I. Today is packed with people – therapy at 12, my friend, Sal, at 1:30, and then Stacey at 6. I have to go wherever one finds the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil – I treated myself to an iPad Pro so I could start doing digital things and also feel a little bit more mobile with work things, but bought the wrong Apple Pencil to go with it, alas. I also have to go pick up my meds, since I’m out of the one that lets me breathe. Oops.

This is all, as you can imagine, a bit extra for a girl like me, especially given that I am still injured, but I am really looking forward to all of it save therapy, which will probably be hard and awful given recent events. Then again, who knows. I am feeling shockingly calm about recent events. Denial? Healing? I dunno. I know that certain trauma bonds have been falling away in the face of my new found ability to say OH HEY FUCK NO YOU DON’T, and my clear-eyed observation of the response to said new found ability.

II. My healing from the gaslighting and abuse I suffered at the hands of my family of origin began on the day I called my step-father out on some pretty crazy-making behaviour. He accused me of something, and I had tangible proof that I had not done the thing he was accusing me of. He *refused to look at it*. Refused. There I was with the proof in my hand, outstretched toward him, and he walked away, ranting and raving…

He was more interested in bullying me than he was in knowing the truth, because bullying me gave him a perverse sense of importance.

That day, I called him a child. To his face. “You know, Randy? You’re a fucking child.” But I remained calm. I just sat there, shaking my head a little in disbelief, feeding my infant child, and completely shifted my attention away from the spectacle before me. I didn’t let what he was saying get under my skin. I could very clearly see that what was happening in that moment had literally nothing to do with me.

My mother, who was sitting in the living room within my line of sight, chuckled. She didn’t stand up for me, didn’t intervene in anyway, and I recognized in that moment that she had never protected me from the men she’d brought into my life. Never. She brought them in, let them do what they wanted to me, and as long as she was okay, she was okay with them.

I remember shaking my head and thinking “These people are fucking crazy.”

I got out of there as soon as I was able, and while it took me a decade to stop longing for my mother’s love, I did, eventually get free of that, too.

Years later, and I still come up in conversation. I know this like I know the back of my own hand. They all take perverse delight in reporting to one another on the family scapegoat, the one they sent into the desert, back draped with their shame and their sins, projecting, and judging and criticizing me from afar.

And I don’t care. I really don’t. These people have no idea who I am, and they have no power over me anymore. I don’t have to say anything, don’t have to do anything about all of that over there.

I just live like I live and do what I do, and I am who I am, and in the end, I fucking win.

III. I’m getting free.

IV. I have a friend who is also a therapist, and while we don’t have a therapeutic relationship, we do have an intimate one, by which I mean she knows a lot of my stuff, and I know a lot of hers. She’s been reading me for years, and she checks in with me on the regular. We talk about the deep, scary things, hers and mine. It is a convention of equals when we convene.

Still, she has been telling me lately that I’m healing. She says it with authority, like she knows for sure.

I find myself believing her.

V. No art got made yesterday because it was an ‘interview this person edit that video administrate this piece of the work’ kind of day, and because I had so much on my plate, and because I was taking liberal doses of muscle relaxers, the day flew by. There will probably be no art today, either, since it is equally packed with things to do, but tomorrow…tomorrow I will make art, and I have a lot to pour into the page.

I’m so grateful that I have this way of being with myself, this way of creating containers for the things that feel too big for me to carry alone.

It helps that I have witnesses, but I think our most important witness at the end of the day is that quiet self that watches us and needs to hear the things we whisper as we self-soothe.

“I see you. I hear you. I love you. I’ve got you.”

I have become very good at loving myself in this very specific way, and as a result, others can love me in this very specific way as well, and I love them back with all my fierce, thorny, dark heart.

Here’s some art from my archives.

VI. 42 will argue this point. He will tell me my heart is anything but dark, and he’s not wrong, exactly, because there is light in this heart, too, for sure, but you and I, we know that the power I wield to light up shadow didn’t come from imagining ‘figures of light’. It came from acknowledging the darkness within me, as we all must do if we’re going to be whole.

I am a shadow dancer. I delve. And the darkness is fertile, and I am not afraid.

VII. He calls me ‘Ivory Tower’. It used to hurt my feelings, like he was trying to call me some kind of diva or something. I’d bristle at the words. Not anymore. When he calls me ‘ivory tower’ he’s saying that I’m fucking awesome, high above the fray, someone to be reckoned with.

He’s right.

VIII. My people are also fucking awesome. High above the fray. I have this gift for gathering, for inviting into my innermost circle the very best of the best.

If you’re reading this you’re one of them.

We’re also spelunkers, though, exploring the caves of bone we live in, rooting out the truth, making beauty out of ashes, planting tender seeds of dreams.

IX. Over and over again I hear from my people (that’s you) that my ability to show up with my whole self on board and tell the truth of my experience is a needful thing. It creates space in which others can show up with their whole selves on board to tell the truth of their experience. We live in a world where we are all told to simmer the fuck down, to refrain from airing our dirty laundry. We live in a world where we are pressed to protect the abuser, keep their secrets, hold their shame – be nice, be good, be discreet, be quiet. There were years where I fell in formation with that way of being, because I had been badly hurt when I fell out.

I’ve fallen all the way out now. I have no interest in being ‘nice’ or ‘good’ or ‘quiet’.

I’m the granddaughter of the witch they couldn’t burn.

X. And because today’s post was super heavy, a fact for which I will *not apologize*, I made you a playlist of all the songs I’m listening to on repeat lately, because they move me and keep me grounded in the now.

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