Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Things I Wish I'd Known or Realized When I Was a Child

~Make friends with the things that go bump in the night. Doing so will make embracing the necessary balance or light and dark (both tangible and otherwise) easier. Also, it will save you money on future electricity bills.

~Don't be contrary for the sake of being different. We are all different in our own ways, so refusing to try something because you "don't like it" (even though you've never even had it before) doesn't do anyone any good. Try it once every seven years, too. Taste-buds change.

~Keep reading. Yes, reading aloud in class because you're forced to is embarrassing. That never changes. We were asked to volunteer to read something out loud at a work meeting the other day. No one jumped up for that, either. But keep reading. Even if you think you hate reading, eventually you will devour a book that consumes your imagination. That book will be your gateway drug into bigger and deeper stories. I promise, it won't be like reading in class or for an assignment. The only time-constraints will be set by you; no deadlines, no eyes of peers staring you down, no teachers telling you to "sound it out."

~Talk to your elders. Seriously. This is something I try to do every time I'm near the older members of my family (and did as a kid, but not nearly as much as I now realize I should have...) Ask them what life was like. Ask them to tell you stories that their grandparents told them. Ask if there are any family members that you don't know, and what are their stories? Embrace where you come from. In a world where we are told to embrace differences, but treat everyone like they are the same, having roots and knowledge of your own family can help you keep your bearings, and bring you back to yourself when you're confused.

~On that note...Get lost! Go somewhere you've never been before. Start small, though. Take a side road you've passed on the way home dozens of times, and have wondered where it lead, but never taken.

~Don't get into the habit of telling white lies to avoid hurting feelings only to turn around and talk about someone behind his or her back. It's a nasty habit (even if it was born of good intentions) that roots and grows as quickly as dandelions, and it's as difficult to overcome. There's no "weed killer" for this type of behavior.

~Stop telling everyone you can't, because your conviction is convincing your own self. My mother constantly told me that it was likely I got my inability to understand math from her, and it was my father who was the "math person" in our house. Making that comparison, and never wanting to be like him, I naturally accepted defeat, and grew up strengthening that belief as I told countless others that I couldn't "do math." When it clicked once in a while, I chalked it up to luck. Then, I stopped telling the world, and myself, that I was bad at math. What happened then was an incredibly uplifting and proud semester of Statistics in college. The same goes for my memory. It's faulty, of course it is; I'm human, but when I reduced the amount of times I told the world "I have a terrible memory," my recall was quicker and more varied.

~The world is not very big, but it will always feel HUGE if you never go anywhere.

~Everyone is weird. We all have our secrets. But there is at least one other person out there with the same secret, so you're not alone.

~Wishes DO come true, so choose those words wisely. Additionally, the rule of a wish taking 8 years for fulfillment is true. Be patient, but don't just wait for it to complete. Fill your time with other activities and things that you CAN control.

~You may envy others, but you are not the bottom man on the pole; there are others that want what you have. Similarly, realize you dislike that person because you see something in them that reminds you of you. Fix yourself, and you will gain that which you seek.

~Keep using your imagination. Just like muscles, your creativity can atrophy. Just like unused parts of your brain, like those neurons that have not been strengthened through regular practice, your imagination can dissolve. Don't let the harsh realities of the world embitter and jade you. Appreciate the wonder of the stars at night, keep the rusted gate song of the Red Wing Blackbirds in your heart, feel the warm embrace of the summer breeze, and see the magic in all that is within and without. There are always going to be people that don't understand and can't see it, but they are none of your concern.

~Above all, keep being you, in every incarnation. Change only for yourself.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Recovering My Soul

Teachers (proper teachers that take up the mantle out of self-curiosity and care for the education of others, not those that realize shortly after their first assignments that teaching isn't truly what they want to do) see everything. The collective knowledge through observation of the generations of teachers in our human world is astounding. They see what parents don't. They observe patterns students don't realize they display. Teachers are seers with the ability to help guide and mold us. Sometimes, their observations are so acute that one immediately dismisses the suggestion of a career out of fear ("That's too close to home." "That's too obvious, and would be too easy to achieve; there must be some sort of struggle!") or disbelief that someone known for a year or less can pinpoint one's destiny. Either way, one such observation has followed me throughout my life, beginning as far back as third or fourth grade.
What Miss Chaplinski, my art teacher, saw in me at such an early age I will never know. Yet, it was then the potential career of teaching was first put before me. How could a child inspire such a lofty thought to a grown up that one day she should lead inquisitive minds? All I wanted to do for the majority of school years was to be an artist or an actress. Why would I want to teach, having seen how disrespectful the majority of students were to every one of my teachers? I loathed school from second grade through junior year, and only found my happiness in acting, singing, or creating art. Why would I want to spend the rest of my life there, surrounded by others who most likely felt the same as I had? It was all very funny, as teacher after teacher tried to convince me it was the path I was meant to tread.
Now, I find they were right, in a way.
Sharing the random facts I seem to collect like so much dust in a cobweb softly clinging to the high corner of an old, closed-up room gives me joy nearly everyday at work. However, what I have come to realize is that teaching isn't always the drudgery of my formative years. Likewise, I have come to accept that my teachers and mentors were all right; I am a teacher. For better or worse, I share knowledge, guide minds, and (Goddess forfend!) lead people with information. They may all do what they will with the tools I give, as I have done. My library will swell (no difference in its life from its beginning), my adventures will contain comrades, and my solitary adventures will gain an extra bit of thought for the how and why to be added to discussions, my observations will be used for guidance of others' observations; which will morph as discussions ensue. For, now I have a small group of friends with inquisitive minds, asking I teach them what I know.
I don't know anything, though.
Life, experiences, and new information changes everything.
But I will gladly share what I have accumulated. My library is available to those who respect it. My experiences are open for discussion if they will assist in those of others. I will observe and guide and mold as those who have come to me with observations and guidance. And I will do my best to be present and true to myself throughout. For, what good is a teacher who doesn't even know herself? My experiences thus far in my short time in this life are varied and deep enough to convince me that I know exactly who I am. I suppose, now, I shall add "teacher" to this list of qualifiers.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Emotionally Exhausted

Marianne Dashwood, how I feel your deepest, open wound. When you cannot eat, cannot sleep (or can do nothing but), cannot focus on the conversation before you after the devastation that Willoughby hath wrought! Oh! That pain I feel! For three weeks before my dearest broke the news to me, I could not eat. I could barely sleep. I could only wander in a tear-filled haze, trembling from the sheer exhaustion of existing. And then it worsened. He told me he "probably shouldn't have a girlfriend right now." And my world stopped.
For the past seven years, aside from that short period of time I attempted online dating, I have been single. I have come to know myself, what I wanted in a partner, and have found silent comfort in moments of solitude. He was suddenly there, and everything I wanted and needed.
I love him.
Sleep, when it comes, is such a dear comfort to me. Waking is a hard knife in my heart. Living is a dark cloud that neither brings rain nor surrenders to sun. Every damn day is...indescribable pain. The love I felt when we were a couple was that of fairy tales. It was incredible. It was the kind jaded people say doesn't exist. The pain from the loss of such a love is easily one million, no - one trillion, no - infinite lifetimes worth of the deepest, darkest, most numbing pain any creature can ever know.
Yet, when we were together, I knew Heaven. I knew completeness.
Now, I know pain. I know what being let down truly feels like. To be a part of something so out of this world, then suddenly have it ripped from you as if it were your skin...
People have described the loss of a loved one as losing a part of one's soul; a part of your heart feels like it's missing. Nothing can be more appropriate here, yet feel so superficial. What I am feeling is so much more. And indescribable. A piece of me is missing, yes. My heart is broken, yes. Everything hurts.
I am so tired.
I am so broken.
I am so lost.
And life is so long.
I have so many more years ahead of me, and sleep is the only thing that comforts my aching.
I would walk forever if it meant he'd return to me. I would wear out endless pairs of iron shoes wandering the Earth for him.
I only wish that he could look past material things. I wish he could feel love, like he said he used to.
It was a fairy tale love. Maybe he's under some greedy spell?
And people say, "He wasn't the one. The one will be amazing!"
And I say, "He was the one, he just wasn't ready. We're on different time-frames."
But if the high of being with him was so exquisite, and this low is so nearly unbearable, why would I chance feeling like this again? What if the next one isn't "the one," feels just as great, if not (impossibly) better to be with, but ends in a break up, too? Why would I even entertain the thought of going through this level of Hell, again? I would have to be crazy, stupid, or a glutton for punishment.
Love is not worth the pain.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Of Water Elementals and Gods

My dreams have been full of jump-scares, of late. Often, these are antagonists against my in-dream character that follow me to "my" room (which seems to be that of my prepubescent childhood), where I close the door behind me, then quickly turn to lean against it while trying to hold the knob steady against my would-be intruder. They've been able to open the door just enough to stick their faces through ala Jack Nickleson in The Shining. It's always men, too.
Last night, however, my dream was full of strange occurrences of water spouts in threes, and a giant rising Moon.
"No!" I protested within the dream, standing inside the house and looking out a great picture window. "That's Jupiter!" And I ran out to lie on the grass to watch the massive planet so close I could almost touch as it soared over our dwarfed planet. Then, I see it rotate as it passes - there was Africa. And part of the Americas. And the North Pole. I ran back into the house, "It's Earth! It wasn't Jupiter! I saw Africa on its surface!"

Water is the element against which I fight the most.

The most emotional element.

At first glance, there was no grounding in the dream. People that got too close to the water (over which a restaurant was in business, and the outdoor seating was built...and where the water spouts gracefully dipped undetected below the surface) where sucked in. They disappeared much like the spouts after a final leap above to gasp air. The water swallowed all things that fought its power.

And the Moon (Diana) became Jupiter (Zeus). But Why Zeus? Being the Emperor of Gods, does he embody all elements? Zeus' lightning often coincides with the rains. Ah! But it wasn't the Moon, whose waxing and waning dictate the tides of Neptune. Nor was it Jupiter in his great paradox of calm fury. Neither was it watery Neptune, but Earth.
Here is the grounding. Earth, Gaea, roots. She glided above me. She made her silent, slow rotation, showing me her mountains, seas, glacial caps, deserts, and grasslands. She showed me, from afar, possibilities that cannot be seen when one is at ground level.

I fight the communion with Water regularly. As an Air sign, and truly one of a feather on the wing in the wind, I know what damage Water can do. It can be useful at the right time, but if one stays too long, it's clarity becomes fogged. It will saturate you, and make you part of it. There is no return from a full surrender to Water. The ground lets me land and rest, but it provides a launch pad when I need to go. Earth nourishes; Water envelopes.

I've always fought the communion with Water. Perhaps this dream reminds me that I cannot always fight it. It is part of my chemical make-up, after all. Part of me should relish its embrace, while still allowing me to step from it when I feel the sucking of it's depths on my toes.

The last few weeks, I have given in to despair in my solitude. That is far too long, and the joy of life is draining from me. The sucking of the depths on my toes has moved up to begin a consumption of my legs. Nearly half of me is succumbing to the exhaustion of regular emotional communion with the element.

I need to fly. I need to find ground, and leap skyward if I am to survive my experience with the element of emotion.

Here, my dream's bare bones are these:

~I stopped fighting against what Water needed to teach me. My curiosity drew me into the depths, and, once I stopped fighting, I found comfort in releasing my emotions there.
~As a soul naturally guided by air, I was sucked into my watery despair. And, again, as an airy spirit, I could not find ground to help myself out.
~Now, being awakened by Earth, I find that grounding is necessary - I need to pull myself from this state to be free once again.
~I am reminded by Jupiter that I have all that I need to do and be who I am meant to be in this life. Afloat in the sea of woe that I was, I could not make head nor tails of anything in my life. I was adrift. And, while I still may be confused of my direction, meditation and determination must be my tools to successfully get myself back on track.

I feel that I am blessed by understanding people in my life. However, all of the advice and secondhand knowledge one has in this world is nothing if one cannot use it. I feel blessed that I can assimilate information through my dreams, and have the patience to listen to what my own heart and mind make of what others share with me in addition to what I know already.

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