Reintegration by force

I came home from Twilight Covening last night, late. Around 4:00, as my passengers and I were finally hitting signal off the mountain, my Kit called. He had left messages that I could not get until I got off the mountain.

His sister died Saturday morning.

It’s complicated. We don’t yet know the circumstances for certain. She was not an easy person to deal with, not because of an unpleasant personality, but because – in a nutshell- she was an addict with bipolar disorder who left behind three children who had been removed from her care, as well as parents she used up whenever it suited her and a brother and nephews who were exasperated by 25 years of bad behavior.

But she was still family. There was someone there I never got to meet – someone they knew from long ago, someone funny and kind and smart, someone buried by illness and addiction and bad choices and “it’s all good no matter what happens” denial – and so they mourn her.

I have never returned from a retreat with such a cold, abrupt, forceful shift back into reality. Processing hasn’t happened yet. My reintegration day is a shattered mess. My desire to be strong for my Kit, for my family and clan-by-marriage, is warring with my inability to resume immediate control, since my whole amazing incredible weekend was spent surrendering that control.

There was no good way for it to happen; the outcome is unavoidable, and I blame no one. I’m not sure I even blame her. I was angry in ways and for reasons I won’t dwell on here. After a hard cry this afternoon, a fight with the instincts of wanting to be the caretaker and wanting time to come back from the Mountain, I have found a place of calm.

I cannot hold up my Kit or my clan right now, not the way I would normally. I am still caught between Mountain and Mundane. But right now I can be there. It is a start.

Skål!

Last night I participated in my first blót, which our dear friend K led for us.

I don’t follow a Norse or Germanic path by any means, but a few of our friends do, and we love to explore other traditions, especially with the varied members of our group. It was a fantastic ritual, and I can’t thank these wonderful people enough for being a part of it (especially K for leading it).

One of the features of a blót is the passing of a horn containing alcohol of some sort (in our case, mead and tej). First round is to honor the gods, spirits, and/or ancestors. In our group, that becomes a very eclectic group. Among those honored were Maya, Odin, Freya, Castor & Polydeuces, the ancestors, Raven, Cernunnos (duh), and Anpu. (Even more were called at the start.) In our group’s rituals, the spirits and deities generally keep to the one who asks for Their presence, for which we are highly thankful.

Then came the oaths and boasts. This got both rowdy and solemn, lots of bawdy jokes and some near-tears. There have been some massive explosions in our group’s lives this year, and a lot of the boasts came in the form of “HOLY SHIT, I SURVIVED,” while the oaths took the form of self-care.

Mine included.

Sir is intensely patient. This year was hellish in so many ways, and I have been on the very edge of burnout more times than I can count. However, He is determined to see me healthy, and gave me a set goal before He passed – drop ten pounds by Yule. As with so many tasks He sets, the number was less important than the effort. As is unfortunately typical, my effort (although better than previous attempts) was not the best I could muster.

So my oath was to make myself more whole this year. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. Mo ghrá has been more or less ignored this calendar year in favor of the mundane fires that had to be put out, and He will not be patient much longer – nor has He reason to be, and losing Him is something I couldn’t bear. While a few things about my physical health have changed for the better, my body hurts pretty constantly and is not supporting the things I need or want to do, because I am not taking care of it. I am not taking care of my self, of Kit’s partner, of His property.

Once again, my ever-patient and wonderful friend spoke up with an offer to help. We will be talking, lovely. 🙂 I still have to learn to get out of my own way, to re-train my inertia, but at just 30 years old, I’m seeing and feeling too many physical signs that I am running on very borrowed time. It is beyond time. I can’t ignore this anymore. My Kitten needs me whole. My Sunshine needs me whole. Mo ghrá needs me whole. Most of all, I need me whole.

So I say again: For my Sir, mo ghrá; for my Kitten; for my Sunshine; for my friends; for me. I vow to do all in my power to make myself as hale and healthy and whole as I possibly can, as healthfully as I can.

Unfucking All the Shit

Lots of chaos around here, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Raven’s Cave is officially migrating. Moving days are scheduled; storage is upgraded; our intent to vacate has been delivered and acknowledged. We have boxes (earth and sky, do we have boxes), a cranky middle son (who has to find his own lodgings because REASONS), very tired us, and a couple of very confused cats.

In all of the chaos, a couple of very good things have occurred.

First, we had planned for paying $200 more for our rent for the month of March, as our lease ends March 4th and our property management is typically about as flexible as Kevlar. When we received our acknowledgement, however, it showed us paying our current rate for the next two months we’re here. That’s $200 we can use for, say, emergency funds, or to rent a shampooer and steamer.

Kit’s layoff was originally scheduled for January 31st. He has (in his words) received a “stay of execution.” His layoff date is now officially March 7.  This gives us five extra weeks of him earning overtime for us to save, as well as a full month of his severance while we’re moved in with our friend, giving us a whole lot more to stash away. It takes off some of the pressure, giving him more time to search for a new job without as much panic. It’s also well-timed; the transportation plan we had set down would have been greatly complicated had his extension lasted beyond March (not that any of us would have been unhappy to see more of an extension, but one car + two jobs + kid in school = nutbar).

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on packing us up, one box a day, while still trying to keep the house in some kind of order. The biggest help in all this so far has been UnFuck Your Habitat. They have a website, a Tumblr blog, and a phone application; I ponied up the $1.99 for it and have been using it to get little things done around the house without overwhelming myself. It’s been amazing so far. I am unfucking all the shit, man, including my own frazzled brain. Between that tool and help from amazing friends, I have been so much calmer the past few days, feeling more like this is a manageable thing.

Kit’s been helpful where he can be, too. There’s still a lot of stress; that and the weather are still kicking his fibromyalgia into massive flares. I pack a box before he gets home; he goes over thoughts and scheduling with me and helps me fidget with it if needed.

There’s still a lot to do, and there’s still a good bit of stress coming down the line. But dude. Unfucking all the shit. One box at a time.

“Up and down…”

Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down:
I am fear’d in field and town:
Goblin, lead them up and down.
– Puck, Midsummer Night’s Dream, III,2,1454

While I am blessedly free of Puck himself at the moment (especially as most of the Folk are currently slow and sleepy), my life has been very up and down. Lots of good, and enough AARGH to balance it out.

Let me get the growl-worthy bitching out of the way. First and foremost, as I’ve been whinging about for a month: Sir is not here and I miss Him. My day job? Making me bonkers; I’m so ready to get the fuck out of here. A few things have conspired to frustrate me where our favorite events for next year are concerned. Our youngest’s grades are way less than stellar, and helping him fix it is more complicated than it could otherwise be because of his personal history. There are piles around the house that need to be addressed – papers, laundry, and other bits and pieces that really should have a place. I’ve got friends and family going through medical crises that have my worry going ZOOM. Our dresser is broken, the fridge is leaking, the dishwasher is broken, and the garbage disposal is busted. It’s the holidays, which is ALWAYS stressful, and I haven’t even gotten to storage to get the decorations (which I dearly want to get up this year, because DAMMIT IT’S THE HOLIDAYS). Life has got me scurrying about like mad, and all I want to do is be a cave troll and collect myself.

So I’m tired. Very tired. I want to curl up and rest in my little hidey-hole cave.

But. But.

I’ve got a lot of happiness crowding up on that whole paragraph of WHINE to say, “This is manageable. Your life doesn’t suck. And you’ll get through.”

First: Sir is reborn in two weeks, and I get to watch Him grow until He comes back to me on February 2nd. Meanwhile, I have other guides and deities who have blessedly filled the space He left, keeping me company and offering me guidance. I have a job – which not everyone does – that helps pay the bills while we get our businesses established. The majority of the scurrying is positive – time with friends and family and delightful little trips. There are a number of other events coming up that are awesomely interesting and have the potential to help our businesses grow. Our oldest has had a good opportunity come his way; our middle child seems to be content and even almost thriving; and our youngest is otherwise healthy and well-adjusted. There is stuff I can do to help with the medical crises, and some of those crises have recently passed with good results. The fridge, dishwasher, and garbage disposal can be fixed by our apartment management, at no cost to us. Our businesses are starting to get positive attention and the gap between spending and earning is slowly closing. It’s the holidays, which means eggnog and twinkly lights and good smells and lots of smiles. Our home is warm, lived-in, comfortable, and it’s HOME. I have some good family, a whole massive bucketload of amazing friends, and the very best ever spouse in the world (even if he doesn’t think so) who is patient and funny and an awesome cook and lovely and really good at snuggles.

Up and down, up and down. Life is full of frustrations right now, but they are helping me to count my joys, and to revel in them, and my joys are helping me cope with my frustrations.

Up and down, up and down. Life, come lead me up and down.

Fighting the old habits.

I passed my Ordeal and earned His collar more than six months ago now. Things have been interesting since then – changed and not changed. One might even think the hard part is over.

Oh, hell no it’s not. It’s just beginning.

I’m collared and in service, but I’m still me – with all the faults and foibles and bad habits that implies. And since He is quiet, it would be very, very easy to indulge in those bad habits. The game addiction; the bad foods; the pulling away. On the flip side, there’s also a little doubt – He’s not here for me to ask permission, so what do I do?

As far as the bad habits go, I have slipped a bit, but am catching myself. Kit and I are working together to get back to eating properly, even with all the looming holiday treats. We’re working together on my bad days too, identifying what causes them (if it’s anything in particular) and coping mechanisms to get me through, even if it means I spend a few hours listening to P!nk and zoning while he’s out of the house. I’m learning to state when I’m not okay, even if I don’t know why, and that’s helping.

The worst is the games. With the computer Kit and I bought for the business(es), I installed Sims 3, ostensibly to check the processor (which is awesome). Yesterday, with a slow post-holiday workday, I started installing Big Fish game demos. These are two of my most vulnerable points. It’s easy for me to zone out in front of the Sims for hours, and even easier for me to blow our money on the hidden object games that are my favorite. I’m working to mitigate that. I have to do something while I’m playing the Sims (like fold laundry, or get up and wash dishes, or vacuum), which keeps me from both losing all my time or going all White Tornado CLEAN ALL THE THINGS on my family. Also, I’m not buying any new games from Big Fish, and free demos last no more than an hour. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start, and it’s something He’s wanted me to work on (He never wanted everything gone, just for me to have some self-control).

As far as the doubt, it hit me rather unexpectedly when heading to a get-together with kinky friends. I always ask Him if I’m allowed to play… and He’s not there to ask. But there was an unspoken agreement that, if I do play, there’s no touching of netherbits – that’s for Him and Kit alone. And really… He and Kit both enjoy it when I enjoy myself. They always have. He never has barred me from play, even the night before my Ordeal, so why would I feel the need to bar myself? So I played; I drew O/our line; I had fun and I felt better about it all.

It would be so, so easy, since He is not here, to fall back. Not that He would never know, but it’s the “cat’s away, mouse will play” mentality. But I feel that if I do, I’ll disappoint Him so, and disappoint Kit so, and between the two… I don’t want to. Disappointment is so much worse than anger, and I want to make T/them proud.

So I fight the old habits. I celebrate my successes, I learn from my falls, and I work with T/them to make me better, for all our sakes.

I miss You, Sir. And I plan to make You proud of me while You’re gone.

Gratitute Project: WAAAAAY behind

I’ve rather let mundane life run me over lately – school starts next week for the youngest, we’ve started prepping to paint the apartment (nothing exciting, just so the walls look cleaner – and no, washing wasn’t enough), and now we have repair folks in to get some things fixed. Yay, bulldozer! But I haven’t forgotten.

Day 15: His patience while I consumed waaaaay too many strawberry Newtons. Sometimes a bad day just needs to end with that kind of ridiculousness, and I’m grateful that He understood.

Day 16: A lazy day. I was home sick. No demands. I played a silly game all day… and He was okay with that.

Day 17: It was a very, very bad date night for Sir and me, mostly because I was in a sour place (for a number of reasons). It ended with some amazing sex… with Him taking over Kit. That was… intense. And needed. And a major, massive, cathartic help.

Day 18: A new day. After the night before, it was needed. And it was a good one.

Day 19: Getting a little more fun in with my Kit – and just my Kit – before the weather moved in and kicked him in the joints.

Day 20: A break from electronics. I didn’t get on my computer; I didn’t play a game. I read a book and snuggled with Kit while the youngest played a new game he bought. That was a much needed mostly-break from electronics.

Today’s will come later. 🙂

Gratitude Project: Days 11 & 12

Day 11: I am grateful for family. My oldest is getting married to a lovely woman, and I am happy to welcome her into our little nutty group of Family. 🙂

Day 12: I am grateful for productive pain – the kind that tells you that you’re challenging your muscles, stretching your strength. Kit and I went to the gym today and I am SORE… but in a good way.