What is Victory?

By James Moore Hodur

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“Valfather, what is victory?”

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“What does victory mean for you?

The Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines victory as the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist. It also defines it as the achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.

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“But is that it?”

“What do you think?”

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Victory is:

• Defeating an enemy.

• Overcoming an obstacle.

• Paying your bills each month.

• Providing food for yourself and your family.

• Taking care yourself.

• Taking care of your family.

• Waking up every morning.

• Battling your inner demons everyday- win or lose.

• Going to work each day no matter how you feel

• Finding cures to diseases

• Science over misinformation.

• Good defeating evil.

• Equality for everyone regardless of race, color, sex, sexual identity, gender expression/non-expression.

• When Black lives matter

• When Transgender lives matter

• When a bigot/racist/hateful person realizes his or her wrongs.

• When this country and the world wake up from hate and violence

• When Love Trumps Hate

• Having friends to share the good times and the bad.

• Having a family that loves you.

• Leaving an abusive spouse or parent or authority figure.

• When justice prevails

• When those that are sworn to protect you, do their job.

• When guns are not the answer.

• When those people who have murdered, raped, or done a crime upon others for whatever reason receive their true and just punishment.

• When committing a crime is not the answer anymore.

• When we are all educated.

• When we are all given the same opportunities in life.

• When we heed the wisdom of wiser men and women.

• When the need for conflict is never a need again.

• When this pandemic is at its end.

• When reason and common sense are common again.

• Life.

• Love

• You

• Me

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“But is that it, Valfather?”

“What do you think? It’s all that and much, much more.”

“You’re learning. Keep going!”

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….So what is victory to all of you??

I’m not okay.

I haven’t written in some time. So I thought I would try to put the fingers to the keyboard about how I’m feeling. The best phrase I can say is, “I’m not ok.” It encompasses a lot of things that are underneath the veneer of my outward appearance and demeanor. I hold back a lot of demons inside of me. Demons that say things that are ugly, mean, hurtful, and it plays on like a broken record in my mind. Now, if what I’m about to say is a “trigger” for you, please feel free to leave the page, if you need to. I understand completely.

Here goes nothing:

I am nothing. I am a waste of human skin and genes. I am a dead end. I am a failure. I am a disappointment. I am ugly. I am so stupid for letting my life go to shit like this. I hate myself. I do not want to live. I do not deserve to live. My life is a waste of such a great gift. I do not know why I was created. I do not deserve to be here. I am a lowly stupid janitor. I will never rise above being a janitor. My dreams are dead and turned to dust. My future is dismal and menial. I am not a good husband. I am a shitty friend. I am no good son. I do not deserve to be called human. I am a nothing. I am an empty shell trying to fake it at what life is. I am facsimile. I am a fake, a fraud, an asshole. I am not a good person to myself or to others. I am a failed experiment. I am nothing. I know nothing. I deserve nothing. I embody nothing.

Life is a great gift given to us here on this earth. I have squandered my time and my life. I should have died in the womb or never conceived. Why am I here? What purpose does this facsimile of life serve?

I may never find those answers.

People tell me I should change my prescriptions. I should change my dosage on my prescriptions. I could literally have my drug therapist give me every kind of drug there is to numb me. But what purpose does that serve? I already feel like automaton walking around, going through the motions, and trying to have whatever kind of life this is?

I could shout at the gods or ancestors for my troubles. But what purpose does that serve. They are beings on another level of existence than me. They don’t have time for my petty squabbles. I pray to them to take away this pain. But all I get is that I have to work through it myself. I have to take actions to help myself. They can’t do it for me. They can’t alleviate that which is created in my head. They can be there. But does that really help? I guess somewhat. But it isn’t answer.

I am the answer to my problems.

The solution to my woes starts with me. I have done everything you can possibly do for my mental health. I’ve gone to counseling. I am taking the medicines that are prescribed as directed. BUT the remainder resides with me. I have to walk this road. And sometimes, those feelings come creeping in and play like a record again and again. SO I have to recognize that and take time to care for myself. Even though, I may not want to or feel like I deserve that care. I have to work through my feelings. Sometimes that means I miss out on a game night. Sometimes I take a day off from work. Sometimes I just keep trudging on irregardless of my emotions.

I truly don’t know why. Call it human curiosity and a sliver of hope that bade me to go on for one more day and one more day after that. I don’t know if this blog is helping me or anybody else. But it is nice to get this shit off my chest somewhere.

I’m not ok. And yes, that is ok.

Wednesday is for Wodan- Poetry Corner.

The Journey of Breath

by James Moore-Hodur

Óðinn is breath.

The All-Father is the very air that fills your lungs.

He is the wind.

He is everywhere wandering like the breeze through the new autumn leaves.

Óðinn wanders on…

He is in the roaring scream!

He is in the Galdr Chant.

He is the speech among kinsmen.

He walks among us as we are reflections of Yggdrasil itself.

Óðinn wanders on…

Breath connects all life.

Breath makes peace.

Breath makes love.

Breath makes war.

Breath sings a Rune’s true song.

Breath tells lies.

Breath whispers secrets.

The absence of breath brings death and destruction.

Breath brings poetry to life.

Breath connects us all.

Óðinn wanders on…

Wyrd

Wyrd is a Norse Pagan concept that is closely related to “fate”. However, one’s Wyrd is not fatalistic, meaning it can be changed.

Let me tell you of three wise women. Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld. These wise women are giants and they are the caretakers of the World Tree, Yggdrasil. They tend a well, Urðarbrunnr, under one of the tree’s large enormous roots. There the women patch mud and other materials to the tree to tend to its growth and health. These women are collectively called the Norns.

Each female giantess represents a sense of how Norse Pagans view time and view “fate”.

Urðr is the Norn that represents what was and what is up to the present moment. So all of your past actions, decisions, indecisions, and so on that have led to the present moment is Urdth’s lessons for us.

Verðandi is the Norn that represents the present moment, what is becoming right now. What actions, inactions, decisions are you are making right now is what Verdandi shows us.

Lastly, Skuld is the Norn giantess who represents what will become if you continue down the path of actions you are on. So all of your actions in the present moment make the path that leads to what Skuld represents.

You could say that they are represented as the past, present, and future. But that would be a disservice to the truth.

It’s about becoming. We are all in a state of becoming. The actions we have taken in the past and up to now were made up by our ancestors, our parents, and ultimately we shaped them in the end. All of those actions led us to where we are now, the Present moment. We live in the Present moment. All of our day to day decisions about our jobs, what we’ll make for dinner, what we need to buy from the grocery store, and so on live in the Present moment. It is actions or inactions we take or do not take that form what will become. If we continue to work at menial jobs and don’t chose to take a different job or go back to school to get a better job, we’ll continue to live in the moment with that menial job. If we chose to act and go for a different job, then our path changes.

Our Wyrd is tied to these actions (sometimes called Örlög). All of our actions, or Örlög, fill the well the Norns tend to at the base of Yggdrasil. What pours forth from that well is our Wyrd. And our Wyrd can be changed simply by changing our actions.

We all live in the Present Moment. What was past is in the past. But our future is always experienced as the present moment, as the Now. We don’t experience the future as the future. It is what is happening to us now in that moment of time. So we can shape our “future” right here in the Present Moment.

We can change our outlook on life. We can change our actions. We can change what we will become. It is in our hand and no one else’s. We can also not choose to change or choose actions that are less constructive and we will become what we become because of inaction or making the wrong decisions. But that does not lock us in to any one “fate”. We always have the choice, the actions, to change the path we are on.

So you can see a little bit of the reasoning why I chose to call my blog, Life*Knits*Wyrd. We truly weave together the threads of actions into a fabric that is our universe. Just as a knitter creates a scarf, we create our Wyrd with the yarn of what we think, say, and do, or in other words, our actions.

So what kind of world do you want to create for yourself and your loved ones?

It’s in your hands and always will be…

Getting the Mojo flowing…

I’m trying to get my knitting mojo back. I’m no where near the skill of some of my other fiber friends. But that’s depression, anxiety, and a dash or two of imposter syndrome. Some days I feel like I’m shittiest knitter in the world and other days, I’m alright.

Yes, I’m using two colors for the scarf. Color 1 is a blue from Lana d’Oro by Cascade Yarns. Color 2 is “Fauna” from Valley Yarns. Both have wool. Color 1 is 50% alpaca. So it’s 75% wool and 25% Alpaca in total.

Anyhoo, Pattern- “The One Row Handspun Scarve” by Ms. Pearl-McPhee.

No Purpose

I have no purpose in this life. They say everything happens for a reason. Why did I happen? Was I suppose to be a good son? A good friend? A good lover? A good husband? I simply don’t know.

I thought my purpose was to become a doctor or perhaps a scientist. My life was dominated by getting through school and getting a degree. I was supposed to fulfill my parent’s wish for me to become something better than they were. I was supposed to rise above all of their mistakes and shine in the sunlight. But Life happens and I fell into the same traps that they had. Debt. Menial jobs. Just getting by. Existing. They had so many hopes resting on my shoulders. And yet, I could do no more than win a piece of paper by the skin of my teeth that says I graduated from 4 years of college. That was supposed to be an end point and my story was supposed to be secured with a high paying job. I was supposed to have the house, the spouse, the 2.5 kids and not have all of the problems that they faced.

Life finds a way of changing that path. I faced hard truths about schooling, the working world, and my career. It just didn’t work like my parents, teachers, school counselors, and every authority figure had told me to do.

That diploma isn’t worth the paper or the ink it was printed with. Sure, it denotes my level of education. But that’s where it stops. Life had dashed all of those old high hopes. I have had enormous debts. I almost went bankrupt. I moved back home and in with my dad.

Twenty years have past since that time and now what?

But I crawled and clawed my way free from debt. I am on my own again. I’m able to keep my apartment and food in my belly. I’m married to a wonderful man. He may have his flaws, but he’s real and grounding. He has fallen too and knows what it’s like to not live up to the expectations of life. I’m living in the place that I found who I truly was. I’ve clawed my way out of insanity’s prison and we are just now able to enjoy our time. Life is not exactly good. But it lies at our feet and we meet it with what the spirits of that made us with.

But I come back to the questions:

What is my purpose?

What am I supposed to do with my life?

Where do I go from here?

My only answer to all of that is to keep on living. Those questions can only be answered with the full measure of one’s life. I’m approaching the half way point. All of my troubles, all of my foibles, worries, mistakes have led me here. Whatever the reason is. It is up to me to find out. I can’t lay my sword and shield down now. I have to keep going. Some days you’ll be able to walk and maybe even run. But if you gotta crawl, crawl. Even if you make it at an inch at a time, keep going.

I don’t know what to expect from day to day or year to year. But I’m gonna keep going and you should to….

Why knitting?

I have to say that the real reason that got me looped into knitting was simply…color.

At first, I guess knitting was a way to connect with my new friends in the Albany, NY Area. But I have to say that color is the main reason that the hobby has really stuck with me. Colors do so many things. They can make you happy. They can remind you of someone or someplace you know. Colors can make you feel sad or even mad. We take being able to see in a range of colors for granted and what colors can do for our experience as human beings.

Secondly, I think the broad spectrum of kinds of stitches and patterns that one can make with a silly little strand(s) of yarn is amazing. The finished objects that people make are almost magical. I often ask myself how those people make the things they make. From sweaters (or jumpers for our international folks) to hats to sock to stuffed animals, there is no end to the possibilities. Patterns are being created everyday by so many people from all walks of life.

Thirdly, the knitting community itself is a close “knit” (pun intended) group of amazing human beings. When you often think of knitting, you probably have an image of a grandmother or an older female person with knitting needles in a rocking chair. But knitters are all ages, all races, all genders, all non-binary folk that come from so many different countries and cultures. I have found a tribe of people that are kind, willing to share, willing to teach, willing to be a friend because we share something that is so beautiful that it breaks the boundaries and the walls we create that separate us from seeing another person.

I stand in awe of the black magic that is knitting. I am in awe and respect the knitting community, both online and offline. From sheering the wool from the sheep or other animals to the finished knitted object, knitting is so wonderous. I look down at a hat I have made and can’t help feel amazed at myself. I’ve acquired a skill that made a hat! I’ve acquired a life skill! Some folks would say it’s a post-apocalyptic skill even!

Fathers and Sons

**Copied from my personal Facebook page**

My dad is in rough shape. I saw him over the weekend at the Nursing/Rehab Center where he is being taken care of. He looks defeated and a shell of the man I once knew. The doctors say that all of his internal vitals are fine. He just doesn’t seem to have the motivation to really strengthen his muscles and get himself to a point where he can move unassisted.

I try to call him but we keep talking the same old bullshit/small talk. There’s no heart to heart, just the usual 5 or 6 questions. Then he shoos me off the phone cuz he’s tired or some other excuse.

I don’t know what to do. I could keep trying to encourage him, but will he listen? I could scream at him, but will it do any good? I’m gonna try, but I don’t know if it’ll get through.

I feel guilty for moving away in part. BUT I have to live my own life too. I keep reminding myself just that. I can’t completely upend my world in hopes that the father I knew would come back. And my sister can’t do that either. She’s got to live her life too.

But it’s destroying me to see him slide into this “slow suicide”. I pray to whatever gods of healing can come to him and help him. I pray to the ancestors so that they kick him in his pants for his own good. He needs a wake up call to live.

It sounds so callous and morbid, but it’s really up to him to want to do this. It’s really up to him to want to get better, to want to strengthen his muscles, to want to deal with the pain, and try to live, not just for me or my sister. But for himself!!!!

Please pray, send good juju, light a candle or whatever for my dad!! It’s appreciated!

I love him so much. I just wish I knew what to do. Cuz it echoes what happened to my mom 20 years ago. I saw her slowly slip away over the summer and die in the autumn. And now, I’m afraid he’s on that road.

Dear gods in all of the heavens, why??????

Oh and I have deal with that AND my own mental health & other life issues I deal with. So Yay!

Dreaming after 40

What’s left? I’m 41 years old and I don’t know what I have to dream about/for? A house? Kids? Travel? I doubt I’ll have any of those things. The house is the only possible thing that could happen. But what then? Once the papers are signed, you have the keys, and you’ve moved into the house, what’s there left to do. I’ll definitely be proud of myself. The house will be my land, my property, my domain. I won’t have answer to landlords or landladies. I can customize the house all I want. But that’s it. Yes, that will be nice. But that’s it. As for other things, I don’t think I’ll ever achieve any other dream or aspiration.

I have this idea for a bookstore in my head. I would like very much to own my own bookstore and be able to sell books to people of every stripe under the sun. I love the written word. It can inspire. It can make you smile. It can make you cry. It can make you think. I love fantasy and science fiction as my favorite two genres of writing. Fantasy is where I can subsume and shed my normal life and live in a world populated by heroes & villains and watch adventures unfold before me. I love science fiction because it gives me hope that somehow the human race can achieve greater things. We can rise above our petty wars and hatreds and finally come together. But those are books not reality. And I know i’ll never have children of my own to read to and to help inspire their minds. So I thought with a bookstore I can still do that and so much more. Although I feel that dream is slowly turning to dust in my hands. I’m getting older and what bank in their right minds would loan me money to open up a store. Plus, will I make any money to be able to sustain myself and my household. I can’t jeopardize the sense of stability we have right now for a whim that may or may not succeed. What if it doesn’t succeed and I’m forced to close my doors and let the bank take it away? What would I do then? How would I feel? What’s left to feel after that? I would try to strive to make a dream come true and it falters. Dare to dream you say? Come down to my level and live in my shoes for awhile and then tell to dare to dream. Yes, there’s slim possibility that it would succeed. But how can i risk all that I have on it? Dreams like that are for younger people who have very little to lose. I’m trying to hold to what I have because I don’t want it ripped away from me because of doing something so drastic and so risky. Dreaming about all of these big things has been inside my head for my whole life. We barely sustain ourselves and keep a roof over our heads. We can manage a purchase here or there. But how could I risk so much on a pipe dream? I know I’m typing in circles. It is just the truth.

Sure you could tell me to go for it. You’re not that old. There have been far older people that have achieved so much. That may be true. But those are just words. What could you do or say to make me believe in my dreams again? What would be something you could provide that would make me see?

For example, tell me how I could have kids of my own. My husband is barely on the fence about children. He talks about some days and some whens. But I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point of having our own biological offspring or even adopted children. I’m 41 and he’s 36. How much longer do we have to take care of children? Leaving out the issue of money for one second. Children take a lot of energy to cloth, feed, make sure they do their homework, and so on. I barely have enough energy to move about and to go to work & back. I don’t think I could run after a little boy or girl for very long. Would that be fair to that child? When they graduate high school, I’ll be in my 60’s. I’ll be more of a grandfather than a father. Then if you do factor in the money, Cliff and I would be working our asses off just make ends meet and make sure that we can provide for our kids. Our kids would be why we would be working. Yes, that’s what all parents go through. Are we ready for that? Should we do that? I have wanted children for as long as i can remember. Now, I’m not so sure.

I told Cliff that if we don’t have children, I would like to travel. Boy, was that an empty sentence. We barely can keep our house hold a float. We have no money to go to Europe or Asia. Now with Covid 19, traveling will even more scrutinized and guarded. Maybe after they have found a vaccine for the damn virus, it might be a possibility. I don’t see us traveling a lot. Maybe one big trip and that’s about it. I try to suggest day trips that we can go on. But Cliff has had many mental health issues lately that demotivate him and often immobilize him. I can barely get him to come with me to Walmart to go grocery shopping. Now I understand what he’s going through and I know those feelings all too well. He’s not addressing them like I have. I have a drug therapist and a counselor. He is just barely addressing his physical ailments let alone his mental ones. So regularly hiking or going on day trip car rides seems so impossible right now. And I don’t want to go alone.

So what do I have to dream about or for? Our money situation is the largest factor in all of our decisions. Our collective mental health is not the greatest. So motivation and/or ambition to do anything worth dreaming for is next to nil.

That’s why I am thinking I’ll live out my days in a boring menial existence. I won’t feel alive or like I’m truly living. I’ll fake it but I won’t make anything happen. This is it. Nothing more. A long dull thud.

I was a man filled with dreams and ambitions once when I was walking out of college. I was so hopeful for so many things. But the years rolled on, life ground me down, and here I am. Stuck at 41 just trying to get by before I die.

Poetry in the rain

“What’s in a name?”
by James Moore-Hodur

All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
God
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Wanderer
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Warrior
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Creator
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Breath giver
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Chieftain
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Patron
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Father
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Huband
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Magician
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Rune Finder
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Wisdom seeker
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Raven God
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
One-eyed
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Sacrifice
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Beguiler
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Seducer
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Mead winner
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Poet
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Kin Slayer
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Ygg’s Rider
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Mad Maker
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Feared one
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Father of the Slain
All-Father, Valfather, Sigfather
Teacher
Hroptyr, Runatyr, Fimbultyr
Grandfather
Ómi, Óski, Godi
Knowledge giver

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