“Then leave your schemes alone // adore the rising sun // and leave a man alone to his fate.”
We need no one’s pity, he sneers in my mind, nor did we ever want it. I remember how those lyrics fueled my indignation and anger – his indignation, their anger, I suppose – so many years ago. That anyone should suggest I change the story, or that I could even do so and thus apparently refused, offended me to my very core. I understand now, though, that I was even more so offended by the presumption that the story needed to be changed at all. Who are you to question the order of things?, I should have said. Who are you to question the necessity or fairness of another’s fate? I knew so much less then than I do now, however, and it had not yet occurred to me that most people will simply never understand what it is I record. All I knew was that I felt not comforted by their concern, but frustrated, disappointed, impatient. It’s an insult, he growls, and I nod in agreement. They do not need your pity. We do not need your pity.
Every solstice someone dies. On the summer solstice, the Moon; on the winter solstice, the Sun. Each time is different, yet each time is the same. I spend the weeks leading up to the solstice imagining death after death, murder after murder, seeking the scene that will be chosen for this iteration. Will it be suicide or fratricide – premeditated or a crime of passion? Will it involve a gun or a knife, poison or illness, violence or mercy? The Moon prefers small, sharp things that bleed his lover out slowly, while the Sun prefers to leave bullet holes or bruises on pale skin. And where will it take place? In bed, where they are most vulnerable? The alley, hidden within a curtain of pouring rain? Or on the roof, with all the dark city laid out below as witness? I cannot yet say for sure. Right now all I feel is the thin blade in my hand and all I see is the night sky reflected in his unfocused eyes.
All the bullets you’ve fired remain yet within me. Perhaps this is why my body aches and works so poorly; their slow corrosion poisons me from the inside out, much like my love for you. I feel their locations as I move, little twinges of pain in my heart, my stomach, my lungs, but most especially in my right temple. I will continue to bear them all for you the way one might wear hard-earned scars. Each contains a story worth the telling, if the listener has the stomach for my tales. I will not censor the truth to make it palatable to a greater audience – but for those who will listen, for those who will understand, I have so many stories to tell. Come gaze on my scars.
I am forever trying to prove myself to you
offering blood and ink to earn your good graces
but still you sneer, not even bothering to call me ‘fool’, just “you’re really stupid” like I’m worth neither effort nor eloquence
and yet here I am, begging for your scraps
grateful for your disdainful gaze
and your cruel, cruel words
I’d let you cut me open with that bright knife of yours
if it was as close to your touch as I could get
i’m not really good with stuff like crystals and magic spells, essential oils and sigils and shit, i’m really more of a bleed and weep kind of girl, a burn your fingers on matches ’cause the flame’s too pretty kind of girl, so if my third eye is sealed shut or my crown chakra’s all fucked up, or whatever, maybe i should just cut it open, you know, peel back the skin so the smooth white bone shows through, maybe i should forget about meditation or yoga, just solve the problem once and for all with the cold reliability of a blade, that’s a religion i can get behind, that’s a god worth swearing by, you know?
I’m being a real Doubty McDoubterson about my spiritual beliefs right now. I mean bottom-of-the-well, solar-eclipse-totality, what-is-even-the-point-of-anything-we’re-all-gonna-die-anyway levels of doubt. My altar is dusty, my devotional jewelry tangled, and I can’t even remember the last time I gave offerings or lit a single candle. I am deep, deep, deep in the dark. Hooboy, it is bad.
I’ve seen many other spiritually-inclined folks write about what to do during a fallow or questioning period, so I thought why not try it myself? I know stuff about stuff. I’m possibly as qualified as anyone else on the internet who gives advice they won’t personally follow. So here you go, my surefire suggestions for surviving the utter crushing apathy that has become your spiritual life.
1) Avoid your altar.
2) Camp out on the couch and watch all 4 seasons of Arrested Development on Netflix.
3) Stand for indeterminate amounts of time in front of your kitchen cupboards. Eat nothing.
4) Lurk in the “pagan” tag on Tumblr and hate strangers you know nothing about for having more faith than you.
5) Avoid the room your altar is in.
6) See something sad online and automatically say a prayer before realizing what you’re doing, then feel many conflicting emotions you don’t want to deal with.
7) Get out your tarot cards, oracle decks, book of shadows, and crystals in an attempt to jumpstart your enthusiasm. Play on your phone while ignoring their presence.
8) Eat an entire loaf of bread, and only a loaf of bread, for like two days.
9) Rewatch Arrested Development while lurking on Tumblr and Pinterest and every other possible app you can download, since you’re a very important person and just don’t have time for things like religion.
10) Make up a song with lyrics like “Everything’s awful, then you die” or “whatever, it’s not like any of the things I believe in are real anyway so who cares if humanity is destroying the planet and I’m alive to witness the next mass extinction”. 11) Avoid the half of the house your altar is in.
12) Spend hours on Etsy searching for the One Perfect Thing that, if purchased, will magically transform your spiritual life and free you from ever doubting anything again. Do this until your phone overheats, then let your phone charge for maybe five minutes. Repeat until you have a migraine.
13) Pretend everything’s okay by writing something sarcastic yet uncomfortably bitter on your blog.
14) Watch, I dunno, Arrested Development again. Or Archer. I mean who even cares at this point.
15) Die on the couch.