Call Me Grumpy Pants If You Want…

I’ve intended to blog more lately, but silence has kind of… Well, happened. As has life.

1. Pregnancy continues with little real problems. We hit 18 weeks, and next Monday we have another ultrasound and hopefully find out the sex of the baby. I should probably plan to blog more on this subject. Basically, though, my romanticized ideas of a spiritually-centered wonderful happy time pregnancy has actually been a time filled with fatigue (Really? Still?), aversions to 99% of vegetables, feeling incredibly tiny in a giant world, wondering when I’m going to actually start to feel excited about a baby instead of swinging between downright terrified and numb, reminding myself that I want children, and listening to every woman I encounter (no matter how little I know them) inform me that I’m insane for wanting a natural childbirth (along with a healthy dose of the opposite side of the camp basically saying I will never bond with my child among other horrible things should I NOT manage to get through the entire experience sans medical intervention). Funny thing is that I never actually say that I want to try for a natural childbirth.  They just volunteer this information on their own.

Also, I’m apparently less of a woman if I don’t feel completely comfortable with the thought of breastfeeding at this point as a first-time-mother, and to make things better I have no self-esteem because I cover my hair and would never feel comfortable not having a cover for my breasts when publicly feeding my child. Seriously, ladies… Can we lay off the judgmental negativity on blogs and more importantly in real life? While I admit that I may not have the greatest self-esteem, my religious practices of dressing (semi)modestly and levels of comfort in letting body parts I consider sacred be on full display for anyone walking by to see has nothing to do with lacking in a concept of self-worth and confidence. In fact, it has everything to do with the fact that I have a personal concept of it – Just like you do. It’s just we see things differently. And yes, I belly dance. And yes, I think the female body is one of the most beautiful things the Gods created. But just like a mystery cult or what happens in the Temple of Vesta, I don’t particularly want the uninitiated knowing what’s going on, if you know what I’m saying. Think of me as a prude, but please shut up with the public judgment. If that’s what self-esteem looks like, I don’t want it.

2. I have a month-and-a-half to come up with a business plan for the classes that I’m taking. I have spent the last 4 months having no clue what I’m doing. I have few assets. I have no start-up capital. And it will be more than a year until I can even start working on said plan. Oh, and it’s for farming and I have no land… The plan was to work internships (typically unpaid and living on-farm) for a couple years, but the baby on the way has sort of thrown a wrench in that plan. I’m not really upset, because the reason for having to re-plan is a happy one. However, I found out I was pregnant a week before this program started, so I’ve not had time to regroup… Never mind how hard it is finding land to lease. Especially when you want to start urban and small.

3. We are looking to buy a house. We can no longer stand living where we do due to our neighbors constantly playing music too loudly and our property manager and police apparently not being able to (or are they just unwilling?) to help us with it. We’ve exhausted every option short of a lawsuit, and I’m just too tired to deal with that unless it’s a matter of getting out of our lease. We want to buy so we can do what we want on our property and not have to rely on others not fixing things when we could do it ourselves. (Hello leaky faucet I can’t seem to get anyone to fix but could easily do myself…)

Considering the rate this is going, we’ll be moving this next summer… And I’m seriously starting to wonder if with everything else happening (house and baby?) if we’ll be able to afford the small wedding we were planning on. I am so miserable in this duplex that I’m torn as to how I feel about it, and now I’m having to fight off the suggestion (from my fiancé of all people) to just go to the courthouse and get it done. I’m getting promised a big party when we can afford it, but I know how this goes… The party never happens. Never mind that the party isn’t the only part of a wedding to me… The, you know, ceremony part is the big deal.

So yes, gentle readers, I am stressed and unhappy at this point. And, despite my tendency to rant, I don’t feel right putting my negativity out publicly to the world day in and day out. I’m personally a little baffled as to how things can actually be going so well (these are happy situations for the most part!) and I can be simultaneously happy and unhappy or excited and unenthused. Is it pregnancy? Is it bipolar disorder? Can I write it off as being a Libra? Who the hell knows.

What I can tell you is that I’m more than willing to just keep trudging on to see where all of these things take me in the upcoming year. And I promise to let you know what our ultrasound reveals about the baby we have taken to calling Pony, because early on when asked whether we wanted a boy or girl we just replied with, “We really hope it’s a pony.”

Rant: I’m Still a Pagan… And You’re Still a Jerk.

The issue with loving your home life as much as I do and being so busy with it is that sometimes you just lack much to say on your blog… Also, you other bloggers are so prolific in my google reader, that some days all I do online is sit and read and read and read. I could be held responsible since I follow so many blogs, but for once I feel like passing the blame onto others since it’s because you are AWESOME.

Plus everyone has been discussion about what Pagans should call themselves. If we should all be Pagans. How much easier identifying as a polytheist is, etc. For some reason this discussion kind of caused my eyes to glaze. I guess I’m of the “call yourself what you want” school. Being so solitary in my practice, and not being comfortable with my past experience with face-to-face (or sometimes in-your-face) Pagan community has left me kind of sighing over everything involved with this discussion.

I am a Pagan, though. Differing opinions would put me in as a “soft” polytheist, and some more hardliners would consider my view that all Divine beings eventually lead to one would try to pin me as a monotheist because of it. Yes, I believe in the Gods. I believe they’re both separate beings, but I believe they’re made up of the same unifying Divine we all are, which in turn makes them inseparable. And it’s that all-is-one mentality that keeps me from being able to claim I’m any specific thing beyond a Pagan. Beyond Paganism, my modern American religion, with all the melting pot of my spiritual upbringing and conversing with the gods, has left me without a label beyond Pagan.

So far I think the closest I’ve ever come to finding a group that believes in the same view of the Divine as me would be those practicing Haitian Vodou. A lot of the religion speaks to me, and I adore learning about it – In fact, if I went back to school for religious studies, I’d probably focus on the group of religions that belong in this family. But I don’t practice. No Loa has shown up and demanded I practice, and I don’t feel a particular need to do so.

In practice there is some overlap of belief with Religio Romana that I appreciate. And my ancestor worship is a major part of my practice.

My religion doesn’t have a name, and I like it that way. I love the Roman aspects of my beliefs like crazy. I work towards maintaining Roman values for myself. If I tried to call myself a member of Religio Romana the majority (or perhaps just the outspoken) of those practicing Roman polytheism would chase me around with pitchforks despite sharing quite a lot with them.

For years now I’ve been told that eclecticism is a thing that doesn’t lead to the pure spiritual path that practicing a single religion does. For me I feel like it has. Working with personal gnosis on top of research and education has taught me a very revealing thing about myself: If I don’t believe in it all, I have problems believing at all.

So… I’m a Pagan. I will remain a Pagan. I will continue to resist having to label myself beyond it, and I think in writing this I’ve come to the main reason why…

Because I’m sick and tired of all of these high and mighty opinions coming from everyone else. Glad your religious path is working for you. Glad you are finding meaning in your life. Glad your gods are paying attention to the love and devotion you give them. Really, I am. But please, for the love of all that is right and good, stop and think about what you sound like when you start in talking about the other side.

It is insulting when you consider me a monotheist, because I don’t consider myself one. And stating that I’m convincing myself that I’m not is really pretty self-important. I’m a human, which means that I’m never going to be 100% sure my beliefs are 100% true. I’m always going to be questioning and trying to figure things out… I think that’s part of what the purpose of humans is; I think that blind faith is dangerous. And if you want to consider me agnostic because of it, so be it… Though since I don’t consider myself agnostic, and you’re using it in a demeaning manner, I’m not sure how it is that you can get all bent out of shape that Pagan is a disparaging Christian term when people call you it. Seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me.

(And as a side note, I find the terms “hard polytheism” and “soft polytheism” to be insulting, too. Typically because it’s used by those who speak on “soft” in a way that makes it seem like they consider this worldview less valid. There is nothing soft about my beliefs, thank you. Figure out another way to express your concept of my beliefs when talking to me, because if you pretend ignorance on the derogatory term “fluffy” within this community and how soft could easily be taken to mean that, I’m going to call you on your shit.)

I feel really, really put out of place when I read opinions about eclecticism being a weak path. Like somehow my beliefs not being easily labeled and categorized makes me religiously lesser than others who can say “I am (such and such).” I’m absolutely thrilled (and I’m not being sarcastic) that you are able to find a religion that speaks to you 100% or that you are able to at least overlook the differences. I can’t. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. And I am tired of feeling like my belief system is anything less than yours just because no one else practices exactly like I do, and I understand that most religions are a giant mish-mash of the religions that came before them.

Plus those pants make you look bloated. Okay, maybe I’m just butthurt. But seriously, people, please think before you start writing about what you think of other people. I don’t think I’ve even gotten my point across, because after weeks of this all I can do is rant still.

Awesome. Only not at all.