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.
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*.
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.
I. The year is off to a really good start, and while that’s not trickling down into a ‘feel good’ moment, it is a ‘not feeling bad’ moment, and I’ll take it. Programs are up and running beautifully. So many new faces! I’m gobsmacked and in awe of all of you! More of this, please.
II. I got an unexpected bit of leisure time today because Myrna’s internet is being repaired + I slept in and didn’t want to run wild-eyed into Journal Jam. We’ll meet tomorrow at 2 p.m. EST. Meanwhile, this affords me the time to put my studio back into some semblance of inspiring since right now it is a pit of year-end omgdoom and needs a thorough going over. There are paper scraps all over the floor and a pile of stuff that need to be put back in place. My brushes need soaking and washing. It will feel so good to get it all done.
III. My new office chair is AMAZING and I love it so much. It is deep so my whole butt + crossed legs fit (I always sit cross-legged) AND it has a lumbar massager that I can remove and use anywhere. It is SO much better than my old chair. Here’s the one I got.
IV. I also got a champagne and rose coloured blue tooth headset so when I am actually ready to start gaming in earnest, I am all ready. I have been experiencing some serious screen fatigue, though, so I haven’t felt compelled. When I do, I have WoW Shadowlands all ready to go.
V. My art winos. Gods, how lucky am I to have them. So much gratitude for your presence in my life.
VI. My youngest daughter and I spent a few hours on Zoom last night and it was so good to talk real talk and to know that she *knows me* so she doesn’t let anyone else’s story about me impact her, nor does she let *me* tell bullshit stories about myself *to her*. She is wise, firm, honest, and true, and I love that she came through me.
VII. Cocoon. Self-loyalty. Clawing myself back from 2020.
VIII. When you said you were a coward, I should have listened. When you said you weren’t worth it, I should have listened. When you said you were lazy and thoughtless, I should have listened.
I wished I had listened because I have regrets I would not have if I had listened. But I loved you, and I aligned myself with the other words you uttered – the ones I wanted to hear.
Butandalso you taught me to tune my ears and heart to where actions and words align vs. where they don’t. You taught me to believe a person when they tell you they are what they are. You taught me about what I can and can’t live with in terms of my own integrity, too, and that will all serve me well if I ever decide to trust anyone with my heart ever again. Right now it feels unlikely because it’s a chewed up piece of gristle in your teeth and under your boot, but I have spent the last decade levelling up and I am continuing to do my work to become the best version of myself that I can be and I believe that someday the universe will put me in the way of the worthy.
May you heal. May you find your way. May you be happy. Fare thee well.
X. Today is a good day. I just want to bask in that.
*Pours more coffee. Turns on Mountain Men. Snuggles dogs.*
II. A thing I ordered before the breakup arrived in the mail yesterday (yes, it took that long). Two pendants – a wolf and a buffalo. I had ’42’ engraved in the buffalo. I’d meant to give the wolf pendant to 42, and keep the buffalo pendant for myself, but that’s not going to happen now.
I considered throwing them both in the trash, but after some thought, I decided to keep them. They are on a silver chain and hanging on my gargoyle, who has been tasked with watching over me while I sleep.
I came to a place of acceptance over the last couple of days. I won’t throw the good out. I won’t. I am starting to have lovely moments when I remember the good and instead of it searing me, it is making me wistful. Little smiles. All that was real.
I will not let that go.
What I will let go of, though, is being failed like that. I will let go of being lied to. I will let go of being handled. I will let go of anyone who can’t meet me where I am, who can’t sit with me as I am. I will let go of people who need to ‘fix me’ or ‘manage’ me. I will let go of being an option. I will let go of being inadequately partnered. I will let go of being shelved or kept simmering on someone’s back burner. I will let go of subtext. I will let go of mixed messages.
I know things got very hard and complicated, but I deserved to be stuck up for, fought for, chosen. I am worthy of that, so I am giving up anyone who triggers feelings of low worth within me.
If I feel like I don’t matter, if your actions don’t align with your promises, if you lie to me, if you neglect me, I do not fucking want you.
III. This meme, because yes.
I am still holding out for a kilt & boot-wearing pagan or pagan friendly man who has done or is in the process of doing his own work. I am holding out for someone who makes me feel like I did when first we fell in love and the sight of you made me weak in my knees. I am holding out for someone whose masculine makes me feel feminine instead of maternal. I’m holding out for someone who knows how to thrown down. I am holding out for the same kind of corrective experiences – the experience of someone who was willing to be my rock, who took my side, who fostered trust, who made time. I am holding out for someone who makes it clear that I really fucking matter. I am holding out for someone whose words align with their actions. I am holding out for someone who understands that I need a secure attachment to someone who loves me as much as I need a therapist, and who gets that what I need from them is as important as what I need from my therapist. I am holding out for someone who will not give up when things get complicated or difficult because I am worth fighting for.
He will not need to save me, but he will know how to love me, and I know he’s on his way, because magicks.
IV. May all be straight within me.
V. Day Five of my eleven day working, because #artwitch
VI. Election + COVID stress has me sipping vodka soda at noon, and I’m okay with that.
VII. My eyes are very, very tired from building graphics, so this will be all the screen time I do for the rest of the day. I’m spent, but satisfied with what I’ve done so far.
IX. I suspect the number ’42’ will haunt me all my life, but I am getting used to it. My girlfriends and I are starting to find it funny. John Oliver said “Title 42” about fifty times the other night. My junk folder sat at ’42’ for hours one afternoon. I logged off of a live and the viewer count was ’42’. I look at my phone at 4:20 every fucking day.
I’m like, wtf Universe? And the universe is like – look, the best way to work through a trigger is exposure, and besides, it’s still the answer.
The leaves outside my window are the most vivid golden yellow, and though the sky is grey and full of clouds, there’s this amber light coming in, and it makes me think of you.
I love you in the daytime when there’s light enough to see every line around your eyes, and every thought as occurs to you, and every expression, and every movement of your lips as you speak to me. I love you in this light, when you sit across from me, touching my arms, my calves, my thighs, when you sit here reaching for your coffee cup, lighting your cigarette, filling the room with such a powerful sense of your presence that I can feel it for days afterward.
I love you in your absence, too, when the light falls on the empty space you occupy when you’re here, like a spotlight on that space that waits, like I do, for your arrival.
I love you in the morning when I’m not quite ready to face the day. The way we wake together, and you reach for me, hold me against you like your life depends on it. The way I feel sometimes like my life depends on you holding me just that way.
I love you in the spare moments when I am finished one task and ready to move onto another – that I can just reach out with my words, and you’re there. That you give me your time like that. That you take mine when I offer it. That you let me be a part of your ordinary reality with tender, thoughtful tendrils that reach for me throughout the day. I feel you, always. The pluck, the gentle tension when longing strikes, and your body wants mine the way it does.
I wonder if you feel it when my body wants yours, but it doesn’t matter. I know that some part of you receives all of me, whether it registers or not.
I’m listening to music, and “A Case Of You” just came up in my rotation.
“I remember that time that you told me, you said
“Love is touching souls”
Surely you touched mine ’cause
Part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time”
Yeah. Like that, except you’re in all the lines, all the time.
You’re my favourite ink. The longing, sure, but also the certainty, the sense of being replete, the trust, the healing force you bear upon my childhood without even knowing you’re doing it, the way that reaches back through my very DNA and heals the wounds of my ancestors.
Twin flame. I don’t really believe in that stuff, you know. I think everything that happens is natural, organic, of the earth we inhabit, encoded in our bones.
But still. There’s something to it. Must be, because something is very different with me when I add you to the equation.
I believe myself to be whole without you. You aren’t a piece of the puzzle. We aren’t broken. We aren’t incomplete. But something happens when we touch souls, and though I’m ill-equipped to describe or define it, I know it makes me somehow more than I was before.
I’ve held this lantern up in the darkness for a long, long time, and sure, I held it up so I could see my own way, but I am grateful beyond measure that you caught sight of it in your own dark night, and found your way to me.
I. Month-end, so you know. The usual omgeverythingisdueallatoncedoom.
II. I keep somehow managing to deliver what was promised despite the state of things and I am proud of that, but also wondering about the state of my innards given that things are what they are, and yet I keep my promises. Is that proof of something virtuous? Proof of something fucking traumatized? I don’t know. I know that I take great pride in delivering what I promise. Maybe because I’ve experienced the consequences of so many broken promises.
III. I keep my promises.
IV. I’m leaning on that being a virtue. If it isn’t, I’ll deal with it later.
V. I got slammed with a storm a few days ago. I was showing a friend a journal because I wanted her to see how I use the planner I’ve been designing. The journal fell open to a page upon which I’d pasted his photo – the one he sent to me back in February 2019. I said “I miss your face” and he responded with a photo of his face, cigarette dangling from his lip, snow falling down around him. There is a look in his eyes that is undeniably loving and tender, and when my eyes fell upon this image my whole body rose up. I felt all the things at once. Longing. Grief. Denial. Anger. My stomach flipped. Sounds came out of my mouth unbidden, and I clasped my hands to my face as if to stop them but they were an oncoming train and trains don’t stop on a dime. They just barrel on through with all their rattle and noise like storms.
VI. I’m still riding the wave of all of that. I miss him like summer.
VII. Meanwhile, I am wandering around the house adorned with silver nails and white chemises, doing my best to keep all my promises.
VIII. It’s been quite a row to hoe of late. I’m okay, and I am so grateful for so many things, but I am also just barely holding my guts in most days, so I do what I can, but I’m not inclined to push.
IX. I do what I can. It keeps my body and soul together, and I’m never hungry or hunted.