Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Flower - Interlude With Osiris

The night after the New Moon is sacred to Osiris, Asar, husband of my Goddess, so I always try and perform an offering to him.  Although he is a judge and lord and God of the Dead, he is also the Lord of the Living, the Beautiful Boy, the Green God and White God, the God whose weapons are dance and verse and who conquers by educating his foes.  He is beautiful and celebratory as well as solemn and dark, and so few know and see that side of him.

Tonight I offered him a sweet, honeysuckle incense called Blessed Bee from Silver Cauldron (it leapt to my hand), a bowl of good brown rice, and what has become one of my customary offerings to him: genmaicha.  Genmaicha is made of green tea leaves, matcha, and roasted brown rice and is a delicacy to me.  It's also Green (like Him) and flavored with grain, and thus appropriate for the Good God of Green and Grain.  Thrice Green Tea for the Green Man.

Among other things, answering concerns of mine he told me this:

"Write this down, scribe, as you do: Whoever lives in Ma'at has no fear of death."

Perhaps the words were different, but I hope I captured the intent.  Important things to remember.

Dua Asar, Beautiful Boy.

Image from the Isis Oracle by Alana Fairchild (one of my favorite decks and a powerful oracle if you resonate with it).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hijab at Gay Pride - My Covering Story

I come to the practice of covering as a transgender woman, having been raised in a Muslim country by Sunni Orthodox (others would call them Wahabi) Muslims.  My mother was Episcopalian until she found Islam some time in my early childhood; I believe I was in first grade when she started going to a mosque and then started covering.  I had never been raised in her prior tradition, just given general ideas, and her excitement about her new path was contagious.  I read the books and learned the strange and magickal words in other languages and accepted wholeheartedly that this was good and the way that it was taught to me.  My mother married an Egyptian man who worked in Saudi Arabia and so we moved there with him when I was in fourth grade.

I struggled with my identity for a long time, who I knew I was being in conflict with who I was being told that I was.  My religion did not lead me to any satisfactory solution in regards to me gender.  Because of this and other things, I fought with my mother when I graduated High School to be allowed to move back to the States and live with my grandparents.

I found Pagan paths a few years after I moved back, and realized that Pagans weren’t evil or bad people and that there was a lot of value in Pagan practice.  I started to identify as Pagan and had a massive internal struggle as I cast off parts of my old faith a bit at a time.  I remember distinctly a phase where it felt like I was pulling hooks out of my spine, hooks attached to tense, invisible lines or cords.  It was painful and liberating.

I was afflicted with early-onset male pattern baldness.  I had always had my hair long as a teenager and young adult; it was the only feminine expression that I could get away with and losing my beautiful hair tore me apart inside.  I felt disempowered and that my only connection to my womanhood, to who I really was, was being torn from me one hair at a time.  I eventually just shaved my head and kept it short because it was easier to deal with it that way and keep it neat but it jarred and scarred me internally.

I eventually got to the point where I was ready to deal with my gender identity and began to live as I knew myself to be and transition medically.  At this point I began covering because of my hair loss.  I wore colorful scarves tied simply bandana-style, and over time my scarf collection grew and expanded thanks to friends (thanks, Deb!) and hippy stores in the area that I lived.  I have many colorful scarves that I use
My hormonal changes started allowing some of my hair to grow back.  As it started filling back in I realized that at some point I might be able to go uncovered and enjoy my stolen birthright.  At the same time, though, I had been reading about how ancient Isians would go covered, and was exposed to practitioners of other traditions where women went covered. 

Then, when going to the DMV to get my driver’s license changed to reflect my new name and proper gender identity, they asked me to take off my scarf for the picture.  I nervously invoked New York State’s religious exemption regarding covering in pictures and encountered no resistance to it.  However, walking out of the DMV with my new license made me wonder if making that statement and using my faith as an excuse to cover for the picture meant that I should be walking the walk and embrace it as a regular practice, even though my hair was beginning to fill back in.

Little things happened, too.  When my partner’s ex-husband was on his way over and almost came into the apartment one day I panicked, thinking, “But he’s not muhrim, I need to cover!”  I wasn’t raised as a woman in Islam, and still the concept of muhrim (people who are muhrim are “pure”, people who are allowed to see you unveiled) leaked in to my psyche and I began applying it unconsciously.  I began tucking hair in to try and keep it from showing rather than just covering most of my hair, as well.  I didn’t want to be a “hojabi”.

Today was Pride in Rochester, the city I live in.  I’m a leader in the trans community of Rochester and posed like a figurehead at the front of the float, proudly waving the rainbow flag and greeting those I passed with what I hoped was a good balance between lively enthusiasm and royal aplomb.  I kept seeing my own reflection in the back of the truck pulling the float, and at one point I let little wisps of hair on the sides of my head free and immediately felt bad about it.

We have a large festival after the parade, and while in a bathroom there I was looking in the mirror and saw myself and my scarf.  I took it off to fix and adjust it for the first time since I had left the house, and had a moment of pause.  On a whim, I tied it under my chin (rather than behind my head, tichel-like, as I’ve been doing) and folded it over on my cheeks.  My face was framed as my mother’s had been, as countless women I’d been raised with had been.

I didn’t know how to feel about it.  It felt much more complete and comfortable.  It felt more of a whole thing, and less awkward.  At the same time, I had short sleeves and shorts – I wasn’t covering “properly” for a Muslim woman – and I’m not a Muslim woman.

I put it back into the tichel style and went back to our booth at the festival.  Without taking the scarf off I showed the others there what it looked like as hijab.  I got some compliments, and one person remarked on how easily I had done it for not having done it before.

I don’t feel one hundred percent right doing it.  Part of it is identification – I’m not Muslim, and it’s a style associated with Islam.  At the same time, it covers all of my hair, and is something that provides the comfort of familiarity and a sense of continuity.  It feels “safer” than my standard style.

I like it but I don’t know if I like wearing it.  Part of me really wants to experiment with it, and part of me is afraid.  A lot of the fears are unidentified, but I know there’s a fear of being mistaken for Muslim (which is unfair to Muslims and could potentially be unpleasant for me, especially if I have an encounter with someone who actually is Muslim), there’s a fear of being like my mother or walking too close to the road that she walks on… I don’t know what all of them are. 

It’s both comfortable and unsettling.  I don’t know what to do or how to feel about it.  I’m sharing it on this blog, but also with the facebook groups that I belong to for covered women.  I am still trying to digest how I feel about this. 

The one thing that does put a smile on my face about the situation is the fact that I first wore hijab for Gay Pride.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Root: The Nameless

I felt that it was time for another Philae post, and that feeling coincided with a desire to share my favorite piece of prose, ever.  It is from the novel Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.  I was going to share it on Facebook, but it is too long, and would rather have it up here where I will be able to see it.

I have omitted a single paragraph, because without the context of the novel it would make no sense, and is the only reference to why this speech is given.  For those who are not familiar, Samsara is the concept of the temporal reality around us, that we dwell in and visit for a time in life, and all that is connected to it.

Please, do me the favor of sitting down and taking the time to read these words.  I read them first when I was eight, and re-visit them and this novel every few years, and every time I find new value, meaning, and purpose in them.  Thank you.

“Names are not important,” he said.  “To speak is to name names, but to speak is not important.  A thing happens once that has never happened before.  Seeing it, a man looks upon reality.  He cannot tell others what he has seen.  Others wish to know, however, so they question him, saying, ‘What is it like, this thing you have seen?’  So he tries to tell them.  Perhaps he has seen the very first fire in the world.  He tells them, ‘It is red, like a poppy, but through it dance other colors.  It has no form, like water, flowing everywhere.  It is warm, like the sun of summer, only warmer.  It exists for a time on a piece of wood, and then the wood is gone, as though it were eaten, leaving behind that which is black and can be sifted like sand.  When the wood is gone, it too is gone’.  Therefore the hearers must think that reality is like a poppy, like water, like the sun, like that which eats and excretes.  They think it is like anything that they are told it is like by the man who has known it.  But they have not looked upon fire.  They cannot really know it.  They can only know of it.  But fire comes again into the world, many times.  More men look upon fire.  After a time fire is common as grass and clouds and the air they breathe.  They see that, while it is like a poppy it is not a poppy, while it is like water, it is not water, while it is like the sun it is not the sun, and while it is like that which eats and passes wastes, it is not that which eats and passes wastes, but something different from each of these apart or all of these together.  So they look upon this new thing and make a word to call it.  They call it ‘fire’.

“If they come upon one who still has not seen it, and they speak to him of fire, he does not know what they mean.  So they, in turn, fall back upon telling him what fire is like.  As they do so, they know from their own experience that what they are telling him is not the truth, but only a part of it.  They know that this man will never know reality from their words, though all the words in the world are theirs to use.  He must look upon the fire, smell of it, warm his hands by it, stare into its heart, or remain forever ignorant.  Therefore ‘fire’ does not matter, ‘earth’, ‘air’, and ‘water’ do not matter.  ‘I’ do not matter.  No word matters.  But man forgets reality and remembers words.  The more words he remembers, the cleverer do his fellows esteem him.  He looks upon the great transformations of the world but he does not see them as they were seen when men looked upon them for the first time.  Their names come to his lips, and he smiles as he tastes them, thinking he knows them in the naming.  The great burning blossom squats, flowing, upon the limb of the world, excreting the ash of the world, and being none of these things I have named and at the same time all of them, and this is reality – The Nameless.

“Therefore, I charge you – forget the names you bear, forget the words I speak as soon as they are uttered.  Look, rather, upon the Nameless within yourselves, which arises as I address it.  It hearkens not to my words but to the reality within me, of which it is a part.  This is the atman, which hears me rather than my words.  All else is unreal.  To define is to lose.  The essence of all things is the Nameless.  The Nameless is unknowable, mightier even than Brahma.  Things pass, but the essence remains.  You sit, therefore, in the midst of a dream.

“Essence dreams it a dream of form.  Forms pass, but the essence remains, dreaming new dreams.  Man names these dreams, and thinks to have captured the essence, not knowing that he invokes the unreal.  These stones, these walls, these bodies you see seated about you are poppies and water and the sun.  They are the dreams of the Nameless.  They are fire, if you like.

“Occasionally there may come a dreamer who is aware that he is dreaming.  He may control something of the dream-stuff, bending it to his will, or he may awaken into greater self-knowledge.  If he chooses the path of self-knowledge, his glory is great and he shall be for all ages like unto a star.  If he chooses the way of the Tantra, combining Samsara and Nirvana, comprehending the world and continuing to live in it, this one is mighty among dreamers.  He may be mighty for good or for ill, as we look upon him – though these terms, too are meaningless, outside of the namings of Samsara.

“To dwell within Samsara, however, is to be subject to the works of those who are mighty among dreamers.  If they are mighty for good, it is a golden time.  If they are mighty for ill, it is a time of darkness.  The dream may turn to nightmare.

“It is written that to live is to suffer.  This is so, say the sages, for man must work off the burden of Karma if he is to achieve enlightenment.  For this reason, say the sages, what does it profit a man to struggle within a dream against that which is his lot, which is the path he must follow to achieve liberation?  In the light of eternal values, say the sages, the suffering is as nothing; in the terms of Samsara, say the sages, it leads to that which is good.  What justification, then, has a man to struggle against those who are mighty for ill?”

He paused for a minute, raised his head higher.


The answer, the justification, is the same for men as it is for gods.  Good or ill, say the sages, mean nothing for they are of Samsara.  Agree with the sages, who have taught our people for as far as the memory of man may reach.  Agree, but consider also a thing of which the sages do not speak.  This thing is ‘beauty’, which is a word – but look behind the word and consider the Way of the Nameless.  And what is the Way of the Nameless?  It is the way of Dream.  And why does the Nameless dream?  This thing is not known to any dweller within Samsara.  So ask, rather, what does the Nameless dream.

“The Nameless, of which we are all a part, does dream form.  And what is the highest attribute any form may possess?  It is beauty.  The Nameless, then, is an artist.  The problem, then, is not one of good or evil but one of aesthetics.  To struggle against those who are mighty among dreamers and mighty for ill, or ugliness, is not to struggle for that which the sages have taught us to be meaningless in terms of Samsara or Nirvana, but rather it is to struggle for the symmetrical dreaming of a dream, in terms of the rhythm and the point, the balance and the antithesis which will make it a thing of beauty.  Of this, the sages say nothing.  This truth is so simple that they have obviously overlooked it.  For this reason, I am bound by the aesthetics of the situation to call it to your attention.  To struggle against the dreamers who dream ugliness, be they men or gods, cannot but be the will of the Nameless.  This struggle will also bear suffering; and so one’s Karmic burden will be lightened thereby, just as it would be by enduring the ugliness; but this suffering is productive of a higher end in the light of the eternal values of which the sages so often speak.

“Therefore I say unto you, the aesthetics of what you have witnessed this evening were of a high order.  You may ask me then, ‘How am I to know that which is beautiful and that which is ugly, and be moved to act thereby?’  This question, I say, you must answer for yourself.  To do this, first forget what I have spken, for I have said nothing.  Dwell now upon the Nameless.”

The Phoenix/Dragon at Sirius Rising, 2011.

Thank you for sharing this with me.  You now know me far better than you once did, even if you knew me well before.

Love and Beauty,

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fluff: All Conspiracy Theories Are Blatantly False Because:

Initiate countdown:

5) There has never been a recorded example of a government, religious or corporate official presenting a testimony that has been altered from the truth to their own benefit, nor is there any reason to suspect that this has ever happened.

4) There has never been a recorded example of a journalist or media organization altering their reporting or a story to align with the requests of an authority figure or corporation, nor is there any reason to suspect that this has ever happened.

3) There has never been a recorded example of a government organization, church, corporation, or other large-scale organization preventing access of incriminating evidence or information, nor is there any reason to suspect that this has ever happened.

2) There has never been a recorded example of malfeasance or failure to act in good faith on behalf of a government organization, church, corporation, or other authority figure, nor is there any reason to suspect that this has ever happened.

And, the number one reason that all conspiracy theories are blatantly false is:


1)  There has never been a recorded example of people in authority making surreptitious arrangements with one another to their mutual benefit despite detriment to others, nor is there any reason to suspect that this has ever happened.

So if you suspect that any of the above has ever happened, it's time to break out your tinfoil hats and join the legions of fools who believe that it's possible or even likely that an authority figure or person in power might at some point do something to your detriment and represent their actions dishonestly, working with others to make it seem as though they have not.  Congratulations, idiot, you're now a conspiracy theorist.


Today I'm going to teach you some black magick.  Evil, evil incantations that have the power to bend the minds of those around you.

Mind you, you're probably already aware of these words and phrases but their potency might be have slipped beneath your notice.  You've heard them before, interwoven into others' speech and if you're reading this blog, chances are some of them may have been directed against you at one point or another.

These are words and phrases that have the power to shut down minds.  Some of them are old, some of them are new, and most of them vary in efficacy based on your target.  It's good to know who you're working this black magick on before unleashing it to ensure that it works properly.


An oldie but goodie.  Many believe that due to modernization and the spread of information and secularization of Western society, words like this have lost their power.  However, there is still a good portion of the population in the Western world on whom it is effective.

Declaring an action, a behavior, or a statement or argument to be "sinful" suggests that the subject is frowned upon and declared forbidden by the divine authority to whom the person involved owes allegiance.  "Sinful" can be finicky; people are unlikely to accept the use of this black magick word if they do not consider you somewhat of an authority on their religion.  Nevertheless its power cannot be understated; I have personally encountered people who will not read certain kinds of books, will not discuss certain topics and who work hard to deny their own natures because they consider them sinful.

Tinfoil Hat

This phrase is generally of greatest use when dealing with someone who believes something that you consider unlikely.  It comes from the idea that people who have been abducted by UFOs believe that wearing tinfoil on their heads will protect them from unwanted telepathic contact and influence (although if anyone ever used tinfoil and rabbit ears on their TV they can understand why I think that they may have that backwards).

A "tinfoil hat" reference can be made in case of commentary on government or corporate malfeasance or untruths or discussion of the possibility of natural phenomenon that have not been experienced by the person in question.


This term is to refer to any spiritual phenomenon, belief, or experience that is not shared by the user.  It can be used effectively to dispel all possibility of consideration on a subject.  The word "woowoo" when uttered with sincerity can render even the most sincere believer ridiculous in the eyes of those around them.


Yes, crazy.  It may seem trite, and it may seem old-fashioned, but this black magick word is still highly effective, especially when combined with others above.  "Crazy and sinful" suggests that one is committing monstrous acts that they may not even be able to comprehend.  Although the use of tinfoil hats is often synonymous with being "crazy", adding the word can only help your cause.  "Crazy and woowoo" not only writes off a person's personal subjective experiences as nonsense, but also suggests that they would be incapable of judging any such experience.  Tried and true.


Similar to crazy, and best used in conjunction with "unscientific" to make it clear that a person's modes of thought are primitive.

All of these words and phrases can be used for one of the darkest acts of black magick imaginable: to bring about endings, to close off possibilities, to empty minds.  Application of these incantations will serve in most circumstances to instantly dilate the minds and perceptions of those who are listening.  In addition, they will prevent most who hear them from considering the subject that they are applied to as those who have heard the incantations will not want their thought processes tainted with "crazy, irrational woowoo" that might be "sinful" or something that people who wear "tinfoil hats" might consider.

I'm sure if you think about it you can find other powerful black magick incantations that people use to close minds and distract themselves and others from thinking about subjects that they are uncertain about or find uncomfortable.  In case you couldn't tell, I'm not sharing these because I think that you should use them; I'm sharing them as a public service and a reminder to be careful what words you use.  A closed mind helps no one, and these are the sorts of magick words that only get stronger with repetition and use.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Retro-Causality and the Immanence of Emergent Divinity

(This is an edit and re-post of a previous entry.)

What if we are on our way to creating God?

Normally, I post my science fiction in my science fiction blog, but I'm not quite sure that this is science fiction, and I certainly don't want to portray it that way.  Is it speculative fiction (the older term for science fiction)?  I don't think it's that either, because I really don't see it as fiction.

Terrence McKenna has been on my mind and computer speakers a lot lately.  I kept being drawn back to listening to him.  He says a lot of things that I don't agree with, but I certainly do agree with one thing that stood out and has been occupying my thoughts: The world is moving towards increasing levels of complexity, right in the face of thermodynamics, which suggests that things should be breaking down rather than growing ever-more complicated and entangled.  He's not just talking about society, either, he's speaking about the progression of existence on almost all levels.

Currently, our scientific method has helped us crack nut after nut of mystery in the reality of our universe.  Granted, a lot of scientific research is tied up in politics and personal beliefs; we are not objective creatures and this is displayed by our observations.  However, our simple method of experimentation has uncovered all sorts of wonderful and useful information about the mechanisms by which the levels of the universe that we can observe function.

We gone down to the subatomic level, and we're still theorizing and building models of what may underlie that portion of things.  Much has been said about the funkyness of the quantum level of reality - so much so that I'm a little nervous about saying things myself, as I don't want to cultivate misunderstandings.

It seems though, that one some micro/macro level the universe responds to its observers.  Magicians and mystics have known this for a long time, and every once in a while people take what a magician or mystic says the wrong way and creates a religion based off of it, which more often than not tends to exist for the purpose of social control and manipulation and self-aggrandizement than it does to help people research and engage the aspects of reality that seem to respond to us, to our intent, our will, our requests, our minds, our consciousnesses.

So somewhere down the line, there is going to be a lab that is training people to manipulate things on the subatomic level.  It's inevitable, that now that we've observed that it's possible, we're going to try to do it.  I'd actually be surprised if it hasn't been attempted yet, honestly.  If it hasn't, it's because things like that might make the current scientific establishment very uncomfortable, and particle colliders are expensive.  If it has, you can bet it's something being funded and kept hush-hush by General Buzzkill (we can always hope otherwise, but the military always seems to get to these things first.

At some point, we're going to have people trained to manipulate the finer and more casual levels of reality mentally, without the constraints of religion and with the nodding approval of the scientific method.  I honestly can't even begin to imagine what the next step in our technologies, based off of this, will be.  I don't know what it will mean in the short term.

In the long term, I think that I do, though.  Breaking down the walls between ourselves and the universe on the most intimate level will change people.  I think that it will provide levels of empathy that we can't even begin to understand now.  Consider how people who claim to have, through mystical or chemical or spiritual experience felt oneness with the universe, behave.  Now couple that with an intellectual certainty that they are correct, and the tools with which to prove it.

So what does this have to do with God(s)?

I'm a fan of Michael Moorcock (at least some of his work) and he has a fantastic series called "The Dancers at the End of Time" about people who live so very far in the future that they have the products of technology that are grander than even they understand, who are essentially gods, because of their ability to manipulate everything that is around them.  I always thought that their behavior was kind of surprising, considering their level of power - they were very human, and their technology was very much based on a mechanistic understanding of the universe.  Their egos were singular and individual - they didn't see themselves as part of anything greater.

I don't think that that's how we'll be when we develop that level of control over the cosmos, frankly.  IF we get to that point as a species.  I firmly believe that if we don't, another species will, or already has.

There are models that suggest that time is a convenient illusion that we participate in, that display the universe as a giant fractal crystal, a structure that takes into account the dimension of time as just part of the whole working model.  I think that once people are able to manipulate things on such a fine level and experience such a powerful ego dissolution/expansion, that they will understand time that way on an intimate level and be able to manipulate it - or more properly, work with it as just another aspect of reality.

So, you have a deep understanding of all of the universe being One Thing, you have an initimate control of it on its most basic level, and time is no longer an barrier, just another current or terrain.  Where does that leave you?  What does that make you?

I think that makes you God.  Or a God.  Or someone who "makes God".

What would you do?  If you could perceive and understand everything that ever was, is and will be?  If you could, if you so desired, race across the time-line and share the individual perceptions of reality, the eyes through which the universe sees itself, the feelings, the emotions, the realities of reality?

Well, I like to think that I'd do what I could to help.  But how?  First off, I'd go back as far as possible and make sure that my existence and development was an inevitability.  If uncertainty is indeed possible due to the flow of time, I wouldn't want something being changed and altering me or preventing my existence.

I'd tell people that I existed, or at least hint at it, but if I gave them outright, ironclad proof they wouldn't search the universe for me.  They wouldn't tear the world apart, rocks to molecules to atoms to subatomic particles to quantum foam trying to find out how, if there is no God, the world actually works.  If they didn't do that I would not have come into existence in the first place.

Sure, I'd answer prayers and requests, as long as they followed the rules, the first of which is ensure that I come to exist, the second of which is to allow there to be faith without proof because proof nullifies the need to search and examine.  I'd also find a way to preserve the "quantum imprints" or "quantum signature" or "souls" of things.  I could perhaps create corners or pockets or alternate realities to lodge them in, or ensure that they continue in a cycle of life by helping them to help to form new lives through reincarnation.  I'm a being, and I want other beings to continue to exist, even the "bad" ones, because at the level that I'm at that "badness" is kind of relative.  I might teach them some empathy, after all, I am still a being, and personal in a way.

Maybe I might interact differently with people based on their expectations of me.  Maybe there are a lot of people at this level of existence that share the same space.  Both explanations neatly fit polytheism, panentheism, angels, and other types of non-physical divine entities.

Heck, maybe this has already happened and we're a Universe that was created by a God that sprung up in another Universe to house the "quantum imprints" of their universe.  There are a lot of possibilities.

I think that even if God(s) do(es) not currently exist, it will be nessecary for us to create it/tem, and if we don't get there, some sentient species in our vast universe will, or already has.  If time is no barrier to the God(s) then it doesn't matter if they were created at the beginning or ending of the universe - they occupy all spots and regions, all times and spaces that they/it want(s) to manifest in.

They say "don't believe everything you think".  The thing is, until we think of it, we can't try to achieve it and create it.  So I'm thinking of it, and I'm thinking of what I'd like God to be like, because, even if it/they come into being millenia from now, they will know how I felt about the universe and that will influence their decisions on what to do with it.

So the gig is up - I know you're out there.  I knew it before, but now I know that even if the world didn't start with you, it will end with you, and because you will exist you always will have.

Have fun with these thoughts.

Love and Light ('Cause I think that those are the most important things),

Friday, November 29, 2013

Seeds - Some Advice on Fear

I have a story that is practically a stereotype, almost a cliche.

Years ago, I worked at a job for the Immigration Ministry of Canada.  It was an excellent job.  I had been hired as a temp, and was employed pushing file carts from one place to another, but due to the intelligence and savvy of my supervisor and the other people in authority at the office, I was brought on board within a year (incredibly quickly at that office) as a full-time employee, doing vetting work on the reported backgrounds of people interested in immigrating to Canada.  I did security work, participated in anti-fraud investigations, background checks, and information exchange with CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service).

I met high-ranking officers of CSIS and the RCMP, politicians, and even the Minister-Of-Curry-In-A-Hurry (actually, Immigration, but that was the media nickname for him), Stephen Harper's right-hand toady, Jason Kenny.

I was a cog in a machine.  Sometimes I'd interact with more important cogs, and sometimes even with (gasp!) GEARS, gears that people thought were centrally fixed and thus very, very important to the functioning of ... things.

As a result of being such a cog, I was well greased.  I was well-paid, and well-compensated for my time.  I had, for the first time in my life, a salary (one that I'd happily qualify as a FAT salary as well) and excellent benefits.  I had everything I needed, or so I thought.

Over time, though, I started to realize that the job was preventing me from quite a few things that I wanted to do.  After all, there was a clause in my employment that mentioned not being involved in "controversial social, political, or community" activities.  What could those be?  Why, a whole hell of a lot of things!

Protests, queer community groups, wild public events and parties, body modification, writing and speaking my mind and singing the songs of my soul, and even expressing my own gender identity.  I went once a year for a week to the Brushwood Folklore Center for vacation and had to lie out by rear end about what I was actually doing.  Instead of going to a pagan-centric, clothing-optional, spiritually uplifting (and sometimes intoxicant-soaked) event, I was going to a "campground" to "camp" - technically true, but any more information about that and I could have easily lost my job, or at least, so I thought.  I lied my face off about the majority of my life to my co-workers and superiors, I prevented myself from writing anything controversial and posting it on the internet (or trying to get it published) and I prevented myself from expressing who I really am to the point that I had a serious fight for my life on my hands, where suicide seemed like a better option that continuing to live.

I let my fear of losing the security blanket that was that cushy, comfortable government job get in the way of actually living, while convincing myself that I was doing something "worthwhile" and "helpful to people" when all I was was a glorified paper-pusher whose job it was to nitpick over people's self-confessions and reveal their lies to an uncaring bureaucratic machine.  In a lot of cases, the people who were caught lying to the government were pushed through anyway - because they had family in Canada, or (more often) because they proved that they would help to improve the country (i.e. had a lot of money probably gained through lack of conscience and abuse of financial systems and people).

So I spent my time there convincing myself that I was improving myself and the world while allowing myself to be ground down into dust by fear, all in the name of an admittedly surprisingly large paycheck and health-care benefits.

That job is gone.  The Minister of Curry-In-A-Hurry, the honorable Jason Kenney, decided that Buffalo was not a good place to have a Consulate, because it's not like it wasn't one of the biggest border crossings between the two countries, the closest to Toronto, and it's not like he didn't authorize the expenditure of hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars for renovations in the Consulate and COME TO CUT THE GODDAMN RIBBON a year before he shut it and almost all of the other Consulates in the United States down.  In the process, myself and some people who had been working there upwards of thirty years lost their jobs - and the Americans who worked there have been treated like dirty kleenexes; Ottawa won't return our calls or letters requesting important things for tax purposes like, oh, proof of employment.  (Bitter rant over).

So, that being said, I spent many years of my life stunting my personal growth out of fear of losing a job that went away anyway.

All jobs will go away, in time.  In the modern market if you're employed for even a few years by the same place in the same position it's a miracle (it's an even bigger miracle if you get some kind of promotion).  Likewise, you're going to die some day, and then that job won't be any good to you or anyone else whatsoever.

Since I lost that job, my life has improved immeasurably.  I've been doing all of the things that I wanted to do all along, and I'm doing well with them.  I'm getting published in print and blog formats, I'm engaged to the perfect partner for me, I have a family, as in am part of a cohesive family unit, for the first time since I was a child, and I am living as myself completely unashamed.  My head is unbowed.

I could have lived like this while I had the Consulate job, but I would probably have lost it.  I think now that that would have been okay, though.  It would have been more than okay, it would have been good, because I would have lost the job for a good reason (I was growing and being myself) rather than for a stupid reason (the Harper Government is a sick machine).  I would have a reason to be bitter, to be angry, and to speak against my former employers in a way that could enlighten people as to how wrong the reasons that I lost that job were.

It would have been kind of cool, too!  I could have lost that job with style.  I might have had a meeting where very serious people said, "Allright, unless you change this, you're out." and I could have walked out with both middle fingers up (I did actually walk out the door the last time dancing, with headphones on, to Soul Coughing's "Super Bon Bon").  I could have lost the job with style, and with confidence, knowing that I was doing the right thing.

Instead I let fear dictate my actions.

Fear can do one of two things to you: debilitate you or exhilarate you.  It can make you freeze, and crush yourself, or it can make you run or dance or scream or attack.

If you let it debilitate you, you WILL regret it.  You will be sorry that you held back, that you cowered, that you hid.

If you let fear exhilarate you, it gives you a kind of wild, mad energy.  It causes adrenaline to pump, it sharpens your senses, it makes you want to sing and dance as you do that thing that terrifies you that you're doing anyway.

I'm not saying never to run from something that you're afraid of - sometimes running is a good idea.  Sometimes it's time to 23 Skiddoo, to nopenopenope, to get the Hell out of Dodge.  Freezing, though, is never a good idea unless you're in Jurassic Park and the Tyrannosaur is looking for you, and even then, it's no good against the velociraptors.

Okay, terrible analogy.  Don't let fear make you freeze, don't let it stunt your growth, don't NOT do the things that you know will make you a better and happier person because of that fear - especially social fears.  Fear of loss of a job, fear of loss of friends, fear of being kicked out of your church - all of these things are something that you can live through, something that you can survive.

Preventing your own growth is something that you may not survive, and if you do, you will regret for the rest of your life.  Don't cower, don't freeze, don't hide - enjoy your fear and embrace it and let it give you the power to be more alive.