Scrambling A Little

I. Saturday was super fun. I went to a backyard BBQ, hosted by friends, with Kimi in tow, and we had a blast. There was a hot tub. There was a fire. There was music. There was food. Everyone was vaxxed. I came home at pumpkin time happy and a little in awe of how well I socialized despite *waves at all of this* and happily succumbed to the lure of these two sirens who were very excited to have me home in time for bed.

Image of my two dogs curled up with blankets.

Salem and Sookie, ready for bed!

II. This one was just pissed that I’d left her alone with the dogs for six hours, but she forgave me eventually.

My very elegant looking black cat with green eyes sitting perched atop my laptop bag.

Sybil. Totally unimpressed with me.

III. I have amazing news for you! I’m teaching in Life Book 2022, and the Taster Sessions are open for registration! These are always a super fun way to get to know who is teaching, what their style is, and get a good feeling for what Life Book is like! Click here to register for the FREE Taster, which starts on September 27th, 2021! Stay tuned for a giveaway!

And if you’re already convinced and you know you want to join me again for this fabulous yearly e-course, use coupon code ARTJOY30 to preregister and get 30% off!!

IV. Yesterday, I woke up and did a bunch of work before joining some close friends in some parallel play over Zoom. I worked on my Journal Jam cards – getting them sealed and waxed for future use. I love them so much, and I’m looking forward to using them today. SPEAKING OF WHICH!

V. TODAY WE JOURNAL JAM

Join me at 2 p.m. EASTERN for a fun hour or two of flinging paint, pulling prompts, and doing what they say! It’s free, and the replay link will go up in The Wilderhood once the file finishes converting.

VI. I am now two days behind in the Blog Along, which doesn’t bother me one bit. I have done so much work + play since I got home from Kitchener, and that is exactly what has been needful. Yesterday, instead of blogging, I visited Kimi to meet her new puppy and then had Lee over for Battlestar Gallactica and Chinese food. I sent Lee off home at 10 and rolled myself up in my blankets with an audiobook.

VII. I’m feeling refreshed today. A little pressed – there are a lot of deadlines coming up and you would not believe how much a couple of days “off-schedule” do to wreck my flow, but I am getting back into it. I don’t like this scrambling to get everything done feeling but I do like how it feels when I’ve gotten caught up and I can take a nice, long, slow, deep breath.

VIII. I can’t even with the news right now, so I’m just rolling my eyes and trying to live my life in what feels like a ship that’s going down. Anyone else?

IX. That being said, the Rose of Sharon is in full bloom, some of my plants are still thriving (I’ve lost the fern – that heatwave just sucked it dry), there’s a fresh cup of coffee steaming to my right, the cat has already come for some morning head butts and purring, and I like myself. We’ll call that a win.

X. I think I’ll pop in later today with a photo of what got done in Journal Jam to make up for one of the two missing blog posts in my thirty-day challenge, so I’ll see you then!!

I’m blogging every day (ish) in September and you’re welcome to join me. 

Pink Bubble & Effrene

I. New Moon in Virgo is coming up and my research and reading led me to engage it thusly:

Yup. I stuck myself in a pink bubble.

It was probably one of the simplest art journal spreads I’ve ever done, but it was also very satisfying, and I really did feel better after I painted this lovely protective shield around my life-weary self.

II. I put myself to bed at 10 p.m. after feasting on bread with butter and honey and a little dish of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Simple food. More carbs, but whatever. I’m doing whatever I need to do to regulate this nervous system of mine.

I also watched five episodes of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and I am loving the changes I’ve seen in the show regarding Transwomen (who, let me remind you, are women). Drag Race is bitchy goodness at its finest.

III. It is my birthday month but I’ve been keeping the “celebration” part of it down to a dull roar. I signed up for pottery classes which start on Monday, September 13th. Four weeks of beginner’s instruction on throwing pottery on the wheel. I am so excited, y’all! It is something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. According to the website, I will finish the class with up to 15 pieces of pottery. Lee asked me to film myself throwing something at some point, and I promised I would so I’ll share that here when it happens.

IV. I took delivery on a massive package from my personal alchemist, Terrie Bobbiekins! YES! I smell like myself again! I AM SO HAPPY! I ran out of my signature scent, Effrene, last year right when she was in the middle of an overwhelming move, so her lab was closed! She also sent me some bonus goodies – some magickal soaps and a bottle of Florida Water.

What is it about the right scent that makes everything feel okay again?

Find Terrie here and if you ever want to know what I smell like, grab a bottle of Effrene. 

V. Checked in with GG who was up with the sun this morning. He’s in excellent spirits and doing all the things he needs to do to stay on track. I’m proud of him.

VI. I feel very very very behind on all the things but I know I’ll catch up because I always do. I keep saying I need a Virtual Assistant but the truth is, there’s no part of my business that I want to hand over to someone else. I want to have my hands, eyes, and heart on every part of it. I’m learning to live with that.

VII. I love writing this way because it means that I can cover all the things that are on my mind all in one fell swoop without it being a ramble. A numbered list makes everything make sense to me. Like ducks in a row.

I’m also sitting on a bunch of prompts from Renee’s Wild Musings tour, which I did not complete. I’m looking forward to digging into those because she is an absolute genius at wringing the truth out of me.

VIII. I removed someone out of my entire network last weekend after they forgot to mute their microphone during a live gathering. They were snide and judgemental in their commentary about me and were overheard by a group of about 20 people, one of whom stepped in to suggest she stfu (but not in so many words, of course).

The people who take my classes and gather in my groups deserve kindness and compassion and thoughtful care, INCLUDING ME, and no one who heard this person’s comments felt comfortable with the prospect of having them join us in future offerings, so BYE!

I had a few moments of self-doubt over it but my peoples were quick to remind me that when people tell on themselves this way, it is in my best interests to act swiftly for the good of all. There is no “working it out” with someone who comes right out of the gate with snide comments.

Does this make me and my community “sensitive”? Yes. Thankfully, we are.

IX. I’ve begun to believe that tolerating shit behaviour from people is a trauma response, so I just won’t do it anymore.

X. I have a lot to do today so I’d better get to it. I have things to edit, a mess of potato salad with artichokes to make, and a backyard BBQ to attend.

Sending love from my pink bubble.

 

 

It Feels Like September

I. I am already a day behind the blog-along, but that’s okay because I can just post twice on a day when I have the bandwidth and BOOM. I will have honoured the spirit of 30 posts in 30 days.*

II. I arrived home yesterday at around 2:15 p.m. to happy dogs, a happy cat, a clean house, and my platonic life partner, who poured me a glass of wine, let me decompress, and then watched things with me until 11 p.m. when I was finally wound down enough to sleep. He noticed that I was *very quiet* and even wondered at one point if I was mad, so we had the talk about trauma and some of the ways I respond. Getting very quiet and exuding a general sense of “more thorn than rose” is definitely in my wheelhouse.

What happened – going back to the house I fled from in 2020, finding the depression nest, having to deal with my ex (in a very limited capacity thank gods), sleeping on that couch in that living room. Looking out of that window – was a lot and so, I came home retraumatized and needed some time to regulate my nervous system.

C-PTSD is no joke, y’all.

III. But I seem to be all in one piece today. In fact, I have successfully navigated a massive sale (still going – click here for details) and gotten dozens of students settled in their new classes *manually* because that’s how this sale works. I’ve filmed a lesson for Moonshine. I’ve edited it. I’ve done the check-in with GG over Zoom. I’ve checked in with my wee girl. I’ve checked in with a guest artist. I’ve glued some things into my Sweet Trash Journal. I’ve fed, watered, and cleaned up after my animals.

IV. I kind of amaze me, okay? Seriously.

V. The hot tub of salted and scented water I am going to throw myself into after I post this is going to feel amazing, and I have definitely earned it. More than.

VI. This popped up on my feed this morning and it reminded me so much of how we, as a community, do this. I rushed in to help GG with his broken brain but you all rushed in to help me with the financial consequences of having to do that + so much moral support that I pretty much floated through the experience bourne as I was on the wings of your love and support.

Thank you for that.

VII. The lasagne I had last night was also a part of the cure. What is it about carbs that are so g_d damned comforting? I had it for breakfast, too, and while carbs usually give me food coma, I am so depleted that it had an energizing effect. All hail the power of carbs!

VIII. I felt some of that “this is what September is supposed to feel like” here yesterday evening while sitting on the front stoop with Lee. I love this time of year so much for the way the air feels like a caress and the sun is a gentler presence. It was a bit gnarly through August – very hot, very muggy – and my moment on the stoop reminded me of how lucky I am not to be living in the path of Ida, which has left people without power, water, and other essentials.

Gratitude. Empathy. Too many feelings to process about *waves at all of this* so I’m just pulling in all my tendrils so I don’t get overwhelmed. That, too, is a privilege that I will not take for granted.

IX. What’s happening in Texas. I just don’t even have words.

X. That’s enough of that. Today, the breeze is cool, the sun is gentle, there is MORE LASAGNE for dinner, GG is back on track, and I am ok.

Purple curls photo for tax!

I’m blogging every day in September and you’re welcome to join me. 

Our Genius and Our Brokenness

I. I almost didn’t make it for my first day because I am in the midst of a family emergency that meant I tossed some things in a bag and Ubered to Kitchener from London at 3 in the morning and *of course I forgot my laptop charger*. Once I did everything I could do here to be helpful and get the family emergency under some semblance of manageable, I called around to see if anyone had the correct charger, but it was already 7 p.m. by then, and my only hope was Best Buy, which was closing at 8. Into another Uber went I because I have to have this laptop charged up to run my business AND do day one of the blog along and I’m going to be here in Kitchener until sometime tomorrow.

II. On my way home, I looked at the packaging and thought “Oh, wait…this is the wrong charger and felt utterly deflated and full of OMGDOOM but it works fine. It has a different look to the one I was using, but it is FINE so I’m all charged up and oh hey HI. Day one of the blog along is getting done under the wire.

III. GG went off his meds again, so that’s what I’m navigating. He is fine with me sharing this because he gets that the Internet is my home town and you are all my fam and you love him, too. This break has been costly because you know what happens when people lose touch with reality, right? They don’t pay their rent. So, bank of mom had to crack open the vault and that has been a bit OMG DOOM given the time of year.

By next month I’ll be fine AND my peeps are showing up in small and large ways, so truthfully, I’m fine now, and so is he.

We’re going to be okay.

IV. Mental health in Canada is such, though, that a schizophrenic can skip FOUR MONTHS worth of his anti-psychotic injections and two weeks of the other meds he’s supposed to be taking and no one seems to fucking notice and this infuriates me. It is known that keeping a person with psychosis on their meds is the most challenging part of this kind of diagnosis. It would be nice if the system helped that happen, but no.

We won’t even talk about the ex that actually lives here who promised he’d been checking in but stopped months ago because I DON’T KNOW WHY MEN?

I am bitter.

V. I am having my annual Pay What You Can sale. Here is the email. It ends on September 5th, so if there are classes in my archives that you’d like to get in on, you’re in luck! And also this will help with the cracking open of the bank of mom + the insane cost of Ubering from Kitchener to London. Thank you in advance.

VI. I arrived here at about 4:30 a.m., sat up with GG till 5:30, and then caught a little snooze ’till ten. Flew into action getting programs up for September 1st, wrote up the PWYC sale stuff, touched base with everyone that needed to know what was going on, got GG off to the pharmacy to pick up meds and on the phone with the doctor to schedule his injection, and then dug the kitchen and dining room out of the depression nest that it has become in my absence.

Dishes are always the hardest part of all this because it’s hundreds of crusty things that need to be soaked and done in stages.

It’s meditative, though, and it gives me a sense of having something to do in face of the most powerless I’ve ever felt in my life.

VII. GG is doing much, much better already with meds on board and can face what’s left to do to dig himself out. His place is secured. He is employed. He is going to work tomorrow, and once I get my ass home, I will, too, but first I’m going to curl up in bed with the dogs and a friend who will pet my hair and tell me I’m amazing and have a little cry, because whoa.

VIII. Can we talk about how much more important it is to get your hair pet and hear how amazing you are vs. getting laid anymore?? I know the latter is important, but the former is priceless, and it’s all I want. For now. The rest – sex, romance, coupling up, partnering and being partnered etc. feels too fraught and complicated and full of fang and claw and blood and dragons.

IX. Be careful how you bend me.

X. Image of GG for tax. This is his favourite photo of himself, which I took. It was one of those glorious evenings. There was a gorgeous backyard fire, and I talked about how firewood is stored sunlight and how that’s why so many religions have fire festivals – it’s all sun worship and his first response was to scoff and tell me I was wrong (because that is what sons do with their moms before they grow up a little) and then he stopped mid-sentence and made the “MIND BLOWN” face, sound and hand gestures because he realized that I was absolutely spot on.

His sheepish and admiring smile was one of the best things ever.

When they figure out that they got their genius from you as much as their brokenness, the real friendship between parent and child can begin.

P.S. Everything is going to be okay.

I’m blogging every day in September and you’re welcome to join me. 

Coming Out

I. I went out last night to hang out with new friends at a backyard BBQ. Remember those? There was a hottub. There was a fire. There was music (and discovering how much we all love live shows and I now have people to go to live shows with). There was a lovely dog who made the rounds with her derpy and adorable attention. I Ubered home because there were Fireball shots, and the party wasn’t really over by the time I wanted to go home, but I got a “Did you get home safe” text complete with a picture of my smiling hosts wishing me a good sleep and a “see you again soon”.

All good things.

II. This is floating around on Facebook and while I get that it is meant to be a joke, truer words have never been spoken.

I’m not saying that I will never want to couple (or triple or quadruple) up. I’m open to finding myself in love sharing my life with someone or someones. I am open to a variety of romantic configurations as long as the dynamic is healthy and loving. I have been monogamous and I’ve been polyamourus and I do well either way as long as there is clear communication and a sense that I matter.

But I’m not looking for someone to complete me. I’m complete already. There is no “other half” out there for me. I show up whole.

I’ve also grown to really value living alone so if someone wants me to change that, they’d better bring a lot to the table. Like giving me lots of space and time to myself. Like having a whole life of their own that they are happy with and enjoy. Like compersion when it comes to my other loves, be they hobbies, my work, my therapeutic process, my beloveds. The only kind of relationships I want to have are ones in which I can be completely myself. There are details I can compromise on, but I will not compromise who I am. At all. Ever.

This feels good to know. It also feels good (and hopeful) to notice that I’m thinking about it because that is a marker of healing after last year’s devastating dumpster fire.

III. The fact of my willingness to open myself up to love again is a bit of a miracle all things considered, but I am forever surprising myself with miraculous recoveries from devastating dumpster fires, so whatever. I’ll take it.

IV. Plans are in place for a beach day in two weeks. I am very excited.

V. I wrote this on my timeline yesterday but I wanted to put it here so it doesn’t get lost:
One of the things I love about teaching live, and why I do it more often these days (and by live, I mean streaming live over the internet) is that often when I’m teaching live, I say things *I need to hear*.

And because I know how it works, and because I have mastered this particular branch of magic, I trust that if I need to hear it, someone else needs to hear it.

I read a post by someone I will not name expressing how squicky (my word) it made them feel when other people praise themselves – specifically their works of art. I get it. We are definitely not raised to praise ourselves and when you come, as I did, from severe childhood abuse even *thinking* positive things about yourself can trigger shame.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I have been in therapy *this time* for just a shade over 8 years now and I can tell you this for nothing: praising oneself is sometimes the only antidote to the other shitty voices in your head that were embedded there by your abusers.

So. Let me model something for you. Unashamed praise of oneself.

I am a damned fine teacher and I am a channel for and a force for good. This is not simply an “affirmation”. This is a true fact. This isn’t something I say to mask my imposter syndrome while I secretly and silently think otherwise. It is not a statement meant to fool anyone into believing something that isn’t true. It is simply a statement of fact.

I am a damned fine teacher and I am a channel for and a force for good.

VI. This whole thing got me thinking about how much I *love* it when my people praise themselves. I want to fist bump them and cheer. It is so heartening to witness someone making a declaration about their awesomeness and I am always going to be a fan of that kind of self-loyalty.

And excuse me but what the fuck is up with people thinking that liking oneself and saying so is gross? You know what’s gross? The humble brag (hat tip to Renee for that brilliant phrase) that people do instead so they don’t “seem” full of themselves.

VII. I am unashamedly full of myself. Who else should I be full of? Do you think that makes me arrogant? Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry? Bless your heart.

VIII. I am still Effy Full Of Grace even after all of *waves at all of this* and if you come at me with a sincere apology I will probably forgive you, but if your apology doesn’t include changed behaviour, I’m going to notice and I’m going to drift away.

I like this about myself.

IX. Lots of stuff coming up in therapy about the scapegoat (me) vs. golden child (sister) dynamic that was at play in my childhood. I have attracted and become entangled with golden children all my life, and I started noticing this pattern. It is not the golden child’s fault that they were cast in that role but they do often become shitty people as a result. I’m watching out for them now because they are not good for me. Golden children who are unaware that this is what they were/are seem always to come with an unbearable sense of entitlement and as I heal, I find their presence absolutely toxic.

Give me a good old-fashioned black sheep misfit any day, please and thank you. They always seem to come with a willingness to poke at their own bits, scads of self-awareness, and grace.

X. This was a lot for a Sunday, I know, but…

P.S. I used a lot of terms that might be unfamiliar to you if you’re not versed in alternative romantic styles or abusive family dynamics. If you’re curious, I encourage you to use your Googlefu, since I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to define these terms for you. xo

Bits and Bobs

I. I am working on a thing for a thing and this is the background I created for it.

It is making me drool.

II. I ate two toasted cheese sandwiches with a drizzle of honey last night before bed and woke up feeling like the left side of my colon was going to explode. I keep forgetting that bread is not a thing I should be eating – especially not four slices of the stuff – but like one of my FB friends said “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

I took a long hot soak and drank a pot of red bush tea, and I feel better.

III. I was talking to Renee yesterday about how much I love my own survival cooking – the stuff I made when there were six of us living in the house and we were pretty poor – pots of things like stew and soup and chili and Bolognaise that in that time would last one dinner but now keeps me fed for days and then some if I freeze it. I’m going back to that because it is all healthy and nourishing and comforting and I always thank the self that simmered that pot on the stove for hours when I have no spoons so I thaw a container of whatever it was and heat it up and voila. Fed. Without ordering in.

IV. Today I am going to a new friend’s birthday party and there will be a hot tub and a fire. I am very excited about this even if I do feel a little like there’s a ten-pound bowling ball lodged in my colon.

V. I turned that background up there into a painted paper as part of the thing I’m doing for a thing.

I would wear this as a dress.

VI. I used to have a huge issue with the colour yellow but all my work in the realm of colour theory for Kaleidoscope over the last couple of years has totally eliminated that problem. Do you struggle with colour? Join us. You’ll be in good company and you will make beautiful things.

I’ve gotten some truly lovely feedback on the taster session I did for the e-course already and I am deeply looking forward to seeing what people do with my main lesson + bonus. Here’s a wee gallery of the stuff I produced for the class.

VII. I have to go into a live with my witches (which I love) but I haven’t eaten yet (because of the cannonball in my colon) and I’m brewing an optical migraine (which happens which I don’t eat) so I am a bit on the miserable side but I’ll get over it.

VIII. This is a pretty mellow entry compared with what’s actually going on in my brain meats. I’m feeling self-protective, and I’m okay with it. I don’t have to serve everything I’m going through up for public consumption. I can keep some things to myself until I feel comfortable sharing them.

IX. I said yes to three collabs for next year + the one I’m running myself + I’m pretty sure there will be another one to say yes to. I have to get on creating the content for all of them so I don’t find myself overwhelmed like I am finding myself overwhelmed this year. Deadlines are my nemesis. My nervous system hates them and also resists them. WHY AM I LIKE THIS?

X. Sometimes I think I am neurodivergent, but it isn’t a thing I want to explore or discover until I’ve adequately dealt with my trauma because a lot of neurodivergent things can be trauma in disguise, so we’ll just put a pin in all that for now.