The Trip and Concert of Awesome

Pre-show Time at the Orpheum in LA

April 1st to 3rd in LA for a concert!!!!


Because it’s a new year and so many things have changed for the better, when Adam Lambert announced his tour dates and the only CA shows were in LA, I said fuck it and set out to go with friends. And I am so glad I did. While he was amazing to watch live, the trip itself was an eye opening and life affirming experience.

Friday April 1, 2016 – travel day

We had planned to be a trio for the trip. Sadly C was on day three of a migraine by travel day, so she had to opt out so J and I were on our own. Since J had a lot of experience with allergies and chronic illness, she was my tour guide for traveling with said issues. I am so grateful to her for all her help.

We flew out of OAK (Oakland) for BUR (Burbank) on a 1 pm flight with Southwest. I got to the airport early, opting for calm and easy over last minute running around. Did the curbside check in, which I have always loved. Working with less stressed people is way more fun than waiting in line. And then apparently I got lucky because I had been given TSA pre check, which got me through the security stuff super fast – and had me thinking that the silly was not so bad. I learned better on the way home.

J and I met up at the gate, got coffee and lunch for the plane and then hung out for the hour plus before the boarding. I did miss a memo and forgot to talk to the gate staff about getting a pre-boarding pass, but at the last minute we got it sorted out. So J (as my helper) and I got on the plane first and grabbed one of the bulkhead rows. Oh my lords preboard is the best thing. Calm, easy and with the fractured foot it was nice to not have to worry about going slow and careful.

J had asked me a few days earlier if I was afraid of flying or worried about any of it. I said no at the time and once I was on the plane and we were taking off, I remembered how much I actually love flying. I took tons of pictures! Because of course I did.  of the gate, and the folks working the ground and then take off, even video of that part, and then lots and lots of images flying over California. The artist in me started getting ideas with everything I was seeing. I have IDEAS. So many ideas. For the assorted stories I’ working on, for sculptures, for JNL for her Earth Science’s classes. So many ideas!

We landed safe and sound in Burbank, which might be the cutest airport ever. seriously, adorable and so freaking easy to deal with. I don’t ever want to have to deal with LAX again.

We picked up the rental car and worked our way to our hotel, thank you Google for the assist.

Because J and C are pros at traveling with allergies they had the hotel set up for safety – the key words are “Allergen Friendly Room” and “Feather Free Room” and then keep the Do Not Disturb sign on the door so they don’t come in and mess things up. While the hotel lobby was soaked in scented candle smell, the room itself was lovely. I had our new portable air purifier with me, so I added that as well and had a chemical free room both nights.

The only downside was the hotel didn’t have any room service, but there was a burger and pizza place that delivered so that worked out. The included “breakfast” was nasty, so I made other plans after testing it on Saturday.

J and I spent the rest of Friday relaxing in the room. And while my brain got twitchy and wanted to DO THINGS! It was a really good idea to be still and calm for my first day of travel. Pretty sure the foot liked it too.

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – visiting friends and show day!

Saturday morning J and I discovered the downside of the hotel’s “breakfast” and then hung out in the hotel room before we each went off to lunch with friends.

After thirteen+ freaking years, R (who I went to college with) and I FINALLY got to see each other in person again. I also got to meet her beautiful twins. We had a very fun lunch getting caught up on life and then the kids and I agreed that naps were called for R dropped me back at the hotel where I promptly put my foot up and did more of that resting thing.

It seriously needs to be less than 13 years for us to see each other again!

After a little more hanging out and resting and it was finally time to get my glitter on! 😀 And yes, I brought and wore glitter. Because duh! I was nice and stepped into the shower to apply the glitter. There might still be some trace of it, but at least it was confined to a small, easily washable space.

All dressed up, we drove over to downtown LA to meet up with two fellow Adam fans at the Orpheum and then next door for dinner, which was a 45 minute wait because ALL the Glamberts had the same idea. But it since we had an easy hour before the show was due to start, it all worked out. There was a rush just as we were being seated, of folks getting in line to go into the theater which just seemed odd to us since the whole show was reserved seats, not a crush to get in and grab that perfect spot at the front. But to each their own. I had an awesome burger and pleasant company.

The Orpheum is one of those Grand Dame theaters of the good old days, like the Foz and the Paramount in Oakland, with gorgeous decorated plaster work and beautiful carvings. She’s a 2K seat house with amazing sight lines. Our seats were almost at the back of the Orchestra and on far right aisle and they were still fantastic. As the one with the aisle seat, I probably had the least obstructed view, which didn’t hurt. And while Lambert and his crew looked kind of squished because of the distance, it was still close enough to feel like we were a part of the whole party. Since the show was designed to feel like a dance party, that all worked quite well.

Alex Newell, of Project Glee and Glee fame, was the opening act. I liked Alex on both shows, so I was happy to see him in this spot. His half hour was a mix of cheerleading to get the crowd pumped for Lambert (not hard to do, but fun none the less) and singing his own material. While his voice is amazing, his music’s not my first choice. Still it was fun.

After Alex there was about a half an hour wait while the crew stripped Alex’s gear from the stage and confirmed the set up for Adams. While J and her friends wandered and said hi to folks they knew I watched the crowd.

My people-watching led to crew-watching, because of course it did. Also, our seats being so far in the back where almost touching distance from the Boards at center back, so I had a good view of the light and video, and maybe sound board operators. That proved delightful when they all started head banging to one of the pre-show songs lol. I missed video-ing that, but I did get a general pic of the guys. Because I’m that kind of geek.

Then finally! Finally the last of the VIP/Meet and Greet folks trickled in and it was show time!

The show was fucking amazing. Seriously. Everything everyone had told me about Lambert in concert, and what I had seen at the Queen show in 2014, was in full view with this solo show. He’s a powerful presence on stage with a monster voice that goes on for days. Hearing him live is a million times better than any recording. He’s good in the studio, but on stage he is out of this world good. Combine that with a wicked cool light and video show, lovely backup singers / dancers, and some very good musicians and you have an amazing 90+ minutes of dancing, singing along, clapping, grinning and joy.

From the very begging, at pre-set we have an amazing visual in the staging with four floor-to-ceiling narrow video screens showing a circular constellation map like image in deep dark blue with white for the stars and icons. The screens are then used throughout the show with coordinated videos for each song. Crazy cool lighting and lasers added to the whole thing and it was just freaking GORGEOUS. I am a little in love with the designers. It all worked to frame and support what he was singing and doing so very well. And apparently he had a big part in the design process and then hired great people to bring the ideas to life.

I really liked his backing band. I’m kind of in-crush with Darwin, the bassist. There was just something about him that radiated joy and contentment. I dunno. 🙂 And I like the new guitar player (long story that gets weirder depending on which part of fandom you talk to), who is also named Adam. The guy is so damn grounded and centered. I got the feeling he could stand in just about any storm and play his fingers off without getting blown over… which might actually be an ideal job description for being a guitar or bassist for Lambert. And he looks good in silhouette / overhead lighting poses 🙂 The keyboardist/Musical Direct, Peter was cool. I didn’t get as clear a sense of him, other than I like what I heard and what he’s helped put together with Lambert. The drummer was sort of blank for me, he’s sweet from what I’ve seen and competent which is good, but if anyone is looking for genius, I didn’t get the sense that he’s there yet. (Another fan clarified for me that the drummer is in fact young both in age and experience) I like the dynamic of the two back up singers/dancers: Holly and Terrence helped keep the stage interesting without being crowded.

As for the show proper, its really well constructed. It pulls heavily from the current album but also has a really satisfying mix from the other two and a couple of fun covers.

Its clearly divided into three distinct parts with very different tones and flavors. The first was hard driving, with almost no spoken interaction with the audience, just one hard-hitting song after another. The tone was hard-edged and futuristic from the costumes to the lighting and the videos at the back of the stage. There was controlled anger and frustration and a drive for more of something “he” /“we” cant quite name. A lot of this I know from interviews Lambert’s given about the meaning of the songs on the current album, many of which look at the 30-something / millennial hunt for meaning and purpose, but the undercurrent of all of that was also very present in the mood and feeling of his performance.

We got treated to an appearance by Laleh, the artist who co-wrote and is featured on the single he released two weeks before this show called “Welcome to the Show”.

Adam Lambert and Laleh

Part two dials all of that outward thrust down to quiet contemplation. It’s him and not much else, even his clothing choice is vastly quieter (though I have to shake my head at the suit choice, the fucking thing is cut wrong or something, and looked wrinkled for gods sake! which is odd for him because normally he’s damn good at his clothing choices.) Near the end of this section we got some talking. This is his spot for getting on his “soap box” (the next night his crew brought out an actual soap box for him to stand on which got him all sappy and pleased by the gesture). Lambert is a big believer in the notion that Love Conquers All. It was almost the theme of his first solo tour (during which he basically ran a love spell to help people learn to love them selves over the 6+ months of the tour). This time it manifested in the declaration that we all share an organ inside our chests that is about love. No matter what things identify us as different, we are all the same inside and the heart just wants love. The boy is a hopeless romantic and adorable. He rounded all of that out with his biggest hit, “Whatda want from me?” And this is where I almost lost it. Of all the songs, this one had me in tears. I don’t know if it was because it was his first real hit and so associated with him from the beginning, and that beginning was a time when I didn’t know if I would ever see a concert, or the way he was performing it, or what, but it just hit me like a ton of bricks and I was singing and crying and laughing at the same time.

Part three was the official Dance Party. Everything here was bright and up beat and happy. The third outfit was way more causal than the others and lighter in tone as well. (and fit well lol) It was all loads of fun and exhilarating. Then we got the band intros and encore – which included Another One Bites the Dust mixed with his song Trespassing led off by his kick ass bassist.

And then we were done, exhausted, sort of wanting more, but needing an intermission lol and high as fucking kites. It was stunning and everything I had hoped for and then some.

After the show we all hung out for a while to meet up with folks – and that phrase alone might be the most defining of this whole thing. After two+ hours of being surrounded by people, of dancing (on a fractured foot mind you!) of singing and shouting, I had the spoons to “hang out” for a while! Lol I’m glad I did because it meant I got to meet up with T, an Oakland Glambert who I was introduced to on FB through a mutual friend because we were both in LA for the show. She looked amazing in her bright Oshun yellow and black outfit!

Then we limped home to the hotel and fell over. Make up off, pj’s on and a bag of ice on my ankle to end the night. And it was good!

I had a conversation a few days after the show with a fellow fan who;d seen the show a month before me and we’d been talking off an on about how different it felt to her and many of the early adopters.

What I see in this album and this show/tour is an Adam who is maturing. We’ve heard that alot about the album how its a more cohesive and mature sound for him. I think the same thing is going on with the shows. He’s growing up literally and creatively.

I see in him and in the show the evolution of an artist, a performer who admits to having a million and one ideas who is learning through experience when to throw things at the wall and when to hold back. He’s trying things and testing himself and seeing what he likes, what sells, what’s fun to do night after night, what works on large and small levels. This to me is a very good thing. And rather than mourn those things that he’s chosen to not continue working with right now, I cherish having been able to see his early experiments. He let us in, he offered us his ideas and heart and shared some of his process. He continues to share his journey with us and I am deeply grateful for that gift.

All art is an evolutionary process. It flows, shifts, doubles back and leaps its banks. This is the creative process. What we have been watching for seven years is Adam’s creative process and it’s a beautiful thing. Just imagine where he might be dancing and creating in seven more years? What wonders will he share with us between now and then?

As for the show, there is a distinct difference in feeling in the three sets. We are used to his contemplative side and bringing the show to a quiet mid part and we are familiar with his drive for a Dance PARTAY! But that first part, with its hard, edgy feel is very different for him and us. He seems to be pushing the energy, or allowing it to push him, so he can drive the performance in dark ways during that set. It IS disconnecting in a way. I don’t know if he gets that and is ok with it or what. But I do think there’s a choice there. At least it’s something he opted to try. And it being at the top of the show and so freaking relentless, it all works in his favor mostly because you don’t have enough time to breathe and realize you could leave if you really didn’t like it. And then, just before its too much, he pulls back to something softer and more introspective, and I find that intriguing.

The whole experience reminds me a little of what kids and parents go through during the transition from 5th /6th grade to high school – those years are Messy! They’re complicated and confusing, and can be painful.

I’m such a process junkie 🙂 I actually like all this shifting and changing because that part is so interesting to me. What we get to see of the making of a career, an album, a show and a person!

April 3rd, the return

The return trip was, if anything, even easier than the outbound trip except in one area. On the way to LA I had gotten TSA pre-approved and gotten spoiled. It was simple compared to the way home lol. Ah well, at least now I’ve been through it both ways and know what to expect.

Possibly the coolest thing about the flight home was seeing the landscape change. On the way down, I didn’t change the shit as clearly from green to dry brown and tan. The dry is noticeable once you are over southern California but coming home! Oh wow! Flying into all the beautiful winter rain soaked green was amazing.

And then we were on the ground, getting out luggage and meeting up with our spices. Exhausted but happy.

I am SO freaking glad I went. I’m amazed that it all worked out as well as it did. I wanna do it again and again and see more places and shows and people. Landing back in Oakland I started crying because that moment, more than all the others – the cumulative of all the others – clarified for me that my world has changed. I can do this. I can step out of my comfort zone, out of the known levels of safety of home/friends/local and stretch my wings. I can fly now. Maybe I always could, but now I know I can.

A different kind of athlete

Over the years I have wished that I could to be a professional athlete, I’ve tried to imagine myself as a runner, a ballerina, a rock-climber, a swimmer, a baseball player – that type of person who is dedicated to employing all the skills and strength of their body in in passionate competition. There’s something amazing in how people can channel energy through their muscles and have it burst forth in accomplishment. I’m not even talking about winning things, just the amazing beauty and power that their efforts and training can manifest.

Sadly, actually being such an person has always seemed beyond me. Alot of that was due to me being fat, but I also picked up a shit-tonne of discouragement of women in sports from as early as elementary school (with the exception of dancing, but it wasn’t ever considered “athletic” though it really is). After alot of soul searching and involvement in the Body Positive and Fat Positive movements I have come to understand on an intellectual level at least, that I be fat or thin, or whatever and run or swim or even dance. Its my heart that still doesn’t see *me* as an athlete.

After a conversation today that mirrored back to me just how much I’ve been doing, not just dealing with the stuff coming at me, but actively *working* to heal and cope with illness, it hit me that this work is me being an athlete. This healing process that I am involved in and all my efforts at not allowing chronic illness and chronic pain to run my life, is its own race and dance and work out. It takes amazing strength to do this and not give up when I have no fucking idea where the finish line is.

So many times people with chronic illness and chronic pain are told, directly or indirectly, that we are lazy, lacking in will power, that we just need to try a little harder, eat a little less, or exercise more. That’s bullshit. Living with chronic illness and chronic pain takes more work than I ever imagined. Every day is filled with physical, emotional and mental challenges. Just getting out of bed can be the hardest thing when you live with the “lying liar who lies” that is depression. Fighting back against its insidious words and the shadows it tosses around *inside* your head, is a tremendous effort. it can take every spoon (unit of energy – see the Spoon Theory for more info) you have and leave you breathless and exhausted at 9 am. Living day in and day out with pain, even low level say a 3 or 4 out of 10, is draining. You don’t think it will be until day five or ten and you cant remember the last time it wasn’t there buzzing in the background requiring that you work upstream against its drag and pull. And that’s on a good day. On days when the pain spikes beyond a 4 it can become all encompassing. If the meds work, you will get some relief for a time. if they don’t, you are on your own. Imagine having a broken leg for a year, three years. Imagine not knowing if it will ever heal enough to stop hurting? to allow you to walk without pain, sit without discomfort. Now try to make lunch for the kids or go into the office for a meeting.

Chronic illnesses like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Lyme, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Diabetes, and oh-so-many-more come with their own intrinsic symptoms in combination with depression and pain. When you have a chronic illness you get it all for the price of one or, often three or four, diagnoses. We work out every day, we train and compete and negotiate contracts (with doctors and family and employers) every single day. There are no days off with chronic illness. There are no vacations. There are no slick workout videos showing how much we sweat while we move through a “normal” day. There are no glowing write ups describing our workouts and our training regime. There is no finish line and there are no medals to hang on our walls telling the world, but more importantly telling ourselves, that we did good. And we did do good. We made it out of bed, we got the kids off to school, completed that report for work, got that paper written for school, made through another doctor’s appointment; we made it through another day.

What does an athlete do? They focus all their efforts on their craft. A rock climber climbs, a swimmer swims, a dancer dances, a baseball play plays baseball. For almost nine years I have focused all my efforts on my health, on learning the craft and tools of living with chronic illness. I’ve trained myself to breathe through the pain, to plan my trips out into the world so as to minimize my exposure to toxins that will kick my ass, mediate my stress to limit what triggers pain flare ups, and to understand what medications, synthetic or otherwise, will benefit my life and which will wont. I’ve learned the language of my illness and how to discuss it with doctors, family and friends. I’ve cried when it got tough, been hospitalized when it got really bad, and I’ve kept going. This is not what I dreampt of when I imagined being any kind of athlete, but it is what I have learned to do and the fact that I am still here, still training and working out, means I finally understand that I *am* an athlete.

ways to weild your spoons

Spoon theory is well known to my family, it explains and quantifies so much of what life is like living with chronic illness. If you haven’t read  Christine Miserandino’s  post explaining the theory, I highly recommend it, especially if you or someone you love is dealing with this stuff.

A number of years back I started playing with the idea of trying to figure out how many spoons I actually had in a day and how many spoons various tasks cost. It was an interesting experiment but not one that ever went very far. Now someone has taken that idea and run full tilt with it. The folks at Molly’s Fund created a spoons chart to help people plan their day and their spoons use:

reality check moment

dear weight loss industry, medical establishment and “well meaning” people –

do you know what 30+ years of hearing “if you just had a little will power”, “all you need to do is exercise more”, “you be so pretty if only you’d…” “maybe you shouldnt eat that piece of cake…” do to a person’s brain? It makes us believe that we are the root of all the fucked up things in our lives and that the ONLY way we can win your love is by “doing better” because its clearly “all our fault”

fuck you.

So, lets talk about Baltimore for a moment…

People are trying to get the word out about what the hell is actually happening in Baltimore, just like they did with what happen in Ferguson and NY and what is happening every day in *our* country. but too many of us for whom the life of a Black Man in the US is not our lived experience are still just shaking our heads and wondering about the “madness”. Lets be clear, its not madness it is anger and pain, it is people dying because of a system of injustice that is as old as this country. We helped build it, we help keep it in place, even when dont mean to or think we are. and it needs to stop.

Here’s part of the reality:
– thousands of people are protesting a system that is killing our friends, and families.
– a few people are getting all of the attention for breaking things.
– the police are not being held accountable for their actions

And are are a few places for Non-mainstream reporting and thoughts:
Think Progress
Crunk Feminist Collective
Mother Jones
Mic

Ask questions. *Listen* to the answers, even when they feel like shit. Ask more questions. Check the footnotes and source links and pay attention to who gains from the narrative being repeated.

A friend of mine who lives this crap day in and day out in a way I never will, writes powerful, clear words about Baltimore:

Just so we’re clear and not fooling ourselves:

The police are claiming that the “rioters” in Baltimore are bringing this on themselves.

The riots are being depicted as the violent overflow of “racial tension” in Baltimore.

The media is discrediting the instigators (drunk, white, sports fans) and cops who decided to respond by throwing rocks BACK.

The cops have not and will not explain how a man in their custody broke his spine in THREE PLACES and SHATTERED HIS VOICEBOX all on his own, as though they may not have lent him a hand…

And still, people will ask the rioters for peace? Baltimore has a HISTORY of police abuse and brutality against a marginalized populace made up of overwhelming numbers of Black people.

But the rioters are the problem…. RIIIIIIIIIIGHT.

Get back at me when you come with some legitimate things to say. Respectability politics and calls for peace have fallen not on deaf ears, but on exhausted ones.

They’ve tried peaceful and respectable and no one would listen. Now, when a couple windows get busted, all of a sudden no one wants to listen AGAIN, but for different reasons; now it’s about how the “tone” of the protesters is too strident, too angry, too MUCH for white people and their feelings.

– Lina Hernandez  FB post 4/28/15

#BlackLivesMatter #IStandWithBaltimore

Sweetness – a ramble of thoughts.

(this is a long exploration of thoughts and ideas on sweet / sweetness that would normally live only in my personal journal, but is here because people have been encouraging to share parts of this journey I’m on.)

A lot of my work with my current doctor (who is very a witchy-geeky blend of western and eastern practice) has been around accepting/receiving/allowing sweetness into my life. And mostly I’ve nodded and thought “yeah, ok, I know what thats all about.”

Today it hit me that I have no idea what it means.

on an upper / outer level sweetness is sugar and tasty things – stuff I have glommbed on to in an effort to cope and hide and cope some more with the crap of life when it came up. Sugar was the balm for my pain. Where some use alcohol or drugs, I used sugar. it gave me that instant chemical boost and built and emotional link that felt like happiness. Sure many sweet things are tasty and, while I dont plan to live on cheesecake, I dont plan to not have it EVER again either. both those ways lie madness.

I’ve worked on my relationship to sugar for years. As a teen, acceptable types were pretty much anything, I wasn’t very discerning, just give me the chocolate and no one got hurt. The older I got, the more experienced in life and food and cooking et al, the more I noticed that some sweet things tasted better than others, even more interesting than others. Slowly my sweetness palate changed. I became notorious, to my therapist at least, for taking a bite of some sweet thing I’d acquired , realizing it I didn’t like it, and tossing it out. And I get why that was a big deal. Too many times before, I would have simply kept eating it because it was sweet and I was sad, bored, angry, happy, lonely, whatever. Now? I am picky as hell. Between the food allergies and sensitivities, the fact that dairy fat bonds to formaldehyde (which while great for washing crap out of my clothes, turned ice cream and milk into a nightmare), the fact that HFC and I do not get along, that gluten and I are not on speaking terms, and anything not organic is suspect in my book, – yeah, very damn picky. I also go through phases of what taste good or feels “right”. So, my sweet-thing eating is pretty refined.

so that’s the “take it in” eating side, the side I have known for most of my life. What are the others?

language
I’m one of those kids who picked up the (90’s? 80’s? whatever) catch phrase “sweeeeet” for use in conversation to describe things I like or thought were very cool. which now has me back tracking and pondering what things I actually use it for. – good things, things that were described to me by another person with great happiness. could be an event, a moment, a thing, whatever it was there was a shared “oooh!” “”yes, thats a good thing.”
-Sweet ride – smile emoticon I’m not that kind of gear head but I do appreciate the concept and its use
– sweetheart – I dont use this much as a term of endearment,
Sweetie – this has been one of my go to names for years or when talking to or about my hubby or close friends. (which leads to the Doctor Whoism “hello sweetie” which sits in a happy place in my psyche)

personality thingiees
– a sweet person, a sweet disposition…

I keep thinking sweet and seeing summer colors – things I associate with Ostara (Spring Equinox) and Beltane (May 1st) – spring tends to be tulips for me. I have this thing where I will not buy tulips before Spring Equinox. it just makes me crazy. I know we have the power to grow and ship year round now, and i will buy other off season flowers like roses but tulips and daffodils? nope. they mean spring to me. And sunflowers me Summer and summer solstice (and for personal reasons associated with that time and him also the hubby). Roses and lilacs are Beltane and the start of summer for me. The warm sun, without being burning hot, the way the warm air picks up the scent of flowers and pushes it against your skin and nose. Its luscious and sweet without being childlike.

Spring is the sweet of youth and “girl”, of the Maiden, of bubbles and silly and kids games and innocence

the beginning of summer (Beltane) is the sweetness of love and simple sexuality uncomplicated by bills and work and family. its pure, not in the sense of virginal but of basic and root elements. a three ingredient cake recipe. Its not the Mother as we generally imagine her in wicca but that stage between Maiden and Mother. In the Nine Sisters work my husband and I created this would be CroneMaiden or MaidenMother – the end of the girl as focus and the start of the woman’s life. its choosing to use your clothing to highlight the contours of the body over pockets in your pinafore. You might still play with the frog, but you aren’t going to keep it in your dress.

Summer is Mother for me, the maturity and wisdom that comes with experience. what is sweet to a mother is different than to the woman who has no kids – physical or otherwise. The responsibilities are different, the needs, the wants. Sex is complicated sometimes because there are outside needs that have to be planned around, health issues that are more likely to get in and gum up the works. The body itself has changed. it feels different, wants to be different, do different things or the same things in different ways. Showing off curves is still an option to choose from, but the frog in the pocket is probably back, especially if there are kids (gotta put the toys somewhere till you can wash them). sweetness comes in the smell of bread baking, in the sound of laughter and good discussion, in projects planned, executed and coming to fruition over time – understanding Finally that time and patience have their uses. its slower because of the heat of the sun and possibly slower bodies, but also because the moments mean something different now. they aren’t just things in or on the way to something, they are something themselves.

(I should probably do the rest of the cycle at some point, but I’m going to focus on these right now)

how does all of that translate into my current life?

Because of fear and pain and and and, I kind of skipped that Beltane stage of sweet. Maybe not skipped so much as put blinders on and focused on getting to the next thing instead of believing that I could be the May Queen. – which is fucking hilarious because I WAS the May Queen the year I meet my hubby. and one of the herbal supplements I am currently taking is Hawthorn – which is one of the May Queen’s flowers. If there was a desk in my brain I would be smacking myself with it about now. And – gods, the things it is hard to see – And I have an altar to Aphrodite (who popped into my life at the beginning of the year) Greek goddess of love and beauty, and last night I got bugged till I made one for Oshun, the African power of love and beauty. I smell a theme here. oyi. right….

if I think of sweet now I get:
pretty colors, roses, silly cats, soft fabrics. elegant tea cups, friends laughing at the tea party birthday, blonde roots on my head, clothing that I feel not just comfortable in but like how I look in, the process of creating a sculpture, taking pictures, getting shot that just sings out, chewy conversations, research, developing a characters backstory, really good dialogue, stretching my body and feeling the kinks work themselves out, the burn of a good walk or swim, getting into the pool and the feel of water along my skin, the smell of damp redwoods and pines, Banana Slugs, talking to friends and family, music that sticks with me and gets me humming and moving, dancing, books that I dont want to put down, tv shows and movies that get me thinking and wanting more, cats and dogs and horses and whales, well made food, fresh water to drink, the sound of wind chimes – espcially the ones in my back yard, rain – how it sounds and smells and feels, what it manifests, seeiing a seed sprout, watching someone “get” an idea or concept they have been struggling with, fresh bread, cookies right out of the oven, lipstick, nail polish, costumes, glitter, coloring, creating stories and worlds and writing stories to take people into them. tarot cards and the meta that is tarot, a restful nights sleep, my electric blanket, colored pencils and markers and paints, meeting and spending time with interesting people, the contents of my good memories jars, altars and altar work, arguing with gods and clergy, walking in the woods and along the shore, planning things, helping people work through ideas or emotions, or whatnot – helping them manifest that thing deep inside that wants to shine and dance in the sun, laughing during sex and the endorphin high after great sex, the moment you feel the painkillers working, clean sheets and a freshly made bed, clean laundry all neatly away where it belongs.

huh… there’s a lot of really sweet things in my life already. And I kind of already know what sweet means for me. innnnnteresting….

This is my body

This is my body, as it is right now. This is the body I have hated and hidden from for years. That I have lied about and bought lies about. I have denied it health and vitality and joy because it doesn’t fit the image I was taught to want. That I was taught was good, ideal and the only acceptable way to be.

I don’t like what I see and I hate that. I hate that a part of me still believes that there is anything wrong with the person, the body, in these images. I remember being a kid and enjoying having a body, dancing and laughing and playing and just *being*. I remember the slow crumble of my sense of pride and sense of self as worth being proud of. How it was buried under snide comments and unwanted attention, under non-consensual touches and words, and abandoned dreams.

We talk about how representation matters, how it’s important to see ourselves reflected in our stories and images. I don’t see myself represented in positive ways. I hardly see myself at all and that needs to change. And it starts with me, with my eyes and my view of myself, even if -maybe especially if- that view is messy and complicated and incomplete, at least it is the truth of the moment.

As I wake up to myself, I’ve come to realize that I need to stop hiding. I need to own this body I live in. It’s the only one I have, the only one I get. Self acceptance means accepting and appreciating the whole of my self.

So This is me. This is what I look like right now. I exist. I don’t have an hour glass shape or a flat stomach. I live with chronic pain and illness and I dream and write and sculpt and tell stories and host tea parties with my friends and laugh and dance and sing and fucking live. I’m a part of this thing I call my life, and a part of the larger thing we call community and culture and I am done hiding.

“For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,you shall never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

‪#‎effyourbeautystandards‬ ‪#‎EmpowerAllBodies‬ ‪#‎ImNoAngel‬ ‪#‎ChronicIllnessWithStyle‬ ‪#‎Healing‬