An end to Easter, let my life be reborn

I have been having quite a difficult month so far, yet it has been far more rewarding that I could have hoped. In many ways, the path to my baptism has been wrought with parallels aplenty with the symbolic meaning of lent and Easter. This has actually been my first Easter and I am proud to say that I have officially been baptized, confirmed and received first communion two days ago on the Easter saturday vigil. I find it hard to write using a Christian, let alone Catholic vernacular without cringing from the mass stigma bred into me by our modern society so I will have a slow progression from my neo-pagan terminology to a that of the Catholic tradition.

It is interesting to me how this how process has played out, because in truth, I’m a skeptic with a fixation on the scientific method, yet my spiritual experiences are plenty. This last month I have had a very bad fibromyalgia neuropathic pain flare (last about 6 hours), the crux of my medication for migraines failing (a migraine that lasted 9 days and needed hospital treatment a week ago today) and, all things in threes, I had to endure a very bad celiac reaction friday night (worse than I’ve had in over a year). This is all, of course, smack dab in the middle of my final exams at university.

Through all of these, my partner as stood strong and caring, more so than I could ever have even prayed for. He has been a constant source of comfort and peace, and although the relationship is relatively new, it is one that echos through the ages, familiar and strong. My RCIA program with church culminated (in terms of the official initiation rights) on Saturday. Thursday I was one of the 12 chosen to have my feet washed by the bishop, before which I had tripped and sprained my ankle. Friday I was in enough pain that I couldn’t attend the walk from one parish to another for the morning ritual, or the afternoon mass at three. Friday evening there was a mishap, and I spent from 9pm to 1-2 am in the bathroom shaking and sobbing in pain. Heartburn, vomiting, nauseated, bloating so fast I could feel the water stretching the cells in my abdomen, my intestines being stabbed at in waves as my own body attacked itself. My joints inflamed, every joint in my body, from my toes to my spine and my jaw, hurting in that dull ache from the inside of the joint itself. I lost coherence and my partner stayed by my side as the pain overwhelmed me. When the sickness had passed to give way to more pain I was able to curl up beside my partner and watch some funny clips with him and his housemates, and he made me laugh in spite of the experience. By 5am I was exhausted enough by my own body attacking itself that I passed out asleep, and missed to retreat to prepare the RCIA candidates for the nights vigil. Thankfully, I’ve started a new medication that has been successfully controlling my migraines and neuropathic pain, so for once, it was just a celiac reaction- no burning in my skin and soft tissue, electric shocks all over my body, aches and stabbing pains.

Saturday morning I was sad. Not because I was in pain, felt sad for myself or wished it all away. This was a lamentation. Lamentation for having missed the retreat, something very important to me, and sorrow at the thought of missing the vigil. I stood firm with myself and decided I would attend the vigil, so I dolled myself up to compensate for how horrid I felt inside and we went. The ceremony was beautiful, and something happened that many may doubt, as I received each blessed sacrement, my pain receded. Like the ebb of a low tide, I hurt less and less, and what is best in this: my reactions from celiac disease in my intestines last over 24 hours no matter what, and my joint pain usually lasts 2 weeks. By the end of the ritual, it was all gone. Completely. And two days later, it hasn’t returned.

I’m in withdrawal from my old migraine prevention meds, and my new meds control my pain so well, but my celiac reaction stopped completely and I have been feeling wonderful since. I know for a fact what happened when I was healed, there is not a doubt in my mind, and whether you believe me or not- it doesn’t change the truth of the event. The Holy Spirt, or in my neo-pagan vernacular: magic, healed me.

I plan to write about my opinions on God, Catholocism and many other topics in time, but I think people may find some glimmer of hope in the fact that on April 18th, 2014, the true Easter Saturday, I was healed. I’ve had experiences with spirits and angels my whole life, but never before had one effect me in such a profound physical manifestation, and I know very well that from here on in I am on the right track. I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.


Trial and error medication continues

I’m really frustrated with life right now in terms of the incessant trial and error of figuring out which medication at what dose actually works for my migraine prevention. I had three months migraine free back in the early fall, and over the last 7 months my body has adjusted to my medication resulting in a reduced effectiveness. I’ve had a migraine since Friday. Slowly my migraines are trying to go back to how they were last year before I was put on medication and that scares me to no end. I have a rare kind of aura, and get aura with my pain as well as before it. I am not willing to go through those symptoms anymore, and I am so tired of this. I’ve had to up my dose for preventative medication tonight, and last time I tried this dose I was groggy all day and could wake up in the morning. This sucks. It really really sucks. It’s been three years now that I’ve had migraines all the time, and I started getting migraines in grade 10, though I’ve had aura most of my life without the pain. I honestly just can’t deal with this. I’m not willing to keel going through this, but I have to. I’m lucky to have an incredibly caring and empathetic boyfriend and super supportive friends, but it is still so friggin hard to go through,


Rant: I’m tired of being blamed for everything

Why is it that my attempts to actually take responsibility for my actions have led to other people taking advantage of that by placing more blame or responsibility on me than is reasonable? It’s like I’m a homing beacon for being a scape goat because I actually admit that I make mistakes, and it’s been like that for so long. From the time I was 16 my Dad decided that it was up to me to contact him if I wanted to see him, so if we went long periods of time without contact it was my fault because it wasn’t important enough to have me get in touch. My mom blamed me for so many things and even in situations where she was emotionally abusive, I provoked her- and eventually she forgave me and acted like nothing had ever happened. I had a friend who blamed me for things going wrong, and said I was a horrible person because I couldn’t hang out with her when she wanted to (because I want allowed at the time). I’ve been used time and time again because I am willing to say that, yeah, I fucked up. Just ’cause I made a mist she doesn’t mean I’m the only one to blame. It doesn’t give anyone the justification to not acknowledge their own responsibility. I’m so tired of it. Where worse? I’m immensely loyal, so when I lose friends because I took responsibility and tried resolving issues and lost those friends I still care about them. I still worry about how they are doing. I still mourn their friendship. I don’t understand what I do wrong, so I try to learn from it as best as possible… But it doesn’t always work out the way I want it to.

Rant: you can’t STEAL a friend.

No one can, or will ever, steal your friends. That is something that cannot happen. To steal requires ownership, and more then that it requires what ever can be stolen to be an object. People are not objects. They are not things you own. Friendships are not mutually exclusive. Friendships are not based in one person’s choice to be friends, they are a two way street filled with mutual responsibility, trust, effort and consideration. The only thing that will ruin a friendship is the dynamic between you and ever is you friend. Yes, there are external factors that will influence that friendship, but it is up to both parties to maintain it. Length of friendship does not indicate closeness or loyalty, and isn’t a free ride to take that individual for granted. Not talking to someone is not a way to maintain a friendship. Talking behind their back is not a way to maintain any friendship. Fixating on issues is not a way to keep a friendship. Do any of these, and you will lose any friend, but just because your newer friends and older friends spend time together and see eachother more than the each see you doesn’t mean the newer friend is stealing your old friend. That is a hugely demeaning point of view that equates both friends as objects you can own.

There’s more I want to say but I am too frustrated to express clearly.

-A venting Penelope

My take on the point of rules

In all honestly, I think that rules are important within a set context and if that context is not applicable, are really not quite appropriate. I find that the true purpose of rules and regulations are to guide people to be considerate of things that they may not be aware of or may not know to do or not do. Rules aren’t set to cause harm or malice in an individual’s life, they are set to prevent an individual from causing harm to another person’s life. Rules are about a community of people; they force individuals to treat the external world with respect, generosity, forethought before those particular behaviors have been taught or understood, and in some cases, are never learned.

There has always been a disjunction between the authoritative role of rules and their adherents within any aspect of societal structure. Sometimes they are unjust, sometimes they make no sense, and sometimes they are created on false authority, but that doesn’t detract from the effect that rules have on our day to day lives. Rules give us a set of appropriate behaviors on how to interact with the external world, from the environment to other people. As children, humans tend to be idio-centric in terms of their thoughts and wishes, not being aware of the existence of another individual’s reality being different from their own. Some people grow aware of others, and some don’t, so what is the best way to insure that the fewest people get hurt and break out into full on chaos? Create some rules. Baselines of standard operation that cover your bases and create a mutually salient level of expectation of yourself and the world around you.

Of all the rules out there, I honestly believe the commandments in abrahamic traditions and neo-pagan rule of three actually offer a very smart baseline to keep people from really hurting eachother from ignorance. In the neo-pagan rule of three, similar to the concepts of karma, anything that you put out into the universe will be returned to you three fold somehow in your life. This rule is a practical guideline that requires a certain amount of self reflection and self analysis to really follow, which can be troublesome to use as a sure fire standard of conduct. Some people may choose that one harm is worth getting it three times in return (whether in terms of frequency or amplitude), but another person may not. The Abrahamic rules of conduct differ slightly from tradition to tradition and often within traditions themselves, but for the sake of simplicity I will look at the Catholic commandments in particular.

In terms of commandments, I’m not going to write each one out but analyze them as a whole. In general, these commandments give rules for people to follow that simultaneously simplify life, insure less drama and heartache, and allow for people to maneuver their day to day lives with a set template for introspection. In my opinion, sin isn’t so much the action itself but the risks inherent in the actions we take, which is why you aren’t held in sin if you genuinely don’t know any better. What I mean by risk is the cause and effect of your actions in terms of implications on the external world. If you lie, what are the possible implications for anyone else? Many! If you go having sex with just anyone, how likely are you to hurt someone? Very. If you don’t respect your neighbor, will you be safer or more fulfilled than if you don’t? Probably not. These rules are set there to control you, they are set to give guidelines to people while they learn how to be truly considerate to every aspect of the external world and reduce the likelihood of that person experiencing emotional or physical trauma by living by those rules. In church I don’t think it is the action itself that you are being judged on, but the awareness and unawareness of every possible outcome you choices and actions will have on the world around you. The commandments all actually cover all of your bases, so if you live by them completely (as improbable as that is) you won’t have to ever actually face the hardships that can come of those actions. When you break a commandment you are causing inadvertent harm to people in ways that I doubt anyone could ever actually fully map out and understand. So, in that sense, God is really just giving you the easiest route to fulfillment and a happy life right there on a silver platter: you don’t have to make the mistakes, get hurt or hurt others to learn to be careful and truly considerate of your actions and their consequences, they are all spelled out in the most simple list.


It has been a while, but my TESOL course is done!

It has been a far while since I last posted, my life has been a tad busy! This post will be more of an update on life events than anything else.

I’m incredibly happy to have just spent my first actual weekend in a month with my lovely boyfriend. Why did I have no weekends previously? I was taking the TESOL course to prepare for my impending year abroad teaching English as a foreign language, and I passed with flying colours! It was actually a really wonderful experience for a slew of reasons, most notably though was my realization of just how much I have actually learned in my last four years in linguistics at university. It was a really cool feeling knowing more than my instructor on various aspects of the English language and acquisition that aren’t, who has had many years of teaching experience but no linguistics background. I found the course really fun, and definitely helped ground me in my own teaching experience. I have online modules I can do to increase the hours on my certification, but the in class portion finished last weekend. I don’t recommend you take a TESOL course in the midst of a uni semester, but it was certainly doable.

I have also been busier lately for a combination of reasons: it is the end of the semester (although it is snowing out today >:| I’m unimpressed at our lack of spring so far), I’m starting all the prep for going to Korea and I’ve got an amazing boyfriend (so I’m figuring out a routine to get to spend time with him, even if it just means I’m studying over at his place while he plays video games). I’ve been making new friends as well that are completely accepting of me for who I am as a really random silly chatterbox woman with ADHD and dyslexia who switches from being cute and silly to passionate and intellectual on the flip of a dime, gets distracted and follows tangents all the time and get super excited and spazzy very easily. I’ve honestly been at odds with my own sense of self ever since my health diagnoses and most importantly, my change in mode of thought from celiac disease, and although I’ve found support from my Aunty and friends that feel like family, I’m finally getting comfortable with what it means to be me.

It’s been a really good month and I am ever appreciative.


IQ tests…some thoughts

Today, thanks to the huge winter storm cell raging through my end of Ontario I have a migraine. I’ve gotten used to functioning with migraines if my pain isn’t passed a certain point thanks to years of having to exist with chronic migraines… And I was curious what would happen if I wrote an IQ test with a migraine– keeping in mind that migraines to seriously mess with my higher functions and make my dyslexia remarkably noticeable in all writing, visual and oral modalities. On three tests, of which used different analytical, spatial, problem solving etc testing techniques I scored highest on those tests with more questions related to image processing and logic. The scores I obtained were 101, 110 and 117 respectively. So, in other words, when I have a migraine, I am above apparently still above average in performance on a test that distinctly covers only certain aspects of an individual’s intellectual capacity.

Honestly, I think IQ tests are ridiculous. Actually, I should amend that statement: I think most standardized testing is ridiculous. Every individual has a variety of strengths and weaknesses that can be overcome or improved, and the idea of creating a standardized test to compare everyone on one specific angle, without giving the opportunity to explore every other angle is absolutely ludicrous… I will likely write a post related to this one on the flaws of current testing procedures and options to improve them.

Poem: pain flare

Fire burns from in my veins,
Spreading, spreading,
So much pain
Fires crawls along my skin
Spreading, spreading,
It doesn’t wane
Fire burns within my limbs
Spreading, spreading
Smiles I feign

It moves, it turns,
It burns! It burns!
My body lays siege on itself!
I move, I’m still,
I hope, I will,
Stop the maddening pain I feel!

Fire burns in my body
Spreading, spreading
I can’t feign
Fires burn with a touch
Spreading, spreading
Make it wane!
Fire burns always changing
Spreading, spreading,
Too much pain

Poem: I close my eyes

I close my eyes and I see yours
Shining blue as an oasis
Gazing deeply, ever sweetly
Compassionate and free

I close my eyes and feel you near
Holding me safely, ever close
The warmth of your skin against mine
Laying in your embrace

I close my eyes and I hear you
The melody in all you say
Sweetest whispers uttered to me
Listening to you

I close my eyes as our lips meet
Caresses that spark a passion
Velvety soft and ever sweet
The perfect kiss with you

Life takes a turn for the better, finally.

Life seems to have this wonderful way of sweeping you off your feet after you’ve fallen and stumbled around getting yourself back on track again. In so many ways, life is taking a turn for the better in ways I could never have truly appreciated if they had happened in any other way. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, written so many tests and really haven’t had a good view of the fact that I really have learned quite a lot in my lifetime. Two wonderful events have happened lately: I’ve started taking my TESOL course to prepare for teaching English overseas next year, and I’ve found Mr. Right, as unlikely or unbelievable as that may be in this day and age.

First off, my TESOL course is going swimmingly, and I have really been able to get an appreciation for how much I do actually know thanks to my various teaching experiences and the last four years of studying linguistics. My university life so far has been so focused on tests and papers that I’ve managed to overlook how much I have actually learned and retained. It is also reminding of how much I truly love to teach, though I am slowly beginning to find that I actually like teaching adults more than children, and I absolutely love working with children. This in many ways is solidifying my goal to pursue post-graduate studies as far as becoming a professor in religious studies. I have really been able to reflect on where I am and what I want to do in life, and I am finally feeling on track.

As wonderful as it feels to really get a good grip on my life itself, I’ve managed to stumble into the arms of someone so compatible you’d think we were starring in a rom-com. That deep, instinctive connection where you do actually know someone well because they share in the important similarities with you. It is new and exciting, that is certain, yet at the same time, I am more grounded and level headed then I’ve been in a very long time. Things are working out in ways I am so thankful for and appreciative of, and right now, my life is pretty damn fabulous.