On “Being A Writer”

When we are young, we all have this idea of what we are going to become. We’re asked from the time we learn to put words together “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and whatever we say is taken as gospel.

You can have a four-year-old tell you that they want to be a baseball player or a teacher or the flipping president and for some reason, people just assume that it’s their life plan. When successful people comment that they have been interested in their field of study since they were children, it’s respectable. It’s used as proof of how driven and dedicated they have been their whole lives.

For people whose paths are more artistic in nature, sometimes these early declarations are usually met with a nod and a patronizing “OK, we’ll see.” This usually comes from an adult who thinks that as soon as the “real” world sinks it’s claws in the grown-up version of that child, all bets are off. Because of either their own struggle or some cracked personal beliefs, they don’t think that any kid who dreams of a creative life left of the norm (whatever the hell that is) is going to get it. They don’t believe in the dreams or sadly the young artist having them. And those dreamers that do hold on despite the odds, are seen as foolish and those that hold on to that belief thought out their lives are not dedicated, they are seen as foolish.

However, it does seem that when those dreamers hit success later in life those naysayers come out of the woodwork with streams of “I always knew you could!” and “I told you so!” out the ass. Relationships with toxic people are grand, aren’t they?

For me, I was going to be a country singer/songwriter when I was a little girl. (For a while in second grade, I remember saying I wanted to be a NASCAR driver. Then shifting got explained to me.That was the end of that.) While the country music idea was fleeting,  I’ve known as long as I can remember that I wanted to be a writer. I’ve touched on this before, when I announced my first publication in Haunted Are These Houses. I’ve also talked about my writings adventures here and here . Since the inception of this blog, my writing has been something I’ve found again. Something I’ve allowed myself to reboot, if you will.

And we all love a good reboot right?

But sometimes, I feel like I talk about it ad nauseam. I worry that I’m a self hype machine. And I worry that it’s annoying. I worry that it’s met with eye rolls and those patronizing head nods from my childhood.  I worry a lot, as you can tell. Anxiety is a struggle, and the struggle is motherfucking real.

But sometimes people prove to you that you are the burden you think you have become. Their actions tell you to stop scratching that itch that’s inside your brain. They are heavy handed in their urging that you be a lady and forget about it. Mind your manners and focus on the important things at hand. Sometimes that’s enough to cripple the growth you’ve forced out of yourself. Sometimes it’s enough to let the wave of “real life” wash over you and down out your dreams.

Sometimes it’s not even words. All it takes it one uninterested humph in the middle of an excited spill about your current project for you to understand that your audience doesn’t really care. And if the people you love don’t care, you start to wonder how could total strangers. So this is why I hesitate to talk about my love and enjoyment of writing. This is why the conversations about it begin with a stutter.

But guys, I’m so damn happy to be doing it again. There’s so much going on inside this dome of my mine that I’m not paying attention to that stutter. I’m rattling off to my kids about what I’m doing with characters, I’m boring my husband with my lastest idea. I’ve even started telling my dog what I’m thinking of writing while he’s pooping. (Sidenote: Dogs are THE BEST listeners. They don’t judge you like sassy cats do.) I’m not setting the literary or blogging worlds on fire like I have dreams of, but what I’m able to do is scratching that itch inside my brain.

That itch recently has been leading me down a fictional story path. Not that it’s sent me on some hero’s journey where I’ve had to fight vampires or used dragons to turn cities to dust, I’ve just been more focused on fictional characters and stories and experiences. That is what’s lead to some gaps in post here on the blog and my over all detachment from reality.

I’ve found this nice place between short stories and flash fiction where my stories usually end up. They are creations that are usually fantasy or horror in nature with some sort of magick or magickal person thrown in for good measure. My writing is like my life, craziness with magick sprinkled in.

For me, writing is an event. Some of them are written from a prompt. Some of them start from a prompt and just deviate and turn into something else entirely. Some of them I love and never want to stop writing. Those stories tell me how they want to develop and come to life. They show me how they want to be birthed.  Some stories I don’t love at all and just want to end. They are ones I’m usually determined not to get bested by and have to finish so they don’t sit unended and taunting in my Google Docs. Some of the stories have a life of their own and happen before I’m even aware. They guide my fingers and I don’t even remember doing work for them. They just come tumbling out.  


Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

It was one of those types of stories that was accepted for Coffin Bell Volume 2, Issue No.2- Magic. It’s called Smoke. (You can follow the link and read it there.)  Having my little story featured in that collection is such a huge win for me. There are some excecptionaly talented writers included in that collection. They have some really great work featured. There’s a lot of talent slammed into that collection.

I was looking thought the contributors section and it shocked me. Here were honest to the gods actual writers with impressive credentials that dropped my jaw. And then, there was me with my tongue in cheek, sillyass bio. I mean actual writers! With actual writing degrees! College educated people who understand and use English properly!  And then me over here fiddlefucking around on the keyboard making up characters to match the voices in my head and trying to be witty.

As happy as I am to talk about writing, this is another part of my stutter. I’m a college drop out. I ditched college to get married with the intent to go back once I had changed last names and moved to the opposite coast. I was under the impression that I would have a whole new support system that would help me take advantage of a whole new world of oppurtunities. This was not the case. I ended up having babies and then real life and that support system just never developed. So me never getting a degree makes me feel very inferor when it comes to where I stand in the writing world.

But the funny thing is, it only bothers me when I’m plucked from my magic circle of creating. When I’m making up a world or creating horrible things for these characters to go through, I don’t think about it. My impostor syndrome doesn’t kick in until I have to take off the creator glasses and put on the submitter glasses. Then, when the wall between creation and presentation has come down, I feel like I have no place at the table.

And I know it’s not true.

I make worlds and I love it.  

Just like how I made babies and how I make this blog, I am a creatrix.

I’m a creatix with baggage sure, but I’m a creatix dammit.

I just want to be able to say,without a doubt, whether I ever write a book or get published again, that I’m a writer.

And I don’t want to feel crappy about it.

I want to stay in that circle where I’m creating things and feeling confident. That’s the face I want to wear all the time.

I’ve got some great ideas blooming. There are two pieces sitting in my Docs that I haven’t finished yet but I’m excited to get back to. I want the world to read them, even if it scares me when I throw them out into open water. Some of the ones I’ve sent out have come back with a rejection letter attached. And that’s okay. The more I do, the more I learn. Who knows, one day I might just self publish all these short stories myself and sell them on Amazon.

I know that some combination of my mental illness and my emotional baggage has me in the situation I’m in. But I think after realizing it, and calling it and myself out, I can start taking steps to fix it. Names and titles have power. Maybe it’s time to just drop the word “aspiring” from my bios. I may not be perfect, educated, or even all that good, but I am a writer.

I just need to believe in it.


And thank you, Dear Readers, for believing in me. You reading and following my words have been the love and support that has gotten me here. Without you, I don’t think any of this would have gotten off the ground.

The Time of The Tower

Tarot cards are more mainstream now than they have been in years. You can find them not only at occult and metaphysical stores, but major booksellers and even Amazon and Walmart.com. (I’m surprised about that last one. I just looked and holy crap do they have so many options. With pick up or 2-day delivery. Now you know) So being able to experience and learn the Tarot is easier than ever.

But there are some cards that you don’t have to be a student of Tarot to know. One of those is The Tower.

The only cards you could be skilled in could be 52 pick up and somehow you probably still know about The Tower card.


Piedmontese tarot deck, F. F. Solesio, 1865: the Tower

The Tower is the 16th card in the Major Arcana in most any of the Tarot decks you pick up. The imagery that comes to mind when you think of The Tower is probably based on the illustration from the Rider-Waite deck. Other decks stick with the same themes too. The art and stylings might be different, but the purpose and meaning are still the same. The Tower is The Tower is The Tower.

Now close your eyes. Picture The Tower card in your head.

The sky is black and in it hangs heavy white clouds. On a cliff there’s a tower being struck by lightning, the crown of the tower being tossed into the darkened sky. Fire is spilling out of it’s windows as two scared mournful people fall screaming into the abyss below.

It’s an ominous picture right?

It doesn’t seem like it signals good things, does it?

The visual of The Tower shows how it symbolizes change, crisis, upheavals, and chaos in the worst way possible. It shows the complete terror that comes with transformation.

It’s always dark and chaotic. It’s full of terror and mayhem. It’s an ominous card full of negative connotations.

Now open your eyes. Look around you. What do you see?

What do you see reflected in the world around you?

A world full of chaos, crisis, and change right?

A scary, ominous world full of darkness and confusion and it just doesn’t make sense.

Here in the US, it’s been a big basket of lunacy since before the last election. And it feels that every day since then the intensity of that insanity has been growing exponentially. And somehow, it’s all become status quo for us.

We’re like frogs in a pot and who have only just noticed the water has gotten too warm. It’s been something you just dealt with. Like an infected tooth, you don’t have the money to see a dentist about, you just live with the annoyance and pain. It becomes part of your daily struggle.


Photography of Notre Dame’s spire taken from the Saint Louis bridge during the 15th April 2019 fire.

What pulled the wool from my eyes was the burning of Notre Dame. Something about seeing that ancient house of faith and history get destroyed broke me. Which might seem weird because since obviously, I am not Catholic.  But when I watched the spire fall on the live feed on CNN, it hit me. The pieces all locked into place in my head and it became clear, we are living in The Tower Time.

(And to top it off like a really shitty bow, a few days later the attacks in Sri Lanka happened and the news again was filled with the horror stories of innocent people being killed while going about their normal lives.)

Couple with the insanity of the US clusterfucking political system and the wounds that the Christchurch killings left on the world, it feels like we are all falling out of a burning building into a night of nothingness right now. Some of us are trying to grab on to each other to fight the terror together. Others are attempting to make sure some of us hit the ground first to cushion the fall. As much as we like to brag and boast about our accomplishments and our elevated intellect, we really have no idea what is actually going on.  Despite our best efforts to be at the top of the chain of command, when it comes to the articles of change, we are nothing more than servants at their mercy.

This is the Time of the Tower.

You can feel it in the air too. I know you can. There is an almost electric buzz that takes a seat in the back of the head, like an uninvited guest at a family reunion. It takes up space and makes you carry around maladaptive behaviors like a child’s blanket. It’s uncomfortable, it’s ill-fitting, and like that uninvited guest, it infringes on your plans and keeps you from being the person you truly are. And you just can not get it to leave.
For those of us who are empaths, it buzzes harder, burns brighter, and every Tweet and every headline sting like daggers. That uninvited guest has taken a place on your couch after the reunion, slide their shoes off, and said they need a place for a while, do you mind if they stay?

This is the Time of the Tower.

Decisions that were easy are now complicated by fear and hate. Everyday interactions are questioned.  Basic safeties for so many people around the world are have been thrown into dismay.

This is the Time of the Tower.

Personally, it’s not about how I interact with the people that I’m worried about. I have social anxiety about everyone. It doesn’t matter who, what, or where you are, I’m probably a nervous wreck inside if I have to talk to you. My concern is now how the divisions between the separations between the Right and the Left, the This and the That, the Holy and the Unholy, is going to spill out over where my life flows.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I know that my privilege as a cisgendered white woman protects me from the horrors that so many people have to face. This is not fair. It’s shit. The discrimination and hatred that minorities, POC, and the LGBTQ+ community face is unfathomable and just fucking wrong.  I know my privilege is an advantage. I didn’t ask for it and I feel shitty for it working out the way it does. I am scared and saddened for those whose struggles I can not experience first hand. Their battles are tremendous. We need change to fix this shit guy. We need change and we need it NOW.

I’m afraid that soon The Burning Times will start again and not just my loved ones and I, but all the witches, Pagans, and non-Christians, all the weirdos and outcast, all the outsiders and those that don’t conform, will be targets for a wounded and self-inflated Religious Right who think that any deviations from their holy agendas need to be silenced. Very bad people who do not live their lives in accordance with the beliefs they so strongly say they uphold will weaponize the pain that good people suffered so they can punish those who are different. They fear us because we are a threat. And since we are a threat, we will be subjugated. They fail to see we are not a threat because we have different views, but because we see the truth, and see how wrong and fickle they are.

They will see Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984 not as speculative fiction but as guidebooks. I’m afraid the people that make up the nations, us!!, will be forgotten as people and solidified as nothing put numbers and data. We will be the tools for their masturbatory machines. We will be told when to applaud and when to boo, when to cry and when to hate.  And when we don’t comply, we will be tossed to the flames. Our bodies will be used to heat the machines that turn our country to giant factories that print money just for their pockets.

Those divides are starting to happen now. This country is inching closer to a point where things are going to erupt. The crown is getting ready to topple off our tower. The fires are burning inside. Foundations are crumbling and our leaders are turning us against each other. And the rest of the world is following right behind.

And I wish I had better words to explain it. I don’t feel like I have the right words, but it’s just THERE. It’s so fucking absurd that I feel like it’s some dystopian made for TV movie. Or a Twilight Zone episode. (The new Twilight Zone “The Wunderkind” is pretty on point) I’m tab switching while writing this trying to figure out exactly what is happening in our Nation’s capital and I just can’t. I don’t know if I am just burned out from the news or if none of this makes sense anymore. There are shootings and corrupt men arguing with each other constantly. And every week it feels like it just gets repeated.  I can just feel the unease that lingers over every breaking news story, every event, every fucking tweet. Even more, every story that doesn’t get told. We’ve faced bad times before as people, these things come and go in a cycle I believe, but this feels like an infection just itching to turn to a plague.

The Other Side of The Tower

I grew up in The Mister Rodger’s Generation. And one his messages that still rings true is “Look for the helpers”. My kids know this message because it’s been retold by Daniel Tiger in animated form. But for me, I hear it in his voice when I read it. 

Our current “helpers” are the other side of The Tower.  Those protestors, and rule breakers, those first-termers and loudmouths, those startups and just electeds. Those that rattle the status quo and not only take it to “the man” but force him to eat it? Those that rally, fight, and live on the other side of all that fear and grief those in charge bring, they are also what The Tower is about.

We have people who see the changes that are happening and are rallying to revolt against the inevitable evil that they will unleash. Every story needs heroes and those heroes are stepping up. Some of them are young and are just opening their eyes to the realities of this world. We have young people these days who see the damages in our systems and who are striving to fix it. And oh, my gods are they inspiring! We have old people who have been fighting since they were young people who are excited to show them the way. They are experienced in how to bring the truth and how to get voices heard. They are walking hand in hand with the young ones into battle against the devastation that is on the horizon. And, oh my gods are they inspiring too!

As odd as it may seem, this is what The Tower is. The Tower is as much about change as it about destruction. Change happens when those that champion good stand up and refuse to accept the status quo anymore. The change they want is often painful because it forces us to step outside our comfort zone and put ourselves at risk. We are not all risk takers and that makes it frightening. Realizing that to make the world a better place we have to sometimes become warriors is not an easy task for everyone. Without it though, we can not become the fires that bring the wrongful institutions down.

And I personally would rather burn to destroy them than burn to keep them warm.

Change is hard. Changing a wicked world is even harder. And even harder still is seeing that change needs to happen and breaking out of the chains of tradition to try to start it. Our duty during The Tower Time is to do our best to do that.

Not all of us are fighters. And that’s okay. But all of us can do something to make it through the darkness that is The Tower. We can love. We can support. And we can be there for those that are working to change the future. We can be there for those who are victims of the actions of darkness. We can be the light, even if we feel dimmed. We all have a stake in what is to be. We just have to get there.

I know things are fucked, you guys. Nothing makes sense and that drowning feeling is everpresent. But if we come together we can win this. It will take more than just love and light. We will need more than just thoughts and prayers.

Now is the time for action.
Call forth your power. Call forth your shields. Be the change you want to see. Be the future you want to live in. Take back your time and destiny.

Reclaim your Tower.




Headache Happenstance

In my head, this spot on the blog was meant for a totally different post. It’s a piece I’ve been kicking around for a little bit and had finally decided to start developing in writing. And if you know me, you know my writing process is the same now as it was in middle school. I get an idea, I sit down and it all comes out. What I didn’t know then but am aware of now is that I write like I birth babies. It happens slowly at first and then steadily picking up speed until it’s there in front of me in finished, albeit messy form. It’s in a few hours stretch, at most, and then it’s over and I’m proud.

That didn’t happen this time. This time, the piece I was trying to write struggled to be born. I guess you could say there were complications. No matter how much I worked at it and tried to create this idea it just wouldn’t come together. Yesterday’s attempts at making this thing were just fruitless. The writings that I did create was patchy and displaced. And it wasn’t my fault or the fault of the three little distractions that I had actually birthed into this world. It was something else, something that is just outside of my control. Something that I don’t think I take seriously enough.

And it’s something I think I’m going to talk about with you now.

I have migraines. And sometimes they get in the way of my normal life.


Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash

And while that isn’t that big of a deal to say for most people, for me it is.

The roots for this issue run really deep inside me. I first started showing symptoms of migraines when I was pretty young, probably around 12 years old. (It’s no surprise that they arrived around the time my period did. This would be important later.) I saw a slew of different doctors that diagnosed it as this and that before just deciding that medicine was the right route. I was treated for them on and off for a while with a mix of medication that made me a zombie. Middle school was a little bit of a blur with most adults telling me that they understood, they got headaches too. I just had to deal with it and move on. And that’s what I did. I moved on. I learned to deal.

And I had to deal with a lot more with just “headaches”. My mother, who had a tendency for Munchhausen by proxy behavior, developed her own migraine disorder not long after I started dealing with my own. It soon overtook mine and became the sole focus of our family life and my care was forgotten. Everything became about her. She got a slew of doctors during the height of the opioid craze to supply her with enough scripts to start a small pharmacy. And that’s kind of what happened. Our kitchen became a small version of CVS. Trips to the ER became monthly, if not bi-weekly excursions so she could get her “shots”. Drug-seeking became her hobby. And it ruined a good chunk of my life.

So now, as an adult, I have this baggage tied to this ailment that has been a part of my life since I was young. Because of the weight of it, I’ve felt guilty about being ill. And instead of facing it and addressing it, I did the maladaptive thing and just pretended it wasn’t there. To make up for what I didn’t get as a kid, I tried to be everything I missed out on. I tried to be Supermom and Superwife while being All Around Best Friend for Everyone. And in a completely unhealthy way, that lead to the mishandling of my health.

Other than what was basic care for the pregnancies back in the day and OTC treatment that included a lot of Excedrin, I just didn’t try to take care of my issues. I treated my headaches like they weren’t a big deal because I didn’t want them to be. I firmly believed if I gave them attention, I would give them power. You know, the old “if you give it a name, you give it power” thought. Then there was also my lack of a support circle. When I did bring them up to the few people in my circle it was seen as just something minor. Headaches just aren’t taken seriously. No one else saw them as something that needed to be seen for, so neither did I. And as added bonus, some of the people I was trying to share my struggles with just sucked as people and used anytime I spoke up to tell me how it wasn’t so bad and how their xyz was so much worse. (But that’s another story for another day.) So I like a lot of my other issues, I just bottled it up and kept it inside.

Generic Imitrix for the win!

But as you might have read in Better Living Through Chemistry I’ve been working to change that. Since then, I’ve been seeing a doctor and addressing the issue. Not only am I treating the migraines with medication, Im treating my depression too. And for a long time, I thought I was doing well. But recently, after my tubal ligation, the migraines are worse. And now I’m in a similar place to the one I was before.

I know that when the headaches occur, my relationship with words and language take a dip. I have to search for words that I usually roll off my tongue. As for writing? Well, that’s even worse. My spelling normally is the reason spellcheck comes standard on all writing programs. When the pain unleashes behind my left eye it’s even worse. I can deal with the sensitivity to lights. I can deal with the blurry vision. But not being able to get the words and ideas out of my head right now I can not stand. My fingers become paperweights and trying to get them to answer to the signals send down to them just doesn’t work. My eyes can’t process the lights from the monitor no matter how much I try to adjust the setting. Everything I try to type comes out garbled and confused. Things that I hand write travel up and down the page in a mixture of cursive writing and print that looks more like a topographic map than a story.

I have allowed myself to embrace writing again. I have been reunited with one of my favorite things. I don’t want this thing in my head to take it away.

I started charting the occurrences of the migraines and their impact on my day. (And I’m a little surprised at the frequency of my findings. I thought they only appeared around my period and with the fluctuation of my hormones. But nope, they are popping up all throughout the month.). I have an appointment in June with my PCP and I think I’m going to ask to get a referral to a neurologist. I think it’s time to take the next step. Maybe it’s time for me to set down the baggage that I’ve been carrying.

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with focusing on my health. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with being aware of my illnesses and taking care of them. Maybe, just maybe, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being the focus of things sometimes.

So instead of that awesome piece I had planned, you’re getting this. And I know this isn’t world changing and maybe not something others will care about, but for me it’s something. It’s an acknowledgment of the monster that lives in my head. I’m going to continue to battle this monster.

On the good days, I will win. And on the bad days, I will just have to fight harder. What I won’t do is deny that I have something wrong inside of me. I have an illness. And it’s ok for me to take care of it and the rest of my health when I need to. It’s not something to be ashamed of and it’s not something to brush under the rug. It’s a part of my life just like everything else.

To the rest of you out there who are struggling with health issues, remember you are not alone. There is no use in comparing apples to oranges here. Our struggles are uniquely individual and our battles are on totally different fronts. What is important is we are here for each other and understand that we need to help when we can.  It’s imperative that we lend an ear and a hand when we can, and a heart when we are able. Stay strong my friends. I’m rooting for you.

Oh, yeah! Before I go, I’m going to get the intended post to you guys. I’ve got to go back and take a look at it and see if I can make sense of what I have down. I hope some of it salvageable because in my head, its a banger of an idea. Keep reading, Dear Readers.

Adventures in Social (Anxiety) Media

In my email the other day was one of those generated Facebook reminders that say something like “Your followers haven’t heard from you in a while!”.  Usually, this reminds me that I haven’t posted anything to be shared to my Facebook page for this blog and that I should probably write something. But this time, instead of just stoking that guilt, it hit me in a different section of my vast guilt landscape.

Not only do I lack in being providing consistent blog content (that’s a problem that lies in dedication and laziness), I also lack in keeping up with the interactive part of having an online presence. I just really am not that social. And that might be my Achilles heel when it comes to making this blog, and my writing, a serious thing.  

Instead of interacting with others, I’m a long time lurker. I read rather than interact. I like and share rather than comment and DM. Just like in real life, I have trouble starting conversations online. I often find it easy to leave a “THIS!” or “OMG I LOVE IT!” comment but I am not one for entering into heavy online conversations. I know people who have fingers and brains whose speed match that of Usain Bolt when it comes to Facebook interaction. They are wizards at whipping up well thought out and intelligently crafted responses to some hard-hitting conversations. Meanwhile, I usually just follow either sharing my thoughts with my screen or looking for a somewhat related .gif I could post.


Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

Just like in real life, I’m once again standing on the wall, watching as other people interact. I’m smiling, nodding, and sending my encouragement but really I’m just a bystander. I’m not in the conversation. I’m as active as the person who is yelling at the ump while watching a baseball game at home. And in a world that is dominated by social media, networking connections,and online interactions like is are akin to being exiled to the Wastelands


Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

And it’s just not Facebooking that I’m awkward and unskilled in. Twitter for me is still like learning to ice skate after the first thaw. Just when it starts making sense, the rhythm of it slips away from me. And while everyone has been on Twitter for what feels like decades, I’m still trying to figure it out. I really, really want to sit with the cool kids, I just don’t know how to quite get to that table. So, after following some people, and dropping some hashtags, and trying so hard to interact, I’m back to scrolling, hearting and just reading.

If, like me, you aren’t a social butterfly, why should you bother trying to fly? Because the sky is where everything is happening now. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy real estate agent or equally cheesy life coach, the ground is no longer home to the innovative. If you want to succeed in today’s world, if you want to get noticed, or even just get heard, you have to interact.


Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

It’s simply not enough these days to just do the thing. You have to polish the thing, present the thing, SEO the thing, tweet the thing, hashtag it, give it a fancy graphic and share it until you’re sick of seeing it yourself. And all the while, you have to think up your next thing, juggle your real life, and field all the interactions from fans and or detractors.

This is where I fail. I see bloggers and podcaster who I admire who are able to do all these things wonderfully and I know I do not measure up. (That’s not said in a self-deprecating “oh woe is me” way, it’s just an acknowledgment)

Aaron Mahnke is someone who I look up to immensely. Not only does he knock it out of the park with Lore, he also does both the Unobscured podcast and his Cabinet of Curiosities podcast. Oh, and he writes books too. And he tours. And there’s an Amazon Prime show based on his stuff. And in the middle of all of that, he’s active on Twitter. He’s creating and supporting and allowing himself not to get lost in it and deter his ability to do the damn thing. And that’s pretty inspiring.

Other inspiration for me comes from the duo behind Welcome To Night Vale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. They have more irons in the fire than most people I’ve ever been aware of. Give the Night Vale universe a check, and you’ll see how much they have going on.  As if Night Vale isn’t enough, there are books, merch, and tours. They have a slew of other podcasts (as part of Night Vale Presents) which are all awesome and they just started a new podcast about, of all things, the art of creating. They are active on Twitter and still have time to do the things that make them happy and STILL pump out new content. So they too prove that you can do it all and still accomplish your goals.

So what’s the solution? How do you cope with being the social part of social media when you’d rather stay in the shadows?

After some soul searching here are three ideas I’ve put into action:

Find out what you want.

Like they say at my kids’ school, “begin with the end in mind”. What are you looking to get out of your social media usage? More followers? More friends? A support group? Or are you just trying to get your ideas a bigger audience? Figure out what your purpose is, then decide on what path you’re going to take to get there.

If it doesn’t come easy, learn how to do it.

We need to break the habit of just lurking by setting goals and making it a job until socializing starts to feel fun. If we set aside a certain amount of time a day to interact and chat people up on the interwebs, then it will eventually become something we get used to.  I don’t think doing this makes it any less meaningful than just randomly opening an app and killing time scrolling around. Pick a time during the day, set a timer, and have that be your daily social media blitz.

Take a big breath and get over yourself.

Anxiety and impostor syndrome will destroy whatever momentum you have. Try to let go and just be you. For the longest time, I thought that you had to always present this polished perfect image of the idea of who you were. From what  I’ve observed, in 2019 online interactions are all about being real. The world has been filled to the brim with Photoshopped and airbrushed commercial AI. We crave honest interactions now. So people are out there being the change they want and are just being themselves. My biggest struggle has always been trying to be what I thought others wanted out of me. That translates into often putting on a  “face” for the internet. But after watching how others act online, it’s pretty clear that being disingenuous doesn’t really win you any favors. In an era where we’ve been choked on fake news, it’s time to get over who you think you should be, and just be who you are.

Stepping off the wall and being a social person may never be an easy thing for me. Social anxiety is a bitch and one does not simply become a social person overnight. But knowing is at least a fourth of the battle. Doing is the rest.

I am not deluded enough to think it will be an overnight change, but I’m sure if I give it enough time and dedication then one day the things I feel I lack in could be things I’m proud of.

I hope that if you struggle with the same things you can feel that way too. Let’s work on it together. We can all be awkward and weird on social media together. I’ll be looking for you!

The Case Against Harley Quinn

cue William Dozier voice over**

It’s daytime in a city that is not Gotham. A woman sitting in her car, talking on her phone notices the all black everything car in front of her in the pickup line. Early 00s Emo music leaks from the heavily tinted windows. In the middle of her conversation, she notices the red stickers adorning the corners of the back window.

The red outlines of a mask.

The diamonds made of four smaller diamonds.

And the words, in blazing red, “Daddy’s lil monster

And the vanity plate for the car that read:

Harley Q

The woman stops her conversation and rolls her eyes in dismay.

I have been a Batman fan for as long as I can remember. And it’s not even that I fell into Batman in a logical way. Because of who know why, there were no comic books for me. My love for Batman started through TV shows.

I remember being little, like really little, when we got our first satellite dish. This was early to mid-90s so that thing was like NASA dish big. We couldn’t get cable in our corner of the woods so that giant metal dish was how we were able to watch TV. From somewhere out in space it transported television waves to our trailer in the woods. Among those signals and waves were glimpses of Adam West and Burt Ward running around in masks and mantles, defending Gotham from equally silly dressed villains as the Caped Crusaders.

It was those campy POW! BANG! episodes with their animated intros and costumed villains that pushed me to the door of the Batman fascination. But it was something else that would lead me down the rabbit hole.

In Batman: The Animated Series, all the campy characters I came to love got deep and dark origin stories. Batman became broody, Robin became troubled, Catwoman became more than just a sexy lynx, and Joker, well Joker got even weirder. And with that weirdness, came a new toy. Joker got a sassy little side piece named Harley Quinn.


Harley Quinn as she appears in the DC Animated Universe

The character Harley Quinn was created just for TAS. And she had quite a bit of a backstory. I’m not going into it in depth, because while I am a fan, I am not a Batman savant. The main thing about Harley Quinn that you do need to know is this,  

She was not the Robin to Joker’s Batman.

She was not his sidekick.

She was not his partner nor was she his love interest.

While it was true that  Harley was in love with her “Mister J”, it was not a balanced love. It was a disgustingly dangerous, violent, tragic love that would make even Shakespeare scratch his head and mutter “what the fuck” before crumpling the paper and throwing it in the fire.

You see, Harley wasn’t his girl. Harley Quinn was Joker’s greatest victim.

And that’s what makes me so mad when I see people idolizing their relationship and hero worphsiping Harley Quinn.

The relationships between Harley and Joker was not one of those “ride or die” Bonnie and Clyde type stories. Harley was nothing more than a toy to Joker. He used her. He abused her. And throughout all the horrible things, she kept loving him. Their relationship was a classic example of dysfunction. Had it been two normal people instead of two fictitious villains in facepaint it would have been clear. They would have been the textbook defination of an abusive relationship then. But somehow, the allure of Gotham seems to erase the all the warning signs for the most casual of fans.

So when women place this relationship on a pedestal because both parties involved seem to have some mental issues, its a slap in the face to anyone who has suffered abuse. Glorifying an abusive relationship, even if it’s from a comic series, normalizes the idea that it’s okay to get treated like shit. It adds another voice to the crowd yelling that all we have to do is love our abusers through their rough spots. Just keep calm and carry on. It spreads the lie that a woman can only be a good woman when she stands by her man. It digs the graves for all the people who stay with abusive partners until they are only able to leave by caskets.

Furthermore, the idolization of Harley Quinn undermines the seriousness of female mental health. It really fucks with the idea of what it’s like to be a woman and have a mental illness. Harley was created using the Crazy Bitch model and hasn’t strayed much from it in the years since. While the mental well being of villains is always questionable, having so many people willing taking up Harley as their role model is a little disconcerning. While it is easy to see that mental illness is apparent in the character, that does not mean that she is the poster child for every person that has dealt with their own issues. Harley makes big usage of the word “crazy”. Women who struggle with mental illness have long fought to distance themselves from that term. So having a whole group latch on to the identity of being that sort of “Crazy Bitch” is damning for all of us.


Harley Quinn as she appears in the fifth volume of Suicide Squad 

She is also is the personification of the idea of action without consequence. For a long while, it has been popular for people to act as if their mental illnesses (whether real or imagined) give them a free pass to act recklessly. Harley Quinn is the living embodiment of that. And while that might work in a city full of neverdowells and millionaires in batsuits, in the real world, whether we struggle with illness or not, we are responsible for our actions. Being able to pass the buck and blame might work for some blonde pig tailed tart from Gotham but for us here on Earth, not so much.

I’m not trying to victim blame the character. My issue is that this hero worship of “Daddy’s Lil Monster”. It’s all wrong. It’s all misplaced.

Harley is not the woman to be following. Just becuase she is an attractive loud mouth does not make her an idol. She is not a strong woman. She is a wounded, brainwashed, victim of Stockholm Syndrome.  In real life, she would be the woman you’d want to be helping. She’s the girl you’d want to cheer for as she got her life together, not use the leader whose philosophy you’d use to build your life around. There is nothing #GIRLPOWER about Harley Quinn. She is a tortured victim of an uncaring man. Her wounds do not make her wonderful. She is not a spirited phoenix rising from her ashes. She is the forgotten doll melting in them.

While we are at it let’s face it, let’s have a word about the misplaced people who enter into the “expirecine-making” part of the fandom. Those people who idolize Joker and Harely that hard often are wee bit deliciousnal about the severity of their bravado. They not a career criminals. They are not a mobsters or mastermind badasses. Their self-styled personas of being “psychos” are usually as flat as the Faygo left on their nightstands.

It’s really easy for them to think that their mundane existence is somehow equal to the fantastical fictional escapades from Gotham. It’s easy for them because it has to be. Their lives, which are normal, are boring. And there’s nothing wrong with that! There just are some people who can not accept that normal and boring are preferable to dramatic and hyper emotional. Those people that live with the chronic need for drama are usually the ones who love the comparison to Harley. And each and every time, they somehow both miss the point and prove it perfectly.

There are much stronger women in the Batman canon to look up to. Selina Kyle/Catwoman is a damn good start. Everyone in Gotham is flawed. The whole city and it’s inhabitants are dark, dirty, shady characters. No one within that world is really worth being called a hero, much less an idol. (Yes, this includes Batman) So while the character of Harley Quinn might be good for what it is, she is fabulously horrible at being a role model.

**If you are wondering who William Dozier is, here’s your answer. William Dozier was the executive producer and lead caster for the Batman series from the 60s with Adam West. Watch a clip of it on Youtube, and often you will hear and lovely voice narrating the beginnings actions of the episodes. That was William Dozier. His voice is often the one I use in my head to set scenes.

Book Review: I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

I didn’t pick up I’ll Be Gone In The Dark because I read true crime books. Out of all the genres of books in the world, true crime is one of my least favorite. I’m not a practical thinker. I’m not one for procedures. It’s hard for me to stick to the actual and not lose interest when strategies and laws and formalities start getting explained. When things get analytical, I nope out.

That’s not to say I do not love the genre in other forms though. I’m a child of the Unsolved Mysteries, American’s Most Wanted Generation. I love true crime TV shows and will spend hours watching documentaries. I absolutely love true crime podcasts. Most of my podcast feed is true crime in nature right now.  And I’ve spent a good chunk of time scrolling through online websites and forums devoted to crimes and cases, suspects and victims. But with the exception of The Devil In The White City, I haven’t touched a true crime book in years.

That was until I heard that a comedian/actor who I’ve been fond of for a long while had lost his wife unexpectedly. We’ve had some close calls recently, so the fear of losing my husband is forefront in my mind.(I’m a nervous wreck and worry all the time, so  what’s one more horrible thing to worry about right?)

As I was following that story, I found another story, tucked inside it.

It was a story about a woman who ordained herself a writer as a young teenager and was inspired to slip into the world of true crime by the nearby murder. It was about a night stalker whose 12-year campaign robbed the residents of a section of Califonia of their sleep, sanity, and in some cases, their lives. It was a story about dedication to clues and advances in science and about never giving up. It was a story about a serial killer who was obsessed. It was a story about a woman who in chronicling that obsession, became obsessed herself.

That woman was Michelle McNamara.

And her obsession was the Golden State Killer/ East Area Rapist/ Original Night Stalker.

One of the first things I said to my husband after I started reading it was “Holy shit, Michelle McNamara was a hell of a writer.” The story of the Golden State Killer (a name McNamara coined herself) is interesting on its own but has enough dates and location changes that it could read like an entry in the most boring of textbooks.

McNamara makes sure that doesn’t happen. Her ability to take police report data and turn it into a narrative that as intriguing as any classic whodunit is almost magical. She weaves the horrible crimes committed by the EAR (one of the many names for the Golden State Killer) with not only stories of the victims and neighbors, but about the officers, detectives, forensic scientists, and online sleuths that spent years if not decades on the case. She focuses not only on their methods but how the case affects them as people. How the case seeps into the pores of their careers and forever leaves a mark on who they are as people.

She doesn’t leave herself out either. She cast the lens as sharply on herself as she does the killer or any other side character in the book. She is not afraid to show her faults or the dark side of what an obsession like this does to someone. Her devotion to bringing justice is on full array, and so is it’s price tag. Tales of events left and anniversaries forgotten show the impact McNamara’s devotion to justice had on her life.

Just like the reality of her devotion, the details of the crimes are not sugarcoated either. Taken straight from victim statements and police reports, every detail of the heinous crimes of the Golden State Killer is put on display. His actions, and inactions, are laid out not as a case study but rather like a really great episode of Law and Order. The retelling of the horrible events almost feels like fictional stories sometimes while you are reading. Then it hits you. These horrible things happened. This isn’t a scripted show. This was an actual period in time when one man terrorized an entire section of California. And then, years later, mentally perplexed so many people all over the world.

That’s one of the things that kept making me have to put the book down while I was reading. I would get so invested in the story that when the people of the book would reach out and connect with me, it was like a slap in the face. McNamara stopped being just an author. I felt like I knew her after reading the book for a very short while. I felt like I was there, researching and writing along with her, as the book unfurled. So when every so often, the Editor’s Notes would start a new chapter, my heart would pause. Those would be the moments when I would have to remember that the woman I’m reading isn’t sitting on the other end of the keyboard, or at her home with her daughter and husband. She’s not on a book tour or getting ready to do interviews for the upcoming HBO documentary. She also not relishing in the fact that the man that did all the horrible crimes that her book was written about was finally apprehended.

Michelle McNamara passed away in 2016 before the book was even finished. In 2017, in the closing of the book, the editors who pieced together her work to create the finished project vowed not to stop until they got his name. In April of 2018, Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested for being the suspected Golden State Killer, thanks to new DNA information.

This story is still growing and evolving. And I feel that we owe it to the victims and their families as well as Michelle and hers to make sure we see it to the end.



My Own Personal Spring

As you can tell by the amount of pollen that’s decorating the cars now, it is officially Spring.

And other than seasonal allergies, I’m pretty stoked about that.

With the rebirth and reawakening of the world around me, I feel a reawakening inside my creative-self as well. Which after the last few months, is a really good thing.

Life has been difficult, to say the least. My husband’s health problems continue to plague him. As a caregiver, I’m beside him as he deals with the highs and lows of the battle. (He has diabetes that swings wildly. It’s funny because it’s true.) My youngest son, My little Doodle, is struggling in school and at this time is on a waiting list to see a developmental pediatrician. After a lot of testing in school with the school psychologist and his personal pediatrician, there are concerns that he may be on the spectrum. We are almost functioning on a reduced income. So yeah, life is difficult. And when life gets difficult, you go into survival mode. And for me, the first systems that get shut down in survival mode are creative and spiritual. Flying on autopilot requires all only the most necessary systems to run. And I’ve been on teetering on autopilot for a while.

So my writing, creating, and connecting had all stagnated throughout the winter. Writing was like pulling teeth, but I did it. I’m not sure how much was good, but it happened in a slow trickle. My connection to my Craft really took a hard hit. I was lazy, I was mindless, I was spiritually tired. So there was a lot of motions going through, but not a lot of actual thought and feeling behind them. Mostly because I didn’t have a lot of actual thought and feeling left.

But with the shift in the seasons, I’ve felt a shift in me.

And a lot of it has to do with a wee little snake.

Saturday past, we got the front lawn mowed for the first time of the year. I was a little sad because we had a patch of clover growing that I was for, some reason, totally in love with. A few hours after it was done, I was taking Jake, the dog, out for a much need bathroom break. And really, it was a nice break for me too to get away from the loudness of the house. Do you know how loud three kids can be? They are freaking loud.

Anyway, Jake is off doing whatever dogs do when they are done doing their business, and Im looking at the newly cut grass. And there, not far from my shoe, zipping through the leaves that we never raked up, was a deep reddish brown little snake. (I use the little in meaning width only, the little guy/girl was about the length of my forearm.)

I’m immediately mesmerized. I watch it for a moment, sure that it’s going to disappear into the ground and our meeting will be brief. But no! It doesn’t hide away. It stays out, enjoying the Sun no doubt. With Jake still busy shoving his big snoot into something snootable, I squat down to get a better look at the snake. Not even the audible protest of my knees scares it off. It turns and moves towards me for a bit, while I spit out the best babytalk I know. And trust me, my babytalk game is strong. And for one second, I swear the little snake and I have a moment. We inhabit the same spot, the same Sun, the same warmth. We share something. I don’t know what it is, but we share it.

Jake hears my cooing and decides it must be for him and starts trotting back over my way. His leash is still in my hand so I move away from the snake as it moves away from me. I rise to my feet as my big doofus comes closer and I use the leash to guide him away from the area the snake traveled and he was none the wiser.

And this isn’t the first time that I’ve had a run in with a reptile in my front yard that’s reconnected me to my lost self. A year or so ago, I happened upon the big black snake that used to inhabit our lot.

S/He was in the middle of eating a bird when a sudden rain shower lowered it’s body temperature and caught it in a pickle. That encountered was memorable, because not only did it involve a big freaking snake, it involved me waking up.

Just like the encounter on Saturday did. They both happened in the beginning of spring. And just like snakes shed their skin when they outgrow it, I’m finally able to shake off the binds of a Winter that held me too tight.


Since then, and I know it’s only been since Saturday, but I feel awake. I feel like my own personal spring has happened. I’ve been able to feel like I’ve been refreshed in my abilities to create and just, breathe. There’s air around me now and in it possibly. There’s room for my magick and my practices. There’s room for my knowledge. And there’s room for me to create.

This doesn’t mean my load has gotten any lighter. My husband’s illness is still here. My son is still struggling. But I am whole. I am more than just a caregiver, a maid, a housewife, and an errand handler.

I am a writer, a witch, a mother, a reader,  a healer, and all the other things hidden inside this meat suit.

I am not bound by a season of darkness. I am not bound by skin of a certain shape.

I am awakened. I am refreshed.

I am ready to begin.

And that is what Spring is for.

Beginnings. Regrowing. Reclaiming.




On Thoughtworms and Mother Wounds

For the last few days, there is this bit of audio that keeps playing in my head. It’s a quote that’s stuck on loop. This often happens to me a lot. If for others the tendency to get songs stuck in your head is called an earworm, my head is one of those little styrofoam cups of nightcrawler for sale in gas stations and bait shops. This is not as fun as the chorus to SOS by Glorius Sons (seriously, listen to this song).

This is a quote on repeat. There is no hook, there is no musical accompaniment. Its just words. And they won’t go away.  I can hear it as clear as day, over and over no matter what I’m doing, no matter what’s going on, no matter whatever else I’m blasting in my ear canals to try to cancel it out. It’s in there, burrowed down deep inside like a parasite.

It’s my mother voice, nasal and deep fried and tainted yellow by cigarette smoke snarking

You see your Hell here on Earth.

pawel-czerwinski-1440118-unsplash

As I’ve said earlier, religion was never a strong point in the household I grew up in. My father was a lazy Methodist. My mother only cared about God when she could use the idea as a means of punishment. So they were Christian in nature but not knowledge. They knew what most ignorant Christians do. In the way that anything other than what they say and what they believe in is wrong. So, people of other races, religions, sexualities, nationalities, etc were wrong. Now we didn’t attend church or pray as a family, but as kids we weren’t allowed to say “bad” words (butt, suck, hate) or cut our hair. And good ole Mom used to brag that she knew more about the Bible than the Jehovah’s Witnesses that would come to my great grandma’s house.  Which is funny because growing up the family Bible was always located in the back of the trailer in the cabinet above where the washing machine was. The laundry detergent spent more time with it then she did.

The core of this is that while she may have put on airs about it, she was not a Godly woman. She was not a woman of Christ. And by that same token, she was not a learned woman either. So her view on where you found your own personal Hell was not as philosophical as it may have sounded. This phrase that she was repeating in front of baby me, enough times to burn it’s way into the core of my memory, was not a lesson in being responsible for your own actions. Or for being aware of what your actions create. It was nothing so beneficial. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

It was a trip wires laid across the field of my childhood. It was the passive-aggressive moanings of an unhappy woman who regretted the decisions she made. It was someone who didn’t want to be there and wanted those around to know that they were the reasons she still stayed. My mother had made her own Hell, and I was a part of it. And no matter how good my grades were, no matter how good my behavior was, and no matter how much I loved her, I couldn’t make Hell any better. And she kept letting me know.

eyeboard

My issue with the phrase is, as a mother (and trust me, I know the annoyance of using that phrase) why in the world would you use that as arsenal against your own children?i understand there is no making sense of abuse caused by untreated mental illness. I understand there are just people who shouldn’t be parents. But somehow you’d expect that sort of nihilism to be either explained or sugared if it was going to be force fed to children right?

The other thing that is troubling me is that I can not get this out of my head. I do not want to have this woman and her issues taking up any more space than needy in my already cluttered mind. Usually, the only way to rid myself of an earworm is to listen to the full song. Recently, it was “X” by Poppy. I got it stuck in my head and then listened to it a few times and boom, it was out of my head. (At least, until now cause I’m totally listening to it again.) But I can’t do that with a quote from someone I have no interest in communicating with.

Also, it’s kind of hard not to see the world as a being a little bit of Hell right now. Maybe its not coincidence that I started hearing it around the time of the Christchurch shootings. Part of me is wondering if maybe the old bag is right? Maybe we make our own Hell. Despite her own ideas about the afterlife and her facade of belief, is it true that the worst torture we can face is being alive? Is living the ultimate punishment? Is this world the worst place we can be? What’s better than here?

I don’t think I need to go into why giving thoughts like those even a second of time is dangerous. Thinking this world has gone to shit and there’s no relief coming doesn’t leave much room for growth. It doesn’t leave much room for living. It doesn’t leave much room for anything. And that’s not true.

cheerful-close-up-coffee-208165.jpg

 

There is room for love. There is room for life. And there is room for all the good and bad things that come with living. Living is not a punishment. Yes, sometimes it’s hard. And sometimes there are things and people that make it worse, but being alive and being free and being HERE, is not hell.

The idea of Hell, with it’s demons and torture, has no place in our existence here on Earth. We can make decisions. Good or bad, they are all part of our story. We can make better ones and change our path. If we need to be better, we can try. We don’t have to turn our pain into poison to try to sicken those around us.

Look, I’m just shy of my mid 30s.  I feel that I’m almost too old to keep picking at this mother wound. For what it’s worth, it’s smaller than it’s ever been. I feel like it’s got some nice scar tissue forming on it now. I got to test it’s thickness out not too long ago with a chance Wal-Mart encounter and it did just fine. But every once in a while, the damn thing itches. This must be one of those times. Hopefully, talking about it here will exorcism this thoughtworm from my brain and make it go away.

You do not see your Hell here on Earth, Dear Readers. Your existence is not hell. Please believe that. It is the wonderful, messy, beautiful, scary, amazing, thing it is. And it and you are not a bother to anyone. Don’t listen to any entity that makes you feel otherwise. 

 

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Mercury is in Gatorade or Some Shit

I know, I know it’s silly and potentially lame, but it’s hilarious right?

Every time that image comes up during a retrograde, I laugh myself silly. And by ‘laugh myself silly’ I really mean snort heavily through my nose and either one of the children or one of the cats at me funny and judgey.

And if you want to listen, I will tell you why.

In this big landscape of witch life and metaphysical living, there is so much seriousness. As all religions do, we take ourselves seriously. As we should! Our beliefs have been second classed and ridiculed for as long as we can remember. They’ve been turned into a sideshow and a running gag, a source of amusement and ticket revenue. And for some of us, they’ve been, scarlet letters that have led to discrimination, punishment and not even that long ago, death. So I fully understand why carrying the old ways are so heavy.

So it must be that heaviness that gives me a giggle when something that pokes fun at an idea we put stock in, like Mercury Retrograde, comes around. Maybe my humor is misshapen in that messed up “I grew up in the 90s” sort of way. Maybe I’m a little callous. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. Maybe a laugh is a laugh and we should take them where ever we can get them. Who knows what’s wrong with me, in the words of the Prophet Lady Gaga, “ I was born this way, baby.” What I do know is that as of March 5th Mercury is in Retrograde again and all jokes aside, that can kind of suck.


So that being said, what’s the deal with Mercury being in Retrograde? What does it all mean? And why are people so afraid of it? I’ll explain ( and throw in my two cents since I know you’re just aching for that, too)

Astrology, while not my strong point, is something that I do love and respect. Like a lot of you, it was my first taste of divining. Our study of the celestial bodies and their positions and their effects on our lives is so much a part of everyday life you’d be hard pressed to find a newspaper that didn’t carry some sort of astrology report in them. Retrogrades, however are a bit of a step up from basic horoscopes and sun signs.

The big bad Mercury retrograde happens when it passes by earth in its orbit around the sun. Being closer to the Sun than we are,  Mercury has a smaller journey than we do. Because of this, it passes us three times in one year. For us down here looking up, it appears that Mercury is moving backward during these times. That is what we mean when we say that it’s entering retrograde. It’s not actually reversing itself in the sky, it’s just taking an alternate direction. This quick passing is what causes swift and turbulent energies to shake up our flow down here in our Earthly living. And oh, boy does it. This time, the event will last from March 5th to March 28th.

It’s long been held that Mercury retrograde is a time where things get a little screwy. Communications have a way of getting polluted, plans have a way of getting corrupted, and ideas have a way of getting infected. Basically, we all get thrown off our rockers. That’s why during this time, it is wise to not only watch what you say but watch what you do.

Contracts, leases, job offers, and other important business/official papers should probably not be signed. Big and heavy conversations? Those need to wait too. I’ve read that you both should and should not undertake mechanical and technical work. I’m not sure which is the best advice, but I hold true to the idea that if something can break or fuck up it’s probably going to during this period. So maybe tend to the things you love to keep them in working order and keep them from coming down with the Retro Blues.

This goes for your body as well. Your physical and spiritual/emotional self can be wrecked by the effects of a retrograde. Be well. Take time for yourself. Give yourself space and allow yourself the distance you need to keep yourself from exploding over things that don’t deserve explosions. Allow others the same provisions. We are in relationships, not a war.

With that being said, I would like to stress this. And I’m going to say it real loud for those people in the back.

YOU CAN’T BLAME YOUR SHIT ASS ATTITUDE ON THE RETROGRADE.

Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. But just like before you knew about the path of the planet Mercury you are 100% responsible for your own actions. So don’t be an ass and try to blame it on Mercury, ok? Own up to your own shit. You don’t have to be a ray of sunshine all the time. Just don’t deny your rain clouds and thunder when someone calls you on them.

If we believe in our personal powers we must be responsible for every aspect of them. We must honor ourselves as well as our actions. All of them! Not just the ones we are proud of. So we can just blame an unattached, fleeting outside source when we want to act a fool. We can’t go around half-cocked and then just willingly cast blame on something we know can’t be held accountable. Dollars to donuts, the lot of us aren’t werewolves. We don’t just change because something in the sky chances too.

So as this Retrograde wears on remember, it can and will probably affect us. It may make things go a little wonky. But ultimately, we are in charge of ourselves. We have to make the decision not to let the disruptions of the energies around us control us. Our flow might get fucked up, but we will be okay.

It’s just Gatorade after all, right?


Grocery Store Talk

Before we get to the main attraction, a little State of The Union type update (minus that insanely annoying Cheeto colored man)

Oh Dear Readers, where oh where have I been?

Here. I’ve been here. Stuck in the same muck that has rendered me as creative as a white crayon on a white piece of paper. The first two months of 2019 have stunk. It’s like a holdover from whatever sticky spiritual substance made the end of 2018 feel like cement has seeped into the first few months of this year. It’s like a hangover that just won’t quit, no matter how many cheeseburgers and aspirin you have.  It doesn’t help that it’s rained almost every single day and I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in half a damn year. The brief time I spent in the Pacific Northwest had more sunshine than we’ve had recently.

I’m still taking my antidepressants if you are curious, and I guess they are still working. I can not fathom how hard life would be right now without them. I’m guessing without them, instead of just feeling uninspired and stressed, I would be crumbling and ruined either always or never asleep. For now, I’m functional, I’m performing, and no one is writing complaints about my behavior anywhere yet. So there’s that?

I’ll take small victories where I can find them.

Now, as they say, on to the show.

I was at my local grocery store ending a quick toilet paper and energy drink run when I pulled my cart towards the checkout lanes. It was Sunday morning and the church crowd was just starting to get out. And by that I mean, the old ladies with their hair all set were just starting to bum rush the store.

I made a quick pick as to which lane I was going to take and skirted my cart to the 12 Items or less line.  Which just so happened to be headed by a cashier I knew in that small town kinda-sorta way. I’d gone through his line a few times and made random chit chat with him about random shit before. The last time it was about Adventure Time and how awesome and not okay we are with the show ending. (How did that conversation even begin, you ask? Well, I have an Adventure Time purse. And a daughter named Marceline.) He is a cool dude and always good for a laugh. A stranger that makes an everyday occurrence a little more fun.

That day was no different. I placed my items, more than just the TP and energy drinks of course, on the belt and waited my turn. As the customer in front of finished up, I greeted Cashier Dude with a smile. We passed pleasantries back and forth while he scanned my first few items. Then he asked if I’d like my ideas packed in my bag or the store’s plastics. Having only brought in my purse I was caught off guard and responded with a “Wait, what?” Seeing as how the purse I carry (which was a wonderful gift from an even more wonderful friend) is big enough to haul groceries in, the confusion was easy to understand. We shared a laugh over the humor in carrying Italian sausages in your purse and my admittance that I was going to be thinking of that for the rest of the day. It was a lighthearted fun interaction that made a mundane task a little bit better.

Then, while I was looking for that one specific plastic tab on my keyring full of plastic tabs to scan for some sweet discounts, it happens. Cashier Dude looks at me while doing the international hand sign for necklace and says,

“I like your..” and then a pause..”…um. Hey, are you Wiccan?”

Of all the questions in all the grocery stores in the world, that was not the one I was betting on having asked of me.

But you best believe I was going to answer it. Right after I remembered what necklace I was wearing. It’s such a normal thing for me, I kind of forget it’s there. But around my neck, I wear a necklace with a pendant that was a gift from my #bestwitchforlife and a small silver pentacle. So when my fingers got to my necklace I realized exactly why he was asking.

“Nah, I’m Pagan. Wicca is just not my thing. It’s not for me.”

And here is where the worry kicked in. While I am truthful in my beliefs, I do not want to be disrespectful to others. We have enough heat from God’s crowd. We don’t need infighting and wand measuring. So, going by my intuition I knew that Cashier Dude had some stake in The Craft, but I didn’t know exactly how he took his tea if you get my drift. And while Wicca really is NOT the shoe that fits me, it could have been for him. So my feelings on what I see as faults in Wicca were not to be discussed there in the fluorescent-lit grocery store.

Cashier Dude chuckled and responded with a knowing nod and said, “Yeah, Wicca is  like that.” Then we shared one of those looks that translates roughly into “Shits cray, right?”

Before we could delve deeper into the conversation, the card reader started telling me that it had read my card and prompted me for my PIN. Then he was handing me a receipt. He thanked me for shopping, I thanked him for cashiering and we wished each other a great day. And off into the rainy day I went. With smiles all around, the moment was over.

But it stuck with me. First because in this area, there’s not much conversation about religion that isn’t about the Christian God. The last time I was asked about religion at that store it was by a Jevohah’s Witness. (Who was such a sweet lady!) The time before it was by a Church of God fellow (Who was also a very sweet person!) My point is, this is the Bible Belt. Christianity is THICK here. We have more churches than schools and although their flavors are different, they all have the same main ingredient. And like the lactose that keeps me from being able to enjoy all the flavors of ice cream, it’s the one that keeps me away. It’s not my jam, it ain’t my thing, I want none of it even though its everywhere and on everything. Not saying that I hold it against anyone that does. Everyone is free to practice what they want. It’s just the predominant religion and lifestyle here.

Second, to have someone agree that maaaybe Wicca isn’t the end all be all of the Pagan experience is a home run in my book. Once again, I am not trying to drag Wicca through the mud. But still, having someone agree that the Rule of 3 Ain’t For Me feels good when for a long time you’ve been feeling like the odd kid out. I’ve tried Wicca and while there are things from it I do like, I just can not see myself as following that path. Which is why I always try to vet the classes that are offered in the workshops and meetups in the area. While we can always learn from each other, there are some things I’d rather not have to unlearn.

Also, just having someone to talk to about it, in person, is nice. Even if it was a brief, it was nice. So many of my witchy, Pagan friends are online (Hell, most of my adult friends are online). Being able to talk about beliefs aloud without getting the condemnation to Hell talk immediately was more powerful than the contents of the energy drink I purchased. Especially right now. I’m kind of treading water in my day to day life, if you can’t tell. So for the Universe/Goddess/Whatever to drop this moment of  “HEY YO!” on me out of the blue was nice. It was a little wake up to remember what is important in all the bullshit and not forget it.

And to top it off, the whole encounter got me to sit down and write this all out for you Dear Readers. So for that alone, it was worth it.

We never know when these chance encounters are going to change our lives. That is why we have to be open. That is why we have to allow ourselves to be aware. And that is why we, above all, have to listen. Trust me when I say, living in the middle of your own isolation and worry will add to both.

Ever on, Dear Readers, ever on. Let’s enjoy the journey and try to experience life. And above all, let’s not forget what’s important. (And don’t worry, I’ll be holding myself to these standards too.)