My Erebor, or: Still a few days away from the Den of Smaug

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Blech. Week three of the semester just ended.

As you may have noticed is reflected here, my writing has kind of gone to heck. Mostly because it’s been hard to clear space for morning pages, which is what I learned to do, in turn, to clear space for blogging and “real” writing. I admit that I had an amazing gift of time last semester (without which, however, I might have gone mad, given the absolute lack of emotional space over the summer), and I have much less at the moment. My students are reading such a variety of things I often feel like I have source historical whiplash at the end of a day. So many things are running through my mind, I can’t turn it off, and it’s easiest just to drink a beer and vow to try again tomorrow. Also because I feel like everything I want to write about now is intense and/or serious and although I have no problem with that stuff myself, it’s just so much easier to write things that are light and amusing. Me being real here has always been risky. Not that I’m not being real when I’m being light, of course, but it usually involves much less risk on my part. I sometimes have nightmares about writing this blog. I had one last night.

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The morning pages were like a sort of wiping off of barnacles that developed in the course of a day and a night. Without them I feel like I don’t get rid of “things.” They settle on my skin like a crusty residue. They protect me from experiencing unpleasantness, but they also restrict my experience of my own emotions, which I have to connect with in order to blog or write the way I want to, and in order to experience flow. In particular, they prevent me from experiencing or believing in joy. I get SO much support here from regular readers. And I received two very sweet and wonderful and encouraging emails in the last two days privately about the blog — and I am so grateful for them — but I feel, in a sense, almost too constipated to respond. (Thanks to both of you. I WILL RESPOND. As soon as I get back from Erebor.) I understand that letting my reactions pile up into a stiff carapace for long periods of time with the excuse that I didn’t have time to think about how I was feeling is a defense mechanism that I used for a long time, and one that’s dangerous when it persists because I stop feeling. (So, yeah, those “Armitage leads with the feelings” posts were not immaterial to me personally. It wasn’t all about analysis of Armitage.) It’s always tempting when you’re on the upswing to leave behind the things that got you moving, but I can’t afford to do that, even if I have to continue experiencing sensations that leave me highly uncomfortable. It should be enough to say, at night when I’m tired, that it’s better to write than to drink.

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Right now, although it is too late in the day for morning pages, I am forcing myself to write because I am hoping that something will come of it. Pushing it is also dangerous, of course. On the other hand, if I can go to bed knowing I have written at least this much, the hesitance to write morning pages tomorrow morning may be less.

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It seems so strange to me that I got through all the negative feeling from the summer without losing my writing rhythm, and here I am, again, losing it. All that pain and I kept myself open and feeling it and it was okay, but what’s going on now? Admittedly, part of it has something to do with the awfulness of the Christmas holiday with my parents and my incapacity to talk about that. I haven’t even been able to talk about it with my mother, who deserves something from me that I can’t bring myself to give her. Let alone my father. Once again I think I should apologize and can’t. All this anger, even if I know where it comes from, why can’t I make it go away? And so the nice things about the holidays, in particular meeting obscura and a particular package I got from an Armitage friend (that I might note was my only Christmas present and a major source of cheer) go unwritten about because I am preoccupied with the dark, and because I can’t fix them by writing about them they threaten to slip away.

So, yes, pain. But I think what’s more significant is the fear I’m feeling about what I’ll be doing starting next Wednesday through next Saturday evening.

Since fear is one of those feelings I don’t give myself access to when I note subconsciously that I am feeling it, you wouldn’t think I was afraid, necessarily. What’s telling me that I’m afraid is that all of my Armitage fantasies (about which I’ve completely unable to write about really since the end of November, when I found out I was going back where I thought I had left) involve an Armitage who badly needs nurture, support, comfort, cuddling. Note, of course, that I’ve always thought (hence the blog name) that my fantasies about Armitage involve some kind of reflection of myself. So I am the one who needs nurture, support, comfort, cuddling. Reassurance. And if I can’t get that, I’ll just pretend I am not feeling the feeling. It’s easier. Even though the bill will eventually come due.

There are a lot of settings in which I feel fear and I just don’t let myself and that lets me act. Like for instance, starting to pursue this opportunity. And when the next stage dropped, and I felt ill, and then said I would do it anyway. When I noted that letting going of a fear allowed the next step on the path to open up. And when I decided that if the flame is guttering, I just have to go for it. Normally that would have meant overpreparing, but I am trying not to do it this time. I’m trying to take seriously Armitage’s remark about auditions, that you make yourself believe that they already want you and you just have to populate the role. So I am prepared, but not overprepared. I am also praying “thy will be done.” I’ve got my talismans in my pocket (key to Erebor, Armitage relics, Thorin figure[s]). I’m trying to believe in the possibility of flow, and the possibility that I really am the person they want. And that they are the people I want. That their people can be my people.

I’ve been confused about this process for weeks and weeks. When I started feeling like if I went back to this place, it would be like Thorin going back to Erebor to fight Smaug, that was confirmed by the movie, and part of why I’ve seen it so many times now is because I’m looking for a takeaway. There was a long period where I was thinking, okay, maybe this isn’t so bad — maybe I’m just going to visit Rivendell to find out some additional information for this quest. (And maybe it will still turn out to have been that.) Figuring out who Gandalf is / was confused the issue a lot. I’ve paid a lot of attention to the advice of the person I think is Gandalf in hopes of not having to reprise every single mistake that Thorin does. But I have to say, there’s a sense in which maybe I am already in Rivendell, have been for two years, getting advice and trying to deal with the ill will I brought with me, with relatively little success — and there’s also a frightening level on which Saruman in the Hobbit film reminds me of The Dementor. In which case, I’m tumbling toward the skirmish with the goblins right now and I’ll be fighting Azog the Defiler starting Wednesday night. And, like Thorin, I won’t be able to wait in a tree in hopes of rescue. I will have to walk back to confront it, even if I know my sword is inadequate. That incredibly anguished, rageful look on Thorin’s face? Yeah, that will be my face. I feel my features twisting already.

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Don’t ask me where Bilbo is in this scenario. Not that Thorin goes into this expecting help from Bilbo in any case. What am I dragging along with me that will turn out to be an unexpected defense?

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And, oh, how this all hurts, thinking for more than thirty seconds about any little piece of it. Thinking about what was laid in my cradle by my parents and foreparents, about all the songs I sang about it, about all the love I feel for it, about how when I couldn’t love it one way, I had to find another way, and it was all okay but then, in Erebor, it all became so impossibly bitter and sour and impossible, contaminated with the dragon-sickness, about how I was thrown out and then fled and all the alternatives I’ve created, and about how, no matter how attractive they could be, I can’t fully inhabit them, about how, try as I might, I can’t ever get away from it. Pesky said to me the other week, and I agree, that thing in Exodus about the sins of the fathers falling on the third and fourth generations of those who hate G-d, well, it’s true. Maybe even on those who love G-d. Or who can’t tell how they feel some days.

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What happens when the key reappears? Do you have to go back? But I’ve got the key in my pocket.

vlcsnap-2013-01-24-23h41m10s203It’s mine — it’s my patrimony. it is not anyone else’s to keep, and if I can’t open the door to the kingdom, Smaug wins. Is Smaug, even now, waiting for me? Licking his chops? It’s a distinct possibility.

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I am afraid. So afraid.

Love casts out fear. I had a good handle on that in the fall, and how the Armitage crush was related to that, and I need to get back there. Even if I don’t make it there by Wednesday.

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~ by Servetus on January 25, 2013.

45 Responses to “My Erebor, or: Still a few days away from the Den of Smaug”

  1. (((hugs))))
    I wish I knew the right thing to say, but I don’t, so I hope my virtual hug will be of some help, my friend.

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  2. Thinking of you.

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    • I appreciate it a lot. Did you have a good birthday?

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      • Yes, lovely, I was very spoilt! I’ve been very remiss in not getting around to it before now, but thank you for your birthday wishes. I almost missed your greeting in my twitter updates!

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  3. Take care my friend, be strong, take strength from where you need to and know that we are here xxxx

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    • Thank you. I know you guys are all dealing with your fears every day — and it helps to know I’m in good company.

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  4. Wish I could offer more than a virtual cuddle… Take care and take one day at a time.

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  5. My prayers for strength and success and peace go with you. Like others who are here for you, I am the invisible talisman in your pocket, hoping that you will win, that these people will really want you and you will want them.

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  6. Serv, in your heart if hearts you know what you have to do. We *all* do when faced with dilemmas. Strength is to accept the possibility of failure, to face the problem and to turn the outcome into a positive (eventually). You can do it, whatever it may be! Sending you virtual strength!!

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  7. Some og the feelings you explained in this post are so familiar to me *sigh* but I can’t write about it as good as you do so thank you for doing it!
    I can’t give you a real one but I sent you a big virtual hug :*

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  8. You don’t need to write here exactly everyday if you are stressed or if your students need you. Hope you get some strenght from us RA fans, you now we are your fans too.

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    • Thanks, Thora. My students *always* get me first b/c that’s what pays the bills, but also because most of them are borrowing for their education and they deserve the best I can give them. But writing here is so often an important vent that I don’t like to give it up.

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  9. (((Servetus))) Protection Mode activated! I’m here, just tell..Dori+Gloin…bizzare amalgam;)

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  10. You know that phrase “It’s not the winning or losing that’s important, it’s the taking part” ? You’re taking part Serv, and that IS what matters. Whatever happens next is no failure because you have tried, you have participated and you have refused to let anxiety cower you. Good luck, friend, i will be thinking of you and sending positive vibes your way.

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    • Yes, that’s true. The only bad choice would have been to stand still and refuse not to look in either direction. I appreciate your thoughts.

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  11. Servetus-I wish you the best. Perhaps instead of thinking of yourself as Thorin returning to Erebor, you should channel Eowyn in Return of the King who in a moment of intense bravery, yet still while blinded by fear, she is able to do what no man is able to do. All the resources you need are already inside you and will rise to the surface when you call upon them. Thanks for all you do for those of us who follow your blog.

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    • Thanks for reminding me of this story. It’s not a bad one. People keep saying to me courage isn’t the absence of fear. Heroines are also afraid.

      Thanks for the kind words, and thanks to you and everyone who reads here and leaves comments. On a day like today it’s particularly appreciated.

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  12. I hope you can feel the support and / or the prayers of your bunch of online frineds, and this can help in some way. You’re not alone!

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  13. Dear Servet,
    Let us be your traveling companions, some warriors, Dawlin and Bali , some adventurous spirits, Kili and Fili, some friendly, Ori, Dori and Ori, some Bilbos, which will offer to you a hug, and they will understand your pain, some Gandalf or Galadriel, that will give you other viewpoints and wisdom. Bombur to feed you. Bifur and Bofur to make you laugh, even if your head is cracked! Some Thorin that know the road to Erebor and they know that even a fire-breathing dragon may be won by the most unlikely of creatures!
    Your friend
    Ana Cris

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    • You guys have definitely been the dwarves all along. You always come along when I call you. Like Thorin, I appreciate this massively.

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  14. Sending energy your way…I can relate to so much of what you say, the locking feeling away…you’re certainly not alone if that is any help at all. Re the next step..it will be what it will be right? You didn’t seek it, it came to you… big hugs!

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    • Thanks. Yeah. There’s this dilemma of thinking I can control it by preparing, and realizing that I shouldn’t try to do that. I’m either the right person or not. I need to be the best me I can be and hope that’s the right choice. And if it’s not, do I really want to go there anyway?

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  15. Adding my support to all those above.

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  16. You are always in my prayers, and now sending you my hugs, dear Servetus. Take care, Brave Girl. :*

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  17. Thinking of you Servetus x

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  18. Dear Serv,
    I am sending love and support to you across the miles. Whatever it is you have to face on Wednesday, we’re here for you.

    In reading your post today, I was thinking of the final scene in THAUJ of the Dwarfs’ salvation from Azog. When Gandalf sends a butterfly as a messenger for help. Your post today is your butterfly and your many friends here and elsewhere are your eagles, wanting to help in whatever way we can. Let us lift you up with our support–figuratively, if not literally carrying you on our backs as we wing away to safety.

    You do have the strength to persevere–to get past what or who is troubling or worrying you. And as I tell people who are grieving, we don’t get over it, we just get through it. And make no mistake, getting through times of trial is a victory–however battle weary we may be.

    And when opportunity knocks, and you have a key to open that door, it will happen for you when the time is right.

    Love and Hugs! Grati ;->

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  19. While I don’t often write on your blog, I often read it. I felt compelled to add my best wishes for courage and strength this week as you face your fears. I hope you slay your dragon and that you find something meaningful afterwards. Educating people at any age is a difficult struggle. We have many, many pressures from all sides. Unfortunately, sometimes it is our co-workers and bosses who present the very worse pressure when they could and should be part of our support system. Whatever is going on, your career or not, please take our blessings with you!

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    • Thanks. It is career related — these are the things that leave me with the most fear. I appreciate your time in making a comment very much.

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  20. Servetus, May you be strong to deal with your Smaug this week. Knowing that you have the support from your online friends must be a help too. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you deal with your Smaug. Hugs to you also.

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  21. […] I said before I wanted to get back to desire and love and flow and my birthday seems like as good of a time as any to make that move, to try to move away from […]

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  22. […] blog through 2012-13 you know that I found the whole question of Thorin’s return to Erebor a highly compelling metaphor for my own professional struggles — but I think some of them apply more broadly to women like me whom I know, and that’s […]

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