The final months of the year are always a period of deep contemplation for me. Samhain, Yule, New Years. My birthday and my partner’s, and our anniversary. Five different calendars turn over from 31 October to 1 January, plus Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the navel-gazing that goes with that. This year, even more than most, I have a lot to contemplate.
Usually, I begin the season with a sort of revel: dressing up for days leading up to Halloween, each costume more outrageous than the last, and greeting each night with as much wine and ecstacy as I can muster. I have pushed the boundaries of dress codes at my places of employment, unnerved the casual libertines of a residential liberal arts college, been too weird for the weirdest town in Kansas. I have gone out into the world to be seen, to confront the squares with the life they could have if only they’d grow a soul and a spine.
This morning, however, I woke in a mental place of quiet. I have no revel in me, today. My thoughts circle on who I am and what I want. I find that my answers do not come as readily as they have in the past.
Mine is not a simple life. Much of that is by choice, but at the core it’s also my nature. I am not now, nor ever have I been, nor ever shall I be a “get-along, go-along” kind of person. I have always believed in things that others do not; always wanted things that were not what was prescribed for me. I have always not pursued those desires – all other arguments aside, there are only so many hours in the day – but I have always stood up for what I believe in the face of not just convention, but actual authority.
This year has seen a great deal of both those things. The one has left me blessed, surrounded by more love and stronger community than in many years. The other has left me adrift as certain ambitions were broken on the rocks of my ideals, shattered by my refusal to be expedient with my ethics.
This year, I have been victorious and beloved. This year, I have been disappointed and betrayed. Certain magical operations have, all rather suddenly and together, born fruit: I feel like there is more of me than there has been in years, and that I can see more clearly than I have since the Sunrise Temple … or possibly even Lawrence. At the same time, though, I feel like the world is murkier by the day, and that even more of me isn’t enough for the work at hand.
The last year has seen the rise of a new autocratic strain in US politics, and a savage resurgence of white supremacy in both the US body politic at large and the KC neo-Pagan community in particular. Homophobia and heteronormativity are coming back like a tide, and allies are mistaking the most banal lip service for real support.
In this moment, I’m feeling mostly good. In an hour that might change. Looking back over the last year, I’m really not certain I can say that there hasn’t been more down than up. So begins the season of contemplation.