More Of The Same, But More Fiercely.

More Of The Same, But More Fiercely.

I found this meme floating around on Facebook, and it perfectly summed up what this past week has felt like for me.

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I won't take you through what all happened or what I felt line by line. Let the meme stand for it, since any attempt on my part to type it out will leave me shaking, exhausted, and tear-stained.

What I do want to say, though, is that I came to a place of peace on Saturday.

I realized, thanks to a few shining lights in my universe, that all I could do in the face of this was *what I already do* but more fiercely. With more love. More compassion. More emphasis on mutual understanding. And better boundaries (and, yes, that includes disconnecting from people who are racist, misogynistic, engaged in rape culture, or who use shame in their attempts to get others to do what they thinkĀ  should be done vs. doing their own work and letting the rest of us do ours).

There are a few things I can't tolerate right now. Slut shaming Melania. Shaming women (or anyone, really) for the ways they are handling their grief. Shaming people about focusing on what they are feeling convicted to focus on in the face of this. Shame is the dark underbelly of the shadow, and it is, in my opinion, exactly what got us into this mess. Misogyny & racism are now front and center in our awareness. We can shrink in the face of it, or we can rise. We can go low, or we can go high.

But before I, personally, could do anything, I had to give myself space to feel what I felt. Rage. Mistrust. Deep, feminine wounding. Fear. All of it had to rise up, and all of it needed expressing.

And once I'd done that, I knew that the right answer for me was to do more of the same, but more fiercely. The right answer for me is to choose to continue to create and maintain safe spaces for LGBTQ folks, PoC, women who have experienced sexual assault & abuse, the "Othered" in all their glorious forms. I knew that the right answer, for me, was to treat everyone like they are God In Drag (thank you, Ram Dass), and to remember, above all else, that We Are All Just Walking Each Other Home (more Ram Dass).

So, I will pick up where I left off before that fall down the rabbit's hole on Tuesday. I'll keep teaching what I teach (how to meet yourself on the page, how to love yourself in all your parts). I will keep doing what I do (making art, love, safe space, delicious meals, and cup after cup of good, strong coffee). I will keep taking exquisite care of myself so that I can serve from a full cup. I will do more of the same, but more fiercely.

Here are some lovely things that have happened this weekend. Because #joywarrior. Because #humansarebeautiful.

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This beauty is on her way to me. She's a gift from my delicious friend, Sarah Trumpp (aka Wonderstrumpet), and she will be my touch stone in the days and weeks and months ahead.

I'm deriving an enormous amount of comfort and strength from my teacher's Facebook timeline. Her name is Karina. You can find her here.

Ivy Newport just released a curated collection of royalty free images that we can all use in our art. So generous, and such a beautiful light in the world of mixed media art.

Tamara Laporte reposted a blog post she wrote about how she struggles, too. It is a gentle nudge in the direction of trusting that practice will lead to progress.

I'm going to do less social media, and more time in my studio, because boundaries, and also because art heals.

I just wanted to check in with you. Thanks for reading.

xo
Effy

P.S. Life Book 2017 is open for registration here.

 

 

Sweetness &  Madness

Sweetness & Madness

sweetnessatcIn Book Of Days this month, we're working with the word 'sweetness'. And by 'working', I mean, we're tearing it down, poking at all of our feelings about it and what it stands for, invoking the good stuff through our art, ridding ourselves of the negative associations as best we can.

Sweetness is loaded with significance. For some, it means 'saccharine'. For some, it means 'weak' and 'doormat'. For some it means naivete. For some, it means exactly what it says - sweetness - with no subtext.

I'm not one of the latter. I struggle with sweetness - with my desire for it as a quality both in myself and in my life, and with the opposition to it that I feel in almost equal measure. Sweetness is vulnerable. Sweetness gets you taken advantage of. Sweetness can't be trusted. Sweetness is risky.

But I still want it. I still want to embody it. I don't necessarily want to eschew all else in favour of it. It's not an all or nothing proposition. But it feels like it is sometimes. Like, if I embrace my sweetness (and it is in here somewhere buried underneath all the armour and bitterness and abject terror), I'll lose my resilience, or my boundaries, or my righteous anger.

I don't know where that comes from. I suspect conditioning. I half laughingly blame Disney and those princess movies of my youth (they got better, but too late for me!). Sweet and demure and in need of rescue. Sweet and in peril that only the prince can prevent.

The struggle, I think, is with how much I prefer feeling sweetness rising in me vs. armour or hardness. I love my sharp wit, my sarcastic sense of my humour, my ability to give as good as I get in a healthy session of mutual teasing, but I also loveĀ  my ability to melt into a puddle of unconditional love. I love the way my eyes open wide and my pupils dilate when witnessing someone - really seeing them. I become a portal through which their experiences and feelings may enter my body so that I, too, can hold what's happening. I love that side of myself, but I mistrust it lately because it *hurts* when you are that soft, that sweet, and it isn't reciprocated. It's also a true thing that some people see that kind of openness as an invitation to get their stuff all over you without even bothering to ask if you're okay to be there in that moment.

Sweetness, yes. I want it. To feel it. To experience it. The trick, I think, is balancing it with boundaries. The trick, I think, is choosing your self even in choosing sweetness. Who has proven safe to be sweet with? Who will not take advantage of your softness? Who will respect you when you have to say "enough, please..." so that you can breathe again? Who will return sweetness with sweetness?

The world is maddening right now. There's so much against which I fear I must harden or die, but there is something in me that is insisting I not do that, and I'm listening. I'm not necessarily succeeding in staying soft, in welcoming in sweetness. I am wary. I am weary. I am aware of the madness that is happening outside my door. How do I witness, how do I let that all that in and meet it with sweetness?

One story, one pair of eyes, one moment, one heart, one day at a time.

Permission To Suck

Permission To Suck

When I started knitting, I didn't start out knitting granny squares. I started with socks, because there is a force within me that says "If you master the hardest thing first, everything else will feel easy."

It took me several months to master socks, and I got to the point where I could, without a pattern, knit up a sock, gusset included, on double pointed needles, in a matter of a few days. I could knit knee high socks and crew socks, and pretty much any kind of sock you can imagine. I could add cables to my socks, too. I slayed socks. Socks became my thing.

Socks taught me lace because lots of the socks out there have lace as part of the pattern, so for a while there, I knit lace shawls.

I wish I had pictures, but they went with an old laptop that died. Trust me. I could knit, and I was right. Having mastered socks, I could knit pretty much anything. (more…)

Permission To Suck

Permission To Suck

When I started knitting, I didn't start out knitting granny squares. I started with socks, because there is a force within me that says "If you master the hardest thing first, everything else will feel easy."

It took me several months to master socks, and I got to the point where I could, without a pattern, knit up a sock, gusset included, on double pointed needles, in a matter of a few days. I could knit knee high socks and crew socks, and pretty much any kind of sock you can imagine. I could add cables to my socks, too. I slayed socks. Socks became my thing.

Socks taught me lace because lots of the socks out there have lace as part of the pattern, so for a while there, I knit lace shawls.

I wish I had pictures, but they went with an old laptop that died. Trust me. I could knit, and I was right. Having mastered socks, I could knit pretty much anything. (more…)

The Year Of The Blog

The Year Of The Blog

I want 2014 to be the year I blog my face off. I want to be back in touch with my soul. I want to shed the armour I built up in 2012 & 2013. I want to extract all the thorns I've been wearing for self-protection. I want to let them fall to the ground. I want to risk. I want to be open. I want to trust. I want to write when the spirit moves me to write without feeling like I'm walking a tight rope of propriety or non-offensiveness or TMI.

Fuck the fear of writing, of self-revelation. It gets me no where. It gives me a headache. It renders me voiceless and small and dull and boring.

I declare 2014 'The Year Of The Blog". I will be coming in here often and with no holds barred. I will be venting my spleen and waxing poetic. I will share my art and my process. I will share my dreams and my fears. I will share my disappointments and my triumphs. I'm not interested in having a 'niche blog' that only covers mixed media art. *Yawn*. I'm not interested in using my blog to 'market' myself. I'm interested in using my blog for self-inquiry. I'm interested in writing because writing is good for me. I'm interested in connection, in being out there, in dreaming out loud.

It's what I do best.

***

I have nothing earth shattering to begin with today, though, so sorry for the anti-climax. Hah! I started the New Year off with a gorgeous spread for Moonshine, and then I sat down to play in Life Book. (Snapshots below!) I did a bunch of written journaling that helped me really nail down what my word of the year (EASE) means to me and how to go about getting more of that into my life. I made a huge pot of homemade beef stew and a loaf of French bread in my new bread maker (oh my god, fresh bread!). I tidied. I puttered. I planned.

Moonshine 2014 #1 - The Open Door

Life Book 2014 Warm Up

1 warm up

Life Book 2014 Lesson #1 (In Progress)

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It's been really cold here. We open the door to let the dogs out, and BLAST! Icy wind comes barreling through the house like a runaway train. The air feels hostile and it hurts to breathe. The ice storm we had Christmas week took out one of our beloved trees, and the backyard looks like a tornado hit it, what with all the fallen branches all over the place. It's been too damned cold to get out there to do anything about it, so we've left it there, looking sad and ruined.

I have to venture out today, and I'm grumpy about it. It's therapy day (every Friday at 1!) and I don't drive, so I'll be bundling up in layers for a walk. I'm hoping my nose doesn't run because I HATE THAT and I'm planning on treating myself to a manicure when I'm done. Then home to heat up leftovers for dinner and get some more work done.

***

My inner landscape is weird lately. I had to make some difficult decisions over the holidays that left me feeling like I shut the door on adventure and fun. I opted for rooted and comfortable instead. There is a sense of relief over this choice because it is totally in alignment with what I need right now, but there's grief, too, because letting go is never easy even when we know it's the best possible choice we can make. Despite this grief, despite the regret, I am content. I have eased into being at peace with the life I've chosen. I've fully embraced my desire for uncomplicated, for no stress, for home base, for the devils I know. Being here, now. Being in it and fully committed with no 'outs' or 'ifs' or 'buts' or 'maybes'.

Here. Now.

In this life I'm making.