Let’s Talk About: Galina Krasskova

I like Galina, I really do, but let’s be frank for a sec:  I’m clearly not the only one who’s noticed that American culture has a toxic relationship with being honest with people you like.

It seems that speaking your mind to individuals is a major taboo. You can’t tell a friend straight when he has f—– up, nobody will ever tell you that you look like you could stand to lose a few pounds, and there’s way too much euphemism to avoid the hard truth. […]  Being insulting for the sake of it is needless aggression. But constructive criticism is what friends are for.

Even those who pride themselves on how anti-sensitive they are really just want to be jackasses to others, and can’t take criticism on an individual level, but I digress.

Again, on a personal level, I like Galina.  She has a lot of admirable traits:  She can be very kind and generous, she’s whip-smart, and she is probably one of the most loyal people I’ve known, albeit to a fault.

There are times I’ve admired her fierce loyalty to those she considers friends and who she’s taken on as Family — but I have a gut reaction against dog-piling on people, as I’ve been on the receiving end of that as a bullying tactic, and I have legit PTSD from that shit.  While I certainly understand her reasoning behind at least some instances I’ve seen as such, even seen them as just (again, at times), I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with this being a go-to reaction of hers when she has a disagreement with someone.

Now, there are other talks of abuses at her hands -both online and off- and frankly, I guess I’m just far enough out of the loop in those instances that I’m not even going to attempt to detail them for the simple fact that I just don’t know.  Now, in talking to others (a lot of people talk to me – I guess I just have that kind of face), I’ve concluded that a not-insignificant amount of the rumour mill about Galina can be traced to Nornoriel — or whatever goofy name they want to go by, and/or identity they want to appropriate for their own abusive purposes, this month:  Nornoriel has a fricken despicable track record with abusing others, themself, and pretty much nothing they say can be assumed true (and no, I’m not going to respect whatever pronouns they’re currently using, as I’ve learned from at least three people who’ve dealt with Nornoriel in meat-space, that they’ve learned from N themself that they’re only really appropriating a trans identity to deflect criticism by calling it “transphobia” or whatever).  Like my younger sister (who my friends know to be a fucking case-and-a-half), if Nornoriel tells you that the sky is blue and the grass is green (at the times they are, of course), assume it’s something they’re telling you that’s just true enough so they can gain your trust.  Ding-danged PPOs have been taken out against Nornoriel by several people all over both coasts, and for the love of all that is holy, if you can trace anything to them, assume it’s either a lie, or just enough truth to con you into the lie.

Now, there are other stories that can’t be traced to Nornoriel, and a lot of them have some consistencies that I can’t just dismiss outright.  I can’t defend it, I can’t make excuses for it, and most of it I can’t even rationalise, and I almost wish so much of it wasn’t said in explicit or implicit confidence so that I could say what matches and what doesn’t.  All I can say to this is:  Sometimes people we like and care about do horrible things, and there’s literally nothing you can do about it but assess your ethics and decide how much is too much.

I’ve defended her at times for the simple fact that she does seem to get a disproportionate amount of vitriol, when compared to her male contemporaries who hold similar, the same, or even outright repugnant views on politics, social issues, and the gods, and so I’ve concluded that there is a fair amount of sexism at play, here — and combine that with her strong Internet presence, and she’s an easy target for people to talk trash about.  Even women too-often carry a lot of excess, unexamined sexist baggage in Western society, and fall in lock-step with acting on it for a subconscious sense of approval from a sexist society.  Now, pointing out that others are worse is really not a fair justification for bad behavior — sure, homophobes who don’t want to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding aren’t as bad as those who murdered Matt Shepard, but that doesn’t mean they suddenly aren’t homophobes simply because they didn’t take a life when they acted on theirs; this is very basic ethics — the impact of their actions are both bad, and should be reacted to justly, in proportion to the impact.

Now, in terms of practice and theology, I certainly agree with Galina more than I disagree:  We’re hard polytheists who honour and recognise a multitude of deities, spirits, and esteemed dead, and these Divine entities are not merely archetypes and egregores that are a reflection on our society that are malleable to the will of humans.  I feel religion is best approached when integrated into one’s life, and yes, this can measure a person’s devotion, and charitable acts, or activities like gardening can be acted from a place of devotion, but cannot replace daily ritual and regular votive offerings.  Though I have not been a part of blood sacrifice of animals in ritual, myself, I agree with continuing it, as long as we can keep as close as possible to maintaining the sacrifice animal’s quality of life as is in line with ancient traditions — you can’t just go to a kill-your-own-chicken farm and pick the best one, it has to be raised for these purposes, and its death given just reverence.  Speaking of tradition, I prefer to default to what is ancient, and build from there.

Where I differ from her is when it comes to other people.  I can’t control other people.  I may make snide comments here and there about what another person shares of their beliefs and practices, but at the end of the day, more often than not, their life really has nothing to do with mine after I step away from the computer, and they can just keep doing it wrong all they like, I don’t care.  If we’re going to talk about beliefs, especially if you’re going to put yours in the same category as mine while clearly believing something completely different [*cough!*JohnHalstead*cough!*], oh, I will explain every way you are NOT in the same camp as myself, but at the end of the day, you can just go right ahead and keep practising wrong, and thinking things about yourself that just aren’t true, I know I’m ultimately explaining it for everyone else to learn from, and then I’m going to go back to tending to my household shrines and prayers, ‘mmkay?

Now, I’ve also distanced myself over the last year because, as much as I’m in general agreement with her on practice and theology, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with certain alliances she has formed since Rhyd Wildermuth decided to start shit in order to drum up publicity for G&R (and yes, I’ve gotten word from a very reliable source that this was absolutely what he did and intended to do, and I’ve got a LTA post about that one coming), and I’ve seen at a recent check-in to her blog that these alliances have done a number on her fairly conservative stance.  I also can’t stand her continued loyalty to de-transitioned TERF, Kenaz Filan — thus my assessment that she can be loyal to a fault.

I admire loyalty, and can be very loyal to those I feel a connection with — there are a handful of people who can tell me to go fuck myself, and come back ten years later, and I’ll still be there, and be their friend, because what I feel for them is important enough to me to be that loyal.  I do this with full knowledge of this one fact:  The company we keep says more about up than we’d like it to.

The Tolerance Paradox tells us that by tolerating the intolerant, we thus foster intolerance and are implicitly at risk of becoming intolerant, ourselves.  If you want to consider that a guilt-by-association fallacy, you’re ignoring the fact that studies show that we can all be easily influenced by those we keep close — this is most persuasively shown in studies about the affect of one’s social circles on weight management.  While two people may disagree on what the more tolerant may consider to be very important things, the longer and more closely they associate, the more likely they are to influence each-other, whether they believe it to be happening or not, and as the aforementioned Paradox shows, tolerance can be taken to a fault.  When one tolerates intolerance in others, one is necessarily giving permission to be intolerant.

When she’s willing to break alliance with some fairly despicable people, I’ll still be here, even when I can’t rationalize what she does.  That’s where I’ve made my line in the sand, and it’s been crossed, so I’ve chosen to keep my distance.  I like her, but I need to disassociate for my own sanity, because there are some principles I consider more important than loyalty.

I will not coddle to your stupidity: “Time heals all wounds” is true, Tumblr

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So, I saw this image recently cross-posted from Tumblr to Facebook by one of my friends, and this is some of the stupidest crap I’ve seen in a while.

“They say time heals all wounds, I disagree…” and then goes on to add to the idiom something about scar tissue.

Guess what? If you have a scar, you’re healed! Ask any surgeon or general physician. Ask some-one who has had several surgeries (like myself). Scars are proof of having healed from something. If you have to have a life-saving surgery, you’re going to have a scar. Sure, some surgeons can stitch you up so as to potentially minimise the appearance of scars, but dependent on the nature of the surgery, genetics, age, and other potential factors, the scar will still be visible, one way or another. Hell, if you know what to look for, you can even spot the scars on some of the best face lifts that Midtwentieth Hollywood surgeons cranked out with succession.

And say it’s heart surgery, or some other major internal organ —you’re probably not going to be the same, you’re probably not going to be able to do everything you were previously able to, but you have you survived, you have healed, and you have the scars to prove it. Even Alexis St. Martin technically healed, just not in the ideal manner for his quality of life; ask any body piercer, a fistula is a healing, it is skin regrowing itself in a manner that forms a channel.

“Time heals all wounds”? Yeah, generally it’s true; physically, if you don’t heal from your wounds, you can get infected and die — and emotionally, if you don’t heal, you can breakdown. But if you have “scar tissue”, physical or emotional, you have HEALED. If you can get on with your life in a meaningful way, even if not the same meaning as you had before, you have HEALED. Healing isn’t about restoring everything to its previous state; healing is about the body, or the psyche, taking care of itself so that you can move on from the experience and continue to learn, grow, and live —sometimes you have to do things to help the process of healing along, and healing itself means you will never be 100% as you previously were, but oh well, no-one said life was easy.

Words mean things. They don’t always mean what you might think they mean or what some-one might intend for them to mean. Do some people throw that idiom around to be dismissive of your problems and your healing process? Absolutely —but is it really any less stupid to basically undefine “healing” because someone else was a stupid jerk? Absolutely not.

“Time heals all wounds”, as a generalisation, is true. Scar tissue is healing. Healing is not about returning to an untouched state of being, it’s about patching up and moving on.

New Year’s Resolutions

Post more!
Yeah, that should be obvious… Moving along now….

Make some clothes.
My philosophical calling is that of a dandy, an aesthete, and I’m very hard to fit, being short and stocky. I have a 21″ inside leg, and my shoes are a UK5½ (or USM6wide). Making shoes is not one of my goals, but making at least two suits is a goal I’ve set for this year —one summer, one winter. It’s been a while since I’ve sewed, and my machine is currently in repair, but the only reason it’s in repair is cos it jammed up when I attempted to mend some curtains to test it (the repair shop assured me that the jam was not my fault, but cos the machine had probably gone years without a tune-up) — I’m impressed with how much I remembered, so even if I don’t end up finishing a full two suits, I’ll be further along than some-one who’s never done this before.

Improve my physical state.
I’m grateful every day that, unlike two of my sisters, I’m not so fat I cannot breathe properly, nor have I ever been, but I could stand to look better, and as an aesthete, I’m expected to. There’s a gym in fair walking distance from me, and it doesn’t require signing a contract to use their facilities; it’s inexpensive and if I’m dreadfully broke, I can skip a month.

I really have no excuses at this point.

Resume work on the garden.
Hopefully taking a little exercise will improve my abilities to do more in the garden, but I’m not expecting miracles, as it was likely my crooked spine (and not any fat bastard-related aches and paints) that kept me from doing too much in 2011.

Continue to celebrate love, life, beauty…
…in all forms.

Balance

One thing that has maintained my interest in the Hellenic religion, no matter how much some of my co-religionists may drive me nuts, is the Apollonian ideal of Moderation and Balance. In fact, this ideal seems to be held by some of the seemingly “saner” Pagan religions practised more widely in North Amerika than Hellenismos. I have to agree that, to the average Abrahamic religionist, Polytrheism may seem a little “unhinged”; I’ll agree that it’s not as common and so those who have it deeply ingrained in their thoughts and beliefs that Monotheism is “normal”, the belief in multiple Gods and Goddesses may seem “abnormal” and in this society “abnormal” often translates to being synonymous with “crazy”.

In my own personal practises, I balance out a lot of the “crazy” (not that I actually think anything I do makes me certifiable, in fact, my therapist even agrees that it doesn’t) with a lot of rationality. I examine my seemingly mystical experiences with logic, just to rule out perfectly rational explanations before jumping to the most fantastical and least probabl explanations, first. Most of the time, something can be explained with something utterly mundane, on rare occasion, it can’t.

Now, acceptance of the mundane does not necessitate disbelief in the fantastic; but the mundane and the fantastic do and should co-exist in balance with each-other. A friend of mine once explained the Apollonian / Dionysian paradigm as sort of a slightly more complex take on the Yin-Yang symbolism — a true Yin-Yang symbol contains a seed of the other within each half of the circle. Logic and Science may be within Apollon’s domain, but so are oracles and mysicism, something that has always been associated with those living outside the realms of “normalcy”. Ecstasy and “wildness” may be in Dionysos’ domains, but so is the ability to convincingly put on a mask, even for a short time, thus necessitating a need for some degree of control.

While Nietzsche painted Apollon and Dionysos in a sort of “yin and yang” fashion, he missed the part where balance is necessary for the two to be complete, and thus painted a picture not to two of the Theoi worshipped widely across ancient Hellas, but two 100% Black/White extremes. Nietzsche’s Apollon isn’t about “moderation in all things”, but about total control over oneself. His Dionysos is closer to the “Jimbo Morrison” in Oliver Stone’s highly fictionalised and exaggerated biopic, The Doors: a near-constant ecstatic, perpetually drunk, out of control. Ray Manzarek has since said that the fictional character based on Jim Morrison in the Stone film was very unlike the Jim he knew in real life — rather than the poet and philosopher he became friends with, the true Dionysos to Ray’s Apollon who, in Manzarek’s words, “[would] kiss and love through the connection made through [their] music”.

Though Dionysos is typically regarded as “rustic” to Apollon’s “urban”, Dionysos’s can be felt in the theatres of the cities, the nightclubs, the basement parties that nobody wants to admit were as planned out as they were. Likewise, Apollon does tend to venture out into the woods to commune with his Nymphai and cry out against the death of Hyakintos and other loves lost. It’s all done in perfect balance, perfect harmony. To let ecstasy overshadow reason or vice-versa is to invite total madness and spiritual impurity. Recognise when you need to reel in one for moderation and strive for the ability to recognise those moments.