An Ouch.

It has been a rough day. It has been a rough week. It has taken quite a bit of effort to put one foot in front of the other lately for purely mundane reasons—my health has taken a hit again in ways that were not entirely unexpected or outside the parameters for whatever this thing is that ailing me, but it was a challenge when mixed in with all the other responsibilities on my plate this week. There has been getting ready for the semester to start and launching my business and juggling the financial and scheduling nonsense that goes along with having a lot of medical appointments. There was also the important ritual that I had to pull off by myself [and I will write about that soon]. It has been physically difficult to do all of those things when I’m experiencing a lot of the symptoms of this unknown thing, but I have somehow kept treading water. That’s not really an achievement, as it is the bare minimum of what I’m expected to do with my life and my Work for Them.

The biggest challenge, though, has been emotional and it is a direct result of my presence at EtinMoot a week or so ago.

When one find themselves in the presence of the Holy Ones, regardless of your relationship with Them or how much you do/do not interact with Them, it changes you whether you want it to or not and whether you welcome that change or you deny that it has any place in your life. It happens. Sometimes you get a say in how that change affects you and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you don’t even realize that change has slipped past your defenses like a snake in the grass. Sometimes that’s the hardest change of all to deal with.

While this happens with all Gods and Powers—I have experienced change of some sort, whether I realized it at the time or not, with every Power I have encountered—Loki is especially known to push those buttons especially hard. He doesn’t even try to be subtle about it. He just says what He feels needs to be said and it is your job and responsibility to sort it out and deal with the repercussions. It is something that I dread, but that I respect Him highly for. In some ways, Mr. Mister does that, too—He will say the thing I need to hear most, even if I don’t think I need to hear it, and will step back and allow me to flail with it until I figure out what He means and what it means for my life. For me, it is a process that is often painful, but I value the fact that He cares about me enough to do it. I love Him for it because it is a tangible reminder for me that He loves me, too.

As EtinMoot approached, I got a niggling feeling that it was going to be a bit more than I bargained for, particularly around the Loki party, but I pushed that away as me being fanciful and expansive. After all, I had volunteered to help out with the horsing because Boyfriend was going to be the vessel. I viewed it as a personal thing in line with a favor that I would do for a person that I cared about. It wasn’t a big deal for me, as I’ve paged for a lot of Powers in the past and it was going to be a low-stress encounter for me because it had nothing to do with me.

That was the first illusion that was broken when I found myself in Loki’s presence. As I wrote before, one of the first [and few!] things He said to me was that I was paying off a large debt owed. I can tell you that there have been very few moments in my life where I have done such a blindingly fast 180 degree turn on anything. In less than ten second, my stomach had hit the floor, my heart had risen to where my tonsils should have been, and I was plotting out how on earth I was going to manage to pull off what I suddenly needed to pull off without fucking up or compromising myself in ways that would only cause me needless pain. A whole lot made sense to me in a very short amount of time. This wasn’t a personal favor for Boyfriend. This was a professional obligation arranged between Loki and Mr. Mister and there was a lot more at stake than ‘just’ making sure the vessel that Loki would be residing in was carefully monitored and cared for.

I spent all the time that Loki was getting settled in His vessel trying to manage both the new reality I was suddenly being smacked in the face with and every single emotion that said smack brought up. I spent a good ten minutes self-talking myself into being calm, reminding myself that I knew what to do and was prepared for just about every possible outcome that I could think of, and that if Mr. Mister didn’t believe that I could be somewhat successful in this [meaning that I could be present and not embarrass Him, not that I wouldn’t make any mistakes or get myself into trouble], He would not have made this deal. I was frightened—not of Loki, mind you, but of the stakes that had been raised. I was worried, in order of importance, of disappointing and embarrassing Mr. Mister and screwing up in a way that would build the debt I owed instead of lowering it.

However, the old training kicked in after that. I’ve trained for years to be of service. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in service to other humans, to groups, communities, to causes, and to non-corporeal beings. I’ve spent countless hours researching and practicing various forms of service, even if and especially when I’m not interested in it for myself. I’ve been a page/been of service to Powers in all sorts of situations, from large gatherings to small rituals to just sitting in a room with Them all by myself. I’ve paged for at least one Deity who truly strikes terror into my heart and I managed to pull that off without making too many mistakes. In measurement, there were not too many ways that the party could have gone that would have been worse that that in particular.

What was I worried about, beyond the fucking up? I was worried about standing up for myself. I was pretty convinced that I was going to take some abuse [illusion #2] and was going to have to draw a line in the sand in regards to what was an acceptable way to treat me based firstly on what I demand in terms of respect for me as an autonomous being who is not operated by Him and secondly on what my relationship agreements are with the Mister. Having a backbone when dealing with Powers is relatively new for me. I have historically said ‘yes’ to just about everything that has been laid in front of me and, for me, that’s not healthy and doesn’t come from a healthy place. The Mister has pushed me for awhile to stand up to Him in an appropriate manner and I was terrified that this was not going to translate to another God who didn’t have any deep investment in me and with whom and arrangement had been made where the basics of said arrangement were not made known to me.

Happily, none of that came to fruition. In my first post about EtinMoot, I noted how gentle Loki was towards me. That’s an odd word to use to describe Him, if you believe even half of what people say about Him, but that’s what it was. Our interactions were gentle and He held some kind of respect for me. That didn’t mean I got off scott-free [see: awkward boy dancing and some jokes being made at my expense] but it meant that I was left to do my Job with dignity. It also showed me that service doesn’t have to involve jettisoning my own needs, which is why I believe the tenor of our arrangement shifted once I asserted what I needed, and that’s a big lesson that Mr. Mister has wanted me to learn. I am deeply, deeply grateful to Loki for allowing me to see that. I don’t know if that was part of the arrangements between Him and the Mister, but that doesn’t matter—it’s something that’s kind of priceless to me.

That doesn’t mean the whole thing came without a price, though. There’s been some unpleasant fall out that has been very upsetting for me personally. Some very hurtful things have been said about me and my presence at the party and they have cut pretty deeply. I know without a doubt that the words said are not about me—that they are about the person(s) who said them and what their experience of Loki was and what their assumptions about themselves and the event were going into the party. It doesn’t mean it stings any less, though.

It also doesn’t matter what exactly was said, either, as the minute I heard I knew, down in the very bottom of my heart, that it was not accurate. However, I spent much of this evening checking in with other folks who were there—folks who are His people, who aren’t, folks who have known me for quite awhile, and folks who had just met me that weekend—and the consensus seems to be about the same; that the things said really don’t hold any water based on what they observed. Even though I know it not to be true, it has been a bit of a relief to hear it from other people.

It doesn’t negate the sting, though. The sting first manifested as absolute unbridled anger and I’m still not totally done with the anger. I think I have every right to be angry, given that someone has vocalized a judgment of me and my motivations and, by extension, of Loki. It infuriates me that someone would question my motives in such a way, especially since they know me decently well. I mean, it would be one thing if they had said ‘geez, Alex, you really fucked up <thing> while Loki was there’. I could have taken that and even accepted it and figured out how to do a better job next time. The difference is that they didn’t point out something specific—they made some generalizations—and they didn’t say it to me.

But, in hindsight, once I get past the utter rage on my own behalf, I get angry on Loki’s behalf, not that He needs my anger or defense or whatever. The truth of the matter is, as a Loki’s person I talked to tonight said, that if I had been what had been asserted, Loki would have addressed it at some point, as He does not suffer that particular brand of bullshit long. He might have let me dig myself into a hole, but He would not have allowed me to continue doing damaging things that were not just affecting me. In fact, He probably would have put a halt to it in a fairly public and humiliating-for-me way and I probably would have heard about it from the Mister, too. To assume that I would be able to do the things they said I did without Him saying something totally negates anything about Him—does anyone truly believe that Loki will suffer bad behavior for too long, especially when it is affecting other people?

The part that was unseen by the person who said these things was the part that hurts the most, though. I did not go into paging for Loki believing that I would get any attention at all. As I wrote previously, I stood there for two hours not saying a word to Him beyond ascertaining what His needs and desires in the moment were. Hell, I was afraid to ask Him if I could sit down because I didn’t want to bother Him or draw attention to myself. My only real thought that involved Loki and myself at all going into the whole thing was ‘fucking hell, Alex, don’t fuck this up’.

The other thought I had, which is what cuts to the quick for me, is that I wished that I was providing service for Mr. Mister. Why? Well, it’s pretty goddamn personal for me but, as my emotions have already been jabbed at tonight, I’ll lay it all out, as it can’t hurt anymore than it already has.

I have never provided the service that I provided Loki for Mr. Mister. I didn’t do anything crazy—there was no kinky sex or there salacious things—but I filled His cup and made sure He and His wife were as comfortable as I could make them. I made sure He had what He wanted to eat and that, when He requested something, I did my best to make it happen. I tried to assist anyone who approached Him with doing what He requested or asked for and generally trying to make them feel ill at ease, as I know from personal experience that it can be incredibly intimidating to see a God embodied, especially when He is telling you to do something for Him.

But I’ve never gotten to do that for Mr. Mister. In fact, I’ve never seen Him embodied for more than three minutes [which I am grateful for because I know it is longer than some people see their divine Partners for, if they get to see them at all]. I have never seen His eyes or His face or filled His cup while He held it. I’ve never heard His voice with my physical ears. I’ve never touched a body that has held Him. I’ve never heard Him tell a joke or interact with anyone else. I’ve never seen anyone else enjoy His presence. I haven’t had what any of His people that were present have had and, though I have hope that something similar will happen for me some day, I don’t know for certain that I will. I stood there with His [the Mister’s] collar locked around my neck in the clothes that He instructed me to wear and I did things for a God that I have an enjoyment of, but no emotional attachment or oath to bind me to Him. I did things that I haven’t gotten the chance to do for the God I *am* bound to by oath and who I love deeply…but I was poorly behaved and did things in such a way that communicated that I wanted all of Loki’s attention all the time and fuck everybody else. That’s the biggest slap in the face for me—that I would hold meaningless my commitment and relationship with Mr. Mister while His collar is locked around my neck and throw myself at another God, because one of Them just replaces the other and attention and interaction is the only thing that matters.

If anything is clear to me in this situation, it is perfectly obvious that the other party in this matter has not considered any of that in the least. They have no idea how rippingly painful it was to stand there and watch those who love Loki touch Him and kiss Him and see Him in a physical way. They have no idea the deep and profound ache that lives in the bottom of your very soul when you see others getting from their God the things that you have never gotten from yours. They have no idea how sad it has made me that I did that for another God before I got to do it for Him. They have no idea that, throughout the whole evening, when I wasn’t actively evaluating my next move in service to Loki, that my thoughts were on Him and how I hoped He was proud of me and hoped that He thought I was doing a good job and that I was strengthening whatever agreement He has with Loki [which is absolutely not my business] and not hurting it. They have no idea that, as soon as it was made clear that this was not a favor I was doing for Boyfriend, I considered every action a direct reflection on Mr. Mister and an act of devotion to Him because I was [and am] His poker chip. I am not His only poker chip and I am likely not His most important poker chip, but I was a poker chip that night. When He puts me into the service of another Power, I am His tool. I further His diplomatic relations and His goals and whatever else He wants. They have no idea that, when I went to bed that night, I cried because I missed Mr. Mister so much and would have belly-crawled through shit-covered barbed wire juiced up with a million volts of electricity if it meant that I could have thrown myself at His feet for even a minute and feel Him touch me physically. They have no idea how deeply upsetting it is, to the point of tears, that someone viewed my service as so completely self-centered and ignorant of the needs of the others present. They don’t have any idea, period.

So, I’ve sat with this tonight and it has sucked. I’ve ranted about it to a few people and I’ve written angry pages in my private journal about it and I’ve reminded myself that I do not have to buy into someone else’s reality, especially when, in essence, it doesn’t involve me. I haven’t approached Mr. Mister or Loki on it, though. Why? I know what They’ll say and it’s the truth of the matter—it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You weren’t there for them. They don’t own you. I don’t form my opinions based on what they think. You answer to Me/Him and I tell you when you’ve done a good job or a poor job.

I know that’s the truth because that’s what Mr. Mister always says. I suspect Loki would say something similar, but I’m not going to go bothering Him about it. If He wants to comment on my service, He’ll more than likely go tell Mr. Mister and not me, anyways. In some ways, it irks me that this has upset me so much, as I have worked long and hard to divorce myself from the idea that the opinions of other people as they apply to my spiritual experience, Work, and assignments are not the final say in the matter. Sure, feedback is great, but it shouldn’t put me in a place where my emotions hit the skids. Then again, this wasn’t feedback, it was a judgment.

At the end of the day, this truly isn’t about me in the least. One of the things a good friend told me many years ago in reference to Loki, but that applies to all the Powers, is that no one who interacts with Him/Them walks away unscathed. He/They leave Their mark and They push what buttons need to be pushed in the ways that serve the best possible outcome. My suspicion is that a button got pushed and I was the convenient target or the best distraction. It’s shitty, but I suppose, in some ways, that’s it better that it was me and not someone else. I’ve been doing this for a minute or two and I would much rather judgment get shot at me than someone who maybe has been doing it for a minute or two less. I am well aware that this would have been an entirely different outcome a year or two ago, though, for me—it would not have been merely upsetting and rage-inducing. It would have been a cataclysmic burnt-earth event and a major faithquake.

I suppose, if one really wants to throw judgments at me, one can—I guess I can take it? Maybe? However, if one wants to throw judgments at Loki.. Well, do that at your own risk, I guess. It’s not my hide that’s going to take that hit.

When I look through the veil of hurt, I am left with the same things I wrote about before. I was given a wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful gift by Loki at EtinMoot. Actually, more than one. I was reminded that I am enough, that I am competent, that I am useful, and that I am respected and valuable. Moreover, I was shown what actual service feels like when you don’t jettison your own needs and desires. Something so simple as showing me the kindness of allowing me to sit down when my feet were in agony completely blew something open for me and allowed me to reach a new understanding of myself and of my relationship with Mr. Mister and I absolutely cannot put a price on that. The profound intimacy that I experienced was jaw-dropping. How often is it that a God lets you see Them as They are, with nothing fancy in the way and not much distance between you and Them? If I can do that with a God with whom I have no formal relationship, what on earth awaits me with Mr. Mister? I have to say, I can’t wait to find out if He allows me that privilege.

I remarked to one of Loki’s people tonight how grateful I was to Him for said gifts regardless of whether He bestowed them on purpose or by chance or if He even knew it happened at all. They remarked that He seldom does things without intent behind them and, if that is true and I am going to choose to believe it is, then I am doubly blessed and more grateful than words typed on this insignificant little blog can express. In the last six months, I have truly begun to live a life that has far exceeded my wildest dreams. No matter what happens to me or what is said about me, I won’t lose sight of that or all the blessings that have been given to me. I am well loved, well thought of, and a goddamn lucky boy.

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~ by Alex on August 27, 2013.

3 Responses to “An Ouch.”

  1. Alex… if a fool might make so bold, I was there and got to see you serving beside Loki that night. You had a grace and poise that well… it was hard for me not to be a little jealous of and want to aspire to. Even more so as someone who had never been to such a thing before: you were a Center. You made Loki approachable for the rest of us by what you did.

  2. If Loki had been coming in His guise as Breaker of Worlds, then yes, I might say that your fears about being abused were probably true, as He can be pretty mean when He’s like that. Even I’ve gotten insulted by Loki when He’s worn that face. But when it’s the Loki I am usually presented with, which is how He showed up that night, well…it’s anybody’s guess what will happen 🙂

    • Well, I worried because when He initially came, He was not a terribly happy camper for a particular, unimportant reason, and I worried that it was a sign of things to come, but He was inordinately happy to see His wife and people, so all’s well that ends well. 🙂

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