Learning Experiences

I. This is post 12 of 15 that are due for my blog along. I’m just typing that out so I can get how many posts I need to catch up on to make my 30 posts in 30 days.

II. Monday, I went to my first pottery class. I have to admit that I had a few difficult moments because the instructor seemed a little whelmed and occasionally slightly exasperated. I was really struggling with centering and opening because these techniques were demonstrated from about 15 feet away and I am half-blind (literally), so it was hard to see hand positions, etc. I did my best on my own, but did eventually have to ask for some one-on-one guidance (which, while hard for me to ask for, is included in the price of the class).

III. So, anyway, at one point after assisting me, he said to someone across the room that “high energy people” tend to have difficulty with throwing pottery because it’s “so zen” and I started having bad feels about myself, because, yo. I am high energy. I am enthusiastic. I am excitable, and I love to learn. I was giggly and upbeat and totally into it even when I was making flop after flop and getting mud everywhere including my hair, all over my clothes, and on the floor around me. I was in full-on happy child mode which is exactly what I’d hoped to get out of the experience, so I’m not going to lie. This commentary, even if it wasn’t directed at me, stung a bit butandalso being in that state is extremely vulnerable for me so I could very well have been misreading/projecting. 

Butandalso…

III. The owner stopped by my station at one point and was the absolute opposite experience for me. Zero sense of his being whelmed or impatient. Helped me figure out what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. Demonstrated alternative hand positions since I was struggling with the ones I’d been shown initially. Absolutely oozed kindness. Left me feeling empowered. Inner kid felt a lot better after that encounter, and you know what? That says a lot about the quality of these two teaching styles.

Let me always strive to provide the latter kind of experience for my students. Let me always check in with myself before I teach to ensure that I am not whelmed or impatient because our inner kids show up to these classes and it is way too easy for them to misinterpret an instructor’s state as being our fault somehow.

DULY NOTED ALSO THAT I CAN TURN ANYTHING INTO A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

IV. Despite the mixed feelings, I didn’t let it ruin my night, and ultimately, after I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this guy wasn’t “doing me a favour” by instructing me – I paid for this instruction – I had a fucking blast, and over the course of the last two days (yes, this experience has taken up some bandwidth in my traumatized brainmeats for sure) I’ve concluded that if my enthusiasm makes me a difficult student or if I’m not “zen enough” for this particular instructor, or if learning will be harder for me because I’m not a quiet little mouse of a zen potter, well, I can live with that.

I walked home after class absolutely covered in clay. I’ve picked up a twelve-pack of bar towels and two aprons because your girl is a VERY MESSY POTTER.

V. Speaking of teacher/student experience, I am taking a beginner’s drawing class (truly for beginners) from New Master’s Academy and in the introduction to the fundamentals course, the instructor talked about thinking of the part of ourselves that wants to learn to draw as a wee soul fragment to whom we must be extraordinarily kind and with whom we should be extraordinarily gentle. My whole body melted and I felt super relaxed and inspired and this amazing teacher will get all my money from now all based on that one little pep talk – one that my students know I give all the time. Thank you Steve Huston. You are a lovely human.

And that’s all I’ve got for now because I’m saving some thoughts for later as I attempt to catch up on my Artfully Wild Blog Along where I’m blogging every day (ish) in September. You are 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.

 

Alive In Hope

I. There’s a lot I want to say about Anthony Bourdain but I’m not ready so I’m just putting this in here as a placeholder and a reminder to self. Write it out, bebe. When you’re ready.

II. This giveaway will close on Sunday. Get your name in.

III.

I painted this ahead of Full Moon in Aquarius. She is layered with things I am releasing and a willingness to listen for that still, small voice that will answer this question.

I’ve decided that this will be my next tattoo. Just the question “What’s next?”

Feels like an anchor.

IV. I’ve been struggling with my base line. I want it to be higher than “not holding my guts in today”. I want it to be somewhere approaching “content”. I’ll even settle for “not too shabby”.

I’m working on it.

V. Therapy rode me hard and put me up wet yesterday but I discovered that if I use these Burt’s Bees facial wipes to wipe and cool my face while I’m crying. I do not end up with the usual truck smashed my face in look that I usually get after crying. They’re cucumber scented and they really help.

You’re welcome.

VI. Kimi and I were talking this morning about the fact that it is almost August already and we haven’t had ANY FUCKING FUN.

Must fix that. I need a beach day or something. For now, though, we’re going to sit on the lawn and swill rose.

VII. This got painted yesterday because it was The Magdalene’s feast day. “Oh lamp of the world, oh gleaming pearl. Pray for us.”

VIII. Anthony, and my delayed response to his passing. It’s been three years and I’m just now starting to feel it which says something about how trauma impacts my ability to move through grief. He is not the kind of mirror I would wish to gaze into but there he is with his gaping void on full display in twelve seasons of Parts Unknown. The constant seeking. The grappling.

I get him. He would have gotten me.

I will make it, though.

IX. These words came out of my mouth yesterday and they made me furious. “I swear to god the only reason I am still alive is to spite my mother, who used to tell me I’d be dead by the time I was 21.”

X. I am, as ever, alive in hope.

 

I Am The Storm

I. It is astonishing how easily I forget that pain – especially pain in the lower torso area of my body – is a huge trauma trigger for me. I remembered last night, but not until after I got whipped up into a frenzy of abandonment depression. It doesn’t come up often anymore but *I am a sexual abuse survivour* and that does still live in my body and even though I’m on the other side of the really gnarly part of recovery from C-PTSD, I can still be badly triggered.

II. Thankfully, there are people I can talk to who respect that I can’t vocalize when I’m triggered, so they let me text. There are people who know my whole story so I don’t have to go into a whole lot of detail. There are people who listen and love on me when I’m in the darkest depths.

And also Korean Fried Chicken is a thing that exists. With lightly breaded fries. And honey garlic sauce.

The night savaged me, yes, but then I salvaged the night, and even though I’m still in pain this morning, I am not holding my guts in anymore.

III. I think it might be an ovarian cyst, since memories about having one when I was fourteen flooded me last night. That time, my mother and step-father thought I had an ectopic pregnancy and brought me to the ER. It was very traumatic because I was *not* sexually active and there was *no way* I could be pregnant, but they *would not believe me*. The ER doc was very sympathetic, though, and gave me an ultrasound so he could shut my parents up.

Anyway, it’s the same kind of pain. Very localized in the lower right. Lots of bloating. If it keeps up much longer, I will go to the ER, which *terrifies me*.

Sigh.

IV. My ex is moving out of the country. He didn’t tell me this, of course – he told GG, who told me last night. This wouldn’t matter to me except that he’s pressuring GG to find a new place and move before he leaves in June. I respect his desire to move – he can do what he wants – but I’m having all kinds of feels about the fact that he agreed to step in with GG’s care and now he’s leaving him before GG has time to catch his breath after the hospitalization.

One of the most stressful things a person can do is move. Now imagine moving after a serious psychotic break while you are still feeling a little bit sketched out. While your moms is in another city and can’t travel to help because there is a pandemic.

Fuck.

V. I am typing this out because I was holding it in my body and I need to stop doing that. I need to stop listening to the voice in my head that sounds suspiciously like my mother’s voice – the one that says “Don’t air your dirty laundry”.

Fuck that noise.

*Hangs it all out on the line so the light can get at it*. 

VI. Today will be better. I have a live with my witches. Kimi is coming over for LLMJ, and then we’re going to watch The Stand. I’m going to have a hot soak. I’m going to feed myself. I’m going to give myself the love and care I deserve.

VII. Also, WoW at some point I think because it is good to slip the bonds of this world for a while and enter another, less complicated one. Running around killing things feels like just what the doctor ordered.

VIII. Those of you who quietly and sweetly helped with GG’s laptop upgrade will be happy to know that’s been accomplished. Thank you. You know who you are.

IX. Those of you who made space for me over the course of this week re: the dumpster fire that is having to have contact with someone who is just fucking terrible for my nervous system – thank you x a million. You really helped me get through it.

X. Today, I am the storm.