May. 14th, 2017

tinhuviel: (Confused Ren)

Something alarming occurred the other day, with which I am only now coming to grips.  I’m still uncertain of how I feel about it, so of course, I have come to the Cliffs to process.  

 

Here’s the thing:  When Cameron and I went up to Asheville on Thursday, I felt at home, but I also experienced some unease.  It did not feel like when I arrived in Duncan.  Asheville felt like my heart, my origins, but Duncan felt like family.  And family is what I desperately need right now.  Also, most of my non-Internet Tribe reside in the Greenville-Spartanburg area, which encircles Duncan.

 

If I went to Asheville, I would be on my own.  Completely.  And I’m not sure I want to do that anymore.  In San Diego, I discovered that I was on my own pretty quickly and, even though I was technically with family, I maintained an undercurrent of discomfiture and disconnection for almost the entire four years I was out there.

 

Given my seizures and other health problems, do I really want to risk total seclusion?  In all honesty, I’m not sure.

 

Janice is letting me stay with her for a trial month.  It will be a financial boon as I look for a place, but I’m not currently comfortable landing in a place where I no longer know anyone, have no family, and no way to get to a doctor if I had an emergency.  It may not be the wisest move for me to make, and I’m doing my best to make wiser choices, considering the disaster that was the move West.

 

The grass is not necessarily always greener and, even though the Upstate is the Armpit of Hell, it’s not the Taint, which would be Linda Vista, the neighbourhood in SD in which I lived.  That said, the reasons for each infernal designation are radically different.  The Upstate is the Armpit because of the political and spiritual climate out here.  Even though a good chunk of the population is fraught with narrow-mindedness and ignorance, they’re decent folk, and they understand so much more clearly the importance of family and friendship.  People in San Diego do, too, but the ones I had the most contact with were not among them, so my living environment out there is what makes Linda Vista the Taint of Hell.  It’s no shade on the city of San Diego itself.

 

The rent here is cheaper, too, which would be a serious blessing for the duration I get settled back in, and discover the things I need to purchase to properly do so.  Asheville still isn’t out of the question.  I still dream of living in the place I was at my happiest, but perhaps it’s time for me to simply be content. Besides, my work in activism would be better served in an area that needs it.  I don’t want to preach to the choir, I want to reach people who have no idea they are living in bondage, a bondage of the mind and spirit.  San Diego is woke as fuck, and Asheville is deeply aware, but the Upstate is caught up in the machinations of Aggressive Stupidity, and many people being carried along in that wave don’t know they have options.  

 

So, yeah, I’ve got a lot to think, pray, and write about these next few days.  In the meantime, I’m keeping all options open, and I’m waiting for the place I need to be, to be revealed.  I’ll know it when it happens.

tinhuviel: (Default)

My Uncle Michael was a true vulgarian, as John Cleese might say.  In fact, you could say it was he who put me on the road to having my own foul mouth.  But, when I first witnessed his temper combined with his expert swearing, it was kind of terrifying.

 

It happened about a month after Granny, Aunt Tudi, and I moved down to Duncan from Asheville in June of 1981.  We moved into the small house behind Uncle Michael’s and Janice’s house.  It would end up being the house I would live in until 2013.  Needless to say, I was already out of sorts, having been hijacked to this hot, flat, hellhole from my beloved Smoky Mountains, but I tried to keep it to myself.  But the day in question made me pull Aunt Tudi aside and ask her if there was no way we could just move back home, because I was fairly alarmed at Uncle Michael’s behaviour!

 

Uncle Michael had built a small workshop where he’d do his wood-working and other crafty projects.  He was a master construction worker, just a hairbreadth’s away from being an architect.  Had he been afforded the opportunity, he probably would have been famous for his designs.  So, anyway, he had a big project he was eager to finish and pushed himself to stay in the unconditioned, ill-ventilated building, running hot machinery and exerting himself in his work…in the Summer…in South Carolina.  The temperature that day had reached the mid-90s, with high humidity.  The air was thick, and your sweat just stuck to you like hot honey.  Not a good combination for the work he was doing.

 

We were all outside working in the garden when we heard the skill saw suddenly stop and the door to the shop burst open.  There stood a shirtless Uncle Michael, covered in sweat, his skin a rosy red, the hair on his head standing on end from his pulling it up.  His eyes looked like they were glowing, I kid you not.  He screamed at the top of his lungs, “MY GODDAMNED BRAINS ARE BAKIN’!”  and he stomped off into the house pretty much speaking in tongues from the level of expletives shooting out of his face.

 

Janice and the kids seemed not to really be bothered.  Janice rolled her eyes and said something about getting him some tea, and followed him into the house.  I just stood there looking after them with my mouth agape.  What had just happened?

 

After spending the first few Summers in SC without any air-conditioning, I came to understand exactly what had happened, because it started happening to me.  The heat and humidity can drive you plum crazy.  It feels exactly like your goddamned brains are baking, and the only way you can express your misery is to pretty much do what Uncle Michael did that day.

 

After a while, I got used to Uncle Michael and came to admire the hell out of him, even his potty mouth, which I eagerly adopted when nobody could no longer tell me I couldn’t.  We bonded over such language, over music like ELO, and our mutual love for harming ourselves with hot peppers every Sunday on our way to the flea market, to see which one could hold out the longest from the pain.  

 

My mind has been fraught with so many memories of him over the past couple of days.  I still can’t believe he’s gone, but I am so deeply grateful that I got to see him and tell him how much I love him on Tuesday.  Honestly, I believed I would never see him, Janice, or any of my family ever again.  Even in the midst of grief and uncertainty, I’m focusing on the things for which I can be grateful, and carrying on from there, step by step.  It’s all any of us can do.

 

...that, and try to prevent our goddamned brains from bakin’.

tinhuviel: (Default)

I found a tree stump in the woods across the road, in a small circular clearing about nine feet in circumference, facing North.  Using it as a natural alter, I placed a candle, incense, blessed water, and a combination of honeysuckle and magnolia.

 

After a brief invocation, I gave honour to the Goddess on Mother’s Day, and was suddenly moved to sing a song that Granny and Aunt Tudi used to sing in harmony.  It’s a Doris Day song called ‘Everybody Loves a Lover.’  It has zip to do with Mother’s Day, but everything to do with the women who played the mother role in my life.


What’s so odd is, from the moment Aunt Tudi died in 2011 until an hour ago when I was standing in the forest singing, I could not remember the words to the song.  All I could remember was the melody and the the first line, which is the title.  But I sang the whole thing flawlessly, as loud as I could, with my unused, atrophied voice.  I was crying by the end, but I did it. 

I snuffed the candle and what was left of the incense, spread the rest of the water around the altar, and left everything there (save the cup) for use in the future.

 

It was perfect.  It was a perfect Mother’s Day. 

August 2017

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