He Whispers Me

I. It is not a good idea to forget to eat on a day when you are already in a trauma response. Especially when the day includes lots of wine, whisky, Robaxacet (for the skating related tailbone pain) and Caesars. Trust me on this. It leads to things like believing your boyfriend is breaking up with you when he *is doing no such thing*.

Melt down.

Thankfully, we worked it through, because he is my home now and there’s no where else for me to go but towards him, even when I’m terrified.

II. That feeling when your brain *won’t stop can’t stop* being guarded and full of mistrust, but your body is totally on board with the unguarded trusting thing. It takes my breath away what my body knows and how it responds to that knowing. Something about the tenderness in his eyes when I catch him looking at me like he does. Something about the way he really adores my kids. Like, ADORES. Something about how, when he is here, I am home.

III. Moving in silence from book to dozing, snuggling on the couch. I read a poem that I feel in my body, hand it over so he can read it, and that is a moment I will never forget. The way I just knew I could hand him the poem, knew he’d read it, knew he’d feel it with me.

He touches me lightly every time he turns a page – my hair, my shoulder – a gentling, steadying presence.

He whispers me.

IV.

The Whisperer

You work on my days
like one might work
an unbroken horse

with nickers and whinnies,
now and then, and
steps forward, 

the offered
braided tether,
of your voice,
of your time,
the hand on flank,
and before I can bolt,
your step away.

You whisper me.

I’m no broken thing.
Never have
nor ever will be but
in the face of this

taming, this gentling,
this sweetening
of my fiercest days

I’ll choose to stay.

(Always, my love.)

V. Given how much pain I’m in, I’m pretty sure the area just above my tailbone is either cracked or very, very deeply bruised. Either way. Nothing one can do for that but ice it, and rest it. I have full range of motion, so I know I’ll recover, but damn. So. much. pain. Triggering as holy hell. Being supremely gentle with myself. So is he.

VI. Despite yesterday’s meltdown, Fireball Jenga was super fucking fun. If you lose the round, you take a shot. We made it through three rounds before we all dissolved into fits of laughter and moved on to taking turns making Alexa play whatever music we wanted her to play. There was *not enough food* at this gathering, despite my ordering hundreds of dollars in groceries the day before. We all crashed here, except my kid who took his leave early to let the old people have their party.

He is the most mature of all of us, I think.

That rack though…*cracks up*

VII. Have I told you lately how much I love my kids? Fiercely, and as soon as there is a sincere apology or an expression of regret that I feel in my soul, grace is on board along with the usual dose of mamapants.

VIII. We’ll figure it out. I know this to be true. We will. Figure. It out.

IX. I’m starting to get really excited for fest season which starts on May 17th for me. My friend, Snow, is picking me up for Come Together at Frontier Ghost Town. He’s taking care of all the things like where I’m sleeping. My friend, Dani, will feed me in exchange for cash. All I have to do is show up with a satchel of clothing and some booze, and it’ll be days of music and shenanigans from noon till the ass crack of dawn. Then, Wiccan Fest, in June, which I work (at the registration desk, no less). Then KG, which my love might actually come to (BOUNCE). My daughter and Stacey and I are all going to have the very best most wonderful time. YES. MY DAUGHTER IS FESTING WITH ME THIS YEAR. SO EXCITED. Then, another weekend of debauchery at Come Together Music Festival, and then my very, very favourite fest of the year – Harvestfest.

X. Despite my rollerskating related injury, I’m going to the derby on May 3rd TO OBSERVE and to pick up some protective gear, including those padded shorts that the bad ass derby girls wear. I am bruised, but I will find my feet again. This is a promise I’m making to myself because this one thing is the one redeeming thing from my childhood and I really fucking want to reclaim it.

That’s me, today.

 

Self Compassion

I. I missed blogging yesterday due to the brain fog that comes from sleep deprivation. It just completely slipped my mind. This provides me with a really lovely opportunity for self-compassion. Missing a day does not a failure make. Missing a day and then giving up altogether – that’s a failure. So, yes. I missed a day, but here I am, winning.

II. I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off to get everything done in time for this afternoon, when my people will descend upon my humble abode to hang out with me. There will be bralessness, Chardonnay, Caesars, and tipsy Jenga, because that is a thing I deeply enjoy.

III.I can’t even begin to tell you how active my imagination has been lately, and how many brain gremlins I’ve had to wrangle. Two sleepless nights. Wicked weird and bad dreams. On a constant edge. I know from whence it all stems, and I am tending to it all as best I can, but I would deeply love a break from it all, and I am hoping this weekend provides me with that.

IV. Two days with my love should fix me right up. I have finally accepted that he’s a needful thing. All this ‘want’ vs. ‘need’ inner dialogue can suck it. Need is human, and I’ll allow it. Especially when it is simply *what is true*.

V. Finished this beauty just in time for Full Willow Moon in Libra. We do two paintings a month in Moonshine – one time lapsed, and one full length. This was full length, and in it, I covered layering watercolours with acrylics, creating simple iconic portraits, and ‘three colour shading’. It was deeply satisfying.

VI. Tam has brought back the coupon code LOVEBOMB2019 for 20% off of Life Book 2019, which will be going into its second session shortly. If you missed the discount the first time around, this is a great time to grab it!

VII. I started my week by strapping on my brand new roller skates (they’re super cute and sparkly), standing up in them and then immediately flying – legs out from underneath me, arms flailing wildly – and crashing to the floor. I have been in pretty severe pain ever since. Sitting is no fun. Standing is no fun. Bending is no fun. Sleeping is no fun. I also skinned and bruised my elbow quite badly.

Being in any kind of pain is triggering for me, so this explains a lot of the wobbly brain gremlins and weirdness that I’ve been experiencing this past week. I am trying to practice self-empathy, but my immediate thought was “YOU FUCKING IDIOT”. My son came over, though, and reminded me that what I am is ADVENTUROUS and that I know to go easy now. Sweet kid.

Still. I will not put them on again until I have some kind of protective gear because, apparently, my centre of gravity has shifted since I last strapped skates on my feet.

ARE THEY NOT EPIC?

VIII. A goodly chunk of my family are coming over for dinner on Sunday, and that includes the Bean, who we will pass around like a football between bites of whatever I make for dinner. I *can’t wait*.

BEAN!

Some time and distance has allowed my little family to heal up some, and that has meant more time with my delicious little slice of heaven. This little Bean deserves as many people in his life that love him and delight in him as possible, and I happen to be his number one fan, so I’m grateful to have the opportunity to love the dickens out of him whenever I can.

IX. I drew The Hanged Man today and snort laughed at my cards. “Don’t you think I’ve sacrificed enough already, you tyrants, you?” Apparently, the answer is ‘no’.

X. That’s today, loves. I have a list the length of my arm to slay, so off I go to slay it.

See you tomorrow.

Remember The Now

We’re half way through the Artfully Wild Blog Along. This is day 15. You can find out more here. 

Checking in with you here at the half way mark of what has become an semi-annual thing – I spend a month twice a year blogging every day. Some years I make it, some years I don’t, but I always value the fruits of the attempt.

It’s been a bit hard to wrangle my time properly with all that’s going on. Some things are slipping off the radar – like the poeming, like the housework, like the self-care – because these posts do take quite a while to compose, and I tend not to write ‘lightly’ most of the time. I’m a digger. I like to excavate. It’s my jam.

That being said, today *requires* quick and light. I spent the last four days procrastinating on a bunch of stuff that’s very ‘eat the frog’ gnarly. Writing I have to do for a thing (it’s an interview. Believe it or not, I hate writing about myself. I find it irksome, but it’s good exposure, so I say yes to these things. Otherwise how is anybody new ever going to find me?), two bedside tables to put together, a kitchen that needs a deep clean, some laundry. I have to film a thing for a thing, too, rather urgently, actually, and in the midst of all that, I have a dinner guest tonight (my kid, but still – a dinner guest means I have to actually *gasp* make dinner instead of just grabbing a hunk of cheese to gnaw on when my blood sugar starts to tank) and I’m five or six poems behind, too.

In the interest of self-care, though, I’m going to start my day with a long shower, which feels a little bit indulgent given the size of this list. If I *don’t* start with a shower, though, the shower will have to wait until tomorrow, and that is what we call ‘putting ourselves last’ and that will not do.

I did art for me throughout the weekend (instead of tackling the whole eating the frog thing), so we’re going to call that a win, even if it did put me way behind on other things.

I wish I could tell you that all is peaceful with me, but I’m pretty stormy, and feeling all kinds of feels that I can’t even get into. I’m definitely *okay*. Fine, even. Just working through some uncomfortable things that I wish I could just slay like I slay my list every day. Some things need integrating, though, not slaying, so I’m doing the work as best I know how, gently, steadfastly, with my eye on the prize, which I’m hoping is some kind of sense of solid ground.

But first, a shower, because that will invigorate and motivate me, and there’s nothing like squeaky clean hair and a freshly scrubbed body to set the tone for the day.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Still A Hopeful Girl – From The Archives

This is from the archives, because Sunday is for silence. 

1607001_634866926562588_1958900313_nActs of love are important to me. Saying “I love you” is important, too, but it’s not enough. You can say you love someone ’till the cows come home but it’s the acts of love that really communicate it.

I once dated this guy who said he loved me all the time, but he couldn’t be bothered to clean his room before I arrived at his house (and it was a long-ish trip to get there) or have cream or even food in the house for my visits. While I was initially very excited about my relationship with this guy, my excitement wore off after realizing that this guy knew how to say the words, but he didn’t know how to actually *do* it. Love, I mean. To him, love was a feeling he had and that’s where it ended.

Love can start as a feeling or a collection of feelings, but it’s my understanding that those fuzzy feelings are chemically induced. Our brains create those feelings within us, and as intense as they can be, they can fade as quickly as they come on. Once those chemicals are flushed from our systems by reality, that feeling has to be maintained. It has to be nurtured. Acts of love are the fuel for that feeling. Maintaining it requires effort.

The thing is, though, that when you really enjoy and appreciate someone, doing little things that communicate caring comes easily – at least it does for me.

This isn’t limited to romantic relationships, either. Friendships require the same maintenance – remembering birthdays, little ‘for no reason’ gifts, babysitting and bringing chicken soup when flu hits the household. These acts of love are how we grow all our love relationships from little seedlings of potential to mature oak-strong relationships.

***

This is on my mind today because I am really pretty good at acts of love. They come naturally to me, probably because I crave the kind of love that can be sustained beyond the chemical flush – the mature “I’ve seen you puke, I’ve wiped your nose, You fart in front of me and I still want to hang out with you” kind of love. I believe in that kind of love over the initial rush kind that, while it is a great ‘fire starter’, will die without kindling, tending, stoking…

I have that kind of love. It may not have a label or a configuration that other people would recognize, but it exists, and I believe in it. Whatever happens to the framework, the foundation of this mature, in the trenches kind of love exists, and that gives me a metric butt tonne of hope.

So Tenderly Human

I. My clothes are all in dresser drawers now, and that makes me feel so ADULTY. Before the ol’ switcheroo, I had everything on a little shelving unit, so my things were always all over the place, and my little rascal girl, Salem would help herself to things, like my underwear or socks, to chew and cuddle. Not ideal. Everything in the drawers = awesome.

II. I have a linen chest sitting at the foot of my bed now, too, so I can store sheets and blankets somewhere other than shoved into the linen closet wherever there might be room. It also serves as a great place to sit and meditate in the evenings, since the top is cushioned. Sybil the cat is a little annoyed because I used to have this chest up against the radiator in the living room, and was her perch, but she’ll live.

III. Thursday’s therapy session included some annoyance. My therapist was all ‘I’d like you to be more okay with needing people’ (I’m paraphrasing – she’s far more articulate than that), and I was like FUCK NO NO DO NOT WANT. I want to be resilient. I want to take care of *myself*. I am totally fine with being ‘wanty’. I am not okay with being needy. I told her all this, and I did not do anything to hide my annoyance. <—-What? When she asked me who or what I was annoyed with, I said “YOU, Leanne. I’m annoyed with YOU.”

She laughed, and said “Good. I’d be annoyed, too.”

We uncovered some of why, which made me cry fat tears of grief for the child I was who was legitimately not allowed to need anyone or anything. There’s a story I could tell you about being sick with a stomach flu and being so painfully aware of what an inconvenience I was. I was just a little girl – five? Six? Vomiting my guts up, blinking back tears, and saying “SEE MOMMY? I DIDN’T EVEN CRY!”

My fucking heart aches for that little girl, y’all.

ANYWAY. *Waves her hands furiously like she does when feels get feely*

At the end of the session she THANKED ME FOR TRUSTING HER ENOUGH TO GET ANNOYED WITH HER. <—–What?

I’m learning…

Later, my boyfriend was being playful with me, but I was a raw nerve, and his banter was hurting my feelings. I said “I’m really sensitive right now, but rather than ask you to be mindful of that, I’m going to wander off for the night.”

He said “No. Ask me to be mindful.”

And for the rest of the night, he was the loveliest, tenderest, sweetest…because I needed him to be, and he doesn’t mind when I need things.

Mind. Blown.

IV. THIS FUCKING SONG

You all know how much I love LP, but Noah Cyrus is new to me. This song MAKES ME CRY, my loves. It makes me feel all my feelings about love and loss and devotion and lack thereof.

Mostly, though, it’s just a true story about how I’ll take the punches for you, because, yes. That.

“Gentle” mixed media on paper

V. Whenever I tell him I miss him, I am always a little bit afraid that he finds it annoying. Because, my ex found/finds the whole ‘missing people’ thing problematic. Missing = needing and he doesn’t need anybody, and if I miss him, that makes me needy and that is also problematic…at least, that’s how it was when we were together. I don’t know where he lands now because I have long since stopped asking him if he misses me/telling him that I miss him. Who needs that constant sense of rejection? Not this girl. Not anymore.

I recognized this in myself last night when I was missing my love *savagely* and found myself hesitant to say it. Picture this girl, sitting with her hands poised over the keyboard, the sense of longing overwhelming, the words wanting to arise so that they could leave my body and give me some peace, however temporary. Picture this girl, going over all the million ways a person might respond to hearing that they’re missed, and feeling all the wobbles over such a human, tender thing…

I said it anyway.

Weekends without you suck, love. Fuck weekends without you.

He agrees, because of course he does. He misses me, too.

VI. Savage longing is really good for poets, but not so good for humans with trauma. Any strong emotion that arises within me comes with a trauma response. I want to *not feel these things* because feeling these things is fucking scary. But I’m leaning in. Letting it all arise. Working with it like I teach in Moonshine – being with it as though it matters (because it does). Taking it to my meatspace people if I need a witness. Writing it out. Arting it out. Letting it flow into poems.

VII. I had a good cry last night before sleep. I lit my Himalayan salt lamps (they take tea lights), sprayed the room with a purifying essential oil blend, listened to a sad song on repeat, and just let it flow. I *needed* it, needed the release, needed to be with myself in the sadness, in the longing, needed to let it be okay not to be okay for a little minute there.So I ritualized it. I made it magic. I gave my tears to the moon, and let her take them.

I have come a very long way since the days when I used to punch my therapist’s couch if the tears started to rise. I was all resistance to feeling anything that could be perceived as ‘difficult’ – or at least, I was resistant to expressing it. I’m getting softer with myself. I’m letting myself feel things. Sad, lonely, frustrated, annoyed, angry…it’s all (she says, begrudgingly) welcome. All of it.

VIII.I am learning how to wrap my arms around myself and love myself through every storm. I’m learning how to let other people wrap their arms around me and love me, too.

IX. I am so goddamned human, y’all. So. tenderly. human. In my next life, I’d like to be a robot.

X. But not really, because poems.