Devotional Polytheist Meme Question No. 11

What blocks to devotion have you had to overcome?

This is a painful subject for me. The biggest stumbling block for me is my disability. I have depressive episodes with crippling self-doubt and delusions of worthlessness. The utter despair that I feel when I am in that state keeps me from doing any of my devotional activities. Some days, it is a struggle to even get enough energy to be up, dressed, and putting the kids on the bus to school. Sadly, those days happen on a regular basis.

As you may have witnessed in my posting habits, there are weeks where I am unable to post. My writing in this blog is a devotional activity but sometimes life circumstances get in the way of it. Other times, I desire to write but I simply can not find the words. Of the two, I think the latter is the most miserable of experiences. It has on occasion moved me to tears.

I am exhorted by Freyr to maintain my physical health. This is perhaps just as hard, if not harder, then being active in my devotions when I am laboring under delusions of worthlessness. My social phobia has me just this side of housebound. It turns going out to go walking into a torturous experience because I am constantly struggling with the fear that someone is going to assault me. Exercising indoors is somewhat problematic because of the state of the apartment most of the time or small children deciding that is when they want to climb on me or demand my attention.

And then there is the element that is a crossroads between mental and physical health that is a particularly agonizing struggle for me when depressed. In my youth, I was borderline anorexic. I have struggled with this since elementary school. Making sure that I eat on a regular basis and that what I eat is healthy for me is very difficult. I think it is part of the reason why I am under the taboo to eat pork when it is offered, whereas many other people are under taboo to abstain from certain foods.

The other block I have to my devotional life is my responsibilities as a wife and mother. In a perfect world, I would be able to attend to all three seamlessly and with equal fervor. Unfortunately, it is too exhausting to even begin to attempt that. Having to juggle parenthood and my marriage with my spiritual life, I sometimes drop a ball. More often then not, it is the spiritual one. It is part of the reason why I haven’t participated in formal worship in over a year.

I’d like to involve my children in my spiritual life but it is a tricky thing. Where I live, I don’t have the luxury of a collection of like minded neighbors who would help me with their spiritual education. Sadly, there’s a fair amount of hostility in my neighborhood towards people who are not Christian. This makes me fearful and pushes me to do my best to keep my beliefs as quiet as possible offline. Being the only pagan in the neighborhood is kinda scary. Add little people who are dependent on you for their welfare, and it becomes down right terrifying.

There are things I feel called to do that I don’t dare attempt outside of my home because of the confluence of my illness born paranoia and social pressure. I feel called to veil in a style reminiscent to how Catholic nuns do. It is, however, something that I can’t do with out getting suspicious looks if not harassment. People have a hard enough time with my wearing scarves in a tichel format. On the rare time I dare to wear one in the style most frequently known as hijab, I have encountered prejudice. I fear that such prejudice could lead to a physical altercation, thus I don’t do it.

I wish that the blocks to devotion were things I could easily resolve. Sadly, they’re a combination of neurochemical problems and social pressures that I can’t change. Or the infamous lack of time in the course of the day.

Originally Published: 11/17/14
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