Sunday, April 24, 2011

I hate Easter.

Blessed day of �star�, pagan goddess supplanted by Easter. I hate
Easter. I didn't always, but I certainly do now.

When I was young and my parents were still married, the only things I
remember from Easter were baskets of candy and the stuffed bunny I
received one year. I kept that bunny well into my adult life. It was a
link to what were happy times for me.

After my parents divorced, almost all holidays were stressful. I missed
my father dearly. I didn't blame myself in the slightest for the divorce
like some children of divorcees do. Instead I grew angry that factors
beyond my ken had worked behind the scenes to destroy my family.

If I was able to see my father at all on the holidays, it was in spurts.
I never blamed him, ever. I knew he didn't have control over the
situation and that others could have helped, but didn't. They always
cited that they didn't want to get involved. I may have been a child,
but I listened and I wasn't stupid.

When I lived in Linden as a child, Easter became more... vengeful. The
VFW hall next to my mother's house did an Easter egg hunt every year. My
step-brother, sister, and I took our hostility out on the holiday by
sneaking into the park and collecting as many eggs before the hunt
started as we could. Being from broken homes, we felt entitled to some
form of normalcy had to wrenched from society by our wits and bare
hands. We eagerly awaited when the "egg hiders" went back into the
building to give us our brief window of opportunity.

We still had our own baskets of candy, which we hoarded as we did our
Halloween treats to scrape by on our sugar addiction as long as we could
during the barren year. Growing up never changed the mindset of
rationing our dwindling resources in anticipation of lean times ahead.
This philosophy seems lost on most people now until the lean times are
actually looming above them.

After I moved in with my father, Easter remained a holiday I primarily
celebrated with my mother. His "Frisbeetarian" beliefs didn't
incorporate most traditionally religious holidays. I liked that he still
tried and even learned to appreciate and come up with customs for our
family. A can of olives on Christmas, for example, has always been very
dear to my heart.

At my Mother's there was an attempt to make me Christian through church
attendance and church camp. I knew it wasn't my thing just about since I
learned about the whole concept as a child. It didn't make sense and
there was too much attempt to gloss over things that weren't covered in
the philosophy presented. Again I was a child, but I wasn't stupid.

I went through the motions, practicing heretical beliefs on the side
alone or with my sister. I didn't know what it was I was doing, just
that it made sense and felt right. Church didn't feel right. It was just
the place we went to get food, money, or something else we couldn't
afford. It made me feel uncomfortable every time we walked in one. The
old tingling sensation would return as we crossed the boundaries of the
sanctified grounds and I felt like Death was standing behind me and
pointing over my shoulder, echoing the scriptures in a hollow rasp.

It was were Death seemed to be celebrated and worshiped in every
manifestation. I wasn't interested in Death. I wanted to revel in life,
not constantly be reminded of it's end. It was when I found a book
depicting an "Air-Clad" ritual in the library that I knew where I belonged.

Oh yes, this was my path. After all, they had hot naked women, tasty
foods, holidays that were attuned to the living world. It was also
older, original. It didn't gloss over explanations. If they didn't know,
they said as much. There was no round about attempt to quell my
curiosity with the mantra of Faith. Over everything was the hedonistic
celebration of all life, the diametric opposite of the church I knew.

Paganism clicked with me, telling me to live and seek happiness and
fulfillment. Its cores presented themselves to me as survive and improve
yourself, learn everything you can, and indulge when the opportunity
presents itself. Punishment was reserved for hurting yourself and
others, not punitive clauses that had no relation to the here and now.

With that in my heart, I attempted to meld it with the whole concept of
Christianity as I had been exposed to. Going through the motions became
a game rather than a menial task. I had a secret that sheltered me and
gave me a different view point. I reread the scriptures and came to the
idea that if Jesus did exist, he would have been disgusted with the
church. I liked him.

I didn't come out of the broom closet fully until years later, but I
didn't go through a lot of effort to hide either. I was flagrantly
Pagan. I was arrogant in my analytical and hedonistic beliefs. Perhaps I
shouldn't use the past tense on that. I still am.

Time passed as time does and the hard lessons of life beat down on me.
I've picked myself up from the brink of total ruin more times than
should really occur in a life as short as mine has been. I learned how
to survive, press on, and prosper after losing everything. I was always
preparing for living off the land if everything I knew collapsed again.
I'd say it was inspired by my parent's divorce, but even before then I
would rather sneak off and eat whatever I could find growing and
identify as food than wait for a meal to be given to me.

When I married, I had to suppress all of my beliefs. My wife was
Christian, though only so in title, and her family was very religiously
conservative. Every aspect of family life had some mainstream
pseudo-religious political agenda that was meant to brainwash you to be
the same poser-christian as them. I hated it.

I resented every moment I had to bite my tongue to not make waves. Every
conversation was a verbal power play to prove who was a better
Christian, and therefore a better person. The better Christian was
always correct, even if they were factually inaccurate.

Azalia claimed she didn't like it either. They would frequently browbeat
her for all of her life choices, why she wasn't at church more often,
how she could look the way she did and hang out with the people she
called friends. I loved her and it pissed me off whenever it happened.
Those were the times I didn't suppress myself. I rose up and defended
her. I gave tongue lashings of an intellectual nature that rendered her
family members to red-faced embarrassment over their ignorance and

Back then, she appreciated it and even defended my actions when accosted
later. There were no hastily worded apologies or attempts to placate
people in order to maintain relations. I defended her when she was
attacked and she loved me for it.

When she wanted to know more about my Pagan beliefs, I faltered. She was
not Pagan. She was a baptized bible-totting Christian with the same
mindset as her family. It was written all over her. Anything I told her
was confronted with the same old arguments I had heard all my life as
she rejected what she couldn't absorb. I eventually told her no. She was
a Neophyte and didn't even have the mindset established that would allow
her to conceive the ideas I was trying to explain. The viewpoint was an
impossibility for her.

Besides, I got a little thrill of the idea of corrupting a little
Christian girl every time we had sex. It was a turn on, I'll admit.
Knowing that our religions were so opposite yet watching her reach a
shuddering orgasm through my vigorous attentions made my own climax that
much better.

The addition of my children gave me such joy as I couldn't hardly begin
to explain. There was nothing I wouldn't do for them. I saw them as
beautiful vessels of potential which I could pour the best of the world
into and allow them choose which ideas floated to the surface and which
dwelled deep within their core. I love and miss them beyond words.

Troubles began when Azalia realized she could exert control over me
through them. I began suppressing myself further to give my children
opportunities through connections easily severed with a wrong word.
These connections were frequently Azalia's, and had little concern for
anything other than doing charity towards us. Azalia played the martyr
and gobbled up the attention and I saw how I'd been used since the
beginning. That was her shtick all along. Poor me, poor me, give me
consolation and attention.

It sickened me, but I put up with it. I felt there was still something
in her that was worthwhile, otherwise I wouldn't have married her.
Additionally, I now had my children to devote myself too.

We moved to Tennessee for the lower cost of living and job
opportunities. Job opportunities for Azalia, that is. All of the
attention seemed to fixate on what she wanted regardless of what we as a
family unit needed. I stepped back into a supportive role and worked on
low or no-cost ways to provide more for my family. I worked when
Azalia's schedule allowed for it and spent most of my time raising my
children, cooking, cleaning, keeping house, paying bills, arguing with
collections agencies to clean up our credit(Azalia's first, of course),
extensive gardening, landscaping, and researching more. Everything was
devoted to her, and she was ungrateful.

Every waking moment was consumed with anxiety due to impending arguments
over why she wasn't getting more of this or more of that. Why didn't we
have more money to devote to her projects? Shouldn't she be able to
spend the money we brought in however she wanted because she worked for
it? Explaining the non-monetary savings of my habits and research
bounced off of her mule-head like rubber balls. Convincing her that
spending a few hundred dollars on her project a month that may have no
tangible return versus spending postage on first class stamps and
growing supplies that provided above and beyond the food we needed as a
family when she was laid off multiple times never seemed to filter
through her mind.

Even when it came to us returning to school, Azalia was first. She
couldn't even do the majority of her school work on her own and her
grades were wretched in certain subjects. We had to take out loans
because Azalia picked an online school that was more expensive than the
aid she could get even after her employer started reimbursing her for
the classes. It was stupid and selfish.

When she was laid off were usually the times I was happiest. The fights
were reduced. Azalia listened more because she was desperate and I could
prove my ideas worked. We spent more time at home as a family rather
than Azalia playing martyr to others for self-gratification.

When we moved again to a house of our own with enough land to support a
large garden and chickens, I was nervous but joyful at the opportunities
that started coming our way. We were able to start building equity and
give our children stability. I was able to go back to school once we had
the children in school.

I flourished. The educational environment has always been dear to my
heart. Not school itself, but learning in general. I didn't need help
with my schoolwork, but I included Azalia in a few things so that she
didn't feel bad coming to me for help still. If I had a research
project, I would include the whole family in learning about it and make
it something functional. Teaching the children how to make bread for
instance, or teaching them companion planting through our garden. It was
usually material I had already built up prior to re-entering school, but
the smiles on my children's faces were always fresh.

My grades were spectacular. Dean's list and honor roll as well as
accepted into the special honors program. My tuition was paid for above
and beyond through grants and scholarships. I never had to even consider
a loan, as I actually brought income into the house just for going to

Azalia never said it to me, but I could see it and people told me what
was said behind my back. She was envious, maddeningly so. Every
accomplishment I made on my own was like poison to her. When she was
laid off the final time, our savings, my Pell grant, and my scholarships
pulled us through. I was the bread-winner and I wasn't even working. She
had unemployment and rocky ability in her academic pursuits. Her hobbies
that she did for fun became more of a source of income and therefore
work and she resented it.

She became more active in the church, playing up her martyr routine to
the fullest. It sickened me further and I distanced myself from it. The
church once again became the place where we got free stuff because we
couldn't afford it ourselves. I couldn't stomach living off of charity.

I started volunteering at the church out of a sense of giving back,
working off the debt I felt we owed to them, and Azalia just suckled
that tit for all it was worth. I had to suppress myself more and more to
remain there and give back what I felt Azalia had wrongfully manipulated
out of them.

She continues to do so. I worry for my children. Their future morals
will be so skewed due to Azalia's manipulative, conniving, and
self-serving attitude that I've no doubt the scars will alter their
psyches irreparably.

After all that has transpired with the divorce and such, I lament the
wasted effort I put into those years. The following is what I told my
best friend today when she asked why I hate Easter:

It is a Christian celebration usually revolving around visiting with
Christian family. I tolerated it during marriage for Azalia and the kids
because I loved them. My memories of it now revolve around a lot of
uncomfortable conversations with her family that I didn't know well and
biting my tongue or suppressing myself for appearances. The memories I
thought would be the best in my life are now poison to me now because of
what happened. So everything I put up with and suffered through is like
ash in my mouth on days like this.

Happy Easter.

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