She Wanders a Little

wildhair

I told my therapist about my inward energy. “I’m in a downward cycle,” I said. “That’s what I call it.” She already knew. I’m normally big and outwards. I was more pensive, and my responses measured.

“Not like when I was younger. Not downward like that.” Or something like that. And what I mean is, I don’t rock in a dark bathroom hurting myself anymore, like I did when I was in my twenties and didn’t understand what all of these …. feelings? … were.

I dragged my partner along because I felt overwhelmed by how much had happened since I’d last seen her. It had maybe been two months. I didn’t want to waste my 50 minutes rattling on, thoughts flitting like butterflies, and zagging like drunken fruit flies. I wanted purpose.

I updated in sputters, looking to him to organize the thoughts in straight lines. We told her I’ve been grumpy. Mostly at Will, who called me out on it.

We told her about my latest adventure.

“She wanders a little bit. Never too far, though. But yeah, she does.”

“What do you think of that,” the therapist asks.

“I don’t worry,” he says.

Then we went and saw the fireflies in the treetops afterwards. It was hard to tell where the bioluminescence ended and the stars began. We stood there, craning our necks, arms looped around each other. Then kisses. Deep, loving, with that edge of desire creeping in.

We went to the car the other day. It was sunny and the clouds were the big puffy variety, but moving faster than that sort usually does. “It’s so beautiful out. Wow, just so beautiful.” And it was – balmy and bright. The kind of day you might draw with crayons. I said that it was the sort of day you lay on the grass together and look up and shout out cloud creatures. He agreed. He opened the car door for me and before I got in I said, “We’re going to die some day. And everybody we know, too.” And he just said, “Yup,” or something like that, and maybe kissed my forehead and I got in.

These sorts of things creep into my stories. The highs and lows of being inside of myself. The fears of an anxious brain and the darkness of a depressed one. Instead of letting it hurt me the way it used to, I use it. I use it to write. I use it to make art. Anybody who has ever been through these things, these painful beauties of feeling so much, and these lows that make your bed hold you in its maw, prisoner–they will recognize it. Anybody in a long-term relationship, they’ll recognize some of it.

I had some petty shit happen to me yesterday. And actually, some other petty shit happen to me last week. And I look at these petty things and think of all of the petty things I could have done, but never did, and wonder why some people can’t resist the urge. So, instead of trying to understand them, I just flip that shit. For every petty thing somebody does to me, I turn around and do something nice for somebody–usually something subtle, or even anonymous–so the yin and the yang are all in balance.

Right now I am drinking some sake warmed by my husband on the stove, in a cup my friend Gina made. I’m thinking of what graphic I am going to put with this blog entry. A photo of the cup? A doodle? I guess I’ll find out just before you do.

sake

How about that. The sake and a doodle. ❤

 

 

 

Whatever Part of Me

TigerLily

You pluck an ancient string in me. The chord vibrates. Resonates. You think it’s maybe bad. Sometimes I wonder about that, too. So I hold it up to the light, to look at where to cleave it–a master lapidary of emotion.

“I don’t want to cause you pain…”

Oh, sweet torture … here she goes, listening to Amy Winehouse again. Calling herself a whore. But that’s an ancient curse. An irrelevant self-flagellation. I step out of that gown and leave it on the floor as I walk away, more naked than any whore.

I like the waters a little turbulent. Smooth seas make for poor sailors. Navigating complex emotional waters has made me a captain of the HMS Cosmic Goddess. I know how to cut through the waves now. But some storms are enough to leave me listing … for a while. And it’s been awhile.

I want an inch of black eyeliner ringing my eyes. My lips painted dark and glossed, to invite a kiss. Or a bite. The cosmic goth queen in me gets restless sometimes. Where does she come from? Her white spidersilk hair, finally relevant. Older. Wiser. Wanton. Wild.

Wet.

I hope whatever part of me you can have will be worth something to you. I gave her to you freely because you asked. If she doesn’t fit, send her off on the waves and let her float away … I don’t need her anymore.

 

 

 

 

Whisper to the Wind

Sometimes I say it here, whatever it is. It’s a whisper into the wind that maybe catches an ear or two. It’s of no real consequence. Ok, maybe it’s of little consequence, but only to me. But I need to…well, at least I find it helpful to, write things down. Helps me work it all out, ya know?

writing

I wonder about words like “whore” and “wrong.” About what the measure of success is. Where the concepts of grief and jealousy came from. Is grief learned? Or is it born into the ancient parts of our brains? Jealousy feels so primal, like it’s hardwired into our DNA, unless you’re one of those miraculous people who does not suffer at the gaping maw of jealousy. People who don’t watch themselves aging and wondering if it matters enough to try and recapture youth, or just let things happen naturally. If you do fight it, what exactly are you fighting? Being seen as old? Losing your sex appeal? Sex and love is for everybody – not just for the young and thin among us.

It was an up-down sort of night. Emotions were observed, like cards in  a deck. Choir singing, lost friends, found adventures. Smiles and stories from the young and old alike.  Laughing friends. Storytellers. Moments my heart listened to – either for the better, or the funny little hurts that inform it.

I’m so sleepy. Going to try and go to bed now. Off you go, whispers–see if you can find an ear.

 

Micro Fairy Tales

I have been writing micro-stories that are based on images I find in my feed. So far Faerie Magazine has been the source, but I see many things on a daily basis that get me inspired. Here are a couple of micro-fairy tales. Perhaps they are just a nip of something much bigger. You never know. I post them on my Facebook page, so if you wish to catch them, that’s the best place to do it. I can’t promise they will always end up here. PLUS, at the FB page you can click all those little links and learn about the models and the photographers and stuff. Which you TOTES wanna do!  🙂

MicrostoryFF01MicrostoryFF02

A Place for Healing and Connecting

After I posted this image on my most recent Sensual Sunday post, I got a few comments on Facebook and Instagram about the image.  Then one person really liked what the image was pulled from, so I decided it might be worth it to be a bit open and vulnerable here and talk about it.

fireflies

This image is from a “couple’s journal” I share with my husband, Will.

The Sensual Sunday post I am referring to was inspired by the night we met.  Parts of it are total fiction, but the fireflies were real.  The kiss was real.  So, since that night in July almost thirteen years ago, fireflies have been sort of a symbol for us.

In the summer of 2011 I was having extreme depression and was beside myself with sadness and grief.  During a particularly bad meltdown of tears and feeling disconnected from the world and my partner, I was crying in the court out in front of our house, just feeling the world beneath me and trying to convince myself that reality had not disintegrated.  This was a time when the fireflies should have been gone and one came to me as I stood there crying.  It was like some kind of magical scene in a movie.  I could barely believe it.  A single firefly so late in the season, as if to comfort me.

Being a fan and writer of fairy tales, I saw this as some kind of magical beacon.  A signal that I needed to have hope.  There were times that hope actually felt like it was strangling me.  Hope can make you its slave, if you let it.  Sometimes it’s best to let go and keep your sanity.  But Will came out to the street and held me and we watched the firefly together as it drifted off.

Then two summers ago, at the end of the healing process, we happened across a magical scene of a thicket where the tall trees were just sparkling like glitter and stars beneath the branches.  We sat at the park and watched them for a little while.  We stood and kissed and marveled at them.  So, when we got home he drew the trees and I painted and we thought of what we wanted to say and he penned it.

We went to that same spot last night to watch the early fireflies.  Will pushed me on the swing and then we sat on the picnic table and watched as the sun faded and they sparkled a bit.  It’s still early for them, so even a few is nice.

This all started because I had been teaching visual journaling at a local craft store where I was also an employee and craft designer.  Which, by the way, I loved.  Working there was good for me and I also met two wonderful women there who I am now lucky to call my friends.  They were really there for me when I needed somebody to lean on.  Anyway, as I was teaching people how to make visual art and smash journals, I ruminated on how healing journaling is.  I’d been journaling for many years, but not like this.  Not a journal I could draw and paint in and also use as kind of a scrapbook.  The idea had so much appeal to me.  And I realized, that maybe doing a visual smash journal together, as a couple, might be healing and even fun.  So, I made one out of a spiral bound watercolor paper pad.  The paper is good for marker and watercolors, as well as ink and glue.

Since I first made the journal, we’ve filled it about a third of the way.  With poems and thoughts and drawings.  With ticket stubs, cut outs from magazines and books.  Any thought we had that we believed would help us come together again, we jotted it down and pasted it into the book.  When we shared bonding experiences, we recorded them.  It’s important to meditate on the positive things.  That’s a lot healthier than meditating on the negativity.

After a couple years of journaling and therapy, we finally felt strong enough to stop looking at the journal as a way to repair the bond that snapped apart.  The weaving of these threads had strengthened us and we started recording things that made us feel connected or experiences that felt bonding.

There may be more difficult times ahead, but we are so much better equipped to handle them now.  Journaling, individually and as a couple, lets you ruminate on your successes and when you have something difficult, you can look back and see how far you’ve come.  It also reminds you of all of the good parts of each other.

It’s not a cure-all, of course.  Some people will meditate on misery and nurture the darkest parts of themselves, growing them like weeds that choke out everything beautiful.  But you can choose to remember the best parts of each other and forgive the things that hurt you.  You can choose to use the grief and pain as a rich soil to grow from.  I choose that.

Here are some images from our couple’s journal I feel comfortable enough to share.

FRONT

vjjourney01 vjjourney03 vjjourney02

BACK

vjjourney05 vjjourney04

I keep my journals in two vintage suitcases.  One was in bad shape and I covered it with decorative Duck tape.  The other is covered in travel stickers.  I keep the things I want to put into my smash art journals into the suitcases and when I have time, I compose the pages of my own, or Will and I work on the couple’s one together.

couplesjournal001

The frist pages are below.  The cards are cards that Will gave me when we were first going out.  The painting on the left is surrounded by affirmations about letting go and finding ways to walk forward.  I think it’s important when dealing with a relationship, that reminders of particularly good times, connecting moments and artifacts should be included.  It sets a nice tone.  Also, it sort of helps you see where you are as a couple, I think.  If one of the two of you isn’t about doing something together that’s healing, it might be an important red flag.  Maybe not journaling, exactly – but if you both aren’t willing to put forth an effort of 100% “in” this together, then there might be cause for concern that this kind of thing will become more of a centerpiece for resentment and a chore than a fun, connecting process of healing and connecting.

couplesjournal002

Here are some more pages from the journal – you can see I use envelopes, glue washi tape, tape, paint, markers, pens.   There is no end of things you can stick in, smash in, draw or tie onto the journal.  It’s meant to be tactile and interactive.   Kinda like love!

couplesjournal4 couplesjournal3 couplesjournal2

On an outing to some gardens last year we saw a wonderful display of bonsai at the National Arboretum.  We both love them and hope to have a nice one some day.  But we started talking about them, in detail.  And Will’s thoughts really struck me.  He doodled this bonsai on the back of a piece of mail.  I loved it so I glued it into the journal and he wrote down some of his thoughts, which came out  like a nice little poem.

couplesjournal1

It reads:

the little
tree may
grow
straight
but more likely,
something strong
will bend it
or twist it–
all but break it
So we tend it
trim it
snip it
feed it
Gently
with great patience
Until it seems
the bend
was always meant to be