Author Archives: idunnasapple

About idunnasapple

I'm a: pagan, Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (TODHH), educational sign language interpreter, arts n crafter, dork, and nature lover living in beautiful Colorado, USA. I love: being cozy, crafting by myself or with others, walking in nature, camping, sitting and thinking, writing funny poetry, watching movies and well-made TV shows, eating yummy food, ... and the list goes on!

Of Bikes and Spiritual Sides

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In a previous post, I wrote ‘more about biking later,’ or some such. And then I never delivered what I’d promised. Well here ya go.

Last summer, I started riding my bike. I’d bought this bike, especially made for women supposedly, … about 9 years ago. I rode it once. Yes. Once. Until last summer.

My goal? Be fit enough to ride my bike to work. I rode around a school that’s nearby to my house, and increased the number of times I rode around it, until finally I branched out and rode farther distances. It was a free feeling, kindof like learning to drive for the first time. A bit of ‘hey I can do this’ and ‘I can do this with my own muscles;’ almost like survivalism: I can get places on my own gumption, or rumblegumption.*

Then. The school year started… actually it started before it started, for us new employees, with lots of trainings. Then scheduling scheduling scheduling and figuring out everything from scratch, until our collective brains died. Then kids started coming and then two of them started blowing up (behavior wise). Now things have settled down quite a bit (knock on wood). Suffice to say.. since I’ve been in my own little hurricane, I haven’t ridden my bike, and haven’t done many other things that feed my soul, like seeing friends.

I hope to do so again soon, and make it a habit again.

Now.. as the title promised you.. for the spiritual side. I wrote recently that I need to jump start my spiritual side again. It has kinda.. died. And it needs a revival (no, not the tent kind. The defribillator kind. “Clear!”)

Well.. oddly enough (I’m not used to this), my new school has a book study group, focusing on a book that includes meditation. (The Book is called The Inner Matrix, By Joey Klein.) And when we meet and talk about what we’ve read, we meditate in the classroom that we meet in. Be still my pagan heart! Am I not the only Pagan oriented type at this school?

Anyway, I’ve been in a mode of surviving just a day at a time, with barely planning ahead for lessons and such. (Picture: staying up til 11 pm refiguring visual schedules for a kid with behaviors rather than planning what I’ll teach, then getting up at 5:30 am, day after day.) It’s been gradually getting better: things are settling down and I’ve been able to plan some. As a result, I’ve had to skim the book for the book club and I haven’t been doing the book club homework: meditate daily for 20 minutes, and now another piece has been added: notice your emotions throughout the day. There’s also a four-part breathing technique that’s incorporated in the meditations.

I’ve been doing the four-part breathing, and started noticing my emotions at certain times, but haven’t meditated yet apart from the 2 times the book club have happened at school. The breathing has been helping to instantly calm me. The emotions I’ve noticed so far have been guilt/disappointment, anxiety, and calm. It’s interesting, and good, to do this emotional check-up.

My goal this weekend is to do the homework for the book club, and to set times on my phone to remind me to do these things throughout the week. I hope to do enough planning and IEP (Special Ed meeting/paperwork) work this weekend, too, so that during the week I can Just. Go. Home. And. Relax. And ride by bike. And drum. And play the piano. and draw. and write. All these things that are waiting for me to do them, like silent pets, waiting for their turn to be petted.

*I had to look it up. Fun stuff:

Gumption: Noun

gump·​tion | \ ˈgəm(p)-shən  \

1chiefly dialectalCOMMON SENSEHORSE SENSE2: ENTERPRISEINITIATIVE lacked the gumption to try

Did you know?

English speakers have had gumption (the word, that is) since the early 1700s. The term’s exact origins aren’t known, but its earliest known uses are found in British and especially Scottish dialects (which also include the forms rumblegumption and rumgumption). In its earliest uses, gumption referred to intelligence or common sense, especially when those qualities were combined with high levels of energy. By the 1860s, American English speakers were also using gumption to imply ambition or tenacity, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that gumption began to appear in English texts as a direct synonym of courage or get-up-and-go. American showman P.T. Barnum also claimed that gumption named a particular kind of hard cider, but that sense is far from common today.

“Gumption.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gumption.

New School, Who Dis?

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After about a month and a half of working at a new school, my brain feels like a squeezed lemon: very used, productive, and only a teeny bit bitter. Seriously, it’s only a teeny bit. And who doesn’t want a little zest in their life?

I have longed for my own classroom again, and I got it! I was an itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) in another district, and now am back to having a self-contained DHH class.

While this’ll be my 19th year of teaching (saying that makes me feel a little accomplished, and very old as well as ironic), this new situation has had a YUGE learning curve. Partly because my teaching brain had gotten used to not having a classroom and all that comes with it: teaching all the routines, having logistics in place (oh right we need pencils… a pencil sharpener… the alphabet on the wall; etc.), and partly because I have two students whose behaviors are extreme, and I’ve never dealt with extreme behaviors. I have dealt with behaviors, yes, but not to this extent. (Picture: yelling, screaming, dumping everything in the room, throwing chairs and overturning tables. I’ve heard of worse and I am fortunate that it’s not: spreading feces on the wall or spitting, or aiming punches or scratches that really hurt!)

Things are in process for these kiddos… and I’m sure I have earned some new silvery hairs from my experiences thus far. But there are many pretty roses in my garden of mud as well, that deserve appreciation: this new situation also comes with wonderful staff that are supportive, and all of the kids have sweetness, some more than others but it’s there. And while some days have me feeling 2 inches tall as a teacher, I haven’t thrown in the towel. If I can do my darndest to stay at this school, and cling to the rocks and climb this mountain in order to do so, I will. But, as I said one day to a sweet teacher, I wouldn’t want to continue in this same way all year; if so, I would need to quit at some point to preserve my sanity.

We’ll see who wins: will this situation beat me down to choosing a new career path? Or will the situation resolve itself and become something beautiful? Stay tuned to find out! In the amazing adventures of… The Pagan Dork!

My Life, it is a-Changin’!

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Come gather ’round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

-Bob Dylan

There have been a lot of changes in my life lately.  Some things that are still the same are:  I still live in the same place, I’m still basically the same person, and I am still married with two dogs.

Work, home, friends, life perspectives, my soul and emotions have all been overhauled, at least in my mind if not in physical reality.  I’ve also started riding my bike! More on that in another post.

Work:  For some time now, I have wanted to work closer to home, and have also felt a draw to have my own classroom again.  I have been an itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (TODHH) for 3 1/2 years.  The most recent school year, I was both itinerant TODHH and Sign Language Interpreter Coordinator.  I learned SO MUCH!

It seems that things have fallen in the place the way they should, so that I am mentally ready for this next step: going back to a Deaf program (self-contained classroom within a hearing school).  “Self Contained,” I’m learning, might not be so PC any more… it’s being called a resource room because of the emphasis of the goal of mainstreaming kids.  But that goal doesn’t keep in mind the spectrum of needs.  Some kids need more support, slower pace, modified curriculum, repetition, concepts explained in ASL (American Sign Language), and so on.  The majority of education-folks seem to subscribe to the ideal that all kids will eventually be mainstreamed; I don’t.  I see it as a continuum of service (to use an educational phrase).  Anyway, that’s become a soapbox and I’ll step off of it before I go down that rabbit-hole!

Since I had two roles last school year, I gave myself extra expectations and work to help the team out as I prepared to leave the position.  During the summer, I had a lot to do: I created two handbooks– one for sign language interpreters and one for the next sign language interpreter coordinator.  There’s a lot of insider know-how needed, and if someone doesn’t have that, there’s a huge learning curve.  Certain sensitivies may be ignored if someone isn’t in the know and bridges may be burned… so I hope my replacement has that know-how!   “Not my circus” anymore though.  I just hope that handing that metaphorical package of duties over to the next person, whoever that may be, will go well.

As for handing over the TODHH package to the next person, I gave a summary on each kiddo and their needs, and met with my replacement.  I am so relieved that my replacement already knows the kids, already is a great person and I know all the students will be taken care of.  It’s so hard being in a service career, with wee little fragile birds you take care of (and some not so fragile), when you have to leave that nest for another one, and you want the next mama to be a good one, y’know?

Then there’s been a bunch of excitement and brain gears turning with the new school’s DHH team and the new school district.  The DHH team has been great.  We’ve had a meeting and some phone calls, and I already feel a part of the team!  It seems like I’ll be working with great people.

The new school district also seems great.  I am SO impressed with how this next district I’m working with takes care of their employees thus far.  The trainings and orientations I’ve been a part of have really left me feeling like we being take care of by people who truly care how we fare in our new positions.  That’s a vastly different feeling than what I’ve had before in previous districts.  Not to say previous experiences were bad- there was just a lack of care with new employees.  Usually you’re thrown in and expected to roll with it- which is a training unto itself… kindof like a bootcamp run by well meaning, nice people.  Usually you don’t have a boss that’s like an army sarge, but you are expected to rise to lots of challenges and just ‘take it’ like the teacher you are!

Anyway, this transition has been an emotional ride, and a brainy one too.  Trying to make sure your duties and kiddos you leave are taken care of while trying to make sure you are ready to take care of the next set of duties and kiddos, probably creates a lot of gray hairs, but also makes for a smoother transition for everyone (we hope)!  And, saying goodbye to wonderful people and students I worked with, and meeting new wonderful people and students, is also heart-wrenching and heart-blossoming as well.

Another major change, just in my mind, has to do with my home.  My home has become, in my mind, more solidly ours – my husband’s and mine- and not just my husband’s.  What has helped with this is getting the townhome, which I used to live in and still own, completely flipped and ready for tenants.  And now we have a new tenant that has just moved in.

The townhome was home to some friends for about 4 years, and they had a lot of family living with them. They left it with holes in the walls, lots of things to fix (toilets, ceiling fans), and the carpet and walls were dingy and gross (not just from friends- the walls and carpet were already ‘blah’ when I lived there). We repainted and we paid another friend to redo all the floors in Pergot.  And, we (friends, my husband and I, and our step daughter and her boyfriend) worked to the bone with cleaning, painting, patching, fixing and replacing … there has been so much to do.

The townhome’s looking really good now… though just today my husband is taking care of an odd leak situation!  Never a dull moment.  All that to say that I’ve had to emotionally say goodbye to the home in my mind.  The place I lived in not only looks vastly different now, it’s not really so much my home anymore, in my mind.  Just another stepping stone in my life, now.  With all of that came a lot of financial hardship for my husband and I, since we paid for lots of the fixups ourselves.  Hopefully, looking forward, things will be smoother money-wise!

As for my outlook on life, I’ve had a lot of growing pains for my soul this last year or so.  Just being more at ease with myself, consoling myself when I get butt-hurt over things, or just teaching myself the 4 agreements and mostly not taking things personally, I at least feel like my soul has matured and made a lot of progress.  I think that not only am I in a great place emotionally for this transition, my soul and brain are also ready.  These changes just feel right and that’s a great feeling.

One thing that needs a jump-start is my spiritual side.  Spiritually (this blog is about me being a Pagan Dork after all), I have not been a part of any spiritual group for a long time, and the closest thing pagan I’ve done is a wee bit of my own special form of visualization/meditation and a drum circle (and that’s just 2 little things in about a year).  But mostly I haven’t really done much.

That part of me has been kinda dead for a while… and that’s probably not good for my soul.  That needs a recharge.  I’m not ready to join any kind of group, except loosely like in drum circles and the like. But I am looking forward exploring new ways of thinking and being, spiritually.  Some of my past blogs here described my beliefs at that time; I feel them evolving. Maybe it won’t involve completely turning my back on my beliefs, but adjusting and growing.

Throughout all of these changes, my husband and close friends and loved ones have been there, supporting me and cheering me on, and also being patient with me, and I am really grateful.  I am mind-blown every time I think of all the wonderful people I am lucky to have in my life!

Well there you go, an update on my life!  I haven’t written in a long time! Life is feeling really good even with all these changes.  We’ll see what the next school year has in store- work-wise and life-wise.

 

A Dream: Samurai Clock

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samurai clock

Original Artwork

Last night I had a dream.  I’m going to send this dream to a friend of mine.  So, this blog is written to him.

Hey! Long time no see. I know you’ve had huge changes in your life.  We don’t know each other well so this message might seem a little odd, but I had a dream about you last night!  It seems to me like a magical, meaningful dream.  You can let me know if it has any meaning for your life.

In the dream, my husband and I had been staying at some kind of retreat.  I think we had been staying in a cabin, but those details weren’t important in the dream.  During the retreat, you and I had each made half of a Samurai clock, and my husband had made something similar but his was whole.  You and I had made our halves separately. The making of it wasn’t important in the dream, just the fact that I had half, and you had half.

The Samurai clock was a figurine that could be held in the hand, it was that small.  It was black and white glazed ceramic.  It stood, feet apart, and arms stretched out like wings.  I can’t remember what the head looked like at all.  What stands out the most to me were the wing like arms, like an almost hug, a feeling of security.  The clock: I don’t know why it’s important that it’s a clock, somehow it tells time but I didn’t see any clock face on it, and it’s made completely out of ceramic.

I only “know” you (not that well) through pagan festivals.  You were always awake with a few others in the morning, giving out hugs.  Your hugs were always warm and loving.  I always thought of you like a brother.  Like, that’s the kind of bond we have without really knowing each other, you’re like my brother.  That’s the same feeling I had in this dream.

In the dream, my husband and I had packed up and were ready to leave, and were making our goodbyes.  I looked at my half of the samurai clock.  I felt like I knew I should give my half to you, but that I wanted to keep it, with the feeling of ‘my precious’ about it.  But I quickly overcame that and just knew I should give it to you.

Now here’s what makes this dream seem magical to me, this next part, for some reason.  My husband and I entered your tent.  Your tent was made of canvas, shaped like a yurt, and it was big and spacious.  It had some kind of thick green carpet for the floor, and you had various things around like oil lamps and food stores, and it looked cozy.  Also, the sun shone in, as if you had skylights, but your tent didn’t have windows or holes- it was just sunshiny inside your tent.  In the dream, you were planning to stay at the retreat, in your tent, for at least a year.  Like, that’s where your life had led you, to this point. (I feel like that’s important.)

I handed the other half of the Samurai clock to you.  The pieces fit together and it’s like it magically came into place, so that it was whole.  You held it, and I spoke to you: “It seems like living in your tent will feel isolating and lonely.”  You nodded and said you’d felt that last night.  I went on to say something like the Samurai clock would help you when you feel isolated and lonely.

And that’s it!  That’s the dream.  I feel like the tent, the samurai clock, and my words to you have importance.  I have no idea why.  If this dream is true, and you’ll be metaphorically living in a tent on your own for the foreseeable future, take heart, and know you have a tribe and bonds with people.

I’m posting this to my blog, in case the dream helps others, too!

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)

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!