Today Is Tender, But Good.

I. I like blogging on the weekends because it’s quiet in here. Quiet is good when I’m writing from a tender place, and today I’m in a tender place. The following four things are why. Feel free to skip them.

II. Two years ago, I made reservations at the pub down the street, brought cake with their permission, and arranged with the band to have you serenaded. It was a very good night. I remember S saying that she had never seen you happier. She took a picture of us that I sent her a copy of because she loved it so much. Your crinkled up eyes. Your smile. Your delight when the bagpiper came on over and played for you. Do you remember? 

III. I’m glad I gave you that day. Despite everything. Remembering it is good. 

IV. Today, I’m thinking about you and doing the whole “sending love and healing thing” and I trust that some part of you is feeling it, and even if not, well. I’m feeling it and it feels…

V…well, wistful and sweet and good. So there’s that. I’m making chicken and dumplings in your honour. I’m skipping the Caesars, though, because that would be asking for a case of the vodka induced morbs and I don’t have the bandwidth for that. It’s bad enough that Spotify presented me with this song yesterday (fucking algorithms!), right? Right. So, anyway.

Happy Birthday. 

VI. In other news, I spent the first half of the day doing dishes, putting away groceries, formatting content for a thing for Moonshine’s February unit, correcting a mistake in the Darling Human Planner, scheduling the supportive email that will be sent out tomorrow, listening to music (and dancing to some of it so I can get my daily steps in), painting, and nibbling cheese. That’s not a euphemism for anything, by the way. I just really like cheese.

VII. Later, I’ve got Art Winos, and then cards with a friend.

VIII. Numbers are way, way down in London – a fact for which I am incredibly grateful. We’re out of the triple digits, thank the gods, and though we won’t be any kind of “out of the woods” until everyone is vaccinated, I am really feeling hopeful. The nature of mRNA vaccines means there’s true ease in tweaking them to apply to the different variants that are coming on the scene. I really believe we’re going to be okay if we just hang in there, mask up, distance, and wash our hands.

IX. It feels good to feel so goddamned good. Yes, it’s mixed. Yes, there’s a thread of sorrow through it all. Yes, I am feeling all my feels and not just the good ones, but I feel *alive* and that is a huge shift. I’ll take it.

X. All right. Back to painting. Love you.

This Is Also The Way

This edition of ‘ten things’ started over on FB, but I’m continuing it here.

I.Since the break up with 42, I’ve been haunted by the number. Stalked even. I look at the time, and it’s 4:20. There are 42 comments on my posts for an outrageously long time. I have 42 things in my inbox. People mention the number eleventy billion times in a comedy routine or whatever.

When it first came to my awareness that this was happening, I found it painful. As time passed, I began to find it annoying. Then, one night last week as I was drifting off to sleep I got this download:

“When you see his number, send him love and healing. Don’t argue. Just do it.”

So, I started sending him love and healing every time it occurred to me because while *I am okay* I’m not so sure he is and that download, however annoyed I might have been when it first came down the pipe, makes sense to me.It’s been about a week of sending him love and healing every time the number comes up in whatever context (so, dozens of times, really) and last night I had the loveliest dream about him.We were curled up together. I had my head on his chest. We were laughing and talking like we used to, and all of a sudden he sat up, looked down at me with those eyes of his and said “God, you’re a beautiful woman. I love you.”

I woke up smiling and wishing him love and healing.

You all know I’m a bit on the woo side. I do believe that these experiences have meaning and impact. I do believe in the veracity of these kinds of ‘instructions from the universe’ that come in the form of numbers coming up over and over again. I do believe in downloads from our more evolved selves (divine or higher or however you like to think of it). I knew when I got that command to send him love and healing that it would also *help to heal me*.

I don’t know about parallel universes or being in union in other dimensions when one is separated in this one, but I know that dream felt as real as anything I’ve ever experienced, and where before it might have caused me to wake in tears, railing against the loss, this morning I woke in the full possession of truth that the love between was real and is eternal.I’ll see him again one day. Probably not in this life, but some day.

Meanwhile, we both have work to do.

II. Yesterday was AMAZEBALLS. Kimi and I carefully combed through the rules around contact here in London during this latest iteration of “Lockdown” and discovered that we are allowed to bubble up our households since I live alone and she & her daughter live alone. There is no one else in our bubbles currently, and knowing how safe she is (and visa versa) we decided to have a Friday night together here at my place with wine and charcuterie (which we call Shark Coot because we’re nerds like that) and Rufus and whatever else.It was soooooo good. Pictures to prove it.

Click through to see full-sized images.

III. Anyone that knows me knows that music is my love language so introducing people to the music I love really matters to me. We spent the entire night doing just that. Rufus. Leonard Cohen. Martha Wainwright. And then we talked and talked and talked until I finally started to fade.

More of that please.

IV. Today is for getting some work done because yesterday was all about cleaning the house. The house thing felt *amazing*, and I am loving being in my space now that I’m able to keep up with things. It’s always a good indicator that I’m coming up out of a depression when I can’t stand to let my kitchen get too out of hand. Also, I cook.

V. Speaking of cooking, back in 2018, I noticed that the weight I was at was hard on my lungs. I couldn’t get comfortable when attempting sleep. The numbers don’t really matter because I don’t believe in BMI being an indicator of much of anything, but I was feeling like I’d like to be lighter so I started eating differently, and I started to drop the weight.

I fell in love in late 2018 and that weight started creeping back on like it does, but slowly and I wasn’t worried about it.

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I’d lost weight. This was not one of those rude congratulatory comments that I abhor, but rather a question that arose out of love and concern. I told her I didn’t know. I had stopped weighing myself before I moved to London.

This question led me to take a look in the mirror, whereupon I realized that I have been really disembodied for a long time. I never turn the bathroom light on when I’m in there – I even bathe in candlelight. I don’t look at myself, ever, unless I’m filming a thing that requires my face, and that is *very difficult for me* so I get it done as quickly as I can and without a whole lot of eye contact. I had no idea what was going on in my body, or that my ASS had completely disappeared – like WHERE THE HELL DID MY ASS GO?!?!

So I ordered a scale. And, whoa indeed.

I accidentally and without trying found myself at the goal weight I set for myself in 2018. According to ‘the experts *cough* bullshit *cough*, I am still “obese” and my BMI is still higher than it “should be” but I am not buying it. I am at the perfect weight for me right now BUT I am lacking in muscle tone and I am probably malnourished because this weight dropped off due to grief and stress. For the first few weeks after the breakup I couldn’t keep any food down, and then as the depression continued to ravage me, I lost my appetite. My well-known love for feeding myself beautifully fell by the wayside. I would toss a few crackers and some olives down my throat when I got hungry enough to feel nauseated. I would order in crap, eat half of it, and toss the rest away.

This is not an ideal way to lose weight, y’all. I lost muscle. I lost strength. I lost MY ASS!

Bummer. But…

VI. I’m cooking and eating again and while I do want to maintain something pretty close to this number, I also want to build some muscle. I want to get some stamina and strength. So I’m doing stuff about it. Because I’m worth my own excellent care.

V. “Something about it” includes looking myself in the mirror – in the eyes. It means turning on the light when I’m brushing my teeth. It means buying a makeup mirror and a new set of brushes to go with the new palettes I bought myself so I can play with putting on a face. Self-adornment. It means thinking not just about what I put in my body, but what I put on it. There’s a bottle of lotion by the bed that I use on my arms and legs every day. There’s a pack of rose scented face wipes. There’s a little manicure kit. I have charged up my Oculus Quest and I’m going to start playing Beat Saber a few times a week for as long as my body can stand it because that is a super fun way to get myself moving.

VI. I just ordered myself this, too, because truer words do not exist right now:

VII. I am not into the spiritual bypass, but the lessons I’ve learned over the course of the last two years are really serving me beautifully and I *am* grateful. Fuck the pandemic, for sure, but without this pressure cooker I found myself in, there is a lot that would have taken a lot longer to be revealed. These revelations were necessary in order to move me forward, and I’m running with that in the direction of my own prayers.

VIII. I like me. A lot.

IX. My plants are *still alive* y’all! This one is my favorite.

X. This witchy box subscription that I got for myself makes me ridiculously happy. The first box came with a black satin robe with the words “Moonchild” emblazoned across the back. I’ve been wearing it ever since it arrived.

This is the way.

Birds Flying High

I.You know how I feel.

II. All day yesterday, I wanted to have a hot soak to scrub *that man* (and the last four years) out of my hair. I just took delivery on a gorgeous bar of soap made with patchouli and activated charcoal, so it felt like the right time BUT I was so glued to the coverage of the inauguration that I couldn’t drag myself away. My nervous system didn’t say ‘ok, we’re clear’ until I could imagine President Joe Biden tucked in bed with milk and cookies.

I have not cried so many tears of joy in a very, very long time. It was a really good day.

III. This morning, I got up and watched this and lo, it was very good. Adults. Gods, I’ve missed adults.

IV. I had that soak I wanted to have this morning, charcoal soap and all, and lo, that was also very, very good. I am squeaky clean and can we please just never use his name again, like, ever? I know we can’t forget, but we can do the very worst and most painful thing one can do to a narcissist – ignore him completely. Insist that he just doesn’t fucking matter anymore.

Because he doesn’t. Onward.

V. Nothing is perfect, but things are better, and I’m hanging my heart on that. I keep saying “we’re going to be okay” like it’s some kind of magic spell, and maybe it is. I feel it this morning. We are going to be okay.

VI. I love orange juice. This new morning ritual of juice before coffee is *life*.

VII. Before I fell into my doomed relationship with 42, I was doing really well. I was happy. I had good friends. I was open to dating, and pursued that with varying degrees of success. I loved my apartment and my routine. I loved my work. I was a bit lonely, but it was nothing I couldn’t deal with.

As the relationship began, I was holding it very, very lightly. It wasn’t something I was thinking long term about. I expected him to come and go as he pleased. I expected I’d meet someone eventually who could show up fully and partner me in the way I deserved, and when it ended (because I was sure it would end) I expected us to go back to what we were before, because I couldn’t see how it could be otherwise…

…but he insisted that I was his center. His breath. His future. He insisted that we were meant to be, that we were going to have a whole life together. It was just a matter of time. “Soon, love.” he said, over and over again. “Pinky swear.”

It took me a long time to begin to believe him, and but I did, and it began to consume my every waking thought. I did everything I could to make us possible, to pave the way, even while he did nothing. I partnered him emotionally, financially, and by making space even when he failed to partner me. I told him everything even while he was withholding. I was willing to have the difficult conversations, even when he defaulted to humor or deception to avoid confrontation.

I would wonder out loud (because words weren’t aligning with actions) what the fuck was really going on and he would pinky swear that I had nothing to worry about.

I knew he was lying.

Every abandonment wound I had was badly triggered. I became anxious, depressed, no more fucking fun.

I lost my way. I lost *myself*.

But…

VIII. Today, I am fully in possession of myself once more. I love my life. I love my little nest in London. I love my routine. I love my chosen family. I hate the pandemic because it is in the way of the things I want to do, but this too shall pass and I’m looking forward to the life I will create for myself from this haven I’ve made for myself.

The last two years have taught me a lot. There are things I will never choose for myself again. There are things I will always choose for myself. There are boundaries now in place that weren’t there before. My fawn trauma response has been completely exposed for what it is. I know how to stand up for what I want and need. I know how to refuse to accept anything less. I trust that self that knows when someone is lying – to themselves, to me. I will not align with someone else against my own best interests. Self-loyal. I choose me.

I am so proud of myself for how far I’ve come. This whole thing with 42 AND the stuff with my emergency move + the way certain of my bio fam responded to that whole thing AND a global pandemic could have done me in entirely – and if I’m being honest, it almost did – I had a legit nervous breakdown that almost killed me, and I was *absolutely abandoned* by people I depended on and loved when that happened, but you know what they say, right?

Throw me to the wolves and I’ll come back leading the pack.

XI. I grew up being scapegoated. My sister was the golden child, and I was – well – not. That was the theme of my childhood. I was the squeakiest wheel. I was the problem child. I was the difficult kind.

I still am, but now I am proudly so. I am PROUDLY and LOUDLY  the squeaky wheel. I am proudly the one who will ask all the questions you’d rather not answer. I am proudly the difficult one that will not stand for abuse or projection of any kind. I will show up on your doorstep with receipts. I will call you on your shit. I will say no, this will not stand. I will not keep your secrets.

As we left 2020 behind and entered 2021, I shook off all the shit people have tried to lay on me. Every day, I remind myself of the one thing I know for sure: if you see and say things someone doesn’t like in themselves, even if you love them despite those things, even if you stand ready to assist them with those things, they will demonize you if they aren’t ready to deal with it. They will hold a grudge against you for the shit they did wrong. They will project and deflect. Their accusations are confessions. I have seen it time and time again. I *am* an expert in this kind of abuse. I am an expert in how this kind of abuse impacts my nervous system.

I’m not here for it anymore.

I used to be a perfect, willing vessel for other people’s stuff. I was raised to do that. I was the container into which other people’s split off parts got placed. I was the holder of their secrets. I bore the brunt of their unwillingness to do their own work.

I am no longer a perfect container for other people’s unconscious or shadow content. I resign. I rebuke this role now and forever.

Keep your box of darkness. I’ve got enough work to do unpacking my own.

X. Today is therapy day. I like to take these days as they come, since I never know what state therapy will leave me in. I did some Zoom coffees with friends first thing because we have things to celebrate on this bright shiny new morning in January 2021. I scrubbed myself clean of the last four years – all of it – all of them – and let all of it swirl on down the drain and away from me. I’m starting fresh, in full ownership of my little empire.

I am my own safe space now. I’m my own soft place to land.

It’s a new day.

It’s A New Day

I. I had SUCH a good weekend. There was RUFUS. There was a steak dinner. There was some painting by numbers. There was lots of Dr. G. There was Art Winos. There was a grilled cheese sandwich. There was work, too, which flowed beautifully. I am almost caught up.

II. I painted this today during Journal Jam.

You’ll find the replay here or if you’d like to have these as full HD right side facing edited versions, join me on Patreon at any level above $2 and you shall get them! You’ll also get the exclusive Jams I do for BOD and Patreon supporters! YAY! Sign up for a yearly subscription and save 10%.

III. I’m doing a LOT more art just for me as a way to keep myself in tune with my inner workings. I’m really loving it. It’s also having the unexpected perk of reducing my back pain, since if I’m sitting upright in my office chair, I am not hunched over in bed typing on my laptop. BONUS. I made this on Sunday.

I am so sick of hearing about COVID that I decided to flip the script to CORVIDS. Hah!

IV. Missing my peoples dearly lately and all the news coming out about how vaccines really won’t change that much for most of us is kind of miserable, but I know this will pass one day. I just hope I’m not completely feral by then.

V. I’m enjoying my solitude, though, and a life in which I am all up in my own business and not at all in anyone else’s. What a blessed relief it is to be unencumbered in this way! I had no idea how much other people’s shit weighed me down. The people I’ve kept in my life have a beautiful flow with me where we take turns tending one another. There is a sense of partnership, of having one another’s best interests at heart. There’s no sense at all of *not mattering* or of being judged or lied to. No one steals from me, takes advantage of me, or gaslights me.

You can’t heal from trauma when you’re in a trauma, so the silver lining of the massive upheavals of 2020 is that I am no longer dealing with trauma brought on by shit other people are doing around or to me. This feels like a minor miracle given that my entire life has been spent dealing with the shit other people were doing around or to me.

VI. I love my chosen family so much, and I can’t wait to kiss and hug every damned one of them, and I’m just holding on to the hope that this will happen soon.

VII. I can feel my heart starting to open. There is no one in my sights (because – uh – lockdown) but if someone showed up with good intentions, I would be curious to see where that could go.

VIII. Dreaming about some things: a car and the freedom that will afford me. Owning a home. Finally writing that book.

IX. I’m over you. I will always love you, and I will probably always miss you, but you wronged me, and I deserved better, and I am over you. 

X. It’s a new day.

Little Pockets of Happiness

I. Fridays by me have become RUFRIYAYS thanks to Rufus Wainwright and his home concerts. I love them so much.

II. Last night’s stripped down version of “Slideshow” made me cry. It was *so good*.

You can listen to the original here:

“Do I love you? Yes, I do. Do I love you? Yes, I do. Do I love you? Yes, I do.”

III. It is also super cool that during the fireside chats that happen every second Friday, we (meaning the audience) get to ask him questions and often his daughter, Viva (Leonard Cohen’s granddaughter) reads them off the screen. It tickles me pink and makes me feel like part of the family.

There are a lot of us regulars who attend every concert, and a little chat area set up so we can talk to each other before and during the show. People from all over the world show up! Ah, technology! I love it so much.

IV. I bought myself flowers.

V. I painted a thing. This is for A Year Of Mary, which started yesterday over on Patreon. 

I’ve also activated yearly subscriptions over there that come with a 10% discount.

VI. Being in lockdown again doesn’t feel all that different from pre-lockdown because I have been doing *nothing* that requires contact with other people for a very long time now. But. The news that vaccines are going to be delayed and the new variant is here in Canada was not welcome. Everything that’s happening right – the chaos in the U.S., the pandemic – is daunting, but I am maintaining a practice of drawing myself back into my little life and attending to the little things. The way Salem flops herself down against my left thigh when I’m writing or creating content. That constant warm steadying presence. The fact that I can order flowers with my groceries. Nag Champa. Twinkly lights. The studio full of art supplies. Zoom coffee with friends. Roasted acorn squash with cinnamon and butter. Pea flower tea, which is the most delightful shade of blue and delicious with honey and a touch of cream. Audiobooks. Being able to nap whenever I want. Watching Sookie and Salem do their daily crazy hour where they chase one another around the house. How spry Sookie is despite her advanced age (she’s 13 now). The skylight in my little nest. The fact that my plants are still alive. How beautifully all my students are doing with the content I keep throwing their way. How good it feels to paint. Journal Jams. Pictures of my granddaughter and excellent conversations with my eldest son that feel like minor miracles given how contentious our relationship was when he was living at home. The gentle wisdom of my youngest daughter and her consistency and presence. The steady witness of my amazing therapist.

V. I have a lot to be grateful and when I start to rise up out of a depression, I can tell that I’m rising up because I begin to notice. It is such a relief, y’all. It’s like suddenly realizing that you can breathe again. It’s almost euphoric.

I’m not out of the woods yet – because none of us are, really, and *waves at all of this* is still daunting and scary and anxiety inducing – but I’m definitely mending.

VI. Turns out that t-shirt that arrived at my door with the word Resilient emblazoned across it was a gift I got myself. I bought a home concert with Appalachia Rising and it came with swag. WOOT! I love it.

VII. Today will bring some inspiration in the form of a Zoom meeting with a storyteller I’ve commissioned to do some work for Moonshine. We’re going to record two stories over the next two days. Later today, I’m doing housework, and I think I’ll blast some music while I’m doing it to encourage my body to move in joy instead of trudging through the motions. I might paint. Tomorrow, we’ll record the second story, and then I have Art Winos at 3. I’m hoping to have the studio tidied up by then since all it takes to create a disaster is filming a lesson or two. Time to claw it back!

VIII. It is possible to find little pockets of happiness in hard times. It is possible to lean in that direction consciously and mindfully and doing that really helps the healing.

IX. I keep drawing The Star and every time I do, I think to myself “This is your year, Effy. Don’t say it too loudly or you might jinx it, but this is your year.”

X. I’m going to make it my own.