The universe, hormones, and self care

image credit: cerqueira

1. I’ve been thinking about the idea that creation — the origin point of the universe, when it began, became, was made, or all of the above — is ongoing, not a static event in linear time.

Perhaps we are all participating in the creation of the universe in macroscopic and microscopic ways at all times, whether we are aware of it or not. Perhaps the reason that change is inevitable is because the cycle of creation involves both making and destroying; after all, energy cannot be destroyed, it just changes form. Perhaps we are all connected in much deeper ways than any of us realize, because the act of continual creation requires all our participation, if creation is ongoing and is a natural and expected tenet of reality as we experience it.

This thought trail started when I began listening to a podcast called Living Myth, which even though it is narrated by what sounds like an older white man with a professorial tone, is being presented in a humble and curious way that makes it very easy for me to engage with.

2. I’ve been remembering that regular soaking in hot water keeps me from having daily migraines — a thing I remembered with some regret this morning, the second day in a row that I woke up with a migraine.

I think it’s a hot tub day whether or not I want it to be.

I have an old cervical spine injury from years ago during a fairly dramatic car accident, and the location of the injury is usually where my stress tension settles. It’s pretty difficult to unravel the tension from that area when it gets bad. I am still working on paying better attention to my body’s signals, so I often miss the warning signs until I’m already two days into migraines and overall body pain. (picture me facepalming like Captain Picard)

Also, I have a deep-seated fear of water, so it is never my first assumption that water would help my body while it works toward healing itself. I’m not paranoid about showers or regularly sized bathtubs, or about shallow creeks (cricks, that’s what we call them where I’m from), or rivers where I can see the bottom and it doesn’t look very deep. But I am paranoid and afraid of larger or non-naturally occurring bodies of water: swimming pools, hot tubs that are deeper than sitting-down height, ponds, lakes, wide rivers that can’t be crossed without some kind of ferry, and oceans. I’m also grossed out by public fountains, but that is for a completely different reason: I am an extremely particular and picky person.

NOTE: I don’t need advice on how I can stop being afraid of water, but thank you for wanting to help.

3. After more than three years of clumsy learn-as-I-go ancestor work, I have begun to feel and understand the differences between my ancestors as individual people rather than an amalgamated whole.

I have asked my teacher plenty of questions about ancestor veneration, and listened to other people in the community that my teacher trusts while they talked about the praxis of ancestor work; but there is something very specific and real for me about the experience I have lived and noticed while I was living it.

I experience plenty of things in my body and my mind all the time without being necessarily aware of all of them or even most of them. It has taken a lot of practice to learn how to be mentally present more of the time, and ironically, I am only aware that I need awareness when I have noticed that I have not been aware for an unspecified period of time.

Meta-cognition is trippy sometimes. To be fair, so is linear time.

4. I’m perimenopausal, which is a complicated term for the period of time where my born-with-female-coded-body-parts self is transitioning from its younger form into its older form [THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM], specifically centered around hormone levels and menstruation.

My most usual symptom is a hot flash, which is particularly difficult to manage in hot weather.

And because hot flashes have nothing to do with internal body temperature, there’s almost nothing I can do in the moment — like take a fever reducer — except find a walk-in freezer to hang out in, or take a very cold shower, or (if I’m not near a freezer or my house) gently pour water onto my arms and neck and legs until the air around me helps me cool off a bit. I am so glad that the temperatures here in Michigan are trending downward in an autumn-ly fashion; it means that my hot flashes can be treated more easily by removing my jacket or walking around in warm-weather clothes.

We have very nice air conditioning in the house I live in, and the saving grace of a quiet room with cooled air, the ceiling fan on its highest setting, and room-darkening curtains pulled shut cannot be overestimated. Lying on top of my bed covers after taking off every sweaty piece of clothing that was suffocating me is weirdly pleasurable and I look forward to it.

5. I have a potted tree that has been with me through three separate moves, which I have –through thoughtlessness or inaction — harmed more than once, to my shame.

It’s a money tree (Pachira aquatica), and like me, direct sunlight hurts it.

I left it in a spare room once when I was between moves, and it survived, but its environment was bone-dry. I felt sure that I had killed it because almost every leaf had fallen off and there were almost no nubs of new growth on any of the branches.

Other times, I have forgotten to water it until it started to drop leaves that were still green and healthy looking. I didn’t buy it for financial luck, because I feel like that’s a weird reason to exchange money for a tree that already lives on its own in its natural environment (thanks capitalism); I bought it because the braided trunk and big green leaves are aesthetically pleasing, and because I love trees. It is a certain kind of luxury to have a tree that lives inside with me, that I have learned to care for by making many mistakes.

Right now, it is the largest thing in the space where my ancestor shrine is located, and last time I changed out the water offering there, I gave the remainder to the tree, and everyone seemed satisfied with this arrangement. It almost feels as if I am including my beloved tree in my ancestor veneration practices, and this is very satisfying.

xox, Nix

Nix Kelley
Nix is a genderqueer person with several chronic illnesses and probably too many projects. Nix is also known as FireHeart, and is training as a Seeker on the Path of Light with Renewal Coven.

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