Rose-Eating Larva

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The first time I posted this blog, it gave some people the wrong impression. So, this blog has now been edited to add:

I am usually like PollyAnna: happy, sweet, and stubbornly idealistic.  So, when I post a blog that seems to indicate sadness, or relationship troubles, people panic.  “Oh no, what’s wrong?” they say, reaching out for me with sympathetic arms and worry in their eyes.

I think they don’t know that their eyes and arms reaching for me (metaphorically) freak me out!  Not sure why.  Psycho-analysing that another day.  I do appreciate you friends who care and love me, I do! Don’t get me wrong.

The reaction of loved ones, however, told me that there was something in the following blog that misled people to believe something was wrong, which meant I need to carefully edit my words.

Disclaimer before reading:  My relationship is doing very well.  We are stronger than ever.  This post is about me, and my own self destructive tendency- however unwitting.  My mate, lover, wonderful Pan in the Flesh, has been steadfast and just plain awesome.

. . .

This time, this blog is short.  I know, it may be disappointing after such a long wait (this author imagines all of you subscribers waiting on the edge of your seats for the next installment of ‘what is happening in that Pagan Dork’s life’)!

Warning: long sentence ahead.  I didn’t want to break up all the friendly words from each other and cause them heartbreak.

Ever experience life being awesome, then all of a sudden it takes a nosedive, and you go through agony and trauma, then everything that has been wonderful appears to just crumble away and you feel like you’ve been left with nothing… then THAT’s over and it’s back to being seemingly awesome, but now, life has refreshed your memory of how quickly things can change?

Yeah. That’s where I’m at right now (edit: that’s how I felt about a month ago, when this blog was originally posted).  I’m in a tentative kind of happiness, grateful to be back and walking on the green earth again, but aware that at any moment, the earth may thin and I may fall through into a hole again.  It’s like, I’m aware that I’m in a good place, but I’m also aware that it may be very temporary and it could all change tomorrow. But right now I’m OK with that, oddly enough.  Maybe, ‘cuz I’m walking on the green earth! Feels pretty good (albeit fragile) at the mo’.

rose eating larva

Original Artwork

(Interjected edit:  please read those words.  I am happy.  It’s OK to realize impermanence.  Life and love is much more precious once this is realized.)

I’ve experienced several situations where I have had this realization of the fragility of my perceived reality.  But usually it’s because I’ve had rose colored glasses on, and then they’re knocked off my head.

This time, though, the roses have been my reality, and some kind of rose eating variety of pest-larva has gnawed at the roses from the inside, and maybe the larva has been there all along, or maybe this is a new thing.  I don’t know, maybe that’s the same as having rose colored glasses knocked off, but I don’t think so. I think I have awoken to a beautiful reality rather than taking off glasses that provided an illusion.

Anyway.

I have become aware that the rose-eating larva… is me.  I have, once again, been keeping myself from enjoying my life as it is, and enjoying the love I have and taking proper care of the loved ones in my life.  I have just been made aware of that fact; someone I had hurt unwittingly, bravely held up a mirror and let me see my own dastardly larvaness.

I don’t want to hurt other people, but it turns out that not taking care of my own loving needs, hurts the ones that I love.  Because then, I’m not taking care of their loving needs, either.  Funny how that works.  Well… actually, not funny at all. Pretty f’in awful.

Also, once again, I feel like a fool.  Like I should have realized this long ago and done more about it.  I nearly lost my wonderful life as it is, because I hadn’t been taking care of it. And now, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be holding onto this wonderful life. Will it slip out from under me again?

So. This metaphor ridden author is now eating humble pie.  The pie doesn’t taste too good at first.  But it’s getting sweeter, because learning to be happily me, and to take care of those I love, is a wonderful thing.  Not just wonderful.  It’s essential.

Why does facing the things that block me seem so cumbersome and scary?  All it takes, is for me to ‘just do it.’  It’s like (metaphor again): that which blocks me seems like such a high wall, but it’s just my perspective, and if I walk forward a bit, I’ll see that there’s a break in the wall and that it actually turns to the right, like in a maze or a puzzle game.

          Ok, so that was a simile.  So sue me, grammar sticklers, such as myself!

So all I need to do, is walk forward.  Not to stay stagnant in my muddy waters (or inside the roses I’ve been eating), but to nourish myself with the lovely sunshine, air, and earth, in order to nourish those that I love.

So mote it be.  In other words:  May I follow through and Juuuusttt  DOoooo Iiitttttt. (Nike ad reference… I just like the Just Do It phrase so much.)

And may whatever powers/deities/totems/spiritual helpers/wise ones gone before us, help a sistah out.  Say thankya sai! (Dark Tower by Stephen King reference)

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Our Magickal Fae Wedding

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A small magickal party happened last summer.  Fairies, magicians, sorcerers, and witches frolicked in a little forest.  This little forest lay hidden in a backyard, which lay behind a cozy cottage, nestled in a suburb in the Denver metro area.   Driving down a nearby street, you’d never guess that the beautiful place lay just a breath away.  But, if you were invited to our wedding, you would have found your way to it!

darlene and owens darling cabin

This is a little cabin that one of our hosts had made himself! This is just a sample of the gorgeous yard, plants, brick walk ways, that made this yard so quaint and wonderful.

You may remember from previous blogs that I spoke of a ‘Pan in the flesh;’ my Obi Wan of how to be friendly and generously loving to others.  He and I married last July. We had sought out a place to get hitched, and I wanted a place with lots of trees, with shelter in case it rained, and, for the people who joined us in celebrating, places to park.

terry 2

The whole wedding planning, from start to finish, was blessed, because of the wonderful people we are so lucky to know.  My Sweetie Sweetness’ step mother offered her husband’s brother’s home in the mountains, and we checked it out.  It is beautiful and cute! But, as it turned out, it was a little small for the amount of people we wanted to invite.

alton sandra ambyr dahlia judy

In this picture are (L-R) my love’s step brother, myself, his step mother (who offered her husband’s brother’s cabin), my love, his step sister (who took photos) and her daughter, and his step mother who said the blessing over our marriage.

We explained our dilemma at dinner, with my parents and two friends of theirs.  Their friends offered up their home.  We didn’t have any inkling at the time that what they truly offered was an enchanted garden, and access to parts of their lovely home.

don lena terry joan 3

More of my lovely love’s step parents!

bo lena

My dad and I

Both of us had been married before.  We’d had traditional and semi-traditional weddings – lots of rules followed simply because that’s the way it’s done.  This time, we wanted this wedding to represent us.  This wedding was about our love, and sharing our happiness that we were together with our friends and family.

leif and guen dancing

My mom and her brother cut a rug, er, grass. My uncle and his 2 grandsons traveled from Sweden!

Rather than go into what we didn’t do, I’ll just say what we did: My love and I walked to the middle of a patch of grass encircled by trees. Across a little stream, our friends and family chose their own places, with some comfortable seats reserved for those who had requested them.  It was a little drizzly, and we provided a lot of umbrellas or guests brought their own, and some sat on the grass, some in chairs, to watch the ceremony.

audience 2

 

terry erika lena 2

My love and I stand with our friend, in Steampunk and Fairy style dress. My dress and circlet were also made by friends. My boots used to be my mother’s, in the 60’s.

amber us 2

Another friend offered to interpret at our wedding, so that lovely Deaf friends could also attend.

Our lovely friend and DJ is also an officiant, and she led our ceremony, and MC’d the events and music.  We also had a volunteer ‘town crier’ to announce things that were about to happen.  Another set of good friends grilled food.  The only presents we wanted was for guests to bring food to share, and we provided meat for the grill and paid for a cake, to be made by my love’s son’s girlfriend.

For our ceremony, our friend said some touching words, and we read song lyrics that we had kept secret from each other until the event.  This was my love’s idea.  The first set represented our lives before each other, the next set represented our time together, and the last set represented our future together.  Next, we said our vows, which we had decided on together, the words of which are based on relationship gurus’ advice.

deafies 2             wedding sign

Then everyone ‘ate, drank and made merry.’  We had rented tables for people to sit, or people could mill around. My love’s sister took photos, and many more photos were shared digitally by guests.  Another friend brought her drone that took a video of everyone (fantastic!).  After eating, we asked for people to make toasts.  We wanted only positivity in the toasts, and had asked a few to prepare some toasts to start it off, and then anyone who wanted could come up and share a memory or something positive about our marriage.

At the end of the toasting, my love’s step mom spoke a powerful blessing over our marriage, which was very beautiful.  Then there was dancing, and cake cutting, chatting, and merriment.

us cakeFriends had volunteered to help set up and tear down, and they were so great.  They helped us have a worry free day!  My love and I had a chance to do a lot of setting up the day before, so as the volunteers came before our wedding started, we had them set up signs to lead people, and decorate.  Then, tear down was really fantastic and amazing: no piece of trash was left behind. Every little bit was picked up.

kati david
These two kicked ass with helping to set up and tear down!
myra

This good friend volunteered to chauffeur guests.

Our lovely hosts enjoyed our wedding as well, putting bubbles in the water fountain, and staying with us as we picked up and chatted with guests that remained.  Our lovely friend the DJ and officiant, my love and I came back the next day to pile all the tables and chairs and get the DJ equipment.

Because everyone who attended is so lovely, and generous, and kind, our wedding was beautiful.  The people who attended have souls just as beautiful as the little house and scenery were (as well as those who wanted to, but couldn’t attend, and were there in spirit).  Our parents, siblings, families and friends, and the hosts, are what made our wedding spectacular.  (Some attendees even travelled from afar!) That, and the willingness of so many of them to dress up in costume just ‘made’ the event!  Just our style (we love dressing up in costumes).

chaz carolyn aliciabarbara and marla

It has now been 6 months since we got married, and we are as happy as ever, most days.  We are human after all, and not really fae!  But our commitment to ‘validity, fidelity, ecstacy’ (the words engraved in our rings), our vows, to rule out any negativity, and our commitment to each other as a team, are what makes our relationship relatively stress free.

Here’s to a smooth ride with my love to the end of our days (steadfast love even if life gives us bumps).  So mote it be.

1910 sidecar couple from indianchiefmotorcycles dot com

picture from indianchiefmotorcycles.com

I WILL NOT LET FEAR BAR ME FROM HAPPINESS!

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I think this is truly my year of the butterfly, of shedding my layers of masks and shells and letting my beautiful self out to enjoy the world in my own unique way.  And how fitting it will be to wear huge butterfly wings at my wedding, in a few months! Yes, I’m getting married to my love, the wonderful, loving, Pan in the flesh that I’ve been with almost 3 years!

shedding masks and shells merged

This picture has been made by tweaking a picture taken at the ‘Sensational Butterflies’ exhibit by the Natural History Museum (I assume in London), seen in this blog, and a picture of myself, and then tweaked further with tools used in GIMP.  Original Artwork.

My whole life, I’ve gone through a progression of taming my spirit, and hiding it away with carefully created masks, and letting fears bar me from being myself and truly happy.  But when did the taming of my spirit start?  I certainly wasn’t as tame when I was little.  My mom has told me that when I was a toddler, at about one or two years old, I had so much energy that I would rock back and forth so much in the barnvang, Swedish for baby carriage, that she needed to strap me in so that I wouldn’t fall out.  And my true self has always had this zest for life, excited to do things, meet people, play, and so forth.  I was a happy kid, spontaneous, playing in puddles or riding my tricycle all over town on adventures.  It was the 70s, and people weren’t afraid of child abductors (as far as I knew); kids could ride a tricycle several blocks away to a friend’s place to play, on their own, at about 4 or 5 years old, and no one would worry. Maybe my mom did worry, but if she did, I didn’t know about it!  So from birth to about 5, my spirit was untamed, happy, and confident in myself.

I’m not sure what happened, but at about 6, I started to realize that I was seen as gangly and nerdy, I was teased by many children at once, and I started to tame myself, to tamp down on my energy, be more careful, don’t attract attention, do as others do, and that sort of thing.  We had moved to Colorado from Massachusetts.  I was seen as different and odd, I had Swedish androgynous clothes and probably clothes from Massachusetts, I was pretty direct, and maybe I talked with an accent, though I’m not really sure if that’s why kids made fun of me.  It didn’t happen right away, so it wasn’t all about how I looked.  (If any childhood peeps happen to read this and have any insights, as long as you can tell me in a constructive, positive way, I would welcome that.) Anyway, it was then I that started tamping down on myself, not letting myself be my true self, and letting that bit of me shine out in a glimmer only after a long time after someone started to get to know me.  Also, for some reason I let all that get to me, whereas before that I didn’t.  I’m not sure why.

Then in my middle school years, my two friends at school stopped being my friends suddenly, and I started getting bad grades, not caring, and being depressed.  I’m not sure which happened first, was it my extreme shyness or that incident that caused it?  At that time, I was too afraid to even get up in class to get a tissue to blow my nose.  I would sit, frozen at my desk, not wanting to attract any attention, didn’t want eyes on me as I walked to get a tissue, didn’t want anyone to see boogers come out of my nose, and so on!  It was ridiculous.  I was painfully, painfully shy.  I was still teased, then, too, and also ostracized.  I think that again, it was that I was different, and maybe my negativity that caused it as well.

Throughout all of that, I could have shrugged off what others thought, been confident in myself, and not let it get to me.  I could have gone up to those who teased me and asked them blunt questions, such as why are you even focused on me?  And who cares what kind of ___ I wear or look like or act like anyway?  I could have let myself be free and untamed, rather than letting myself force my spirit down and away from what I thought were judgmental eyes and minds.  I realize now that I acted like prey.  Wanting to hide away from it, rather than standing up for myself.  As it was, I actively hid myself away from others and rarely let myself out to play and be free.

Though, I felt safe at home, playing with my sister in my neighborhood, and also had some great friends as I grew up, so there’s that positive part to my life.  Still, at home and with those friends, I had a mask and way of behaving in order to please them, though those masks were lighter than the various ones I put on to be out and about in the world.

I started to shed some of the shells and masks at the start of 9th grade, and I started to like myself better as I am, but it was only a start.  I still did things very carefully, and that has continued throughout my life, planning out what I was going to say or do before I did it, weighing whether people would see me or not, practicing my outer mask in the mirror, how to smile, how to look and act.  I created shell upon shell that others would have to slowly melt or break through to get to who I really was.

Now, there are some good things about being careful what you say, and caring how other people think. In that way you don’t act as a crass, selfish and despicable human being. Everything is tempered by something else.  It’s still good to consider others’ feelings and comfort zones when doing things.  I’m not saying I should disregard that, just not let fears rule my life.  Also, a bit of a mask is good, so you don’t let the goo of all your emotions and thought spill out all over the place.  So, there’s that.  It’s just that the inhibiting of myself that I’ve done throughout my life has been extreme and debilitating.

Of course, all of this extreme tamping down of my spirit went on without me really being conscious that it was happening.  In high school and college, I started to realize who I truly was, what I really liked and believed, and started to be able to shed my exterior mask that kept my true self in line.  I forced myself to talk to strangers, to train myself to not be as shy.  Basically everything I did, I had to force myself to do, most of the time.  Once I started, I started to realize I was fine.  For example, though I used to get very scared and upset when I got lost as I drove, later, I consciously let myself get lost, and be OK with being lost while driving, because then I’d know where I was the next time.  Keep in mind that this was before cell phones and GPS, with just a paper map to guide me.  I went to movie theaters, restaurants, and traveled by plane or train by myself.  I proved to myself that I could do things, and that helped me shed layers of my shell.  All throughout, though, I was afraid of what people might think, and felt weird being out and about all by myself.  I just had to ignore those feelings and go ahead and do it.

So I still have inklings of that social fear, which rationally, I know, is ridiculous.  Recently, I have been hesitating to do things like ride my bike or hula hoop, because I have an subconscious feeling that people are looking and judging. Rationally I know that isn’t true, but the feeling is there, and I don’t realize it until later.  So instead, I have been opting to stay inside and watch Netflix or similar.  That fear that I let build up and strengthen throughout my life is still there, unhealed, and I only recently realized it’s still there!  Also, my Christian upbringing, while having some positive points, has really influenced my life in ways that I also want to release- being prudish about sex, or feeling guilty feelings over things that are natural, needs to be released and it’s there, influencing the tamping down of my spirit.  I thought I had already released all of that, but the roots of all that is still clinging to me.  I think a good burning off the old brush kind of ritual is in order!

Just this past week, I realized that though a few years ago I became more and more untamed and shed some of my masks and shells, I was back to putting on my masks and shells again.  Then and there, through tears of anguish over the thought of losing myself and losing someone I hold very dear because of my fears, I decided to STOP LETTING FEARS BAR ME FROM MY HAPPINESS.  That has become my mantra.  That realization and determination has released me again and I’m willing to get out there and do things that make me happy, as well as try new things.  Here’s a list of silly little things I may not do because of fear, what that silly fear is, and why it’s silly.

(A Monty Python quote comes to mind:   “Jethro Q. Bunn Whackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot Walrustitty…, Silly Party…. Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Blackpool Rock Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable Brrroooo Norman Michael (rings bell) (blows whistle) Edward (sounds car horn) (does train impersonation) (sounds buzzer) Thomas Moo… (sings) ‘We’ll keep a welcome in the…’ (fires gun) William (makes silly noise) ‘Raindrops keep falling on my’ (weird noise) ‘Don’t sleep in the subway’ (cuckoo cuckoo) Naaoooo… Smith.: Very Silly. ….”) (No, I didn’t have that memorized!!)

Silly Little Things List

Listed as in this format-   (bullet point) activity: fears; why silly


  • hula hoop:  eyes, criticism, look awkward; silly because who’s looking anyway, who cares what people think? Just do it, like Nike says (and how cool is that, that Nike is a Greek Goddess? Totally pagan).
  • ride bike: (same as above), also the fear of ‘what if I fall and break open my head and I can’t call for help on my phone?’; silly, because that fear can apply to any situation!  Don’t go your life not doing things ‘cuz of fears like that, right?
  • wearing clothes or hairstyle that are out of the norm for a situation: odd looks from strangers, unwanted attention (positive or negative attention, doesn’t matter), losing a job or negative job evaluations, viewed as inappropriate; silly to some extent ‘cuz who cares what people think (something I really need to release myself from, that worry), and I really won’t lose my job or get negative job evaluations over it unless it’s very extreme or inappropriate, which my own style isn’t really.
  • not wearing a bra (!): OH MY what if my nipples pop out of my shirt and scare off the muggles or attract the creepers; who the f* cares, and if they do, then too bad. (Though, I do wear a bra at work, don’t want to be deemed inappropriate since I work with kids.)
  • admitting my sexual preferences and living a lifestyle that matches that:  becoming lost or soul degrades in a lustful situation (this fear stems from my Christian upbringing), losing my hubby-to-be to someone else (not going to happen), awkward friendships after (no, this hasn’t happened, though it could), also the stigma of having a non-muggle persona (I’ve already gotten over that fear mostly).
  • posting a blog about this and admitting my fears to others (!): who KNOWS what could happen? That’s way too open and revealing of yourself; again, who the f* cares and maybe, just maybe, a blog like this will help others who also feel the same way.
  • Doing pagany things again:  the scars of the past being reopened (no, I doubt it, but if that happens, that means I have more healing to do), going down into that dark scary cave where you don’t know what monsters lurk and doing the spiritual work on yourself that needs to be done; all paganism isn’t deep and dark, a lot of it is very fun, and maybe you SHOULD go into that deep dark cave and confront the monsters!
  • talking to others, flirting, or complimenting others, especially strangers: being out of the comfort zone, entering into awkward situations, not knowing what to say, not knowing what to do next, what will the other person think etc.; many reasons why this is silly but also I just need to be OK with being in an awkward situation and not be afraid of that in itself.

Anyway, I could go on and on.  But again, my mantra now is: I WILL NOT LET FEAR BAR ME FROM MY HAPPINESS.  Somehow, that mantra is helping me shrug off the shells and just BE.  And I’m already so much happier and free just knowing I can do this.

This is my year of the butterfly, to be my own untamed womyn! So mote it be!

Goddess Nudges – Or is it the Way the Cookie Crumbles?

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Do I see the Goddess or Leaves

Do I See the Goddess or the Leaves? – Original Artwork

Dear lovely readers, my apologies for not posting in such a long time!  Part of the reason is that so much of this blog has been about my change in career from Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (TODHH) to sign language interpreter, and now I’m back, teaching the sweet kiddos.  I felt that I had messages and nudges from the Goddess/ the universe/ the powers that be/ The Force, whatever you want to call it, to move in that direction, and now I’m back to what I was doing before? How do I explain that?

I’m still interpreting occasionally.  I volunteer interpreted at a rally, and I still interpret at a local Springtime music / pagan festival.  Two years ago in December, 2015, or maybe it was November, 2015, I got word from a fellow interpreter that a job as itinerant TODHH had opened up in her district, which was close to where I live now.  I got the job and started in January of 2016.  Oh, and I moved in with my sweetie sweetness, I’m not sure if said that in the last blog- I probably did.

I’ve been loving my job as itinerant teacher!  It was a learning curve to adjust to that, since I used to be a classroom teacher.  I used to stay in one or two schools, with a caseload of about 10 students.  Now I travel from school to school (about 13-15 schools and about 24-30 students in my caseload).  There’s fluctuation, students moving in or out of the district, graduating, or other TODHHs available, or not, to take on some of my students into their caseload.  I teach Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids from preschool to 12th grade.  For some kids, I help them develop vocabulary and language, or I help with literacy, or I help with self advocacy and care of their hearing equipment.  I still use my sign language skills in my job with some of my students, and I love that.

I had not really worked with preschoolers before, and audiologists took care of the hearing equipment needs.  Now I troubleshoot hearing aids, BAHAs (Bone conduction hearing aids), and cochlear implants.  I don’t know enough to program them or anything, but I can clean them and change batteries and put them on kids, and though I knew some of that, I know a lot more now than I did before.  Also managing the schedule and trying to see students in my caseload, and finding schools, kept my brain challenged and learning last year.  Now I’m comfortable with it.

Wow, preschool.  I am now comfortable with the wee little ones.  I was so used to secondary students.  I wasn’t sure what to do last year, and I grew into it, and figured it out.  It’s pretty fun being a goofball with little ones and figuring out how to draw language out of them, so to speak, and then driving and meeting with an older student. I like the variety I get in my job, and the flexibility.

So, did I get ‘messages from beyond’ supporting my decision to go back to teaching? Not really- unless I wasn’t paying attention to them.  It just seemed right and it’s been great so far.  But what about those messages from beyond before, how do I justify going against what they supposedly said?  I don’t know how to answer that.  I can’t justify it.  Lame, huh.  I’m a lame pagan dork.  And I’m also a fantastic pagan dork! Haha.

I’m still doing some pagan things. I joined a pagan chamber choir (I know right? Those exist? I thought all pagan music was heavy metal!) Joking on that last comment of course. I’m not as witchy-poo as I used to be; I’m not mixing herbs and doing spells and sitting at my altar like I used to.  I have kind of fallen off the magic carpet I used to ride.  What’s up with me? I have no idea.  I still love the Earth and I love connecting with other pagans.  But am I still pagan?  Yeah…. I just ‘practice’ the pagan stuff less.  I’m sure that’s why I didn’t get nudges about whether I moved in the right direction regarding my job- I didn’t ask. I just did.

My sweetie, who I think of as a gift from the divine and a somewhat subdued Pan in the flesh, and I will be getting married this summer.  After just dating a few months, we felt like we’d known each other forever.  Now, we’ve been together about 2 and a half  years.  He’s my gift, because of many reasons:  all sexual needs fulfilled, intimacy needs as well, he’s my Obi Wan Kenobi when it comes to my little worries and shyness and how to relate with people and how to be free in life, he’s my guru, my friend, and he’s my lover.  I am so blessed.

Anyway, I think I fell off of my overtly pagany ways, and so did this blog along with that.  I am still pagan though! I am, I am, I swear.  My brand of paganism is just less obvious than it was before… I am just me.  I haven’t felt a draw to go to circles and drum or do rituals with others, in fact, I feel a bit of a resistance inside.  I’m not sure why.  I think I’ve seen the people behind the curtain and I’m a little disillusioned.  That, and another group I know is wonderful is such a long car drive away.  Also, I had some magic experiences and then fell flat on my face.  After you do that, you might not want the magic experiences any more, or at least you might be hesitant about them.

I feel like my life is good right now.  I’m happy.  I’m free to be myself most of the time, and less shy to express myself the way I want to.  I’m with someone who truly cares for me and supports me.  I have sweet, sweet friends that like me the way I am.  My job is pretty darned good.  I have what I need in abundance.  Thank you, God and Goddess, for providing.  I am so grateful for this wonderful life.

Coming Into My Own

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open road is home

Original Artwork

Lady Vagabond has risen and come into her own
Singing hai-ay-ay-ay, the open road is home!

-S.J. (“Sooj”) Tucker, Lady Vagabond, album: Sirens

I am now an educational interpreter!  There’s a law in Colorado, USA, where I live, that prohibits me from saying that I’m an ‘interpreter’ until I have NIC certification (National Interpreter Certification).  I can lawfully say that I’m an educational interpreter, however, because I’ve passed the educational interpreter test (called the EIPA- Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment).

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that I was a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 13 years.  Back when I started this blog, I was extremely frustrated and burned out from my job, mostly because of the defunct system, and I was looking for an escape.  I wondered what else I could do for a living, and I realized that I love to interpret.  From time to time, I interpreted when other interpreters weren’t available, and I really enjoyed it.  I set my sights on interpreting as my new future career.  Recently I found a little souvenir from a past ritual, maybe from 2012 or 2013, a small paper on which I wrote what I wanted to move away from and what to manifest in my life.  On one side I wrote what I wanted to move away from: being a Teacher of the Deaf, and on the other side, I wrote what I wanted to move towards, and I had written “Interpreter: Freedom!”

2012-2013 was my roughest, most stressful school year since I had started teaching (and that’s saying a lot).  I started saving my money starting in 2012, so that I could be (mostly) jobless a while and go to school, and still pay my bills.  In the Fall of 2013, I started community college classes in an Interpreter Preparation Program (IPP).  I graduated in May of this year with an associates degree in interpreting!

This past summer, I struggled with not having any work yet and the emotions that brings.  I had expected at least a little bit of work and many interviews (being the Pollyanna-like positive thinker that I am).  I didn’t pass 2 screenings, and did pass 3 others, so I got signed on with two agencies and was set to start work with video relay service (VRS) work in the Fall.  That gave me hope, and I was constantly ready for that call from an agency- I gave the agencies lots of availability, even overnight and weekends, thinking ‘Pick me, pick me! Give me at least something!’  I had clothes on a hanger in my car and paperwork I’d need if I worked for one of the agencies ready to go.  To this day, I have only been called by one of the agencies once and I had to turn that job down.  Little did I know at the time that I was waiting and ready on pins and needles for nothing.  (Isn’t a lot of life and stress wasted like that?)  Meanwhile, while I waited for the call, text or email that I was checking constantly, I sent out a gazillion emails to community colleges in my area, attaching my resume and a link to my portfolio.  That resulted in getting signed on with two community colleges for the Fall.

Despite all the stress, waiting, and listless emotions, there are two wonderful and magical experiences I had this past summer: the first that stands out is interpreting at a Spring festival.  I interpreted at it last year and this year in an official capacity and have attended as a merchant several years before that.  Last year and this year, I learned all of the music for the concerts that I could get my hands on, practiced every moment I could, and the highlight was interpreting for my favorite musician: S.J. Tucker!  I also interpreted for Orpheus Pagan Chamber Choir, the best moment of which was interpreting the Jabberwocky, which was so much fun!  I used to have that poem printed out and pinned by my teacher desk, to lift my spirits with something odd and fantastical during my day.

interpreting for sooj and Betsy

Open interpreting for Sooj (SJ Tucker) and Betsy Tinney

The second wonderful experience I had this past summer was interpreting for a wedding which had many Deaf people in attendance.  The people involved were so wonderful, happy, relaxed, smiling, and friendly, and I got to interpret with someone I respect.  Those two experiences were indescribable.  Both experiences, as I look back on them, are sparkling with merriment and softening to the heart.

And throughout, my boyfriend that I spoke of two blogs ago has been so deeply loving, and we grow closer all the time. Life is good simply because I’m with him!

So, overall, the summer was a little rough, and mixed with wonderful experiences.  I tried to enjoy it and relax, but I also felt like I was mooching off of my boyfriend who I live with, and watched my savings dwindle more and more.  I prepared myself to ask my parents or my boyfriend for money, thought what I could sell, what else I could do to earn money, and tried to get other jobs, and scraped by, waiting for August when my jobs would start.  My savings that I had lived off of for 2 years diminished to only $20 this past July!  Thankfully I had rent money coming in, which barely kept me afloat until my jobs started, and I made it to August with only some debt to my boyfriend, which I’ll have paid off shortly.  It was a perfect timing kind of thing, and I thank whatever powers-that-be that look out for me, if they do at all, that things worked out the way they did!  I thank my lucky life and parents and boyfriend.  I’m also thankful for my smart brain (and that my brain had the chance to develop into a smart one), which helped me earn some money through tutoring during the summer as well.  I am truly so blessed.

All of August, I was stressed with starting new jobs, facing multiple fears related to doing my job well and not wanting to mess up people’s lives through mis-interpretations, and swimming in the new ocean tide called interpreting.  I tried out my fins and found out they work and work well!  I knew where to go, what to do, but it was all a little bit new.  I’m thankful for my many years with a toe in the Deaf community and to the patient and sweet Deaf people I’ve known, to help me to interpret and navigate now.  I’ve also noticed that what I’m doing now has connections in the past, one thing flowing to another, experiences and people I know are tying in to what I’m doing now.  Thinking of it makes me feel tingly, that maybe we ‘aren’t alone in the universe’ after all.

Now, it’s September, and I work at two community colleges and video relay service (VRS).  In case that term is foreign to you, I’m adding a footnote at the end to describe VRS.  I have been earning money again and am able to contribute to my little bubble of people that I live with.  I hesitate to call them family, but they are kind of my family now, more and more: my boyfriend and his daughter, who recently entered adulthood and lives half of the week in his home.  In my people bubble there are occasional chats with a roommate and his little son; he and his son are a bit on the fringes of the bubble.

And in addition to the people-bubble (or is it my family? not really yet, but….), there’s the thought of ‘is this my boyfriend’s home? Is it my home as well?’ Technically yes, it’s his.  However, he tells me I should think of it as my home as well- well yes, I live here.  But mine? His home? Our home?  My boyfriend’s home, that I live in.  What should I call it?  That’s the stage of our relationship now: what is merging for us, and what is apart?  I’m smiling at myself- navigating that whole new world in my thoughts: ours, his, ours, mine or his, or ours.

Only recently, I’m finally feeling more relaxed, getting used to all of what I’m doing, and like Sooj’s song, I’m coming into my own.  For much of August, and maybe much of this summer, I didn’t feel like myself.  I felt lost in the ether, not sure who I was, where I was, or what I was doing.  I was nervous about interpreting, nervous about myself, not satisfied with who I am.  I was scared to let go of being scared just in case I would mess up because of false confidence.  Now, with a little bit of successful experience, I am relaxing into interpreting.  There are still moments of ‘oh oops, misunderstanding of meaning,’ or ‘oops, wrong sign, this is the sign,’ and that may continue for a little while or forever.  But I’m more relaxed and happy with my stage in the process, and especially starting this past week, happy with life.

I have also joined Orpheus Pagan Chamber Choir, which I interpreted for at the Spring festival I spoke of last year and this year, and am singing alto.  That, too, has been a challenge, though a more happy one, that I’m starting to relax into and being more happy with.  I love to sing!  Before joining the choir I mostly sang with Sooj’s recorded voice while driving, and sang chants and pagan songs with friends while camping.  Now I’m adding chamber choir music to what I sing, and am enjoying the mental challenge of finding the right pitch and reading music while enjoying the vibrations singing creates in my head.  I’m also thrilled with the feeling of being part of a kind of hive mind as the choir sings together.

So, there’s my update after many months’ hiatus of writing!  Surprise, you get a new blog!  Perhaps I’ll expand on some themes I touched on just a bit in this blog in future blogs.

FOOTNOTE:

Video Relay Service (VRS):  Nowadays, Deaf people and people who use sign language to communicate use something called a Video Phone (VP) to make phone calls (in the US and other developed countries).  A VP is much like skyping or talking through the web via video, though this is through a phone line connected via a kind of webcam to a television screen, or they can use a cell phone or computer as well.  VPs require high speed internet to work.  The VP owner has a phone number that people can dial just like a normal phone number.  When someone who doesn’t have a VP calls a VP phone number, the call gets routed to a VRS, and that person hears a sign language interpreter speak to them.  The call is then connected to the Deaf person’s VP in addition to the interpreter.  The interpreter has a headset and looks at a computer screen, and sees the Deaf person signing.  The interpreter voices to the hearing person what the Deaf person says, and then, as the hearing person speaks, the interpreter signs what is said to the Deaf person.  VP owners can call other VP owners without an interpreter and have a ‘face to face’ conversation in sign.

Be Untamed and Wonderful

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crows on telgraph pole darkened

I made this by combining two photos and tweaking them in various ways.

Some of you may remember the message I got from the Goddess (specifically The Morrighan and the Norns; whatever being it is that prefers to represent herself in those forms) two years ago:

“Know this.  I am to the right of you.  I am to the left of you.  I am before you and behind you.  I am always all around you.  My ravens will remind you of this.”

At that time, The Morrighan said that I would be fine for the next 3 years if I would let go of what was blocking me, and that I knew what that was.  At the time I wasn’t sure, but didn’t ask.  I think I know now what has been blocking me.

If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know that I’m in my internship for becoming a sign language interpreter.  Also, since my last blog, I’ve moved in with my new lover, and we’ve now been together about 7 months.  I’ve rented my place out to a friend of his, and am contributing money to food and board to my boyfriend.  I’m still tutoring which earns hardly anything, living off savings, and now the rent money is helping out.  So I continue to have my needs taken care of, while pursuing my new career.  I’ve been watching my savings diminish to less and less, and I still have enough.

In the internship, it has been pretty stressful, trying to get all the hours I need to pass, and to do well.  Like many of the students in our IPP (Interpreter Preparation Program) cohort, I am quite hard on myself and have high expectations.  For the most part, I’ve been doing really well in the internship, able to practice a lot and get great feedback.

Used with permission from the artist, selphy6.  The pic can be found at: http://selphy6.deviantart.com/art/Cleffa-playing-balloon-380231141

Used with permission from the artist, selphy6. The pic can be found at: http://selphy6.deviantart.com/art/Cleffa-playing-balloon-380231141

I’ve felt pretty confident overall, though confidence is a strange animal (like one of the gazillion Pokemon– I think I’ll call it Wonkywonks or something- my lover’s 17 year old daughter knows all about them).  Confidence can inflate to be way too big, to medium, and then lose air like a balloon and become almost non-existent.  And it has special powers:  when it’s too small, it can make your brain run really slowly, and when it’s too big, the brain runs fast and wildly.  Over the course of the internship, it went from a little more than medium, to medium pretty steadily, and recently it’s taken some dips into small.  Last week, it got way too small.  There’s a Philosophy class I’ve been interning in,  and the professor is super smart and talks a mile a minute.  Sometimes the structure of his lesson is difficult to discern, and as interpreters in the class, we have to have faith that what we’re interpreting will have come kind of cohesion and make sense eventually.

I’ve struggled to keep up with this professor, and I realized that what was keeping me back was my perfectionist nature- I needed to get all the concepts correct and tie it all in with the gestalt (this is interpreter jargon we students have started to incorporate into our internal lexicons).  So, last Tuesday, I was going way slower than I should have been and I dropped the concepts, so that my supervising interpreter had to pick up the slack many times and take over.  After the class, she gave me some crushing news, that she may have to take over the class if I didn’t speed up.  That same day, I had a voicing test, and I’m not sure if my nerves over the test affected my interpreting that day, or what was going on, but my self confidence had become small.  I had to struggle to build it up again and try to relax a bit before the test so that I wouldn’t freeze up.  During the test, I lost a lot of chunks of information, and I felt like I had bombed it.

So: back to that strange transparent fish that wanted to escape capture: what was it that was blocking me from shining at my best?  Yes, my perfectionist nature, but more than that:  I didn’t have faith in myself.  I felt like I had to over-monitor how I was doing, in order to do well, instead of letting me just do what I am already good at.  I was micromanaging myself.  I’m not sure if that makes sense.  I had to free the wild awesome woman that I am, the wild interpreter.  Or, maybe ‘wild’ isn’t the right word- more like a wild animal, untamed, rather than acting wildly.  I had to relax to let myself be the best untamed human I can be, and trust that I CAN be the best I can be.

On Wednesday, I did well at my internship in one class I consider to be easy, and another class I consider to be more difficult.  That helped my confidence a bit.  My new lover also helped me feel better, expressing his faith in me and to not worry about results of things or how other people grade me because that can be subjective and unreliable.  (He’s very skilled in interpreting data and even has a degree related to it.)

That night, I came up with a way to help myself feel better: a plan. I always feel better when I have a plan.  In case my supervising interpreter decided on choice A: to let me have another chance before taking over, I would up my game and rise to the challenge.  In case she went with choice B: take over the class, I would accept it as a relief from stress (I hoped I would react that way, anyway), and record the lectures and observe her sign choices, and practice interpreting the lecture afterward.  That way I would still be pursuing my goal to be able to handle the class.

So, to prepare for choice A, I brought up a youtube video related to the same topic, with a fast talking professor, and practiced signing.  I sat on our bed, practicing signing a mile a minute, finding that I could keep up with the professor for the most part!  I also needed to limber up my fingers to fingerspell quickly.  At one point, signing wildly on the bed, I looked up and saw our dog looking in the doorway, with a stricken look on her face.  She stood still and stared at me- this strange transformation of my calm and quiet self into a crazily waving person (in her view, I’m guessing).  At one point I took a short break, and she came up on the bed (where she prefers to be, in arms length of petting).  After a while I started up with signing again and she left, like “Ok, I’m outta here.”  Pretty funny.

The next day, last Thursday, I felt a little nauseous with worry over what would happen.  I practiced again, had more caffeine to wake up my neurons, and drove in to the internship site.  Before class, I was fingerspelling philosopher’s names in the hallway, when the Deaf student came up and caught me practicing.  We chatted a bit, then entered the room when the supervising interpreter came walking up.  It turned out that my supervising interpreter chose A, to give me a chance, for which I’m grateful.  She started first, interpreting for 20 minutes, as we had previously agreed.  Then it was my turn, and I … want to say I was on fire, but I think that’s my heart being happy about it.  I wasn’t really on fire, I was *just right.*  I did it!  Later at class that night, I found out I got a B on the test.  What a relief! I had done better on that test than I had thought.

Back to the ravens.  I had a thought this week that since I’d moved far away from where I was living before, I hadn’t seen any ravens, and I missed seeing them.  Guess what I saw on Wednesday and Thursday?  Crows, not ravens, but close enough to give me a wonderful feeling.  I’m still being taken care of.

So:  my soul homework is to let my wonderful untamed interpreter woman free to be the best I can be, and not be so restraining of myself.  I also need to trust that I’m still being taken care of by deity.  It’s a wonderful cozy feeling.  I hope that you, reading this, can take some tidbit of a reassuring lesson from this, to apply this to your life as well.  So mote it  be. ❤

Like Jack and Sally, We’re Meant to Be

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Used with permission from the artist, Lulu Inthesky.  See www.luluinthesky.fr to see more of her artwork.

Used with permission from the artist, Lulu Inthesky. See http://www.luluinthesky.fr to see more of her artwork.

I have met, possibly, the best match in a lover, ever, for me.  In fact, we had our first date the day I posted the last blog. (You know, the one in which I was going on about how I’m just going to chill out on relationships for a while?)

Well, that’s funny.  I’m way deep in a very serious relationship now!  After that first date, I thought he was interesting and that it would be fun to see him again.  We had our second date the very next day.  We went to a park and had a picnic, and ended up kissing under a blanket as it sprinkled.  I’m smiling now, remembering how wonderful that was.

Since then, I’ve found out so many awesome things about him, some of which are uncanny signs that appear to point in the direction of ‘You are made for each other.’  So many things about our personalities jive with each other and we really match and fit so well together, that sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve made him up, except that he’s better than what I could have made up.

One of the really cool, uncanny similarities we have is that we are both really into butterflies.  If you read some of my past blogs, (or this one, or this one) you’ll be filled in on what I mean.  One or two years ago, images of butterflies were popping out at me, around 2-3 images per day, for months on end.  The same thing happened for him, but for a shorter time.  I now have a tattoo of a blue butterfly on my left shoulder blade and a few other things like barrettes, notebooks, and so on, that have butterfly images on them.  He has a lot of butterfly images and actual butterflies (framed) in his home.  I’m still seeing butterfly imagery quite often.  Just today, I saw these butterflies in the CD sleeve of a Frenchy and the Punk album, and the lyrics next to them are so wonderful.  I texted him with this picture, which has now been tweaked for posterity:

"...now that all is said and done, we can join forces two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key. Like Jack and Sally, we're meant to be.  Now the charade is over and done, we still march forward two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key, like Jack and Sally, we're meant to be." - Frenchy and the Punk, Bonnie and Clyde

“…now that all is said and done, we can join forces two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key. Like Jack and Sally, we’re meant to be. Now the charade is over and done, we still march forward two as one, for deep in our hearts we found the key, like Jack and Sally, we’re meant to be.” – Frenchy and the Punk, Bonnie and Clyde

Another fun coincidence is a mutual interest in girls and tanks (in a way).  A few years ago, I dressed up as Tank Girl for a convention in Denver.  I am a huge fan of the original comic books by Hewlett and Martin.  He has had a long time interest in tanks, and even designed a tank- I’m not sure how in depth his design is, if it’s a working tank or more of an art form for him (I would guess: both).  He wrote a fictional story that he wants to turn into a comic book about women in tanks!  How cool is that!

Myself as Tank Girl, 2012

Myself as Tank Girl, 2012

We match in so many ways.  I’ve owned guns before and shot them only a few times (not any more- the interest didn’t really go away, but the money to buy them did; I pawned the ones I had, about twenty years ago), and he owns guns and is into guns, a bit.  We’re both into Science Fiction.  I have all the old Avengers TV shows (Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and have watched them and love them, and he’s watched all of them with his daughter.  We both like comic books.  We’re both artists, though he’s practiced art much more than I have.  We both like to write stories.  We both like to dance (though I hadn’t been club dancing in a really long time).  He took me dancing and it was so much fun!

What else do we have in common… we’re both teachers.  Though I’m only tutoring two students right now, and he’s a full time teacher.  He teaches high school students Math and Game Design.  We’re both computer savvy and graphic arts savvy- though he’s much more so than I am.

We’re both leader types.  We’re both generous and like to help other people. We both really like cuddling, touching, kissing, and have high sex drives.  (And it’s been wild!)  He communicates a lot with me, and we’ve been very frank and open with each other.  We’re both polite and considerate people.  We both see people as just that, people, and have a wide variety of friends, male, female, transgender.  We’re both bisexual.  We both don’t mind if the other person finds other people attractive and tells the former person about it.  We’re so wild about each other and in love that this doesn’t conflict with what we’ve got going with each other.

We do, of course, differ in a few ways.  He likes line dancing (country style dancing), and I’m not into that at all.  I’m more into pagan things and think in a pagan way much more than he does.  He’s Buddhist, and is open minded about spirituality, which helps us match.  But he wouldn’t quite get into the same spiritual things I’m into (as far as I’ve been able to discern).  He’s much more outgoing than I am (and I’m more of a friendly introvert).  He makes people laugh and glow after he’s talked with them, and I love this about him.

I have been given this wonderful present: a lover who is as excited about me as I am about him, and who is wonderful, beautiful, and unique in his own right.  I have other blessings as well: sign language interpreting school is going great, I have what I need, and am blessed with wonderful people in my life.

So.  I feel the need to do something special to thank the cosmic mother and father and guardian spirits, and deity, or whoever has helped bring us together.  Some kind of sacrifice is probably called for, and I’m going to think about what I can do to create a balance for all the blessings I have been given.  I don’t have a lot of money to spend, so I need to think of something I can do or make and it has to be big or require a lot of time.  I’ll have to think on that one a bit.  (If you have any ideas, it would be fun to read them!)  In the meantime, all I have are words coming from a sincerely felt humility.  Thank you for all that I have been given! Thank you, thank you, thank you.