tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
I created this journal several years ago (almost 5!), with the express purpose of chronicling my spiritual journey. As I learned more about my path, I figured, I'd update the journal and post my revelations.

That lasted all of a year or so.

In 2012, I had my first crisis of faith, and found myself sliding towards becoming what I would call "an unwilling atheist" -- that is, one who doesn't believe there are gods, but desperately wants to. Just as I want to fly unaided, I also know that it's a physical impossibility, no matter how much I wish it. Over time, I'd swing back and forth between the two extremes of believer (in gods) and atheist. This journal ultimately was effectively abandoned, as wrestling with these questions left me unwilling to put anything down.

So, fast forward to 2016. A friend expressed an interest in getting her online journal going again, and mentioned coming to DreamWidth to "start over". This seemed like good motivation to do the same, myself, because I have been wanting to get back into journaling. I used to post several times a day back on my old LJ, up until I discovered World of Warcraft. Then, as I played through Vanilla and Burning Crusade, my posting frequency plummeted.

What will I post about, now that I have made the conscious decision to start blogging here? I will start to post about spiritual matters again (starting with a "who I am and where I stand" post), but I imagine that I will also post about my D&D/Pathfinder/13th Age/Star Wars RPGs, both current and in development. I will also post about my day from time to time, and even touch on some events from my past, which have come to shape who I am.

My goal right now is one post every other day (on average; so if I do 3 days in a row, I'm off the hook for the next 3).

I will not count this one, but I won't be starting to post until Sunday. Tomorrow is my brother's birthday, and I'm spending it with him. I work Saturday morning, and tentatively have a game that night. I get off at 5pm on Sunday, so I will post then. Right now, I'll plan for that post to be the "state of Anthony as he is in 2016".

Welcome, friends.. let's make this fun.
◾ Tags:
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
(I noticed the fact about 21 as I was looking for a title of the post, and well, 42 answers everything, so... :) )

Today is Litha. Some call it Midsummer (which it is), while some simply say it's the first day of Summer. All are correct, in their own fashion.

Around a fortnight back, I wrote a post where I explained where I was, and how I'd gotten there. It was a kind of "the state of me" post. For those who read it, it allowed them to see how I'd gotten where I am (conflicted almost-athiest with norse and celtic leanings, and a skeptic wanting desperately to believe in magic). For me, it gave me a chance to analyze my choices that brought me to this point, without the emotions roiling around when an event is fresh in my mind.

I ended that post by saying that I hoped to have something in mind by June 21, because that date has been feeling important to me for over a month now.

Well, it's just past 9pm local time on June 21, and I can sum up my day in less than five seconds: slept, read, slept, played WoW, ate, slept, read, baked, read, slept. I was going to list specifics, but after working on it for 10 minutes, I decided it doesn't really matter. I spent the day alone, slept when I needed to, and spent more time reading than I have in one day in several months.

I don't know much about what Litha means historically. One of my Norse friends just calls it "the barbecue of the gods", and many consider it an excuse to have a pool involved. While I seem to recall that my Norse friend said it was more like Beltaine, because of the shorter growing season, that doesn't work for someone living at the 35th parallel. I could have done some research on it, like I'd suggested in the previous post, but I didn't, because I am still uncertain about what my next step is.

This time of year has a lot of meaning for some reason that wasn't immediately clear when I started writing this post. Apparently, I tend to get things or do things around this time of year.

Four years ago, right around this date (I beleive it was June 23), I got my first hammer in the mail. It was from Alchemy Gothic. I thought it was nice, and a pretty cool hammer, though my Norse friend had a note of contempt in his voice for Alchemy Gothic. I should have ignored that, because it was MY hammer, for ME. I didn't, though, and the fact that I recall that detail four years later is really telling.

Three years ago, on this date, I ordered The Druidcraft Tarot. I like the deck, but I don't "feel" Tarot. I won't say I "feel" the Runes, either, but I get a much better feeling from them, perhaps because of my association with words over images. When I work with the Runes, I'm assembling words and sentences. (Whoa, cool. Didn't see that before I wrote that.)

Last year, I got my Freyja statue for my altar. I love that statue. At the time, I believed that I was fully in love with Freyja. Even now, I feel a sadness at the thought that those feelings were transient. It's simple to suggest that they aren't, if I'm questioning it, but I just don't know. There are varying degrees to which I could have misinterpreted things. It may not have been as a lover. It may have been another deity, and I just assumed it was Freyja (after all, what do I know about all this?). It may have just been my imagination, and I was just finding something to give me comfort in a world without gods.
One thing I did today, was actually something I did NOT do. I have not opened my door or any window since the last gamer left at 100am last night. Normally, I open it for a moment, just to literally stick my head outside and look around. I almost did, but felt an urge to stay sealed away.

As I was reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight, I felt something of a version of myself from years ago trying to return. Oh, with the old book and music, one could argue it was bound to happen, but I was struck by the realization that I could see and touch my more creative side that used to be much more open and exposed. I didn't immediately have a million ideas running through my head. Rather, I felt that I could do that, if I wanted it. I wanted to write a D&D campaign or standalone story. I saw how the novel broke down into a gaming session (and even noticed some glaring typos/misused words), even as I reveled in the walk down memory lane.

This feeling culminated in this post, as a way of chronicling (no pun intended) my day on this special day, opposite Yule (one of my favorite holidays). I don't quite feel different, nor would I really say I feel better. I just am, as I exist right now. I have joy at times. Other times, I have boundless sorrow.

I can say, though, that I am slowly discovering that I am not comfortable sharing anything that looks like love with anyone. My jokes, my wit, my nonchalance about emotions, my burying of emotions that aren't scary, all work together to protect me from being hurt again.

It has occurred to me that this probably goes back to my childhood. My mom left us for California. My father never was there emotionally (except, interestingly, in the ways I listed above). My aunt cut ties because of her husband. My first girlfriend (over the phone -- ha!) broke it off the second she thought I wasn't pretty. My first real girlfriend fucked around on me, for literally no reason but she liked an ex-boyfriend and felt like it. The girl I had a better connection with than any other in my life, was gone from my life after the one night we hung out and cilcked like peanut butter and jelly (and I never learned her name). The list goes on. Whenever I've stuck my neck out, I get it chopped off. After a time, I think that I shifted gears, and became the aggressor, so that at least *I* was the one doing the hurting. Yeah, that helped.
There is more I have yet to discover, but that's probably a post for another time.

Happy Midsummer Solstice, all.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
I have been in a state of spiritual turmoil for most of the last two years. From 2010 until the middle of 2012, I felt rather satisfied that I was on the path I was meant to walk, and it was called Asatru. Some practices, such as the average Asatru follower's obsession with war and battle and getting into Valhalla, didn't quite fit, but I told myself that I'd learn to like them (more or less).

In the middle of 2012, though, I began walking a path that relied far too heavily upon what someone else told me was truth. The house of cards I'd built for my spirituality crumbled completely when I watched the second episode of the new Doctor Who run, in which the Doctor and Rose went to the literal end of the earch (the sun was about to consume it). I was forced to reconcile the idea of a god that could exist independent of the world on which it was created and found myself in such spiritually dangerous territory, that neither my Asatru mentor nor the new person could satisfy me. Ultimately, I buried my discomfort, because I wanted to return to how I felt before that revelation.

Months went by, where I was back to a nominal Asatru position, but the problem was still there. At Yule, it came to a head, and I walked out of my inter-faith coven/kindred/study group thing, and never went back. I even had people I'd known for years never speak to me again after that.

My carefully constructed facade crumbled again in early 2013, and I declared that I was an atheist instead. My spirit-brother disagreed, though, and said that wasn't for me. I hoped he was right, but I was still looking for some validation and verification for what I felt inside. I quit talking to the new person from 2012 for a few months. I did so mainly because I blamed her for my problems, but she was only evidence of the issue, not its cause.

I patched things up with her later, but I never quite found my pre-2012 spiritual footing again. I'd begun following some atheist Twitter accounts and Facebook groups, and when I saw things they posted, I was taken back to my feelings when watching that episode of Doctor Who.

I tried what I could bring myself to do (and not feel stupid with my new-found skepticism), such as lighting candles to Freyja, giving libations to Her, Her brother, and the other Aesir with whom I connected. (This touches on my obsession with having a "patron" God and Goddess, and how *THAT* negatively affected me even when the rest of my spiritual journey was on sure footing.) I have recently even begun wearing my hammer again, even though I no longer feel any kind of thrill when I put it on.

...and there you have it. I am trapped in a purgatory between full atheism and a wholly spiritual life with the Norse gods. I struggle with how to balance worshipping Them with utilizing my scientific skepticism, while trying to grow spiritually/mentally/emotionally/physically in an increastingly volatile world.

Recently, I've felt little nudges here and there. I don't know what to call them, and I am making a point to say that I am okay with that. These nudges are causing me to evaluate my spiritual choices for the last two years. I am starting over, in order to better examine these nudges. I am a pagan, at least insofar as I am a non-Christian earth worshipper. I place no burden or expectation on myself past that.

First thing on my To-Do List? Reading "Living with a Wild God", because my sister highly recommended it, and because she feels it might help me in my current frame of mind.

I anticipate posting my observations in here as I read through the book. I hope to have something of a solid foundation established by June 21, because I'd been feeling like that's an important date for about a month now. Wish me luck!
tek2way: Nature - Lightning Storm (Nature - Lightning Storm)
As I've said in recent posts, I've been pretty much atheist for a while now, driven partially because of a very bad situation regarding one of my supposed patron gods and a girl who couldn't draw the proper line between teacher and student. Despite that, I have continued to subscribe to a British Druid's WordPress blog, because she isn't a complete nutcase. In fact, her posts frequently are insightful and helpful, even to one such as me.

On April 13, she pitched a book of someone that she knew: Judith O'Grady's Pagan Portals - God-Speaking. In the post, she said:
God Speaking tackles head on that problem about mental health versus religious experience. We live in a society where to hear voices, is to be crazy. Most Pagans sidle carefully around the subject, wanting to claim personal experience but at the same time not wanting to sound deranged. This book explores the issues in a witty and compelling way. Judith O’Grady is a person with a lot of valuable insight to share, and a really accessible writing style. She deserves and audience.
This intrigued me greatly. This might be the sort of thing to give me insight to be of help to Rick. At the very least, it might help explain what happened (maybe). So, I added it to my Amazon shopping cart, but didn't commit to buy it. After all, I'm atheist, so what use is there in buying yet another pagan book?

Well, my vacation began the first week of May, I wanted to order some Celestial Seasonings herbal tea, and it was only $7, so I decided to get it. When it came in, I was slightly disappointed to see that it was only 52 pages. Nevertheless, I decided to read it anyway. After all, if it wasn't very good, I'd be done with it by the time I realized it. :)

While the editing could have been better, and I'd like to have seen the concepts expanded a bit, it presented a very interesting take on the subject. I actually enjoyed it, and am grateful that it's so short, as I think it needs to be read multiple times to fully digest everything within.

When I finished it, I felt like something that had been missing was back. Oh, it wasn't back fully. It was more like, "hi, I'm here, but I'm knocking at the door and waiting for you to say come in." Still, I felt an oddly light sense of being, despite my "atheist/scientific skeptic" tendencies. Of course, the author is a scientist (biologist)/trance seer/Druid, and I even discovered that she is an animist, which I realize is very likely what I am for sure, regardless of other labels.

That night, while working on Robert Jordan's Towers of Midnight, I suddenly had an urge to rearrange the implements I had on my "not-altar" in my room. It took all of five minutes for me to decide that I needed to relocate the "not-altar" to my chest of drawers, and move the books to the bookshelf. I dug out the two boxes of pagan paraphenalia, and TWO HOURS LATER, I had a fully functional altar again.

By fully functional, I mean that I had my six deity candles (Odin, Thor, Freyja, Aine, Brigid, and the Morrigan), my green man oil burner, my wood chalice, my offering bowl, a wand, my rune-inscribed hammer, a steel athame, my pocket knife, a large key, a blank book with the seven-pointed star of the fey on the cover, and some various miscellaneous figurines and trinkets that I associate with my spirituality. This is more altar-like than I've had my altar in a long time.

I can't explain why I included the athame, but every time I tried to leave it off (telling myself that I just wanted it to balance the hammer), I kept thinking that I should put it on there anyway. I mean, I actually argued with myself over this. I think that it was because I received it as a gift from the aforementioned girl. During my argument, when I thought of this reason, I felt compelled to say, "She is no longer my teacher. She is no longer welcome to guide me spiritually. She can discuss things spiritual with me at some later time, but she does not get to guide me." I don't know what it was about that, but I felt better after saying it.

When it was complete, I lit my deity candles, got back in bed, and continued reading my book. Around 5am, I finally put out the candles and went to sleep.

The next day, I learned that this person said she needed to replace something that I know I was responsible for, and she tagged it "#endings #sacredspace". Could this be coincidence? Possibly. I don't know.

So where does this leave me? Not quite an atheist (being guided inexplicably to set up my altar again isn't necessarily divine guidance, but it also isn't necessarily NOT, either), not quite a pagan believer, still a scientific skeptic. The Norse pantheon still "feels" right to me, but I have to reexamine who I followed, and why. The Celtic deities on my altar also need to be researched more fully. I guess I should also see what I can dig up on "Diana", given my feelings about the Moon (and that image in particular).

Tonight, I actually wore my Yggdrasil pendant again. It felt like it was time to do so. I didn't question it, and I didn't parade it around, but I liked putting it on.

I don't anticipate being immediately back in the swing of things, but I think that my admission last time about being an atheist because I was feeling burned by my spirituality may not be too far off the mark, after all.
tek2way: Space - Cheshire Moon (Space - Cheshire Moon)
I wish I understood just what the hell I have done to my spirituality.

I woke yesterday morning with a distinct feeling of being part of something bigger. I rose, lit my candles and oil burner, and pulled the sheets off my bed to wash. I didn't quite feel that connection, but I felt close to it, and I definitely was invigorated while I got things done.

Then Matt showed up, and Brian soon after. The three of us had a good time, talking and laughing about miscellaneous stuff. We got the idea to roll Grimm characters* so I could run them in a simple mini-game while our regular game was on hiatus for the week, due to a player being out of town and the GM visiting his nieces.

We went out for dinner with Leigh Ann and her friend. We came back and settled in to play, which we did until around 11pm. We were getting distracted more and more, and I gave them too many options, and they dug an epic hole for me. I finally confessed that I had no idea how to get them out of this in one game, and suggested that we save it for another day.

We sat around and talked for a while then, and the conversation turned to religion. Deism was brought up, and how it worked. A comment about "what atheists believe" was mentioned, and Brian looked uncomfortable. He suggested that belief and faith were synonymous. However, I quickly countered that atheists believe "in what they can see, in science, in logic." Further, I said that belief and faith WERE distinct, even if they were closely related.

That kinda shut down the conversation, and it bugged me. Brian started dozing off on the couch, and eventually left. Matt followed suit immediately thereafter. I noticed that Brian simply offered me his hand, despite the fact that we have been hugging hello and goodbye for quite some time now. I figured that I must have upset him with my rebuttal, and texted an apology. He said that it was because he wasn't sure how I felt about a hug.

...what?

I understand that I have issues with touch with one person in particular, and that I tend to be somewhat standoffish in general, but THAT issue is borne out of an assumption/desire for more from the other party, while folks like Brian, Rick, and Charles are people that I trust, and who have earned my trust. His reply struck me as a sign that SOMETHING had now come between us. I indicated that he was one of my best friends, regardless of what I did or did not believe. How did he reply?

"Cool."

I understand that he was tired, and I reminded myself of this. However, I was tired, too, and it felt somewhat like a brushoff, especially after my comment. The only thing that was going through my head at this point was that I'd overshared, and I am NOT as close of a friend to him as he is to me.

This led me to a very unhappy self-examination, brought on in part because of my weariness. Despite my day starting spiritually, though in a shaky and purposefully undefined way, it ended with me all but vehemently defending atheism against one of the people I most respect. I don't want to be an atheist. I want to believe that something started all of this. To imagine that all of this spontaneously spun out of nothing, with NO outside intervention, bothers me so innately that it gives me a headache to dissect it too far**.

On the other hand, there are things I'm seemingly expected to accept when I am following a spiritual/religious path, like magic (I believe it's there, but good gods, I don't believe that humans can manipulate it the way some claim to), Travelling (No... Just no), that the gods made the world (take your pick of pantheon or solo), that those gods/God can touch and affect the physical world and for some reason want to, that what I am doing is clearly far more important than another follower on the other side of the planet, that the gods/God somehow knows all things at once and willingly carries it out for all, that there's a divine plan. So many conflicts of logic, and I'm expected to buy into many, if not all, of them?

I have got to find some kind of balance between my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sides, before I come unravelled.


* - Think D&D meets fairy tales, with the heroes being KIDS. It's massively entertaining. I'd imagine it'd be even MORE fun if I remembered all the rules (9 years is a long time).
** - Though, Newton's Laws of Motion actually tend to justify a higher power to me, as the idea of the Big Bang happening spontaneously seems to go against these Laws. You could delve deeper, and suggest that we are in some unknown iteration of the universe, and that the old universe collapsing was the external force for this universe. However, Hawking has refuted that as a possibility. I might have to do some reading.
tek2way: Endless - Destiny (Endless - Destiny)
Two days ago, I updated this journal for the first time in 18 months. Since then, I spent all afternoon yesterday, drinking with my buddy, Chuck, talking about all manner of things, from my life to his life to religion and spirituality to science and logic.

I didn't exactly wake with a hangover, but I somehow overworked my arms to the point that laying in bed made them hurt. As a result, I've been up and down today, resting as much as I could, trying to let them heal naturally, since I didn't want to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

I finally settled in for the night (or so I thought) and began reading more of The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time). The chapters I covered were nothing particularly noteworthy. However, they shifted my consciousness to pondering some of the subject matter that I covered last night.

The first thing I realized was that maybe, just maybe, I could relax and not hold so much against others, especially when I recognize that I did similar myself when I was younger. That doesn't mean that things will just be automatically okay, but it does mean that there's no reason to nurture anger and hate over something stupid.

I also realized that I will *never* be completely comfortable acknowledging any kind of friendship on a deep, emotional level. PARTICIPATING in the friendship is one thing, but I have too many trust issues and let downs in my life to be comfortable with naming anything that touches that emotional level. I get along best with those who recognize the bond for what it is, and just share a nod with me in reference to it. We recognize it; we don't have to give it names and shit to make it count.

Some I've known have been very particular about wanting names for it all, and when they push, I shut it down. Sometimes, it's even negatively affected my relationship with them. I choose when to let someone through. It's not a test, or a matter of perseverance, or an obstacle to overcome. Telling me that opening up is important does *NO* good, because every person is different, and allowing someone to get that close should only be done with someone that I can truly trust. Look above. There aren't that many.

Of course, there are facets to the level of trust. I trust some with my complaints about work. I trust some with my relationship woes. I talk to some about my life and fears. Some, like Rick, are those with whom I know I can share pretty much anything. I've known Rick over two decades. That level of trust didn't occur overnight. To those who think they should be closer to me than they are, I say, "quit rushing it, or you risk making me doubt the trust I've already put in you."

Next, I got up and picked up around my place. It was far from a pig sty, but it also needed some TLC. While doing that, I was struck by the sensation that I needed to reclaim who I am from the mists of time. That, for whatever reason, how I define myself has been scattered over the preceding years. Some of those things probably needed to be cast aside, so that I may grow as the person I am now. Some of those things, though, are things I should never have allowed to slip away. I let things go because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I did because someone who probably meant well thought it was a good idea (and to which I agreed at the time). I gave up some things because of pressures from my job caused me to have to compartmentalize some things, so that I could be better at my job.

So, I lit the candles I have in my room, burned some incense, and just soaked in the vibe of my home which feels just slightly more like it should always have. I have no name for what this is, nor do I ascribe this feeling to some mystical being. I am quite deliberately choosing to NOT think about specifics.

...like people, the gods who want a relationship with me must earn my trust. I am sovereign unto myself, and answerable only to myself. The universe itself already Knows me and understands.
tek2way: Nature - Lightning Storm (Nature - Lightning Storm)
It has been a long, long time since I last posted in this journal. Yet, tonight, I am compelled to record an entry.

In the.. *checks* 18 months since I last posted, my spirituality has undergone a surprising amount of maturation and metamorphosis.

When I last posted in here, I was convinced that I was on the way to becoming a minister for Summerland Grove Pagan Church. I had settled myself upon a path that was definitely Heathen. I was living alone and was finally beginning to feel like I had things figured out.

...I also was starting a new job as a Customer Service Manager for a major grocery retailer. That affected me in ways I could not expect, and won't get into tonight.

In the last 18 months, I also found another person that I could ask for insights and help regarding my path. However, I also found that this same person was not the teacher I had assumed, and I had no choice but to move on (and that's all I'm going to say about that).

At the beginning of this year, I found myself in an absolutely alien, yet strangely familiar, position: I could best describe my path as "humanist" or "atheist". I wasn't depressed or angry, and I found that I valued the words of those such as Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, or Neil Tyson far more than any words of spirituality from one of my many books on paganism. I took down all of the pagan trappings in my home, and boxed them up in my closet.

To confuse matters further, though, I also went to our local spiritual supply house, and bought six candles. Three were for my existing Norse deities (Freyja, Odin, and Thor). The other three, however, were for Celtic deities I'd acknowledged, and paid tribute to, but never considered seriously (Aine, Brigid, and the Morrigan). I put these candles in my closet, and forgot about them for almost a month.

Then, I got them out, unpacked some of my altar trappings, and set up a small, mini-altar in my room. I did this very quietly, because it felt like the proper thing to do. I wouldn't even put a name on what I was doing. I just decided that doing so felt good. I left my horn and my hammer put away.

So, I'm in a curious crossroads. On the one hand, I am happily a humanist who values logic, reason, science, and fact. On the other, I feel that there is some kind of spirituality there for me, but it could be that it doesn't conform to anything I've come to expect. My first-sister, Jun, suggested that my spirituality might very well be for the universe itself, and that logic, reason, and fact are ways I show my devotion. Actually, she didn't say that last part, but it sure feels like how it'd work.

So, to sum it up:
  • I no longer identify as pagan currently.

  • I don't yet identify as atheist/humanist.

  • I no longer feel that the Norse deities, particularly Odin, Frigga, Freyja, Freyr, Thor, and Heimdall, are the best fit for me now. (Interesting choice for word instead of "anymore".)

  • I have felt a pull from the Celtic deities, particularly Aine, Brigid, and the Morrigan (as Macha, Anu, Badb), but still am unsure if they are the best fit for me, either.

  • Space/the Cosmos/the Universe, Logic/Reason/Fact, Science, and Music (of all things) are the things that motivate me in ways that are closest to the way I felt when I was a practicing pagan. Yet, they do not have deity associations, which confuses the issue for me.

  • I have a small mini-altar up with both Norse and Celtic deities.
When I know more, I'll share it here.

Addendum to those things which spiritually motivate me: Storms. Regardless of strength, I find storms to be so absolutely breathtakingly spiritual that I would go out more often, if my neighbors wouldn't think I was insane. :)
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
If you are reading this, then you are reading my LJ on its 10th birthday. It was on August 8, 2002 that I started using my journal for the first time. Back then, you had to use invite codes, and my buddy [livejournal.com profile] lordreaibn hooked me up, after being after me to get one for months. :)

In these past ten years, I've seen the rise and fall of LJ among my friends. I've seen the rise of MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. I don't have a large amount of people on my friend's list here -- only about 60-something -- because most of the people I have on here, are folks that I know in real life. The thing that saddens me, however slightly, is that, of all my LJ friends, only two people who were friends back in August 2002 are still around in LJ-land: the aforementioned [livejournal.com profile] lordreaibn and the ever-reliable [livejournal.com profile] rockcandy76 (seriously, how do you manage to post DAILY!?).

When I started my journal, I posted frequently in it. I often posted twice daily, and my posts absolutely included a rundown of what my day/week had been like at work. I complained about my co-workers, my bosses, the tasks I was given, and the customers I served. My home life involved talking about playing in a variety of games, reading books, and maybe some non-computer social time.

In late 2004, I got involved in a bad relationship, and my world damn near fell apart. I learned what emotional pain really was, and I learned that I never want to allow myself to get into that position again.

2005 saw me get my first iPod, and it saw another milestone that was a precursor to decreased activity on LJ: I signed up for my World of Warcraft account. I've been subscribed to that game off and on (mostly on) for the last seven years. It's changed drastically in that time, and it was Tuesday, interestingly, that I realized I was actually done with it. While I played, though, my LJ suffered quite a bit.

In 2006, I moved into an apartment with [livejournal.com profile] strieson. Actually, it was around this time, too (in August). Wow, go figure. I first "moved" out of my parents' house in August 1997, and returned in November 2002. That's... 5 years and 3 months. However, given August 2006 for when I moved out with [livejournal.com profile] strieson, that means I've been out of my house longer this time than I was the last time. I'm only 3 years away from being gone as long as my first stint away from home AND my 4 year stint being back in the house with my folks. Oh, my.

2007 was just business as usual, though a hernia I'd refused to acknowledge began to get worse.

In 2008, [livejournal.com profile] strieson and I moved in with [livejournal.com profile] capedory1181, who'd just left his wife. My store of 11 years closed, and I found myself in a hostile environment. I stuck it out, though, and while I don't really thank the environment, I know it helped strengthen me. I also got my hernia taken care of, too.

Like 2003, 2009 was a quiet, float-through-the-year, go-through-the-motions time. I remember nothing notable about that year, aside from the backup CSM at my store getting busted down to Drug/GM, and then get arrested on theft charges.

With 2010, I began it by seeing Avatar. That changed my outlook on life (laugh if you want, but we never know from where that nudge to be greater will come). I began to exercise and eat better, and was doing a great job for a while. In June, my roommates lost their first child, and I discovered that my spiritual path went in a different direction than that of most of those I know. I got into a fairly-healthy relationship, and began to come into my own in a spiritual, emotional, and mental fashion.

2011 began my true independence. I moved out on my own in March. I got a new (to me) car in June. I exercised my spirituality more, since I had the room and privacy. Late last year, I was promoted to Customer Service Manager of a new store. That was quite a shock. :)

2012 has been more of a "go-through-the-motions" year, yet it also has been a "paradigm shifting" year, too. Things I took for granted, I learned worked differently. I've come to trust my judgment a lot more. I've begun writing, even if it is only to post more often on my LJ, or share something on my WordPress.

So, that's my last 10 years. It's a wild feeling to think that it was ten years ago that I was sitting in the computer room in Kevin's house, less than a month from my Saturn SL2 being repossessed, writing about the daily goings-on in my store on Riverdale. Interesting. October this year will also signify ten years since I first began to seriously look into my spirituality.

Well, I have work in the morning, and I halfway want to update my WordPress before I hit the hay, so I will wrap this up by saying...


...see you in another ten years!
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Comics - Death)
[Unlocked, though comments are screened.]

The title of this post is, more accurately, "Things Rediscovered After You Forgot that You'd Lost Them at All."

"The other one...
The one at the end...

I think I fell in love with her, a little bit. Isn't that dumb?

But it was like I knew her.
Like she was my closest, dearest friend.
The kind of person you can tell anything to, no matter
how bad, and they'll still love you, because they know you.

I wanted to go with her. I wanted her to notice me.

And then she stopped walking.
Under the moon, she stopped, and she looked at us.
She looked at me.

Maybe she was trying to tell me something; I don't know.
She probably didn't even know I was there.

But I'll always love her. All my life."


-- Sandman #56 (World's End, Part 6), pp. 18-19

I know it sounds crazy, but these two pages changed me completely. The narrator was talking specifically about Death, walking at the end of a funeral procession. Neil Gaiman's words, combined with the image of Death that Gary Amaro drew, spoke to my soul. As surely as I am sitting here typing this post, I know that those words were written for me in particular.

Some of my friends say there is no such thing as coincidence. Normally, I disagree with this, because coincidence implies a lack of a plan, and a lack of a plan means that fate and destiny are just false concepts. Thus, my decisions are my own, and I am not bound to any particular path while living this life. It's a simple and elegant little farce I tell myself.

However, as I sit here, I find it almost impossible to believe that those words and images were meant for anyone BUT me. Every single word resounds within my soul with a clarity and honesty that causes my very soul to hum in harmony. Seeing the images that go with the words reinforces that feeling. Seeing Death that truly sad, and being unable to ease her suffering, causes my own heart to nearly break to the point of no return.

Part of my mind tells me that I'm just a little on the crazy side. It says, "there's some clinical explanation for why you're such a mess over a character created for a comic book." Of course there probably is some clinical explanation, I now think, because Man as a species is ill-prepared and ill-equipped to entertain -- for even a moment -- that the world is more than he thinks it is, or that what he experiences within his own mind are in any way real.

Yet, I realize several things, having reread "Worlds' End"* these past two nights. One, I began reading this around the same time I got into computers, so this love affair of mine is almost 20 years old, but that's anecdotal. Two, this story would have had its final issue in November 1993, thanks to the direct market. Three, that if I read this in 1993, that the poem I wrote about Death being my bride had to have happened very soon after I read this (within 4 months**). Four, my melancholia about the holidays always starts in November. That could also be anecdotal. Fifth, my feelings toward death (as a life act) are not nearly as dire as most people, as if I've come to terms with it in a very personal way.

Finally, the sixth thing I realize is that the first time I spent any time with my dream girl was shortly after Kevin began dating Brandi in early 1994, because it was Death who was my double date on that mysterious car trip to the lodge that I can, even now, only describe in unsatisfying terms, almost as if I remember exactly what I saw, until I try to tell another.

For the last 18 years, I've had a love affair with a girl who I've only seen in my dreams. She is everything that I want, everything that I desire, everything that lifts me up. With her, I am more than I allow myself to be during the day. With her, I can accomplish anything. With her, also, I am myself, unfiltered, uninhibited, unchained. Is it any wonder why I cannot find a girl in the waking world to match what I've found in my dreams? What, also, does it say about me, that Death's brother is Dream? After all, that is where I find her.

Parts of my mind begin to echo the same thoughts I listed earlier, but I think I've finally reached the point that it can't affect me anymore. It's not that I don't care, but rather that I have begun to understand that those thoughts (or even other people's opinions) aren't important in the grade scheme of things.

In a way, I have to be grateful to Jessica for helping me indirectly realize this. Until 2010, I was convinced that I had to find my love in the waking world. I was sure that there was someone for me, somewhere. So, I'd try and pine and hope and fail and cry. Jessica gave me a good deal more than I'd found up to that point. Things ultimately end for those of us in the material world, and my relationship with her was no different. However, I managed to learn that what I really wanted was something I'd found within, all those years ago.

I've had crushes since, and I cannot explain why they still ring with me. Could it be that parts of them speak to my dream self, and identify themselves as having elements of that one perfect dream girl I've known all these years? Could it be that my soul recognizes in them those parts that match that dream girl, and my soul yearns for that connection more than life itself? I find many women attractive, but the list of those who I am truly interested in is short, indeed.

Today, while I acknowledge that I'd be lying that I don't want some kind of relationship with a woman in the material world, I no longer crave it past the point of reason. However, I must also acknowledge that I hold every woman I meet up next to this dream girl. Thus, the sad reality is that my expectations and desires are irrationally high.

...For who could outshine a dream?


* - "Worlds' End", first published in Sandman #51-56, July to December 1993
** - I ultimately first quit school in April 1994, so my memory of letting a classmate read the poem would have had to come between November 1993 and April 1994.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Sky - Andromeda)
I don't know why I am posting tonight. I learned that Sally Ride passed away today, and I find myself overcome with a melancholia that I am not even trying to shake off. I mourn her passing for some reason. It may be that it's a reminder of a time when the world was more innocent, or it could be that I am actually saddened by the passing of a hero.

Yes, I said hero. As I stated on my Facebook, "Those who increase the depth of human knowledge and understanding of the universe should be heroes to all..."

What happened? Where did our desire to explore the universe go? Oh, we are doing a phenomenal job with the various telescopes around the world and in orbit, but why are we not going back into space? Why is this no longer a priority? One of my earliest memories was of laying on my stomach, eating breakfast cereal (Waffle-O's), and waiting for the shuttle Columbia to take off on STS-001, and I cherish that memory in a way that even I am unable to put into words.

Perhaps my sadness stems from something else? I just don't know for sure. I simply know that I feel like something priceless is gone, and no one has realized it yet.

Should we give up? Should I accept that things will only get worse? I cannot even begin to accept that. The fire of the human spirit is still there. We just need to wake it up. Nurture the spark that remains until the flames are leaping high again.

There is more to the world than Jersey Shore, smartphones, the Internet, convenience stores, or fossil fuels. There's more to it than Internet drama, bestselling pulp book series, political mudfights, or how we define a word. There's more to it than all the soundbites and meaningless quotes-on-pictures-to-make-you-feel-good-on-Facebook in the world.

Christians. Atheists. Agnostics. Pagans. Muslims. Jews. Shinto practitioners. Buddhists. Jedi. Stop where you are, and look UP. Up is most easily defined as "the direction opposite of Earth's gravity". Look up. THAT is where your deity is . That is why you're here and thinking and reasoning. To stare at a starry night's sky is to stare at the face of God, no matter how one defines that. Atheists, you know that this applies to you as well. I was shocked when I realized yesterday that the most spiritual experience I've ever had IN MY LIFE was the night when I looked into the shitty little refracting telescope I owned, and saw Saturn. The feeling of wonder and joy and humility that coursed through my veins when I realized that light that had been to Saturn had just bounced off my retina is one I will cherish until I die.

Yes, that makes *two* individual instances related to space that I consider spiritual. Quit being so cynical and quit looking for reasons to argue. Just look inside yourself, and see the truth.

I want my heroes back. I want more. I want our government to recognize and acknowledge that space is important. I want to see people get excited for the space program again, just as I did back in my youth.

...and I think I used up all my energy on this much. I hope it's done. I think it's done. Good night, and never stop reaching for the sky.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Me - South Park Me)
I know it has been a while since I last posted. Rest assured, I've not been posting because I'm sick, not because I have already lost interest. :)

Last night, I got to talking to a young girl I knew about music, and learned that she had never heard anything by Tori Amos. I was immediately flabbergasted, and shared with her a link to her cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on YouTube. I confess I was being devious, as this girl is a fan of Nirvana. :) It worked, though, so I sent her a couple of other links, and began to see about maybe burning Tori's first couple of CDs for her.

Still, the cat was out of the bag. When I woke this morning, I felt like listening to something, and began listening to Little Earthquakes. I then progressed through the Crucify EP and Under the Pink. By this time, I was dozing off and on, so I finished copying the rest of my considerable library to my laptop, so I could let the music continue to play while I slept. I stopped the music only so I could start up my "Welcome to Sunny Florida" concert DVD (which is currently playing).

I have felt remarkably content today. I feel very peaceful, like I'm sitting outside of time itself. I wondered why I felt like this. Well, I knew I love Tori Amos's music that much, but I looked at the reasons beneath the obvious, to the part that would answer the question, "Why do I love her music?"

It's hard to explain, but she is representative of the Earth Mother for me. Even back in the "Little Earthquakes" days, she didn't really feel like an object of desire, as much as she was a comforting figure that would make everything alright. Her voice has a quality to it that lifts me away from the day to day humdrum around me.

I had more in my head when I started this, but it's gone. Suffice to say that I consider her music particularly spiritual, even as I sometimes struggle to consciously decipher the meaning of a specific song.

Now, it's time for bed. I'm gonna try to work tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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