B R E A T H E + B E.
I’ve been asking myself where my muse has gone instead of just making time for her to show up.
And I realized that maybe (okay, not maybe; it’s actually quite likely) it’s because I am not prioritizing the time I need to meet the words where they wait.
The VI of Swords, inverted of course, is telling me all these aches are simply proof that I am growing.
Growing is exhausting, if we’re being honest. And we can be honest, right, you and I?
It’s been a lot of shoring up of boundaries (or, really, finally making some), and sitting with the shadows those bring. It’s also been a lot of opening old wounds and finally tending to them.
So, while I’m not sure where the words will take me, I’m in a place where I’m ready to follow.
I hope you are, too.
* Tarot deck: The Lovely Omens Tarot by Keely Williams
Day 008: III of Air/Swords, inverted.
A reminder that it’s okay to feel the pain and move on when ready. Reclaiming your heart or your thoughts or your life in no way negates all you experienced, and doesn’t have to be a betrayal to the person you were while going through it.
Hold on to the lessons (if there were any; sometimes shit happens and there is no rhyme or reason or lesson to be learned), forgive yourself your mistakes, and don’t be afraid to accept the good that comes your way.
Day 007: VII of Water/Cups.
Though this card speaks to fantasy and illusion, wishes and wishful thinking, does it show up for anyone else when you’re TWD—Throwing While Distracted?
Every time I shuffle and throw while distracted, I pull the VII of Cups.
Every. Single. Time.
You’d think I’d have learned by now to not watch YouTube videos and think about my day’s schedule while also trying to throw.
Day 006: VII of Air/Swords, inverted.
Walk through the fire. Expand your horizons. There is more to you, and your abilities, than what you think. Timing may need to be right, but you also need to work; perfect timing doesn’t help those who don’t show up.
Day 005: Ace of Air/Swords.
Insight, inspiration, decisiveness. Good morning, sweet harbinger of power and creative vision. You’re a welcomed sight as I hit submit for my second book proof.
Day 004: VII of Earth/Pentacles, reversed.
Take stock of where you’re pouring your energy, scattered girl. Figure out what needs your focus first—it’s okay to prioritize—and go from there.
Day 003: XVI The Tower.
Am I the only who sees The Tower in a throw and thinks “Oooh, fuck” in that slow-mo way that Ralphie says it in THE CHRISTMAS STORY?
So. The Tower. I know exactly the devastation and upheaval this refers to and was actually thinking about it when I was shuffling. See, my girl, my first baby, leaves for college soon. And she took her practice driving test today. And, oddly enough, the thought of her driving alone drove me to tears today. Her going to college? I’ve been okay about. Her driving alone? FREAKS ME THE FUCK OUT.
And it’s like all these shifts all at once and holy, holy how am I supposed to do all this?
1. I wonder if the solar eclipse energy is not just a fierce shot of the feminine (hello, Luna love), but also a bit of balance. Light and dark. The shadows dancing during the day.
2. I broke my new pair of shoes and dropped my house key in in the middle of a busy street while walking O to school this morning.
But, while out on errands (read: window shopping), I found the perfect new kettle, the most adorable Autumn + Halloween decor, a rug (that I am OBSESSED with) for the courtyard, and the perfect modern industrial basket for the stack of blankets I like to keep available for snuggling on the couch.
3. I am convinced shelf bras in camis are not meant for large breasts. It feels like I've Ace bandaged myself.
4. Leaves aren't changing color here quite yet, but the air . . . oh, the air is changing. Persephone's return is near and it feels like Hades is exhaling.
5. There are days when I feel as if jeans are too constricting and overrated, and days when I wish for the most perfect bell bottoms with a thick hem and a perfect flare.
6. Why is the queue at my daughter's high school almost full an hour before school even gets out? I don't remember school pick up and drop off being this chaotic or stressful for my parents.
7. Why do songs sung in Hawai'ian get me all choked up? Like, I get legit emotional. Past life grief, maybe?
8. And when can I get my feet back on that sacred soil? Even if it feels wrong to be a tourist there. Like, I love it, but it feels wrong in a way, too.
9. I'm not me when it's summer time, and I feel like I wait all year for September 21st.
10. Freyja is just about healed and I just ordered two mini dresses (in black, of course) to rock her in the Autumn.
Mini dresses. I haven't worn mini dresses since junior high. Who am I?
1. I looked up content versus happy. Happy, by definition, seems to be a state wherein all your wants and needs are met. Contentment, on the other hand, comes about when you may not have everything you want, but have everything you need and are no longer disturbed by desires of more.
2. I sat in our freshly swept courtyard today, after having slept in and awoken to a sweet six-year-old's arm draped across my chest, after having witnessed my 17-year-old doing a happy dance in my bedroom doorway, after greeting my 13-year-old in his room and finding he'd neatly made his bed, after kissing my husband good morning as he was in the middle of washing our daughter's car in the front yard, and … I realized I am content. I am happy. How lucky am I to have both.
3. I want floor cushions for the courtyard, I think. And a low coffee table. A tray of candles. I want this space to be the space we step out barefoot and feel embraced.
4. Music. The curating of perfect playlists. The way one sets a mood by simply pressing Play.
5. Beef carnitas and salsa fresca.
6. "Are those gladiator sandals?" he asks. I laugh because they sort of are and sort of not what I would normally wear, but I feel like my wardrobe needs to grow up a little.
7. Tattoos have a way of teaching you the beauty that can be found in pain and the art of being patient.
I am certain I need at least two more.
8. The peeling stage is still gross, though.
9. The part of my kettle that moves the cap that whistles melted. Shouldn't these parts, all the parts, be heat proof?
10. No coffee for the last week. I miss the scent, but not much else.
1. Matte grey nail polish. It must be almost Fall.
2. The tub in our master bath is so deep I have to hold the sides to climb inside. I wonder sometimes how I won't drown in there, and realize a bath may never be relaxing since I have no chance of getting any taller.
3. Maxi dresses are life right now.
4. Catching up on GAME OF THRONES. Season six. Even knowing the spoilers, I'm still caught off guard in all the best ways. That is what amazing storytelling creates.
5. Appreciating the uncurated. But only briefly. Because mess makes me claustrophobic.
6. Text message typing interrupted by the person you are texting, and the serendipity of knowing they were thinking of you at that same moment, too.
7. En garde, Monsieur Soleil!
Be with someone who would slay the sun for you.
8. Eagerly anticipating the first foggy, rainy day. Now that the deck is done, the courtyard needs attention.
9. #FreyjaOfTheThigh. Baby steps toward self-love. Adorning the thunder with the goddess of love and battle and witchcraft. Plants with healing properties. A compass so I never lose my way and, if I do, I am never truly lost. Layers of pain open to healing, in more than one way.
10. Photos taken that will never be shared publicly. And wondering if that's why I take them.
Raising a strong, fierce daughter has been (relatively) easy because she comes from warrior blood.
Dragon ladies and bruhas, shield maidens and hustlers.
Women who know what it is to not just survive, but fucking thrive even through adversity.
Raising strong, fierce boys is where my worry lies. Will they be good men? Compassionate and kind, quick to help without need for reciprocity? Will they stand against oppression and abuse? Will they be more than bystanders in life?
And then I remember they have warrior blood, too.
I remember the lineage of women who once held them in their wombs.
I remember that I married their father because he is a good man and I knew he would help create good men.
I remember my boys never fail to temper their ferocity with the size of their hearts.
. . . lest their sister kick their asses. 😜
It's been … well, far too long since I've sat with a deck.
Sometimes I worry that they'll forget me or we'll forget each other and have to rebuild our relationship. And then I remember that's not how it works for me. They'll chastise me, sure, but the energy is there, the way we understand each other doesn't change.
Sometimes I wish they coddled me, allowed me to only see the positive to a situation. And then I remember we don't work like that, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
A quick spread to check in with myself.
"What do I need to know about 1) myself, 2) my body, 3) my art, and 4) my future career?"
1. The Fool.
2. Six of Pentacles, inverted.
3. Page of Wands, inverted.
4. Three of Cups.
All reminders to find my footing and not be afraid to take that first step, be gentle with myself, put in the work, and find my community.
And, yet again, I am reminded why I come back to the cards time and time again.
* Deck: LinestriderTarot by Siolo Thompson
What to you is most holy?
The way they smell fresh from sleep. That dimple in his left check. "I love you" whispered after hours of talking in the dark. His freckles. New pajamas on Christmas Eve, and their eyes on Christmas morning. Driving in the desert, the windows rolled down and the night air warm against my skin. The sun as it slips into the Pacific Ocean. Starlit skies above redwoods and pines. Her fire. Hot coffee and a cold porch. Paper marigolds and candles to light the way. All the in-betweens.
And the way they are my roots and my home, the archives of my heart.
Fire pits and bistro lights and sage leaves on embers. Nature conservations where coyotes roam free, laughing all through the night. The power of three. And seven. Everyday altars around every turn. Dried pomegranates and foxglove, Nag Champa and anointing oils. Black ink and black clothes and black hair and black kohl. Or maybe just coffee brown kohl. But smudge and lived in. Brick red lips and white nail polish. Crisp, white linens. Rain and fog and the gloom that settles in like a soft blanket. The way flannels always feel like slipping into familiar skin. Blank notebooks and long novels and the way both feel like possibility every time the cover is first opened.
I couldn't sleep last night.
It was him sleeping on a separate air matress, that felt continents apart, to accommodate the almost 6-year-old who wanted to sleep between us.
It was the frigid, but welcomed, breeze whispering its way through the open window. Because how could I tell it no after days of sweltering heat?
It was the way my left hip kept sticking to the plastic, air-filled bed even as every other part of me was covered in goosebumps. How do you sweat while you're freezing, I wondered more than once last night.
It was the now nearly empty house, the creaks and groans amplified against the bare walls and cold floors.
So, when I woke this morning, after a fitful sleep, to a blanket of grey, my heart felt comforted.
The sky felt just like me--a little gloomy. Grey. Inclined to move slowly.
Some people love sunny days. They throw on the least amount of clothes as is considered legally decent and bask in the glow of that glorious star. They drive with their tops down (cars, and maybe clothing--no shame), and live for summer.
I want wicked witch clouds and the boom of thunder. I want the drip-drip-drop of rain falling (I loved that part in BAMBI). I love a good chill in the air, a fire in the pit, and a comfy blanket on my lap. I love the way I feel when I'm wrapped in his arms or a cardigan (or both if I am lucky), and the way smoke curls become graceful dancing tendrils against a slate sky.
I am not a child of the sun. I never have been. Not in the way I see others loving it.
I don't need sunshine.
I need melancholy.
I want grey.
The color is described, per the ColourPop website, as a "deepened blackened burgundy red" with a matte finish. Both products retail for $5 each (such a steal!), and the formula for both is creamy and lovely--no dragging or skipping during application. The only caveat? It can be a bit patchy, as shown in the following photo:
Admittedly, though, I had a lip balm on prior to application, so that may have contributed to the patchiness. On the other hand, the lip balm was gone by application and I had thoroughly exfoliated my lips with my GlamGlow POUTMUD Fizzy Lip Exfoliating Treatment before staring my makeup, so I'm not exactly sure what happened. I will, however, use this product again without applying lip balm or scrub and report back.
Oh! Also? I sort of love how the liner applied a bit more than the stix. The liner was full coverage at first swipe whereas the stix needed a bit of working with.
Additionally, as with some matte formulas, eating any sort of greasy/oily foods may wear a bit of the color away or cause the color to slip around a bit. Just a head's up.
That said, I would totally buy these products again. At $5 a pop, you really can't go wrong with Creature (regardless of the product), and if you're a vampy lip lover, you really should consider adding this gorgeous color to your collection.
* All photos in reviews are mine and minimally processed to be true to the product color. All opinions are my own and products have been purchased by me with my own funds unless otherwise noted.
how loud my
inner voice is
of never even
to pee alone.
- motherhood, Nicole C.
After almost 17 years of parenting, I thought I knew some things.
But, you know, one can never learn enough.
For instance, I used to think my Beasties were the reason my coffee always got cold before I could finish it.
I have realized I get distracted easily and move from task to task, so unless I am seated with the purpose of staying seated, my coffee is going to get cold--Beasties home or not.
Also, when you having to cook three meals a day every day, plus the occasional snack, you seem to think you're the type of person who needs three squares daily.
During the school week, I find I am more of a grazer than a full, sit down to a meal sort of eater. My favorite brunch these days, because gods know I rarely eat breakfast AND lunch if the kids aren't home, turns out to be antipasto, usually consisting of a fruit, nitrate free salami, and fresh mozzarella.
Like, it's been about four days of this as a meal for me.
I sort of love it.
The other thing I've learned is how loud silence is.
My inner voice is like an outside voice in my head, so I constantly have iTunes or Spotify open to drown out my overthinking.
What about you? If you parenting and are finding yourself in a new, no more babies underfoot phase, what are you learning about yourself?
I was thinking this morning, as I headed home without a car full of Beasties and wondering what I would do with my free hours, that this too is a sort of mourning.
The way I feel right now.
Lost. At a loss.
Not a loss loss, of course, but, still . . . a loss.
My ways of being, almost my entire adult life up until now, has had a little one underfoot in some way.
I have only been backseat buddy-less for three years of my adult life. Do you know what that is like? To always look in the rearview and see a face beaming back at you? To always buckle someone else in first wherever I went? To sit in a car, parked in front of Target or Costco or a school, hoping my phone battery would out last a nap?
Now, instead of settling in for a few hours of Mickey and Jake, snacks dotted about the coffee table and kitchen counters, I leave my keys in the door in case the school calls.
On his first day of Kindergarten, I came home and stared at the wall for twenty minutes, not sure what to do with myself. Today, his third day, I drove home after drop off and sat in the car for fifteen minutes.
I am having to relearn who I am when I am not holding a hand or wiping a nose or promising just one more errand and we can go home, okay, baby.
And the house? The house feels it, too.
It's quiet aside from my constant stream of music to fill the empty spaces.
Toys aren't scattered five minutes after I pick them up. The dishes aren't filling the sink just as quickly as I wash them. The fridge isn't opening and closing all day long, the rattle of condiment bottles signaling a sneaky snacker.
There is a melancholy in my bones.
A hollowness I can hear in the silence of the house when no one is fighting over who has to put the dishes away or gets a turn on the XBox, when no one is knocking on the door when I am just trying to shower, good gods, can't I just shower.
And I know this new normal will feel just like old normal soon enough . . . just soon enough for our eldest Beastie to graduate and move that much closer to her dreams independent of us. And then there will be another new normal that settles in like a blanket, muffling the hollowness and warming the melancholy.
But . . . still.
Still, I'm not sure where my place in this new normal is just yet.
It has been almost a month since I spoke to a Behavioural Health Specialist.
About weight management.
Almost a month since I cried in her office when she said, "I can see how stressed you are about this. Food isn't enjoyable for you."
Because she was right.
Food had become a numbers game for me. Actually, food had been a numbers game for me for almost eight years before I stepped into her office.
Instead of "Oh, that cookie looks delicious," my brain would be busy calculating the calories and what I would have to do to earn said cookie . . . like do an extra HIIT workout or skip a meal. There were always deals I was having to make with myself in order to eat.
Just. To. Fucking. Eat.
It was the sickest, most insidious sort of ritual, logging into My Fitness Pal before and after each edible morsel passed my lips. I would plan whole days of meals just to make sure I didn't eat anything that might throw my numbers off.
And it didn't even help.
I have gained some weight over the last two years and have been trying desperately to lose it, switching up my caloric intake, switching up my workouts, switching up everything I could except for my body itself.
Because you can't just trade that in, you know.
No matter how much you might wish it.
Believe me . . . I've wished it.
But nothing was working, and I was feeling more and more despondent. Things that once brought me joy, like baking for my family, became things I did begrudgingly. Even brewing a cup of tea, something I used to do nightly as a ritual to relax, became yet another word problem I had to solve.
If I want two cups of tea with sugar today, that's six teaspoons of sugar a day. How many carbs am I consuming if I have two cups of tea and am I better off having coffee with creamer instead?
And she saw that. And I cried.
And then she sent me home with a prescription, only it was a different sort of medicine to take internally and much harder to swallow:
1. Step away from My Fitness Pal.
2. Enjoy your food.
3. Include fun activities in your workouts.
4. Try to get one more hour of sleep per day.
I probably don't have to tell you that I cried even more when she handed this to me, do I? I hadn't eaten without calorie counting in almost eight years. I hadn't enjoyed my food--really enjoyed my food--since I was too young to care about my thighs. And fun workouts?! How was I going to do that when I needed to kill myself on a treadmill and lift weights even when it hurt?
Don't even get me started on the more sleep part.
Basically, I left her office feeling like it was a waste of time.
But, I am nothing if not a Type A, eldest child, people pleaser, ever the instruction follower. So, I tried it.
I haven't logged into My Fitness Pal in almost a month. I try to sleep when my body wants the sleep and I try not to feel badly about waking late on the days I can sleep in. I sit with my food, and myself, and try to enjoy the company of both. And I workout when it feels good to workout and I don't workout when it doesn't feel good to workout.
And I am down four pounds over the last month.
This is the first time I have lost weight in a year.
This is the first time, in longer than eight years, I haven't felt at war with my body.
I brewed a cup of tea for myself and my littlest today.
And I am savoring them, slowly and deliberately, reveling in the amazing magic my dear friend Lindsay creates. Instead of forcing myself to eat egg whites on whole grain toast, I charred up three slices of sour Italian bread and ate them with cream cheese (my absolute favorite breakfast), the roof of my mouth torn apart by the crunchy, delicious crust.
If I get hungry, I eat. And if I'm not hungry, I don't eat.
Gone are the days of crying over having to eat another bowl of Greek yogurt just to hit my macros.
Yes, that has happened.
I am once again finding joy in the ritual that means most to me--nourishing those I love. Preparing dinner is cause for a kitchen dance party these days, and I save all the best bananas for my delicious banana bread. I no longer worry about my sporadic craving for pie, but rather find the easiest ways to make something simple, homemade, and delectable to share with my family.
I even plan on making an apple crostata tonight.
You're welcome to join us.
I promise there'll be tea.