Mischief and Magic

When I asked my niece Imogen what I should write about today she didn’t get a chance to tell me before my Dad piped up “Faeries!” She did give me some very sensible suggestions afterward, but I decided to go with my Dad’s suggestion. I love that the Reverend Trevor Copeland not only accepts that I believe in the Fae, but also actively encourages me to share my thoughts on the subject.

Just in case you think I may be crazy, let me give you a little background. I don’t expect to change your mind, but perhaps it’ll help you understand why I think faeries are real.

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I grew up in a haunted house. My parents got a good deal on it because the previous owner was a medium. By that I mean she was able to summon and communicate with the spirits of the dead. She told my parents (and presumably any other prospective buyers) “You may get the occasional visitor, but don’t worry they won’t do you any harm”. If I was the real estate agent, I would’ve hated her for that!

My parents were young and sceptical, so they bought the place. It was right across the road from the local school, next door to a general store, and just around the corner from my grandparents. A good deal. After we moved out, my Dad confessed to feeling a cold spot at the top of the stairs, right next to mine and my sister’s bedroom. He just told me now that it would sometimes smell of kippers (smoked herring).

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On the other side of that wall was a wardrobe. For my US readers, that’s a piece of furniture that functions as a closet, a cupboard with a clothes-rail in it. Anyway, this wardrobe stood in the corner of the room with games and toys stacked on top of it. Even with the door open ajar (my sister was afraid of the dark), there was a deep dark shadow above it.

Sometimes I would lay in bed staring into that shadow, and see red eyes, black fur, and a smile full of sharp teeth. I called it ‘the monster on top of the wardrobe’. Dad tells me that I told him about it (I have no memory of this), and that he offered to chase it away. I told him (he says) “No Daddy, It keeps the others away.” As I grew up I didn’t see him around as much. He showed up again when I was much older, after I began to look into paganism and witchcraft.

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There were other strange things too, that I just took for granted. My older cousins had given us a tote-full of Lego. It was awesome. I could never find the piece I was looking for, so I learned quickly to pretend I was looking for something else. I held the image of the decoy lego brick in my mind clearly as I hunted, until I’d found all the bits I was really looking for.

Long after we moved out of that house, things would go missing, and I’d be the only one able to find them. By pretending it didn’t matter that I found it or not, or seeming to be looking for something else, I can get a ‘feel’ for where the missing item really is. I still do that now. It doesn’t always work, but I have other tricks up my sleeve.

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Monica and I were staying in a youth hostel in London once. As we were packing to leave, we couldn’t find her watch anywhere. We both heard the faeries giggle. I left a pile of coins on the window sill as an offering (we weren’t going to be able to use them in America anyway) and trusted that it would show up. When we got back to the states and opened her backpack, there was her watch, sitting on top of everything else she’d stuffed in there.

Going back a little in time, to a family holiday (vacation) on the Isle of Man. This little speck of land between England and Northern Ireland is a fascinating place. According to legend, it’s the home of the Celtic sea god Mannanen. He kept the Island protected from Roman invaders by hiding it in a blanket of fog, but allowed Vikings to land and interact with the Manx Celts peacefully.

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The Isle of Man also has a faery bridge. As you cross it you’re supposed to say ‘hello’ to the faeries and wave. If you don’t then bad things happen to you. The locals will tell you about a coach bus full of tourists ignoring the tour guides advice, which then crashed on the other side of the bridge.

Then there’s the time I was exploring the woods in Williamson Park in Lancaster, UK. I found an area where the trees looked twisted and unhealthy. I could feel their pain. There was one tree in the middle of them that seemed to call to me, so I approached it and reverently laid my palm on it. I got the clear impression that a glade god, a green man, an aspect of the Celtic god Cernunnos, passed through me. He expressed gratitude for being released and vowed to restore the glade, and I saw/felt the faeries of his kingdom swarm from the tree also, bringing life and joy with them. That same group of trees looked, and felt, much better the next time I passed through.

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I’m not sure I could prove their existence to anyone else. I’ve learned to accept that they’re around through personal experience. Perhaps, if you’re open to it they’ll make themselves known to you too. I do know this though. There’s a lot more of them here on the UK than there are in the US. The faeries I met there were weak, sickly, hurting. Desperate for any belief they could get. Do me a favour and believe in them anyway. Save the American faeries. Leave them coins, milk and bread. Dedicate a little corner of your house or garden to them. Listen for their giggles when your stuff goes missing, and smile.

Do you believe in faeries too? Do you have any stories of personal encounters, or know someone who does? Get in touch! 🙂

 

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Warning: Do not Date!

As you can imagine my last article, Dating Disasters, made a couple of people unhappy with me. As I was coming up with suggestions for ways to mollify the malcontented maidens, it occurred to me that I’ve been a little one sided. There’s only the slightest little hint at my own issues and the behaviours that make me so bad at dating. If you’ve ever considered having any kind of romantic relationship with me, read this first!

Let’s start with the obvious shall we? I am not well endowed. I feel like I’d be a huge (or rather tiny) disappointment to the majority of experienced women. That’s probably why I tend to be attracted to women who seem shy and inexperienced also. If they don’t know any better, they might be satisfied with my meagre member. Regardless I tend to overcompensate for this by trying to be romantic. Gifts, meals, movies, flowers, etc.

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To make matters even more awkward, I had to have surgery on my junk when I was prepubescent because my foreskin couldn’t retract. For those of you who don’t know, boys tend to start getting random boners when they’re about eight years old. Sometimes younger, sometimes older, but usually before any sexual urges start to kick in. They’re just useless little hard-ons. In my case these uncalled for erections caused me quite a lot of pain.

The physical examination wasn’t fun. Nobody wants a strange man, even a Doctor, fiddling with their privates. They discovered that I also had an undescended testicle. I don’t remember the surgery itself, but I do remember having to have a metal frame holding the bed covers away from me to avoid the pain of any pressure on my privates. When I got out of bed, I would walk with a forward lean to keep my robe away. Pissing blood and urine through the stitches in the side of my penis was particularly traumatic. I still tend to any sexual contact with pain and anguish.

I wasn’t actually able to maintain an erection with anyone until Monica. I had other girlfriends before, but due to several embarrassing failures I was still a virgin when I met her. I was 19. That’s part of the reason why I was so easily convinced that Monica was ‘the one’, and why I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to perform with anyone else after we broke up. Thankfully I was wrong about that, but I still get nervous that it will hurt or won’t work at all. Every time.

Even when it works, I often barely feel it. Like the nerves down there were permanently damaged, or more likely ‘switched off’ by my brain to reduce the pain signals. As a result my love-making is rather selfless, focussing on her pleasure rather than my own. Not because I don’t want to be pleasured, but because I’d often rather handle it myself and avoid the awkwardness and embarrassment. Especially since it’s often futile. I might even suggest other things to do together in order to actively avoid sex.

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There have been a couple of women who have been so attractive to me that it wasn’t an issue. However, in one case she began losing interest and I began to worry it was because I was unable to satisfy her, and in the other case she wasn’t ready for a physical relationship. I’m sorely tempted to just give up. I’d rather write.

I’m also a terrible housekeeper. I spend almost all day in front of my computer or reading through my notes. When I need to take a break, I don’t do the dishes, or dust and vacuum. I play videogames. Usually Skyrim. I know that if I washed each dish I’ve used when I’m done with it, I wouldn’t really need to do dishes. However, the used bowl or plate usually sits right next to my computer until I’m sleepy, then I just add it to the pile in the sink and go to bed.

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On top of all of that, I still have a tendency to view relationships through Disney-tinted glasses and act as if the woman I’m with will be the last woman I’ll ever be with. If I’m not happy in the relationship, this results in me feeling trapped. I will usually respond to this in one of two ways. Either desperately trying to make the relationship work by putting her happiness before my own and actively trying to change myself, or by sabotaging the relationship to get out of it. In my marriage I would flip back and forth between the two.

In other words, I’m a terrible boyfriend. I’m the reason none of my relationships work. I’m really not worth the effort. It’s taken a lot of hard self-analysis to figure this out.

There we go. Hopefully that will make up for any hurt feelings caused by my last post, and ensure that no-one is ever interested in me again. At least not sexually. If I’ve helped anyone to process their own feelings of sexual inadequacy, that’s just a bonus. Share this if you know someone who might be going through something similar.

Have a great day.

 

 

Dating Disasters

A friend suggested I write an article about one of the most awkward and uncomfortable subjects I could possibly write about. My terrible track record with girls. I’ve been putting it off. I even tried coming up with something else to write about, but to no avail. So this is for you. A tale of trial and turmoil, detailing my dating disasters.

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I’m going to start with Monica quick. I’ll keep it short though since this isn’t about her, and the friend who put me up to this already knows. I’ve mentioned her before, so I’m using her real name.

Monica was, and technically still is, my wife. We met on campus at was was called St. Martin’s College back then. Now it’s the University of Cumbria‘s Lancaster campus. She was into Tim Burton’s Batman movies and Nirvana, and she was very interested in me. Since she was only going be there 3 months, I saw no harm in flirting with her rather heavily. So what if she says no, she’ll go back to America and I never have to see her again. Things got complicated and emotional when her Grandma passed away. I was morally obligated to help her through it. I could have been a jerk, but I’m not. She was the first to say “I love you“. She thought I was asleep. I wasn’t. I said it right back.

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The day she left I still thought I would never see her again. We’d been through a lot though and it hurt to say goodbye. She kept in touch, left her fiance (that’s right, she already had a fiance), and began sending me care packages from the states. She would call me late at night, and due to the time difference, this would often be between 2 and 4 am. She came back to see me 6 months later. Clearly this was love (or so I convinced myself). Despite the bravado and confidence I’d displayed during the 3 months we’d already spent together, I was fairly certain that this was the best I could hope for. She went back to America with an engagement ring.

Four years long distance before we (she?) decided it would be better for me to move there, to the US. We got married, had a difficult 10 years together before we broke up. I never regained that confidence I had when we first met, until the end. She kept telling me to be myself, but I’d already had to give up much of who I felt I was to keep the status quo. I had colours in my wardrobe. I had white shirts! I owned Khakis!! Yuck. I think the turning point was when she told me it wasn’t my job to make her happy. Okay then, I thought. I have no reason not to be myself.

I expressed some opinions that I’d been keeping to myself, and shortly after I was sleeping on a spare mattress in the office. We still haven’t raised the money for the divorce, or to settle the credit card debt accumulated during the marriage. We’re very definitely separated. I decided that there’d be no more compromising. If I had to change who I was then it wasn’t meant to be. I’d find someone who liked me for me, or it wasn’t worth it.

Post-separation girlfriend number 1. Let’s call her Betty. We met on Ok Cupid. I was immediately put off by the jar of homemade pickles she had posted among profile pictures. Pickles are gross. She was also blonde (I generally prefer dark hair and pale skin), five years older than me, and 2 hours drive away, in La Crosse, a town not far from Monica’s family. She chose to contact me anyway, using the fact that we’re both fans of the Elder Scrolls games, Game of Thrones and home cooking to entice me.

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Dating her was fun. Monica had been my first and only ‘sleeping partner’ until Betty. I had been a little worried that she would be the only one I ever could ‘sleep’ with. Betty had her own house, a beautiful garden and chickens. She liked to bake. She made a very good living as a retail assistant manager. However, I was on the rebound from a 10 year long marriage. I was emotionally torn between wanting to spend the rest of my life with her, and to prove to myself that I could make it on my own.

The decision because easier when the little changes I was making to my lifestyle began to add up. She didn’t like that I drank Mountain Dew, and wanted me to switch to coffee. I don’t like coffee, so she’s make mine with two thirds flavoured creamer. It wasn’t bad. She pick out clothes for me that were more ‘hipster’ than I liked. It was fun trying to get my moustache to curl though. She only played Elder Scrolls Online, and I never saw her play it the whole time we were together. We started spending more time watching tv together, and less time in bed, or working on the garden together. We did make pickles together. Did I mention that pickles are gross? She wanted me to try one. We broke up not long after.

By that time I already had an apartment in her town, La Crosse WI. I decided that before I got involved with anyone else, I needed to work on me and heal my broken heart. I was happier without Monica, yet I still ached for what I’d lost. I quit my job. Cashed out my 401k (retirement fund) and spent a few months just trying to get my head together. I thought I would write, but I wasted a lot of time playing Skyrim and dicking around on Facebook.

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I got talking to a girl I’d had a crush on while I was still with Monica. She flew from Colorado to be with me. The week she was crashing with me she talked almost nonstop about her ex boyfriend and how much she still loved him. We didn’t ever share a bed. I don’t even remember her name well enough to give her a fake one, but we’ll call her Jan anyway. She had a little problem with pills. I dodged a bullet.

After that I tried to avoid women altogether. Reasserted my decision to work on myself before I got involved, and managed quite well for a while. Still didn’t get any writing done, but I was making time for friends. It was two of these friends though that decided it would be fun to take me to a strip club. I’d never been to one before, but I’d heard it was like going to a freak show. A parade of ugly, talentless and scarred (physically and emotionally) women trying to make a living the only way they can.

The reality was not what I expected, and I came away from experience desperate for a woman’s touch. It’s almost ironic then that my next girlfriend had severe anxiety. She also lived in the town I had moved from, the same town that Monica and I had lived together in. Owatonna.

Let’s call her Sarah. Sarah remembered me from that time and began talking to me on Ok Cupid. She was smart, pretty, funny, good with animals, shared my beliefs, loved Star Trek: TNG, Dr Who and sci-fi/fantasy literature. She was almost perfect, except that I was still desperate for the one thing she was unable to give me. Just not desperate enough to respond to the generous, but intimidating (I still feel sort of inexperienced), offer of her roommate. I gave up on my plans to move back to Owatonna.

Again I was alone, and determined to figure out my emotional crap before getting involved again. I still followed the posts of one of Betty’s friends. Let’s call her Kahli. I had/have a bit of a crush on Kahli too, but I thought trying anything with her would lead to all kinds of awkwardness. Plus she’s really into sport, and I’m completely clueless. However, one of her friends made a smart and funny comment on one of Kahli’s facebook posts. Let’s call the mutual friend Reacher!

Reacher invited me and a bunch of other friends to get together and listen to live music at a coffee shop called Java Vino. I was going to flake, but she messaged me to get there because no-one else had shown up. It was valentine’s day. Clearly everyone else had plans. She wasn’t dressed to impress. The was wearing a hoodie. Her eyes were amazing. We talked and joked about all kinds of geeky things.

I invited her back to my place as a friend, and we watched a show she liked called Warehouse 13. She got sleepy so I let her take the bed, and I stayed up all night watching the show, and in the morning I made breakfast. She showed her appreciation physically. It was fun, but things got complicated. She has a teenage daughter. The two of them are best friends. Even this wasn’t a problem until Reacher got behind on the rent and was going to be evicted. She and her daughter were already spending most of their time at my  place anyway, so we upgraded to a 2-bedroom apartment on the condition that they keep up on the housework (their old apartment was a disgusting fly-ridden mess) and that her daughter would listen to me. We broke up because that didn’t happen, and most of her stuff was still in storage when I moved out to come back to the UK.

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There’s been a couple of girls I’ve been crushing on since, including a super-hot skinny young goth that was working at the same place I was, and another co-worker that was as geeky as I am and likes to knit. I decided that the potential sexual harassment lawsuit wasn’t worth it. I’ve also had offers from other girls too, one of whom was already married, and if I’d agreed to it, she would’ve been the biggest girl I ever slept with.

Now I’m back in the UK. Living with my parents. I can focus on writing. My heart no longer feels completely broken. If I ever feel the urge, I can just visit a few websites and get over it. I’m in no hurry to begin dating again, but it seems I always say that right before I find myself right back in the game.

Those of you who have been my friends through any part of this. Here’s a quick quiz for you. Leave your answers in the comments and I’ll tell you if you’re right. If I’ve used a made up name, please continue to do so.

  1. Which one would squeeze her body zits while we were hanging out?
  2. Which of the girls I actually dated were overweight?
  3. Which one of them had a chin like a fairy-tale witch?
  4. Which of them wouldn’t let me say “I love you?”
  5. Which one tried to get me into ‘My Little Pony’?

I hope you enjoyed my little walk down failure lane. Please make sure you follow my blog so you don’t miss anything. If you have any other article suggestions/ requests, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.