Tag Archives: Week 7

New Year New You 2018 – Week Seven: In the Muddy Middle

I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
 
Instructions: This week it’s important to work on specific things to further your goals. What’s the hardest thing for you to do? What do you keep putting off? Do it now. […] Show the universe what kind of wonders you’re capable of this week.
 

“Challenge”
Wildwood Tarot’s Two of Stones
Two hares boxing on their hind legs.


 
Tarot Card: Two of Earth (Moment to Moment).
I chose this card because it touches on the hustle. Working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Trying to find the balance and the solidity under your feet when things don’t feel solid at all.
 
I spent most of May applying for part-time admin work. One of those applications led to an interview(!) BUT… I didn’t get the job. I found that out last Wednesday. Spent about half a day feeling just so crushed and demoralized, and then it was time to drag my butt out the door and go to the job I already have (which, tbh, is much more in line with my idealized glamourous life than office work, and which actually makes me happy).
Basically, I had to remind myself that while, no, things aren’t all suddenly coming up roses, they aren’t actually any worse than they were three weeks ago.
This is not the end of the world.
 
However. Because I spent so much time pushing (everything from doing magic to finding editing-related reference-people) for this position, I’ve been feeling like the rest of my Empress Project has been taking a back seat. I mean, yes, the Empress is a boss-lady who handles all things abundant, so (magically and practically) pushing for some mundane-world financial stability isn’t exactly off-topic. But I’ve been feeling the Exile hard of late and, while I still need to keep one hand on that particular wheel, I need to get back into the rest of that project, too.
 
So. Things I can do right now (which is a good time to do it, because I don’t have a lot of paid work booked this week – though I’d be more than happy to have that change) to bring myself back on track in a more well-rounded way:
 
I can put together a few poetry submissions. I didn’t send any submissions out in May – like at all – so it’s time for me to get myself back to submitting to three places per month. (On the plus side, I’ve been invited – for a given value of invited – to submit to one place already, so that’s a nice jump-start to that task).
I can, likewise, finish my chapbook (still need to do a couple of re-writes and then polish it) with an eye to sending it out for publication.
I can write more glosas and blog about the poets who inspired them.
 
I can do the personal and home maintenance stuff that I’ve been neglecting, so that my home feels inviting and so that I feel up to visiting with people.
I can invite friends over to drink kombucha and eat rhubarb muffins in my garden, to reinforce the ties of my social net.
 
I can go on dates with my wife.
I can flirt[1] with people, and see if it goes anywhere.
I can talk about my Feeeeelings and ask questions when I need peoples actions clarified, instead of just assuming the worst.
 
Anyway. Things I can do TODAY include: Laundry and Poetry-writing, so I’m going to go and do that now.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Haha. Which I didn’t do particularly much, or particularly well, when I went to Queering Power over the weekend. But I do have a couple of in-town people who are interested in doing needle scenes with me, which is pretty great. 😀

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.

Glamour(y) and Loving Your “Look”

This is not the first time I’ve tried to write this post. It also feels kind of weird to be posting it here since I’m talking about appearances and What They Mean – and that’s more in keeping with the themes I get into on Syrens than it is to Urban Meliad. Still, let’s dive in, shall we?

Miss Sugar has a New Year New You prompt about “Glamour and You” from weeks ago and, every time I try to respond to it, I end up complaining about social expectations of body shape (I have a hips-to-waist-ratio that would make Marilyn blush but which, in the last 15-25 years has basically been on the “non-existent” list – clothes are built for nubile, boyish bodies or they’re built for post-babies brick-shaped bodies, and either way, my bone-structure is read as having disappeared with the 1950s) and how hard it is to find affordable shoes when you are (a) broke, and (b) very tall – in a “closer to 6’6″ than 5’11” by a considerable margin” kind of way. Or else I end up spending three hours drooling over boots and shoes and even socks that I can’t afford and wish that I could.

The closest thing I’ve written to adressing Glamour(y) is my NYNY Prompt Response to Things I Hate Doing, where I talked about taking the time to do makeup, shave my legs, and wear perfume (Hi, I’m Femme. Nice to meet you) in order to make myself feel more powerful and more myself and so on.
And that stuff does work. I’ve been doing it of late in an effort to rock my awesome in a way that is visible to the unknowing eye.

But trying to write a post about it – at least trying to write a post about it here rather than on my more personal, deliberately-limitted-readership, blog – always leaves me feeling like I’m being a Bad Earth Mama. Like caring about Appearances and, more to the point, wanting to present a certain Look to the world[1] means I’m shallow and materialistic and bourgoise and self-absorbed – even when, as a totally-freelance Everything-er (model, singer, poet, pornographer, tarot-reader, crafter, event-planner, blogger, outreach-worker), I need to project “cool-and-collected” and “cool-as-in-awesome”, “sexy and mysterious” and “approachable and friendly”, ” “fey, bohemian artist” and “down-to-earth, competent” “non-threatening and accomodating” and “in-charge and calling all the shots”; Even when, in some of those situations, it’s actually part of my job-description to care about that stuff.

So. Let’s take a different tactic.

What is Glamour(y)?
Glamoury is the art and craft of making people see you the way you want them to see you. And I find that most people don’t know how to do that. Like what I was talking about, above, we get tangled up in the “personality trates” we associate with certain Looks[2] – including the looks we already present[3] – and the advice offered in magazines (like, haha, Glamour) are more about how to present the look Other People (“men”, “women”, various cosmetics companies, Sean John, etc) want you to look like, than getting said Other People to see you the way you want to be seen.
Meaning that there isn’t necessarily a lot of “help” out there if you don’t already know (a) how you want people to see you, (b) how that matches up with the look you’re actually presenting[4], and – most importantly – (c) how to get there from where you’re at.

Miss Sugar asks us “In [your] New World Order, how will you LOOK like your Best Self?”
I remember trying to figure that one out around this time of year in 2009 – when I’d been out of Retail for a year, and was reading my poetry (at open mics) around town, and was trying to figure out what My Style was when I wasn’t at my temp job.
At the time, “neo-burlesque librarian dominatrix with a side-order of all-natural fibres” was probably my best guess – and, by and large, it still is – for where to aim so that my work-a-day clothes were/are (a) me, (b) comfortable, and (c) aesthetically pleasing.
More to the point, aiming for this lets me take my “dressing like myself” clothes into an office-type environment and “look professional” while hinting strongly at my actual reality.

But.

(You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

But: Since I am trying to distance myself from “office environment” type work (not that I won’t take it if I need it, but a big part of the point of this Experiment, for me, is to NOT need it), I would like to be pulling my day-to-day (non-bathrobe-based) Look somewhat further into the Dita Von Teese meets leather femme meets Emilie Autumn spectrum.
And, granted, right now I feel awkward just wearing fishnets on an ordinary day. So I have a ways to go in this vein – including learning how to do my own hair in easy-but-elaborate-looking ways, finding some proabably-pinup-inspired lingerie that fits and flatters my figure, and figuring out how to add Glitter Goth to my appearance without looking like a refugee from my own early twenties – but that’s kind of where I’m aiming.

Anyway. Moving right along.

TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] And wanting to drop close to a grand on the shoes, boots, and vintage-pin-up-inspired cotton dresses – not to mention perfume and potentially jewelry – that would get me to a point where presenting that look is easy – as easy as grabbing something clean out of the closet and throwing on my shoes before I leave the house.

[2] think of the Geek who “doesn’t care about clothes” because caring about clothes is for herd-following trendies (or whatever), but who actually cares about clothes a lot – and, as such, makes a point of wearing jeans, sneakers, and the t-shirts that announce his (or her) fanish aliegences, gaming preferences, and con history.

[3] I got a haircut in 2007, after not having cut my hair in more than 10 years. Every time I looked in the mirror, I’d see my actually-quite-awesome super-long-layers haircut and go “I have ‘Beyonce Hair‘. Boo.” because I felt like the look I was presenting had gone from “Obviously Pagan Countercultural Chick, Badly Disguised in Corporate Drag” (my hair had been below my waist, pre-cut) to “Gangly Chick in Ill-Fitting Suit, Trying to Redeem Bad Look with Trendy Hair”. Or similar.

[4] The number of pictures of me in high school where I was trying to look like this but fell so short of the mark that this cartoon looks considerably better and more put-together than I did… Oh, dear…