Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why I Don't Shave

When I was a kid my mom's full time job was a Jazzercise intructor.  (Ask me later to show you the routine to Neutron Dance.)  She taught a ridiculous amount of classes per week; something like two or three a day.  In Jazzercise there are always two students (mostly women) who are registrars.  This means they come to class for free and handle all the money and checking people in.

I clearly remember one of my mom's registrars because she didn't shave under her arms.  I totally remember the first time I saw the dark hair in her armpit as she lifted her arm up in some crazy movement of dedication to the cardio god.  I was shocked, I didn't even know that women could grow hair there.  I was intreguied.  Why did this woman have hairy armpits when no other woman in my world did.  Is it a choice to be hairy?  And if so, why would she choose to look so different.

Fast forward a million years later and I am unshaven.  There are actually several reasons that I don't shave. The first (of course), is becuse I am crazy lazy.  But there is more to it than my unfailing dedication to one of the deadly sins....

When I got my first piercing at the age of 18 (because mom aforementioned Jazzer loving mom would not let me get it done "under age"), I did it because I wanted to stand out and look different.  I've colored my hair pink and blue.  I have tattoos.  I wear my pentacle necklace loud and proud.  Yes, I like to make it pseudo-obvious that I am not like everyone else.

But now, virutally everyone in my age group and under has started to do the same thing.  I look around my town and see piercings, tattoos, and randomly colored hair everywhere.  It no longer stands out as someone choosing to not fit into the dominant paradigm.  Bummer....

This is the main reason that I don't shave.  I get some amazing reactions from people when they see my hairy pits.  On the surface I probably look pretty mainstream.  I don't dress all the crazy or odd.  My hair is now a "normal" color.  My nose ring is so small that often people don't even know I have my nose pierced.  I wear makeup and live in the suburbs.

Not shaving under my arms is my secret little way to stick it to the man!  It is my little way of saying that I don't fit in and I don't want to.  It is my little way to take back what is sexy and feminine.  It is my way of saying this is how my body is and I want to keep it that way.  So there!

I will never know why Jazzercise registrar lady didn't shave, but it is one of those moment that stands out as a pivotal point in my life.  Which just goes to show you, you never know when you are making an impact on someone.

Plus, not using razors is better for the environment.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dealing with Poly-Cystic Ovaries

It has only been four months since my phone call to the radiology office.  That day I heard a woman's voice on the other end of the phone tell me, in a matter-of-fact tone, that I had poly-cystic ovaries.  She said it like a.) I should know what that means, and b.) like it was no big deal.

The wrongness began about four years ago, when I started getting what I called, a 'pre-period'.  I would bleed lightly for a few days and then a week later I would have my more typical seven days of moonblood.  It was like a little pre-view of what was coming.

Back then my doctor found a rather large cyst on my right ovary.  She wanted to remove the cyst, and as she put it, "take out that ovary at the same time".  Like my ovary was some superfluous part that was just taking up space.  

I was unwilling to let her remove my ovary, so I tried some alternative methods first.  I saw a naturopathic doctor who had me try herbs and some other natural remedies to get the cyst to go away on its own.

But it didn't.  In fact, my friend Sam, as I named him, started getting bigger.  I felt like my body was trying to send me a message and so I opened dialogue with Sam, but he never really could explain what was going on.  Or I never really learned how to listen to him.

Either way, four months later I had surgery to remove Sam.  My ovary remains intact.

After the surgery things returned to normal.  I've never had 'regular' menstrual cycles.  They are about 60 days apart, a few days heavy bleeding, and a few days of cramping.  Typically I can deal with the pain or ibuprofen knocks it out.  At least that was the case until this past May.

In May I had the worst menstrual pain, no the worst pain period, that I have ever experienced in my life. This pain was worse than childbirth, worse than anything I had ever felt before.  The first day I stumbled out of the shower, almost passing out on the bathroom floor.  I crawled into my bed and lay there waiting for the black shadow to recede from my vision.  I was worried that I had another cyst.  I felt nauseous, I felt scared, and I worried that something was seriously wrong with me.

No matter how many pills I swallowed the intensity of it never wavered; and for three days I lived in fear of this pain taking over my life.

So I went back to the doctor and had the latest, in a long line, of sonograms.  The sonogram revealed that I have poly-cystic ovaries.

What this really means is uncertainty.  When my moonblood starts, I don't know how bad it is going to be.  One month I had no pain at all, another month I had one full day of excruciating pain.  This month I am so afraid of the pain overtaking me that I am self medicating at the slightest twinge of discomfort.

I have always viewed my moontime as a gift.  I honor, love, and respect my reproductive system.  Having these ovaries, this womb, and bleeding is a special power that I have been given.  But now I find myself afraid of this gift; like it has turned against me.

I have to make a whole new relationship with my body, but I'm just not sure where to start.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Popularity of Witch Hunts

Ok, maybe I am just too sensitive, but I am really annoyed with how often people throw around the term "witch hunt".  Most often this term is connected to someone (for the sake of argument lets just say John Edwards) who did something really stupid and then proceeded to lie about it.  Once the truth is revealed his political adversaries (and the sham we call a media) go after him for it.  He is thus, witch hunted....

I'm not really sure why this irritates me, but it does...a lot.  You see, the historical witch hunts were made up of people under the influence of mass hysteria.  During these witch hunts people accused each other of what was unforgivable at the time, namely: being a minion of Satan.  The people slaughtered were (mostly) innocent people.

In fact, people are still being literally witch hunted.  If you pay attention to the world news, people in small villages across Africa, New Guinea, and India are killing each other every day over alleged witchcraft.  (I have my theories on this too, but don't want to get too off track.)

The bottom line is that John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, Larry Craig and the dozens of others embroiled in one sex scandal or another, are not innocent.  They are liars.  Don't get me wrong, I could give a hoot what any of these people do with their sex lives, but once you get caught with your pants down  lying about it is the dumbest thing you can do.

As someone who identifies as a witch I don't think this term should be used so lightly.  Hundreds of thousands of people were killed because of mass hysteria and these numbers increase every day.  This is not equitably comparable to some jackass who couldn't keep his junk in his pants, or worse yet, lied when caught.

Again, maybe I am just too sensitive, but this phrase bothers me.  Why doesn't the media use the term crucified more often?  It is just as offensive and equally inaccurate.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Power of a Pause

Last night I had a rather upsetting experience and it has led me down a road of self-questioning and, well, self-flagellation. I feel like if I had only taken action one minute sooner I could have made a difference.

I'll explain in a second....(yes I see the irony)

The whole thing reminds me of another situation where my pausing put me into an emotional tailspin. Many years ago I was driving on a rather busy country road. I saw a kitten in a patch of grass in-between the road and a parking lot. My instincts told me to pull over and get it, so it wouldn't get hit by a car, but instead of listening to my instincts I took a moment to debate this idea before turning my car around and going back.

When I got back to the place where I had seen the kitten another woman was getting into her car. I asked her if she had seen it. Her response was "Yes, it's dead. It was hit by a car."

As I drove away I broke into tears. I felt responsible. If I had not debated, and just acted, I might have been able to save the kitten....which is sort of how I feel about last night.

My hus-person and I decided to sneak out, without the kids, and get dessert. We went to a local pie shop. As we sat in the sticky booth with our coffee and desserts a rather ragged women and her ten-ish year old daughter came in and sat behind us.

At first I was annoyed. This woman had an obvious drug problem, she was wearing so much perfume I was eating it, and she was being rather loud; proclaiming how they had been asked to leave the restaurant across the street.

I went back to my conversation, but heard snippets of what the woman was saying to the waitress. She inquired about the "Kids Eat Free" special. The waitress nicely explained that special was from the night before, but tonight's special is a free piece of pie with dinner. The woman started to look at the menu, but soon realized that she didn't have enough money to pay for dinner.

I only caught part of what was said, but ultimately the mom and daughter decided to leave. As they walked down the aisle towards the lobby I clearly heard the little girl apologize to the waitress. And that killed me.

This whole interaction got me thinking about my own financial struggles. Times are tough for my family right now, but I was out, at a restaurant, for dessert, so it can't be that bad right?

Sitting there I looked at my spouse knowing that he was feeling the same thing I was feeling. I wished I could do something. I paused to consider if the restaurant would take my credit card to pre-pay for their food. I paused to wonder if I could catch them before they left and figure something out after the fact. I paused and wondered....

Then it dawned on me that I had $25 in birthday money. I never have cash, but that very day in the mail from my grandmother-in-law I had received $25. I had it ear marked to pay for a bill, but I really wanted to help that woman and her daughter, even if it was only for one night. I pulled it out of my purse and went outside to try and catch them.

Of course when I got outside it was raining, (which in my overly romantic sensibilities was just freakin perfect). I walked around the building, but I couldn't see them. I went through the small parking lot to make sure they weren't sitting in a car, but all the cars were empty.

They were already gone.

I had paused to wonder for too long. My pause to try and think of a solution made the situation disappear. I felt even worse and started to cry.

When I got back to the table I could tell my spouse was a disappointed as I was. The ice cream didn't seem as tasty as it had earlier. I just wanted to go home. As we were leaving I said, "This was a reminder to be grateful." We said a prayer for the little girl and the mother.

As I write this I find that I am still very emotional about it. You never know when a seemingly random event will rock your entire foundation and leave you questioning your effectiveness in the world.

There are so many things I hope for those two people. And, for now, I will hold my own little girl closer and be grateful for what I can do for her.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Sun in Drag

This is an amazing poem that combines some of my favorite things; spirituality, love, and of course,drag.

The Sun in Drag
You are the Sun in drag.
You are God hiding from yourself.
Remove all the "mine" - that is the veil.
Why worry about
Listen to what your friend Hafiz
Knows for certain:
The appearance of this world
Is a Magi's trick, though its affairs are
Nothing into nothing.
You are a divine elephant with amnesia
Trying to live in an ant
Sweetheart, O sweetheart
You are God in
~Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Image courtesy of Angela Jayne Barnett

With a shiver she reads what she has written
The page of scribbled words reflect the stranger within
Lies upon lies told only to herself

The empty vessel
painful like a parched throat
gasping for truth

Brigid's flame surrounds
all consuming
burning the residue

Her heart
now empty; like the rest of her

To move forward and fill the chalice
The cold iron water of the Red Spring
Splashing cool, bringing moisture to the arid cells
of Her body

What is more painful?
The ache of emptiness
Or the fear of filling the cup?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Confessions of a Liar

I have a confession to make. I am a good liar. I mean a really good one. I don't know where it all started. Perhaps it was early in life when I wanted to avoid getting in trouble with my mother. Or it could have been in high school gym class when I wanted to get out of running and used my period as an excuse. (I still can't believe that one worked!) Maybe it is just ingrained in my DNA. I don't know, but as a child I saw that it work for me and kept on doing it.

Over the years I have lied to get out of trouble. I have lied to keep the peace. I have lied for self preservation. I have lied to save someones feelings. I have lied to gain something. I have lied to not loose something. I have lied to family, friends, authorities, bosses, children, you name it. I have lied.

Now I am really good at it.

The thing is for a long time I didn't even feel bad about it. I wasn't lying about big things. It's not like I ever worked for the mob or anything. I wasn't stealing or cheating anyone, at least that is what I told myself. I just told little white lies to get out of uncomfortable situations or *ahem* occasionally make myself look better.

Over the last few years I have really looked at this lying thing. I don't like it. I really don't like that there is my energy out in the world with lying attached to it. So, a few years ago, I stopped. Seriously, I stopped. It seemed almost too easy....

And now I realize it was....At the same time that I committed to stop lying I also stopped working in a corporate environment. It was almost too easy to lie to my boss and co-workers. It was too easy to B.S. my way through a project by telling little white lies. And when I stopped doing that work it was easier to stop lying.

Now I find myself in an office environment again. It is only part time and not for a big corporation, but I have caught myself telling little white lies already. It's almost like I can't control myself. And it's typically over something ridiculous like: "Hey did you make that phone call?", and my answer, "Oh yeah, I left a message." Even though I didn't make the phone call and totally forgot I needed to make the phone call at all. Is this some crazy survival instinct?

It all came home for me today. I was listening to a woman on the radio who said that she only has two rules, don't lie and don't cheat. I thought to myself, those are two excellent rules, and yet not lying seems to be so hard, as least in some situations.

I think the challenge for me now is to look at my lying at the office. Why do I do it? How can I get it under control? And why is it that I have such a hard time being completely honest there, but not in other places?

Just some random thoughts for off to make that phone call.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Rite of Lilith and Transgendered Pagans

I know that I am probably a little late with this, but I felt compelled to put my two cents in on this issue. The internets have been a buzz with an event that took place at Pantheacon with the Rite of Lilith ritual and how transwomen were not allowed to participate in the event.

Although I want to put my two cents in, I have to admit that I'm not really sure what my two cents are....

Unlike many of the people who have commented on this Pantheacon discrimination issue, I actually attended the ritual. As we all stood in the hallway before the Rite began a woman left saying that she would not participate because the ritual leaders would not allow transwomen to participate. I don't know if this woman was trans or not, in fact it doesn't matter. My point is, I had this information ahead of time, but I chose to stay. Part of me was upset about people being left out, but there was another part of me that understood the decision.

There is a part of me that feels there is a place for for gender specific rituals. There are times when it makes sense. This shouldn't be about exclusion of anyone, but the work with a specific type of energy.

This specific issue was brought to everyone's attention due to a miscommunication. I don't know if this miscommunication was due to CAYA Coven or the Pantheacon people, but it wasn't the only miscommunication of the weekend.

I was involved with a Pantheacon presentation with the Reclaiming Tradition. Our ritual was marked at 'restricted' in the program, but it wasn't a restricted ritual. And in the lead up to Pcon it was never marked as restricted in our paperwork. I know our presentation was not the only one to be improperly labeled. (It feels odd to use the world labeled in this post and yet, there it is.)

If the Rite of Lilith had been properly marked as a 'restricted' ritual, would this conversation even be happening? I don't think it would. But the reason this has come into the forefront is really no longer important. Here is why I think this whole thing is actually good for the Pagan community...

In the Reclaiming community we spend a lot of time talking about gender, sexuality, and identity. We work very hard to make sure that everyone, no matter how they might self identify, feels welcome and included. This isn't always easy work, but it is so important.

The conversation about trans-inclusivity has been happening in Reclaiming, but has it been happening with other groups? These are important conversations for us, as Pagans, to be having and I am glad that they are happening now, even if the catalyst for it has been uncomfortable.

I do believe that there should be space for women to do magickal work with only women and men to do magickal work with only men. I don't have the answers as to how this fits into the bigger picture and how this works with trans-gendered folks in our communities, but I am glad it is being talking about openly.

This is a big topic, it is hard to have a clear yes or no, black or white answer. In fact I don't think there is one. In fact there are many articles up on Patheos about duality without gender and the Sacred Third. This is exciting for me because it goes beyond this one event into something bigger. Now that the conversation has started it needs to keep on rolling. What we must do is keep open, clear, and honest communication.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Pantheacon Thoughts

I am a witch that currently practices in the Reclaiming Tradition. This is not the only Pagan tradition that I have studied under, but it is where I am now. There are a lot of things that I love about Reclaiming, but there are also some things that make me feel a little crazy about Reclaiming.

In fact, Reclaiming was my first Witchy love. As a teenager in the Bay Area I had easy access to Reclaiming on a public level. This helped to shape me into the Pagan that I am. There weren't any other groups, at the time, doing what they were doing.

The more I get involved and immersed into the Reclaiming culture the more insular I start to feel. I am starting to learn the intricate connections, ties, and relationships that go back in my community, sometimes 30 years. This is beautiful, amazing, and frustrating.

Since I am so involved in my community I tend to forget that there are other Pagans and Witches out there. And many of these groups don't do anything remotely like what Reclaiming does. Pantheacon is the perfect place for me to get a much needed reality check. There are more styles of Paganism than I am even aware of. Pantheacon helps me to see some of the amazing styles of worship that are out there and appreciate my own home tradition.

At Pantheacon this year I had the pleasure to meet Jhenah Telyndru the founder and Morgen of the Sisterhood of Avalon. The SOA is an organization that I have cyber-stalked for years. I was also able to participate in a Rite to Lilith put on by the Amazon Priestess Tribe where I was reminded about the inherent power of women. And I was schooled by amazing Priestesses like Luisah Teish, Leilani Birely, Orion Foxwood, and of course Starhawk.

This was all topped off by a reminder of why I am part of the Reclaiming Tradition. This was done by my participation in a Reclaiming ritual at Pantheacon. I am really proud of the work my group did to prepare a ritual for the people of Pantheacon which represented Reclaiming. It was my first time being a presenter at the Con and I feel honored and humbled to have been a part of such an amazing listing of presenters and panel members.

Being back at home is hard. Although I am happy to sleep in my own bed and shower in my own shower, I long for the special connection I had with everyone I walked past at the Con. As a Pagan I see my connection to every person, Pagan or not, but there is something special about filling a hotel convention center with Pagans, Witches, Wizards, Asatru, Orishas, Celts, Stregans, Egyptians, and on and on and on.

So there are my Pantheacon thoughts, until next time, my heartfelt thanks.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


It has been a long time since I have written a blog post. Too long really, but you know how it is...sometimes I just don't think I have anything interesting to say. And on the rare occasion when I think I am totally awesome and all of my opinions will change the world, I get distracted by my greatness and don't even remember that I have this little blog at all. *Ahem* Good thing those moments are few and far between.

I'm not really sure what got me thinking about writing this today, but here I am typing out my thoughts as they fly through my over-rattled brain. This oughtta be interesting...

One thing that keeps coming up for me is perspective and the perspective of hind-sight. Why can't we have hind-sight before something happens, right?! I mean, so many things in my life would have been much simpler if only I could have seen what was going to happen after the fact.

Hind-sight allows you to look back and see how you came to the place you are. Often (at least for me) hind-sight helps it all make sense. You know what I mean, right? Like, "Oh, I didn't understand how buying a pink tutu and having chili for lunch would coincide with the neighbor mowing the lawn and my athlete's foot, but now it all makes sense!" (I don't really have athlete's foot, in case you were worried.)

Hind-sight is like, well, fucking awesome.

I have noticed lately my desire to get to the end of something without going through the process of getting there. I guess it is part of our instant gratification culture. I want what I want now and I don't want to bother with the process. But all of a sudden I really appreciate the process. I really see the value of going through the steps to get where I want to go. Not only are the steps there for a reason, but taking those steps will help me be better/stronger at whatever it is I am trying to accomplish.

This new found perspective is, in a word, awesome (did I mention that already?). I am enjoying it. Maybe this is part of getting older? I don't know, but I am happy with the shift and intrigued to see what other things will shift for me.