I’m off to an incredibly gentle start. There is no hoopla happening around here – no “New Year, New Me” mania. Just me and the furbabes and my paints and the Art Witches in Moonshine (my main focus this year, alongside Prayers To The Moon on Youtube and A Year Of Oracles on Patreon (starts Jan 15th).

I’m also apprenticing myself to Alena Hennesy in A Year Of Painting Gold because I wanted to sink deeper into skills-building this year. AYOP is way outside of my comfort zone, but so far I’m really loving it. I started with this warm-up:

And then took what I learned from that to create this for the upcoming Full Moon:

Both were hours-long conversations with myself about myself – what I’m wanting to call in. What I’m wanting to emphasize and attend to. The first painting says something to me about chiaroscuro – the lights and darks within myself – and is an ode to all my parts. The second is about how much I appreciate both being nourishing/providing nourishment and being nourished/receiving nourishment.

If you know me at all, I usually need some kind of focal image – a portrait, usually – in my paintings, but I’m breaking free of that and playing with allowing shapes and marks be enough. You can find out more about Alena’s course here, by the way. 

Something else I’m shifting is this weird message I internalized somewhere along the way that I should be *quiet* in other people’s classes. Wait, what? I pay just the same as anyone else does to engage with this kind of content, and I am as deserving as anyone else in the class of the space I take up when I share my work or ask my questions. For years now, I’ve purchased classes and quietly hummed along in the background, asking for nothing, taking up zero space because I had internalized this whole “who do you think you are?” voice in my head. I’m done with that. I’m going to share. I’m going to engage as a student. I’m going to dig in and do the things.

This feels good to me even if I am trying this way of being on with a little trepidation. In the face of that wee frisson of abject terror, I’m reminding myself that I *love* it when the teachers I love are in my classes and doing the stuff. I feel honoured and super chuffed to discover that they’re getting something out of what I offer.

This whole thing where I am afraid to take up space has gotten old. I’m done with it. This coming year you’re not only going to see me in all of *my* spaces, but also in all of the spaces I have chosen to engage in.

It’s about time, eh?

Only took me 12 years. Heh.

I think I’m over the worst of whatever the fuck these last three years have been. I’m still struggling with some things but the struggle feels less OMGDOOM and more “Yeah, this is gnarly, but I can do it.” I’m choosing my battles much more carefully than I have historically, by which I mean that instead of bashing myself over the head with everything I think is “wrong” with me, I’m asking myself why I want to make the changes I want to make.

I want to drink less. Why? Not because drinking is a moral issue or something I feel ashamed of or because I’m afraid I’ll end up dead in a mission like my father or dead by suicide in a rehab like my sister. No. I want to drink less because I want to be with myself without numbing out. It’s about not wanting to abandon myself. I don’t see drinking as a character defect. I see it as a way I sometimes medicate the pain I’m in. I love my human self for reaching for relief butandalso I want to feel better without self-medicating.

In a similar vein, I want to quit smoking. Why? Not because smoking is a moral issue, but because I know I’m using it to medicate anxiety and *that actually doesn’t work*. It creates a cycle of rising anxiety which leads to cravings which leads to using which leads to a very temporary sense of relief which leads to anxiety.

I want to be self-possessed, you know? I want to be untethered. I don’t want to be subject to cravings. I don’t want to be reactive because a chemical has a hold of me. I don’t want the slow suicide that smoking represents for me. I don’t want to experience the world through the fog that alcohol induces in me.

I want to be free.

But there’s nothing in any of this about how the things I do to mitigate the symptoms of C-PTSD, narcissistic abuse syndrome, grief, rage, etc. make me a bad person.

I am not a bad person.

I’m a hurting person. I am a healing person.

Substance use is not a moral issue and I am unashamed in my struggles with it.

I have faith that I will find my way to being in the world without dependence on numbing agents.

And so it is.

In Other News

This coming weekend is going to be amazing! I’m doing a live weekend workshop in the art of creating and stuffing a Sweet Trash Journal! We’re going to get together on Friday to talk about how STJ came to be and how I use it. I’ll be sharing all the resources I can think of, and we’ll talk about supplies and systems and printable planners. On Saturday, I’ll be decorating TWO STJs – one of which will be offered up in a giveaway for students, and on Sunday, we’ll get started in filling up our books so that they bloom and evolve and go from a cheapo composition notebook into something akin to The Velveteen Rabbit of journals. I can’t wait!

If you’d like to join me, please click here:

Use coupon code WILDERLOVE to get 20% off.

Note that while this will be live, there will be a replay to which you will have forever access!