Not What I Signed Up For, Or Is It?

Things have been really heavy, both ‘out there’ and ‘in here’ for me over the last couple of weeks, and I’m feeling the need to unpack some of it today. I am going to hone in on the ‘out there’ stuff. Please bear with me, because these thoughts are flying out of my fingers faster than I can think.

Out There, there are conversations happening about racism and cultural misappropriation that I have felt convicted to attend because I teach spiritual things. As a teacher of said spiritual things, I find it really important to address things like sourcing our spiritual modalities with integrity, with respect for the cultures from which we draw our practices. My personal stance has been to examine all of my practices, and ask myself if they actually belong to me. I even went so far as to have a DNA test so I could get a grip on my blood lineage. What am I made of? What were the pre-Christian practices of my ancestors? A lot of this work has been inspired by Leesa Renee Hall, who teaches expressive writing, and runs a ‘Decolonize Your Ancestry’ program on her Patreon.

My public posts about these subjects (mostly on Facebook) have resulted in a lot of push back, sometimes public, but mostly in the form of things landing in my inbox or PMs. Included amidst the push back are thoughtful messages in which important questions are being grappled with, and those aren’t the kinds of messages I’m talking about. I’m talking about messages in which people seem to want to debate me on my stance, point out how my stance is wrong, express anger or disappointment in me, or tell me how my stance is making them feel bad about their stance.

It’s been hard, and annoying, because I’m not the sensitivity police. I can’t tell anyone else what’s right or wrong for them. I can point out blatantly racist content or marketing, but I stay in my lane, by which I mean that I will arrive to back up the voices of BIPOC, but I don’t ‘go after’ these things on my own initiative. And I don’t ‘go after’ individuals who appear to be misappropriating culture unless they’re bringing it into my spaces in a way that harms or disrespects BIPOC. I don’t mean to be telling anyone what is or is not okay for *them*. I take a stance about my own personal convictions, and I establish what’s okay and not okay in my *spaces*, but it seems that taking that stance is interpreted as issuing orders or assuming I know about the contents of your character or your own soul.

I’m not the boss of you. Just because I think something is wrong for *me*, doesn’t mean I’m saying it’s wrong *for you*. I have no idea what’s wrong for you. I prefer to let you figure that out for yourself. Honestly, I have enough work to do over here in this little puddle of Effy flavoured goo without taking on other people’s work as well.

Sometimes what happens, I think, is people feel personally convicted by my personal convictions, and that is super uncomfortable. The thing I’m convicted about not doing – for example, smudging, using the word ‘tribe’ to describe my on line community, using the word ‘gypsy’ when I mean ‘free-spirited and colourful lifestyle’, or chakras, or deities from lands and cultures that have nothing to do with my ancestral lineage – is something they really enjoy, and so my eschewing it makes them feel bad about doing it. Instead of examining why they are feeling that way, people feel free to inundate my inbox with why I’m wrong and why I should continue smudging or using the word tribe or why I should just shut up about all of this political stuff and make art.

Like, I didn’t ask them. You know? I’ve drawn my conclusions on my own after much education from BIPOC. My stance is not up for tweaking or debate. I didn’t take it lightly. I took it after much personal examination.

But I’m not saying YOU can’t do whatever it is you want to do. I may have a boundary around what we share in the temple space I run (Moonshine), but it looks like this – “In this space, I’m asking for sensitivity around the use of spiritual modalities that belong to BIPOC. I don’t want memes about smudging in here. I don’t want discussions of ‘spirit animals’ in here. What you do in your own personal practice is none of my business, but in here, let’s keep our discussions to spiritual modalities that we can claim based on our ancestry. So if we’re white, we source our spiritual practices from our European ancestry.”

It seems this has set me up for a lot of extra work, because people get *pissed at me* for this, or they examine their own conscience around this and want me to help them untangle it (which is great, but it’s not really my area of expertise). I have a handy ‘you must do as your conscience dictates’ ready for these kinds of messages, which feels like good boundaries, but I’m not sure what to do with the people that *get upset with me* over my stance. Like, how do I answer those messages? What do I do about those? How do I say ‘you know, your stance and integrity are none of my business, and I’m not auditioning to be your Jiminy Cricket.”

There is a feeling arising out of all of this that when people follow my posts, or read my blog, and ‘reward’ me with their time, attention, likes, loves, etc. they feel a sense of entitlement about what I post in those spaces. If I’m posting about racism or cultural appropriation on my personal Facebook wall, and it upsets them, they feel entitled to ask me for my (unpaid) time in helping them resolve those feelings. Like, they want to continue feeling good about me, or good about themselves for liking my content, so they ask me to help them feel better about *me*.

But it seems like what they’re really asking is that I change my stance so they can feel more comfortable. It feels like they’re asking me to stand down on the cultural appropriation issue. “Let me smudge, let me ‘namaste’, let me ‘Aho’, let me ‘spirit animal’ without questioning it, without investigating my own right to do so…Let me feel okay with myself so I can continue feeling okay about you…”

Um…so not my job.

Because, first of all, I can’t ‘let you’ or ‘prevent you’ from doing anything, except in the context of what’s okay to share in my spaces. I have those boundaries in my spaces, not because I want to be the sensitivity police – good gods, y’all, I have enough to do without adding that to my job description.  I have the boundaries I have because my personal stance has attracted BIPOC into my spaces, and their safety from racist rhetoric and cultural misappropriation in my spaces *is my responsibility* as a holder of that space. If I’m welcoming in BIPOC, and then I’m encouraging or condoning practices that disrespect them or cause them harm, I’m a shitty facilitator. I don’t want to be a shitty facilitator.

But it seems that some people in my spaces are now uncomfortable. I hear things like “I’m walking on egg shells” or “I’m afraid to say anything”. So I’ve failed somehow, and I’m not sure how to fix it. Like, how do I say ‘this is my stance, your mileage may vary, just don’t bring it in here, please!’ in a way that won’t alienate people? Maybe that’s impossible. Maybe I should just accept that people will be alienated and maybe my content isn’t for those people. 

It would be really great, though, if they could decide that for themselves and just wander away, because I didn’t sign up for this part – this part where people feel free to ask me to help them be okay with me *when they are obviously not okay with me*.

Like, it’s okay to not be okay with me. Be not okay with me. Own that. Don’t ask me to fix it, because that is not my job.

It takes an enormous amount of self awareness and self-accountilbity to question your own sense of entitlement to the spiritual modalities of BIPOC. Why do you feel entitled? There’s a treasure trove of healing to be done around that question and I admit it isn’t for the faint of heart. That I ask people to do that in my paid content means I have to show up for the consequences of asking that. I admit I was ill-prepared for that. I blithely included these requests for self-examination in Moonshine expecting that the people who were going to be attracted to this program would have already made some headway in this area. It didn’t feel like such a big ask that we switch out misappropriated spiritual practices for practices that were not stolen from other cultures. It felt, in fact, like a no brainer.

I’m teaching art witchery. For me, that doesn’t include smudging or spirit animals or shamanic journeying or anything else that’s been sourced (stolen) from lineages that are not my own. I, personally, have no desire to end up as a thread on this forum, where plastic shamans are called out and examined. I have no desire to steal culture when I have so much of my own rightful ancestry to explore and indulge. I have a primarily pre-Christian European Witchcraft based practice that uses art as its primary method of raising energy toward the attainment of my desires. That’s what I’m trying to present. That’s my area of expertise. 

But it seems that because my witchcraft, which doesn’t include practices sourced from spiritual modalities I believe I have no right to use, bumps up against witchcrafts which include whitewashed, misappropriated spiritual practices, I’m now in an awkward position. I’m having to field a lot of ‘who do you think you are’ type ‘nobody tells me what to do’ style push back.

And I guess this is what I signed up for when I designed this program with requests that people respect BIPOC. Because in this time, and in this political climate, asking that people respect BIPOC is, apparently, super controversial (WTF?). Which makes me sick, because it really should be a no brainer. We are sourcing our energy from this land we’re living on – land we stole from First Nations. Let’s have some respect. We are sourcing our energy from this land we’re living on – land cultivated by and built on the backs of People of Color. Let’s have some respect.

Why is this so radical? Why is this such a big ask? 

I don’t know, but I’m here, showing up in all the ways I can, answering the questions – even the ones that are insults in disguise – and I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for this. I’m here to keep asking this ask. I’m here to design content that asks for respect for BIPOC. I’m here to help you create a spiritual modality that can enrich your art journaling practice, to help you create an art journaling practice that can energize and inform your spirituality. I might be failing, but I’m listening, and I’m trying. And if you’re not interested in sourcing your spiritual practices in a way that respects BIPOC, my work is not for you. And it saddens me that there are those of you who feel that way, but that’s okay. I can deal. I know there are just enough of you *that are* interested in that, so I’ll turn my attention there in the certainty that what I do serves *you*.

Thanks for listening.

Effy

P.S. This post would be incomplete without this list of links to BIPOC who have contributed to my education in these matters. If you are grappling with all of this, I highly recommend these resources. They are *way better than anything I have to offer* in the area of cultural sensitivity and dismantling white supremacy. (In other words, go pay them. They are the experts.)

Layla Saad – Wild Mystic Woman: www.Patreon.com/laylasaad

Torrie Pattillo – www.patreon.com/TorriePattillo

L’Erin Alta – www.lerinalta.com

Leesa Renee Hall – www.patreon.com/leesareneehall

Emergence

So, it’s been a long minute since last we typed.

Work has pretty much taken over my entire life, with paperwork being a major thing, along with accidentally writing two books (both Moonshine and Journal52 have become major writing projects without my intending for that to happen), doing as much art as possible for myself, and then this, my class release schedule:

Mixed Tape Monthly – Once per month – includes full length tutorials + PDF + speed painting
Moonshine – Includes a speed painting on the New Moon, and a full length tutorial + PDF + speed painting on the Full Moon + a monthly PDF ‘guidepost’ for each month + impromptu lives in the Facebook Group whenever needed, which I edit and upload to the classroom
Book Of Days – Two full length tutorials + PDFs  per month + weekly lives in the Facebook Group, which I edit and upload to the classroom
Journal52 – which I design and write for once per week. This gets added to a formal classroom in my teaching network, and also posted on Patreon.

And then there’s the work of holding space for each of my groups (Moonshine, Book Of Days, and J52 – though, I have to admit that j52 is one of those lovely ‘no work required’ spaces where we just share our responses to the prompts each week). The emails, the newsletter updates when each class goes live with new content, the research, planning, and outlining or the writing for Moonshine…

In Search Of: House Elf

And then there’s the part where I have to feed myself – both body and soul, take care of my animals, clean my house, go to therapy, and maintain my friendships and family relationships, and maybe date (or ‘just hang out’ as the case may be).

And then there’s my deep need for solitude, doing nothing at all worth noting, and refilling a well that is in need of constant refilling with true crime documentaries, audio books, curiosity led studies into esoteric topics, indulging in the art classes I want to take so I can skills build, playing around with bullet journaling (because I needed another hobby).

And in the midst of all this, I’m planning a collaborative version of Book Of Days for 2019 called “Book Of Days All Stars” which will include at least 12 guest artists, one a month, with inevitable bonuses, and deep dive interviews.

So, you know. I’m pretty busy. <——–UNDERSTATEMENT It is no wonder at all that I spend most of my life in boy shorts, tank tops, and colourful buffs that keep my bed head in check.

But I’m happy.

So that’s a thing that should be noted, because you’ve all witnessed me slog through four years of grief of the kind that can take a girl out. You’ve all witnessed me boomerang back and forth between acceptance and denial over my marriage ending. You’ve all watched me navigate the terror that is watching your child decline into a serious mental illness that required hospitalization and treatment. You’ve all watched me date a few guys who seemed great until they didn’t. You’ve all watched me flail about trying to find my footing.

You watched while I moved three times in four years. You watched while I tried two different antidepressant medications that ultimately made me more depressed than I was before I tried them. You watched me grapple with the truth that my ‘depression’ isn’t ‘depression’ but rather trauma related symptoms that require unraveling to get better rather than the silver bullet pill might be. You’ve watched me come into awareness of my own value. You’ve watched me grapple with imposter syndrome. You’ve watched me make mistakes, and then scramble to fix them. You’ve watched me rise. You’ve watched me shine.

And now I’m happy, and stupid busy, and I haven’t had a whole lot of time (or inclination) to write about it all.

But hi. Here I am. Near the end of the third month of the year, dusting off the blog (which I am tempted to call ‘my journal’ instead because that feels so much friendlier and truer than ‘blog’), and typing what is true for me.

What is true for me:

I am in love with my work.

I am in love with my friends, both virtual and meatspace.

I am working towards becoming an LLC (limited liability company) in the next year or so, and I have already picked the name (9 Willow LLC, after a poem I wrote years ago, and also my favourite number + favourite tree).

I’m on my way to having my tax shit sorted.

I am writing my face off on the regular in a way I never have before – thousands of words a month – and I’m building books out of that writing.

I am coming into my own voice + style as an (eeeeeep) artist.

I am self-possessed.

I find myself unafraid of whatever is coming, because I trust myself to withstand it.

I am occasionally sad about things that are worth begin sad over, but I am not depressed.

I have wicked effective tools in place to help me deal with my anxiety (which is also trauma related, and not a chemical thing).

I am working hard at being as intersectionally feminist as I can be, watching out for cultural misappropriation in my work, ensuring that my spaces are as safe as possible for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (because that is where my warrior self is occupied lately).

I had sex recently. I hope to have more soon.

I’m no longer holding on to a vision of my ex and I getting back together. I’ve let that go, let him go, so that our relationship can grow in the direction it should rather than the direction I want to force it into.

I have female friends to whom I am fiercely loyal and devoted, who are equally loyal and devoted to me.

I am going to become a grandmother (what we are all calling the Mimi) in July of this year.

I have relationships with all of my beautiful children, whom I love and would fight to the death to defend and protect. They see me. I see them. We all know we all have one another’s backs. I also love my daughter in law, who is so much like who my sister would have been before drugs, alcohol, and mental illness took her from me, that having her is like having a piece of my heart back in place. She’s also carrying my grandchild so I get to be that ridiculously doting mimi who feeds her and buys all the baby things, and looks forward to spoiling her grand bean rotten.

I no longer feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.

I feel capable and confident in my teaching abilities (like, teaching is my superpower).

The future feels full of promise instead of full of omgdoom.

I am shining brighter, because I’m no longer afraid of the attention that attracts.

I am (mostly) not concerned with those who ‘don’t like me’. or those who actively seek to take me down a notch. I’m not up for their tall poppy cutting shenanigans. I’m more concerned with serving and loving those who value what I offer, and I have become very good at acknowledging that there are many (200 each in BOD and Moonshine this year. Whoa!).

I am embodied more often than not – and for a dissociative girl, that’s saying a lot.

My therapy sessions have become less and less about my past and more and more about my present and future.

I’m a writer. Yes, I am. A Writer. And I am lucky enough that my work lets me stretch and flex that muscle daily.

I’m going to be fifty this year and I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt.

My body is rejoicing at recent lifestyle changes that mean my pancreas is no longer taxed with sugar and refined carbohydrates. I stuff myself on nothing but real food, like butter, veggies, meats, some fruits, nuts, and nothing that comes from the middle aisles of the grocery store, and I’m getting leaner as a result.

I have 90 patrons on Patreon who are happily soaking up weekly and monthly content, which makes me ridiculously happy.

I have two beautiful dogs, and one beautiful cat whose presence in my life means I never feel alone and also always have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

The participants in my classes regularly offer testimonials about what my classes are providing for them, and that makes me ridiculously happy.

I recognize that I am a woman of integrity. My honesty is no longer up for negotiations. This is who I am. If you don’t want an honest friend, you’d best steer clear.

I am a metatron, a catalyst, a shadow dancer, a shame buster.

I have a bit of a social life (which, okay, requires the donning of pants and bras, but it’s worth it!).

I am well on my way to getting my ID sorted (P.S. note to self: get that guarantor form signed).

I feel adulty more days than not, where I used to feel like an orphan child wandering the world with no north star.

I am my own motherfucking north star.

I took the first three months of the year off of blogging because I really needed to settle into my new schedule, and also because I was kind of holding my breath, waiting for the boom to fall. This is a thing that happens to survivors of trauma. When things are good, and you feel mostly good, you aren’t quite sure how to take that in. You dismiss joy almost as soon as it lands, like shooing a beautiful bird off your shoulder, because the unexpected loss of it would be too much to bear. So I grappled with that. I leaned in to how I actually felt. I let the cracks in me become ever wider, the guards go down, and I started to nod at joy when it arrived and let it stick around for longer and longer. We are now well acquainted. I expect shit will happen, but I also expect it will pass.

I am no longer braced for an unexpected tragedy. I am ready to reach out from the deep dark soil of this first half of the year, stretch myself like a tender green shoot, and emerge transformed.

You’ll be hearing from me more often.

xo
Effy

 

 

 

The Business of Art – Free!

One of the things that helped me the most when I was first starting my creative business was learning from my peers. Any time an artist or teacher that I admired released a blog post or program about how they do what they do, I jumped on it. I probably spent in the neighbourhood of a thousand bucks in my first year of trying to navigate this whole ‘teaching on line and making a living with my art” thing!

Well, there’s this eBook out now, and it’s way less than a thousand bucks. It’s FREE, Y’all! If I’d had this resource, I would have been over the moon! AND I’d have had more money for paint!

Download the new, expanded “The Business of Art” Ebook and get interviews with dozens of professional artists who share their advice on building a career out of your passions and give practical advice on improving your skills, teaching courses, selling merchandise, marketing and more.

Get the Ebook Here

The Business of Art is available as part of the second Art Bundle for Good coming on December 6th. The first Art Bundle was a massive success, and this bundle is bigger and better. I bought the bundle last year (because there were so many artists I wanted to learn from featured in it) and this year, I’ve been invited to participate! YAHOO!

There are thousands of dollars worth of courses, resources, ebooks, etc. on topics like, painting, drawing, mixed media arts, digital illustration, creativity, marketing your art, and more all bundled together for one low price for 5 days only.  It’s a fantastic deal that will definitely take your art and creativity to a new level.

The best part is that 25% of the Art Bundle for Good profts are going to support Courageous Kitchen, a Bangkok based charity helping refugees. The Art Bundle for Good is a great opportunity to get dozens of top art learning resources from many of the biggest names in the industry and do some good.

Check out the website and sign up to get the free ebook. I’m sure you’ll love it!

Love you! Have a fabulous Wednesday! I’ll be back in a jiffy with Journal52. xo

Against The Secret Sorrows

Yesterday, I cast on some luscious sock yarn and spent the evening knitting p5, k5 in the round until I had a cuff. Then I switched to straight knit.

I probably should have made it a bit bigger, but I’m okay with that. I like tight socks. I find them comforting. I like *slouchy* socks, too, and I aim to make these easy to scrunch down around my ankles the way I like. If they’re way too tight, well, I’ll turn them into fingerless gloves and cast on more stitches for another, larger pair.

Yesterday, my entire body said “I need to knit socks”. It wanted to make a thing for itself, like a hug for my toes. It wanted the pleasure of watching self-striping yarn self-stripe. It wanted to turn a heel. I could easily have argued with it. I mean, I don’t knit anymore. I had a retinal detachment about a decade ago, and the surgery to repair it left me with extremely wonky vision. My glasses only properly correct my right eye. My left eye can’t be corrected all the way without giving me double vision and crossed-eyes. I could wear contacts but they irritate my eyes so badly that I can only wear them for an hour or two before I want to scratch them out of my face. Furthermore, I didn’t have anything I needed on hand in order to do this thing my body wanted me to do. I had to actually PUT ON PANTS and leave the house in order to fulfill this desire. But yesterday was the kind of day that demanded that I listen to my body, so I listened, and I took a quick trip to the textiles store to pick up sock yarn and a set of double pointed bamboo needles.

After about a decade of not doing it at all, I picked it up again. Once I got the stitches cast on and the first few rows knit and purled up, I could go pretty much by feel. The gentle click of the needles was a balm on my soul some how. It’s an almost mindless pleasure, and I really need that in my life right now.

Knitting is something I taught myself how to do one cold wintery afternoon about eleventy million years ago. I got it into my head that I wanted to knit *socks* of all things. Not a scarf. Not something a beginner might start with, but SOCKS, and not just tube socks, which are hard enough, what with the four scary looking pointy needles, but socks with a GUSSET and a TURNED HEEL.

It took me a few days to puzzle it together, thanks to YouTube and a few excellent tutorials on the interwebs, and I was off, knitting socks. I knit about a half dozen pair in a frenzied marathon of knitting ALL THE SOCKS, and then I moved on to intricate lacy things on tiny circular needles with patterns that read like mathematical treatises on the nature of the universe.

Not long after, my left eye did its thing where it started to shed my retina, and that was the end of knitting for a long, long time. I had surgery, and for weeks afterwards, I had a massive air bubble in my left eye obscuring my vision. I also had a *lot* of pain. Knitting was the last thing on my mind. I mean, I couldn’t even *read* at that point, so over time, I forgot about knitting. It was just too taxing on my freshly healed eye. I put away my needles, gave my lovely skeins of wool away, and I moved on to something else.

But yesterday, my flesh and bones wanted it badly, so I listened, and today, I’m going to put on an audiobook (I’m listening to Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon), and I’m going to knit until my eyes demand I stop.

Tomorrow, I might tackle everything that’s on my plate. Tomorrow, I might decide knitting is stupid and a waste of time, or too much for my poorly eyes, but for today, I’m gonna knit, because it’s the simplest, most soul-nourishing thing I can think of doing for myself, for this self whose body has carried secret sorrows for so long, she can’t remember what it was like before the sorrows descended.

xo
Effy

P.S. And you? What are you doing today against the secret sorrows your body has carried?

 

 

This Week Was A Bear

I am just now feeling like I’m ‘back’ from fest. This is a thing that happens every time I go. Re-entry is a bear. Some of it is about unpacking, laundry, etc., but most of it is the deeply felt difference between being in fest space and being in the ‘real world’. It takes time to make the transition. Lots of naps. Self-care. We fest goers call it ‘fest head’ or the ‘post fest crash’. I call it a pain in the ass. It didn’t help that this particular fest was full of lessons – about being an adult child of an alcoholic, and how that set me up to be long-suffering when I shouldn’t be, about my feelings about my father’s death, about how much I love my community, about what I would kill or die for. But discomfort of the kind I experienced last weekend is the good kind. It’s the grow me the fuck up kind. It’s worth experiencing, so I’ll take it.

This week has been a bear. I’m not going to lie.

White supremacy is being uncovered and challenged in all of my spaces. It’s very uncomfortable. I witness people i respect (ed) behave in ways that I find deplorable, and i feel convicted to act upon that data. Disconnect. Remove my support. My discomfort, however, is nothing compared to what women of colour experience every damned day. It’s just a little uncomfortable. My life is not in danger. I can choose, because I have privilege, to unplug, to focus on other things. And in the name of self-care, I do. I dance in. I dance back. The colour of my skin makes that possible and I *did not earn that one little bit*.

I try to remember that every day.

I have a lot of work to do around racism, because I’m white, and I was raised in this. It’s up to me to dismantle my own racism, to uncover and deconstruct the role I play in the oppression of women of colour, to disavow the trickle down effect of patriarchy, to ensure that my feminism is intersectional.

It’s up to me to shut up and listen. It’s up to me to go white on white when I see someone in my circle doing harm. I’m afraid of doing it wrong, but if I’ve learned anything over the last week it’s that doing nothing is far worse than doing it wrong. At least if I do it wrong, I have an opportunity to learn how to do it right. If I put myself out there, I am in a position to be called out or called in.

And I want that. If I fuck up, I want you to call me out, and if you call me out and I don’t fix it, I want you to burn my shit down. If you see me putting what’s right for business before *what’s right*, I want you to point your finger at me, and say “Uh, no, Effy. Wrong way. Missing the mark. Course correct.” I want you to hold me to it.

I’m lucky to have amazing women of colour in my life & social media feed. They are brilliant teachers, and they take on enormous amounts of emotional labor every damned day.  Alexis. Leesa.  Staci. Layla. Schooling me. Every day. Full of grace AND righteous anger. Clear voices in the unveiling of what’s been true for time eternal. My teachers. I’m listening. I want to be a part of the solution. I’m willing to fuck up royally. I’m willing to stand in the fire so I can have my own blindness illuminated.

But the week wasn’t all hard or uncomfortable. Here are some highlights.

Wednesday, I went to see Bladerunner 2049 with my bestie. It was EPIC. I hadn’t seen him since the Wednesday before since he took off to New York on Thursday, and didn’t return till Tuesday. We went for our usual drive. I got to turn some of what happened over the weekend inside out with him as my faithful, gentle witness. We did pre-movie dinner. Held hands some. Drove home in awestruck silence.

Thursday, I had pints with girlfriends. Soul nourishing. I wasn’t *quite* ready for that much social, but I managed a few hours of ‘pants on, inside voice off’ before Stacey dropped me home so I could cocoon a bit more.

Friday, I *finally* got everything that needed doing done AND I cooked a gorgeous feast of coconut chicken curry. Watched four episodes of Star Trek: Discovery with my bestie. We’re in love with it, and can’t wait for more.

Yesterday was all work, all day, filming for a lesson that’s due out on Monday.

This is definitely worthy of Sunday Swoon. I painted that! Me! It’s a scarlet ibis, and it is *identifiably a scarlet ibis*! *Swoon!* It was my response to drawing The Star card in the tarot. The draw led me down a rabbit hole of symbols, and this is where I landed. Among the stars.

Happiness.

And that’s me for now.

Quiet inside. Coming back to earth. Listening. Deeply. Loving what I love.

Hornet Medicine

I spent the weekend with the land and chosen family, and here are some of my highs and some of my lows.

Arriving on site. That feeling of ‘home’ settling over me like a warm cloak. All the hugs and hellos, and seeing the familiar faces of people I only get to see once or twice a year. Being struck hard with how much I *love* these people, and how loved I feel in their presence. Seeing Snow Feather again for the first time in years. Scott arriving just in time for me to be off work for the evening (I work registration). That hug, man. THAT HUG! Wandering around saying hellos. Shae arriving, and more hugs. Our pre-fire visit at Scott’s trailer. Sips of applepie moonshine. Pepperettes. (I had to have at least one!) Wandering up to the fire, setting up our camp chairs, and receiving my birthday present from them – a huge purple “Bubba” mug full of one of Scott’s amazing Caesars. (It’s a Canadian thing.) Watching the revellers dance. The drums. Wandering back down the hill to go to bed at a relatively decent hour.

Pancakes, peppered maple bacon, coffee. More work at the registration desk, but lots of switching off with my cohorts, so I never felt burned out. Long conversations with Greymoon that healed some stuff I had left over from my father’s death. Roasted pork and apples for dinner. Beautiful platefuls of roasted veggies.

Saturday night at the fire. It poured down rain, and most folks wandered off to seek shelter in their tents or cabins. I stayed, along with about a dozen other die hard pagans, and someone who can only be described as a lover of mine. We drank, danced, and cavorted until the rain finally cleared. It was five a.m. before I finally wandered back to my cabin alone to catch a few hours of sleep. It was everything my spirit needed, and I soaked it in.

Sunday was for an emergency trip into town for dry footwear with Shae, and then naps. Many naps. A few wanders.

The guy I was seeing arrived just in time for Sunday feast…

The moment he showed up on the site, a yellow jacket stung me on my right wrist. I treated it with ice, and took note. Animal medicine is a thing, you know! Things pretty much went down hill from there, but I really don’t want to rehash it all. Let’s just say that instead of revelling as I usually do on the last night of the last festival of the year, fuckery ensued and completely dominated my night.

On Monday morning, after all of the attempted apologies, and the “I’m never like this” and “I’m so sorry”, over and over again, I asked him to please stop, because his apologies felt like old tape. He knew my history, knows about my alcoholic father, and brought that to the plate anyway. His apologies could have been twenty years old, thirty, forty, that’s how familiar they were. It was obvious to me, that like my father before him, he wanted instant forgiveness, and a pat on the head, and I just couldn’t give him that. He tried engaging my friends, to no avail. My people are fiercely loyal, and they covered me like a cloak of protection. He finally got the message that there was no clowning his way out of this one.

When he finally left, without a word to anyone, I could breathe again. I watched him depart, washed my hands of him, and  melted back into fest mode. Spent my last afternoon on site loving on my people & being loved by them. All the hugs goodbye and see you next years.

Shae gave me a ride home, and when I arrived, I dropped everything, stripped down and threw myself into a tub of hot, scented water. The house and fur babes were in good shape, having been looked after by one of my kidlets. I ordered in and watched a sufficient number of Sex and The City episodes to feel like I’d returned to the real world. Woke up on Tuesday morning to get some work done.

Texted that guy to say “Please don’t ever contact me again.” and blocked him in all the spaces I could possibly block him.

It’s Wednesday now. I slept beautifully last night. I have all these gorgeous memories that outweigh the fuckery, but this is real life, and there *was* fuckery. I don’t want to dive too deeply into finding the silver lining, but I have taken this away from all of that: I am fiercely protective of myself, and when faced with that kind of fuckery, I am a solid, hot, holy FUCK NO. Even if you’re handsome. Even if you say all the right things *most of the time*. Even if I’ve been really lonely, and had really hoped for something more.

Hornet medicine. Fiercely feminine. Powerful and hot and holy. She knows how to protect herself. She knows how to gather the cloak of community around her shoulders. She knows how to say no.

xo
Effy