One thing I don’t seem to have gotten over very well is my Catholic need to martyr myself. (I can just see Tyr shake his head in exasperation when when I do this) — if the Lord of Swords thinks it’s folly to overextend myself, I suspect it is folly.
But the holidays are a great time to overdo everything, including overextend oneself. But as Loki constantly reminds me (and yes, somehow Loki pops in to remind me to self-care– more on that some other day), there’s no way I can possibly care for anyone else if I don’t care for myself first.
(At least, if you’re going to have psychoses, have useful ones where the gods talk some sense into you to do things that are good for you and those around you.)
Anyway, Back to the Holidays…
My mom used to put on a big shindig every Thanksgiving and Christmas. When my ancient Mother-In-Law moved to our town, I channeled my mom and tried to put together celebratory meals. The reality was far from wonderful. My husband and I hunt and hunting season chews up Thanksgiving handily. While I am grateful to Skadi and Ullr for our meals, hunting takes up a lot of energy. Having Thanksgiving later than the prescribed day helped, but by the end of it, I was channeling my inner bitch. I was exhausted, overworked, and feeling overwhelmed.
Loki reminded me to self-care.
I threw something at him.
Sick Critters, and Life Intrudes
To make matters worse, the weather got evilly cold. The Jotun were here to plunge us into temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Skadi granted us more opportunities to hunt. A bunch of my livestock got sick and no matter what I did, they remained sick. So, I finally got a veterinarian out. Blood draws and plenty of medicine.
Then, there was the little matter of butchering the deer we got the week before. Usually I would have it all cut up, but with the amazingly brutal weather, the quarters froze right up. So, I could thaw them out and butcher them at a slightly more leisurely pace.
I still need to take care of the skins, even though they’re salted.
I have writing work and other work to do. My plants in the greenhouse are questionable now. I finally get around to watering them anyway.
Loki reminds me to self-care.
I have this blog and three others to write. I have assignments to get done. I have to make money somehow…
To Drag this Back on Point…
The problem that we as humans deal with is what society constrains us when it comes to things we must do. Sometimes, we take what we perceive as obligations when in fact, they’re simply man-made constructs. We do things because we were taught to do them, whether or not it makes sense for our lives. As much as I love Tyr, he has enough control over my life with physics, the laws of nature, and the laws of men. Chasing after some perceived societal norm around holidays when it stresses me out isn’t healthy. Hence, Loki steps in and whines about my lack of self care.
That’s why when my husband pointed out that doing a dinner thing wasn’t working for me, I needed to step back and rethink what I was doing. I was trying to follow my mom’s style, which isn’t mine. Holidays, as wonderful as they are, need to be something that aren’t done “just because that’s how we do them.”
Whether celebrating Thanksgiving/Harvest or Yule/Christmas, we as humans must make them joyous occasions and not stressors in our lives. Loki reminds me that being human means being fallible. That means that sometimes we can’t do “all the things, all the time.” Tyr agrees. Which suddenly has reduced the stress in my life.
I still have all the other things to get done, but somehow, the gods make them a little less frenetic. Probably because they don’t judge me on what I accomplish in the minutiae of my daily life. Not like the Christian god purportedly did.
Thanks, and hopefully this rambling post made sense to you. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll listen to your inner Loki and remember self care as well.