This is shaping up to be a good week

Witches, I’m about to get a little sappy and spiritual in a way that might seem a little out of place from me, since I’m usually much more tongue-in-cheek. In addition to this being a little sappy, this is also stream-of-consciousness rambling without any structure. So, be warned. I apologize in advance if it doesn’t make any sense.

Yesterday, in particular, was amazing. Monday was just a total 180 from how I’ve been feeling.

I credit Sunday’s church service for a good part of it, really. I know not all witches are as interested in mainstream religions like Christianity as I am,* so I won’t go into the details, but the sermon was on joy and basically how we allow our happiness to be dependent on temporary things which can easily be taken from us. Then, we live in fear of losing those things, or worse, we lose them and all our hope with them.

It really struck a chord with me, more than any other sermon I’ve listened to so far. I’m hoping it will be a catalyst to spark some serious change in the way I think about things.

But, what does that have to do with Monday being such a great day? I’ll tell you:

On Sunday night, I left my favorite sweatshirt at the warehouse where services are currently being held (there was an issue with the old space so we’re in this kind of transitional phase while our new space is being prepared). I didn’t realize it until I’d already gotten home and by that point everyone else had already left. I texted a friend from church asking if she’d seen it and after some back-and-forth, she said someone would put it aside for my mom to pick up on Monday afternoon.

The warehouse space is rented out for events, so people come in and out all day, usually (checking on things, touring the space, getting ready for their own events) and we were concerned someone might nab it before I got it back.

I was bummed, because it’s literally my favorite jacket. But, I reflected on the sermon I had just listened to and I thought, “It’s just a jacket. It’s not irreplaceable. I have other jackets. I’ll be disappointed to not get it back, but it’s not going to crush me if I don’t.”

Mind you, I am an anxious, catastrophic mess. A week ago, I would have sobbed at the very notion of losing this jacket. It has sentimental value to me.

On Monday morning, I woke up earlier than normal. It was weird, because on Mondays I usually sleep as late as I can and then rush to leave. But, I woke up like an hour early and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I thought, “Well, since I’m up, and the warehouse is right around the corner from school, I’ll stop in on my way and see if my jacket is still there.”

I didn’t expect anyone to be there that early. And, sure enough, when I got there, the warehouse door was closed. I was bummed and about to leave, when I just felt compelled to wait a moment. Literally, I started walking away and just… stopped, turned around, and went back. “Maybe someone will come by in the next twenty minutes or so,” I thought.

That’s when I noticed the side door was open. I was able to go in, get my jacket, and head to school. I was thrilled!

Since the campus I’m at on Monday and Wednesday is only a half mile away, I decided I’d walk. According to Google Maps, it was just a straight shot for a couple blocks, than a left turn.

Except, Google Maps doesn’t take into account the fact that half of downtown is under construction and some walkways were closed. I ended up having to walk an extra two blocks out of my way, up a very steep hill. By the time I got to campus, I was exhausted, pouring sweat, and felt like I could sleep for eternity.

Honestly, I was kind of miserable.

But, then I thought, “Why am I miserable? Not because I got my jacket back, surely. Not because I got to school early and have time to write in my journal. Not because I got some much needed cardio in. Why?” And, I realized that I was basing my happiness on being comfortable.

Comfortable. Life isn’t comfortable. No wonder I’m miserable, if my happiness is based on comfort.

Once I stopped and reminded myself, “This is temporary. This discomfort is temporary. This whole life is temporary. There is something so much bigger and better that is out there waiting for me at the end of this journey. Why am I letting being a little sweaty and tired make me so miserable?”

The pastor at church said that bigger and better thing is God’s love. Maybe it is, I don’t know. Maybe that bigger and better thing is reincarnation into a better life. Maybe it’s reaching a higher state of consciousness and no longer needing to be reincarnated at all. But, whatever it is, it’s out there, and it’s way more important than being mildly uncomfortable, or waiting for class, or even my favorite sweatshirt.

And that thought totally shifted my attitude. Like, I was still uncomfortable, still tired and sore from walking up a ridiculous hill. But, it didn’t bother me the way it normally would have.

Later, I realized I forgot a fork to eat my salad for lunch (the campus cafeteria charges twenty cents for a fork unless you buy something to eat). I just kind of mentioned it off-hand to my lab partner, just in this, “Silly me,” sort of way. And she was like, “Dude, I have a whole box of plastic forks in my car because I’m always forgetting them. Come on, I’ll give you one.”

Our biology lab, which I usually dread, was actually really fun and I did really well at it. I understood what was going on, I got the directions, I actually moved slightly ahead of the class (usually I’m a bit behind).

And, I know these are all little things. Getting my jacket back. My friend having an extra fork for me. Doing well in something I usually struggle in. They’re small things. But, it’s like everything lined up for me on Monday, and I really, really believe it’s because of that shift in my attitude. Like something out there noticed and was like, “Hey, you’re getting it. Cool. I got you, right now. Try to remember this when things go bad again.”

Because, things will go bad again. That’s the nature of life. Things go bad for no apparent reason, sometimes.

When they do, I hope I’ll remember yesterday. I hope I’ll remember that this isn’t all there is. It’s not even close. These things which seem so big to my tiny mortal mind are temporary and not worth getting so upset over.

I love you all.

*By the way, speaking as someone who does still identify as an agnostic witch, church is super fun! Obviously, I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say, but it is interesting to see just how much of it does overlap with my beliefs and how it can fit into my beliefs.

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Learning to Live

I apologize for not sticking to my usual post schedule. I’m in a very strange mental/emotional place.

I’m thinking a lot about my future; about where I want to go and what I need to do to get there, which path would be right for me. I know it’s necessary, but it’s still overwhelming to think about.

The last month or so, I’ve kind of forgotten about my non-resolutions I made at the beginning of the year to stop putting so much focus on things that aren’t helping me and/or are causing me extra anxiety. Things like finding a job, getting a date, and learning to drive–all of which have been making frequent appearances in my actual pen-and-paper journal, lately.

I really need to get back on that (off that?), because I’m just getting distracted from my goal.

Unfortunately, I’ve also kind of lost sight of what my goal is. I’m starting to wonder if it was ever really my goal to begin with, or just the goal I adopted because that’s what I’m supposed to do–get a “useful” degree and a well-paying job.

I’ve never really been that great at doing what I’m supposed to.

But, hey, in other news, I went out and took some pictures yesterday! I almost didn’t, because I did something to my neck and was in a lot of pain on Wednesday. I wasn’t 100% yesterday, but I was probably at 90% and I haven’t gone shooting in so long. Plus, I’ve lived in San Diego mostly my whole life (save a few months where I found home), but I’ve never really gone out and explored it very much. Never on my own.

I’ve always made excuses, that not driving is such a hindrance and it’s so inconvenient and it takes so long… And I live my life in a room, alone for the most part.

It needs to end. If I want to have a life, I have to go out and make one.

I started simply, going down to the bay at Liberty Station. I knew where it was, I knew how to get there, and (although I’d never been during the day) I’d been to the area before and knew it was pretty enough to warrant photography.

I was there for about a half hour before I thought to text Matt (who works in the area) to see if he wanted to meet up and hang out before he had to work. He was down and a few hours later we met up, wandered around some of the shops in the area, and had coffee (well, he had coffee, I had cocoa).

So, yesterday was kind of a two-for-one situation–not only did I get out and take pictures (a step toward learning to live my own life), but I also initiated a social interaction (a step toward overcoming my social anxiety).

Matt’s a good friend. I’m really glad I met him. I feel at ease around him. He’s a talker, though. I don’t mind for the most part, I like listening to people talk, but it’s kind of tough to get a word in edgewise. Sometimes I would like to contribute to the conversation, too. At least what he has to say while dominating the conversation is interesting, though. He’s not just talking a bunch of random BS just to hear himself talk.

Of course, I’m horribly sunburned, because I forgot to put on sunscreen and then spent six hours walking around in the sun. Oops.

Hey, being a functional adult can’t happen all at once, right?

I’m going to go bathe in aloe.

I love you all.

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I’m angry.

Something happened after church on Sunday night that made me incredibly angry. And, I don’t mean I was irritated or annoyed; I mean I was seething. I contemplated calling Matt and asking if I could crash on his couch so I could not have to sleep at home but could still get to class on Monday.

But, Matt and I are not quite that good of friends, so I stayed home and seethed. I ranted to Pup on the phone for a solid hour.

When we got off the phone, all I could do was think. TV annoyed me and my hand shook too much to write properly in my journal. I had only my mind to occupy me.

So, I thought about being angry. I thought about how angry I was at having to be beholden to another person, at having to–either consciously or subconsciously–bend and accept their rules for my behavior on some level (even if I resist, and I do resist, there is a part of me that bows much more often than I think this other person realizes). I thought about how angry it makes me that, at nearly thirty years old, I can’t just decide to do something and then do it, because there’s this other person who will totally freak out if things do not go according to the plan they’ve come to expect. I thought about how angry I am that someone else’s fears dictated how I lived my life.

Then I thought, who’s fault is this, really? Can I really be angry at this other person for doing exactly what I know they’re going to do?

I’m the one allowing this to happen. I’m the one who has accepted these limitations. I’m the one who’s put myself in this situation.

The only person I can be mad at is myself.

And I am furious with myself. I’m angry at myself for letting me stray so far from what I wanted, from what I need. I’m angry at myself for letting me become so dependent on others and for being so afraid of growing up that now I feel like I’ll never make it.

It needs to end.

This is my life, and I’m the only one who can live it.

And goddamn it, I’m going to.

I love you all.

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What would it be? One-third life crisis?

It’s not a food post, but whatever. I’m having a lot of feelings right now and it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want!


I’m writing this for queue at just after 5:30 on Thursday. So, when I say “today” I really mean “yesterday,” but that feels really weird to write, right now.

Today, I had lunch before class with Matt, who I feel like I haven’t seen in eons, but it’s actually only been about a month. As I’ve mentioned in the past, he’s delightful. Not really relevant to the post, but I felt like throwing it out there because he bought me lunch and I appreciate that.

Anyway, today at lunch, I mentioned to him that I’m about to turn thirty and I’m feeling rather dissatisfied with where I’m currently at in my life. Of course, Mercury (the planet of communication) is in retrograde, so I did so in a much less articulate way, but I think he got my point. As I’m about to hit thirty, he’s about to hit thirty-one and assured me that nervous, anxious feeling will pass.

I’m inclined to believe him. But, in the meantime, I’m a bit of a wreck.

I feel so very… not adult. And, I don’t mean that in the funny, meme-y way where I haven’t done my laundry in a month and ate an entire bag of Oreos in a sitting and “ugh, adulting is hard.”

I mean it in the I’m unemployed, uneducated, and have no real plan to change that in the near future. I thought I had all this time, but I’m looking around and I honestly don’t know what would happen to me if, Heaven forbid, something happened to my parents. *knocks on all the wood* I have no prospects. I would have to beg to sleep in my best friend’s parents’ guest room and try to find a job.

No wonder I’m single; I’m such a catch, right?

It’s scary. I’m scared.

At lunch, I asked Matt how close he is to transferring. Pretty soon, it turns out. Of course, in conversational reciprocity (and probably some genuine interest), he asked me the same.

“I switched majors last semester from English to STEM. I’m basically starting my college career over.”

Which is and isn’t true, I suppose. When I looked at my educational plan, I do have a number of general education classes that transfer over from one major to another (my social sciences, I’ve met my English requirement obviously, a history class). But, when I look at the number of classes I have to take–high level math and science courses for which I still need to take numerous prerequisites. I’m looking at another two to three years at the community college level. Then, three years at the university level.

When it comes to the number of classes I need to take, I’m basically a freshman.

Meanwhile, all my friends are either getting ready to transfer, or they’ve already graduated, or my little sister is less than a month out from getting her Master’s degree I’m so proud of her I’m bragging on her behalf I know I’m sorry I’ll stop now.

I know I shouldn’t compare myself, but it’s disheartening.

Marketing would be faster. English would be longer (because I want an MFA), but more fulfilling. But, Dietetics lets me make money while keeping me out of a soul-sucking corporate job.

Not to mention, I look at my transcripts and see all those dropped classes and just feel sick to my stomach. That’s going to look horrible when I try to transfer.

I really, really need to buckle down and get this done and worked out. Which I should probably start doing now, instead of writing a blog post about how I need to.

I love you all.

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My Year of Endings

When I went to see my spiritual counselor at the beginning of this year, she told me that on my birthday I will be entering a year of endings.* This is a good time to get rid of things, habits, and relationships which no longer benefit me. It’s not really a great time to start anything new.

The last few months, I’ve really been on a spiritual journey, but I still feel like I’m holding myself back. That needs to end.

So, as I’m preparing to enter my Year of Endings, here are some things I would like to let go of in my thirtieth year on this planet:

The need to fit a label. I am a witch. Since I started looking for religion, I have been a witch. Like many things, I am very open and accepting of however people want to apply that label to themselves… until I look in the mirror. When it comes to myself and my own beliefs, I still hold onto old and narrow definitions of what does and does not make me a witch. Despite the years I’ve spent on this path, I still worry about not being “witchy enough.” It is time for these limiting and outdated definitions to go.

The need to qualify. I am very scientifically minded. I want things, including my system of beliefs, to make logical sense. But, I’m learning that belief systems don’t always make sense and I can’t force them to be logical. Not everything can (or may even be meant to) be understood.

The fear of being wrong. This is tied to my need to qualify and understand everything. I think a part of me is afraid to look beyond the beliefs which make sense to and comfort me, because I don’t want to find contradictory information which will cause me to question the accuracy of my beliefs. But, this is how we grow. And beliefs are beliefs; part of the reason they are there is to bring us comfort. Just because I find contradictory information doesn’t necessarily mean I have to stop believing what I do or stop worshiping the ways I do.

Letting go of mental blocks is never easy, but I’m going to try my hardest. I know that doing so will open me up to new experiences and knowledge that otherwise I wouldn’t receive.

I love you all.

*These years (there are three; endings, creativity, and the third I always forget) are tied to one’s birth date and are varied for everyone. Just because I am entering a year of endings doesn’t necessarily mean anyone else is.

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Mercury Retrograde and Social Depression

I’m chalking the negative feelings I’m having towards some friends up to Mercury Retrograde and the fuckery it’s conducting with communication. I don’t usually “feel” Mercury Retrograde, because communication and decision making is always a nightmare for me (thanks, anxiety), but I’m feeling this one, I think.

I’m just really sick of some of the people in my life having to be contrary all the time. Especially on Facebook, where I would say probably half of my friends there are people I’ve never actually met, but have known online for 10+ years. Lately it seems like the only times people want to comment on something is to rain on the parade. Read More

Getting Healthy and Making Changes (Recipe Request)

Honestly, I think at least part of the reason I feel hesitant to continue pursuing Nutrition as my major (aside from all the awful, awful math I have to take) it because I feel like such a raging hypocrite. I have the worst diet, witches. Seriously, awful. And forget exercise (who even has time for that???). Since my catabolism* ran away from home when I turned twenty-two, I’ve gained a lot of weight and turned into a lethargic blob.

The weight I don’t mind, really. If I’m fat, I’m fat, and that’s just how it is. That just means there’s more of me to be awesome. But, I wouldn’t mind being awesome and healthy. It’s not the fat that bothers me; it’s the lack of energy and pain that I have a problem with.

And with thirty looming on the horizon (holy sh–!) I really need to get my health in order while I’m still young enough to do so.

So, I’m trying to make healthier dietary and fitness choices. Which is kind of a bummer, because healthy food doesn’t taste nearly as good as cupcakes and cookies. Nor do any of the healthy recipes I have look particularly blog-worthy. Oh, baked chicken and steamed vegetables! Many wow! Such amaze!

Except, you know, not really. It’s all pretty boring, standard stuff.

Which is where you come in (hopefully). Drop your favorite healthy (preferably low-sodium) dishes in the comments. Hook a witch up!

Meanwhile, I’ll be off in the abyss of my bedroom, digging my stationary bike out from under the piles of clothes.

I love you all.

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*Catabolism is the part of metabolism which breaks molecules down into smaller molecules and energy and is what most people talk about when they talk about “stimulating your metabolism.” Science has ruined the casual use of the term “metabolism” for me.

**The other part of metabolism is anabolism, which uses energy to bond smaller molecules to form bigger molecules. This is the process which builds muscle (among many other things). SCIENCE! WHEE!

Encinitas Meditation Gardens

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(I really, really hope the pictures are showing up. I have been having crazy problems with pictures for this post.)

Okay, so, meditation isn’t exactly “witchy” in its own right, but there is a lot of crossover between “new age” folks and meditation, perhaps because meditation is most commonly associated with India (where it’s believed to have originated) and the Buddhist religion which originated there (fun fact: only 0.7% of India’s population is Buddhist, despite that being the religion’s country of origin). Many modern pagans and witches incorporate aspects of Buddhism into their practices, so meditation can be witchy, if a witch practices it.

(Not a stretch at all, right?)

I practice it, at least. And, even if it’s not meant to be a “witchy” place, the Meditation Gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas, CA is certainly a magical place.

Image of a small man-made waterfall lined at the edges with large rocks and surrounded by ferny plants.
Print available at Society6

Whenever I feel overwhelmed and anxious, this is my first destination. It was built to be a calming and spiritual place, where anyone of any religion can come and be in the presence of the Divine. That intent has carried on over the decades since Paramahansa Yogananda founded it in 1920.

It’s difficult not to find some measure of peace amongst the lush and varied plants which live there, sitting on a bench in the sun or shade and smelling the sea breeze making its way up the cliffside. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty, wrapped in California warmth and surrounded by beautiful flowers. I love looking out over the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean and reminding myself how small I really am—how small my problems really are—compared to all the world.

Image of the Pacific Ocean and a blue sky with low white clouds. The coastline can be seen in the distance and green plant life can be seen in the foreground.
Print available at Society6

The Garden is also home to some beautiful koi. Another favored spot of mine is a bench beneath a tree, overlooking one of the three ponds. It’s shaded and cool, and a good spot to really surround myself in the elements.

Small alcoves and many small, two-person benches are scattered throughout the garden, providing ample space to those who wish the sit and meditate (or just rest and enjoy the bounty of nature). If a bench isn’t your thing, there are also grassy expanses where one can sit and really feel the earth beneath them. It’s an amazing place to sit and journal, to reflect on life and spirit, or to just take a break.

It’s a popular place, so I recommend going during the week to avoid crowds, if you can. I can tell you from experience, it’s hard to block out the rest of the world when a screaming toddler runs into your backside.

To learn more about the Self-Realization Fellowship’s founder, Paramahansa Yogananda, I highly recommend picking up his autobiography:

Autobiography of a Yogi

I’ve read it twice and couldn’t put it down. Even just reading about his life gives me a sense of calm in the storm.

I love you all.

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Tips for Dealing with Unavoidable Anxiety

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In a perfect world, everything would come with a trigger warning. Before you walked into that restaurant, there would be a sign saying, “You will be seated next to a family with four screaming toddlers. May cause sensory overload.” In a perfect world, your boss would speak softly to you when you made mistakes, because they care about your struggles and don’t want to cause you anymore undue stress.

Unfortunately, reality doesn’t work like that. Sometimes, the only safe space you have is your bedroom and it’s far, far away.

Sometimes, you can’t avoid anxiety-inducing situations. But, you can manage them in the moment and come out the other side relatively unscathed. Read More

Marjorie Struthers-McLachlan

Misfit Marjorie is one of the coolest human beings on the internet. Consider donating to his travel fund?

Marjorie's Forgeries

I’ve mentioned IML several times over the past few months, but for the uninitiated, International Mr. Leather is an annual competition that takes place in Chicago during Memorial Day weekend. There are around 60 contestants every year, and at IML 40, I will be one of them.

I qualified for the contest about a year and a half ago (when I won the title of Mr. Firedancer Dallas 2016-2017, which is worth a story of its own one of these days), and at the time, I was like, “Nifty! I’ma go to IML at some unspecified point in the distant future. That’ll be a hoot.” However, now that the event is 11 weeks away, I’m like, “OMG OMG WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!” But hey, at least I don’t suffer from any kind of acute mental illness to make the situation even more terrifying, amirite?

[insert visual flashback effect…

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Excuse me while I scream incoherently into the void

My classes this semester are making me completely rethink my entire educational plan. This is not actually a bad thing.

School is stressful. This semester in particular has just been a nightmare unlike anything I have experienced before (I literally cannot miss one more day or either class without being dropped; it’s not even half-way through the semester). Every morning on my commute, all I can think is, “I cannot believe I am subjecting myself to this much anxiety. Why am I subjecting myself to this much anxiety?”

And that, my dear witches, is a good question.

Why am I subjecting myself to this much anxiety? What is it that I am trying to gain from school, and is what I’m trying to gain what I really want?

Which requires me to ask and answer the question: What do I really want?

A couple years ago, Pup bought me the Self Authoring suite developed my Dr. Jordan Peterson. I kind of played around with it, and it’s interesting and a little helpful. Pup suggested I use it to see if I can sort some stuff out. I figured, why not?

I did the first part of the Future Authoring program, which concludes with a fifteen minute free-write of what your ideal future looks like. I’ll spare you the details, but here’s what I mostly took away from it:

I am so on the wrong path.

I don’t want a fancy, super high-paying job with money to burn. I want to save enough money to put a down payment on a small house somewhere that is not San Diego (I specifically say outside of Denver, but really it could be anywhere that is not San Diego or Los Angeles) and earn enough money to pay my mortgage and my bills and have a little left over to put in a savings/retirement account. My ideal future involves gardening and chickens and writing and crafting.

My ideal future does not include telling people what they should eat, or why. It does not include lab coats or intermittent sighing at people who aren’t sticking to their Diet(tm). It doesn’t include sitting in a cold, sterile office looking at charts and cholesterol levels. It really doesn’t include anything which requires a degree, at all.

Of course, that’s my ideal future and I know that getting to that ideal means I’m going to have to slog through some shit. It’s easier to slog when you have a degree, so I think I still want to (or at least still plan to) get a degree. But, whether I’m going to stick with nutrition or go back to one of my previous majors… we’ll see. Nutrition is interesting and I’d like to understand it. I’m not sure if I want to devote the next six years of my life to what I want to be a temporary situation.

My school offers a number of certification programs and A.A. degrees. I’ve been looking at the long-game, and I think I stressed myself out too much worrying about, “Oh, but I need this to transfer here to enroll in this Bachelor’s/Master’s program…” I think maybe instead I should worry about developing a skill; even if I don’t have an advanced degree, at least I’ll have the skill.

Of course, my ideal future also changes at the drop of a hat, so who knows. That all might be totally meaningless by tomorrow morning. I just needed five minutes to think about something other than alge-blah and blah-ology. BLAH.

I love you all.

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Oops! Midterms!

I was planning to take a week-long hiatus during spring break (the last week of March) because the idea of one week where I don’t have to do anything makes my knees weak, but I totally forgot that midterms are a thing. Probably because this is the first semester in years where I’ve had classes with midterms I actually have to study for.

Blogging is important to me, but school and studying has to take priority, so I will not be able to update regularly until after that’s over. I may post updates (ie: rants) periodically as the mood strikes me. I’m also going to try very, very hard to keep up with reading.

Regularly posting will resume on April 2nd.

Thank you for your patience.

I love you all.