The Way I Talk To Myself About Myself

Every week, I pick a prompt from my monthly workbook (created for BOD, but freely offered in The Wilderhood), and I write on it. I call this ‘Journal Your Heart Out’.

This week’s prompt, should you choose to engage it is:

“If you could change anything about your life right now, what would it be?”

Letting go of things is extremely easy for me. I declutter like a maniac a few times a year. If I’m not using or enjoying something, I get rid of it. I let my people ‘go shopping’ in my studio regularly, because I often buy things to try, but return to my old faithfuls. I don’t keep clothes that don’t fit. I don’t have a ‘but I might need it later’ attitude. The only things I hoard are books – shelves full of them – some that have travelled with me for twenty years now. That being said, they are actually out and on shelves and even organized, and I genuinely *want* every book I have, so I don’t consider that ‘clutter’ 

Letting go of other kinds, on the other hand…

Letting go of old tape – the stories in my head about who I am or what’s bound to happen. 

Letting go of behaviours – ways of being in the world that no longer serve me, like the fawning trauma response, or the expectation that I be on the ball at all times, or the refusal to ask for what I need for fear of abandonment, or the difficulty I have in setting or maintaining boundaries. 

Letting go of habits that drain my life force – one two many glasses of wine in the evening, too much mindless consumption of media (scrolling Facebook, bingeing Netflix), being super sedentary, procrastinating (read: being too overwhelmed or too terrified to do the things that I need to do), prioritizing other people.

Letting go of the way I talk to myself about myself – that harsh inner voice that isn’t very kind to me about the very human things I struggle with, like addiction to nicotine, or extreme resistance to paperwork, doctors, dentists, even writing newsletters. The extremely harsh way I say things like “What the fuck is wrong with you” to myself when I’m struggling. “Why is this still an issue? Why aren’t you over this yet?” Oy. 

If I could change anything about my life right now, it would be the way I talk to myself. That’s the one very urgent issue that’s arisen, the thing that keeps coming into my conscious awareness. I’ve started catching myself talking to myself this way. I’ve even identified who this ‘voice’ belongs to (because it ain’t me). My therapist and I are going to be digging into this over the weeks and months to come, and while I am really *resentful* that I have to do this work (because if I’d been well treated, I wouldn’t *have* to do this work!), I am eager to get on with it. 

I want to say to myself “Oh, hey, darling human. The struggle is real.” Instead of “What the fuck is wrong with you?” I want to say to myself “I see you there, grappling, you warrior you” instead of “This isn’t that hard, for fuck sakes. Get on with it!” I want to say to myself “If it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t hurt” instead of “Why the fuck aren’t you over this yet?”

That’s what I want. 

May speaking it make it so. 

And you? What would you change?

P.S. Come find Wild Life #11 over on YouTube where I talk out loud about the way I talk to myself, and create a spread about letting go. 

“Grounded. Trusting. At home in the self.”

Every month, I release the Book Of Days workbook for free to members in The Wilderhood Facebook Group, and once a week, I feature one of the prompts you’ll find within it either here on the blog or over on Patreon with my own response. Sometimes, I save the more personal reflections for Patreon. I’ll always let you know when I’ve done that. To get the workbook, join us in The Wilderhood.

This week’s prompt, should you choose to engage it, is:

How embodied am I feeling? What tension am I holding?

I’ve had an out of town visitor since last Tuesday, and so my studio time has been very limited. I’ve always been aware of the connection between my ability to ‘stay in my body’ (as opposed to out of it and in a dissociative state) and my creative practice for a long time now, but it’s been really clear to me this past week just how integral it’s become. If I neglect my practice, even for joyful reasons, I can lose myself a little bit – or a lot – depending on what’s going on.

There’s a lot going on right now. The visit brings a lot of memories with it – memories of a time when I was very young, living in extreme poverty, doing a lot of emotional labour, and lacking in any kind of support. It’s brought up things I have yet to properly grieve, because proper grieving couldn’t happen in the circumstances I found myself in. It also brings the joy of reunion, of an apple who did not fall far from this particular tree, and the sheer delight of realizing that some bonds can’t be broken by time or distance.

So, I’ve been all over the place, but I’ve also been lovingly nudged back to presence over and over again throughout.

I spent the first part of yesterday here in the studio, working on a painting of a turtle because I drew it from The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle. It was a glorious few hours of solitude and checking in with my overwhelmed nervous system.

“Ancient soul. Grounded. Trusting. At home in the self.”

Unfortunately, just as I finished up the painting, I got news of a death in my extended family, which sent me reeling back out of alignment. I spent the rest of yesterday trying to get back to the present moment, here, in my life, in my own lane. It took a while, but I managed.

Cryptic is all I can manage without being indiscreet, so that’s all I’ve got on that.

As for tension – it’s in my shoulders and down through my ‘wings’, as I like to call my shoulder blades. It’s in my solar plexus, too, where I feel braced for a blow, but I’m breathing into these spaces with gentle reminders…

…here, now. This life. Yours. You have a family. Be with *your* family.

Let him take care of his own. 

In other news, I got my septum pierced in a frenzy of ‘Life’s too short to put off doing the things you want to do” yesterday, and I will have pictures for you once I am healed up and don’t look as tired as I presently feel.

xo
Effy

P.S. The turtle picture above is going live as a lesson in Book Of Days on September 1st along with this gorgeous creation by Micki Wilde.

Would you like to join us? 

 

 

 

 

 

The Short Answer Is “42”

Every week, I pick a prompt from my monthly workbook (created for BOD, but freely offered in The Wilderhood), and I write on it. I call this ‘Journal Your Heart Out’.

This week’s prompt, should you choose to engage it is:

“What am I aware of wanting right now?”

The short answer is “42”. The long answer is from my archives, because this is a subject I’ve written on a million times before.

Listen

Wanting is like
pumice stone
on tender tooth and tongue.

It grates and and grasps,
reaches for the right words
and so often fails to find them

but this is how poems are born.

I will always choose wanting
over perfect peace.

***

Listen.

Life rushes us like water,
too fast to catch
but I’m willing to be in it –
the cup of wonder, the tear, the flood
the thunder –

I’m willing to let it rush me,
to want without ceasing.

I’m willing to want you,

to be a plain, ample
point of yes, please
and with open hands,
to take what’s given.

Cast your shadow
and I will show you
something worth wanting.
Human. Gorgeously flawed.

Wanted.

This love asks nothing.
It does me good, and look!
There’s poetry in it.

***

The only poem I know how to write anymore is ridiculous.

I

Let me love you.
Love me back.

That’s it.
That’s all I’ve got.

II

I used to be a moon,
with all the waxing
and the waning
and the couplets
and the wine.

And, okay,
I wasn’t a planet,
or even stellar,
or anything
close to resembling
a star,

but I was a moon, and we
all know that the moon
is a thing.

I was a thing.

III

Gibbous, balsamic, turned
this way and that.
Illusion,
mere reflection,
ok, maybe, but still.

Shiny.

IV

I’m kind of shiny right now.
Like,
from the inside out.

V

I blame you.

***

Some Kind Of Witch

After he leaves,
I wander the rooms,
running my eyes
wherever he’s been.

I turn on the music,
wipe down the counters,
clear the table,
sway, smile,

drain the dregs of sweet coffee
from his morning mug
into my open mouth,
lick the rim of last night’s glass,
pierce the palm of my hand
with the tip of his knife,

like some kind of witch.

After he leaves,
I find his eyelash
on the pillow,
and perch it,
upon my fingertip.

I close my eyes.
I wish him back,
and I wait,

and he always returns.

***

The Wind Is Wearing Your Voice

You’re not here,
so the tip of the finger
on my right hand
as it grazes my lips
will have to serve.

And it does.

You’re not here
so the way I skim
my right shoulder with the palm
of my hand must serve
as your breath.

And it does.

You’re not here,
so I turn my back
to your absence,
tuck knees up
against the reasons,
curl away from miles and time,

but when I lean back
against this lack of you,
I swear I can feel you,
body fitted to mine,
like it was carved
to fit the curved space
that I make with
my desire.

You’re not here,
but the windows are open
and the wind in the trees
is wearing your voice.

It’s saying
‘yes, love’, and ‘yours, love’
and ‘now, love’, and
‘sleep’.

***

Oh yes, this girl sure does know how to want.

xo
Effy

 

 

Outside In

Every Monday, I pop in here ( and over on Patreon with the more intimate bits) to share a prompt and my response to it. These prompts come directly out of the monthly workbook for Book Of Days. There are enough prompts in each workbook to get you through a month of daily journal keeping, and they are ripe for both written and art journaling. You can get these workbooks as part of your Book Of Days experience, or as a bonus as a member of my on line artist’s community, called The Wilderhood. See you there!

This week’s prompt, should you choose to engage it is:

What do I want to bring in from outside? More light? More colour?

Outside. I haven’t been seeing a lot of it lately, to be honest. I am asthmatic and also allergic to the world, so ‘outside’ is kind of my nemesis unless I’m at a festival, where I spend the few days before loading up on Reactine so I don’t suffer too much over the course of the four or five days of being where trees have sex. It’s also hot as Hades out there, so my comfy apartment, where the AC is running full bore, and I don’t have to wear pants, is my preferred base of operations.

But ‘outside’ doesn’t have to mean ‘out of doors’. It can mean ‘outside of my own skin’, so that’s how I’m going to interpret it for today’s little writing session. I think this calls for a list.

I. More poems.

I am scheming up an e-course wherein we work with our own internal landscape through writing to mine our own personal poems, which we can then use in our art journals. This is taking a lot of brainstorming, and a lot of note taking, and a lot of poem reading so I can wrap my head around the fundamentals of poetry writing. I don’t have a formal education in the field, but I have been writing poems for as long as I can remember. I want to make poem writing accessible to everyone (because it is!), so while I’m plotting, I want to be eating, drinking, and sleeping poems. I want to be drenched in them. I want to read them silently, and then again out loud. This kind of input is good for my creativity, I think, because it gets me thinking and feeling outside of my own experience, which makes me curious, and creates a sense of wonder.

P.S. If you want to know when this e-course is released, you’ll want to subscribe to my newsletter. 

II. More pleasure.

If you know me at all, you know that I have unashamedly labeled myself a ‘hedonist’, which is a word that’s not often used in a positive light. I’ve reclaimed it, much like I’ve reclaimed ‘witch’. I am an ethical hedonist. I seek pleasure, and believe in pleasure seeking as a worthwhile pursuit. I believe it’s a part of my work in the world to indulge in and also offer as much pleasure as I can (in all it’s glorious forms) in order to increase the ‘collective pool of pleasure’. I also enjoy encouraging others to do the same, especially in Moonshine, where we grapple with whatever we’ve been taught about pleasure, and remove the blocks we have around it.

But, my life has been very caught up in the practicalities of ordinary reality, and frankly, not very pleasurable at the moment. I am in the trenches with trauma therapy. I’ve been setting and holding new boundaries. And I’ve been side-eyeing my ‘go to’ pleasures to discern whether or not they *are actually* worthwhile pursuits. Swilling Chardonnay all night while bingeing on True Crime, for example, is a ‘pleasure’ I’m ready to nip in the bud. What would I replace it with? What would actually feel like real, honest to Goddess, soul nourishing pleasure? I’m working on figuring that out.

III. More Support.

I been thinking a lot about my issues with ‘needing’ people. I don’t do the whole ‘asking for help’ thing very well. There are a couple of people who’ve kind of ‘trained me’ in trust with them over things like “Oh, hey! Can you help me with this practical thing I need to do?” Think – pick up mail, go to the pharmacy (which is a very long Uber ride, or I’d do it myself), run my laundry up and down the stairs, or my garbage down to the bin (I have wonky vision  and creaky knees, and the three long flights of stairs are narrow and rickety and scare the bejeezus out of me). I’ve learned how to pay for some of the help that I need rather than flagellating myself with the ‘you should do it yourself’ whip. So, support with the practicalities, I’m learning to ask for and receive relatively easily.

It’s the emotional stuff I struggle with a bit. Seeming ‘needy’ is very, very unsafe for me, so I grapple with that whole “I need someone” thing. I want to get better at it. When someone says to me, when I’m in the middle of a crisis, “Can I help?”, I want to say “Yes, you can.” Easily. Readily. “Yes, you can. You can sit with me, or call me, or make soothing noises at me. You can make me some soup so I can give space to my emotional state without having to navigate the whole feeding myself while tears are streaming down my face. You can check in with me to make sure I’m not white knuckling things along. You can show up.”

I think I’m getting there. I’m saying things like “I need you to love me a little bit louder today”, and “I need you to honour your word” and “I need to be tended to in the midst of *waves at all of this* in a quiet, gentle way that helps me get through it in one piece” and “Can we Skype? I’m struggling with something and I need your eyes on my face while I unravel it.”

Getting there.

There are actual outside things I’d like to bring in, too. The smell of sunshine on my skin after a long meander. Wood smoke in my hair and clothes after a night around a fire. Leaves and twigs and things picked up during a trail hike. The sound of waves gently lapping at a shoreline. A soul-belly full of the sights and sounds of nature…

…but the three things I’ve explored above feel rather more urgent and important right now, so that’s where my focus is.

And you? What outside things do you want more of? Be literal or figurative. Outside your windows or outside your skin.