I. I seem to have found the will to live despite everything that’s going on right now (personally, globally) so today I unpacked more boxes that have been sitting in the Corner Of Chaos and organized the things within them into bins to go in storage. I am on my third load of laundry. BOD is filmed for October. The PDF is done. I am feeling the equinox in my blood like a witch might, and it is calling me to get with the program. I spent an hour on the stoop with the dogs sipping a Corona (my little irony) and thinking about all the ways I am human.

II. I can love me like this. I’m not so bad. I’m a lot, yes, but it’s no fucking wonder, and like Renee likes to remind me “a lot, but never too much.”

III. Yesterday was really good. I got to hang with my Art Winos for three hours. Then, a neighbour who often stops by with his kid so she can visit my dogs when they’re on the lawn stopped by for a quick distanced hello while I was stoop sitting. He could tell I was very low and I told him I had a wicked case of the morbs. He nodded. Wished me a better day. Wandered off. Ten minutes later, he returned with a little care package that included a jar candle and a little nugget of medicine.

People are deeply kind, y’all. People really do know how to look after one another. I’m noticing.

Later, Lee came over and we got caught up after a long break (we were both swamped with life stuff, so I hadn’t seen him in a couple of weeks). We watched The Magicians (four episodes worth) and we’ve decided we’re going to be Eliot and Margo. I am really enjoying having a platonic male friend with whom I can be the no fucks given swamp witch I currently am without worrying about whether or not I’m putting him off. I don’t *care* if I’m putting him off. This is me. I am not auditioning for any kind of role beyond “You are my friend who I am 100% honest with. Let’s watch The Magicians and eat all the deep-fried things.” If he pisses me off, I tell him. If I piss him off, he tells me.

He never tells me to call my therapist. He gives me space if I’m especially gnarly and comes back later with open hands and heart and grace and a desire for mutual understanding. He knows I’m a lot. But, like Renee, he reminds me I’m never too much AND ALSO that most of the time I’m a sheer fucking delight to be around. Worth it.

And he’s not getting laid, so it’s not like there’s any reason for him to make that shit up.

I’ll take it.

IV. I was watching Downton Abbey and there was this scene in the servant’s dining room where Thomas asked Daisy to dance and she got a wicked case of stars in her eyes. She couldn’t see past those stars. She fell headlong. Thomas was just meeting his own needs, but she couldn’t see that. She was all in. Devoted.

I know that story.

V. Sometimes when we’re coming out of years of deprivation or we’re having these lovely corrective experiences, all we can see are the corrective experiences. The other things that are going on get under rug swept and we bypass the discomfort, the cognitive dissonance caused by the way the ‘on the one hand’ meets the ‘on the other hand’. It’s natural. Human. It comes over us when we turn the thing over and over in our hands upon reflection when that’s safe and the threat of abandonment or retraumatization has past because *the worst has happened already so you go ahead and take a good long look*.

Some people are on their own sides. They’re not on yours.

VI. Alignment is a word that’s been coming up a lot in therapy lately. My mother was not aligned with me against my abusers. She was aligned with her own best interests. It didn’t really matter what happened to me. It mattered only that I wasn’t a problem. If I caused a ruckus, if I had needs she couldn’t (or didn’t want to) meet, if I was too squeaky a wheel, well that got nipped in the bud right quick.

Soap in mouth, wooden spoon on bare ass, banishment.

etc.

It’s no fucking wonder I have difficulty with the whole self-loyalty thing.

VII. That’s changing. I still love who I love and I will always be willing to take my own inventory and admit when I’m wrong and do the work to become the very best version of myself I can possible be, but I will not align against my own best interests.

VIII. I am my own North Star.

IX. I know how to make beauty from ashes, but the beauty I’m choosing to make now is not the kind that will exonerate you or excuse you or ask me to be complicit in my own destruction. It’s the kind that helps me find myself standing on my own side, looking forward, choosing what doesn’t hurt, what does no harm, what never asks me to lie or tone it down or be other than exactly who I am in any given moment. Swamp witch. There are no more stars in my eyes except the ones that help me find my way home.

X. I choose me.

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