Phew. My partner is convincing me to branch out into the world of instagram and twitter. No twitter yet but, now introducing my ig @bitchy_and_witchy! Follow me for daily tarot & astrology memes and general musings. Life has been wacky lately so I haven’t been able to sit down and write a proper post on here lately but I’ve got all sorts of things brewing. Talk to you soon.
“when did you know?” and other things I won’t want to answer
maybe it was when, age 3, I told my sister
“I don’t want to be a girl”
“they have babies and I don’t want to have a baby”
instead of mother I’d play boss,
my granny as my employee.
I fired her a lot.
the performance of power was intoxicating.
but my lisa frank coloring books and princess costumes
were fine too.
or maybe when at a time unspecified
before age 7
I looked in the bathroom mirror–
freckle faced with gap teeth too big for my mouth
–and felt my Self fly out of my body,
estranged from the physical,
uncomfortable with the confrontation
of this young female child looking back.
“this is what everyone sees when they look at me?”
(right then, somewhere in history
of some shopkeeper stoned to death
in front of his beloved wife
for a crime he does not comprehend;
of some soldier killed in a war he never signed up to fight;
of some journeyman falling off the edge of a cliff;
of some young sheltered man whose brilliance
was never seen, dead
upon leaving his family to seek his own power,
collapsed in the cold mountain snow;
gasped in fear
and hesitant relief.
the privilege of the feminine, at least just this once.)
maybe it was age 9,
“granny, why don’t any boys LIKE me?
why do they always like
most feminine girls
in my class]?”
you should learn this now,
boys don’t like girls who speak their minds”
and when she told me “weird is a good thing;
normal is boring”
maybe it was age 12, weird as ever,
on the cusp of embrace,
entrenched in an obsession
with billie joe armstrong,
dressed up in drag to look like my idol,
pleased and discomfited by what this
but preoccupied by the hope that one day
I’d grow into a jessica rabbit hourglass
and people might call me sexy.
maybe it was age 13
when a boy and his friend
every day on my way to french class
would snicker and whisper
when I walked past.
I swallowed it down,
changed my route to class,
and vowed to never prove them right.
maybe it was how
no matter how long my hair
how high my voice
how pretty my clothes
I felt like I was violating
every girl at a sleepover party
by virtue of breathing
and having eyes.
or maybe when I’d say, laughingly, to my best friend in college
in response to every photo of myself:
“I look like a little boy in my sister’s clothes”
but how dressing the little boy in his own boy clothes
with his own boy haircut
didn’t quite do the trick.
it is gray space where I am.
soul out of body looking in mirrors
whose reflection is always just slightly
soul hanging quietly above
the scene of a now young
dressed in coral and royal blue garb,
the image of the 21st century secretary.
I am 12th house fire, and
cannot express the infinity of what I am.
not this time around,
Well, my mental health month blogging sadly did not pan out as I hoped. And I haven’t written here in 2 months. But I’m here now, sinking into a huge lounge chair and reflecting.
My childhood best friend surprised me (sort of) with a trip to the spa as a 6-month belated birthday & Christmas present. We agreed last year that we’d buy each other massages for our birthdays from now on, but she went Above and Beyond, and got us an entire package. A facial! Pedicure! Inclusive lunch! Wild and wacky. I’m thrilled and calm as shite.
As I was laying on the massage table this morning, my mind drifted from memory to memory, thought to thought. When the massage therapist got to my legs, I got ticklish. Which meant I got tense. Which made me think Well this was a lot of money to have all her work on my shoulders undone because my legs are too sensitive for human contact.
The negative cognitions started up, ready to take off into a spiral of: You’re wasting your friend’s money, you can’t even get a massage properly you thankless goober, you’re tensing up so much you’re probably going to give yourself a stroke!!! but before it could out of control I said whoa whoa whoa. What’s all this about, brain? Legs? What’s really going on here?
So I took a deep breath, focused my attention on the spot where she was massaging, and let go. I took a moment to consider the source of the unraveling. I get ticklish and tense for one because I am and always have been hypersensitive (physically, emotionally, all of it), but also because I am afraid to give up control.
So I tried to counteract this. I let go.
I remembered a time I was seeing a chiropractor who moved my head to the side and said, “Molly, just relax. Are you used to being a helper? You don’t need to move your head when I start to. I can and will do it for you.” And I was sort of taken aback and somehow put off at first. But then I thought about it, and she was really on to something.
I think part of it is that, yeah, I’m used to “being a helper” and putting people’s needs before me. But that always felt too inaccurately martyr-like, or sort of like a delusion of altruism.
It’s more than that. It’s not pure selflessness, it’s self-preservation. If I dig in deep to my shadowy parts, it’s that:
- I don’t trust others to know what I need, or even that they really know how to do what they’re doing in such a way that I won’t have to go back and fix things.
- I don’t believe I am worthy of relaxation or enjoyment.
- I don’t believe my environment is safe enough to relax or revel.
These feelings / beliefs run so deep that they come out in my body. This is wild to me! This must mean they need some extra attention and gentle undoing.
And the beliefs somatized today, in their own tiny way.
So I breathed. I told myself I trust the massage therapist. I told myself my environment was safe. I told myself I deserve to relax and revel in quiet, safety, and touch. And somehow, gratefully, I believed it.
I realized–this is luxuriating.
Yes, I’m privileged to have and be close with those who have acccumulated enough wealth that we can splurge on spa days. But luxuriating isn’t in and of itself avocado oil slathered on your back as hands of a stranger offer a Swedish massage.
Luxuriating is something that money makes easier to do, indeed, but it is not just expensive beauty products that smell warm and soothing.
It is sitting with yourself and feeling the bliss of being. Of having a physical form to occupy space with. To connect with others with.
You have permission to revel. To trust in your environment that this moment and the next will have you safe and steady on this earth just as the last one did. To believe that experiencing pleasure is not making you vulnerable to threat; it is making you open to connection and presence.
You have permission to luxuriate. To soak in your being here. The safety of bedsheets before sleep. The warmth of water showering across your back. The sound and smell of rain after a week of unrelenting humidity. The softness of skin that belongs to someone who cares for you.
Getting to this place of trusting and loving oneself enough to fully be here is no small task. But today I think I’m closer to its ease than I ever have been as a young adult.
On Sunday at 6:10pm, I will be taking off in an airplane headed for Ireland.
For now, it is 10pm and I have not (yet?) eaten dinner. Not for any Bad reason, just because I’ve been going nonstop since 8:30am. A week of work in the middle of the busiest month in our office, right before I’m out of the office for 6 business days–it’s Go Time. I’m hyperfocusing all day at work and then come home to either watch all of Season 2 of Sense8, pet my cat, and/or spend 5 hours trying to sign up to be a video tarot reader (only to hit red tape–god damn you Oranum).
And it feels like it has been go time for the last 5 months. I keep getting frustrated with myself the last 2-3 weeks. Why am I so tired? Why have I stopped blogging? Why don’t I feel filled with focus and energy and purpose like I did one month, two months ago?
Well, me, and anyone else who Relates: because you can’t always be “Up”. Because I was running on fumes of a survival instinct.
The last 5 months have been a whirlwind. They’ve kicked my ass. They’ve kicked my spirit. But they’ve also healed my kicked ass and my kicked spirit, all at the same time. It’s weird how things work that way sometimes. I see you, Saturn.
But now–I’m approaching a breath.
Not only because I’m going to be away from my desk job to visit my most favorite place in the entire world for 7 days and 8 nights. But also: Jack has finally moved in, so my home is finally settled. My bedroom is finally a bedroom. We finally have all the furniture we’ve spent the last 2+ months looking for.
Come Sunday, “go time” will stop.
Today at work I started to feel nauseous out of the blue; I think it was anxiety and blood sugar. Luckily it was right around my lunch hour, so I left my desk and headed down to the staff lounge to lay on the couch.
My head hit the hard wooden arm of the couch (not ideal but better than my desk) and I became aware that I was legitimately spinning. I shut my eyes and felt my thoughts swirling through my head. It was like having the spins from drinking but without any of the carefree laughter before falling asleep for 4 hours (only to wake up and have to go Number 2, drink a glass of water, and fall back asleep for another 4).
But really–I was shocked at how I physically stressed felt. My head was swirling. My chest was tight. My stomach was clenched. My breathing was shallow. My jaw was shut tight.
And something clicked for me: Oh shit–this is what mindfulness is. I’m noticing how my body feels. Lol 19 year old me would kick and scream.
I noticed all the ways my body was holding in stress and discomfort.
And then I breathed. I breathed in deep, all the way to my belly, and let my tense muscles turn into mush as much as they could. And the nausea went away. The headache went away. The discomfort went away.
It’s not like I haven’t ever done this before, but I think I really haven’t ever firmly understood that, like–yes, I can do mindfulness. I don’t need to call it that and use hippy dippy language that makes my Capricorn rising grind my teeth in defiance. But I can do it, I do do it, and it actually does help.
Pausing, noticing, allowing, and releasing.
As I head into Sunday, to a week I hope to be deeply restorative, I will keep these words in mind. Because chances are the moment my head hits that airplane seat and/or Jack’s shoulder, I will finally be able to notice how much I’ve been spinning over the last many months.
A thought for us all, each day:
Pause, notice, allow, release
Well my dear ones, it is May and thus, I have learned, it is Mental Health Awareness Month.
I would love to make a series of posts during this month about mental health–personal posts, informational posts, and advice-offering posts. Let’s start the month off right by goal-setting. I’ll stick to small potatoes; May 2017 is a Busy As Hell month for me in all parts of my life. So the goal is: three posts, one in each aforementioned genre.
A brief foreword
If you have known me for a moment or a lifetime it is likely not News that I have a deep interest in psychology, and in mental health / illness specifically.
When I was but 10 years old, scouring the internet for brain-stimulating material, I spent many hours reading through the “Psychology” page of Wikipedia. I remember clear as day digesting articles such as “Insomnia,” “Schizophrenia,” “Sleep Paralysis”, and “Depersonalization Disorder” (ironically, I remember this one really, really clearly because it scared the Hell out of me–and yet here we are, folks).
At 11 I made my own website about schizophrenia as part of an independent study–it was titled, appropriate to online speaking conventions of 2004–“schizophrenia o rly”. The website is now defunct, but I can still remember the graphics clear as day. And typing up information about “positive” and “negative” symptoms. Ah, cherished childhood.
And now here I am, a 23 year old version of Me (v.23). I have continued to amass knowledge on mental health / illness, some from reading, some from hearing others speak, and some from experiencing it myself. I continue to write about the subject online–through freelancing jobs, Facebook posts, and this blog–and talk about it at length with dear ones and on my YouTube channel.
Today, I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time, but never quite had the wherewithal to do. Or the privacy. Or the headspace.
I created a YouTube channel where I will post weekly videos about depersonalization & derealization.
You can watch my intro video here:
I’m going to make an outline this weekend of the whole “series”, and sketch out their content. This is so exciting! I hope folks find it useful.