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

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.