Full Moon In Libra

A journal entry / 430AM / Bathroom Floor


Is this what I get? Is this what I give? Is tender so much heavier than hardness? Perhaps it is just more difficult to move through; a sinking surface that remind us of decay. Perhaps when you ask me if I am okay it is more for you and your peace of mind than knowing what I am going through.

I do ask for purpose. I do ask for words. To flow through me is to wade through them and I am lost in marshes of thought. Will you ever decide to come find me? Is my appetite for attention and healing the demise here? Now I can see the greatness, and also the detriment of my own actions from behind something that is greater than myself.

Brilliance is so often pain. Painstaking that is, as it is piercing and vast. Why does brilliance feel so fucking lonely? Why is it that people want to see so much of me that they are willing to leave me shattered? Is it too overwhelming to clean up or am I a welcome disaster? A fun house mirror, distorted from its own image; shattered.

The full moon is my friend but she keeps me up and she keeps me waiting. My hunger has me rampant – I am starving. For attention. For fulfillment. For forgiveness. For you to charm me. How did I get to be the bad guy? Why is my softness so alarming? Is it because you must pay close attention to my ripening? Is it because you find in my undoing, your own disarming? Is it because you can no longer throw me in your bag to decide when you are ready for me? Because I demand attention or I will start rotting. That I require focus while my juice adorns your fingers, running. This body will look like a battlefield even if there is no fight. Tenderness requires tending to. All darkness turns to light; to find its way out of its own black holes. To work within the magnetism of its own dualities, a wholeness that leaves us raw. I am aching. In my stomach, in my neck, in my heart.

The moon wants my company so I suppose tonight we won’t part. The exhaustion is temporary and so is my pain. But it does make me wonder if what we are doing is in vain? And if it is, is that really so bad? Usually my vanity is all that I have. Maybe that is why I now feel so empty – because often we are so full. My insecurities are not a fighting force. Yet, so often it is my greatest curse. And how can anyone take my pain seriously when I lay it out so eloquently? Like it is experienced to be consumed? I suppose these are my dues. If I can get the words out right I think there will be no fight. And there isn’t – but there is nothing to fill that space either. The chasm between us is something that is growing bigger.

Maybe I am an island, maybe I won’t let anyone on shore. I cannot expect to hoard all my lovers in my gravitational pull. Maybe we are all this lonely and I am the only one who can describe it and we make a permanent choice for temporary glimpses into emotional entertainment. Maybe that is all companionship really is, not taking the trip between ourselves too often but waiting on the shore and wishing we did. Is this all we are here for? To be within reach enough to pull us out of ourselves, but never staying long enough to do more than collect each others shells? In this one I can hear you screaming, but in this one you are laughing. The contrast is so different and I keep both so I can remember the reality.

My Casual Relationship With Rape

Originally written for herHABITAT in Spring 2016.

Although it’s not the most digestible piece to read, it is significant. Talking about these things and being able to choose how I frame them is important. It’s not meant to be a sob story – and it isn’t a sob story.

It’s a piece on personal power and how we choose to show up in the framework of our own experiences. We get to choose, over time, what and who and how we want to be. I choose to be a person that empowers others with my voice. Who lets you know you don’t have to stay silent, nor do you have to speak up either. I want to be a beacon for the choice everyone has in themselves to decide what is right for them – not dictate their actions based on masses and media.

These days, I don’t think too much about these experiences. At one time they were consuming. I was defined by them. Now this piece serves as a reminder for those times as well as this time, right now, where I am empowered by all of my choices – including the choice to publish this.

TW for sexual assault.


I was 15 the first time I was sexually assaulted.

I had a no-hook up rule for anyone in my school and I held to it well. I never dated anyone I went to high school with, only kissed one of my peers, and generally kept my sexual relations well out of the city. I didn’t want drama or awkwardness. Yes I had a lot of crushes and people I wanted to kiss and people I wanted to want to kiss me but that never manifested.

I like things simple. And the simple truth is that I was forced to give a blow-job to someone who’s name I had just learned when I was originally trying to keep my friend from the embarrassment of hooking up with him when it was rumoured he had a girlfriend. It’s pretty simple that everyone had known what I did when I walked back to my friend group with tights ripped at the knees, and also at the crotch where he tried to penetrate me multiple times in a fucking parking lot.

I went back to my friends house that night, a bunch of girls piled into a living room on a fold out and cried. Not one single person took me seriously that night, no one believed me when I had told them what happened. I was drunk and emotional and had seemed really eager! I think I ended up making the journey back home that took over an hour that night even though it was well past midnight.

Turns out I was right to not want to hook-up with anyone I went to high school with. For weeks after his friends – that I had never spoken to before in my life – called his name after me every time they saw me walking down the hall. The girl that he had been rumoured to be dating and assured me he wasn’t called me a slut and I failed math that year after feeling too threatened and depressed to go to school.

But this was not a hook-up. This was sexual assault. And they thought it was funny. It wasn’t serious –  like my casual relationship with rape that was fast blossoming.

About a year later I was drinking in my best friends basement. I had had a weird year with newly formed phobias like thunder and lightning, and being touched – specifically picked up. Whether it was my mom, my grandparents, or my friends that I had hugged 100 times and trusted completely. We were with her boyfriend of the time, his best friend, and a few other guys.

We played drinking games, and were probably all more drunk than we should have been, and the room was a mess of intoxicated, hormonal, teenagers. My best friend and her boyfriend went upstairs and she whispered to me that the bathroom was the best place to go before departing. When you’re 16 hooking up with your best friends boyfriends best friend seems to make sense regardless of anything. It’s romantic. Like a movie. And so we made-out furiously and I climbed on top of him and we did end up fucking in the shower. Which was painful I soon learned and I asked him to stop. And he asked me to give him a blow-job to which said no to because I was still traumatized by gravel in my knees and names echoing after me in stairwells. After he begged me and pushed me down I complied reluctantly and stopped 30 seconds later because I couldn’t breathe.

I told him I was tired and drunk and just wanted to go to sleep, and if he wanted he could cuddle. I went to her sisters bedroom. I looked for the comfiest, unsexy clothing I could find and won with track pants and a hoodie. Not long after he crawled into bed and spooned me hard. Which turned into grinding. Which turned into him sliding down the track pants and trying to penetrate me once again because he “couldn’t sleep if he had blue balls and it was too painful” but shoving his penis into me dry and bareback wasn’t in so many more ways – especially for me.

jjjjj

I spent from 3AM until 5AM sitting in her driveway crying. And when I was sure everyone was asleep I crawled back into her basement and slept until they all came down in the morning. When he left he looked me straight in the eye and said “well, it was nice meeting you” and gave me a sheepish smile. He had no fucking idea what he had done, and truthfully it took me a couple of years to understand that what he did was rape. It was all very casual.

When I was 18 I was in BC. It was my first time travelling. My first time doing something that felt good for me. The end of high school was a mess, I had gotten out of a toxic (but well-meaning) and dependant relationship and I was trying to learn about what I wanted from life; what I could give back; what made me who I am. I spent 2 weeks in a small town with one of the people in my life that I’m closest to and we went rafting, hiking, ate SO much food, dressed up as men and got incredibly fucked-up at a town gender bender party. We had a fantastic time if you sans the hangovers.

One of these days we went on a hike with a guy who was pretty new to town. This transitioned into plans to see a waterfall with his best friend, followed by a truly fancy dinner which we were all under dressed for and ended up costing us all more than 100$ each. We drank too much wine, drove back to the town we were staying in, grabbed a bottle of gin and rounded up some more locals. We drank gin and juice from the bottles by a pond and laughed and told sad stories and bonded. We were all becoming close in that way that drunken people do. The way any people do when they open up.

We wandered back to one of the shared houses the guys were living in and after puking in the toilet realized I was too drunk. It happens. They put me in bed and since it took 5 minutes to walk anywhere in town the person I was with asked if it was cool if I stayed? Truth be told the five minutes seemed harder intoxicated than hung-over.

“Take care of her!”
“Sexually?”
“No!”

It was all a joke. Until I woke up naked next to a guy I barely knew and had no recollection of how I had gotten there or what had happened. He went down on me that morning and we “fucked” – in other words I lay there in still-drunken disbelief of what was happening while he went in and out of me.

Not all rape is violent. You don’t always know when it’s happening. It’s hard to wrap you head around. You do not feel like a changed person all at once. Your world doesn’t always shatter. Sometimes it splinters and you slowly pull out the pieces – sometimes waiting while your skin pushes it back to the surface. You try and rid yourself of it, and sometimes it takes a while for it to be apparent what exactly that means.

I got up and went home and told my friend what had happened. I made her come back with me to ask if he had used protection – which he hadn’t. I asked him why he thought it was okay and he said he didn’t know. He had woken me up and I seemed “down for it.” And when I told him I was black out drunk, that I didn’t remember anything, he looked shocked but it didn’t register with him that he had raped me. Just that maybe I wasn’t on the pill (but that was okay too because he remembered to pull out, obviously).

I felt a deep, unshakeable shame. A few years later when I found out my friend and my rapist were dating I felt it again. Every time I see a picture of their serious relationship I remember the casual time I was raped, the time that she said “well it wasn’t that bad” while trying to reassure me about the lack of violence. When I was asked to support the union, I felt shame. When trying to understand the logic of just how exactly the fuck that even started up, I feel shame. Maybe for not understanding? Maybe for trusting her so much? For not being mad even if I’m not accepting? I don’t know.

I’m 20 now. No person will ever touch me without my consent. I will no longer feel shame because of boys who forced me to my knees, or who apparently didn’t force me at all. It’s pretty simple – rape is rape. It’s changed me, I’ve grown from it. I wouldn’t say it’s made me a better person, or that it had to happen for me to learn vital life lessons.

There is nothing to justify these experiences happening, and I’ve made a commitment to knowing that everyones voices, everyones experiences are heard; are made to feel valid; are reassured that rape is not casual – it is serious – and that they have a right to the freedom of speech when they felt the freedom of their body was taken from them.

– Forest Greenwell

SYMBOLOGY / Heart-On-My-Sleeve Denim Jacket

I’m a sucker for symbolism. My love and belief for symbology is everywhere in my life – from my tattoos, to the colours of the food I eat, to this vintage Levi denim jacket I’ve had since I was a teenager and have overhauled.

Having unique pieces of clothing and being able to display my personality so literally and outwardly is important to me. Fashion is something I have a LOT of fun with, and is an essential element of my every day life. From classic basics to the funkiest extremes, I’m the person who loves a well-fitted white t-shirt as well as leopard print bicycle shorts. I’m not the kind of person who would thrive with a capsule wardrobe, although I do value the same guidelines of buying high-quality, sustainable garments. I’d rather have one white t-shirt that I wear for years than several that are never quite right or fall apart quickly.


UPCYCLING

I try hard to up-cycle as much clothing as I can, but with this piece in particular I was able to bring a lot more elements into that idea. While pins and patches are common on customized denim, I also went in for extra pockets, charms, and beading to tie it all together and make sure every inch will one day be stitched with good intentions and care.

Most of what is on this jacket I’ve been coveting for a while waiting for the right opportunity to use it, or knowing that one day I would finally sit down and add all the details to this jacket. I’m all or nothing so adding things over time didn’t appeal to me much – I wanted to sit down and truly transform this piece.

It features a broken quartz crystal necklace from my friend Rowan Morrissy that I sewed under the collar and filled with salt, a gold humming bird pendant, a red velvet drawstring bag, and a hamsa bead just to name a few.

SYMBOLISM

I love symbology. I live by it, as it’s a deeply rooted part of my spirituality. I use it to read cards, find peace, and work with the energies in my day-to-day life.

RED

Red is a colour of passionate love, seduction, violence, danger, anger, and adventure. For me it also represents fire and speaks to my sun sign, Leo.

Earlier this year one of my good friends told me that in the Chinese Zodiac, when it is the year of your sign (which this year is for me, as I am a Pig) that you are supposed to wear red every day to ward off bad luck and bring good luck. I’m a sucker for a good superstition and also believe that we let determine what we want to be true in our lives. I decided to take on this idea and have had red nails since she told me nearly 2.5 months ago. But amongst that belief I also added a lot of red to this jacket. It’s a colour that makes me feel seen and powerful, and I like the added element of luck. There is red stitching, red roses on each sleeve, the magician tarot patch with a significant amount of red, and a velvet bag as an “inside pocket” for holding crystals and keys.

roses

In tarot, roses are considered a symbol of balance. It seemed only fitting to put two red roses on the cuffs of my sleeves. As long standing symbols of love, romance, deep feelings, timelessness, devotion, wisdom, and intrigue. It is seen another time on my jacket in The Magician patch – the symbology of 3 roses relates back to Free Masonry and the idea of “three-fold” which is a belief in Wicca that all energy you put into the world comes back to you three fold. Each rose in free-masonry stands for love, life, and light.

Have a rose on each sleeve also symbolizes a balance of giving and receiving – the dominant hand (for me this is my right) signifies the sun, masculine energy, and giving. The less dominant (for me, left) signifies feminine, the moon, and receiving energy. This speaks to me as a symbol for being able to give and receive, and to find balance in what I give to others to make sure I also give it to myself.

HUMMINGBIRD

Hummingbirds have many different meanings across many cultures. My own personal beliefs and spirituality are kind of a mish-mash of everything that makes sense to me. While I do refer to myself as a witch, or Wiccan, I really don’t feel that any label truly represents the fullness of my own personal beliefs. That is part of why I share what I know, am learning, and am taking on in my own world. I think it’s important to share these small wisdoms to help others know that we are always the true, ultimate creators of our worlds.

Hummingbirds are seen as healers, messengers of good luck and joy, love. They bring peace and guidance on ones journey. I love having that protection on my being, and knowing that it is gold is a deeper reassurance still.

GOLD

While I personally find all of these fairly obvious, I realize that is because I immerse myself in this culture and understanding. Gold has a strong relation to money – who would have guessed?!

This is another colour near and dear to me – it’s one of the only metals I wear (I always have on my great grandmothers wedding band on my right hand and a hoop in the third piercing of my left ear), and I also relate gold back to Leo, even more-so than red.

It is associated with illumination, love, compassion, courage, passion, magic, and wisdom. There is a strong theme across this jacket and its meaning – I have found myself always subconsciously attracted to these colours and themes and to see where they line up and work to create stronger attractions of such things is beautiful and powerful to me. It is also associated with prosperity, wealth, success, achievement, and triumph.

QUARTZ

Although there is only one piece of quartz on this jacket, I think it’s important to note. Quartz is a “universal” stone. It can take the place of any energy that you channel into it, and can be used in place of any other stone in a ritual. It is meant to be a purifying and energy amplifying piece of earth. I love having it on my person to be able to remind me of what my own energy is (which can be hard sometimes in a busy world as an empath). I had a broken quartz pendant from Sage that a friend had gifted me. I filled it with pink salt for grounding and purifying hoping each of these elements would amplify each other and hid it under the collar of my jacket.

HEART

On my sleeve. This is such a cliche but I love and live by the idea of baring my soul. It is so hard to contain myself. I have always been a deeply emotional and sensitive person who has a lot of care and compassion for others. I bare my feelings and experiences to the world often and in very raw ways (uh hello two self-published books of poetry, whaddap!). This patch has a gold outline and embodies shatters of red explosions and flowers.

It feels like it’s saying passion is always possible; love largely and freely; where you plant yourself you will grow, light surrounds you, you have good intentions. I really love this piece and my boyfriend was the one who suggested its placement. I made it into an elbow patch as a reminder that my goodness is always something that I can lean into. That an open heart will protect the hard parts – not that an open heart itself always needs to be protected. It reminds me that true vulnerability takes deep courage.

HAMSA

I’ve been fascinated with hamsa’s for years. My first tattoo I wanted to get an ornate hamsa all down my side. While I’m glad now I didn’t go that route, the significance is still strong for me.

In many religions – rooting from ancient Egypt – it represents the hand of God. It is a protective sign bringing the owner happiness, health, good fortune, and luck. Facing upwards (which is how I have it) it is a universal sign against evil. Facing downwards it symbolizes fertility and answers to prayers.

In buddhist and hindu cultures it also represents the chakra system, and the five senses. There is so much depth and richness to these symbols and cultures that have influenced me for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I was heavily swayed by colours, imagery, and even names.

THIRD EYE

Third eye is, for me, a direct correlation to the chakra system. This sits below the collar of my jacket, in the central area of a circle tattoo on the back of my neck. It is a well recognized symbol for higher consciousness, inner realms, enlightenment, and spirituality.

It’s a symbol my grandmother has always worn and sworn by, and she has passed that belief on to me. Its placement for me also represents seeing wisdom in the past, growth from personal experiences, watching my own back – in other words following and trusting my intuition, and that often the paths to higher places lay unseen to us.

SUGAR SKULL

A symbol we often see around halloween, that is traditionally from Mexican culture. It is a part of their celebration of the dead and used to represent those who had passed in their family to honour the departed soul.

I hand beaded my own patch, closely relating the bright glitters and patterns of traditional designs. It symbolizes death, which in turn is life and change. For me it’s a reminder that rebirth is just as important as death, and that in order to have all the goodness we idolize that we must be willing to look equally on the shadow side and appreciate the work to be done there.

It feels like I am protected by those in my life who have passed, as well as ancestral energy that may be following me. I like the idea that my energy field is filled with security, wisdom, and protection from energies that have known my own for likely longer than I’ve been in the physical body.

MISCELLANEOUS

There are so many little tidbits that have crept their way in – the Ouija board is an interesting one as I would never use it in my personal practice but I like what it symbolizes for me. Being open to energy – letting it in and out, being able to listen to and trust the happenstances of the universe and find messages in everything.

There is a patch of the sky which reminds me of the significance of life, but also where I want to aim – that there is so much possible and so much that is reachable.

There is a lot of velvet in my jacket as well – from a forest green patching across the shoulders to a red draw-string pouch. These for me say luxury, sturdiness, and depth. I also have a few pins including one that says “psychic” and another with 3 tarot cards. I love the symbology of three, and tarot is an incredibly important part of my life that introduced me to my spirituality and deep love of symbology.


There are many symbols we all carry and create privately. Whether it’s an inside joke, a colour that has always soothed us, or just something that we hold dear. It’s powerful to infuse our days and possessions with importance. I find that when I overlap my beliefs and passions I create a stronger energetic webbing in my life. I’m able to keep more of myself close and the things that don’t resonate with me out. There are many reminders to me of who I want to be and how I want to portray myself.

Can You Feel Your Energy?

How to feel

When I look back on the past year, the only way I can summarize it is “woah”. I spent 4 months in yoga teacher training, moved across the country twice, fell in love, worked my ass of for and then shut-down my NFP, had about 17 different jobs… If you know me or keep up with anything I write you already know these things.

There have been a lot of new learnings and awakenings in my life but I think the most significant one is the awakening to my own energy. Or more specifically, the power I have over my own energy.

Whether it’s being able to protect myself from unnecessary vulnerabilities (like leaving a yoga class to a busy, Toronto street) or just looking at what my thoughts are and taking accountability for how they affect my life. There are thousands of moments that I’ve been transformed in and by during this time of understanding.

I recently made some pretty big career changes. It involved facing my fears and my intuition head on. Letting go of a false sense of protection and security for a more intuitive path. I quit my “regular” job in a field I’ve worked in for ~5 years and have had since my move to Nova Scotia. I wasn’t giving up any kind of substantial amount of money – working for 12.50 an hour as a barista after coming from a province where minimum wage was well above that isn’t something to make me consider sticking around for. But my concerns were more in the realm of “Can I support myself with just myself?” and “Is what I’m doing important?” and “What if it’s not the work? What if I’m just lazy and will find an excuse in anything that bores me after a while?”

It’s true, I need to be stimulated. I need creative release. I need less routine but more to-do lists. I am a productive worker on my own, I can definitely get shit done. But the smallest things throw a wrench in my day and my energy. Knowing that I have to do something that I don’t find intuitive or fulfilling has a panic brewing in the back of my being. Not because of my thoughts, but because I know intuitively that this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing.


Intuition vs. Anxiety

I’ve had to battle a lot with this idea of intuition. When is it your gut and when is it anxiety?

I think I’ve been able to break it down to two main factors.

Intuition: There is little to no logic. You don’t have to think your way in or out of it. There is just a knowing.

Anxiety: There are reasons. You’re able to think of why or why not. There are excuses and “logic” but very little feeling.

I intuitively know that I should be working on my personal brand. That I shouldn’t be putting time or energy into other people or businesses right now. That I will be and am supported in making these shifts. That this is what I’m supposed to be doing and it is important work. These are not thoughts, necessarily. These are words I’ve put to the feelings I have when I am doing all of these things.

My anxiety tells me that I need all my side jobs. That I need to run other peoples social media and still be nannying. That I will not be able to financially support myself. That people do not want to support me in this transition and that it’s essentially a pipe dream to think that I, as a person, am a brand. That I, as a person, have an impact to make.

How do we get out of these loops? How do we trust?

I think it’s the same as anything – the same thing I learned with writing. You just do it.

I’m not in that 100% supporting myself mode yet. I am still hanging on to tiny tendrils of support by others. But I did quit my main job. I am saying no to things that don’t serve me. I am not letting other people steer my time or energy or path. I am aware of what I have to give and where it will best flourish. There are many small, internal steps that go into these processes more than external. Quitting my job is one move – making sure I feel emotionally, mentally, and financially stable enough to do so is another thing.


focusing and honing

Even though every choice I make has brought me closer and closer to that feeling of union with my life and my purpose, there is something still terrifying about embodying that completely. For me, I think it stems from the question “What if I don’t always feel that way?” which is to say, what if there is a time I am so embodied and then I lose track and find myself lost again? What if it feels so good and then one day… it doesn’t? The fear of living from this place of wholeness is rooted in straying from it.

This comes from other places of loss in my life and I have to reconcile those projections and also understand that growth means being uncomfortable. It means constantly chasing that feeling – the feeling of floating just below the surface of the water, with enough breath, being able to see the light shining through. You know what I’m talking about. I think the thing is that we always have to come up for air at some point, but it doesn’t mean we can’t go back under.

Focusing on why I am afraid, why I don’t take the leaps yet, and honing in on the realities of my own circumstances and experiences help me to understand that I always have a choice. If things don’t go right, I have a choice to go back to work elsewhere. But I also have a choice to stay stuck in places that rub me in the wrong way for just long enough that little parts of me start to blister and burst. This surface that I long to lay under slowly seeping out of me. I do not have a cup to fill, but more a pool. An ocean. Everything needs tending to, even a dharma requires maintenance.


CHAKRAS

There is a photo a friend took of me recently where a kind of rainbow appears in it. The rainbow is only two colours – red and indigo. In the chakra system this represents the root chakra and the third eye chakra. Together they form a balance in energy that encompasses everything I’ve been working on.

The Root Chakra represents career, money mindset, and sense of belonging.

The Third Eye Chakra represents intuition, sense of purpose, and direction in life.

A friend asked if she could shoot me in my apartment for her portfolio, but also used it as a double up to hone in on my personal brand. It highlighted the work from home lifestyle I have, as well as my tarot reading and new book Under The Callous. The shoot made me feel powerful, feminine, creative, and embodied. I could see myself successfully doing the things I love without having to make ends meet in other ways. In fact, I could see myself not thinking about making ends meet at all. I saw myself focusing on growth and trusting being supported in that.

So, when I got the photos back and those colours appeared it spoke to me. It was the most literal reminder life could have given me, saying “Hey, you’ve got this. You’re onto something here. Keep moving forward.”

These are the themes I’ve been working on fiercely this past year. I want a life that is supported, and guided, by my intuition. I want a life of abundance, joy, and success. I want to see the manifestation of my thoughts and beliefs. And I know it will continue to happen because it already has. I know it will happen because I believe it – because I have chosen it.


I’ve had no plan to get where I am now. There is no master guide or external resource that tells us the best way to do things or what to choose for our lives. The compass of our own intuition is the best and most reliable tool to hone. It brought me to yoga, which brought me to Halifax, which brought me to writing my second book and moving into my own apartment.

Communities and spaces were created and opened that couldn’t have happened if I was following a “plan” – my plan was to be a successful owner of a NFP and working towards early “retirement” so I could write. Now I’m closer to where I want to be and further from my ego’s idea of success.

I don’t have any advice that you haven’t heard before or doesn’t sound entitled. I will tell you that I believe our lives start first from our minds. If we truly believe we have enough, are successful, live abundantly then the true state of these beliefs manifests for us. Mastering our thoughts is endlessly difficult but powerful in its simplicity – like most things, I’d say.

For me, it is not about saying “I hope for this, or I wish for this.” It is saying “This is going to be my future. I know this like I know my name. I am choosing this energy”. I encourage you to try it – the hardest part is believing it. The easiest part is trying.

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.

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.

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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.

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.