We’re going to try something new this time, seeing as how I’ve got this long list of blog topics, but none of them seem to be happening. I’m going to ramble life stuff at you and we’re going to process together.
Blogging, as a genre, usually strives to be catchy, informative, or at least sexy enough to generate views. I’m not feeling particularly sexy or informative lately. It’s been raining non-stop, all of my deadlines are coming up, and I work more jobs than I’d like, so mostly I’m feeling tired and sort of soggy.
I’m not exactly complaining, mind. This time last year I was freaking out about my underemployment, lamenting an ended relationship, and wrestling with the scariness of having my first initiates. Things have settled since then. I’m not fundamentally unhappy, and I wouldn’t even say that I’m momentarily unhappy. But this time of year is still fundamentally about loss for me. It’s always made me sort of sad, and it’s usually right around November that I find myself back in therapy. Part of it—I’m sure—is seasonal affective disorder (which is totally a real thing, so if you’ve got friends you suddenly aren’t hearing from, go ahead and give them a hello and check in). Part of it is the nature of Halloween and the veil thinning and all that. Part of it is conference season and mid-terms. And part of it is just that something fucking terrible always seems to happen in my personal life in October (which, to be fair, is more my issue than October’s).
I think it might just be time to come to grips with the reality that I just don’t like Halloween. I’ve been saying it’s my favorite time of year for my whole life, but my journals reveal otherwise. I love Halloween in a sort of theoretical sense: New England fall, kids trick-or-treating, mulled wine, costume parties, my beloved dead…and all sorts of shit that doesn’t actually have anything to do with my real life.
Here in central North Carolina, Halloween feels like a sweltering night in August. It’s sweaty, and it usually rains. I’m pretty sure trick-or-treating only happens in wealthy neighborhoods where they still have sidewalks (and, weirdly, at anti-Halloween church events where children attend “harvest festivals” that just happen to have candy and costumes). It certainly doesn’t happen on my street, anyway. It’s also hard to corral friends and covenmates, because people always have other obligations, other parties to attend, other things to do. If these friends have children, forget it. I also just really don’t want to hang out with my ancestors, who are no less distasteful by virtue of being dead.
Next year, I think I may just drape myself in animal skins and disappear into the woods.
I officiated my first wedding a few weeks ago, too. That probably deserves its own post, but right now I just don’t have the energy for it. Suffice it to say that I’m wrestling with the notion of “clergy” and what exactly that means in terms of witchcraft, particularly for someone who doesn’t really believe in marriage (the irony was not lost on the bride and groom, who found the whole thing hilarious). On a more immediate level, it was a lovely event, I was happy to be there and happy to help, and it was a welcome treat to see family that I haven’t spent time with in too long. I’ll post pictures when I have them.
All the while, I’m preparing for the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting, where I’ll be presenting a paper on a Pagan Studies panel. Conferences are a lot of fun, but they’re also nerve-wracking. Most of my time has been spent freaking out about all of the ways in which my presentation could go horribly, horribly wrong. I understand that this is anxiety talking, but there it is. That’s just the nature of any kind of performance for me. I always pull it together when the time comes and enjoy myself in the moment; I just have to keep reminding myself of that. Actually, most of my public speaking abilities come from playing in bands, not from lecturing. Once a crowd of drunk people has hurled beer bottles and spit at you all night, speaking in front of a few orderly rows of scholars just isn’t quite as terrifying.
(What if we hurled beer bottles. What if.)
So hello, November. I have mixed feelings about you. Maybe I’m a summer person after all.