You ever have one of those moments when you realize you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing? Like, at all? And to make things worse, there are also all sorts of people watching you, eagerly waiting for you to do whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing, and you’re just standing there frozen like you just realized it’s five minutes till that big exam that counts for half your grade–you know, the one you haven’t studied for, and now that you think about it, you aren’t even sure if you’ve been to a single class this semester.
Yeah. Hyperbole aside, I’ve been feeling kind of like that lately, as regards the Realm I’m supposed to be looking after. Not so much the actual Doing Things Over There part, oddly enough–I’ve found I’m astonishingly competent in a variety of areas that would make me catatonic with anxiety in my everyday life. It’s figuring out how to write about things that’s tripping me up.
Not exactly in a “I can’t possibly share any of this or people will think I’m several sandwiches, a paper plate, and a bowl of potato salad short of a picnic” way, mind you; it’s more like extreme reluctance to say anything at all until and unless I know absolutely everything there is to know, if that makes sense. (Even if I’m sharing stuff with people privately, I might add; I’ve got a couple of emails sitting in my drafts folder that I keep NOPE-ing away from, even though I really should have sent them off at least *mumblemutter* weeks ago. :P )
There are a lot of things about life in Elannen that are so intrinsic to people’s worldview that they forget that not everybody can see it, since it’s so obvious to them. Gods know I’ve banged my head on this very issue a number of times–fortunately without dire consequences so far. I’m enough of an insider to know that there are things I’m missing, and too much of an outsider to understand what they are, which is an awkward space to occupy. It’s kind of like coming home after a very long and tiring day when all you want to do is veg out in your most comfortable pajamas and watch Star Trek reruns, only to find that someone’s come in and rearranged all the furniture while you were gone, and possibly brought in a whole lot more of it besides, but you can’t tell for sure because none of the lights are working and you keep banging your shins on unexpected corners of things, and the only way to figure out where everything is now and if that’s even your coffee table is to grope around very slowly and keep a mental inventory of all the mysterious obstacles you encounter on your adventure through the china cabinet jungle.
There are plenty of other things I do know, of course. But in this case, I’m not sure how much of my past-life bias is leaking through. Things can get a bit… clannish there, and even though I strive to be as fair to everyone as I possibly can, I’m now suspicious about whether what I want to share about certain groups is objectively true, or whether most of it is just a bunch of assumptions (both positive and negative) I’d grown up hearing from people I loved and so automatically accepted as fact.
And speaking of family, I’m not sure how much I actually have in that Realm. Plenty of people were killed in one or another of the intermittent wars that went on while I was gone; others disappeared less dramatically but far more horribly, to be used as slaves and, later, once their usefulness had waned, sacrifices.
I know my brother’s still alive, although I haven’t seen much of him due to various factors. Our mother is most likely dead. I’ve dreamed of our older sisters a couple of times, but there wasn’t enough information to know if these were memories or contemporary events, and I haven’t had the heart to investigate further. And our uncle…
He died when I was young. Not so young that I didn’t understand what had happened, but definitely too young to lose my anni in such a way. Among the Llan Faae, where there can easily be centuries separating a birth from the event of conception, and paternity is just as likely to be multiple choice as not, the male parental figure in a child’s life is often the mother’s brother. And mine was the most wonderful man I knew. I have only fragments of memories of him, mostly of the way his voice sounded when he’d tell stories by the fire after dark–the low, soothing purr of it, unabashedly broadening his vowels now that he was home and didn’t have to deal with anyone’s casual scorn of the deep-woods dialect he’d grown up with.
It’s a strange feeling, to miss someone I never met in this life. But there’s an empty space in my heart where he should be, all the same.
And I still don’t know what I’m doing, or if I’m ever going to figure it out. I don’t know how much of my hesitation is due to fear of censure, worry about inadvertently getting things really wrong, or just plain tiredness and overwhelm. But I’m also stubborn, and I have a head full of things I want to share–and sometimes, that’s all you really need to begin.
…Maybe I’ll start off with something easy, though–like a review of the various native alcohols of Faestralia. Because apparently I’m something of an expert and didn’t realize it. It’s probably telling that the most recent significant dream-visit to the Realm I can remember involved sampling the wares at an outdoor tavern. Yep, my Fae self has interesting priorities all right. :P