Monthly Archives: December 2013

What do you do?

What do you do when you persistently experience something extremely important regarding your god that runs counter to the experiences of everyone else?

The majority of the advice I’ve found says that it likely means that this bit of UPG is wrong, and I should try to readjust my vision/ears/memories. It is not completely personal, but I often find “peer-corroborated” things highly questionable as a verification when the peers are close to each other.

I do not, in any way, experience or know Freyr as a god who dies or is sacrificed at the harvest or for the blessing of the earth, or who was at one point or another to end a terrible famine, or someone who is dead for three days and returns.

I also do not experience him as someone who changes very much from season to season, though for lack of a better word, he does seem to “glow” brighter in the summer, and the ways in which he connects to the earth (in the sense of the ground, the things that grow or lie dormant in it, in whichever place) shift in ways that seem in line with how people themselves used to change, and how animals change. There are different things to do; there is time to plant, to grow, to gather, to rest.

He is, to a certain extent, quieter in terms of energy and activity. In the summer, he was always doing something; he was outside all of the time, going off to visit people, riding his horse [at terrifying speed, to me] through field and meadow, and laughing with the pure pleasure of it.

He is most often at home, these days, and people come to him, or he spends his time with those closest to him, such as his family. There is more meat and heavier foods, root vegetables, and things that can be kept for the winter, on his table, than the large amounts of green vegetables and fruits of the summer, and the breads and squashes and other things in the autumn.

His apparent death and rebirth are what everything to do with him these days seems to revolve around — it is the central point of his entire modern mythos and cultus. There is nothing more important, in the eyes of the people who revere him.

And it doesn’t even exist for me. It doesn’t happen. It feels deeply wrong to me.

I’ve spent the last several months feeling like I should not or could not talk about anything to do with him, because either I was wrong about everything, or whether or not I was wrong about everything, anything else I said would be valueless because if I am insisting that water is not wet, why would anyone pay attention if I said it was snowing?

I’m either insane or my perceptions are so warped that they should all be discarded whole. There’s little point in trying to sift out something that isn’t crazy or completely wrong that happens to come out of my mouth.

“Well, say,” Brand offered, flopping down on my blanket, “that if it is Really Really For Extra Real for the entire rest of the multiverse, including him, is it impossible that your version of him doesn’t, because one must not.”

The nature of the multiverse is such that everything is possible and everything exists, somewhere — for every choice you make, another universe springs into existence where you made the other, etc, and so there are infinite varieties of everything. This is not the same as thinking that all gods are manifestations of one ultimate god, or something like that; there is no One True You in the multiverse; there are infinite yous. This may or may not be true of gods — while it may be for some, I know it isn’t for all; I know at least one god who absolutely only exists once and exists simultaneously in all universes (this god is not the God of Everything, for the record), and know of others who seem to have multiple versions from different universes.

“You need an apologetic bumper sticker that says SORRY, STRING THEORY JUST WORKS FOR ME,” Brand said. I don’t know how to drive, but apparently that is not an impediment to needing a sticker.

“I think that may actually just make everything worse.”

“Why? The Everyone already believe gods have myriad faces that they show their followers as they deem convenient or desirable.”

“Those are faces that one singular-unto-itself god possesses,” I said.

“And their worlds would end if there were actually many of that god?”

“Probably. Witness the massive kerfluffle over your father, and how desperately people have tried to rationalize why they or why some people insistently see him as resembling Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Ultimately, they decide they’re all the One True Loki, wearing his face or guise or using Marvel to lure them in, and so on. ”

He grinned. “Which is always worse and more offensive than people finding him through Neil Gaiman or other people who’ve written about him, isn’t it? Anyway — this isn’t about my father or any other Loki, and neither is it about the actual fact that I know alternate universe versions of people, or, you know, anything that I don’t feel the need to get upset about whether or not someone else believes or understands.”

“Despite that, you’ve been extremely clear that this world/this universe has one Loki, and that one is your father.”

He stretched, looking as absolutely unconcerned as a cat. “Yes.”

“Which Freyr belongs to this world/universe?” I said miserably.

He waved a finger at me. “That is for you to angst over while you waste your time trying to figure out how to delete a WordPress journal, because you have an opinion that other people will find upsetting.”

“I don’t have the energy to fight about it, or to be called names for it. I don’t want to be called a fake or be told that everything I believe is a lie. I don’t want to be told that my marriage is what doesn’t exist and hasn’t actually happened.”

“What do you want?”

I sighed. “Fewer great big bloody sacrificial messes that people make more important than anything else to do with him or about him — it’s just like how Everything has to be about his cock, and even when he gets killed, it’s always emphasized that he has a massive erection at the time. If they want to sacrifice something, maybe they should learn how to humanely sacrifice animals and then eat the animals and use all of their parts, or as many of them as possible, for things. Which was what actually happened… in my warped, insane view of the universe.”

“Great big animal sacrifice thingy?”

“They had a feast, yes. I was only around to bless it afterward for its own sake, to help it achieve a fortunate rebirth.”

“Getting your Buddhism all up in the mix.”

“He wanted me to. He thought it was important.”

“What did they feed you, and where were you? You never even told me about it.”

“In his room. Feeling weird, like always when there’s a major event going on nearby and you’re the only one left out, even if you’re left out because you chose to be, or have to be, or need to be. There were some herbed potatoes and carrots that she cooked separately, baked apples with spices, and seed bread with butter and honey that had been mixed together. I don’t know what the seeds were; they tasted like sunflower seeds.”

Oh. ‘In Germany, it is mixed with rye flour to make Sonnenblumenkernbrot (literally: sunflower whole seed bread)…’ From the pictures, that is what she gave me, though I think she must have used something other than rye — I’ve come across a recipe that uses barley, and some that just use wheat — because it didn’t have the intense bite that rye does. I don’t know what bread made with barley tastes like, and, having celiac, can’t find out. I suspect I would probably like it, though, if I could eat it. I can only remember having barley in soup, for which I’ve yet to find a properly satisfying celiac-friendly substitute.

“And,” Brand said, “just to rule out the potentially obvious objection: you don’t think he goes around not-dying because it might upset you.”

“Why would he? I expected it to happen. I thought it would right up until it didn’t.”

He laughed. “It’s probably a lot kinder of a way to disabuse you of the notion that Everyone knows half as much as they think they do than what dad did with me.”

“If it were genuinely something important for him to do, he should. Whether or not I like it is extremely superfluous when I’m not being forced to participate. Plenty of gods die. For fuck’s sake, you’ve died twice because of your father and you’re currently supposed to be human.”

“Would you have watched if he’d asked you to?” he said, suddenly solemn.

“…of course. What is there to a marriage if you are unwilling to go through difficult things beside each other, or if you are unwilling to go into dark places to find each other, or unwilling to even do something discomfiting. If you love someone, you stand beside them, whether through the worst of all things or the best. Bad things are a guarantee in life, and good things are a blessing to rejoice in. You can’t just choose the fun parts about a relationship or a person and throw out the rest and claim any kind of real love.”

What I believe is complex, and possibly overall completely stupid. I don’t know. I feel terrible, conflicted, extremely unhappy. Utterly miserable, hopeless, and forlorn. The only reason I haven’t deleted everything and disappeared is because R. asked me not to, and so did Brand. They think conflicting opinions are important, and that, due to having one, I should talk about it, rather than getting rid of any evidence of it outside of my own head.

The only thing I request about having made all of this public is that if we are to discuss it, we do it calmly.

If you would like to speak to me in private, my email address is shannon dot kotono at gmail.

I have to travel this week, so my replies may be a little slow, but I will get to them as I can.

Solstice.

Yesterday was a very bad day — I am scraping through the bottom of the mental health barrel — and we were not able to do what we had wanted for the solstice and mother’s night. But, barring a convenient Stonehenge (where it was raining and very dark, anyway) or Science, the exact solstice is difficult to determine and wanders each year, so I hoped shifting the majority of things to today would be all right.

We lit tealights for the important goddesses and women in our lives, as well as some who were very important to people we loved. Some were slightly generalized: Buddhist tradition says that the numberless sentient beings are all our mothers, and they have all been our children, at some point in time. We ended up with fourteen candles. Had some people not been grouped together, I think we might have gone through half the box. I felt terribly serious about it; I have never had a mother, and I have seen how the loss of his mother has torn B. apart and how much it hurts R., whose wife she was.

I was adopted by Brand’s mother, Auðhelga, and so was B.

Inadvertently (it was largely to do with emotional and physical exhaustion and what I could handle cooking), I made cream of rice for dinner, which is a comfort food (in the form of cream of wheat, which none of us can eat, now, but I’ve forgotten what the difference in taste was and so have they) for Brand and V., because their grandmothers made it for them all of the time.

I also made Freyr’s tea, because I was fortunate enough to find unfiltered raw honey at the grocery, which is the only sort of honey that he and some of my spirits are very willing to have put in things for them. He asked me in the beginning to eat a little raw honey every day, and I have not been able to do it because I haven’t had the food stamp space for a while now. It’s very good to be able to share his tea again.

It rained the past two days and it will rain all day tomorrow, and my shoes have holes in them. Nerthus asked me to go stand on the ground barefoot — it’s actually warmer right this second than it will be tomorrow (the high is rapidly dropping from the upper fifties to the mid twenties), but I am so very tired. And I want to bring something to the pine in the back yard. I am not entirely sure how to accomplish this without looking insane to the landlords. My logical reason for being in the backyard is taking the trash out. Perhaps I can ask V. to hold the offering cup for me since I am stronger than he is, as far as the trash is concerned (this is not saying much, to be honest: whereas he has lost all of his muscle tone to cfs, I’ve kept some because I’ve had to carry home groceries and so on).

I have flipflops, which will be less troublesome than my shoes with holes in them, for the purpose of standing on the ground (though one could argue I am always standing on the ground in those shoes…!).

I will try to get some sort of feel for what the pine would like out of the tea that we have.

Autumn and winter are the only times of the year that I feel especially comfortable, so the solstice is not about lengthening days and the passing of winter for me.

It is about the moon in an ice cold clear sky, shining on a field of snow.

It is about a moment of absolute silence filled with such shattering clarity that the only thing you can do is stare in wonder.

It is about a void that is anything but empty.

Non-human friends.

I woke with a vicious migraine yesterday and spent a while leaning against V., who was working on hammering out the general anatomy and proportions of a species of being we all know several of, and Brand and I would like to have pictures of some of them, but can’t draw as well as V. can. We all know a fairly wide variety of types of people, who are often bipedal, but often put together very, very differently from each other (a digitigrade stance is slightly more common than a plantigrade stance, but that is about it). There are some mild similarities between some of them — enough so that the mental image can get a little garbled, and hence the collective hammering. Mainly about legs.

Brand suggested, “What about a cat leg, if you made it able to actually function upright?” and that was more or less the ticket, here, to start working out the right shape.

It was nice. These people we love so much, and have never had any real visual reference for, and no matter how clear one’s elsewhere vision is, it’s never perfect. I’ve always had a tremendously difficult time seeing their legs, perhaps because my human brain such as it is, could not latch on to any frame of reference for them other than ones that were incorrect, and so, because I knew it wasn’t right, I just didn’t see anything, in particular.

Abuse Survivors Need Empathy Not Sympathy

Abuse Survivors Need Empathy Not Sympathy.

[Extreme trigger warning, not for the link, but for the following text about my life.]

You’d probably [should be] be appalled at some of the ‘at least’s people come up with for rape survivors.

“My boyfriend keeps raping me and forcing me to do really disgusting things and sleep with other people when I don’t want to.”

“At least you have a boyfriend. Plus you’re getting laid!”

“He doesn’t allow me to leave the house unless I’m going to work, and then he has to drive me — I’m not allowed to learn how to drive.”

“At least you have such a nice house, I mean, not everyone gets to live in a huge house, you know! At least someone drives you to work, I mean, jeez, what a hassle, but he does that for you!”

“But I have to give him my entire paycheck. I’m not allowed to spend money on myself beyond $100/mo for food.”

“At least you have a job and food on the table!”

Can no one understand that I was paying $1200/mo for the privilege of being viciously raped every day and that he also literally tortured me and kept me locked in a room as ‘punishment’ when his best friend also raped me.

Even therapists have ‘at least’ed me and refused to discuss how bad any of it was.

I would never have gotten out if I had not become close friends with a coworker (whom I was constantly ‘jokingly’ accused of fucking and dealt with jealous rages over) who put my things in his truck and drove me very far away to live with someone who cared about me, but whom I couldn’t ultimately continue living with. But who did give me nine years to try to get my feet under myself and fed me when I couldn’t work because I got sick.

Even if they also turned abusive during the last four or five, until it was quite bad with the yelling and emotional blackmail and blame for everything they had to deal with, and I felt very unsafe and constantly attacked and on guard.

Leading to the recent housing crisis. I was slated to be on the street come January if I did not find a place.

Yet how can I not be grateful and more or less elevate them both to the collection of saints in my life.

I would otherwise still be in that house.

“Why didn’t you go to a shelter?” one therapist asked.

What shelters? How would I get there? Who would even let me in? There are some very good shelters and networks and evacuations conducted by women for women, but I have never heard of anything, anywhere, to help men get out. This was also ten years ago and in the south.

Maybe it’s occurred to someone, somewhere, because there are LGBT shelters in NYC, which end up taking in a lot of young people who are thrown out, and more people are talking about abuse inside of the LGBT community, and perhaps someone has realised that some of us desperately need help to get out, including concerted efforts to extract someone/more or less kidnap them with their permission, because they cannot leave the house unsupervised, and their partners read their email and go so far as to dig into the router and intercept any messages being sent on IRC or AIM, somehow. Why not just use a keylogger, like any other terrible person?

God.

God.

God.

I’m crying.

I can’t explain how helpless and trapped and scared I was, how alone, how desperate. And how everyone acted.

I think he’s a wonderful man and you’re extremely lucky to have him.

Stop exaggerating.

You’re lying to make him look bad.

You’re the one with the attitude problem and if you weren’t so selfish and ungrateful for everything he’s done for you, he wouldn’t get angry at you.

If you’d just behave.

Everything that ever comes out of your mouth is whining or complaining. I never hear you say anything good about anything, and the only thing ‘wrong’ with your life is that you hate it for no reason.

I stopped talking.

Since I got out, I’ve spoken increasingly less about anything I feel, any problems I’m having, anything I’m going through, because it is a universal statement/belief that I constantly whine, complain, exaggerate, and am in love with my own misery. That I cultivate it and refuse to be happy. I make everything, in every single conversation, completely about me.

And anyone who does care, I burn out in a very short period of time with all of my bullshit.

And, for reasons I truly cannot understand, and that no one else can figure out, I rub some people the wrong way so perfectly that any time I am around them, they end up infuriated and upset.

So I try not to be around.

I try to stop existing. I’ve already shut my mouth so no one has to hear anything. But existing in the same area as other people ends up upsetting them severely.

Sometimes I wonder if the ideal solution is to live totally alone and only leave my home for solitary errands that minimize necessary contact with other people.

I can summon the cheerful mask at will in public (I worked retail; I went to work after I was raped until I bled and had to be extremely functional and make $40+/hr in sales or risk being fired) and whatever interaction is necessary to make sure checkers and clerks have a slightly better day than they were having before comes easily to me. I have extreme empathy for anyone who has to deal with customers in any capacity.

I daydream about an unrealistic tiny house far away from anyone and anything. Books and shrines. How would I acquire food?

V. offered me the keys to his car last night so I could go to the store, but I still can’t drive, though I’m meant to take lessons some time in the next year.

I worry about it because I have a lot of PTSD problems that revolve around driving and cars in some fashion (his best friend drove me about forty or fifty miles from home when we were supposed to be coming home from a movie, and he and my mother had truly terrifying road rage that usually turned around onto me because I was there and convenient). But it has to be done.

I’ve lived in a lot of places famous around the country for how bad their traffic is, but Albany has the special position of actually frightening me with the highways. I don’t think anyone but V. drives fewer than 85mph. Rain and snow are meaningless and involve no adjustments to speed or swerving around people who are only going five over the speed limit.

At least I will mostly only be driving for errands, which are all fairly local.

I did start learning to drive when I was 16, without a permit, in the middle of the night. I could somewhat inexpertly drive a stick, even. I also made left turns in right turn only places and drove over a median.

I should study for the test to get a permit and resume driving in the middle of the night. The streets around here are mostly one-way and slightly labyrinthine, but they’re numbered and they’re never busy.

I think this is supposed to be empowering. A ‘fuck you’ of sorts to my ex. What if this is not a power I’m interested in, and is something that I see solely as a method of transportation when nothing else is possible? I was more empowered (much more, actually — it was like an epiphany) by my Metrocard in NYC.

And, I find, looking at the clock that I wish I’d asked V. to take me to a church not tremendously far away that has bus service for their healing service and communion, because he was going out anyway, and I could’ve taken the bus home.

No one knows me there. But I can’t explain how it feels to have someone put their hands on my head and beseech god(s) on my behalf to give me relief from my suffering, pain, nightmares.

When nearly no one has ever cared enough to ask me, with sincerity, wanting to hear the answer: “How are you?”

I’m bad.

I’m really bad.

 

Generally struggling.

Between extreme CFS problems and having so little money that not all of our bills could get paid on time last month, we’ve not done Anything since we moved for our gods and spirits beyond pushing some love in their direction when we’ve had a scrap of energy that wasn’t immediately consumed by stress, chronic pain, and trying to deal with all of the things that aren’t getting done like they should (laundry, dishes, food beyond a can of tuna and an apple, etc).

I have never had the feeling that they minded much (though some of the wights where we live are irritated that we haven’t formally introduced ourselves and established regular contact) and that they understood that on so many levels I just Can’t right now, but I’m very distressed (which, of course, cycles back around into feeding the cfs, pain, and stress) by my lack of doing anything.

But it has to change. Because even if they don’t mind, it’s creating a lot of distance, which hurts.

So I need to figure out a devotional structure that invites a lot of closeness, but doesn’t involve physically doing very much or buying things.

I don’t know if it’s a permanent loss or if we can get them reinstated, but we are currently trying to feed two people on only one person’s food stamp allotment, and cannot afford to spend any cash on food. The feds also decided that cutting the amount of benefits anyone receives was acceptable. So we have around $150 for a month of food. I’ve lived on $100/mo for myself before, but not $75, and, frankly, I’m worried, because our health visibly suffers when we aren’t eating a lot of vegetables and fresh mushrooms.

They do not make it easy to find food pantries here, but I feel like it’s something we need to do. Getting some of the dried or canned staples another way would free up some of the food stamps for vegetables, etc. 

We were given a crockpot, and maybe if I do soup in batches when I can stand up for more than a few minutes at a time, we will be somewhat more nourished. We don’t have a microwave, but soup is easy to reheat in a pot.

I’ve also been having nightmares and flashbacks for over two months more often than not. I woke up today actually confused because I’d had a normal dream.