual assault, victim, sexual assault nurse, forced, etc.) when presenting her case in order to “guarantee a fair trial to the defendant.” His reasoning was that the term rape is a conclusion in and of itself which is what the jury is supposed to be deciding. But that is not what the jury is supposed to be deciding, as so succinctly a commenter on Yarn Harlot’s blog put it. The jury is supposed to be deciding whether the defendant raped the plaintiff, not whether she was raped in general. As I read her summarization of the case today, I learned that the initial jury wasn’t even told that the plaintiff (Bowen) was prohibited from using these words, rendering her account of what happened to sound as though the intercourse was just that and implying that it was consensual. The first jury was hung. The second was declared a mistrial after Bowen refused to sign a document agreeing to omit the above words and others from her testimony (doing so, she indicated, would be committing perjury) and no jury was selected because they all seemed to know about the case already. Bowen is more than likely on her way to taking this case to the federal supreme court.

As someone who has recently experienced sexual assault, reading about this absolute mockery of justice made me want to vomit. It also made me want to not be American anymore. It pissed me off righteously at the Patriarchy that is our society. That brings us to the topic for the day. Righteous indignation. That is how I would describe my reaction to not only hearing this story, but to my own assault, which led me to consider some aspects of our society that also make me want to vomit. Righteous indignation. It just kind of flies off the tongue with a leap of fire. I’d like to take a closer look at the ‘indignation’ part of that phrase. Dictionary.com defines indignation as “strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base; righteous anger.” In its root is the word is dignity. The ‘in’ part (or ‘im’, ‘un’, etc.) serves to promote a meaning of the opposite or contrary concept of whatever word follows. So, it seems that in a base sense, indignation is all about revoking or opposing the preservation of dignity. Indignation, then, is what happens, what we feel, when our dignity is revoked, opposed, or obstructed in some way. Add the word righteous in front of it (indicating that we are morally and virtuously correct, and I’ll add divinely so of my own accord) and the phrase becomes a new kind of powerful.

Chatting with my friend foxchild last night, we rehashed my feelings of thinking I could have done something to prevent what happened from happening, and she enlightened me to a notion that had jumped above the surface of my subconscious at some point during the past few days only to dive back below it before I could get a good look: yes, I could have made different decisions, but my making the decisions that I had was NOT the cause of what happened. Yes, it opened the way for the opportunity to exist, but what the fuck is wrong with us all when we think that as soon as that opportunity is open, it will be taken? And I got a snapshot flashback of a conversation with Historical Ex. Let me paint the picture for you. Things were coming to their final close and he commented that the reason he kept being an asshole was because I kept forgiving him, kept letting him hurt me, so he knew he could and “get away with it.” Now, turn that one over in your heads for a minute before going on. My retort was that my ability to forgive him was a strength, not a weakness. He went on to address the fact that shortly after we had reunited that most recent time, we became physically intimate rather quickly – too quickly according to him (at the time, he was NOT being an ass and actually resembled a decent, caring human being, thus, I was more open to intimacy). I stared incredulously at him. Um, if I recall correctly, we were both involved in that intimate situation, we both took part, and therefore we should both take responsibility for it occurring. But no, Historical Ex (like so many men today) was under the impression that he bore no responsibility in the situation. When presented with an attractive woman, it was in his nature as a man to not be able to control himself and therefore, the woman was solely responsible for how far things got.

I realized during my conversation with fox that this notion – this idea of men being really, merely more than animals with instinctual drives that HAVE to be obeyed and cannot be controlled and therefore these creatures are not responsible for any of their actions – has been bred and procreated by patriarchal society over and over again. You’ve heard it before. You know it well. It’s the “boys will be boys” mentality. You run into it every time a man claims not being able to remember to put the toilet seat down. It smacks you in the face every time you hear the argument “well, did you see what she was wearing? She’s asking to be raped.” It’s pervasive. It has sunken deep into the pores and fabric of our society.

I am not men-bashing here at all, so please keep that in mind. But what I find most intriguing about this idea is that more men aren’t insulted by it. I don’t know if any men read my blog (I kind of doubt it), but if any men happen to be reading right now, do you realize that society has essentially reduced you to little more than a neanderthal? According to society, you possess no self-control, higher functioning, and great mental capacity. You’re barely better than Pavlovian dogs according mainstream American culture. You’re reduced to being led and manipulated by your genitals and hormones. If I were you, I’d be pretty fucking righteously undignified by that. But then again, according to society, being that I’m a woman and by definition without a penis, I am not burdened by the whims of my genitalia and instead, have the capacity to actually cognitively process complex situations without my behavior being dictated by my vagina.

What is sexual assault?

Unfortunate and unpleasant events that I experienced this past Wednesday night made me realize that I might not know what sexual assault is and has me now asking this question. Womenshealth.gov defines sexual assault as:
Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:

  • inappropriate touching
  • vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
  • sexual intercourse that you say no to
  • rape
  • attempted rape
  • child molestation

Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment.

Although I now realize that what I experienced could be classified on the milder end of what seems to be a spectrum covering everything from verbal sexual harassment to rape, a part of me knew I’d been assaulted almost immediately. In thinking about what happened the following day, I felt nauseated and disgusting. I cleaned my entire apartment, changed my sheets, washed my towels, took out all my trash. Showered. Despised the fact that my shower’s water pressure is pathetic and that the hot water doesn’t last very long. I could not concentrate on anything other than how gross and ashamed I felt and how much anger was building up inside of me. I was torn between not being able to think of anything else, replaying the night’s events in my head and physically shuddering and trying to block out every image from my mind as I did.  It made perfect sense to me then that so many assault and abuse victims develop OCD, eating disorders, and other mental health problems.  In fact, I think it’s pretty miraculous when they don’t.

My assault falls under inappropriate touching and unwanted sexual attention. I think the reason I was unsure as to label is as assault stemmed from how subtle it seemed at the time. What began as a seemingly harmless, albeit alcohol-induced massage turned into unwanted and repudiated sexual advances that, if not for my adamant repetition of “No”, use of and threat of additional force, and the two men who were involved having a very minute sense of morality, I could have been raped. And while I’m very glad I wasn’t, my experience brought with it overwhelming feelings of stupidity, shame, guilt, and disgust with myself. What made it worse was that I fucking drove the bastard home the next day(he crashed on my floor).

I received a text message on Thursday from the one I had first met (the other was his cousin whom I met that evening) wishing me a good day. I wanted to vomit. He sent me an email the day after that apologizing for “things getting out of hand” and saying that it had been bothering him a lot. I didn’t respond. I missed a call from him the day after that saying he’d left me two messages and wanted to check in to see how I was doing. I had been working on formulating a response to the email and finally sent it. In it, I asked that he never contact me again.

I’m hoping he doesn’t, but unfortunately, he still has access to my apartment community. I know for a fact that he came to the complex to get his mail (he used to live here but recently moved) over the weekend. Every time I walk outside, I pray that he’s not there. Every time I see a man who looks remotely like him, it makes me want to turn and run in the other direction or hide. The events of that night are what I think about before I fall asleep at night.

I considered contacting the police. Unfortunately, I have no evidence of what has happened. It would be my word against his (probably), and I have no desire to be made to feel even worse than I do. I made numerous mistakes that night that would be brought out into harsh light that I am already too aware of now. Never again will I go out with a man that I don’t know well alone (or with a friend of his) and let him drive. Never again will I agree to go out with a man after having consumed any amount of alcohol previously during the day. Never again will I go out so late at night with someone I do not know well. Never again will I let men I don’t know well into my apartment. I imagine I’ll add to this list.

When I think back on things I did – letting them into my apartment, going out so late, going out with people I don’t know well after I’d had several drinks already, letting them drive instead of meeting somewhere – I question what the hell I was thinking. A large part of me answers, “You weren’t.” But, we are always thinking something. I believe I was thinking that, to a degree, I was invincible (which is ridiculous in and of itself seeing as I’d just read The Gift of Fear and learned that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted). I could control myself and/or the situation. I was powerful. And yet, in imagining I was more powerful than I really was, what I actually did was give any power I had away. And who’s to say how power is to be executed? What made me think that power meant overcoming two men who might get the wrong idea? Why couldn’t power have been wisdom to keep me from entering a potentially dangerous situation? How I had limited, you, power!

I’m still processing what happened, and I know that this processing will continue for potentially a long time. I’m considering seeing a counselor because I could foresee this spiraling into something I would like to prevent. I know this will affect how I view men and relationships and dating, though I’m not entirely sure how.

Autumn

I’m sitting in the business lounge of my apartment complex and staring out the window at a single small tree or large shrub (I’m not sure which – I have yet to really get into gardening and plant identification) in front of the red brick wall that lines the property.  It’s shaped like a triangle but looks like it might be related to the rhododendron.  Its leaves are a flat, light yellow-ish green, bleached by the Southern sun, with certain leaves (or dead blossoms?) crispy brown.  For some reason, it struck me.  There was something about it, some energy surrounding it that made it seem almost out of place or different.  I asked it what it was that I was sensing without even knowing I was doing so until it whispered to me as I sat staring at it that fall was coming.  Ah, of course.  That was it.  That was the energy I was sensing.  Gates opened within my mind and I smelled pumpkin bread and apple cider and a forest full of red, orange, yellow, and brown leaves.  I felt the gentle, beginning chill of winter on my skin and in my nostrils.  I felt the warmth of fire places and soft sweaters hugging my skin.  The time of the last great harvest is quickly approaching (even here in the south, though the weather hasn’t read the memo yet) as Earth begins to center Herself and draw inward for the winter.  Fall and winter: Her centering and grounding. 

Validation seeking on the soap box…

I don’t do it terribly often, so hang on a second while I hoist myself up on top of my soap box…

I feel as though I have been waiting. Waiting for someone to blatantly identify within me that which I deeply hoped was present but was too terrified to utter aloud and only recently brave enough to concretely identify to myself: potential and the ability to render that potential a reality. Why is it that we upbraid ourselves for yearning for validation from others? Those remnants of collectivism inherent in our evolution as humans that modern America has striven to squelch by condemning the primal need as co-dependent and unhealthy. By petitioning the inhabitants of this country to continue to embrace and endorse the over-glorified, falsely-deemed sacrosanct ideal of individualism to the extent of repudiating anything that colors itself in a different shade, that questions ‘why’, and/or that dares critique The American Dream or whatever the hell that shit is supposed to mean (because let’s face it, shall we, that “dream” was based on the mindset of a population quickly becoming less of a majority as the years churn on, and a population who is now either revoking that dream from the eager and clutching hands of many an immigrant or is busy piling on addendum after addendum and restriction upon restriction in an effort to draw a deadline on an ideal). Oh, Proust, have I redeemed myself for Introduction to French Literature II? I’m sorry about the C and for those nasty things I said about your writing style. It certainly does come in handy on top of a soap box.

And what is this damnation of seeking validation from others but another attempt to compartmentalize and render society merely black and white? Only seek validation from within, for those without are in no position to provide accurate assessment. Oh really? Then how is it when someone tells us things that we desire we are eager as little children reaching for forbidden candy past bedtime to hear, and we listen with rapt attention, eating up every single word until our bellies ache in delight because of it? No. It is not that simple. It never was. It never will be. I think modern society is so eager to give us rules by which to abide so that we completely incapacitate any ability to critically think for ourselves and thus are left as prey to its ambition. As time has passed and we have learned more, life has become more complex, and we seek ways in which to simplify that which cannot be simplified because it’s just too damned messy for our impatient egos to deal with. It seems we take it as a direct reflection, ironically, of our own self-worth, intelligence, and value if we cannot solve every problem “quickly.” And the quantified translation of ‘quickly’ is determined by institutions like insurance companies, governmental committees, and (traitorously) higher-learning institutions. How is that any different from outside validation that we spend so much wasted breath and energy condemning? In seeking to simplify our lives and make ourselves feel better about our flaws (that most spend a life time denying exist or peering at curiously through rose-tinted lenses) – under the guise of becoming more autonomous and capable – we commit that very act from which we advocate abstaining: relying on others to provide us with reliable information about and assessment of ourselves.

Like so many other aspects of life, when seeking to determine one’s value or worth in any context, balance seems the best answer. Do not listen to everything others tell you, for they may be short-sighted, ignorant, or unintelligent. But do not ignore sound judgment and assessment when it presents itself in the words of honorable and attentive individuals who are wise, whatever their station, age, or background, because sages are often disguised and their lessons passed off as folly by the cowardly and self-consumed. Instead, listen attentively to both and then consult your Inner Self to weigh the grains of truth from each.

And so today, as I reflect on kind words spoken to me in encouragement and affirmation, I see them as added drops of water to a small pool that desires to become an ocean which laps gently, healingly on the shores of those who seek respite, peace, and wholeness. The water droplets are not all powerful, for the sun could easily render them separate and gaseous once more, but they serve as a reflection and blessing of what I have been working to cultivate within myself since before I can remember, mostly unknowingly and disregarding of destination. And therein lies great meaning.

Thinking out loud. Well, in print anyway.

I’ve been feeling out-of-sorts and flighty today.  Adjustments to my routine usually do this.  I had grown used to being on vacation for the past three weeks, or perhaps more accurately, just not being in class.  Because I jammed that time full of things to do – flying to Philly for a week, coming home for a day and a half only to immediately drive to Savannah for several days, returning home and being on my own for 4 days before having a friend come to visit from Pennsylvania for the weekend – I haven’t made a great deal of time to just be.  It’s been a lot of motion, a lot of activity.  Not a great deal of repose.  Really, it comes down to not feeling grounded.  Instead, I’m floating around from one activity to the next, not really being fully present in any of them.

This all came to a head today when, after having come in to meet with the professor with whom I’ll be working this semester and buying a few of my books, I met up with a friend and then realized I had completely gotten my schedule wrong and was about to take the train home and miss one of my first classes.  Thankfully, I had the sense to check my schedule online before departing (I really need to print it out) and realize this brain fart of mine about 5 minutes before the class was about to start.  And reflecting on today as I sit on the patio by the pool makes me see the glaring necessity to ground myself and be present.

As much as a part of me is brilliant when it comes to resisting (as has been discussed at length), there is also a great part of me (discovered during my crazy college years) that excels at completely letting go and being absorbed in whatever it is that I’m doing to the point where everything else ceases to exist (ironically, applying this practice to physical exercise actually helps to ground me).  One would think that when I completely let go and become immersed in what I’m doing that I am very present.  However, what I’ve come to conclude is that when I do completely let go, I let go too much to the point of becoming the experience instead of simply and deeply connecting to it while maintaining my Self.  It seems then that I need to find some middle ground between the two.  And yet, all three positions – from resisting at one end to complete surrender on the other and a medium between the two – serve a purpose, possess great meaning, and offer numerous lessons.  Thus, it appears that one’s position would best be determined based on where one wants to go, what one wants to learn, and what one hopes to accomplish.  Complete surrender could be highly beneficial in a spiritual context if one seeks to strengthen one’s connection with Divinity.  Complete resistance could be efficacious if another is attempting to manipulate one’s will toward ends that would harm one’s self.  A balance seems to be appropriate perhaps the majority of the time.  And really, is a balance anything other than critically thinking and examining the situation in which one finds one’s self and making sound decisions based on the evaluation of such a process?  Then again, that assumption seems to imply that one resists or surrenders mindlessly, without thought to consequence or result; I certainly don’t agree with that.  One can very mindfully surrender, just as much as one can very mindfully resist.

My meeting with my professor today had the kind of tone of “this is the beginning of the rest of your life.”  He explained that I’m in a bit of an exceptional position in that most Masters students (such as myself) do not normally have assistantships.  He also affirmed to me that I am very much on the doctoral tract – something I have been turning over in my mind since the middle of last semester and had not declared even to myself.  I’m interested in researching and learning about too many things and feel I have too much to say to not pursue a doctorate.  Seeing it in print is a bit ominous and overwhelming, though, despite my faith in my ability to succeed.  Having this professor’s vote of confidence, as well as another one I had class with last semester, helps bolster my courage. I had always planned on getting my doctorate.  To me, it was just a matter of when – either right now immediately after getting my M.S. and Ed.S. or later.  I’m inching toward right now (after getting the prerequisite other degrees that is).  Thinking about all of this leaves me with a wide range of emotions that swing from absolutely terrified (but still courageous) to thrilled to curious to elated and just about everywhere in between.  My skin really is the only thing keeping me from going in every single direction.

So…tonight I am going to map out my weekly schedule taking into account all the activities and classes I intend to be involved with this semester, take a bath, relax, do some meditating, and maybe some recreational reading and wine drinking.  🙂

Giddiness is good

Today I woke up and felt lovely.  How often do you say that?  I know I don’t say it often enough.  I don’t feel it often enough.  But today I did.  Not to say that today was a perfect day.  The aftermath of my allergy attack on Tuesday was still dwindling and refusing to completely subside (in the form of chapped skin around my nose from blowing it so much, inflamed nasal passages, and sniffles – oh my!), the knowledge that I still need to call my car insurance company because the state of Georgia claims that the proof of insurance I submitted when I registered my car was temporary (a load of shit), continued anticipation on my budget appeal for this past summer and the subsequent $1400 some to appear in my bank account, etc.  But it was only about 80F at 10am, I had put together my cute little cafe set on my balcony and was able to eat breakfast out there, and the Universe just felt like it was all coming together.

Maybe it’s because I reread the 5th Harry Potter, read the first one again last week, and reread the ending of the last one the day before yesterday that has me feeling, for lack of a better word, Dumbledore-esque.  Not the supreme, ingenious, uber powerful way.  Instead, in the calm, peaceful, accepting of what happens, and open to learning kind of way.  It’s almost characterized by a sort of detachment from/objectivity in regards to what is happening in my life.  Not in an unhealthy way – in the way I’ve been aiming for: not resisting.

Whatever I want to call it, it has me feeling giddy.  I am filled with  sense of renewed energy and awe at life.  Whoo hoo!!

To dare

I’ve been thinking more about the whole issue of questioning the possibility of finding “my match” – the someone with whom I can share my life.  Reflecting on this issue further, I began to think back to my archetypes.  In talking with my dear friend, foxchild, I explained my experiences of initially reading Sacred Contracts and questioning whether Mystic was one of my 12 archetypes.  We reviewed how the Mystic is an archetype many initially reach for until they find out what it means and what it can entail: solitude, being disowned by friends and family, harshness, etc.   When I prepared to “come out” to my parents, facing the possibility of being disowned was very real.  And yet, for me, it felt like not coming out was not an option because it would involve denying my very being.  This certainty in needing to come out did not undermine the extreme and intense heartache I would feel if I were disowned (which I wasn’t, btw).

All this lead me to question of solitude and whether, if I am to achieve the kind of connection to Divinity that I yearn for and dream of, am I to give up finding a life mate?  Is that the price?  Foxchild and I discussed the notion of sacrifice, but throughout our entire conversation, there was something within me railing against this idea – this idea that seemed so disgustingly patriarchal and laden with guilt and not-having.  It could not be possible.  That kind of price seems typical of the Judeo-Christian god, yes, but it did not seem to mesh in my heart and in my spirit of  SHE to whom I have pledged my devotion.

After hanging up, I got ready for bed and continued mulling over this issue.   I took a step back from the situation to examine it from a larger perspective.  Which would be more difficult: to give in to the possibility of not finding someone with whom to share my life or to dare to imagine that the kind of man with whom I would be amazingly compatible and thus make myself incredibly vulnerable and open?  Hmmm…that took about two seconds to answer.  In my experience, the more difficult option, the one that requires more risk, is usually the one that is right.  And then it hit me.  I thought back to a section of Venus for a Day and remembered one of the characters explaining SHE and acknowledging the need for a lover on the journey upon which Sydney was embarking, indicating that SHE would never venture on such a journey without a partner.  Well, it was something like that anyway.  And something clicked in my heart, in my spirit, and in my mind.  Humans are social beings.  We are much stronger and much more effective in our tasks when we work together.  Why in the world, when we are setting out on such a formidable task – to bring healing to the world – would it make sense to do it alone?  It does not.

And so, I have decided to dare.  To dare to imagine the kind of man that would be my partner in life, in love, in the task that I see inherent in my vocation and my evolution (and his, no doubt).  After all, leap and the net will appear…

Double post day: The plight of being pretty?

In a conversation with my mom concerning recent circumstances, she introduced an old spin on a new problem: the issue of my physical beauty. I inwardly groaned. My physical appearance is, I think, one of my mom’s favorite choices for the root of most of my problems, which is ironic considering that most people who have met my mom say I look just like her (at which point, she immediately puts herself down and shakes her head). She then basically said that when men look at me, they more than likely think about getting in my pants and are much less likely to be interested in getting to know me.

My mother’s issues aside, I sat with the idea for a bit. My self-image has been askew for a long time, and I have stopped trying to figure it out. I grew up being told I was beautiful and my internal processing of this fact has caused me manifold problems from trying to align my perception of what someone’s life should be if they’re beautiful with my own to experiencing deplorable feelings of mediocrity in my adolescence to the point that I began starving myself and making myself throw up in an attempt to retain some semblance of what I had been told I was up to that point to completely exploiting myself in college. As a result, when I consider myself and my physical appearance, I no longer even face confusion. I just don’t know. I’ve stopped trying. I see the face I’ve seen my whole life, and I pick at zits and pluck eyebrows and frown at fat above my hip bones, and that’s it. I see scores of women every day who I think are far more beautiful than I who I imagine face or have faced the same experiences I have, whether or not they’ve come to the same conclusions.

And though I groan at my mother’s perspective, I recognize inwardly that she has a point. I know she does. We were out to dinner one night a few years ago at a local bar/restaurant, and as we walked out, we passed a group of young adult men. When we got outside, she started laughing. I asked what she was laughing at. She said that every head of every man we had passed had turned to look at me. I hadn’t noticed. Nor had I heard what they had said. It was something Historical Ex used to find great amusement in (being so insecure himself): the number of men who would stare at me or scowl at him as we walked in public together. Just as I had told him when he asked me about how I felt, so I told my mom: when they look at me, they don’t really see me. The looks in their eyes do not reflect who I am, so why should I pay attention?

Having had these experiences has allowed me to appreciate and strive for true beauty – beauty that is ephemeral and ethereal and that is found far deeper than skin’s surface. Beauty that cannot be measured by clothing or bra size; lip shade; hair length, texture, or style; or the existence or non-existence of cellulite. When I regard myself, it is this beauty that I appraise and measure. When I look to others, it is this beauty that I seek out. This is the beauty of the Goddess that lives in each of us. This is the beauty that matters.

To all women reading this post who have ever wished you looked prettier than you think you are: You are beautiful. Right now. Right when you roll out of bed with make up smudged around your eyes because you didn’t wash it off the night before. Right when you are sweating, with no make up on, racing your kids around the house. Right when you are out with friends and don’t have men staring at you. Right when you haven’t showered in a few days, are PMSing, and moaning about the zits on your face that refuse to disappear. Right when your eyes are puffy and red from crying, are wiping away slobber and snot hanging from your nose and feel like you are about to die from sorrow. Right when you’re experiencing a hot flash, when your hormones are insane, when you’ve realized your body isn’t what it was 10 yrs ago. Find and embrace your beauty in these moments, and you will see you are far more beautiful than you ever imagined. You are the Goddess.

Romance, confusion, and revelations

I came to a startling conclusion the other day brought on by a situation that I’ve never quite managed to grasp: someone I don’t know very well expressing romantic interest in me.  Here’s a little background: the day I arrived in Savannah to visit my parents, my dad and I went out to his work (he’s a chef) to pick up some beef tenderloin from the kitchen, and I got to meet everybody with whom he works.  He was brought in as sous chef (though he’s been an executive chef for over 30 yrs) when the head chef went on medical leave.  It was the former sous chef-now Acting Head Chef (who I found out is 37) whose attention I apparently caught.  I met about 10-15 people probably, not saying more than 10 words to any of them other than ‘Hi, it’s nice to meet you’.  My dad and I left and that was that.  But not.

The next day, I think, I get a call from my dad asking me if I’d like to go out with Acting Head Chef.  I was caught so off guard, I think I just said, What?  The ensuing conversation was probably a funny one to anyone listening in, as I just kept stammering ‘what’ and ‘what do you mean’ while my dad assured me AHC was not proposing marriage – just a night out.  He (my dad) had wanted to make sure it was okay with me before he gave my number to AHC.  Eventually, I said ‘ok’ and hung up quite confused.

I sat on the couch where I’d been re-reading Harry Potter from the beginning (that first book really is a bit slow) and turned my confusion over and over in my head.  I’ve worked in kitchens for years.  While I don’t agree with stereotyping, it’s generally good to be cautious when considering chefs or cooks.  I realized that I didn’t expect a chef/cook to be able to understand me, accept me, or be a good match for me.  And that very well might be an unfair judgment – I can own that.  But then something else hit me that I hadn’t expected.   I feel like I’ve become so particular that my chances of finding someone who would understand me, would accept me, would be a good match for me are slim to none.  I had felt this way before but experienced what seems to have been a momentary lapse of this type of consciousness and I had become either secure in the fact that it would happen or just apathetic.  Either way, those sentiments were gone, largely, I think due to the spiritual growing I’ve done recently that has opened my awareness and deepened my senses to a place where, let’s face it, most men in their mid 20s to early 30s are not.  And it’s not even that they’d need to be at the same place or the same as me, but I think they would need to be able to grasp the possibility of it and understand it to a degree.

My problem here is not self-esteem, in case you hadn’t noticed.  I have a healthy self esteem.  I think I have many positive qualities and I’m still aware of my weaknesses to keep me from getting cocky.  My problem is that I don’t think that there are many men who are capable of perceiving these positive qualities.  When I realized that, I had to laugh to myself because it sounds so damn egotistical.  And then I saw how this could easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy: if I don’t think it’s possible for men to perceive all I have to offer, how could it ever happen?

That’s about where I am now.  I’m not sure what to do with this yet. Still processing…

Being…in all states

It’s that time again…the department of financial aid is being a super bitch (and an incompetent one at that), and I am struggling with my task of trusting the Universe.  I’ve been doing an exceedingly good job and putting in the legwork that Ant reminds us we are responsible for.  But I’m nearing the edge of my rope, and I can feel the pool of Kali’s wrath growing in the pit of my stomach and threatening to rise and rain fire on any incompetent financial aid employee who gives me an answer I don’t want to hear.  At the same time, I hear my mother reminding me that this is the south, and I’ll get further by being sweet, patient, and kind – everything I am not feeling right now.  Up until this point, I have been assured in the knowledge that somehow all of this will work out.  I have no idea how – especially with the fear of the financial aid people telling me that because the semester is over, they can’t grant me the appeal I am in such desperate need of, and that, they’re sorry we had a misunderstanding that could result in extreme financial duress for me – but somehow, I am still clutching to the hope that it will.  And in the mean time, I am planning on how best to save the money I have right now and wondering if I can live on all the food that is in my pantry for the next month if I only make the purchases of bread, milk, and maybe canned tomatoes. Tomorrow morning, I am going to get up at a ridiculous hour for being on vacation and I am going to trek down to the financial aid office and be there as soon as they open at 8am and I will not leave there without having this mess straightened out.

It has helped a great deal that for the past week while I have been away, I have been nurtured by family and that tomorrow, I will be driving myself and my cat to my parents’ house to be nurtured for an additional 4 days before returning.   I think it speaks of the nature of our connectedness that being cared for and nurtured is so important to our wellbeing.  The very act of nurturing is a validation in and of itself.  It lets us know we are valued, cared for, important…to someone.  Anyone.  To the extreme, Gavin de Becker points out in The Gift of Fear that one common trait among a group of violent individuals he taught who had just gotten out of jail for their crimes is that they did not have that nurturing, that attention and validation in their lives growing up.  Of course, numerous other factors enter into the equation to produce a violent individual, but I think the power of reaching out to someone, caring for them and, in doing so, validating their worth as a person is something we could do well to focus on.

Intrinsically connected, in my mind, with the idea of nurturing is that of the Mother.   Foxchild over at The Unveiling of the Pagan Spirit has written recently that she views the archetype of the Mother as a primary archetype through which many others can be seen.  While I can certainly acknowledge that she is right in her point of the Mother containing many sub-archetypes in her “job description”, there is something about placing such emphasis on only one role, important though it may be, that bothers me.  It feels limiting.  Almost as though one might not be able to understand each of those sub-archetypes as autonomous in and of themselves and recognize their full importance.  In my mind, I see all of the archetypes as interconnected and working with and within each other harmoniously, each pieces of a whole.  Integrated.  And perhaps it is just jealousy on my part expressed because I do not identify for myself one primary archetype that feels all-encompassing or more significant than the rest, and it is a more concrete direction that seems to come with that identification for which I long.  A sense of depth and significance that those women I know who have identified a primary archetype for themselves seem to feel.

As for me, when I start to realize this jealousy, this uncertainty or longing to be something…other, I step back into myself.

I am as I am.

I am content to be.