Category Archives: All About Me

New Year New You 2016: Week 18 – Body Time + Taking Stock

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Do I think you need to know how to quiet your mind and focus to do magic? Yes!” So, take a minute to empty the “old crap” out of your brain, so there’s “room to let new crap in”.
 
Tarot Card: For this prompt, I’m strongly inclined to go with Temperence, given its connotations of balance, of pause and reflect, of integration. But I could have just as easily gone with The Hanged Man with its connotations of edges, of new perspectives, even night vision (king of insight…), the clarity that can come from taking a minute to look at things from all angles, to wait and see. Likewise, the Seven of Earth – the suit of embodiment, its number linked to both hope (the Star) and action (the Chariot) – that urges us to look at what we’ve accomplished while reminding us that change takes time would also be an appropriate choice.
 
So someone (Parneet from Chai Chats, iirc) once very effectively explained meditation as “This is not Mind Time. This is Body Time”. Like, rather than focusing on Emptying Your Mind, the whole point of meditation (sitting quietly style meditation) is to check in with your body and connect with yourself physically. That’s what the whole “focus on your breath” thing is about.
Me? I spend a HUGE amount of my life in Mind Time. Hours and hours spent sifting through thoughts and cognitive patterns, dealing with a lymbic system that is sometimes No Help At All and trying to forge new habits and pathways by rote and force of Will… But Brene says “We move what we know from our heads to our hearts through our hands” and so Body Time is a needed thing, as well.
 
Body Time is hours spent making thumbprint shortbread cookies and vegan ginger snaps. It’s the repetitive work of chopping food for large-batch cooking and canning, and the over-under-around-and-through of knitting a shrug worth of garter stitch, the back-and-forth of weaving, the twist-and-fling of spinning on a drop spindle. All those “stimming” things that keep me level and calm and focused when anxiety and ambient noise are threatening to carry me away.
Body Time is pausing to feel my feet, set my roots down into the ground, it’s taking a minute to breath extra deep, into the spots in my hips that aren’t always there, all the way down into my shins, to feel with my whole body. It’s doing a little shoulder-focused dance to help my spine straighten and my stiff, aching lower-back muscles loosen up.
Body Time is letting myself enjoy a kiss, lean into a touch, feel everything all the way down rather than shying away from sensation. It’s paying attention to sensation, to wants and desires that show up physically, adding new techniques to the tool kit of Things That Help Me Stay and then actually using them when I need them.
 
Body Time is, to be honest, still a work in progress, but it’s getting easier. Some days, the part of my brain that insists that experiencing desire is, in and of itself, monstrous, something to be ashamed of, something that it’s abusive and wrong to even voice… some days, that part of me still does the driving. Although I’m getting a little better at wrestling the keys back and feeling my way into my own frame again.
I have made progress on this front.
I am having an easier time recognizing that I’m loved and cared for. I’m having an easier time holding two hard, sad things in my hands at once while still continuing to actually move forward. My year-at-a-glance horoscope for 2017 includes the phrase “happiness is an inside job” which… on the one hand: Duh. On the other hand: This suggests that I’ll be working on “How to get to Happy” for a little while longer. But there’s been movement. I feel like I’m part-way up the mountain and, while I’m not there yet, if I stop for a minute and take a damn breath, I can look behind me and see that I’ve actually gone a fair ways so far. This is good. I’m not quite at the Queen of Cups “end goal” of my project, more like a conscious embodiment of the Page of Cups while still trying to navigate the Knight of Cups‘ characteristics in a way that includes good boundaries and self-compassionate caution instead of EITHER “flinging myself off a cliff” (the eyes-wide-shut Relentless Hope that is sometimes part of the Three of Fire) in the name of “earning” the love and belonging one craves OR the kind of walled-up paranoia that can lead one to freezing everybody out and being lonely and hungry all the time (the emotional equivalent of the Four of Earth).
Fingers crossed that I can pull this off. ❤

New Year New You 2016: Weeks 14 & 15 – Searching for a Sign + One Small Step and Then One More

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Now would be a good time to check in with your personal Powers That Be (PTB) about your goals. […] How do your PTB’s advice change your approach to your goals?” PLUS “We’ve spent a few more weeks thinking, planning, and doing magic. Now it’s time to return to the task at hand: doing the work necessary to accomplish our goals.”.
 
Tarot Cards: Eight of Vessels (Week 14) + Two of Earth (Week 15).
 
So. I spent the past month-and-a-bit avoiding my tarot cards. A mixture of being afraid of what they’d tell me and being afraid of how I’d mis/read things (the stories in our heads are frequently how we interpret readings for ourselves, and it’s easy to read worst-case scenarios AND wishful-thinking daydreams into what the cards have to say).
None the less, messages have a way of getting through.
A huge part of the Queen of Cups Project has been, basically, answering the question of “How do I get to Happy?” Miss Sugar talks, occasionally, about Radiomancy – the practice of seeing what pops up when you spin the dial, put your playlist on shuffle, or otherwise just see what songs are screaming at you from the airwaves.
I’ve been getting these two a lot. Plus this came across my desk this morning.
Gosh, do you think someone is trying to tell me something?
>.>
 
Yeah.
 
My Eight of Water story is, basically, “Gotta let this one go. No fixing it. Time to start again. Put your energy somewhere else” like, say, feeding your whale heart and nurturing relationships with people who actually care about you. Combine that with all the “Femme Emotional Labour” and “Trojan Horse Boundary Crossing” stories I’ve been getting linked to, of late (or, y’know, all freaking year…) and, yeah. The Eight of Blooms (top, right) is the pearl found (at last?) after going through a lot of oysters. All those discarded heart and vulva shapes ringing a treasure found by moonlight, by shining a light on all my old patterns and assumptions. The “rebirth” of the Eight of Vessels is a reminder that there will be other chances, that it’s hard to be happy when you’re fussing over every little thing in order to “make” yourself worthy in the eyes of someone who, when you get right down to it, messed with your head and took advantage of you, no matter how much of a compassionate lens you can view that through.
 
So that’s the information I’ve been getting.
 
How does that translate into One Small Thing I can do to push towards my goal?
My Queen of Cups goal has been to become more receptive, to understand that I’m actually loveable and worthy rather than just some fuck-up who has too much privilege and too much monster-brain to warrant being cared for without having to seriously earn that stuff. So…
I mentioned feeding my “whale heart”. That’s a Life Coaching thing, my “new Way of being/operating” that is self-compassionate, and doesn’t truck with people who won’t step up to meet her needs the way she steps up to meet theirs. The one small thing, the moment-to-moment practical thing I can do to feed my Whale Heart is to practice being kind to myself and doing what’s actually good for me.
Yes, it’s totally a challenge – I’m something of what Nydia Dauphin calls a “high functioning self-neglector”. Way more likely to make food if I’m feeding someone other than myself. Way more likely to swallow the worst of my feelings and focus on others than make them listen to me whine (uh… this entire blog notwithstanding…) – but it’s also necessary. So. Things I can do right now along those lines?
 
Start the latest batch of stock + process a bunch of sunchokes/as’kebwan’ for the freezer. This will make it easier for me to make meals later on.
 
Put dinner in the oven (I dug through my meat bin, in the freezer, and pulled out a tiny roast. This, with some sunchokes/as’kebwan’ will be a good start to dinner. I can throw in some frozen veggies or pickled beets and sour kraut (if they’re ready) for veggie content) and make myself Real Food instead snacking on crackers until my wife gets home to start cooking. It’s not quite making Real Food For Just Me, but it’s a step in that direction.
 
Bake something (probably soda bread and/or brownies using whey and/or Gone Off Milk). This will be creative, plus it will mean easy go-to food available for lunches and snacks over the next few days. It will also clean out the fridge a bit, which won’t hurt.
 
Do 10 minutes of yoga (child’s pose, plank, tree, warrior pose in one direction, Goddess pose, warrior pose in the opposite direction, downward dog, heart-melting pose, child’s pose again), possibly while humming. This will work my body, strengthen my arms and my core (good for my back), remind me to make music and let me move energy through my body.
 
Start anointing my heart chakra with “Unveiled” – a limited edition perfume/magical oil that Miss Sugar made, years ago – to help me see what I usually can’t/won’t see, the bad stuff I wish wasn’t there, but also the good stuff that I’m too prone to ignoring or refusing to allow in.
 
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Squash Moon Crests

It’s Saturday night and the moon is round. Most of my friends in Toronto are getting their velvet chokers on to watch the Drunk Feminist Films showing of The Craft (and I’m following it on twitter because, in spite of not having watched it in my teens, I still rather adore that movie and the general (and generally gothic) aesthetic of 1990s teen witchcraft).
The jerusalem artichokes are flowering, the squash (all two of them) are in, and I’ve bought four pie pumpkins with-which to make pumpkin butter. I am waiting for the as-yet-to-materialize (I don’t mind) frost to arrive. My wife and I have spent most of the day loafing around and just had late-night (for us) grilled cheese + tomato soup dinner. It’s a weird mix of “we have not gotten nearly enough done” and “oh, thank fuck” over here.
 
I’m having a serious surface-area problem in my kitchen. Most of the counter is covered in pumpkins and small appliances (and dirty dishes, but they are not a huge percentage of the stuff, unexpectedly), and my shelves are overflowing with preserves and kombucha (which is probably vinegar by now, but works quite nicely when cut with soda water – I’m wondering if I could tincture stuff in it for a way-less-alcoholic-than-vodka option… Hmmm…), also we brought the plants in, so the floor space is limited, too. O.O
 
I’m thinking about time.
About things ending.
About things NOT ending.
I’ve got maybe two more life coaching sessions left, and I feel like what I’ve tried to accomplish through them (a) is working, but (b) is not going to be anywhere near a done deal by the time my 37th birthday (and final coaching session) rolls around. I’ve got about eleven weeks before the end of 2016 (er… maybe ignore that if you freak about late-December stuff?), by-which-point I’d like to be done my New Year New You project for this round which… will be cutting it close, to say the least.
Autumn is the season for letting things go, but I’m watching myself dig my nails in deeper, dig my heels in elsewhere, hold things at arms’ length like “Why is this happening now?” Trying to discern what I actually want. Trying not to jump in too fast, make assumptions, or flee in terror over imaginary things.
 
Horoscope from Chani Nicholas is telling me that I need to focus on work – on the day-to-day of doing my “chores”, but also on The Work that I’ve been doing all year, and on “work” in the sense of “career” which, in my case, is probably modeling? That and/or working in my wife’s shop. Honestly, this particular topic (in a Jupiter Return year, no less) has always kind of baffled me? My “Year At A Glance” in the We’Moon calendar is all “What kind of wealth do you want to accumulate?” and I’m all “??? This is even a thing???” Second Chakra Stuff. I don’t even know. :-\
ANYWAY.
I am clearly done like dinner. Birthday party for a 71-year-old sky diver tomorrow.
 
Goodnight, kiddies.
Meliad, the Birch Maiden.
 
 
~*~
 
 
Motion: Lots of long (1hr) walks of late. Spent a week not doing Plank, and my back was Not Impressed so, lesson learned there. :-\
 
Attention: Reading “If I Was Your Girl” by Meredith Russo. Trying to up my self-awareness game, notice and name my feeelings, try to spot my own repeating patterns before I get too sucked into them. Trying to notice it when I get Emotionally Stormy around self-inflicted feelings of obligation, so I can sort out where I need to draw a line or step myself back. It’s… sort of working so far?
 
Gratitude: Getting to sleep in late. Snuggling with my wife. Being taken out for a fancy dinner by someone cool. Friends getting good news. The chance to talk about symbolism and celery root (not of celery root, mind you, though maybe we could have?) with a (probably queer, probably femme) cashier at the grocery store this afternoon. My wife making sure we ate dinner, because sometimes I totally fall down on that front. Hot baths.
 
Inspiration: Femme Rage. No, seriously, that’s pretty much where it’s coming from right now.
 
Creation: Finished the pink shrug, finally, and even wore it out and about the other day. Beyond that, though, not feeling super creative right now.

New Year New You 2016: Week 13 – Sacrifice (You are the Thing That is Burning)

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: A meaningful sacrifice to your Powers That Be. You and your PTB will know best what that is for you. Think on it.
 
Tarot Card: Judgement (20 of Major Arcana).
I picked this one for a couple of reasons. One is because of the Mary-El version of the card, which is very-much in line with the title of this post. Another is the idea of “Judgy Judgy Judgy” and the way we can be cruel to ourselves, the way our Jerk Brains can say the meanest things, in the (mistaken) idea that dissuading us from leaving our comfort zones will keep us safe. The third is the Osho version of this card, Beyond Illusion, which has to do with the “sacrifice” theme of this week’s prompt (the Collective Tarot’s take on it is also relevant, in terms of end goals, fyi).
So I’m going with it.
 
I’m just over two months away from the year-mark of my Queen of Cups project, and right about at the year-mark for when I started getting Messages about becoming more receptive in the first place. I have to say it’s been an interesting ride, given that where I’ve ended up is a question about how to have better boundaries. This isn’t particularly surprising, but it’s not what I was originally expecting when I set out to teach myself how to Let More Good Stuff In and how to be More Vulnerable (in the asking for what I need way) in relationships that matter to me.
Then again, it’s been a pretty constant internal argument with myself to avoid going back to the definition of “boundaries” that essentially means “nobody is allowed in, ever” and hang onto the one that (is fairly theoretical but also probably a better plan, and) says “boundaries” mean “I decide who is allowed in, and how far, and under what circumstances… and will back myself off accordingly if my needs aren’t being met”.
 
To that end, I’ve been pushing up against some significant edges during my most recent life coaching sessions. I’ve been reading about Non-Violent Communication, the notions of observing and naming my feelings, and of voicing needs and making actionable requests of people to help me meet those needs.
It suuuuucks.
I read a chapter, and my shoulders hike right up around my ears. My teeth come out, and I seriously start spoiling for a fight. Turns out my metaphorical Flailing Mermaid has had a lot to say about changing the way I interact with people when it comes to boundaries, needs, and consequences.
This is the bit about “Judgy” that I was talking about, above.
So, here I am, staring the “sacrifice” prompt in the face, and haaaaating the idea of giving up something that I value. I don’t think this particular NYNY Goal is one that can be met by limiting my time on social media or deciding to stick with fair trade chocolate, sugar, coffee and so-on[1].
 
The thing I have to give away is my illusions.
 
You remember I did a tarot reading a little while ago?
The thing that is burning, when The Tower shows up, is me.
 
I’ve been telling myself old stories over the past couple of days. Like, noticeably replaying Old Tapes, grinding old axes, getting mad (inside my head) at everyone whoever Wronged Me in some way. And I know that pattern.
What do I have to give away in order to get what I want?
If what I want is Liberation (which could also be understood through the last “phase” of this version of the 10 of Air), I have to move myself Beyond the Illusions that I’ve build around myself that simultaneously tell me (a) that I’m not worthy of love and care and kindness, but also (b) that Needing Things is how you get yourself hurt, so better off to keep your damn mouth shut if you’re codependent enough to need something in the first place[2].
 
So. How do I offer this to the fire?
How, in a situation where the behaviours associated with The Flailing Mermaid are part of me, have redeeming qualities that I want to keep, and which – like it or not – are never going to go away, how do I give away the control I let those behaviours have on me?
How do I let that go?
The answer, I suspect, is “slowly”. Slowly, but consistently, a sliver at a time, one bad habit at a time, burn a new path through my internal woods, tread it enough that I know my new way and don’t always twist towards the old.
 
~*~
In terms of how to back this up with some magical working, mind you, I can see doing some sort of a fire ritual. Write out the old way and feed it to the flames, spread the ash on my garden and let it compost into something good and new.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Although, for the record, Ben and Jerry’s (which recently spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter) does fair trade cocoa and sugar on at least some (“Cherry Garcia” and “If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours”) of their stuff, which is always good to know. I’ve added them to my list of Approve Ice Cream (even if they are owned by Unilever), alongside Kawartha Dairy (which is Delicious and made in Ontario).
 
[2] Here I’m thinking of Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and the chapter about struggling with shame around need and needing, and how, when you are afraid/ashamed of needing things (or people, or help), you have set up a hierarchy where people who need/receive are Less Than people who help/give. I have a weird(?) relationship with needing and receptivity. Some stuff – like home-made dinner, hugs, or second-hand furniture – is easy for me to receive. Other stuff – like small-but-special presents or people going out of their way for me – is harder. Other stuff – like flirtatious attention, sexual touch, heaps of cash, or very generous gifts (which… 2nd Chakra Stuff, much?) – is very, very difficult. I get suspicious about what I’m going to “owe” the other person, or nervous about not giving them the performance/response they’re (in theory) wanting “in exchange” for giving me so much attention, effort, or “energy” (what is this thing where money = energy? I don’t entirely get it) which, in itself, can land me in Trigger Land or the kind of emotional storms with-which my Flailing Mermaid is all too familiar, real fast. I have difficultly needing things (and talking out loud about same) and difficulty receiving things – even if some of those things are much easier than others – and maybe it’s not surprising that the two go hand in hand AND that being “the giving one” feels powerful and safe (or powerless but indispensable, which is also a kind of “safe”… in a way) while being the “needing (“needy”) one” feels vulnerable (it is), dangerous/unstable, and burdensome/shameful (it’s not, but I’m having trouble working that into my bones). Relevant stuff here. Still sorting it through.

New Year New You 2016: Week Twelve – Every Day You’re Hustling

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: This week is about putting your money where your mouth is. I want you to keep a daily journal. In it, talk about what you’ve done that day to accomplish your goal(s).
 
Tarot Card: Eight of Disks. This one was a bit of a no-brainer. The Eight of Earth is all about the daily grind, about getting it done, day in and day out, about the dilligence it takes to stick to a task until you get good at it (practice, practice, practice), which is what this week’s prompt is about. In the Wooden Tarot, the Eight of Bones is a spine, calling up both “put your back into it” and “don’t chicken out (don’t be spine-less)”, which touch on this week’s prompt while also acknowledging the “continuing in spite of your fears and doubts” elelments of Week Eleven.
 
But here’s a thing. In the collective tarot, whose suit of earth is also called Bones, the Eight of Bones is a ribcage, with a crysalys at its heart.
 

Eight of Bones - Collective Tarot A ribcage with eight ribs.  There is a crysalys nested in the sternum over (or in place of) the heart.  Below the ribcage, fiddlehead ferns are starting to unfurl.

Eight of Bones – Collective Tarot
A ribcage with eight ribs. There is a crysalys nested in the sternum over (or in place of) the heart. Above the crysalys hangs the figure-8 of the infinity symbol, echoing the transformative potential of The Magician in the Major Arcana. Below the ribcage, fiddlehead ferns are starting to unfurl.


 
That’s what the daily grind, the dedication, will get you. Personal evolution. Personal transformation.
 
Every time I (grudgingly) do plank to build my core-strength and literaly take the pressure off my spine; every time I pause to check in with my body, to see what feels good, to see what feels at all; every time I answer my journaling questions for Life Coaching; every time I push myself to stay with hope (which is so, so scary)… every time I do any of that, I’m letting the crysalys around my heart get a little more mature, I’m letting my internal changes move a little farther on the journey from where I was to where I want to be.
 
Miss Sugar asks:

Have you made you an option instead of a priority?

 
This isn’t easy.
 
Taking time out for myself – when my whole life feels like “free time” half the time, when I get so angry at myself for still being a tumult of anxiety[1] in spite of having rigged my life so that I mostly don’t have to deal things that are uncomfortably beyond my control[2] – it feels like… It feels like “Gods, Meliad, do you have to baby yourself even more than you already do???”
 
But the whole point of my Queen of Cups Project is to be more capable of receoptivity, of accepting kindness, pleasure, care, Good Things, into my life and my body without getting all freaked out about it. To be able to receive, as well as give, with an open heart (and open legs). To be able to trust instead of self-sabotaging thanks to my insecurities. To be able to trust realistically and with good boundaries rather than flinging myself off a cliff, so to speak, and hoping my reckless trust will prove I’m worthy of not shattering on the rocks.
… And doing that means I have to be able – be willing and able – to be good to myself, to be trust-worthy to myself, to follow-through with, and take care of, my Self.
 
So. If you’ll excuse me, I have Exercises I need to work through, and salsa I need to finish canning.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Fun Fact: There is a farely good chance that I have “generalized anxiety disorder”, and have had it since childhood! I’m not looking to get a diagnosis, since meds are probably not the way to go here, but having that “Oh… that explains a lot…” moment after self-diagnostic test #3 came up with the same result, plus having a better idea of which strategies and techniques for managing this stuff are most likely to work? It’s been a big help.
 
[2] I work from home, I work with my wife, I do an outside-the-house job that I’m extremely good at and valued for. I may be broke all the time, but I’m also able to keep us somewhat-creatively fed on limited cash. I know how to rig the odds and ask for advice/information from My People through tarot, I put effort into maintaining the relationships I have with my awesome, reliable friends whom I can count on, I live down town so that I can walk everywhere, and can’t use “But… transit…” as an excuse not to leave the house and try new things, etc, etc…

New Year New You 2016: Week Eight – Shoulder to the Wheel

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “What’s the hardest thing for you to do? What do you keep putting off? Do it now. Grit your teeth and push, baby. You’re making something beautiful, don’t stop now. Show the universe what kind of wonders you’re capable of this week.”
 
Tarot Card: Two of Cups.
Maybe it’s telling that I’m chosing a “feelings” card rather than a “passions” card for this entry. I almost wanted to choose the Six of Cups – for a lot of reasons, including the generocity & reunion aspects of it, but also the more bitter, painful aspects (naivete, being out of your depth) – but felt like that would be setting myself up for failure.
In the Wildwood deck, this card is “Attraction“, and sticks with a fairly traditional meaning for this card (which is sort of “The Lovers” Lite, if you want to put it that way). In the Osho Zen deck, on the other hand, it’s “Friendliness” (an image that calls up that “grow not in each other’s shadow” quote from The Prophet, at least for me), which is also accurate, but less typical (I find). Either way, this card tends to mean “starting over” – sometimes that means “starting over with someone new”, and other times it means “reconciliation” or a change in the way two(?) people relate to each other. I think it can sometimes mean “enfatuation” or “NRE” as well, but I’d need to look into it a little more. Regardless, it’s sometimes characterized as a “passive” card, or a card whose indications hinge a LOT on context which… feels appropriate for this week’s prompt.
 
Thoughts:
Way back in Week Two, I talked about how “It’s hard to think of ‘receiving’ as something I can initiate”. And it still is. (And I also kind of am falling down that whole Second Chakra Energy money-and-sex rabbit hole, even if I’ve mostly staved it off for the past while). I touched on this feeling in Week Three, as well, when I talked about how being “proactively receptive” would involve being both More Trusting and More Vulnerable (which worked out so well…), and now I’m here, and this week’s prompt is asking me to do the Hard Thing that I’ve been putting off.
 
The first time I looked at the Osho Zen depiction of the Queen of Cups (Receptivity), what I saw in her double-helix-stemmed lotus blossom body was the Chalace (Brittish Traditional Wiccan style, in case you missed the metaphor). I keep thinking about the message to Slow Down from back in early April, and about not being as in my body as I thought I was and, maybe it’s because of the afore-mentioned sex-and-money rabbit hole, but I kind of feel like the Hard Thing I’ve been putting off is sex, specifically bottoming in sexual situations. (It’s something I can do, and something that I can enjoy a LOT… but I’m also really out of practice, and the last few times I’ve tried it, things have not ended well. I’ve wound up clinging to my various partners asking them over and over “Are you safe? Are you okay?” – a dissociative Thing where it’s pretty easy to spot what I’m really asking. FML.
And I’m fucking tired of it!
 
So I did a Hard Thing the other night, and asked for something specific from someone specific. And the someone specific said Yes.
 
Which you’d think would have been it for the hard part, but you would be wrong!
Turns out, there’s a whole other Hard Part that I didn’t even know was there!
 
So. Working this out:
Brené Brown writes (in The Gifts of Imperfection, iirc) that Joy is one of the most vulnerable feelings out there, and that because of this, people (i.e.: ME) are quick to numb out joy with things like Preemptive Tragedy or by setting up a permanent campsite in the Slaugh of Despond (perpetual, pre-emptive disappointment).
 
Slogging through the internal landscape of what I think I am, and am not, Supposed To feel – I’m not supposed to want things OR I’m supposed to “want things” but only in-so-far as I’m able to psychically predict what other people want to me to want, which I an then present to them like it was all my idea OR Wanting specific things is greedy, and makes you a burden/bother, and you should know better than to be like that OR You can WANT things all you like, but actually ASKING for them is heaping social pressure on someone else to do what you want, whether they want to or not, so you might as well just tattoo “rapist” on your forehead and get it over with, you horrible, horrible, self-centred, demanding jerk… You get the idea. Slogging through that stuff is hard. Getting the words out of my mouth is hard. But, for me at least (and in a situation where there was at least a 50% chance of getting a Yes in the first place), it was even harder to get through what came after.
 
The Hard Thing, it turns out, is stopping myself from slamming my own fist down on hope and joy by telling myself All The Stories – stories like “They’re just saying yes to be ‘nice’ to you, they don’t really want to do this and you should just let them off the hook before you screw this up even worse” OR “Okay, you’ve asked, and they’ve said yes. Now what happens if you freeze up and reneg on the deal? What happens then, huh? You’ll have Led Them On and then Let Them Down, that’s what! Maybe you should just call the whole thing off before you screw this up even worse”.
 
The hard part is staying open, and it took recognizing the feeling as one I’d had before (over a year ago actually, back when C first said they were interested in me and I spent a train-ride home from Toronto wanting to sob my eyes out because I was so full of hope that was trying so hard to turn into despair) for me to figure out what was happening.
Maybe if (when?) I feel that feeling again, I’ll be able to recognize it and tell myself: “Wait! This isn’t something that you have to squash! Stay hopeful! Stay open! This is already going somewhere good!”
 
Staying open felt like being filled up to overflowing (with something really positive), feeling a little overwhelmed and like I needed to dial things back or else Something Would Go Wrong… But it didn’t, in and of itself, feel bad. And staying emotionally open had some er… pleasant side-effects on the physical front? Yay? 🙂
 
I think that feeling – brim-full and possibly overflowing, but able to accept that more is coming – is the Queen of Cups Feeling.
 
I read something in Healing Sex (which I’d forgotten I’d bought years ago and in-which I’d already made a bunch of notes) the other day, about how as you push through barriers, you are going to feel all the uncomfortable, crappy feelings all over again, and you’re going to have to figure out which of those uncomfortable (emotional and/or phsyical) sensations are crappy-and-triggering because you don’t like them, versus which ones are uncomfortable but actually okay (like: If you try to stop yourself from getting turned on because of bad experiences or feelings around getting turned on during a Bad Situation, it’s okay to continue with a Good Situation, even if you are trying not to get turned on, and you might be able to let yourself get turned on in those Good Situations eventually). This reminds me a little of that.
 
Learning (or remembering?) how to discern which Intense Feelings mean “stop” versus which ones mean “keep going”, rather than treating all of them as “This is Too Intense! ACK!” is… kind of a big deal? I feel kind of like I’ve had a penny-drop moment, albeit probably one that’s going to involve a lot of practicing before it becomes something I can do without having to talk myself thorugh it on a concious level. (Although talking myself through “stay hopeful, stay open” in the emotional sense is actually a mega-tonne easier than talking myself through “stay in your body, don’t over-think everything” in the physical sense has ever, ever been, possibly for obivous reasons).
 
I have a chunk of rose quartz tucked into my bra, near my heart. I have Plans for this, but one of them is a little bit of self-glamoury to keep some love-for-me close at hand when I need it.
Touching on the Two of Cups again, the Mary-El version, as Beth Maiden puts it, depicts the “[…J]oy of emotional connection, the sublimity of blending energies[…]”. Of offering and accepting and receiving and offering back; of feeding each other.
I want to do this with my partner(s).
I want to build on this and keep opening.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad.

New Year New You 2016: Week Seven – Glamour and You

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world and how that’s affecting your own personal goals. […] Give your physicals selves some love and magic this week!”
 
Tarot Card: Seven of Swords. Both the Wildwood and the Osho Zen decks are applicable in this case.
 
Thoughts:
I’ve never known the seven of swords to be a positive card. Even when the interpretation is a good idea (It’s time to take the mask off! It’s okay to stop maintaining and fall apart right now. I know you’re worried about What People Will Think, but you really are Enough in spite of those fears), the actual process of showing people one’s Real Face can be terrifying (and can sometimes backfire). Yet, sometimes, what it points to (e.g.: in a reversed position) is the need to break old habits, break silences, break out of self-imposed prisons of Shoulds and Musts.
I was yacking with a friend about this a few months ago, and it seems to fit here pretty well: A lot of us learn to keep ourselves small as a defence tactic. If you are a woman on the internet (even a white, cis woman such as myself), you learn pretty early how many readers it takes to start getting unwanted, threatening attention from trolls. If you’re a woman who ever leaves her home, the same goes for when you’re walking downt he street.
There’s a zillion people (of a very specific gender, most of the time) who would love to police us back into silence and invisibility, and a lot of us balance on a thread between “too visible” and “straight-up hiding”.
The thought of being Visible, of being Big, can be really frightening, whether we’re worried about being attacked by trolls, cat-callers, or The Fraud Police, and it can be exhausting to deal with.
 
Presenting yourself in a way that shows you in your best light, as your best self, can be exhausting.
 
I went to a book launch a couple of weekends ago. I went to the Gorgeous House in the Country (a luxury home built inside a reclaimed barn – for real. I want to live there when I grow up) book launch of a femme-lookin’ (I say, because I don’t actually know if she’d ID as femme) lesbian writer’s new novel. Her sculptor-painter partner was decked out in a Nice Suit at the merch table, and she was all dolled up in a shiny gold blouse signing everyone’s new books. My wife and her other partner (through-whom we know this couple) both talked about feeling out of place at the party. Even though, as creative dykes in the 40-75 age bracket, they were even more among their peers than I was.
But I swanned in there like I owned the place, because I’m a queer femme writer (in a raspberry faux-fur 3/4-sleeve coat, a leopard-print skirt, fancy stockings – that the woman who turned-out-to-be-a-publisher noticed and complimented me on, no less – huge, diva sunglasses and hot pink lipstick… I was flagging pretty hard, kids) so how could I not fit in?
… And it worked.
 
I mean, right up until I found out that the nice queer-poetry-chick I’d been politely down-playing my writing work to (my wife had been chatting her up, but I hadn’t wanted to hog the spot-light while talking to another writer who probably wanted to talk up her projects as well) was, um… the publisher of our friend’s novel.
Oh.
That was supposed to be an elevator pitch, was it?
Woops.
 
We’ll see what, if anything, comes of that interaction, but it was an introduction regardless.
 
A while back, I wrote a little bit about how Glamour is feeling hard right now. We’re in “transitional shoes season” in these parts, the point in the year where you really do still need close-toed shoes, but winter boots are definitely too warm (and clumpy) to deal with anymore. My “tranisitional” boots are all in a bad state of disrepair and, while I can and do make them work, they’re bad enough that it’s hard to make them look “street chic” (or whatever you want to call it when fancy fashion starts riffing on a ratty punk look) at this point. I’d love to get (or more likely make – this is one of the reasons I keep a shoe-maker on staff, after all) a few pairs of shoes like this so that I have Options that won’t wreck my back and can look “professional” (in the office work sense of the word) while also looking artsy-funky-weirdo (I.E.: actually like myself) at the same time.
 
But the reality is that this isn’t really about shoes. It’s about how I feel about myself.
When I regret the haircut I gave myself (even though I now look great with my hair down), but I can’t tell how much of that regret is because I feel like a total grease-ball when my hair is hanging in my face, vs how much is because I miss having the option of doing funky anime buns and being able to do this without too much trouble, vs how much is just missing that which is easy and familiar… What do I even do with that? But when I catch myself feeling “frumpy” in a skirt I picked out, gleefully, from the clothing swap heap because it would finally let me wear leopard print on something other than lingerie, that I stitched a new lining into and replaced the zipper on because I had wanted a skirt like this for so long… That’s a bad sign, folks.
 
If my personal goal, my Queen of Cups Project, is to be more receptive to all the Good Things that come my way, I need to believe that I’m worthy of receiving that stuff. Feeling ugly[1], unworthy of notice, or unable to keep it together (says the chick who discovered she’d spilled… hollondaise sauce?… on her skirt mid-way through her work-day and is expecting Company tonight while still having an entire kitchen full of dirty dishes to deal with)… does not inspire feelings of worthiness in me about myself.
 
So. How am I handling this week’s prompt?
Well, my office-contract recently ended. So I’m back in the land of “wear whatever you want” (hurrah!) and I’m aiming for a mix of “ultra casual” (like, skirts made out of former-pairs-of-pants, very colourful socks) and “Fabulous Bohemian” (diva sunglasses, faux fur 3/4 sleeve coat, Fierce hair-do – or lack of ‘do, since it basically means just leaving it down – and cute boots). I finally shaved my legs. A friend painted my toenails yesterday. I’m feeling pretty good, even if my heart is still yoyo-ing up and down and my feelings of self-worth are following suit on a rollercoaster of their own.
 
Things I can do (concrete/mundane things I can do) to show my physical self some love (this week, and all weeks) that will also (probably) help my mood and energy levels:
1) Get dolled up and go for a walk
2) Sit in the steam room of the local pool while wearing my bikini and soaking up the heat
3) Eat fancy pastries, ideally with friends (but this is not a requirement), while out and about
… So, basically, dress spiffy and get out of the house.
I can do that.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Say what you want about The Beauty Myth, it’s insidious and fuck.