Write anything.

There is a well known quote that suggests you "write what you know."

What happens, then, when what comes is foreign to us? What happens when the words don't come at all, even though you feel them there? What do we do when we need a bit of guidance, a constellation to follow as we navigate our way?

See, that's where someone like Jeanette LeBlanc comes along.

I have been a writer since . . . well, since I can remember, really. But, sometimes, I get stuck. Whether that means I get caught up in my head or feel as if I am falling behind at life, I get stuck and then the words don't come. Or they do, but they need coaxing.

See: Jeanette.

I took her Unleashed: A 12 Week Writing Workshop last year and it helped free up my words immensely. Not only did the workshop give me the space and structure I needed to get back to my writerly ways, but it also encouraged me to pick my camera back up again--two things I desperately needed.

As luck would have it, Jeanette's new Unleased workshop begins July 5th. Which means if you, too, have found your muse needs a bit of wooing, if maybe the words are there but just beyond your grasp, maybe it's time you reached out for a compass. It's not a map of your world, by any means, not the end all and be all . . . but it surely will help lead you out of the dark waters of doubt.

* Affiliate links contained within this post, but all opinions are my own. Because I really did take the workshop and it really did help me. 

1 + 1 = 111 hours

I hate math.  

suck at math. 

But the moment I walked back into the bedroom, the front door bolted to the night after too brief of a kiss and watching him walk away, the equations began. 

A bed of three now two.  

A family of five now a temporary four. 

A fractured night of sleep now the last whole number.

I checked my phone for the time.  

0334. Monday.

Five days until he returns.  

Now eight minutes since the taillights faded from sight. 

Now an hour since I climbed into his side of the bed, a pillow placed where he should be. 

Now two hours that I have been wide-eyed in the dark, waiting for the heat of the desert sun to burn the minutes away.  

How many hours can I sleep to make the days go by quicker? 

Eight would be nice.

Three will be likely.  

An estimated 111 hours.

From that kiss in the dark hours of morning until that kiss hello on Friday. 

I know.  

I did the math.

The way. 001

The way he goes goes goes goes until it seems his battery runs out . . . and he's softly snoring mid-conversation.  

The way she gets in close for Snapchat fun and still asks to hold my hand. 

The way his eyes get lost in his smile and his freckles are a cluster of constellations I will always know immediately.  

The way he reaches over and squeezes my thigh while driving, just to touch me.  

The Most Holy.

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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.

Him. 

Always him. 

And them.

Always them. 

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. 

This life.  

This life.  

This life.  

 

I'm only happy when it's grey.

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.

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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.

Not me.

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. 

I Don't Believe In God.

Quite an opener for my return to blogging after a six month hiatus, right?

It is this thought, though, that has brought me back.

See, O has been talking about Baby Jesus lately, though I am unsure of why. We are by no means a Christian family, and do not attend church, so I am thinking this information is coming from classmates or YouTube videos. Which is fine, really; neither my husband (an agnostic) nor I (Eclectic Pagan Kitchen Witch) force our beliefs on the Beasties. In fact, we encourage them to find their own belief system, to ask questions, and to explore. I want whatever spirituality they have to come from their hearts, you know?

Anyway, so, when O asked me this morning if I loved God . . . I had to reply "No." Because I don't. He asked, "You don't love God? Like, the guy in the sky?" And I had to tell him no, I don't, because I don't believe in some guy sitting in a cloud fortress overlooking all of humanity. I believe in many gods and one god and different facets of god and I don't think God is just a man or just a woman or that god isn't a person already walking among us. I don't believe in a being that is all-loving, who gives life a purpose, because I have lived too long and seen too much to trust that any one being could love humanity and still allow the atrocities that happen to happen. 

Because, what, He turned his back that one second before a tsunami? Because that little girl didn't pray hard enough? Because those people fleeing armies were not Christian?

I just don't buy it.

Sometimes, though, I want to.

I want to lay all my problems and strife at the feet of an all-knowing being and have them tell me what to do, have them lift my burdens and allay my fears.

But, then I realize I am that being. I know me. I know how to solve my problems or sit with them. And not everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the world is just fucked up and here we are, trying to live in it the best ways we know how and isn't that God? Isn't that the beauty of being alive, here, right now? That we keep trying? That we see the horrible and we try to bring light into the world anyway?

I don't know, but I was thinking about all of it this morning and needed a place to get it out on "paper," and then I remembered I have this space and I may not believe in God, but I believe in the divine and sometimes the most divine thing one can do is put their heart out there in blind trust.

So, I'm back. And if you are, too, welcome. I am grateful to see you. xo

This PSA Brought to You by the letter D. For Disordered.

If you've followed me on any sort of social media platform, whether it was an old blog (I've been doing this for almost 16 years now), Flickr, Facebook, or Instagram, you probably know I have a long disordered history with food. You likely also know I have tried crash dieting, calorie restricting, calorie and macro counting, and Whole30.

Do you remember when I mentioned giving up food tracking as a practice this last July? 

No?

Well, I did.

After eight years of calorie counting, of constantly modifying and restricting, of looking up restaurant menus before ordering and crying when I was hungry but "out" of calories, I stopped.

I stopped. Cold turkey.

It was so hard. So hard.

But, it was also what I needed to do to get back to a healthy mindset and relationship with food.

The thing is . . . this last week I thought I would start tracking again, just to see how I was doing intuitively.

I tracked two days worth of meals, and I am doing alright on my own so long as I'm not stressed or it's not close to my moon time. For the last three months, I simply ate what my body wanted and adjusted as needed.

That said, those two tracking days tossed me right down the rabbit hole.

The next morning, I spent 20 minutes debating what to eat, going over nutritional content in my head, feeling absolutely stuck over what to pick to get the best macros for the day.

Twenty minutes.

By the time I settled on oatmeal with a sprinkling of walnuts, I was ravenous . . . and feeling guilty for not wanting to cook something more protein rich. So, even though I love oatmeal with walnuts, I didn't enjoy my breakfast because I was already in my head, the fog of disordered eating moving in.

That morning, I realized I cannot count calories again. I can't. I cannot follow some 1200 calorie meal plan or weigh each morsel for proper macro data or switch out my three meals and a snack for two shakes and a plate of food at dinner. I just can't.

The slope is just too slippery for me.

Intuitive eating may not make me svelte, but it also isn't making me crazy.

And by crazy I mean obsessive over every gram of carbs in a stick of gum crazy. By crazy I mean crying while choking down another serving of Greek yogurt to hit those macros crazy. Some people can meal plan and macro count and it works. It works. And they are all the better for it. And that is so awesome!

But it's not for me.

And that brings me to the PSA portion of this post: do whatever you need to do to maintain a healthy mindset and relationship with food. If that means counting, count. If that means food prep, prep. If that means doing nothing but just eating, eat. But once it becomes compulsive? Once it becomes something you cannot possibly miss because how can you possibly eat without doing XYZ first? Once it takes over your life and leaves you despondent? Please, find another way.

You are worth so much more that the calories you burn or count or restrict. 

xo

Makeup at The Wild In-Between: Creature Feature

A few friends recently suggested I start sharing more about my makeup, um, addiction here and, really, why the hell not, you know? I mean, something has to be shared here, right? lol

So, for today's mini-review I have ColourPop's Lippie Stix and Lippie Pencil in Creature.

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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.

xo

* 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.

This Fine Morning.

The blinds bang against the glass, wind filtering through the open window and filling the room with a glorious chill.  

I can hear them talking, my husband to our youngest Beastie.

"Be careful with Mama, she's still sleeping."

It is a luxury to be so loved and cared for. 

They tuck themselves against me, pulling heavy blankets across our goosebumped bodies, and I know bliss.  

We burrow in, deep contented sighs mixing with the birdsong outside. 

This. This being in a warm bed with warm blankets and warm bodies? It is a gift. 

After morning snuggles, grumbling tummies almost always follow, so we slip away while Daddy continues to rest in the nest we've created. Because there are breakfasts to be made and beverages to be poured and cold tiles to greet with bare feet. 

I stand at the sink, up to my wrist in late night dishes left until morning, and a vision comes unbidden of doing the same thing in a quaint house in a tiny village far from here … or anything else we have ever known. There is a longing there, in my chest, as I turn my attention back to the task at hand. 

A longing and a knowing. 

And, this morning, that is a gift, too.  

All The Ways Knowing Changes.

it's amazing,
how loud my
inner voice is
after almost
seventeen years
of never even
being able
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.

Nope.

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.

Wrong again.

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. 

Seriously.

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?

The Birth of New Normal.

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.

Aimless.

Untethered.

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.

This I Know Is True.

I am supposed to be at a spouses' coffee this morning. At least, I RSVP'ed for it.

I was supposed to go to yoga. And I did . . . but then I left twenty minutes later.

And I probably should not be wearing yet another white, v-neck tee. Because, gods, what will the other moms think?

But today? Today is the day of boundaries.

For myself.

By myself.

So, instead of going to the spouses' coffee, where I know very few people and will feel uncomfortable? I am here, at my dining table, enjoying a cup of coffee and some deliciously charred Italian bread and an amazing acoustic Spotify playlist while I write. Because there is no reason to force myself to do unnecessary things that do not move me. And it isn't about not stepping out of my comfort zone, because I do that and often, but it is about knowing where I want my energy directed.

This morning, that coffee was not the place for me.

And I went to yoga this morning, like I had planned. And I did leave after twenty minutes. Because the energy of the class wasn't what I needed today. Which isn't a judgment on the instructor (I am sure she is lovely), as much as it is me checking in with myself and knowing what I need.

This morning, that class was not what I needed.

And, yeah, I've worn white v-necks with some sort of dark jean, jogger, legging, or pant for the last few weeks. Because I love how classic and quickly pulled together they make me feel. The thought occurred to me, though, that maybe people will think I'm some scrub; you know, "that mom" who never bothers with her appearance. But, then I realized I don't care. I have been dreaming about creating a neutral capsule wardrobe for years, one specifically consisting of white tops, black tops, black maxi dresses, flannel shirts, and dark pants/leggings/jeans, plus pops of berry, grey, and moss. So, every time I shop now, that idea is in the forefront of my mind and what fills my cart. And, to be honest, I don't have to think too hard about what I am going to wear and whether or not it'll match or look good. Which, when you are as sleep deprived but vain as me, is a huge plus.

See, this is what I know to be true as I near my thirty-sixth birthday: the days are long, but life is short.

Spend your time where you must, but also spend your time where you wish.

Take the classes and read the books and go on the trips, but don't be afraid to walk out, put it down, or go home.

Buy the clothes that make you feel most like you and buy the clothes that make you feel like someone else and wear whatever the fuck you want, so long as it makes you feel good.

Take up space or play small, but know why you are doing what you are doing and make the choice for yourself--don't let the choice be made for you. And it is always, always, always okay to change your mind.

Because, really, in the end, life's too short for crappy yoga.

August's New Moon & A Tarot Sale

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It's the new moon, lovelies! Now is a wonderful time to start new ventures, plant the seeds of intentions, or let go of things that no longer serve you.  

Did you know some believe new moon magic can be worked, and worked well, from the start of the new moon to up to three days after? Well, let's take advantage of this magic with a tarot sale here at The Wild In-Between!

From today (August 3rd) until midnight of August 6th, the three most popular tarot readings here are on sale, and if you are interested in the new moon spread I created (as seen in the photo above), purchase the Four Card Tarot Reading listing. That spread is a doozy, let me tell ya!

So, yeah … tell me about the ways you use the new moon energy in your favor? Are you throwing cards? Casting runes? Planting actual seeds (I see you, my herbal lovelies)? I'd love to know.  

I can't wait to throw for you, and hope all the intentions you're setting this new moon come to fruition!

xo

Wild Heart Writers : Day 06

Day 06: So tell me. If you were here next to me right now, and you granted me the grace of allowing me to hear. If your heartbeat sounded like a word, or a song or a whispered truth, what would I hear if I pressed my ear to your chest?

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"I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean." Sally writes this, and I know it is true.

Not because it is empty, but because it is vast.

Because my heart is ever changing, always shifting with the currents of my life.

Because there will forever be unplumbed depths.

Because there is a howling, wind whipping against rocky cliffs, residing in my superior vena cava, ready to cleanse.

This is where my wildness is life blood.

Because there, right there, in my atria is where it all collects, fills me up. A dragnet of memories. Waves upon waves.

This is where it all begins.

Because there are aortic tides, and in each tide a name. A moment. A wish. They flow through my body, pulling me under, pushing me further.

This is where I am swept away.

Because there are chambers, vacant caves with the echoes of regret, wet and cold. There is no peace here, no silence-- just the roar of it all. It clouds my head when I shut my eyes tight.

This is where I am lost at sea.

This is where I take shelter.

My heart … oh, my heart as it beats, crashing against my chest, barely contained, is the sea monster and the siren. The lullaby and the danger.

 - - - - -

Missed this session of Jeanette LeBlanc's Wild Heart Writers ? Sign up for her newsletter for your in on future sessions. 

Oh, Dear One . . .

So, I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I am seriously lucky to know some amazingly talented people.

Like, no, really.

Published authors, brilliant mentors, über talented artists, crafty witches, wonderful singers and dancers . . . I mean, it sounds like bragging, but it's true.

I have the distinct pleasure of being surrounded by greatness.

Which leads me to this share, you see, because my dear friend, Jeanette LeBlanc, is the epitome of magic. She is a wordsmith of the highest caliber, and is offering a summer session of her amazing 30 Questions To Bring You Closer To Your Wild Heart : A Course Designed To Help You Write Your Way Home
.

If you're a writer, want to be a writer, or just find yourself a little lost and in need of connection (to words, to others, to yourself), give that URL a go and sign up. 

30 days. 30 questions. 30 dollars.

Trust me when I say the invest in yourself is worth it. 

xo

Tarot Word Of The Day

Normally, unless I have a specific question/issue I need to address, I simply ask the cards to tell me what I need to know for that day.

That's it.

Super simple.

Today, though, I wanted to try something a bit different when it came to my personal tarot practice. Instead of asking what I need to know, I concentrated on how I was feeling and allowed the cards to tell me about it/how to address it.

Ennui is the feeling of the day; that listlessness plaguing my bones, moving me from one thing to the next without much direction or enthusiasm. The vampire's demise.

So, I shuffled the decks, one by one, while concentrating on how I feel, giving name to it, and this is what the cards provided:

1. The Nomad Tarot: King of Water/Cups, inverted (moodiness)

2. The Raven's Prophecy Tarot: Knight of Wands (take action)

3. Linestrider Tarot: The Chariot (willpower, control)

4. Madam Clara Sees All: Six of Wands, inverted (lack of confidence)

5. The Wild Unknown Tarot: VII of Cups (illusion, it's all in your head)

I don't know about you, but I find it oddly thrilling (and sort of messed up) to see ALL my decks collectively calling me out, telling me to get out of my own head and do something about how I feel. lol