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Author: worthyadvisor

Stop Killing Your Partner’s Joy

My wife asked me to write this because in a group she’s in on Facebook she hears many stories about partners (usually long term husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc) getting all bent out of shape about their partner taking the time to work on and enjoy their hobbies. Usually, this manifests as one partner telling the other that they can’t do their hobby or go out without them because they should be spending all their free time with them. This societal trope is everywhere, including in movies and TV, and it’s lauded as “romantic” because apparently, according to what we’re taught about love in TV and movies, you’re supposed to give up those hobbies when you become an adult. And you’re especially supposed to give them up if you get married. The other side of this is that supposedly, when you are in a long term relationship, you’re supposed to only derive joy from your significant other and if you don’t, you’re somehow not in love enough.

I’ve never really understood this and frankly (if I may be blunt): Fuck. That. Noise.

When I was a kid, my parents not only encouraged me to do what interested me when I was growing up, they also encourage each other do to the things they really wanted to do with friends and work on their hobbies. My Mom would never had pitched a fit if my Dad wanted to go hunting or fishing with his buddies. She might have said “Well, money’s tight this week…” and then they would discuss it, but it was never a flat “No”. Same with my Dad. He actively encouraged my Mom to get her Bachelor’s, then her Master’s degree and has always encouraged her to do her art. It normally wasn’t a big deal if either of them decided to go and do something on their own without the other, either.

That attitude rubbed off on me. The way I see it, I’m not there to stand in my wife’s way. I’m there to encourage her to be her very best at everything that she wants to do. I’m not her parent, and she’s not mine. I don’t need to derive all of my joy from her, nor her from me. I am responsible for my own happiness, even though we are a couple. We enjoy our time together, but we also are content in our time apart from each other. We each have our own lives that just happen to be lived together.

I’ve had a couple of relationships in the past where someone was basically willing to give up their whole lives for me, as if their identity and self-worth depended on my very existence. In fact, I ended up breaking up with one person because they were going to give up an opportunity to learn more about the art they loved doing just because they were in a relationship with me and the opportunity was in another state. I said to them, “Don’t you dare give up an opportunity like that just because you want to be with me!” I was so angry because not only were they giving up a really great opportunity for their own happiness and growth, but they were using me as an excuse not to do it. I didn’t want that guilt on my head.

But the reverse is also as bad.

Denying your partner the things that make them happy is not being romantic or funny, it’s controlling. To put it another way: it’s socially acceptable emotional abuse. If you can’t deal with the time your partner puts into their art or hobbies, or even their career in some cases, then you need to evaluate your own jealousy, not stomp on their souls. If you think your partner owes you all their time and attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week then you might want to rethink why you are with them, or married them, in the first place. Your significant other isn’t a pet. They are not your child (and don’t get me started on the Child Husband trope. Ugh).

If you insist that your partner can only do their hobbies at certain times of day, or that they can’t go out with their friends without you, what are you so afraid of? Are you jealous? Are you dealing with separation issues? Have you had a lover before who cheated on you? These are all on you, not your partner. You might want to ask yourself why you don’t trust your partner to be without you. That type of neediness isn’t healthy for any relationship, and you need to deal with your own issues. Crushing the soul of the person you love just because you have issues leads to resentment, and, if it goes too far, splitting up or divorce.

There’s an old saying: If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, it was meant to be. While this is a bit cliche, there’s a massive truth in it: if you love and trust your partner, then you can lift them up and let them go do the things that make them happy. For me, even if that means I have to let my wife be away from me for awhile, I will not stop her from doing what she needs to do. I will call the taxi, kiss her goodbye and say “Have a good time! See you when you get back!” Then I will go back into the house and figure out what to do with myself while she’s away.

Because watching her fly brings me joy, and I will never stand in the way of seeing that joy.

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Getting my Writing On: New Star Trek Fanfic on AO3

So, this year I’m working on getting my writing mojo back, and I’m doing pretty good so far. Not only have I finished my mystic novella (woot!) I’ve also written a short Star Trek fanfic. The Wife and I have been watching The Next Generation from the beginning with the German dub track and English subtitles for listening and vocabulary practice, and well, I got inspired.

You can read it on AO3 here:

Dagda’s Warning (2035 words) by worthyadvisor
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Celtic Mythology
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original, Worf (Star Trek:TNG/DS9), Jean-Luc Picard, Miles O’Brien, Geordi La Forge, Sonya Gomez, Borg (Star Trek)
Additional Tags: Mysticism, Spiritual, Visions, Holodecks/Holosuites, Deities, Celtic Mythology & Folklore, Slice of Life, Starship Enterprise (Star Trek)
Summary:

A young ensign invokes a deity into the holodeck and she gets a little more than she bargains for.

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Zurich Reflections #3: Weihnachtsfreude (Christmas Joy)

Once the end of November comes around, Zürich starts to transform. Greenery and lights are put up on all the main streets. Large Christmas trees start appearing at plazas and train stations. All the stores get a makeover of Christmas colors: red, green, silver, white, and gold. Little stalls start popping up all over selling roasted chestnuts.

In short, Zürich becomes a Yuletide fairyland, and it is incredibly magical!

One of the first things that happens the last week of November is the lighting of the “Lucy Lights” on Bahnhofstrasse. These lights are strung up the entire length of Bahnhofstrasse, and they look like a field of stars when they are lit up! The night they do the official lighting, there’s a large street party with vendors selling wine, food, and holiday sweets. The wife and I went, and while it was really pretty, there were so many people that it was hard to get around!

The other major holiday tradition here are the Weihnachtsmarkts, or Christmas Markets, the biggest one being the market near the Zurich Opera House. There are vendors selling many different things from cheese to jewelry, but the best part is the street food! Massive sausages! Raclette! Doughnuts! Cookies! And, the big deal for many, Glühwein.

Oh, Glühwein. I’ll have to say that it wasn’t bad when it was hot, but once it cooled off, well, it wasn’t as good. It reminds me of mulled apple cider, but with wine instead (although, the spices are a little different than mulled cider). The alcohol does hit you like a ton of bricks later, so I was very glad at the time that I could take the tram! (If you’ve ever had hot sake, you have an idea about how Glühwein can hit you.) 

Oh Gluehwein!

The cutest thing I’ve seen here is the Märlitram. It’s a special tram for kids 4-10 that is painted to look like a Christmas cottage and driven by Santa Claus. The kids get on and the Christmas Angel tells them Christmas stories while they have hot chocolate and travel around the city. It is pure joy to watch the kids getting on and coming off the Märlitram! It’s also kind of fun playing “spot the Märlitram” on Instagram! (If you’re wondering, Märli means fairy tale, with the “li” ending denoting that it’s for kids.)

The Maerlitram!

The most interesting thing about Christmas here is that it’s not really kitsch like it can be in the US. It’s very, well, Swiss. There’s a certain sacredness to the traditions here, even the ones that are silly and fun. But when my Landlady explained Swiss Christmas traditions to me when I visited her the other day, it made a lot of sense. She told me that traditionally, the Father of the family would take the kids out for a walk on Christmas Eve, and the Mother would put up the tree and put out the presents. When they all came back, the Mother would say “Oh! You just missed the Christmas Angel! She was just here!” Then there would be presents and dinner with the immediate family. At midnight, people would go to Midnight Mass. Christmas Day was for doing the big family dinner. Samichlaus (Santa Claus) came on Twelfth Night, January 6, and the legend has it that if you were a good kid, you get sweets, but if you were a bad kid, Samichlaus would put you in his red sack and spirit you away! My Landlady did say that these days, some American tradition has been adopted and some people do presents on Christmas Day, but mostly, Christmas traditions are kept really well be here Christmas is serious business. 

I’ve been loving learning about all the traditions here, but most of all, this is the most Holiday Spirit I’ve felt in a long time. We even put up our own little Christmas tree! I feel a bit like when I was little where Christmas was a wondrous and joyful time full of beauty and mystery! It’s a bit bittersweet, too, because the last few years in the US I hadn’t really felt like celebrating. There was too much going on and hard things overwhelming everything else. I really wasn’t feeling the spirit then. 

But right now I’m grateful to this city for helping me find Christmas wonder and joy again.

Our own little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!
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Zurich Reflections #2: Humility

One of the things about living in another country is remembering to be flexible and learning humility. Zürich won’t, and shouldn’t, conform to me – I have to conform to it. I need to learn the language, figure out how to pay the bills, follow the rules and laws, and accept that nothing here will be exactly like where I came from.

While there are a lot of foods and things I miss from the US, there are quite good analogs for many things that we want and we can get here. For the things I can’t get here, I generally do without it. I’m finding that a lot of those things that I can’t get in Switzerland are more wants than needs anyway (clothing being the major exception, but we’ve now found a supplier for nice plus size clothes). There will be things from the US that I’ll miss, and that I do miss now, but I came here, in part, to experience new things and people. I think the trick to surviving in another country is to accept the differences, but try to make life as normal as you can.

It hit me a bit yesterday when the Wife and I set up our altars in our dining area. Setting up our spiritual space always makes a place feel like home to me. Especially since a lot of our magickal things have been with us since we first got together. The pictures of our Ancestors, statues of our deities, magickal tools, all make our apartment really feel like “home” when we have them out. Not that it didn’t feel home-like before, but now it feels that way even more.

What really gets me are a lot of immigrants, and typically many US ones, on some forums that constantly complain about what they can’t get in Switzerland and go to great expense to either get stuff shipped to them, or carry it back in their luggage when they visit their home country (again, mostly US folks). I just don’t get it, really. I don’t expect Switzerland to be like the US (thank the gods!), and I certainly am not here to only have US food or products. I want to learn about food, and culture, and history. I want to experience all these things. I know all about US stuff already. Swiss stuff is all new and different and exciting!

There were certain things that were easier to do in the US. The biggest one for us was being able to use Amazon to get whatever we needed delivered.* Amazon doesn’t really work in Switzerland (and many of the Amazon suppliers even for amazon.co.uk and amazon.de won’t deliver to Switzerland), so we have to do a lot more in-person shopping or use alternative online sources like eBay and galaxus.ch. But, the upside of that is that it gets us out of the house and utilizing our German language skills!

It’s a real eye opener for me being the immigrant here, not knowing the language, and having to navigate official things and people at large. I did have empathy and sympathy for immigrants in the US, but now I really understand how it feels to be and immigrant. I’m lucky that Switzerland is, generally, open to immigrants and has many mechanisms to make people feel welcome to the country. For example: the Zurich City Hall has a new immigrant Welcome Night every other month where they welcome you to the city, answer any questions, and give you a tour.

The US immigration process seems barbaric by comparison, and then you have to navigate a general public who are openly hostile to you and a loud chunk of the population who have a superiority complex.**

The US has a long way to go. Switzerland’s not perfect, but in general, the government does try to treat people like they are actual human beings.

 

 

*Please don’t lecture me about using Amazon. Both the Wife and I have mobility issues and hated going out to shop because of that. Plus, in Zurich, walking isn’t a hardship like it is in the US (excellent and extensive public transit is awesome).

**You know, that whole white supremacy thing and the Religious Right thing. (White nationalism and the Religious Right are a thing even in Switzerland, but here they have no problem punching Nazis and keeping them to a minimum in government.)

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Two weeks…Three New Ancestors…

It’s a gloomy, rainy day here in Chicago, and it seems rather fitting that today. So many Ancestors in so short of time. I’ve already done my rituals: lit candles and incense. But today I feel the need to write about them and what they meant to me.

A little less than two weeks ago, my mentor and friend, Lizann Bassham passed after a long struggle with cancer. She had decided that she wanted to stop treatment and die on her own terms. Her partners kept vigil with her, both in person and online, updating those of us who couldn’t be there on her Facebook page.

She was an amazing woman and an amazing spirit. She was also the first mentor I’ve had that was a both/and priest: both pagan and Christian. When we first met when I was in seminary, it was the first time I could see that the idea of both/and could be done in a professional capacity. We had many deep and poignant talks while I was at PSR and learned so much from her. Not just about being a multi-faith priest, but how to navigate this world from the spaces in between. We were both priests who lived in the in-between spaces, and as beings who intimately know those spaces, it can sometimes be very difficult to live in this world with that knowledge. But Lizann did it with such gentleness and grace and love, that I hope that I, too can emulate that.

After seminary we didn’t talk as much as when I was still at school, but I would occasionally say hello to her online and read her blog posts. I will miss her greatly.

Yesterday, we found out that Valerie Walker (aka Vee or VeeDub) also left this world after deciding to stop her own cancer treatments. It had been the second round of cancer for her and she basically was done with it. She wasn’t  a mentor as such to me as she was to my wife, but she was an awesome friend to both of us. I had heard about her a lot from friends of mine who were studying Feri witchcraft under her (including my wife), and I remember I was a little nervous meeting her for the first time. If I’m remembering right, Sarah asked me to come with her to a circle at Vee’s house. And while I wasn’t interested in learning Feri tradition from Vee as an initiate, I did learn a lot from her. She also always treated me as a colleague, as fellow witch also navigating being a leader of a tradition. Unlike some other leaders in the Bay Area, she never treated me as “inferior” because I didn’t happen to be initiated in her tradition. After that, we were friends and Sarah and I went to several holy days at her house. Sometimes we just came over to say hello and catch up. In the last several years, it had been harder for Sarah to get some time with her, or for both of us to go visit, since we had moved first to San Jose, then to Chicago. We did keep in touch online off and on.

Vee, to me, was like that BadAss Grandmother you never knew you needed in your life until you met her. She was fierce, and blunt, but always accepted you for who you are and was kind in that no-nonsense kind of way. She died how she lived her life: on her own terms, and I will miss her presence on earth, too.

Then, this morning I heard of Anthony Bourdain’s passing. My Mom texted me about it, and at first I was like “No way!” but then I saw the BBC article. I didn’t know him personally, nor did I ever get to see him in person, but he’s been a virtual mentor in the sense that he showed me places I had never seen before and made me see that the food of a people, and eating with people, will tell you more about a country than anything else you can do. I started watching “No Reservations” many years ago, and ended up binge watching the whole series. From then on, I couldn’t get enough of his work. I watched everything he ever did on TV, shows he helped produce, or where he collaborated with other chefs. I’ve read almost all of his books on his life and thoughts about being a chef (although, I’ll admit I haven’t read any of his fiction yet). His Parts Unknown series, to me, was some of his best work, bringing together food, people, politics, and culture in a very unique way. It’s inspired me to do my own filming of my own travel when I move to Europe, and while my own work will be more of a vlog type thing, I do want to incorporate some of the same sensibilities that he brought to his show into mine: seeing past the tourist view and into the hearts and souls of people who live there.

What I found really interesting in watching all his shows is that you can saw him grow as a person. The very beginnings of “No Reservations” he comes off as an asshole, bad boy chef playing up his asshole-ness to the camera. But as the seasons went on, you can tell that the travelling made him think and grow. One of the episodes that showed that is the episode where he was in New Orleans a few years after Katrina, where he went and apologized to Emeril after dissing him years earlier. He did it in his Anthony Bourdain way, but he was sincere. But that wasn’t the only episode that you could see that, but it’s one that stands out to me.

Then again, he was pretty open about when he messed up, especially in his writings. From his drug addiction, to when he didn’t communicate right with locals, and so on. This, and in so many other ways, his work always spoke to me as a food nerd, a priest, a traveller, and a person. Even in the end, he went out his own way, by his own rules. I hope that wherever he is now, there’s a full pig roast going on, with sausage, BBQ, and Pho.

All three of these people have had a big impact in my life, and mostly because they lived life to the fullest by their own rules and in their own time. I honor them as my newest Ancestors, and I hope I can honor them by doing the same: living my life, living it well, giving where I can, and teaching when I can.

What is remembered lives.

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