Looking at Madness in the Eye, Baring Teeth, Grinning Secretly


The other day, someone who I love very much emailed me to say, “I hope you are doing well. I have been quietly concerned for you. I don’t want to be intrusive but this amount of time away from the loss of a loved one is, in my own life, the hardest. At first you are busy with the truth of the loss and taking care of details… and people are buzzing around you, but by now all of that usually has quieted down and that is the loneliest time. I hope you are okay with that, in view of the other separations of the last couple of months.”

She is very wise, and right about this time being “the hardest.” I’m not lonely or alone, and that makes things a million times better and makes me a gazillion times luckier. But I’ve endured some difficult moments; when stress is high, I have to deal head on with certain behavioral issues (OCD, dyslexia, general control-freakiness…). When life is running at her usual chaotic level, I don’t shudder at the sight of rust; I don’t have to revise my writing 5 times just to make sure that adjectives have been placed before nouns; I don’t spend the whole day nauseated by ordinary smells and textures… I can pretty much tune those things out.

There are other things, too, but the ones above can be debilitating. Yes, rust that I cannot clean irritates me, then it upsets me, which makes me want to close my eyes so that nasty corrosion will go away, and then… Well, just imagine, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done while pissed off and shut-eyed. Reading books or listening to music is helpful; it distracts me. Thirty-something years paying attention to my idiosyncrasies has taught me that eliminating the less powerful triggers leaves me with more energy to fight the irritants that can really ruin my day.  

But I’m a Witch, I’m an Aries, I’m a Dominican, and I’m a Marine (if you check a thesaurus you’ll see that any of those four words can be replaced with stubborn). So as you might expect from someone with my level of built-in bullheadedness, in moments of stress I fight, fight, and fight until I run out of steam and have to stop. Then I laugh at myself for acting like such a dunce, and move on to taking care of what needs taking care of.

Here is how I combat the major stressors, which conspire to make me lose my cool:
- I use scented candles, incense, lavender, rosemary… to mask smells that are unpleasant to me.
- I recite stories in my head (aloud if I’m home) or count in threes… to dull out a rust sighting.
- I edit my writing, sentence by sentence, backwards…to keep my brain from tricking me.

The lesser stressors are the ones that might make you laugh (they always make me giggle):
- I’ve removed the blog list from my sidebar… the sight of titles in all CAPS puts me on edge.
- I will (again) post my writing updates here and not at my writing site. Why, you may ask? Well, according to my brain the cause is quite reasonable: my brain wants to post here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. But it also wants one day between all posts; something that would be made impossible if I posted anything at my writing site on Saturdays or Sundays. You are probably thinking, But what about Tuesdays and Thursdays? That wouldn’t work, my Wicked Darlings, doing so would interfere with my brain’s “one day between posts” requirement. Fine, you continue to ponder, then what about posting on Pagan Culture Mondays and Fridays and leave Wednesdays for your writing site? No, that wouldn’t work either, for then there would be three days between Pagan Culture posts, and my brain doesn’t like that…

That is the kind of uncanny chaos that goes on in my head, when I’m really stressed out. But I don’t despair. I’ve learned to attack anxiety and turmoil with discipline and humor. My Aries witchy self looks at madness in the eye, bares her teeth, and grins secretly. I remind myself—every single day—that will never be helpless, for I can see when my days are broken and I know just what to do to fix them. More than anything, I understand that I don’t have to go through any of this alone; there will always be friends who will offer a hand (or a glass of wine), if I need them to. Also, I’m surrounded by souls who have fallen in love with my “sweet weirdness.”     

The naked nature of this post brought to mind Rommy’s words, in “What Lies Beneath”:
Here are the arms that embraced me fiercely
Pure
And picked clean of all pretense
Reduced to their hard and simplest beauty

 Strong, magical, alive… she who sees that no arms are stronger than her own, when she knows what they are made of and what they are capable of achieving, when she believes in them.

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28 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Right back at you, Bella ;-)

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  2. I have no doubt you will remain the strong as you work your way through the process. You are an amazing woman.

    It's almost been 4 months since Mom's transition, and although I'm mostly better, I still have my moments. For me, the second and third month have been the worse so far; they followed that busy stage and hit hard. Moments like the other day when my coworker received word that hospice had given her father-in-law a matter of hours, still serve occasional whammies. When she relayed that news, I fell apart and actually had to step outside to (1) let the tears flow (2) pull myself together. (He made his transition this morning). Hang in there Magaly! <3

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    1. I know what you mean. Some things make everything 'so recent' again. The other day I was watching Sherlock (the TV show) and Watson was standing in front of his friend's grave, begging, "Please don't be dead." That hit me like a truck. The tears sobbed their way out ruthlessly...

      I hope you heal, too. And I pray your coworker gets a lot of support because we both know how difficult things will be for her these next few weeks.

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  3. Process is ever so important and each step must be taken in order to maintain the whole. You are marvelous dear friend and glad you have those close by to offer a glass of wine...martini in my case.
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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    1. Indeed, SueAnn. There are times when we can apply shortcuts, but in situations like this ones we better do every thing step by step. No even the martini can be skipped ;-)

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  4. You'll pick your way through all these changes in your own time.

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    1. Yep, and I'll learn from it ;-)

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  5. I had no idea there was an OCD dyslexic person behind this blog. It just makes you all that more interesting! Does that make me weird? (There's a MDD, mildly Borderline person behind my blog.)

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    1. Writing Pagan Culture is the best therapy ever. I allow myself to make mistakes, to let hundreds, heck! thousands of people see me making them, and for a girl who used to go bonkers at the sight of uncoordinated colors, the former is a great achievement ;-)

      And my dear Ms Misantropia, it is not your interest in my OCD dyslexic ways that makes you weird, my luv, you are just weird *grin* And that should make you happy because I think weird people are the coolest.

      I think our differences, even the diagnosed ones lol, are what makes us relatable to each other. I know that sounds a bit strange, but think about it, the more we share, the more we discover about each other, the more we can understand how similar our differences make us.

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  6. Thanks for being honest, that what makes you strong too. Yes, things became calmer now, but there was not even a single day without me thinking of you and your recent loss...I told my husband about it, he was shocked, but I also said that you, a brave girl, were brave enough to share it all here, with us... Never ever think you are alone, and I myself know that our inner strength will take us through the worst things in life always.

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    1. You put a smile on my face. I no longer wonder were all the good energy comes from, I just imagine all of you guys and remember that you have my back just like I have yours. I'm a lucky Witch ;-)

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  7. When I read your blog in all it's intensity and honesty, I am reminded why I love you. But when I read your commments to others about your blogs, I am so proud of your good heart and loving ways to those of us who are enchanted by you. Oma Linda

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    1. Life lived honestly is best. Hiding things takes too much effort, I have no idea why people do it. Also, when you hide in the darkness the monsters know where you are booo lol

      Seriously though, honesty is empowering. We might keep some truths to ourselves, but the things that matter are usually best shared--it helps us see that we are so similar, don't you think? I see myself all the time when I look at you, my beloved Oma ;-)

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  8. *hands you a glass of wine - hope you like red*

    Editing backwards: actually a really, really useful trick for every writer, dyslexia or not. We all tend to read what we expect to read, and that's a good way to see what's actually there. Thanks for reminding me to do that.

    And as always, I'm impressed by your strength. You go girl. ;)

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    1. *takes a sip* Editing backwards helps me find missing words and ideas that don't make sense, so I agree.

      I'm strong because I have some great people on my side *wink, wink*

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  9. Big Hugs and lots of love! You know we are here for you ;o)

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    1. Yay! I feel the warmth ;-)

      And I'm sending all kinds of love and healing to your mom, too. I hope her back is fine and her knee heals soon.

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  10. Girl, you are awesome. And the most awesome people are often OCD. I know this because my Dragon is also OCD in a very similar manner, with numbers and even in the way he edits his writing... (scary thought, that. Ha.)

    You are so blessed. And you are one of the strongest women I've ever known. Much love, dear sweet Magaly.

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    1. I living with OCD is interesting... especially for those who have to share our space. At least, I no longer color-code my underwear (much) lol

      I feel blessed. And hot :-D

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  11. Your brain sounds a lot like my brain. Always wrestling with something and analyzing things. You're much stronger than I, though.

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    1. Woman, you are strong as a freaking oak, so if I'm stronger than you I'll live at least 913 years. WoooHooo!

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  12. brilliant post you really made me laugh. You are a much stronger and ordered person than I am I think. I want to be that person but never quite get there lol! But that's who I am I guess!!
    many blessings to you, Alison xx

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    1. Always happy to provide fuel for giggles ;-)

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  13. My Magaly, You are nothing but pure power generating beneath a mask of human beauty. To fight no matter how the pain wants to shut us down, to push forward no matter how the mind wants to rest, to prevail because guts are the very thing we are made of...these are the lessons of Magaly. Warm love to you. Mina

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    1. That's because I have the best friends in the world feeding me loving energy and all kinds of hugs ;-)

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