Where Do I Belong?

It’s been a year; a year since we chose to uproot and move our family, a year since I lost friends I thought were “forever” friends, and a year since we entered into the chaotic space that still is this global pandemic.

I do not feel like I have much to show for the past year, but I also do not have nor feel any pressure to show much. It was and still is a year of introspection and trying to understand who I am and what makes me tick.

Recently though, I’ve decided to acknowledge and come face to face with the fact that the pagan/witchy community I thought I was becoming apart of is no longer something I fit in or am welcomed in to. A year ago I was struggling through an in person herbal class and with a teacher I simply did not belong with. I switched to an online herbal course and loved every minute of it. But. Here I am, 1 year later, and practicing herbalism is not even in front of me. I am beginning to suspect it is one of the tools I am supposed to have in my tool belt, but it is not a primary tool. And I think I’m okay with that.

To be honest, I do not know what my place is. I have moved in and out of various communities all of my life, and not once has one felt 100% that “this is my place.” I thought maybe it’s because I need to build my own community and pick and choose who to bring in and build a space that feels like mine. But that has not happened, and I no longer have any drive or ambition to do so. Where do I belong?

Or should the question be – to whom do I belong? I can answer that partially, I belong to myself first and foremost. I feel like every space I have walked in to where there is group interaction, I have been told that I am too much, my trauma is too heavy, and I’m uncomfortable to be around.

I made a promise to myself almost a decade ago that I would be open and honest about what it is like to live with chronic depression, frequent suicidal ideation episodes, and very dark and heavy trauma. I made this promise when I realized how suffocating and destructive it was to hide from my trauma. Wanna guess what the general reception was to me being open about this? Silence. Discomfort. People avoiding me because I wasn’t going to hide anymore and my guess, they didn’t want to be reminded of what they were hiding from either.

Part of this promise to myself included being honest and not shying away from potentially toxic behaviors or mindsets I discovered within myself. whether I did this publicly in a blog form, or in a private discussion with my therapist(s), I didn’t hide anything.

A lot of people questioned the validity of my words and challenged why I felt I had to talk about these things. And truthfully I didn’t really have any answers for them. That push back only made me more determined to break that taboo around talking about trauma and abuse.

But then I understood why I wrote, why I was so bold and vulnerable…

I just wanted to be heard. I wanted to know that my younger selves were seen and acknowledged and I wanted others who were in my shoes to know that they were heard and seen too. That has only ever been the root of why I write and speak up. I know what it’s like to not be heard, to not be seen, to be silenced and shoved into the dark corners. It’s why I want to write my book and get it out there.

However I am starting to think that isn’t going to happen. My words are not back, writing even this today is a fluke. A random urge to write that hasn’t happened since the last time I wrote two months ago. Is it possible that too many people have silenced me over the past few years that I no longer have a will to write or speak up. It is so overwhelming and all encompassing this feeling of not knowing where I belong but also no longer having any drive to find where I belong.

A lot of this is stemming from and includes a sense of my beliefs restructuring and shifting. I am a witch, this still rings true, but what else am I? I am not practicing consistently right now, and truthfully I don’t want to. I am not receiving any joy from the practices I once thought I enjoyed. It is not a situation of no longer believing or feeling like this is the path I want, it is a situation of my drive to belong, my sense of power, magic, faith is silent. And I am okay with that, I am allowing myself the space to say no, the space to step back and breathe. It is a practice of self-compassion. Giving myself grace and compassion is something I have worked hard on this past year especially.

I think maybe a large part of this apathy is due to my health rising up to be a big issue again. A part of me kicks and screams every time, right as I started to feel like I could think about and devote time to other things, my health crashes. It is a crippling feeling, both physically and mentally. It is something that is so overwhelming and shuts everything down except for the bare essentials. I absolutely ABHOR that my body has this capability to shut me down, but I am also capable of holding myself and offering compassion and understanding when I push through the things I cannot and have no control over.

Even in the midst of all of the health issues that have come back to the surface again, my heart echoes “where do i belong?”

Where do I belong? 

Even when I was growing up, and quickly becoming the oldest of 9 children, I felt this question ringing through my very bones; where do I belong? I was surrounded by chaos and obligation all day every day. My dreams consisted of seeking someone to take care of me or feeling like the shadow no one ever could see. Every church we were in and out of growing up never gave me a place. Any little place I thought I had was swiftly ripped away or we simply moved away and I never heard from those people again.

All of my life, all [almost] 30 years, I have been asking where do I belong?

I’m not convinced I will ever have an answer to this. I think after the past year, I do not believe I will ever have a group of people to call “my place.” I may be able to to say I’ve made my peace with that, but that peace is not quiet or submissive or calm. That peace is a willful acceptance of things I cannot bring about for myself and an awareness of it not being worth my energy to fight for it anymore.

It is so easy to fall into the mind-trap of listing all of the reasons why I don’t think *I* can ever belong to a community/circle.

– I’m autistic: I don’t have some of the social skills that seem to be required for those kinds of circles that I long for.

– I have trauma, heavy, dark, uncomfortable trauma: I have seen that this 99.9% of the time NOT welcomed in those places.

– I am chronically ill, and often have no control (okay who are we kidding, I never have control) over how my body decides to show up and frequently cancel or will just not schedule something.

– I am chronically depressed and have chronic anxiety: this seems to make a lot of people uncomfortable, before my trauma even shows up.

Are these things valid reasons for why I have not been able to find community? Or find what feels like *could* be “my place” and then it implodes or I get pushed out. These are the things my brain has come up with to explain a seemingly unexplainable situation.

I have always ended back with individuals, 2-3 people who reliably show up and have said without a doubt that all of the above things are not too much for them. I am beyond grateful for those who do show up, my partner now being one of them. But that doesn’t erase or ease that aching question. I feel like I have so much to give, but even that isn’t welcomed at times, it is seen as too much, that I am just overwhelming other people.

I will most likely crawl back into my hole after I finish this post. The words are fading again, and I can feel the darkness of frustrating apathy pulling me back in. I feel that I have let myself hope one too many times now and automatically question and doubt any group or situation I find myself faced with. My default is no longer “oh I think I could really give this a chance” to “how long before it becomes excruciatingly obvious I do not belong here?”

And the words are gone. My brain is shutting down and retreating. But even in this moment, it is a battle of wills between the apathy and depression and this deep soul wrenching guttural howl that I just want to belong. It is a battle where apathy always manages to place the gag on and shut it down. Even being gagged my soul whispers,

Where do I belong? 

A year in review…or maybe not

This is when I typically do a year in review post, but for reasons I may attempt to explain, words are not my friends right now, and haven’t been for quite a while. 2020 was not kind to my brain and the relational trauma I hold scares from have been really loud all fucking year long.

This past year, I discovered and with great relief named myself autistic. This was huge discovery and has given me so many more tools to use and compassion to understand my brain better. I am not crazy, my brain simply works differently than non-neurodivergent brains. my brain is different, my brain is unique to me.

But until I was able to uncover this layer about myself, the damage I’ve caused myself for beating myself up because I couldn’t “conform” enough for the people who insisted I should be the way they wanted me to be, that I am wrong, uncomfortable to be around. Now I cry shame on those who have turned so viciously on me because my brain didn’t work how they wanted me to work.

I lost a lot relationally this year. 4 people who I thought were close friends made sure they twisted my words so much that I sincerely believed I was losing my mind. They blamed me for everything, silenced me, took away my autonomy, their hands squeezing my throat shut. I had no defense, no way to speak up, my perspective was silenced, ignored, beaten down. The amount of grief I cried as the biggest question I asked was what happened? I still don’t understand why or even how things went bad so fast and completely.

I felt the iron doors in my mind starting to slide shut after that happened over the course of barely three months at the beginning of last year. All this happened during and then continued after I was dealing with massive trauma triggers from having moved and trying to get used to a new area, a new dwelling I was frantically trying to transform into a safe space for my panicking brain. The things those people told me will be always carved into my heart and mind. Will they always affect me, make me shatter and collapse into tears of grief and confusion? No, but they will always be with me. Those words have joined the jagged marks of everything my parents have said to me, and all of those who have followed suit after them.

My brain has been shutting down. Words have not come easily, even speaking has been difficult. It’s like my brain went into severe self-preservation mode and I switched back to the deeply traumatized brain of my 6 year old being raped and drugged self. Having conversations with my partner, with the few friends who are left, felt like I having to literally carefully pull each and every single word from the far reaches of my mind. Many words have been slipping, words I haven’t been able to catch in time and I’m left standing there mid sentence with no coherent thought of what I was saying.

Writing has not been happening. This is only the second long-ish piece Ive written in over 6 months. Trying to explain the non-verbal weight that has been crushing my shoulders for a year has been impossible. Trying to give voice to the soul crushing grief that is still barely kept under wraps is a feat I shudder to attempt.

Then a few months ago, around the beginning of the fall, I had to listen to all of the things get repeated again about what is so wrong with me. This time from my in-laws, and they did not hold back. Why is it that the people who are supposed to have you or your partners back the ones who can cause so much irreparable harm??

It really truly does feel as if my brain has recessed and I’m trapped in a repeating trauma cycle but my brain doesn’t have enough bandwidth left to break out of it. I am aware enough to recognize that I feel scared because of how much it feels like my brain has shattered. Relationships are so crucial and I have lost so many I don’t think my brain can handle anymore. I have always given my all in a friendship, relationship, and yet it’s been so rare to have that given in return. The 4 friends I lost this year promised that, but reneged and then blamed me for being needy and too much.

I’m tired.

But that is such a shallow word. My body is numb, my weary bleeding heart is protected behind barbed wire, twisted thorny vines, and iron walls. My mind is constantly weeping tears of agony and grief and confusion and it’s as easy as a flip of a switch to recess back to the younger selves who lived in a constant state of panic and fear.

I’m sure all of this has been heightened because of living in a country that can’t take a global pandemic seriously, and I weep for the unacceptable, unnecessary deaths, and for the righteous anger and grief of black and BIPOC people. I don’t say this as an excuse, but this has been an issue of extreme frustration to me this past year. I have very much wanted to add my thoughts and raise my voice in support for my black and BIPOC family, but my brain has not allowed me space enough to even have my own words. I have felt so much shame over that while also trying to hold space for a very real brain meltdown that I have had absolutely no control over. I have tried as hard as my exhausted brain has allowed me to to share posts of other’s more eloquent words and show the support I can. But i don’t feel like it has been enough, and I’m probably right.

2020 was absolutely the year of relational trauma and a deep rebuilding. It was also the year that I feel like very clearly defined for me what is important and worth fighting for in a relational situation. For the 4 people I lost, I’ve gained 3 other friends who are the live and die for friends. They have my back, their maturity as people is such that I know I can count on them to tell me if something is wrong and we will be able to deal with it maturely and with grace for each other. My partner and I started couple’s counseling and it’s been just what we needed to push through the cycles we kept getting stuck in it. It brought about significant changes that needed to happen, and I finally feel like we’ve gotten a real [second] chance at our marriage and relationship. I have a partner now, not just a spouse in name. We are a team more than we have ever been, and it is a credit to our history that we are still here. We are about to hit our 10th wedding anniversary and it feels so monumental in light of all of the relationship work we’ve both put in over the past 6 months. To all of those who were utterly determined to destroy us, our relationship, and predicted we would never last, FUCK YOU.

The word that was given to me for 2021 is MOVEMENT. I feel like the stagnation I felt throughout last year is finally releasing and shifting into movement. The release started around Samhain/Halloween, I released all of those who have caused me harm and stabbed me in the back. I opened myself up to receive the things i needed to, and surrendered to the waves that have been more strongly pulling me. As per usual, this year has already started with health issues, but I believe they have and are bringing about serious forward momentum in giving my body healing. And Thursday (a day from now) brings my 7th surgery, and 2nd venous procedure. I saw several specialists in November and they gave me some crucial insights into the remaining health concerns I have. I just came off of a 14 day antibiotic treatment. My body is still recovering from how [necessarily] sick the two antibiotics made me. I’m hopeful its a step forward, but I won’t know that for a bit longer.

My body, my mind, my heart is so weary it feels like I am sprawled on the ground and I’m a second’s breath away from giving up and taking my last breath. It feels like I am war battered soldier staggering off a battlefield in shock. I have withdrawn from most of the people in my life, which has been so easily done due to the already enforced physical isolation the pandemic has brought about. I just don’t have enough left to give to anyone except for my partner and one or two other people I keep in almost daily contact.

In the midst of the antibiotic induced flu I had a meltdown, tearfully voicing my fears to my partner of needing to get away from him and our children, but being terrified I’m going to like being away too much and never come back home. He reassured me that he completely understood what I was saying and did not shame or guilt me for feeling that way. Even though his reassurances helped, that fear is still there. I know it’s a nod to how much this past year broke me down. It’s going to take a lot longer to maybe fully heal and be stronger again.

I don’t know when this brain recession is going to be relieved and my entire being won’t feel so broken down. In my moments of silence, when the trauma isn’t loud and is actually calm, I feel much frustration that it often feels like it’s a never ending cycle of being activated and the trauma wounds are so big. I know it gets better, it already has in the past, and I acknowledge how severely damaging and wounding this past years losses have been. Wrapping back around to being autistic, I have a better understanding of why my brain processes things the way it does. Because of this I am no longer masking as much anymore and I think this is part of why I am feeling so unsure of myself. I am having to relearn how I work without the masking and discovering my true face and processes. It is, in some ways, like being reborn and having to relearn basic functions.

I am learning to not apologize for the way my brain works. I am learning to let go of the things I simply can’t explain, but also to speak up when I have one of those “ah-ha!” moments and have the words to actually explain where my brain deviated and how I reached the conclusion I did. But it’s a process. It takes a lot of effort and I think it’s part of what has completely overwhelmed my brain.

Without further adieu, it’s time to wrap up this post. My brain is shutting down and I have nothing else to coherently say. If you feel so inclined, check in on me. But please hold an understanding that if my brain is really overwhelmed, I am going to really struggle to respond. But also, please don’t give up on me? I would like to think that this brain recession is merely temporary and I will adjust to my new normal and understanding how I function.

The Cost of *Family*

10 years ago, Phil and I were fighting for our relationship, fighting to be acknowledged as a valid couple. We were engaged, but hadn’t done so the “right way.”

Which, by the way, he asked my father three times for my father’s blessing, and each and every time, my father took advantage of Phil’s generosity (he paid for dinner at a nice restaurant), refused to answer the question, and then would stab Phil in the back talking about how absolutely disrespectful Phil was to him.

When I first met Phil, I knew he was important. I met him right as my family was becoming members of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Our story became more than 100 pages of heart wrenching grief, small joys, loneliness, and of being gaslit and manipulated by parents (on both sides) and pastors alike. Phil’s parents, specifically his mom, just saw me as a gold-digger kind of person, just looking at her son as someone to save me. She told me straight to my face that she didn’t want that for her son and that he wouldn’t be in a relationship until AFTER college.

We were on our own, through the entirety of us fighting for our relationship. My father got to almost every pastor we were supposed to talk to before we even had a chance to sit down with them and share our story. Phil’s parents, specifically his mother, made many comments to him about how I was a troubled person, that because of my health issues we would never be able to have sex, and how he shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone like that, how being in a relationship with me would make him fail college. [note: Phil not only excelled in school after meeting me, he made the deans list multiple times, and graduate summa cum laude]

It started becoming apparent that “something” was going on with my family, and Phil’s parents started asking what was up with that. To which we consistently told them that we wouldn’t say and would direct them to ask my parents personally.

For a quick recap – here’s what was going on with my family.

  • daily, multiple times a day, verbal and often physical abuse from my father towards my brothers and one sister.
  • My mother perpetuating her husband’s abuse, and conveniently never being around when he went into a full blown rage that usually ended with a sibling being thrown down or dragged up the stairs.
  • Constant verbal abuse and manipulation and gaslighting from both parents for any kind of emotional display of any kind from any child.
  • My mother covering up for my dad’s roughly 6.5 years of drugging and sexually abusing me.
  • My mother covering up for all of my father’s abuse despite the multiple times she would try to ask for help and then backtrack every.single.time someone tried to take her seriously and get help for my siblings. “Oh no, he’s changing, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Everything is just fine….”
  • My father’s porn addiction that caused him to get kicked out the Navy 6 months before he could have retired at 20 years and get a full pension. Oh yeah, kicked out = dishonorably discharged.
  • My father’s porn addiction and violent behavior that ultimately landed him in [failed] counseling with my mother and then church discipline…at Covenant Life Church. [not that church discipline is actually good for anything]

Phil’s parents became fed up with Phil’s evasive answers about what was going on with my family, and pinned down my parents and allegedly my parents told them “everything.” Which caused Phil’s parents to suddenly and strangely become kind of sort of for our relationship. But the damage had been done. All of the cruel and mean things his mother had said about me to Phil had left their marks. All of the manipulation and guilt tripping of Phil and me, a lot of “you are making him/her an idol and just lusting after him/her.” There was absolute denial that Phil and/or I could have any actual legitimate feelings for each other.

When those advances didn’t work, his mother turned to ignoring him, ignoring me, making random snide comments, and acting like I wasn’t even in the same room as her. This often looked like her acting like I was an inconvenience, an annoyance, someone she never actually accepted was a part of HER family.

Phil and I finally got married, and we lived roughly 5 mins away from his family. We were over there every weekend, because free food and beer from the parents. Phil was in college, and I was working full time as a nanny. We were young, broke, and just struggling to survive. And I was starting to fall apart. I had lost my family in the whole process of Phil and I getting married, which included my father kicking me out because he had lost control over me. My mother backed him up, and I left, despite her attempts to manipulate me into acquiescing to his will.

I was hitting a wall that was crumbling rapidly under my fingers and the once solid ground of my faith was disappearing as well. I was losing everything and felt completely alone. Phil did not understand that while he had felt like he had gained everything through marrying me, I had lost everything. Going to his family’s house was a tortuous affair, leaving me feeling alone, isolated, and unwanted. Phil, desperate for family and trying to hang on to his own, didn’t understand or see what was going on with how his family treated me.

Fast forward three years, nothing had changed with his parents/mother except that I was expecting the first grandchild. I purposefully wanted his parents to be involved, as my parents weren’t even going to be allowed to be in the same room as my child. I wanted my child/future children to actually have grandparents, unlike how I never knew neither sets of grandparents growing up. But. A month or two after my oldest was born, I was having to actively reach out and ask [constantly and the only one asking] if Phil’s mother wanted to see her grandchild. The very few times we had them babysit [god, it was a nightmare] it felt like we were asking for an inconvenient and totally unacceptable thing from his mother.

Thankfully, with so much relief it was palpable, we moved, with two weeks notice, to Colorado when our oldest was nine months old. It felt like for the first time in almost 4 years of marriage, we were free, and allowed to actually be a couple. No more having to cater to annoyed in-laws, no more having to pretend I was okay with being treated like a “blemish on the walls.”

We tried to keep in touch those first two years we lived in Colorado, but with weekend after weekend of Phil being the only one initiating phone calls and checkins, we stopped. It was almost astonishing that months would then go by without any word from anyone in his family. We were literally out of sight, out of mind for them.

Fast forward another three years, to this year; and the beginning of the pandemic. We not only moved for the first time since moving to Colorado in February, I lost two of what I thought were my closest friends, then the pandemic hit, and then everything changed. My oldest’s kindergarten class was now solely remote, my youngest’s preschool class *tried* to be remote, but that was an epic fail. So it was no wonder when any communication with any family members back east got pushed to the back burner.

BUT. We were still the only ones initiating phone calls or facetime’s. And the singular time his mother FaceTimed and we weren’t available, has been created as this HUGE problem. Why? Because I never called back, so something is definitely wrong, I’ve been super offended and apparently cut her off. They wouldn’t hear otherwise, and are thoroughly convinced that we’re not telling the truth. “It’s a pandemic!” is not an acceptable excuse.

Now, let me wrap back around to the beginning of this story; to the place where I knew – intuitively, and was half confirmed through comments Phil’s mother had made to him – I was the bane of his mother’s existence. I *stole* her son away from her, I took away her control over him. I was the problem, I was the person who was a thorn in her side.

Now how do I know this for sure? Because of every single thing she said about me to my husband. The vile and cruel things she willfully spewed from her mouth. Shall i list them out?

  • Maeve is unforgiving, she keeps bringing up the past, and can’t let that go.
    [explanation: We had a group video call that was supposed to be space for me to explain why I am not thrilled about talking with them, and what events have built that foundation]
  • Maeve needs professional help, she is choosing to be a victim and isn’t rising above her past. They (Phil’s parents) are very concerned that I can’t let go of the past.
  • Maeve is very rude, selfish, and inappropriate. Specifically with talking about uncomfortable things like her past.
    [explanation: when asked for examples, Phil’s mother refused to give a single one, and instead insisted that she would only tell them to me….i.e. completely blast me about every single thing I’ve ever done that she considers rude, mean, inappropriate, and selfish.]
  • Maeve slanders everyone who offends her publicly on social media.
    [explanation: when asked what she was talking about, Phil’s mother explained that I was slandering my dad and ruining his reputation by talking about what he had done to me. She couldn’t come up with anymore examples.]
  • Phil is not helping me by defending and supporting me. He is instead only causing me to sink further into the victimizing I am doing.
  • It is Maeve’s health’s fault that they couldn’t come to visit this past June. This was immediately refuted by both Phil, and his dad, that that was a unanimous decision to protect EVERYONE’S health for them to not come and visit in the middle of a pandemic. His mother barely and quite reluctantly backed down from that claim.

The phone call where all of this was poured out of her mouth also consisted on so many lies, blatant twisting and manipulating of the truth, and staunch refusals to hear “that’s not true!” from Phil. She didn’t want to hear anything that Phil said to try to correct her skewed perspective. Not only were their timelines wwwwwway off, but their perspective was almost laughably wrong if it wasn’t so infuriatingly cruel and delusional and purposefully made to make me look like a devil out to get them.

The gaslighting and condescending looks and manipulation of every.single.thing was enough to make Phil hang up on them. It had gotten to the point where it was obvious she wasn’t willing to even hear truth or even hear things from anyone else’s perspective except for her own.

The vastly disappointing part was his dad willfully backing her up, and refusing to hear anything Phil had to say. His patronizing sexist (towards me) gaslighting was disgusting to listen to. It was all the confirmation that was needed to grasp the full picture of what they, especially his mother, thinks of me.

Am I angry? Yes.

Am I bitter? Probably.

Do I have just cause? Absolutely.

These are people I have bent over backwards trying to please, trying to make them believe I have worth, trying to be included and a part of a family. I have no family, except for the chosen family Phil and I have now built. This is a woman, that despite knowing how much she looked down on me, I still tried to befriend, tried to honor and respect as the mother of my love and partner. She even turned to me at one point, probably about 8-9 years ago, and told me that she wasn’t my mother and wasn’t going to fill that role. This is the woman who after all these years of treating me like this was aghast that Phil would even dare to ask how has she loved me?

This is the woman who decided she couldn’t be on my social media anymore because I talked about “bad things….” i.e. my past, the trauma and abuse I have been through, and what I am doing to heal myself. All of the hard things, the difficult things I write about, those are unacceptable and inappropriate in both of their eyes. For me to talk about that and be open and vulnerable about my past, it means that I am not healing or am victimizing myself and choosing not to move on or rise above in their eyes.

I almost feel bad for them. Almost. Their perspective, their dismissal and denying of anything “hard” or “difficult” makes them part of the problem with silencing victims and making sure those who have been abused and been through trauma can never find their voices. They are part of the reasons why I am vulnerable, open, and honest about what it’s like to heal from severe trauma and abuse during my childhood. It’s people like them who have tried to silence me all of my life. It’s people like them who made sure I had no voice as a child, who made sure I was properly shut down and shoved into a corner so I didn’t speak up about my dad and mother’s abuse.

But the biggest, most important thing to come from all of this? I finally got to see Phil defend me so fiercely it made it his parents turn on him. I got to see without a doubt that he has my back and always will. He stood up to his manipulative, gaslighting parents and said “no more.” I am so proud of him for doing so, I know what he’s losing with this, but also, he’s not losing anything he hasn’t already lost when they decided I was a stain on their existence.

Instead of forcing us apart, which I imagine was part of his mother’s goal, her vitriol has only pushed us closer and stronger together. It was almost like we got a redo of those two years a decade ago when we were fighting for our relationship. We got to stand up and say our pieces, did not back down, did not let them cow us, they did not win. They didn’t win back then, and they didn’t win this time.

So, in conclusion, if you ever hear my mother in law praising us for being the longest married out of all of her children, just know that’s her two-faced ness showing. The praise you hear, just covers up the lies and gaslighting she then says to us. If you ever hear about how well we’re doing in Colorado, just know she doesn’t actually know anything about how we’re actually doing, nor does she care. She’s just trying to keep up appearances. It’s always about her good name and making sure the blame is not on her.

We’re about to hit our 10th wedding anniversary, 10 years of being married, 12 years of being together. We have two amazing children, who don’t even know who Phil’s parents are. We are happy. We are content. We are cutting ties with the parents who never were on our side and have never seen me as worthy enough for their son despite his choosing me wholeheartedly.

Phil and I went through several months of intensive couples’ therapy this past summer. The intention was to get help for breaking through some cycles that we kept getting stuck in. Not only did it make a massive difference in increasing and strengthening our communication, it helped us see how damaging his parents really had been on our relationship. Which was what pushed forward the conversations with them to begin with. But they don’t need to know that, they don’t even believe they’ve actually done anything wrong.

Families suck. I am finding myself feeling terrified of Phil’s siblings. Terrified that they carry their mother’s opinions of me and not wanting to find out if that’s true or not. I am grateful for Phil’s older sister who has moved out here and who we are both rebuilding relationships with. I explained to her my fears and how i was feeling so unsafe because I didn’t know if I could trust her. Her reassurances and actually hearing me was such a balm to my weary heart. I do not have any hope for ever having a relationship with either of his other two siblings, but I gave up on that years ago and I’ve walked away.

The cost of speaking up and trying to repair relationships has been high for both Phil and I. It was an act of speaking up that needed to happen, and we both willingly faced the expected consequences. Sadly things have ended how we both thought they would, and from where we stand? Things will never change with his parents unless something drastically changes in their opinion of me. So from this point on, I am grateful for a partner who fiercely fights for me and defends me and supports me unconditionally. We’re building our own family and creating space where our children are loved and supported and cared for. And for now, that is enough.

For the Anger and the Grief

It’s been two months since we moved. And in those two months, not only did I face the destabilization of loosing an old place of comfort and safety, I also dealt with significant relational issues, alongside the trying to reground my roots in a new place. Then add in all of the trauma rising up from the virus taking over the world right now, and it’s been a perfect storm of grief, anger, mourning, and fighting redefine my space. I’ve been left holding shreds of what I once thought was my in-person community.

I have lost community, the community of which was so healing to my womb and had answered the wailing call of its spirit. I not only lost it, it was ripped away with seemingly no regard to what it meant to me or how much I needed that space. These were the very people who share about holding space for others and yet they did not allow space for me in the entire situation. Seeing pictures of them gathering online because of the social distancing last New Moon further drove the knife into my heart.

Having been given no space for my side of the story, or even to ask questions, this matter has remained a knife in my heart and such weight on my shoulders at how I cannot resolve it when neither other person wants to resolve it. This anger is my bodyguard because I know how much grief it is holding back and protecting. The three of us all couldn’t be adults and resolve miscommunication or vague accusations that were flung around and honest sincere questions were ignored and also twisted.

I wrote the following a few weeks ago and wanted to share it here.

To the ones who decided I was too angry, too unkind. To the one who tried to Kill me and stuff me into her box. To the one who got annoyed and angry that I had opinions that didn’t line up with her own. To the one who forced and reinforced her narrative. To the one who did not Listen, to the one who TOLD me how I felt. To the one who passed on the vague accusations and then threw them in my face. To you both, you two who ripped from me community and beat me down without a voice.

I ask why. Why did you decide it was me who was going to receive the lashes of your trauma? Why did you decide it was me who would bear the full weight of the responsibilities and consequences? Why did you put words in my mouth that I never said? Why did you blame me for the very things you were feeling? Why was there never any space for me? For my valid emotions? For my valid reactions? Why did you use my very words against me and my own beliefs and how much I hold space for trauma? You both knew the exact right words to use against me, you both backed me and tied me up into a corner I couldn’t break out of without breaking my own word.

My heart is breaking, it is broken, and it broke even more watching the community I needed and was so blessed from gather last night without me. I am not welcome there anymore, you both made that clear. I was created to be the monster, the one you told me you were afraid of. But all that showed me was how much you are afraid of yourselves. You are afraid of the shadows my very being brought to the surface and I became the one to blame.

I want to lash out, I want to make both of you pay for how much you both broke me. I want to show you what real anger looks like, not the thing you accused me of. I want to use the things you both shared with me in confidence against you like you did to me.

But I won’t. Even as my heart is broken, and my soul is wailing, I will respect and hold in silence the things you both shared and allowed for me to see. I will not disrespect the trust you gave to me, but nor will I allow either of you to hold my trust ever again. Do you even see what you have done? Do you even have any idea what you did and how much damage you caused? For two people who talk about holding space for others, you neither held space for me. You did not hold space for me, you silenced me, you gaslit me, you shut me down and projected on to me, and made sure I couldn’t say anything.

I hope you both know and understand the full weight of what you’ve done. I hope the pain that I feel hits you both like a wall of bricks. I hope you realize that this is not how you respect or hold friendship and community and circle. I better understand why one of you have never and will never have close female friendships. You push away anyone who has SEEN you because they become a threat in your eyes. And then you break them and destroy any friendship there was before they can hurt you first. What I don’t understand is how you, number two, followed. Are you so unsure of your own truth that you just follow the one you believe the most and are unable to stand unbiased? I have seen how you just vomit words when you’re upset, and I would hope that what you did to me was that and you will be able to see what you’ve done. And how dare you tell me you offered to help, and when I went to you asking for that help, you threw it in my face like a despicable piece of garbage. You never even gave me a chance to explain that I was asking for the help you had offered. Shame on you, so much shame be poured on you for reneging and then throwing it back in my face. At the very least, you both could have given me the space to share my perspective. I held the uncomfortable space for yours, but I received no such equal treatment.

I am angry because it is protecting my deep grief. I am so broken because of how much you both ripped from me. I am disappointed because you decided the outcome before I had even said anything. I am disappointed and saddened and grieved that you both chose to listen to your trauma and react out of trauma instead of being able to step outside of the emotions to find a middle ground. I won’t be coming back from this. I won’t be reaching back out to either of you unless you both do some serious work and understand how damaging this all was.

It is deeply painful to have had these words pour out of me. It is barely touching the depths to which my heart broke. And, I’m sure if either of those two read this, they will continue to paint me as the villain. My own words were used against me. I was told “I just can’t seem to say the right thing” in response to my valid and confused questions trying to figure out what was going on. I took responsibility for anything and everything I said or did knowingly that caused harm. But even that wasn’t enough. I was shamed for my triggers, I was called too harsh, angry, and unkind. All vague accusations that when asked, I never got any answer about what I had really done. I sought to learn, and grow, I wanted to repair these friendships that I had held so dear. I wanted to learn what I had done wrong so I could correct it and make reparations if need be.

But that was not to be.

This whole situation has made me skittish about anyone else who I have met in person and have held space with in this physical area I live in. It is not the first time narcissistic behaviors of people I thought were friends have brought me down like this. In fact, this is now the third time I have had these same vague accusations told to me and then when asked, no one can back them up and actually tell me what I’ve done. So yes, it makes me very cautious and distrusting of anyone who calls me friend. There have been countless moments of me sobbing to my spouse and asking what did I do? What has happened? I sought counsel from those I deeply trust and who have proven their safety to me, I did not lie or cover up anything I had said or done. I asked them over and over “do you see anything I’m doing or saying that would line up with what they are accusing me of? Am I doing something wrong?” I sought wisdom and counsel because the very things I was accused of are my worst fears when it comes to being someone’s friend. And somehow they knew the exact things to hit me hardest with. They knew the right words to say, the right things to accuse that would harm me the most. My own vulnerability was taken and then weaponized against me.

Recovering from this is going to take a long time. Especially knowing how close I live to both. And by the way, should either of you read this and want to talk, you need to be the one to reach out. I am not putting myself into harms way again.

I am angry because of how deep the grief runs. I am angry because of the unfairness of the entire situation and how I got shut down before I could even say anything. My power is in words, my ability to use words and use them accurately and vulnerably. When my words are taken away or twisted against me, I am trapped, and the voice I have fought so hard to have has been silenced. I will never not speak out against that. I will never stop fighting to regain my voice.

Becoming the Catalyst

8 years ago I knew someone who felt like the first person to actually get me when I first met her. She was also the oldest of a large family, recently married (we got married the same year…she got married 4 months before I did), and was further into a faith deconstruction process. I looked up to her as someone who had more knowledge than me and was that life buoy in the middle of the violent storm I was in.

I missed a lot of red flags with her. I missed them because I was so desperate for someone, anyone, to get it and understand where I was at. I was drowning and she helped pull me out. But I soon learned that she resented me for that, and through her own trauma, began lashing out at me. She blamed me for her triggers and made me take responsibility for her toxic actions and treatment of me. “You made me do it” was a phrase she used to throw in my face. “You are too much, you ask for too much. I can’t be the kind of friend you want” was another phrase.

Still despite her lashing out at me, I was the friend who never left her side when she went through a nasty divorce. I was the one who drove her places because she didn’t have a car and no one else was available. I brought her groceries, made her food, made sure I did everything I could. And all of that only made her resent and hate me more. I had SEEN her. I had seen her vulnerability, her rawness, her very essence, and I was no longer a safe person for her. And what happened when she felt I wasn’t safe or worth any kindness or respect? She burned me down, and left me so shattered I had no idea what to do or if I was even a worthy person. She consistently made fun of me for not being able to “make up my mind” about things. Or changing my opinions, or simply just not knowing the knowledge that she so proudly held.

The deeper darker side of this friendship that ripped open was that she treated me one way and was a completely opposite person when she was with anyone else. It was extremely two faced and she worked hard to build up a massive amount of respect for herself. So through her lashing out at me and gaslighting and making me doubt my sanity, she had backed me into a corner I couldn’t get out of. I couldn’t go to anyone because anyone I knew who knew her believed the second face, her public face. I was the “unknown” person and there were only 1 or 2 people who actually believed me when I tried to explain what she was doing to me.

I didn’t even have the right words for what happened until years later. I remember sitting in therapy – I started going to therapy shortly after things went south with this “friend” – and crying that I didn’t understand what I had done wrong. Even to this day, 2 years after the last time I spoke to her, new revelations have come to mind of what she truly did to me. And that’s only because I am in another situation with someone who has been doing the exact same things to me. I don’t know why I allowed this to happen again…maybe it was because I loved this person and was showing up 110% for our friendship? Maybe because I am loyal and not willing to give up a friendship unless/until this happens and I am yet again the punching bag.

Here’s the thing; I have to come to terms with how much of a catalyst I am to other people. Through my own work, through the no holds barred approach I have when it comes to dealing with my own darkness, my very being challenges and brings up other’s shadows. And I have lost multiple friends because I was “too much” for them….i.e. the shadows that were coming up were too much for them to handle and so they blamed me.

It is devastating to be told, in not so many words, that I am too much. That my very self is too painful, too dark, too much. I hate it. I hate the fact that those who can hold space for all of me and do so with gentleness and grace are so few. I can count the number of people who don’t shy away from my story, my essence, my very soul on less than one hand. And like a fellow survivor once told me, I also expect those people to fall away and am just waiting for that point when they can’t hold me anymore. I am used to being self-sufficient, taking care of myself, holding my own space for the darkness that dominates my very being. I am used to having to revert to a space like this to write, because it’s easy for the reader/listener to ignore or scan read and not truly hold what it is that I carry. But when I find people who seem okay holding my darkness and sitting with me, it’s a beautiful thing and I am so grateful for it. And when those same people suddenly create their own narrative and decide that I actually am not safe, I am too much, they cannot give me what I want (code for: “you’re too much”), it is enough to shatter my heart and make me doubt my own sanity and doubt anything we may have had. Was that even a real friendship? Were they simply just stringing me along the entire time? Why is my vulnerability with them now being thrown back in my face? Why are their words so bulls-eye on my own deep wounds causing massive pain and anguish?

I have yet again been backed into a corner and I have no one to turn to who knows this person. Not only that, the very person I would talk to to ask for their advice and if I was missing something has chosen to remove themselves from the situation. So here I am, for the third excruciating time, no good way out, I lose in every direction I try to turn, and I am facing the possibility of losing not only one friendship but multiple friendships. My hands are tied. I have done everything physically possible to repair this massive rift between me and this person. And it has apparently not meant a single thing. Even IF we were able to at the very least resolve, the damage they have done to me is irreparable. I will never be able to trust them again enough to be vulnerable or open about myself with them. They have lost that with me, and I have no intention of setting myself for round two of this soul thrashing, heart breaking situation.

I did a connection breaking spell the other day. I shattered and severed the rest of my energetic connection to this person. I have felt nothing but finally relief and peace after I completed the spell. My heart has been really heavy and I have wanted to lash out in anger and grief, but I haven’t and I won’t. I won’t cause anymore pain in this already dark and painful situation. As I watched the circle split and the candles die during the connection breaking spell, I felt sorrow but also a strong sense of I am not putting myself through this again. I will not allow someone to walk all over me and use me as their punching bag for their own triggers and trauma responses. Never again will I give someone enough tools to be able to do that to me. And how will I remain soft and willing to build new relationships? I have no idea. I do know that my intuition told me about this person when I first met, but I chose to sit back and wait and follow the deep connection we apparently had. I chose to ignore the warning signs, and by doing so I have been broken by their words and actions. It has been a long time, if ever, since I have been able to be fully myself in their presence and I should have seen that then. But I chose to ignore it and chose to continue to try to build a relationship with them.

So I don’t know, is this catalytic shattering of our friendship my fault for not having withdrawn earlier at the first red flag, or first handful of red flags? I feel like that would be a dangerous path to travel down in my current state of mind.

I believe it takes both people in a friendship to build and connect and deepen the vulnerability and trust. But it truly does only take one person to utterly destroy what the two have built in an instant. A snap of a finger and everything’s been destroyed and I’m left standing here holding the shattered pieces of what was once one of the strongest friendships I thought I had.

I feel skittish at the idea of ever trying to find another friendship like this (I never will…) or even letting someone in to my life as closely as I allowed them. It is a risk, I know, to let someone in that close. It is always choosing to take that risk of handing your most vulnerable and fragile parts of yourself to someone and trusting that they won’t smash or damage them at the first chance they get. I chose that risk, and chose to trust this person, and they just literally threw it all crumbled and smashed back into my face. I am weary, I am disappointed, but it is so much more than that. I am angry with myself for having let another person do this to me. I am angry that they decided to use me as target practice and forcefully destroy everything we had together. I am angry that I am holding so much grief and that I trusted this person and they have thrown that all back in my face.

Even as I’ve written all this, sat with it, thought about publishing it, I lost a second friend who bought in to the first person’s narrative. There has been no compassion for anything I may be feeling, I’ve had my own trauma and triggers thrown back into my face, and had all these vague and unfounded accusations blamed on me. My own words, my own steadfast honoring of triggers and trauma was brutally twisted and used against me. It was all said in a way that to defend myself would be me breaking my own standards and words. It has felt like the only way I remain friends with the second person was to throw myself at their feet and beg for forgiveness. It felt like that with the first person too. And now, with this quarantine in place and all of us social distancing, I’ve lost the two people who were closest locationally to me and I still have no idea what I have done. I have lost dreams and plans of things that we were all going to do together. And that is painful and is causing me to grieve and mourn that loss as well.

When My Younger Selves Are The Loudest Voices In My Head

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to type on this screen. Life has been chaotic, to put it lightly, and since a few days before our move a week and a half ago, I have been one fucked up triggered mess.

So we just moved – from one side of Denver to the other. We moved from a place we’ve lived in for the past 5 years and have had so many horrific and amazing things happen there. I had 5 surgeries while we lived in that place. I brought my youngest into this world and all the complications his birth brought. I faced two (2!!!) rounds of trauma memories returning and restored one of my shattered younger selves to my broken soul. I discovered my true self there, and we built it into a home that was so safe, and stable. It is not insignificant the worth of that space, and the safety and security and stability I felt there. To say that I have been preparing since December for this move, is an understatement. However I was only barely prepared for what uprooting everything there and moving here was going to cost me.

I have felt so much shame and guilt the past few days. Shame of my younger selves freaking out and my current adult self acting out their panic and insecurity and fear. Despite the depth of work I’ve doing for almost a decade, specifically the last 2 1/2 years, this kind of disruption to a safe space and NOT having a new space readily available, I have been deeply spiraling. I have wanted to lash out, the fear and panic has been palpable in my mouth and at the back of my throat. I’ve been dangerously near to major panic/anxiety attacks, closer than I’d even like to admit. I can still feeling the rising bile in the back of throat as panic closes in. Even though right now, it is a quieter whisper and my younger selves are starting to believe me that we are safe and protected and okay.

The shame of spiraling so badly after being stable [mostly] for so long is deeply rooted within me. I was sobbing into the phone with a friend yesterday that I can’t figure out if this is just triggers or if there is something wrong with me and I really screwed things up. It feels shameful for the C-PTSD and strong enough triggers to suddenly take over so that I am no longer in control. Feelings of abandonment, feelings of not having a safe space and being desperately on guard and just waiting for that really bad things to happen. It’s exhausting and nauseating to be so heavily on guard and flinching and wincing at every weird look or “off” tone of voice. I’ve been in traumatized younger child mode, fawning with almost everyone, just trying to watch my back and be on guard 24/7.

Throughout this big transition, I have not been in trauma informed spaces, so trying to explain why I’m suddenly losing it hasn’t been an option. I have found myself over-explaining and then trying to stop talking and knowing that it’s over-explain or start sobbing. Talking nonstop seems like the better option then.

I feel ashamed of myself for not being able to stop this downward spiral, but my higher self and trauma informed self is trying to assure me this is the nasty effects of trauma and the horrific depths of abuse that I experienced. I hate that I have no control over it, I hate that there are so many layers to uncover and release and heal. It is not a one-off and wham bam thank you ma’am, we’re good. It’s a constant work in progress, it’s a constant battle to try to manage triggers so that they don’t slam me in the face so badly, despite having worked to prepare for them.

I have felt like I am only my trauma lately. Especially as I’ve been getting introduced to and introducing myself to new teachers and people we’re going to have in my family’s life in this new area. Trying to navigate new schools for both of my children, the new area, the new stores, and new driving routes is no small feat; adding in the loudly screaming and panicking trauma? It’s been no wonder I’ve been developing migraines most evenings, and falling asleep almost instantly at night because of severe nauseating exhaustion (which is RARE).

Small talk has been almost impossible. Mostly due to the fact that my younger selves have been so loud and scared and it’s their voices that are the loudest. So trying to talk to those new people we’re meeting? Again, it’s the over-explaining, the helplessly sharing irrelevant information, and I feel like I’m making a fool of myself. I have felt so unseen. I have felt so panicked and unsafe and have been desperately trying to find my own little space where I am safe and protected. I stayed up to almost 11pm the day we moved in here, desperately trying to unpack enough that I wouldn’t feel so utterly uprooted, trying to get ahead of the voices starting to build in my head. Here I am a week an half later, and I was most definitely NOT successful. I have worked my fingers raw hanging pictures, unpacking boxes, getting cardboard paper cuts (yes, these are possible and they HURT) just trying to stay ahead of the tsunami of triggers I watched head my way. It wasn’t enough and I lost that battle.

I finally feel like I have my head above water and my voice isn’t quite as muted anymore. I felt like I was a ghost in a room full of laughing and happy people and no one could hear me or see me. No matter how much I sobbed and yelled and begged, no one saw or heard me. Just imagine that kind of panic. The trauma of having been unseen and neglected and abandoned as a young child is some of the hardest I’ve had to process and work through. And I am still doing that work; it is such a deeply layered process and I know there are more layers to go.

I’m still processing what came up and was the loudest this spiraling round. I need to figure out how I approach the immense sense of abandonment I felt. The abandonment and panic of not being seen was so devastatingly loud I am still sickeningly reeling from it hitting me.

I sat through another 10ish hours of classes last night and today and the sense of being unseen and unsafe was so loud I almost had to get up and leave. I wanted to go home, but as my spouse put it, we haven’t attached to this house yet. We’ll get there, but right now it’s a weird limbo, made worse by the triggers and loud trauma.

So I guess with all of this, I am trying to face and acknowledge the toxic shame that’s making me want to hide and withdraw from everyone right now. I’m looking the excruciatingly vast panic and abandonment in the face and shuddering at having to go into it again and process it out. But I will do the work. That’s what I do; I face the shadows and I bring them light and balance. I am a shadow worker.

Here We Go – The End of the Darkness, Return of the Light – The Winter Solstice

Words have not been a release lately. Not like usual. There has been a lot of inward and hidden processing going on, and I haven’t felt words just waiting to be poured out. I have stopped working on my book, well I stopped about two months ago, and have yet to pick it back up.

Words are not the safe space I’ve previously known for working out and processing the shit within me. This is a new space for me to be in. It doesn’t feel familiar and sitting down to write this today is the first time in months I’ve felt words waiting to flow out through my fingers.

A lot has happened, but I also am not entirely sure what exactly has happened. Today I feel so deeply the final descent into the darkness as we approach the Winter Solstice in a week and a half. I spent the entire month of November buried under my own illnesses and those of my children. I believe the final count of drs visits and ER visits ended up with 5 drs visits and 4 ER visits. It nearly broke me seeing my children so sick and feeling so helpless to “fix” them. We were hit so hard with viruses that I felt like we were all drowning under them.

My mother wound was ripped open during that time. My younger selves felt fear and abandonment, crying loudly as I struggled to take care of my own children and then myself. They have been loud and continued to be loud until I started realizing it was them who was causing the extreme physical anxiety I have been feeling and the immense sense of loss that has been utterly overwhelming.

I can feel this sense of being in a space of waiting. “Just wait, it’s almost time” keeps swirling around me. Just wait, it is almost time. This waiting is being surrounded by the last of the weight of this year settling on my shoulders. I can feel how much my younger selves and current self is tensing up for January. I am deeply hoping to not repeat the past 4 January’s health emergencies.

January of 2019 saw me heading in to an emergency CAT scan on January 31st (my youngest’s birthday) with the whispers of cancer surrounding me. April 2019 saw me heading into my 6th surgery in less than 4 years. It was also the most helpful and most significant surgery. It also revealed that what I had suspected about my body was true. My body was in serious near fatal shape and with the help of the specialist I saw, I am no longer at the risk of having a single blood clot ending my life. The summer was full of self discoveries and at the end of the summer, I came face to face with the teacher I’ve been looking and longing for. The teacher at whose feet I will be sitting at and learning from for 9 months come January 2020.

My body feels wrecked. It feels worn out, and I feel an exhaustion that reaches to my soul and makes it difficult to breathe. I feel like the things within me that no longer serve are dying off and it’s a painful process. It is an isolating process. Especially as I am finding words are not my friends right now. My partner reminded me last night about just how significantly improved my health has become since a year ago. Even though I don’t feel it. It’s so hard to see progress when I’ve been in this chronic battle for so long. The past week has been particularly difficult with having some massive hormone crashes and trying desperately to ward off a panic attack. I remember so vividly how utterly sick I felt a year ago. I don’t want to go down that path again, I don’t want to feel like my body is dying.

A year ago this month, I chose my words of the year for 2019. My word for 2018 was Reckoning, and whoa was it a year of reckoning. When I faced 2019 and considered what it was that I was bringing into the year, the words *Dancing* and *Triumphant* came roaring in to me. As usual with the words I choose, those two were almost thorns in my side as I traveled down the path of 2019. But the pure beauty of holding those two words with me is the realization of how deeply and wholly I found myself laughing with joy and feeling truly happy with who I am and what I’ve become. For the first time in my remembered life, I have been able to truly feel happy and laugh with joy this year. It makes me teary eyed just thinking about how that feels in my bones. It is a certain kind of healing where words tend to fail.

The word *Jubilant* came to me a few months ago and I wrote it down feeling fairly confident it would be my word for 2020. I felt like maybe it was a good segue from *Dancing & Triumphant.* But things have shifted. I have been preparing for this transit into the new decade for the past three months in particular. Since just before Samhain, I felt the deep pull to “just wait, it’s almost time.” And as friends have started talking about picking their words for 2020, it became clear quite quickly that Jubilant was most definitely not my word.

As I’ve turned my gaze back on 2019, the heart wrenching despair I felt at the beginning of the year stood out, as well as the sobbing relief it transitioned in to after my birthday in April, and then the moments of actual pure joy and happiness made me just want to experience that more. I faced a second round of childhood sexual abuse memories coming back in August, and I am still here and feel more whole than I ever have. I have a burning in my spirit to fight even harder and with more precise purpose for those who do not have a voice. I feel that anticipatory burning of “just wait, it’s almost time.” My soul, my body, my heart is on fire and ready to explode with a dragon’s roar. Despite the heaviness; despite the tears and loudness of my younger selves fears and anxiety. I am waiting and it is almost time.

I am waiting yes, but I am also preparing – physically and spiritually. We already have several massive changes and shifts lined up for this next year. And they are going to be big changes, changes that will probably threaten the peace for a bit until we get settled. But I am actually hopeful. I feel hope and expectation of being blessed and having my awareness being expanded of what it means to feel joy and happiness. I want that, and I want to claim those beautiful things for myself, my children, my spouse, and chosen family.

So as I’m sitting here writing out this post, my two words for 2020 have burst upon me like a thunderclap.

* Burning Hope *

For someone who struggles with hoping for fear of things going wrong, this feels like an detonation in my heart. I am choosing to lay aside my fears and the fears that were confirmed as a child, and I am choosing hope. I am choosing to face the future with anticipation and excitement as I wait to see what Fate brings me. I am choosing to believe that I can do this, I can keep healing from the trauma wounds and abuse scars of my past. I am choosing to believe my younger selves and to give them all the gentleness and love we never received as a child. I am giving them the hope that as ripped so viciously from us.

I have no plan for when my next writing offering will be. I am allowing things to shift and move around me, and as this space isn’t providing much room for written releases, I am not turning to this space as much right now. But that being said, thank you for reading and following along when I do write!

Here’s to a brilliant, bold, and explosive shift into the new decade! It’s going to be an absolutely powerful shift!

Releasing Magick – Samhain

Here in Colorado, we just got a second snowstorm in October. We only got a few inches but every tree and bush was covered in whiteness. As I drove my oldest to school this morning, surrounded by the whiteness and the cleanness of the snow, I felt a peace settle in my spirit.

I have felt so chaotic for the past few months. I had a little bit of a breather in June, but then it all went to shit again as we shifted in to July and it’s been nonstop since August. As we approach Samhain in just a week, I can feel the spirits stirring around me. October holds a lot of pain for me, but it also holds a lot of hope and goodness. It’s a strange push and pull, happiness and sadness, joy and pain.

I’m leaning in to the peace that Samhain is starting to shift for me. And I’m grateful for that shift. I still feel unresolved on some things, but I know it is merely this moment is not a moving forward moment, it is a time of holding and waiting. As I spoke with a friend about this, it’s that feeling of taking a breath before a dive, but it isn’t time yet to dive into the water. That intake of breath, but not time to release yet.

Samhain is called the Witches’ New Year. It is the beginning of a new cycle around the Wheel of the Year. It is another fire celebration and it is the end of the harvest festivals. For those who are still new to the Wheel of the Year, Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) is also known as Halloween. It is also considered one of the Sabbats of the year when the veil is thinnest, Beltane being the second.

That being said, Samhain is the preferred time to specifically honor ancestors, it is time to save and hold space for those who have passed on before and who are ready and willing to give guidance when asked. Samhain is the time to officially put away the last strands of summer and open your arms to the coming darkness of the winter.

With winter already starting to encroach on Colorado, it’s easy to shift into the “winter is coming, the darkness is here” mode. But for everyone else, enjoy the fall leaves, recognize the cycle of life as the trees shed their leaves so they can hibernate for the cold and dark winter. It is time to release and shed anything (and anyone) who is no longer serving you. Whether that be energies that are insisting on dragging you down, or old habits or harmful mindsets you need to break, now is the time to prepare to do that. The most powerful time will be on the 31st as the darkness of night falls.

How to do this? How do you shed and release?

Well, here are a few ideas.

Tarot –

If you are not sure what you need to release or shed, laying out a tarot spread can help you gain clarity and name what needs to be let go of.

This is a helpful tarot spread to get you started with!

Candle/Fire magick –

As we shift towards the darkness of winter and the physical darkness of the shorter days, longer nights, lighting candles is a good way to still hold space for light and breath in your space.

Performing a candle releasing spell would be an easy way to release those heavy things that need to go. As Samhain will be on a wa

Items you need for candle releasing spell:

  • Candle – white
  • piece of paper that will burn easily
  • black ink pen
  • pot or plate to catch the ash of the burning paper or the paper can be burned in

Instructions:

Write down all of the things you’d like to release. These can be anything you feel is not serving you.

Light the candle and recite these words as you light the paper with the candle flame.

“With the burning of this paper I now release what does not serve me. Through releasing this, I am asking in the things that do help me. I now forgive and release everything and everyone from past and present who needs forgiveness and release. I ask for the universe to witness this release. So Mote It Be.”

Sit with the ashes of the paper and allow the candle to burn all the way down. Witness and hold space for this releasing.

Burning Bowl Ritual –

This is an alternative to the candle spell above. Take a few pieces of paper (or however many you need) and write down something you are releasing on each piece of paper. Roll or crumple up the pieces of paper and put them in a fire safe container. You can use the same releasing recitation above for this spell as you light the papers and allow them to burn to ash.

With both of the spells/rituals above, take the ashes from the paper that was burned and either bury them in your backyard far from your house, or flush the ashes down the toilet. Either way, make sure you complete and finish the spellwork.

Moving on to honoring ancestors, there are several ways you can do this.

  1. Tarot reading
  2. Dumb supper
  3. Ancestor altar

I feel like there are so many ancestor tarot spreads out there, I’m not even going to link to one. Use Pinterest or Instagram, or create your own spread! Let your cards and ancestors guide your hands.

With the Dumb Supper, as I have never done this, here are a few links for how to go about creating one. I will say that this can simply be done by setting a place for an ancestor at your table.

Links for Dumb Supper ideas –

https://witchoflupinehollow.com/2018/10/21/honoring-your-ancestry-with-a-samhain-dumb-supper/

https://moodymoons.com/2018/10/21/dumb-supper-what-it-is-how-to-host-one/

Ancestor Altar –

This is fairly straight forward. Creating altar space in your home simply means having a specific spot on a shelf or table that holds respect and honor for whatever the altar. For an ancestor altar, this could look like pictures of your ancestors, items or food they liked or were common from wherever they are from (if you want to go back that far). Whatever you feel is honoring and respecting your ancestors, do that.

I have not done a whole lot of work with deities that are connected to Samhain. I know Persephone is connected, as is Cernunnos. But I still need to do some more research about the deities and their connection before I feel confident writing about it.

I am personally very excited about Samhain this year. I am actually really dressing up for the first time and I cannot wait to show off my costume! I think it is probably going to be way overboard, but I am not sure I care at this point. My spouse and I are attending a witchy halloween party tomorrow and despite the cold right now, I am very much looking forward to it!

Bringing it on HOME – random updates and interaction with the Divine Masculine

Samhain is 13 days away. We are officially shifted into the darkness. I am feeling a little more present in my own mind and body this week than I did for all of August, September, and the first half of October.

Just after the last new moon at the beginning of the month, I joined in blood magick with a moon sister and we held protection over the Red Tent circle. That night as I fell asleep, I was suddenly aware of something trying to break through my defenses. There was a malicious intent and with how exhausted I was, I knew I didn’t have the defenses in place to protect myself.

In stepped in two beings I never would have expected to come to my aid – a roaring fierce Griffin (yes, the eagle headed lion) and Horus, the Egyptian God of War and the Sky. I have purposefully NOT worked with any Gods due to how badly I have been hurt and ripped to shreds by the masculine.

But as I wrestled in my mind to stay ahead of whatever was trying to destroy me, I watched as Horus and the Griffin posted themselves in protection for me. In fact Horus was so respectful and honoring to me and told me that however I needed help, he was there to give me aid. I was blown away and given much relief watching these two beings come to my aid and fight for me. I have felt nothing but great respect from Horus and his desire is to be an aid in whatever way I need. I am cautious because I am still not actively seeking Gods to interact with, but this moment with Horus is shifting my mind.

I have started three different posts in the past two months. Trying to find words for what is the chaos inside of me. The chaos has had a drive, it’s been breaking me from the inside out; breaking down misconceptions, breaking down the lies I still carry burned into my bones.

I have fought, and won, through another round of memories returning. I have sat with the youngest of myself and listened and felt what she had to give me. I have sat with siblings whom I never thought I’d ever seen in person again. I have spent time with my powerful moon sisters and performed protective blood magick together with one. I faced an intense wave of suicidal ideation – the darkest things have gotten for me in 5 years. I sat with another star-sister and we strengthened our companionship through using our words and backing up those words with our actions.

I have fought the darkness that is disassociation and am still struggling to gain ground with that one. It is a sly beast that cannot be pinned down. I have sat with having my fears confirmed and feeling the gut wrenching heartbreak knowing that the pain and horror I had felt years ago was true.

I am feeling very inward turned right now. Contemplating all that has happened this year. Remembering those who have been cut out of my life, remembering those I have stood up to. Thinking about what it means to be counting down to the end of the year and then the beginning of a new decade. 2020 feels like it will be an intensely powerful and significant year. There is a lot of work I, and many others, are doing right now to prepare for what this next year is going to bring.

I am excited to be starting two classes in January where I will be sitting at the feet of a Druidess elder and learning from her. I am excited about choosing a new place to lay our heads and moving there in February. There is a lot of change coming, and it is change that I am choosing to bring in.

My heart rate jumps a bit thinking about January because I’d really really like to have a January where I’m not fighting for my health. But I am choosing to believe that I am stronger and more prepared and can handle whatever comes my/our way.

I don’t have much else to say, I’m going into mental hibernation for the next few months. But I am still here. I am still fighting. And I will not stop until all of the battles have been won.

With the Power of The Morrigan – Curses and Disassociation

As I’ve sat with these returning memories and uncovering more injustices my younger selves experienced, the more anger I’ve felt, the more pain and soul anguish that has run through my body. Feeling my younger selves’ emotions was overwhelming. Especially as I felt those things for the first time. I never had the choice to feel anything other than fear, pain, and bursts of anger when I was child. It wasn’t safe enough to feel anything other than that.

A week ago, I sat with the pain of feeling so small, and yet, I wasn’t small enough. He, the shadow man, could still get me. That feeling of smallness was so overwhelming, my words stopped working, my mind was shutting down. I came face to face with that desire to just end it all and have some peace. My heart was aching, my lungs felt like they were collapsing, and I couldn’t stop the tears as they ran down my face. I was disassociating as I tried to figure out which younger or current self’s emotions were overwhelming me in that moment.

It was so layered and discordant, I felt so lost and unsure of who I actually am. I knew part of it was I had finally given myself space, my younger selves’ the safe space, to feel and exist. I was validating and affirming my very whole existence. And it hurt. It was hard. It was heartbreaking.

In a brief moment of reprieve from the chaos in my mind, I began to put pieces together of how I was going to fight for myself, and give myself further protection and validation of my story. I had had an idea that slowly started about a week and a half ago. There had to be a way to release all of the guilt, shame, pain, and harm my parents had done and given to me. I wasn’t looking for an end-all, cure-all, but something to officially “return to sender.” A dear friend offered assistance as I am not well versed in spells yet.

As I worked with them to make sure I had all the details I needed, I found out that things were already “returning to sender” in my abusers’ lives.

Now, let’s just be clear, so there is no confusion here. I am not Wiccan, I just prescribe to a Rede or standard of what spells I can or can’t do. What I prepared to do, and then completed this past Friday on the 13th as the full moon came in, was a curse. It was detailed in releasing and returning every bit of harm my abusers/parents did to me or put on me through years of trauma and abuse. It was physically cursing them with everything they’ve done to me. It was giving Karma an exact road map of what to return to them.

I have never been a place before where I was willing to stand up and fight for and defend my younger selves. My parents have continued to control me even though I live 2000 miles away. And it’s time for that to end. So my friend gave me the groundwork, and I set to work writing down the actual spell.

I did feel a tad guilty that what I would be doing would most likely cause harm to my parents/abusers. But I realized something very important. This is what a parent does for a child who has been hurt. They defend and use grown up words to get justice for their child. They use their words to protect and set up boundaries. I never had that. The ones who were supposed to protect me, to defend me. Casting this curse is how I am protecting and defending my younger selves and returning every bit of harm caused to us by our abusers. This will bring them harm, but harm in terms of what they have done to me.

A dear friend came in to town and was able to be there on Friday evening as I cast the curse.

By the power of The Morrigan,
Macha, Badb, and Anu, 
I curse thee, ___________________________ and ___________________________, that pain and misery will come to pass upon you. 
May the pain of knowing you’re not wanted break your minds. 
May your bodies feel forever uneasy and anxious
May your belongings break and shatter
May material work be forever out of your grasp
May you be scorned and lied about
May your secrets be revealed 
May your nights be filled with never ending terrors
May you always feel unsafe in the light of day. 
May your remaining children call you cursed. 
May your friends turn their backs on you
May your deepest fears and nightmares come true
May the knowledge of what you have done haunt you day and night. 
May the guilt eat you alive
May the shame burn your body. 
May you always know it is your fault. 
I return every ounce of harm you have caused to me, 
Body, mind, spirit, and heart. 
I return every iota of pain you have caused to me, 
Body, mind, spirit, and heart. 
I return every physical ache, pain, spasm that you have caused to me, 
Body, mind, spirit, and heart. 
I return every overwhelming moment of shame of being touched without consent, 
With the power of The Morrigan, 
May all this come to pass, 
May you be damned forever and always. 


I will not be sharing the details of all of the prep work I did for this spell work, or the various materials I used. This is the written/spoken part of the spell, but it is only words outside of the actual spell work.

The very second I placed my pen to paper, a banshee’s cry rang loud outside of my open back door. I felt the beginnings of the death throes of what I have carried for so long. As I waited for the candle to burn down at the end of the spell, another malicious spirit showed up outside one of my windows, determined to break in and stop me. I am grateful for how strong my protection boundaries are, but I still felt a massive sense of dread. It was a “I’m going to get you” kind of dread, not a dread based out of fear I wasn’t doing the right thing.

As I watched the spell burn and be completed, I felt a sense of weary accomplishment. The spell took a lot out of me, and I know it’s only the beginning. Yes, the spell was immensely successful, I know this through how well the spell completed, and with how so many spirits have been trying to get to me and aren’t happy that they can no longer leach off of me. But now I have continue this healing work.

And the next step is facing the disassociation and cleansing and restoring boundaries and energy protection. I’m realizing just how far I’ve come in the past few years, but also how much further I need to go.

I was sexually abused from the ages of (roughly) 1 1/2 to 4 1/2, then was verbally and emotionally abused until I cut my mother off 4 years ago. Disassociation was the only way I survived. I would, and still do, retreat into my mind and forcefully ignore whatever was going on my body or my direct surroundings. I start lashing out with frustration and anger because I got stuck in my mind somewhere and suddenly broke out of that and panic because I don’t feel safe because I checked out and do not know what is going on or where I am.

Heck, I’m even disassociating while writing this. I know that it’s a lot of this has increased recently because of the second round of memories coming back in the past month. So I’m going to wrap this post up. I need to let my body and spirit rest more, I have another long road ahead of me.