i forgot their nineteenth birthday was friday
then today discovered rust on my athame
and it's been so long since i used the word "athame" i had to look it up in google and i am devastated
about so many things
and done with so many others
no on the residency
i am trying to not see this as heralding the death of my writing career
the magic you practice changes over time.
right now, i am teaching myself to dwell in my body as a long term resident
not a visitor
or an intruder.
in, you know, this same world that everyone else is in, right.
these are my trauma anchoring tools, according to element:
air (pilot pen)
i've cast circle with writing instruments more times than i can count, figuratively starting as a toddler, officially starting at nineteen. going in to maryland's lockdown i had three pilots left, then two, then one and probably at least i hope a half. i started to panic
(i mean, what. i have
enough ink to serve a moderate hypergraphia episode at least, but oh, god, i cannot abide pilot insecurity.)
now i have a box of twelve. it's by the shrine cabinet under my
after i tried to wipe the rust off
i've always struggled to assemble and bond with witches tools as they are described in magic texts, largely written by and for neurotypicals; moreover, largely written by folks who know, for sure, that they are witches.
i have two
one for each significant attempt i made at being a proper witch, in 1994 and again in 2016.
this is the traditional tool i have most bonded with
i slept with one by my side for three years
but i have not bonded with either so entirely as i have with any pen i've used to write in a journal.
water (klean kanteen)
we've been through some things, this water bottle and me. dropped on forest pathways and baltimore courtrooms. inch-buried on the lake erie shore. i took it to the radio station. i carried it through acadia. stowed it on a shelf beneath the register during borders liquidation. there's an accidental smear of aquamarine paint on it from neurodivergent icon 14:2 RECOVERY; i witness it as an act of consecration, the long way around. it is almost always the first thing i reach for when i need anchoring.
fire (tangle therapy, "imagine")
my first tangle. i got it in feburary and haven't yet worn it out. but i'm trying. tangles are my best fidget. calming and revitalizing. boundary work and circle casting all in one. i can use them to both build strength and bring energy into my hands. this textured one doesn't click as much as the hard plastic ones (especially once you've been using it for a bit) so it feels better for me to use if i'm trying to ease into sleep in bed with my partner. the hard plastic ones are better for walks and doctor's appointments. it's easy enough to work in my right hand, too, so i can write while i tangle.
earth (16 lb cooling cotton magic weighted blanket)
gift from my parents for christmas, though i ought to have been able to get it through my health insurance. ought to, but there's this whole set of absurd challenges around making my roaringly obvious disability official so i can get access to key resources like medical aids and certain treatment options (sure wouldn't have any problems getting prescriptions for antidepressants if i wanted to go that route, i've been handed scripts at the obgyn) and i don't really have the heart to go into it at this moment, anyway this post is a reference and a warm up for an actual advocacy piece i've been struggling with (as in, oh shit that thing i just wrote is freaking me out what was it i said was helpful to reach for when i'm freaking out, because if you don't know what that's like you might not have a trauma disorder, or you've trained yourself not to write activating things, which... sounds as hellish as it does kinda nice, to be honest) so i'll talk about that - and antidepressants* - another time.
i've had disordered sleep my entire life. growing up, i needed weight to fall asleep. without a comforter over me, i couldn't settle. this made the transition to baltimore and shared bedding even more difficult: summers are wicked humid here. some nights even a bedsheet is intolerable, forget my necessary comforter. ben is a warm sleeper who grew up here; he is able to fall and stay asleep without covers. i cannot. i can't let go, i don't feel secure, i notice everything in my environment and everything going on inside of me. if i'm in an unfamiliar place, if i'm in a bad headspace, this can be agonizing. this blanket helps me sound the boundaries of my body in an enjoyable way. it brings me into myself. it grounds me. it's specifically designed with no filling besides the plastic pellets so it doesn't get as hot, meaning i can still regularly use it in warmer weather if not full-blast (oh god) july swoon. taking suggestions for dealing with that shit, as i have been for the last thirteen years.
also very useful for dissociative episodes, which i'm looking very forward to being able to tell the difference again between the low grade one that seems to be my baseline lately and, um,
spirit (m. rogers decomposition notebook, "monarch migration")
to support the context of this photograph, i selected an empty notebook. michael rogers was a big deal for me in the late 1990s. journal 3 (autumn 2000-spring 2002) with the tooled leather cover was one of theirs. notebook insecurity is another matter i cannot abide. i hope the reasons for this are obvious. a month or so out from the end of last year i bought a two dollar "in a pinch" three section notebook from giant. if i'd known about the coming pandemic i might have grabbed a couple single subject spirals besides because as grateful as i am that i at least have these pages available for this weird mix of therapy exercises, dream work and linkedin learning notes, it's a weird seven months to have isolated to one notebook, and i'm also kind of... what if it's the notebook? causing all of this? what if this bent up and dogeared visual aid for the experience of executive function disorder is the source of all our pain?
my conclusion was probably not, but maybe i'm ready to emerge from these chrysalis pages and i better get myself a new notebook with butterflies on it, so i did.
so those are some of my (material) anchors during this time.
what are yours?
*i believe antidepressants have their place in the treatment of a wide range of disorders, including PTSD. i would never judge anyone negatively for using this potentially lifesaving option. i do struggle with how freely SSRIs are prescribed, sometimes before any other modality has been explored or even really discussed. for sake of transparency, i will disclose that i have a long history of moderate pharmacophobia, especially with this class of medications. however, in my research to date, i've found that especially with regard to complex trauma - repeated, prolonged, and/or multiple long term traumatic experiences - systemic oppression and ACEs, for example - antidepressants don't have the best reputation. this could be related to recent findings that SSRIs might diminish empathy and feelings of connection, which is not an acceptable outcome for me. but yeah, please do your own research and reach your own conclusions on this matter, because mine are most certainly rife with the confirmation bias of someone with pharmacophobia.