Mess as Creation

I recently read an article by Molly Spencer entitled, Against the Muse Myth: On Motherhood and the Writing Life. This particular piece resonated with me quite a bit because I could picture myself in Molly’s shoes: being a mother, being somewhat of a writer, and not feeling I would have the time to be both. For a long time, Molly thought that to be a writer, you needed to have some sort of wave of inspiration wash over you, that a sacred place to write was essential in creating authentic and engaging pieces. Writing wasn’t for in-between places, like making dinner or running errands. It was for designated hours attached to a desk with a 1940’s typewriter and ink in a jar. Molly discovered as she raised her kids, that those in-between places were the best places and times to write, and write she did.

I had the same outlook as Molly, for quite a few years. I didn’t feel I could ‘get the creative juices flowing’ unless I was surrounded by the right elements and had complete silence and the right type of pen with the right colour ink and the correct notebook and you see where I am going with this. The result? Nothing. Literally, blank pages, or a blank computer screen. For a long time I blamed my ‘writer’s block’ on the lack of stars aligning, but in reality I think I was scared. I still am, sometimes. A lot. What if my writing is terrible? What if no one reads it? What if I receive negative criticism? My anxiety does not help my cause, I must say; those phrases swirl around in my head, even as I write this.

But now? Well, there is one lesson I have learnt from restarting my writing journey: The more you write, the more you write. Yes, even if it is crappy, even if it is just a diary to yourself. Even if the words will never see the light of day. Even if you burn them. Just write, and eventually the words will spew all over you, and you won’t be able to stop. So I did what Molly did, and now I write when I’m feeding my son, when I’m waiting for an appointment, when I’m eating dinner or when I’m reading. It is like a pressure valve in my brain that needs to be released. I can feel it about to break the surface, and I know I have to write it down or I will regret not catching those words by the bucketful. You may be thinking, “Isn’t that the wave of inspiration?” No. It is my own creation. I kept chiselling at the rock, bit by bit until water flowed effortlessly out. However, if I don’t keep working at that rock, keep chiselling and hammering, eventually the flow will stop. My inspiration is created by myself, not by a muse.

I did once have a muse, though. For years, I believed she helped me with my creativity, leaning over my shoulder as I sat at my desk, her energy transcending through me, through to my work. But when life’s difficulties encumbered me, she suddenly disappeared. This idea I had personified into a ‘muse’ had abandoned me, and for years I believed that I wasn’t meant to be a writer. It wasn’t my passion anymore. I was very wrong. I tried various other avenues, thinking that I could find fulfilment in other work, other relationships, other fields of interest, but I was slowly dying inside, little by little. I stopped reading. I stopped practising witchcraft. I just stopped. I felt like a fly on the wall in my own life, watching my self as an automaton while the world passed by without so much as a thought of me. I entered into an abusive relationship, I stopped and started various courses, I drank, I drugged, I moved to the country, I got married, I got cheated on, I had a baby, and now as I write this piece, I am in the middle of a divorce, living in my parents’ house with an almost ten month old boy, what was left of my life for the past several years crammed into the back room along with my dog and three cats. But I am writing again. I am reading again. I am catching up on the life I knew I should have lived but I was too afraid to.

I write this piece with pens scattered all over my desk, various books and notepads strewn somewhere in between, with muddy cat pawprints leaving a trail through it all. And I don’t care. The art of perfection is a time waster. It is a preventative. A stopper in the intricacies of our lives. Mess is creation. Mess is an abundance of inspiration. Mess is human.
This is my mess, and I am absolutely content in thriving in it.

Read Molly’s article by clicking here

New Beginnings

I was once told by my literature teacher that those with a gift for writingor for any art formif they hone their talent they can produce amazing work that is marvelled. However, there are forces at play which will try to prevent this, and if the creator lets it, it will consume them and those creations along too.

This is what happened to me, and has been happening to me consistently over the years.

I have experienced my own fair amount of trauma, and I have struggled with my inner demons to the point we are at a stalemate. I keep wondering if it is worth the effort, clawing at this cage that was built by others yet maintained by myself, but then I remember why I do what I do, why I write.

It is as much for me as it is for you, and I would rather share my passion, my creations, instead of keeping them locked away in the depths of my mind; otherwise what will happened if they stay there? It will all fade over time, and there won’t be any remnants left to remember those ideas, those stories, those memories.

I refuse to let myself fade, and to let my negative thoughts consume my inspirational ones.

I have chose a pseudonym to commemorate my resurfacing to the world of the living (Andromeda Eve is definitely not my legal name), and I chose it because to me, it represents new beginnings, positive change, and the harnessing of my inner strength to design a life that I want to live, not how others want me to.

If there is anything I have learnt over the last ten years, it is this: you are the one who can manifest change, and you should not do it for the benefit of anyone but yourself.

I look forward to the journey ahead.

Andromeda Eve

Welcome to…Alaerya

One of three main continents on the planet of Naya’naera, Alaerya is home to the majority of humans that came across from the Kingdom of Alderheim. There are a number of magical creatures, as well as a small amount of Daeval (Elves). The royal family of Alaerya resided in the city of Karmos, which is currently in the care of the last king’s advisor, Corvus.

Most humans in Alaerya can use magick, but their abilities and skill levels vary. They need to use Alaeryan crystals to act as conduits to increase their gifts, to power light, and to perform a lot of basic tasks that require magick. There are a small number of humans who do not need the assistance of these crystals, and they are known as the Nadura, which is Old Daevalyan for Original or Natural.

This map is a rough, and I mean rough, draft. Names are not likely to change, but the layout may have alterations, and I definitely will be updating the look of it.

Thank you to Inkcarnate.com for providing the tools needed to create this. Please visit them if you need to a design any type of map, they have free tools you can use to start.

Regret

I am sure I’m not the only one, but I’ll be one of the first to admit that during the last thirty years of my life, I have had more regrets than I probably should. Should? Should, by society’s standards, I guess. Here are just a few on my list: I never graduated high school; I never went overseas; I never had a proper job; I entered into an abusive relationship; I got married when all the signs were telling me not to and I had a baby when I probably shouldn’t have (you might be thinking, did she become a teen mum? No, my son is only 10 months old and I love him with all my heart, but the circumstances regarding his conception and birth are complicated).

Some of these decisions I did not have complete control over, but this doesn’t stop the nagging, dragging feeling of wasted time.

I try my hardest to be my best self for a few days, then I clock out, and I have to restart my efforts again. Some things are more consistent than others, but I still cannot get into a headspace where I feel I am doing the best of what I am able. I don’t push myself to be better either; I stick to the same old habits. If I could just break one bad one, just one, it would be proof that I am not a complete failure, that I can change, that I can grow. It’s even harder when you feel like the world is holding you back, that your lot on life has been dealt, that this is how it is always meant to be. These are the days that I trudge through to get to the light on the other side.

I look at my son and I think how grateful I am to have him in my life, but I also feel sadness. Sadness, not for having him, but as a reminder for the possibilities I could have pursued if I hadn’t succumbed to the demons encircling my life. I had let them take over my body, invade this vessel and make decisions that I was never happy with. I thought I was, but I used that concept as a mask for my true feelings, my true desires. Not all of it was my fault (I mean, no one asks to get abused, or to be assaulted), but at some stage I should have taken responsibility for my own life, my own decisions.
I am so thankful I realise this now, but I definitely have regrets about not realising it sooner. I think that’s ok, though. It is difficult to live a lifetime and not have some regrets about the paths we have taken. I think it takes a lot of courage to admit the mistakes we have made, and still feel regret about them. It becomes a problem when we let those feelings consume us, and prevent us from moving forward and choosing different paths.
When I feel those suffocating instances, I try to read, write, watch anything that replaces that negative mindset—even if it is for a short time—because great things can happen in minutes, or seconds; that pivotal instance when you choose A instead of B. I don’t think there is any correct way in navigating regret and bad decisions, and people around you will try to advise you on the best way, or steer you in the direction they think is correct because it worked for them. It’s okay to heed their voice, but don’t let them dictate what you truly feel, or what your intuition is saying you should do. And if you make a few more mistakes along the way, if you regret a few more things, that’s okay too. You can cross those off your list. They are done.

So why am I writing about this? Because I think it is important to recognise the progress we all have made through the trials that life has thrown at us, and to acknowledge the emotions those experiences bring out. I have the classic case of internalisation: I generally do not acknowledge my feelings, let alone express them to other people. This can cause a multitude of issues, not limited to the act of numbing myself, self-isolating (which I think we have all done enough of this year) or using any means of distraction to avoid sitting alone with my own thoughts. It has come to my attention this year, that this is not the healthiest of habits, and that in order to progress in other areas of my life, I need to face these demons. How am I doing this? Well, conventional therapy has never seemed to work for me (however, I do highly recommend it as a starting point for anyone with a mental illness, or if you need someone to talk to), and after years of trying and failing different techniques (such as mindfulness, meditation and medication), I have gotten to a point in my life where I am just…over it? Over the constant, vicious cycle of depression and anxiety taking me over. I will admit here, though, that I have gotten to this ‘over it’ point in my life many times before. However this year it seems different. Maybe it’s the forced self-isolation from Coronavirus that finally pushed me, but I am making multiple conscious efforts to better myself in any way, shape or form, and not punishing myself if I fall back, or make a mistake, or you know, feel regret for my decisions.
So back to how I face my demons: I keep a journal every day, and I do not get upset if I miss an entry; I read, read, read and read whatever I want, in whatever order, whenever I can; I complete shadow work (I will explain this concept in a future blog, otherwise feel free to research this yourself), but most importantly, I let myself be. It sounds too simple to work, but it does. For me, at least. I let feelings course through me, and tell myself that they are temporary. I allow myself to feel and not feel guilty about it.

Regret is probably one of the hardest and more debilitating emotions to experience, simply because it trails with it a plethora of other feelings, memories, issues and more regrets. It compounds into a mountain where the top is barely visible in the stratosphere. This doesn’t mean it’s the end, or the beginning of the end. As someone who hadn’t written a word for several years, being able to write this much (and consistently) shows how much we can overcome, even if it takes us a little longer to realise it.

Stormy

I peer over the edge of a cliff, looking forlornly at the jagged rocks being suffocated by violent sea spray, for what seems like eons. I have not jumped; I have not walked away. I keep looking over my shoulder, and I see a sun freckled clearing: yellows and oranges; emeralds and teals, encompassed by the scent of early spring pollen clinging in the air. A dark energy clasps his hands on my cheeks, and forces me to look back at the storm that is forming beyond the boulders and the grey vastness of the daunting sea.
Jump. Jump. JUMP. I don’t.
Instead I climb down, nicking my skin as I descend. I manage to gently place the sole of my foot onto the water. From down here, the storm is calm. It is tranquil.
There were times in my existence where I had managed to clamber back to the top of the cliff,  cutting my body up, bruising it, breathless. But I still stayed there, on the edge. I could never pick myself up and leave. Just leave. Just go, what you want, is not here. It will never be here. Just go. JUST FUCKING GO.
But I didn’t, and I still don’t. I sit and dangle my feet off the edge, lean back on my palms and watch the storm brew wild, never changing, always there.
Always there.
For me.

What do you know

Do you know what love is?

I know what it is not.

It is not spitting venom into your face.

It is not holding you down on the chaise.

It is not forcing an embrace

or fighting for space.

It is not fighting,

For nothing.

It is not ignoring those cries.

It is not those casual lies

or those purposeful sighs

or the secret highs.

It is not secrecy

from something.

Do you know what love is?

No.

But it is not this.

Drown

A whirlpool between my eyes,

reflected

is my disguise.

Is it whom I truly see?

Does my vision fail me?

My throat,

sews shut.

My mind,

dead in the water

My demons are asking why I bother.

Isn’t there any other

way to escape those suffocating depths?

I’m drowning from nothing

but it feels like it’s something,

and that feeling won’t shake.

I can no longer navigate,

lost,

consumed by my fate.

Limbo

When I feel,

It seems wrong.

The puzzle pieces do not match.

The nightmares don’t quite catch.

The butterflies just fly through the net.

I am constantly late for that sunset.

Everything is just a second too late,

subtle as a ladybug on a mountain,

yet loud enough like thunder.

It’s stopping at orange,

pausing,

on an uneven number.

Watching a countdown

and missing the one.

We continue to live

but it’s a bit crooked,

a bit askew,

but we go on,

and on.

Out of Body

I looked over at my body. I gazed around the bedroom. An azure haze, with the thickness of fog, encompassed everything. Light crept through the mouldings around the door. I walked forward and placed my hand on the knob. An unnaturalness washed over me so I swiftly let go.

“Do not go gentle into that good night.”

The mundane of the everyday snuck up on me like the cold, scaly, slither of a snake; coiling its muscles around my torso; tightening its grip each time I exhaled. My chance to escape was when I envisioned a world, where wonder and extraordinaire were abound and the norm. I flew over mountain tops and vast canyons of rock and rubble.I jumped from leaf to leaf on vines that curled along the trunks of thousand year old trees, in thousand year old forests. Fauna listened to my every unspoken word. The Mariana Trench veiled a lost Atlantean culture.

I would wake up,and the articles around me no longer had a glimmer. They were rough,  gaunt, melancholy, brackish. I would walk to the train station; wait at the tram stop.I would attend classes and ignore their lessons. Walk to the tram stop. Wait at the train station.

During my spare hours I had delved into the unknown, the unusual, the unseen; possession, near death experiences, astral projection. I consumed all these phantasmagorias, and my own wild thoughts enjoyed the possibilities. They whirled about,transfiguring my own theories, what ifs, hopes into wisps of outlandish notions.

And it was all infinite.

***

I am faraway again.The glimmer encompasses everything I see, touch, smell. Ecstasy. I am not on Earth tonight. I wrap myself up in nebulas of amethyst, sapphire, jade, ruby, garnet. I swallow comets and exhale moon dust.I set foot on Kepler-438b—

The azure returns. I stare at my cadaver.Everything is fuzzy; my irises refuse to focus. The door calls to me; I am magnetised. I place my ear on the wood. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap.

I push back.

I wake up nauseous, groggy, head-swollen. Maybe I should stop.

I am advised to attend a meeting with the school counsellor. I don’t tell her anything. I might be crazy. She asks if I am eating enough vegetables. I tell her I like tomatoes. She informs me tomatoes are a fruit.

I sit outside on a crumbling, sodden picnic bench, and I unwrap my tomato sandwich. Girls in barely-there uniforms scamper pass. They don’t want to dirty their exposed legs on a damp bench. I take out my medicine and wash it down with flat Coke, and forget about the prosaicness.

A small child cries in the corner. Her tears are vermilion. They pool beneath her toes. My body is not on the bed. Azure everywhere. I listen at the door. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap—

BOOM.

I shoot awake still screaming. I don’t stop. My mother tells me to shut the fuck up as she punches our shared wall.

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

***

A deluge drenches my hair, my uniform, my shoes. An announcement states the train is delayed. A puddle forms around my feet.

My murky, fractured self, stares back at me.

I only feel when I am dreaming.

My aunt’s friend’s daughter said she was probed by aliens; she’s in the loony bin now!

I try to see through my sodden black strands as to who was talking at me. An echoed giggle tells me the girl has scurried off. Irritant. I scratch at my soggy skin, and re-open some scabs. Ir..ri..tant.

No one tells me the last class is cancelled. Public transport is conveniently delayed, so I hide in the rotting gazebo, in the narrow park opposite school. The grass is muddy and grey,the playground absent and the street quiet.

Rain makes people hide so monsters can come out and play.

Finally. I can dream again.

***

Wake up…wake up!

Flashlights bore through my eyelids as I unstick my top and bottom lashes from each other. I hear multiple muffled voices, and the scratching of radio frequencies. The smell of freshly polished boots invades my nostrils. The officer sits me upright. He informs me I was scaring civilians who had entered the park, with their fancy dogs for their fancy evening walks. The rain had ceased as the sun begins its restful state; shadows desolating its light.

The officer asks me how high I am. I don’t tell him anything. My insolence offends him so he vigorously pulls me up, tells me if I was to struggle I would be handcuffed, and proceeds to direct me to his car. His overweight partner, who I had not noticed before,claims my schoolbag which had been sitting in a motley puddle stagnant water and soggy rubbish.

What seems like hours pass. I feel so dizzy in the back seat I barely understand what the vigorous officer is telling me. Something about my mother owing him a favour. I don’t think much of the words coming out of his mouth, because the fat officer sitting next to me keeps rubbing his hand up and down my thigh. Acid escalades its way up my throat, so I lean forward. The fat officer growls at me to dare not fucking puke, whilst I am shoving his hands away. My body starts shaking. I tell the brute driving that I am cold. He tells me I will warm up soon.

Azure.

Gravity is absent this time. Crumpled fragments of paper drift in the air like fractured baubles. Furniture hovers ever so delicately. A light source leaves warping droplets of penumbras all over the walls, through the frayed curtains.

Still no body, and now, no little girl.

And no tapping.

I float to the door, and place my ear on it once more.

“…rage…rage…Rage…RAGE!”

I wake up gasping for breath. My muscles throb, and my stomach spasms in a way worse than withdrawal. The acid resurfaces and I regurgitate, spewing all over myself. I groan. I cry. I hear my mother’s shrill voice in the next room telling me to shut the fuck up again. I am in my bedroom. I shriek.

BOOM-BOOM-BOOM.

Shut up or you can get out!

I autonomously whack my fist against the melting window pane next to me. Shards sprinkle my arm, the sill, and onto the defiled mattress. I hear thunderous footsteps down the hall, and my mother thrusts my door open so hard the knob embeds into the cracked plaster.

You stupid little whore!

I fling myself at her, still shrieking. A solid shard pierces her skin. Once. Twice. I keep piercing. Cherry liquid cascades down her legs. Pools at her toes. I force myself off her, collapsing into the pool.

Dawn crawls through the frayed curtains.

Dots of shadows dancing with the breeze.

Finally. I can dream again.

Original Photo by Skitterphoto

Acilino

Acilino was always calm and collected. Being a leader and a mentor meant that keeping a stable discipline was extremely vital, especially in the vast open plains of America. Of Hispanic origin, Acilino was able to escape the horrid creatures on two feet and into the wild. He learnt how to survive on his own, and eventually began to build his own herd. Acilino stood broadly at about 15.5 hands in height. He was of a typical dun coloured pelt: his rough mane and tail that easily whipped about in the wind were of a dark brown, almost black hue. His torso was light brown and his legs the same darkness as his hair, with opacity decreasing upwards. He had a thick line of sienna, reaching from his mane to his tale in the middle of his back to add to his appearance. His muscular build and young age meant that he was a terrific fighter and was able to defend his herd numerous times (his name meant ‘like an eagle’, and so his agility was incomparable). As his family grew larger, the number of mouths to feed and look after increased. Of course his alpha mare Jemsa helped with the running of the herd, but in the end it all rested on the main stallion. Acilino had two foals with her, his eldest and about to start his own herd, Domingo, was the exact same colour as his mother, a beautiful dark bay with one white sock on his left foreleg. Then there was the 1 and a half year old filly Leosia, who was a mixture of both her parents, and ended up a wild, lively buckskin: a deep dark brown mane and tail and a much lighter body. She was born in the summer, of which the lands were in the middle of, and Acilino had a very important decision to choose that could make or break his herd.

The sun pierced the now arid land that went on for miles and miles. Nothing but dried up dead grass and hot dirt could be seen below the cloudless blue sky. Acilino gazed into the distance, hoping for a sign of nature; he didn’t think the lands would dry up this quick, erasing all knowledge of where he was, but he had a responsibility, one that he must abide by. Acilino raised his long, crested neck into the sunlight and sniffed the air. A hot breeze lashed at his sensitive hide, but the stallion ignored the pain for he found the scent he was looking for: the smell of fresh forest and running water was just in the distance.

Swatting flies with his tassels of a tale, Acilino turned 180 degrees to face his herd. There were six mares in total, three colts and three fillies. The young ones were the most important to be kept safe and alive, as they were his precious progeny and he could not bear for them to come to harm. Acilino trotted diligently towards Jemsa and nipped her lovingly on the whither, then whinnied in a soft tone. She understood it was finally time to get moving (and alerted everyone else), especially because not long ago Domingo had spotted two, two legged animals on tamed horses following his father’s herd conspicuously. Acilino began walking in the direction of the forest he discovered, and prayed there was a sign there that would tell him where to go next.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”- Theodore Roosevelt

Myria, a small but tough mare with a dark, grey pelt (also an escapee), was in charge of the foals and with Acilino’s permission, allowed them to canter ahead to the stream of loud rushing water that echoed off the trees. The herd had made it to safe grounds, and even better Acilino knew exactly where he was. The herd gathered next to the cool water, all parched from the long journey from their territory, which those strange animals took over. Acilino knew he was no match for them, and made the wise decision to move his herd to lower grounds .The steed lowered his head towards the stream, his front hooves gently brushing the surface of the water. There was plenty to eat here and plenty of shade, but the creatures were close behind and Acilino wanted to lose them. Judging by the stream he used to play in as a young colt, he remembered there were two paths he could take. Following the stream downwards led to a lush, grassy clearing completely surrounded by trees; there would be bountiful amounts of food and water for his herd, but with every dream comes the plain reality. Aemilio was the nemesis of Acilino. He stood at 16 hands high, and his coat was of a rich, glossy black. He had a thick neck, large hooves and a highly muscular body, with a threatening personality. He and his herd owned the clearing led by the stream. Acilino had beaten him once, but had left him badly injured after the fight. He was sure he would be able to defeat him again, but the clearing had its misfortunes too. Sometimes its land was prosperous, even during this type of heat, and sometimes it was as dry as his own hooves. If that became the case, his entire family would starve as it would be way too risky to turn back with the creatures on two feet looming closer.

The other path led to a secondary forest, with a large, beautiful glade in the very centre. It was always rich in supplies, but the journey would mean another endless amount of miles of aridness with minimal food and barely any water. Acilino feared that his children and his mares would collapse and die along the way. He needed to make a decision.

“Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you. ” – Frank Tyger

It was nearing nightfall, and Acilino ordered the mares and foals to rest here for the night. He watched as Jemsa nuzzled Leosia who lay underneath her protective body and instantly fell asleep. Domingo stood watch and made sure the strange animals weren’t anywhere nearby. Acilino stomped his right front hoof and snorted in frustration, sending clouds of dust up through the trees and into the wonderful, cool , night sky. His conscience was tormented by the decision he had to make. What would be the better alternative? Both paths were a gamble, and choosing the lesser of two evils was almost an impossible decision. By day break, Acilino would have made his choice, and being the devoted alpha that he was, would do everything in his power to keep his family safe.

Photo by Pixabay