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.

PDA

This piece was first published on herHABITAT and then featured in the Fear issue of Feels Zine.


You are twenty.

You pay your own bills, “fill” your own fridge. You work a mediocre job that some days when you think about it you feel grateful, and others you feel like you need a life raft.

You have “goals”. You write, you read, you try to educate yourself on the world and how you fit into it, how to understand it.

There are days that are effortless. The ambition and productivity comes naturally. You scribble in your agenda and the inside of your wrist all that you’ve accomplished that day, your to-do list and activities for the next, who you need to call. You think “I am basically invincible. Things are not perfect but everything is temporary and I will always be okay”.

You get home. You’ve just had a the perfect Autumn Sunday – a movie, a drizzly bike ride, mediocre food. Spent 3 hours in bed touching and talking and not moving more than fingers across backs. You departed; finally, dutifully.

Once home you notice the dishes in the sink that you forgot about, the clothes on your bed that you left in a pile when you rushed out the door accepting you wouldn’t look perfect and that was better than being late.

You sigh; take off your pants, say “fuck it, tomorrow” to the dishes, scoop the clothes onto a chair while stepping on something sharp. There is a stale corn chip on your floor, but you don’t remember eating them in here. A little blip makes itself visible in your mind, the radar of recognition, though it’s too faint to see what it is.

Curling up on your bed with the last 15% of your laptop battery you check all that you’ve missed – the Facebook comments, the posts you want to share; the word docs still open from all the notes everyone was drunkenly writing last night as a gaggle of friends had professed their deepest selves reciting poetry, singing, swigging from full bottles because they “did not need glasses to define “full” or “empty”” for them.

You wander, in fatigue and pleasantness from the day. There is a pang in your stomach that was once hunger maybe, but is now nausea. You haven’t noticed it’s been nearly 5 hours since your last meal, but it’s the end of the night. You’ll get a snack in a minute (when you can pull yourself from the glowing grip of your screen.)

You think about this feeling in your stomach. Another blip appears. You scroll, lazily. You think about writing. Another blip. You think about tomorrow, all that you’ve promised yourself you would do: bank, run, get -blip- keys, do dishes, finish laundry. You think about what you said to your mom yesterday when you were angry. Blip blip. You think about the email you sent her. You close your Facebook tab. Blip.

You close your eyes, your stomach saying “so what now?”. You think about work in a couple days; Do you remember how to close? Will it be busy? Blip. You don’t want to go. Blip. You think about your anxiety -blip- and how it has hindered you in the past. “But tomorrow I will be okay. And the day after that as well.” Another promise to yourself. Blip blip.

You start to jiggle your leg, but it’s awkward so you rub your feet together. Compulsively. They are cold, you do this when you’re trying to fall asleep. Blip..

You start to think of all the things you would rather be doing. Blip. You think, with guilt about the dishes in the sink and the stories still open in the dock on your computer, refusing to close them because it feels the same as defeat even though you won’t touch them with intention for another few weeks. Blip. The clutter on your home screen drives you crazy, but you refuse to close the tabs. Blip. It’s not that late, you could probably get in a load of laundry and then shower.  Then you can get the dishes done too. Blip. Maybe even a quick sweep. Blip blip.

You notice you’ve started to flex your fingers, that your body is covered in goosebumps. You put on sweatpants and a knit sweater and start walking back and forth across your room -blip- picking up discarded articles of clothing, hanging them up and folding them or putting them in the laundry. Blip. You’ve started the rhythmic counting in your head that you picked up in fourth grade when you started percussion. One, two, blip, four, blip, two, three, four, one, blip, three, four…

You whip your head around. What did you just hear? Was that the front door closing? Is someone home? You realize it was nothing and become aware of the heavy beating in your chest, your shallow breathing. Blip. (Were you doing this before?) It was probably nothing you reassure yourself -blip-, as you pick little pieces of chip and paper off the ground that have collected there since last night. Blip.

You start to think about the untidiness of your apartment. Blip. The untidiness of your life. When was the last time you worked out? Is anxiety considered a disability? Blip, blip. Can you apply for anxiety disability? Blip. You tell yourself you’re not disabled. You’re having a bad day (bad night at least). It’s been a long month. You just need a good cry, you hold too much in. Blip.

So you let yourself cry. It starts off like a tap that hasn’t been used in a while, spitting out water. Your breathing gets faster again, and a sob builds up in your body as you curl yourself up into a ball. You tell yourself to let it all out and the water turns from cold to hot.

You start to feel dizzy. The weight of exhaustion on you now. You want to stop crying. Your hands are shaking, your nose is running, there’s a wet spot that takes up most of your pillow: saliva, snot, and tears. You get up to walk it off, to signal to your body that it is time to stop. (blip, blip, blip)

This is when you start to hyperventilate. The shudders that rock your body as you try to steady your breathing come in shorter spurts. It feels like your body is being buried under 10 feet of sand and you have an oxygen tank that will only last ten minutes to dig yourself out. You grasp at your arms, a weak attempt at hugging yourself. Or pinching yourself. Something. Your fingers stiffen, and your goose bump covered body is sweating profusely but you don’t feel anything. You can’t think anymore.

You convince yourself that you’re a burden; that no one can help you. They’re going to think you’re doing it for attention. No one calls someone when they’re having a real panic attack. They won’t be able to help you anyway – you’ll always have panic attacks and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just let it go, get up and move on. You thought yourself into this so it’s not even real. These small, mean thoughts circle themselves around your brain. With the rest of the sane energy you have you bat them away. You try to call your mom – no answer. You call her boyfriend – no answer. You call your best friend – no answer. They don’t want to talk to you, they have more important things to be doing. You know you do not have what you need to calm down, and you know they won’t either, but someone needs to know that if you don’t start breathing properly in the next 5 minutes you might not make it. If you don’t hear a voice that isn’t your own, you might not make it.

You stop trying to reassure yourself, stop trying to help and the only thought is “I’m going to die if I don’t start breathing”  – but it isn’t even a conscious thought so much as a fact that you’ve come to understand in that moment. You curl into a ball on the ground, rocking yourself back and forth. Drooling onto your knees, fingers clenched into tight fists at the side of your head. You try to yell but choke; your frustration and fear is paramount.

You start crying so hard that you almost gag, and you know you would vomit on yourself because you can’t move to make it to the bathroom, or even the garbage pail across the room.

Your phone starts buzzing. You can barely move an arm to hit the answer button, and you cannot muster a “hello”. Your best friend is on the other side “Hello?! Forest? Are you okay?!” and you sob pitifully and spit onto your screen, managing to moan out a “No”. The next 10 minutes consist of you regaining and losing your breath, and you’ve heard “it’s going to be okay” at least 20 times. When you can finally muster “I’ll be okay”, barely audible through the congestion and sharp intakes and rushing in your ears. You end the call when you realize you can think again.

You whimper, your breathing shudders as you try to gain control again. Your body feels like it is filled with the sand you were being buried under. You peel yourself away from the floor after a year; hanging head, breathing deep, flexing fingers. Hair sticking to your face, sweater sticking to your back.

You laugh sadly and looking the mirror in the bathroom at your red, puffy eyes and face. At the sticky smears of salt water and saliva, the two solid streams of snot that grace your cupids bow and crystallize on your upper lip. It is the face of an oncoming head ache that contradicts the almost-euphoria of being able to breathe again. You think “I hate public displays of anxiety”.

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.

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.

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.


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