the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Compassion for the Sensitive

This was the name of the title of a post on the forums of The Icarus Project.

(TRIGGER/SENSIBILITIES WARNING: If you’ve got a problem with salty, crass language, you might want to stop reading right here.  Several four-letter bombs are to follow, a few sections down.)

It’s difficult for me to sum up what it was about, although I can recall some details quite clearly.  The content was raw, and the statement wasn’t terribly lucid.  No surprise, really, given the purpose of the site is to look at mental illness in a radical way– to look at it as a gift to creativity, insight, and alternative perspectives.

What I can say is that it was clear to me that the author wanted respite.  She described a therapy/counseling session, in which she described her frustration with being sensitive, so easily upset by seemingly small things in the world, expressing sorrow for the tiniest expressions of suffering.  Although I found her story a bit rambling and incoherent, I found succinct, articulate eloquence in the title.

Are we compassionate to the sensitive souls in our life?

Navigating social media hasn’t been easy for me.  If you’ve followed my 10 Year Blogging Journey, dear readers, I hope that’s been clear.  I hope you’ll forgive me a moment to be selfish and speak sharply against those who have been so unkind.As I said, I started blogging to face the darkness of my childhood abuse.  I started when blogging was relatively new, and people still looked at it as presenting a diary to the world.  I was drawn into LiveJournal by a live-action roleplaying group– a toxic lot, I found.  When they weren’t pretending to be scheming, backstabbing, warring vampires, mages, werewolves, fairies and other fantastical supernatural creatures, they busied themselves with drama whoring, pettiness, gossip, and gutter sniping in real life.  Much of the rest of the community seemed to be that way, too.  What remains popular there now is the “Oh No, They Didn’t” subcommunity– which I would sum up as the TMZ of blogging.

“Damn it, Val, you really are a sick fuck!  … Good thing I like sick fucks.”

When I looked to the old VOX blogging platform as a possibly more mature alternative to LiveJournal, things didn’t get too much better.  Does the notion of controlled, private content bring out the worst in people?  (The site took the idea of controlling which readers could see which content, although a little less customizable.  Most blogging sites now hide posts individually by password, instead of filters.)

Jack Yan at Wellington's Software Freedom Day ...

Jack Yan at Wellington’s Software Freedom Day 2010 event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I met some folks I still have the pleasure of interacting with, such as Jack Yan.  A lot of the people I initially connected with are gone, however.

I still miss Valerie Rae (valerae) in particular.  The quote above in this section is easily how I’d sum up my impressions of her.  She was into shock humor and geek culture, and while her aggressive, mischevious style sometimes wore thin with me, I’d still have a smirk or a shit-eating grin on my face.  A certain core of the community, however, decided to ostracize her, as she decided to have an extramarital affair, and her would-be paramour decided to air all the dirty laundry about it.

I apologize if that offends some of my ex-Vox readers, but, seriously, now.  Did any of you catch wind of the whole #Gamergate debacle?  It’s okay if you didn’t; I think it relates, though.  I’ll sum it up like this: People that talk smack about folks in their personal lives should recognize it for the smelly, steaming shit that it is, and shut off the damned diarrhea from their mouth already.  Both “The Great Shunning of Val” and #Gamergate involved people spewing their personal shit for all the world to see (like someone they just fucked is now apparently a skanky slut), and it just resulted in more stinky shit.

I don’t pretend to give myself a free pass or an exception here.  I was really sad to see that continue on WordPress.  What was the scandal?  Rachel Mallino decided to call out Eric “Le Clown” Robillard on sexually predatory behavior.

The backlash against her, as a result, I think was very unjustly deserved.  Sure, I’m biased, I guess.  For the first time in my life, I met someone who understood and had lived– no, survived— maternal abuse, albeit with a complex case of PTSD (cPTSD).  I’d say the tales of her mother’s narcissistic abuse are much more horrifying than my own, even if my own mother is too quick to gossip about her co-worker’s vagina falling out.

Western society is not kind to those who wear their emotions on their sleeve.

It was a really awkward journey, getting to the point where I was ready to write The Analogy of the Splinter.  Metaphorically, I was bleeding, urinating, and defecating in pain across the blogging community I knew, spilling out ugly details of my pain and suffering.  To be fair, I guess that’s against the social mores and folkways of blogging: you’re supposed to air your stench on your own space, not in the comments section of someone else’s.  But instead of receiving some tender care and merciful attention, I got people recoiling in disgust and revulsion.

Hmmm.

It’s called “read between the lines”. Credit: save-send-delete.blogspot.com

Oh, wait.  Maybe I wasn’t clear.

When “hold your horses” just won’t do. As seen at danceswithfat.wordpress.com

I loved this Depeche Mode tune back in the day (actually, I still do), because it encapsulates my outlook on how I interact with the Internet and the world around me:

What you see, is what you get.

Hey, I’ve got no problems making fun of myself.  I mean, speaking of feces, grand kudos to those of you dear readers that got through The ER doc told me I was full of shit.  Especially those that commented to great comedic effect; clearly, you fine folks realize that shit happens. Or rather, that sometimes it doesn’t, and you’ve got to take some drastic steps to get it to happen (no, seriously, this is how it went down, folks):

Why yes, my bowels are cramped up and hating me all over again– thanks for asking! Image credit: memeshare.net

Coming back full circle to The Icarus Project, I remember crudely parodying Rienhold Niebuhr’s The Serenity Prayer on those forums:

God grant me the serenity to accept the shit that happens,
The courage to clean up the shit I did shit,
And the wisdom to know not to mess with someone else’s shit.

I don’t always practice well what I preach, but I do strive to be consistent.

There are some people in my life, mostly close friends and family, that would be shocked by my liberal use of profanity, such as “fuck this shit”It’s a bit hypocritical, because when I discussed such things with my daughter, I listed several of the common 4-letter bombs and admonished her not to use them in polite company, and to use them precisely for what they meant.  Generally speaking, I don’t believe in silly Old English-Latin dichotomies where saying “fornicate” or “feces” is acceptable, but “fuck” or “shit” isn’t.  But then I use those “vulgar” words broadly, as in, I’m not really going to stick my gentalia in a pile of manure, or literally penetrate something with my penis, and that stuff isn’t literally splattered with excrement.

For the record, she loves humor that is just littered with coarse words, but since her brother with autism is too prone to parroting a lot of things, well, there was this dialogue…

(audio from some random YouTube channel)

“Motherfucker…”

(me in the background)

“What?  The only person I want to hear saying ‘fuck’ around here is me, damn it!”

What’s all this?  This is the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, that’s what.

Oh yes, this raw, crass post has a purpose.  It’s in response to the massive event Yvonne Spence and Lizzi “the Considerer” Rogers put together.  Please see their posts 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and We ALL need The Village for context.  Or see this lovely video that the awesome Tamara Woods put together:

Again, apologies if my four-letter bombs were offensive, yet, I tell you, dear readers– that’s life.  Life is messy.  Life is ugly.  Life is raw, and brutal.  If you got past my salt and spew, I salute you.  I almost didn’t write anything for this, because I was still smoldering with rage, festering and boiling in pain.

Please, have some compassion for those who are suffering, even if they are thrashing about in an awkward, unseemly, even vile and disgusting way.  It’s more than worrying about someone in a land far away, or fretting over the depressing headlines the mass media uses to sell news.  Not that such isn’t important, or such empathy for those you don’t personally know is invalid.  I ask you, dear readers, to notice and care those that are right beside you, or those you might not consider as worthy of compassion.  Someone like me.

This quote has been kicking around Twitter lately, and I think it’s appropriate:

as seen at hannekeantonelli.com — Please visit wendymass.com for more info about the author quoted here

Dare I say it, dear readers, we’re all quite possibly clueless– completely clueless.

Click through for image source/credit. Seriously, I find some of the best images right from WordPress bloggers, and for that, know that I am forever grateful.

becuo.com – Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself Shirt Images & Pictures

To close, consider a more recent offering from Martin L. Gore and his Depeche Mode bandmates:


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TMFI, Mom

I work very hard not to badmouth or backbite.  Sometimes, though, I feel I have to share the “holy schmoly, did this person REALLY just say that?”  Now, because I’m assuming you haven’t dug through my blog archives (because the last time that happened to me, I got me a pervy female stalker)– I will tell you that usually, the person I name is Crazy Aunt.  Crazy Aunt who I haven’t actually spoken to in years, but, y’know, because she’s married to Dad’s older brother, more often than not, I hear some whack quote she said from him.

Oh, but no.  Not this time.

Cimmy was in a funk so I took her to lunch, picking up some images of my spine along the way.  (The why for those images is a story for another time.)  We decided to stop by my folks’ house to grab some frozen/canned goods– some of which we had helped to preserve.  We couldn’t linger very long, because our kids were getting home from school.  In fact, we had to call our daughter and ask her to watch for her brother’s school bus.  (He’s on the SpEd bus route, and the driver will take him back to school if someone doesn’t show her that they are home for him.)

My mother proceeded, on our way out the door, to tell us a bizarre tale about the co-worker who apparently will take her place once Mom retires from Social Security in May.  She warned us with a “normally I wouldn’t tell you this, but since you don’t know this person, I’m going to tell you anyways…” and although she was talking to Cimmorene (or at least Cimmy thought she was talking to just her), I said, “okay, TMI warning, go ahead,” well, we were not ready for what came next.

Apparently, co-worker’s vagina and bladder (anus? I forget) were falling out, and she needed a bladder sling put in AND a hysterectomy done at the same time…

Oh dear God.  WAY TOO MUCH FUCKING INFORMATION.

But since Cimmy and I are sick fucks, we pondered it out loud on the car ride home, far from her ears.  (Ironically, see, she’d complain that WE were sick.)  Cimmy said it was like she pulled out a frozen herring and slapped us with it.  I said, ‘no, I think it’s more like she pulled a frozen herring out of her vagina and slapped us with it.’  Cimmy pointed out that then it wouldn’t be so frozen anymore.  (I’m not so sure of that, but, y’know…)  We then proceeded to discuss the eww of mixed slime and the smell of real fish with… hot tuna.

Yes, dear readers, the only way to recover from someone telling us something disgusting is to make it even MORE disgusting.

Shout-outs to Aussa Lorens.  Seriously, she asked recently if we would be brave enough to talk smack about our crazy workplaces as she has (ironically, hers is a psych ward!)… well, we aren’t employed in the public workforce, but, this is what we’ve got.

I’m not too big on blog prompt questions, still, it seems.  If you’ve got a story where you saw or heard something you can’t bleach your brain enough from, please let me know in the comments.  Please tell me before I trot out the story about Hannah at LiveJournal making a post about a Valentine’s card with fanfic about Snape buggering Harry Potter, and that she thought it was funny as hell.  Oh wait, I just did.  Seriously… please share, dear readers.  Surely some of you have freakish family members who can’t seem to control what comes out of their mouths.  (Bitter bonus points if it was a family member that abused you… yes, dark sardonic humor…)


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Suzie has Questions and I have Answers

So suzie81speaks has written a post called Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment and I am honored that she asked me personally to respond to it.  It’s a series of questions that I know as a “getting to know you meme”.   I admit that “Community Experiment” had me hoping for something bigger, but I like these questionnaires nevertheless.

I like them because the answers can be thoughtful, and pleasantly revealing; more so than the quizzes you might find on Facebook now, or the ones I remember when I first started out on LiveJournal 10 years ago.

On to the questions:

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

I settled on the title when I was still blogging on the VOX platform.  Giving a blog a name was a new idea to me in 2007.  I was still with the idea that blogging was like a personal diary when I started with LiveJournal in 2002, and I didn’t have a title for that blog until later.

I experimented with different titles– “the world of jaklumen”, “the eccentric world of jaklumen”, “the eclectic world of jaklumen”, and so on.  Blogging was moving away from personal writings to niche interests, but I insisted on writing about whatever caught my whimsy.  Things were a bit looser and freer at VOX– I really didn’t see anyone that was trying to settle on one particular look.  We were actually encouraged to change our headers as we felt like it, although that was about all we could customize from the interface.

A friend (whom I have called my “Sifu-of-sorts”) at that time turned me on to studying the Eastern paths, and I became very interested in the Tao Te Ching and philosophical Taoism.  I decided I wanted to reflect that in my blog title, and settled on “the tao of jaklumen”, which I carried over to WordPress when VOX closed in 2010.

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

I reckon I’m pretty bad at giving advice; I’m still trying to figure this all out myself.  But I followed the Zero to Hero course at The Daily Post on WordPress, and I found it very helpful.

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

What is THE strangest experience?  Hmm, can’t think of one that I’d call the most strange, but, these sorts of experiences seem to happen in my dreams at night.  Relatively few are ones I’d call cool or inspiring; they tend to be bizarre on average.

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?

I can’t think of one.  I’m tired, grumpy, grouchy, hurting… and this answer isn’t coming easily for me.

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

I’m not sure if I’d go– I’ve consumed enough sci-fi that explores all sorts of chaos that could ensue with interfering with the space time continuum.  I figure I’d be even more awkward than Marty McFly in “Back to the Future”.

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose?

Oh, I don’t know.  I rather like my first name.  I figure it’s much easier to say I want to choose my next nickname.  Jack (or as I spell it, “jak”) is a nickname of my real first name.

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

What kind of B Movie?  If it’s the 1950’s campy invader type, it’d probably be something like “Revenge of the Lab Wererat”.  If it could include late ’70s and ’80s sci-fi and comic book movies, it might be “Song of the Stars”.


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Which Basic Instructions Character am I?

I like to follow webcomics as well as blogs in my feed reader. I found out about Basic Instructions in an interesting way– it was through a goals site called Joe’s Goals, created by a guy who’s not even named Joe! (His name is Ian Smith.)

Scott says he doesn’t actually know of a “Which Character from House of Cards Are You?” quiz, but instead says there is a quiz from his webcomic series. See below.

I was sufficiently bored and curious to see what this quiz was all about. If you recall previous posts in The 10 Year Blogging Journey series, I mentioned that a LOT of posts I made (and other bloggers I followed) were comprised of these quirky, silly little quizzes.  (Thanks for the flashback, Missy, if you by some strange cosmic coincidence, happen to read this.)

The Emperor of the Moon

The Emperor of the Moon

You’re always coming up with plans; some small, some grand, some sheer elegance in their simplicity. Unfortunately, the incompetence of your minions and the sheer determination of your foe defeat you every time.

Which Basic Instructions Character Are You?

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This is more than a party.

Those of you that have been reading for a while may remember I’m no stranger to sexual predations online, or other things that seemed to ruin the party.

There was A 10-year blogging journey: Woman As Temptress (LiveJournal) and no pervs for a family account– SERIOUSLY (Flickr).  The former is about a young woman that started following me on LiveJournal, befriended me, and then decided to virtually take advantage of me sexually.  The latter was about running into pedophiles on Flickr.  What especially chilled my blood was one that asked for prurient pictures of my 6-year old son appeared to be a woman.

This happened at VOX, too, although along less obviously predatory lines.  One I’ll simply refer to as “S”.   S seemed to have a great fascination with posting commercially produced photos of women in lingerie, as well as a handful of other posts that were sexually suggestive.  S always insisted that the photos were for considerations of artistic expression, but after I complained a bit that they were alluring, she posted something more along the lines of softcore porn, urging me to have sex with Cimmorene.

There was no question that S had been abused– she once posted a photo of herself covered in bruises.  She confessed to me about performing on webcam for men.

I felt empathy for her, as I had been in similar situations that I won’t elaborate on right now.  But looking back on the gossip she started, well, that wasn’t so flattering.  She started some against another user in particular, and I didn’t know who to believe at the time.  I admit, that’s a difficult thing about surviving abuse– with a history of mixed messages, it’s difficult to tell who’s being deceitful and who’s telling the truth.  Before VOX closed, she re-emerged with a new identity.

With a different incident, I was on a different side of the issue.  This involved someone named Val.

Val and I didn’t see eye to eye on everything, but she had a really infectious, delightfully sick sense of humor.  Remember 2 Girls, 1 Cup?  Yeah, she thought that was funny as hell.   She thought videos of people reacting to that video was especially funny as hell.  To this day, I sometimes utter, “Mmm, cakefarts” out loud because the funny for her one day was a skinny little waif in underwear, sitting on a chocolate cake as if she was going to take a dump, and farting on it.  She also posted a picture of some clouds once, said that one of her family members thought it was God parting them to look down on the world, and she said it looked like the Goatse photo.  (Don’t Google that, please, unless you’re sure you want to see something revolting.)

Val was my inspiration for the “Sick F***” club, especially as the “motto” was originally about her:

“Damn it, Val, you really are a sick f! … good thing I like sick fs.”

What I was very blissfully unaware of was that although Val was married, she decided to have an affair, with another VOX user.   All I knew at the time was that she suddenly said she was moving and that she had divorced “Mr. Val”.

I asked about it later after a number of us moved to WordPress, because she decided to close the blog she’d imported over, and then took on a new name for another blog.  I was told that this other user decided to make the affair public on the blogging platform, and that there was a “Great Shunning” of her.

She just faded into the background after a while, did what I’d call a “drop off the face of the earth.”  I was sad about that.

I’ll leave it to you readers to draw parallels about all the above to this recent scandal.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s okay.  I don’t think it’s anything you’d really want to delve into.  If you do, well, know that I understand there’s been a lot of gossip and hate mail floating around about it, especially as in some instances, it’s just vitriol aimed by associations.  It’s not cool with me.

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Another retrospection (Zero to Hero Day 7)

The Day 7 assignment is create and upload a simple header, or test out a few different backgrounds.

Unfortunately, the Greyzed theme doesn’t allow headers or backgrounds.

So, I’ll take a look back at some of the headers I’ve used over the years.  LiveJournal didn’t allow for any that I can recall at the time I was there.  (If they did, it cost money.)  VOX called them “banners”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was a group at VOX totally devoted to “banners”, as they were called.  Various artists contributed pictures already cropped to VOX’s standard of 940 X 200 pixels.  They were free for anyone to use, but I often edited them a bit to make them my own.  When I came over to WordPress, I reused some of them and rescaled them for whatever WP theme I was using. (EDIT Jan 21, 2014: Please note that the first three headers, i.e., the ones that don’t have captions, are derivative work. The others are taken from photos I have done.)

Now, I don’t recall LiveJournal offering backgrounds for free, either.  They weren’t available on VOX, for certain.  As a general rule, while VOX was designed to be user-friendly and easy to use, it was actually REALLY HARD to customize it (I’m saying this now so hopefully I remember not to repeat it too many times on future Zero to Hero challenge days).

This was the last background I used here at WordPress:

Heroesjourneyand since it wasn’t very visible, I tried to spread it out into a tile pattern.  I see now that it was visually distracting after switching to the Greyzed theme from Superhero, and some of you dear readers confirmed that.

Have you tried different headers and backgrounds on your blog?  Are there any favorites you had?  Would you like jak to stop asking silly questions because you’re happy with the header and background you have?

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!

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A 10-year blogging journey: New Life and the VOX years

So next was a post about fleeing the terrible fourplex.  I’ll just link to it, since I don’t feel like summarizing it much.  Then there was a post about crime at the apartment complex (the new place).

After the miscarriage, my next big LiveJournal post was Bun in the oven.  This was nine weeks in, yet I knew it was going to happen.  Right at the moment of conception, even– with me grunting “have my child” at… well, you get the idea, right?  It was like the stars aligned and I knew it had to happen, right then.

October 28, 2006 I left the Camarilla.  Toxic people, toxic effects, but sadly it happened because I realized I’d alienate my sister if I stayed.

by distemper at DeviantArt-- presented by claim of fair use

This was as close as I could get to a parody some LJ’er in the Camarilla made of the old TNT network logo (it said “CAM” instead of “GOTH”). So true, it hurts.

Then we got confirmation the little wombmate was a boy.  We knew this already, as I said– our kids made themselves known.

Twenty days before he was delivered cesarean, I started blogging on VOX.  We were nervous up until the delivery day:

Well, not much of anything of import to say, save that my wife’s recent pregnancy has been a rollercoaster lately.  Last Saturday night and Sunday morning, we had a false alarm– 11 hours in the hospital during nighttime hours, only to find it was likely a UTI that triggered contractions. (March 14, 2007)

It’s down to the last week or two now, but babies do come when they want to. (March 20, 2007)

I felt a mixture of emotions when he finally came out.  He was so quiet, even when I was helping one of the nurses clean off the white stuff off him.  (By constrast, his older sister wailed.)  I was so impressed.  But later, I wondered why I didn’t feel as much excitement with him as I did his sister.  I thought, “If they took him back, that would be okay.”  What was wrong with me?

The Hero's Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

The Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

Next post in the series: The son becomes the father…


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From the archive: Santa’s been here!

As I was sifting through the LiveJournal archives, I found this post from December 25, 2005.  There will be more photos in four days from now, so I decided to share it today.

Since there is no way to import posts to WordPress (that I know of), I’ve simply grabbed the HTML from the post and copied it here.  Merry Christmas to all my dear readers.

The goodies… look like some have been eaten!

Oh, that’s why.
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Santa’s card:
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Stuffing the stockings:
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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us (Cimmorene was a very good gamer girl)

Tree with pressies:
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Santa himself (wow, he hasn’t looked this young since “The Story of Santa Claus“– you know, that animation special based on Frank L. Baum‘s novel? C’mon people, same folks and same style as with “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”.
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A 10-year blogging journey: Woman as Temptress

This is another one of the stages Campbell lists.  EDIT: I have just recently received some kind support from a blogging friend that remembers me telling this story before.  I remember some discussion on hers and other blogs that creepy stalkers can be male OR female!  Never fun when that happens.

My first Internet stalker was female.  I didn’t think of her as a creepy stalker at first– initially, I wanted to think of her as an online friend– but she was definitely predatory.

Homestar Runner

Homestar Runner was a very popular animated series site at the time, and the creators decided to promote it on a LiveJournal feed.  I seem to remember there was also a community for the site, or something like that, and that’s where she said she found me, when I asked.

No biggie, I thought at first.  But then came the first red flag.  Maybe you’ve noticed, dear readers, that most people read the latest posts on a blog, and it’s unusual for them to dig into the archive, unless older posts are promoted.  I was flattered at first that she was reading and commenting on older posts– but then, when I saw how far back she was combing, I was a little disturbed.

Maybe you remember that quizzes used to be a trend on blogs.  Out of misplaced curiosity, I’d posted one from an LJ friend… and this stalker answered.  Then I decided to visit the talker she was a part of.  I was curious– it reminded me of Grex (and their old protocols) and the community was also in the Midwest.

I’d never used a talker before, but I was familiar with the MUDs they were based on.  Think Second Life, but all text.  Once I got there, she’d whisk me away to a restricted room to cybersex me.  She wouldn’t take no for an answer and didn’t seem to care that I was married.  I found out she was engaged, too.  What the hell?

I made the unfortunate mistake of going along with it, and Cimmy was understandably upset when she found out about it.  I don’t mean to excuse myself, but this wasn’t the first time I allowed a crazy woman to grab attention from me, and in much that way, too.  (One of many reasons why I regret being part of the LARP and Camarilla scene.)

But Cimmy didn’t stay too mad for long and she definitely found ways to help me get even.  She cornered this woman and turned on the bright interrogation lamps, so to speak.  We also wanted to see how far she would push this to real-life, like with a telephone call.  sigh It turns out she was pretty cowardly.

The frosting on the cake came when she found out her fiancé was cheating on her– and then she ranted about it at her own space.  Oh, the hypocrisy.  This upset me a great deal, but I didn’t dare to comment too much, lest I be lambasted for my own part.

But now it’s out in the open.  Think of me what you will, I guess– this predatory behavior was more subtle, and I got emotionally hooked.  I am grateful that my wife helped me break out it.

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: New Life and the VOX years


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A 10-year Blogging Journey: Death, before Life

In my LiveJournal blogging, I never mentioned my “Sifu-of-Sorts”, whom I met online through the Camarilla.  I call him “Sifu-of-Sorts” because he balked to be called a sifu or a sensei, but, he was my Meeting of the Mentor (stage four of the Hero’s Journey, per se Vogler) regardless, and that was the name, “Sifu-of-Sorts”, that he reluctantly approved.

Research Association of Laozi Taoist Culture

In the Mage venue, I was playing a member of The Akashic Brotherhood (which refers to the akashic record in Eastern reckoning).  I had some interest in Eastern paths, so my Sifu-of-Sorts recommended that I read the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching.

I did not get too deep into the Gita, but I read the Tao Te Ching like a man dying of thirst.

Jan. 7th, 2005 — “Still grieving”:

You know, oddly enough, Julie is dealing with the loss pretty well. I haven’t been handling it so well though.

Many tears were shed; I had really wanted this after all. They say it’s good therapy to try again but a part of me is reluctant. The doctor said after four weeks was okay.

I try to keep remembering that the child will come when the time is right; we do have a feeling this next one is very patient. But I still feel so much.

We knew that we would have another child after our daughter.  Both of them made their presence known a long time before they were born, somehow: there was excitement, anticipation, near impatience with our daughter, and more patience and gentle love with our son.

Perhaps Boy needed that patience, because he didn’t come right away.

We waited a while.  I wasn’t sure we were ready– we were in that crummy fourplex and things were difficult.  I remember my father coming to visit to help Cimmorene break the news to me that she was pregnant.  “She really needs your support,” he said.

But it wasn’t to be, yet.  My memory is hazy, but I remember Cimmy saying something was wrong, that she was bleeding for some reason.  She rushed to the toilet, and miscarried– and I saw the process in all its ugly, gory horror, blood and all.

This was The Ordeal.  I was devastated.

I blamed myself.  I thought that because I wasn’t supportive enough, that I hadn’t wanted the pregnancy at the time, that I was to blame for her miscarrying.  I cut myself, many times, scoring the inside of my forearm with a razor blade.  I wept.  I brooded and stewed as I often do.

I e-mailed my Sifu-of-Sorts about it.  He was so sanguine, as he often is.  He explained that miscarrying was the body’s natural way of dealing with a faulty pregnancy.  I already knew that was true, but I had an emotional dissonance, as I often do.  I may know something logically, but emotionally– it’s often a different story.

But Boy did come, two years and a few months later.  That, of course, is the subject for a future post.

The Hero's Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

The Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: Woman as Temptress