Hippy Dippy Feelings Post

SadnessI talk about mental health and self care a lot.  It’s a favorite topic of mine, honestly.  I tend to focus on self care, tools we can use to combat stress and anxiety, and affirmations that things do get better.

Occasionally, I’ll see a sarcastic meme about self care.  Watch someone roll their eyes when they talk about ‘those crazy people’.  Sometimes I’ll watch as someone gets lambasted because they shared something they were struggling with, watch as they are told they are just doing it for attention.  I’ve been lucky that none of my friends have said it to me, but some folks apparently feel the need to be disrespectful to those who are suffering because they don’t understand.

Seeing that always breaks my heart.

I don’t talk about my anxiety to garner attention. (There is SO much more out there that should catch your attention. Seriously, if you haven’t noticed the world is in a bit of an uproar, I’m positive you can find something worthwhile to focus on.  There is plenty for you to choose from.)  No, I don’t talk about my struggles, my frustrations, because I want pity. I talk about it because I know so many people who suffer the same. I see it in my friends, I see it in society, I see it all throughout history.  We all are dealing with anxiety, self defeating talk, self harm and a whole host of other mental health issues.  By talking about my own struggles, by letting those who are currently living in the darkness of depression know I understand what they are going through, I can help them to feel less lonely.

Most people want to experience connection.  Most folks just want to be understood.

I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life.  But it came to a head in 2014 when I started having massive anxiety attacks.  These attacks would leave me in agonizing pain and sometimes resulted in blackouts.  It was a seriously scary time.  Knowing I was not alone was the only thing that helped me learn my coping mechanisms, it was the only thing that kept me sane. Knowing that while I suffer, I suffer with some damn fine people and that despite their suffering they were still amazing people.

That simple realization changed my perspective on a lot of things.  Suffering doesn’t make you a bad person.  How you react to that suffering determines that.

So yes, I talk about my brain weasels a lot. More than I am comfortable sometimes. But if it helps, if it shines a light for someone lost in darkness to give them hope… I’ll keep talking.

For those who are suffering; You are not alone, I see you, I understand.

 

Find Your Moons

Perfection is a lie.

This last week has been a trial. I fell into a well of depression and anxiety that was crippling. I am blessed my work allows me to have weeks where I can work in fits and bursts because I was so swallowed by darkness I was barely functional.

During these times I don’t do trancework, I don’t perform Seidhr. I lay my offerings at the feet of the Gods and I hold on tight.

Most marketing professionals will tell you to keep things light. People don’t want to hear about your suffering when they look at your page and to an extent I agree. There is plenty of suffering in this world, why add to it?

Because by avoiding the conversation we stigmatize it. We isolate those who suffer. By always putting forth a positive face and a smile you lie to those who need the truth.

Life is hard. There is little we can do to change that truth, but there is so much we can do to soften it. Compassion and kindness go a long way to making life an easier burden to bear. Having a community, a tribe to help you bear the burden is vital. Knowing that others have suffered as you have suffered, and survived, helps you to survive too.

I am blessed by wonderful friends who are more than happy to reflect my light back to me when I cannot see it myself. Their kindness and compassion, their stories of survival make it easier to focus on the end of the tunnel when the darkness will fall away once more and my light will shine out again. My moons. My saviors. I know I can depend on them because they know that I will do the same for them when the time comes.

I am feeling better, not perfect, but as I said, perfection is a lie.

When the darkness falls around you, may you find yourself surrounded by many moons to help light your way back home.

Some Advice from the Wounded

2017.10.18 - Weeping AngelsI don’t have to tell you life is hard.  You know that.  Hell, most of you are living that.  I get that.  I understand.  That struggle is real, it holds you down, holds you hostage.  You feel like you are so much better than you are achieving, or perhaps you simply yearn for a break in the clouds of oppressing circumstances.  Whatever, you know the feeling I’m talking of.  Life hurts sometimes.

It’s at those moments when we are at our weakest point, when our long struggle has us questioning every choice we have ever made, that the soft whispered lies that come from the darkness within begin to overwhelm us.

“I can’t do this anymore…”

“I’ll never get out of this shitty job.”

“I’ll always be alone.”

They linger far longer than any of us would like, months, years, heck, if you let it, a lifetime.  It sucks.

But life is a process.  We are designed to be tested.

This doesn’t lessen the pain, but instead works as a focus.  It gives you something upon which to move, a way to gird yourself and walk through the pain on to something better.

This pain you feel?  These trials that you face?  They are not the end.  They are not who you are.  You are more than that.  You are greater than that.  You have a strength you didn’t even know you had until you look back upon your tribulations and see just how far you have come.

It is easy to listen to the lies your brain tells you.  I see it in my friends from all walks of life.  I see it in the climate of the United States at large. (Damn right I’m getting political, just because I don’t post about it a lot, doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. People have been shouldering a great burden for years.  This darkness has gotten pretty widespread.)  But this is a process.  We will push through.  We just have to work through it.  The birthing pains of a new life, a new job, a new outlook, a new world, they hurt, but they bring us just that much closer to something amazing.

I would like to share my experiences on surviving these birthing pains.

  1. Stop.  Take a deep breath, and center yourself.  You aren’t going to do you or anyone else any good if you are overly emotional or hysterical.  Fully accept that this is a test of your character.  The only thing you can control is how you respond to it.
  2. Take hold of that thing of which you can control.  Your response to those things bringing you down.
    1. Anxiety, do what you can to be kind to yourself then sit back and ride the wave.  You should have tools that help you to manage it, use them. If you don’t have them, find some.  Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for using them.
    2. Life stress, brainstorm a plan, don’t worry about the details yet.  In the world you live in today, right now, where would you like to be in life, what type of person would you like to be?  Be realistic but take a moment to focus in on the best idea, the one that would bring you most joy, plan out a way to get there.
  3. Take Action!  Make sure you have a toolbox of healthy coping tools, make the changes in your life that lead you towards a better existence.  Even if they are baby steps they are still worth taking.  Moving forward allows you that small pulse of comfort.  You don’t have to be a prize fighter to win a war.  So long as you are moving forward, you haven’t given up the fight.  The weight you bear is heavy, but that doesn’t mean you cannot move with it on your shoulders.
  4. Create a support group!  Life was not meant to be lived alone.  Find others who can help you when the darkness gets too much to bear.  The load is a little lighter when carried by friends.  Be careful who you trust, but don’t give up trusting all together.  We are all fighting our own battle, it’s good every now and then to take a moment and sit at the fire with friends, to disengage from the war with people who understand how to refill your tanks.
  5. Give it time!  Change doesn’t happen overnight.  A big change takes a while.  Takes even longer when you are dealing with more than one person.  There will be good days and there will be bad days.  On the bad days, go back to step one.  You aren’t starting over, you are confirming your intentions and as all witches know, intention is key to great spellwork.

If this advice works for you, fantastic, if it doesn’t, find a better way, share it.  Promote compassion and kindness.

The world really needs it right now.

 

Lipstick Trials!

Did you know that make-up expires?  I knew it did in that vague “it can’t last forever” sort of way, but I didn’t really have a good idea of how long it lasted beyond “a really long time.”  Apparently “A really long time” is less than 15 years.  Luckily, my friends love me and were horrified when I told them I was using make-up old enough to wear it’s own make-up.

Clearly, I thought to myself, I need to toss some of my older make-up.  I spent a few hours tossing everything older than 5 years and realized I … haven’t bought much makeup in the last five years.  My caboodle had some eye shadow, a blue eye liner, moisturizer and a few brushes left in it.

Like I said, it has been a while.

So there I was, without makeup for that off chance that I wanted to look fabulous.  Plus there was a bunch of neat videos on YouTube on this fantastic thing call ‘contouring’ and man, it made the ladies look amazing.  I want to look amazing too!

I have been slowly picking up pieces here and there when I felt like I could afford it. Let’s look at some of the lipsticks I have gotten recently.

Lipstick

Ignore my completely unmade up face and focus on those yummie lip colors.  No seriously, I don’t have enough make up yet to do a full face look, so the lips are all you get.

  1. Nyx Slip Tease
  2. Covergirl? Sapphire
  3. Vivid
  4. Nyx Liquid Suede
  5. Nyx Slip Tease
  6. Covergirl? Pitch Black
  7. Lipsense Blackberry with Lipsense Opal Gloss
  8. Covergirl Outlast All-Day Color & Lip Gloss

#2 and #6 don’t have the brand on them and I got them at Walgreen with #8 so I am assuming they are the same brand.  If I’m wrong, let me know, I honestly have no idea.

I am loving Nyx!  It goes on well and the color is fantastic.  The Covergirl(?) brand is what I am used to, less pigment, smears everywhere.  It works for a brief time, but won’t have that all day hold I enjoy.

Lipsense is GREAT with hold, I couldn’t hardly get it off!  It burns like hell getting it on though, so that is certainly something to be prepared for.  Once it was on it felt fine and the blackberry is BLACK.  I love it!

I wanted nudes too, and Covergirl’s Outlast was fantastic for that.  It is similar to Lipsense in that it holds all day, but it’s not in that plastic-coating sort of way.  I like it!

That should do me for lipsticks for the year.  Though I am thinking one more nude, something not pink.

What brand/color would YOU recommend?

 

Storytime! – The Odd Cyclical Nature of Life.

Storytime! – I kinda like posting these little snippets into my life because my story matters, god damn it, I am not going to let someone else write it for me.
 
Okay, so after the divorce I was still a Massage Therapist down in Illinois. To keep my license I had to do a certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) a year. These CEUs were things like Ethics, Fascia Restrictions within Muscle Tissue and their Treatment, Energy Work, NMT training and the like. I’ve always been interested in healing people, but I took a very scientific approach to my Woo Woo healing, demanding results, instead of just accepting ‘conventional wisdom’. If I didn’t see noticeable improvement or never heard of any studies performed that proved it’s use, I simply didn’t use it.
 
That being said, I’ve seen some shit, so I still may go a little deeper on the mystical aspects than some are comfortable with, but everything I do is because I have some idea of what I’m talking about.
 
SO, I was looking into a Clinical Aromatherapy school and trying to save up when I met Mike. Needless to say, falling in love changed things. So did moving to Milwaukee and a shoulder injury that took away my ability to do massage entirely. That one shook me to my core. Here I had the perfect job for me and I lose it, completely unexpectedly. Taking classes for CEUs I no longer needed was the least of my concerns.
 
Things are calmer now than they were a few years ago and it’s allowed me to begin asking myself some of the big questions. Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who do I want to be remembered as? What kind of person I want to be when they tell my story? I came to the conclusion that I want to be the kind of person who helps people. It never changed. I need to help people because that is who I am. Because I recognize the individual’s struggle and I want to make their burden easier to bear.
 
Clinical Aromatherapy isn’t an exact science, I dig it. But I’ve gotten back into it’s study with a vengeance and there is a lot more scientific information on it than I anticipated. Hospitals in France are using it with great results and we have some really good information from their studies. It’s a supportive therapy and very gentle. Exactly the type of therapy I prefer.
 
2017-10-22 14.28.38I’m geeking out.
 
I’m making stuff again and it feels fantastic. I feel… stable. It’s such a great feeling. I may not be able to continue to work massage, but I can still help people in some small way.
 
That’s all I need to make me feel like I’m ‘doing something important’ with my life. Something that matters.
 
So yeah. Geeking out on Clinical Aromatherapy. It’s a thing I do. 
^_^  
 

It Makes You Think…

Beads have always been a source of sanity for me.  Way back when I was an 8 year old kiddo I started using beads as therapy.  To help focus my thoughts, and to make me feel like there is beauty in a world that didn’t seem all that beautiful.

I still do that today.

Beads are a prayer.  A prayer that despite all the negativity and all the horrors that exist in this world, that someone will look at this tiny piece of glass or rock and see something beautiful.  Something worthy.  That they will understand that not everything has to be dark and scary.  Beads are a reminder that even though it might seem like life is focused on blood and bombs and pain, it also has joy, and light, and laughter.

At least.  They are for me.  Perhaps they can be a reminder for you too.

If all I accomplish in my life is creating reminders that life is full of goodness and joy in a time when it’s hard to see it as such, then I will not feel as if the short time I spent here on this planet was a waste.

So say I.

Why Create Jewelry?

Helping HandsOne of the things I struggle with in my life is my need to help people.  I have seen people suffer, I have felt suffering myself, and knowing how destructive it is, I have always felt the drive to help people move beyond that suffering.

I had begun to work with beads very early in my life, my family is very artistic and my counselors encouraged me to seek emotional outlets in safe and healthy ways.  Beads allowed me to work through my depressions and sort out my frustrations.

The repetitive nature helped me to focus and calm down when things got too intense.   I had worked my way through drawing comics to crochet and painting, but when it all comes down to it, it is the precision and color of beads that drew me to bead work.  It allowed me to satisfy my need for ‘perfection’ by being perfect for me.  You can count on the shapes of the beads and plan your pattern around them.  All it takes is some thread and time and eventually you will have a thing of beauty. The problem quickly became a question of how did creating jewelry help others?  Let’s be honest it’s an expensive hobby and not nearly as important as food or shelter when it comes down to basic human needs.  Many of the people I found myself surrounded by early in my life were struggling to make ends meet. They couldn’t buy jewelry and it was selfish to want something pretty when you had to save up just to pay rent.  Believing I could make a living by creating jewelry was a dream that I couldn’t afford to strive for. So believing beads held no value for anyone but myself I pursued a career in the medical field. It fulfilled my need to help people, but at the expense of my own sanity.  The hours were long, the work thankless and dirty.  While I enjoyed helping people, I burnt out quickly.

I make jewelry because I have walked through darkness.  I have felt despair like ice beneath my skin. Whether it be negative criticism about the quality of my work, or complaints about who I am ‘supposed’ to be or even the isolation of being in an abusive relationship.  I have felt the deep depression of one who has spent way to much time staring into the abyss. I believed the lies that because I enjoyed ‘girlie’ things I was lesser in some ways. I believed that by wanting beauty in my life I was selfish and greedy. The thing about the abyss is once you are in ensconced in the darkness, it’s easy to remain there.  It’s misery can be deceptively comfortable.  The idea of hope suddenly becomes foolish because the bullies tell you it is.  The darkness becomes your new accepted reality. “Creating beauty isn’t helping people.”

I believed that for a very long time. But for me making beautiful things allows me to drive away the sorrow and pain of daily life so that I can see that the world isn’t a horrible place.  There is beauty still out there, there is still a reason to hope for the best, even if it is just for today, even if it is for just one, more, day. If my jewelry can do that for me, then perhaps it can do that for others.  If it gives even one other person the ability to hope for a better day, then surely that person sees it as helpful.  Surely it can be their talisman for hope in a better life. Through all my careers, through a failed marriage, through the ups and downs in life, beads have helped carry me over the troubled waters.  They have become an armor I wear against the darkness, who’s hateful lies tell me that suffering is the only thing I can do in this life.  It drives away the thought that being called ‘girly’ means you are weaker, dumber, or of less value, that seeking out positive things means you aren’t focused on ‘the reality of the world’ when, in fact, reality includes those positive things too.  Creating jewelry, for me, drives away the thought that I am not good enough to be loved for who I am simply because I don’t meet some constantly shifting set of societal ‘standards’.  I wear jewelry because it makes me feel pretty in a world that says I am not pretty enough. For me, life has gotten so much better. I have beauty I can wear on the outside that reminds me that it is the light that we have on the inside that makes us truly beautiful.

I have someone who loves me to remind me that I had to love myself first.

I have compassion for those who suffer because I have suffered and seek to ease their pain in the best way I can. To you who read this I want you to know: It is not foolish to hope.  No matter what society says, you don’t have to focus on the negativity in the world.  Bad things happen, but they aren’t the ONLY things happening.  Good works are going on all around you, they are just quieter and usually more humble.  I want you to know that you are beautiful and it is okay to think yourself as such.  Even if your hair isn’t the right color or your teeth don’t line up or your ‘too fat’ or you don’t make enough money.  If you are constantly working on who you are as a person, your light will shine through. In this world, hope is not a luxury we can take for granted. And that, my friends, is why I create jewelry.

Freed from the Chains of Silence

Breaking the Chains of Silence2

I have had this blog for a long time.  The first post was February 18th of 2010 and since then I have posted things I have found on the internet that amused me along side tidbits of my writing.  I have used this blog to host my short story “Dreaming of White Marble Tombstones” and excerpts from the larger novel I am working on.

Nothing earth shattering for sure.  But it is a lovely way for me to keep track of things and let my friends and family see what twisted shit lies within this brain of mine.

I wasn’t able to do much more with it until recently.  Posting anything personal was forbidden.  Hinting that there was a person behind these posts, unthinkable.  This blog was a glimpse into my world, yet never more than a passing glance upon the beauty of a still pool, it’s depths hidden and unknown.

Perhaps it is better if it stays that way.  But the bindings that have held me back for so long are no longer there.  I no longer have to worry about being ‘allowed’ to write about myself or my family.  I will still maintain some distance for safety’s sake.  I know this is a public venture after all, and as such, one much take care what information they allow the public to see.  But I want people to know that yes, there is a person behind these writings, and yes, I have thoughts and feelings beyond the short stories and prose I write.

As always, I am an ephemeral prosaist, my writings are few and far between but rest assured they shall come, even more often if I am given the pleasure of responses from my audience.  Proving to me I write not just for myself gives me incentive to write more often so feel free to comment here or on facebook.

Much of my free time is given over to my hobbies.  Role Play, both online and live action, video games of all sorts, and my eternal love, beadwork. I even sell some of my beadwork in hopes of bringing in some extra money with which to buy more beads.  (Shameless plug)

Role play has brought me some of my closest friends.  It is where I met my husband as well as given me the opportunity to see the world through eyes not my own.  It has honed my writing skill and given me confidence I can take into other aspects of my life.

My faith is personal and strong.  I might go into it more here in another post, but there are things that I don’t feel comfortable talking about yet.  Politics and religion being the top two.  Just know that I am well aware of the majesty of the world around me and I take comfort in that knowledge.

Both of these things, my hobbies and my faith has allowed me to confront the shadows from my past and helps me to work through the darkness that taints my soul.  I suffer from anxiety attacks due to the Dark Times I have suffered.  My husband is a blessing in my life because he knows what it’s like to have to deal this these particular shadows, and his hand has guided me more often than once though the nightmares that follow.

At this point of my life I am truly blessed.  I never thought it could be this good.

I am hoping to make this blog more of an open expression of who I am as a person, as well as a writer.  My day to day life may be boring, or they may inspire.  Who knows?  My favorite quote is by Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”  I write because it pours from my soul, not because I have some great lesson to teach or because I know how to fix the world.

I am who I am and I am content with that.