From August of 2009 to January of 2017, I kept a blog, Strip Me Back to the Bone. I began writing publicly about my spiritual and religious experiences, about living a devotional life, as a sort of real time alternative to writing a book about being a Poseidon devotee. I’ve written, I hope, candidly and transparently; I’ve shared a lot of myself not because I think anything I’m doing is overly important (it’s not) or because I think my gods need me to speak up for Them (I don’t) but rather because I wanted to create the content I wish I had access to, when I was a brand new devotee starting out.
I wanted to be visible and vocal, because I could be, because it was safe to do so, and because the world needs different examples of how to be various things: in this case, how to not be an asshole polytheist. (/snark) I wanted, too, to inundate a space with Poseidon discussion — examples of rituals, photos, study — because, when I first started Strip Me Back to the Bone, no one really was talking about His worship much.*
It’s been an interesting ride so far, this wave. I’ve gone from writing about how Poseidon has shaped me, from what it might be like to be a godspouse, to writing about my every day life, promoting my fiction, to focusing more on just religious stuff, to sharing the bombshell He dropped (oh so gently, really) a few years back when He introduced a new, additional identity for the first time since we met. Essentially, He said, “You know how I said names don’t really matter? Well, they don’t . . . So how’s about you cleave a little less to ‘Poseidon’, now?”
Wait, what? Aah. Aaaaaaaaaaaah.
2016 was an interesting year. Good, in many ways — I admitted after years that my depression was too much for me to deal with on my own, owned up to sidling up to suicide planning, and sought — and received — help. Our terminally ill dog continued (and continues!) to fail at heart failure, and I released a modest number of books and booklets, far more than I would have finished without seeking treatment. Difficult, too, in that our household struggled with mounting medical debt, to the point that we had to ask friends and family for help. (Hooray medical bills!) (Actually, hooray for people willing and able to help; I really, really hope we get to be in that category soon!) I quit a job I’d held for a decade, and started a new one at a company that actually seems to care about its employees, has excellent benefits, and wonder of wonders, pays a living wage. [Commencing digging our way out of debt in five . . . Four . . . Three. . . Two . . .]
In January, I announced I was retiring that blog. I said I was sure I’d be back to blogging in the future, but that I needed some time away, some time to learn who I was without the black dog of depression not controlling everything, needed some time to be quiet, to retreat, to simply be. I’d taken on a lot of projects that I really had no business taking on, with my newfound ability to prioritize and not become overwhelmed, and I tried my hand at being far more social than I am in truth, because really, I just did not know if I was introverted, or if I was depressed all this time. (Side note: I really am introverted).
I thought, too, the time away, would allow me to get this whole Vishnu-Poseidon thing squared away, that I could get good with this new hazy, blurry, wobbly non-boundary between the Two of Them, but all it’s really allowed me to do has been to drop thinking about it. Which has been good in that I’m no longer desperate to try to Figure It Out, but also not good in that, I miss Him/Them.
Writing these thoughts out have become such an important part in how I process my thoughts and feelings and impulses.
And then. Then? Well, 2017 arrived, and the world is on fire, (has always been on fire, will always be on fire). I fall into a number of marginalized categories, but I ‘win’ in the one that seems to matter the most: I’m white. So it’s maybe rich to say that now and only now do I begin to feel unsafe being visible and vocal, because, well, good for me, but that’s a security that so many have never had. I can go quiet, I can stop talking about things that matter to me, I have that luxury.
And suddenly, retreating does not feel like a break to nourish myself, to find myself, to have a writing vacation after blogging for eight years. Suddenly, making 2017 the year of the retreat feels instead like the year of being silenced.
So, why the new space? If I’m not ashamed of what I’ve written so far, of where I’ve been so far, why start over with a new blog? For crying out loud, Jo, you’re even naming it the same!
Well — I want to. I want the clean slate, I want less ‘Poseidon-weight’, I want less of the all-over-the-place and writing off-the-cuff. But mostly, I want to.
Expect to see me write about mental health, about activism and the different forms it can take. Expect me to share links to causes I find important. Expect me to talk shit about this hand basket we seem to be taking to hell, and the adoption of bullshit as our new official language. Expect me to share what polytheism might look like, about not being threatened by people who do it differently than I do, about how I attempt to build others up, and what builds me up. Expect me to go all introspective like. Expect it to be more of the same, really, with, hopefully, just a touch of better organization.
Expect me to Keep It Real — and for fuck’s sake, take me to task when I don’t!
*not no one, I’m sure, but not regularly in a place that I could access, and the Poseidon that I love and adore deserves that much, at least. More, but at least that much.