O Sorrow, cruel fellowship,We invent new games when the old ones pale. We play old games when we remember them. We are always engaged in hunts for the rules, the tricks, the traps, the ways to enforce and contravene. On some level, everything's a game.
O Priestess in the vaults of Death,
O sweet and bitter in a breath,
What whispers from thy lying lip?
And gazing on thee, sullen tree,From birth, we are taught that there are rules to our lives. Be good is foremost among them. We hear stories, we watch people on our screens talk of dangers, hazards, known and unknown. In the back of our minds it is made plain: these bad things happened to these people because they were bad. They were not good. They did not obey.
Sick for thy stubborn hardihood,
I seem to fail from out my blood
And grow incorporate into thee.
They did not stay on the path.
Old Yew, which graspest at the stonesThe path is easy, we are told. We soak this up with milk and first bread. The path is lit, the path is good. Staying on the path is good. We are told this, we know this, we engrave it on our growing minds, with the first stuttering investigations of language.
That name the under-lying dead,
Thy fibres net the dreamless head,
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.
Dark house, by which once more I standBut...off the path. Off the path is bad, yes, we are told this, yes, but--off the path. Off where the shadows live, where the trees grow together, where the must of the forest becomes deep, hushing our steps. There are dangers here. Perhaps hurting dangers, perhaps killing dangers. But even that is part of the attraction.
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand
Off the path.
To rest beneath the clover sod,'Nature, red in tooth and claw', the saying goes, and so it remains, so it has always been. And we, weak frail creatures, we must dare the world to beat us: the elements, the environment, the rage, the hunger--other humans. And it does beat us, in singlet actions, in groups, in droves; it hurts, maims, wounds, rapes, brutalizes, offends...It is a miracle of insane proportions that any of us reach adulthood at all.
That takes the sunshine and the rains,
Or where the kneeling hamlet drains
The chalice of the grapes of God
Calm and deep peace on this high wold,Be good, we are told. Be good. Stay on the path. Stay away from the Wolf. Keep family close. None of these are bad rules, in themselves, but what if the path doesn't go where we need to go? And what if the Wolf is living with us? What if going off the path is the only way we have to escape death, to escape brutality?
And on these dews that drench the furze,
And all the silvery gossamers
That twinkle into green and gold
And I should tell him all my pain,No one talks about the families that aren't good, unless they are used to make a point. Poor victims, those poor girls, those sad boys...if only, we are told. If only they were born into a different family. If only it hadn't happened. If only.
And how my life had droop’d of late,
And he should sorrow o’er my state
And marvel what possess’d my brain;
Do we indeed desire the deadWith the codicil that such happenings are rare. That such things take place so occasionally, that even the thought of 'bad families' is a shocking one. The real shock is how common bad families are. The real shock is how rare good families are created, nurturing spaces to sprout and to grow strong.
Should still be near us at our side?
Is there no baseness we would hide?
No inner vileness that we dread?
Who broke our fair companionship,Children, after all, are so easily broken. They are enterprising, and intuitive, adaptive, and stronger than they look. But they trust willingly, until they're taught not to trust. So much of our protective behavior comes from what we're taught. Born new in the world, we trust those around us to keep us safe, we trust we will grow to strength before we die, we trust that we will not die.
And spread his mantle dark and cold,
And wrapt thee formless in the fold,
And dull’d the murmur on thy lip
Who keeps the keys of all the creeds,So much trust, so small an envelope for it. Until the world proves we need less of it to survive.
I wander, often falling lame,
And looking back to whence I came,
Or on to where the pathway leads;
Somehow, some children make it to adulthood unscathed. Usually, their fall is coming, and they fall farther for having known nothing but kindness before. For some children, though, more than a few, always more than we think, childhood brings scars that do not easily fade away. Internal, external, body and mind, soul and envelope, we develop but roughly, in error, in failure, our steps halting, our thoughts unsure.
O life as futile, then, as frail!To reach such a place, of wary unworthiness, of doubtful understanding, so young--pain sinks deep within, to be tapped later, drop by drop of distilled agony, aged and concentrated.
O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.
But if we do not fail, we do not understand success. If we do not brave the terrors off the path, we never appreciate what we have in the light of day. And if we do not face our Wolf young, we cannot properly defend ourselves as adults from predation.
(Images taken from The Path by Tale of Tales; poem excerpts from In Memoriam A.H.H. by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.)
Dusan Writer mentions the Lindens' new affiliate program, and I have to admit, I signed up for it. Not because I think I'll make money at it--I won't--but because I really doubt, once actual eyes from Linkshare wander over my posts, I'll be kicked out of the program so fast it will make my neighbors' heads spin.
I'm taking bets on how long it will take. My starting point: one month. (Though it may be far shorter than that, because I just today figured out how to get to the SL affiliate's program page. So they haven't even approved me yet; beneath the Amazon slideshow? Is the Linkshare placeholder.)
And from Miss Muse Carmona comes this intriguing bit on consent, as well as refusal. Very well put (though as she said, on a slightly NSFW site), and applicable to many more situations than the writer describes.
This is something I struggle with, on a daily basis. Not so much the saying no and meaning it, but the saying yes, as well. I know what I want (or, at least I do most of the time), but getting what I want across to other people...ah, there's the trick.
No one's paying me now (at least, until I find another job!), so in a sense, for the first time I'm a free agent on the grid. And, as I have determined while I will likelygo back to dancing, I will likely not return to escorting, the choice of saying yes or no remains mine.
The important thing then becomes, when to say it. And to whom. And of course and always, why I am choosing to say no...or yes.
Relationship Communications 401, I do like that. It sums things up excellently. Communication between partners, when BDSM is involved, when we submit or command...this goes so far beyond the basics, the words to describe the forms of conversation likely fly over the heads of most. They go deeply into issues of trust and understanding, of letting people move in, very close to where we perceive ourselves to live alone; it is, perhaps, a form of closeness reserved only for the long-married, or the telepathic, in this sense. Where the soil is spread so very thin over raw and tender muscle, a single scuff in the wrong place can open a wound...we have to be very skilled indeed to move without causing damage.
I am not skilled in moving without causing damage, in myself or others. So I have greater challenges to face. But I am determined to face them. After all...I may have found my Wolf, but he hasn't killed me yet. Perhaps I can strike a balance.
Bargaining, you see, is also part of the skills learned. Off the path.