daughters

I was already past that particular mid-point that defines a life when I started to learn the things I thought I was supposed to know when I was less than half that age.  For a long time I had assumed that it was just due to that particular folly of youth, where intoxications are central to the core of the body that wants, and that naturally I was just lost in those particular hazes.  But when years went by without putting anything into my blood stream that would make the walls speak, I still found myself in the same patterns of thought that make it impossible to look outside the consciousness that wants.  I am convinced, however, that there is certainly some wisdom to that, because our stories are filled with the lessons learned from endless wanting, and that it is the key to that peculiar alchemist stone, and some of us are born wanting more than the others, and that can mean that there are more paths to wisdom for those who have an excess of desire and longing.  And it has definitely been my experience that the periods of impossible wants are always followed by a vastness of knowledge, the kind that the ancestors speak of, and the kind of which the best adventure stories are made on.

I am also convinced that there is in some of us a certain mechanism toward narcissism, and it's a kind that is not terribly common, where it isn't there as a barrier to reality, but a bridge toward it, and sometimes a buffer against the worst kinds of it.  Because the ones who truly want the most are often the ones who lose the most, and not through any design related to the wanting, but based more on circumstances which mean this life will be harder than most, and there will be more suffering on the road, and there's no way to avoid it if one is really living in the world.  It seems, then, that the wanting and the vanity are there as tools, as coping methods in which to take the hardness of the experience and to transform it internally into a story that makes sense, enough sense to get through a day or a week or a year.  And the luckiest among us understand that our versions of the events are necessarily wrong, but also very beautiful, and at times entirely inhabitable.

So it was that I was walking into another turning point, entering a year that was sacred in number according to my own sacred numbers from the initiations I had to pass through to come to know that I could know some hidden things.  I was getting older.  And like most birthdays, I was entering into this next one alone, or rather, without a lover, or rather, without a lover that lived close enough to be considered present.  In truth, half of me was feeling quite miserable, and the other half was having a very extended celebration, because there are times when being alone is a blessing, and after certain kinds of intense experiences, it's better to hold those golden cords in the chest so they can teach, and so that the wisdom there doesn't spill out in the body of another lover and the power get lost in another flood of another desire.

So I found myself alone, not entirely closed, but certainly not looking, and certainly not willing to open the door at 3 in the morning just because strangers came knocking.  And for some of us, strangers always come knocking. 

It is always at this point in every year where I end up spending more time than usual with my daughter, because of the way the seasons fall where I live, and this was turning out to be a particularly good one, though not without its sharp teeth digging into my very heart.  Because adolescence is all sharp teeth and glitter and secrets written on the body when best friends have time alone to themselves.  I was able to witness that, and also collected enough, for a change, to let myself not be part of it, because my adolescence was already given to me, and I opened it up and I used it as best I could, and now it was her turn. 

Even though I've always felt I could paint myself as something eternally young and unconnected to anything that usually ties a person to an identity in this world, my daughter always destabilizes me, because in those places where I am not part of her identity, I find my deepest roots in this earth.  In some years, this has been a horrible season, particularly if it came in the wake of another insane love affair when I was left with a sense that my destiny as a witch was to be continually introduced to soul mates, and then severed from them, because my Great Goddess was loving but also very protective, and wouldn't let anyone linger for too long if their intentions were not in my best interests.  She wanted to remind me that she was my first and only real love, and the rest was candy for the journey, and I was not meant to have too much candy. 

So the summer months would often begin with a kind of lover's quarrel between myself and the one that I thought I lost, until the Goddess would remind me that She had intervened and sent her away, and that my quarrel would always have to be with Her.  And the months would pass in misery, wishing for things that had gone away, and unhappy entirely with my circumstance and situation.  But this was a different season, or a different pattern, because there were some of the old yearnings but there was also something entirely new, and that came from understanding finally that my heart was truly in Her hands, and everything blessed would be coming directly from Her, and if I pleased Her, then I would find myself pleased exceedingly.

It was this frame, then, that I found myself face to face with my daughter, and I discovered a human being who was very much like me, and very different from me, and she was on the verge of entering into a kind of battlefield, and I had a role to play.  But it wasn't as though I could help her if I were her best friend, or even her best ally in war, but as her father, and I was learning how to do that, and it was a role that I was suited for.  And that I was supposed to teach her as best I could about the old ways, with the same charms and spells that had been taught to me.  However, in order to be a good teacher, I would have to keep my own spells in order, and make them when my mind was collected, because the spells that one casts when they are heartbroken or freshly in love are always filled with fire that is reckless, and that would do no good to someone who needed to see how these things worked against a clear background, where the waking world was clear and still somehow in relief.  And this meant getting myself together.  My life was impossible, as messy as a circus, but I did have some say in my own state of mind. 

I understood, then, that I would have to start with myself, and use myself as the example, and this meant living the life that I was supposed to be leading all along.

The thought terrified me, because I am always anxious that this means wearing suits and becoming the kinds of ogres that keep putting these horrible things in motion, but I always forget and have to remember again that this is not my case, because that is not my destiny, and never has been.  We are, none of us, as fragile as we pretend to be when we are frightened, nor are we as simple as we would like to think we are when there is no opposition.  However, I have always been fortunate in being in a destiny that is never free of opposition, and my own deeper nature is reckless and fearless when the larger beasts come running, and I could do this.

What was most striking however, to me, at that time, was that I discovered that by acting on the love that I have for my daughter, I learned to fall in love with my destiny again, and I began to learn how to court this destiny in the same way that I would court a lover, because they are always and inevitably one and the same thing.

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