I've been keeping track of the Boston "Free Speech" rally, and have been deeply moved by the people's reaction to the Fascists who wanted to repeat their putrid behaviour exibited in Charlottesville. According to reports, around 100 Nazis showed up to face around 40,000 pissed off Bostonians. This is beyond my cynical comprehension. And it occurred to me: Perhaps Donald Trump is actually making America great again. His reprehensible platform and those who stand with him have finally woken decent Americans from their long dystopian sleep. I still feel like it's too late to stop the Hard Right Train to Hell, but I am deeply heartened by the swell of souls rising up to oppose this horror. When the rally comes to my area, I'll be doing the same thing, trust me. I shall resist until change comes, or I shall die trying! Maybe, just maybe, if we can turn this bullshit around, America will be better than ever. And all because of Donald Trump. So yeah, let's make America great again! Get out and punch motherfucking Nazis until they run home to their basements crying!
Since I went into seclusion over Smidgen's death, so much bullshit has happened, I just don't know how to properly process it in an acceptable word format. I've been reduced to forwarding news stories and memes, and posting brief interludes of shock and horror at the dismantling of my country. Now, I could share everything I post on Facebook here, but I don't know if that would be something people would want to see, so I leave it to whomever reads this. Do you want me to rant and rave in images and micro-blogs here on the Cliffs, or shall I reserve that for Facebook and Twitter?
In the meantime, if you're wondering what I feel like being so speechless when I'm typically the one who won't shut, just reference this gif of John Cusack. Verily, he is my spirit animal.
She passed peacefully. Her eyes turned black afterward, but she still had that angel face. After days, she finally voided her bladder in death. It was a huge amount of urine.
I gave everything that belonged to Smidgen, to Cameron and Cindy. I’m going to scatter Smidgen’s ashes on the hill where she was born, and I’ve save one of her claw sheaths to keep in my Pentagram locket.
I’m numb. Really, the only thing that has been on my mind for days is how I wish Toby would pass now, so I could just go away, too. Death doesn’t suck. Living afterwards is what is so horrific.
I don’t think I have ever made a comprehensive list of the influences that helped in the creation of Cadmus Pariah. If I can explain without sounding like an utter loon, I will also write out my reasons for their involvement in Cadmus. The list is really not in any order, except for the first three or so, which are ridiculously obvious and I’d just be a prat if I didn’t put them first. So, without further ado.
- Barry Andrews: Well, duh. He gave Cadmus his looks. Aunt Tudi thought Barry had the most angelic face she’d ever seen. That, combined with a half-sleep nightmare that involved him, heavily influenced Cadmus’ appearance and dichotomous demeanour.
- Carl Marsh: Carl Marsh gave Cadmus his name. Think about it. He was the collected companion of the menace of Barry’s priest in the video for Nemesis. That knowing stoicism he exuded gave Cadmus the needed cap to his misunderstood rage, and is often the only thing that keeps the Pariah from falling into mindless depravity.
- Tim Curry (in character as Gaal from Earth 2): Gaal was a manipulator and a murderer with a silver tongue. He gravitated to endearments like “pet” and “poppet”. His voice, along with Barry’s dramatic whisper on many of Shriekback’s best songs, comprise what Cadmus sounds like in my mind.
- Ed Kowalczyk: Cadmus became a hardcore hedonist thanks to Ed Kowalczyk of the band Live. His performance in their video for the song “Freaks”, along with the fact that his nails were painted, was like a Cabaret for the damned. It was perfect. Before Tom Hardy, I wanted Ed Kowalczyk to play Cadmus in my movie.
- Tom Hardy: This was an odd one, because Cadmus was already fully-formed and developed by the time Tom Hardy railroaded into my world. I see my stories as movies in my head and, before Mr. Hardy, Cadmus’ appearance was a very effeminate, Egyptian, alien version of Barry Andrews. Then I saw Star Trek: Nemesis (aptly named) and beheld one of the best actors to come along in a very long time accurately interpret the ravages of child abuse on a young adult, and BOOM, he was anchored to Cadmus. As a result, Cadmus adopted a more sullen affect, at times, and was also graced with an eloquent viciousness, devoid of any bothersome conscience, because conscience was for the weak. Tom Hardy also allowed Cadmus to properly express anger with dignity, inadvertently contributing what I called his “crazy eye” to my character. Cadmus’ change of mood, indicated by just a single subtle expression, can turn a situation of civility into one of slaughter in literally the blink of an eye.
- Annie Lennox: Her techno-domme persona has pretty much affected all aspects of my writing and character creation, but she touched Cadmus in particular with her stoic command of everything around her in the “Sweet Dreams” video, combined with her perfect androgynous image. I’ve never put Cadmus Pariah in a suit before but, if I ever do, it will be because of Annie Lennox.
- Rob Dougan: His song “Clubbed to Death” teamed up with Shriekback’s “Deeply Lined Up” to create thematic sound of Cadmus Pariah’s soul. Everything and everyone belongs to him, and he dispenses with his possessions as he sees fit.
- Darth Maul: Prior to The Phantom Menace, Cadmus was devoid of any sexuality. He was a creature of destruction, not affection, love, or lust. Then came Maul. Wrapped in dark flowing robes that were incredibly Cadmusian, this soft-spoken warrior was a physical poet. His poise and grace enhanced Cadmus Pariah, and gave him the ability to experience sexual gratification.
- Pryrates: From Tad Williams’ trilogy, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Pryrates was the red priest who dabbled heavily in dark magick and alchemy, eventually uniting with the Storm King in his quest for dominion. Like Cadmus, Pryrates is small and bald, but his fierceness and determination affected the development of my character, and I must admit the influence. Pryrates is the reason Cadmus maintains an altar, despite his lack of faith.
- Pinhead: This should be obvious to anyone. My Cadmus aspires to reach the levels of poetry and slaughter Pinhead has wrought in the written world. Everything about him is beauty, dread, desire, and suffering. It is Pinhead who inspired Cadmus to say, “Survival is the parchment upon which the Law of Nature is Inscribed.” Like Cadmus, Pinhead is dedicated to his ideal, his focus is an exercise in perfection. He, along with Barry, gave Cadmus his eloquence.
- Hannibal Lecter: His command of the language deeply inspired the development of Cadmus. Also, his abiity to manipulate through nothing but words is something I felt Cadmus would be perfect at doing. There is also the Shriekback/Hannibal connection that gives me episodes of frisson. I love it.
- Randall Flagg: I admit that my fascination with Randall Flagg is probably incredibly unhealthy but, when I read The Stand in 1980, I was drawn into this charismatic entity, and his spirit dwelt within me for a decade before Cadmus was born. Randall Flagg is a natural leader and a master manipulator. He exudes the perfect combination of fright and desire. This absolutely influenced Cadmus Pariah.
I’m sure there are other influences that I just can’t think of right now, but these folks/characters are the core. Writers often say that their characters are figments of the imagination and not based on any real person, but I beg to differ. We write what we know, and we are constantly bombarded with inspirations and influences. It’s inevitable that they come out in our compositions. In my opinion, it’s perfectly natural, and the primary method by which information is passed on from one generation to another.
After a long absence, Rob Dougan's Clubbed to Death decided to make a special appearance on my iTunes. Where Rob Dougan goes, Cadmus Pariah follows. That said, this drabble fell out. I still feel horrible about his childhood, but Cadmus wouldn't be Cadmus, were it not for Nissius of Rome.
The young Gaelic Tarma kept his dark head bent in silence, his hair hanging in his huge liquid eyes, as they shimmered like stars from the agony. He would not even dare a single tremour of any muscle in his frail, white body. He knew that this, just like everything in his life, was a test, a trial, and that every tribulation he survived would make his small body impenetrable to any ill, and would sharpen his mind to diamond precision. When the time came, all this woe and horror would transform into a glorious power, and that power would be all his.
The strap drew another red gash across Cadmar’s exposed back, the fourteenth one. Just six more to go, and Cadmar would be left to his own devices for the rest of the night, to hunt and replenish his strength. That is, if he did not lose consciousness. Should he succumb to the pain and blood loss, he would go hungry that night, and receive 25 lashes at sundown the next sundown. Each night he could not withstand the trial added five more lashes the next night, until he hardened to it, accepted it, welcomed it.
Cadmar welcomed the night when his power would eclipse that of his master, Nissius for, on that night, it would be his head bowed in silence, awash in the ecstasy of suffering known only to the Elect.The old man spoke of Hell in the after life, delighted in promising Cadmar an eternity of what the Elf already had a bellyful of on Earth. But Cadmar did not believe him. Cadmar was learning that you create your own hell, just as you create heaven, right here, right now. And he believed his current hell was well=deserved, for Cadmar was not yet strong enough to remove himself from it. Once he was, Cadmar planned to create his heaven, awash in the blood of this filthy creature of the Apostate. And he would continue to build his heaven on Earth. His bricks would be bones and his mortar the very marrow of the creation itself.
I’m going through it right now. I know I’ve been pretty quiet for about a week. I pushed myself to be more social than I have been in years, in the hope that it might buoy me from what felt like an imminent major depressive dip. Thanks to the combination empathy and introversion, what might have been just psychological became physical, and I ended up catching yet another cold.
An unexpected expense wiped my account during my absence from Teh Intarwebz, so I’ve been subsisting on four cans of soup, and a box of cereal during all this. The financial scare and my shite health made my dip probably ten times worse than it would have been, had I just kept to myself. I know now that the whole social thing is going to have to come slowly for me. I can’t just fall back into it, because I was never that social to begin with!
I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford any of this. I’m adrift in a situation where my travel options are very limited, which cuts into any monies I might need for basic things like, oh, food. If you have $20, but it’s gonna cost $10+ to get to a store and back, you’re not going to have money to buy much of anything, and then you’re screwed for food and transportation. I have to admit, my thoughts are bleak at the moment, and my vision of even the near future is clouded with worry, fear, and loneliness.
But at least I’m in a clean place for now.
And so the day has come.
With the revelation of the New Moon, a new era is dawning on my beloved online journal. As it should be common knowledge amongst people who have long followed my various adventures and rants, I've been in the process of moving operations from LiveJournal to Dreamwidth.
After an extended absence from journaling, I returned to LJ to find portions of it in disrepair, and the climate it once enjoyed denigrated and anaemic. it's been more than a little depressing to see a once thriving community deteriorate before your eyes, and that is the primary reason why I am leaving. It's painful to watch, so I have chosen to no longer look.
It would be a lie to say I will not miss LiveJournal, but my remaining here will not bring back the LJ I came to know and love. That place is long gone, and it's hard to navigate through all the weeds that have overgrown this digital garden. My departure is long overdue, and so I go.
If you wish to continue reading my ramblings, I have set up housekeeping at Dreamwidth, under the same name, The Cliffs of Insanity. You can click the title here in the text, or the image below, to be taken there. If you subscribe to me, I promise to reciprocate! I look forward to seeing you over on the new Cliffs, and to many more years of interaction, sharing, venting, and being as creative as possible, with my friends and Tribe.
Over the past few days, I've been struggling to assemble furniture. One piece was a bedside table, and the other was a chest of drawer. The bedside table wasn't too bad, because it was small. The chest of drawers, however, was an entirely different matter. The instructions noted that two people were needed to put the bloody thing together. The problem is, there's only one of me. The solution to this problem is, I'm ambidextrous and can also use my feet like a fucking spider monkey. After two days of struggle, and many breaks so I wouldn't lose my temper or my mind, I was finally successful! And that was with an injured hand, thanks to a fall a few days ago. One shelf of the chest of drawers is a little loose because I had some issues with the dowels. This is nothing that a little bit of Krazy Glue won't rectify. When I was a tiny tot, one of my favourite things on Earth was to hammer nails into wood.
Even though I couldn't build anything to save my life, I do like the concept of crafts and putting things together, and my hammer skills, however rudimentary, are still present, even from my days as a four-year-old. I can't help but admit I'm a tad proud of myself.
Achieving something I should not have been able to on my own gives me hope that I can figure out how to reattach the doors to the CD/DVD cabinet Janice gave me, along with a small knick-knack shelf I'm planning on using for some of my books. If I can get the doors properly affixed, I can finally unpack some of my CDs and DVDs. Most of what I have left to unpack are my media and books. And I have tons more of that than I have room, so my number one priority is shelving. I have found shelving that is sufficient for books and media, and should definitely allow me to finish unpacking and get the rooms of my pad sorted and cleared off all these boxes and storage containers. Of course, I've added this item to my Happy Housewarming for the Minimalist with NOTHING Amazon Wishlist, and I've put it at the top of my needs. As it stands, I have no doubt I'll be able to put the shelves together by myself. It's amazing the things of which you find yourself capable, when your options are limited.
Apparently, I have two end tables en route, and they require some assembly as well. Once I have them put together, I will have more room for books, albeit only two or three per table, plus a place to finally set my living room lamps! Eventually, I will need an accent table or something so I'll have a place for the big-ass fugly lamp I've been clinging to since Granny bought it for $5.00 in 1977. It needs to be rewired and a lampshade, though, so I'm in no rush for the table. In the meantime, I'm gonna keep on keepin' on, and take advantage of the shelves with which I am currently blessed.
One of the things that is imperative for a happy, healthy dog and, as a result, a happy, healthy dog parent, is establishing a routine. In fact, it is probably the most important thing about a dog/human relationship in our modern times.
That is the one thing I did not have in San Diego. As a result, I had a dog who was utterly confused as to what was expected of him, and seemed hellbent on pissing in the house at every given opportunity. His habits degenerated from going out when he wished and doing his business outside, to going outside and just waiting to come back in, at which time he would then relieve himself. I had to invest in puppy pads every single month, and keep them all over the bedroom floor. It was a disgusting situation for everyone involved.
There were a number of factors as to why this was the case. First, the area in which we lived in San Diego was at the bottom of a series of canyons. With my health issues, walking in the neighbourhood was exceedingly difficult on the best of days. On top of that, with my depression out of control, I had zero motivation to step out of my room, much less the house. Matt had set up a very long leash system that allowed Toby access to the entire front yard, where he even had enough room to run to play fetch, which he did a lot of with Matt. (One thing I can say about Matt is, he is very good with animals for the most part. I don't agree with his hard-on for César Milan, but Matt has a huge heart when it comes to animals, and he and Toby were best buds for four years. I really believe there was a chance Toby would not have survived our time out there, had it not been for Matt.) If no one was out there with him, though, Toby would do nothing but sit by the door, waiting to come back inside. Matt would let him in and play with him out in the living room but, instead of letting him back out to use the bathroom before sending him back to me, he'd just put him in my room, where Toby would then relieve himself, since he hadn't been out in a while. Thanks to the humans around him, Toby developed horrible habits and appeared to delight in doing the exact opposite of what was expected of him at any given time. At some point, I just gave up and kept a puppy pad carpet on the bedroom floor, and let the unruly boys do whatever the fuck they wanted. None of it really mattered.
During the move, Toby was thrown into even more upheaval, and his behaviour got worse. Whenever critters are thrown into uncertain situations and unfamiliar environments, they do exactly what small children do - they act out. With dogs, their acting out often comes in the form of reprehensible bathroom behaviour. Toby was marking anything and everything, both outside and indoors. Nothing I did seemed to stop him, no matter how often I took him outside. When we were staying with Janice, I thought she was going to have to be committed there a couple of times, especially when Elvis - Blake's little Chihuahua - and Toby were together. Elvis wouldn't stop humping everyone, and Toby wouldn't stop marking to show his ownership of and dominance over all which he surveyed. Truly, it has been a nightmare.
The first day were were in the new pad, Toby had a couple of mishaps in the apartment. Thankfully, he chose the side of Smidgen's litter box. I cleaned it up easily, and thanked the Mighties that Toby didn't choose to soil the carpet! That very day, I started him on a schedule, taking him out every two hours the first couple of days. The landscape here at Stonesthrow is relatively level and a 100% improvement when it comes to being walkable. Plus, there's a dog park that allows Toby to freely roam as he chooses, instead of always being tethered to his crippled companion. By the time the first week was up, we had established a set schedule that works for us both. In the morning, we go out around 6:30 am, then 10:15, 2 PM, 6 PM, and sometime between 9 and 10 PM. Toby swiftly embraced the schedule, and has readily adopted it to his internal clock.
After four years of excremental horror, there have been no more bathroom incidences since we have settled into the new place. Plus, I'm getting more exercise than I have in ages, as well. The ability to move more without excessive pain, or the threat of blacking out from over-exertion in a landscape hostile to the mobility-challenged. I downloaded an exercise app the other day, because I was curious to see how much I'm walking with Toby each day. After using it these past few days, I'm pleased to report that I'm averaging between 2 and 3 miles each day. After storm season is over with, and there's not a threat of being drenched only moments after you were strolling under the sun, I intend to expand our wandering out to the main roads like Pleasantburg Drive. I don't really need to lose weight, but I do need to build back my muscle, and Toby definitely could slim down a little, after spending years being fed gobs of people food and living a sedentary lifestyle.
I am amazed that it took basically just a week to turn Toby around. His breakthroughs have also been my breakthroughs, because the increased activity has helped me manage my depression which, in turn, allowed me to stick to the new routine, and actually look forward to mine and Toby's times out of doors.
Coming back to the Southeast has been the wisest and healthiest decision I could have made for myself, Toby, and Smidgen. No regrets!
Despite breaking into a clumsy trot, pinwheeling his arms in an attempt not to succumb to his boot toe catching on a rise in the sidewalk pavement, Flint felt himself topple in slow motion, sprawling across The Osmond Family’s star on Hollywood Boulevard.
“So much for Vampiric grace,” Flint grumbled, pulling himself from the ground as tourists studiously ignored the spectacle before them. Why were there so many tourists out at 2 in the morning? Flint wondered. Raising his voice to where he could be heard, Flint groused, “Hey, shows over, eh? Pictures’ll cost you extra!”
The tourists widened their berth around the irked Vampire, as he brushed the grime from an outfit that already looked grimy and unkempt. The clothes weren’t dirty, they were just old, well-worn, and much too large for Flint’s slight frame. It was his wardrobe that was responsible for his fall, because the size discrepancies weren’t reserved to just Flint’s threads, but also his shoes. Flint’s proper shoe size was between a 9 and 10, depending on the make of the shoe. The boots on his feet were size 13, and the sole of the left boot was loose and floppy. Flint called it his rubber flapjack.
Satisfied with sorting himself after the tumble, Flint reached into one of his overcoat pockets and pulled out a wretched-looking cigarette, along with an even worse-looking book of matches. Without moving from the middle of the sidewalk, Flint struck a match, and cupped it to the cigarette, taking a long drag, then exhaling slowly toward the night sky.
Out of the corner of his eye, Flint caught the disapproving glare of bearded young man approaching him, probably on his way to the subway station nearby, given his non-tourist appearance. He was in just the perfect mood to not let the silent judgement go without comment.
“Calm down, it’s not like I’m a corporation belching filth into the air around the clock. I think you’ll survive having to pass me on your way to whatever hipster convention is eagerly awaiting your arrival. They surely can’t get started with their hardcore smugness without your retro arse in attendance!”
The man stopped in his tracks, his scowl deepening. But when Flint flashed his fangs in a predatory smile, the scowl turned to dismay, and the young man hastened away, no longer concerned with the peril to his lungs. Funny how people forgot minor dangers to their person, when they realised their throat could well be on the cutting board. Flint chuckled, his mood buoyed by the brief encounter. He began to walk again, puffing away and humming to himself.
It’s been an interesting few days.
I’ve been trying to unpack and do laundry, but have been battling where to put what, because I’m having problems getting this chest of drawers and side table put together, and I’m unsure where to place the shelves until I get the couch and have it in the proper position. So I’m just sort of in a move-in suspended animation until tomorrow, when I’m scheduled to finally get the couch.
As I unpack and sort stuff, I learn of the things that I need and don’t yet have. Like a broom. I’ve already asked that someone revoke my Witch Card, because this shit is off the hook. Who has ever heard of a Witch without a broom? I was going to use the Swiffer one kind soul sent to me, but I forgot the sweeper needs batteries, so all I can do until I get to a store is just look at it, and look at the floors that won’t be getting cleaned for another couple of days. Oy vey!
On Wednesday, a maintenance dude came to refurbish my tub and sink. At first, I was told that Toby, Smidgen, and I would have to be gone for four hours after he had used the paint, but he seemed to think that the complex people were being overly-cautious. He did warn that the paint had a strong odour, but that was fine, because I liked it once he used it. Then again, I love the smell of gasoline, so I'm a bit of an olfactory mutant. He got to work sanding the tub down, as he waited for his boss to bring the paint he needed. She brought it after about two hours, but she brought the wrong paint, and what the dude needed was all the way in Simpsonville. He asked if he could return the following morning, and I said yes. He had to leave all his equipment in the apartment overnight, so I kept a couple of lights on, so I wouldn’t end up falling and breaking my face, or arse, or something else I might need. He returned the next day and finished the job shortly after Noon. Right now, I’m super-ripe and look atrocious, because I haven’t had a shower in over 48 hours now. It’s currently 11:30, so I have less than an hour to go until I can clean up my act.
Yesterday, Micah was swung by to pick up some incense I had for them, and give me some quarters for bills, so I can do laundry. Stonesthrow has an on-site laundromat, but the machines only accept quarters, and they have no bill changer. I found a drink machine in the gym this morning, and thought that might be an option for when I don’t have quarters or a way to get quarters, but the drink machine won’t take my bills! Frustration is too weak a word for this situation…. Anyway, a few hours before Micah was to arrive, my phone died. I figured it just needed to be charged. But it wouldn’t come on, even after an hour of charging. Nothing I did would make it show any sign of life. I panicked. With my health issues, not having a phone is not an option.
Thankfully, Micah was kind enough to haul my butt to AT&T, where I was prepared to bite the bullet and sign a contract, so I could get a new phone. Everything was in order, until they asked for my identification, which I lost, along with my social security card, in the move across country. The only way I can get a new phone, the service agent said, was to order it online. Shiiiiiit! But she did try this one wee trick to see if there was any hope for the phone, and the battery symbol popped up on the screen. She explained that, sometimes, phones just get locked up and, if you press the power and home buttons at the same time, it can reboot them, and they are okay. She suggested I take the phone home, hook it up, and do the reboot.
So, it appears I don’t need a new phone after all. I just need to learn every clever tip and trick having to do with the iPhone 5s, and I need to do it as soon as fucking possible, before I find myself in a panicked state, simply because I’m ignunt.
Anyway, it was great meeting and hanging out with Micah, whom I initially met online through my friend Cameron. They are a delightful person, and I’m really looking forward to watching them perform in an outdoor production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which they play Puck! Cameron, Cindy, and I were originally scheduled to go to the Saturday production, but Cameron is now thinking it’ll be Sunday, instead, which works better for me, considering I’m supposed to be getting that couch on Saturday. Back to Micah, we share a fascination for the Arabic language and alphabet. They are learning Arabic in school and seemed pleased when I told them that my original Rhyllan alphabet was inspired by the Arabic alphabet. (I really need to turn Rhyllan and Tarmian Tarmi am Tynillim into digital fonts, but I’ll have to wait to get a printer/scanner for that.) Micah is a brilliant person, and exudes a deep kindness. Toby could not get close enough to them when they were here. When they found out I was a Witch, they expressed some interest in learning more about Wicca, since their brother had recently been talking about it as well. Once I have all my gear unpacked and have the apartment in order enough to where I can cast a Circle to my satisfaction, I'm going to invite Micah, and anyone else who might want to participate, to an open Esbat ritual. By then, I'll have furniture for people to sit on, and receptacles out of which they can eat and drink!
I find it telling that I have only been back in South Carolina a month, and I’ve already made a new friend in Micah, and a potential new friend and neighbour, whom I met a couple of days ago. Her name is Christa, and she stopped me as I was walking to the mail box, because she spotted my Pentagram pendant. She’s moving in later on this month, and she’s an herbalist/acupuncturist who has dabbled in Wicca in the past. She wants to get together once she’s settled. I spent four years in San Diego and only made a tiny handful of friends right at the end of my stay in the area. It isn’t that San Diegans aren’t friendly, this is about me. I have to admit I was unwilling to get out there and be proactively social. To be honest, I think that if I had remained in San Diego, I would have become a shut-in, because my social anxiety out there was out the roof. I don’t know why, but I intend to suss it out over time, because I think it’s important to know the reasons behind my inability to interact with others there, when I don’t seem to have a problem with it here. If I discover the roots of this behaviour, I can work to rectify it in the future.
Thanks to my Tribe, another very happy difficulty I’m having with getting unpacked and organised, is I keep getting more packages, which means I’m inundated with boxes, which are getting in the way of unpacking more boxes. I’m not complaining, I think it’s ironic and hilarious! For now, I’m holding on to the better-made boxes, and have put out the word that they are available to anyone who needs them, for whatever. If I haven’t heard anything by Saturday evening, I’m beginning the arduous task of breaking them all down and taking them to the recycling bin across the way.
Speaking of Tribe and new friends, I’ve also connected with a local artist, who has created a piece of art for the new pad. I’m looking forward to meeting Modesto and seeing the barn he has drawn. I had told him to make anything he felt would be good for me and, even though we’ve never met, he decided on a barn. I have a weakness for barns and, especially, lighthouses, so this was perfect. I’m thinking the barn will go in the dining room. I can’t wait to meet Modesto, with whom I hope to work in the future to create an all-inclusive artistic community for the Upstate of South Carolina. I’m in the market for other art, as well. I’m hoping Janice will paint me a lighthouse, when her life settles down enough to where she can get back to her painting. Also, I’ve found this print representing my patron Goddess, Lilith, that I’m keen on putting in the living room. I also want to get a Tolkien-focused piece of art for the living room. The other picture I want to put up is the picture of Jesus that Granny painted when I was just a baby. I grew up believing he was a hippie whose eyes followed me when I moved, and I would flash him the peace sign at least once a day and say, “Peace, brother!” I left the painting behind when I went to San Diego, because I was afraid it would be damaged in the move. Now that I’m back, I’m reclaiming it from all the stuff I still have stored in the old house. Of course, my Shriekback poster will eventually be gracing the bedroom wall. As for the hall and bathroom, I’m not sure yet what, if anything, I’ll do in the decor department. Despite my accrual of a shit=tonne of stuff in a very short period of time, I still consider myself a minimalist!
Smidgen vomited day before yesterday, and did so again overnight, but she seems to be doing well, other than those two incidences. Rene is insisting I stick with the plan of taking her back to Dr. Patch next week, so I’m going to swallow my pride to acquiesce. If it were me, or a situation that did not involve a living entity, I would just wait to address the issue when I could afford it, but that’s not the case, so off we go to the vet’s office one day next week! And, actually, as I was writing this, she vomited again. It was clear fluid with a light yellow tinge to it, so I’m a tad worried that her liver is not doing as well as I had initially hoped.
I’m out of milk and sugar, so I checked to see if the Instacart service was available in this area. It is! So I’m having my milk, sugar, and a couple of other items I needed, delivered in a couple of hours. Since I’m waiting on this, I’m postponing my shower until after s/he has come and gone.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been watching nothing but the Tolkien films. This occurs occasionally, in my Arda-saturated world. The tales JRR Tolkien shared with the world are as ingrained in me, in my soul, as they are in anyone who has ever been moved by a myth or a legend. These are stories as old as time, at least as it is perceived by humankind. You can call it ancestral memory, cellular memory, genetic memory, whatever it is, the remembering experienced by people when immersed in the epic accounts of a nation or race is what drives every generation to redefine the stories to fit their times, and to make sense of the world in which they find themselves.
On the recommendation of my sixth grade English teacher’s son, who was a year my senior, I checked out The Hobbit from the school library, and absorbed it in three days. Before I returned it to school, I read it again, this time more slowly, taking a week. I loved it, but hated the musical abomination that was the Rankin-Bass adaptation. Normally, I loved their TV specials. Not so with their version of The Hobbit. I did, however, love Return of the King, primarily because of Glenn Yarbrough's beautiful song, "Roads Go Ever On."
Even though I had loved the book, it didn’t compel me to pick up The Lord of the Rings, which Gregg also recommended, or The Silmarillion, of which I doubt Gregg was aware, based simply upon his age and how difficult it was to be privy to information, literature, music - basically everything - that wasn’t in the realm of the commonplace. LOTR and The Hobbit were popular enough to be well-known and easily-obtainable in the South. The Silmarillion, on the other hand, had only been published for approximately two years at that time. Even if Gregg knew about it, it was highly doubtful the school library had book!
On the day I took my SAT, in my senior year of high school, Aunt Tudi found a box set, which I still have, of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit at a yard sale she and Granny visited while they waited on me to finish my test. I still did not read LOTR. I was busy with other things at the time, like getting through my last year in high school, preparing for college, and writing this odd collection of mythic stories that were born out of my lighthearted science fiction shorts, originally inspired by the Electric Light Orchestra’s Time album.
In my first year of college, my Humanities professor was impressed with my assignments and asked if I was a writer. I told him I wrote stories and poetry, and had been active in the literary and drama clubs in high school. He asked to see some of work, so I opted to share with him some of the stories of the Rhyllans, and how they came to be.
A week later, Dr. Miller, who happened to be a Tolkien scholar who had taught classes on the old professor's works, asked if I had read The Silmarillion. When I asked why, he informed me that I could be sued for some of the material I had written, if I ever tried to clean it up and get it published. I did not understand but, instead of reading The Silmarillion, I opted to read The Lord of the Rings, under the incorrect assumption that it came before The Silmarillion. Publishing-wise, it did, but I was thinking of the timeline of the narratives themselves.
Of course, I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings, and promptly went to B. Dalton Books and purchased a copy of The Silmarillion, which I still have. When I read the Ainulindalë and Valaquenta, I finally understood Dr. Miller’s warning, and I reconciled with the fact that my Rhyllan myths would never be published in any complete capacity. The one thing I couldn’t understand was why I was unable to make myself change much of anything in my myths, even though their current incarnation would get me chased around by the Tolkien posse.
This is where I want to make it very clear that I am, by no means, comparing my writing to that of JRR Tolkien’s, who far surpasses the greatness of the likes of Clive Barker, and he greatly surpasses even my wildest dreams of scribal skill. The essence of the stories, in particular the Music of Creation and the diminishing of the Dėaghydge, was exceedingly Tolkienesque. Even the Goddess Kessilon, the Dėaghyden Star Goddess, was nearly identical to Varda, albeit a tad more sci-fi in her relationship to the stars. My mind was boggled, and it still is, even though I came to learn the root of the similiarities.
It wasn’t until three years later, when I began to study theology and various theories, one of which was genetic memory, that I understood the connection between my stories and those of JRR Tolkien’s. It wasn’t a connection that involved just myself and Mr. Tolkien; it was one that encompassed a great swathe of the Fantasy literary world and the whole of human myth, be it supposedly dead myths of ancient Greece and Sumeria, or the living religions like Hinduism and Judaism. They are all retellings of a very tiny collection of stories that speak of humanity’s commonality. And the connection doesn’t affect just nations or tribes, or even families; they affect individuals. We all have the capacity, and often the compulsion, to create our own personal myths. This is what I was doing with the Rhyllan folk, and their sister races, the Tarmi and the Thranodiena ~ all three of whom comprised the descendants of the divine Dėaghydhe.
In 1993, I was tasked with deciding on a Craft name, because I had decided to become a Dedicant in the Temple Hecate Triskele. I opted for Tinhuviel, adding the “h” for numerological purposes. Artanis was a name for the Tarmian Goddess of the flora and fauna, tightly connected with bears, owls, and lizards. It wasn’t until about a year later, I discovered that Artanis is also Galadriel’s father-name! So this is why I feel that Tolkien’s works aren’t simply fiction. They have an ancient magick within them. They have the power to bring people together and, sadly, because of their religious nature, they also have the power to pull them apart. Such is the way with spiritual works. JRR Tolkien wanted to create a mythology for England. He certainly did that, but he did so much more. He enriched the mythologies of people around the world, so much so, that scientists have named an entire ancient human race after one of his own. That speaks volumes to me, and it should to any student of JRR Tolkien’s work, or human memory in general.
I know it’s an impossibility, but I would love to know the origins of the stories that are obviously of such great import to our species, that they have been retold for thousands of years, and are as beloved today as they were from time immemorial, with no small thanks to JRR Tolkien.
Yesterday, I called Charter Communications to set up Internet service, after AT&T fucked up every order I set up with them. Like, every single one. The gentleman I spoke with told me the technician would be at my pad between 8 and 9 AM. While I was out with Toby's morning walk, I got an automated call from Spectrum, informing me that the tech was en route. It was a quarter til 8. Toby and I hied our way back to the pad and about 10 minutes later, Chase the Spectrum Tech was standing, smiling, at my door. It was 8:06! He had everything set up within 30 minutes, and even checked with the other tech in the van to see if he had a lighter or matches for me. I haven't the ability to make fire at the moment, so I'm starting to feel like Naoh!
Thanks to my wacked-out health, there was an incident last Sunday that landed me in an extended stay hotel until yesterday morning. As documented on my Facebook, I ended up with Blake's cold a couple of weeks ago. Since 2015, I don't just get to have a simple cold and be done with it, no. I end up with secondary infections and my sleep patterns and behaviour are almost always affected. That means I sleepwalk. After the cold began to wane, I developed some sort of viral infection under my tongue. I caved and went to the doctor about that last Friday. He gave me some lidocaine for the pain and told me to ride it out for about a week, at which time, it should be getting better. But it wasn't just that. A knot - infection? lymph gland? who knows? - began growing behind my left ear. I felt generally unwell. The next thing I remember, Janice is driving me to Crossland Suites. She thought I had over-taken some of my medication and, when she couldn't find it in my stuff, was not going to be convinced otherwise. I was so sick and out of it, I was incapable of explaining what I had done with my meds, and had no way to show her that all was in order, because I'd repacked everything a couple of days prior, along with the meds I'd had moved from San Diego to here. It was an effort in poor organisation. The next day, I Uber'd to the closest CVS and had them check my temp at the minute clinic. My throat was on fire, and I felt delusional, and couldn't think straight. I had a fever of 103. I got some aspirin and juice, and went back to the hotel to die. Then I lost my voice for three days.
Fortunately, I began to recover from this nightmare on Thursday. Friday was the big day of the move, so I had to be at least marginally functional! When Friday came, my voice was back, my mouth had recovered almost completely, and my throat was only a little scratchy. I was still weak and underwhelmed, but I was present and accounted for.
It's been slow going like you wouldn't believe with the unpacking process. I don't have furniture to put things on, and I don't want to put stuff on the floor, in the event Toby decides he wants to mark something, like an asshole, so I'm having to pick and choose what I pull out for right now. Today, I wanted to smudge the apartment, and set up a little bit of sacred space in the bedroom, but I can't find my supplies and incense. I've gone through everything and can't find an inkling of Witchery anywhere. But I did find the prescriptions I'd consolidated! I called Janice to let her know and, when I see her, I'm gonna show her what I'd done and why it looked so bad, when she went to check on my medicinal intake. I also apologised for acting so wonky. I really could not help it, though!
Yesterday, I got a delivery of cheese garlic bread and a Pepsi, which I have been subsisting on for almost 24 hours. About an hour ago, I did something I had not done since 2013: I used a pot and cooked soup on a real stove. To most, I guess this is no big deal but, for me, it's truly a momentous occasion that means several things. It means that I'm more self-sufficient now that I have been in years. It means I can begin to eat properly and have more variety in my life as a crap foodie. It means that I am going to save a huge amount of money on food, because I have so much storage space, a whole damned fridge, and the ability to prepare food rather than depending on prepackaged junk food. Cooking that soup on a stove top, in my own pot, with my own spoon, means that I am free. It also means that Gordon Ramsay will have one more vegetarian pseudo-cook to rail at for existing, and daring to darken the sacred doors of a kitchen!
Of course, I could not have gotten to this mini-milestone, had it not been for the kind souls of my Tribe and our extended clan. Were I able, I would cook up a flipping cauldron of soup and share it with you all, as we party as hard as a pack of introverts could!
When Janice realised a few hours ago that I had put my feelers out for a twin/half bed, she told me that I could have hers, which is in pretty much brand new condition. She is wanting to get rid of the bed, because she has a new suit with a larger bed that's better support to her ailing back. Fine with me! I was pleased. Feelin' groovy. Paul Simon was prepared to serenade me!
Then, about an hour after that good news, I got a call from JoLee at Stonesthrow. I could tell by the tone of her voice things weren't good, before she even had the chance to say, "We've got a little issue with the apartment."
But it wasn't a bad thing at all, except for a brief delay in when I'll move in. JoLee went on to explain that the apartment would not be ready until Friday, June the 9th, three days after my initial move-in date. I told her that would be fine, it was not a really big deal, 'cos I knew Janice wouldn't mind me staying a few extra days. That's when JoLee told me that the property manager had taken off the pet deposit, as well as the monthly pet rent, for one of the furkids, to make up for any inconvenience the delay might have caused me.
But wait, there's more! Because my move-in date changed, I had to contact the power company and AT&T to change my utilities transfer and Internet installation date. It was whilst chatting with an agent at ATT.com, it was revealed that the price of $30 the first agent I'd spoken with had locked in for me had not actually been locked in, and I was designated in the system to be paying $40 a month for Internet, after paying my $99 installation fee.
But the agent told me he could correct the mistake, that my promised price was good. The problem was, the system wouldn't let him change anything about the order, so he had to cancel it. That's when things got really good. Not only did he place me a new order for the 9th of June, but he also waived the installation fee, for the inconvenience of the botched first order! I have confirmation of the new arrangements in email and chat.
Thanks to these folks wanting to ensure I wasn't upset about [not] being inconvenienced, I now have fundage for groceries in June (and stuff to cook them in and eat them on, thanks to my Tribe, you know who you are!), barring any unforeseen horror stories lurking in the shadows of chance.
In the event you're wondering whether or not you're experiencing déja vu, you're not. It was suggested to me that I should switch to the Amazon Wishlist, rather than Wal-mart, as my options would be greater and oft-times cheaper, so that is what I have done. You can click on the wee picture to the left to be taken to mah list. Thank you for your time, patience, and willingness to read this far!
The past few days have seen a good friend post several Pink Floyd songs to his Facebook timeline, a news story on Roger Waters' unsurprisingly politicized concert tour and, just now, my iTunes essentially saying, "Okay, asshole, the universe is telling you to listen to the Floyd, so I guess I'll just put you back in cosmic line. Motherfucker..."
There are often reasons for why I choose not to listen to certain songs or bands at certain times. One reason is because of the memories associated with them. Another is because of the pain of musical empathy. Pink Floyd falls into that category, so I have to be careful of my mood and mindset before I partake of the auditory manna that is Pink Floyd.
What exactly is this thing I call musical empathy? Basically, it's when I feel the message of the music so deeply that I become that music. I got a double dose of musical empathy with Pink Floyd. Even though I'd heard their music before, I didn't really get into them until I was given a 45 RPM of 'On the Turning Away' by Uncle Michael in 1986. While I was reading an article in Rolling Stone about Pink Floyd, the next 45 that dropped on my record player just happened to be that record. I heard the song for the first time whilst reading about Syd Barrett's descent into madness for the first time. What are the odds? I felt his story so deeply, so jarringly, I felt like I was losing my mind.
It didn't help when, just a few months later, I would meet the man who would be my closest friend for 25 years, and he was very heavily into the band, particularly 'The Wall'. I saw the movie for the first time with him. We ended up memorising every single vocal noise on the album and the movie soundtrack. There were times when we'd spend almost every evening after work, watching and acting out the film, or just listening to the album and singing along. It was a beautiful time, but also a dangerous one, for me. I was too immersed in it all, and my first bad bout with depression occurred right around this time. It would be a few years before I was diagnosed with depressive disorder, but I think Pink Floyd awoke some long-slumbering serpent that may not have reared its head for a long time to come, if ever.
Do I regret my relationship with Pink Floyd? Only when my mood prevents me from listening to them. This past week has seen me in "one of my turns", so listening just wasn't an option, until today. So now I'm bingeing and it sounds and feels oh so very good!
Tomorrow evening, I will be ending this campaign. I'm keeping it up long enough to make sure anyone who is interested in my last update, gets a chance to read it. In a jaw-dropping rally to help Smidgen, members of my Tribe and their friends pushed me past my goal to rehome, *and* sent gravy outside the realms of GoFundMe, which went to pay for Smidgen's healthcare and her new prescription diet. All of you have no idea how humbled I am to have you in my life, and I hope to do the same for you when you need it, or even want it! You have been kinder to me in my time of emergency than some of my closest family, which merely confirms my belief that you make your family. You're mine.
Why do people get so schmaltzy about a woman's behaviour the moment she brings a child into this world? It has nothing to do with love, and everything to do with chemistry. Most women are hard-wired to experience a deep, unbreakable love and connection to the child they just bore, because mammals are programmed to experience such joy to ensure the protection and care for the new life. Women, in general, have this instinct. Some women, like myself, do not.
But when I see people get all squishy over the normally natural instincts of a female caught up in the heady miasma of birth, it makes me sad that so many are oblivious to the science surrounding it, and prefer to attribute some mystical love-fest to the proceedings. Let the woman be what she is in her moment. Don't decorate the experience with obsolete beliefs. She's doing the exact same thing a mother cat does when she removes her babies' placentas and cleans them vigourously. Her instincts, in the form of love, which is a collection of chemicals triggered by childbirth, dictate that she does this, just like most women are desperate to hold their newborns to their breasts.
Don't get me wrong. I honour the customs that surround childbirth. I sympathise with the mystic traditions that have been born out of the birthing process. I understand and sense the work of the Goddess in such events. But I also know that science has explained a lot of what we once thought divine in nature, and that's something that we cannot deny.
Be happy for the new mother, if she is indeed happy to be one. Celebrate with her. Enjoy the customs and traditions you practice in regard to pregnancy and birth. Just do so from an informed position, rather than from one of superstition and ignorance. Yes, she is in love. Yes, she is glowing with joy. And yes, she's enjoying a high from a cocktail of chemicals that demand she feel these things, for the well-being of her newborn child.
Walter White will tell you the same goddamn thing.
If I am correct in my forecast of the final eradication of the republic of the United States, those of us who are, have very little time left to truly speak out against the current atrocities and the coming abominations.
After I am finally settled in the new pad, I plan on getting more involved, hands-on, locally. Until that's possible, I'm doing what I can online. That means telling people as often as I can what the true nature of these fake Christians is, how they can fight it (while they still can), and what resources they need to research my dire warnings for themselves. It also means standing up to Donald Drumpf and his fascist regime, using the same weapon he uses to disseminate his vile propaganda: Twitter.
I try to troll him at least once a day. I'm hoping everyone who reads this and see the examples of my efforts, decides to do the same thing. Maybe if he's trolled enough, he'll shut his tweeting pie-hole. Maybe his insecurity from reading such responses to his activities will cause his blood pressure to shoot up and give him a fatal stroke. Better yet, maybe he'll finally lose his mind from all the pressure, and take out his entire administration and family before he offs himself. I don't see a more ideal way of draining the fucking swamp in Washington DC.
But the pushback has to start now because, as I said, I doubt we have much time to freely express ourselves in this country. The clock has been ticking since the evangelicals began blurring the line between church and state, beginning in 1980. That clock is running out of time.
So my weak trickle has dried up, and I am still short $240. I've already resigned myself to the fact that I'm probably going to go hungry in June; however, it's nothing new, really, considering I went hungry a good bit of the time in San Diego, thanks to having no access to food. Things will still be better eventually! I've attached a screencap from my move-in letter, of the expenses I owe. It adds up to almost exactly $1500. If you want to help with my GoFundMe Campaign, just click the picture with all those scary expenses to be taken to my page. Also, please share with everyone you know. Even if you can't contribute, sharing with those who might can would also be a great boon. I'm seriously considering launching another campaign for Smidgen. She lost all power in her back legs this morning. It was only for about 30 seconds, but any amount of time in that condition is simply unacceptable. Yep, I'm not thrilled with what life is handing me and mine, right now, but we shall follow the mantra of the great Gloria Gaynor, and we will survive.
Well, I have decided. June 24th will be the last day I cross-post to LiveJournal. That's New Moon, and I wish to begin many things anew on that day. Bringing LJ to a close and making the complete transition to Dreamwidth will be one of those major things. The move is bittersweet to say the least. I've been with LJ since June of 2002, making my 15 year anniversary a little under two weeks away. The old Cliffs is like your Granny's cardigan sweater: raggedy, but the most comfortable thing you've ever worn. At least, that's how I've felt about it for a very long time. I'll miss it, but it's time to move on, and Dreamwidth's platform is quite functional, providing me with most of what I need in a blog. It appears that 2017 is truly the Year of Great Change. Let's hope it's not also the Year of Great Upheaval. We're already living under the Chinese curse of "interesting times." Let's hope the only other big changes are nothing more than a journal transition made by an obscure (at best) blogger from the ass end of nowhere.
Groups of Animals Are Collected into a Knot of Nouns
But let's face it, there's not much fun in saying Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, the scientific moniker for the green sea urchin. Plus, it's damned hard to pronounce.
|Bitterns - a Sedge|
Buzzards - a Wake
Bobolinks - a Chain
Coots - a Cover
Cormorants - a Gulp
Cranes - a Sedge
Crows - a Murder
Doves - a Dule, Arc, or Pitying
Ducks - a Raft, Paddling, or Badling
Eagles - a Convocation or Aerie
Emus - a Mob
Finches - a Charm
Flamingos - a Stand
Geese - a Gaggle or Skein
Grouse - a Pack
Hawks - a Cast, Kettle, or Boil
Herons - a Sedge or Siege
Jays - a Party or Scold
Lapwings - a Deceit
Larks - an Exaltation or Ascension
Mallards - a Sord
Magpies - a Tiding or Gulp
Nightingales - a Watch
Owls - a Parliament
Parrots - a Company or Pandemonium
Partridges - a Covey
Peacocks - an Ostentation
Pheasants - a Nide, Nye, or Bouquet
Plovers - a Congregation
Quail - a Bevy
Rooks - a Building
Ravens - an Unkindness
Snipe - a Walk or Wisp
Sparrows - a Host
Starlings - a Murmuration
Storks - a Mustering
Swallows - a Flight
Swans - a Bevy or Wedge
Teal - a Spring
Turkeys - a Rafter
Widgeons - a Company
Woodcocks - a Fall
Woodpeckers - Descent
|Apes - a Shrewdness|
Asses - a Pace
Badgers - a Cete
Bears - a Sloth or Sleuth
Buffalo - an Obstinancy
Camels - a Caravan
Cats - a Clowder or Pounce
Cows - a Kine
Elephants - a Memory
Elk - a Gang
Ferrets - a Business
Foxes - a Leash or Skulk
Giraffes - a Tower
Goats -a Tribe
Hares - a Down or Husk
Hippopotamuses - a Bloat
Hyaenas - a Cackle
Kangaroos - a Troop
Leopards - a Leap
Martens - a Richness
Moles - a Labour
Monkeys - a Barrel
Mules - a Span or Barren
Otters - a Romp
Oxen - a Yoke
Pigs - a Drift, Drove, or Sounder
Polecats - a Chine
Porcupines - a Prickle
Possums - a Passel
Prairie Dogs - a Coterie
Rabbits - a Warren
Raccoons - a Gaze
Rhinoceroses - a Crash
Seals - a Pod
Squirrels - a Dray or Scurry
Tigers - a Streak or an Ambush
Whales - a Gam
Wolves - a Rout
Wombats - a Wisdom
Zebras - a Zeal
|Ants - a Colony|
Bees - a Grist or Swarm
Butterflies - a Flutter
Caterpillars - an Army
Cockroaches - an Intrusion
Flies - a Business
Gnats - a Horde
Grasshoppers - a Cloud
Jellyfish - a Smack
Lice - a Flock
Locusts - a Plague
Spiders - a Clutter
Wasps - a Pladge
|Barracuda - a Battery|
Bass - a Shoal
Goldfish - a Cloud
Herring - an Army
Salmon - a Run
Sharks - a Shiver
Trout - a Hover
|REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS|
|Alligators - a Congregation|
Crocodiles - a Bask or Float
Frogs - an Army
Lizards - a Lounge
Toads - a Knot
Turtles - a Bale or Dole
Rattlesnakes - a Rhumba
Well, not really, not completely. But my hair is a different story! For the first time in my life, I dyed my own hair. I figured I'd do something heinous and all my hair would fall out, leaving a crusty, infected, bleeding scalp, but my low expectations were not met, thank the Mighties! I used this dye called Splat. It's cruelty free, which gives me the gentle wibblies and generates much affection for the company on my behalf and the behalf all the beasties that have been spared.
The colour was supposed to be indigo, but I'm really rather happy with the results. I like the lighter blue. It's almost a periwinkle, which is beyond cool, considering that colour's close association with Cadmus Pariah.
It didn't take much of the dye to do this, so I'm thinking I have two more dye sessions' worth left. This is incredible, because it means this dye job cost me about $4.00, as opposed to the $185+ I spent at Floyd's.
Blake is taking me to see Alien: Covenant tonight. It's gonna be him, Colby, Nick, and me. Here's hoping I don't cramp their Millennial style. I'm just pleased as punch I'm getting to hang out with the kiddos. A lot of the peeps in my generation around here are too busy being sticks in the mud. Give me Millennials any ole day of the week. What with my hair, I'm hoping I blend in effortlessly!
What you are about to read is an account of some happenings earlier this year. It’s not at all a pretty story, and could possibly be triggery to anyone living with a mental illness, or with someone with a mental illness. Please proceed with caution
There is a not-so-happy little place called Alvarado Parkway Institute, in La Mesa, California. I ended up there four times in 2016, the last time being voluntary. The first three times were for suicide attempts. The fourth was an attempt on my part to not try again.
API has many hallmarks you might expect to see in a movie like One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest. They engage in something I call “punitive therapy.” The logic, as I see it, goes a little like this: Oh, your being admitted to our hospital? Well, excellent! We will make you as miserable as we can, until you straighten up and stop being a snowflake. There are four wings in the hospital, the Open Wing, the Forensics Wing (where prisoners are housed, whenever they go batshit like the rest of us.), South Wing for the elderly, homeless, and extreme depression, and the North Wing, which houses the violent patients, suicide attempts, and perverts.
Barring Forensics, I was in every wing. I got off easy the first three times, what with my reason for being admitted. I spent a brief stint in the Open Wing, but was transferred to the South Wing a day later, because I’d had a seizure, and they could keep a better eye on me in that part of the facility. The next two times, I was placed in South.
The fourth time, I asked to be admitted. It was New Years Eve, an event that is closely associated with Aunt Tudi. We used to sit and watch the ball drop and sip eggnog, as we discussed the passing year and what our plans would be for the new year. I had already been rattled by many of the events that transpired during the last half of the year, and I knew that if I tried to tough the night out, I would attempt another suicide, just to stop the memories and grief. I figured I’d stay for a few days until the dust settled, and I had already enrolled in a different insurance plan that would allow me to go to a different hospital
I was wrong. I remained on the Open Wing for almost two weeks. at which time the Mother Unit was going to come pick me up. But the day she was supposed to get me, she never showed.
I tried calling her to no avail, so I finally gave in and called Matt. It was then I found out that the Unit was in the hospital and had been since the day before. She had to get a stent in her heart, as she’s got congestive heart failure. I lost my mind, which isn’t a good thing when you’re locked up in a place for people who have lost their minds. I asked if I could stay a couple more days, which the doctor agreed to OK.
The next day, I finally talked to the Unit, having gotten her hospital room phone number. We weren’t two minutes into the conversation, when she started fussing at me for turning Matt down for a ride. I was called rude, inconsiderate, and so on and so forth. I tried to explain that I decided to stay a little while longer, because I felt that Matt should be close to the Unit, and I was all the way out in La Mesa. I was trying to do what I though was the right thing. And I got bitched at.
Then I really fell apart. And I made the mistake of telling my doctor that I was again experiencing suicidal ideation. The next day, I was transferred to the North Wing. The place reeked of putrified happiness. My blood pressure sky-rocketed, so they had to give me an Ativan. I was so freaked out in the Wing, I refused to leave my room.
Now API has communal showers. You ask the nurse to open the shower for you, you clean up, come out, and it’s someone else’s turn. Now, I have this issue with touching things that naked strangers have touched. I can’t do it. But the next morning, I was forced to do it. On the other two wings, they were perfectly happy to allow me to take bird baths and wash my hair in the lavatory. I was always clean. I never stunk. But this one particular nurse had it in her mind to make me shower no matter what. She escorted me down the hall, then threw me into that shower, which induced another panic attack as a result. Another Ativan for me.
As previously mentioned, I refused to leave my room, which meant I couldn’t attend group sessions, nor did I want to, as I had nothing in common with any of the other patients, and I didn’t trust them or the staff to protect me from them. The problem is, they monitor your group activity and, if you don’t attend, they will keep you longer.
Because of that, my doctor, who spent all of two minutes with me each day, kept me for another two weeks. In the North Wing. It got to the point where I requested to change doctors. When he found out I had done that, he stopped my sleeping pill, which was the only way I could sleep in that hell pit. And it’s the only thing that keeps Aunt Tudi from calling me in the night, since it was nighttime when she would need me the most.
I spent the majority of January in this hospital, simply because I needed help with my depression and complicated grief. But they made me worse. I experienced a psychotic break from lack of sleep. As I understand it, I was running down the hall, trying to find Aunt Tudi before she died. At least that’s what they told me. And I was nearly catatonic from sleep deprivation by the time I was discharged.
I finally got my shit together, though, thanks to the hospital under my current health plan. They listen without judgement, they work with you individually, and they provide tools that help people with mental illness better manage their symptoms.
What’s so funny is, API’s motto is “A Culture of Caring.” The only thing they care about is lining their pockets at the expense of both patients and the underpaid staff. Don’t get me wrong, there were many good people at API, but they were overworked, stretched thin, and shown little, if any, appreciation. You can’t mistreat people, then expect them to get better, or have morale, respectively.
One more thing about API: They need to better train their staff to deal with people who are simply depressed, or reserve a place just for those with depression. When you begin mixing vastly different people with a rainbow of symptoms, nobody wins. I spoke with many fellow patients who were depressed, and they agreed that it was detrimental to their mental health to be in an environment where you're treated like a criminal or someone who has dissociated from the world.
I’m so glad I will never darken the doors of Alvarado Parkway Institute again. I hope that someday, both the patients and the staff run amuck and burn this psychiatric bog of eternal stench to the ground.
Above all else, have faith.
My commands are not difficult to obey.
At this very moment, as I speak to you,
I speak to everyone else as well.
I give them commands to help you in your quest.
I give them commands to make way for you.
Keep my words locked fiercely in your heart.
From this day forward, you are mine.
Every moment of your life is dedicated to my service.
From this day forward I will assist you every moment,
while you worship me.
-speech of the Goddess Isis
Apuleius' The Golden Ass
I have an apartment. It will be ready to move in to on the 6th of June. Here's my latest GoFundMe update with the particulars.
First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has so far helped with this campaign. Your generosity is truly humblings, and I hope I can someday do the same for you, or anyone who may need whatever help I can provide! Now, down to the nitty gritty. I was approved for an apartment at Stonesthrow in Greenville, South Carolina. True, it's not Asheville, but it's closer to my family and friends, both of whom I need more than trying to capture the happiness I felt in my childhood in Asheville. Sometimes, necessity and simple contentment outweigh dreams that may have run their course. The move-in date is June 6th. It is unfurnished, and I have no furniture of which to speak. I have the old dining room table that was made by Grandaddy, at least I think it's still down at the old house. That's it. Needless to say, if I have any money left after paying deposits, rent, and getting utilities and Internet, my funds will be reserved for things like a bed. I still have a long, hard row to sow, so please keep up what little momentum this campaign still has, 'cos I'm still $495 away from my goal, and I'm more than a little scared right now.
If you wish to help by contributing or sharing my campaign, please click:
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.
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’.
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.
As I was growing up in Asheville, I'd spend a great deal of time with my great-grandmother, Little Granny (she was 4'10"). Here's a picture of her mother, Granny Mehaffey, who was born on September 9, 1867, and fought a bobcat to the death in her 30s. If I remember correctly, she was in her 90s when she died, and she had one tooth her head that she would use to eat apples! It's true that the Scots-Irish folk of the mountains are tough as goddamned nails. Nowadays, I'm thinking she would have to go a bit further into the Blue Ridge Mountains in order to be fully understood, since a lot of the language has faded over the decades. Granny Mehaffey probably sounded more like she was speaking a bastard version of Gaelic and German than the modern Appalachian dialect of today. Here are some words I used to hear her use, and some I even have used myself throughout my life. Those I've put in bold.
- Afeared - afraid
- Ary - any
- Bald - a treeless mountain summit
- Blinds - window shades
- Blinked or Blinky - gone sour, usually in reference to milk
- Brickle - brittle (Little Granny always called peanut brittle "brickle".
- Cat-head - a giant ass biscuit
- Clean - used as an adverb meaning "all the way." "I'll knock your damn head clean off your shoulders!"
- Coke - any cola, be it Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or RC.
- Cornpone - cornbread (I had a dog named Cornpone!)
- Directly - soon, later, after a while, when it's convenient. "I'll call you back die-RECK-lee."
- Fit - fought, as in (and I'm not lying here) "I'm so tired, I feel like I fit fire (pronounced far) all day."
- Haint - ghost, spirit, hideous woman
- Holler - for hollow, the valley in between mountains
- Hull - shell, as in a nut hull.
- Ill - bad-tempered
- Jarfly - cicada
- Kyarn - carrion. Anything that smells rotten.
- Lay out - to skip school or work
- Meeting - religious service, as in "Sunday-go-to-meetin'"
- Nary - none
- Peckerwood - someone you think is an asshole.
- Piece - distance, as in, "You'll find the gas station up the road a piece."
- Plum - completely. "I'm plum wore out!"
- Poke - satchel (see its origins for real and true. ----->)
- Poke sallet - a salad made from the boiled leaves of the poke bush.
- Quare - queer, as in the original meaning of the word, which was strange.
- Reckon - suppose
- Sigogglin - wonky, crooked, out-of-whack
- Sop - gravy
- Swan (or Swannee) - swear, as in "I swannee!" usually said as you shake your head in dismay.
- Toboggan - a toque, knit cap
- Tote - to carry. Also can mean a sack. So you can tote a poke or tote a tote.
- Tow sack - a big burlap bag
- Yonder (Little Granny said "yander") - there, as in "over yonder."
I'm listening to a discussion about how college students are protesting ultra-conservative speakers at their graduation ceremonies, and many people on both sides of the fence are tut-tutting these young adults for choices, citing a lack of manners and an inclination to tamp down free speech.NO.These young people are realising what their parents should have twenty years ago, or more. When it comes to extreme views, based on hate and, these days, very thinly veiled, people like that have lost the luxury of being treated with manners, because they don't afford the same to the majority of their fellow Americans.
The time for so-called polite discourse is over, because these people never wanted that; rather, they want people to keep their mouths shut and listen to what they have to say, then toe the line. You can't fight madness like that by following a model the other side abandoned decades ago. If freedom is to survive, those who treasure it and, especially, those who depend on it for their safety from these thugs, need to rise up, exactly like these college graduates are doing.
A huge chunk of Baby Boomers turned traitor ages ago, opting for the promise wealth over the ideal of true liberation. Generation X, my generation, is too jaded and complacent to be very effective at all, plus we were the first generation to grow up under the unsupervised shadow of the burgeoning Moral Majority, so many in our own ranks came into adulthood brainwashed, then did the same to their kids, who are even more dedicated to the theocratic movement, which was born out of an intolerance of de-segregation, not a love for foetuses. And the poor Millennials just don't get listened to, because they are so incredibly alien to the former gens, especially the Boomers. (I don't think they're alien, I love Millennials!). Is it any wonder they are choosing more aggressive tactics in a bid to protect what few freedoms they have left?
Was it rude for the graduates of Bethune-Cookman University to turn their backs on Nancy DeVos? That depends. Is it rude for someone who is part of a movement that intrinsically hates non-whites and justifies it with Jesus to presume to make a commencement speech at a college that was created because African Americans weren't allowed in White colleges? The new adult Americans realise something we older ones could not, or would not: You have to give tit for tat, when it comes to irrational, aggressive, narrow-minded people who are about as American as Al Qaeda. The new adult Americans are all Americans' safety net, the only thing coming between us and complete collapse into a Fascist Theocracy.
We should be thanking them instead of calling them names.
Before I begin writing this, I want to make something abundantly clear: I am not actively suicidal. Suicidal Ideation is one of many joyful experiences served up by Depressive Disorder. So, let's get that straight. No need to call emergency services. I just need to purge all of this, so it doesn't go any further than unbidden flash thoughts.
After six hours of fitful sleep, my first thought when I woke up this morning was, "I'm thin enough now, I could walk to Rogers Bridge with Smidgen and Toby, and we could jump in the Middle Tyger River. That way, we'd never be a burden or worry to anyone ever again, least of all ourselves."
Off and on yesterday, as the funds just poured out for very damned little, I caught myself considering the peace oblivion would bring. I have placed strain on my family out here, and I'm being a pest to my friends and Tribe for rides and money. I've drug my two homebody furbabies all over hell and half creation to establish a relationship with my mother that never was meant to be. I can't eat properly, I'm always in pain, and honestly, I'm lonely. I feel like I've lost the ability to be (or act) normal in a social situation.
I've felt more like a throwaway than I have in months. And I know it's that damned chemical imbalance in my brain interacting with the uncertainty of my future, but being intellectually aware of what's causing it does not prevent it or alleviate it. I just have to work through it.
It truly is like having a monster living in your mind and, despite your efforts to stop it, it just continues to gnaw away at your will to keep the thing at bay. No one needs or wants a life in upheaval but, when it happens to someone like me, it can be a life-threatening situation. You become a threat to yourself. That's why so many people I know who have Depressive Disorder are hardcore about keeping certain routines. If you find a routine that brings you peace and doesn't rock your psychological boat, you're going to hold on to it with a fierce passion and, if that routine is upset, it can send you into a tailspin.
I'm in that tailspin right now, and I'm doing my best to pull up.
But I'm scared. And my feelings about losing Aunt Tudi aren't even trying to hide right under the surface. And it's gonna get worse before it gets better, because I'm going to have to bunk with Blake in the old house until I can find another place to live, which means she'll be calling me in the night. And it's that main thing that drove me to so much self-destructive behaviour before I left for California. To be back there even for one day is almost unbearable to imagine, but it's going to happen whether I want it to or not.
I feel like my solar plexus has turned into a gordian knot, and my heart is beating funny. My entire body is responding to the stress and depression, and I'm afraid I'm going to fall ill, when that's the last damned thing I need right now. I've already got a urinary tract infection that I'm trying to beat on my own, because I can't afford an urgent care right now.
What's worse is Smidgen's back leg weakness has magnified. I'm hoping it's just arthritis and the stress of travel making it worse, but she's old and I'm afraid it might be something more serious. And I can't take her to the vet. Of course, my mind instantly went there - that I'm going to watch her die because I was too sorry to take care of her. Why do I deserve to live when I can't properly make the lives of those I love have some measure of quality? If Smidgen dies, I am going to be beyond devastated, especially if I find out I could have prevented it somehow, if I had only done more or been more.
My helplessness cannot be measured. I'm doing everything within my power, including writing this, to make sure hopelessness doesn't also get to that point, because I'm not sure I'll survive it.
Even though I'd planned on doing it a little later in the day, on a whim, I just walked over to Not-Carl's Jr (HARDEES) to get a newspaper. As I was putting my change in, I heard a man behind me say, "Hey, I like your dog!" I turned around and there sat Bobby, my longtime friend Diane's boyfriend.
"Bobby?!" I said, shocked as hell.
He stared at me for a minute and then said, "Tracy, is that you?!"
I had been trying to get in contact with Diane for the past two weeks, to no avail. Her line was always busy. He went into the restaurant to tell her I was outside. When she came out, we had a brief festive reunion and I gave her my phone number so she could call me, and I could tell her everything that's going on.
She's lived here longer than I have, and she has tons of connections, so I'm hoping she can put out some feelers for me a place to live.
Really, though, what are the chances? Diane and Bobby don't live in Duncan, they live in Spartanburg, approximate 15 miles away. What forces are at work that would lead me to go get a paper at that exact time, to find them there? It's a fast food joint, so the window of stumbling across them like that was minuscule! Surely, this is a bounty in disguise. I have to think that way. My other thoughts are not the healthiest in the world at the moment.
It has been 10 hours since I launched this campaign and, already, I'm a third of the way to my goal. And it's all thanks to you lovely people. My friend Cameron is taking me up to Asheville tomorrow, because I have scheduled three appointments for viewing rooms and apartments. Ideally, by tomorrow evening, I will have secured something and can start mapping out the rest of my plans for permanent settlement. I will definitely keep everyone following my progress here updated as much as possible! Again, thank you all so very much. You are stellar souls, and my heroes, every last one of you!
The following was handwritten during my trip from San Diego to Greenville-Spartanburg.
May 8, 2017, 10:40 PM PDT
I'm on the plane, bound for Greenville. It's hard to believe I've come full circle, and even harder to believe that I'm so happy to be returning to the South. The Mother Unit brought me to the airport. We did a one-armed hug to say goodbye. Kind of sad, really, but I really didn't expect much more, if anything.
She and Matt are still in the process of packing, so they probably won't leave until Wednesday. Losing Pinky took a physical toll on them, so they did very little in the moving department today. I would have been the same way, had it been Toby or Smidgen lost to the wild. I feel terrible that Pinky got outside. Matt feels he did not surve the night, considering it was cooler than normal and rained cats and dogs all night. Sorry luck, regarding the weather. I can't help but think some karma was at work here, although I'm not at all happy with a little life being lost in the process. It would have been better if Mama Bird had been the one to get out, since she might possess some rudimentary memory of her time in the wild. Even if she weren't able to survive, she would still be better off dead, considering her ungodly time in captivity, along with fact that she lost her mate not long ago.
May 9, 2017, 7:40 AM EDT
Toby, Smidgen, and I just boarded the flight going from Charlotte to Greenville. I transported the dynamic duo from the San Diego plane to the transfer flight in a wheelchair. They're getting better treatment than I am on this journey!
The sun was just rising when we landed in Charlotte. It was an incredibly cathartic experience to see a blanket of green bathed in sunlight, muted by buttermilk clouds. I haven't seen buttermilk clouds in years. Contrails? Absolutely. But no buttermilk. I could even see the mountains - MY MOUNTAINS - from the sky.
We're about to take off, scheduled to land in approximately an hour, maybe less. Cameron is meeting me at GSP, and is taking me by Wal-Mart on the way to Janice's. I have reserved a hotel room at the Quality Inn for the next couple of days in order to give Janice more time to accommodate my hopefully brief stay with her and Uncle Michael. I need to find more permanent arrangements as soon as humanly possible, but I've got to take at least a day to recuperate from the chaos of the past week; otherwise, I'm going to shut down and get nothing done at all.
I need to buy another pair of pants, some panties, and a couple of shirts. Why? Because my dumb ass packed all the clothes I have, including the ones I'd set aside to bring with me, save for the ones I'm currently wearing, and the movers won't have my stuff to me for about a week. The last thing I needed was to have to spend more money I wouldn't otherwise need to.
I rode all the way across the country with my arms tucked underneath my tee shirt. It was cold as all Sith Hell on that airplane! The woman who shared the row with me was flying out to attend a funeral and had to bring her dog with her, a Jack Russell Terrier named Sia, who she feared would go ballistic if she saw Smidgen and, especially, Toby. Thankfully, they didn't spy one another, having their vision limited tucked under the plane seats, so it was a very quiet flight. I left the seat between us empty, and told her to feel free to use it and the tray table, if she needed. We ended up using the middle tray for our beverages, which allowed for more room for our appendages. If I could afford it, I would always buy two seats, pets or no, simply for the convenience just that little bit of space provides. Alas, it would probably be cheaper just to fly First Class, if one had the money to throw around like that.
One of the last things the Mother Unit said to me before we parted ways was to point out that I would be amazed at how large the seats would seem, since I hadn't flown since my panniculectomy. She was right. I was able to sit sideways for a while, as I watched You Tube vides on the computer. Of course, I'm still not over the fact that I'm sitting here in a large women's tee shirt and size 6 jeans. What I want to know is where the rest of me ended up because, according to the laws of physics, there are 210 pounds of me floating around the observable universe in some form or another.
I can't believe that I'm almost finished with this journal. It's a fortunate thing that I thought ahead and got an extra when I could afford it, so there would be no interruptions in my handwritten journaling once this one is full. The only thing I need to do to make it ready to be written in, is to finish inking the owl cover, like I did with this journal. The colours will be different, obviously, but the finished product should be just as pretty, if not more so.
Well, this was a short flight. We are already about to land after only approximately thirty minutes in the air. It seems we spent more time on the tarmac than we did actually flying! I can't wait to see Cameron and all my Tribe and family. I just hope Cameron finds me okay, 'cos my phone is dead and I currently have no internet connection. Ye gods.
We just landed at 8:25 AM. I'm home.
One more thing before I conclude this entry. You know you're at an airport in the South, when about half the seats made available for travelers are rocking chairs. The end.
As I typed out the subject line of this post, it dawned on me that it's the title of a Culture Club song that was featured on the Electric Dreams soundtrack.
So I spied a post by someone lauding the beauty of Christian Love. What exactly is that? The entire post dripped of some misplaced spiritual superiority, as though Christian Love is better than your common, run-of-the-mill, lowly love.
The message I get from language like this drips of division and separatism. I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that Jesus Christ was incredibly inclusive, especially considering the time and place of his activities. Why his (fake) followers need to feel so special that they set themselves aside is beyond my limited comprehension.
Again, to echo the Culture Club song, love is love. To give it any other designation is an insult to the very ideal of love, in my opinion. And I'm not just speaking of Christians here, now. Any sort of love, be it "romantic", "platonic", straight, gay, motherly, fatherly, sisterly, brother, etcetera, is simply and beautifully love. And we are lucky if we ever feel it or are the recipient of it. Many say God is love. If that is the case, then the word "love" should be enough. By its very nature, love is inclusive. It is an invitation to trust and bond with one another, our fellow Earthlings, and our divine source. To label it any other way is detrimental in every way.
And love is not just a word, obviously. It is the expression of our deep connection, and we should act accordingly. You cannot love, then set yourself apart from everyone else by defining the "type" of love you're feeling. That behaviour is the very antithesis of what the phenomenon is about. And, considering the behaviour of a lot of folks who claim to be Christian these days, many people who use the term Christian Love are doing their faith an incredible disservice.
After spending almost four years in San Diego, I have returned home to the South, and am actively hunting for a home in Asheville, North Carolina, my home town. Despite my efforts to avoid this, I’m setting up this account to raise funds to help me swiftly find and pay for a place to live. I’m aiming to obtain at least $1000, hopefully within the next week, which will cover travel costs accrued from searching, and most of a security deposit for a home. I initially had enough money to make the move without incident, but my original plans fell through, and my last minute arrangements cost me $2000 that I had not expected to spend; rather, it was the nest egg I had to help me get around to find a domicile. Now that that’s gone, I have had no choice but to turn to GoFundMe and friends. So, if you can spare anything at all, it would be deeply appreciated. I promise I will be updating on how the money is used and when I am settled in my new home. To visit my campaign, you need only click on the screen cap below, or right here. Thank you in advance!
As I spend my last few hours in San Diego, I'm pondering more deeply the circumstances that have brought me to this point of return to the South, and the possible reasons for this change in my life.
Honestly, I cannot bring myself to believe that my reclamation of my faith happened because I was destined to go back to South Carolina, and North Carolina in short order. That area, barring most of Texas, is the most dangerous in America in recent history to be a Witch.
I have never been one to back away from a challenge or a frightening situation. It doesn't mean that I'm brave in any way; rather, I guess I'm determined beyond the point of self-preservation. I was never in the broom closet, and I never intend to be. But being an Out Witch brings with it the risk of discrimination, abuse (primarily verbal...for now), and even harm, in this bleak period in our history.
But that's exactly why I feel going back is my destiny. I have always known that I was ready to pay any price for my freedom as a woman and a child of the Goddess. Not just that, but I am willing to forfeit myself in order to ensure the freedom of my sisters and brothers who reside outside the circle of xtian inclusion. I am going back to try to prevent the American Taliban from eroding American laws to the point where they can wreak havoc on the lives of over 50% of American citizens.
When I learned about the Burning Times, and first heard the slogan "Never Again The Burning," it moved me like nothing else before. To suffer loss, torture, and an often excruciating death simply for being a certain gender, worshipping a different way, or holding unpopular opinions is unspeakably horrific and, to be living in an era where this could very easily happen at any time, both frightens and enflames me.
I have already signed up with some local Meet Up groups involved in the resistance, and I plan on expanding my activities once I am permanently settled somewhere. Considering my new location, despite it probably being in Asheville, I realise that I am risking my life by fighting for what I believe, but I have never felt more alive in once again embracing my Inner Activist.
Working for change, or at least the maintenance of our current freedoms, is worthy and valid wherever you do it, but doing so in an area where seeing what the threat to our way of life at work firsthand brings an urgency and validity to that work. The gravity and urgency of our plight isn't as apparent in places like San Diego, where it is of little consequence who or what you are, or how you identify yourself in this world. Even though a lot of people in San Diego say the city is conservative, compared to other areas of California, to me it's a Hippie paradise! That alone is the reason why I am eager to be publicly active back East. It should be of no consequence to anyone else how you live your life, and it is for that ideal that I will be struggling.
I cannot do that in a liberal location. For me, I need to be on the front lines, and that means working on the buckle of the Bible Belt, whether it be with others like myself, or solitarily. I believe this is why I came back to the Craft right before I learned I'd be moving. Everything has fallen into place in accordance with this path. When I first started out in Wicca, I was always socially/politically motivated, besides being spiritually moved to the ways of the Goddess. The only thing that has changed from those early days, is that I am even more resolute than before, and I have almost a quarter of a century of experience under my belt.
I'm excited for what lies ahead, even if it means distress, discomfort, or even death. My life is in service to the Goddess in all Her forms, primarily Mother Earth, who needs Her children to come to Her defence more so than ever before. I'm ready to take up arms, be it figurative or literal, to fight the growing menace and, if it is at all within my power, I will work tirelessly to guarantee that, never again, shall there be another burning.
It should be of note, too, that I found my silver Triskele pendant, still on its chain. I haven't worn it in about three years, and it's been missing since last year. After scrubbing it and cleansing it, I placed it back around my neck. If the timing of this event isn't symbolic, I have no clue what I'm talking about, and I never will.
Yesterday, as the Mother Unit was walking out of the house, Pinky took a wild hair and flew out along with her, and up into the canyon. Mama fell apart. I rushed outside and was helping her call for him, and set out to try to find him further up the canyon, walking so fast, I almost passed out! Before I headed out, though, Matt rushed out to see what the commotion was about. When the Unit told him Pinky got out, he turned and screamed at me, "WHAT DID YOU DO?" Mama was quick to inform him that I had nothing to do with it, that I came after the fact and was trying to help.
This is how I've been treated the entire time I've been here in Southern California. Everything has always been automatically my fault.
We never found Pinky...
When Matt got up this morning, I asked, and he said that the temp got so low last night, there is no way the poor bird could have survived.
Pinky was my favourite of all the birds. He was a precocious little sonofabitch and was pretty much affection in flight. It hurts me that he is gone, and I can only take comfort in thinking that his last few hours were filled with a freedom he had never before experienced and that he died as happy as he could be, given the circumstances.
Matt seems to have had his spirit stepped on by the stiletto heel of karma. I'm grieved that it manifested in such a manner that a life was forfeit, and I sincerely feel bad for him, despite his jumping to conclusions about my involvement in the situation, as usual. It was my profound hope that this chapter in all our lives would conclude without much upheaval. The last thing I wanted or expected was for some of us not to make it out alive, least of all one of the true innocents in this whole mess.
Fly free and joyfully, little man.
Stay safe, cradled in the arms of Nathor.
May it someday be we cross one another's paths again, in one form or another.
About two hours ago, I began a new hobby that I'm calling Triple T. It stands for Trolling Trump's Twitter, and it's where I get to tell him exactly what I think of him, his butt-buddies, his American Taliban army in the wings, and all the other dumb fucks who brought this nightmare to life. Here are the first five tweets I have made. There will be more. I'll probably end up in federal prison, but I don't give a shit. We all need to speak out the best we can, while we still can. That said, I urger you to join me in Triple T. Even if it does nothing but bring you a little snide satisfaction, the activity is more than worth it!
From My Handwritten Journal
A few hours after Program, I Uber'd over to downtown, where I got my first pair of shoes in over 5 years. It's a good thing Birkenstocks last for so long, considering how spendy they are, and that they are addictive hoof holders that prevent devoted wearers from wearing anything else for any period of time. The pair I had were literally falling apart. I'm talking three flaps of shoe, flopping with every step I took. Not to mention the shoes were too big for me, thanks to all the weight loss. I can attribute more than one fall, or almost fall, to wearing these menaces to my well-being. You can call me a lot of things, but Imelda Marcos ain't one of 'em, buddy!
Anyway, it did not take long to get what I went there for...the Arizona style of sandal, which was the first style I ever got, and still my favourite. At my request, the shoe saleswoman measured my feet and fitted me with a size 40 shoe, instead of the size 42 I had always worn before. When your shoes are too large on you, that's a definite indication that you've lost a fuckton of weight. I left my old shoes behind, in the box the new shoes came in, telling the saleswoman to consider the box a coffin for the long-dead zombie shoes.
Instead of Ubering straight back to the house, I decided to try out the new shoes (spit) (if you didn't get that joke, you're not a real Twin Peaks fan, just sayin'.) and mosy over to Balboa Park. That's where I am currently writing this, cradled in the giant roots of a eucalyptus tree. I've taken pics to accompany the journal entry. I tend to keep my handwritten journaling separate from the Cliffs of Insanity material but, in this instance, the twain shall meet, just for the hell of it.
When I got to the park, I made a beeline for the playground. The swings were empty, so I plopped my nearly 50-year-old arse down in one, and began to swing. I did this for about 15 minutes, all the while listening to a dude play his flute. After I finished swinging, I walked further into the park. When I passed the flautist, he began playing The Fiddler's Irish Jig. I don't know if he saw my green hair and opted to go full on Gael, breaking away from the Jazz he'd been playing exclusively up until I sashayed by, or if it was just an odd coincidence. Being a perpetual "victim" of synchronicity, I'm not a real big proponent of coincidence.
I guess I should head back to the house now. Margaret needs to talk to me about the move, and something tells me (like my body, duh) I'm going to need a bathroom sooner rather than later.
They say that home is where the heart is. If that's the case, I'm headed home no later than the 9th of May, where I shall find my heart resting in the mists of the Smoky Mountains.
At 6:30 this morning, my phone rang. It was Janice. She had heard from the lawyer, who told her that a Tracy Evans had a $14,000.00 lien on her name, and had been so since 2009. He told Janice that he'd need my social security number to compare with his records, to verify that the Tracy Evans in question was not, in fact, me. Well, I'd already read up on Ms. Evans when I did my own documents search at the Clerk of Court's website. This Tracy lives in Boiling Springs, a town I've only visited like 6 times total. Anyway, I gave her my social security number and we hung up so she could provide the info to her lawyer.
About 15 minutes later, my phone rang again, and it was Janice, again. The lawyer did his comparison dealio, confirming that my name is in the clear. She said that, if she could get Johnna to watch Uncle Michael long enough for her to dash up to Duncan, she would go ahead and transfer the money to my account.
Waves of relief washed over me in that instance! I continued to get ready and head in to the outpatient program, and it took me hardly any time at all, thanks to that bounce that suddenly showed up in my step! My fellow outpatient attendees were all super jacked at my good news, but none more so than I! By the time IOP was completed for the day, I checked my bank to find the transfer of funds was in process. Tomorrow, it should be available, so I can proceed with the items I need to purchase for the move, as well as get my plane tickets and maybe even pack up one big box of my stuff and ship it on to Janice ahead of myself and the beasties.
Needless to say, I have offered up multitudinous thanks to the Paniverse*, the Goddess, Elementals, and any other unseen critters who were in attendance at my big honkin' fundage acquisition magickal working, the first spellwork I had attempted since 2009. I deconstructed my money mojo bag, clearing any stones I'd used, and scattering the herbs, roots, and wax beneath the eucalyptus tree. I buried the bag, along with the parchment stating my intent and need, at the base of the tree. I did the same with the herbal sachet, scattering the herbs, giving thanks, and burying the bag. I feel more at peace right now than I have since before 2011. And it's not just relief at now having the money to move, no, it's a deeper peace than mere relief. It's the peace one feels when they know in the very marrow of their bones, that the path they are taking is the right one, because everything occurring whilst on that path happens at exactly the right time, or happens in spite of all improbability. It's the peace of recognising synchronicity and welcoming it into your life. The kind of peace you experience when you return home, or know you will be. That is the peace I am feeling, and it is marvelous in every way.
There is a shit tonne of stuff I need to get done, and I have little time left in which to do it. But I shall prevail! After spending two weeks barely holding myself together from stress and worry, I feel there is nothing I can't do at this time and place in my life. Of course, I'm not stupid enough to put that to the test.
A few minutes ago, the Egg Donor came in talk to me. She invited me not to ride with her and Matt up to Portland, because there's no room for me. She said that, with transporting all the birds, there was just no room for me, Smidgen, Toby, and our stuff. So I guess I'll be paying a shit ton more money to fly out of San Diego on the 8th of May, instead of Portland a little later in the month. I told her that was fine, I expected it, that I knew my place, and had known it for quite some time.
"It's one of the main reasons my depression got so out of control," I said to her. "But that's fine. I've made my peace with my lack of importance, so I guess that's it."
She just sat there, looking at the floor. I then asked, "Is there anything else?"
"No, I guess not," she said, getting up and leaving my room, closing the door behind her. Apparently, she isn't happy with what I had to say and the frankness with which I said it. Too bad. I'm not going to sugar coat my words to ease any discomfort on her part. Why should I? She certainly hasn't sugarcoated anything she's said to me in regard to the move and just how unwelcome I truly am. Oh, well. They can take their nasty birds and drive off into the sunset, happy as clams. I don't need them.
As for me, I'll be just fine, one way or another. And I'll be so much better in some areas, like being away from the constant reminder that my birth was a huge, huge mistake. Just being free of Matt's endless unpleasantries is enough to plaster a wide Joker-like grin on my face. If Aunt Tudi is able to witness how things have gone with the Egg Donor and me over the past four years, I wonder what she thinks of how the Egg Donor fulfilled her promise that she'd help me and be there for me after Aunt Tudi passed, considering some of my health issues, like the seizures. Maybe if I were the size I was in the accompanying picture, there'd be enough room for me. Then again, I wasn't much larger than this when she abandoned me the first time, so what-the-fuck-ever. I'm over it.
So, what do you think? I was pondering on perhaps getting some plain wands in bulk from some provider. Hopefully, Azure Green sells them in bulk. I will write and ask when I'm ready to proceed... Anyway, I was considering decorating wands like this and selling them to interested parties. What say you? Would it be worth my while to do something like this? Or should I not even waste my time?
I heard from Janice, who told me that it's gonna be Thursday before we hear from the lawyer about the house, so I went to talk to Mama about my options, which are bleak, thanks to yet another hypochristian.
So I suggested to Mama that maybe I could just stay with them for a month until I could properly sort the move, which I can't do because I have 38 cents in the bank right now. Besides, one way flights from Portland are several hundred dollars cheaper than ones from San Diego, so it would be a definite helps, since I'm gonna have to buy 2 seats in order to transport my fur babies.
She said, "Well, I don't care, but Matt's sister has other ideas."
"What do you mean?" I asked, thinking that there just wasn't enough room, or something like that. I'd met Matt's sister just a couple of weeks ago, and she was an extremely charming person...to my face. Silly me!
"Well, she thinks you're a demon incarnate because you're Wiccan."
The move is now set for the 8th of May instead of the 1st, which will allow me time to do what I need to. The plan now is that I'm moving my stuff up with Mama and driving up as far as Portland. Taking only my absolute necessities, I'm taking Smidge and Toby and flying out from there probably mid-May. Then Mama is gonna ship my other belongings to me piecemeal. This is the plan, if the house situation with Janice falls through.
I find it rather sad that Mama is willing to do that rather than fight for me, but I've come to expect little else. I know my place. As for Matt's sister, I'm starting to realise that assholery is not limited solely to Matt. It apparently runs in the whole goddamned family. Fuck them.