I. After getting all of that out of my system, my body went through some stuff that felt like some kind of somatic release. First, I shook like a leaf for a while. Then, the shaking eased and I melted into a puddle of more relaxed than I’ve been in a long, long time. Then I got goosebumps and felt waves of contentment wash over me. I put together two pieces of flat-packed furniture (one more to go, and I’ll have a place to sit and eat or write or whatever one does while sitting at an actual table). I ate a massively stacked smoked meat sandwich on rye with coleslaw on the side. I had a slice of chocolate cake, a cuddle with the doggos, and then watched a few episodes of season 4 of The Great Pottery Throwdown. I slept beautifully. I woke up naturally, with no alarm necessary at the break of dawn (I love doing that!).
I woke up feeling clear.
II. A little while ago I signed up for a Moonology challenge (I’m a fan of Yasmin Boland’s way of working with the phases of the moon) and the challenge starts today. Turns out one of our first recommended activities is to clear the impact of the past on our present. Well, then! Perfect timing! Done and dusted, though today I will apply ritual action to the release as instructed because I love me some spicy psychology (aka witchcraft).
I like that kind of serendipity.
III. I’m really loving this new thing I do where I sign up for things and actually follow through with them. Especially right now when I’m chomping at the bit for any kind of movement forward. Any little thing I can engage and make progress on feels really good right now, so I’ve signed up for a bunch. A year of rituals with Christopher Penczak. Shadow work with Jane Cunningham. A bunch of Brighid-centered offerings from various teachers. Fierce Grace with Carrie Anne Moss. A folk magic immersion with Matthew Venus. I’ve dusted off some of the stuff that’s been sitting on my hard drive for years, too, and I’ve actually done a few lessons in Life Book already this year! I don’t know what happened, exactly, but that feeling like my wheels were spinning in the mud is gone and I’ve lurched (and cussed) my way out of stuckness and into action.
I like it.
Speaking of which…
IV. Yesterday, I did my intake interview with a primary care provider, so I no longer have to worry about who’s going to prescribe my asthma meds. It’s a neat little collective of nurse practitioners who can diagnose and prescribe and refer out to whatever kind of care you need, including dentists and eye doctors and physiotherapists. I love this, and I realize how lucky I am that I got this done so soon after moving here. It can take *years* but I have determined friends who will a) sit with me while I fill out paperwork (thanks, Renee!) and friends who will bring up my situation during their own visits with the nurse practitioner (thanks, Kimi!) and voila!
And in the same vein…
V. I’m ready for a rebrand for my little empire, but I’m not sure where to start so I’m just sort of sitting with it for a bit. I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and was reminded yesterday that there are people who do this kind of thing for a living, so I’m half-expecting the universe to plunk whoever it is that’s supposed to help me with this (because there’s someone. I can feel it!) right into my field of vision so we can get to work.
VI. I saw this on the Internets and now, I, too, will forever call ellipses “drama dots”. I love a good pregnant pause. Don’t you?
VII. I spent some time on Zoom with my sweet wee girl and we talked about neurodivergence and compared notes and I apologized for genetics and we laughed about it, but underneath that laughter was a palpable relief that comes with knowing that we’re not alone and we’re in this together. It brought home to me once more the fact that we can navigate anything in the right company.
One of my love languages is getting people and being gotten but there is something especially powerful in getting and being gotten by your own kid.
Speaking of kids…(DRAMA DOTS!)
VIII. The boys are all good and sorting out their stuff, and I’m proud of them and relieved, because they’re coming together as a little village to solve some of the issues that would have required a lot of time, labour, and money on my part, but now that they’re getting it sorted on their own, I can continue to do my own thing over here and drop in now and then as a cheerleader and a contented observer, and that makes me *ridiculously happy*.
X. Today, I will fling paint, work on building some more flat-packed furniture (a high table and two chests of drawers on wheels for art supplies), stuff my face on chocolate-covered almonds and cheese and whatever else I want to eat, and I will do all of that alcohol-free, and that’s worth celebrating. *Clinks mugs with you*
Content warning: I’m angry. If anger scares you or upsets you, you might want to back away and come back another day.
I. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging like I did in my last post, but I needed to spend some time with my own thoughts and feels about whatever the heck was going on with me in response to the sudden lack of boozy buffer. Boredom was *not* something I expected to experience in response to going clear, but that’s what came up. Boredom. An intense awareness of the “rinse, repeat” quality of this moment in time. A hankering for something – a craving, really. But not for wine. Not for any kind of altered state, actually, unless you can call “engaged” or “connected” an altered state.
II. It took a while, but here I am. Engaged. Connected. Into everything. Curious. Open. Awake. Alive. Alcohol-Free for 60 days, too, which feels like a bit of a minor miracle given *waves at all of this*, but here we are.
Here comes the anger in t-minus 3….2……1…..
III. A lot happened around and to me over the course of the last almost two years, and most of it was no bueno. I *did* manage to navigate it and I *have* gotten over most of it if by “gotten over it” we mean “I have raged and cried and grieved and pondered myself into a puddle of spent and also receptive goo”.
The thing I most grappled with was the idea that bad things happen to bad people and if bad things are happening to me, I must therefore be bad. This is not an uncommon bit of unconscious content, I know. I am not alone in grappling with this. Even though I am potently and poignantly aware of how the overculture conditions us to believe that we are, in fact, completely in control of what happens to us what with the way it pushes The Law of Attraction and the whole “thoughts become things” thing that gets shoved down our throats on the regular, my newfound sobriety uncovered a stinking pile of this conditioning hiding out in my deepest innards. I had, thankfully, disconnected from most of the purveyors of this kind of horseshit by the time I uncovered it within myself, but there were some holdovers. Some second-guessing. Some doubts about my choices. Some guilt about the INFJ door slam that I have been unashamedly employing thanks to an ever-increasing sense of self-loyalty.
IV. My therapist and I have talked about the same relationships for years. They came up in every session. It felt very much like my own personal soap opera. “This week on as Effy’s World Turns.” The one that did the very thing I asked her not to do and then kept doing it, but in secret. The one that made sure I knew about what was happening in secret because they got off on my upset over it. The one that took full advantage of my fawn trauma response and “The Bank of Effy” while talking shit about me to anyone who would listen. The one who would pick me up and then shelve me like I was some kind of doll. The one who enjoyed the lavish, devoted experience I offer my lovers, but did not offer much of anything in return except a wicked case of cognitive dissonance, broken promises, and words that did not align with actions. The one that told me my son was sick because KARMA – that I’d allowed him to be abused in a past life in order to keep a husband happy. The same one that told me that if I broke up with a guy that was causing me real harm, I was doomed to be in pain for the rest of my life because TWIN FLAMES. The same one who acted like she didn’t like me (or anyone else, frankly) very much, but kept me around because – why? I made her feel better about herself?
Humans baffle me.
And that’s just in the last two years.
And so, fuck them. Fuck all of them.
And since I know how humans work, and since I know very well that at least some of them are reading this:
May you be happy. May you be healed. May you be loved.
But far from me, you fucking dumpster fire.
V. Do I sound like a victim?
Maybe I do, but I’m okay with that because while the overculture wants us all to shut up about it and put on our positive panties and accept that if these bad things happen to us it’s OUR FAULT and we are ENTIRELY TO BLAME and COMPLETELY IN CONTROL of everything that goes wrong while encouraging us to GUSH ABOUT HOW BLESSED AND GRATEFUL WE ARE when things go right, something inside of me – something that’s been sitting in weekly therapy for almost nine years now is ready to fight the overculture on that.
When did “victim” become a dirty word? When did we equate saying what happened to us with “playing the victim card”? When did pretending we’re untouchable, unflappable, indomitable, bulletproof, beyond being harmed become the requirement for being acceptable?
VI. I’ve been harmed, and the sole responsibility for healing that harm is on me, I know, but I am *pissed off* that so much of my psychic energy has to be spent in healing wounds that I *did not inflict upon myself*.
Y’all, I am in therapy *because of people who refuse to go to therapy*. I’m in therapy because of my encounters with those who will not touch their own unconscious content with a ten-foot pole, but instead, project it all onto the nearest available scapegoat, and how did I become the nearest available scapegoat?
I was raised to be one.
And I’m fucking angry over it.
And you know what?
It’s about fucking time.
VII. I live in a world where *waves at all of the above* is completely unacceptable. I am supposed to show up in the world with a smile and a twinkle in my eye and paint under my nails and delight and joy and inspiration and gratitude. I am supposed to take the hits as they keep on coming and assert that it’s all okay because “HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE” with a forgiving, tender smile on my unphased face. I’m supposed to forgive. I’m supposed to keep my dirty laundry to myself and I’m supposed to be professional and polished and I’m supposed to whitewash everything and I’m supposed to make sure that I do not get my stuff all over everybody else *at all costs* including my own survival.
Right? I mean, isn’t that what we’re told to do? Isn’t that what’s modeled for us? Don’t we get labeled “too much” if we do otherwise?
I mean, for fuck sakes, even the Dalai Lama is out there telling everyone that anger is poison, and when a very wise council of humans suggested to him that this might be a spiritual bypass (because it *was* a spiritual bypass) he didn’t address it. He just left his toxic positivity hang out there for all to see without any accountability to anyone for how poisonous *repressed & denied* anger is when expressed anger is actually *healthy and human and necessary*.
VIII. One of the people I mentioned above told me that I was scary because I get angry, and it was at that point in our relationship that I should have ended it, because I *do* get angry. I get angry when I’m lied to. I get angry when I am betrayed. I get angry about injustice, betrayal, disloyalty, passive aggression, malice, other people’s projections, and other forms of fuckery. And I have learned to say “I’m angry”. I’ve learned to say “Don’t do that to me.” or “This is my boundary” or “What you are offering me in this moment is not what I need.” and the people who can’t handle that, who think that makes me “scary” or “too much” are, frankly, not enough for me.
I wish those people all the luck in finding someone who is less.
Because I’m not it.
I’m all of me.
Angry me included.
IX. And it’s not like I get angry over stupid shit, because I don’t. In fact, it’s been brought to my attention by qualified professionals that I don’t get angry *enough*. I have to go through a lot of inner work before the anger even begins to arise. I have to sift and sort and tell the story to a willing, objective ear over and over again for a long time, to get the experience witnessed by someone who can be *angry on my behalf* before I can even begin to access my own anger.
So if I’ve told you I’m angry?
You can bet I worked to get there, and that I value you enough to tell you, and that it comes at an enormous personal energetic cost to me to tell you in the first place, so if you reject me or criticize me for being angry? If my anger is too much for you? If your response to my anger is to talk shit about me or abandon me?
And if I’ve slammed the door on our relationship, it’s because I told you until I was blue in the face what I needed from you and what my boundaries were and you didn’t listen or didn’t care, so again.
X. Sixty days today, and I’m fucking angry, and I am glorying in it because I have every reason and right to be angry, and my rage, which hid out under a blanket of booze for a decade, has risen up. It is here. It is honest. It is holy, and if you can’t sit with me in my anger, you don’t fucking deserve me.
I. I’ve been frustrated by the pandemic. Coming out of the fog of too much wine for so long means I am coming into awareness of the feelings that lurked beneath that fog, and one of them is frustration. I’ve got stuff I want to do, and *waves at all of this* is standing in my way.
II. This would be less frustrating if I were in control of it, but I’m not. I did all the things – isolated, masked up, double vaxxed, looking for a booster (they are pretty hard to book at the moment for obvious reasons), and yet here we are back in lockdown in Ontario. I am hoping Omicron is going to lead us to herd immunity and this will soon be over-ish. We’ll still have to live with COVID but it will be endemic and less threatening. This is the hope. *Fingers Crossed*
Bring it on and so it is.
III. I’m grateful for my work because there is always something to draw me out of the ennui and existential angst that this life of “rinse and repeat” is bringing on. As long as I can bring whatever it is I’m experiencing in the moment into my creative practice, I feel like I can deal with it. It may not necessarily solve anything to express it but at least it means it isn’t taking up quite so much room in my body and mind.
IV. I do feel, though, like my world has shrunk. The usual experiences that fill me up (fests, mostly, and live music) have been lacking for me since late 2019. That’s a long time to go without soul food. Those kinds of experiences add something to the well I draw from as a journal artist, and I’ve had to depend solely on my very tiny world – mostly on my inner life – to fill that well. It’s made my creative practice a little less inspired. I’m not going to lie. So, I’ve marched my butt into the classes I have stored on my hard drive so I can add new experiences, techniques, imagery, etc. even though I’m pretty much stuck in the house.
I started Life Book 2022 this past week. Here’s where I’m at with that so far:
Week One – Soul Glow warm up with Tamara Laporte
Week One – Shine Your Light with Tamara Laporte – This one isn’t quite finished yet. I’m going to do a few things to it today, I think.
V. I’m reading again as well, though, and I’m not talking about audiobooks, either. They’re a perfectly valid way to read, and I leaned hard on them over the last few years as a way to lull myself to sleep, but lately I’ve been *so bored* of the “rinse repeat” I mentioned above that I’ve added some titles to my Kindle library and I’m reading throughout the day. “Cat Magic” by Whitley Striber is my current distraction. It’s a book I read way back in the 90’s that I absolutely loved. It’s been fun revisiting it. I don’t know where I’ll go after that’s done with but I have a few titles queued up. I’ll keep you posted.
VI. I’ve been knitting, too. Still working on that shawl I cast on the day I quit drinking and it’s coming along beautifully. It’s going to be the perfect reading shawl once I’m done with it. It’s on big enough needles (size 6) that it doesn’t bug my eyes and I’m just doing a straight purl row one knit row two to keep it easy to work on while I’m watching something mindless on the telly. This and a lot of organic kombuchu (ginger flavoured – mmmmmmmmm) and dark chocolate have been saving my bacon.
VII. SO BORED THOUGH OMG I’M READY FOR THE NEXT ADVENTURE.
VIII. Speaking of which, I have another level one pottery class scheduled for four weeks beginning Jan 18th, but I don’t know what’s going to happen with that given the current surge. SEE WHAT I MEAN BY FRUSTRATING? I have the feeling I’m going to come out of this thing with a serious case of wanderlust and the will to do something about it. Like get my passport. And maybe a car.
II. I was on Zoom with my beloved Tam the other day and we were talking about how we both keep forgetting that the trick to getting our guides, spirits, and holy helpers to – yanno – help is to actually *ask them* for help. We were *cracking up* over this because we both really suck at the whole “OH HEY COULD I GET SOME HELP HERE” thing both in the realm of delegating to those in our lives who could help and in also with regards to help that might be available in the spiritual realms.
III. Which is weird because I teach a year-long class (coupon code covenup) in how to engage with The Powers – however you might define them – in the development of a creative spiritual practice that includes raising energy toward the attainment of your desires.
And, look, I *do* the work, but I usually ask for help with things like “Make me stronger/wiser/more useful” rather than “OH HEY COULD I GET SOME HELP WITH MY C-PTSD? COULD I GET A BREAK FROM THE TRAUMAS THAT KEEP PILING UP? COULD I GET SOME PROTECTION AGAINST *WAVES AT ALL THE THINGS*? COULD I HAVE MY DENTIST/DOCTOR/FILLINGOUTFORMS PHOBIA REMOVED?”
IV. So, anyway. A few days ago I was craving cucumber sammiches. Delicious thinly sliced, lightly salted organic English cukes with fluffy dill infused whipped cream cheese on soft tiny triangles of bread with the crusts cut off, served on a beautiful plate. So I put in a grocery order for everything I needed in order to fulfill this craving, because I am badass at self-care.
V. The grocery delivery arrived, and guess what? No cucumbers. All the rest, but no cucumbers. And of course, I was too busy dealing with a dog who has regressed to peeing on my bed because she has separation anxiety now that I’m leaving the house more often + an intense trauma response to a couple of things that happened, one right after the other, plus the vestiges of a wicked case of vertigo so I didn’t bother tracking the order so I could make substitutions if requested. To be honest, though, the shopper didn’t even try. They just refunded me for the cukes.
All I wanted was a fucking cucumber sammich, which in that moment represented *something going right for once*.
VI. I want to preface what I’m about to say with this so that you do not worry unduly: I truly am going to be okay, but I have not been in a great headspace for a while now, and I am super reactive to even the least little thing.
So. The missing cucumbers? They made me cry. And *pray*.
Yes, you heard me right. I cried. And prayed.
It sounded a little like this:
“UNIVERSE FOR FUCK SAKE COULD I GET SOME GODDAMNED CUCUMBERS? HOW HARD IS IT TO PROVIDE CUCUMBERS! IT IS NOT A LOT TO ASK! SERIOUSLY! WTF?”
I was *frustrated* It’s been quite a decade, okay? Give me a break.
VII. So, anyway.
Last night while I was cleaning out my fridge (garbage day in these parts, so the fridge got cleaned – how adulty! GOLD STAR!) and I noticed the soft bread and the container of whipped cream cheese and I said “I’MMA ORDER SOME G_D CUCUMBERS RIGHT NOW. UNIVERSE? ARE YOU LISTENING? BRING ME CUCUMBERS!”
I believe I even raised my fist to the heavens. I was not fucking around.
I. I sent out a newsletter today – more like a love letter – in which I extolled the virtues of puttering and shared my newfound love of putting gold stars on the back cover of my journal when I complete tasks. You can read it here if you want. I’ll wait.
Within mere moments, I started getting emails from my lovely subscribers thanking me for sharing & reporting that they are going to go buy some gold stars because they love this idea. Some shared some sadness over how little appreciation or acknowledgement they grew up getting. Some shared that they are currently struggling and that this idea sounds motivating.
II. I know it doesn’t look like much, but this little page of gold stars represents every moment that I overcame executive dysfunction, depression, anxiety, trauma, the consequences of narcissistic abuse syndrome…
These little stars are victories that range from making a difficult phone call to filling out a crucial form to doing my dishes to ordering dog food to feeding myself before noon to launching an e-course to scribbling the realness that is in my journal.
III. The thing I really want to share with you, though, is that after I finished writing that little blurb about puttering and how it helps me and gold stars and how they help me, I had a moment of hesitation. I thought to myself “No one cares about this stuff. You aren’t doing yourself any favours by sharing this. People are going to think you’re silly/childish/unwell. You are taking up too much space in other people’s inboxes. NO ONE CARES EFFY. WHY SHOULD THEY?”
And my finger hovered over the edit button for longer than I’d like to admit before I shrugged, gave myself a little internal hug, and hit send. I put another gold star in my journal right away. Because, victory.
I was talking to a peer last night about how hard it is to be an entrepreneur and feel like you have to be positive all the time and “keep up appearances” in order to succeed. It’s such bullshit. So alienating. Life is a mixed bag of delight and despair and I’m too tired to lie.
I heard from more than a few people that they resonate with this and they are as tired as I am of living in a world where we all have to be shiny happy people all the time.
I am not a shiny happy person all the time. My choice is to stop sharing when I’m less than shiny, fake shininess so I feel comfortable being in the world, or being honest about the world as it is for me and share anyway and let those that want me, stay and those that don’t, leave.
I choose the latter.
V. I woke up this morning to find this awesome writing on my timeline. Andrea and I share a lot of the same concerns about online marketing and entrepreneurship, justice, and cultural misappropriation, so I always listen when she speaks. This blog post on spiritual bypassing was just what the doctor ordered.
VI. What if we just showed up in our realness? The thing we are taught to fear is that everyone will leave us. No one will buy our stuff. We will end up homeless. We will be labeled negative nellies or worse. But I’ve been doing this for over ten years now in a variety of venues, and while I do not have the quantity others may have to show it, I have the quality. People who just want me to shut up and talk about paint don’t stick around for long, but those that appreciate feeling like their own realness is welcomed, do.
And I live for that, even if it sometimes makes me wonder if I’d be a millionaire by now if I just shut my fucking mouth about how hard things are sometimes.
Being real? A million dollars?
I’d rather be real.
VII. Speaking of real, this is what one corner of the studio looks like right now.
And this is what one corner of my living room looks like right now:
And this is my life. Some of it is a mess. Some of it is sanctuary. All of it is useful and all of it matters.
VIII. I know I’m not alone in this, but I was not allowed to have needs when I was a child. If I needed attention (as all children do) I was attention-seeking. If I needed comfort, I was needy. If I was sad, I was dramatic. If I was angry, I was defiant. Having feelings was very dangerous and often resulted in abuse, but I never learned the knack of not having feelings. I don’t know why. I know a lot of people raised in the situation I was raised hardened. I didn’t harden. I got better boundaries – especially over the last few years of intense therapy, but I didn’t harden. I stayed open. I stayed sensitive. I stayed emotional. I *stayed with myself*.
Through betrayal, abandonment, rejection, apathy, I stayed with myself.
As as I stayed with myself I noticed who stayed alongside me. And I noticed who didn’t. And (eventually) I stopped chasing the ones who didn’t. I turned to face the ones who stayed and they are my chosen family and I know they’ve got me and I’ve got them. In their eyes I am not “too much” of anything. I am just the right amount of everything. A lot, yes. But never too much.
IX. If someone decides that you are “too much”, let them go find someone lesser because they are *not enough* for you.
X. I want you to stay with yourself. Come sit by me. Let’s stay with one another.
I. I’ve been down with varying degrees of dizziness/vertigo for two weeks now, and I’m over it. Leaf mold allergy, probably, since this happens every year around this time if there’s a lot of rain. I’m doing Benadryl and Gravol when it gets really bad.
II. Turmeric and ginger in my coffee in the morning, and turmeric and ginger in my chamomile tea at night. Luscious.
III. Pottery makes me happy. I turned and trimmed 12? 13? pieces yesterday and also got to play with coloured slip. I’m going back next Tuesday to glaze. I can’t wait.
IV. We’ve had issues with a peeping tom on the property for almost a year now. He was caught red handed on Saturday morning, charged, issued a restraining order, and then released. It was a *nightmare* waking up to all that drama (cops on the front lawn – my dogs went off their rocker and my heart aged ten years), and it’s been a nightmare worrying about whether or not he’ll come back, since he is clearly not right in the head and these things have a nasty habit of escalating.
I am feeling very woe, woe, why me as a result because *fuck me can I not get a break?*
V. Since I’ve been leaving the house more, Salem has regressed a bit in her house training. This is unpleasant and frustrating to say the least. Add that to the disaster that my house becomes when I have vertigo, and I’ve been in a state BUT today has been better. I’ve been watching her like a hawk and crating her when I can’t and so far, so good. I also got four loads of laundry done.
In better furbabe news, Sybil has been super snuggly, and I love it.
VI. Here! Have a giveaway!
VII.I still miss him and I’m pissed off about that because I should be over it by now, but nope. Definitely not over it.
VIII. I was talking to a peer last night about how hard it is to be an entrepreneur and feel like you have to be positive all the time and “keep up appearances” in order to succeed. It’s such bullshit. So alienating. Life is a mixed bag of delight and despair and I’m too tired to lie.
IX. I am craving cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, and I am going to make that happen.
X. And you? How are you? Tell me everything, the delight and despair.