pulling back from the curated.

A dear friend and I were discussing the pressures of perfect, perfected, aesthetic, curated just the other day, lamenting the disparity between what we see via social media versus what life can be outside the small, likable square.

So, when I took this photo:

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I initially intended to caption it with something about how ritualistic my self-care needs to be, but then I glanced around and saw that maybe there should be more to allowing you, the reader/viewer, into my small, likable square. That, maybe, in addition to sharing this much curated shot, you might want to also see this:

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That, maybe, instead of just showing you another one of my tarot decks and my comfy leather chair and that gorgeous live-edge side table, I should also show you that three months in to living here there are still unpacked boxes, furniture waiting to be donated, and art needing to be hung.

That, maybe, instead of just sharing how softly and enchantingly the rising sun’s light filters into our family room . . .

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you may also want to see we live here, too:

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That my pillows and cushions all need fluffing and straightening. That my youngest leaves his toys about, even when he’s been repeatedly reminded to put them away before bed. That my life outside of small, likable squares is far from perfect or perfected.

And that maybe sharing this with you is a little self-care that means you will share that with me, too.

xo

i (usually) write tragedies.

In deciding to follow along, and participate, in three tarot challenges simultaneously, I feel like Harold Crick at the opening of Stranger Than Fiction (one of my favorite movies):

Little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.

Only, instead of death, because how dramatic would that be, it’s resistance.

I woke up this morning and my body physically did not want to sit down with the cards, and my inner narrator said Really? I’m going to do THREE different throws? Again?

This can be the downside of being an all-in with mental health struggles/issues; the momentum can be there in the beginning, but can drop off once things take off. And if I cannot do it all, as intended, perfectly without any deviations, I don’t want to do it at all.

So, normally, when met with that resistance—at least with things my brain deems frivolous, like self-care—I just stop.

I stop.

I set whatever it is aside, and move on.

And this is why the words elude me. And this is why the cards and I cannot hold a conversation that doesn’t feel forced or empty.

And this is why, when met with that resistance this morning, I thought it couldn’t hurt to shift things. To find an agreeable ease. A compromise.

How about, instead of three throws, I just pick one and go from there.

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Instead of walking away from something I need, walking away from something that I know is a way to stay in my intuition and exercise it (it needs this, for those who might not know, much like a muscle can atrophy when not used), I allowed the practice to not need to be perfect.

When met with that resistance this morning, I asked my inner narrator to shift from a tragedy to something more hopeful, just as Karen did for Harold.

Not my usual story, but I think I like it more.



so, here’s to new beginnings.

I think I’m coming to the end of a cycle.

Have we chatted about that?

For years, my Bipolar II felt unnoticed by me. I think because I have lived with it since I was 15, I just got used to always feeling off with brief times of not, you know? But, as I have gotten older and have tried to be more self-aware, I can see the markers now.

It’s like walking into the ocean knowing there is a huge drop off, but also not knowing exactly where the drop off starts.

I know I will slip off, even when I am slipping.

I cannot stop it, but I know.

All that to say I am resurfacing. It’s ugly and messy and sometimes I feel like I am flailing, but I’m getting there.

I can breathe again.

The words came back a few weeks ago, followed by the cards, and with the arrival of August (a blessed and happy First Harvest or Lammas to you and yours!), I thought I would attempt some tarot challenges being hosted on Instagram.

You know, as a way to help me wade back to shore.

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It’s a lot, I know, but I’m an all-in type of person.

I used my Nomad Tarot deck for @bujowitchcraft’s Tarot for Growth challenge, finding that the II of Swords—or making the decision to stop avoiding making decisions—may help me grow my patience.

For @wildsoulhealing’s Tarot for What is challenge and @owlandbonestarot’s August Tarot Challenge, I used my Lovely Omens deck. My card for the month of August is the inverted V of Cups, suggesting I am ready to move forward from past hurts and difficulties, while my month’s forecast indicates I may accomplish this through the inverted Queen of Cups, an archetype who speaks to self-care and trusting one’s knowing.

Lastly, and just for fun, I tried @mnomquah’s “Why am I so fucking awesome” spread. According to my True Black Tarot deck, my strength can be found in the inverted Magician’s never-ending potential and will to keep trying, while my ability to walk with my darkness and use it to thrive, as seen in the IX of Swords, is a great asset. And, not to be outdone, my talent lies in my gift of seeing what is hidden, in my inner clarity and intuition, as suggested by the inverted Ace of Swords.

So. Not a whole lot of surprises, really. Which is how my readings—for myself and others—tend to go; I am just connecting with what is already true, you know? But, when I’m in a cycle, what I know to be true can feel like a weighted vest, one even the water cannot help me carry.

Right now, though, what I know to be true feels like a life raft.

A Wild 154 Days: 008

Day 008: III of Air/Swords, inverted. 

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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.

A Wild 154 Days: 007

Day 007: VII of Water/Cups. 

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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. 

A Wild 154 Days: 003

Day 003: XVI The Tower. 

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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?
 

TEN. VII.

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. 

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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. 

See? Balance.  

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? 

TEN. VI.

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. 

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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.  

 

 

TEN. V.

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 Wolves.

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. 😜

Do. The. Work.

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.

-------

july192017

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

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. 

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.