I’ve been wandering around WP for a bit over 6 months now, and since there are actually folks other than friends I already had who check in from time to time, I figured it was time to do a post about who I am and how I got here. Metaphorically speaking anyway. When I started the blog thing I figured no one would care, but after having others be surprised I was interested in their stories, I guess it’s worth a shot right? And it’s only fair I give my new friends some insight into my craziness. Now, I’ve not had a hugely traumatic life, nor have I had to overcome a lot of adversity like some of those I’ve come to admire, so be forewarned … this may actually be boring! 😉
I was born in Phoenix, Arizona but grew up mostly in Southern California. We moved back and forth between the two until I was about 9. I’ve got two younger brothers, 2 and 7 years younger than I. My early life was by no means as bad as it could have been, but wasn’t as good as it could have been either. Looking back as an adult, my folks weren’t at all good for each other. My father is fairly logical but has a temper when pushed. He was never physically violent, but there was lots of yelling in the house I grew up in. My mother is an alcoholic, though that didn’t become readily apparent until after my youngest brother was born. She is one of those people who manipulates others for a variety of reasons, though I am fairly sure a lot of it is unconscious.
My parents divorced when I was nine. My father initiated the divorce after telling mother that he’d been having an affair … I know this because my mother made it a point to tell me, claiming she “had no one else to talk to”. Yeah, that was a load of crap and (I think) designed to add to my father’s guilt. After my folks split, she did everything she could to turn myself and my brothers against dad … we were frequently told that he left because he didn’t want to be around us but since she was stuck with us we had to go visit him so she could have a break. It’s really very sad because to this day both my brothers are pretty well screwed up. The youngest one spent almost 10 years in federal prison (multiple charges but the biggie was cooking meth). The other is still trying to find his way and doesn’t understand why he can’t be happy in anything (he has never taken personal responsibility for his life or happiness). I somehow ended up with the internal strength and self-understanding to figure out the situation and my own emotions, but that was still a little ways off.
My father knew it was less than desirable to leave us with her, but in the early 70’s he didn’t have much chance of getting custody without proof of blatant neglect or the possibility of serious harm coming to one or all of us. During this time period he became more and more involved in Christianity (to the point of being ordained as a minister) and dragged us along to church with him as much as possible … I think a lot of the reason he did so was because of the guilt he felt over having to leave us (he and I have talked about the divorce and it’s aftermath quite a bit). I find it more than a little ironic that the meddling my mother did ended up causing my father and I to (eventually) be much closer than we might otherwise have been.
Anyway, at nine, I was with a mother who refused to raise her children (she’d rather spend time with a drink, locked in her room) and forced to step up and take care of my two brothers as best I could. Of course, they both ended up resenting me for telling them what to do and to this day I don’t think either of them has figured out what happened……..so much fun being stuck with a responsibility you didn’t ask for and aren’t prepared to deal with.
I was about 16 when I started to figure all of this out, and rebelled against either parent forcing me to do anything … including going to church. We were raised in one of the milder Evangelical Christian faiths (I’d have to say “Born Again” would be appropriate, but Baptist was what most of the churches we attended called themselves) and even though I wanted to understand and be a part of all the wonderful feelings everyone talked about, I never felt completely comfortable with Christianity. It didn’t help that many of the people we went to church with were hypocritical, doing all those “forbidden” activities during the week and acting “perfect” on Sundays.
Now, I’ve always believed that there is a higher power behind our universe, but was never exposed to anything but the Christian religion, so I decided to be agnostic as a teen (which I pretty much maintained well into my thirties). About the time I was 16 I started to explore astrology and was fascinated with the idea. I borrowed books from the library and taught myself to do natal charts … the accuracy of the personality traits freaked me out at first, but the more I thought about it, I had to conclude that it made sense, at least to me. My mother encouraged this (I’m fairly certain) thinking it would upset my father. I don’t know that he was ever upset about it and he certainly isn’t bothered by it now.
At 19 I was desperate to get away from my mother, but was afraid to be alone. Not a good thing. I ended up getting married to a man who seemed fine at first, but ended up being a complete ass. He is one of those who views women as “property” once married and was verbally abusive for many years. He also never took responsibility for anything … every issue or “problem” he had was always the fault of someone else. I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to recognize all of this until my mid twenties. By the time I’d figured most of this out, he was exhibiting signs of turning physically violent. He tried once, in the car where I couldn’t get a clear shot at him, but only that one time … I told him flat out I’d be perfectly happy to kick his ass before calling the cops and would kill him if he ever laid a hand on my daughter. It didn’t hurt having the local sheriffs “talk” to him either. To this day I’m not sure who he was more afraid of. I think I may have tipped the scales … the cops probably weren’t going to try and kick his ass. 🙂
I stuck it out a couple of years past that as I had to convince myself I’d done everything humanly possible to make it work. After a total of 6 years though, I finally threw in the towel and filed for divorce. I moved out about that same time and a week later the fool called me, drunk off his ass, threatening to kill himself. The whole episode was pretty surreal. I ended up talking to the local cops after they showed up there and the officer I talked to told me that the dumbass actually stabbed himself in the stomach with a steak knife. I remember him asking me if I though the fool was trying to commit suicide and I replied “No, I think he wants me to feel sorry for him and come running back.” The cop just started laughing. When I asked why, he said that was exactly what it looked like but they were going to put him on a 72 hour mental health hold anyway. Boy was I glad to be away from all that!
Just before my divorce was final, I ended up changing jobs (I went from working the design end of things over to project engineering) and met a wonderful man at work … we quickly became fast friends. At least that’s all I thought it was. A year or so after the divorce, things started to get a little more serious and we started dating. We ended up moving in together and a couple of years later got married. He is wonderfully supportive and even adopted my daughter so I didn’t have to worry about her ending up with my ex if something happened to me. About the time we got married I got laid off from work and new hubby encouraged me to go back to school and get my BS degree when I couldn’t find another job (this was in the early 90’s when engineering jobs were hard to come by). It took almost 9 years but I finally got that behind me in 2003.
While working on the degree I met a fellow in one of my classes who was a few years older than I and we started studying together, mainly because the “kids” in the classes we both had always seemed to want to party instead of taking this stuff seriously. And as we talked, stuff about work started to creep into the conversations. As it turned out, he was on a fairly new program and was looking for people to help with static load testing. The more we talked, the more it seemed like something I’d like to try doing. So 6 years into getting my degree, I suddenly had a job offer. I’m still there 10 years later, but have moved from static load testing into deployment testing. In short, anything that needs to move on a satellite needs to be deployment tested. It’s a lot of fun (well, it is to me), it keeps my brain from getting bored, and it pays pretty good too.
During all these goings on, the daughter grew up and graduated from High School about 8 months after I started working again. As a teen she was obsessed with Charmed and on more than one occasion informed me that she wanted to learn witchcraft. Ooookay. I chalked it up to the obsession with Charmed and blew it off. But she persisted and as she grew older and the obsession waned, her interest shifted to the Wiccan religion some friends had mentioned to her. At the time I knew absolutely zero about Wicca and the fact that she was equating this to witchcraft, quite frankly, scared the crap out of me. Remember, I grew up in an evangelical Christian religion … and such things were “the work of Satan”. So even though I didn’t really consider myself Christian, that stigma was still there.
Now, darling daughter was never much into web ratting so she hadn’t done much research and was just going on what her friends had told her. But I knew it was only a matter of time as I could tell she was fairly serious. So I set out to find out what I could about Wicca. I stumbled upon a forum full of folks who were Wiccan and completely sane! I started looking around that forum and quickly became fascinated. This wasn’t devil worship or anything even close. These people were kind and loving in a way that I’d not experienced in any church I’d ever visited. And a good number of them were more well versed in the teachings of Christianity than most of the churchgoers I’d met.
So I showed darling daughter the forum and encouraged her to join … if she wanted to learn about this stuff, it seemed like a safe place to explore with people willing to answer oodles of newbie questions. And I started asking my own questions. You see, as I grew up, I became very interested in science, especially physics, and that only served to convince me that there was order in the universe for a reason. I’d always been drawn to what others call “new age” practices and was struggling with meshing the reality of physics with any form of religion. But in exploring some of the Pagan religions, including Wicca, I found that there were others who had thoughts similar to my own … and they weren’t complete nut-jobs! It felt like coming home, which was an odd feeling for me.
I’ve since decided Wicca isn’t for me, but my daughter has embraced it wholeheartedly and is now teaching others in her coven … and hubby and I are very proud of her. For myself, well I really don’t do well with the drama others bring to the party. So I’ve decided to “do my own thing”. I have some close friends to practice with when we all choose to, and we have had some awesome rituals together. That forum I found all those years ago has since collapsed (more like imploded) so we started our own forum to have a safe place for those wanting to explore paganism to come and learn a bit. It’s been running smoothly for almost two years now with a small but steady stream of newcomers. My only regret at this point is that I don’t have the time I’d like to spend exploring more for myself, but that will come. Work and the trials with the pup have taken a lot of my attention lately, but once Cindy’s knee is working again I’m sure I can settle into an easier routine and get things moving forward again.
My dad and I get along great (though I doubt we would if we lived in the same house … we are too much alike) and visit when we can (he’s living in Phoenix now). We occasionally have some interesting conversations on religion … he’s still very Christian though not attending any church, but he’s very accepting of my beliefs as well as my daughter’s. He cracked me up in December ’09 when he asked if it would be appropriate to get the kid a set of tarot cards for Yule. Too cute.
Mother hasn’t spoken to me in almost 10 years. Once darling daughter hit 18 I decided it just wasn’t worth the emotional toll it took to maintain the sort of relationship with her that she clearly wanted. So I basically told her that I was disappointed that she seemed more interested in manipulating everyone around her and that I didn’t want to play that game anymore. I told her I’d be happy to discuss things as adults if that’s what she wanted, but that I was refusing to allow her to draw me into fights with either brother for her entertainment. Her response was to deny that she ever did any of the things I brought up and then to go tell her friends that I “hate her” for no reason. I know this because I’ve received emails from her friends on this. I feel sorry for her that she can’t see how she’s messing up her own life, but it’s her choice to make and there’s not a lot I can do about it.
OK … that pretty much sums up most of the major happenings in my life. And if you’ve stuck through this and read it all, I thank you for your interest. Or maybe you were just bored and had nothing better to do. I’m OK with that too. 😉
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