This is an email from What's Going On Inside Elle Beau?, a newsletter by Inside of Elle Beau.
Ending some things and starting some new ones as we turn the corner on the year
For some people, the new year comes on January 1st, after late-night revelry and perhaps some resolutions for the coming months. For others, Spring feels like the time of renewal and fresh beginnings that signals a new year, but for me, October is the close of the old year, and November is actually when the next year begins. This isn’t because I’m a neo-pagan honoring Samhain, because I’m not, at least not consciously. It’s just the time of year that feels most right to me to complete old cycles and to begin some new ones.
Samhain (pronounced Sawin or Soween) is the traditional Gaelic end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It’s also a liminal time when the veil between the worlds is at it’s most thin — when fairies and spirits could most easily come into our world. I don’t know about the fairies and spirits part, but I do find October to be a month that feels very transitory — as if change is in the air. The abundance of summer is coming to an end, and Mother Nature just seems to be pulling her cloak around herself in preparation for winter. Change is afoot.
This year is no different. I spent the last 6 months caring for my dying mother and then dealing not only with my grief but with all of the administrative things that come with a death. We had a small family to start with, and now I’m the last of my family of origin. My younger brother died 17 years ago, and there aren’t any cousins, so it’s just me to handle all of the estate and the disposition of the house, etc. Fortunately, I’ve gotten good support from friends and from my husband and things are coming along nicely.
This means that I now can turn my attention back more to writing, and that’s something that feels really good. I went through a time a couple of months ago where I just wasn’t feeling it, in part because I was exhausted and stressed, but also because I felt too vulnerable to adequately deal with some of the less fun aspects of publishing on the internet. But now that my time is more my own, and things are calmer in general, I find that I’ve got a lot to say.
As it always has, writing helps me to process the things that are going on for me and helps me to share the things that I’m thinking about — having a conversation of sorts with my readers — at least when they leave me a comment. And as usual, my topics are all over the map, with a concentration on dispelling the myths that don’t really serve us.
After a bit of a lull, while taking care of my mom, sex is on my mind again. Nothing puts a damper on writing about sexuality than when your elderly mom is sitting at the other end of the couch, but now that I’m free to write about that as much as I want, I’ve explained The Modern Origins of Swinging, as well as explored the difference between social monogamy and sexual monogamy in Pair Bonding Is Ancient; Sexual Exclusivity Is Modern.
As much as I like to write about sex and relationships, the sociological factors that influence how we date and mate never get old for me, and so I’ve also written about how recent a development it is that Women Want Providers, Men Want Beauty And Compliance. The idea of a provider for a family is a pretty recent one, beginning with plowed agriculture and intensifying with the Industrial Revolution. It’s not actually an ancient evolutionary dynamic, as you might have been led to believe.
Another dating and mating myth that needs to go the way of the dinosaurs is that we should love selflessly. In Catering To Whims Shouldn’t Be Held Up As A Shining Example Of Love, I talk about the balance that is needed between self-care and the needs of others. Yes, we should be good to our beloveds, but that doesn’t mean putting yourself last all the time, which is something that is equally as out of balance as putting yourself first all of the time.
So as my year comes to a close and winter draws near, I’m actually feeling more alive than I have for some time. It was a privilege to get to be with my mother at the end of her life and to make her happy and comfortable in her last days, but it also took a lot out of me. We’re still pretty sequestered at here at home and still taking covid precautions seriously but as the season turns, starting to branch out a little bit more as well too.
I’m begun to focus on my own health for the first time in a long time, and that feels good also. There will undoubtedly be a story about that coming soon as I learn to track different aspects of my health journey in order to impact the results. In the meanwhile, thanks for reading and I welcome your thoughts and comments.