So, it’s been a long minute since last we typed.
Work has pretty much taken over my entire life, with paperwork being a major thing, along with accidentally writing two books (both Moonshine and Journal52 have become major writing projects without my intending for that to happen), doing as much art as possible for myself, and then this, my class release schedule:
Mixed Tape Monthly – Once per month – includes full length tutorials + PDF + speed painting
Moonshine – Includes a speed painting on the New Moon, and a full length tutorial + PDF + speed painting on the Full Moon + a monthly PDF ‘guidepost’ for each month + impromptu lives in the Facebook Group whenever needed, which I edit and upload to the classroom
Book Of Days – Two full length tutorials + PDFs per month + weekly lives in the Facebook Group, which I edit and upload to the classroom
Journal52 – which I design and write for once per week. This gets added to a formal classroom in my teaching network, and also posted on Patreon.
And then there’s the work of holding space for each of my groups (Moonshine, Book Of Days, and J52 – though, I have to admit that j52 is one of those lovely ‘no work required’ spaces where we just share our responses to the prompts each week). The emails, the newsletter updates when each class goes live with new content, the research, planning, and outlining or the writing for Moonshine…
And then there’s the part where I have to feed myself – both body and soul, take care of my animals, clean my house, go to therapy, and maintain my friendships and family relationships, and maybe date (or ‘just hang out’ as the case may be).
And then there’s my deep need for solitude, doing nothing at all worth noting, and refilling a well that is in need of constant refilling with true crime documentaries, audio books, curiosity led studies into esoteric topics, indulging in the art classes I want to take so I can skills build, playing around with bullet journaling (because I needed another hobby).
And in the midst of all this, I’m planning a collaborative version of Book Of Days for 2019 called “Book Of Days All Stars” which will include at least 12 guest artists, one a month, with inevitable bonuses, and deep dive interviews.
So, you know. I’m pretty busy. <——–UNDERSTATEMENT It is no wonder at all that I spend most of my life in boy shorts, tank tops, and colourful buffs that keep my bed head in check.
But I’m happy.
So that’s a thing that should be noted, because you’ve all witnessed me slog through four years of grief of the kind that can take a girl out. You’ve all witnessed me boomerang back and forth between acceptance and denial over my marriage ending. You’ve all watched me navigate the terror that is watching your child decline into a serious mental illness that required hospitalization and treatment. You’ve all watched me date a few guys who seemed great until they didn’t. You’ve all watched me flail about trying to find my footing.
You watched while I moved three times in four years. You watched while I tried two different antidepressant medications that ultimately made me more depressed than I was before I tried them. You watched me grapple with the truth that my ‘depression’ isn’t ‘depression’ but rather trauma related symptoms that require unraveling to get better rather than the silver bullet pill might be. You’ve watched me come into awareness of my own value. You’ve watched me grapple with imposter syndrome. You’ve watched me make mistakes, and then scramble to fix them. You’ve watched me rise. You’ve watched me shine.
And now I’m happy, and stupid busy, and I haven’t had a whole lot of time (or inclination) to write about it all.
But hi. Here I am. Near the end of the third month of the year, dusting off the blog (which I am tempted to call ‘my journal’ instead because that feels so much friendlier and truer than ‘blog’), and typing what is true for me.
What is true for me:
I am in love with my work.
I am in love with my friends, both virtual and meatspace.
I am working towards becoming an LLC (limited liability company) in the next year or so, and I have already picked the name (9 Willow LLC, after a poem I wrote years ago, and also my favourite number + favourite tree).
I’m on my way to having my tax shit sorted.
I am writing my face off on the regular in a way I never have before – thousands of words a month – and I’m building books out of that writing.
I am coming into my own voice + style as an (eeeeeep) artist.
I am self-possessed.
I find myself unafraid of whatever is coming, because I trust myself to withstand it.
I am occasionally sad about things that are worth begin sad over, but I am not depressed.
I have wicked effective tools in place to help me deal with my anxiety (which is also trauma related, and not a chemical thing).
I am working hard at being as intersectionally feminist as I can be, watching out for cultural misappropriation in my work, ensuring that my spaces are as safe as possible for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (because that is where my warrior self is occupied lately).
I had sex recently. I hope to have more soon.
I’m no longer holding on to a vision of my ex and I getting back together. I’ve let that go, let him go, so that our relationship can grow in the direction it should rather than the direction I want to force it into.
I have female friends to whom I am fiercely loyal and devoted, who are equally loyal and devoted to me.
I am going to become a grandmother (what we are all calling the Mimi) in July of this year.
I have relationships with all of my beautiful children, whom I love and would fight to the death to defend and protect. They see me. I see them. We all know we all have one another’s backs. I also love my daughter in law, who is so much like who my sister would have been before drugs, alcohol, and mental illness took her from me, that having her is like having a piece of my heart back in place. She’s also carrying my grandchild so I get to be that ridiculously doting mimi who feeds her and buys all the baby things, and looks forward to spoiling her grand bean rotten.
I no longer feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.
I feel capable and confident in my teaching abilities (like, teaching is my superpower).
The future feels full of promise instead of full of omgdoom.
I am shining brighter, because I’m no longer afraid of the attention that attracts.
I am (mostly) not concerned with those who ‘don’t like me’. or those who actively seek to take me down a notch. I’m not up for their tall poppy cutting shenanigans. I’m more concerned with serving and loving those who value what I offer, and I have become very good at acknowledging that there are many (200 each in BOD and Moonshine this year. Whoa!).
I am embodied more often than not – and for a dissociative girl, that’s saying a lot.
My therapy sessions have become less and less about my past and more and more about my present and future.
I’m a writer. Yes, I am. A Writer. And I am lucky enough that my work lets me stretch and flex that muscle daily.
I’m going to be fifty this year and I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt.
My body is rejoicing at recent lifestyle changes that mean my pancreas is no longer taxed with sugar and refined carbohydrates. I stuff myself on nothing but real food, like butter, veggies, meats, some fruits, nuts, and nothing that comes from the middle aisles of the grocery store, and I’m getting leaner as a result.
I have 90 patrons on Patreon who are happily soaking up weekly and monthly content, which makes me ridiculously happy.
I have two beautiful dogs, and one beautiful cat whose presence in my life means I never feel alone and also always have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
The participants in my classes regularly offer testimonials about what my classes are providing for them, and that makes me ridiculously happy.
I recognize that I am a woman of integrity. My honesty is no longer up for negotiations. This is who I am. If you don’t want an honest friend, you’d best steer clear.
I am a metatron, a catalyst, a shadow dancer, a shame buster.
I have a bit of a social life (which, okay, requires the donning of pants and bras, but it’s worth it!).
I am well on my way to getting my ID sorted (P.S. note to self: get that guarantor form signed).
I feel adulty more days than not, where I used to feel like an orphan child wandering the world with no north star.
I am my own motherfucking north star.
I took the first three months of the year off of blogging because I really needed to settle into my new schedule, and also because I was kind of holding my breath, waiting for the boom to fall. This is a thing that happens to survivors of trauma. When things are good, and you feel mostly good, you aren’t quite sure how to take that in. You dismiss joy almost as soon as it lands, like shooing a beautiful bird off your shoulder, because the unexpected loss of it would be too much to bear. So I grappled with that. I leaned in to how I actually felt. I let the cracks in me become ever wider, the guards go down, and I started to nod at joy when it arrived and let it stick around for longer and longer. We are now well acquainted. I expect shit will happen, but I also expect it will pass.
I am no longer braced for an unexpected tragedy. I am ready to reach out from the deep dark soil of this first half of the year, stretch myself like a tender green shoot, and emerge transformed.
You’ll be hearing from me more often.