Today is not a good day.
I’ve had almost a month of good days save a few at the end of December as I adjusted to not working. Today I feel alone today I feel like I’m going to be alone for ever and that that feels like a terrible thing. Now I know in my head that even if I were to be, it is neither good nor bad. I can create happiness in myself and I’ve proven that to myself so being alone is neither here nor there. But today it feels like a huge weight, a feeling of dread. A feeling that I have so much love to give, such a strong desire for love and personal connection that it feels bottled up like a huge sadness.
I feel like my emotions and my head are at odds.
I still feel the greif in my heart from my last relationship. It’s now almost been as long that I was in a relationship that I’m now out of one. That baffles me. It feels like all I wish for is to love. Letting go of attachment especially to things not good for me. Maybe I need to find a way to redirect, redefine or love in a way that doesn’t require me to have one person love me back. Polyamory has been in and out of my life over the years. I care deeply for the humans I have had in my life but I have not been “in love” outside of monogamy. I’m happy for that to change – for patterns to break but my little heart is scared and sceptical. Love feels like an emotion that is bigger than my body or my mind being made up of the combination.
Being tired brings out that tiny percentage in me that wants fingers to touch my skin in a way that makes my heart race. It craves the feeling of my skin tingling and all my hairs standing on end at the sound if a beloved’s voice whispering beautiful sounds into my ear. It feels like being cold in the middle of winter, hearing the rain or the wind whistling around the walls and windows and snuggling deeper into each other’s arms. Tenderness, vulnerability and a desire to see and be seen.
Right now I’m staying some place where I don’t feel comfortable being openly out, and talking about it at all. When I decide to go somewhere or do something I have the blissful freedom of just running off and doing it. A freedom I’ve also wanted when I’ve felt trapped. I don’t fully know if I am inherently simply craving the thing which I do not currently have. I catch myself here – thinking back to earlier today when I pulled myself up out of my self indulgent melancholia to be present, to love, participate and enjoy all the beauty and wonders immediately around me.
In the Rocky Mountains somehow that felt a little easier than it does now lying in the dark on a couch im some strangers house. The majestic mountains as the glisten in the sun almost touching the blueness of the sky. Standing at the bus stop waiting for a few minutes to tick by I feel small and unimportant next their grandeur. A feeling which makes all other feelings cease to matter.
I know I have experienced deep love that felt full and gave me so much joy. Maybe I have this sadness that is as deep as I loved. I’m glad I know it exists, I’m glad I have had the opportunity to experience it. I am glad I am giving myself the space to heal, to run with and mend my heart. I did not want to even think about loving again a year ago, so feeling like I have this desire and capacity again is a blessing, even if it feels melancholic or painful at times. I have the heart of watery emotions and this too is the gift of feeling deeply. It makes me strong it makes me powerful and I am able to share these feelings, to be able to articulate them with words so you also can understand how I feel and maybe sense the effects, pain, pleasure or joy that they bring.
Today is also a good day. It was a beautiful cold, but crisp sunny day and I was alive. I felt alive, I could see my breath, hang like a coud in front of my face. It misted up my glasses as the air temperature changed.
Today I am writing again. I have stories to tell. I am pouring my thoughts and feelings out into this journal so they are no longer a burden, no longer a heaviness I have to carry around. I feel light again and my mind has slowed down, the sleepless manic has subsided.
I know I will always have myself to love.
“That’s okay, it’s been my pleasure having your stay. Now I can say I hosted and artist.”
I don’t think this person knew how much these words meant to me. I know I’ve written a little about imposter syndrome before but when I accept gifts or help from others it is always the first voice in my head with the microphone. One I am slowly learning how to turn the volume down on.
Over 6 months ago a wonderful human messaged me about participating in my tarot deck, I responded as I have done with quite a large number now of other cards. “Here’s how the queer tarot deck Im making works and thank you for messaging me – where do you live?”
I’ve never considered myself a professional photographer, I’ve been in front of a camera far more it feels like, than I’ve been behind it. Some of my favourite photos have been pure flukes or magical creations by my camera which I have unconsciously facilitated. Feeling my confidence in myself slowly growing is exciting and a constant reminder of the shadow self that comes up with it.
We email back and forth sporadically many more times over the following few months and I like how this person communicates and writes, telling me a story that maybe one day I can share. We move off email to chat and still barely know who I’m talking to but I’m excited about the thought of meeting them.
A queer tarot photography tour. Well that’s what a real artist would have called it. Visiting different towns and cities and taking pictures of magical queers, capturing their magick amd stories to tell through tarot into the future. That’s what an artist does.
I was “traveling to visit my family, and maybe a small wee day trip out to visit this person”. A day trip turned into a week visit somehow with very little sleep with each overland train ride. I arrived and promptly got food poisoning. “This is not how a professional does it” running through my head as I made friends with the toilet bowl. I’ve never felt more looked after and taken care of by people I barely knew, ever before in my life. Yet it felt like there was part of us that knew each other and had done for lifetimes before.
I feel like I’ve fallen in love with a few of the subjects in my tarot deck. I fell in love with the two most unlikely cards that met each other at one of my tarot card gallery exhibitions and have been seeing each other for a while now. I fell in love with the deep eyes of a wolf that I’ll never understand and tried so hard to capture in a still photo. I fell in love years ago with the wandering bush pirate who saw my vulnerability and openness when I newly out in the queer community and saw it as precious magic not naivety. I fell in love with the devilish seductivity of latex and humans who pursue what excites them and stand actively in their community. I fell in love by a muddy icy river watching excitement and laughter wash over this humans face as they did a photoshoot that might have otherwise been completely out of their comfort zone.
I’ve fallen in love with the bravery of the stories I’ve heard. I’ve fallen in love with the beauty that exists so fiercely outside of society’s standards. I’ve fallen in love with the activism and power with which that queers are making sure their voices are heard.
Falling in love with the art I’ve made is the biggest political statement I have made so far. I accepted the magical task of creating a tarot deck with my artistic skills to facilitate voices being heard, in April 2017. It is teaching me the confidence to say “I am a real artist and these voices must be heard!”
I’ve known a while that this project is so much bigger than me. It is the love, art and voices of all of us making magick together. Even if all you did was “hosted an artist”. You changed my life and made this queer tarot deck possible.
It’s been a few months since I put pen to paper or fingers to a key board and opened my creative writing tap. How tightly bound to my creativity is my self worth and productivity driven satisfaction – (acknowledgement is the first step to changing patterns!)
I’ve felt myself hermiting. Healing and processing. The realisation that it is the end of December, I’ve finished work for the year, and I have the next two months to myself. It feels like a vacuum has been broken and a whole lot of fresh air is starting to flood back into me. What an emotional relief.
I’ve grown tired – feeling like a broken record talking about my Van renovations and engine work. In hindsight I took on an incredible project building my house in wheels, starting with a rusty, leaking house, stripping it beyond it’s bare bones and bringing it back to life with a Flossy vibe and design. I’ve learned how not to lay floorboards, I’ve learned about insulation and framing out furniture. I’ve learned that I can pour every cent into a project, live off the smell of an oily rag and still be as happy as a free range pig in shit.
I’ve also learned that doing that has cost me other experiences – like not seeing my favourite Aunty when she was this side of the world. *sigh* It stung a little bit, because it reminded me of the time I missed out on what would have been the last time I missed seeing my grandmother before she passed. They say hard times teaches me really where I want my priorities to be. What you say you value vs where you spend your time and energy. It caught up with me and it’s been really good to stop and reevaluate. My two months off work could have easily crept up on me and all my plans fallen through. Missing out on something that I really wanted to do, has made me get my shit together this time. Now I am in sunny (but cold) Philadelphia!
I know I set high expectations of myself and what I could accomplish. But while building a van, working full time and doing lots of traveling – I feel like I let few people down. I’ve been working through the guilty feelings – a stupid guilty circular spiral. Knowing you have the ability to complete a task vs having the emotional and physical space to do it are two different things. Learning (to say no) – by failing – that I fall of the radar when I’m not coping. Learning to re-write that pattern, ask for help, plan better, ask for time leniency or smaller projects & forgiveness. It’s been a humbling experience.
I made myself a promise to live an honest life. I feel like I’m realising that that needs to extended to being honest to myself about my capacity. Not over extending or over committing myself. I feel like I’ve labeled myself an over achiever in regards to my work speed / ethic. Now I am resetting that internal standard to what I am realistically able to handle at one time.
I wanted to be releasing videos, more of my queer tarot cards and being closer to a full tarot deck by now. I set deadlines for myself an promptly panicked. It killed my creativity. I started this project in April 2017. It’s now December 2018, almost 2019. I’m still at it. Still shooting cards, haven’t begun editing videos.
Being honest with oneself includes not only acknowledging failures but celebrating achievements and milestones too.
My first winter in 12 months makes taking time to rest, stop reading facebook or Instagram, feel like I’m doing very little – seem so so real and visceral. Slowing down with the seasons, eating seasonal food, sleeping with the hours of daylight, being more introspective.
I want my blog to run like more of an informative magazine, I wanted my tarot project to keep going like a business – but it can’t and I can’t. Listening to my body, feeling into what feels good, what makes me happy instead. My joy, my bliss.
I celebrate that my feet have touched SEVEN countries in the last 12 months.
– New Zealand
I asked for adventure
I moved countries
I moved into a vehicle
I asked for time off work
I asked for a job to come back to and got a full time contract for next year.
I asked for freedom
I asked to make real friends
I asked to get to know myself better
I asked to learn how to be in my body
I asked to deepen my spiritual practice
I asked for community
I got to go to BC witch camp and it blew my mind, and I feel so darn loved by the wonderful creatures in my life right now
66 Total cards
73 people photographed
My inner self confidence is growing. I am doubting myself less. Truely enjoying being alone. Finding my voice, with less fear. I hope I inspire you to do the same.
The Van roof went back on last night. Today is the second day of glorious sunshine that has been forecasted for this week and I am glowing. Vitamin D will be my go to this winter, as I adjust to winter again after 12 months.
Mystery the magick van 1
Hopefully today it will all be sealed up so if there’s any moisture the rest of the week I can breathe easy. It’s been almost 2 weeks to get this work done: lift the roof, remove the old seals, trims, screws and all the flakey crunchy rusty bits. We treated it with a rust killing acid that turns the sandwitchy rust black. It’s really cool process – that’s science folks.
It’s been an emotional journey too. Restoring my van while living in it – every blog I’ve read says “things I’d never do again: live in a van while restoring it!” And now I believe them. However it’s really given me the perspective that – this is my house, I’m restoring my house. Sure the last two weeks it’s been like living in a tent – with a foot gap between the roof and the body of the van and a flappy tarpaulin keeping the rain out. My thanks and gratitude goes out to a warm sleeping bag and blow up camping mattress, my amazing immune system and crystallised ginger, hot tea and kombucha! Next up patching the tiny holes that we uncovered after stripping away the flakey rust, and putting the windscreen back in with a new seal. Oh to be wind proof and a little more vaguely air tight again. It’s exciting.
Mystery the magick van 2
Over the weekend I went to a monthly witches “Cauldron” a coffee meet-up with a focus on trees. It was so wonderful to talk again about our connections to nature. Asking permission to work with leaves, branches or flowers, and feeling instinctively the response from them. We talked about the changing of seasons, and the shift out of summer – oooh to listen to them all speaking about how much they love Autumn. I’ve been terrified of it, surrounded by people in the southern hemisphere who view Canada as one whole country of cold snow and ice in the winter – and many, many Vancouvrians who speak of nothing but rain, rain, rain, rain and more rain.
I’m again feeling like I got sucked into group think and felt overwhelmed by it. Okay, sure it is probably going to rain HEAPS here over winter, but it hasn’t been so bad yet, and I’m enjoying the shift in seasons (when I’m not freaking out about weather sealing my van). It’s only been as cold as Melbourne and Auckland get in Autumn, nothing drastically terribly horrible has happened yet weather wise here at all – except the hurricane on the West coast was called Florence. Oooooo.
I am excited – my wee little wood fire stove will go into the van in the next week or two (not exactly sure how/ when) and I’ve started planning out my new floor plan – trying to get even some of the wonderfully creative interior design ideas out of my head onto paper and think of all the little spaces I can use, create and build. How to decorate, and infuse this van with my flare, creating my own magical castle inside my tiny home on wheels. IT’S SO EXCITING.
Mystery the magick van 3
I am actively choosing to be excited not worried.
I am actively choosing to be excited not worried.
I am actively choosing to be excited not worried.
Van life is exhilarating and I don’t want it any other way, and I’m learning the patience to enjoy the journey just as much as I will revel when she is done. OR will she ever be fully finished? Am I ever going to stop tweaking, restoring or changing little things.. Probably not. It’s going to be a wonderfully cozy and nesty winter, I’m looking forward to having my space that I can invite others to share it with me. To bask in its cosiness beside me.
I find myself in my head a lot. Over thinking, planning and analysing. More often than not I operate from a head space, or so is my perception of myself. My body has a super loud voice, viscerally telling me if something is right or not, but it’s taken me 33 years to learn really how to truly listen to it when it shouts at me. Even if it is as simple as communicating to those around me that I’m doing something outside of my comfort zone and am feeling super anxious about it.
I got back from Evans Lake on Saturday. A beautiful camp on one of those stereotypically breathtakingly beautiful and picturesque lakes with pine trees right to the shoreline and towering blue mountains in the background that Canada is so famous for. The air filled with bird and tree noises during the day, woodpeckers tapping out bugs from trees, the ravens caw echoing across the lake as it imitates some bizzare cackle, and the trees talking to each other around the valley. The water lapps listfully at the dock I’m sitting on in the sun, watching it sparkle and dance over the slight ripples the wind is making in the water. I’m feeling very vulnerable and open – witch camp has this magical way of creating a safe space for me to explore all my deepest vulnerabilities and edges, roughly destroy any lingering crutches or unhelpful security blankets, then provide the support and love needed to put my heart back together and repattern, and re-wild my being into a stronger, more self loving, more self confident version of me.
My comfort zone is interpersonal skills, performance, facilitation, or things that ask me to step outside myself and observe, analyse or look at myself in relation to others. Looking at myself in relation to nature, the earth and my existence and communication with it, is all very new ground.
Innately I am drawn to it. My mind calms when I am in the forest, swimming or splashing in a waterfall, but when I am not moving, when my body is not galavanting my brain across a mountain path, I find the brain voice takes over. I start looking at things technically, as photographer, or even drifting mentally far away checking in with all the minute and mundane carry on in my life that may even be the slightest bit worrisome.
Being the city version of wild has been a massive part of my story, drug and alcohol fueled mischief and mayhem. Getting lost in music, darkness and nightclub lights to shut up the constant static dribble in my brain. Here my body is vibrating to the boom of bass, writhing in a sea of hollow beings, zombied and numbed out of this reality into a darker world. All the connections or what I thought were friendships from this era of my life have evaporated, realising these friendships were parasitic for what they could use me for. My little socially awkward, shy inner child learning to ‘perform’ friendship, devastated and longing for connections that meant something more lasting.
Survival is animalistic, and sometimes comes at a cost of shutting down bodily and emotive responses to accomplish a task. I’ve run away from life and survival several times, turning to sex work to survive, selling my body to feed, clothe myself and at one point in secret also support a partner. All my life I have admired the strong ones, who stood up for sex workers, were proud of their profession and choice of work. My experience felt shameful, full of guilt from my conservative christian upbringing. I couldn’t talk about it, I can’t even physically remember large chunks of time I spent servicing the patriarchy.
Since I started talking about it again I have been slowly healing, taking down my walls against all those I saw that resembled the men who used to use me in exchange for my survival.
Belonging. What is belonging? Is it feelings of validation that are not connected with sexual gratification? Is it feelings of being worthy or valued that doesn’t come with expectations of submission or meeting sexual needs? Part of my healing process has been crucially connected to the difference between intimacy and sex. Feeling connected, belonging and letting go the desire to please, present a version of my self curated for the audience at hand in order to please, or be liked. I always felt like didn’t belong in my conservative christian family who still to this day pray daily for me to repent of my homosexual lifestyle, and who would probably turn a horrified shade of pale if they read this story.
I am a feral Sagittarian body, held in check by a cautious, risk averse, slow processing Capricorn brain, with my delicate Piscean moon flowing with emotions, feels and love looking for a safe place to share and be seen and heard.
I allowed my body and emotions to drive me all last week at camp. I let it break me, re-wild me, re-wire, re-pattern me. We had a cave, we wrote, scrawled cried our stories out on the cave walls. We talked to the earth, listened to the guidance of the stones, connected our hearts, skin, bones and beings with the living things all around us. Green bloods, the bones and life force of animals worked into our magick with permission, consent. Remembering that we were all once in constant communication, that the seasons worked around and within us all. Throwing off the constraints of the over culture of today, the expectations, the internalised shame and believing in each other, being and believing in ourselves.
I stood in that circle of humans, markings of my feral wildness smudged all over my face. I had made my mark on the cave wall. An outline of my hand, the word “body” and a love heart.
My commitment to myself, to stay true to myself, be aware of painful of situations where my bodily responses completely shut down in order to survive. A pact of self love and kindness that I am worthy of love, I am loveable, and that I can find intimacy that isn’t sexually dependant, and sex that is conscious, gloriously consensual and doesn’t ever define my worth as a human to myself or to others. My body went into shock. I stopped being conscious of the story my lips were sharing with the group. I let go, broke, and my mind fully released control – to my body. Tears flooded down my face, and my lungs heaved with relief of releasing and acknowledging my trauma and pain. Not comparing it to the gravity of the experience that others shared, but appreciating the healing, and space held around me. Conscious of the arms that slinked in around me, not conscious of who they were, as I collapsed into the soft caring shoulder offered to me. You all held me in my moment of grief, vulnerability and fragile healing. You all have a special place in my heart.
Feral. Wild. Animism. Belonging.
I have a public Voice: Deciding to create is scary, deciding to create in a field where there are already thousands of products is scarier. That point of pressing the go button that I realised this project will have so many eyes on it, and that my art is out there for public opinion is daunting. To be rejected and criticised is the tax I will pay on having a public voice. Even really the loudest critic I have to work with is the one that lives inside my own head. Radio K-Fuck has been saying all these things to me in the last few weeks:
– You’re not a photographer
– Your photos aren’t very ood
– You’ve never made a documentary before
– You have no idea how to run a crowdfunding campaign
– You’re not an expert Tarot reader
– What makes you an authority to decide this should be created
– People will think you are narccasistic
– You don’t have any qualifications in this field
– Will anyone really care once it’s been created
– That’s alot of effort to put into creating if no one knows it exists
– What if you get called a fraud?
– People will think you’ve only done it for money
Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Here is my pep-talk to myself.
I am in deep love with my creative project, but am realising that it must not be my child. I can nurture, create and foster it all through the creation process, but once it is done, I must let it go. I am not doing this to get hundreds of followers. I create my art from a place of creative necessity, that speaks from the darkest places in my heart. I create out of pure love of the creation process. Telling my story is the only story that I can tell. The only story I am qualified to tell. Not to tell my story, and how I am finding, learning and growing myself through my Queer Tarot Project would feel like I was living a fake life.
What motivates me with this project is the need to be seen, to be known… Hell I don’t even need to be liked. I just want people to say “I see you.” To me, my definition of being an artist is: walking through the world saying “don’t erase me.” I feel like this is my journey to finding my voice, unblocking the fear of being shot down for speaking up or having an opinion In the case of my Queer Tarot project I think that collective “me” resonates. It is saying that “We matter. Our stories matter, and we have a place in tarot and other forms of spiritual or esoteric practices”.
I need to know that I’m here, and alive. I need to know that you feel that Im here. I’m still learning what it feels like to be okay to take up this space in the world. To create, to make things, to make art, and say to the World, “Here I am”. It is through this project, every time I create a new Tarot card with someone, that I am finding the lost pieces of myself, healing the brokenness of my confidence, finding again the magick and light in my soul. Physically, mentally and emotionally living the lessons of each card as it comes alive.
My older, wiser (some how that seems perfectly logical) future self would say to me, “Stop being so hard on yourself, you’re doing just fine, just keep at it. You are more courageous than you think.” Thanking the inner critic radio for keeping me alive today and deciding to take those risks, and jump into the fire feet first. I realised just now that I live terrifyingly. I consistently and on-purpose, put myself in situations where I absolutely have no idea what I’m doing, then FURIOUSLY go about learning every single thing I can to become proficient at the thing I’m trying to do.
– Moving countries
– Applying for jobs
– Starting my own business
– Making Tarot Cards
– Making a documentary
– Making image-recognition fancy thing for my tarot cards
– Dating… haha
This I guess is the arrogance of belonging. I belong here because I have showed up to learn, create and do the work. I may not be the best or even the worst but I have showed up to my life and I am here and creating shit. “You’re out of your mind.” “Good, all the best things happen outside of mind.” I have to remind myself that this applies to all of this list I just wrote.
Over and over again, but although right now at this very moment of writing I feel incredibly uncomfortable with this change and the flux I’m going through, it is also an environment that I flourish in: It’s challenging, with lots of opportunity to lear and try new things. Thanks Amy for helping make this okay for myself again. I am still getting used to the idea that I find my power when I feel the most powerless. When I feel the most restless I will find ways of channeling that energy into creativity.
Life doesn’t happen to me, it happens FOR me, And I keep doing these things for myself not too myself. It’s not enough to love my art, I must believe my art, my Queer Tarot project, all you wonderful humans who have touched my life with your stories – that you love me back.
What makes it all just a little bit easier is the knowledge that there is nothing I can put out there that is truely my own. Every idea has already been done before, even this idea of a Queer Tarot deck. I started and immediately found 5 or 6 people already creating their own interpretation of what this idea brought to them. All I can do is follow the fire in me and share it with my voice and my experience. That is all that is unique about this – Me.
I love you, wholeheartedly.