Friday, August 29, 2014

I have no good title for this...It's an anniversary of sorts.

It's been two years this weekend since Husband and a friend were on his motorcycle when they were schmucked by a drunk asshole. I say schmucked because said drunk asshole was going about 45mph and didn't slow down. At all. He pinned Husband's leg between the truck and the bike, breaking his pelvis in two places, dislocating his hip, breaking his foot, and finally flinging him across the overpass. There were other injuries, and some scars he'll bear forever. However,  Husband is definitely mending, although the extent of some of the internal injuries mean he still has pain all the time: nerve damage sucks, people. It sucks.

Two years ago on Friday I was sitting in the waiting room at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, going in and out of the ICU, hoping Husband could wake up eventually. I didn't know for sure until that Monday that he would. Two years ago 8/29 (since the dates and days don't match) I found myself in the ER at Regions at 10:30pm. To our friends in the ER with me, the doctors, nurses and EMTs (especially one in particular who knows us personally but said nothing so he didn't get removed from working on Husband), I can only say thank you. And that I sincerely hope the surgical resident who talked to me about the exploratory surgery necessary that night at 2am now looks his age, because it's goddamned disturbing to have a 12 year old telling you "we don't know where he's bleeding internally, but he's on his fifth bag of blood and we have to find the problem or he could die." Please dude, grow a goatee or something. Also, FYI, husband did not become a vampire. I just felt I should clarify...

As I understand it, our friend on the bike with him is also doing well, but her recovery is her own story to share or not...I just wish her the best in recovering and in dealing with the insurance company.

It's a funny thing, an intense accident. Not funny in a belly-laugh sort of way...funny in a life is fucked up and weird sort of way. Let me lay some background before I explain.

Humans, including Husband and I, get into ruts. Patterns of behavior, patterns of thinking, patterns of living and socializing, without really even thinking about it. I suppose the patterns happen BECAUSE we aren't thinking about it: when there is no examination of what's going in in our lives, we just sort of float through and act on habit instead of intent. Habitual behavior isn't a bad thing by nature: you can cultivate just as many good habits (eating healthy, exercising daily, etc.) as bad.  Change is always hard, whether you're creating good or bad habits, and more often than not people (including me) are more comfortable sticking with the devil they know than going through the pain and work of change.

Unfortunately, we'd both been in an unhappy rut for quite some time when the accident happened. There were so many reasons for the unhappiness, so many reasons for the horrible habits we'd both developed that it's difficult to even say when they started. But we'd both been generally stuck in these bad patterns for years. The accident was a catalyst, as major life-changing events usually are.

During Husband's recovery time we both had a lot of time to assess our lives, what we wanted, and where we wanted to go. Honestly, the entire first year after the accident was such a blur of emotion and physical turmoil it seems accelerated in my mind. There are months of 2012 and 2013 I don't remember clearly, and there are moments of memory etched in permanent, painful detail. It's been a very long two years, but there has been healing in every way possible.

Ultimately, his accident saved us both, as sick as that sounds. Waking up from a sleepy life and paying attention is hard. "Hard" isn't a sufficient description...hmm. Miserable, exhausting, enlightening, humbling, terrifying, thrilling, astonishing...all better descriptors but only if they're all together. It's harder when it's forced upon you. But once it begins, attention is difficult to stop, and contentment with the devil I know isn't possible anymore.

So, changes have been under way. Some are subtle: we've both been making individual efforts to work on accepting ourselves, on figuring out and actually working toward our on life goals. For me, that means a lot of meditation, writing, and slowly changing my diet/exercise to be a healthier person as well as a lot of internal work on identifying and...well...fixing the way I talk to myself.

Some are...less subtle. Ha. We moved from Minnesota to Texas, got new's a whole new thing here and it's both terrifying and exhilarating. I miss my people all the time. I don't miss the state, and I suspect this winter I won't miss the snow much. We'll see. Currently out my window it's changed from 93 degrees and sunny to torrential downpour rain (the sort we only got rarely in MN happens here often...I call it Trinidad rain: feels like someone's dumping a bucket of warm water on you). It's lovely here, and I'm flabbergasted that I (VERY unexpectedly) like Houston. Funny how  preconceptions you have about something are so often utterly wrong. I like it here, and I feel healthier than I have in a long while: a physical change of scenery was something I needed.

But I still miss my friends and family, particularly those who became so very close to me in the past two years. Interestingly, the accident wasn't just a catalyst for changes in ourselves and our marriage: it was a big catalyst for our social circle (individually and as a couple). I'm not always good at identifying actual friends from those who need something from me but don't wish to be needed or people who are just flat out selfishly harmful. During those months in the end of 2012, we both discovered truths about people in our various circles and surprising things happened. Some acquaintances became very close friends, old friendships were rekindled, some close friends drifted away, toxic people were cut out of our lives because it's too damn much energy to accommodate them anymore.

To those of you who have been with us (for him, me, or both) on this ridiculously weird, intense, painful journey: we hope you know just how much we love you. I'm so utterly grateful for everyone in our lives, and I have some regrets about those I didn't get to know better before we left. Things are better, and even with challenges we're both definitely on a better path, individually and together.

I'm happier paying attention.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mythic Monday: Artemis and Actaeon

It's Mythic Monday, and I'm writing tonight about Artemis and her vengeance upon a peeping Greek.
But first, you should know I have a bit of a problem with blank paper. I CAN'T STOP BUYING IT. While unpacking a corner of my office today (we better renew the lease here, because fuck if I want to pack all this shit up again in eight months!) I found no less than FIVE of the big 5-subject notebooks and six smaller notebooks/notepads. Good lord.

Those are all blank notebooks. For writing.
The blank journals (for JOURNALING, duh) are in a different space.

Slowly but surely, I'm digging out my office. A corner at a time.
Anyway, on to Artemis and her defense of her own virginity.

Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, a mortal woman who was seduced (or raped, depending on the version) by the God when he was in the form of a swan. Yeah. Not weird at all.

Artemis is goddess of the hunt, of all things wild, of the moon, and of innocent independence. I mean innocent in a specific way: she's the patron goddess of maidens and all things free of man's interference. She's described as the virgin huntress. There is some debate on the translation to English "virgin" as we think of it now, as it truly meant unmarried (not necessarily chaste, which specifically meant non-sexual). However, Artemis is often described as chaste as well: uninterested in the attentions of any man. Her twin brother, Apollo, generally has enough male and female sexual company to make up for her lack of it anyway, but he's another story.

Honestly,  Artemis could be a book unto herself. I chose one specific story tonight because it's the epitome of her response to being lusted after by both men and gods. In fact, many of Artemis' stories deal with her avoiding or thwarting rape, which is really disturbing if you stop and consider the implications, both for men and women.

So. Actaeon, the unfortunate soul in this tale, is actually a hero from Thebes. He's a great hunter and warrior, and famed for his hunting dogs. One day while chasing a stag into the woods, his dogs lead him to a sacred pool where Artemis is bathing. Transfixed by her beauty and, well, Goddessness (I mean, I'd likely stare as well, having never seen a goddess before in person), he stares. For a very long time.

Now here's where things get a bit tricky. In some more recent versions, Artemis gives him the option to save himself. As punishment, she takes his ability to speak and warns him that the moment he tries he'll be turned into a stag himself. In earlier versions, she just immediately transforms him into the very beast he was chasing on her land. The distinction is a key difference between a thought-out, rational punishment and a reactionary "gut-instinct" punishment.

If he can control himself he'll live, in the first version. After all, he didn't actually try to rape her, so her punishment is more about no man ever seeing her naked and living to TELL about it. AS long as he keeps his mouth shut, he's fine.

Of course, he can't. In every variation I found of the "removal of speech" story, Actaeon is unable to be silent. He calls out when he hears his hunting party approaching (maybe to call them over, maybe to warn them away: no one could know). In that instant a sound emerges from his mouth, he's turned to a stag.

The ultimate price he pays is the same in both versions: hounds (either his own, the Goddess's, or both) run him down in his stag form and tear him to pieces. Generally in the versions where Artemis changes him to a stag immediately it's his own hounds who take him down. That's actually a bit in ALL the tales: tear him to pieces, not eat him or kill him or destroy him: tear him to pieces. Seems rather important, since it's the phrase that's repeated throughout retellings. The violence and manner of his death have led some scholars to theorize this is a tale of sacrifice to the Gods. I have to say I don't agree (with the caveat that I am not a Greek Mythology PhD in any form, so I can only read translations, which could be wrong).

I see this story as a characterization of her determination to remain free and unencumbered. What mate could be better for her, after all, than a near-hero status hunter? Yet even he, in a scene often used in myth to precede sex (accidentally finding him/her bathing) and even love, is unable to tame her. I think this is a tale that intentionally reinforces Artemis is the ultimate untame-able wild. She will not submit to anyone.

Artemis is a favorite Goddess of mine.

Not actually shooting at anything. Except the office wall.
So much so, she watches over my desk.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Updated: Gmail Thinks I Have Tiny Junk...

I...well, I got nothin. 

On the other hand, I don't have a tiny weener. 

Updated: you guys, I'm surrounded by dick jokes today. Wtf universe?? 

This was on my garbage can: 

I surrender.