When the Past Comes Calling…

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This week was a very tiring week. There has become so much to do at work. I feel as though I am trying to cram two weeks into one. It has become the practice of the management to continue to add more and more duties to the ones that already exist for me. Of course, when I become overtired, that is an opportunity for things to surface in my life….most of the time, things that require working through.

On Tuesday, on the way to work, thoughts came racing to my mind from a good twenty five years ago….a time when I wasn’t so confident in the person I was….a time when the very essence of who I was needed, in my opinion to be kept secret. I was serving a church in the foothills of North Carolina. I was full time there as a project coordinator and part time in the local funeral home. I was struggling with what the church said God required of me and what my insides were telling me. I was living with one foot in the church and one foot in the gay community. I tried to live the way the congregation expected me to, but I felt like there was a constant war being fought in my heart and in my spirit. I remembered my last day at that church. I remember the accusations being hurled at me….the words spat at me in anger. The requirements made of me by someone completely ignorant of who I was or what my heart held.

I remember the pastor’s wife coming into the office that I was being sequestered in. She looked at me scowling. She roared at me, “You are a homosexual!!! You have AIDS!” I will never forget that punch in my gut…the sick, I’m-gonna-puke feeling. I was forced and driven to the local health department and made to take an HIV test. As I look back on this now, there are so many things I should have said and done, but I was a scared 22 year old kid. I did well to even remember my name in all that ruckus. This one incident effected the rest of my life.

I was required to take a mandatory leave of absence from another organization I worked with until I “worked through my transgressions.” I had to report to elders each week like someone in prison reports to a parole officer. I had to walk past faces filled with disdain and hatred as I walked past congregation after congregation….”working” my way back into the good graces of the church. To this day, that is why I hate to hear the phrase, “We need to talk about something.” and why I hate someone looking down their nose at me. It still haunts me…and this past week was one of those times.

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Throughout this past week, I have also been struggling with the need for “me” time. It seems that lately there has been no respite from anything. I escape to the woods and the pond as much as I can…but the mosquitoes are now getting fat. At home, my partner takes over our bedroom, the roomie has his bedroom, the living room is common area….sometimes I just take my phone, notebook and a pen and I sit in the bathroom floor for an hour, just for a bit of peace.

Yesterday morning, though, I knew that I was going to have some time to myself. I got up extra early and suited up my partner in crime. Friz wasn’t quite wide awake yet and wasn’t too keen on coming out of the kennel. After much coaxing, he finally stretched his way out, I harnessed him up and we disappeared to the woods. There was no ritual this time…no purposeful seeking out. I wound up my cloak and put it under my head…Friz curled up in the middle of my stomach and we slept. This was by far the weirdest sleep I had ever had. I dreamed constantly of the church scenario that I described above. Each time I would close my eyes and dream, it felt as if a tiny piece of my spirit and my heart was being ripped and shredded.

I lay there for what seemed like hours and tried to make my mind obey me…to stop re-living something that was no longer a part of me. At that point I heard Mama Crow caw loudly. It snagged me away from that horrible memory and jolted me back to present. It was a loud, harsh caw….I look back on it now and realize that it was a call to magick. She was reminding me to take control of a situation and not let something so far away control my todays. It was time to take the person I have become and let that person battle the person I used to be. I created a scenario in my head of what I thought I should have done to respond to that situation and as I drifted back to sleep, I let that person take over the dream….who would have ever thought that one could reclaim a memory so easily and work it out for my benefit.

After I had reclaimed that memory, I scooped Friz up and we made our way to the pond. He yawned as I cradled him and we moved toward the water. We both sat closer to the water than we normally did. I got a stick from nearby and wrote in the water with the stick. I wrote all the negative things about myself that had been brought to mind this week…..all those horrible memories. When I finished writing, I took a nearby rock and threw it into the middle of where I had been writing. I watched as the ripples dissolved all those memories I had written in the water. Then I took the stick and wrote words in the dirt that described who I am now…who I have become over the course of the practice of the Craft. I smiled as the letters took form…..Strong…Outspoken…Wise…Dependable…Gay…Role Model. It took a long time for me to love the me I have become, but I am proud of the person I look at every morning. There is no need for me to let small minded criticisms from far too long ago take root.

I have decided that from now on, when the past comes calling, and it isn’t something that I want to visit with…a locked door can be my best ally. Why let the past take pieces of my spirit…..when it really isn’t worth the memory wasted on it.

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Blessed Be!

Waking the Sleeping Bear

There are days that I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I have become a shadow of the person I once was.  Have I become a big lumbering bear, staggering from a food stupor after raiding a campsite? I watch myself sometimes wander from day to day tranquilized by life the way the dancing bear from the circus is, always muzzled and kept safely leashed so that I don’t hurt myself or anyone else.

I have watched myself, at work and at home, become so much more like that trained bear.  A smile and a nod that everything is ok and that I am willing to do whatever it takes not to cause ripples in life. My job has become peacemaker, counsellor, problem solver….hmmm parent sometimes. 

It seems that at work lately, the new work force has become more and more immature.  I have found that coworkers now seem to need coercing and coddling instead of being supervised.  Sometimes I feel as though they expect me to treat them the way I have watched mother cats behave with their kittens.  They want me to clean them and preen them, make sure that they are well taken care of.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have to do our share of coddling and developing of other people, but I feel like nowadays we live in a society of Peter Pans.  We have people around us constantly who don’t want to grow up.  If I counted the times I have had to listen to “He did this, She said that….” I might pull out what little hair I have. I can only try to describe how many times in a day I use the phrase, “And why do you think it made you feel this way?”  And trust me…I am A/R not Human Resources.

Now the funny thing about the Goddess is that she can teach us a lesson when we want it the least or don’t feel like we are emotionally strong enough to put it to practice.  As I told you in the last post, we had been essentially waiting for my grandmother to pass into the summerlands.  Well, she did that last weekend.  I was bombarded with so many feelings that I had forgotten I had.  So many memories overtook me at the strangest times.

You can say alot about my grandma, but pushover was never a word used to describe her.  Never once did she cater to anyones whims or moods.  She was a very matter of fact woman.  She was always one of those women that lived by the philosophy “If it comes up, it comes out.” Don’t get me wrong, granny was never intentionally rude or crass when it came to dealing with people.  She just met them where they were.  I used to be that way.  I remember her telling me many a time how much better she thought I would look with shorter hair and then when I cut it, she would tell me she liked it longer.  She was a very honest individual.  She would also insist that I sing on a regular basis because she didn’t feel I was honoring the universe by keeping it to myself. 

The strength of my grandmother came to me alot over the past week.  She had always taught me to be proud of myself, no matter what anyone else thought.  She always told me that I was one of a kind and the minute I tried to become like someone else would take away my uniqueness.  She knew I was gay.  She embraced it because she loved me for who I was. Why did I think that I would be able to get through any funeral service for her without having to prove the strength she had embedded in me.

I was standing in the line for “visitation” as southerners call it—-it’s a “calling” for northerners and mid-westerners.  As I am standing there next to my niece, I knew there was going to be trouble.  One of our highly “religious” distant cousins is approaching us in line…..You know the type…..teased up and shellacked hair, painted on eyebrows, and round as a bale of cotton.  I hear her just a few folks down from me lean in and whisper to her cohort and whispers really loudly, “That’s the girl that had the child out of wedlock.”  I kept my cool….for a bit.  She gets to me and looks me from horn to hoof and says, “Why do you have that sinful earring?”  I answered simply, “Because I like it.” She retorts, “You know that’s not godly.”  I could feel granny behind me, kicking off her shoes and rolling up her sleeves.  I looked the woman eye to eye and said, “Neither is your teased up, hen-shit brown hair, your painted on eyebrows and your rather substantial ass.  Now leave before I stick my foot up that fat ass of yours and parade you down Main Street.”  After she swallowed all the air in the room, she left.  My aunt leaned over and whispered, “Your grandma never did like that woman.” 

My earring might not be your cup of tea, but it is mine.  I like the way I look.  I may not always feel that self confident with myself, but for the most part I really like me.  It is the same with my homosexuality.  I don’t ask for approval.  It isn’t needed.  I never asked you to enter my bedroom.  I am, however, proud of myself, my partner, our lifestyle and our friends.  I tried to be ‘not gay’ for a while.  It didn’t work.  That is what felt unnatural. 

I am not here to preach gay rights or anything of that sort.  What I am saying is be who you are.  Don’t stifle yourself for the sake of a job or a group of people.  If you roar when you talk….roar proudly.  If you lisp….do it just as proudly.

This week with my grandma’s undying spirit reminded me of who I have become over the years.  I am not a trained bear.  I do not roll over on command.  I do not coddle and tell you that it’s always going to be unicorn farts with rainbow sprinkles.  I offer reality.  I offer love.  I offer strength. I refuse to blow smoke up your hoo-hah.  That was who my grandma taught me to be….myself.

Sometimes it is not only necessary to cause ripples in life.  It is very necessary to just do a big ole belly flop and cause a gigantic splash.  It is good to shake things up every so often—-not for the sake of just causing friction….but because it is needed.  Everything in balance.

I said earlier that we live in a society of Peter Pans.  That isn’t a bad thing….but without Captain Hook, there was never any real purpose for Pan.

So what happened this week?  This ole grizzly got his teeth back….and his roar.  The best magick you can do is to be who you are.

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