waves

When you howl out into the ocean,

your cries are carried back at you,

waves flattening your wails,

and the wet sand absorbing your screams.

There was a point about 10 miles up a two lane highway boarding the black water. A cresting point with soft earth and grass that tuffs up like those little patches you forget to shave along the backside of your legs. Those 9 miles have turned into 2,275, and each of them pulls you back.

It’s the place you felt drawn to the first time you filled the back of a van with pallets to burn and beer to share. You found your way down to the cove in the dark, going the long way along the steep rocks that made you laugh when you saw the softly descending path in the morning light.

You danced in the firelight. Your clothing became seasoned with smoke. You learned to read the tilt of a head or a slow smile across the orange glow. You became a secret keeper, a holder of the flame. Your toes were sinking into the damp velvety ground that would cushion the growing swell of your youth.

This place is filled with enchantment and it pains you to be so far away. When you feel the rise of the screams, you crave the release of the place where your voice, contained in the cove, is drowned out by the sea before reaching your ears. You miss the salt, the wind, the sand, and the gray sky reaching out as far as you can see.

Screaming into a lake flattens your voice like dropping a heavy book in a silent hallway. As Great as it is, you need the infinite stretching out before you to take your voice, your pain.

Only your magic can dose your fire.

 

 

 

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A Mountain of Tomatillos

To celebrate the passing of semesters, my friends and I travel to Bridgview about 2 hours away to grocery shop. Here, I can stock up on all the things that are unable or very costly in our small town like imported tinned olive oil, bulk feta, middle eastern spices, dried peppers, and orange marmalade from Greece.

Last week, I was greeted by a mountain of tomatillos. Typically, at my local store there is a small sad basket with a few small green orbs with wilted hulks. Excited at the possiblities, I filled a bag with tomatillos, in addition to spring onions, a couple bunches of cilantro, a garlic bulb, and a variety of Mexican cheese – enchilado rojo, cojita, and chihuahua.

Tomatillos always suprise me with their invisible stickiness as you unwrap them to make piles of shinny friut and papery husk blossoms. Tart and fruity, their acidity mellows with heat to blend well into a citrusy salsa.

Tomatillos.jpgTo make the salsa, onions, tomatillos, garlic, and two serranos went into a pan to broil on high for 30 mins until nice and roasty toasty. The veggies were blended up with a handful of cilantro, lime juice, and about 1/2 cup of veggie stock until smooth.

Half the sauce went into a blended sweet potato soup to be used for lunches and the other was used to make roasted poblano enchiladas for easy reheat dinners full of cheese. Celebrating the start of summer with all the flavors I miss from California.

Femella

“Femella is girl. There is beauty in simplicity.” – Lasara Firefox Allen 

Every time we move I am tempted to donate the remains of my once vast stuffed animal collection. And every time I find myself unable to let them go. A row of fuzzy faces with glass eyes has no place in a grown woman’s closet above her sensible suit jackets. But that closet is also full of faded band t-shirts and dresses that have seen the inside of more smoke filled clubs than sunny days. Why should I rid myself of things that make me happy just because I am starting my thirties? Instead I keep a small private zoo of fluff which grounds me to my youth. The Femella is not becoming, she just is.

Places where I truly live as is:

  • swimming pools
  • zoos, aquariums, museums
  • bookstores
  • by the sea
  • solo long distance driving

When I think of these places,  I feel free and fully present in the experience. I don’t second guess my decision to dive deeper, linger at the lion cage, or buy a book. When I am alone in my car I choose when the motion stops and the direction forward. I don’t second guess the ocean, where her waves break or why she too follows the moon. And while I have become more critical of exhibitions it is only an extension of my unabashed joy for discovery. I will always be the little girl who loves dinosaur bones, sting ray touch tanks, and butterfly gardens.

If I need a quick fix to find my divine child, I turn to cartoons. I have a ritual around mid-terms where I go see a children’s movie by myself at the theater in the middle of the day. I give myself a break from being right and indulge in penguins and puns. Unlike a documentary which I hold in me to unleash at the right moment to prove a point, a children’s movie embraces emotional boundaries in ways we do not appreciate as adults who value control. Children’s movies help me escape if only temporary back to that place.

Journeys and escape from reality were heavy themes in my childhood reading: Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy in Oz, Milo and the Lands Beyond, Tommy Stubbins boy companion to Dr. Dolittle, Max and his Wild Things. Away they went but home they returned. Why, oh why, would they come back?

In her recent novel, Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire addresses this childhood longing to stay in magical places. These doorways, mirrors, toll booths, and tornadoes were not happenstance, but desire made life. The moral of many of these tales when analysed by adults focuses on growing up and the end of childhood fantasy. The Femella does not accept these terms and conditions.

Imagine if these doors to impossible were not closed to us completely but are available when we need them again. Unpossible by Daryl Gregory reveals the rusty Wonder Bike in the attic that will take the divorced man back to the place where he was a boy-hero. Is adulthood the trap at the end of the adventure or the goal of the journey? The Femella says NO! asks us to abandon our linear notion of age. My next Jabberwocky may take the form of student debt. Will a white rabbit lead me to my Vorpal Sword? Or am I going to have to find it myself? Either way, life continues to be the adventure.

The Femella is one of five new archetypes created by Lasara Firefox Allen in her book Jailbreaking the Goddess. This post is a free write as I embrace her renvisioning of the feminine divine.

Bad bitches know there’s no quitting.

A friend of mine recently voiced their disappointment for Bernie supporters who choose to drop out of the system after Clinton secured the DNC nomination. They said “bad bitches know there’s no quitting” and those are words to live by.

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In March of 2000, 61% of my home state California voted to define marriage as a heterosexual privilege. I expected to be crushed. I had spent months making calls, knocking on doors, and standing outside with a clipboard trying to turn out a sympathetic gay vote. Instead I asked, “what’s next” and showed up to the debrief meeting.

In November of 2000, I learned the popular vote did not elect the president as the Supreme Court decided who would lead our country during my formative years. My friends turned 18 in 2001 as we were lead into open armed conflict. I watched a political party who promoted small government expand their reach further than I ever imagined. I wrote letters, I took to the streets, I tried to explain how our fear was being preyed upon to a WWII veteran Grandmother who thought our president was “handsome” and therefore qualified.

Three years into the Bush administration I was of age to vote. My first ballot was cast during the clusterf*ck recall of the California governor. No one I knew thought we’d elect the man who played Kindergarten Cop in 2003 or again in 2006. But elections are unpredictable if you are only following popular opinion and my state which gave us Harvey Milk and George Takei passed another ban on same-sex marriage in 2008 after Prop 22 was overturned in court. At least we had the sense to give our 55 electoral votes to Obama.

June 26, 2015 was the day before my sister’s wedding. By this point we had both moved away from the Bay Area, I was living in Indiana and she in Massachusetts. The Supreme Court ruled that her upcoming nuptials would now be recognized nationwide. This did not happen on a fluke, people stood up for their rights and followed through the system to fight for justice from discriminatory laws.

And what I had I done? 15 years of keeping my position known. 15 years of speaking out that love is love is love. 15 years of listening and finding common ground. 15 years of losing elections and holding my ground. I did not reduce my position to prayers,”because prayers are just really not enough. Prayers are lovely. They totally do not absolve you from further work in the world though.”—author Lasara Firefox Allen. I serve the Goddess by engaging in the changing of minds.

So to all you Bernie or Bust supporters, you need to commit to the revolution for the long haul. Our systems have been safeguarded against rebellion and we need to work within them to bring about change. My district has the opportunity to turn blue and reclaim our House, Senate, and Governor’s mansion. Support Bernie by giving him a majority in the Senate to hold a Clinton presidency accountable for progressive policy. We do not quit.

You are not absolved from further work.

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Lying through my Ink

My junior year Math teacher was a character. Very proud of his Italian heritage he would always have his hair greased back and I cannot remember him not wearing a track suit. He had one finger on his right hand that was missing two digits. Every time someone would ask him about how he lost it he would spin a new story. Sometimes it was the mob, sometimes it was a shark, sometimes it was an ex-girlfriend. These stories were never forced and more than anything showed how easy it is to keep people at a distance by avoiding the truth.

I lie all the time about my tattoos – especially my big piece. My left upper arm is covered in red roses. So many I have never bothered to actually count them. So many I need a mirror to see them all. To my left will always be a bouquet of crimson, blush, and  garnet.

Almost everyone who asks me why I have the tattoo gets a different story.

“My Grandfather grew roses”
“They are the painted roses from Alice in Wonderland”
“Do you know the song Rose Tint My World from Rocky Horror?”
“The Victorians saw red roses as a sign of beauty and respect”
“Nick Cave did a duet called Where the Wild Roses grow”
“It’s representational of the Latin sub rosa which means kept secret”

I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

So often we are asked to attach meaning and supply reasoning for how we present ourselves. Why glasses and not contacts? Why flats and not heels? Why do you let yourself continue to carry around weight for years? We are continually asked to transform and justify.

So I lie.

It’s my small rebellion but no one needs to know how you lost a finger or what your tattoo means. You don’t owe anyone your story.

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small talk, small places

Some people cast on purpose

Some people plan their rituals

My spells are reactionary

As I conjure my narrative explaining why I am occupying this space, this time, this moment.

This is not my home

This is not my sky

My dreams are filled with mountains

As I remember skylines interrupted by the earth beyond this space, this time, this moment.

The quiet stretches for miles

The moon glows alone in the sky

My heart is yearning to change

As I bewitch myself into compliance accepting this space, this time, this moment.

I’d click my heels three times, but I do not know where I’d end up.

The World is Mine

I used to be a lot better about writing. In my late teens and early twenties I blogged almost every day, sometimes more. This was before Facebook, Youtube, Netflix, or even reliable cell service. But more importantly, it was before I began to doubt anyone would care and before people could be branded content. My career building came with a heavy dose of censorship as I feared my true voice would limit my market potential. So, I’ve been writing for others the last few years which does not help me work out my own sense of self. I need to open my circle wider again and begin the reflective process through words.

As a woman, I am so often interrupted before my ideas are fully formed. As a witch, I struggle with the perceived illegitimacy of my spirituality or exotic nature of my practice. As a graduate student, I silence myself for fear I am dominating a conversation. And as an activist, I worry if I am making any difference. My intersections need mapping to find the place where I am comfortable being me again. Time to return to the blinking cursor and write my way out of this.

The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road
A gateless garden, and an open path:
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.

Samhain Cleansing

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Halloween always puts me on edge. So I spent the day cleaning to prepare the house for sealing. I start with a cleansing incense blend from Scared Grove in Santa Cruz.

I take my loose incense burner to walk the smoke throughout the house casting a circle using the three exterior doors and my bedroom as the grounding points. I keep a clear mind forcing positive energy through low chanting. I let the smoke burn out in the center of house by my computer. Too many evil spirits live online!

To close, I set up oil burners in the kitchen and bedroom with lemon and clove respectively. Then I spray down the kitty tree with cat nip. Samhain is a night to honor my little creatures of Bast.

Now all I have to worry about is the cold getting in. Its already snowing today. The Goddess must want me to wear the new mittens Anonywitch sent.

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Nine Things Every Happy Person Should Have

9 Things every happy person should have

1. A go-to drink.  Because they don’t have butterbeer at bars…citrus vodka and tonic, I prefer lemon but any will do.  If the bar doesn’t carry any citrus vodka, this is a sign of cocktail trouble, order a “mexican” bottled beer like Modelo or Corona instead.
2. A go-to Karaoke song.  Don’t Stop Believing as a group or duet or if by myself Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac.  I have the voice of a cat in heat, so emotion is better than technique here.

3. A uniform.  Glasses, all day everyday.  One day I will find a signature style, right now I am struggling not to cut off my hair that looks good long but has more upkeep than my cats.

4. A hair stylist they love.  I miss Nassir at Shampoo Dolls.  I got my hair cut right before I moved because I knew this was going to be the hardest service to replace.  He would cut my hair in a way that would reduce the tangles, no idea how but it was magic.
5. An exercise routine.  When I am following a routine it’s twice a week with 2 miles on a cardio machine, recumbent bikes are the best for my knees, and then 3 sets of weights focusing on either arms, back, core, or legs.  I try to sneak in a yoga class or swim at least once a week.
6. A hobby.  I asked my Grandfather once if he had any hobbies, he pointed to my Grandma.  I don’t make crafts, do sports, or join clubs.  If anything my hobby is pinning things I am never going to do.
7. A best friend.  I have a person, her name is Kay.  I also have a husband.  I need both.

8. A healthy sense of self.  I entered into my 20s with the idea I had me all figured out but found passionate/opinionated me I was to be less successful than the me I wanted to be.  Then I found that successful me was only good at work and I needed to be a more balanced me.  Right now I am focusing on a more academic me to have a paper trail of my potential and find a job that allows me the flexibility to push my passions and the freedom to self-care.
9. A guilt free indulgence.  Seeing movies by myself, make-up samples, and a bloody mary for breakfast (it’s a cocktail and a salad!)

(list yoinked and re-purposed from one of my favorite authors, Gail Carriger)