What If I Sh*t On The Table?

I. I wrote most of what I want to kick this week off in my newsletter, which you can find here, but there’s some less “newsy” stuff I want to explore, so I’m here today as well because a witch has things to purge and what is a blog but a personal vomitorium?

I kid, but not really. Anyway, let me explain that rather – um – alarming title. I promise it ends well.

II. I was in conversation last night with some shadow-dancers, and in response to something we were exploring (how difficult it is to stand for what we know is true for fear of abandonment), I had a vision. It ain’t pretty, so brace yourself.

I saw all of us trauma survivours (of whatever – you know who you are) as women on the birthing table, in transition. I saw us exhausted, in pain, at the end of our collective ropes. I saw us fully dilated, with our bodies absolutely on fire with the need to push, and I saw us clenching up for fear wondering what would happen if we shit on the table. This thought, this fear of laying a fresh turd right there for all present to see is so powerful that we *do not dare to push*. So we white-knuckle it. We hold it all in however painful it is to do so.

Gross, I know, but stay with me.

III. Along with this vision came this understanding:

If we don’t push, we’ll delay the inevitable, and it will hurt for a lot longer, and while shit is not a pleasant thing to have to deal with, the baby that *needs us to push* in order to come into the light doesn’t care one iota about the fact that we are going to shit on the table, and neither should anyone else who is present in the room, and if those who are present in the room *do* care about the fact that some shit arrived along with a *whole ass human being* we just pushed out of our cootchie, well, those humans do *not belong in the room*.

See what I’m saying?

IV. It was one hell of a vision, and while this whole “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best” thing is not a new revelation for me, it was powerful to have this new (if rather visceral) way to think about it.

V. I was reminded of the experience of having all of my upper teeth extracted.

After growing and feeding babies in and from my body while I was living in poverty, my teeth were too far gone to save, so they had to come out. And I was terrified because like many of us who have a history of child sexual abuse, I do not enjoy the sense of powerlessness that comes over me when someone hovers (looms!) over my prostrate body and does stuff to me that hurts.

I had asked my partner to stay with me throughout the process, which my partner promised to do with the dentist’s approval, but he couldn’t handle it. He said “Your face is getting all wrinkly and it’s freaking me out.” and he *left me there*. I was high on nitrous oxide, terrified, and totally helpless, and *he left me there*.

Same thing happened when I went to emergency with an irregular heartbeat and the doc was afraid I was going to throw a clot.

He left me there, all hooked up to a heart monitor, watching it like a hawk while I waiting for a head CT, afraid I was going to stroke out.

VI. It should come as no surprise that these examples of being abandoned when the shit hits the fan are only the tip of the “abandoned when the shit hits the fan” iceberg.

When my first husband died of pneumonia and my grief over it elicited eye-rolls and exasperated sighs. When the kids in our household were all going through some form of crisis AT THE SAME TIME and he checked out completely, smoked pot and played WoW and left us all to our own devices. When my kid got hospitalized for psychosis and I was left to fend for us both while he holidayed in India.

I know *now* that that fucking guy did not belong in the room. But in those moments, I thought it was *my fault* that he didn’t want to be in the room, because, look. I couldn’t even get the flu as a kid without being treated like I was an inconvenience, so of COURSE it was my fault that he didn’t want to be in the room, right?

VII. I know better now, because, me? If I love you?

I want to be in the room.

I want to hold your hand when the dentist is ripping your teeth out by the roots. I want to help you breathe through the worst while you shit on the table. I want to hold you while you grieve. I want to *show up*. I want to *be there*.

Hell, I want all of that even if I barely *like* you.

So, yanno. It follows that anyone that wants to be in my life has to be able to say the same or they don’t deserve me.

And that’s a thing I know now.

Hallelujah. I’ll take it.

On To Lighter Fare

VIII. When I say “lighter”, I mean “less heavy”. I am lighter. The content I am pursuing and engaging is lighter. The things I’m painting are lighter. The way I play is lighter. While all of *waves at the above* is super heavy, I am following heavier fare with lighter fare as way to practice self-loyalty. I am doing therapy and then engaging in something whimsical so my nervous system has a chance to regulate itself. I’m taking a course on shadow work, and following up with an episode of The Great Pottery Throw Down or Portrait Artist Of The year (instead of the latest serial killer documentary). I’m digging in my own dirt, yes, but I also turn on the tunes and dance it out until I’m a glowing, sweaty bundle of endorphins, and then? I sluice off in a hot shower.

It’s such a relief because I got stuck there for a good long while with nothing but the heavier fare. Too much true crime (what is up with my fascination with serial killers, y’all). All the sad songs. My regrettable past playing on loop in my head. All The Trauma Work, none of the fun, and what passed for fun was really just anesthetic.

There wasn’t much room in my life for the things that give me life. 

That’s shifting.

IX. I wrote a bit about that for this week’s Journal52, which I sent out to my beloveds via my newsletter + uploaded to The Wilderhood, but I thought I’d share it here as well. 

GRAB THE FILE ON DROPBOX

It has been an absolute joy to see how people respond to these (brand new for 2022) editions of Journal52.

Lighter Fare. Mmmmm hmmmm.

I’ll take it.

X. As mentioned in my newsletter, I am 73 days alcohol-free. The search for lighter fare has been integral to this journey, because once you stop numbing everything out, everything arises to be felt and dealt with, and that, my loves, is heavy stuff. But, I’m up to it.

See? This is me. Clear-eyed. Self-possessed. Dancing in all of my own rooms without fear. Pushing as needed, shit be damned. This baby is worth it.

xo
Effy

*I know I’m aging myself here – we give birth in beds now, but I had the delightful experience of having to hop up on a *table* in the delivery room once, and I’ll never forget it. Boy am I ever glad that’s a thing that’s changed. 

 

 

Anger

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?

Who knows.

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.

Fuck you.

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?

Fuck you.

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.

Fuck you.

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.

Photo of a very angry kitteh for tax.

 

 

 

 

 

The Universe And Cucumbers And Me

I. The universe cracks me up.

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.

VIII. This is what was delivered this afternoon:

A pile of English cucumbers numbering six

IX. I am amused.

X. In other news, Book Of Days 2022 opened for registration today.

I hope to see you in there.

And on that note, I’m going to go make myself a G_D CUCUMBER SAMMICH!

xo
Effy

P.S. If you love my writing, please share it on your socials? I appreciate you. xo

 

Stay

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.

My heart!

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.

Victories.

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.

IV. I also got some feedback yesterday about this paragraph from this blog post:

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.

 

 

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