Adventures in becoming

I have been itching to get back here the past couple days, but between eating, sleeping, working, and just plain breathing, there hasn’t been the time. So, tonight, I’ve carved some out and voila! Here I be.

The past couple days, I have had moments where I’ve felt some of that old energy (remember – the crap piled on top of me stuff) try to sneak back in. It’s come, at varying times, like a slug doggedly trudging its way across the surface of my Self and leaving behind its toxic residue or like a big bucket of slime got dumped on my head and started seeping into my brain. Not a pleasant experience overall, I will say – either way. Each time, I did not have my Goddess amulet that represented my Future Self on my person. I’ve determined that it is like training wheels as I venture in this process (Momma made sure to point out to me the day I devoured my self that this was not an event, but a process).

Unlike the seemingly myriad times when I’ve attempted this before, the fact that it is a process is not frustrating to me now. It doesn’t lead me to grind my teeth until my jaw is sore or have me pitching fits like a 3 yr old who doesn’t want to take a nap. Instead, it’s more of a comfort. Like when you’re starting to learn something new and exciting that you’re passionate about, each and every little tidbit is a fabulous adventure – even when you fall down once in a while.

In my process of revolutionizing/extreme make-over-ing/transforming/transmuting/etc. my self/Self that I’m adventuring in at the moment, I’ve decided I am tired of all the music I’ve been listening to. I’ve never ventured out into this realm on my own to hunt down new and happy music – I’ve always told someone I’m looking for new material and somebody ends up delivering. This time, though, I wanted to explore this realm for myself; an activity equal parts act of independence and self-discovery. Like most of the juicy goodness life has to offer, I’m learning this is a time-consuming task; but, fortunately for me, it serves up some immediate gratification. I’d like to share one of my new discoveries with you that also is very apt for me at the moment!

Oh, and p.s. I. Love. Her. Hair.

Happy Wednesday

I am writing not really because I can think of anything in particular to say at the moment but because 1) it is a good idea to check in with myself/Self, 2) when I initially check in with myself I find I am feeling a little restless and writing is a good outlet for that, 3) my wife just yelled at (but, you know, not really) our 14 yr old because she hasn’t journaled, and if my wife/Teacher asks if I have journaled, Iwould like to be able to say, ‘yes!’ so I can avoid getting yelled at, and 4) this is a little secret that I have only shared with my immediate family but I am going to be brave and say it here – I want to write novels. Yes, plural, though, of course I’ll start with just one. But in order to do that, I need to find my voice, you know, the one that is unique to just me. And writing is good for that, too. So, here I am.

So, this restlessness I am feeling. It is, I believe, the hallmark of transitioning. I mentioned our 14 yr old, and it is funny to me because there is a part of me that feels adolescent in this moment. After all, it is one of the quintessential times of transition one goes through in life – regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic background, geography, ability, spiritual affiliation, etc. Everyone that has lived to, according to researchers at this point, 25 has completed this transition and everyone who has at least reached the age of 13 has begun to experience it.  And though it is true that currently my face is broken out (which I think should be illegal after one reaches 30), I don’t mean that kind of adolescence. I mean the kind where so much is going on below the surface, like billions of little tornadoes of development just whirling in a frenzy of creation and change inside. And, like I have just bought three different new outfits and a bunch of new makeup and can’t decide what to put on and go out to parade in or perhaps I just want to stay inside and change my clothes and eyeshadow a billion times. And like I have finally admitted to wanting a really amazing gift that I only just got the courage to ask for and now want so desperately that my skin sings with the longing for it AND I was told I could have it…soon, but I need to be patient. And if you’ve ever known an adolescent, you know that, on the whole, they are not the most patient lot.

And while transitions are frequently messy (creation, after all, is a messy process – look at the act of giving birth), there is such beauty in the process. And so, while I am restless, I am also joyful and giddy, even. I think I’ve been giddy before (my wife could probably attest to that), but it has been so long, that it is like a thrilling adventure into a foreign territory. I realize the varying string of analogies might induce a headache for some, but it is so exciting I don’t want to help it. Like an exquisite dish or wine or painting, there are so many flavors and colors and dimensions to describe that to stop wouldn’t do it justice. Ha! See, I did it again. Writing critics be damned, I’ll keep going, too. I am like a young woman awaiting a long-promised lover, except that this time, the lover is Me.

WRO wrote a beautiful post that had me cheering her on and applauding the wisdom she displayed (and that I have lacked when considering or venturing into relationships). See, the pattern I have engaged in with every single relationship is that I sacrifice my identity on the altar of it. Maybe that’s not entirely accurate, because, to be honest, I’m not convinced I ever had possession of my identity to begin with. But, that’s the gist of it. I make myself into who I perceive my partner to need or, in perhaps more often, into a replica of them. The historical result has been, of course, that the other person becomes worshipful or tired of this identity I’ve put on, both of which I grow to resent and a messy break-up has ensued. My wife has been the sole exception to these results. I’m not saying I haven’t made her crazy with my mimicking of her (which I’ve done and it has made her crazy, and she has told me about it) or that she hasn’t gotten tired of it (she most certainly has). Yet, as I said in my previous post, she has the patience of a saint, and she loves me unconditionally – both of which are testaments to her character and don’t have a damn thing to do with me. I just started reading Eat, Pray, Love, by the way, and was a little unnerved by the similarities between myself and Ms. Elizabeth Gilbert – I mean, even down to the speaking French and Russian background bit. Crazy. Anyway, when I read WRO’s post about “marrying her Self,” I was struck with that fabulous and foreign-to-me idea. Lovely!

And in keeping with some concepts from Eat, Pray, Love, I am not going to try to fix or get rid of my giddy, excited, joyful and agitated restlessness. I’m going to just be those things right now and be with them. Though, I think I’ll continue to do that in a bubble bath…

Enter the White Room

I am currently in a space that I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever been in before. It is a still and quiet space and it is full of emptiness. How can a space be full of emptiness?  Honestly, I don’t know how that works either, but I know that it is. Why do we characterize emptiness as a “bad” thing? I know that in my own head (a dangerous place to spend too much time) when I say the word ’empty’, the emotional response that first pops up is sadness, but in a variety of flavors and intensities. And when I step back and observe it non-judgmentally, it is like rice paper. Thin, flimsy, filmy, and a little dingey and dirty. Like an old white t-shirt that the washing machine can no longer restore to its initial brilliance. That tells me that it is not Truth. At least not all the time, and certainly not in this instance. This emptiness is clean and crisp, like a fresh canvas or maybe more accurately, like a fresh bulk of sculpting clay, waiting. And its silence is a music all to itself.

I sit in this white, crisp and clean fresh room/space, and I acknowledge that I – not my True Self, but all the crap I have piled on top of that brilliant and radiant Essence that I know is buried under here somewhere – am making myself miserable; not to mention, I imagine, making the people who love me anyway, crazy. It is a consclusion that I first reached last night. This I – the crap piled on top of Me, I – has sought transformation, half-heartedly, many times. But, again, when I step back, it looks like those attempts have just pasted shiney pieces on top of the crap. But the shiney pieces don’t stay shiney, and soon, they just look like everything else, and no real change has occured. It’s like setting out on a path to an amazing destination, but convincing myself that the directional signs I encounter point the exact opposite way they really do and so I’ve walked around in circles and, of course, end up right where I started.  The result is that I feel more confused, disoriented, exhausted, discouraged, and frustrated altogether.

So last night (I think it may have been when I was lying in bed before I fell asleep but I’m not entirely sure), I recognized myself as being right back at that same starting point, except this time, I also recognized that little bit I mentioned above about making myself miserable. Possibly for the first time ever, I admitted that to myself. Always before, I would point to circumstances around and outside of me – people, situations, my bank account balance (a consistent favorite of mine), etc. Events over the past few days had catapaulted that little fact into my consciousness. My response to a gentle and inordinately patient prompt from my wife as to what I needed the other night when I’d  thrown a temper tantrum about not having eggs in the house and had come back after having gotten them (I had started to bake chocolate chip cookies and ended up driving out to go get them in an energetically violent huff) was a personality transplant. You mean me, she asked? No – I need one, I had responded, as I journaled the ridiculousness of my outburst so as to not put any of that shit into the cookies I still planned to bake. I am telling you, if we were Roman Catholic, my wife would have been canonized years ago. Her response was to pick up our sea salt grinder and immediately shower me in the stuff.  Back to last night, though. After acknowledging that I make me miserable, I informed Momma that I think I might finally be at that point where I am willing to truly and irrevocably change. Not like any of the myriad times before, but completely different. I also told Her that I knew it might be a difficult road, and that I would need Her help to tap into that crazy-oomphy-Divine Will that’s buried somewhere in my core that I struggle to access on a conscious level but seem to be able to do fine when it’s completely unconscious and unintentional. Please, please, please, I begged. Help me to do this. After I’d woken up (not just the physical part of that, but, you know, my brain was awake), and I stopped to breathe a moment, I found myself here. In this white and beautifully empty-filled room.

I did a spiral journey reading with my Goddess amulets revealing my gifts and talents; my childhood wishes; my secrets; my pleasures and treasures; my anger, fear and sadness; my body, mind, and spirit; and, my Future Self. Then I went outside to smoke a cigarette. Outside, I closed my eyes and saw myself in the white room. As I sat there, I don’t remember if I was trying to figure out what my next step needed to be, if I had asked a question. But I saw a vision of myself reaching down and the floor of that space opened as I reached. Vision-me reached for my Self – the one that I’ve buried under all the crap – and an arm came up to grab my arm. My Self’s arm. Vision-me told my Self that I didn’t think I was strong enough to pull Me up from under all the crap. Vision-me didn’t have enough weight or substance to do it. Then I thought that maybe that wasn’t the answer anyway. As soon as I entertained that notion, the idea that this me simply needed to be devoured by Me and then partake in that alchemical process of transmuting all the crap and be the only one left standing. For a moment (probably out of fear that the notion of being devoured inspired), I entertain other possibilities and analogies to get to this same destination. There are none. I know this on a visceral level, more clearly than I know my own name.

All of this I could see happening in this vision in the white room, and where I am now is standing in that white room, starting to bend over. The floor has not yet begun opening up, My arm has not yet reached out toward me, to pull me under and devour me completely. I will because the idea of being consumed in that way by my Self both terrifies me and excites and arouses me on every level imaginable and promises to be ecstatic in a way that I have never experienced before. How could I possible turn down a promise like that? Better yet, why the hell would I? No, I will not turn it down.  I simply wanted to pause in this moment, to record this moment as I stand on the precipice of such ecstasy after having inflicted such misery and pain upon myself while it is still pooling around my feet with the sensation of it gripping my ankles with its cold and meely fingers because I know that whatever lies ahead – and for once, I am not attempting to predict it or imagine it, to set an expectation or prepare myself in any way – will be full of the kind of beauty that speaks directly to and of Life. That beauty that a Mother sees and stands in awe of as She watches Her child grow and stumble and make mistakes and get up and learn. The beauty that is so True that the only response is in the language of tears. And I hope that some day, I will look back on this, and I will see that beauty not only in the step I intend to take shortly here, but in the thousands of circular steps that have brought me to where I am now, with all their pain and stubbornness and hardheadedness and determination and folly and arrogance and selfishness and close-mindedness. I honor those steps, as I honor the one I am about to take, and I express gratitude and hope as I lean forward to be devoured by my Self.

The good, the bad, and the bitchy

In my process of self-discovery and exploration, I have uncovered a piece of myself. I’ve talked about self-acceptance before (in one of my posts that’s probably brought the most people to my blog of everything I’ve ever written), and while I think it’s possible to have a measure of self-acceptance even if you don’t know yourself completely, in some space in me it feels like it almost doesn’t count unless you’ve thoroughly researched the vast expanse of your personality and identity. An unpopular notion, perhaps, but I think it’s true. I had come up with a couplet when I recently decided to make some more headway on figuring out who the hell I am, and because I felt as though I had a pretty good awareness of a large number of my character flaws (I can be selfish, inconsiderate, self-absorbed, thoughtless, entitled, irritable, etc.), I had phrased the couplet in a way so as to communicate to Momma and Papa that I needed to become more familiar with my more positive traits. When They gave me the sense that I was vibrant and bright, I thought I was off to a good start. But, apparently, you need to get  up earlier in the morning than I did to try to pull a fast one on the Divine. Evidently, a diet of only happy qualities is not balanced, and despite my belief that I’m acquainted with my less-than-beautiful traits, I needed some more vegetables, too.

I have discovered that I truly have an Inner Bitch. My wife made that comment to me when she was marveling that I did not have an Inner Brat (like she does). My Inner Bitch is a whole other ball of wax. I don’t use the term ‘bitch’ lightly here. When I say ‘bitch’ I mean this is a part of me that is just plain mean, vindictive, cutting, vicious, and she’ll smile (and perhaps laugh) at you the entire time. Of course, it’s one of those wicked smiles because she doesn’t have any other kind. She’s got some nasty looks, but her weapon of choice is words, and she uses them like a serrated dagger – the kind with the hook near the hilt so that when the knife gets pulled out of whomever it was plunged in to, it does as much damage coming out as it did going in. Did you ever hear that saying (or have one of your parents or caregivers recommend you use it) of, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!”? I don’t know who came up with that but whoever it is, I don’t think they ever were a recipient of a truly scathing remark in their life. Bruises and breaks heal, and most of the time a hell of a lot faster than the emotional and/or psychological damage of a few choice words topped off with just the right tone, especially imparted by someone you care about.

I grapple with my Inner Bitch on a rather regular basis, especially when I’m any kind of stressed out and it feels like my defenses are already weakened. I try to keep her locked up in a bland, utterly nondescript room. There’s an intercom system hooked up – kind of like a way for her to communicate her nastiness and have the satisfaction of it being heard (except, I try to ensure that I’m the only one to hear it) without much damage resulting. Thing is, she’s sneaky (I guess that’s part of the territory of being a bitch) and I have a harder time keeping a muzzle on her and the circuits between the room she’s in and my mouth closed when the situation at hand seems small. My control when it comes to big things is pretty solid, but the every day annoyances are a different story entirely.

I know that with my cute little analogy and imagery I’ve got going on here, she might be a little difficult to take seriously, and perhaps you’re thinking, “So what? No big deal. Everybody has that.” No, no. Not everyone does. And certainly not to this extent. My being a witch, empathic, able to read energy, and mildly psychic renders the situation a whole new level of messy and potentially disastrous. It’s like the difference between someone carrying around an uzi loaded with blanks versus the real deal. I can know by reading someone (and Goddess help them if my control on my Inner Bitch falters) exactly what to say to leave a mark with my words that may last forever. And while my Inner Bitch typically only attempts to strike out when someone has caused me pain of some sort or has treated me in a manner I deam unjustly (tricky thing is, it can be as minute and childish as bumping into me if I’m already annoyed), if you combine that with my idealistic streak, my sense of (largely inappropriate) entitlement, and my bad temper, the result is what my wife would call a hot mess. And, it’ll be a hot mess almost entirely of my own creation. When we throw in some the stress of crises I’ve been dealing with recently, you can perhaps see why grappling with this part of myself has become something of a daily challenge.

I was wondering and theorizing the other day about how exactly my Inner Bitch came to be. My current theory revolves around having been tirelessly teased and provoked by my sister ever since I could remember, my parents not defending me in the process (I figure, I’ve already pointed the finger at them in a previous post, why not continue the trend? Maybe I just need to get it out of my system, what can I say?), and that being compounded by the hideous “friends” (I use that term very lightly) all the way up through junior high. I was surrounded by people who were mean in one form or another. My parents advice never shifted from a pathetic and futile suggestion of “Ignore them,” and I was otherwise powerless. So if ignoring them didn’t work, being nice didn’t work, and no one else was going to stand up for me, I had to be meaner than they were. Enter the Bitch. As theories go, I think it sounds rather plausible.

While my Inner Bitch rears her head occasionally, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually chosen to give her free reign, to let her out of the box in which I have her living or at least pressed the little button in her room that broadcasts her venomous words from my mouth. My wife’s Inner Brat(ling) doesn’t usually cause enormous problems or reak havoc that can damage relationships. Those of us who know her well enough know that there are certain phrases that we don’t say to my wife (like, “You should,” “You have to,” “You can’t,” etc.) because if we did, her Brat would lash out to do just the opposite of what was prescribed. We don’t ever dare my wife either. It’s just not smart. And while those of us she calls family may be dumb some times, we’re not typically that kind of stupid, and certainly not about anything that may result in her Brat actually causing damage. My Inner Bitch is a different story. She is completely contrary to me upholding my integrity. Her goal is to inflict pain and damage, mostly out of revenge for something that was done to me, but that doesn’t make it okay. While my wife’s Inner Brat lives to prove people wrong about her and her capabilities, my Bitch exists to prove that I can be meaner and tougher than anyone who crosses me, and while you might hurt me, I’ll make sure in the end that you’re hurting just as much, if not more.

When I was reflecting on all of this, on her origins, and on how she fits in to my identity, my essence (something that goes beyond my personality this time around), I came up with another theory. Think too much? Who, me? Surely, you gest. I think that all of the darker traits of our personalities are like distorted or contrary versions of traits of our essence. I remember not long after MySpace became popular (eons ago), I took one of those quizzes – Which superhero are you? The result of my quiz was “Super Girl, Protector of the Innocents.”  It may be one of those chicken and egg deals, but I can see that being the trait that, due to my early childhood experiences, got flipped on its head and twisted a bit. No one was there to protect me, so that purpose of protection of others innate in my being needed to be used to take care of myself in whatever way necessary.  

So, what? I can’t go back and change my childhood. I am genuinely not angry anymore at my parents, though I still strongly disagree with their choice of (in)action. And what’s the point, even if my theorizing is correct, now? My wife and Teacher told me (probably several times), that as children, we are like a garden into which we have no control of what gets planted. It grows and we grow, and early on, we have no say in any of it. But then, we’re grown enough so that we do. So that we can look at everything in that garden and decide – decide what stays, what gets nurtured, what gets put in the compost pile, and what gets burned so that it can never possibly come back to take root. Even those parts of us that are hardest to look at have something to teach us, something to share with us, something we need to hear. And then, after we genuinely take the time to do that, we need to respond to them in turn. I think that what my Inner Bitch wants to hear most is that she shouldn’t have had to be, that someone should have stood up for me so that she didn’t have to do what she did. I think she needs what we lovingly refer to in my house as “squish therapy.” And I think the compost pile would be a good resting place. Her fierceness, her passion, her loathing of injustice, and her loyalty are all qualities that simply need to be turned right-side up and cleaned off a bit, then redirected. I’m not sure how it’ll all turn out, but you never know…