Backbone, Sparkles, and Bubble Gum

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When I got up this morning, after a particularly rough night’s sleep, I looked in the mirror.  The face looking back at me was scary…a mix of something from the “Walking Dead” and “There’s Something About Mary.”  Of course it got a thought whirring through my brain.  I soaked in that thought all day long.  We are a judged society of people.  We are judged based on our looks.  We are judged by our weight.  We are judged by our houses, cars, clothing.  We are judged by the way we talk.   We are judged on performance.  We are judged for who we love.  We are judged.

One would have thought that long ago we would have been through with the witch hunts and crucifixion.  It seems, though, that humanity is not happy unless it is vilifying something.  Because of condemnation flying around every corner, some of us have hidden a part of our most authentic self.  Our self-talk has become, “Don’t flame out too much.”  “Don’t be too witchy in public.” “If you wear clothes that drape, you won’t appear as fat.”  “If you really want that job, you had better put on a smile and work those jazz hands in the interview.”   We have become afraid and ashamed to be that eccentric uncle or aunt who lives life in color.  We look and look for our cloak of invisibility while others look down their noses at who we are.

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The past two weeks have driven this home with me more and more.  My partner and I were walking through the streets of Atlanta one evening after meeting some friends out.  I had been detained just inside the restaurant for a few moments, so my partner walked out ahead of me.  As he passed a group of young men, I heard the group begin to spew words at him.  “Faggot!  Homo!”  I ran to catch up to him.  I took his hand in mine and held on tight.  I turned to the group of guys and said, “Yes….and we are better men than any one of you asses.”  As I stood there…every feeling that could, ran rampant through me.  Anger, fear, hurt…I stood there refusing to back down.  My partner squeezed my hand and in a breath said, “Too much time has been wasted on things that don’t really matter.”  We walked off laughing…he was amazed that I had faced that small mob.  I was amazed I didn’t get killed.

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The next episode happened in our condo complex.  I was out by the bedroom window weeding and cleaning up one of my flower beds.  As I was crawling around in the dirt, I heard a male and female voice talking.  They got closer to me and I heard the guy say, “Some of the neighbors have said that he is a witch.”  Then the girl said, “That is just horrible to be gay and a satanist…those are two horrible strikes to have against you.”  In what seemed like one swift movement, I was on my feet facing them.  “Darlin’, first off I am no satanist….I am a witch.  I don’t believe in satan.  I work magick with nature.  Yes, I am gay and I love everything about being gay.  I would suggest that you keep your pathetic little ordinary mouth off of me….because not only can I do magick, but I do it fabulously with glitter and sparkles.”

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I have never been one to try to compromise much on who I am.  Life is hard enough without having to worry about who is going to find out my secrets.  I have pretty much always been an open book and even with the challenges that have come against me in life, I have always held onto a strong sense of self-worth.  That, for me, came as I walked through the healing process from the sexual abuse I endured as a child…a realization that I was worth so much more than the trash I was always told that I was.

I had learned to look backward through the mirror.  I received a comment on my blog a couple of weeks back:

I came across your blog a few months ago and have followed on the edge of my seat waiting for your next post. I even emailed you a little while back. Today with some time to kill I decided to go back as far as I could and read your old posts. Nearly every post has struck a personal chord with me in some way. I’ve been making notes as I read, which is a way I help myself solidify my thoughts. I had just finished writing a paragraph about how when I was I child I used to feel like I was special in some way or that I had a gift that was yet to be uncovered. Now that I’m pushing 40 and still haven’t found that gift so much about my life feels so average. I’ve chosen to ignore the magick around me. This post brought tears to my eyes; good ones. Thank you.

This comment touched me deeply.  That gift never left you…it is still resting deep inside you, waiting patiently for you to call on it…to speak to it…to nurture it.  You are never too young or too old to take your destiny by the hand.  It stands there waiting like a long forgotten lover, smiling at you as you finally take the steps forward.  The wonderful part is that the magick isn’t just around you…it is within you.  The world around you and circumstances have tried to make you forget that it’s there.  They have pushed you out of the way and left you wounded…but you are far from average dear one.  Magick even comes forth in your words.

My roommate came into the living room last week.  He is haggard and down because of the job market.  He has interviewed and pushed out his resume only to be greeted by rejection.  I could feel his pain as the words left his mouth…”Am I really worth so little?”  I told him that he is basing his worth on other people.  “But isn’t worth what someone is willing to pay?”  “Yes, but the value is based on the seller. You determine the value that you carry…but it is also your responsibility to make others see that value…then you are worth more to them. Some people will never see that value, so you must determine whether or not they are worth your time.  Others will see that value and try to get it as cheap as they can.  Others will recognize the value, realize the quality and want to pay exactly how much the product is worth.”  The world has too many cheap trinkets already…isn’t it time that we show ourselves to be precious treasure that we truly are?

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I went to the craft store the next day.  I had an idea for a spell for him.  I picked up a small wooden treasure chest and some gold bubble gum coins.  I told him that anytime he started to feel like he wasn’t worth very much, to take one of the gold coins out, chew the bubble gum but to save the wrapper.  He was to replace whatever he took out with real money…whether it be a dime, a quarter, a penny, or a dollar.  He was to say, “I take the words of others, chew it up. The wrapper hid the truth. I put in its place the real thing, a better substitute.  With this the value I increase…I’m worth so much more.  I feel the power within me, to the very core.”  When the bubble gum is gone and replaced with real money, he is to take the wrappers and weigh them….then he is to weigh the money that replaced the gum.  For each piece of money he must write down one positive thing about himself.  He is only a quarter of the way through the chest now…but now as he picks up a coin, I hear him laughing.  If nothing else, joy has begun to take root in his spirit.  He is becoming more of the person I know.

Isn’t it time to embrace that person we see staring back at us in the mirror…warts and all?

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Blessed Be!

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Oh, But My Darling, What If You Fly?

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This week was a fun one.  When one gets to be a certain age, one’s doctor decides that one should be poked and prodded and every manner of indecency should be done to you.  I had a stress test this week.  Nothing was wrong…just routine followup from some issues I had dealt with over the winter.  As I panted my way through the test, the nurse kept asking, “Are you alright, hon?” “I am fat and I am briskly walking on a treadmill.  I am dying.  Can’t you see that?”  I puffed and I wheezed…I begged for mercy.  “Just a few minutes more.”

My heart wanted to break free from the confines of my chest and flop like a dying goldfish on the floor in front of me.  At that moment, the timer went off and the treadmill began to move slower.  My breathing is coming back to me….I am no longer covered in ‘death sweat.’  I sit on the paper covered exam table with my head hanging. The doctor leaves to look at the data while the nurse drains the last of my blood from the back of my hand because all the other veins have collapsed.

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The doctor comes back into the room after what seems like an eternity.  He looks at me and says what I had hoped.  “Mr. Gaddy, you have a very strong and healthy heart…..”  Now wait for it….wait for it….”for a man your size.”  I look up after feeling like I had just been smacked with a wet dishcloth.  “We need to get that weight under control again.”  My mind starts to race, “Oh we do, huh? Come live with me.  Deal with a partner who brings candy by the truckloads into the house constantly.  Live with a roomie who cooks non-stop….like Paula Deen.  Work 10 hour days and only be able to grab a quick bite of heaven knows what for lunch. We have the stress of yet another set of interviews to go through for a promotion just within reach”  “Mr. Gaddy….Mr. Gaddy…did you hear me?  This is our staff nutritionist and she will be going over some realistic changes that you should be able to implement fairly easily.”  “Oh….um hi.”

Yes….sometimes I get so wrapped up in the scenario going on inside my head that I forget that there is a world still moving around me.  I also forget that some people have just as many scenarios going on in their heads.  Many of the scenarios in my mind have me battling things of insurmountable odds to emerge finally victorious.  For most people those scenarios aren’t so kind.

I watched over this past week as a person very dear to me began to question his very worth.  We have been friends for years and years.  He has always been the picture of self confidence…some would even call him cocky.  He has been unemployed now for a year and five months.  He has been taking odd jobs to make the money for rent and food.  He doesn’t spend any of his money frivolously.

He was offered a position with a company.  He had a bad feeling about it.  He asked me to work magick….I did.  I had a bad feeling about the position.  As I worked, I kept sensing manipulation, anger to the point of hatred, cover ups and lying….and through all of this I kept visualizing him being poisoned to death.  He asked me what I saw and I was honest with him.  He turned it down…and in that process it drew him into a dark place.  He started to wonder what was wrong with him…..the question he kept asking me is, “When did I become worth so little?”  I watched as the fire of life itself seemed to fade from his eyes and grayness appeared.

“What is it that you truly…with all your heart…want to do?”  “I thought I knew at one time, but now I’m not completely sure anymore.” “Then it is time to move your heart into that place where passion and ability meet.”  “How do I do that?” “You have to dig deep inside and find your core…the very essence of what it is you were created for.”  I watched as a hint of that fire surfaced.  In his eyes, an adventure was brewing.  Just as quickly I watched discouragement come into his face.  “But what if I fail?” I laughed out loud….”But what if you succeed?”

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I asked myself the same thing this week regarding the pending promotion.  A dear sweet friend reminded me that this was what I had prepared and worked for.  This promotion is a goal that I had set for myself when I started the journey in my new company.  Was I about to let fear of failure keep me from where I had pushed myself so hard to be?  I was reminded of the above quote by a co-worker.  She looked at me, pulled this up on my computer, winked and said, “Personally, I have always seen you as the kind of person who could fly….so break out that broom!”  We both cackled ferociously as her beautiful dayglo pink hair bounced around her beautiful face.

This past week has been a week filled with hope for me….not a week where I have particularly felt more hopeful….but a week in which the hunger to build hope in others has been a strong magickal force.  This has been a week for me to tell the interns at work that they are “only limited by themselves.  You will only be allowed to go as far as you can dream.”

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The past two weeks have seen much anger throughout the country regarding LGBT rights…especially because of the new law passed in Indiana.  I know many people throughout this state and feel that to boycott this state would be unforgivable because of the way it would hurt those regular everyday folks who wouldn’t know how to hold hate in their heart even if they tried.  I called on the Goddess this week to help me send a message of hope in the midst of this anger and hatred.  She told me to put my money where my mouth is….so I have been making donations to Indiana’s LGBT groups.  How do you stomp out hate?  Pour magick into and make that thing that is hated even stronger and more visible.  I refuse to feed into the poison being spit at Indiana.

I remember stories of a great great woman.  She was ordered to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.  She sat still.  She didn’t scream or wail.  She sat still…and when asked why she wouldn’t, she replied simply, “Because I shouldn’t have to.”  Now that one act of courage ended in her arrest, but it also helped the cause of the Civil Rights movement.  I refuse to feed hatred one way or another.

Isn’t it time that we stopped pushing people down so that we can watch them hurt?  Wouldn’t you rather give them the ability to fly?

Blessed Be!

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Imbolc: Fanning the Flames of Hope

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Tomorrow is Imbolc.  The wheel of the year seems to be turning faster and faster.  It seems that just yesterday we were celebrating the Solstice.  Here in Georgia, as I sat in preparation for Imbolc, we were hit by a snow and ice storm.

Most of Atlanta sat in gridlock because of lack of preparation….no blame to throw here…just lack of preparation.  I had friends who had to abandon their cars and walk five miles and more to get to shelter.  One friend walked eight miles, stopping for coffee at any open convenience store or grocer.  His husband tracked him on his IPhone as he walked.

Through this ordeal, the world either laughed at us here in the south…or they empathized and prayed.  To those who laughed, I have one thing to say. Just remember, “What is normal for the spider, is chaos for the fly.”  The one thing that constantly rang through the minds of many southerners was the hope of just getting home.  The time we were in our cars, walking, fighting the bitter cold….one thing danced in front of us, guided us through the fear…..the hope of the home-fire.

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I got home before my partner did that day.  I called him to see when he was leaving work.  He told me each time that it would be soon.  The last time, I told him to leave then….don’t question me or argue.  I sat on pins and needles knowing that some people had already been stalled on the side of the road.  I walked out into the courtyard and looked up between what I call my ‘Cernunnos Tree.’  I breathed into the icy air.  Please keep him safe….keep them all safe.  I stood there listening to the silence that only a snowfall can bring.  It is the only time that sound is absorbed into nature.  Our complex, which is normally noisy and boisterous and never silent, suddenly stood stock still…each person, animal, and machine bowing to the power that Nature herself holds.

Wednesday and Thursday, everyone waited in hopes of winter being melted away.  Schools were still closed….people still could not get back to their offices.  The cars they had abandoned were still glued to the side of the road by ice.  My own hips and knees were sore from navigating through the ice when the dogs had to pee.  My little blue chihuahua loves his time outside, but resigned himself to the pee and run….if he stayed outside a little too long, he started to shake all over.  The habit now was standing over the space heater holding him until he stopped shaking.2014-02-01 14.40.24

On Wednesday, I ventured out to see how the roads around the complex fared.  On my walk, I encountered a little bird sitting up against the snow shivering.  My first thought was that it was sick and would probably die, but I had to pick it up and try to help it.  It hopped on my hand and I placed it inside my coat, next to my chest to warm it up.  As it warmed up, it chirped.  I took it out of my coat and watched as he flew up toward one of the taller trees.  He just needed to be warmed up a bit.

Here in Atlanta, there were people walking the highways with hot chocolate, food and supplies for those who were stranded.  Grocery stores were staying open all night long to give those walking refuge from the cold.  Compassion ran rampant.  Even if bodies were shaking from the low temperatures….the hearts were warmed beyond measure.  Just one small offering is all it takes to start hope brewing.

This morning was the first day I have been able to get to the woods since the big ice-over.  I walked out with a little blue chihuahua wrapped snugly in my cloak.  Everything I needed was packed into my backpack.  We got to our place in the woods and the first thing I did was build a small fire in my cauldron.  I have a little pyre of rocks that I used to set in on.  The candles were placed to each side…the wolf and crow skulls given their normal places.  We sat directly in front of the burning cauldron.  As I closed my eyes, I could feel the heartbeat of the Earth Mother.  I could feel her belly brimming with newness….ready to be birthed.  I whispered to her that not once have I hated the winter or wished it away….it is necessary for the beginnings anticipated…but I thanked for what is to come.candles

As I sat there, I placed my hands on the ground.  I could feel the seeds, grasses and flowers yawning and stretching as they prepare for the coming spring.  The Earth Mother made them a promise…and she intended to fulfill it completely.

She made us that same promise.  I know you feel it.  There is something welling up inside of you….I know I feel it.  There is something new and wonderful and joyful ready to burst forth.  For some, this winter has been a season of sorrow….for some, a season of rest and regrouping.

For those moving through sadness….the universe has been working together with the spirits around you to help you walk out of the pain and crying.  You have to be willing to move past the winter.  I know from losing my own partner many years ago, that sometimes we become too comfortable in our mourning clothes.  There is joy around us, but we have to be willing to open ourselves to it.

For those resting….it is time to rise up and get moving.  There is magick out there ready for you to create it.  Put your hand against the trunk of the tree….that isn’t just the heartbeat of the tree you feel.  It is matching your heartbeat…it is joining in your magick to make powerful things happen.

I reworked my home altar today.  There were new things to be added…gifts from those who have added magick to my own life this year. There were things that had to be removed….gifts from those who have chosen to throw their magick to the side of the road.  It is a time for new beginnings.

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This Imbolc has given me something that I hadn’t counted on.  I have received a new hope for who I am.  It has purposed in me a reason for holding my partner just a little bit tighter…the gift of laughter and love and compassion.  It has shown me that things around me are always going to be temporal…I should cherish every moment, every person, every animal that comes into my life.  As I sit here typing with a little blue chihuahua on my lap licking at the side of my face, I lean into the warmth of the hearth fire.  I don’t look back in disappointment at the things that have happened, but I look forward in hope of the magick of things yet to come.

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