The Long Work

Today doesn’t have ten things in it because the sameness of things is getting me down a little bit. I am not here to pretend to be up when I’m not. I’m here to tell the truth, so hey, hi. I’m over *waves at all of this* and if you’re looking for a pick me up, I am not your huckleberry. Not today. Today I am mid-conquer.

Today is for a bit of a lonely, aching ramble.

***

I found this poem about sunflowers by Mary Oliver a couple of days ago.

This line – “…the long work
of turning their lives
into a celebration
is not easy”

This. I do this. I try, anyway, and it is not easy.

Anyway, the poem is making me want to fly into my studio to paint even though I know I will not do a very good job painting sunflowers. I don’t do representational paintings very well. Everything I do is pretty stylized, and I’m pretty much mostly okay with it, but I’d like to get better at actually representing some of the things I want to include in my paintings. This requires practice, though. It requires patience. It requires an investment of time outside of the comfort zone.

BUT…

We are in the midst of a global collective trauma and PUSHING oneself out of one’s comfort zone is not necessarily a good idea right now. Some of us may be perfectly fine with it, but some of us have frazzled nervous systems, and the known and comfortable are balms on our souls right now. Comfort food of all kinds – the series you’ve watched a million times. The book you can almost recite word for word. The songs you know by heart. The colour palette that feels like coming home. The visual lexicon that flows easily from your paintbrush.

Let it be, she tells herself as she stares down a case of artist block because she’s trying too hard to be a better artist than she is right now. Let it be. 

***

Full Bush Tour – Prompt Seven is about practical magic. I’m an art witch and a swamp witch and my days are shot through with silver threads of witchcraft. The lit candle. The direction I stir when I’m adding honey to my coffee. The fact that some days call for honey in the coffee instead of sugar. The little smoke offerings. The way colour means something and I choose it intentionally. The way I notice, as though the whole world offers itself to my unquenchable thirst for meaning. The way I commune. All of my various ways of knowing.

Like knowing that now is not the time to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

Sometimes my magic looks like “yes” but just as often, it looks like “no”. Sometimes it hexes and sometimes it heals. Sometimes it looks like high holy ritual and sometimes it looks like staring off into space. Sometimes it looks like doing the dishes or putting on eyeliner or drinking a tall glass of cold water with a squeeze of lemon. Sometimes it calls in and sometimes it sends forth. Sometimes it exiles and sometimes it fetches. Sometimes it’s all silver jewellery and voluminous white chemises and sometimes it’s faux leather pants and an Amigo The Devil hoodie.

I’m flexi.

***

WoW with GG tonight, I think. I need to be off-world for a while.

 

 

 

Anxiety Girl

I. The lower right torso thing seems to be resolving, finally. I’m still a bit tender, but it’s totally manageable. Phew! I’m not dying! Take that anxiety girl!

*Giggles*

II. I have rested myself into a corner of “so behind” though, so I’m annoyed, but I’ll get myself out of it. Today is for playing catchup, though I have to tell you, I’m tempted to go sit on the stoop instead because it’s finally sunny out.

I might do that first – a wee stoop sit and then get to work.

My therapist would approve.

III. How the HELL is it already April 13th and where is this month going???!!! Time is weird.

IV. Journal Jam yesterday was super fun. Catch the replay here if you want. If you want the edited replay, you can find it on Patreon.

V. I worked on these two spreads all weekend. I am obsessed with crows.

VI. I made up the list to slay today and then crossed five things off of it because I recognized that just because I feel like I can push myself today doesn’t mean I should.

My therapist would approve.

VII. WoW with GG tonight. I’m looking forward to it.

VIII. I fell asleep before my fantasy fiction workshop last night and I am super bummed about it. Slept from six ’till eight and missed it. I hope there’s a replay, but I scoured the site and didn’t see anything to indicate that. Woe! I am hoping this doesn’t mean I just drop out. I have this thing I do where if I can’t do a thing perfectly, I don’t do it at all. I’d like to challenge that whole thing pronto, because it doesn’t serve me at all well. Perfection is the enemy of progress, right?

IX. I am craving beans and franks. I don’t understand this at all. I never crave beans and franks. *Puts some on her grocery order anyway*.

X. Sometimes self-loyalty looks like crossing five things off your to-do list.

I’m planning to blog every day this month along with a crew of almost 300 other bloggers in my “Artfully Wild Blog Along“. If you’d like to join us, you are most welcome! Both bloggers and readers are invited to join in the fun! The only requirement is that you agree to comment on three blog posts for every blog post you share in our Facebook

Safeword

I. This came across my feed and I felt it in my whoooooole body.

II. My safeword, in this case, is “more, please”.

III. I’m still tender in the lower torso and yesterday, it triggered yet another trauma response, but this one was of the “what if I’m dying variety” so I pretty much clutched my furbabes to me and had a 12-hour panic attack while my brain walked me through how awful it would be for my one and only local friend to find my corpse.

That was fun. NOT.

IV. I’m better this morning, though. Slayed the usual Monday list which includes sending a metric fuck tonne of posts and emails about Journal Jam, which is at 2 p.m. EDT today if you want to join me. 

The replay goes up as a link in The Wilderhood, so if you haven’t joined me there, please do!

GG will be in training to take over for the lovely Myrna, so come on over if you want to say Hi!

V. Chani did it again:

As one phase of togetherness comes to a close, new possibilities for connection emerge. As I grow, I loosen up. As I age, I learn what to let go and what to hold close. As I come into my power, I need validation from others less and less, and I am more and more able to enjoy what they bring without expectations.

I relax into my unions, and more energy moves through them.

I swear, she reads my blog because otherwise HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

VI. I’m glad for today’s schedule since it is still raining today so all the things I have to do will keep me from pouting about the lack of stoop sitting in the sun. I’ve got Journal Jam at 2 and then a fantasy fiction writing class at 7. Maybe WoW with GG after? We’ll see. Depends on how much my body can stand to be in an upright position.

VII. I am going to drug myself into oblivion tonight, though. I don’t want to do another night like last night, plzkthnxbai.

VIII. I am grateful that I’m not living in a hotspot, but I am also checking the hotspot website obsessively to see if I can get a vaccine. Lawds, I need this to be over soon. My friends and I have shenanigans to plan and execute!

IX. I am almost ready to tackle the disaster that is my studio. I am done with it having this massive corner of chaos. I’m done with the unbuilt bookshelves and the pile of stuff that has no home. I want it to welcome me in rather than chase me out. It’s time.

X. I’m thinking about a trip to a garden center soon for some herbs to plant in pots by my front door, but not until things are a little less terrifying out there.

I’m planning to blog every day this month along with a crew of almost 300 other bloggers in my “Artfully Wild Blog Along“. If you’d like to join us, you are most welcome! Both bloggers and readers are invited to join in the fun! The only requirement is that you agree to comment on three blog posts for every blog post you share in our Facebook

 

Witching In All The Ways

I. Yesterday was super busy, but super good despite the lower torso thing that seems to be getting better but slowwwwwwwly. I did a live with my witches, which was awesome, and then LLMJ, which was also awesome. Kimi came over and we watched 2 episodes of New Amsterdam, which was awesome. I ordered a massive thing of nachos. ALSO AWESOME.

CHECK OUT THE GROOT TANK TOP KIMI IS WEARING!! SO AWESOME.

II. Okay, I’ll stop gushing now.

III. I’ve been playing with spirals and doodles, and loving it.

Today, I plan to do more of this.

III. The fantasy fiction workshop I’m taking starts tomorrow evening and I am * so excited* and also grateful that it doesn’t conflict with Journal Jam, which is tomorrow afternoon. GG will be training to take over for Myrna, who has to retire her secretary hat due to new work hours. It will be weird not to have her tracking prompts, but I’m positive GG will do a fine job.

See you there? It’s at 2 p.m. EDT. 

IV. I’ve slayed most of my list for today, which means I get to have some fun flinging paint and swilling chardonnay. This makes for a lovely end to my weekend and I am grateful to past me for getting so much of what needed doing done so present me could enjoy some me-time.

V. I am so happy for everyone getting their vaccines. When people announce that they got their shots, I get quite emotional and also a little bit jealous in a delighted way.

VI. I am eagerly awaiting my turn, and I’m hoping it happens in time for me to have some kind of summer. I’m not expecting to be *fearlessly* out in the world but feeling a little less fearful would be a nice change of pace. I am hoping to break free of the lack of motivation to go anywhere that this long, long quarantine has caused. Maybe lack of motivation is the wrong phrase, though. It’s more like – the outside terrifies me. I do not want it. People breathing near me gives me the creeps. I may never shake hands with anyone again.

Once we’ve reached herd immunity, though? I’m hugging everyone. Prepare to be climbed like a tree.

VII. Also this:

VIII. Meanwhile, though, it’s like this:

IX. It’s New Moon in Aries today. I’ve already done my working since I have to pre-record it for Moonshine, but yesterday, I threw myself in a tub of hot scented water and did a clearing with charcoal soap. Little rituals that keep me attuned feel good lately. Calling in the holy helpers every day. The lit candle. The smoke offering. The tarot draw. It’s lovely to be in the flow, and to be witching in all the ways.

X. Speaking of witching, check this out!

I Am The Storm

I. It is astonishing how easily I forget that pain – especially pain in the lower torso area of my body – is a huge trauma trigger for me. I remembered last night, but not until after I got whipped up into a frenzy of abandonment depression. It doesn’t come up often anymore but *I am a sexual abuse survivour* and that does still live in my body and even though I’m on the other side of the really gnarly part of recovery from C-PTSD, I can still be badly triggered.

II. Thankfully, there are people I can talk to who respect that I can’t vocalize when I’m triggered, so they let me text. There are people who know my whole story so I don’t have to go into a whole lot of detail. There are people who listen and love on me when I’m in the darkest depths.

And also Korean Fried Chicken is a thing that exists. With lightly breaded fries. And honey garlic sauce.

The night savaged me, yes, but then I salvaged the night, and even though I’m still in pain this morning, I am not holding my guts in anymore.

III. I think it might be an ovarian cyst, since memories about having one when I was fourteen flooded me last night. That time, my mother and step-father thought I had an ectopic pregnancy and brought me to the ER. It was very traumatic because I was *not* sexually active and there was *no way* I could be pregnant, but they *would not believe me*. The ER doc was very sympathetic, though, and gave me an ultrasound so he could shut my parents up.

Anyway, it’s the same kind of pain. Very localized in the lower right. Lots of bloating. If it keeps up much longer, I will go to the ER, which *terrifies me*.

Sigh.

IV. My ex is moving out of the country. He didn’t tell me this, of course – he told GG, who told me last night. This wouldn’t matter to me except that he’s pressuring GG to find a new place and move before he leaves in June. I respect his desire to move – he can do what he wants – but I’m having all kinds of feels about the fact that he agreed to step in with GG’s care and now he’s leaving him before GG has time to catch his breath after the hospitalization.

One of the most stressful things a person can do is move. Now imagine moving after a serious psychotic break while you are still feeling a little bit sketched out. While your moms is in another city and can’t travel to help because there is a pandemic.

Fuck.

V. I am typing this out because I was holding it in my body and I need to stop doing that. I need to stop listening to the voice in my head that sounds suspiciously like my mother’s voice – the one that says “Don’t air your dirty laundry”.

Fuck that noise.

*Hangs it all out on the line so the light can get at it*. 

VI. Today will be better. I have a live with my witches. Kimi is coming over for LLMJ, and then we’re going to watch The Stand. I’m going to have a hot soak. I’m going to feed myself. I’m going to give myself the love and care I deserve.

VII. Also, WoW at some point I think because it is good to slip the bonds of this world for a while and enter another, less complicated one. Running around killing things feels like just what the doctor ordered.

VIII. Those of you who quietly and sweetly helped with GG’s laptop upgrade will be happy to know that’s been accomplished. Thank you. You know who you are.

IX. Those of you who made space for me over the course of this week re: the dumpster fire that is having to have contact with someone who is just fucking terrible for my nervous system – thank you x a million. You really helped me get through it.

X. Today, I am the storm.

 

I Am Loved. All Is Well.

I. I have reached the age where I hurt myself IN MY SLEEP and have no idea wtf happened. I woke up at 2 in the morning with my right lower back *on fire* and was terrified for a little while there that I had a kidney infection or stone (I’ve had a kidney infection before). Drank some water, went to make sure I wasn’t peeing blood. Moved and stretched to see if it was constant pain or if it eased with positional changes. It did ease – not all the way, but quite a bit so I put myself back to bed with a Robax muscle relaxer on board + my heating pad.

II. Woke up miserable about fifty times before finally crawling (with a whimper) out of bed to meet Sal for coffee over Zoom. Slathered myself in Kimi’s “Venom” which is an analgesic massage oil – very effective and smells delicious – and took two more muscle relaxers. Moved my body in all the ways the pain would let me. Decided that it is, indeed, mechanical low back pain. Feels like I have a charley horse. WHINE. DO NOT WANT.

III. The Robax kicked in while I was having coffee with Renee, and I am much relieved but still putting myself to bed with the heating pad for the duration. If I can move without whimpering in a little while, I’ll throw myself in some hot water and Epsom salts and hope for the best. I also ordered a massive jug of cranberry juice *just in case* but like I said, the pain shifts when I shift, so it is unlikely to be an infection, which would be constant, right?

IV. The last thing I want is to go to the ER in the middle of a pandemic, so wish me luck.

V. I painted this ahead of New Moon in Aries because it will be in my seventh house. It took a long time for this piece to gel because I was offering layer after layer after layer at the thing in a palette I don’t generally work with, but whoa. Do I ever love the finished piece!

It went up for my art witches this morning.

VI. I found season three of New Amsterdam on iTunes, so I bought it and I’m going to dole it out episode by episode for Kimi and me. It’s only fair since she’s the one that got me hooked, so I owe her a debt of gratitude.

VII. I spoke to a friend about a thing that happened recently and like everyone else that I’ve told, she reacted with such disbelief and disgust that I felt intensely validated and seen. I am so grateful for this shift that I’ve experienced where if I feel repulsed, disgusted, or outraged by a person’s shit behaviour rather than hurt and self-doubting.

Yes, sometimes I need to get some feedback, as in “Am I overreacting?” but that’s a far cry from spending years wondering if I’m the toxic one when, in fact, I am the sane one in a toxic environment.

What this person did really is outrageous, and impacted several people who are very dear to me. But. I’m not even going to address it with them because what’s the point? There’s no point. The thing was done. It’s fucking gross. I’m tending to my people and myself as best I can. I had a moment of cognitive dissonance, but then I took a breath, got the receipts I needed to get in order to have proof of what I know to be true, did a massive eye roll and got on with my life.

Today, I am grateful that, with the exception of a few necessary and unavoidable interactions here and there, I can have a life that doesn’t include them at all.

VIII. Fuck that fucking dumpster fire. 

IX. Despite the agonizing lower back pain and the way it has pretty much hobbled me today, I am in a good headspace. I ate a massive Greek salad. It was the size of my head. I worked on a prototype for a lesson I want to teach at some point and realized that I need to go figure out how to draw a fedora on a crow, because that’s a thing that needs to happen, so now I have a project. I had coffee with three beloveds. I posted Journal52 and got a lesson up for Moonshine in plenty of time for the New Moon. My house is clean. I have a galaxy light in my studio now. I have Kimi to look forward to. GG got his Vimeo account set up so he can help me with Journal Jams + his meds are working + he’s doing all the adulty things he needs to go to get his proverbial poop in a pile. The sun is trying to come out. It’s warm outside, even if it has been drizzling for two days. My dogs are content because they have lamb shank bones to maul. Sybil has a window ledge to watch the world from. Robax + Kimi’s Venom is helping with the pain. I have a pot of something rustic in the fridge to portion out and freeze except for the portion I plan to have for dinner. My youngest son called me last night to make some attempts at repairing a rupture. There is such a thing as jumbo garlic stuffed olives in the world. I am officially in menopause (it’s been a year as of this week according to my Facebook memories). I have chardonnay to swill and my Sodastream is all fired up so I can cut it with fizzy water without feeling like I’m raping the planet. I have a new storage solution for my studio which Kimi and I will wrangle at some point in the near future. There is a river just down the street *waves that way*. The hibiscus by my front door is exploding with buds, and so is my maple tree. I have air conditioning. My plants are still alive. There are Spotify playlists. I am loved. All is well.

X. I am loved. All is well.

Also, me and GG for tax if you read this far.