Butterfly Cauldron

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Random Ten -- Crawling out of Lupus Hell Edition

I swear, I will make a real post again soon. This flare seems to be slooooowly dying. Hopefully, by next week I'll be able to get back to musing about life, the universe and everything...

1. The Beautiful People -- Marilyn Manson
2. Wake Up Older -- Julie Roberts
3. Everybody Was Dancing -- Catie Curtis
4. Intro -- India.Arie
5. Welcome To Paradise -- Green Day
6. Vindicated -- Dashboard Confessionals
7. Kind Words (And A Real Good Heart) -- Joan Armatrading
8. Least Complicated -- Indigo Girls
9. They Might Be Giants -- They Might Be Giants
10. River -- Indigo Girls

Hrm. Maybe when I'm posting reguarly again, I'll try to figure out why I keep seeming to have at least one artist repeated in ever damn random ten. Hrm.....
posted by Zan at 7:47 AM 0 comments

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Random 10 -- I'm Home Sick and Want to Cry Edition

1. Crawling -- Linkin Park
2. My Morphine -- Gillian Welch
3. If I Fall -- Tara MacLean
4. One Step Closer -- US
5. Fix Me Now -- Garbage
6. Shakota -- Tara MacLean
7. My Last Breath -- Evanescence
8. Feuer Frei -- Rammestein
9. Carrion -- Fiona Apple
10. Secret Agent -- Melissa Etheridge

Bonus Track: Hands -- Jewel

Oh yeah, cause those songs are gonna make me feel better today. Gah.

This message brought to you by: Lupus, the disease that keeps on giving. Even when you beg it to stop.
posted by Zan at 8:32 AM 0 comments

Friday, January 13, 2006

So I'm thinking about abortion. . .

I don't need one, at least not at the moment, but it's on my mind thanks to the strong likelihood that Alito will be confirmed soon. (Thank you Democrats. Seriously. And yes, that was my sarcastic voice, you ball-less bastards.)

I am decidedly pro-choice. I have been since I got to college, got out from under the oppressive religion I was raised with, meet people who thought differently than I did and you know, started having sex. I've always had a petrifying fear of pregnancy. At first, I was terrified of getting pregnant in high school, because that would totally derail my college plans. So, no sex. Which wasn't that hard, since all the boys in my home town were redneck hicks I wouldn't wanna fuck anyway. Then, when I got older and meet a man I very much wanted to fuck, well...I was still terrified. And, thanks to my decidely religious upbringing, my ability to even talk about sex was very limited. I had ideas of birth control. I mean, I knew about the pill. I knew about condoms. But going to the doctor to get the pill? Uh, no. My mother's insurance would pay for it and well, she'd get the fricking bill! And then she'd know I was having sex and there'd come the lecture. Condoms? Well, that was easier. They gave those away at the health clinic. So, we got some of those. And eventually, I got to the point where I could just buy them at WalMart and not give a damn what anyone thought about me. And now that I'm much older and have my own insurance, I'm very much the Birth Control Queen.

But once, when I was about 20, I had a pregnancy scare. Every woman's had one. Due to my absolute terror of pregnancy, I was (and still am) militant about condoms. Every time. No exceptions. Period. My SO at the time was quite happy to go along, so we were all good. Except, this one time. This one damn time we just...didn't. To this day I have no idea why. It was dumb. We had them. They were in the box by the bed. But we just didn't use one that time. And at first, I wasn't worried. I mean, we were together for about two years at that point, so this wasn't a casual thing. I trusted him. Wasn't worried. Until I realized we'd just had unprotected sex at the fertile point of my cycle. Oh yeah. That made me feel good.

Still, I didn't panic. Much. Until I missed my period. Relax, I said, it's just late. You've been a few days late before. Except then I was a week late. And I've never been that late before. And then I was a week and a half late and I was completely freaked. Panicked. But I didn't say anything. I didn't tell my SO a thing, didn't explain to him why I was so weird or why I didn't want him to touch me. And then, I was two weeks late and I started to cry. I just knew I was pregnant and my life was over. I was 20 years old, hadn't finished college, was going to have to drop out and it was the end of the world.

And the next morning I woke up bleeding. I have never been so glad to get my period in my life. And I have never, ever had sex without a condom again.

So, what does all that have to do with abortion? A lot, actually. At that point in my life, I wouldn't have had an abortion. I couldn't have. I was still too tied to the fear I'd been instilled with growing up, for one thing. For another, I live in a state where abortion is not very easy for a woman to obtain. In the north of the state, there is a clinic. In the south, there are clinics in Big City One and in Big City Two. That's all. In the vast middle of the state, where I live, there is nothing. And, as a poor college student, I'd not have the money, the time, or the transportation to access either of those clinics. So, I would have been stuck. So while I would theoretically have had a choice, practically I wouldn't have had one. Plus, my family pressure wouldn't have let me have one either. There's no way I could have had an abortion in my family, not if any of them had known about it. And, believe it or not, my family and I are rather close in most ways. So, I'd have had to keep this huge secret from them forever. In so many ways, abortion really wouldn't have been an option for me at that point, even though I know it would absolutely have been the best choice for me.

And now? Now things are even more complicated for me.

Now I have a chronic illness that may well kill me, kill any child I conceive or render one or both of us crippled for the rest of our lives. And there's no way of knowing beforehand. If I got pregnant tomorrow (please, Gods forbid that) my pregnancy may be perfectly normal and uneventful. Or, it may be traumatic and tragic. And if I have one normal pregnancy, the next could be horrific.

And the thing is, that's not particularly special to me. That could happen to any woman, with any pregnancy. I just happen to have a prediagnosed illness to give my doctor's a heads-up.

I don't buy Alito's 'I'll have an open mind' crap. His paper trail clearly demonstrates that he wants Roe gone and he's willing to do whatever he can to get rid of it. So when this man gets on the Court, he'll be able to do serious damage.

My state would, without a doubt, outlaw all abortion if it had the chance. I'm not sure they'd even leave in a life of the mother exception, but they sure as hell wouldn't put a health exception in unless forced. So women like me would be screwed if we needed an abortion. My kidneys could be failing, the pregnancy could be putting stress on my nerves causing permenant damage, it could be setting off a flare leading to seizures, muscle damage, etc., but so long as I'm not dying...well, that's the price I pay for having sex. Leave aside the fact that the kind of damage I could take would leave me incapable of actually caring for my child. A child which would then require state assistance. What kind of message does that send to the women who live in these states? You're good enough to live here, shop here, work here, pay taxes here, but you can't expect the state to care about your health and well-being when you're breeding.

And so, that's what I'm thinking about tonight. I wish I had less dark thoughts, but it is what it is.

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posted by Zan at 5:31 PM 0 comments

Friday Random 10

Make of this what you will....

1. You Were Meant for Me -- Jewel
2. Terrible Thought -- Poe
3. Jordan -- Tara MacLean
4. Overture/Hannibal -- PoTO Soundtrack
5. Come On Lady -- Josh Rouse
6. Lucky -- Melissa Etheridge
7. Close to Home -- Concrete Blonde
8. Hitchin' A Ride -- Green Day
9. I Am Fred Astaire -- Taking Back Sunday
10. Dirty Little Secret -- All American Rejects


posted by Zan at 4:45 PM 0 comments

Monday, January 09, 2006

Another poem written today


This void is not
The Void.
It's just a step you have to take
on your way to something
This fall could bring you to
Emily's new red dress
Sera's good-night kisses
1,000 other blessings you've never dreamed
which are looking for you
Waiting for you to say


posted by Zan at 5:19 PM 0 comments

Writing again

A poem I wrote at work today. First draft, no title.

She says there isn't anything left
Not a single piece of me I recognize in these
pictures or this mirror.
When did my hair turn brown and
my eyes go dark?
There was, I think, a freckle on
my cheek.
Sera used to kiss it at night,
before we went to bed.
It's gone now.
I'm all faded, pale skin unkissed.
She says there isn't anything left
but the bones and fragments of me.
And it's time to rebuild
Time to put down mirrors
and pictures
and memories of lost passions.
Time to love brown hair and
dark eyes, unkissed skin and
freckless cheeks.
Even time for empty beds and
blank notebooks.
She says there isn't anything left
but me and time and space to remember.


posted by Zan at 12:55 PM 0 comments

Sunday, January 08, 2006

How transparent does my life have to be?

That's a question I've been thinking about for awhile now. How transparent do I have to live my life? On one hand, I can be as obtuse as I like since well, it's my life. It's really not anyone else's damned business. And that works, in theory. But the reality is that everyone lives in the world, which means living with other people. And if you want to have a life, to have friends, any semblence of a social life, you've got to decide just how much other people know about you.

There are some things that are obvious about me. I'm clearly white, clearly female, clearly fat, clearly adorable. So those things, I have no control over. Other things, well. Here in the Deep Deep Deep South, everyone assumes I'm also a good Baptist girl, just like them. That I'm not isn't readily apparent. Do I tell them I'm not? Usually, yes. If the conversation comes up, I just tell them I don't go to church anymore. That usually leads to more questions, but I can generally deflect those with a "it's not god that's the problem, it's the church" which generally gets people to launch into a story or 12 of nasty 'Church Folk' they've known and soon they forget all about my not going to church anymore. So, that much is pretty easy. Do I tell them I find the Divine easier to access when I conceive of Her as female? Uh. No. That's likely to get my lynched around here. Or called a witch. Not that I mind that label too much, it's just not accurate and I figure most people around here are confused enough about witchcraft and paganism, I don't need to add to it. But anyway, how much responsiblity do I have to let people know how I really believe?

There are personal safety issues to consider. Most people around here wouldn't do anything but look at me funny and promise to pray for me. But there's always the idiot, drunk redneck who could get some crazy notion in his head to do Something About It. I don't worry too much about work backlash, since I work for Big Company and they know they could get sued for religious discrimination. And most of my friends have at least some idea of how I believe. And yet...is that enough? Actually, most of my friends are pretty cool about it. I've become the de facto go-to girl about /any/ non-Christian religion. (Because, clearly, I know just soooo much about Judiasm. Or Buddhism. Or Islam. Actually, that does kinda irk me. Any non-Christian faith around here just kinda gets lumped in with every other non-Christian faith. *sigh*)

Also, with my sexuality, exactly how out am I supposed to be? This one is harder for me than religion, because frankly I'm more likely to get physically hurt over it. It's truely astonishing how must resistance and bigotry there is around this place to anyone whose not completely Vanilla Hetero. Again, it's the default assumption. People see me and assume, oh, she likes men. Well, yes, actually, I do. But I like women too. And sometimes, I like women more than men. Sometimes, I like men more than women. It's not an easy thing to explain to people and people don't like to be confused.

Some of my friends know I'm bi and some are really pretty damned sure, I just haven't actually said it to them. If I showed up at their house one day with a girlfriend, it would suprise them exactly none. At work? Eh. No. Not really. It's not a secret, exactly, I just haven't ever brought it up. And when I thought about it, someone would come up and make a really awful remark about 'those gay people' and that shut me right up. Which may be cowardly, but I just don't want the extra drama at the office. I call people on the comments, don't misunderstand me, I've just never said they applied to me in particular.

My family? Ha. No. Not going to be telling them anytime soon. Unless I meet a woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, anyway. Then they'll just learn to deal. I think my mother would be...okay, with it. She wouldn't like it, but she's very very good at denial. And she's gotten much better at accepting that I'm an adult and have my own life and she doesn't have any say in it. My father though, I think it would break his heart. And that's a hard thing to deal with. My father and I didn't have a particularly close relationship when I was growing up. I didn't turn out the way he expected his little girl to, I think. I was extremely headstrong, decidedly not girly, hated the very rural life he was living, dove headfirst into all sorts of things that scared him to death and generally did whatever I wanted and didn't care what other people thought about me. On one hand, he's insanely proud of me. On the other, he doesn't know how to handle a daughter who doesn't act like a girl is 'supposed to.'

We're much better now, though. My relationship with both my parents got a hellava lot better when I moved out of the house all those many years ago. Now that my brother has finally given them a grandbaby, things are pretty close to peachy. (Because if they looked at me for a grandchild one more time, I was going to scream. You'd think the fact that I've been telling them since I was 12 that I didn't want children would have given them a clue, but no.)

And yet...and yet I know I can't tell them this. I would, like I said, if I meet the woman o'my dreams. There are limits to how much I'm willing to protect them and sacrificing a good relationship is not one of them. But do they need to know otherwise? If it would cause them pain and cause nothing but drama for the family, is it really worth it to lay all the cards on the table?

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posted by Zan at 11:42 AM 0 comments

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Random Ten -- Because I Cannot Resist a Music Meme

My musical tastes are odd. Oh well.

Jesus of Suburbia -- Green Day
Unlove Me -- Julie Roberts
Pot of Gold -- Julie Roberts
Cold Cold Heart -- Norah Jones
Crawling -- Linkin Park
Journey to the Cemetery -- PoTO Soundtrack
I'm No Angel -- Dido
Going Through the Motions -- BtVS Soundtrack
Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner -- Fall Out Boy
My Morphine -- Gillian Welch
Jupiter -- Jewel

I'm sure these songs say something about me. I'm not sure what, exactly. Add in the fact that I'm currently listening to Garbage and there's a bigger picture here. Hrm. Funny two songs by Julie Roberts showed up. Two diametrically opposed songs at that. And yes, I rather adore all of these songs. In my secret heart of hearts, I'd like to be a Music Snob, but frankly I just like too much stuff to be a good one. If you like it and it make you happy or mad or whatever, then it's good music. Anyway, more serious posting later today.


posted by Zan at 8:33 AM 0 comments

Thursday, January 05, 2006

So, why Butterfly Cauldron?

A few reasons, actually. Some which seem obvious, some not so.

First, the butterfly. I'm not a particular fan of them, although I like them well enough. I don't go around collecting them and I've never had any dreams or indications Butterfly is a spirit helper for me. (Although, naming this blog after her may be construed as an invitation. Hmm.) No. The butterfly comes from the fact that I have Lupus. Lupus is a chronic, auto-immune disease which most common recognizable physical symptom is a butterfly rash across the face of those of us unlucky enough to suffer from it. Often, this rash is the only outwardly visible symptom of the illness. That does not mean you're not sick, however. Lupus does very nasty things to a body and those things are made worse by the fact that most people with this illness look perfectly healthy. We feel like we're dying, but we look like we could run a marathon. The pain can be so bad we can't get out of bed, but our families and our co-workers and strangers on the street look at us as if we were lazy, slothful people when we take that coveted parking space next to the front door or take the elevator to the second floor, instead of using the stairs. (Add to that the fact that I'm also an adorable fat girl and well...I've gotten some really horrid looks from people who have no clue about my physical state.) So. That's one point for the butterfly. The other, of course, is the spiritual significance. Butterflies are symbols of change and growth. They're movement from one state of being to another, more meaningful, fuller existence. That's what I'm hoping for this year. The last few years, while not as cruel as many I've had, have not been exactly kind. I'm choosing to believe that they have simply been a time of resting, of my spirit preparing itself for something wonderful. I just don't know what that wonderful is yet.

The cauldron. Well, there's the spiritual aspect, of course. Lately, I've been feeling very much like I'm living in a cosmic cauldron. There are things that have been shifting and changing for years, all lining up to produce...something. I can't see what it is yet. And yet, it's not scary. It should be. But there's something very comforting about the thought of myself in this grand, divine cauldron. When I was a practicing S. Baptist, I was terrified of judgment and punishment. I'd have felt that this was some sort of...I don't know, like God was getting ready to whack me because I swear too much or I think about sex too much or I listen to too much rock music. I was always afraid of being punished for /something./ But now? Now...now I don't worry about being punished or judged by the Divine. So I don't worry about this boiling over I feel coming. I feel...comforted. Comforted to know that whatever is coming, it's going to be okay.

And so, that's why Butterfly Cauldron. I don't know how creative it is, but it is what it is.
posted by Zan at 6:40 PM 0 comments

A new year, a new blog

This is not my first foray into blogging. It is, however, the first time I've tried to do it completely anonymously. True, my RL name is not on any of the other blogs I've put together, but someone I know RL always knows about them. There's no space for me to just say anything, everything with no fear of someone, even someone who loves me, taking offense, finding my ramblings silly or something like that. I need a space that's completely free of outside expectations to work out some of the voices in my head.

And there are voices in my head. Not literally, fortunately. But there are lots of things I need to work out for myself. If you've read the little snippet of bio I put up, you may notice there is quite a bit about religion there. I've gotten over most of my anger at the 'faith' I was raised in and the damage it did to me. It took a year of therapy to do it, but I've gotten over most of it. But there are still moments. There are still times when I wake up in the middle of the night, stricken by a sudden fear that everyone in the world has been swept up in some great Rapture, leaving me behind. My mind, and my soul, knows that's nonsense, but those terrors still come sometimes. I still have to deal with family gatherings where everyone but me starts talking about church and Jesus and who got 'saved' this week. I still have my Mother asking me to go to church with her everytime I call her. Even though I haven't gone to church on my own since I moved out of her house. Even though the last two times I did go with her, I walked out of the service because I couldn't stand the hypocrisy. Even though.

There are a great many things about myself that I don't share with other people. That's how it should be and I don't think I'll be changing that much. But there are some things that I think I shouldn't have to keep from other people. I know my family will never accept certain things about me. I know that, in my head and yet...and yet I want them to accept it.

I don't know for sure what this blog will be about. Lots of things, likely. Faith, clearly. Sexuality, yes. Feminism. Lupus, a disease I suffer from. Maybe I should have a plan, but I don't. Time will tell. And maybe I'll have readers and maybe I won't. That's not the point, is it?

Next blog: Why Butterfly Cauldron? And maybe a bit about living with transparency.
posted by Zan at 12:42 PM 0 comments