Apr 8, 2020

Quaratine Diaries and Journals


Property of Stormberry.
From my own journal.
Maybe you have heard of these diaries and journals, but the first time I did was throught an article in the New York Times published on March 30th, 2020. The article spoke about how people around the world has been turning to pen and paper in these days of staying at home and isolation to record the flow of their days, their thoughts, their fears and their experiences.

Some people has taken pen and paper for the first time to write about what goes on, making do with the art of journaling or keeping a diary as their days stretch into weeks and months in confinement, with fear of the outher world while at the same time yearning for it. Others have already been journaling ad have now turned to their trusty pages to record their experiences or find solace to the angst and burdens that now bend their backs and hearts.

I do not know of anyone around me keeping such journals, though I do know of people who journal. I am, for one, the kind of diary-keeper that would be considered the most unreliable one for recording events that happen around me or in the real world, to call it some how. I journal about my feelings, about intimate recounts of happenings with a handfull of people from my environment, with usually no information that might help place these events in any sort of social or historical context. For the love of the Gods, I just spent four months recording the events of a single day spent with Fritzl!
Property of Stormberry
From my personal journal

And yet still...

And yet still, I have found that I want to record some things that have been happening, that have affected the general tide of the society in which I live, and thus affecting my relationships with others as well as my state of mind. I'm certain my journal won't be listed in any book of history, nor it is my intention to record anything in it for anyone but myself, if I ever decide to go back and consult it, but I do find it important to try and illuminate in my notes the fact that there is a pandemic swirling around the world and upending life as we know it.

Things change, human contact change. I find myself wondering whether I'll be able to experience a long, sustained hug again, if I'll be able to hug, to feel against my arms the sure warmth of and solidity of someone I love. If I'll be able to kiss again, burry my nose in the crook of the neck of someone and breath in their scent, feel their hair against my face and between my fingers.

I'm still moved to write about my feelings and their evolution, collect and systematize my memories in the minute dissection of someone, holding their actions between the steel tines of my nib, beating softly as ink pours over them and cut them into tiny pieces with my words as I find new and new meanings of every action, every word and every gesture, combined with the yuxtaposition of other collected memories and experiences that help me draw parallels.

I change. We all change, and our old coping mechanisms might have been compromised. Mine have, as I can no longer drive to a coffeeshop, order a specialty coffee and claim a table for myself to write and sometimes also do some people-watching. We must adapt, and quarantine journals or diaries, or just our regular journals and diaries can help us navigate these new waters.

Mar 30, 2020

The Unspoken Worth of Silence

Source:  The Period of Silence
A time of quarantine due to the current pandemic might be a curious time to talk about the value of silence, and yet this is the time when I feel more need of it.

The world is being called to stay at home and practice social distancing, and though this happens in the physical world, the virtual world is exploding with more and more content, more and more chats and messages and calls. I would not call myself an introvert - people who know me know I am more of an extrovert - but I have never before more than now have felt just how much the contact with others overwhelms me.

In normal circumstances, I have several periods during the day that allow me to be entirely alone, undisturbed and able to be with myself. During this period, I have found that people keep reaching to me throught different means and for different reasons. Thus, though I am at home, isolated from others, I am not disconnected. This has been affecting my mood.

I could feel I was getting more and more irritated, and there was no way for me to stop it. Even after my working hours where over, and I turned off my computer, people kept talking to me, messaging me, wanting me to fill their idle, alone hours with conversation so they wouldn't feel alone. Yes, I can understand that, but they thing is that I need to feel alone. I need that silence to retrieve, to regroup. Curiously, during meditation I also have found that imagining a white light or any light for that matter bothers me, but if I imaging enveloping, soft twilight or darkness, filled with the sounds and scents and textures of old forests, that achieves to calm me.

These times are hard, but are not impossible on us. Let's find ways to adapt. I'll try to find a schedule to silence my phone after work, disconnect at all my meals, stand up more often from my chair, play a few minutes with my cats, write a line or two in my journal. Do you have any ideas? :-D

Mar 23, 2020

Update and Question about a Thorny Situation

Long time no see. How you've been? I've been doing fine, or sort of fine. Since last time I wrote, I defended my last thesis (Marketing), which went fine (of course), and I've got FINALLY out of that circle of studying! For those who know, I was also in a hurry about all those diplomas because these were loose ends for me, open cycles I wanted completed. There was this nagging thing about them, also because they appeared in old CV's of mine and always as unfinished, and some people seemed to believe that that was just like "finished" and so expected me to be able to do stuff I was no longer updated with or didn't actually had the certification to do them. But now all that is behind me.

However, never be said that I stay idle about anything, and so I enrolled into a Masters Degree program with my old Alma Mater. Yes, I am back to Economics, and in an Academic Program, not a Professional Program, because - though I am not in the Academia - I don't like pre-chewed and easy stuff. Will I regret it? Stay tuned.

If you are wondering now why can't I be normal? my answer is: Why would I? Normal is boring. I tried it once, you know? It made me want to kill everthing in site. I didn't, of course, but I quickly veered back to crazy. It's better for all of us. Trust me.

My house is still in process, and with serious delays. There have been issues and my dad keeps picking up fights with the foreman, and the foreman has also been doing somethings wrong and trying to hide them, and so that ensures more fights and... I will have to burn massive amounts of palo santo, sage, sandalwood and rosemary to chase out all that negativity. The house itself is looking wonderful, and different issues are being addressed. I'm getting my bathtub the way I want it and currently my only worry is how are they going to solve my hot water, since I want it made with a gas boiler because - in my experience - that's the only one that gives me water as hot as I like it, which is scalding hot.

So these are the important events of my life up to date.

Property of Stormberry
Regarding my situation with that friend of mine, yesterday I was finally able to write down in my journal everything that happened and was important on November 17th of last year, which was when we met at our old University and he told me he had left his wife. This was a very, very important day in my life, and this whole experience was life changing for me, because him and me got so much closer together, and from that day on I felt I had earned a brother, and my heart exploded for him.

It was hard, and I was so afraid of forgetting the details and letting his day and this experience slip through my fingers as my memory is famously bad. It was a long process and one through which I had to struggle a lot. The final part, that last mile, started on Saturday (two days ago) and I decided to write and write and keep writing until all was finally on the paper. And so I did, and so yesterday, after about seven or eight hours of continuos writing, I managed to get it done.

I'm not done just yet, as there is one other very significant day to our story and our friendship/brotherhood, which I also want to record, but at least this one is already on paper.

Though I have bitched quite a lot about him through the years - and boy, I have bitched! - at the end of the day it's plain to see that I do care a lot about him, that I do love him and love him deeply and carry his fate close to my heart. He's currently the only one of my friends I keep close tabs on, pretty much acting in a mother hen fashion - which I know I should be stopping because he is an adult and capable of making his own decisions and facing his own life for himself - because I have this imperative need to make sure he is well and happy. The gods are wise they removed the desire of being a mother from me. I would have probably raised the next Norman Bates!

The thing is - and here comes the topic of the post - that I have made friends with a girl who suffers from a mental disease. Her situation is complicated and I have the sense that she's very fragile. Up to my ability, I have tried to understand her, give her her space and be there for her as a friend when she needs it. My discomfort has begun when I've realized that she's in love with me, and has been trying to push herself more and more into my life, which I don't want. I'm truly scared to hurt her, but I do not want to upend my whole life supporting someone who will expect things from me I can't give her. I've tried my best to be gentle, friendly, and let her know that I've other priorities.

From what I gather, I've seen her plan to move into my house, or at least spend long seasons there - even though I have never made such an invitation - and then suggesting I should stop talking to my friend, because he's toxic for me. She's been falling more and more into crisis - or maybe that was always here regular rate and only now I know about it - and what bothers me is that her family is there, and I know they care, but it's almost as if she were expect me to take care of her situation.

I do like her, and she can be a great friend, but right now I don't know how could I backpedal this whole thing. I've already stopped telling her a lot of things about my life, stopped mentioning my friend to her altogether, and have been telling her less and less, keeping the conversation more and more superficial.

However, I could use advise if anyone has some to give. How can I be suportive of a friend with a mental disease, prone to hurting themselves while keeping my own independence and my own life?

Dec 17, 2019

Happy Saturnalia

Another week went missing from my postings, so I'll do my best to make do this week. Though technically I did write because I wrote a contribution to the blog of a friend of mine. In Spanish though.

Source: Net of Light via Google
Just to update you on the matters of my life, my broken heart has been pretty much mended. He and I got together again and things changed the tone. I'm not sure where this thing will go, or if it will all go up in smoke again, never to meet again. I am at peace, though. Oddly, calmly at peace. Perhaps I have cried my heart out already and there is nothing more to cry. We talked and he did tell me that we shouldn't meet ever again, but then his signs were mixed. I did tell him in all honesty, that I will wait for him. I feel this sort of... red thread... bonding us. I still feel that we are the storm and the beacon. I also told him I could feel how I was descending to my coffin, the lid was closing on me as I closed my eyes, crossed my hands over my chest and set to peacefully wait.

I imagine that the particular image I conjured was disturbing because he rebelled against it, but I found that feeling, of closing myself in the peaceful solitude of a coffin rather comforting.

The sea is storming, flapping and retrieving further and further into the center of open waters. The beacon tands tall, wet and cold, waiting impassively, as it is called to do.


These days also mark the begining of the Feasts of Saturnalia, and from them I want to highlight this year the Reversal of Rules. Admitedly, I am not very versed in the Cultus Deorum, nor the Roman Traditions - I am an eclectic witch after all, and I follow my own heart.

According to what little I have read, this was a time of liberation, of shaking off the strict rules of society and chase happiness often also with silly jokes and indulging into role reversals. Masters serving slaves, women and men dressing in each others' raiment and so on.

For my own practice, I have lifted up the sense of liberation, of safely testing the crossing of boundaries and being a bit daring, something I find hard to do given my natural propensity to avoid risk. Within the light of Saturnalia, I can find a space to meditate on many things about my life and whether they could have been different, and what could they have been like. Yes, he also comes into play in my thoughts, as the counter part of my One, the other side of the coin that is my heart. In this freedom and reversal of the rules that guide my inner life, I review different paths and dare to think of the what-abouts that I consciously know will not work and are headed to nowhere. I give myself the space to mentally follow a path that might have a different outcome, one were friendship can survive, even if I know that the chance of that greatly diminishes if we keep seeing each other.

The times are mixed now, the god that has succumbed and gone under during Samhain is rising to life again, from Saturnalia to Yule, parting the womb of the Mother to step forward and claim the wilderness. And as the earthy womb is revolved, broken and softened for new life to come forward, so we step forward into the new year, the new decade and walk the path. Back we leave the warm, nurturing womb, the safe and cozy tomb, some of us naked, vulnerable and cold, others springing forward like Athena, in full armor, but all of us scared of what lies ahead.

But Saturnalia is for cheer, to make light of our worries and seek merriment. So enjoy, dance, drink and celebrate. Gather cheer and strenght for what is to come.

Dec 3, 2019

Nursing a Broken Heart

Source: Property of Stormberry
Such a roller coaster of emotions in short two weeks. I feel now like I'll never take off again this bracelet, this one charm that represents him. I've been sad and crying and reliving time and again snipets of our last three meetings, but I'm still not strong enough to write them down in my journal, where the details of it all would be penned in with the blood of my spirit mingled into the ink flowing down the feeder and the nib of my pen.

The whole thing puzzles me greatly for I was already preparing to this. I knew the end was close, this cycle of our on-and-off acquaintance was reaching an end and a new era of long calm and emotional slumber was approaching. We can never stay together for too long, as if our emotions - whatever shape they take - could burn so hard they would easily engulf the world in flames. At least this time, the predominant sentiment was one of love, and not like in the past, where it was the blinding hate in my heart what had thrown the yellowish light upon our road.

We sink into the darkness and coolness of a world without each other. We have both done that in the past, with more or less success. I have a hard time letting go, and I can feel my bony, frozen fingers cracking, opening and trying to clutch into his strong wrist, for one last word. But my cold corpse is sinking deeper and deeper in to the underworld where I belong, where I am ruler,  undefeated and unchallenged. I have to let him go, I can't drag him down here, where I flourish and he withers, as much as I could not survive in his world.

Our last meeting was the longest and the most beautiful of them all. We talked long, shared our hearts, heard each other and held each other. Hugs flew freely each time they were needed, and smiles were free as well, marvelling in the miracle of having found each other. We talked economics and fell asleep like children, one next to the other, on a narrow bed, reading "The Return of Depression Economics" by Paul Krugman.

"Who else can I do this with?", he asked me, mirroring so perfectly what I myself was feeling.

No one else. That was the sad answer, wrapped in each other's arms, my head against his strong shoulder, in the dark, on the very night we knew we had finally ran out of time, and come the day, we will have to say good-bye.

We slept, but we didn't sleep together. Still in the morning we teased each other with that. "Hey, I can finally say we slept together". I laughed. "Watch out about that, child. You've slept with a witch".

Long hours rolled in bed, dreading getting up because they I would have to go home. Yet we've found the way to stretch those hours, steal one more, and one more until it was evident I had to pack up and leave. I had showed him my bow and my arrows, and had stringed it for him to see, to hold, to feel its power as its string is drawn against the nose and under the chin. We picked up dinner in my car, and he loved driving it. I told him their name and he not only accepted it, but gave it a petname of his own: "Nat".

He taught me to drink whiskey that night, and though I was still good enough to drive, he insisted I should stay. I didn't put much resistence either. I did want as many memories of us as I could collect.

We had lunch next day, driving his car, speeding some so that the rumble of the engine would crawl up my legs, and break on the reef of my upper lip. His car is a thing of beauty.

Those 22 hours were an intense experience, and he himself said a lifetime of closeness and friendship were crammed into them. A whole life was lived in them.

With love high in our hearts, we said good-bye, we let go. We walked away. And I've been crying since then.

Nov 29, 2019

Memories Are All That's Left

Property of Stormberry
A couple of days have passed that are proven to be emotionally straining. I'm trying to come up with a better word, but honestly, I can't. Ever since November 17th, when a chance meeting with an old friend, I had been feeling emotionally restless. We talked for much longer time than usual, and they unloaded quite a heavy burden that changed the way I saw many things about them. I also opened up a lot about them, and was rather brutally honest about some things that had perspired in the past. Those things weren't pretty things, but rather unveiled a dark side of my heart. To this day I have no certainty about how they took in that information.

There have also been issues at home, where my brother is going through some family issues and we are doing what family does in times like this: gather up tighter and hold up the one that needs most support. There have been other straining issues that might have grinded on my nerves due to the second hand pain I've been exposed to, and then comes the meeting and getting closer to people who might be romantically interested in me. Or are and I just don't want to acknowledge it for what it is.

Property of Stormberry
The truth is, I think I don't like the idea of me in a romantic relationship. I do have been in them, and I do have loved my partners, but I think those times are well past before me, and though I might be attracted to the people I'm going out with and seeing, I'd rather have the friendship and forgo the romance. Or could it be that I'm not that much into either of them? Or is it that maybe my friend's issues are taking an undue amount of my thoughts and that's keeping me from finding my balance and concentrating on what's really important - this being me feeling good?

I've been pondering in this a lot.

Normally, I have always cautioned my friends from getting too wrapped up in other people's issues, and look at me, getting all wrapped up in the personal problems of my friend. Not like I can solve them, nor like it would be my place. So why I am being sucked into their clusterfuck? Well, because I have the feeling that the time left on our friendship is quickly coming to its end.

I don't know precisely how to explain this, but this has been the dynamic of our life encounters since forever, and so I have now the feeling that soon we are to part ways and a couple of decades will pass before we see each other again, if ever. Not like we share much, but we have shared some deep stuff, and so they feel like a sort of comrade or a fellow soldier in the battlefield of life. I have made some notes about them and as I was recording some events, I came to the realization that, people come and go, but the memories that we keep from them often times remain with us much, much longer. Like feathers of a bird, they are a small part of the whole bird, but they remain with those who have collected them long after the bird has past.

We are to part soon, and I wonder if this is also the reason why I seem to be trying to collect their feathers by handfulls, as if I could stuff a pillow with them, to rest my head on them at night.

Nov 21, 2019

Express Love!

Mercury Retrograde is finally over, and I can't be happier. I won't blame the astrological phenomenon on the lagging of my posting (though I could), but let's just say that I am really happy it's over... for now. Yes, I have witchy plans to put in motion that are better done under clear skies and direct planetary influences. Ah, I do live being Pagan and a Witch, even when it has these pecularities. Then again, these all make life all the more fun to live.

Last week was also a bit of a tough week for me, because I had a lot of things lined up. Thesis pre-defense, my nephews and niece staying over for the weekend, my Mom's birthday, and then I lovely, surprise meet up with a dear friend, that left me emotionally charged. Last week I didn't go to yoga (I stared a few weeks ago), and I was also carrying around negative emotions about that.

Yoga: Yes, about that, quickly, what happened was that I was so happy with a new alignment yoga class that was taught on Tuesdays at 18.00 hours. Management decided to move it to 19.00 hours. For me, who don't live in the same city where the classes are taught, this meant getting home at the same hour I used to get home when I was taking German lessons. We all know how that ended, so that was not an option for me. I could go another day to another class, but the other classes were not of alignment, and I wanted alignment. So yes, I was a little bitter, mumbling troll under a bridge, upset by the change.

Anyway, back on track, I was already strained, but coping (or so I say), when I met with this dear friend of mine, who is going through a bit of a rough patch. And no, his yoga class wasn't moved an hour later, but he was having Mercury Retrograde lean in elbow first in his life, with all the other gods, goddesses and planets piling on like it's a rugby scrum. I was really, really happy to see him and spend time with him, though I am afraid I wasn't as useful as I could have been, have I had all my marbles in place.

As he unburdened his chest, I tried to convey often that he can deal with it all, he's strong enough, he has the resources he needs, he's smart enough, and that he can always draw strenght from the love of all those who surround him. Me among them. I did try to make this clear over and over, beacuse I'm afraid that Mercury Retrograde (I'm so not taking the blame for this, even if it is my fault) messes with my already strained emotions, and I ended up telling him things I probably shouldn't have. Like how deeply I used to dislike him when we were in college.

I did talked to him like it was the last time I'll see him ever, and so I opened up my ribcage and unloaded everything I felt he might need through the rest of his life. The exercise was so intense, that it left a mark on me, a print, and so I spent a couple of days after thinking about him and the message I transmitted. In the end, it all came concentrated in one word: Love.

Love

Many people guard the speaking out of this word quite jealously, and often fear or feel that it can be cheapened if used too much. Many also link this word, and the sentence "I love You", to a romantic declaration that must lead to marriage and forming a family. Fairly tales and stories in books and movies and series, also often sell us this idea of the "One", or the "True Love", and how there is only one real love and how lovely it is when someone has never known love and then finally finds love and feels it for the first time. Doesn't ring a bell? Well, how about the corny expression "I never felt this way before"?

In my opinion, these ideas put in people's heads a dangerous concept, which my itself degenerates the feeling and the word. If there is one love, and you fall in love with someone but then fall out of love, or that emotion ceases, you could end up feeling guilty and unworthy because a) you lost this important thing and there was only one of it, or b) you are so silly you couldn't see it wasn't the true one.

You see, love is like a muscle, and it's also multiple. There isn't one love or one true love, but many, many types of love. Also, love is quite tailored, and it's nearly impossible to love two people with the same kind of love. This doesn't mean that one is bigger or better than the other, but that each molds perfectly to the person you are loving. You love your mom one way and your dad another. You love each of your siblings and each of your friends in a different way. You also love each of your lovers and exes in a different way. And that's alright.

Maybe we should start saying it aloud more often, tell our friends that we love them, tell or family that we love them, and not me frugal or scared of the words. Use them! So far, there is no charge and no tax on expressing emotions or showing love. Hug, kiss, hold a hand, smile, say "I love you" and keep smiling.

Saying it more often strenghtens both the emotion and the ease to express it, and also to express other emotions. Strenghtens your contact with your own self, your feelings and your thoughts, and also strenghtens your bond with others.

Choose to say it when you feel it, not when you are expected to, and strenghten your honesty, both towards yourself and towards others.

Saying "I love you" often doesn't cheapen the emotion, saying it without feeling it, or to get something, does.

Reclaim love.