Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Defining Insanity

Sometimes--more often than not, these days--I look at the definitions I've attached to myself and wonder if any of them are still accurate, or if indeed they ever were. I used to feel myself indefinable, ineffable, and chafe so strongly at being labeled or pinned down; and then I went through a period of trying on some labels, because it seems so hard for other people if you can't provide them with a convenient capsulized explanation of yourself, but nothing ever quite fit exactly right. That's still the case, and now I wonder why I bother trying to define myself at all. The meanings shift from day to day as I examine the aspect that best fits where I find myself in the cosmos at that moment, and as I feel some things slipping away, others start to come into stronger focus. What am I? Well, what day is it? Let me get back to you on that.

I've used the term pagan (or sometimes even neo-pagan) as a general descriptor for quite a long time now; it isn't quite right, but it's the closest I've been able to come to a generally-understood word that encompasses at least a good portion of what I'm about. Unfortunately, the term also carries with it other associations that are incorrect, imperfect, inappropriate--things that are emphatically not me and not what I do or think or believe or perform--and those associations weigh more heavily on me these days than they did earlier in my life, back when I was perhaps a bit more idealistic and energetic and less generally stabby in demeanor and outlook. I still hang out under the pagan umbrella, but I'm scooting ever closer to the edge, and I'm not entirely covered anymore, a side or so of me hanging out exposed to other elements. (If I may carry my imperfect metaphor that far.)

I think I'm just tired. Tired of the realization that in many ways, I was right from the start, and what I dismissed early on as knee-jerk reactions born of imperfect understanding and lack of gnosis were in fact the simple truth. It's galling and disheartening to me, and sometimes I feel like the biggest damned idiot that ever walked, feel like my stupid yearning heart has betrayed me yet again when I accidentally let its demands override the certainties of my brain (which knew all along that only fuckery and foolishness awaited down that road). I'm cutting ties--physically, symbolically, ritually--to these elements, but it's hard, and shaking off the anger, not only at others but even more so at myself, seems the hardest part of all. Everything in me says it's time, finally, to try for a different outcome (Bones fans, you know this one). And maybe I need to write down the date on which I think I'll finally be ready to be free of all this and burn it, so the Universe gets the message:

Just like that.

The fact is, I just don't fit well amongst the local pagani, most of whom seem like displaced Christians who want a congregational model with a Sky-Mommy as well as a Sky-Daddy, with regular services and potluck dinners and craft projects and skits. I'm also particularly unsuited to hang with the more, eh, ecstatic types; cerebral control-freaks don't do well with ecstasis, and all the unbridled behavior really awakens the psychologist in me and puts me right into an analytical frame of mind (yeah, I know, like I ever leave that frame of mind). I'm Apollonian, not Dionysian, and I'm old enough to know that nothing is likely to change that. Everyone in this gig seems to be out for something, and I don't want to be the one to provide it, even inadvertently. I don't want to hang around with the sex-obsessive festival hippies, or the congregational pagans, or the secret-club trad-types. Where does that leave me?

I want to sit on a big rock with my harp and play a song to the sky. I want to burn incense before the serene golden face of a goddess and shake the sistrum for her. I want to drop all the pretenses and all the ill-fitting labels and feel my spirit soar the way it once did, long ago and far away before I'd ever met another person claiming the p-word for their identity. My husband keeps saying we should just call ourselves Kemetic Druids and I always think he's joking, but what if he's not? And what if we just refuse to call ourselves anything at all, and just be who we are--whoever and whatever that happens to be on any given day. What then?

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