Why Do We Talk So Much About Endings?

We have trouble staying present. Whether its anxiety about the future or depression about the past, it seems culturally we have a focus outside of ourselves and our current – almost always.

We talk about our game plans for the future and the jobs we will leave, when we will move, when all the chapters that are currently building those futures will cease. We talk a lot, also, about the end of relationships.

I used to date a guy who would always say “one day when we break up”. I don’t think this was the demise of our relationship as he also peed in bottles in my attic and used to tell me and my roommate that we “stole his maturity” but I think it primed me from the beginning that it was never that serious, or to at least not take serious things seriously.

My best friends have been in a relationship for 6 years. At 23 that’s a long time – high school sweethearts romanticized. Like anything there are pros and cons to this, and even though I’m close to them both separately and as a unit, there are obviously things I don’t see, know, or understand.

I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for just under 6 months. At this point it feels like things will last forever when its good, and like it could fall apart at any whim. This is not because of him or our relationship, but because there is the behind the scenes notion that I think a lot of us experience. That feeling of no time is ever enough, no amount of experience or attachment is enough. This could be because my parents are divorced or it seems like the only reason people I know seem to stay together is out of obligation more than want. Perhaps it does come down to that. Perhaps I romanticize that I will want to be with a person for the rest of my life – not just feel like it’s my best option.

My best friends hypothesize about what would happen if they broke up. How each of them would react, how it would change them and their lives. I sometimes wonder if you have been together for so long that you stay together for everyone else – this is a thought I have about my grandparents. I understand the urge to want to still feel like we have an option at an independent life. That if something did or does happen we will still be able to be whole.

I think these inquiries into “what will happen if” bring about a lot of questions for me, most of them hard to answer.

Do I feel just as much myself with this person as I do alone?
Am I giving up experiences being in a relationship?
Am I gaining enough in return?
Would I really be able to pick myself back up again? Would I want to?
Why do I feel the need to have a sense of permanency in my relationships?
How do I keep a sense of identity?
How can I find fulfillment in the now instead of always looking to the future?
Will I be whole again if I do not have this person?
Does this person make me whole?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with thinking about the future, and potentialities in the future. I think in the way that it can be painful to link our futures with another person and to rely on them to attain certain goals, it can be just as painful to not do this. It seems like we have no sense of security – not even within our relationships. We lack security within ourselves.

A important thing I’ve learned before coming into my current relationship is that I am whole. I will always be whole, and so will my life. Wholeness does not always mean a feeling of fulfillment or that things are “large”. It means that whatever in me and my life exists wholly in each moment. My partner is not my “other half” that completes me, but my equal that creates their own part in our relationship. I exist wholly within this structure. This structure fluctuates as we both grow and let go of parts of ourselves. We are equal because we both contribute to the making of this relationship we exist it – but we are not our relationship. Our relationship is us.

This concept, or whatever you want to call it, has been revolutionary for me. Although there is balance and a sense of completion around my partner, I also feel complete by myself. In this moment. Right now. As I enjoy a glass of wine and cry at queer eye and feel totally at ease alone in my bachelor apartment. As my partner is at basketball and going to his own respective home to live out his own life for the next 24 hours in his own completion.

So, again, this brings me back to this question of why do we talk so much about endings? Why is it so important? What is so scary or unattainable right now? Do we even realize we’re in this conditioned state of making moves for an end that is just as fleeting as each moment of building, or are we willfully looking towards something because we’ve lost the ability to be in a state of wonderment at the now?

This can be about relationships, jobs, books, meals. We truly relish how things turn out. Although the uncertainty is what keeps us involved in getting there, it is also what makes the certainty we have that these moments we are immersed in special. I wonder, where is the recognition for what is so enticing about the present that is provokes us to be curious about how things turn out?

I don’t think it’s wrong to wonder, but I do think there could be more focus on what makes right now important. How this moment is also an end as the other begins. How once this glass is emptied my feelings of warm cheeks and a full heart will evolve with it. How I can sit with myself in a completely different way under my current circumstances than I would have or have fathomed a year ago.

Hypothesizing our future can be interesting, beautiful, and wondrous. But inquiring about our present and if we are truly showing up in a way that makes us proud to be the person we are in this moment I think is just as worthy. What do you want to do right now? What are the experiences you want to work towards? What are you, in this moment, willing to sacrifice? What is it you are willing to expand?

The present is amazing. Talk about it. It is just as transformable as every ending.

Self-Portraits / 2019/ Session Nº3

Last night I went to a live recording of Turn Me On and felt that wonderful spark I remember from my own podcast Impractical Women’s Studies – a spark that signifies liberation, curiosity, and empowerment.

When people say they’re going to be talking about sex its simultaneously exciting and stressful. What will you learn? What are you hiding? What conversations are you still uncomfortable having? What are you scared about other people knowing?

They started the evening off with some audience games, that included having to stand if you answered yes to a question and stay standing until your next no. There were moments that I felt relieved (like when they asked if you like butt stuff, and I gladly sat) and others that made me blush, like when they asked if you spit or swallow. I was sitting next to my boyfriend and our friends, so while we say we are working towards a sex-positive culture I had to question what that really meant for me, including the question “Does sex positive mean I want everyone to know what I like in bed?”.

I’ve realized my biggest insecurity is how I make other people feel. I didn’t want to embarrass my boyfriend, but I wanted to participate in the game. I didn’t want our friends to feel uncomfortable knowing that I prefer to swallow (which you all do now, too… sorry). Sure, I have my own embarrassments. I think for the most part any shame I have comes from how I think it will be perceived more than shame around those “kinks”.

I started thinking about what it is that I find sexy. What do I like doing? When do I feel my best? What fucking turns me on?!

I wore red fishnets under my outfit last night. Partly because I wanted the little peep of them at my ankle for my outfit. But also because it was fun to be secretly dressed up under my sporty-black-kind-of-generic outfit. I like the way I look in them, the way they make me feel, my boyfriends reaction. It is personal empowerment – empowerment that doesn’t ask other people to validate me to feel sexy. In fact, I realized the less people that knew the better I felt. I like being able to choose when I’m seen and how.

To contrast the spice of lingerie, I also love being cozy. I feel most in my element at home in a big sweater and panties. I am the typical girl-next-door and I think thats how I’ve always idealized myself sexually as well. Perceived innocence. The knowing things you’re not supposed to know. The beauty of the mundanities of life.

These themes inspired a fun self-portrait session. I threw on some Blink-182 and danced in my clothes from yesterday as soon as I got home. No showering, no changing my underwear, no props. Just dancing and having fun and remembering that at the end of the day I want to embrace my sexuality for me. I get to choose who I share it with and why. I get to feel powerful in my own skin, clothes, and relationship.

There have been times when my sexuality was something I wasn’t empowered by. I felt crushed under its weight and like it was something I could use to gain power. It was a tool in manipulation and being manipulated. I believed for a long time that my body was the most profitable thing I had to offer and totally disconnected myself emotionally from my sexuality and sexual experiences. Now I thrive on the emotional link, on feeling sexy for myself and knowing that I don’t need anyone else to validate that or put a price on it.

While this only skims the surface of sexuality and my experiences and learning with it, it is still these moments and instances that make me feel powerful and in control. That remind me that I am able to own myself and my body and that power only belongs to those I choose to give it to. My commitment to myself is to choose empowerment.

The Habits of Fear of Success

I feel like I’m constantly sabotaging myself. In small ways. In big ways. In ways that I am not even aware of until it has eroded my confidence, psyche, energy.

I want so badly to fulfill my dreams that it sometimes seems easier if I’m the one who causes them ruin. It seems more likely that I would be the one to let myself down so I do.

In small ways. In big ways. In ways that I am now all too aware of.

Self-Sabotage

This looks like so many things. Spending outside of my budget, not sending in my manuscript, staying in bed too late. Asking the world for days to make art just to find myself cleaning my apartment when I am gifted with them. Making up excuses for each and every one of these instances. Finding myself more lost than ever while on the outside my life looks like I’m getting everything I ask for, yet on the inside I feel more confused the more I achieve. I feel more far away the better things seem.

Is it me distancing myself from my accomplishments? Is my inner self so used to waiting for the shoe to drop that I can’t relax until I cut the laces? I have watched myself succeed; I have watched as I haul myself to the new heights that every venture has brought me too. I have watched myself try to bury myself under these successes.

You know that feeling when you know something is bad for you, and you do it anyway just to keep proving it is bad for you? Whether it be fiending for social media likes, smoking too much weed, eating gluten, not calling your friends back… I feel like that’s where I’m at.

Continue reading

On Gratitude + Appreciation

I feel like in the past couple of years there has been an influx in our conversations about gratitude and appreciation. We’re told to always be grateful for what we have and appreciate where we’re at and yadda yadda yadda like it is always a conscious choice where we put our feelings or even how we feel.

I was talking to one of my friends the other day and she was telling me she was proud of me for all that I’ve done this month. Moved out of an unhealthy living situation, officially started a relationship, published a book, started a new job… I hadn’t taken stock of my life in that way in a long time. I was humbled by what I had done and also shocked that I hadn’t recognized fully all that I had accomplished. The thing that got me the most though was that I still didn’t feel that proud feeling I expected. I wasn’t overcome by relief or emotion. I didn’t have an epiphic moment where I came into some other-worldly outside of myself realization of my worth and how far I’ve come.

Instead I realized that my lack of recognition for where I’d gotten myself was because it felt like it was necessary to not give too much weight to these instances so I could keep growing and moving forward.

My friend pointed out to me that it is sometimes necessary to not take stock. To close our eyes and keep plowing through – to not compare or judge, but simply just do. To realize later that you had gotten ahead and were okay and strong. But that to do this forever is it’s own kind of depression.

I feel like the past year has been about realizing and recognizing my true power and potential in my life. There was a lot less fear this year than there ever has been, which means all that energy I was able to put into faith. The challenges I took with a grain of salt and took on the mindset of knowing everything is temporary – but this survival mechanism also stole some joy from me. I was less able to be grateful for what I do have and who I am because I know it’s temporary too – or more, I make it temporary by living like this constantly. I wasn’t aware of the learning curve I was dipping into and how often the changes we make can sometimes bring us into even more of the same.


Continue reading

Self Portraits / 2019 / Session Nº2

Having moved into a new space I feel unburdened. I feel light. I feel grounded. I feel sexy and free and creative and all of the things that make a good equation for a self-portrait session.

I wanted to capture remnants of this time in my life. The last self-portraits I took were the day my now-boyfriend first told me he loved me and asked me to officially be his girlfriend after months of dating.

Now, I wanted to capture this time where I moved into my first solo studio. Where I was called off work because of a snow storm and had a beautiful morning and where I now get to spend my first whole day here.

This is a moment in time where I feel capable. Powerful. Comfortable. It is a time where I am open to and humbled by my own vulnerability. Where I know that Halifax is truly the place I call home.

The snow outside has turned to freezing rain and I can feel myself dissolving. Each moment the stress lessens. Each moment I am relieved and grateful.

I have no plans except to do what makes me happy. I have nothing around me to do other than create or strengthen my abilities. I have food I love in the fridge. My heart is as full as my cupboards, and I feel just as organized in my home as I do in my mind.

This is home on the inside and outside.


Follow me on instagram to see more of what I’m up to on the daily!

Solo Suite

I’ve wanted to live on my own pretty much always. My mom used to bug me as a teenager, with her own rituals and way of having her house. I felt confined to one room and always felt stifled – like I was trying to fit into a place that was half the size of me.

As an “adult” I was obsessive about my apartments with roommates that drove me crazy because of how towels were folded or like I was a bad person because I hated doing my dishes in a tiny sink. I am far from perfect to live with, but in that I also have high expectations for living. What do you mean you don’t wipe down your baseboards once a month?!

For the longest time – since I was a child – I have always lived in quirky homes. Old places with nooks and character and weird boxes of clothes left in portions of closets that were beyond forgotten. Places that induced weird dreams and feelings of being watched late at night by things I couldn’t see. I got good at curating these spaces and finding my own spin on them.

I found this couch and a matching ottoman at HomeSense for 450$! It’s a soft velvet, has storage in both pieces, is firm yet comfortable; it’s modern, light-weight, and the perfect place to curl up for a nap, read, coffee, or with a pal.

Living with people is hard. It’s even harder when you like the person because you want to share – for there to be less rules and more relationship. When you live with someone you have to be cognizant of their energy as well as yours. You have to create boundaries with empathy and find compromise and be able to pick up the slack sometimes but also not take shit when another is slacking.

After 4 years of paying rent with other people, of having higher standards and bought’s of irritation and disappointment and confusion over who I am in the eyes of others, I made a move. The move.

I’m not very good at endings. Usually because I will hold out until it is too bitter to keep with; because I want to believe the best in others and the worst in myself before I come to a clear place of assessment. Because sometimes I can’t tell where my anxiety is coming from or if it’s warranted. After a conversation with my roommate saying I would be happier on my own, I signed a lease 3 days later. It was like the universe was waiting patiently to support me in a dream I’ve had since I was a kid – like it knew I had come to the last spring in a marathon of patience. Like the world wanted me to flourish and knew the exact plot to plant me in.

So here I am. Living in a modern studio – so much of a difference from my sprawling, awkward, and antique abodes of the past. It has built in storage everywhere (that my organizationally inclined side adores), all the appliances to make life easy, and feels like the bedroom I always dreamt of as a child. There is something so relaxing about having everything in one room. It’s accessible, efficient, and easy to decorate.

This is the first book of the 80 penguin classics I am reading this year – it feels grounding to know that I am already working on my list of resolutions + goals for the year.

I have only been here a few days, and only spent my first night here last night.Even though it has been a short time, the change is palpable. I can taste how relaxed I feel. I enjoyed one of the best sleeps I’ve had in months. I woke up early and lit candles, made coffee, listened to classical music. I called my mom and had breakfast and even did my dishes after. I had time to shower and to get dressed in an outfit I love and walk to work early. Every single moment feels like a ritual of love and dedication to myself – like I’m was looking out for my best interest. Like I’m not planning my life anymore but somehow had gotten to a place where my life is just flowing in a way that I know it should have been all along – that I know I was getting to all along.

My first real evening here I made nachos for my boyfriend and I. We listened to music and laid on the bed talking before he made his short journey home. I had a bath and lit candles. I meditated and enjoyed tea and went to bed when I was tired. These are mundane details of my life but I think the point is that there was so much meaning behind them. These were small moments where I felt at home in the life I’ve created. It’s humbling to see the life I’ve dreamed of; wished for; written about materialize around me.

I would never take back my experiences living with other people. I have so many fond memories. There was so much more laughter than there ever was frustration. The lessons I learned are invaluable not only in living solo, but in life in general. I worked more on my flaws than I would have alone because I was accountable for a shared space and shared energy. I discovered boundaries that are essential for my well-being. I was given opportunity to learn and strengthen myself everyday. And now I have the chance to do that in a new way.


If you want to see more of my new digs and keep updated on the goings-on of my world you can follow me on instagram @edgarallanfoe

Don’t forget to pre-order my new book! January 31st is the last day to get it for 15$! Check it out.

ENTRY 4

Finger the fear out of me, I’m longing for your ease.
My bigness consumed by your business.
all that I am, delighting in your hands
& the way they hold what is bitter
so sweetly.
My stinging nettles becoming
something intriguing.

Dark Thoughts – acrylic rendering in digital format – contact me for inquiries

This poem and other works like it are available in my new book. Pre-orders open until Feb 1st for only 15$. You can order yours here.

Wicca – What + Why?

I consider myself a witch. In fact, I consider us all witches whether or not we are aware of our power or choose to identify this way.

I have often felt small and self-conscious when talking about this because there is such a stigma around it. Wicca, paganism, and spirituality in general have hit a huge boom the last couple of years. Everyone is now an advocate of the power of crystals and meditation and saging their homes. In a way, I’m no different. I believe strongly in these things and practice them frequently amongst other things.

Part of deepening my own practice is recognizing that I want to talk about these things. I want to learn, teach, and build a community around me with open hearts and minds. My own stigmas create challenges within myself and 2019 is the year I am choosing to step into my own power without the shame of who that is and what it looks like.

WHY SO WITCHY?

The most common question I get is what is Wicca and why do I call myself a witch. I love these simple questions because for me the answers and reality of it are simple.

Wicca comes from paganism, a practice that honours the energy of the earth and its cycles. There is no guide book, no special way, no certain gods. Every individual practicing is open and encouraged to decide exactly what their practice looks like and what it means for them.

In my opinion it is a practice of accountability. The main rede of this is essentially”what you put into the universe will come back to you three fold.” So if you’re putting good energy into the world, good energy is going to come back to you. If you’re putting negative energy into the world, that’s going to come back to you three fold as well.

My understanding and belief is that every single thing we do has energy. Every thought, breath, action, and choice. At the end of the day, what our lives look like and how they come about are a result of our own energy.

quartz, amethyst, citrine, lapis lazuli

For me, it’s important that my spirituality doesn’t hinder me. I want to believe in whatever gods and goddesses I choose. I want to be able to follow my intuition and to manifest in a way that feels personal and right to me. I do not want to feel I owe a higher power or church or like I am not enough by myself and I love that every day I get to feel accountable for whats going on in my life – the good and the bad. Not getting to blame circumstances, moods, or attitudes on god or any other power or belief helps me grow and brings me into a deeper understanding of myself.

Ultimately, Wicca and being a witch is sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure practice.

WHAT DOES WITCHING LOOK LIKE?

I often get asked if I’m making potions or casting spells! I find these questions funny because in essence, I kind of do. Although I’m not sitting around muttering to myself (all the time), brewing frog legs, or using a wand to turn salt into gold, I do have some strange and fun practices.

Tarot

I’ve been reading tarot cards for over 4 years now. It’s a slow building practice but was something I was drawn to before I even knew about wicca. My favourite part about it is that it doesn’t tell you your future – it tells you the projection of your energy. A card reading can be something that solidifies your plans, helps you get clear on where you’re at, and is often my first check-point when making big choices. It holds me accountable to the truth of my energy.

tarot cards I choose from the Rider-Waite deck in a ritual – I went through the deck and pulled the cards that held energy I wanted to manifest

Meditation

Meditation is the practice of focus. It’s not about clearing your mind completely or reaching enlightenment (although if those are your goals when meditating the power to you!) I use it as a tool to help practice focus, patience, and as a chance to go inward. Using breath work I can often find the physical blockages in my body that may be hindering me – the left and right side of the body have different energy channels (giving + receiving) and I find often the answers I’m looking for are in my body and mind. It’s also a practice that has helped significantly with my mental health and I’ve seen my life improve drastically since adding in regular meditation to my routines and lifestyle.

Crystals

First, they are pretty. I like having them around because I like pretty things. Second, they feel good. I have physical sensations when holding and using different crystals. Some I use in meditation to go deeper or to access certain energies. Some I leave in specific places (like citrine on my desk). One of my favourite practices is to intuitively grab a stone at the beginning of the day (or 3,5,7… whatever feels right) and then at the end of the day assess the crystal and its properties and see if I felt any shifts, energies, or had any experiences in the realm of those properties. There hasn’t been a time yet where this practice hasn’t shown me insightful results. They have endless possibilities.

Smudging

Smudging is the act of using smoke to clear out negative energies. A lot of people use sage – it is more commonly found, accessible, and smells good. I personally prefer palo santo – maybe because my name is Forest and I feel more connected to the wood? But I also respect the tradition of smudging and don’t feel comfortable using sage. There are many sacred practices and I think it’s important to look at the roots of what you’re doing and be honest about whether or not it’s your place to practice it. If you want to learn more, consider reaching out to someone in your community that would be willing to teach you and share these practices.

Intention Setting

For me, this primarily looks like journalling. Everything I write down eerily seems to come true. Even moving to Halifax started with a journal entry. What can sometimes seem small and insignificant can often be what holds the most power. The mundane isn’t boring, it is abundance. Life is not full of outrageous and special moments. It is full of smaller things that teach us the skills to be able to appreciate and handle the bigger things. Because I am a writer, I feel that writing is my most powerful tool. And maybe it is this belief that makes it my most powerful tool.


At the end of the day, Wicca might not even be “real”. Maybe it is all a placebo effect. Maybe I am lucky. But did you know that all of human existence is about 60% luck anyway? That every moment we psychologically prime ourselves for our lives, actions, hopes, and existence. But I believe we have only made it this far as a species because of faith – because of the deep belief in a purpose or higher power or magic or God. I am not immune to such feelings and nor do I want to be. I want to live this life fully and with love, however that is available to me. These are the tools of my life and practice that teach me, help me question, ask me to trust.

Do you have any questions or curiosities about wicca, being a witch, or any of my practices? Leave a question below! Let me know what posts you want to see and information you want to read! I love sharing this knowledge and being able to deepen my own understanding in the process.

WILDER CAFE

This is one of those places – those times, memories, experiences that was hell on earth but you didn’t know it until you look back at what you’ve learned from it.

It’s one of those times where life teaches you that you don’t always know what’s best for you, that intuition is fickle, that lessons can’t be avoided, and that sometimes all you get out of something is knowing who you are.

I won’t get into all the gnarly details because that isn’t what this is about, and it’s not what I want to put out there! This is about the work I did do, the opportunities I had and took and was lucky to have at the end of the day despite the rest.

THE ‘GRAM

This was the first workplace I was able to not only fully utilize all my skills, but to give myself opportunities in them as well. One of my first and main tasks working here was to run their social media. In my 3 months working there I had gained over 500 instagram followers organically – I took all of the photos in the above pictures and curated the feed. I made the food presentations in the pictures (although did not make the actual recipes), edited the photos, made the captions and used my handy hashtags to get us noticed authentically in an over-crowded city.

Not only was it a creative outlet in terms of making beautiful food, photographs, and even hand-lettering signs. This was also a place for community.

bottom far right image is not mine! check out Sam Polzin

THE GROWTH

I met one of my now best-friends, then customer at Wilder. I made connections in other industries, with other artists, with a huge community of Junction-iters. I was able to host my first open mic (which also doubled as my first public event) , apply for my first liquor license, and also my first performances of spoken word and even singing.

I was given chance to open up our doors and plan with the Junction BIA for things like their Halloween walk in which I built a spooky sculpture for the window, set up a costume donation drive, decorated the cafe and had fun games for the kids like finding the key in the slime to earn candy. We participated in a holiday market pop-up in which I gathered local makers and artisans to be featured in our shop.

photos above taken by Calm Elliot-Armstrong for our Open Mic – see more here


There were lots of plans that didn’t see the light of day – like a fermentation workshop series. But three months there paved the ground for everything I did in 2018, which brought me to where I am in 2019.

While there are parts of this experience that are raw and painful, looking back on what I garnered from that experience I feel proud of the work and honoured I got to see out some of my dreams. Nothing is without challenges if it comes with growth.