Mercury FINALLY went direct and I appreciated the glut of emails that flooded my inbox telling me so because this year has been such a crock pot so far – everything simmering low and slow. My energy for most things has been pretty meh except for the stuff I’ve been doing art-wise. I don’t know that I’ve had a January as prolific as this one in a very long time.
See what I mean?
Some of these were done as warm ups for Alena Hennessy’s “A Year Of Painting Gold“, which you should definitely check out. If you sign up, let her know I sent you! Some were done in Joanne Sharpe’s “Artfully Inspired Life – Greatest Hits” which has been so much fun. Some were for PTTM, some for Moonshine, and the last one was for Book Of Mirrors: A Year Of Oracles.
Something I promised myself as I eased into this year was that I’d give myself the gift of *time* this year. Time to putter. Time to play. Time to actually take the courses I’ve signed up for. Time to settle into a piece I’m painting and really let it lead me.
It’s been gorgeous. Here’s a speed painting of my experience with that feathered bird above. All those layers! All that decision making! Hours and hours, and exactly what I needed in the moment.
Someone asked “why so many layers?” and my answer to that question is pretty simple. I love layers, and it takes that long for me to really get where a painting wants to go. If I don’t let it cook like this, things feel unfinished. Also, depth. Also, texture. Also, this is a practice that is way less about the finished product than it is about the time I spend meeting myself on the page.
Also, layering is fun. Mastering mediums – how to layer them, what works with what – has been the most fun part of my mixed media art journey.
Just call me the Layering Queen. ;)
Meanwhile, I’ve been back in my Sweet Trash Journal. We did a weekend workshop Jan 6th – 8th (still open for registration and everything is up for you to enjoy with instant access) and it’s had the exact impact I hoped it would. I’m opening that book every day. I’m smashing in photos. I’m journaling. I’m doing my daily tarot draws and making my lists and ticking them off. I’m sticking gold stars in the back as I complete tasks that feel self-loyal. I loooooooove this process so much and I’m glad to be back at it after a year of neglecting it because depression is a thief of the habits that keep my head above water.
We’re gathering again on January 29th for a Sweet Trash Play Party if you want to come. :) We’re going to spend a Sunday afternoon in Zoom together getting our journals ready for the new month ahead. These are priced to be way accessible ($18) and include forever access to the replay + a copy of the printable planner I’m using this year. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been showing off my STJ every Monday during the live so I can keep myself on track with it. It’s a process that really serves me in staying in touch with myself, and that’s something I really need right now as I navigate my new normal.
And that’s me for today. I just wanted to pop in and say hi and show you what I’ve been up to. I’d love to see what you’re up to as well, so link me up in the comments below.
Mercury is in Gatorade again, that fucker, and you may scoff, but it’s doing my head in – especially with Moonchild being all “poke poke poke” in my tender places. My mama heart is a fucking disaster over some stuff that my kids are going through – three in crisis all at the same time – and I’ve been worried about a friend for a while now because they just kinda disappeared but we have been estranged for a decade so I didn’t feel comfortable reaching out until it became UNTENABLE to my nervous system not to. That was a trip that my nervous system did not thank me for, let me tell you, but it had to be done.
ANYWAY despite all of that, I kept a dinner date with a new friend yesterday. If you know me at all you know that this is a miracle because generally, if I’m even a tiny bit activated, I do not do social. I really wanted to, though, and Renee sat with me on Zoom for the hour before her arrival so I could ignore the rising panic, which worked beautifully.
This new friend has been floating around my periphery because we were introduced on the socials by a mutual friend. See, we both have adult kids with psychosis and when my life exploded in 2020 and I was taking refuge in a friend’s basement (because we had reached the “You are not my real mom, you are the robot mom and I think you poisoned the soup” chapter in our psychosis story so I got the fuck out of dodge), we were put in touch so she could help me figure out housing. I worked it all out in the end, and we remained FB friends, but no further contact was explored. Prolly because my life was a dumpster fire for a good long 2 years there and I had no bandwidth for anything other than liking and love hearting socials posts.
Anyway, she bought a painting of mine and since she doesn’t live but a hop skip and a jump away (in another city, but close enough for a day trip), she decided to save us both the postage, and shipping and handling, and use the occasion to finally get together in person.
It was instant friendship, y’all. We start yakking and I swear we did not stop the entire time. I adore her, and I’m soooo grateful I didn’t let my traumatized ass flake out like I usually do because at one point we were going over all the things, as moms who have this particular thing in common do, and she took my hand and gazed into my eyes and asked: “Who is supporting you with all this?”
So, listen. Here’s the deal. I am super grateful that I have people I *can* reach out to, and I rattled off the list and assured her I’m looked after, but…
I have to admit that I let myself get terribly whelmed before I reach out. I do tend to isolate when life is hard and I do tend to wait until it’s a FUCKING EMERGENCY before I let slip that I’m not doing so hot (often because I’m too numbed out to notice) and this new friend really brought that home to me by asking that question.
Yesterday I caught myself feeling whelmed, so I reached out. And today, I did more of the same. And while I still can’t shake the “MY LIFE IS SO FULL OF DRAMA AND I AM A BURDEN TO MY FRIENDS” thing that goes on in my brainmeats on the regular, I shook my fist at it, called it a lying liar, and got myself some eyes on and gentle witnessing despite it.
Anyway, the aforementioned disappeared friend popped up, so I can stop shitting myself with worry. We solved one of the kid crises by throwing money at it and helped to mitigate the potentially traumatic nature of the other two crises by being present, lending an ear, sharing relevant memes and TikToks and running around Azeroth killing things for a while while we listened to my 2022 playlist on Spotify.
Trauma isn’t what happened to you, you know. It’s whether or not you were left to handle it alone and without support and I do not let my kids handle things alone and without support if I can help it. (P.S. Fuck you, mom) I love that about me, and today everyone is doing okay, and so today is a better day despite the gatorade shenanigans and Moonchild pulling at all our heartstrings.
*Takes a breath*
I just really needed to get that out of my head so if you read this far, thanks for listening.
*CLOSES THOSE TABS IN HER BRAIN*
I’m going to go make some blooming tea now and do some painting.
I’m off to an incredibly gentle start. There is no hoopla happening around here – no “New Year, New Me” mania. Just me and the furbabes and my paints and the Art Witches in Moonshine (my main focus this year, alongside Prayers To The Moon on Youtube and A Year Of Oracles on Patreon (starts Jan 15th).
I’m also apprenticing myself to Alena Hennesy in A Year Of Painting Gold because I wanted to sink deeper into skills-building this year. AYOP is way outside of my comfort zone, but so far I’m really loving it. I started with this warm-up:
And then took what I learned from that to create this for the upcoming Full Moon:
Both were hours-long conversations with myself about myself – what I’m wanting to call in. What I’m wanting to emphasize and attend to. The first painting says something to me about chiaroscuro – the lights and darks within myself – and is an ode to all my parts. The second is about how much I appreciate both being nourishing/providing nourishment and being nourished/receiving nourishment.
If you know me at all, I usually need some kind of focal image – a portrait, usually – in my paintings, but I’m breaking free of that and playing with allowing shapes and marks be enough. You can find out more about Alena’s course here, by the way.
Something else I’m shifting is this weird message I internalized somewhere along the way that I should be *quiet* in other people’s classes. Wait, what? I pay just the same as anyone else does to engage with this kind of content, and I am as deserving as anyone else in the class of the space I take up when I share my work or ask my questions. For years now, I’ve purchased classes and quietly hummed along in the background, asking for nothing, taking up zero space because I had internalized this whole “who do you think you are?” voice in my head. I’m done with that. I’m going to share. I’m going to engage as a student. I’m going to dig in and do the things.
This feels good to me even if I am trying this way of being on with a little trepidation. In the face of that wee frisson of abject terror, I’m reminding myself that I *love* it when the teachers I love are in my classes and doing the stuff. I feel honoured and super chuffed to discover that they’re getting something out of what I offer.
This whole thing where I am afraid to take up space has gotten old. I’m done with it. This coming year you’re not only going to see me in all of *my* spaces, but also in all of the spaces I have chosen to engage in.
It’s about time, eh?
Only took me 12 years. Heh.
I think I’m over the worst of whatever the fuck these last three years have been. I’m still struggling with some things but the struggle feels less OMGDOOM and more “Yeah, this is gnarly, but I can do it.” I’m choosing my battles much more carefully than I have historically, by which I mean that instead of bashing myself over the head with everything I think is “wrong” with me, I’m asking myself why I want to make the changes I want to make.
I want to drink less. Why? Not because drinking is a moral issue or something I feel ashamed of or because I’m afraid I’ll end up dead in a mission like my father or dead by suicide in a rehab like my sister. No. I want to drink less because I want to be with myself without numbing out. It’s about not wanting to abandon myself. I don’t see drinking as a character defect. I see it as a way I sometimes medicate the pain I’m in. I love my human self for reaching for relief butandalso I want to feel better without self-medicating.
In a similar vein, I want to quit smoking. Why? Not because smoking is a moral issue, but because I know I’m using it to medicate anxiety and *that actually doesn’t work*. It creates a cycle of rising anxiety which leads to cravings which leads to using which leads to a very temporary sense of relief which leads to anxiety.
I want to be self-possessed, you know? I want to be untethered. I don’t want to be subject to cravings. I don’t want to be reactive because a chemical has a hold of me. I don’t want the slow suicide that smoking represents for me. I don’t want to experience the world through the fog that alcohol induces in me.
I want to be free.
But there’s nothing in any of this about how the things I do to mitigate the symptoms of C-PTSD, narcissistic abuse syndrome, grief, rage, etc. make me a bad person.
I am not a bad person.
I’m a hurting person. I am a healing person.
Substance use is not a moral issue and I am unashamed in my struggles with it.
I have faith that I will find my way to being in the world without dependence on numbing agents.
And so it is.
In Other News
This coming weekend is going to be amazing! I’m doing a live weekend workshop in the art of creating and stuffing a Sweet Trash Journal! We’re going to get together on Friday to talk about how STJ came to be and how I use it. I’ll be sharing all the resources I can think of, and we’ll talk about supplies and systems and printable planners. On Saturday, I’ll be decorating TWO STJs – one of which will be offered up in a giveaway for students, and on Sunday, we’ll get started in filling up our books so that they bloom and evolve and go from a cheapo composition notebook into something akin to The Velveteen Rabbit of journals. I can’t wait!
If you’d like to join me, please click here:
Use coupon code WILDERLOVE to get 20% off.
Note that while this will be live, there will be a replay to which you will have forever access!
x-posted to my newsletter + my on line community
Do you know this song? It’s definitely one of my favourites, and even though I’m not *actually* in the love in the romantic sense, I love how perfectly it expresses what a roller coaster ride our emotional lives can be – especially in times like these.
I so often find myself singing this song on a Friday as I do my (searingly honest) weekly recap in my written journal. It’s the perfect companion when I take inventory of what went on throughout the course of a week because it seems to give me permission to feel how I feel about things and embrace the highs, lows, and middles that are a part of all of our lives. Allowing myself to have my full range of emotions without shaming myself over it has definitely been a part of my healing journey. I’m noticing it creeping into my creative journey as well in the way I’m starting to let things be “ugly” and expressive instead of trying to pretty things up for the gaze of others.
Like this girl I painted during a recent Prayers To The Moon.
She was so not my usual fare, but she fell out of my paintbrush AND that “mistake” I made when I gently brushed some of the spray varnish over her face (because it came out of the spray can in puddles) – a move that smeared the black paint pen – would once have ABSOLUTELY devastated me. Not this time, though. This time, that “mess” I made felt *perfect* and added a little “sumphin’ sumphin'” that left me feeling satisfied.
This experience was followed up by someone asking IF SHE WAS AVAILABLE FOR SALE, which threw me for a loop because she’s just this quick little doodle of a thing on 5 x 7 cardstock that I flung out of my subconscious and onto the page during a live painting sesh. I couldn’t understand why someone would want her, and I had to sit with how awkward and weird it made me feel for a bit. And then, I came to the realization that she’s wanted because *she’s honest* and if that’s not a statement that proves that life imitates art, I don’t know what is. All of this to say that I’m done pushing for the “reframe” or the “solution” in my art journal. I want to express it all, and that’s what I’ll be doing from here on in.
In Other News
Have you seen those memes going around about how THIS IS THE TIME to find the PeRfEcT notebook that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE – a meme that makes those of us with notebook addictions giggle because we have DOZENS, most of them empty…
Well, in my world, we MAKE those and we DO use them. I call them Sweet Trash Journals, and it just so happens that I’ve got a weekend workshop coming up starting on January 6th in which we will explore their creation and maintenance TO THE HILT. We start with a thorough exploration of the best kinds of books to use (cheap composition notebooks, imo) and how to take them from trash to Velveteen Rabbit Style Treasure. This workshop will take place live with me on Zoom so there will be plenty of opportunity to commune and engage AND you will have forever access to the replay so you can revisit it as often as you wish. Click here for details.Please use promo code WILDERLOVE to get a discount
I put the finishing touches on this yesterday and it sold to a lovely collector before the end of the day (What??!!)
She is the very first lesson in Moonshine 2023, (hint: promo code WILDERLOVE works network-wide to get you 20% off) which begins on January 1st, 2023 with a live activation gathering on Zoom AND this painting tutorial. Get all the details on this life-changing class here.
If you’re joining me for Moonshine, make sure you get at least 2 big binders because you’re going to need it for all the content I’ll be throwing your way throughout the year.
You can also come paint her with me in Moonshine Lite if that’s more your jam. This is a tier on Patreon that includes EVERYTHING I do over there + a monthly tutorial that combines art + spirituality in a perfect marriage of intention and play.
And, in case you missed it, Life Book 2023 starts IN JUST A FEW DAYS and the 30% off discount ends December 31st! Get details here and use coupon code LOVEART30!
Since retiring Book Of Days, I’m going to have a lot more time to play in the classes I’ve signed up for this year, and I’m really looking forward to building my skills and a lovely body of work in 2023! I hope to see you in there!
Okay, that’s it for me for 2022, y’all! I’ll see you in the New Year!
As always, if you’d like to touch base, just hit replay to this email.
P.S. Sick of the Book Of Faces? Totally Over The Twits? I hope you’ll join me in my free online community where you can share what you’ve created in any or all of my classes/offerings and generally commune with lovely peeps of like mind. This is *not* a Facebook Group, so there are no ads, no algorithms to contend with, and no “noise”. it’s just us, sharing our hearts and art. I love it so much. I hope you will, too.
Patreon | Life Book 2023 | Moonshine 2023 |
*My newsletters occasionally include affiliate links. I promise I only share such links where I believe wholeheartedly in the offering.
We made it through Christmas! WOO HOO!
Okay, so maybe we’re not quite on the other side of the holidays just yet. We still have to get through this weird liminal time between now and Jan 1 but thankfully, I have a lot of work to do so I will be avoiding the loose ends feeling that can sometimes happen for me in the last week of the year. It was a quiet one for me. All the kids are far-flung and I don’t drive. so I hunkered down with the furs and watched TikTok to keep my spirits up. I had some moments of perfect contentment. I had some moments of melancholy & nostalgia. I woke up to word of a friend’s passing out of this world on Christmas morning, so that was a big bummer, but I know that what is remembered lives so I touched base with mutual friends, spoke her name, lit a candle, and then put a tourtiere in the oven to graze on throughout the day while I watched yet more TikTok.
Those little hits of dopamine really do save my bacon sometimes.
That’s blooming tea in that massive mug and that’s a black velvet mumu caftan I’m wearing.
It wasn’t the best Christmas, but it wasn’t the worst either (that was December 2020), and that’s progress so I’ll take it.
My intention for today was to hop on YouTube and do a Boxing Day edition of Prayers To The Moon, but I got a bee in my bonnet, so we need to push our live gathering to tomorrow because it is going to take some preparation. Let me explain:
Every year for a while now I’ve provided my patrons with a printable calendar (landscape or portrait orientation) so they can create their own monthly calendar using art they made in my programs (or any program, for that matter). This morning I woke up ON FIRE to use some of the paintings from PTTM to create my own calendar for 2023, and I thought HOW MUCH FUN WOULD IT BE if we did that together?
SO! SHIFT-O CHANGE-O!!
Here’s How It’ll Work
Grab the calendar PDFs from this folder on dropbox here.
Go through your art for 2022 and choose twelve paintings – 12 landscape (horizontal) orientated or 12 portrait (vertical) orientated. Pick one of the twelve to act as your cover if you like – so make this your very favourite – or pick 13 paintings. It’s up to you.
Print a copy of the calendar of your choice from the link above, and a copy of each painting you want to include in your calendar. You could also use your originals if you prefer, but I have plans for those so I’ll be using copies. I recommend printing on coverstock or cardstock for a nice sturdy calendar. NOTE: Print the calendars double-sided – I know that seems weird given that there are blank pages, but trust me on this.
Gather together scissors, glue (I’ll be using tape runner because I’m lazy like that), washi tape, and whatever else you’d like to embellish your project with.
Meet me here at 1 p.m. EASTERN tomorrow.
I will be using the portrait (vertical) calendar, which I will print at 8.5 x 11. I’ll be printing my paintings at 8 x 10 on 8.5 x 11 paper so there’s room for washi tape and whatever else I want to put on there. I’m going to disc-bind mine with some dotted paper between months for notes and whatnot, (you can find a free printable here) but you can do a wall calendar with this if you prefer – I’ll show you a couple of different binding methods for that.
If you don’t have what you need to do this project with me tomorrow, no worries! Come anyway! Bring a notebook to take notes so you can get what you need and complete the project later.
If you did A Year Of Mary with me in 2021 or Book Of Mirrors with me in 2022 (these happened over on Patreon), this is a great way to use those monthly paintings as well. If you did Moonshine 2022 with me (or any year!) you could use the monthly paintings from that instead!
What do you say? Are you in?
See you tomorrow.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!
So, in case you’re not aware, I live alone. I live alone AND I have trouble feeding myself regularly because executive dysfunction + hyperfocusing on work = oh shit! I forgot to eat again today! I usually have this face-palm moment when I’m feeling incredibly nauseous and shaky because my blood sugar has absolutely tanked.
I do this so often, y’all, and it is so not good, and on top of how not good it is, I’ve had these weird stories in my head about how I *should* be better at this and I *should* cook for myself every day and I *should* be an adultier adult so every time it happens, it makes me feel like shit about myself on top of nauseous and shaky (and more often than not, actually pukey).
I am, finally, letting that go and over the last few weeks (after one of my kiddos suggested I might be autistic because THEY are and my head exploded and then settled into everything making so much sense) I’ve been making all sorts of accommodations for myself so that I *do* eat at least twice a day.
Sometimes that looks like ordering in. Sometimes that looks like dumping a can of soup into a microwavable bowl. Sometimes that looks like making up a charcuterie board (aka Bourdain Board) and rotating things onto and off of it over a course of days until I’m sick of grazing (almost never happens). Sometimes it means I eat nothing but hummus and cucumbers for days, but whatever.
As long as I’m eating, I finally, in this, my 54th year of life, refuse to shame or judge myself.
This week, I discovered this:
Metro has it in stock pretty much all the time, and my local Instacart (which I am completely dependent on) has them in their list of shops so it’s easy enough to dump one in my cart and stash it in the fridge. They keep *forever* – this one had a best before date in January 2023 – so I don’t have to worry about freezing and thawing OR getting to it before it rots in the fridge (this is my biggest former shame – all the food waste – ugh).
Y’all, this is a game-changer. Let me explain.
I woke up yesterday morning and did my usual routine of feeding dogs + cat, making coffee, doing admin, etc and then found myself absolutely RAVENOUS (which is what happens when I start to feed myself regularly – my body remembers that food is a thing and I actually feel hungry on the regular). I was in the middle of doing some stuff over at the new teaching network in preparation for 2023, though, so I didn’t want to take much of a break to shove some food in my face AND I hadn’t yet populated the Bourdain Board.
I dumped this into a microwaveable bowl and dished it out over a slice of thick-cut Italian bread with a fuck tonne of fresh cracked black pepper.
And then I *howled* because when I was a kid and I used to ask my mother “What’s for dinner?” she would often quip “Shit on a shingle” and this meal that I put together in exactly five minutes?
It was exactly what I imagine shit on a shingle might look like. (Hence, no pictures!)
It was delicious and quick and it filled my belly *before* noon (the daily goal) AND it made me laugh (extra dopamine? YES PLEASE!).
This shift I’ve made away from trying to *force* myself to be neurotypical (I’m not) and adultier (boring) and toward whatever delights my senses, makes my life easier, and creates space for me to be *exactly who I am at any given moment* including too hyperfocused to do a so-called “proper care and feeding” has been absolutely life-changing. I know some of you have noticed how much lighter I seem – you see it in the lives or in the classes I’m teaching and you’ve said so – and I’ve been noticing it, too.
I think this is why, y’all! I think the slack I’m cutting myself and the tender, loving care I’m showering myself with is the best medicine I’ve ever taken. Yes, therapy has helped enormously (and in fact, without therapy I wouldn’t be questioning that mean voice in my head that shoulds all over me in the first place), but this one shift from trying to shame myself into being a “better person”, which makes self-care (or the lack thereof) a weirdly moral issue (which it is *not) to making all kinds of allowances for the way I *actually work* vs how I think I *should* work has changed everything.
This is how I talk to myself lately.
“No desire to shower? Sink bath! No time to cook? Pipin’ Hot Soup Company delivers! Pile of laundry in my line of sight? Pick it up and put it in the tub until I’m ready to do laundry! Body too tired and sore to wrangle the bedding? Change the pillowcases and the top sheet. Too many dishes to do all at once? Do them in shifts! Don’t have the emotional bandwidth to go on that outing? DON’T GO.”
And that’s progress, so I’ll take it.
P.S. This is TOMORROW! See you there.