okay so i did promise i would celebrate this milestone with a bang & so let’s begin the firework display!!! :) honestly though, i can’t believe what a year 2016 has been. so much has happened in the world, and to me in my own life. but really, the highlight (& this might sound lame but idc) is this site - during this year, i have met some people on here who i would probably give my life for. i have been allowed to just be me, weird and awkward, terrible and affectionate, over the top and silly, and somehow i have been loved for being this person. i’ve literally never felt that from a collective group of people before so… thank you. you will probably never understand how touched my soul is by this whole experience.
now, let’s cut to the chase. to celebrate this wonderful incredible achievement, i am hosting my first ever tumblr awards !!!!
As much as she is always depicted weeping, I don’t actually see her as “constantly crying.” She’s one of the most fascinating Ainur to me, in part because besides Melkor, she’s kind of out there–stays away from many of the others, a being of unhappiness.
Even though she is heavily based on mourning, admittedly I deeply see her as one who doesn’t cry constantly, nor is weak (an impression I get from general folks–that because she mourns, she is weaker or fragile).
I think I didn’t really understand her until I lost my fiance. That’s when I realized on a close level of mourning. I didn’t cry when I heard the news, nor day to day. My mourning was very stolid. Like a wall of stone. I went to the movies with my friends–awkwardly at the time, it was MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (great movie though). I had a convention to go to that week of his death, and so I went (it was going to be my last time going to it). We had to leave at one point to go to the wake. At the wake, I only cried once–when I was recounting a story.
I was mourning, but it wasn’t weak. I wasn’t weak for mourning. It wasn’t sopping and wet and gross. That happens–both ‘wet”, gross crying, and “stoic” stone-faced mourning.
During the day, I was dry-eyed and never sat around. (A month after his death, I had to go back to college–worst, most course heavy semester ever. Ugh.) At night, I withdrew to my room, covered in cats, and cried. That was the only time–for a month, every night, but only at night, only away from others. I looked to the sky and the night (he was avidly in love with astronomy; I took him to see his first shooting star).
It was silent, and I kept care of my cats. Sometimes, I mourned the people and pets now gone, the paths not taken, the hopes and dreams unfulfilled while I mourned him.
It was a period of mourning, and in the end, I mourned all hurt, and not just him.
That is why I feel Nienna is difficult to connect with as a Vala. That of them, she’s not “bright and happy sometimes” and easy to understand. I love that she does not mourn for herself. She is a pillar of strength, and I also think of unspoken, complicated wisdom. She is compassion. I think the type of mourning she conveys isn’t simple emotion or “lol she’s emo.” She’s the mourning that is stone, that is strength and that achieves. It is especially difficult in my culture (USA), that has so much difficulty with death and mourning–they are almost taboo subjects.
A fair amount of Americans I know laugh her off as emo and weak and weepy.
I think she is the mourning that is necessary. All things must pass. We must all take time to process those deaths. I believe she certainly cries, but I do not see it as ever-constant. I think she is the grief that allows life to continue. Without this grief, this outflow of sadness and pain, it bottled within, it harms and destroys. Grief is connection. It is understanding. Being able to grieve as Nienna does takes great strength. Grief is expression of care and love.
I love the aspect of Nienna originally being paired with Melkor, if only because that is a great expression of her mourning. That her Hall faces the Door of Night is fitting. Melkor is that unable to grieve–he is might and power, but it is unchecked, unable to look around itself and understand its surroundings. Nienna is power deeply so invested in its surroundings to point where it feels immeasurable pain at the thought of its loss. Nienna is bound as much as Melkor is, and if the two were to form connection, I think their power would level out and they both would become even stronger.
I think Nienna is a great and difficult Vala.
I do not think many of us often feel this sort of grief that Tolkien was trying to reference, and if taken away from that form of grief, I think she no longer properly is who/what she is. I think she holds a lot more power than people grant her–that she did not create fun things like Aulë or Yavanna did. She is not a big player like Mandos or Manwë, or stylistically neat like Varda or Ulmo (who are also powerful and important, but they’re also very fun to make character designs for).
She represents a very uncomfortable subject. It isn’t anger. Most responses to tragedy I see these days is “up at arms” anger. I rarely see sadness–true, bottom-of-your-heart-drops, quiet sadness. (A fairly good literary example I have seen depicted is in another series–a character is to be shot by his best friend/lover. He knows it. He has to face him and die, and his expression is quiet disappointment and sadness. It is devoid of all anger. It is that type of grief–sadness, disappointment of what is lost, a crushing feeling of an end.) Nienna isn’t loud or angry. It is stone, cool, quiet. It is love of the lost.
I love Nienna, but boy do I get why she’s not very popular, or why she doesn’t get a lot of love. I just wish she was mocked less. She represents something rarely represented and very important. It is necessary to take time to mourn and grieve. It is important to take note of loss and the lost.
[Added: I have a lot of feelings on American culture and death/grief, particularly regarding that it’s something we do not like to think about or express. I never really thought about what emotions I preferred to turn to when I felt loss, but for me it’s anger, and I think that’s fairly true for a lot of people [from talking to others, observation, studying news/journalism/social media trends]. It’s an easy and comfortable emotion, more so than the acceptance of loss. With grief and mourning, there’s nothing to be done. It can feel like “giving up.” I felt very defeated after my fiance died. There was nothing one could do. He was dead. That was the end of our story, our time. Months afterwards, I started to feel anger. Anger that I was powerless. It was fuel. It was dangerous, but it was something that gave me power, made me act. At the time, it was not always great–actually, almost all of my actions fueled by anger were non-positive. Some were neutral, others were negative. I chalk that up to largely not understanding how to grieve, how to accept that what we cannot change. Not all things are within our power. That does not make us weak. It’s simply a fact. I cannot change that there are those who have died. I cannot change many suffering in this world. That brings forth so many different types of emotion.
I see it two ways: Melkorist and Niennaist. The Melkorist approach is one of drive–it’s a bit Sith-like, if I were to use a Star Wars reference. He uses whatever emotion he can–typically anger and pain–as fuel. Emotion drives action, which doesn’t exactly always end in the best ways, really. The Niennaist approach is acceptance of emotion. I do not think Nienna is perfect, but then I believe there are problems with all of the Ainur, and if one takes the Niennaist approach too far, it just becomes “accept and do nothing” whereas if one takes the Melkorist one too far, it’s “react and not understand or stop to consider what one is feeling.” It’s the balance of both that is crucial. I think both are beings of great emotion and great connection, but how to achieve it equally connects them more to the world and cuts them off as well, just in different ways.
Also: shout out to who was mentioning Nienna as one who cares heavily for the dead. I don’t have much to say on the subject, but wanted to note that yea, that aspect is pretty important too. I love Nienna <3]
The past few weeks have been exhausting to say the least.
Gail’s been running around town - meeting up with way too many people - almost
as if in a hurry to get out of the force. You can see that ever since Gail
heard the news - she’s been dying to get out. The urgency to do so though -
painful, desperate - as if she were trying to wash off something that was scarring
her. You can’t help but feel helpless.
There’s nothing much for you to do but offer moral support to Gail whenever she
needed it. It’s a blur to you - it must be an even bigger blur to Gail - meeting
up with officers who were her friends - their sombre farewell to Gail, all of
them promising to meet up at least once a month at the Penny.