11/28/14

Ranting Re: Commercialism

First Quarter Frost Moon (Age: 5 days)
Sign: Aquarius
Weather: Cold, clear skies & 
snow on the ground
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It's that time of year where I rant about commercialism. I'm not going to do the 'keep Christ in Christmas' thing or say that commercialism is bad. This year, that rant is for my other blog. No, my rant today is the way that people sacrifice their human connections for the sake of stuff. Commercialism sort of contributes to the problem that this creates, but it is a symptom of the true ailment, not the cause.

If you look at the events over the last several years, you find there is a lot in the news about how people are getting treated as subhuman. Racism, sexism, and transphobia have been popping up a lot on my Facebook feed. People try to push the ugliness of these problems aside. One of the ways they do it is to buy stuff or throw money at the problem. Buying stuff is like eating chocolate. It has a temporary effect of boosting the mood but too much of it is bad for you. 

Throwing money at the problem is like putting a bandaid on an injury. For some injuries, the bandaid works really well. For a lot more, it is ineffective if not contributing to the problem. Commercialism encourages us to take the approach that buying things or throwing money at a problem will solve it. It's a pretty lie that I have seen too many people buy into. (Pun for the win!) It doesn't solve the problems like racism because it doesn't really address it. It only addresses the symptoms.

It's the holiday season and a lot of people are going to be struggling, just like they do any other time of the year. It seems like only during the holiday season people want to be compassionate to others because it is some how going to magically improve their conditions for the rest of the year. Compassion that is practiced for one month is not true compassion for others. It is a shallow behavior that is intended to assuage the conscience of the person who is doing the 'giving'.

Yeah, it's Black Friday. Everybody and their cousin are out shopping right now. The Salvation Army are out with their kettles and bells. Stores have partnered with food pantries to raise funds. There's a fair amount of money flying around right now and a good portion of it is landing in the charity sector. It isn't going to be enough to sustain those charities for the whole year. And there are some charities where only a small percentage of your donation actually gets to the people it is supposed to help.

This year, do something different. Make your charity giving into a year long event. You may not be able to give a big sum of money all the time. You can, however, volunteer your free time to help out at the local soup kitchen a few times a month. If you're crafty, you can make hats, mittens, socks, and blankets for the homeless. And if giving money is the only way you can contribute, you can skip that cup of coffee for a few days every week to donate that little bit to the local battered women's shelter. There are more ways you can help then you realize.

Yes, give and be generous during the holiday season. But don't let it only happen during the holidays. Make it a year round thing and actually help your community. It's another way to embody that Wiccan maxim of 'perfect love and trust'. Or the famous golden rule. Or building frith within your community. There are so many ways to describe the idea that I'm trying to get to here.

In case you're wondering, I've been making hats for the local hospital's NICU and I've started on things for the homeless. Right now I've got a few scarves and several pairs of slippers.

11/24/14

Freyr vs depression round whatever.

Waxing Frost Moon (Age: 2 days)
Sign: Capricorn
Weather: Unseasonably warm, rainy with
localized flooding
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Somewhere in my frenzy of research, I read somewhere that Freyr's gift is the thing that gets us out of bed when we're ready to give up on everything and the spark of life that keeps pushing us forward no matter how badly we're injured. He's clearly had a hand in my life for a long while then. Being depressed, I have a hard time feeling his presence.

The day before the mixed episode started last week, I felt a hand running through my hair. It's always been a gesture that has soothed and comforted me. I think that was him. I've been struggling today. I keep trying, though, because there's just this force deep inside me that keeps pushing me forward. It's why I haven't just deleted the novel that I'm writing even though I feel like every word of it is garbage. It's why I ate lunch today when I just felt like forgoing food because I wasn't in the mood for it. Honestly, it is why I'm blogging here right now.

I think Freyr is what is pushing me forward when the depression is pulling me down like quicksand. It helps to see that he is with me even when I feel utterly worthless. I'm not saying that this push to keep moving forward is all him, but I think he is a big part of it. I'm thankful for his presence. It helps to know that he's in my corner even when I can't feel him there.

Letters to Loki # 1: Reboot.

Dear Loki,

I am at a loss for what to write today. I'm on the downward side of a mixed episode and that has me feeling pretty bad about everything. I almost didn't do this post because of it. I am trying to not be so anxious and downhearted but it's been pretty hard.

I didn't sleep well last night. I thought that I would sleep ok with out the Ativan because I wasn't in that hypomanic/mixed episode state. My nightmares and my anxiety, however, reminded me what I have been taking that stuff to fall asleep for the last few weeks. I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired. My therapist says I am making progress and that in the grand scheme of things my mood is much more stable. I don't exactly feel like that is the case.

NaNoWriMo has been a mixed bag this year. I made word count last week. But I am no where near the end of my story. Today's efforts at writing were less then stellar. Quite frankly, I feel deeply dissatisfied with it and I am tempted to just throw in the towel on the whole project. I'm near 60K words and I'm just aimlessly lost. I keep looking at my plot map and looking at what I've written and feeling despair. I'm about halfway through my plot map but I had some major side trips that did boost my word count but left me less then thrilled with the project.

I am feeling highly frustrated with the kids right now. I know they're excited for the coming vacation. I know that they can't exactly help being squirrely with it. The misbehavior, tantrums, and just loudness of it all is grating on my nerves and it has me extra cranky. I look at it all and wonder what I'm doing wrong. I don't know what to do to get them to scream less in the apartment. I don't know how to get them to pick up their toys on a semi-regular basis. I feel like I'm doing this parenting thing wrong and that I'm a sub-par mother.

I am pretty sure that my mood being off is coloring my perspective on everything. I wish that my medication made me happier. The anti-depressants don't make me happy like the stupid ads suggest they do. They just make me not give a flying fuck about being depressed and make me numb. I hate those stupid ads. I see all those people with their perfect teeth and their plastic smiles and it makes me want to break things. It makes me kinda glad that I don't watch television.

From what I hear, ads for stuff like that is pretty frequent. Not quite as frequent as the erectile dysfunction pills, but depression and mental health seems to be a lower priority then if a man can get a hardon by society. I suppose I am a bit bitter. I look at stuff on Facebook and it makes me feel a queer combination of anger and depression. Not quite like a mixed episode but that's the closest thing I can think of right now to describe the feeling. The regular posts about misogyny and sexual assault make me sick. To a limited extent, they remind me of what I've lived through and kinda makes things a little worse.

The stuff about police brutality and politicians playing fast and loose with people's rights makes me want to start screaming at the computer and throw a brick through a window. The stuff about people abusing others and animals provoke that kind of feeling too. And then there's just the sheer mass of hatred that I keep seeing. I am thankful that I see it indirectly for the most part. But there's so much of it that it makes me feel some distress for the state of humanity and future generations.

I'd take a break from Facebook but it's my primary social outlet. If I did that, I really would have no social connections. I can't bring myself to venture out of the house and seek out like minded people. It seems like in my neighborhood there's more people who thump bibles and are elitist assholes then classically liberal minded people who are interested in finding out what other people think. I kinda hate living in the boonies where it's such a 'conservative' environment. It depresses me and makes me reluctant to socialize.

Hel, when I am at the laundromat and I listen to my neighbors talking there's so much vitrol in it that I get anxious that I may somehow be the target of it. I've had some people make some sharp comments on my headscarves. It's made wearing them hard. My psychiatrist says that part of my problem is paranoia that other people are going to hurt me. It may be a factor but there are a lot of assholes around here too. (Thank goodness that my immediate neighbors are fairly sane people.)

I wish that I had something happier to write today. It seems like all of that got sucked out of me somehow. All I've got is anxiety, depression, and anger. I hope tomorrow's better, but I'm not counting on it. Pessimism for the win, I suppose.