Reflections

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, most of the time we don’t understand what’s going on until we’re far away from it.

We can get swept along with our thoughts and feelings and be blinded by emotion; pride and infatuation are big culprits. If we could see tings clearly all of the time then life would be a little pointless, we’re supposed to make mistakes and do things that we’re not proud of; if we didn’t then how could we ever decide what sort of person we wanted to be?

In the last few months I’ve had to come to terms with some difficult truths, especially regarding my career and my passions. I’ve been blessed and cursed in equal measure. I’ve grown up even more- far more than I thought was possible.

There are a lot of decisions to make about my future; every option will involve me being unhappy. There really is no middle ground; being with the people that I love will mean I have to give up the thing that I love, following the thing that I love will mean having to be apart from the people that I love. I feel like my heart is breaking, the pain is unbearable and there’s no easy option. There is no way out.

I have however come to realise that the world is a far more wonderful place than I’ve ever given it credit for. The Gods have blessed me in a way that I could have never imagined. I’m so happy; more happy than I ever thought that I could be. For the first time in my life I feel… I feel… like a real person.

For a personal blog I don’t actually write a lot about my personal life; things like that just make me uncomfortable. I’m a private person and there are areas of my life that I will always write about in ridiculous, ambiguous terms; so apologies for that.

I think the best way I can explain everything that’s going on in my life at the moment is by saying that I expected and planned out my life with just me; I put all of my energy into filling up my life and enjoying being alone… but now I can actually see a future where I’m loved, where I have a family of my own.

This revelation has changed everything; I’ve taken all of the pressure off myself- I don’t care about being successful, I want to do something that I love… and that’s not solely acting. I want to combine my love of writing, directing, acting and working with people who have mental health problems.

The Gods alone know how I’m going to do this, but I have the courage and determination to try. I want to do something that I find fulfilling, and I have the love and support in my personal life to pull me through all of the dark times.

’til next time,

Wren x

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An Independent Introvert

I accepted and embraced the fact that I’m an introvert a long time ago; some people find it hard to understand that there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely.

I never feel truly lonely because I know that my Gods are with me, I know that they surround me in everything that I do. Even in my darkest moments I’ve always felt a presence with me. The Gods help to give me the courage to make decisions on my own.

Human beings are social creatures, we crave company. The fear of being alone can drive us to great extremes, personally I can say that I know very well what loneliness feels like and I also know that I never want to feel that again… I will, but it frightens me. The idea that my Gods will be with me no matter what helps to soothe that fear.

For me, part of Paganism is being fearless. We’re a religion that tackles awkward subjects head on; loneliness is one of those subjects. The Gods offer us a chance to never be lonely.

However, introversion is not necessarily loneliness; I very much enjoy being an introvert. I feel much closer to my Gods when I’m alone and I feel that my thoughts bring me closer to them. Being with just me allows me time to listen to Pagan media, to meditate, and to perform rituals. It gives me space and quiet to read books and articles on Paganism and to write them myself.

I like to do things by myself, so Paganism was always the perfect fit for me; it gave me the freedom to go at my own pace and explore the things that interested me. I didn’t have to tell anyone my beliefs or justify what I felt. I was given the freedom, the independence to explore things by myself.

Blessings,

Wren x

‘Historically Accurate’ Period Dramas

If you’re not in the UK you probably won’t be aware of a new drama, ‘The Crimson Field’, it’s being shown at 9pm on BBC1 on Sundays and is a drama series about nurses in the First World War.

There seems to be a theme in television dramas for sanitising the past- Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge, Call the Midwife- and showing the pretty, dramatic side. ‘The Crimson Fields’ seems to be another example of this. The recent surge in First World War related things is due to the centenary of its beginning, so we can expect to see war related dramas filling our screens for the next four years.

I’m not sure how I feel about the sanitisation of the past being applied to a drama about the First World War… it seems a little disrespectful. Though I’m not going to say that the programme is bad I will say that it’s certainly a drama and should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt.

Some people get angry at dramas like this, they accuse them of ‘not being historically accurate’, whilst I can see where they’re coming from I do think that dramas shouldn’t be held as credible examples of historical research; if a writer wants to make something historically accurate then they can do- if they want to make something mushy and entertaining then that’s fine too.

I think that the issue with ‘The Crimson Fields’ is that it’s a drama about a sensitive topic; the trenches and the affect that the war had on soldiers is not something for a cosy Sunday night slot on BBC1, whilst they can try to make it a soap the fact remains that it’s dealing with something fairly serious.

I’m a massive history geek; when I write stories set in the past I take my time to do as much research as possible. Whilst it can never be 100% you can generally tell when a writer/director cares about accuracy and when they’re more interested in the exciting storylines.

Is it okay to sacrifice historical accuracy for drama when dealing with a subject like the First World War? I’m honestly not sure of my feelings on this one…

’til next time,

Wren x

 

When Do You Stop Being ‘Mentally Ill’?

You can cure a physical illness; that’s fairly common knowledge. You get medication (or you just wait) and it gets better- and then you’re not ill any more.

Mental illness is kind of different; I was wondering the other day if I’m still mentally ill. I mean, before xmas I was very depressed- properly, clinically depressed- so I would have been classed as ‘mentally ill’, but after months of medication and self help I don’t need the pills anymore and I don’t think about dying quite as much as I used to.

So… do I still have depression? Am I still mentally ill? If I am then what do I need to do to become ‘sane’ again? Who decides that I am ‘sane’?

I really don’t understand, and I don’t think many other people do either. I’ve written about this sort of thing before regarding self injury and just came to a jumbled conclusion that I wasn’t sure when you stopped being a self-harmer. In a way I think that the SI version of this issue is a lot clearer cut than just looking at mental illness.

I’d place a lot of money on the fact that I will, at some point in the future, become depressed again. I’ll also most likely hurt myself again… neither of these things are my choice, but based on past experience the likelihood of those two things happening to me is very high.

So am I mentally ill? Right now I’m not depressed- well, I’d probably still meet the grade, but I don’t really feel bad- I can function as a human being. I’m not really hallucinating or having delusions. I don’t want to die. I’m not self-harming. Okay, so the way that my brain works isn’t very helpful and I have a few issues from the past that I’m still working through, but on the whole I’m not in need of psychiatric medication. Therapy might be helpful- but therapy is generally always helpful; we do live in a mad world after all.

There’s also another strand to it; ‘mentally ill’ can become an identity. I know that it has for me; I retaliated against the hate, shame and fear that surrounded what was wrong with me by reclaiming the term ‘mental’ and using it with pride. This blog was built around my mental health problems. What happens to me if I’m not mental anymore? I’ve spent over five years struggling with depression, self-harm and other symptoms; but I’d say that dealing with those issues doesn’t take up my life any more, they’re not nearly as bad as they used to be.

Something about me and my brain makes it prone to depression, it could be physical, chemical or psychological- or perhaps even a combination of the three- so I know that my experiences of mental illness are far from over, but it’s nothing like it used to be and I’m able to function fine on a day to day basis.

Am I still mentally ill? If not then when will I stop being mentally ill? How can I stop?

’til next time,

Wren x

Mentalist… Tuesday?

Just a quick note to apologise; there won’t be a Mentalist Monday today, instead you’ll be getting a Mentalist Tuesday! It’s been a little hectic over here in the world of Wren, sadly this means sad things and a late post.

Thanks for your patience; watch this space.

’til tomorrow,

Wren x

Hag

Maiden, Mother, Crone; all three important aspects of a woman’s life.

I feel quite strongly that the final aspect; the crone, is overlooked a lot. We can accept and embrace the first two incarnations of womanhood but the latter is something that strikes against the core values of our youth obsessed culture.

We find it very hard these days to see old-age as something useful or important- but it’s vital. With age comes wisdom, and the crone (or hag) represents this. Paganism teaches us that there can be no light without darkness, no life without death; it teaches us that there must always be a balance in the world and that we should embrace this without fear.

The Hag is important. In folklore she can be a terrifying figure, she represents death and darkness as well as wisdom. Goddesses such as The Morrigan and Badb are commonly associated with The Hag.

Common ‘hag’ figures include:

Jenny Greenteeth: A hag from my home county of Yorkshire, she is said to lurk in rivers and pull children and the elderly to their deaths.

Baba Yaga: As well as being the inspiration for my last novel Baba Yaga is a wise woman from the Slavic forests who rides around on a mortar and lives in a house on chicken legs. She is known to help the hero on his quest, but her help will come at a price.

The Cailleach: A figure from Irish/Scottish mythology, she is said to be concerned with the harvest and is said to rule the winter months whilst her counterpart the Goddess Brighid (my matron deity) rules the summer.

The Three Fates: Three powerful figures from Greek mythology who control destiny are often depicted as hags, once again highlighting the ‘wisdom’ aspect of the hag.

On a personal level I have to mention that this post was inspired by something that happened to me early this morning, I’m not sure if what came to visit me in my dreams was a ‘hag’ figure, or what the visitation means, but it was certainly interesting. I usually have very vivid dreams but this one felt very different.

At first I though that I was awake; I was lying on my back in bed, my partner asleep against me. I remember very clearly feeling his warmth and the way that he was breathing as I looked around our bedroom in the darkness. Then the bedroom door began to open slowly, I watched as a figure filled the doorway. It was a woman shrouded in black; she began to walk into the room.

At this point I tried to move but found myself frozen, I think I could move my fingers and toes a little but nothing else- I also quickly found that I couldn’t scream, my voice had gone. I tried to wake my partner but to no avail.

The woman walked closer and closer to me, shuffling along the floor until she was about a metre away from me… then I woke up.

When I woke up there was no difference to the scene apart from the fact that I was lying on my front and not my back and the door was closed.

The Hag is important, she holds more wisdom and knowledge than we can ever hope to imagine; honour her.

Blessings,

Wren x