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In 2014 I dedicated myself to my career, and I knocked it out of the park.
I declared 2015 the Year of Creativity, and even I could not have seen where it would take me.
While I had intended to hone crafts I already know, life had other ideas, and I found myself immersed in a totally new experience that has changed not only how I interact with the world and the people in it, but with myself. When WordPress sent me my Year in Review I realized I had only written 12 blogs all year, ALL YEAR! If rebuilding a marriage took focus and time, rebuilding myself took more so, and life doesn’t stop just because we’re doing something new. There was still work and laundry and family responsibilities, and those things multiply daily, but here I am, barreling into 2016 with wild abandon.
In July we had a rather transformative experience at the first public ritual I’ve attended in years, and since then there’s been a growing need to be more connected to my community and to my spirit. Sure, I still practice. Sure, I still observe private habits and rituals. But how long has it been since I’ve grown spiritually? How long since I’ve connected with something new?
The focus on Good Girl meant there’s a lot of unused potential from last year’s dedication, and the show itself has created a momentum I know is going to carry me through the next year, and years to come. Much like the career didn’t stop, the creativity won’t stop, and this is how we learn to integrate what makes us whole. This is how we titrate truth into our lives. This is how we become who we were always meant to be.
Aloha and Happy New Year!
Go now, barrel into 2016 with wild abandon!
The first baby I lost, I was very young.
The second, I wasn’t ready.
By the third, I was frantic. I was ready. I was prepared. I was ecstatic that he or she and my newborn godson would grow up together. I am constantly told Baby #3 doesn’t count. I had a blighted ovum, and to this day I still get funny looks when I mention it, because there’s technically no baby in the sac. Technically. In reality, that baby existed to me, and the loss was just as hard. Just as real as any fertilized egg.
That was 10 years and 2 more known miscarriages ago, and it seemed like another life. I still had time. I still had options. I still had hope. I still believed in my rainbow baby, the child that comes after the storm of loss.
My godson turned 10 today, just days before the anniversary of the D&C that would remove the blighted ovum. He’s such an amazing little man, and I am proud to have him in my life. To think of myself with a 13 year old, a 12 year old, a 10 year old, a 9 year old, or an 8 year old is unreal to me as I begin to accept that the choices I’ve made to keep my family afloat mean I’m not even home enough to take care of a child, and my household support system is not equipped or willing to do so. My rainbow baby is fading.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with the 15th being a day of remembrance, but there is not a day I am not aware, not a day I don’t remember those babies and the one I’ve given up. My rainbow baby is in the eyes of every new baby that graces our family, every tiny hand I hold, every small laugh that catches my attention in public.
This month, as I honour all of the babies I’ve lost, I dream of the little men or women who would be in my life now, and they are with me.
Go now, hug your children
It’s not a secret I run from my emotions. I enjoy intimacy, but I am terrified of expressing love. I write poetry about the sadness of survival, but I filter those emotions within myself through the pen. Hell, put me behind the veil of the internet, and I will tell you anything you want to know. Get me face to face and I’m a mess. I make jokes, I tell stories, I use whatever tools i can to build walls around myself, to hide from genuine emotions in person. I’m well aware of my avoidance tactics.
So, in July I start putting some tangible work into this one person show, now titled Good Girl, and I find all these walls have held me back from the one thing I need to access to make it a success. I cannot perform something that reaches inside my audience if I don’t let them see inside me. Queue montage music as I begin to dismantle walls, and in doing so i find more walls. In doing so I find more versions of myself. In doing so I find some ugly artifacts, but I also find power. In doing so I find what I’ve been missing this entire time.
This journey has not just been about the show at the end. It’s been about self discovery, some healing, and the power to change lives….but I can’t manage to change anyone else’s life if I continue to avoid the broken parts of my own.
I’ve talked about Aloha before. THIS is Aloha. This is the universal love, beauty, and peace that links us all. This is what will get me to December and points beyond.
Here’s to the journey, friends. Here’s to Aloha.
Go now. Be emotional.
The last several months have brought a lot of change to Carnival Clifford. Most have been good. All have been necessary. It means I’ve had very little energy and even less cohesion to actually write a blog. I would like to say I’ll be back on a schedule, but honestly I am no less frazzled and stretched thin than I was in April. I can only promise you I haven’t forgotten about Pearls and Pentagrams.
If last year was the year of career, and this year the year of creativity, I feel very much like next year has already begun to have its seeds planted in spirit. Year of coven? Maybe. Year of community? Definitely.
I’ve felt drawn for a while now to find a new group with whom to practice. While my personal work has gotten exponentially powerful and my spirituality has become more rooted and vibrant than it has been in a long time, I feel a need for community, and that’s not something I’ll get anywhere else.
Last week I attended the first group ritual I’ve been to in way too long, and it was fitting that the deity invoked were both Carnival Clifford patrons. We’ve all been so exhausted by even the good changes that family practice has fallen by the wayside, and while I have not forgotten the work I put in with Brighid to get me where I am at this moment, I’d lost a lot of steam when it came to working with her properly to keep up the momentum.
Being in sacred space with my family and feeling the buzz of community did in less than an hour what I thought would be a long term goal. My spirit returned to me. I know there’s a lot of muck yet to trudge through, but I know this is where I’m meant to be, and i am certain there’s a brighter place for me and my family on the other side.
Go now, feel the spirit of community.
Let me tell you a story.
Let’s pretend you have a kid who’s sick. He’s got a variety of things that make his health a daily battle, several of which could be terminal.
You have two choices.
You can treat each battle as something to mourn and never stop pushing forward. It’s for the kid’s survival. What kind of parent or you. You can dwell on the kids who are losing their battles, and never let your kid forget he could die any day.
Or you can celebrate the good days and let the kid enjoy his life despite the battles. You don’t treat them any less seriously, and you don’t stop taking care of his health, but you take a deep breath once in a while and go to the park. You keep the kids who have lost their battles in your heart, and you educate yourself on advancements in care.
This is how I feel we can handle the Supreme Court decision about Marriage Equality. We can celebrate it as what it is. A step in the right direction. Not the last step or the most important step, but a step. We’re allowed to celebrate small victories without forgetting the other issues or those who are still battling. Why? Because the kid is still a human being, that’s why. Just because this decision doesn’t fix all the problems for all the people does not give us the right to invalidate the people the decision does help in any way.
I’ve been told at least half a dozen time today that I’ not allowed to have an opinion on the matter as anything but a bystander. Because I’m already married. Because I’m bi and chose to legally marry a man. Because I’m white. Because I’m cisgendered. Because…because…because. I have never understood this kid of isolation as anything but what we’re fighting against, and I do not understand it now. As a community of humans fighting together we need to also recognize the importance of being a community of humans exalting together. The two are not mutually exclusive, but they are both vitally important to the survival of the spirit and humanity of the community.
No, the journey is not even mostly over. No, the war has not been one. No, celebrating this victory does not erase from our memories the journey behind us or the long road yet before us.
Go now. Be together.
When all else fails, you forget the sell and just start talking. With less than three days to go, I open my heart on Kickstarter and pray for good things!
So here it is, with 3 days to go I am eschewing the blurb to open my heart.
Power of One. What does this mean? It means telling my story, but my story isn’t just mine, it belong to everyone I meet, everyone I touch, everyone I love, because life is not an isolated incident. It knits in every single person we encounter in the world and makes them a part of our stories.
You….you are a part of my story just for clicking the link. You are making connections possible. You are giving me an unfiltered voice with which to show the world who I am in hopes that others will be inspired to do the same.
Why poetry? It’s raw. I can show 100% of myself without worrying about how it’s going to be interpreted, and that is something unique to poetry. Lectures, memoirs, blogs…we expect something from those, but poetry is a window into ourselves without those expectations. Poetry is forgiven. Poetry is absorbed.
Why the Power of One? When Monica approached me about this project it felt like somewhere I was meant to be, no matter how much work, sacrifice, or money it took, not just from me but from my family and friends who support me. There was no question about it, I was doing it. I’m now faced with the reality that this is a serious undertaking, and not one I can push through alone. I am powerful, but I’m not invincible. Together, WE are invincible.
Aloha, and Mahalo
This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time, but I haven’t been able to dedicate the time I felt it deserves. I have written in the past about what happens in a relationship when a partner experiences a breakup. I have also written about the unique relationship between metamours and the bond they share independent of any romantic relationships in a family. Today I’m going to share some thoughts about the loss of metamours and what it can do to existing partners.
Back in July Hubby and A had a falling out. I didn’t write about it at the time, because we were having our own issues and we weren’t sure if things were permanently broken. As it turns out, things between us were not, but things between the two of them were, in fact, done.
Hubby was crushed. After three years of building a relationship, his spirit was broken by it dissolution. Despite our issues I did the best I could to support him and help him through the healing process, but the sense of loss on my side was never addressed, and it bothered me for a long time. No matter what kind of history A and I ay have had, three years of being a family would inevitably leave a mark. Losing that, especially with the stability of my marriage in question, was a kick in the gut, but my focus was on Hubby and his well-being.
In the past, metamours had only been with us for a short time before they left our family. While the blow was still hard for Hubby, I hadn’t yet bonded with most of them, so my sense of loss wasn’t nearly as heartfelt. I could be empathetic yet detached from the situation, because I wasn’t really a part of it yet. This was the first time we should have grieved together, but we were not in a place to do so, and I felt like it would hurt Hubby worse to bring my emotions to his attention.
When one person experiences a breakup, it affects everyone. It is our opportunity to strengthen our families by grieving and healing together and acknowledging each member’s reaction and process. This doesn’t mean you have to sit in a circle and cry together, unless that’s your thing, but it does mean an awareness of one another without comparisons or judgment. Where compersion calls us to share in our partners’ joy, this experience calls us to also share in their loss. As human beings connected by love and interaction, this experience afford us the right to feel our own loss at the departure of one of our own.
As the partner involved in the breakup, it’s important to remember this. As a metamour to a breakup, it’s important to keep in mind that someone we love is going through something hard, but it is also our responsibility to tell them if the event is causing us pain as well. There is nothing won in creating more conflict, but there is also nothing won in burying our own emotions. As always, nothing approached with clear, calm communication is ever bad, so talk it out. Be there for one another.
Go now, heal together.
It is the moment I hear the words “I can’t handle drama” or “I need something uncomplicated” that I cringe, because I’ve never been considered particularly high maintenance to anyone except for the people who start conversations this way. You see, the term “you throw up red flags” is it’s own monumental crimson banner. Sometimes it even has floodlights and a little commemorative plaque. In any case, this goes one or both of two ways.
In the first case I note the need and do my best to keep things laid very free-flowing, but there comes a point where my needs fall by the wayside, because any request on my part is seen as some kind of irrational demand on this person’s life. I am immediately labelled “High Maintenance”.
In the second case I begin to walk on eggshells, afraid that anything I say or do may be misconstrued as histrionics, until I am so frustrated and exhausted by the who experience that I begin to reach out for anything I can get. This generally makes any previously mentioned “red flags” a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The added complication recently has been the additional condition of “What does Jenn need or want?” wherein not answering makes me a doormat and answering makes me complicated, both actions making me equally unacceptably high maintenance. Friends, the answer to that question had two very simple conditions to it, and they’re the same as they have ever been.
This all seems like a perfectly good waste of what started as, and has the potential to be, an amazing relationship behind all the overthinking, but I have no other recourse but to step back and see what direction he takes. I can’t keep worrying about it, nor can I keep throwing energy at something that neither meets my needs nor seems to be doing anything for him. Do I hope it can be worked out? Of course I do. Have I given up? Nope. But can I force something with someone unwilling to be inconvenienced? Negative. To try is a fool’s errand, and too often in love I end up a very frustrated fool.
Oh, and Mr Too-Complicated? He’s got a story for me every day about how negative and overly emotional people are making his life difficult, but I had too much going on to be date worthy.
It has been my experience that people who use this condition are either ill-equipped to deal with emotions, unwilling to accept a situation that might require a little effort, or are prone to exaggeration. Maybe I need to start taking their “red flags” as stop signs.
Just a thought.
Go now….with the flow.
In a recent post I mentioned briefly the adjustments I’ve been making in my relationships to conquer the distance inherently put between me and my partners by my job. I’ve always held a strong position against long distance relationships. I rely heavily upon touch and face to face interaction to ground me in a relationship and give me a sense of stability and connection, and I havent never seen that possible in a situation where I don’t see a partner more than once a month, but with the commute I make for my job I’m finding more and more that even my marriage has similarities to a long distance relationship.
At first I fought it. Adjusting to the commute and unusual schedule was hard enough without taking into account what might be happening at home. In turn, Hubby sought solace in his tangible life and partners he could reach out to and began to suppress fears that I was on the slow road to leaving him, and our life together far behind. The next step in the downward spiral was a deep depression caused by feelings that I was gradually being erased from my own family. I considered leaving. Unable to voice this feeling properly, I only validated Hubby’s suspicions, and the unraveling began, leaving us both feeling alienated and alone.
The solutions seemed bleak. We either had to accept that this was our life now or end it, and neither of us was willing to accept either option. Hubby’s approach was to demand things. My time. Phone calls. All my plans and commitments at home would have to be cancelled to spend time with him. I felt exhausted, smothered, and stretched too thin, and I lashed out, suddenly understanding why trained tigers might eventually eat their owners. I felt helpless.
Then something happened. I started texting him every day. I didn’t have the hour or five a day he would have liked to have phone calls, and there was nothing I could do about the frequency with which I had to end such conversations abruptly because of my schedule, but he started to realize just now much I think of him when I’m not around.
A transformation began. He became easier to talk to. We exhumed inside jokes that had lost their sheen in the midst of our fighting and developed new ones. Suddenly I felt like there wouldn’t be an exhausting battle every time we spoke, so I started putting him on speaker phone while I readied myself for work. In short, I got my best friend back.
Other relationships were not so lucky. After months of not knowing how to fix it, Ralph and I decided we could only survive in each other’s lives as friends. Other tentative relationships came to similar fates, while the ones that were able to find a way to reconnect in new way thrived. This. This is where I began to see where the strength was in myself and in my partners.
Since this experience, each new relationship has been a valuable learning experience in communication and bonding. Things that are important to me have had to be compromised while new needs have emerged in order to gain the stability I need to be a happy, sane, openly loving wife, partner, and even friend in some cases. It hasn’t been easy, and at times I feel like these new endeavours are an emotional game of chutes and ladders, but it’s forced me to take second look and only spend that energy on someone I feel deserves that kind of time and energy.
I’m still not sure what my stance is on long distance relationships. The impulse is to have more partners to cover the lonely times, but even people I don’t see regularly take the same amount of resources, and I know all too well the effects of polysaturation. Instead, I’m learning to find what works with each partner, and to give myself some of that energy as well. We’ll explore that concept a little bit more later.
Go now, reconnect.