Archive for the About me Category

The Genius Next Door (fiction)

Posted in About me on October 14, 2017 by Tyrienne

The bells on the cafe door jangled quietly about fifteen minutes before closing as Leon was wiping down the condiments the last time for the night- caught embarrassingly, humming the tune to “Peter and the Wolf” and small parts of Wagner operas which he only vaguely recalled in mumbled phrases. Looking up, from the ketchup bottle he was presently de-crusting- he was about to explain the kitchen was closed but was beat to the punch:

“I was in town, I heard this was your newest haunt,” Diana looked the same as she did years before when he last saw her- her yellow-blonde hair shoulder length with a single band of braided hair like a headband, the same white and blue gingham shirt and jeans and friendly expression and smiling blue eyes. Her black boots matched the leather choker necklace. the only change being around her wrist she wore a tattoo of fernlike leaves and round clusters of tiny white flowers- it suited her well.”Hey there stranger, it’s been a while. I honestly cannot recall where we lost touch.”

“Yeah, I was on tour- a little bit of everywhere, I kinda lost touch with everyone.”

“No worries, I was pretty low and on so much shit I couldn’t remember my own name for a while… I got this to show for it” replied Leon wryly, raising his pant leg to reveal an ankle tracker. “I have been stuck in this shit town since I got out of prison- I was so fucked up I don’t even remember what the fuck I did.”
“No worries, bro- I was always the last person to follow up on gossip, I don’t really care. ”
“Still no cell phone, eh?”
“Not one that anyone has the number to, buddy.” she smiled “Hey, listen- I came by because I was wondering if you might want to come with me to New Berlin tomorrow morning. A sculpture I designed got installed and I want a good Heathen with me to see if they did it right- On the equinox, it’s supposed to cast just the right shadow if it was set up right, but it doesn’t mean a thing if no one is there to see it at sunrise.” Leon sighed and thumped his left leg on the table- pointing again at the ankle tracker
“I would… but… I am unable to leave Lakeside for a long time yet”
Diana reached into a rucksack she had over her shoulder and brought out what appeared to be a smoke alarm.
“Is anyone else closing with you?”
“Nope, just me.”
“Fantastic” and with that, she held the round, white device to the ankle bracelet and pressed a button on the front- the locking mechanism released and she was careful to keep the device held tightly to it as she moved it to around the leg of the table, “This thing prevents the circuit from being broken and transmitting that it was removed.” She carefully reconnected the bracelet around the table leg before removing the smoke-alarm looking device and placing it back into her bag.
“Tamper-resistant is not Diana-resistant, apparently. I thought you hated all technology.”
“Oh, I still do. I hate it enough to thwart it every opportunity.”
“They are going to look for me, you know- I really fucked up my life.”
“Everyone fucks up, Leon- do you want to get out of this shit town or not?”
“Fuck yes.”
“Are you willing to do anything?”
“Well, I let you break my probation in the first fifteen minutes of seeing you again- I guess I must trust you.”
“We were neighbors for ten years, man- that sort of frith is hard to shake- and I hate owing anyone like I owe you.”
“You don’t owe me anything, Diana-”
Reaching again into her rucksack, she brought out a pair of flip-flops and tossed them- he struggled but caught them.
“I do owe you, friendship is enough: Keep your socks on Japanese style, it’s fucking cold… you said people will look for you, the last thing we need is a trail. Leave your shoes here.”
“Where are we going?”
“New Berlin.”
“How? Won’t people see us leave? Where did you park?”
“The other side of the lake and they won’t see a thing- let’s go.” Leon carefully left his shoes in the backroom behind several stacks of boxes and carefully locked up the cafe, Diana looked at the sky wistfully, “Leon- it’s a woods adventure just like when we were kids. Even the sky looks the same. The only thing missing is the fireflies.”
“And weed…but I snuck a few hits at work from one of the servers. The tracker doesn’t detect cannabis, thank Gods”
“…I can’t help you there, but I got better- I brought my flask, it’s good. Homemade mead, aged at least eight years. I literally buried it at the old place just so I would have it for later.”
“Three rounds?”
“Whatever you like, it’s all yours. You’ll need it: We are going for a swim.”
“You’re insane- the lake is frozen!”
“Correction, half frozen… it’s more slushy than anything. I still keep everything I own in the car, However, you do not seem like a practiced polar bear so I suggest tossing your clothes so they don’t weigh you down.”
“I’ll freeze my balls off.”
“Funny, I never had that issue.”
The lake was located behind the cafe past the dumpster, Leon stripped down to his boxers and kept his socks and flip-flops tossing his remaining clothes in with the assurance that Diana was roughly his size and the clothes in her car would still fit him well enough, while Diana also stripped down to her underwear but put her clothes into her rucksack. It might have been awkward if they hadn’t known each other since childhood, or at least, it Diana showed no signs of discomfort despite the cold or lack of dress.
“How are we going to do this? Aren’t you concerned about hypothermia?”
“Just hold in your breath, until you come back up in full on the other side. After the initial shock of the cold, you will feel fine. Follow me.”
Diana dove gracefully into the thick water and disappeared, it was not a large lake- perhaps more like a glorified pond with a couple of docks. The moonlight on the rough half-frozen surface made it appear mushy and porridge-like and not particularly welcoming. Leon was more cautious and waded halfway into the thick water tentatively a few steps before taking a deep breath and plunging fully into the water; which was the last thing he recalled as his head went beneath the ice

Next thing he knew, he was wearing fresh clothes and riding in the passenger side of Diana’s aging Mustang- already in the city.
“Hey buddy- you okay? I didn’t expect you to get hypothermia so quickly. I guess I forget what it’s like when you aren’t used to washing up in the cold like I am.”
“I’m not even shivering, I feel fine- what happened?”
“Doesn’t matter, you made it out okay, and you aren’t naked. Good thing we stayed about the same size over the years you skinny bastard- isn’t New Berlin beautiful?”
It was beautiful- despite the early morning darkness, handsome people of all ages in business attire were walking briskly on the city sidewalks with purpose in all directions. The white marble buildings reflected the street lamps and traffic lights as if the structures were clothed in the colors they reflected. He had not seen the city in years, and when he did- it was under a different name and dilapidated seemingly beyond repair: Gone was the graffiti and boarded of buildings of the past he recalled. No more windows covered in iron grating or sad businesses locked up with chains and metal doors. The tacky scrolling marquis was replaced by glorious carved architecture and the windows of the skyscrapers above shined like stars.
“The roads seem a lot wider than I remember,” Leon noted.
” I think it is so people have ample opportunity to turn around.” she replied. It was an odd statement, but he didn’t know quite how to respond. “Ah, here we are!” she exclaimed as she pulled in front of the forgettable facade of one of the many tall buildings in center city. “This building has the absolute best view- and we still have about 20 minutes to get to the thirteenth floor.”
Unlike the other buildings in which lights flickered in the myriad of windows- this one was still black and seemingly asleep of human activity. They were not stopped as they entered, the security guard post was presently absent and Leon assumed he must have stepped out only for a moment- for there was only a very well trained black Alsatian dog wearing a red vest who approached him and gave a quick sniff.
“Hello puppy, are you the security guard on duty?” asked Leon in that stupidly high pitched voice people only use to greet dogs and infants. Diana rolled her eyes and the dog simple sat politely for scritches and made a sort of sound that sounded like a ‘borf’ in response.
“Do you want to keep petting the security or do you want to see something life-changing?” The dog snorted at Diana as if he understood her and wandered back behind the reception desk. Leon sighed and walked towards the elevators as Diana pressed the button for the elevator in the nondescript lobby and the door promptly opened the rode the elevator in silence until the door opened into a large hallway with floor to ceiling windows. The floor was of marble parquet mostly in white except for a large pattern in front of the one window which looked either to be a stylized sundial or a compass rose in a variety of colors. Diana walked excitedly to the center of it and motioned Leon to look outside the window.

Where there once was a statue of an old man with a scroll, there was now a figure with wings.
“…An angel?” he asked.
“Angels are technically depicted male or genderless- look again!” she exclaimed…And so he did, which was when he noticed in the dawning light the statue was holding a spear in one hand and a drinking horn in the other- the statue was indeed female depicted in a long gown beneath ornate armor, her skin was platinum white and her hair shined of golden metals. Those wings! Each feather was an individual slender pane of glass that caught sunlight and glowed brilliantly.
“A Valkyrie! Diana- she’s brilliant! When you said you created art I had no idea that it was of this magnitude- the entire city can see this forever. She is beautiful; I can’t think of anything more magnificent I have seen in all my life. It sure beats the statue of the old man pissing on the city before.”
“It gets better, look behind you.” So Leon turned and he saw Diana in the middle of the compass pattern and behind her, the dawning light reflected through the glass of the Valkyrie’s wings recreated the grand wingspan of light on the wall behind Diana- making the wings to appear as her own. “Four times a year, any woman who stands in one of the four buildings around city hall can feel like a Disir, even for only a moment- and the spear and horn create secret shadows as well. Look up.”
Sure enough, the shadows of the spear and horn created rough, angular symbols that were vaguely runic in appearance.
“They don’t look like any runes that I have ever seen- what are they?”
“Numbers. It’s the pentimal system- I learned it just after I saw you last.”
“That is genius, what does it mean?”
“What numbers to push in the elevator.” The sun was rising high in the sky and the patterns on the wall from the Valkyrie statue were diffusing. Diana walked with purpose to the elevator with Leon following- she pressed a few numbers in what appeared to be a specific order and the elevator lurched and hummed oddly before descending much more quickly than it rose before.
The door opened and mist flowed around them- before them, a bridge and the sound of fastly rushing water far below.
“…Shit.” muttered Leon, and Diana simply raised an eyebrow and smiled.
“I owe you, mostly, simply that you were honest regarding my memory. You did not canonize me nor did you destroy yourself over me. When it was time to get you, it was my honor to retrieve you myself. I just made your journey slightly easier than it would have been on your own. Go on, over the bridge- it’s a good place. I’ll see you there when I can. But, I still have a lot to work to do because of my own impatience.” she said, pointing at the leather strap around her neck, ” I took your debt and crossed you myself so you wouldn’t have the same obligations I do. Go on… shoo. Next time you see Garm you might not want to talk to him like a poodle, though.”

In Lakeside, police tape was being strung around the frozen lake- the film crews with their sleepy reporters were finding their places to report the drowning of a man who would be promptly forgotten as the garbagemen made their rounds emptying the dumpsters none the wiser. For a few days, people exchanged meaningless atheistic sympathies- as Leon’s death was quickly and intentionally forgotten except for the placement of a small sign that warned against swimming in the lake.

*Inspired by the song “The Genius Next Door” by Regina Spektor*

This post is unedited except for cursory spell checking. The story idea has been in my head forever- I always kind of figured people who intentionally commit suicide would be put to work by Hel herself to guide other people to the afterlife, but that is just my own UPG and I hold no claim to the veracity of it. I have lost many friends to early death over the years…especially in Autumn.


Upcoming Book

Posted in About me on June 8, 2017 by Tyrienne

I thank all of you who began following my blog in the past couple of months, despite my lack of new content. I do not want to become like many other bloggers who are simply commenting on current events like some sort of pundit, so I realized this may be the best time to actually work on a Heathen novel.  I have had this goal for quite some time-  I realize there is a lack of Heathen fiction and it is a niche that needs to be filled by hundreds of us.
As a child, I was inspired by the complicated worlds and thoughts of C.S. Lewis and as an adult, Philip Pullman and his “Golden Compass” series.   Although my writing will likely not be geared to children like both the above authors- I would like to create a universe to the same breadth as they have but for our own people.

Writing is the closest we come to becoming Gods/Goddesses- in creating stories, we create and guide the lives of our characters and the worlds we create- and if we do it well enough, it becomes real in the mind of the readers.

As opposed to creating transient works of social commentary on the present, I would like to create an alternative future in literature, if I can.  I already wrote one book in my life- my thesis, and it was agonizing.  I believe I limited myself to blog posts and comments out of trepidation of the psychological illness my thesis elicited in me.  My topic was “The Physical Theory of Time and How it Relates to Mystical Experiences.”

The problem is- when working with both physics and philosophies- the ideas themselves created a sort of insanity in me (and others, I have heard) that took years from which to recover.

I guess what I mean to say is that I hope I am well enough now to write with joy instead of sleepless nights over my keyboard crying from the psychological pain of deadlines and reaching so far to the limit of my intelligence to explain such intricate concepts.   Although my thesis was technically successful, the cost was high.

I feel if there is something I am truly meant to write- it should not be harmful to myself to write it- further, the more I am online recently, the more I find my psychological state is adversely affected.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who follows and/or shares my writings as a resource- and even to those who have shared my writing critically and got my name out there.

Now that I have your interest, it would be irresponsible as a Heathen to not try to use what talent I have to try and pull myself up out of collecting disability by utilizing the resources all of you have provided-  I would rather look back on the past few years as a period of rest before creating something great rather than as a slow decline.

Hopefully, I can accomplish this goal.  I am still available as I have always been via comments and facebook for now.

All I ask is for good wishes that I can manage this endeavor.   We need more colorful Heathen fiction- and I hope to be one of the very many to provide it in physical copies of books that are not subject to erasure with a power outage.

I thank you for your support as always!

Fighting Censorship

Posted in About me on May 2, 2017 by Tyrienne

norse wolves

I believe it is safe to say many who will read this blog understand that as a culture we are struggling with an addiction to technology- where we find ourselves watching mindless entertainment at the click of a button- not even upon request, but in our newsfeeds scrolling down the current events of meaningless nature:

“This Story Will Warm Your Heart”
“Watch big doggo in jacuzzi”
“(Random) Disease Awareness, I bet you won’t share this!”

But yet, here we are- whispering in our communities and workplace real thoughts- as we watch people of bravery still attempt to defend their freedom of speech against oppressors who have turned the idea of their own oppression into a form of martyr hood- where the greater the self-alienation from the community, the louder the voice and the stranger and more restrictive upon others the demand.

We all fight for what we think is “equality”- but in truth, we all fight for our own ideas of an ideal life.  The ideals of one group is the hell of another and vice versa. To recognize this is a beginning.

In honesty, equality never existed except in delusions of the groups who hold the power, whomever that may be.

“Do you feel as I do?”  We search our neighbors and friends quietly- we let little things slip about how we now question everything history has told us.  The rallying cry of those who wish us silenced is that they refuse to lose the idea of their freedoms- all the while finding new ways to suppress the freedom of expression of dissenting voices.

Cynism grew from personal experiences- those of us who had to struggle as young adults, holding down multiple jobs to afford our rent and food to eat.  Those of us who could not afford college (or namely, did not have parents willing to sign off on it) became disillusioned as entry level positions went to those less qualified, but had a magical piece of paper.  Post college, despite having access to higher wages, being saddled with higher debt making living just as difficult as it was before.

Our families do not help one another- we see the models of radical separatism in the family, as we shrunk from a culture to nuclear families, then even less than that as people gave up on the values of fidelity or had to work so hard to afford even necessities that the child effectively becomes educated and raised by the State, in public schools and daycare deprived of the ability to have that precious time to learn from parents and grandparents communal values, or even to bond properly with those we are supposed to be able to depend on above all else: our blood relatives.

Overall, Americans are working more hours for less pay and fewer benefits than our parents and grandparents.  Instead of learning organically from local peers, most socialization is incredibly structured into further lessons and practices- not allowing for the time for creativity and thoughts of freedom.

We tell our children they are “free”, in their homework they brought home to do in the home after 8+ hours of federally mandated education.  Do we even know the meaning of freedom anymore?

Fascism /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ is characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and control of industry and commerce.

When you separate the word “Fascist” from “Government”- it can be noted that anyone who would forcibly suppress others for speaking or communicating in a way that is disagreeable as fascists.  You can suppress someone by bullying, by silencing or by threats of violence. Heathens are now a divided religion so very soon after being recognized as a religion despite being older than the dominant monotheistic religions.

What are we to the Gods?

I believe we are stories… I believe the Gods are entertained by us, some of us may touch their hearts, some of us at war may inspire them, and our silly arguments may entertain them.   Boring lives and boring time periods do not exist.   What makes you think that the Gods aren’t watching all sides of all issues?  That they aren’t engrossed in our dramas waiting to see what we will do next?

As for myself, I will follow the path where I feel I can contribute the most, where my own industriousness comes easily and I am able to express myself without censure.  Where instead of crying to void of the internet about loneliness, I contribute something productive that attracts others of like minds to me, where true friendships can be formed, not just online, but increasingly back in real life.  For that reason I have decided to move onto other things.

The best way to fight is to live the ideals we speak of on the internet and reduce the time we waste to technology.

We may go through many different changes to our beliefs in our lifetimes- to be able to change with grace and adaptability shows character growth.  Perhaps, it keeps the Gods more interested and inclined to root for us in the stories of our lives.


Not the Revelations Anticipated

Posted in About me on March 15, 2017 by Tyrienne

For my birthday, I scheduled a float at Metta Relaxation Spa  in Bethlehem- the staff was excellent, the massage I received was excellent, and I fell so deeply asleep in the float room they sent in my husband to wake me.
That is the review I put on their site- 5 stars.  I would do it again, it was pretty great.

I recall observations about the clientele, ourselves included, which looked like characters from a Winston Rowntree comic: Bethlehem is a weird place like that, a steel town that ended up surviving via colleges and music festivals- where everyone is clearly a hipster just by being there, which is sort of comforting in a way. Ed and I dislike the town of Bethlehem, but Bethlehem does not dislike us.  Perhaps, we fit in too well.  In the waiting room I enjoyed tea and coloring in a mandala as I noticed  almost every other client in waiting was on their cell phone, including my husband, despite signs everywhere asking kindly to the contrary.  (Not the staff, though- they were in the present…Although they can’t ban cell phones they did not seem to be the type of people obsessed with them like the rest of our culture.)

There, I swore to myself I would lessen my dependence on my own phone.  I check it less- I see it as an addiction after seeing a room full of people who were seeking some sort of breakthrough, enlightening experience too tethered to their phones to even notice how cool the place really was and how much attention there was to every detail.  The floor was literally made of pennies individually placed, grouted, and lacquered into a neat surface, the sign for the spa was made of perhaps hundreds of small screws drilled in one by one- and the staff was so nice- but I have to wonder out of how many clients they see a day how many people actually appreciate them, and how frustrated I would be if I ran a spa, one that specialized in facilitating life changing experiences to see people day in and day out bring everything that is wrong with modern life, i.e. the constant addiction to technology into the space they so carefully created to be free from such distraction.  I noticed signs to turn off phones, but like any other location where that mandate is in effect (planes, hospitals, therapists offices, funeral homes) it was patently ignored.

I suppose I am a bit of a self righteous hipster myself- I intentionally left my phone in the truck, and I do not own a television.  My laptop was broken for over a month and my brother fixed it for my birthday-  I survived.  In feeling resentment towards other people I swore I was going to cut down on my addictions to technology, and more particularly, the addiction to the constant feed of new information given by social media- the very same source that spreads malcontent by dividing people by faux political divisions, faux news stories, and even more fake lives and lies that people live online but not in real life-  What is it that people are avoiding, including myself to seek such constant distraction?

I went seeking an enlightening experience, and what I found, although enlightening, was not what I anticipated: I am in a great deal of physical pain, all the time.  Like a frog in a pot of slowly heating water I had not realized before how much pain limits my daily activities, and how only when a small amount of that pain is relieved that I could truly actually feel what it is I am experiencing as the backdrop to my everyday life experience:  smoldering pain over most of my body, with concentrations around my neck, shoulders, and parts of my legs.  I have had Lyme’s disease twice, lived most of my adult life (prior to my hysterectomy) with endometriosis, and have had recent-ish operations on my foot and around the hysterectomy site to remove over a pound of excess scar tissue… and realized long ago pain killers only help dull emergent pain, not the sort of pain that encloses a person like a large over-warm fur coat that is too big to remove without assistance, the constant throbbing like techno in the background of every action I do- that keeps me from getting things done to which I had perhaps incorrectly blamed exclusively on my depression.

I recall reading up on floats before hand, on sensory deprivation, and on the great metaphysical insights people received from this experience-  I normally can hear my own heartbeat anyway from tachycardia, and asthma makes my breathing something I pay attention to anyway so the two major points of focus that normally astound people in the silent environment were not new revelations (I thought this meant I could skip ahead to the ‘cool stuff’).  In the tank itself, after I removed my wedding band I realized how badly my finger hurt from wearing a ring that was too small even when we first bought it,  giving my hand an hour of relief made it impossible to put back on without breaking my finger further (funny story, I broke my finger with my own wedding ring 5 years ago, I went to a doctor, nothing happened except “Hey, that is a stress fracture.”) and realized my finger never got better.  I now have it on a necklace I wear when I go out.  Days after removing it, I notice the finger still hurts like crazy.

In the tank, I realized “Wow, I fucking hurt all the time….and I only just noticed it in floating in water when I have no distractions.  I wonder if anyone else ever came to this realization as well?”

When I was getting my massage I indicated my neck is always stiff-  I was strangled a couple of times as a child and it deformed my vertebrae, and I thought about how many times over the years I glossed over that fact non-nonchalantly. “Yeah, hello- my neck hurts, but that’s normal… I was strangled repeatedly as a child.  I just live with it.”

That is not cool.  Why did I think I should be cool with that?

Thinking to when I had excellent insurance where a weekly massage was covered by my premiums and how even then going to a chiropractor made it worse except for the massage at the end- how the doofus with his two year degree who called himself “doctor” explained some wacky new age bullshit about some cult leader who created chiropractic medicine out of snake oil, bullshit, making joints create popping noises, and nice massages- but fully believing it.

Chiropractic medicine, to me, is the accidental alcohol distilled from bullshit.  Alcohol can relieve symptoms of pain and give a sense of well being no matter what the source of the initial fermentation.  Just because “it works” for some people does not make it any more of a valid practice than Scientologists making you hold the bars of an E-reader checking for “thetans” as the imaginary source to all the ills of humanity.

I am honestly writing this post to organized my thoughts in what I what to speak to my therapist, and likely my doctor about later this week.
I realize I have a pattern with pain,  I reach my threshold, go to a doctor, they give me painkillers I seldom take as the real cause is unknown, I am sent to specialists who either do not believe me and misdiagnose me a few times, then the next thing I know I am in the prep area for yet another necessary surgery if I ever want to live/walk/exist in any state resembling normalcy.

I do not believe my body has fully recovered from most of what I have surgically experienced.   I do not want to see a chiropractor- but I am unaware of what sort of doctor I need that is scientifically sound and can figure out what it means to have this insanely high pain tolerance, and more importantly, how can it be possible to live a life that relieves this physical pain significantly if not completely?
I recall my shrink telling me about his intensely busy schedule in our first session- how after his therapy job, he had to teach a few classes at the college, then he needed to weed the garden, stain his staircase, and play his guitar for two hours on top of that- when any one of those things would knock me out for an entire day.

The float tank experience has forced me to consider this:  Am I depressed because I am in constant, mind numbing pain, or am I in pain because I am depressed?

Where do I go from here?

As far as Gods go…I did feel a bit connected to Rán.  A Goddess I never thought much about prior, as I tried (and succeeded) in relaxing in the tank… In the sense I did not wish to leave the water.  But then, most of my life has been using water in some way or another to sooth myself- hot showers, cold baths, immersing myself in the stream running through my yard on hot days, pools, hot tubs, oceans I have lived near, lakes and ponds in which I (illegally) swam with friends, and realized my attraction to water is that it relieves the pain I live with and try not to admit to myself…mostly, because I hate painkillers: they make me itchy, bitchy, and cruel as a person.

I am wondering how much of my psychological distress is caused by pain, and how much pain I have caused myself because of psychological distress.  I do not believe my mental health and physical health exists in separate spheres that only tangentially connect;  I wish I were wealthy enough to afford the type of care in the US which other countries I have lived in take for granted.  Where the doctor doesn’t thrust more pills, but rather finds the root cause, treats that with whatever the body needs to heal if it is a deficiency or overabundance and you get to enjoy life again.

The only times I am not in physical pain are when I am in water.  As I am writing this post at this moment I am aware of shooting pain in my right upper arm,  painful pressure on my neck and back, my ankle aches from a sprain several months back, and I have the ever-present headache that never “quite” goes away but I also never really talk about, either.

It is very fucking distracting.  Then, add to the mix the kidney stone, phantom pain from my prior surgeries, and that I am light sensitive.  Instead of dealing with any of the overreaching “Everything hurts, all the time” I only see doctors for breakthrough pain…and when pain breaks though, there is always something massively wrong with me- which is another reason why I just do not go unless it is unbearable. I get very large tattoos for the endorphin rush.  I have said it many times before but never thought about it.  I get tattoos to relieve both psychological as well as physical pain.  (which sounds counter intuitive unless the pain experienced is greater than the tattoo…which for me, it always has been.)

Kidney stones?  Last time I called my urologist with a flare up and they asked me what it felt like I replied “Worse than being stabbed, but not so bad as my hysterectomy.” the nurse on the phone said I must have lived a fascinating life.

As for Rán,  other than totally digging her name, perhaps she might be one of the Goddesses that has cared for me in my life- in the relief that water provides me without my conscious awareness…  she carries a net, drags people to their deaths, has a sort of strange frenemy sort of relationship with Loki, is technically a Jotun, married to Aegir, have 9 daughters, coincidentally as Heimdallr has 9 mothers it is implied she is the grandmother to the guardian of bifrost, the most Aesic of the Aesir himself.  She represents something primordial, instinctive, and deeper than our common modern experience.  Water as rage, mercurial, and destructive.  Water that can destroy or facilitate change.

As far as analogies go: Rán is the perfect symbolism for what in this stage of my life needs attention.  Unless I can somehow suspend myself in fluid 24/7, I am going to have to face my doctors and actually get this shit worked out.  As far as floating in a sensory deprivation tank goes?  As much as I wish I had the enlightening “I am one with the universe” experience instead of “Every time I am not in water I am in pain” experience I did have, I am going to have actually fix this somehow.

Although the easy answer is “Just take the fucking pain killers”- it solves nothing.  As much as I do not want to think there is some overreaching medical condition that flows through all other medical conditions I have experienced, like water, I need to sit down with someone, compile everything I have experienced in 35 years of pretty awful surgeries and present it all to someone competent saying

“Look, this is not normal.  There has to be a common thread here, why does my body keep creating horrendously painful issues that require surgery?  What is causing all of this?  Can we treat that?”

Wish me luck.  I have fear this will get worse before it gets better.


Art by Elisabeth Alba: source

All That is Strange and Wonderful

Posted in About me on March 10, 2017 by Tyrienne

Around certain times of year I cannot avoid my PTSD, and I am sure some people wonder why I post my flashbacks so openly.  My prior post was written as a form of catharsis, and seeing as I am on disability for my condition and work my chaplaincy around my bad times, I feel that hiding my bad times is disingenuous.  Although I am accomplished enough by most standards academically (Two BA’s in Theology and Philosophy, respectively, a published thesis, and enough credit for a third BA in Diplomacy), I would not be able to help as many people as I do without my past, nor have the inspiration or motivation to do so.  I suppose I feel guilty for the years when I was suicidal myself which drives me to give others an ear whenever I am able to justify my own existence.
Writing is cathartic, and I suppose with the Gods I feel most aligned with, Tyr and Loki, I prefer to not simply portray myself only when I am well- but all of me- and from this I have learned that there are so many other people in this world who can relate who have their own nightmares they have lived through.   I strive for honesty when I write- and sometimes that honesty is far from beautiful- and sometimes, life is beautiful and I do not wish to neglect those occasions as well.

Last weekend was my thirty fifth birthday- hence the flashbacks.  Generally, even a “good”  birthday is accompanied with a maelstrom of invasive flashbacks I cannot control.  Most holidays are the same, and everything positive in my life is put temporarily on hold as I try to climb through the mess that is my confused and distraught mind so much so that not very much gets accomplished at all.

Typically, I begin to obsess about “what would make me feel better,”  When I am symptomatic, I often spend time in animal shelters- but agoraphobia makes driving difficult.  We have a new pick up truck which feels more like driving a tank  than the puny sedan we used to have (which was pretty terrifying to drive. I dislike the fragility of most modern cars) and I was rather desperate to get out anyway. The shelter is only five minutes away off of scarcely used highways- I filled out paperwork that allowed me into the cat room…played with a few abandoned kitties and reassured them they would find nice homes.  I actually did not go home with (yet another) cat that day….however, I had to fill out my details anyway to even play with the animals with no intention of adoption.

Off and on for several years I have dreamt of a little white cat with the name Ophelia, usually one of those “mystic, remember this” sort of ambiance that often becomes a blog post or at very least written down on scratch paper somewhere.   In the middle of the worst of my flashbacks I recalled the last dream- a small white kitten with blue eyes and subtle stripes in her fur of white on white-  even though I was just at the shelter and found nothing of the sort, I checked on petfinder anyway…and found this cat, listed as fostered at the shelter from which I had just returned, named Ophelia, with the only information listed was “young spayed female”


I was told later this picture was taken the day she was found outside and fostered.  Her tail is actually white in person.

She was being fostered by nice people via the Animal Rescue League near my home,  I sent off an email and did not anticipate much of a response.  We already have three cats, two dogs, a small snake, and we are breeding (or attempting to breed) Flemish giant rabbits in our basement, soon to be transferred to a hutch outside- weather depending.

For any number of reasons I could have been rejected.  Most adoptable cats hate dogs, many are best alone without other felines, and further, she may have been already adopted.  Ed was chagrined I even contacted them, but hey-  I literally have been having dreams of a white cat named “Ophelia” for several years.  If it was not the “correct” cat to those dreams, nothing would happen.

To my surprise, my application was approved- but then I became nervous:  What if the cat is awful?  I was not about to subject the others living in my household to a screeching, snarling bandit- and I recall going to bed that night even more nervous about meeting this cat, all ready convinced that there would be no connection, she would not be a good fit- all in all, expecting wasted time, feeling let down, and most of all guilty for the foster parents who had a 50% chance of taking her back home after driving so far just to allow me to meet her.

On Sunday, the morning of my birthday I met the couple fostering Ophelia on the steps outside of the animal rescue league- The cat was pure albino, with pink/blue eyes and only the vaguest suggestion of white on white stripes if you looked at her in certain conditions.  She was adorably sweet and only six pounds and although young, is full grown.


Her story, tragic-

This region has several lakes and a local guy fishing heard her and found her soaking wet by the edge of one of them.  He took her to a local house which just so happened to be a foster home for abused animals and it was determined she had just given birth and was likely thrown into the lake with her kittens- her kittens were not able to be recovered.  She was malnourished and soaking wet, but nonetheless sought people for help. The foster family took her in and named her “Ophelia” for her soggy beginnings, and she stayed with them for about six month or so, as they learned she was completely deaf, albino, and light sensitive.  The brevity of her online profile and the intentional lack of pictures was to discourage assholes looking for a white cat “just to have one” who would not be able to understand her needs.  Being in a foster home meant she was already well acclimated to other animals, including large dogs, and the foster family and the ARL both felt the transition would go smoothly.

I brought her home while Ed was still sleeping and transformed our library into a Cat-Utopia…finding even more to my amazement she did not have any violent or aggressive reaction to really anyone at all.  Unlike our other animals she can jump to the stop of any shelf we seem to own when she feels cramped but also, every time I would enter the room she would come down and mew loudly for attention.    Ed lost his kitten Hela  in 2013, she was also a climber, loved to destroy feathers, and exhibited similar fearless qualities.

When Hela passed away due to a genetic defect I let her body go onto the same lake from which Ophelia was found.  Despite Ophelia’s rough start with water, she enjoys rolling around in the bathtub and then drying off near the Loki altar.  Ed and I used to see Hela’s shadow in the hallway, I saw it last the day I brought Ophelia home.   I cannot help but wonder if reincarnation also applies to cats.  Freyja, Hela’s twin sister never formed a bond with any of our other cats but instantly took to Ophelia very well.

If she is or is not our former kitty back for a second round- it makes no difference, she is a great Heathen cat who is (mostly) respectful of altar spaces and loves to rearrange rocks and other small objects to suit her own aesthetic- or boredom.

In short, I adopted a cat for my birthday- the other cats are now getting along better with one another for some reason, and I can now honestly say we are at one hundred percent capacity for mammals in this home.  She seems to have adjusted nicely, and on her account, the library (where I keep my Loki and Tyr altars) is now cat safe and guarded with a baby gate against the two dogs who occasionally chase them.

I believe she has made herself at home:

fox kitty

At the mouth of the great fox, Ophelia relaxes.

As of today, the only true inconvenience is she attacks my bow when I practice my instruments,    I have been learning Viola and Violin since July as part of my music therapy-  and her favorite food appears to be sheet music.  With my the kindness of my mother in law I purchased a music stand to prevent further casualty to my music books.

Easiest, Ophelia makes it necessary to practice when Ed is home which may assist me in overcoming some of my performance anxieties.  I am far from “good” at either instrument by any means, but I am relieved I have worked hard enough to play the Bach Minuet series past the horrendous nursery rhyme stage.   Without me even attempting to play it first- she utterly devoured a photocopy of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  C’est le’vie.

In further news in my life Edward is taking me to a float spa to end off my birthday week tomorrow- I have never tried a sensory deprivation experience prior to this and have been wanting to for several years.  I like the idea of floating in a small, dark room with no external stimuli.  It sounds like heaven…and it comes with a sixty minute massage beforehand- all in a reasonable package price for a birthday gift.  Even if the new-age benefits are psychosomatic, the benefits of a good massage and spending alone time in warm water is appealing regardless of the alleged out-of-this-world mental and physical health claims to the practice.

Again, I do not wish to promote the company prior to our trip, but I have several ideas for coming blog posts I am hoping I may be able to flesh out during tomorrow’s experience if it does turn out to be as inspiring as some describe.  I imagine I would write a review of the floating experience, but also, there are ideas to write a “what if” fiction of “What would happen if writers treated Judaism/Christianity the way they treat Odinism in popular movies” as well as skipping over that idea entirely to write how I would like to see a truly Heathen story created into a movie format that would be more engaging and far less cringe worthy than what already exists.  At this moment, I think I would have the narrative follow mostly Tyr and Hel.

I am already anticipating with the release of Neil Gaiman’s “American God’s” series a new villainization of Odin the likes of which has not been seen since the Christians converted our ancestors by the sword and idiots hailing the character Shadow at a sumbel near you in the ever nearing future.  Although I did enjoy the book itself many years ago- I have learned from the Marvel fiasco that discernment is lacking from the larger populace.

Please combat this by writing good, accurate, positive Heathen fiction my friends.  As funny as the character of Wednesday is in the novel, he is not our Odin.  (To Mr. Gaiman’s credit, our Odin is in the epilogue…but it will take years to get to see that point in the story if the show lasts that long.)

….or if the propaganda regarding floating is true, I may suddenly find myself with the energy to write all three.  I attempt to live as an optimistic pessimist:  Expect the worst, and be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Regardless, I close this post with yet another picture of Ophelia:

sleepy kitty

Cats are a liquid.



On Being Beaten with a Green Hairbrush.

Posted in About me on February 27, 2017 by Tyrienne

brush  On the gossip bench, next to the black AT&T phone above piles of aging phone books was the green brush- with black tines like nails and so hard it felt like it was made of something much less forgiving than simple plastic.  There was not a lot of forgiveness to be found much of anywhere, really- but forced apologies were the only conversation I was permitted as I was beaten for the snarls in my hair before I was able to grab my school bag and run to school with my lip still split and bleeding to the elementary school exactly a block and a half up the street.
My teacher called me a “disruption” and with a look of disgust sent me in shame to the principals office when I could not stop crying.
This woman, only a few short years prior, was the guidance counselor for the senior high my young parents attended before not long enough before I existed.  She offered to let me read her copy of “The Rough Faced Girl“.  Her name was long and Estonian, I likely could not type it if I tried.  She did her best- my parents despised the woman and any other person who even so much as attempted to intervene on my behalf.
I knew therapists from a young age- “If we had a magic wand, I would make this all go away.” and other meaningless sayings.

At home, my door was torn off of the hinges after I tried to block entrance with my dresser.  I can still smell the pungent mix of halitosis, menstruation,  and cheap perfume on my mother/monster’s repugnant body.

“You look like your mother,” said my father over the years.
“You don’t stick your dick into a yeti and expect a bouquet of roses” I replied.

He has new stepdaughters now- they had fathers, I spend most of my days pretending to be an orphan like the beginning line of the black crowes song, as I am told- yet again- that my father chose to start over with a new family- and two children by two different fathers calling him “Daddy”- both adults, that do not remind him of his failure as a teenager to do the simple task of not impregnating monsters.

“Your grandfather would have hated you,” my mother used to say, my dead grandfather dead, corpse never seen- with his house full of tropical fish and other small animals he raised for pet shops.  A brilliant man with many aliases I learned later- a frustrating career of intelligence stifled by remaining a silenced refugee on American soil always between the scales of “hero” or “villain” depending on the context of which moment of history cast their judgement.  My mother was ugly, selfish, and foul in odor and action.

I secretly thought “The enemy of my enemy may have been my best ally”  Ironically, he started his career as ‘Axis’.
My grandmother still says he would have loved me.  Her, a secret historian who worked as my mother’s own housekeeper/slave playing dumb intentionally to keep us safe in the time of the red scare.   She now compiles articles and books for Latvian history, my husband enraged when he sees how everyone else patronizes her and treats her as a lackwit while she spends her days with poor eyesight with a magnifying glass reading books in many languages and cutting out articles to show the progression of the liberation of her home country.

She had those articles neatly organized on the bed in the spare bedroom, my mother picked them up like all the garbage she never cleaned in the hoarder home in which she raised my brother and I, and tossed countless hours of work to the side so she could sleep on the ancient bed that likely groaned both from her weight as well as the resentment of her presence.  Not to take care of her mother after heart surgery, more to make certain that she could delight in dictating what her own mother was and was not permitted at that time.  There were other places to sleep.  Like an animal marking her temporary prescence, she chose the absolute most destructive.

Months of research, organization, and work- in a sloppy pile.  Grandma says she doesn’t mind, I do not know if she ever picked up the articles again yet.  Her mother was just like her daughter, except grandma got to pick out the birch switch with which she was beaten.

Her most used words in English are “Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!” as if awaiting another blow, even now 86 years old.

“Why don’t you want to speak Latvian?”  is the question,  my mother taking my grandmother to funerals of distant relatives who treated me with kindness, of neighbors, once childless, who would graciously take this ever wounded child into their homes to allow my mother her tantrums upon an empty house and would cover the sound of her shrieking with Pierre Robert on WMMR radio.

If she is there, I do not attend.  Ever. Like walking into the cage of the bear before hibernation at the wildlife refuge, I imagine her charging and frothing with the same hostility that typified my experiences of her as a child.

My hell never ended.

I lived like a fairy princess occasionally, brought to my paternal grandparents house on the shining hill in front of the Merion golf course, their land glittered with mica shale and I enjoyed their pool, the clean sheets of my bed that smelled of fabric softener and, to me, love.   My Nana would take me shopping, here I could bring friends over, all I had to do was pretend to be normal.  Nana was my confidant, she tried her best to get me removed and despite a group effort, my father moved us from the best school district in the state to the worst.  That changed with dementia.  That changed also when I finally broke enough to attempt to end my life and my Pop pop called me in the psychiatric ward to tell me PTSD was not real, that I could fix it because it was “all in my head”.  He has alzeimer’s now.  It is all in his head.  I wonder if he has enough cognizance to recognize the irony, or like most injustice, he just looks the other way.  He told me I failed, I should have succeeded at killing myself then.  Just another failure on my list of growing failures of his life was my survival.  We aren’t close, I still call on holidays to be polite.

Counties away from home, my middle school of backwoods inbred Christians who looked at Science with suspicion and only concerned themselves with if you were “saved”-  I wasn’t even saved from the unheated closet that I called my bedroom, half the size of what I lived in when we lived with my grandmother.  My mother said the house would be clean now that we were away from her- but needles from abandoned sewing projects grew like cacti in every room, our feet constantly in danger of impalement- and it Was All My Fault- her items were my responsibility to clean.  The house was disgusting, the abuse amped up considerably.  My father often having to pull my mother off of me as the blows rained down like hammers onto a skinny post, or to remove those hamhock hands from around my slender, adolescent throat.

I now live as a minimalist, every object I truly own can fit in a small car- except books.  I have left a trail of books through 8 states and 3 countries over the course of my life of trying to find someplace safe for my heart, now officially under the care of a cardiologist- broken- forever beating too fast to be controlled by medication forever.  I lived in panic too long and now it does not know how to beat except rapidly as a rabbit without pharmaceutical intervention, and in my future, a pacemaker.

The food I was not permitted to eat, I had to cook- and then do dishes after.  Even now doing dishes can cause me to break at the counter, shaking… remembering being a country away with a man I thought loved me, trying to end the relationship I thought would bring my life normalcy back home:  instead, 7 years with a man who would leave me at the drop of a hat, when his parents said so, because I wasn’t pretty as the ex who cheated on him for over a year, because when I was sick he was busy playing video games to help- my brother driving over an hour to help me take a shit after a hysterectomy, to make sure I took my medications, as John sat and played “Mass Effect” talking about his day class he took to manage his bipolar disorder.

But, of course, I was always the one who was mentally sick…no one else.  Not my mother, my father, my grandparents, or my ex lovers.  My mental illness diagnosed scapegoat for everything unpleasant in their lives regarding me.

“Crazy” is the best word to silence the voice of the person who speaks against you, is it not?

“Did you take your medication?” asked my diagnosed schizophrenic father who laughingly throws his pills in the bin each time they are prescribed, stating that his “genius is misunderstood” by medical professionals.

We were out to eat at a steakhouse when he announced “I was abused by your mother too.”  I reacted acerbically-  he could have called 911, he could have left, he could have not stopped the abortion that created the current failure in billions that is me.

Non starter, under achiever, wasted potential, high IQ.

“But you are so BRIGHT!” exclaim happy strangers, “You can be anything you want!” their smiling faces never hit across the cheek with that green hairbrush, the black tines not scarring their perfect faces.

I was told I would never go to college since I denied my parents the privilege.  It was their punishment of me for their underage fucking.

My father said he “would have helped”- I finally went at 27.  He helped for a time, until his wife tried to force him to force me to quit my last semester.  She was working on a low level nursing degree over several years to “take care of her child” who was 12, obese, and narcissistic.  Sent home for wearing revealing outfits in the 7th grade and heels- not for being inappropriate, but for honestly being abhorrent.

She is in college now- an apartment she cannot afford without the grace of my father’s income…. her own father a dead pedophile who abused her half sister with a history of addictions and violent behavior.  The sister who had my father’s ribs broken by her boyfriend.

Apparently, both sisters are easier to deal with than I am.  I don’t remind my father of his every failure- the newest being the house he is leaving to move to a smaller one, likely financed by my grandparents- for despite being an engineer, my father has about as much sense with money as a child building bridges out of lego blocks on a toy carpet.

The same father who couldn’t help me after my surgery because he had to order the reception hall for his 18 year old not-child’s graduation party.

I graduated college and did not attend my commencement.  I got a cupcake from my sister in law and I got piss-all drunk at a friends house instead- staring at my bloodshot eyes in the mirror.  Three majors, two degrees, cum laude and a published thesis only people in Pakistan read now.

It was all a waste because I am on disability, it was all unearned because I was on food stamps as I earned it as I didn’t have a “real job” in the worst recession since the depression.  I was working towards a government job that no longer exists- but my two degrees are two more degrees than anyone else in my family outside of my brother or my uncles.  I used my food stamps carefully to trade for gas money to get me to college- the college where my work for my advisor was never “good enough” only to be good enough to plagiarize into his native tongue as I defended him, honored, at first, for the privilege.

My mother I have not seen in over a decade and I hope not to see again until she is staring up from her coffin, where I fantasize I can hit back her cold, dead face with that hard green brush so she decomposes with the mark she left on me- and to bury her with the hinges to all the doors she removed so she could wrap her hamhock hands around my throat and squeeze, screaming- calling me a demon for wanting to breathe as a child only to wish she were better at killing people reflecting on my flashbacks as an adult.

My Pop pop said I dishonor my family by living after my suicide attempt at 30.  I turn 35 on March 5th.  I am allowed to have sleeping pills again after five years- since I do not sleep well at night.  My husband bought me a pick up truck for Valentines day my family assumes must have been achieved via some sort of guile not comprehending that blue collar workers can be more successful than the strenuous work they did behind their desks, sitting in air conditioned offices dealing with the enormous stress of sitting over 8 hours a day as my husband works like a cog in a machine I cannot free him from, his coworkers, actually injured, exhausted, and treated like cattle in the slaughterhouse.

Who will die next and how?  They wonder-  a few months ago a man was electrocuted working on a transformer outdoors in the rain.  It doesn’t count, her was merely a contractor.  He watched a man run down the factory floor holding his own severed fingers in a glove, leaving a trail of blood- chased by a concerned supervisor wondering how they would break this to OSHA.  He pulled three men to safety after an oven exploded.  One, fell into his arms crying and never returned.  No one recognized him for doing this- they were too busy covering up for the explosion, and all the letters written to OSHA resulted in a fine and frantic clean-ups before the inspectors appeared to leave some papers tacked to the wall of offenses.

And here I am on disability. Guilty, that I cannot do better for my spouse as he feeds plates into a hungry machine, one after one, pointlessly with the end goal being to continue to furnish the rich lives of the overlords who live in decadence with the side effect being the paycheck that allows me to lie here alone with my dark thoughts- cancelling plans, hiding in this bedroom with the black out curtains.  I don’t have parties anymore.

My dogs take me outside, not vice versa. If they did not I wouldn’t leave this bed much at all.

I am learning to play the viola and the violin, each week spending $20 to rent an hour of a kind, elderly man. I joke and say it is “rent a grandfather”, but I am not very good at anything beyond gallows humour  ( and certainly not good at the viola) If something happened to my music teacher I hardly know I would likely be inconsolable for the loss of the allegorical bandage he has become in the absence of people who should care but don’t.

And I wonder, always- and have always wondered-  What if my family sees something awful about my composition that my spouse does not, that I do not?

By the nature of gaining the ability to barely survive I have become more alien, not less to family and acquaintances… learning the strange few who relate to me have horrors of their own, and those who have lived without horror, sadness, fear or pain against their will would prefer if I were silent and invisible.

They would prefer if I did not elicit the same reactions from the larger Heathen community that I have seen in my own family- the erasure of harms afflicted, being lied about ridiculously to the point where a leader of the AFA called my husband a “necromancer” and other sheep in wolves clothing believed it.  I worship the wrong Gods to be considered folkish.  Few welcome the Lokeans, even with the proper pedigree.  Marvel comics and backgrounds in Christianity require someone to play the roles of Satan and Judas Iscariot, too ignorant to understand polytheism, and I am not respected enough to be more than a small voice of contradiction in a sea of new converts with each new episode of ‘Vikings’,  ‘Game of Thrones’, each new ‘Thor’ movie or Neil Gaiman project, and every other franchise that marches on the corpses of the Odinists who were alive when I was born,  as they wear hammers the size of fists, but never read the Edda’s to know that without Loki there would be no Mjollnir necklaces.

To be hated by the Troth for defending myself and asking for a woman spreading lies about myself and my husband to be settled publicly, instead to be told by the leader that “It wasn’t his decision” to have us barred- but what sort of leader is that?  As he creates imaginary histories for our shared family of twelve genders that do not exist among the Amish and never did- and re-creates holidays no one in my county has heard of but by his lips have been endemic for centuries.

People not of our ancestry invited to celebrate festivals of bullshit like white folks at the pow wows being given “Indian Names”.

I have tried to find the kinship I had not found in my family in my religion and mostly failed, except for those just as broken, discarded, maligned, and despised as I am.  So, when I feel better than I do now, I listen and help other people through their tragedies.

Realizing the only other chaplain who ever did such a thing is too important being Emperor of a tragic kingdom of people who read Amish erotica too concerned with modern sensibilities of inclusion to bother to continue to preserve what good our ancestors strove to pass onwards to us, and in my estrangement, cannot do so myself.

We would create our own community except we are too broken to leave our homes but rarely, and only talk when we are hurting;  I suppose we are too weak for any family at all.

And in my head, all I can hear is the voices of two girls calling my father “Daddy” as they use him as their personal ATM machine- yet remembering also that he would intentionally step away from the cash register when we purchased a five dollar hose to fix our clothes dryer.

“Daddy, I need money to get fast food after cheer practice”- said a fat daughter of the pedophile.   I worked since I was twelve, and I would have been beaten by my mother for that question.  Does it not bother him that his wife stayed with the pedophile even after his crimes were revealed?  That she gave up her own eldest daughter to be abused for her own financial comfort?

No wonder they stay married.

“You shouldn’t resent your father’s new family, isn’t his happiness important to you?”

Is it not important that I have been erased in favor of strangers?

“Why do you care about what the Heathen community does?”

Because, like family, it is the only religion I really have.  Even theistic  Discordianism is not really a religion- more of a gathering of the damaged.

My mother told a therapist once that she was “still trying to break my spirit” when I was a teenager, I can picture the community bemoaning me in the same way.

Why am I still alive?  I think it is because I have nothing to lose in speaking the truths no one ever wants to hear.


Posted in About me on February 21, 2017 by Tyrienne



Artist Unknown.

“You chose me,  I am amused and a bit surprised, ”  stated the firey red fox coquettishly, “All things considered, I thought you would choose the entirely humorless, limping wolf for council in everything.”  I noticed then that I, too was a fox, nowhere near as brilliant.  My fur the copper of old pennies compared to the reds found only in poppies and fire before me, shining with iridescence.  I was afraid I had upset him, only for a moment, before he crossed the distance between us and touched his nose to my own.
“I am looking for contentment, I thought you would know that better.That is not something I would go to Ty-” I found my mouth filled with the fluff of his tail.
“Shh!  Human names are heretical.” he gracefully moved his tail in an arabesque clearing my face.
“Wait- what?  Why?”
“You believed there were only Gods for humans?  Why would an animal worship a human or pay homage to their oppressors?”  His grin, feral… subtext dripping from his words like golden syrup.  “I don’t care for humans very much right now, I abhor their present stupidity.”
“You sound like my frien-”
“Spike,”  we said at once.  The Fox, ceaseless in graceful movement danced like leaves on a breeze,”
“That is because we are of the same type.  Not everyone is a wolf, a boar, or a raven.  Some of us are foxes.  You are a fox, I am a fox, he is a fox… if you want contentment, do fox things… and the first is to go feral.”
“Feral.” He sat ramrod straight, posed brilliantly and shining, “No fox is happy in a crowd for very long, but goes wherever she pleases and stays as long or short as she likes.   A fox eventually grows away from its family, and keeps primary companionship with its mate.  She is not collared, she is not owned.  She does not take more responsibility than pleases her, but she is careful of her territory and mindful of her den.” He paused.  “A fox is you.  It is not good to be a person right now, like to a human be a fox- happily join their picnics and just as happily return home.” His eyes like emeralds in sunlight shined, “You belong to yourself, and you worry yourself only with what directly impacts your existence.”
He jumped back up onto higher ground,  if a jump can be a graceful leap of shining wonder, the fire of his pelt shimmered and blazed and dazzled the eyes.  All I could think is “Man, being a mortal is so dull.” in every sense of the word.  I was a boring, brown fox staring at the God of Foxes,  that in itself was something quite spectacular, and I was filled not with fear but curiosity and endless questions I wished to ask and have answered.
“That is actually the effect I am aiming for on our kind,  thanks for being so receptive.”
“I still have to wonder, though, why I don’t feel like I should cower in fear before you or feel something awful.”
“You have not pissed me off, I will explain contentment-  Contentment is not caring one way or the other what anyone who does not affect you thinks.”
“You affect me,”
“Clearly. But you are being intentionally obtuse.” he cleared his throat.  “Do you have food?  Do you have shelter?  Do you have a home to improve?  A skill to learn?  Someone to love? Do you have your health?”
“Well, yes-” Although his line of questioning was rapid fire, I kept up and found I could agree to all of those things.
“Then you will grow contentment. Foxes grow away from their families to be with their mates and find allies among other creatures in the wood.  Remember, do not take on more responsibility than pleases you.    Do not take too much to feed your ego or so little to feed laziness.  Be helpful to other creatures, but not so much that you are left wanting.  If a person throws a snare into your den, avoid it.  You know it is there, it will decompose.”
“But-” I interjected, knowing this experience to be exceptional.
“Humans-”  he enunciated with disgust, “Are pissing me off.  I understand that the forth dimensional existence is limits your form, but your spirit is still limitless.”As the light faded until I could see only by the light he radiated he smiled,
“Be a fox, be feral, and you won’t piss me off.   Humans. Are. Pissing. Me. Off.”