I. I wore a racerback tank top for a few hours on Monday and it exacerbated my thoracic outlet syndrome. Usually, I’d go for acupuncture, because that’s been the only thing that works. I’m way too paranoid to go out into the world, though, so I’m nerve flossing, doing heat and cold (mostly heat), and resting it. Tried to move some pens from one container to another today and it set my shoulder on fire. Being in pain makes me stabbity.
*Pops Robax, Slathers on the Voltaren. Stays in bed.*
I feel so much empathy for those for whom being in pain every day all day is just a thing. Like, whoa. How are you not in a perpetual state of stabbity?
II. It’s been a time. *Sigh* I’ve been avoiding writing because I am sick of myself. I’ve been practicing all manner of escapism instead. Married At First Sight. Audiobooks. Naps. I took the month of December off therapy because I feel like poking the trauma bear is fucking stupid right now. You can’t heal trauma while you’re *in* a trauma. So yes. Hiatus. Focusing on the foundational stuff. Eating, for example. Sleeping. Trying not to be stabbity. Failing sometimes.
And that’s okay. I’m human.
We do what we have to do.
III. My eldest son & youngest daughter have been balms on my soul and I just wanted to mention it, because noticing the things that are a balm on my soul help me feel a little less stabbity.
IV. This meme popped up on Facebook and it was a punch to the gut.
*ETERNAL PRIMAL SCREAMING*
V. I am using humour to deflect in all my affairs. And that’s okay. We do what we have to do.
VI. Vaccine approvals are rolling in. I have little sparks of optimism flaring in my dark heart.
I know there are already problems reported (allergic reactions) and I know I probably won’t get it until sometime next fall, but at least there’s an end in sight.
*Rolls up sleeve and waits her turn*.
VII. One of the worst things about this pandemic is what it’s done to my ability to trust people. I have always prided myself on how *unguarded* I am despite *waves at my entire life* but that is *definitely* changing. This worries me. I like myself when I’m soft and accepting and full of grace. I do not like this hardness I’m starting to experience around my edges. I am definitely more thorn than rose and getting thornier.
VIII. “Why can’t we all just get along?” some might ask (COVID deniers, anti-maskers, QAnon, conspiracy theorists, racists, trans & homophobes – I’m looking at you.)
Because 2020 has been pressure cooking us down to our essence, and your essence appears to be self-serving fucking garbage.
IX. I hired a personal assistant. She hasn’t started yet because I can’t have people in my space right now (I’m very stabbity), but once she does start, I am going to be so relieved to have some of the things that are falling through the cracks taken care of for me.
This, and all the resting and refusal to push myself over this shoulder injury is notable progress in the arena of self-loyalty.
I’ll take it.
X. I know we’re all going to be changed by this experience. I am hoping to benefit from the way I will be changed. I can already feel my boundaries shifting more and more in the direction of self-protection.
Do no harm. Take no shit.
I am hoping this cynicism and mistrust doesn’t slide all the way over to misanthropy, butandalso, this year, man. This fucking year.
Fuck this year.
P.S. On the other hand, I am still making art regularly, so I’m calling that a win.
Here we are in December, which means it’s time to review November.
Here’s how I approach these reviews:
In the realm of Earth: My body, health, energy levels; my business, work, service to my community; how well am I receiving? Am I feeling abundant? Growthful?
In the realm of Air: My mind. What am I feeding it? How are my anxiety levels (while for some, anxiety is a body thing, for me it is a mind thing)? What’s interesting to me? Exciting to me? What am I learning? Researching? What ideas or insights are coming up for me?
In the realm of Water: My heart. How am I feeling? How are my relationships going? What’s happening in my underbelly, my subconscious? What’s bubbling up? What dreams are coming into my conscious awareness? Are my waters calm or troubled? If they’re calm, is there troubling stuff going on underneath? If I’m feeling troubled, is it about stuff I can actually change or am I borrowing trouble from the past or future (regret/worry)?
In the realm of Fire: My empowerment, which includes all spiritual work/study, and my sexuality. What am I passionate about right now? What has me shaking with fury? With desire?
I grabbed the elemental icons off the Internet ages ago, and I have no idea who made them, but the rest of the format is my own. Feel free to use this system of review if you like. :)
In The Realm Of Earth
My body is feeling it’s age lately, and I’m aware of a desire to move it, but the motivation isn’t there, so I remain pretty sedentary. I am eating *way better* than I was for a while there, though, since I took my own advice (read this month’s workbook for more) and started stocking up on things that are quick and easy to heat up. My health is stable. My asthma is manageable. I’m better hydrated. I feel the impacts of stress (some hair loss & sleep disturbance) but this isn’t overwhelming. My energy levels are way better than they were in October, though I admit it takes three hours to do what usually takes me one. Long hot soaks in scented water are, as always, a huge source of comfort and self-care.
Work is wonderful, as always. The live gatherings are amazing to me – so energizing and soul-nourishing. Business is slow (to be expected) despite it being year-end, but I’m not in panic mode. I think as the vaccines get distributed and people can go back to work/move more freely and with less fear, I’ll see an uptick in class sales.
My meatspace community is fractured by the pandemic. Holiday plans have been cancelled. The isolation is very real. That being said, my virtual community is beautiful. The Wilderhood is full of gorgeous humans sharing the work they do in response to Journal Jams and my classes. My Facebook timeline has been curated to the point where I rarely trip over something that will trigger my fried nervous system.
In The Realm Of Air
My mind isn’t as sharp as I’m used to it being. I feel foggy most of the time, and deadlines are slipping through the cracks. I’ve had to ramp up my ‘list-making’ and schedule keeping to stay on top of things. This might also be menopause talking, though.
My anxiety is high, but I’ve been experiencing some relief. I have moments where I’m aware of my shoulders dropping and a sense of ease coming over me, and when that happens, I get quite a rush. There are days when I can’t stop shaking, and there are days when I’m okay.
Mind Food lately includes watching The Crown (I finished my West Wing binge), and listening to audiobooks (The Promised Land by Barack Obama is *so soothing*).
In The Realm Of Water
My heart. Oh, my heart. Attempts to repair a rupture with a family member was met with – well. Let’s just say I wasn’t well met. My dreams are anxiety-riddled things that include work deadlines looming or getting lost/losing my phone. My waters are troubled, but then I think we’re all in that boat.
Butandalso my boundaries are better. My awareness of what I am worthy of has grown. I am less likely to let people off the hook for shit behaviour. I’m not fawning, chasing, or begging. A certain kind of constant absence has given me space to heal.
I’m dreaming of a time when we can all gather again. I’m dreaming about being in a world where I can hug people and hang out with people and make plans to go places I want to go and do things I want to do, like take up pottery.
This piece overlaps with the realm of water & the realm of fire, but I’m going to put it here:
I had a disappointing encounter with someone who spent three weeks being very sweet to me (stirred up a lot of hope that maybe this could be a thing) and then dropped a steaming pile of deal-breaker in my lap – texted it to me in the middle of the night when he knew I’d be sleeping, so I woke up to ‘in the interest of full disclosure…’.
I thought it over and decided that a) I felt manipulated. This disclosure should have happened *much sooner*, and b) the situation wasn’t right for me, so I said so – clearly, firmly – no, this isn’t for me. Good luck out there.
His response was to deadname me *twice* and tell me I was obviously more interested in sex than a relationship. Deadnaming is a no-no. Slut-shaming is a no-no. Yes, I’m interested in sex as a very important component of a romantic relationship and suggesting that I’m *wrong* or *shallow* for wanting it is – well – bullshit.
So, I told him to go fuck himself, because being hurt when someone rejects you is one thing, but deadnaming and slut-shaming them is a form of emotional violence, so I really feel like I dodged a bullet.
I went into this with an overabundance of caution, given all that I’ve experienced this year, so I am happy to tell you that I am not shattered by it. I’m *disgusted* by it, but I’m not feeling hurt.
Still, I’m going to pull in my seeking for a while. Maybe for the rest of the winter. I feel the need to hermit and spare myself any further disappointment or ‘other people’s stuff’.
(P.S. WHY MEN? *Rolls Eyes*)
In The Realm Of Fire
I feel empowered. I feel powerful. I feel like I’m coming back into my skin. This may be a touch TMI, but I’m able to self-pleasure without bursting into tears, and that’s a huge relief. My libido is still low but it is sparking up a little bit in response to things like music.
I’m passionate about my work, and about self-soothing. I’m energized by live concerts – especially Rufus Wainwright – who is doing weekly home concerts that are so sweet and intimate.
I’m furious with the opposite sex for obvious reasons. I’m furious with certain members of my family. I’m furious with anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. I’m furious with Doug Ford. I’m furious with people who don’t do what we need to be doing to get this pandemic under control.
I desire comfort. Cotton nightgowns and heating pads. Soaks in the tub. Comfort food.
My meatspace pod – Lee, Kimi, Alli. Bundling up for a fire. Bluetooth speakers. My new bed armchair. There are SIX PILLOWS ON MY BED. St. Hubert Tortierre. PC Shepherd’s Pie. Livestreamed concerts. Journal Jams. My coven, my BODkin, my guest artists, my colleagues. My virtual pod – Renee, Myrna, Sal. The 50 oz double-walled steel French Press that means my coffee is always hot and there is always plenty of it. A studio full of supplies.
Some Favourite Moments
I. Burn out is real. My art witches are cutting me some slack throughout December, and that will help, but holy fucking overwhelm. My mental health isn’t great. I have COVID fatigue. I’m being extremely gentle with myself. Heat and serve. Ignoring housework. Wearing the same thing for days on end because it’s not like I’m going anywhere, so there’s less laundry to do. Simplifying. Embracing my inner swamp witch.
Speaking of which, one of my art witches sent me this:
It arrived at the perfect moment, and I am so thrilled with it.
II. I’m so confused about the whole vaccine roll out thing. It seems highly politicized and I’m irritated by that. Are we looking at another year before we’re all vaccinated? Does anyone actually understand wtf is going on?
III. Therapy yesterday and a conversation about separating the label from the human in order to put effective boundaries and expectations in place. That was hard and I cried because it triggered a lot of wound stuff for me BUTANDALSO it is true that shit behaviour is shit behaviour no matter what label the human in question carries. Father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, lover, friend…
…betrayal, abuse, scapegoating, cold shoulders, projection, unreasonable or inhumane expectations…
Shit behaviour is shit behaviour. Tolerating it is self-abandonment.
IV. I held it together for a few hours afterwards, but finally succumbed as the sun set and darkness came over my little nest – I had forgotten to plug in the twinkly lights and light the candles, so the gloom really hit me. I had a nice long crying jag all rolled up in my blankets while the dogs flanked me on either side. Didn’t reach out to anyone because I wanted to release it. I didn’t want cheering up. I didn’t want to be consoled. I wanted to cry it out and feel through it, so that’s what I did. Fell asleep all tear-stained at around 10 p.m. and woke up at 5:30 this morning. Put out my garbage like a grown-ass woman. Made coffee.
V. I have some energy today so I’m going to put it to good use. I’m going to put things up in classrooms so they’re ready to be released on December 1st. I’m going to finish the Darling Human Planner for 2020. I’m going to put up Journal52 over on Patreon and in The Wilderhood. I’m going to finish the dishes I’ve been struggling to do for a week now. I’m going to paint something.
Tomorrow, I’m doing a live ceremony in advance of the Full Moon with Eclipse in Gemini with my art witches, and then I have a date.
VI. Dating during a global pandemic is weird and awkward and a little bit terrifying, but we’re both being careful, and the alternative is – well. Not gonna work for me. I require (and deserve) good company through the long dark, so I’m going after it as safely and carefully as I’m able.
We had our first date last Saturday (at a fire outdoors at Kimi’s) after getting to know each other a little bit over phone calls and text messages. Slow and steady. He’s hosting me tomorrow at a fire in his backyard. I’m a little guarded, but I’m pushing myself to remain open because I want to find someone to couple up with through this winter (and beyond) and remaining open is the only way to get there.
I’ll tell you more about him when I feel sure that we’re going to be a thing, but I *can* tell you that he’s a grown-ass man, he activates my inner femme (as opposed to activating my inner mama), and he makes me smile. My inner swamp witch is ready to cut him off at the knees the moment he flies a red flag, though, so don’t worry about me. I’ve got me.
VII. My Christmas plans are cancelled for obvious reasons. The prospect of being in an enclosed space with people coming in from hot spots, no real ability to distance, etc. created a hard no in my whole body. I’ll miss my fest fam, but I don’t want to give anyone COVID, nor do I want to catch it, so we will resume our gatherings when it’s safe.
I don’t know what I’m going to do instead, but I feel okay about it. I’m might just do nothing but order Chinese food and watch movies all day. Maybe I’ll ZOOM with my wee girl if she’s up for it. I can live with that as an option.
VIII. I’m getting really good at solitude and filling my own time and making the days my own. If I come out of this pandemic with anything, it will be a new appreciation for my own company.
IX. How are you doing? Are you ok? How are you handling things? What’s alive in you? What are you thinking? What do you need?
X. Human kindness is everything right now, isn’t it? It’s a balm on my soul. Thank you to all of you who practice it.
I. It’s been a while because, year-end and month-end and I have been dancing between yellow and red on this infographic.
I keep having to remind myself that this isn’t *just a me thing*. This is *a we thing*. I’m not alone. Neither are you. It’s okay to not be okay.
Oh hey, Darling Human. It’s okay to not be okay.
II. Pretending we’re okay when we’re not okay actually makes things much, much worse. There is something to be said for ‘faking it until you make it’, sure, but that can’t be all we’re doing. We have to give ourselves time to be with ourselves in what is true for us. It’s a cha-cha, I think. Dance in, dance out.
III. My therapist thinks I’m somewhere between depressed and dissociated, and that’s okay. However I am is how I am right now. Dissociated and depressed is a perfectly reasonable response to *waves at all of this*. Reminding myself of this helps me shrug it off and do what needs doing to keep body and soul together.
IV. And yet, mostly, I am okay. I’m eating semi-regularly. I’m toting around a massive bottle of water and sipping from it all day every day. I’m making art. I’m sending newsletters. I’m meeting deadlines. I attend my therapy sessions. I go to bed when I’m tired. I get up when I’m ready. I take calculated risks, like having distanced fires at Kimi’s, like having Lee over for T.V. marathons, like getting a 2.5 hour deep tissue massage for the first time since January 2020 because my body is *broken* from all this stress.
V. Focusing as much as I can on the little things that are working. Journal Jams. Live painting sessions with my art witches. Coffee over Zoom with my nears and dears. This week, I brushed off my journal and started writing in it again. I resumed the daily tarot draw. (2 of Cups today, and I know what it’s about. #cryptogram). I’ve stopped sending letters into the void. I pour libations and light candles and say prayers instead. I buy every virtual concert that comes into my awareness. Marianas Trench. Billie Eilish. Rufus Wainwright. LP. Patty Griffin. I snuggle in with the dogs for naps. I’m opting for The West Wing over true crime or anything that might shred my nervous system. I’m taking in less news. I check this website once per day, and I watch The National every second day or so. I’ve cut way down on ordering in because Door Dash can’t get my address right and standing on the corner in my nightgown trying to wave down a delivery driver was making me very, very fucking cranky. I add a lot of heat and serve stuff to my grocery orders. I eat lasagna for days. Or cabbage rolls. Or shepherd’s pie. Anything comforting, including Ramen. I do the dishes in stages. I ignore the dust bunnies.
We do what we can.
Speaking of doing what I can, I painted this for The Darling Human Art Journaling Program, which is wrapping up in December. It’s being released as a standalone self-guided e-course, which you can sign up for here.
VI. Can I just remind us all here that we are allowed to feel sorry for ourselves when things fucking suck? Because I’m really irritated by toxic positivity right now. Looking on the bright side is all fine and good for some, but it feels like a spiritual bypass to me to ignore *waves at all of this* and declare the rightness and goodness of all things. I think this is how we got here in the first place. Ignoring all that’s wrong. Sweeping it under the rug. Denial. Sucking it up. Shoving it down.
I think what we’re seeing play out on a global level is a massive explosion of shadow.
Let’s acknowledge it, confront it, name it, and clear it.
Who’s with me? *Links Pinkies*
VII. Journal Jam #23 was really healing. You can watch the replay here.
VIII. I’m not over any of it, and I have people who have had this kind of grief who tell me I will probably never be ‘over it’. I believe them. that seems right to me. Some losses change us forever. They take root in us, like thorns in our sides, and we learn how to live with that, like an amputated limb.
I’m learning to live with that.
IX. It hurts because it mattered.
X. My heart is not a home for cowards. ~ d antoinette foy
I. Mars went direct a couple of days ago, and I swear I could feel the shift in my body. I tend to be quite skeptical about these things being more than metaphors, but my entire feed lit up with “I suddenly feel better”, and I was among them. The relief was palpable. I am so grateful.
II. I finished my eleven day working. It took more than eleven days, but that’s okay. I finished it the day before New Moon and that felt like really good timing.
I want to lick it.
III. Jeff Martin (of The Tea Party) kept me company for an hour via a live concert streamed into my living room from Byron Bay, Australia. I cried through it because I love his lyrics and so many of his songs are the soundtrack of my life.
I can’t wait to see him & the band live and in person again someday. <3
Not gonna lie, the concert was kinda sad. Jeff seemed sad, tired, full of longing. I felt a kind of anguish while I was watching and listening, but it was also kinda perfect. Nostalgic. Pure. Like, yes. This is where we are right now.
It passes over you. Passes over you.
IV. I’m okay. I’m taking everything one step at a time. I’m having good moments here and there, and I notice them. I’m doing good work. I’m on the other side of the really gruelling part. I’m sad but I’m healing. I’m no longer feeling lost.
V. I’m bored, though. Bored of isolating. Bored with being alone. Bored with waiting. Bored with myself. I think I need to be doing more art because I’m never bored when I’m painting. *Note to self*.
VI. BOD opened for registration. $99 for the year. It’s going to be amazing. Look for giveaways happening on the socials.
There is a page in the classroom that includes coupon codes for The Darling Human Planner, Moonshine: The Coven, and Life Book 2021.
VII. Tomorrow, we Journal Jam! I’ll see you at 12 p.m. Eastern. Here’s the link.
VIII. I’m trying to keep my commitment to writing regularly, even if it’s a slog. It’s a way to keep the pump primed, to keep myself centred where I should be – here, in this life – my life. Writing helps me be here now, even when it’s kinda boring and uninspired.
IX. Art Winos today, so art will happen. I’m thinking about doing something abstract and super high contrast as an antidote to this gloomy, rainy Sunday.
X. This song, because it’s a #mood.
I. I have not had the heart to write in a while. I kept opening up this little box of light with my fingers poised over the keys, but nothing would come. There is this emptiness…
II. …but, yesterday, I dragged myself out of the blanket fort, cleaned the kitchen, bleached the bathroom, did a bunch of laundry – all of which got folded and put away – stripped the bed and put on clean sheets, launched The Darling Human planner, washed my brushes, did a bit of art, and fed myself cabbage rolls. I feel a little less paralyzed today. Still slow. Still a bit lead-limbed. Still numbed out. But moving. Slow is okay. Gentle is okay.
Still. I’m a very quick person. I type fast. I work fast. I think fast, but in the last two or three weeks, I have been painfully aware of *plodding*. I am slow at everything. It takes enormous effort to find words. My get up and go has got up and gone. I think I’m in a prolonged trauma response. It feels like sleep paralysis only I’m wide awake.
I know I’m not alone.
You’re not alone either.
*Links pinkies with you*
III. The Art Bundles For Good Sale started today, and you can find out more here. I am very enthused about it because the list of offerings is *amazing*. $4500 worth of stuff for $97 and 25% goes to charity. I contribute to this bundle every year. This year, I’m throwing in the year-long Darling Human Art Journaling E-Course. It’s a $99 value. Check out the bundle here.
IV. I’m behind again, but I am going to get caught up this weekend. I’m determined.
V. Therapy today after a 2-week break.
VI. I’m really only typing to break the silence and because I know it’s important to keep up the ten things. My mental health depends on it. The sense of isolation I feel when I’m not writing is immense. Even if all I have to say is 2020 is hard, hello, I’m here, I’m alive.
VII. 2020 is hard. I’m still here. I’m alive. Things are okay, by which I mean that there’s no real crisis besides the one we’re all living through. I am pretty burned out, but I know this territory well. I’ll rise again. I always do.
VIII. The West Wing is so comforting. I’ve had it on for company all day every day for days. C.J. Craig is my favourite character. Who’s yours?
IX. I’ve got Lee tonight (The Magicians) and Kimi tomorrow (Jeff Martin Livestream) and a solo date with LP (Livestream) on Saturday, and Art Winos on Sunday. Thank the gods for my bubble, Zoom, and live-streamed concerts. I am having trouble feeling much of anything about anything but I am aware of feeling really fucking grateful for the things that get me through.
X.This song on repeat because it helps and this cover is just *gorgeous*.