Three Things

Cruising the items on the folding tables, she didn’t know what she was looking through all this junk in the hope of finding. She wasn’t even sure why she was here.
It had all started with that hug…that ridiculous hug that had just gone too far. She hadn’t meant for it to go too far. She wasn’t much of a hugger. The whole concept of wrapping your arms around someone you barely knew, and trying to negotiate whose face would go where in order to keep them from touching while wrapping your arms around each other seemed ridiculous. Who really wanted to be that close? Apparently large portions of the population, that’s who. Generally she would be in and out, one pound on the back and move on, but this time, it went too far. This time, after she’d successfully moved her face out of danger, and had her arms around his body, instead of her accustomed pound, she had placed her hands flat on his back and moved her arms up and down! Why had she done that?!?
With that one move she had opened the door to disaster. Before she knew it he was touching her back as well, and she LIKED it! When did that happen? She didn’t like being touched. She didn’t like being physically close to other people. He did feel awfully good under her hands though. Under his clothes, his skin felt soft and firm at the same time. As he’d moved his arms she could feel the muscle bunch and move under her palms. It was captivating. She’s lost track of herself focused on how it all felt. The next thing she had known it was over. He had moved back and was smiling at her. She froze to the core when she realized that she actually smiled back. A squeak escaped her, and she had turned and run.
Now here she was at a yard sale two blocks away, looking at tables of other people’s junk trying to get those feelings out of her mind. The feel of him still tingled in her hands. Quickly she snatched a watch off the table. Broken. Of course. And yet the rough feel of the chipped crystal took her mind off her feelings and she though she heard…yes…a faint ticking. Only the face was broken, not the internal workings. She ended up paying a dollar for the cracked watch and taking it with her as she continued to walk away from the scene of her breakdown.
Lost in her own thoughts, she pulled out her tin of peppermints and put two in her mouth. “Can I have one?” a deep voice said from behind her. She slowly turned, offering the mints to him. He’d followed. Her heart skipped a beat. Instead of reaching for the tin, he reached for her. He slowly brought his mouth to hers giving her plenty of time to pull away or say no, but she was lost in his eyes and the moment passed.
Yes…it had all started with that hug that had gone too far.

Baldr

Hel’s not so bad…the place or the person.

I was born of Frigg and sired by Odin, younger brother to Thor…yes, that Thor. Being the youngest, mom was always a bit overprotective. She was always calling me her ‘fair beauty’ and bragging about my bravery. She even named a flower after me called Baldr’s Brow [or more commonly Mayweed…flattering, right?]. Needless to say, when mom wasn’t around, life could be rough with the other gods.

When I had grown a bit, I started having the dreams. I dreamt of my death. They weren’t clear dreams like some have where they can see exactly what’s going to happen and how, no, they were the gloomy dark dreams with people laughing and shouting and you just knew it would all end badly. Frankly it was pretty depressing. I was muddling through until mom started having the dreams too.

She told dad, and Thor, and of course everyone had to make a big deal over it. Oh no! Dreams are true foretellings! His death is the harbinger of Ragnarok! The good news was that mom made Thor stop hitting me with Mjolnir…at least for a while. When he would try she would yell, ‘Thor! Do you want to start Ragnarok?!?’ It would have been funny if I didn’t know he’d find a way to get me later.

Mom decided to embark on a campaign to get EVERYTHING to agree not to hurt me. She dragged me around from god to god, animal to animal, plant to plant and so on until she got everything to agree. Nothing would hurt me…they’d promised Frigg and NO ONE wanted to piss her off.

That’s when things got really bad.

Since everything had agreed not to hurt me, she got back to her other hobbies secure in the knowledge that I was safe. I started a new fad in Valhalla. Well, Thor started it actually. It was called Baldr Toss. Basically everyone, and I mean everyone [I even saw dad there a time or two], would throw things at me…constantly. It didn’t matter what I was doing, or where I was, anyone who saw me would toss whatever happened to be near at hand at me…as hard as they could.  Near as I can tell, the object was to get me to jump out of my skin.  At least that was when they laughed the most. I was finally popular.

It turns out though that mom had forgotten to ask one thing…just one…to be nice to me.  Mistletoe. Cute, harmless mistletoe. I guess she thought it just wouldn’t or couldn’t hurt me…or maybe by then she was just bored.  Either way, it never made promises.

I guess Loki must’ve followed us around as mom was extracting promises and put two and two together because I hear he’s the one who made it…the spear.  All I know is that one day, as I was doing my best not to jump at the flying projectiles [I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction and frankly I was getting way to used to having things thrown at me], I was struck, and killed by a spear.  Everyone was sooo shocked! Mom was t’d off!

Me? I was off to visit Hel, and get away from the rest of the family until Ragnarok! It is so nice to get away. No one throws things at me anymore, and everyone pretty much minds their own business here. I have met some great people, and no one compares me to Thor. I did have a brief scare when mom started trying to convince Hel to let me go back home. Luckily I’d had a long talk with Hel about what it was like at home and so Hel really negotiated hard [no one says no to Frigg!]. Hel agreed to let me go if EVERYTHING wept for me. Mom did a phenomenal job. She convinced rocks to weep, that rascally mistletoe, dwarves, gods…she came so close.  In the end, just the female giantess Thokk refused, and I got to stay. So here I sit in Hel, where it’s quiet and peaceful, until Ragnarok when Thor’s sons and I will rule the New World.

Rumor has it that Thokk was really Loki in disguise. Hel only winks when I ask her if her dad had anything to do with it.  When all is said and done, I don’t care what the other’s say, Loki, you rock!

Loki

Have you ever really loved someone even when you knew they were not good for you to be around? That’s exactly how my relationship with Odin has gone. We are blood-brothers and I worshiped the ground he walked on. He could do no wrong. This story is the beginning of my disillusionment.

“I want a place for gods to live. A place to call home, to gather and to separate ourselves from mere mortals.” Odin announced. “Who shall we honor with the right to build the fortifications around our Valhalla?”

When none stepped forward, Odin turned to me, “Loki! Surely you know someone with enough talent to create for the gods. Who shall offer their services?” “Njolderson is a wonderous builder who would easily do justice to the gods.” I replied. “So shall it be,” Odin said. “Call him here.”

I listened to the negotiations. Njolderson would settle for nothing less than Freyja to wife as payment for his talents. I could feel my heart begin to ache as the realization dawned that the gods had no intention of allowing Njolderson to marry Freyja, and yet they wanted to work to be done by Njolderson and no other after seeing his work. Finally they agreed. If Njolderson completed the work within three seasons without the help of any man, he would have Freyja to wife. Seeing how in love with Freyja Njolderson was, I suggested that he be allowed to have help from Svaoilfari, his magnificent stallion, and Odin agreed.

Njolderson worked from dawn to dusk creating an amazing fortification. As the seasons passed, I heard ugly talk in Valhalla. Many did not feel that Freyja should be given in marriage to any not a god. I began to fear for Njoldrson. Odin did not speak against him, but he also did not silence the dissenters. My fear grew with each passing day.

Finally, three days before the end of the third season, when Njolderson was nearly complete with the fortifications, the gods convened to determine who to blame. That was the day my heart began to break. After much wrangling, the gods all turned to me. They agreed that I should be the one to make the builder forfeit and if I could not, or would not, they would beat me. Through all of this Odin sat silent upon his throne watching. He spoke not one word in my defense…this man who had chosen to take me as a blood brother.  In fear I agreed, much to my shame, to find a way to make Njolderson fail to achieve his fortifications in time.

That night, as Njolderson drove Svaoilfari to fetch stone, I transformed myself into the form of a mare and ran out of the woods causing Svaoilfari to tear his tack and chase me. I allow Svaoilfari to catch me so that I can at least give Njoldreson a foal to make up for the loss of Freyja and in recompense for his hard work. Sure enough, Njolderson was not able to complete his work because of my delay. He was incredibly close, but not complete.

Njolderson, upon realizing that he had not won his bride, went into a rage, threatening to destroy his work. The gods call for Thor pointing out that Njoldrson is jotuun. Thor brings Mjollnir around and I watch as Njolderson’s skull is smashed to splinters. I have to fight back nausea. Looking to meet my blood-brother’s eye for commiseration, instead I see him watching with a slight smile on his face.

I am at a loss. Who is this man? I have bound my life to his with sacred blood. Now it appears that I will have to defend the world from him and his ‘gods.’ And yet, I still love the man he was. Maybe if I keep trying I can get through to him. Maybe he can again become the man I knew.

When I gave birth to my child Sleipnir, the gray, eight-legged, best horse among gods or men, I gifted him to my brother Odin. “Odin, care for my child. Keep him close. He will take care of you always.” What I didn’t say was that he would also keep an eye on my dearest friend, my brother, and warn me when I may need to intervene to save innocent lives…

life

life is not practical.
messy and awkward,
sweaty and stained;
life is the way you live it.
do you embrace the little joys
the celebrations, the flowers,
the love?
do you aim for a life free of
mistakes, failures, and accidents?
do you struggle to control
and dictate actions and feelings?
life is the way you live it.
sweaty and stained,
messy and awkward;
life is not practical.

steps

often in the passage
of time i do not
notice how far i
have come.

so caught up in where
i am going i do not
stop to celebrate the
victories accomplished.

i want to slow down.

i want to celebrate
life each day, see
where i have been
and where I am as well
as where I am going.

i want to enjoy each step.

now is the time to begin
with this celebration of
the gift given to me…
this life.

New Day

It’s a perfect time to look at the road ahead. I don’t mean your five year plan, or even your bucket list. I mean literally. Get out. Take a walk. It may be cold, or rainy, or blindingly bright, but getting outside will allow you the opportunity to reconnect with something outside of yourself and we all need to do that from time to time.

While you’re out, let your mind go where it wants. Let it flip from topic to topic like you scroll through tumblr. Don’t spend too much time on the thoughts, just let them flow on by. It’s not about controlling them, it’s about allowing them. Just for this moment, none of them matter…not the good, or the bad. After all is said, our belief that a thought is good or bad is determined by our myriad of filters, and we are not here now to judge.

Personalization

When you get an email from a company, do you expect it to call you by name? Do you expect an offer tailored to you specifically? One that offers you a discount on something you have looked at or even bought? Do you want the company to treat you as the unique individual that you are?

When you communicate with your friends, do you post to Facebook or some other form of social media? When was the last time you emailed an individual?

There is a certain irony in expecting a company to treat us as individuals when we seem to no longer be interested in treating those we care for as individuals. I mean…does my company care for you more than you care for your bestie?

Observation

I work in a large, corporate marketing department. I have observed, over the last few years, that there is tremendous pressure to remain upbeat and positive at all times. It is also a seeming requirement to be hyper-competitive and overbearing. I find this environment almost unbearably grating. I wonder how many others here feel that way.

Discovery

You are never too old to learn to accept yourself.

I have spent years of my life trying to learn how to fit in with those around me. I’m not talking about becoming popular. I am talking about learning how to emulate the behaviors that are considered societally acceptable. This is not to say that I am an inherently violent, or rude person. I have always just been ‘weird’, ‘awkward’, ‘too sensitive’, or any number of other descriptors which have labelled me as ‘other.’

In trying to help my daughter in her similar struggles, I discovered Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD]. Without seeing a specialist for an official diagnosis, I know that I have found my label. I have found my community…my family. I am old enough to know that I was never really alone, but it still felt that way. Now though, I know that I am a part of a community of individuals who simply do not fit the profile of the majority. I have found my niche. It is a tremendous relief.

It is my intention to get diagnosed. I am highly functional, so it technically isn’t necessary for my day to day life, but I still want the diagnosis. Why? I am still working on that answer.

Reaching for Joy

I believe that you cannot find joy in everything or even in each day, but I do believe in reaching for joy. When you are having a bad day, you can choose to turn your eye from the perceived bad and gaze at the perceived good. Some days, it’s really, really tough, but it is always rewarding.

It’s Done

Congratulations to all those who voted. Another election participated in and survived. You now have four years to observe and learn before doing it all again.

In two years you have the opportunity to help course correct if you feel it’s appropriate.

Either way, you get to vote. You get to cast your ballot and be assured that in two years you will be safe to do it again.

And for those who did not vote. You have two years in which to keep your lips tightly sealed, register to vote if you have not, and think about how your vote could have made the difference.