New Traditions, AKA How to Navigate Tricky Relationships by Keeping Your Hands Busy

For the first time ever, my sister, mother, and I decided to do something Christmassy. 

Those of you who follow this blog closely know what an unusual thing it is for my family to do something usual, and what is more usual than sending out Christmas cards?

It’s been a rough couple of years for the ladies in my family. My sister and I battled in court for conservatorship over my mother to help effectively manage her schizophrenia. There have been lots of legal battles and hospital visits and yelling and police and yelling at police (it’s a whole story) and predictably, that has taken a toll.

But for the last twelve months, in an impossibly crazy, pandemic-y world, things have not been so crazy in our little world. Mom is safe, my sister and I have worked out a smooth schedule, and an eerie calm has settled over us. 

So when my sister called me the other day and asked if I wanted to get together to write out  Christmas cards this year, I accepted. It was such a normal thing to do.

Normal for other people, at least.

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Damn, Girl’s Top COVID Christmas Gift Pick

Stack of gifts

There are many things to love about winter. I am, of course, kidding. Winter is a loathsome season and anyone who claims to love it is being paid off by “Big Winter.” Follow the money!

Regardless of whether or not you are on the payroll at Winter Corp., I think we can all agree that between the pandemic and the chill, we are all feeling a bit limited.

For me personally, giving up the things I look forward to the absolute most has been eating at me. I am beyond fortunate to have remained healthy during 2020 and I try my hardest not to lose sight of what is truly important, but I’m not going to lie and say that having my big pleasure activities taken away has been easy. 

I wanted to check in with my readers because it’s been a hot minute (hi, lovelies!) and pass on a little thing that has brought me joy this year, and hopefully help you out too!

We’re talking holiday gifts this week!

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White but Not Privileged: How to Understand What Is Going On Right Now

I had an unusual upbringing. My parents were both mentally ill, homeless, and addicted to drugs. My siblings and I slept in a three drawer dresser (one drawer for each of us) in the back of a van my parents drove up and down the country. When my dad got too violent, maybe taking a knife to my mother, maybe tying her up and striking her, we would stay in a women’s shelter or a homeless shelter. Not for too long, though, because there was a constant need to outrun Social Services and the police.

The psychotic, dangerous road trips would always end with my father in jail, my mother in a mental institution, and my siblings and me in group homes or foster homes. These bastions had their own drawbacks, namely physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, but they were a short reprieve from hunger and homelessness.

Notably, I lived in a condemned house in Detroit in a neighborhood called 7 Mile in the 1990s. I have greeted a box of government cheese with tears of relief.

I have accepted that I would die from exposure to the elements, hunger, or violence more times than I can count, not fully understanding to this day how I am still alive. I have spent nights in homeless shelters, days on the streets, slept on snow-covered city benches and in abandoned buildings, feared for my life, and prayed to die instead of living another day in undignified hardship.

IMG_5146 3
I got this completely random text message from my sister as I was writing this post.

There is not a person on this planet that could call my life easy so believe me when I say:

if I can understand white privilege, so can you.

Continue reading “White but Not Privileged: How to Understand What Is Going On Right Now”

Stop Silencing Your Excuses

I think Nike killed the feminine gift of place making. Nike and their athletic gear counterparts, airing shiny commercials of powerful warriors hurtling over their obstacles, barreling out of planes without parachutes, growling down wolves who stood between them and their bench press. Powerade and Gatorade drip from the pores of gods and goddesses who finished their 26-mile run across the Mojave desert. Just. Do. It. No excuses. The only thing standing between you and your goals is you.

Winning Lionel Messi GIF by Gatorade Football - Find & Share on GIPHY

This cultural shift has walked over the gentle necessary healing art of place making. It has silenced the guiding voice telling you what you need to support yourself in your journey. No parachute? No problem. Hurl yourself out of that plane, land in a sandpit, run those miles. Don’t stop yourself. No legs? This guy scaled a mountain without any. How dare you breathe an excuse as to why you can’t meal prep?

In practice, this has not brought out the Spartan warriors in all of us. Instead, it’s been crippling.

In a world where all objections are an excuse, all considerations are excuses, and all excuses are unacceptable, your guiding voice can not take care of you. You feel anxious and depressed because listening to your excuses is shameful.

I argue that the journey toward accomplishing your goals must start with deep listening to and acceptance of your excuses. Not only start with, but end with, and middle with. For a lot of women it’s not just the starting of a task, but the middle, the ongoing. We silence our concerns, our aches, the things that don’t feel quite right. We stop listening to our inner voice that wants a tweak, a change, some variety, and shame those voices as “excuses” and ourselves as “excuse-makers.”

In reality, our excuses are the key to sustainable change, greater well-being, and stronger self-esteem.

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How to PMS Better

Tampons

Like many women, I’m in the middle of a lifelong quest for better feminine health. We all have our little tips and tricks to ease and support ourselves during “that time of the month.” I want to share with you the ones that have made the biggest difference for me and solicit the ones that have made the biggest difference for you.

So let’s gather outside the cave to tell each other which berries we should rub on our boobs for an easier cycle and a better corn crop.

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What Are You Doing for Yourself in Quarantine?

Woman holding a growing plant

What good things have come out of your time in quarantine?

I bet it’s something and I want to know what it is. Did you learn how to play the ukulele? Have you finally mastered the perfect ratio of bubble bath to water? Did you learn something about your partner you never knew before? Was it that he is actually a ghost from the 1970s and has been dead this whole time? Because obviously, we all want to hear that story so stop being so selfish and tell us. Or maybe you organized your pantry or whatever.

Regardless, I want to know what you have learned, started learning, excelled at, or changed during this most unusual time in all our lives. Here’s mine:

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Who Is Bothering You Most during Quarantine?

An angry otter

Ah, coronavirus. A virus that needs no introduction. The star of all our lives right now brings out the best in us, the worst in us, but mostly it seems, the annoying in us. Whether it’s the protesters, the hoarders, or the family members who struggle way too much to figure out Zoom, there is some group of people getting under all of our skin. I invite you to have a nice vent with me, air those grievances, girl, because it’s never good to keep that in.

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Decorate Like a Damn Witch

Woman in a witch hat reading a magic book

You’re a little witchy, aren’t you? You mystical huntress. Maybe not all the time but on occasion, when you are very lucky, you will step in exactly the right place and find a supernatural force that seeps up through Mother Earth till it finds the soles of your feet and lets you know: life is pretty magical and so are you.

This is our favorite feeling, isn’t it? Feeling attuned to the hedonistic unknown? That full moon, warm summer night, stolen kiss feeling? Mmmmmmm, Magical Calgon take me away.

I want to talk about cultivating that witchy spark in your home. How to feel like you live in a faery castle, or deep in the woods surrounded by healing waters, or in a white curtain-lined sex yurt complete with a naked Witcher. I also want to teach you how to do it without turning your home into a tacky head shop which, let’s face it, is your worst fear.

Henry Cavill Witcher GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Decorating has never come naturally to me. I am drawn to overly feminine pieces or trendy garbage that never translates into my own life, and I tend to quickly turn on patterns and colors, first welcoming them into my home, then quickly becoming skeptical, and eventually loathing them. Before I know it I find myself once again burying a vase in my backyard in the dead of night, sobbing that it was an accident, that next time it will be different. The vase won’t betray me. I’ll love the vase. We’ll be together forever.

If you are like me, and it’s important to you to have an environment that fosters creativity, sensuality and a little bit of magic, I have some trend-free tips for you that should keep you out of the acquire, love, loathe, kill cycle.

Bette Midler Witch GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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My Year in Self-Care Purchases

Blue and gold shopping bag

You see, dear readers, when a clusterfuck and a shit show love each other very much, they get together and make something truly terrifying: the year 2019.

I don’t want to dwell on the bad things because we have so many fun new topics to explore this year. So let me sum up what has kept me away from you all… with shopping.

Today’s post is my year, in self-care purchases.

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Why You Should Have a Life Philosophy

A carved buddha statue

I am not one of these people who take Pinterest quizzes. I am not new-agey. I don’t like a whole bunch of fuss. I’m not sentimental. I don’t have a spirit animal. I am the most pragmatic person I know. Ironically, I would never read a post called “Why You Should Have a Life Philosophy.”

The whole idea summons images of inspirational print art, t-shirts claiming my heritage as a mermaid or unicorn, and Tony Robbins… then they get all blurred together as a mental picture of Tony Robbins having sex with a mermaid with a scrawly script above it that says “Everyday is a good day when you’re fucking a mermaid!”

Mermaid GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But having a life philosophy is not about higher thinking or spiritual fulfillment or having sex with mermaids.

It’s about organization.

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