can you see in the dark?

in a dim foggy light, a small winding river is lined with tall grasses and snow-frosted pine trees

cw: crying, money, cats, weather, family of origin, religion, messiah complex

New month, new essay, what the HECK how can it possibly already be November? For fuck’s sake? It feels like it was just Mabon and now it’s after Samhain. What.

My thoughts have not been very coherent over the past few weeks. Yesterday I spent a lot of time panicking about money things because my money trauma got extremely triggered, today I spent time napping and then crying at The Fellowship of the Ring — particularly the scenes in Lothlorien with Galadriel — and for the next five hours or so I will be doing laundry because we have a senior cat who is so particular about where he is okay to pee that sometimes he just pees where he feels safe (I think that’s why he does it; it might be that he just can’t hold it any more?).

Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-dūm fill your heart, Gimli son of Gloīn, for the world has grown dark and full of peril, and in all lands, love is now mingled with grief.

Galadriel of Lothlorien

So, you know. You can cry too if you would like. I think Galadriel would be just fine with that, and she might also encourage you to take some rest while you’re at it.

Over the past couple of weeks, the weather here in Michigan has gone from Still Summer to Whoa It’s Foggy directly into Is That Snow?! Fuck. My body is clearly trying its best to adjust to the change in barometric pressure, pollen levels, temperature, and humidity levels, which resulted in approximately five days’ worth of migraines, and some were even all-night migraines too.

I like knowing how to treat my various physical illnesses when they come up, but the transition period between seasons seems to fuck me up in that regard. Is that too many antihistamines? Did I actually not take enough? Have I drunk enough water? Is it time to turn on my humidifier again? Do I feel like this because I’m stressed or because the weather is wonky? DOES IT EVEN MATTER?!

I received two emails, one yesterday and one today, from the VINE service in Florida telling me that the Florida Department of Corrections wasn’t reporting to them, and then to tell me that they’d resumed reporting. I signed up for notifications eight years ago when my brother went into custody, so that I’d always know where he was. A few years after that, he stopped writing me letters back, at the same time that most of my immediate family stopped talking to me because I came out as queer and also that I am polyamorous and had just started a relationship with a poly person.

Sometimes, when you tell the truth, the people you thought loved you the most will prove instead that they loved your behavior more than they loved you.

I’m no longer an evangelical Christian, not even an almost-evangelical-Christian — which I was for quite a few years before I finally found what I was looking for. The Christian god and I had a mutually amicable breakup. If my life had played out differently, I am convinced that I would still have found a way to give of myself for the good of those than need it, within a framework that cautions me away from the self-destructive parts of a messiah complex.

If you’re like me and you already have a messiah complex installed in your brain’s metaphorical hard drive (I got mine as a kid so I’ve had it a nice long time now), allow me to point out some self-destructive things that people like us are in the habit of doing:

  1. Not asking for help
  2. Assuming complete responsibility for something that you haven’t actually been asked to do
  3. Assuming complete responsibility for something that is a shared responsibility
  4. Not asking for help
  6. Guilt over results that you were not and are not able to do anything about
  7. Collecting other peoples’ problems into a basket until it’s too heavy to carry, and then trying to carry it
  8. Taking it personally when someone else is having a hard time (unless it’s actually your fault that they’re having a hard time)
  9. Not asking for help

Without trying to be clever, I am serious about the potential consequences of not asking for help and what that actually says about how you view yourself and your responsibilities. Even if you ARE completely responsible for something, you can — and should, I think — ask for help. Ask for support, ask for time to vent verbally, ask for a hug, ask for honest feedback, ask for a reality check. You aren’t alone; but the more alone you believe that you are, the more your messiah complex will be able to dictate your feelings and choices.

Even more helpful, look for other people with a messiah complex so that you can take turns lovingly hurting each others’ feelings by pointing out things like that’s not your job to do or NOW IS THE TIME TO ASK FOR HELP, HINT HINT. I’ve found people like that and they are an invaluable source of comfort and truth for me.

The ability to be this honest with yourself takes a lot of mental and emotional groundwork. It takes therapy. It takes looking at yourself and your choices as truthfully as you possibly can. It takes brutal honesty, but not the kind that you’re using to flagellate yourself. It takes being willing to be wrong as much as you desire to be right.

And now I feel better about this essay, because it started out jumbled up and ended with something I feel strongly about. I hope it helps you. Yes, you. Put down that basket for at least a few minutes.

P.S. you may have figured out by now that most of my essay titles are taken from song lyrics. Today’s is from this song:

featured image is a photo by HARALD PLIESSNIG on Unsplash

Nix Kelley
Co-parent to multiple kids. Writer. Death doula. Member of the Order of the Good Death. Seeker on the Path of Light. Queer, non-binary, & trans.


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