emanix: (emanix)
Subtitle: Seriously, please don't buy me gifts.
---

Dear Peoples,

This year (as I have for the past several years) I am declaring my house a Christmas Free Zone. I am excusing myself from participating in a pointless cultural habit.

Some of it is ideological: I am neither a Christian, a Pagan, nor a Capitalist, and while I think it's nice knowing that Isaac Newton was born on the 25th of December, I think he would appreciate the sentiment of my doing nothing at all to celebrate this fact, because he simply isn't around to see it.

Some of it is more practical: After almost a decade of short-term living situations and an entire year of living out of backpack, the idea of acquiring more Stuff gives me an almost-physical pain. I can't help imagining carrying the extra weight of this new item, whatever it is, or doing the calculation in my head, working out which thing in my already full to capacity backpack I will have to give away, destroy, or otherwise leave behind in order to accommodate this new uninvited guest, however small.

Yes, I have a house right now, but my intention is to sell up and go back to being nomadic in the future. Every gift I receive now will have to be either carried or disposed of in the intervening time, and it hurts my heart to receive beautiful things knowing I can't keep them.

I'm not a complete grinch. I don't want to spoil anyone else's fun. I just question how much 'fun' is really involved in the rituals of compulsory gift-giving, emotional blackmail and gluttony that go alongside a traditional celebration of... what? The birth of a prophet who preached poverty, self-immolation and charitable giving? The turning of the seasons?
Why not, then, spare a thought instead for folks who are less well off? Perhaps those who are out in the cold. Rather than indulging in ridiculously high calorie foods, making oneself miserable, or at best uncomfortable, with overindulgence, why not give the whole damn lot to a food bank? Why not the gifts too? Instead of buying yet another gift set of pre-wrapped toiletries, probably destined barely to be glanced over before being placed on a high shelf and left to gather dust, why not say to your friend, family member, colleague, 'Today I made the world a slightly better place'. Why not give to charity instead, or volunteer your time?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against ever giving gifts. I love gift-giving. I just feel that gifts can happen the other 364 days of the year, for better reasons than 'a historical figure was born over 2000 years ago and probably nowhere near this time of year, so now I have to give you these socks that you didn't ask for...'. I have no objection to giving things to folks, especially if they're useful, wanted, well thought out. If they'll make life genuinely *better* rather than just fulfilling some sort of ritual expectation. I'll probably even be buying gifts for a few people this December, they just won't be christmas gifts.

If you're the sort of person who might have the urge to buy me a gift, I urge you please to reconsider. I have no need of more 'stuff' in my life – in fact, I need less. I have more than enough food, more than enough clothes, a warm place to live. The only thing I'm short on is time. I would rather hear that you had donated to charity on my behalf, or spent some time making the world a better place in some way. Some random act of kindness, or at the very least the carbon-neutral, pollution-free and mostly harmless act that is doing nothing at all.

There will be no christmas cards sent from my house, this year. There will be no tinsel, no baubles, and no tree. There will be no massive christmas dinner, or stressful family visits. Life, in fact, will carry on pretty much as usual, except perhaps a little quieter. Since I first went 'on strike' from christmas, several years ago now, midwinter has become a peaceful contemplative time for me to catch up with myself, my reading, and all of the bits and bobs that have built up through the year. I'll be sorting out my tax return, figuring out what I might be donating to charity on top of the steady stream of possessions I've been giving away over the last few months, and thinking about how I can contribute to the lives of friends and family through the rest of the year. I might get some DIY done.

Whatever I end up doing, I'm rather looking forward to the blissful peace of watching the hustle and bustle of the 'festive season' from a safe distance, and not being involved in any of it.

I guess you could say that this is the gift I'm giving myself.

Love and peace to everyone,

Maxine.

x
emanix: (emanix)
(From my personal manifesto)

Live cheaply. Keep the regular costs as low as possible, and save the rest for investments. Invest in things that add to your life. Good shoes for comfort, a good coat for warmth, a camera for memories. Prioritise. Resist ostentation unless it brings joy to people who aren't you.

When you have all you actually need, invest in story. Never forget that narrative has value. Give your lunch to a homeless person. Run naked in the rain. Change the world for the better. Tell a story with your life, and make it a good one.

----

- Written ‎12 ‎January ‎2013. I think when I wrote it originally I considered it unfinished, but having found it on my laptop again today, I think that it stands perfectly well as it is so I'm posting it.
emanix: (emanix)
I don't post much personal stuff these days. I've been finding, whilst I'm ever so happy to be out, as an activist, as a kinkster, as a visible poly person, that I want to live my private life... well, privately. But since writing my last post I've been feeling the need to post a personal update.

I've spent most of the last nine months out in the countryside, bouncing around alone in a big empty house with a barely functioning phone and minimal internet. I was tired of humanity, tired of the city, tired of sharing space with folks who mostly took and forgot to give back, tired of broken promises and thoughtless behaviour. So I left. I moved out to the Edge of Everywhere, into my 'hermitage' and I hid away. And, of course, I learned some new things about myself.

I learned how terrifying it is to be on your own, two hours drive or more away from everyone you know, and to be suddenly taken ill with a fever. To call up the only folks you can rely on and say "Ring me in the morning. If I don't pick up, call an ambulance." knowing that was the best they'd be able to do.

I learned a few things about my own resourcefulness, my own ability to cope when things suck. I learned a few things about my need for human contact, but also my never previously suspected need to be able sometimes to switch that off and just be.

Most of all, though, I learned a lot about who the folks are I really care about, and who really care about me. The people I feel the need to reach out to when I'm out on a limb, and even more, the folks who stuck with me, who made sure they kept in touch, even when I was out of sight and far away. I learned about the lines of love that stay open when we are far apart, when communications are hard, and the ones that shut down as soon as you're not visible.

I learned about being an Outdoor Cat.

Now I'm moving on again, after nine months. Just long enough to have had the baby. The hermitage was always temporary. It could have been longer, it could have been less. I don't feel quite ready to leave, but perhaps I never would have done, who knows? And where I'm moving to is... nowhere, everywhere, into thin air.

I have a place lined up to go to, it's not ready yet. May not be for a few months (given the folks involved, maybe even longer). In the meantime, I'm embracing the freedom of movement. I will be living out of my backpack, with a suitcase on the side full of art materials to enable me to keep painting, keep creating. I'm free from paying rent or bills, so that gives me a little more money for travel and accommodation should I find the need to pay for places, but I am starting to suspect I won't be struggling. I am trusting that there will be places open to me.

As if in answer to that trust, when I started telling my friends and loved ones about my plan, vistas of possibility opened up. I found myself welling up with tears as one after another members of my chosen family, friends and lovers, even ex partners I'm still close to, began offering me places to stay not just for a day or two but for weeks or months, as long as I liked, and not just rooms but also keys to their houses to come and go as I please, to be trusted, one of the family. To install the cat flap. I am indescribably grateful for that. Awed by the love and joy in those connections and wanting to celebrate that. To announce to the world that I love these people. Be good to these people. They've been, are currently being so good to me.

So I'm moving on... as I jokingly said to a friend of mine who asked me 'where to?' the other day, I'm moving on to the internet. My email address is the same as ever, as is my mobile number. I have a couple of partners willing to accept packages for me, depending on where I'll be in the world. I'm still just as easy to get hold of, just perhaps a little harder to pin down in one place. I'm already pretty much booked up for the next couple of months, in terms of places to be. In fact I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever find time to move into my new place at all. I shall play it by ear, as with everything else in my life at the moment.

I'll see you on the internet!

With love and joy,

M.

xx
emanix: (Default)

I have come across this poem online a couple of times, attributed to a Veronica Shoffstall. However it appears that it's also a translation of an original work in Spanish, possibly by Jorge Luis Borges.

Either way, it is beautiful, and expresses a lot of how I feel about relationships, and about polyamory, and deserves to be known.

After a While

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman*
Not the grief of a child*

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
And with every day, you learn.




Click for the original language )

.

*I notice these two lines aren't present in the Spanish version. They are awfully pretty, though, and fit well into the model of the poem, so I've left them where I found them. Being a language nerd, I also fixed the last line of the translation: the version I found said 'with every goodbye you learn', whereas the spanish just says 'with every day', which I think is far more optimistic!
  
NB: I'm not keen on infringing copyright, so I'll happily take this post down or correct the attribution if I'm contacted by someone who can demonstrate ownership, but in this case it seems the ownership is fuzzy, and the likely original author is no longer alive to benefit from his work. There appears to be a longer version in Spanish here: http://elprincipito.blogia.com/2005/101102-jorge-luis-borges-aprendiendo.php
emanix: (Default)
I was walking down the road this afternoon and this idea just popped into my head. Wouldn't it be interesting to take one of the most traditional statements of faith in the christian church (which, being the faith that was vaguely foisted on me as a child, is the main religion that I push against, culturally-speaking) kick out the rubbish, and write what I really believe?

For those who aren't aware of it, this is the Nicene Creed

So here, with somewhat tortured language because of trying to fit it vaguely into the same pattern, is my set of beliefs about the world.


The Emanixine Creed:
(probably a first draft)

I believe in a reality external to myself, some of which is observable with my own senses, some of which is not.

I believe in myself as a conscious being, as a person, and in other conscious beings, other people. I believe that continued existence and pleasure in that existence is a good thing, and a valid goal to strive for. I believe that every conscious being has a right to that goal, and any others that do not conflict with my goal to exist in comfort.

I believe that there will be no judgement after life, but if we are to strive collectively to apply the right to exist in comfort to every conscious being, we must judge within ourselves and within our communities, and hold ourselves to the highest standards we are capable of. I believe that the highest glory is in the sharing of happiness and increasing of knowledge, as well as the peaceful coexistence of every conscious being.

I believe in empirical science, not as a fixed body of knowledge, but as a process through which to understand the world, and the external reality in which I exist.

I believe in the universe as the giver of life, which proceeds from the laws of physics as we know them. I acknowledge that my understanding of the world is incomplete, and hope for forgiveness of any misunderstandings. I look for the continuation of this life, and the world to come.



If you were to write a creed for yourself, how would yours read?
emanix: (Default)
1. Drowned spiders do not float, they sink.

2. If said drowned spider is in a cup of tea, it is therefore invisible (even more so if you happen to be in a dark room and focussing your attention on watching a film at the time).

3. The sensation of having a dead spider in your mouth is remarkably like sucking on the leafy bit from the top of a strawberry. Thankfully, it doesn't taste of much.

4. I have also realised that whilst not scared of spiders in the slightest, I have no idea which breeds are toxic if ingested, or any clue where this one had been. Yuck. :(

5. (Gap in knowledge) Still have no idea how said spider got into my cup of tea - now carefully inspecting all teabags and spoons for 'passengers', and hoping that none are stupid enough to abseil down from ceilings, or climb up from the table into my mug of hot beverage. The tea is sacred, dammit!

---

Notes to self (Mostly unrelated to above incident):

1. Do not feed trolls. No matter how tempting to do so. Even if they plead. Also, like gremlins, absolutely do not feed them after midnight.

2. Do not make blog posts about issues with specific partners, no matter how much it masquerades in your head as a request for advice, it's probably a rant in disguise. As a wise person pointed out recently, it's undignified as having your rows in the middle of the street. Don't do it. On the other hand, composing said rant for the benefit of the person concerned, and showing it to them after you've spoken about the issue in person, may be a good thing.

3. Really, seriously, don't feed the trolls. Nothing good ever comes of it. Put the conversation down, and step away.

4. Inspect all tea-making equipment carefully.

5. Don't get online before household chores are finished for the day. This means they'll never happen, and then you end up with dirty dishes and no clean clothes. - Doh!

July 2015

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