New and Old and New

Tonight we mark the passing of an “old year” and the beginning of a “new” one. I accept that this date is traditionally marked as the closing of the “old year” by western culture. And I am also aware that for many other cultures, it is not. Paganism has taught me that there are many days marked as the New Year, depending on tradition and place. It could really be any time of year, but the important thing is that we choose one – ONE – defining day to mark the end of something and the start of something else. That’s us human beings again: trying to quantify everything; trying to put lines and edges on that which is cyclical and eternal.

source: flickr
source: deviant art; labeled for reuse

And on one hand it makes perfect sense, and on the other hand it makes none. I take the concept of the Wheel of the Year very seriously; it is my favorite aspect of Paganism. The perfect ring, no discernable beginning nor end, flowing from life to death and back to life again. You could spin that Wheel, and put a pin on any place it chanced to stop, and say, “There. There it is: the point at which it all ends and then begins again,” but you’re fooling yourself. I see in my mind’s eye the Goddess and the God laughing at our silly attempts to create demarcation where there is none, never was, and never will be.

Still, we are human. And a calendar only has so many pages. There must come a point when the last page is ripped off, and we open a fresh, blank booklet of little squares. We mark off the birthdays and anniversaries that mean something to us, and fill in appointments and conferences and nights out. The Wheel may turn on, and the dates may be arbitrary, but to function as a society, we do need to agree on when things should occur.

Happy New Year to you all: tonight, tomorrow, every day. May each day find you making a resolution to be good to yourself, to give to others, to live your beliefs, to be kind, and to love with all your heart. Bless you all, and thank you for being my friend.

Positive People Problems

A friend of mine is facing a challenge this holiday season: a sick family member. On his Facebook page, he apologized in advance for not being himself during the time of year he usually loves so much. Of course those who know him and love him understand; it’s hard to be holly-jolly when your heart is full of fear. I’m sure many of you have experienced a similar feeling of apprehension, realizing you are expected to act a certain way and feel certain emotions – and knowing you simply can not do it.

I have maintained a reputation throughout most of my life of being a rather positive person. While on my own I often drift into self-recrimination and broodiness, I place a great value on remaining cheerful for family, bosses, coworkers, employees, clients … well, everyone. We all have a role to play, and mine is generally that of comic relief, always seeing something amusing or whimsical or absurd in any situation. It helps me cope, and it buoys up those around me.

But a problem arises when those around me come to expect it; come quite near demanding it. Associates frequently complimented me on my near-constant smile. The same people were puzzled and alarmed when they did not see that smile. Some would inquire as to the reason, and I might confide – or not – depending on the person and the circumstance. But what surprised and appalled me were those who actually got angry at me. They required me to act happy, or else they could not.

We are a reactionary species. I understand that people accustomed to my cheerfulness felt let down because their answering smile depended upon mine.

But it’s a little disconcerting to feel that pressure.

We are all affected by the moods of those around us. This morning I went from cheery to irritated when my youngest gave me a hassle about what she wished to wear. I went back into my bedroom, kissed my husband, and murmured to him, “Well, I was in a good mood when I woke up.” But really, no sooner had I spoken than I realized how foolish that was. I’m a product of the internet, and when I say things like that, a thousand memes float into my brain: “I can’t change my circumstances but I can change my reaction” … “I am the deciding factor” … “I will not allow negative people to ruin my day” … All of them with a beach scene in the background. And so I headed back out with a smile on my face to deal with the great “Pink Dress or Pink Corduroys Controversy” of 2015 December this week.

If I don’t wish to be held accountable for other people’s happiness, then in turn, I must be accountable for my own. And it follows in a perfect circle that if I take responsibility for my own feelings, so must you.

Positive people, you do not always need to be a beacon of light for everyone else. You have permission to be negative. You have permission to cry, and rage, and mope, and panic, and frown.

You have permission to be human.

photo: wiki commons; public usage

News from the Hen House

What can I add to the plethora of voices already screaming out in desperate desire to be noticed, to be commented upon, and to be shared on Facebook with the word “this” in the status?

Oh, nothing. Nothing at all. I have nothing new to offer.

This is pure vanity you’re dealing with here. It’s not enough for me to amuse myself with my goofiness – I need a viewer. Any viewer. Even one viewer.

That’s you, my dear.

I’ll be posting some of my old oddments: poems and parodies and prattling ponderments. I’ll have some new things to add, as the world around me continues to amaze and aggravate me. I will also share blogs from some of my favorite writers: their work inspires and moves me, and they deserve to have their words spread far and wide.

Welcome to the Hen House.