Saturday, July 30, 2016

Symbols

Symbols are an important things. They represent a lot of different things. They hold power. I believe everyone has a symbol that they are drawn to. More than one usually depending on the topic.

 Roses - This is no surprise for anyone who knows me. Ever since I was little I have been drawn to them. Even in mediation, when someone would typically envision a lotus, I envision a rose. It's the same idea; a multi layered, multi-petal flower. Even roses have their own language of love depending on the color.

 Pentacle - Ever since I converted to Paganism, I have been drawn to the pentacle. I use it anytime I do spell-work or shielding. I have one tattooed on me to represent my beliefs and my power. It's a very personal symbol for me

 Claddagh - I have loved this symbol for about as long as I have been dating. I love what it represents: love, loyalty, friendship, foundations for any promising relationship. I have some claddagh pieces that I've stored away because they were too painful to look at when I was single. I feel myself being drawn to them again, and finding them more often.

 Triquetra - This has been a newer symbol in my life. When I see or use this symbol, I think family. I have a pendant with it on one side, and the Gemini symbol on the other side. I have a pendant for Rit with the triquetra on one side and the Leo sign on the other. This is another great protection symbol as well.

 Ankh - This is not a symbol for me. But it is one that my other brother and Gypsy both resonate with. Whenever I see it, I think of both of them.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Too early for introductions

I have already had a few people ask me how Rit likes Fountain. I admit I look at them like they are crazy when they ask that, my own father included. I like Fountain, a lot. I am excited to see where this relationship goes. But we have only known each other 2 ½ weeks, and in a relationship for four days. He has not met, or even had a chance to meet, Rit. Nor will he for a while honestly. I am a protective mom. I don’t want to bring people in and out of my son’s life, have him get attached only for it to end and break his heart.

With Thespian, we were friends for two years prior to dating. He had met Rit many times at renfaire already, so it was not a matter of introducing someone new to Rit’s life. Even then, we took our time. He got really close to Thespian, and he was just as affected by our breakup. With Fountain, we don’t have that prior history. I want to wait until I know that what we have is serious and long term. Rit is the most important guy in my life. It is my job to protect him, and I need to know that the person I am introducing to him is worthy of the love that my son is capable of giving. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Religion

Religion is an interesting thing, and we all view it differently. Now that I am dating a Christian, it’s had me thinking about it a bit more.
I was raised Roman Catholic, and raised to believe that it was the one, true religion. I did all of the things a Catholic was supposed to do. I went to religion class up through most of high school. I was an alter attendant and then in the church choir. I still remember a lot of the songs from so many years of singing them. I received 5 of the 7 sacraments: baptism, first communion, reconciliation, confirmation, and anointing of the sick twice. Up until a few years ago, I helped my family run the Giving Tree program at Christmastime. I did and believed as I was told.
When I turned 19, I did a lot of soul searching, discovering who I was and what I truly believed, not just what I was told to believe. I realized that everything I felt and believed went against the teachings of the Catholic Church. So I left. I did a lot of research into other religions, other faiths and beliefs. I found Paganism to be the one that spoke to me. The more I read and the more people I talked to, the more it felt like the right place for me. A friend’s parents helped me along the way to understand the basics of the religion.

The path of Paganism I follow is closely associated with the Celtic Animism, the belief that all things in nature are alive, inhabited by spirits or divine beings. Do you remember the song from the Disney version of Pocahontas, “Colors of the Wind”? It’s a bit like that. Nature is not there for us to control, but to work alongside. I feel the energy in the gathering thunderstorm, the serenity in the shade of the woods, the power coursing just below the Earth. When I am feeling overwhelmed, burdened, or just not right I find myself needing to ground where I purge myself of the negative energies and feelings, sending them into the Earth. The Earth takes the energies and turns them into something useful, much like it does with fertilizer. The emptiness left by the loss of the negative energy is able to be filled with positive energy. I always feel better after I do this. I know this process is not unique to Paganism, but it does work with my beliefs of the spirits all around us.
I believe that there are several gods and goddesses and we are drawn to the ones we need. I have several friends who are Norse Pagan and associate with Odin or Thor. I associate closer with Danu of the Celtic deities (her better known Greek counterpart would be Athena). I don't believe the monotheistic religions are wrong. I think they just focus on a single deity, where the polytheistic religions acknowledge a broader range of deities.
I do consider myself a witch in that I do spell-craft with crystals, candles and symbols. Some may condemn me for saying this, but I see this as no different than a Christian’s prayer. I am simply gathering my wishes and intents and focusing them, then sending them out in the hopes the universe deems it worthy. I believe that what we put out into the world is returned to us as well. If I were to send out ill-will towards someone, it would be returned to me as well. Karma.

The thing I enjoy about Paganism is that it is a diverse religion. You follow the path that feels right to you. It’s about me following where my soul and my heart lead me. I truly feel that there is no “one, true religion”, just a one, true religion for you. It’s about finding that path that fulfills your soul. For some it is Christianity or Judaism or Islam or Hindu or Pagan. For some it is none of these. In my opinion, that is fine. It only becomes an issue when one person tries to force their beliefs on another. That is where I draw the line.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fast beginnings

So, the guy I went out with in my last post? We are officially in a relationship right now. Some friends are a little surprised at how fast that went, but they have all been supportive of it.
We met down at the Kentucky Renaissance Faire on the final Saturday, which was my final day. I was there early, as usual, and going around doing the morning hellos. I was asked to run one of the booths for the day because the owner was not well and they were worried about him. I agreed and worked it. It was the same booth I worked at for a few hours last year, so I at least knew the process. It isn't a busy booth, but this guy (let's call him Fountain for his love of Fountain Pens) came in looking for something to buy and we talked a bit. He seemed like a cool guy. He ended up returning several times, just to talk and hang out. I was ok with it as it helped pass the day quicker. If the booth got busy, he would leave for awhile and then come back later which I appreciated. Over the course of conversations, I discovered that he was actually younger than I expected and apparently I was older than he expected, we have a few mutual friends through Thespian, among a few other things. I enjoyed the conversations and ended the day thinking I had made a new friend.
The next day, I got a friend request on Facebook from him. I admit, I was impressed that he was able to find me since we only had one friend in common. We started messaging back and forth and he asked me for my number. The next day, he asked me out. I have this "rule/guideline" where I don't say no to a first date unless there are red flags. While there were a couple yellow flags with him (age and location), I couldn't think of a red flag so I said yes. As stated in my prior post, the date went really well. It is the longest first date I have had and the sparks were just flying between us. We have texted and talked every day since we met.
At first, I wanted to wait a few dates before we decided if we wanted to pursue a relationship. Especially with the yellow flags. I've mentioned these a few times, so let me explain. He is 10 years my junior, which is quite the age gap. It left me a little hesitant because the 20s are a time of self-discovery. I changed a lot in my 20s. Now, at 32, I'm pretty settled in who I am. As we get older, 10 years becomes less of an age gap but right now it seems a wide one. Also, he is a Christian and I am Pagan. I have had issues with a lot of Christians and their views of Pagans being Satan-worshipers, Heathens, and so on. And then their need to "save me" by trying to convert me. I am happy and firmly rooted in my beliefs and did not want to deal with the attempts to save me again. Luckily, he does not seem to be that kind of person. On top of all of that, he lives in Louisville. Thespian lives in Louisville,  so I know I can do the travel. I just was not expecting another long distance relationship. But with how often we were talking, we ended up delving into a lot of serious topics. We talked and connected and my affection for him grew.
On my end, it has been a little over two months since Thespian broke up with me. I didn't want to bring any of the hurt from the end of that relationship into this one. I don't want Fountain to be a rebound. I looked up rebound relationships, and I don't think that is the case here. I'm not looking to run from dealing with the breakup. I purposefully waited until I felt I was in a spot where I was ok to date again. Fountain just happened to have perfect timing when it came to that.

Last night, I had a girls night with my best friend, Gypsy. She knows me so well, and she could tell I was smitten with him. After talking with her, I knew I wanted to pursue something with him. After I got home, we had a Skype call, which had been scheduled earlier in the week. We talked and decided to make it official. I'm excited, and still a bit cautious. But excited to see where this might go.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Back into dating

Last night I went on a date. My first date since the breakup. I was nervous and excited, but at the same time I knew it would be what it would be. I guess I'm at a point where I do want to make a good impression, but at the same time I'm not going to hide who I am to make that good impression. I cleaned my house, but I didn't scrub it down. I dressed up, but I didn't put on makeup since I don't normally wear makeup. That kind of thing.
It was a good date. We went out for dinner, then a walk in the park, lots of conversation time, and then ice cream. It was the longest first date I have had, and it was a lot of fun. There will be a second date.
Right now, I'm taking this a day at a time. But I'm moving on, moving forward.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Friends with your ex

Most of the time, I forget how unusual it is for divorced people to get along after they have divorced.
ExH and I have reached a point where we are friendly with each other. When he brings Rit to Faire, we can walk around together and it not feel weird. Rit even enjoys having both parents with him for the day. Opening weekend of the KY RenFaire, he brought Rit down both days thinking it would help distract me since Thespian is on cast there (it did). It was a very sweet gesture from him, which I appreciated. I got a lot of questions from people on who the guy was since it had been so long since people had seen him, but overall they were happy to see that we got along.
What I don't understand is how many people are asking me if we are getting back together, and even those who give me that look of "If you say so.....*wink*" when I inform them that we are not. Why is it so hard to understand that we get along now because 1) we have a child together and it is easier to co-parent when we get along and 2) we are not married and around each other constantly?
When we were married, we realized too late that we are not right for each other other. We brought out the worst in each other, not the best. Now, we have grown up a bit more. We have a child that needs his parents to help him grow, not watch them bicker. I think Rit's speech delay, development delay, and ADHD did help us move past any remaining bitterness we had.
Tonight, ExH and I are going party supply shopping since we are co-hosting Rit's 5th birthday party. I think this has elicited the most comments! We figured that if we shop together we can make sure we don't overbuy on supplies, the cost is divided equally, and we can discuss plans quicker and easier than if we attempted to do it over text or email.
Why is it so hard to understand that two divorced people can be friends?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Plans and changing

I've always been one that plans ahead, plans for the future. I hate scrambling last minute if it can be avoided, as I find it to be rather anxiety inducing. However, nothing in life every stays the same. Things change and bumps happen.
I had plans with my ex-boyfriend for this summer and for a few years down the road. Having a plan helped me figure out what I needed to do now to help that plan happen. Those plans are obviously not going to happen so my plans for future have shifted. And if things change again, those plans with shift again. I plan for the future, but I also change those plans based on the current situation.

For example, being currently single, I am looking at traveling for mini-vacations. I doubt I will get to any this year but I think next year is a distinct possibility (though Mammoth Caves may still be doable this year depending.... I hope so!). I want to travel to Chicago, Ashville, Niagara Falls. I want to visit new renfaires. I want to add new experiences to my life. If I become no longer single, then my plans will change. It's the nature of life for me.

Having future plans gives me something to look forward to, something to work for and save up for. It makes me feel.....adult.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A month of healing

Yesterday marked a month since Thespian broke up with me. For the last month, I have been lacking in motivation to be productive. During the week, it was pretty much work, then home and knitting. Weekends were for renfaire. I've also been sleeping on the couch for the last month, using the TV noise to turn off my brain so I could sleep.
Attending renfaire has not been easy because I see him there, but I also got to see a lot of my amazing friends. I will not allow any breakup to take faire away from me. And for the moments the loss of him got overwhelming, I was able to hide away somewhere until I could compose myself. It's the downside of being a rennie and dating a rennie.
Over the last week or so, the depression had been abating. My appetite has been slowly returning and I am eating regular meals again. When depression hits, my appetite is nill and even the thought of food makes me nauseous. It always takes me awhile to get back to regular eating after that.
Yesterday, I decided that a month was enough. I did not allow myself to sit on the couch and knit all night. Instead, I went and cleaned my room, sorted laundry, organized my yarn stash, etc. I stayed busy. And then, I slept in my own bed, not on the couch.
No, I am not suddenly better. It does still hurt. I do still love him. But I am continuing with my life. I had a month to grieve. Now it is time to live.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Recovering and Relationships

A little over a week ago, Thespian broke up with me. I was shocked as I did not see it coming until that day. I thought things were going well, albeit it was a stressful time in our lives. Sadly, he felt differently.  I don't hate him, quite the opposite actually. I wish things had gone differently. I wish we were still together.
I don't want to sit here and rehash and review and analyze it. I've done plenty of that this last week. Instead, I am going to focus on the things this relationship had shown me.
I can still love, and love deeply. I didn't expect to fall in love with him like I did, but I fell and I fell hard, I saw a future with him, something else I didn't expect.
I can trust. That was something I worried about after my divorce. Could I ever trust someone again? But I did. I never wondered if he was lying to me. I never doubted that he loved me. When he told me something, I believed it. I'm not sitting here questioning how much of our relationship was a lie. I still have relationship anxiety and am insecure. I know that takes a lot of time and work to ease. But there was no distrust, no questioning what he told me.
I learned more about myself with this relationship. I looked into myself more to discover why things triggered the way they did.
I communicated more. I said what I was feeling, what I needed, and so on. I didn't expect him to read my mind. Either by voice or by written word, I spoke up.

I am still working through this. It is a lot of pain and grief. I admit that I do hope that we could try again as I feel like this relationship still had a lot to give. But that is not my call right now. For now, I grieve and I take care of myself and my son.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Acceptance of the differences

It always seems like there is something going on that is "different" and scares most of society. 
Now it is an issue of transgenders using the bathroom. I don't even know how or why this suddenly became an issue, but suddenly people are scared of transgenders in the bathroom. What the hell? For years, they have used the bathroom of the gender they identify with without issue. Why is this suddenly a problem? I've heard people say that they don't want their daughters to see a man's genitals in the bathroom. Last I checked, women's restrooms only have stalls. So if they see it, they were peeking where they shouldn't and that is the issue that should be addressed. I think it's because the idea of transgenders makes people uncomfortable so they force that feeling on others. 
If you look at how other countries deal with it, they are so much more lax than we are. Sexuality isn't an issue there. It is here. I simply don't get it. Why is violence ok, but the human body is not? 

I have family, blood-family, that have been posting some negative things on Facebook in regard to this issue. I have been removing them from my friends list. When it comes to politics and beliefs, you are allowed your opinion and I am allowed to disagree with them. I have several friends where we are like that but we still get along. But when someone starts posting derogatory, bigoted, and judgmental things about an entire group of people for simply existing and being who they are... that is where I take issue. I am firmly of the belief that you are allowed your beliefs, but you are not allowed to force those beliefs on others or limit their rights because you disagree with them. 

We went through that with gay marriage. States are STILL trying to overturn that ruling because they have their belief in marriage and think everyone should follow it. No. You have your belief in marriage and follow it but don't force others into that. You do you and let others do them, that simple. Don't take away the rights of an entire community simply because the thought makes you uncomfortable. 

The thing I love about my friends group is our diversity. We all have different religious beliefs, political beliefs, morals and values, experiences, and so on. The one thing we do have in common is the belief that we are each allowed to be who we are and not force our beliefs on anyone else. 
I am Pagan. I have several Christian friends, fellow Pagans, Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Jewish, and so on. I think I may have a Muslim friend or two in here too (hey, renfaire is a large community!). No one has tried to convert me, nor I them. We have discussed and asked questions and learned a lot about each other's beliefs. But I don't think they are wrong for following the path that feels right to them. 
I have a rather unconventional relationship dynamic. I have had a few friends say that they could never have this kind of relationship. I've had a few try to tell me that it won't work and have been negative about it, and the friendship has become strained because of it. But the vast majority of my friends have asked me about it and have been incredibly supportive. Their take is "That's not for me and I don't understand it, but I'm glad you are happy and as long as you are happy that is what matters." That, to me, is the kind of stance we should take on most of these matters of differences. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What is marriage?

I have several friends getting married and am friends with a few officiants who have been busy lately with weddings. I got into a wedding and marriage mindset and began to think...
What is marriage? It has different definitions to different people. It has had different reasons over the course of history.

So what does it take for a marriage to be a “real” marriage?
We already know that the government will only recognize marriages that have the marriage license that they issue. It makes sense as they need to be able to track unions for federal benefits, for emergencies when next of kin needs to be notified of something, and so on. My issue with this is that they are the ones who can determine who is and is not allowed to marry.
There are the marriages within a religious institution. You can be married in the eyes of the government, but not within your religion if you did not follow their protocol. For example, if a Catholic got married legally but not within a church or with a Catholic officiant, the couple would need to go to confession for fornication outside of marriage even though they were legally married. Most religious officiants are also legal officiants so everything can be done within one ceremony.
But what about those that for different reasons, do not or cannot get married legally? I have a friend who recently had a wedding/commitment ceremony with her partner. For health reasons, they did not get a marriage license to make it legal. Is their marriage any less of a marriage than a legal one because they did not file that piece of paper? What about the polyamorists that have decided to marry more than one partner, where the only difference is that one or more of those marriages do not have the legal marriage license? Are those any less of a marriage because they decided to share the union with another?

People have been getting married for all kinds of reasons throughout history.
We all know that the royalty of history were not ones to marry for love. Betrothals were part of treaties and marriages were to secure political alliances. Marriage for love was not usually an option for them. If they were lucky, they learned to love their spouse.
Another reason of history to marry was to improve one’s social status. If you could marry a station higher than you or someone wealthier than you, you had security in your future and the future of your family. Even now, many people will consider financial worth as to whether or not someone is “worth marrying”.
In today’s day in age, political alliance and social status are not as important as they once were. Though many still marry for the legal benefits for either themselves or their children. I know more than one couple who married because one spouse needed the medical benefits or for financial reasons. Legal marriage is done for more than just love.
Then, there is the reason we are taught: marry for Love. You marry because you found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You marry because you see a life and a future with this person, and you cannot imagine a future without them in it.

So what is a “real” marriage? If it’s a marriage rooted in love, then why do we limit it with the laws we do? Why did it take so long for the gay community to get the legal right to marry? Why do we tell those in the polyamory community that you can only marry one of those people you love? Why is it that we tell these people who love each other just as deeply as any traditional couple that their love isn’t as true because it’s different, yet there are people out there on their 4th, 5th and 6th marriages?

Here is what I believe a real marriage is:
A real marriage is when the people involved, whether it be 2 or 3 or whatever, truly love each other and want to be together for the rest of their lives. It’s open and honest. It’s working together to create a life for those involved. Who are we to limit the gender or the number of people a person can love?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A little closer to my goal

I am so proud of this that I just have to share it here.
As of this morning, my student loan debt is completely paid off! I graduated a little over 8 years and 2 months ago (Dec 7, 2007) and the loans started about 6 months after that. These student loans were set to mature in June 2018. That is almost 2 1/2 years early!
I realized this year that my loan debt had shrunk enough that I was able to pay it off with my tax refund. This puts me that much closer to my 3 year goal. So my next step is to tackle my car loan. Instead of putting the student loan payments back into my budget, I am just going to put that money into my car loan payment. By doing that, I should be able to pay off my car loan a year and a half early if I do not add any other extra payments to it. I am already used to not having that student loan payment available to spend, so why not continue with that and just use it towards getting debt free that much faster?