There are a couple major things I have realized along the course of things as the path goes on. There are some pretty rough times and dark patches. This is an unavoidable truth. There are also lights along the way, it seems, for every dark patch we are forced to walk through.
I noted once, maybe, that one of the things I really believe in is radical self love. It, of course, was not always that way. The road to understanding the dire need to believe in myself was a dark and difficult one. Because when there is not self love, there is self hate. Those self-hating states of mind are the obstacles between which life is forgotten and dreams are wedged away for a day that will never come.
In the midsts of the constant sorrow and loathing of how I looked, nothing changed. I was alone, but for friends whose encouragements would fall on deaf ears. (And for that, I love them. Deaf ears they may have been, but the mind was slowly being convinced of their truth.) When they left for college and I did not -- could not -- I thought that was the end of me. I thought I would be stuck in my town being a cashier for the most popular grocery store. I would day in and day out dread going to work and dealing with customers who did not appreciate that I was there helping them.
When those friends were gone, and I was literally alone and scoffed at for my upsets, I had to figure out how to make it through my darkest hours myself. I dread to think where I would be now if I didn't pull it together. I was an artist first -- and due to financial circumstances, I couldn't go to Beverly, Massachusetts to study Art Education. When that long-time dream shattered to pieces, I wasn't sure how I could go forward and get out of the confines of the small, small town I graduated high school in.
When it all seemed too dim to comprehend, the only thing I had that kept me from being completely useless and depressed was my Pagan studies. I had stopped laughing so much. I had stopped believing in my talents and stopped drawing, painting...everything. But I never stopped reading or taking notes on Paganism. While I hated myself, there was that glimmer when I was immersed in a book, where I didn't have to remember that life was dreary. People told me that those who skip between high school and college never end up going, after all.
I read of the Norse in their mythologies and envied their strength and resilliance. I read how they survived so many cruel winters. I read how the world began in between fire and ice -- things moving and things frozen in place... I read of how the first creations were made from stone. I envied such defense. The Norse were warriors, and fought when things didn't turn out for the best for their people. Sure, the Vikings raided everything from Scandinavia to Canada in their time, but they did what they had to do for the good of their people. I wished deeply that I had had that conviction. It was the following November, almost Thanksgiving, before these lessons in me were manifested. If I couldn't be strong for myself, who could be? If I couldn't begin to love all that I was, and would be, who should? I kept reading and taking my notes and so stopped being the foolish (wo)man that we are so warned against becoming in "The Sayings of the High One."
The friends who had made their lives work away in college kept in touch, too. I had a few skype calls and pep talks, and I was told that I would never stop being creative, no matter what. I applied for several SUNY schools on a whim and half a shred of hope. I cried when I was rejected from two, and cried even harder when Oswego was the first one to say they wanted me in their midst. That was it. That was all I needed. Just that little bit of light in the darkness.
I wonder if I would've even applied if it weren't for how the events played out. Is it all coincidence? Is my inspiration from Norse Mythology a figment of my imagination? Has my life really altered course so much that it wouldn't have been the same otherwise?
There are some people who have said that religion has saved them -- pulled them straight from rock bottom and made them strong again. I believe them. Do you?