I jumped on the couches one by one,

                                           Someone caught up to me.

I grabbed a pillow and tried to run,

                                           Someone caught up to me.

I tried to chew up Mommy’s hat,

             Chased a poor old kitty cat,

                             Knocked a little toddler flat,

                                           Someone caught up to me.

Oh, I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas, Mommy and Daddy are mad

I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas, ’cause I ain’t been nuttin’ but bad.

 

I barked real loud in Daddy’s ear,

                                           Someone caught up to me.

I went berserk trying to chase a deer,

                                           Someone caught up to me.

I chewed some holes in Mommy’s socks,

             Tied my leash all up in knots,

                             Then I ate from the litter box,

                                           Someone caught up to me.

Oh, I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas, Mommy and Daddy are mad

I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas, ’cause I ain’t been nuttin’ but bad.

*half-step up* Buuuuuuut

 

I share my favorite squeaky toy,

                                           Somebody’s watchin’ me.

I give kisses to a little boy,

                                           Somebody’s watchin’ me.

I wait politely for my grub,

             Wag my tail across the rug,

                             Flop right over for a tummy rub,

                                            Somebody’s pettin’ me!

Oh, I’m gettin’ somethin’ for Christmas, I know that the thought may surprise.

I’m gettin’ somethin’ for Christmas, ’cause I got those big puppy eyes!

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So, magic. Or magick, depending on your spelling preference. I think I will go with “magick” here, come to think of it, just to distinguish the circle-casting, incense-burning, symbol-carving, herb-gathering type from the James Randi type (and to make it clear I am talking about the former).

I always wanted to believe in magick. How great would that be, anyway? Magick being real, I mean, not just believing in it. Mix the correct ingredients, recite the proper incantations, and watch all the forces of the universe align to, I dunno, cause that guy who kept making fun of you on the bus in middle school to suffer permanent incontinence. It would be fantastic!

But I didn’t believe in magick, because it was preposterous. I didn’t think anybody believed in magick, because it was preposterous. (My tendency to assume people apply the same sort of logics I do to life is probably one of the reasons I am not bothered by the idea of people applying critical thinking and choosing to remain religious.) Imagine my surprise, then, when I finally started reading those books on Paganism (that I’d been aching to do my whole life, by the way) and found out that yes! People do believe in magick! In the 21st century even! I was intrigued.

Or, rather, I was intrigued until I started reading some of those people’s writings about magick. Pretty much always “magick”, which is the other reason I’m using that spelling here. Annnnnnd it turned out to be pretty much “the power of positive thinking”. That is a massive simplification, yes. But I think it’s a very serviceable one. I have not yet seen any explanation of why any given person believes in magick that really sounds like magick.

The example that comes to mind immediately is one I just read a few weeks ago: a woman, thoroughly convinced of the existence of magick, I mean all out “those who question if we really believe are just scared, and they’d be more scared if they knew what we can really do!” sort of convinced, shared that her moment of conviction was the result of having done a ritual focused on water, and then noticing a lot of people at work either crying or getting angry (because apparently getting angry has to do with water, now?) and then, a week later, it rained. In Great Britain. I’m reading this story and thinking, “No! It rained? In England?? Get out! Hey, I saw a deer in my neighbor’s yard last night! It must have been a sign from Artemis! Or maybe it’s because I LIVE IN FREAKING PENNSYLVANIA AND WE HAVE MORE DEER THAN PEOPLE HERE!” (PA ecology statistics source: me.)

What I’m trying to say here is that the concept of magick as a way to make changes in reality is not a convincing one to me, no matter how much quantum physics you try to dress it up with.

Magick as a psychological tool to help make changes in your own consciousness? That concept I can get behind. I found this blog post quite a while ago and in it he sums up a view that makes a lot of sense to me. From the post, “Magic changes my mindset; my mindset changes my probabilities of successfully manifesting my will in my life.   It works by reconciling the rational and the irrational parts of myself.” The way I see it, that works.

Now one other thing that you see a lot of from magick-users is a heavy emphasis on the importance of developing your own rituals. This always struck me as silly. If you’re going to buy into this concept, shouldn’t you stick with the traditional, the tried, the (presumably) true? (This attitude is probably a holdover from my days with a set of extremely Evangelical youth leaders, and the corresponding “We know this is true because a LOT of dead guys thought it was true, and they wouldn’t have thought it was true if it wasn’t true, no?” logic.)

It was a different story, though, once I finally got to the point where I had something where I could benefit from a significant symbolic gesture like that. I’m not going into the details. But suddenly the DIY ritual instructions made sense: if the only thing you’re changing is you, then why would you want to use anybody’s plans but your own? Trying to perform a ritual that you didn’t have a hand in constructing now seemed like trying to run your relationship based on doing exactly what your older sister does, in spite of the fact that her boyfriend likes football and reality television while yours likes chess and baking brioche.

And that thought circles right back to those evangelical days. The thing about evangelicalism is that it’s very definitely a one-size-fits-all approach to religion. And even though our church was Methodist, these particular youth leaders (who, as the cool active adults, obvs had much more influence on a teenager than the religious leaders for the adults) were decidedly evangelical. Also possibly crazy, but that’s probably just the retroactive bitterness talking. Their very clear message was that this religion was right for every single person on earth and if it didn’t feel right for you then A) feelings are ephemeral and not important as an indicator of faith and B) there’s just something wrong with you.

This led to some fun cognitive dissonance for me at times, such as the Sunday School session where they brought an African convert in to speak to us and tell us how freeing Christianity was after being raised in his native culture’s terrifying animist traditions. There was much discussion afterwards about how gosh, wasn’t it horrible how he used to live, and wasn’t it just so wonderful that he’d found Jesus and been freed from all that? Except I didn’t participate in that discussion because I was thinking, “You know, animism sounds like a much more rational way to approach unknowns than Christianity does.” I didn’t say anything, of course, because as a good little Christian I knew that thought meant there was something wrong with me.

What I always found ironic was that these particular leaders always encouraged us to actively engage other belief system as a way of strengthening our Christian apologetics muscles. I.e., if you find a certain argument tempting, you should go learn more about it so you can properly understand why it’s horribly, horribly wrong. (As a high school graduation gift, they gave me a copy of the book Defeating Darwinism.) I knew this wouldn’t actually work that way though, since I knew if I read about paganism I’d just convert, since it seemed about a hundred thousand million times more appealing than Christianity.

I still wouldn’t have believed in magic, though. I either roll my eyes and shrug or laugh derisively, depending on my mood, when I hear atheists talk about how you just CAN’T be religious and hold a scientific worldview at the same time, because there’s just no way you can hold the two different mindsets in your head. Well, you can, because I did for quite a few years. If somebody had told desperately Christian high school me that they didn’t believe in evolution because the Bible told them not to, my response would have been, “Wow, you are made of pure, unadulterated idiocy.” (High school me was not known for her tact.) But I still fell in line with the C.S. Lewis-style apologetics, because they were given to me by intelligent people who I trusted, so I figured they had to work together even if I couldn’t personally explain how. Also, all the miracle stuff had happened in the past.

Ok, I think I have wandered away into another post entirely. Quite possibly one that I’ve already written, back in ye olde Livejournal days. So I’m just going to stop now, because I can’t quite figure out what the purpose of all this was.

I read this post on Love, Joy, Feminism earlier, and went away thinking,

See, THIS is why I like Libby Anne’s blog. [I’ve been saying that to myself a lot lately!] What she said about religion at the end there is pretty much what I think about it. And that’s why I don’t like atheists like, oh, JT Eberhard [remembering a post of his I read recently about Chris Stedman’s ‘Faitheist’ book].

And then I stopped, and blinked, and thought about what I’d just thought. I flash-remembered some words from Dan Fincke around the time of his shift from Freethoughtblogs to Patheos, about disagreeing with a whole laundry list of his fellow FtBloggers on some things, but still liking and respecting them and working with them.

Wait, wait, wait. Why – wait. I DISAGREE with JT on the value (or lack of value) of religion. That… doesn’t mean… I have to say I don’t LIKE him…. I don’t even KNOW him. I might like him if I did. Even if we disagreed! That’s a thing… that you can do? Whoa. You CAN.

So I came back out here and started to write a comment on Libby Anne’s blog, then quickly realised it was going to get wordy so I changed it to a post here. This paragraph only has one sentence in it that bears on the topic. Somewhere, all my English teachers are crying.

This seems like it shouldn’t be a revolutionary concept, I know. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for me, at least a few years ago. I distinctly remember reading this and finding it very powerful. I even started feeling more charitable towards my political opposites, more willing to look at where they were coming from. I remember liking it, that feeling of being willing to get along with everyone (or at least everyone who was willing to get along back).

And then, the 2008 election happened. And all the conservatives, at least all the ones whose voices I heard, went completely batshit. And suddenly I was no longer willing to hear where they were coming from. First just the hardliners, then quickly the moderates as well, and those who looked like they were thinking about being moderates, etc., etc. My facebook block list has grown amazingly fast over the past year. And probably the depression was also feeding into this (irritability is also one of the symptoms, kids). Patience basically went out the window. And it wasn’t particularly pleasant, no; it’s tiring to maintain that level of irritation all the time. But I didn’t seem to have a lot of control over it. I’m out of practice at the whole “agreeing to disagree” thing. So yes, this really does feel like a new concept.

It’s also not one that I’m willing to necessarily extend across the board. Unless it’s somebody I already have reason to be invested in, I will probably continue to block friends of facebook friends based on frequent sexist, racist, classist, or homophobic statements (frequency requirement to be determined by me and my hormones). I don’t see any value in agreeing to disagree on “should my friend’s mom and her wife be treated as less-human-than-thou”. They should not be. While there may be hurt occurring on both sides of that argument, real, actual people are hurt through no fault of their own when discrimination is practiced. When discrimination is prohibited, the only hurt that occurs is self-inflicted hurt, by people who are affronted by the very existence of homosexuals on themselves. Ok, I’m going to end this paragraph before I start writing another, completely different blog post.

Back to JT. Right now, I honestly can’t put my finger on what it is about his writing that occasionally makes me go “graah, forget you and all of your works!!” and click away. It’s not the anger at religion, because a lot of other people I read (Libby Anne, Dan Fincke, PZ Myers, Greta Christina) have the same anger and I don’t feel the same irritation with them. I think maybe it’s because JT’s take, to me, comes across as “There is no value in religion, and no value in religious people until they stop being religious because until they do that, they are deliberately contributing to all that is wrong with humanity.” OK, I guess I can put my finger on it.

Thing is, I don’t believe that he means to harm anybody with this. It is, in fact, because he wants to prevent harm to people that he broadcasts this message as stridently as he does. Now, one could argue that someone who truly believes that being gay is harmful is acting in the same way, but I don’t think it’s quite true. For one thing, I admit that it’s hard to find somebody who could be actually harmed by what JT says except in the sense of feeling offended, which in large part is something you are doing to yourself. For another, I think if he did encounter, say, a recovering addict holding onto their Higher Power as the main anchor keeping them sober, I don’t think JT would get in their face about how they need to drop that. On the other hand, many Christians have no problem telling gays to their faces, “God loves you, but he also commands you to be somebody else.”

Besides, I’m still working on this concept. Cut me a little slack. Perhaps one day I’ll have figured out all the nuances and details of how we should decide who we accept and who we agree to disagree with and who we choose not to interact with. I doubt it though. I’m pretty sure that’s one of those lines that we all just have to learn to decide for ourselves. For now, I’m just trying to push it back so it doesn’t make a neat outline directly around my own feet.

I spent a lot of time today wondering why I’m doing this, going through treatment for the depression and all. Yeah, I’ve seen some improvement, in the past. The first two times on new medications I did actually get a boost for a while. Even made it through a family reunion without stressing out – even went in the ocean, swimming in the ocean, and had fun doing it for the first time in I don’t know how many years.

But after a few weeks, the boost stops… and dosage changes make no difference. Before this new one, I was pretty well back at ground zero, BUT back at ground zero and at the same time desperately trying to convince myself I wasn’t. I had this thing going where I noticed I had stopped doing things that I’d started doing earlier that had made me go, “Hey, look what I’m doing! Wow, medicine works after all!” except that I couldn’t take the fact that I’d now stopped again as evidence the medicine was no longer working, because the fact that I noticed and knew I wasn’t doing those things anymore meant it didn’t count, because if I just tried a little harder maybe that would have made things work? (I’m pretty sure that’s not a normal train of thought. Haven’t checked with anyone though, so I’m not positive.)

I kept trying to analyze the prior few weeks, looking for evidence that the medication was actually working and maybe I just hadn’t noticed.

(Yes, I have been told that this logic is in fact evidence that the medication was not working at all. What can I say? It made sense in my head.)

So then this new medication, which apparently comes with anxiety as a side effect in the first week or two, and also combined with PMS hormones was not a joy. All the medications so far have done this; the week before was pretty much back to square one after starting a new med. Except with the SSRIs (new one is an SNRI), the effect was less pronounced… didn’t even recognise what was happening until after it was over. This one, I recognized in-process, at least, after writing an incoherent angry blogpost while at the same time foaming at the mouth about how stupid the new Doctor Who is and how they have made Daleks and cybermen completely and totally ineffective at being convincing threats through sheer overuse (none of which is what I actually said, but it’s what I meant. What I said was the useless sort of ranting you do when you can’t be bothered to think straight and try to have a rational conversation and you just assume that people will be able to read your mind and sort out your actual thoughts).

But yeah, the last week got bad. It’s been better, since starting the new dose, but in this case better just means “normal” bad. Hence, the question. Is it worth it? So far all I’ve been able to do long term is make myself feel worse. I’ve pretty much stopped believing that anything is actually going to help; two things that seemed like they were going to help and then let me down is enough. Ok, I suppose part of me still believes because I’m still doing what the doctor said. But it’s more a sort of “Ok, I’m going to do this, but if it works I am going to be totally shocked” than a “hey, yeah, I can see how that will help; let’s go for it!”

I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. There’s no train  (since the oncoming train gag was the first stupid cliché I thought of) but that’s because there’s no tracks. There’s not anything, really, it’s just tunnel that goes on forever.

Cartoons next time, if I get a chance to draw tomorrow. May not; DH injured his shoulder and he’s pretty much out of commission as far as handling puppies and small boys goes, so I was on full Mommy duty tonight and probably will be tomorrow, too. That’s ok, me and the small boy are going to make candy together. I have turtle molds, and I bought mint chocolate chips. Found my druidry book last night, too.

I picked 25 minutes because I’m pretty darn tired, but I want to write something, and twenty five minutes from now seems like a good time to go to bed. I actually have a post or two in mind, and one draft actually started, but they’re all on topics I’d like to be able to devote some actual brain power to. So, not working on them now.

I worked on soccer ball pjs for the little guy today. Finished the pants a few days ago, because he needs pj pants that aren’t too small, and since I had the shirt cut out and pinned I figured I may as well finish it before cutting the pieces for the next pair of pants. That’s part of why I feel so tired now; the sewing machine always makes my eyes tired. It’s great, all my hobbies involve close eye-work and make me sleepy. Except running, that’s more distance, but I haven’t been running in months. THE POINT IS, though, that I DID work on pjs tonight. All I have to do is hem the bottom and attach the collar and it’ll be done. So, you know, that’s good.

I have three projects that are supposed to be gifts, that therefore have deadlines. One is for my son, that I had originally hoped to have done for his first birthday. Have now missed first and second. The next is for nephew number two, which was originally supposed to be done for his first birthday, then Christmas, then second birthday, and at this rate we’re going to miss Christmas again. The third is for nephew number three, and I had hoped to have it done for his first birthday but considering that’s only about a month after Christmas and I haven’t even started… yeah. I’m feeling real good about my ability to get things done.

Which is, of course, all part of the depression. Finding out the depression had not, in fact, gone away in high school like I thought it had really does explain quite a lot about me over the last eighteen years or so. I wish I could go back in time and say “Take the damn medication already; NOT even considering the option was a bad move.” I probably wouldn’t listen to me though. I have issues with listening to people who tell me what to do. ‘M sleepy.

You know what else is good? Listening to what the doctors and the labels say when they tell you how to take your medication. If they say “don’t just stop taking this; bad things could happen,” they probably mean it. I stopped taking my new med for a few days, because the first week of being on it combined with PMS really freaked me the fuck out. (That church service I mentioned in my last post? I ended up leaving, spontaneously and quickly. First just the service, but then the whole thing. Left my music up in the choir loft and everything.)

So Monday I didn’t take the medication, and I DID say that to the psychiatrist’s office when I called to make an emergency appointment for the next day. Since they didn’t say “Hey, take it again tomorrow,” I didn’t. Because it was freaking me the fuck out, and I didn’t like it and didn’t want to take it. I was pretty well a wreck on Tuesday. And I was lightheaded all day. Still was yesterday morning when I woke up. Took the new med – actually the old med, but a higher dose, because of course when a new medication combines with your hormones the logical thing to do is figure you’re not getting enough crazy and you should add some more. I know, I know, shh, calm down. I’m trusting the doctor on this and this is what she said to do. When I first went in, I may or may not have actually said the words “I will take whatever you tell me to until this goes away,” but I did my very best to convey that concept because I am bloody sick of feeling useless all the time.

Anyway, the point of that was to say that in less than an hour after taking the medication again, the lightheadedness stopped. Moral: If the label says “Don’t just stop taking this out of nowhere, idiot,” then, well, don’t just stop taking it out of nowhere, idiot. Even if you’ve only been on it nine days. I’m very tired. I still have four minutes left but I may not use them. I’m just… I’m tired, I want to go to bed. Or at least sit down in bed and read for a little bit. Like, five minutes, maybe. I wish I could find my druidry book. I can’t remember the last place I saw it.

I’m sitting in the front row of the brass choir at Emmaus Moravian Church right now. I’m trying to understand the arcane combination of keystrokes one must use to be able to type a blogpost via phone, I’m trying to understand why my autocorrect has suddenly apparently forgotten everything it’s learned about my writing patterns, and I’m trying to analyze my current feelings.

The sun is coming in the windows on one side of the sanctuary. It’s warm, just enough that a layered t-shirt makes the weather feel like early spring rather than late fall. It feels familiar. I feel somewhat like how I would at Christ Church, growing up, years ago. But it’s a slippery feeling.

I can’t quite pinpoint what it reminds me of, or why or how. I don’t know if it’s a good feeling or a bad. I don’t know how I feel about not knowing that, or how I want it to resolve. It’s familiar, I can almost touch it, but I can’t and I can’t even bring it closer.

I’ll be honest: it’s freaking me out a little.

I don’t know if this quite solid resurgence of ineffable yet intensely familiar feeling means that the fog is lifting, or if I’m going even more haywire.

I know two things. One is that I should probably find a good therapist who I should probably see with my husband. And the second is that I should probably call the psychiatrist tomorrow to discuss this new medication even though it’s only been a week so far.

Update: Heh, after I posted this, WordPress gave me a quote that said “Be obscure clearly. -E.B. White”. Appropriate, no?  So physically I’m not feeling any better today (am in fact staying home and working on ISO stuff via logmein, and heading to the doctor in a few hours). Mentally, much more stable. Perfect storm of not so much events as conditions, last night, and I got to one of those points where I just needed to scrape my brain out. Haven’t done that in a long, long time. It was much needed. And it wasn’t like I was doing anything else, except foaming about Doctor Who. So: don’t worry, I haven’t cracked up or anything; I just needed to spew. And I did! Oh good, my kettle’s ready. Oh btw, I really do hate our bathroom, for pretty much the reasons I describe below. 😛

————Original, somewhat scary, post below—————

I’m tired of being sick. I’m tired of being depressed. I’ve had a drawing in my head for *counts* four days now. No, five. Five days. I think about it in the car, on the way to work, on the way home. I’m home now. I’m sick. I’m thinking of this thing and there’s nothing I want to do on the internet and I want to watch Ghostbusters but I can’t because Netflix is only good for TV shows. It is pretty good for TV shows, for us, because we don’t care about things most people care about, so it has a lot of shows we want to watch, but all the same it’s not so good for movies and that gets really frustrating. So I don’t have anything to do right now

instead of working on that drawing i’m sitting here typing this. I’m correcting typos, but only spelling and punctuation related ones. Capital letters don’t count, apparently. I’m sitting here typing this instead of working on drawing anything; my sketchbook is only over in the other room. I think. It may have moved during a cleaning binge, but i’m pretty sure i know where most of them are. Rich even went out to get his bike from the shed today and i asked him to get some of my… uh, drawing supplies, and he did though i didn’t see where he put them i meant to ask him about that. and i’m not moving from the couch.

 

 

i’m pretty much just sitting here. got my head down on my arm now; i am bloody tired after all. should just go to bed, but like the last three nights, my thoughts there have been “I’m sick, I need sleep, I should go to bed” and then “NO SCREW THAT i want to do something else but i don’t know what so i’ll just sit here until i don’t think of something.” I’m typing this bit with my eyes closed now, so there may be more typos. I’m not mucking with the backspace key with my eyes shut, even though I just did twice.

I need a shower too but i don’t want one, i hate showers. they’re a waste of important time that could be spent doing something more important, like nothing maybe. i have to go all the way in the bathroom and heat the water and find clean clothes and sweep the floor because the goddamn cat can’t keep his cat litter in the box and even after i sweep he insists on knocking it all over the floor again right away so i basically hate the bathroom, but we don’t really have any other option for where to keep the litterbox in a small house. shut up.

 

 

 

i’ll give you stream of goddamn consciuosness.

 

maybe this is one of those things where i shouldn’t hit publish but i kind of want to see what happens if i do.

 

draft saved, my ass. saving fucking draft. wordpress.

 

 

I WANT TO GET OUT

OF M Y GODDAMN HEAD ALREADY

 

SHUT UP

I’M TALKING TO YOU NOT THE VOICES IN MY HEAD THE ONLY ONE IN HERE IS MINE AND IT AGREES WITH ME. BECAUSE IT FUCKING IS ME.

 

i don’t want to take a shower.