brightlotusmoon: (Pixie Model 2)
Hello from the LJ user formerly known as BrightRoseFox.
Due to a complex thingy involving problems with emails and such, I have changed my LJ name, my yahoo name, and my gmail name.
Everything is now BrightLotusMoon.
If you know me well enough, you know why I am now BrightLotusMoon.
So, yeah. Just FYI.

Also.
Dear Lovelies:
Not only am I feeling so much better, I truly believe I am worth everything that people say I am. I've been getting messages, emails, phone calls, and comments from friends who have told me what I mean to them. I've been amazed and heartened and lifted and joyous.
I may be a moonlight witch, but I can't access the magic of the moon without accessing the magic of the sun. And the moon is always there, her power full constantly.
I feel bright and powerful and in full bloom, like a great lotus blossom beneath the full moon.
brightlotusmoon: (Asha)
So, my thoughts have been spinning merrily amidst what could be a spiraling episode of... Oh, fuck, probably everything at once. After I had a chat with three doctors about the consequences of stress-related memory loss, I quietly decided to start a private mindfulness therapy, which I have only been sharing with the psychologist, for advice, while I move forward in my own brain to stop my own brain from destroying my mindstate.

Tomorrow, I see my general physician and have her write a referral for the local hyperbaric oxygen therapy center. Although it's a bit premature, as they have yet to call me back about an initial consultation. While I was filling out their online New Patient form, I started wondering if they would even take someone like me, with two dozen illness. Even though cerebral palsy is the cornerstone. I just feel so excited about it. That's a good thing. I can still most of my emotion things.

What I find beautiful and fascinating about my private therapy protocol is that almost nobody believes me. I have been stuck in something insane since 2010. Why would they believe I would "get better" now, so many years later after therapy and medications and meditative exercises? Then again, none of them have been in long term therapy or medication. It really does take many years to spur a change this massive. Hence the secret protocol, which includes a possible medication update and potential oxygen therapy.

I don't expect anyone to believe me. I don't expect anyone to believe in my desire to change with this therapy protocol. How could they? Why would they? I am the same as I was when symptoms started. But I don't want their belief. I don't really want support if there is no actual active knowledge. How can you say "Hey, I've been there, I get it, fist bump in solidarity" unless you really have gone through a similar structure of treatment repeatedly for a grab bag of illnesses that mindfuck you for no reason?
Actual legitimate question, BTW.
If you're also a parent of someone with interconnected psychiatric and neurological disorders, I would love input, because when I try to explain these things to my mom who only has hereditary ADHD controlled via lifestyle, my emotion-brain starts shutting down so my technical-brain can word at her, and I know she wants less science and more human. I'm trying. I just cannot get past that very protective mental guardian who shields emotion-Joanna from Outside. And oh, as much as I love Serena, she feels it is easier and gentler to let me sleep while she and Koan the calico kitten organize and compartmentalize all the Me. Ananta works hard enough balancing out all the neuroweird that Alicia in my private epileptic Wonderland can't reach. I haven't had much success in psychically merging with Asha. We are working out my dissociative and depersonalization episodes first.

I will do this. It will happen. Steps have been severely taken. Hard to talk. But if you think you get it, I would love a discussion via Private Message. I am willing to reveal bits and pieces of my Rebuild Joanna Brain Project to acquire tips and advice from those who get it.

Now, see, I view many people as family beyond my blood family - who shall remain the besy family I would want. Various people in my social circle - friends plus family - have always stood with me. I will always need and want that. But for those who are truly normal and looking at me with confusion, puzzlement, exasperation, fear, anger... and the type of condesencing that means pats on the head, chuckling, and "I love you sweetie. Of course you'll change." "You do nothing. You never help. You are too self absorbed, you don't think, you claim memory loss. It is all right, dear. We are used to hit. Just finish writing." Followed by another hair tousle. I'm used to it. It's routine because I am me.
I am not out to prove them wrong, not entirely. I am out to prove to myself that my neuroplasticity really might eradicate the worst of the annoying symptoms.
Maybe this whole autistic ramble came from my hope and excitement over this slow gentle therapeutic process. If loved ones want me to speed it up, I can turn away for a while to meditate.

All I know is that my own husband has been putting up with me forever, and that says something huge.

Love you, LJ family.
brightlotusmoon: (Asha)
'Reborn' by Laura Sava (anotherwanderer.deviantart.com/)
'Mirabella' by Rachel Anderson (www.silverstars.us/‎)

Two forms of my own story character, Asha Clara Night, my strongest, most individual, most personal fiction character.

These paintings. Completely different images that look almost exactly like incarnations of the same character of my own subconscious creation Women who look almost exactly like the dreamself I am becoming in my dreams and visions.

Laura-sava-Reborn

Rachel Anderson Mirabella


She was in my dreams last night and many nights before. I haven't decided exactly who she is yet, but in my dreams her name is Asha, meaning "desire, hope, hopeful; life; alive; she who lives." Which says so much, so so much.

She is another dreamself, not a spirit guardian, but much closer to my Self than my other characters (Alicia, Serena, Ananta: my spirit guardian coping mechanisms for epilepsy, memory loss, insomnia, sleep problems, [Alicia], chronic pain and fatigue, depression, anxiety, physical disabilities [Serena], neurology, neurodivergence, autism, total mind-body connection [Ananta].

Asha seems to represent many internal things about my emotions, my heart and mind, my rhyme and reason, my logic, my science, my creativeness and creativity, my power, my energy, my beauty. If she were to reveal herself as a guardian, she would be for emotional states, creative thoughts, desires, loves, patterns, ideas.
Asha is definitely powerful in a way I always wanted to be since childhood: Fae and and Elemental Mage and Neurodivergent and Autistic Witch and Quantum Magic Scientist and Story Crafter and Shape Shifter and Magic Librarian and Magic Keeper.

Asha seems to represent my deep, obsessive, compulsive wish and desire to be one of the psionic-mage superhumans in my stories, to take over for be when I feel failure and self-loathing and terror and panic. I think Asha may in fact be an actual entity, one who communicates outside instead of simply speaking into my visions, dreams, pain flare withdrawings, anxiety attacks.

All I know is that Asha was in every dream last night and throughout the past several sleeps, long detailed intense dreams, and she quoted Kosh. She spoke in a soprano version of my voice that could sing. She was always here She is always here. She has always been here.
I think she was with me since I was a baby. In different forms, in different species, with different names, in different imaginary beings, in different fictional characters. She was made of fire. She used to be a phoenix, a unicorn, a dragon, a star, a nebula. I know Asha. I know Asha in the way I hope to know myself.

The thing is, Asha has a fully active voice when I am completely conscious, aware, awake, functional, and stable. She didn't completely create herself, but she grew and evolved over my lifetime in her own way as a character in my subconscious. She took ideas I worked with and wove them into her personality, behavior, and mentality. My disabilities are hers. She stayed and changed and grew with me like a permanent piece of my spirit. Asha also represents my fluid sexuality - I often visit her in the place she calls home and we make love, representing my desires for love and orientation.

She lives with Alicia in the Wonderland cottage, but she freely moves about my brain more often. She shapeshifts into elemental energies, she moves around my hippocampus and amygdala and temporal lobes and cingulate gyrus and thalamus and auditory cortex and somatosensory cortex and parital lobe and the back of my brain.
She has altered the Wonderland cottage to be something else entirely, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two office rooms, a large entertainment living room, a large kitchen, a basement. The outside build would contain concrete, cement, hemp and limestone, bamboo, steel. The glass windows are shatterproof. The doors are hemp-lime and timber. That must say something about my mind's inner workings. Especially since the main reason for hemp being illegal is due to its threat to corporate patentable synthetic fibers and wood and paper product industries, while the medicinal drug potential became subject to false claims and fear mongering alarm campaigns until the original industrial potential became buried under the alarmist anti drug campaigns. Part of me probably knows how powerful this is. Medicine from nature itself and the human brain itself is usually denied and seen as worthless.

Asha represents that part of me that firmly supports the controversial balance of traditional pharmaceutical medicine and nontraditional botanical medicine.
Asha is my activism and advocacy. Asha is the fire that moves my belief in the combination of synthetic drugs and organic drugs. Asha is the phoenix in me that rises after every defeat, every failure, every attack, every oppression, every attack and assault on my truths and faiths.

Throughout many names, faces, back stories, lives, personalities, and individual growths... she has always been Asha Clara Night. And this is how she asked me to look so I could see that there is beauty deep and shining.

I must find and thank the artists for these images, since I found myself taking these pieces of artwork and subconsciously turning them into incarnations of my own fictional character.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151978626835684&l=17dde55bf4

Asha may well be the character in that second novel after all. It won't be this Asha, my Asha; just a version, a more humanized incarnation I can bring out to show the public. This excites me. She could help me write it, just by living in my mind.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
So, I had a fascinating dream last night that was at best a "Lost Girl" fanfic and at worst a bizarre fantasy wish fulfillment. I, myself, as I am, was a Light Fae with naturally indigo hair and eyes, whose skin gained a pale purple tint while my powers were in use. I was a healer, for myself and others; I could even pull someone from the brink of death, although it weakened me. Conversely, I could also cause extreme pain and injury to the point of death. I also had inborn herbal medical knowledge and strong empathic powers that were both receptive and projective, which I used to soothe the wounded. Weirdly enough, dark purple butterfly wings would magically erupt from my shoulders while I worked and then would vanish - and I was actually able to hover and glide. Trick called my kind "airmeds" - which, in the canon universe, made sense, as they already have lokis and serkets, which are singular names of deities (Loki, Norse god of mischief, Serket, an Egyptian goddess of minor healing). Airmed is a Tuatha De Danann, a goddess of healing and resurrection.
Digressing: I have a sense that the writers may take advantage of using individual gods as Fae species. I actually love that about the Lost Girl universe. Being a singular god would be even more powerful. Makes me really wonder if the Wanderer is a god himself.
Returning to the dream: Bo and I became lovers for a bit, as I found her chi and powers fascinating, and we would feed on each other during sex. It appeared that I was immune to Bo's succubus blood, that if she bled on me I would not become enamored or obsessed (ie, Ryan the loki). I also slept with Hale a few times, and having a siren and an empath together was rather hilarious. Interestingly enough, Kenzi didn't mind.
I became useful when Kenzi was attacked by a wolf shifter that Dyson had to kill. The fact that I was unable to heal my own brain injury fascinated both Trick and Evony, as well as the Una Mens. The dream started fading as Bo and Kenzi invited me to crash with them for a while while I was being hunted, since an active airmed with an healing-resistant brain injury was extremely rare and highly sought-after for medical experiments. I mean, if the wounds I healed were severe enough, I would break down sobbing and spasming, have a seizure, and then become near-catatonic for several minutes. That's not a good thing for a Fae desperately needed in battle.
There was a point where I expressed specific distaste with Doctor Lauren. I still don't like her much. Bo and Dyson should really keep acting on their love for each other. I know Dyson is 1500 years old and patient, but really. And then there is Tamsin. Mmm, Tamsin.

I believe the main reason I had such a dream with such a highly specific original character was because I was researching the healing abilities of the indigo plant as well as the transformative mythology of the butterfly. Still... fascinating. I didn't feel like a Mary Sue. Considering that "Lost Girl" is filled to the brim with potential Mary Sue characters both in canon and in fanfiction, I imagine my character's Faeness rated low.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
So... there is that whole thing about "I am having a medical depression episode, I am medically anxious, I am in severe a chronic pain fibromyalgia flare that rates an 8 on Allie Brosh's pain scale, my spasticity is out of control, my hypertonia along with ataxia is interfering with my ability to balance, I'm very dizzy, I'm in a mental fog, I keep thinking of how Rose-kitten died and I start getting choked up, my joints ache and throb so much that I want to become a cyborg right now..."

And I got back from a shopping trip to Barnes&Noble and Target. And Adam picked out a beautiful autumn/spring coat with purple/rose/yellow/brown patterns I never would have considered and it was gorgeous on me and on massive clearance, and Adam himself found a perfect back-up backpack on massive clearance. And I found several new books I've wanted to read including a new Amber Benson book and a new supernatural suburban fantasy series, plus a Pinkie Pie doll from the company Aurora, the same kind that sells Fluttershy on Amazon, with soft simple fabric for hair that was perfect for cats to play with.

And I spoke cheerfully and joyfully with strangers, smiling so much that my disguise and my mask strengthened, and I knew that I could make it through as long as the medications held up, the Soma and Klonopin and Ultram and Vinpocetine and Picamilon and MSM and Vitamin D and Guarana and coffee. People asked me where I got my gold-colored cane and why I had it... and were honestly intrigued to ask about the cerebral palsy, no condescending remarks, no inspiration porn, just requests for details and honest educated understanding. And I was happy to educate, explain, enlighten, and watch their faces light up as they thanked me sincerely and walked off with more information, and that is all I want from things like that.

And the medicines did as promised, and I came home and fell down by choice, and as a wise, wise woman with a PhD told me, It Is Okay To Not Be Okay.

I am not okay. And that is okay. Eventually, I will be okay.

Some quotes I would like to share on trauma and living with illness, disability, life after trauma:

1. "Healing is seasonal, not linear.
It is true that healing happens with time. But in the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8. It’s perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another end entirely … only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year.
Recovery lasts a long, long time. Expect seasons."

2. "Whatever doesn’t kill you …
In 2011, after a publically humiliating year, comedian Conan O’Brien gave students at Dartmouth College the following warning:
"Nietzsche famously said, 'Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.' … What he failed to stress is that it almost kills you.”
Odd things show up after a serious loss and creep into every corner of life: insatiable anxiety in places that used to bring you joy, detachment or frustration towards your closest companions, a deep distrust of love or presence or vulnerability.
There will be days when you feel like a quivering, cowardly shell of yourself, when despair yawns as a terrible chasm, when fear paralyzes any chance for pleasure. This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again.
… Doesn’t kill you.
Living through trauma may teach you resilience. It may help sustain you and others in times of crisis down the road. It may prompt humility. It may make for deeper seasons of joy. It may even make you stronger.
It also may not.
In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you."

I chose these quotes because I have heard, over and over and over, "Oh, just get over it. Slap a bandage on it and walk it off. Are you still going on about that thing? It was years ago! Aren't you on medication and in therapy? Shouldn't you be past all that by now? Stop thinking about it so much; you're just making it worse. You're creating negativity in your own spiritual space. Negative emotions and negative thinking will destroy your immune system, you know. Stop stressing so much. I give up! You're hopeless! I can't even talk to you! You're a broken record! You're just making it worse. Why won't you listen to me? Every time you talk about getting worse, your mind and your body really believe it. Get over it! Think positively! Change your attitude! Do what I did! I quit thinking so much about the pain and trauma, and in a few months I was cured. I really think you need more positive thinking. You're bringing yourself down."

And the reason I have merely smiled, nodded, and replied, over and over, "Thank you; I shall consider that!" is because those people don't want to listen anymore, they just want me to stop talking, even though I just want to confide. And so I stopped confiding in them. It was a drain on my energy and time and it just made them irritated at me.

The point is that there is no straight line when it comes to trauma, pain, illness, damage, and negative life events. Some people will never seek treatment, and will continue to live in a post-traumatic stress cycle complete with angry outbursts, emotional breakdowns, and paranoia over things such as medical treatments. There is nothing I can do but be there, even if it is just as a voice to soothe, a hand to hold, a joke to tell, a distraction to offer.

But for me, everything is a cycle. I will never be free. I acknowledge that my entire life, literally, is, was, and will be about recovering from trauma. I have tools to work with. I have doctors who understand me. I have taken all my medical problems on with my own personal arsenal, and I know better than any of the people who dislike my methods how to work with, on, and despite myself. I have my girls, my spirit guardians, my coping mechanisms with human faces, the parts of my brain formed from fictional characters that allow me to handle different parts of my trauma. And so I keep going. Trauma is a part of my life. And that is okay.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
And... some days I wake up from ethereal dreams I barely remember having the intense sense of former pointed ears, former wings growing from my shoulders, and a former unicorn horn growing from my forehead. If I look in a mirror before the dream is fully shaken, my eyes still have a faceted crystal glow, white enough to show every color, ringed by blue-tinted midnight black, and my skin shines from beneath, light rippling across my hands, like reflections in rivers.
Sometimes in those moments I just don't feel human. And it makes me feel wonderful.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Back pain back pain back pain backpain backpain backpain NNNGGHH.
It's the lumbar area, leading to sciatica down both legs. Of course, you know? I've got an appointment with my new orthopedist on January sixth, and we're going to get be fitted for true customized orthotics... although I am going to insist they be cushioned, if not highly comfortable. The ones I had as a teenager actually made my feet hurt whilst walking. I still have the left one from those days. It is not comfortable. I understand practicality and function, but still.
Nnngh. Back, hips, legs, knees, ankles. Come on, drugs, work faster.

When we came home from grocery shopping, I looked up at the stairs and whispered, "Mama's home, Rose." I had meant it merely for her memory, for her spirit that now lived in the house, free to leave the clay statue that was a vessel, as Adam had not bound her to it. Adam said, "She's still gone, sweetheart." And I knew, and I reminded him that it was just... oh, I couldn't even find the words. It was just for her ghost. But he knew. We held each other and he knew.

My friends have cried for me, I think, more than I've cried for myself. I will have pockets of moments in which I will break down in gasping sobs, but they are so quick and triggered. A brush that had moved through her fur while I was comforting her in her lethargy, before I understood what was really happening, tufts of fur clinging to the bristles that I may not remove for a while. My pillow, and the soft bean-bag type pillow behind it that served as a general cat pillow but which was generally used by Rose especially in the mornings. A bag of Greenies treats that I realized I no longer had to move to a high place where Rose couldn't grab it and tear into it. Sitting in this desk chair, now, and knowing that Rose will never jump onto my lap and rub her cheeks over my mouth. She will not curl up on the floor, waiting for me to announce that Mama is going to bed so she can lead me there and see me to sleep. Oh. Yes, I'm in tears now. Oh, babygirl. Luna is on my lap now, kissing me, nuzzling. In her own Luna way.

We will be adopting another cat. Yes. It may be sooner than anyone thinks. I've already dreamed of her. I've already named her. I already know her age range. But... you know, someones through the grief and the numbness and the deep deep shock and the horror of physical death, we know deep deep inside that even if it takes only a week or two to get another pet, it is nothing like a replacement. It just means that the throbbing empty hollow burning in our hearts might start to heal, just a little. Luna is still my heart and soul, my queen and my moon goddess, my precious love. Jupiter is still my beautiful big boy, my chatty feline child who brightens my day just by smiling. The new kitten, the new young cat, will never be Rose. She will be herself.
Rose is never coming back, not even in a new incarnation. I'm not even sure I want that; it might hurt too deeply. Rose herself was already the reincarnation of Adam's patchwork dog, Ralph. Rose spent five glorious years learning to love and be loved. In Buddhism, that is a vital thing. All animals understand this. It is slightly Jainist. Adam and I, in our eclectic paganism, are mildly Buddhist in various, often conflicting, ways. It is not possible for us to be fully Buddhist in any way, but eclecticism is a wide arena.

"Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.
Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream"
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch)
Seizure happened in the kitchen. Jupiter meowed and rubbed against me while I crouched. Adam came in and gently lay me on the floor. My eyes were open and blank. Adam touched my face and reached for my mind, and I spasmed and gasped and blinked. I asked why I was on the floor. Adam helped me up and stood me against the large freezer. My memory is swirling. Alicia is holding me. Earlier, Adam said he told his boss, a fellow animal lover, that he needed an extra day to care for his wife. I rolled my eyes and said that was not necessary; that I was fine. Never mind. It was so dark and so white equally braided as order and chaos magics. I was spinning at ninety-nine percent light speed and thirty-five miles an hour. The world was elsewhere. A few seconds lasted a thousand years. Adam suggested I go upstairs and rest. Jupiter is suggesting a cuddle. I am thinking coffee and clonazepam and baclofen. I am made of light and love and pure order-chaos magic in its simplest form. I can give myself the right strength. May be that I can regenerate. As brightly and intensely as a Time Lord. I always shine enough for everyone.

brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch)
Some random rambling about my own mind, my imaginary friends, and how my mind likes to invent coping mechanisms that talk back.

One of my imaginary friends, Amara, who is the human coping mechanism in charge of all the neurochemical, neurodevelopmental fuctions, has been interacting with me more and more ever since Alicia (the epilepsy mechanism) and Serena (the pain, fatigue, psychological, neurobiological functions) urged her to show herself more often after I fell into a chemical depression with severe anxiety. Serena and Koan could only do so much.

Amara, at the beginning of her creation, was not even human; formless and elemental. These days, she is human shaped but she loves to take bits of my writerbrain as inspiration. Her ears are pointed and her eyes and hair change color with her moods. She likes to mimic my bone structure and basic figure shape, just with more muscle intensity. Serena says it's because Amara wants to show me that I am beautiful.
Also, when I saw a Google image painting of a woman with elf ears and a unicorn horn, posing with a unicorn, Amara insisted I make it my current Facebook cover photo. She made herself up to resemble like that character while still mimicking my features, including the horn that represents the third eye - just with chestnut brown streaks in her white-lavender hair and honey brown flecks in her intense blue eyes... although none of that is her true coloring. When she made herself human, her coloring randomly became alabaster skin, gold eyes, and pale flame hair, essentially inhuman. But she kept the mirror shape of my skeletal structure and body shape. She even plumped her lips, made her eyes bigger, and made her nose smaller, because she knew I desired that. It makes me smile, which I think she likes. She wears the same jewelry as me, the same clothing colors, the same makeup colors. She is determined to "reboot" the parts of my brain that are having trouble accepting the recent flooding overload of information about these disabilities and chronic illnesses. The name Amara means everlasting, eternal, immortal... which is why she was formless and elemental to begin with. I finally understand why I created her. And she wouldn't mind being the inspiration for any stories I write. I'm grateful for that.
She insists that my jaw, hair, and eyes resemble the jaw, hair, and eyes of Elena Risteska from Macedonia, which I agreed with and humbly accept with a simple thanks. The only way I even knew about Miss Risteska was through searching for shades of brown.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/Elena_risteska.JPG
http://img27.fansshare.com/pic34/w/elena-risteska/1200/12861_elena_risteska.jpg
http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/18051115/Elena+Risteska+elena+r.jpg
https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/p480x480/578088_479387062121006_1822646409_n.jpg
http://img27.fansshare.com/pic34/w/elena-risteska/1200/12858_elena_risteska.jpg
http://tekstovi-pesama.com/g_img2/1/e/28986/elena%2520risteska-10.jpg
She just wants me to feel better, to feel my own positive human emotions. Since Amara is still learning about humanity, she looks to Serena for help. In my dreams, they have amazing conversations.
I'm so glad I created these characters. They help keep me sane, emotionally stable, intellectually stable, and psychically curious. Also, every time I meditate and concentrate on my third eye, I actually feel a short unicorn horn on my forehead.
https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1469926_10151743304270684_204893984_n.jpg
I just love that my own mind is creative enough to make up whole people with entire personalities, back stories, individual appearances, individual likes and dislikes, and actual behaviors. They mainly come to me in sleep dreams, daydreams, and meditations. My psychotherapist adores the fact that they exist, which relieves me. It's just one of those things that I, Joanna, have in my brain to help me handle all the stuff that life gives me. Awesome.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Warrior)
http://www.upworthy.com/best-explanation-of-religion-i-have-ever-heard-and-im-practically-an-atheist

Dear every religious person: Listen to this. This guy is a bishop, and he's better at explaining organized religion as separate from the godhead than almost anyone I have ever heard. Dear every nonreligious person: You will be nodding vigorously and appreciating people like this man so much you'll wish every religious person was like him.

This is why I'm pagan. This is why I have no religion. The godhead - a single god, many gods, a source of energy, the higher self, nature, the universe, however you want to identify with it - has nothing to do with praise, fear, love, hate, organization, community, or what each person does in life. It just exists. It hangs around in its own dimension, formless, genderless, minding its own business, occasionally feeding off the soma of belief from living beings who find it pretty and comforting. It lets those beings shape it into whatever form they can recognize most. And since it is so pretty and comforting, people look to it and embrace it. If it makes them feel good, hooray! But to invent controlling concepts like Heaven and Hell just to scare people into running like children to your arms - born again, as it were, as this man says - is not a good way to explain your belief systems.
I'll say it again, but I believe Neil Gaiman did it best with "American Gods" - the idea that all gods are a sort of Mobius strip, circling back to creating themselves out of the minds of humans until they become real incarnations and sustain themselves on human worship... Except I like to think they originate in dimensions both outside our worlds and within our minds. Not quite panentheism... more like the universe being our own selves.
See? I'm so eclectic I don't want anyone else to "convert" to my belief system. I don't even know how to explain it. This is what happens when I'm raised by an atheist and agnostic both with very open minds.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
I must quote this, because it struck me deeply and knocked me over and stunned me and amazed me.

*****
From: [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling.
I don't know if I can explain it, any more than I can explain why I find anyone amazing, but you're open about what you are and what you are going through. You don't expend energy trying to be normal, and you never seem to even want to. You aren't afraid of what you ARE, even when the things that HAPPEN, sometimes because of things that you are, are scary. You seem sometimes scared of things that happen or that you (body/chemistry) do to you, but not scared of yourself, really. You're fierce. You're . . . we don't have a word for it. The way in which children and animals are alike, that we *call* innocence, but isn't innocence, it's just a kind of transparency and guilelessness-without-cluelessness. You're contradictory, and this isn't a problem. You've imposed . . . not order . . . but some sort of reason and meaning and story on the chaos in your life, and you have made beautiful things out of it inside you. You persist. You change, you are not destroyed. You're mercurial, joyful in the sense of being flat-out at everything you feel and not in the sense of being always happy, you're generous, you're very kind, you're forgiving. You aren't afraid to spend a lot of time working with and understanding yourself, because you know that is important. You are more people than just-the-one-you you. You are comfortable working with shape and meaning and color, when words aren't good enough. Whole parts of you are indescribable. You're a *good person*, while still being strong and fierce, and that is overwhelmingly obvious to anyone with half a synapse. You belong in fairy tales, like so many of the rest of us, writing better endings. You're kind of amazing.

And tangentially, THAT is why when people are all like "disabled people are so inspirational!" I get kinda pissed on the grounds of "THESE PEOPLE THAT I KNOW, they are SO MUCH MORE than a stepping stone for your ego or a friendly reassurance that hey, if those people can manage to get themselves to a beach/a gym/on a horse, you have a good chance of not being an utter asshole failure your entire life, and accomplishing REALLY important things!" and at the same time am like "No, really, we ARE inspirational; you have no fucking idea how 'inspirational' the disabled folks I know are . . . and if you had one iota of their self-awareness you might not be saying such asinine crap."
You want to find disabled people "inspirational?" I'll accept that . . . if what you are finding "inspirational" is their honesty in speaking out and sharing their opinions, their desire to help others, their weapons-grade swearing vocabulary (so many disabled people I know HAVE THAT, it's glorious), their ability to incorporate something literally disabling into their self-image and life when our culture gives them limited scripts and limited opportunities, their persistence in navigating the obstacles placed in front of them not by what they are, but by how our culture and the many dickheads in it unwittingly and often VERY DELIBERATELY make it harder to do so, the fact that they are often poor as dirt but are the most generous people you will ever meet, that they have known pain and so they often know great compassion.

*THAT* SHIT IS INSPIRATIONAL.

So is persistence, yes, which is why I am always impressed when I see someone who has had to deal with major issues accomplish something that is made particularly difficult BY those issues SPECIFICALLY, but when that sort of thing is nearly always ONLY praised in the context of visible, physical disability, or when it's some completely unrelated shit, that pisses me off.

It's like . . . people are apparently impressed by when disabled people do anything *while smiling*, because that indicates the triumph of overcoming our miserable existence? Or that we have a good enough attitude to forget, for a moment, that we are fucked up and are supposed to be miserable constantly? I don't even KNOW. But these same people aren't finding me inspirational when I'm at my blackest and am hanging on by my last claw, which is arguably when I am being my MOST BADASS. That's when I need to be pulling up my bootstraps and thinking my way out of it with sunshine and baby kisses. But an ungroomed, exhausted, surrounded by laundry, not moving, fat, blotchy, cat-strewn DEPRESSED person staring at a computer screen or TV or at nothing in particular doesn't look good in a facebook picture. "This person: probably exercising more willpower not to give up hope and eat a bullet than you will exercise at any point in your whole life. Stop. Bitching. That. Your. Yoga. Is. Hard." <---- Nobody wants that. (And, while maybe sometimes true, it's also kinda dickly, because Suck Olympics are uncool. The things that have made me most miserable sometimes do not seem to be proportional or make sense. To wit, the hour-long crying jag I had when my last pet scorpion died, years ago. Dude, I cried less painfully when my GRANDMOTHER died. What even the HELL?)

All I know is that the shit people usually talk about as being inspirational is not really very inspirational to me. Like, *if* it's true that Chris Evans really does have anxiety/panic attacks (never read reliable info about how severe his "problems with anxiety" are, though he apparently went into therapy) and he still navigated two MONSTROUS blockbuster movies and associated press events, I find that totally fucking impressive, because I KNOW WHAT THAT IS LIKE, and I know I couldn't handle it. And that's the stuff people don't seem to understand. That's the stuff people latch on to and *make fun of.* Because people who don't Get It can be real dicks about that stuff.
*****
I truly believe that if Namaah and I lived closer, we would see each other several times a week and never get tired of each other's company.
My husband once told me that everyone has multiple soulmates, that a soul can be split into many different parts. I think Namaah may be one of my soulmates. It took me five years to realize that, and that's okay. I like to take things slowly.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
I stretched the hell out of my back and legs and arms. It was lovely. I did it my way. I am very pleased and very satisfied. I won't discuss the various burning barbed wire pains that are distracting me even through the codeine, but I will talk about the beautiful meditative exercises I've been working with. Peaceful, serene, tranquil, calm, relaxing, refreshing, fantastic in multiple ways. The scene always changes, but always appears Zen in some way.
I had mentioned that my human coping mechanisms, my spirit guardians, had begun communicating with each other deep in my brain without my conscious knowledge, which leads me to believe that parts of my brain are starting to come together as part of the story, as my unlimited imagination and writerbrain is starting working on a whole new, amazingly unique, private story all on its own. No wonder I have been working on Amber's story beyond these bits of my brain. Amber has also given me free reign to write her as a fully developed character and not just a created coping mechanism.
In general, I am just... very happy.
And the funny thing is that I am in a depressive episode. I have all the symptoms, and I am quite conscious and aware. But I have things that are helping distract me: Talking about my imagination and my creativity, talking about the triggers for my panic attacks and my simple seizures, talking about comedy TV shows and powerful fiction books. Somehow it all is able to keep the major depression away, although it is a very intense fight. Sometimes I find myself weak and struggling, even physically, as thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness, frustration and terror, pessimism and guilt all slam into me and my wall and my shell.
I suppose I could say I am happy. I feel happy.
But... what is happiness?
"Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy." Sure, I feel those things. However, there is a strong undercurrent of the exact opposite.
Brains, man. Brains are wild. Brains are weird. Brains are so complex. One day, I want to have an MRI and see exactly what my brain is doing. I want to sit with multiple brain specialists for hours on end, and just... talk. I want to talk about my brain.
Brains, man.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
Another bizarre, color-based fantastic dream last night.
I was walking through a small town full of colors of all kinds. I had my handbag on me and I wondered if I could practice any magic with my cosmetics. However, the eyeshadows from the previous dream were gone.
An older woman came to me and said, "I know what you need. The powders you were using are limited. But these are not. I give these to you as my gift, freely, with no expectations. They belong to you."
She handed me two eyeshadow cases. I recognized them instantly - I own them in the waking world: Too Faced Exotic Color Eye Shadow Singles in Poison Orchid and Midnight Mist. I frowned and stared at her, realizing that her eyelids were painted with a blend of the two. I asked, "Are these stronger?"
"Oh yes," she said. "They heal and harm, create and destroy. Use your finger or a shadow brush. Wear them blended on your eyelids and you are immune to anyone who tries to use magic in a negative or destructive way. Swipe one on each wrist and your own magic will be increased. Wear them any which way you wish and you will be stronger. There is always power in color. Do you wear the red lipcolors that the Art Goddess gave you?"
I tilted my head. "I don't know. I own many red lip shades."
She smiled. Then you probably do. Do you know the names Provocateur, Hot Mama, Pretty Woman, Ruby Slippers, Stiletto Red, Wild?"
"Oh!" I said. "Oh, yes! Buxom and It Cosmetics and Too Faced and Tarte! I always feel drawn to them. Um, pun intended?"
The woman laughed, and her dark blue eyes glowed. "These eyeshadows are Too Faced and the names are no coincidence in this dimension. You come here very often in your dreams." She peered closer at me, nose to nose. "You are wearing Tarte Maracuja Concealer and It Cosmetics Concealer. One day, you will see the true complete beauty, and you may not use so much."
I smirked. "Are you a psychiatrist?"
"Sort of," she laughed. "Empathic witchcraft has advantages. You use color and cosmetics as both enhancement and costume. That is perfect and good. But you must remember that you, as you, are always beautiful."
I took a very deep breath. "It will take a while."
She reached out and pressed her palms against my cheeks. "You will know. You are loved."
It seemed as though she were about to walk away, but she paused and looked at me again. "The Too Faced Lipstick in Stiletto Red and the Tarte Lipstick in Wild. Use them to draw your personal magical symbols where you need on your body, when you come into this dream dimension again. You will understand why once you walk through our town."
I nodded. "And the Too Faced eyeshadows?"
"Oh, you know how they work!" she laughed. "You could even just open them and point them at the sky when you need to destroy your monsters and horrors. Midnight Amethyst and and Midnight Sapphire are designed to work in moonlight, sunlight, and all elements."
I realized that nothing was enigmatic anymore. I started laughing. Behind me, a gateway opened. I stepped back, waving at my companion. She held out one hand, fingers spread wide, and passed a golden-silver stream of light to my hand. I laughed loudly, and the gateway gently wrapped around me and pulled me through. It took a while for me to wake up. I suppose I could call it dream limbo. Light and shadow, color and negative space, filled with serenity.
I will go back. It is my town, after all.



The makeup in this photo:
Too Faced Exotic Single Eyeshadow in Poison Orchid, Midnight Mist
It Cosmetics Hello Lashes Volume Growth Mascara
It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Butter Gloss in Ruby Slippers
Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer

Front facing smartphone cameras with anti-shake technologies are so freaking awesome for disabled people!
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
You guys, I amaze myself. I've been writing helter skelter all over the place: Novel, stories, novellas, blogs, facebook, notebooks with various pens, everywhere... in the middle of a postictal migraine and insanely horrific agonizing chronic pain flare-up following recovery from a panic attack. If I didn't have a computer or paper I might write on the walls. I hurt so badly I have no idea what I'm doing. I feel half fire and half water. Wild and raging, and all I want is a crackling bonfire and a rushing river.
I doctored up a photo of myself and it came out half gold light and half blue light. It looks inhuman. But part of me adores it so much. My face is two different parts. I am two entities in one. When I burn, I am cool. When I am cool, I burn. It is ying yang, dragon phoenix, up and down, left and right, I don't even know. I don't speak out loud except to my cats, I just speak through Story. So much Story inside me.
That rock. That rock that my husband gave me, the rock that he held while standing in Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, in which Stephen King wrote "The Stand" and used as an inspiration for "The Shining". That rock is still next to my laptop. I am covered in words. I am filled up with Words. I may disappear into Story. I may not even see the world until I have to.
Is this what it is like to live in the land of the Fae and then come back to the land of humans?

jowitchzen2

Maybe it was the super moon. Maybe it is the heat from the sun now. Maybe it is anything.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
Brains, man. Brains are weird.
Early this morning I woke in smack in the middle of another panic attack. Crying like a cornered wounded panther kitten and everything. No reason at all. But then I realized that whatever wanted to eat me couldn't fit through the little cave I was huddled in. So I did that breathing exercise that Beca taught me: breathe in golden light, all through the spine up through the crown, breathe out silver light from the spine, don't stop breathing.
And then of course came the complex partial seizure. Because brains, man.
But! I had some crazyweird fantastic "visions" while in the seizure. Alicia's Wonderland dimension in my mind is becoming really elaborate.
She mentioned talking to Amara, and when I came out of the seizure all I could think was "Wait, what? But my brain guardians don't talk to each other like that. I mean, okay, Amara handles every neurological and psychiatric fuckedness outside of epilepsy, but still. Amara doesn't talk to Alicia. Not even Serena talks to Alicia. Alicia doesn't go outside of the Wonderland gateway. Why are they talking to each other?"
Brains, man. I swear. I think this is some sort of representation of my whole brain trying to come together and work out solutions. All my private human-faced coping mechanisms (Alicia, seizures; Serena, pain and fatigue; Amara, neurology and psychology; Amber, systemwide maintenance) finally mechanizing cope as a giant bodywide thing, maybe.
Shrug. Brains. I don't know. They're weird.

Anyway. Those with unusual coping mechanisms will get it. You know. The coping mechanisms born out of made up fictional characters. Because why not. Because brains are weird. You know. Like a giant pod of interdimensional psychic dolphins circling a solar system and constantly communicating the gossip around the universe. Because dolphins are cool like that.
What?

planetdolphinlove
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
Why is it that, in most dreams where I am in physical danger, I am unable to scream or move quickly?
My last dream involved a bad fall and crash at the top of the stairs, while a large group of people were downstairs having a small quiet party. Something supernatural was with me, something insidious. I grabbed the stair ledge and pulled myself up to a kneeling position. I yelled my husband's name, but it was only a whisper. I couldn't call for help, not with the shadowy creature surrounding me. I was moving so slowly. It felt as though nobody was in the house but me, me and the cats.
And abruptly, I realized that nobody was in the house. Adam was at work. There was no party. The cats were all downstairs. It was only me and the shadow entity. I struggled to call on my internal resources, my spirit guardians, but even my psychic voice was muffled. I was not afraid. I was determined. I was badly injured, and I only had myself, and my powers to create weapons and defenses were drained. I stopped trying to stand. I knelt there and mouthed words, calling on the water in the bathroom, the air circulating around the house, the earth under the house, the fire downstairs used to light the gas stove. I pulled in all into me, and with a desperate burst, I unleashed it. The shadow creature shrieked and vanished.
Without any warning at all, the house filled with presence again. There was that quiet downstairs party. I whispered my husband's name again, struggling to turn it into a cry. Someone must have heard. Adam came up the stairs and found me, sagging against the door of the bathroom, my nose bleeding. He spoke to me. He half-carried me to the bedroom and helped me lie down. He brought damp towels and tissues and water with electrolytes. I managed, somehow, to tell him that a negative spirit had entered the house and stole my strength, and I pulled all the elemental power I could to drive it away. He was very proud but also puzzled, since the house was supposed to be powerfully shielded and guarded. I was crying but I didn't mean to cry. It was just a reaction without intention. He stroked my hair and curled up with me, and me took my hand and fed me energy and power and strength, and he said, "Go to sleep, my darling. I'll be monitoring you through our psychic bond and everything will be okay. I will strengthen the wards." He needed to check on our friends. He would back be up soon.
The dream ended there.

It has been something of a recurring thing: My slowness in dreams. My exquisite agony in dreams. My whispering words in dreams. Sometimes I can barely walk for the pain in my hips and knees. Sometimes I can only speak with thoughts instead of physical words. Sometimes my body is wrapped in a floating translucent shell and it is the only way I can move. In my dreams, the pain is so much worse than in reality. But I have access to weapons of all kind and I feel safe, even if something horrible grabs me.

When I was a child, I had flying dreams every night. Even astral projection. Like my father and cousins in their younger years. And if a harmful person appeared, I just waved my right hand fiercely, shouting "Shoo! Shoo!" to make then disappear.

When I was a child, I dreamed of dragons, of ancient tortoises, of unicorns mixed with white tigers, of phoenix birds with feathers of every color. Dragons have never been dangerous to me. Even if some were, there were always other dragons who were benevolent.

It is why I always bristle when I read an article comparing chronic pain to dragons. The only way I can see such battles happening is dragon against dragon. And I am a human amalgam of dragon, phoenix, tortoise, unicorn, white tiger, and fae, wrapped in the skin of a moonlight witch.

Then, why do my dreams cripple me? The only reason I can think of is to teach me to use the insides, the powers coming from my spirit and not my body. My body is very important and vital to me. But perhaps not so much in my dreams.

And I think this piece of art, beyond anything, is one of the greatest ways I can understand myself. Every time I look at it, I weep. I even have that same cane. I know Shinga and I barely know each other, but she knows chronic pain. She knows what being a warrior means. She was in the US Army and was badly injured and treated so poorly during therapy that she has severe PTSD. She is disabled badly. She knows battles. And I want to hold her and hold her and tell her what this means to me.

http://shinga.deviantart.com/art/Awaken-Warrior-and-Rise-378439320
awaken__warrior__and_rise_by_shinga-d69b9nc
(Note: Please please refer to Shinga before borrowing or using this image. Please use the Deviant Art link. This is her work. Copyright Shinga. The only reason I displayed the actual image was in case someone can't click on the link.)
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
You know, it is incredibly difficult to stare terror in the eye and snarl "No, you beast, I AM THE DRAGON" when you have no more hope or confidence or battle left in you.
Most chronic pain advocates describe pain and disability as the "destructive, sometimes evil dragon that must be fought." Fuck that. In this world, I am a blend of dragon and phoenix and whatever dragon they think wants to hurt me can scream it to my face; I will scream right back.
My reserves have been scraped clean. I need to rest. I have a high fever and can barely speak. And I just learned that my digital thermometer turns red and loud above 99.6. LOL. I am my own dragon. And this dragon needs to curl up on a pile of gold and copper and silver and gemstones and go the fuck to sleep before epilepsy dominates.
I am fine. I will be fine. Somehow I always turn out all right.
Until we meet again, warrior sisters and brothers.



Note: no makeup. Except lip balm and moisturizing lotion. But no fear. Not now. No time. Apologies to Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
Does anyone here have any experience with Taoism?
I have been having recurring dreams about walking down a long winding path of many colors, with a companion made up of dragon, cat, and humanoid parts.
She tells me the same thing over and over:
"Be who you are. Love who you are. Know who you are. Follow your own Way. Your own Path stretches long and strong all around you. Happiness, ecstasy, tranquility, serenity, joy, peace - it is all part of you. Heed the advice of others, even if they do not always match your Way or Path. See anger as a thing to work with, not against. Be calm in the face of fear and rage. Be the dragon, acting; do not be the tiger, reacting. You are part of the universe and every cosmic force. Be a force within yourself."

Now, what I find fascinating is this:

**
A recurrent and important element of Taoism are rituals, exercises and substances aiming at aligning oneself spiritually with cosmic forces, at undertaking ecstatic spiritual journeys, or at improving physical health and thereby extending one's life, ideally to the point of immortality. Probably the most characteristic among these methods is Taoist alchemy. Already in very early Taoist scriptures - like the Taiping Jing and the Baopuzi - alchemical formulas for achieving immortality were outlined. Enlightened and immortal beings are referred to as xian.
A number of martial arts traditions, particularly the ones falling under the category of Neijia (like T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Bagua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan) embody Taoist principles to a significant extent, and some practitioners consider their art to be a means of practicing Taoism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism
**

Recently, it has been as though a biochemical or neurochemical switch has been flipped and I have begun to see things in ways I can't explain. My mood is still elevated even when I'm in depressive or postictal states, which is fascinating. It's as though a part of my brain and mind has separated and remained lit up, waiting to merge back in when all the neurological crap has been treated. I like it.

(Also, please don't suggest yoga. Yoga does not work well for me. I perform personalized exercises and stretches that resemble certain yoga poses, but I do not do yoga.)
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Blood Red Light Pale)
Quote of the day so far:
"Oh, that's okay. Sometimes my very existence amuses, confuses, or utterly angers people for various reasons. Myself included. I am so fucked up and insane and crazyweird that I unintentionally upset someone or entertain someone every time I do anything. Why am I here? Who am I, really? Hell if I know. I forgot why a long time ago. But it is a good life, full of fascinating people, and I'm happy to stay for as long as it will have me."

Sometimes I just want to be Honey Badger eating pistachios. But I have too many emotions and too many reactions. Damn my screaming amygdala.

My mother says it is impossible for me to not be overly emotional to everything. Even, like, air.

I think that's why I like online socialization so much. I can have my emotions and my reactions and my masks and shells, and everyone I socialize with can have theirs. I struggle with physical interactions so much and I wind up draining my reserves. You know what I mean!
But!! My shells are cracking all on their own because I'm getting more confident. I've been collecting broken beautiful shells left and right. How about you??
We are so beautifully screwed up but we are together and I adore all of you.
Also, cracking shells have started becoming a new symbol for me. I'm covered in layers of shells of different colors and intensities. Gently breaking each one feels reliving.

***

I have no idea why, but right now I am so happy, joyful, blissful, content, and serene that bluebirds should be frolicking around my head. I just feel totally zen.

I am happy about my writing, my book reading, cleaning my house, brushing each cat for ten minutes, taking long walks, meeting random people and having small talk, being on the internet, not being on the internet, being by myself, cleaning my house again, being disabled forever, knowing all my limits and raising those limits and pushing forward when I can and pulling back when I can't, having several canes to walk with, taking medications that work, sharing my stories with people, loving myself because of all these wild flaws and faults.

Even being personally insulted on geek forums because I'm not wild about the fandoms. That makes me happy. Because it makes me laugh. People are adorable!

Just... happiness. Pure. Simple. I can't even explain or understand it. It permeates me. Like a Lotus Sutra. Like a Buddhist chant. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
I don't think I could feel anything but happy right now. Even when it fades later, and it will, I shall remember.

Somewhere, Honey Badger is smiling.

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