I. I am feeling fairly quiet inside relative to last week and the week before. The sacral pain is easing a lot, so I know I’m healing up, and the ease with which my body is now moving means a more peaceful inner landscape. Thank the gods for small mercies.
II. I had myself all wound up in a tizzy yesterday over a few things – thought a thing that wasn’t actually due until the 4th was due yesterday, had some dread over what I knew would be a difficult conversation, had a desperate need for a nap, thanks to a craptacular sleep the night before but felt equally afraid of napping because napmares. I did nap, though, and dreamt about doing laundry, which was fairly neutral.
I’ll take doing dream laundry over wandering around lost without wallet or phone, crying and in pain, trying to get to my love, who has no idea where I am any day.
III. Got a kid coming over for dinner tonight. I’m going to make meatballs for and we’re going to play 10 000. Do you know this game? It is wicked fun. All you need are six dice and some paper and pens. We’ll probably take turns asking Alexa to play songs.
Stacey is busy preparing to vend at derby tomorrow, so he’s taking her place as my ‘post-therapy human contact’.
How lucky am I at all anyway? So lucky.
IV. This girl, man. So grateful to have her. She keeps me on my toes, but she is so full of mischief and simple joy.
This was her after being put in ‘time out’ for torturing the cat. Look at that face!
FYI, that stack of pillows there? My surface design. This is called ‘Head Space’ and you can find it and other designs by yours truly on Society6.
These pillows solve the problem of limited seating in my tiny apartment now that I’m having people over on a regular basis.
I want to do a design that matches the colour scheme in my living room, which is all black, soft grey and teal, but these are super fun and funky for now.
I am working with the idea of collaboration, and delegation, and letting people *help* with the things they can help with. We make vows together at new moon in Moonshine, and you’re just in time to join us since this lesson is going up today. Use coupon code missyou to get a juicy discount.
VIII. Chani Nicholas has been informing my work with the moon in its astrological signs as it waxes and wanes in our sky, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It has been just the deepening I’ve wanted. She also does these fantastic playlists for each sign that I gobble up like I’m starving and they’re a perfect musical buffet.
IX. He is the first thought every morning and the last thought every night. He is branch to my root, my perfect consort.
I was telling him yesterday about how much more useful I am to my people because of him, because where before he arrived on the scene, I was constantly trying to serve from a well I had to scramble to fill, he just fills it. There’s a new softness to me, a deeper, more intimate connection with my own heart space.
I’ve always been a heart-centred teacher, but the access he has given me to all of my parts by witnessing and loving them means I show up as more myself than ever before.
You’ve noticed, right? I know some of you have mentioned it. If you’ve been served by me lately in any way, you have him to thank.
X. And this, just because I used to wonder if this would ever happen for me, and it has.
I. Napmares (as in the bad dreams you have while napping) are the *devil*. I’m so over them. I had one yesterday that I could not shake all day, and then I ended up having the most wretched night – I think because I was afraid of more of the same. I did finally settle, but damn it, that sucked.
II. I ordered in after the nap mares and got the most disappointing order of fish and chips ever in the history of ordering in fish and chips. I was looking for a cure for all things nap mare related, but nooooooooo. This was not that.
III. THIS BABY HOWEVER IS THE CURE FOR ALL THE THINGS. *Watches on repeat*.
IV. I’m super busy today, so I have to keep this short, but I love checking in with you every day. It gives a really lovely, communal feeling to my day even though…
V. …watching this documentary on Social Media really put me off it a bit. Like, how much damage am I doing to my self given that I like, LIVE on social media?
P.S. This guy, Richard Grannon, has been really helpful to me in my journey to recovery from C-PTSD. Your mileage may vary.
VI. Fest season is nigh, though, so there will be less virtual and more meat, and you all know how much I love meat.
V. I heard you laugh there. You have a really dirty mind.
VI. Or maybe I’m projecting. It wouldn’t be the first time. :D
Okay, that’s enough of me scandalizing the Internets. *Giggles*.
VIII. It’s Beltaine today, but I’m thinking less about May poles and flower crowns and more about how *powerful* and truly *sexual* creativity is, and how tired I am of the heteronormative take on the Wheel of The Year. I am not defined by my ability (or lack thereof) to conceive, birth, or mother, and I’m not heteronormative myself, despite all evidence to the contrary, so why the fuck should my Gods be defined that way?
IX. HINT: They’re not.
X. Ever After 2019 opened for registration today, and true to ‘not your mother’s art journaling teacher’ form, I am going to be tackling The Witches Of Eastwick. YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT.
See you there, AND on the blog hop on May 4th, where you can WIN A SEAT YESSAH, and also, tomorrow, because blogging isn’t the same as social media. Right? RIGHT?!! I declare it.
Today is my second to last day in the Artfully Wild Blog Along – I owe myself a day since I skipped one this month. BUT I ONLY SKIPPED ONE, YO!
This has been amazing, and my plan is to continue writing daily. A few of us are planning the same, so if you’d like to build up a little coterie of folks you read, who read you, do consider joining us. The rules are “Comment on three for every one you post”. Easy peasy. Find us here.
II. I spent the evening with loved ones – my youngest son and his girl, my middle son, my grandson. There was food and talking and lots of playing on the floor with various child friendly things like plastic bowls and wooden spoons. Bean’s parents decided to leave him with me overnight, since he was so content here, and they could use a break. James went home after we watched Game of Thrones (which was epic), and I got the Bean up from a nap so we could play for a while before bed time.
III. My sacrum is still healing after the rollerskating debacle, and lifting this gigantic baby caused it to flare up again last night, but it’s better this morning after a restful sleep (Thank you, Bean, for Mimi’s restful sleep!). After he leaves this morning, I’ll ice it and take a Robax and all will be well in my world.
IV. Something about having him here does wonders for my nervous system. It’s like I have nothing else in the world to do but love this chunk of busy baby, and my whole self just comes into alignment with that. He’s a little like I imagine Prozac would be if Prozac actually worked for me. Some people with anxiety can’t do infants/toddlers because they are so full of loud mysteries – the questions “Why are you hollering?” and “What do you need?” can be frustrating to some, and I totally get that. For me, though, it is instant embodiment. The tyranny of choice over what to do with my time is completely eliminated.
This. This is what we’re doing with our time right now. No choice, no anxiety. Boom.
V. One of the things I love about being in the position that I’m in right now is that I can just snap my fingers, and the things he needs appear. Ok, so what I really mean by that is ‘fire up Amazon’, but still. Feels like magic for someone who raised her own babies in abject poverty. I’ve got a portable crib, a high chair, and a bunch of toys on the way so that his parents, who don’t drive, can bus him here without needing to lug a bunch of equipment. I’m going to have to clean out a closet to store it all in, but even that makes me happy, because decluttering is my jam.
VI. I have a super full weekend coming up. I’m helping Stacey with her vending table at a roller derby on Friday (good opportunity for me to seek out the proper protective gear before I hit the roller rink this summer), and another friend with her vending booth at the KW Pet Expo on Saturday. I’m seeing the eye doctor on Sunday afternoon (for the first time in, like, eight years – oops), and then I have a live activation gathering with my art witches Sunday evening. I will be quanked by the end of it all, but next week is a light so I’ll have lots of time to rest and restore.
VII. I actually sat in silent meditation for ten minutes yesterday as part of my participation in a writing practice class with Natalie Goldberg, and this after wondering on paper if I could actually do it. Silent meditation is a little bit scary for me given the brain gremlins and where they go if I give them too much free reign. I actually found it quite calming, and though the gremlins did try to veer off into shadowy territory a few times in that ten minute span, I was able to return to my breath.
VIII. The writing after was good – revealing. Caught wind of some feels I wasn’t aware of having, and was able to nod in their direction – “Oh, hey…I see you there. Yeah, that’s a thing we can fix. Let’s do it.”
IX. I think I’ll end here, because I’ve written myself out of things to say, and the list to slay is calling my name. It’s saying PSSST. Bean is napping. Let’s do a thing or two and get ahead of the game.
I. I posted this on Facebook on Saturday evening, but I wanted to share it here as well.
One of the hardest times of day for me in terms of the way my brain gremlins work is when I wake in the middle of the night. The voices in my head in the hour of the wolf are not kind.
Lately, though, I’ve been challenging these voices instead of letting them run rough shod all over me when I’m at my most vulnerable.
I’ve been snapping my fingers at them.
“No. That’s enough of that. That’s not true. Quiet down.”
I’m not hateful toward these voice because they are, after all, coming directly from my own shadow, but I am *calmly assertive*. I am *firm*.
Snap snap. “That is not the truth. Settle.”
It’s been working.
Disclaimer: I’ve been in therapy with a really excellent trauma informed therapist since 2013, so that’s six years of work with a pro under my belt + all the years of self-help I did previous to that. Your mileage may vary, but self-talk seems to be a huge part of my healing process.
The inner bully I contend with seems to respond very well to a loving, firm parental voice that is not unlike the voice I use with my dogs when I’m training them.
“That’s enough.” SNAP “Settle.”
And then, I get my body into the most comfortable position I can. I praise myself for it. “Atta girl.” I breathe deeply into my heart centre, and hold my whole self firmly in place like I might a puppy who is balking at my command, and I let myself drift back to sleep.
And, yes, I did just compare my inner bully to a puppy. I really don’t think that’s far off given how much wolf there is in this woman you know as Effy Wild. All of my parts are *part of me* including the ones that give me trouble.
I will love myself in all my parts, no matter how much trouble they give me.
II. Being loved in all your parts is incredibly healing. If you can get some of that, do it. While you’re waiting for that to arrive on scene, though (and I had to wait a very long time), do your level best to do your own work so that you know yourself deeply, and can therefore love yourself deeply.
When you find yourself coming up against a place where all you can access is shame, please find a safe friend, lover, therapist, or pastoral care person who can say to you “Oh, hey. No. That is not the truth. Settle.”
Thank you, my people, especially 42, for the way you do that for me on the regular.
III. I had an emotional flashback on Saturday night. Here’s what happened.
After thinking about it for THREE DAYS, I took a deep breath, and asked my love for something to do with ‘staying on script’ with me. There are little rituals that we keep that keep me grounded, and he seemed to have skipped this one night last week.
First thing he did was tell me that he was pretty sure he hadn’t skipped it, but that if he had, he was *sorry* because he knows how much these touchstones mean to me.
Second thing he did was go looking for whether or not he’d actually skipped it.
While he was off looking, I started to spiral. The brain gremlins went like this: “Fuck. I am extra. I am too much. I am TROUBLE with a capital T. Why can’t I keep my fucking mouth shut? Why do I make a big deal out of everything?”
My ability to rein myself in during an emotional flashback is extremely limited, as is my ability to actually know I’m in an emotional flashback.
And then he proved to me that what we had here was a case of Internet fuckery, because he had, indeed, done the thing. It just never came through. He didn’t throw it in my face. He didn’t say “SEE? You’re fucking WRONG.” He just gently, tenderly offered up the proof that he had not skipped the thing, because he *wouldn’t* skip the thing on purpose. He is *not that guy*.
I started to sob, and here’s where things get really worthy of a pearl clutch and a Kleenex.
When I called him out for something, I *expected to get gaslighted*, not because he’s ever gaslighted me, but because I spent my whole life in this cycle:
I get (understandably) upset by something someone does (intentionally or not) that makes me have bad feels. I muster up the courage (and it takes a lot) to bring it up. I get raged at, minimized, or lied to about said thing until I feel *completely crazy*. I end up fawning and apologizing for being ‘extra’ in order to avoid being abandoned, further abused, or worse…
So, I’m sitting there not even aware that I am *literally waiting to be gaslit* and when he said “I’m pretty sure I did the thing.” when I had apparent proof that he hadn’t, boom. Emotional flashback.
I didn’t know that was what was happening. I was just kind of confounded. Shitting on myself. What is happening here? Why is this such a big deal. I said “I was honestly fine with all this. Just wanted to make sure it didn’t happen regularly because it makes me wobbly. I don’t know what’s wrong with me…”
But he did.
“You were fine until I said I had done what you thought I hadn’t done.”
I want to know how this man got so intuitive, so empathic that he can know better what is happening inside me than I do.
Cue my thousand apologies for being extra, and this is what he said, y’all.
“I’m all good. I’m not upset. I’m here. Always.”
“I’m not leaving.”
“You have the right to question. The gremlins will run. We just have to learn how to get them to go in the direction we want. You’ve been used and abandoned your whole life. It makes you go there. UNDERSTANDABLE. From now on when the gremlins come, hold yourself real hard. That’s me holding you.”
And then he proceeded to do everything in his power to make me laugh, because that is what works for me after an emotional flashback, and he knows it.
IV. Notice that there wasn’t anything in there about how I’m too much. There was no rage. There was no gaslighting.
There was “Oh, hey. Here’s the truth. And also, I fucking love you. Settle.”
He whispers me.
V. I have emotional flashbacks quite regularly. They suck balls. I do my very best not to shame myself over them, though, because I am learning how these were fostered within me, and I am beginning to understand the way they work. This means I can name them when they’re happening, and it means I can tell the people I love OH HEY…these situations cause emotional flashbacks. You’re not to blame for the fact that I have these, but you can *prevent some of them from happening* if you stay on script with me. Kthnxbai.
VI. It feels a little like a miracle that there are people in my life who I can say “OH HEY” to, who will actually hear me, but, dudes. That is my current reality. Can we please take a moment here to acknowledge how fucking powerfully healing that is? Yes. We can. Let’s.
VII. This song because #autobiography.
VIII. I am the proud adopter of this painting by Eric Cox. I had to buy it on a payment plan because it was way out of my price range, but I had to have this because it will always stand for the moment when the scales fell from my eyes and I truly stopped grieving.
VIII. I have kids + grand kid over tonight for talks and foods and visits, and I declare that it shall be epically good.
IX.I bought the book, but I find audio books especially soothing, so I thought I’d share this with you. Peter Levine understands trauma better than anyone else I’ve ever come across. If you have trauma of any kind, this might be of use to you.
I wrote this in 2015, but Sunday is for silence, AND we were talking about symbols in The Wilderhood this past week, AND Iris and I were talking about imposter syndrome and comparison and feeling like real artists during our interview (upcoming in Book Of Days for May’s content), so this felt relevant.
Most of my peers in the on line journaling/mixed media art world were artists before they started teaching. That is not the case with me. I was a writer before I started art journaling, and art journaling was something I took on so I could unblock myself as a writer. I didn’t ever dream (or even imagine) that I would teach art journaling. I didn’t ever even want to be a visual artist.
I came to art as a rank beginner in 2009 and dove into teaching because, essentially, someone dared me to. It was accidental – or maybe serendipitous – and it was entirely unexpected.
This means that I STILL spend a lot of time feeling like what I want to create and what I’m capable of creating are just not jiving right now. I *do* feel good about how I have progressed over the years. I do see great progress in my skills. I do feel proud of how much I have learned and how I’ve integrated all I’ve learned into my own personal art practice. I feel really good about the content I create in terms of how well it facilitates ART as PRACTICE. I am very proud of the writing I do in the classes I teach. I like my classes and if I weren’t teaching them, I’d want to take them.
But I am also painfully aware of how much better I think everyone else is at the ART part of what I do.
I have a few personal mantras that get me through those periods of time when I feel like I’m utterly deluded and should just pack it all in. One of them is “Enthusiasm counts” by which I mean that my enthusiasm for my chosen art form (art journaling) counts as a valuable contribution to the arena. Another is “Done is better than perfect”. I pull this one out especially in reference to the spreads I create for Book Of Days because sometimes I create a hot mess, and I have to cut myself some slack. Weekly spreads are easy if you’re not ALSO editing, filming, creating screen shots, writing accompanying ‘step-by-step’ instructions, and formulating musings to go with the post. The fact is, sometimes I create something I’m not fond of, but I have to get it up there, so I have learned to live with these problem children that spring from my creative loins.
I think it’s good for me. It’s an antidote to perfectionism to throw up work I’m not crazy about and say WHATEVER ELSE HAPPENED THIS WEEK, I MADE SOMETHING! TA DA!
But the whole “It’s about practice, not product” line is starting to getting old. I’m getting restless. I want to feel as good about the art part as I do about the self-inquiry part, the practice part, the encouraging part.
I want to love my art.
This week, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about symbols and meaning. I’m building a library of things I find beautiful and meaningful on Pinterest. I think of it as seeding the mud. The mud is my subconscious, from whence all art comes. The seeds are images, symbols, palettes – inspiration.
Right now I’m collecting things and I’m working up the nerve to start doing sketches of things – working out how to get these symbols into my own paintings in a way that pleases me.
This seems a bit counterintuitive to me at the moment because there’s a voice in my head saying JUST PAINT – but I *also* know that a part of my restlessness comes from feeling like I’m in an art rut. I use the same images over and over again – mostly faces. Occasionally a tree. Bird stamps. I need to have a better stocked library of personal imagery to work with before I can “JUST PAINT’ because otherwise, I’m just painting the same old thing over and over and THAT is BORING ME TO DEATH! *lol*
Two days ago, I was all about birds and especially women with birds. Today it was ‘fish’ which led to ‘Koi’. It feels like I’m learning my own internal language, and that’s helping the restlessness a lot. It’s also helping me to feel like I’m *doing* something to close the gap between what I want to create and what I’m capable of creating.
When you want a thing, it is extremely important to begin moving in the direction of that thing. Otherwise, I find myself getting bogged down in impostor syndrome and stinkin’ thinkin’ and other poisons. I can’t really call myself an impostor when I’m actively moving towards having a greater personal library of symbols to work with, can I? I mean, I’m doing the work.
That makes me a real artist.
If you’re doing the work, you’re a real artist, too.
I’m an apprentice artist, for sure. I’m a beginner artist. I’m a baby artist. But that doesn’t mean I’m *not* an artist. It means I *am* an artist.
An artist in progress.
I can live with that. :)
P.S. A note from 2019 – I’m feeling much better about my art these days. My skills have improved over the years, and I am generally able to make things that look like I want them too. Like this painting from A Year Of Rumi. That little figure…thrilling. Those tiny hands. Wow. Practice, my loves, really does make progress.
Speaking of art and practice and progress, this sale is still on till April 29th and there is enough content in here to keep you busy for YEARS. Get it!!