How I Write A Poem

Research has formed an integral part of my poetry writing process for as long as I can remember. One of my first poems was written after watching a documentary with my Nanna about wolves in Yellowstone Park – I was under double figures. The older I get, the more madly curious I become, and the bigger the role research plays in my creative works.

Too many people I’ve met over the years have been afraid of writing poetry. Any potential passion sabotaged by overly strict English teachers, who’d long forgotten that joy can be found in the poetic word.

I’ve held workshops with people – youngsters and adults – who’d never dreamed of attempting to create their own poem. Primarily because of their horribly negative experiences at school. Many of them also thought poetry to be ‘fucking boring,’ ‘for posh people’ or ‘just too bloody difficult.’

Hearing my students openly express their disdain made me all the more determined to show them that penning poetry can be a life-enhancing experience, one that can enable you to not only better understand the world, but develop a greater ability to reap the joy in living.

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I Start With Looking For Inspiration

I have been, for the past few months, using Google Alerts for gathering poetry inspiration. I signed up to receive emails from Google and whenever stories of interest are published, they’re sent straight to my email inbox. For example, I ask for all blog posts/news items on Witchcraft, The Arctic and The Moon, to name but a few.

I didn’t know that today I was going to be writing a poem about witchcraft. You see what I do is I’ll go through my mails, from newest to oldest, and jot down anything that claws at my interest.

It was after I’d read an article about the Black Moon, and a piece about a woman who called herself a Hearth Witch, and described the term in great detail, that everything started to fall into place and I knew what I was going to write about.

There was something that she wrote, about becoming more family orientated, which had me thinking about what it would be like for a Hearth Witch give birth…we’re trying for a baby at the moment, so motherhood is often on my mind!

Then I’ll Do My Research

For this poem, I did a little bit more reading into the Black Moon via The Old Farmer’s Almanac and re-read the piece I mentioned earlier. (I note everything down in the notebook I’m currently using. I don’t care about it being neat so long as I can read it. The most important thing is getting the stuff down.)

I use Random Word for almost every single poem I write, and for this poem I jotted down at least 4 pages of random words which I felt could be weaved in. It’s inevitable that new ideas are formed at the sight of particular words too…

The Writing Begins When I Feel I’ve Gathered Enough Research Material And Odd Words

Once I have some form of scruffy draft in my notebook – more often than not it’s just the first two stanzas – I open  up Microsoft Word, put everything down and start spinning the piece together.

I usually spend an hour on a first draft, then half an hour to an hour altering and adapting. It’s very rare that I’ll leave a poem unfinished to work on the day after.

It’s usually the last stanza which I have trouble with in a poem, and Hearth Witch is no exception.

Then Comes The Posting

I’m working on a new poetry collection at the moment, but I like to gauge the reaction from people about the pieces I’m creating, so I’ll post my ‘final’ draft on Facebook and A Living Witch.

It’s when I do this that grammar and spelling mistakes, as well as shitty words and placements glare up at me…I feel momentarily humiliated – there are countless poets on Facebook whom I respect and I want to give my readers only the best of my words –  but it’s worth this momentary shock to the system, as I can shuffle what needs to be shuffled and re-imagine what must be re-imagined.

Below is the finished result of today’s workings. I feel really strongly that I’m going to return to this one…that there is still more to say.

Hearth Witch (Before Facebook)

There was a black moon rising

the night you were born to me,

 

the night I came in from the forest

where I’d skinned seven rabbits.

 

Their eyes became cold as glass,

while my waters gathered around

my thistle scratched ankles,

nettle stung toes.

 

I still had their blood under my nails

when you slid out from between my legs

in front of the fire made with the wood

chopped by your father the day before he left.

 

I wrapped you in three pelts, quickly sewn

together with thread of cow eyelashes,

and pressed you against my leaking breast,

while I wrapped our placenta in brown paper,

and put it on ice to fry the following morning.

 

Suddenly, my mixing spoon became as powerful

as my broom.

 

In time, when you were old enough

to come from the breast,

 

I combined foraged mushrooms

with my milk, fed you from my

second and fore fingers.

 

I taught you to capture the sun,

as if can give you untold strength for days.

 

I taught you that it was good to always

come back with something from the forest

a broken sparrows egg, a rabbit skull, owl pellets

to pull apart and examine and taste.

 

When you started to bleed,

I told you to send your questions

to the moon, and to listen for her reply

coming down through the trees.

 

Hearth Witch (After Facebook)

 

There was a black moon rising

the night you were born to me,

 

the night I came in from the forest

where I’d skinned seven rabbits.

 

Their eyes became cold as glass,

while my waters gathered around

my thistle scratched ankles,

nettle stung toes.

 

I still had their blood under my nails

when you slid out between my legs

in front of the fire made with wood

chopped by your father the day before he left.

 

I wrapped you in three pelts, quickly sewn

together with thread of cow eyelashes,

and pressed you against my leaking breast,

while I placed our placenta in brown paper,

and put it on ice to fry the following morning.

 

Suddenly, my mixing spoon became as powerful

as my broom.

 

In time, when you were old enough

to come from the breast,

I combined foraged mushrooms

with my milk, fed you using my

second and fore fingers.

 

I taught you to capture the sun,

as if can give you untold strength for days.

 

I taught you that it was good to always

come back with something from the forest

a broken sparrows egg, a rabbit skull, owl pellets

to pull apart and examine and taste.

 

When you started to bleed,

I told you to give your questions

to the moon, and to listen for her reply

coming down through the trees.

A Swedish Midsummer

This weekend just gone was my second Midsummer in Sweden. And, like every celebration ought to be, it was deeply, gloriously, refreshingly magical.

Midsummer in Sweden is a big deal. At this time of the year – the VERY FUCKING HOT time – in northern Sweden, the sun always remains above the horizon. In the South, it only sets for a few hours. This can prove to be a pain in the arse if you don’t have yourself a pair of black out curtains, as I have come to realise.

Swedes are so massively enthusiastic about Midsummer, you could almost say they become manic in the approaching days. It’s sort of crucial to just go with it, else you’ll be seen as a kill joy. As well as being an ancient pagan festival, Midsummer is the launch of the LONG summer break, which the majority of Scandinavia enjoys.

Everyone is flitting around trying to get things done, before the nights start to get longer, and the cold months start to creep back. This includes tanning the shit out of themselves.

Midsummer celebrates fertility and in gardens across this northern land you’ll find a phallic looking Midsommarstång (Midsummer Pole) erected.  A Midsummer Pole is a beautiful thing, decorated with foliage, masses of summer flowers that have been harvested from the fields and the forests and patriotic yellow and blue ribbons.

Food is central to the celebrations…namely potatoes in various forms. If you celebrate Midsummer, it’s inevitable that you will, at some point during the festivities, fall into a potato coma. It’s so worth it.

This year, like the last, we made the four hour journey to Middle Sweden to spend the weekend with the man’s family in Hagfors, AKA the small town in the woods…woods that are populated with moose, bears and wolves, as I relish pointing out at any given opportunity.

I had been dreaming about Midsummer for weeks, though predominantly  the potato and anchovies dish Jansson’s frestelse (Jansson’s Temptation) and Jordgubbstårta (strawberry cake.)

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The journey to Hagfors is through miles of farmland and thick forest. I always say a little prayer to the universe before we set off, asking if we can have the privilege of having a glimpse of the forest king – the moose.

The universe clearly doesn’t like me that much at the moment though, because I’ve yet to see a moose to gasp at.

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The style of the Swedish home is something really special, especially Sebastian’s family home. It had an air of tranquility about it that I  haven’t felt anywhere else. It’s virtually impossible to be pissed off when you’re being washed with light.

Woman of the house Pia has exceptional style, and I appreciate it that she appreciates   Swedish author and illustrator Elsa Beskow. Every month this frame receives a new interpretation by Beskow.

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Sebastian took on the task of creating the Midsummer Pole this year…I helped by snipping some greenery off a few bushes. The pole never did get it flowers though, turned out we were too busy inhaling potatoes…

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…and stopping the latest member of the family  – a Maltese puppy called Ozzy – taking off our fingers with his adorable needle teeth.

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I’m not much of a drinker, so preferred to just look at my glass of strawberry cider.

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Midsummer is very much about the Strawberry Cake.

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With Sebastian’s dad living in the woods, when we visit we’re regularly reminded of the fragile line between life and death. Even on a blissful weekend like midsummer.

We always pass this ancient moose skull at the end of his road, and there is usually something recently dead when we arrive. In this instance it was a lizard that had met its fate at the teeth of the lawn mower. We also stumbled across a newly shed snake skin among the flowers.

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On the way home, enticed by a sign offering a view of a rune stone, we pulled off the main highway and ventured through the narrow country roads.

When we finally found it, it turned out that it was no ordinary rune stone, it was, in fact, the Järsberg Runestone, one of four in the region of Värmland and one of the best known stones in all of Scandinavia. Discovered in 1862, it dates way back to the 6th Century. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched.

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The road home.

NOTE: If you’re interested, you can read about my first Midsummer here on my archived blog The Girl With Cold Hands.

Crystal Healing : Unblocking My Chakras

When I was 14 my mental and physical health was shit. I was emaciated, depressed and so fucking anxious the only times I wouldn’t tremble was when I was asleep.

My teacher at the time – one of the strangest but loveliest human beings I’ve ever encountered – noticed how painful life was for me. He noticed how much I was struggling with just being. 

I can’t remember if it was for my 14 birthday or if it was just a kind gesture, but one day he handed me a package and inside were several chakra bracelets.

They were, at the time, the ‘in thing,’ but that wasn’t why he’d given then to me…he’d given them because he knew just how much my soul needed help. Sadly, I was in such a bad state that they did little to help me.

But now, at the age of 30 my head is in a different space, and I’m more than aware that the thoughts I have are negative and unwanted. (When I was 14 I believed my thoughts were the good guys…helping me become light as air.)

You’d have thought, that by now, I would have mastered how to deal with unwanted thoughts, but believe me…you can do amazingly fucking well, and achieve an incredible sense of peace in your life…but then if you fail to maintain good habits and behaviors, the threat of relapse is all too real.

I talked about thoughts the other day…about just not thinking, and, while I’m actually doing ok with practicing that, there’s nothing wrong with making use of all the other tools I have available to me…including crystals.

I had the opportunity, the other day, to raid my mother’s extensive collection and found a chakra necklace which I may or may not have bought for her a few years back.

For those of you thinking ‘Chakra? What the fuck?’

Chakras are living energy centers that receive, assimilate and express life force energy. Every nerve and major organs in the body are connected to chakras. Our physical, emotional and spiritual health depend on how balanced our chakras are. Our energy is consistency moving and changing, either becoming excessive or deficient throughout the day depending what is happening. The ultimate goal is to keep chakras balanced and opened for positive energy flow. – Healing Place

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The chakra necklace I’m wearing uses seven different crystals, with each one representing one of the chakras, including three crystals I have a particular closeness to – hematite which is hugely energizing, quartz which works towards an overall balance and amethyst which helps with knowledge gathering and mental organizing.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that’s its the most colourful thing I’ve ever had around my throat, I felt okay wearing it. Not as self-conscious as I’d imagined, but lighter, less weighted down with the imaginary problems I’ve been dragging around with me.

I’m going to keep wearing it for now…I’m intrigued to see how much better it can make me feel.

Important Shit I Have Underlined About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Love & Thinking

I have forever been protective over my books, I mean like obsessively protective. My books mean everyfuckingthing to me and I would run into a burning building to save them, if I had to. No lie. I would save my books over pretty much all of my other possessions.

I have my special books and I have my other books, my other books are okay to be underlined, are okay to be battered and creased and what have you. The special books on the other hand, well, be warned…crease a page and you’ve pretty much dug your own grave.

As I kid, I’d never underline stuff, I’d never turn down the top of a page, hell, I’d read them as carefully as I could so that I wouldn’t crease the spine. While this sort of protectiveness is needed for some volumes, for others I’ve loosened up.  I’ve realised that underlining and creasing pages can be for the best…

Three of the ‘other’ books which I’ve been markering with an iluminous green marker pen like a thing possessed are: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff In Love by Richard and Kristine Carlson, Mind Power by James Borg and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies by Rhena Branch and Rob Willson.

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Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff In Love

Bought this little book for 20 krona in a thrift store…only a quarter of the way through but, for someone who’s always looking for ways to become a better human being for my partner and our relationship, I’ve already underlined a shit ton of things.

Above all else, adopt an attitude of kindness. Make it your highest priority to practise it every day.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and, ultimately, your relationship is to know your own value, to feel secure that you are special, unique and important. There isn’t a person in the world who is just like you, and no one could take your place. Your contribution is important, and the gifts and value you bring to your relationship are significant and irreplaceable.

Instead she continued working on herself. She became calmer and even kinder and happier than she already was. After a while, her happy spirit  became a little contagious and her husband became curious.

When you eliminate (or even greatly reduce) the number of little things that bother you enough to fight about, it opens the door to a different kind of relationship. It’s so much fun to be around someone is isn’t always bothered by something – it’s refreshing, inviting and nourishing. When you refuse to fight over stupid things, you can become true pals again – partners in every sense of the word.

Make being happy more important than being stubborn. Soon this could be a habit that will change the course of your relationship forever.

Mind Power

Officially the best 25 krona I have spent in my life on anything. Struggling with your head and have thoughts that you just want to piss the fuck off? This is the book you need. I’ve underlined stuff on nearly every page, and I’m not reading it for the third time because I need a bit of extra help with my thoughts and shit. I think I’ll be returning to this one in a not-so distant blog post.

You are today where the thoughts of yesterday have brought you and you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you. – Blaise Pascal

Your thinking can propel you to success – or hold you back. So to change your life all you have to do is change your thinking.

How we cope with these everyday challenges and how troubled we become is purely down to the way we think about the situation. Through what ‘filter’ do we see the world?

The mere act of ‘thinking’ changes the brain.

The mind can propel us to do wonderful things or hold us back relentlessly.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Dummies

So I kind of adopted this book from my mother…while I don’t usually like books from the ‘For Dummies’ series, this one is actually pretty good. Some of them, I find, are just too much (and that’s something coming from me!) but this one has been really, really well written. It’s a joy to read, especially because it’s genuinely helping me.

I’ve had CBT on and off for about over 15 years. While it’s been a while since I’ve sat face to face with a therapist, I’ve decided I need to make space for it again in my life.

From Chapter 5 : Refocusing and Retraining Your Awareness

One of the real benefits of understanding the way that your emotions influence the way you think, is to know when what you’re thinking isn’t likely to be helpful or very realistic.

Given that many of the negative thoughts you experience when you’re emotionally distressed are distorted and unhelpful, you’re much better off letting some thoughts pass you by, recognising them symptoms or output of a given emotional state or psychological problem.

Becoming more familiar with the thoughts that tend to pop into your head when you feel down, anxious or guilty makes it easier for you to recognise them as thoughts and let them come and go, rather than treating them as facts.

Becoming more mindful about little everyday tasks can help you to strengthen your attention muscles. Essentially, everything you do throughout the day can be done with increased awareness.

 

Just Don’t Think

For almost a year now, I’ve had the same obsessive compulsive destructive thoughts intruding my head space. They led to a horrendous breakdown when 2016 was winding down. Functioning like a normal human being was neigh on impossible.

While I’ve mostly recovered from that fucking mess – by which I mean I can get out of bed, hold a conversation and sometimes write something decent-ish – I’m still working on cleansing my life of the thoughts that want to do nothing more than see me fall, and fall hard, as in fall so hard I don’t get back up again.

The thoughts are there when I wake up. They’re there when I try and write. They’re there when I’m digging out my blackheads. And they tire me the hell out. I mean really. My brain gets so fucking exhausted that I’m ready for bed by 3pm.

Sleep is often the only branch I can cling to for relief from the rapids of my thoughts. The moments the thoughts are crushing me when I’m awake are few and far between but they are just so beautiful.

The really fucking tragic thing is I know what’s happening to me, and I know how to solve it. But it’s hard. I’m re-educating myself in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques, re-reading Mind Power by James Borg and talking to my mother.

Talking to my mother has probably been the most effective treatment source. She told me how she had managed to get her excessive worrying down from 8 hours a day to only 15 minutes by doing one simple thing – not thinking. That’s right. Just. Don’t. Think. Instead, live! Just LIVE! When your thoughts get the better of you, and they will, try again and again and again until all you are doing is living.

Instead of letting herself be rattled all day every day, my mother, my mountain, allows herself 15 minutes to worry about the things that are stressing her the hell out. The rest of the time, those thoughts can just fuck the fuck off. They’re not welcome in the temple of her mind.

Right now, I would say that 16 hours in 24 are poisoned with negative thinking, and this simply has to change. I refuse to allow my life to be dictated to by irrationality. I know I’m capable of it, it’s just this time the thoughts are rooted so fucking deep I know it’s going to take a little while. But I have a belief in myself that’s stronger than the doubt trying its hardest to make itself heard.

 

Patreon Supporters!!

In case any of my Patreon supporters are reading, I need to let you know that I’ve been having some issues with signing into my account. I have been trying to get the situation resolved for weeks now…hopefully I will be back in and writing tomorrow! I’m so sorry for not letting you know sooner. Thank you forever for the support!

A Day Of Food When I Was Anorexic VS A Day Of Food Now

I thought this would be interesting to write about because my relationship with food is so radically  different to how it used to be.

When I was 14 years old I developed Anorexia Nervosa. Over the course of a few months, I bid farewell to over half of my body weight. The hair on my head thinned and dropped out. My periods dried up. My nails and bones became brittle as kindling, and a strange, blonde fur (lanugo) started to blanket my sad and broken skin.

My body was trying in vain to keep itself warm, to keep itself alive. When the fur didn’t help, my body started to cannibalize itself from the inside out.

First it consumed any fat that I had left, then it started to steadily eat away at my muscles. I was – very effectively – starving myself to death and became little more than a bundle of bones tied up in a scrap of dry flesh.

Yet I wanted to be…no, I needed to be thinner, smaller, less noticeable. I needed to be leaving a fainter footsteps when I walked. I needed to be practically able to float. Nothing else other than getting thinner mattered in the world. Nothing. 

My diet when I was at lowest weight (just under 5 stone) was tragic. Nobody really knew what I was eating because I lied about what made it past my mouth. I became an expert at magicking food away to anywhere but my stomach.

Before this sickness adopted me, I wasn’t fussy with food. Actually, I fucking loved food, and had a more than healthy relationship with the stuff. But it didn’t take long for it to become the enemy, for me to be afraid of it even touching my skin.

This is what a day of food looked like for me then:

Breakfast

  • 15 grams of dry branflakes.
  • A small glass of water.

Note: It was VITAL that the branflakes were weighed, and I quickly replaced milk with water when I realised how many calories I could save. But then I started to become worried about the amount of water I was having and thought that it would increase my weight, so I started to have my branflakes dry instead. There were some days, before I was admitted to hospital, where I would actually count the number of branflakes in my bowl. They always needed to be an even number.

I’d forever had tea in a morning, but that quickly became forbidden when I became ill.

Lunch

  • 2 Ryvita’s each with a transparent layer of sandwich spread.
  • 1 small apple.
  • A bottle of water.

Note: I would eat about half of one of the Ryvita’s and then throw the other one and a half in the bin. When I was having lunch at school this was easy enough. Though I still did it discreetly, just in case. More often than not the apple wouldn’t get eaten and would be thrown in the bin too.

Dinner

  • A Quorn burger or something similar. Whatever it was I didn’t want to eat it.
  • Peas, Carrots.
  • Mashed potato.

Note: The fights that I would have with my mother at dinner time were so apocalyptic they became legendary. I would scream so loud I’d break an eardrum or two, and I think I remember even catapulting plates of food. I’d usually end up swallowing a few tiny mouthfuls, then somehow manage to get away with not touching the rest, most of which would end up down my sleeves then in the toilet.


After I’d pretty much reached the weight I was when I was a toddler, I maintained my exhausting anorexic existence for over ten years. I would sort of get near to being better than I’d relapse, then I’d sort of get near to being better again, and I’d relapse…and so the cycle continued on and on and on.

It pushed my terrified family to the edge, then, making me watch, flung them over relentlessly. They’d dust themselves down, repair what had been broken, then they’d be taken right back to the edge again, even more terrified than before. And again, I was made to watch as they were flung over.

Fast-forward to 2017, 17 years after I was diagnosed with anorexia, and my relationship with food is poles apart from what it was. My family and I have, together, recovered.

I have a womanly belly. My arse is taking on something of a curve. My collar bones aren’t sharp enough for me to cut my fingers on anymore. I’m also in a relationship with a Swedish man who has weaned me onto crisps and chocolate and pick n mix and Pepsi. A man who has managed what no one else has managed – he’s managed to make me eat foods which I was still, up until a few months ago, forbidden from touching.

And this is what a day of food for me looks like now:

Breakfast

  • A bowl of…I dunno…maybe 55, 60 grams of branflakes? I don’t weigh stuff anymore, with plenty of semi-skimmed milk.
  • Non Fat Greek yogurt. Again, I don’t know how much, several tablespoons?
  • A BIG cup of tea with milk AND one teaspoon of sugar.
  • A piece of dark chocolate.
  • 1 40 mg citalopram tablet, 1 100 mg quitapine tablet.

NOTE: I used to weigh my cereal OBSESSIVELY when I was ill, and I would NEVER use semi-skimmed milk. Just skimmed or unsweetened soya…soya because it has less calories than the skimmed. Also, when I was in hospital I’d drain the milk from each individual branflake and eat just one flake at a time. I’d didn’t finish a bowl of cereal until at least 5 months into my stay in hospital.

It was only when I discovered artificial sweetener in hospital that I started to drink tea again. I became obsessed with the stuff and would have up to 8 in one cup of tea…how I have no fucking idea. Anyway, I ditched the sweetener several years ago because of a million and one different reasons which I can talk about in another post – though primarily because it works to agitate my mental issues.

The dark chocolate thing is new. When the lovely lady who contributed to my Arctic Library sent me a heap of dark organic chocolate (70% + cocoa content) I became infatuated and have been having some every day since. I’m now on the last bar she sent, and I’m trying to make it last…the benefits of dark chocolate are EXTENSIVE, as you’ll probably know.

The medication I’ve been taking since 2010 helps with the shit that goes down in my brain, because it doesn’t function like everyone else’s and needs some help. The citalopram works as an anti-depressant, while the quitapine works as an anti-psychotic. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 15 along with the anorexia. Then, when I was 24 I was accessed for the millionth time and diagnosed with bi-polar.

Lunch

  • Ham sandwich cobbled together with 2 slices of white bread and butter.
  • A banana.
  • A meringue.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: Yeah, yeah, I know. White bread is shitty, but we didn’t have any multigrain in, so I had to make do. Back in the thin days I just wouldn’t have eaten. The butter is a relatively new. I NEVER EVER EVER had butter on my bread when I was ill. To be honest, I used to be so paranoid about butter that I thought if I touched it, the calories would leech through my skin.

The meringue was just there. Wanted it. Ate it. Licked my fingers.

Snack

  • A muesli bar. Blueberry or something. Love muesli bars.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: If I don’t have a snack mid-afternoon I’m a mega bitch. Seriously. When I was at my sickest there was NEVER a snack.

Dinner

  • A tuna mayonnaise and spinach (!) sandwich made with wholewheat bread. (I went to the shop.)
  • A bowl of Greek yogurt with a chopped up banana and a handful of strawberries.
  • Some more dark chocolate because I needed the good mood boost and brain energy.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.

NOTE: I know a tuna mayo sandwich isn’t the best dinner option, but I just could not be arsed cooking. Anorexia wouldn’t have allowed that back in the day. I had to have what I’d planned to have a week earlier, that or nothing at all.

Snack

  • ANOTHER bowl of branflakes with milk.
  • 1 disappointingly small apple.
  • A cup of tea with milk and sugar.
  • 2 100mg quitapine tablets.

NOTE: I always eat a snack in the evening. I went to bed hungry for too many years. Plus, this is usually the time the man and I devour our crisps and chocolate…

Then later…

  • Some Horlicks because I was having anxiety attacks in bed and couldn’t sleep.
  • 1 banana because I wasn’t hungry but I needed something comforting that could also help me sleep. Bananas are good for sleep.

NOTE: My food routine was ESSENTIAL when I was ill. I couldn’t deviate away from it. If I couldn’t sleep when I was ill, there was no ‘grab a cup of Horlicks’ option.’ I just had to sit there, shaking my legs – it burned calories – waiting for sleep to come.

My, how things have changed. And how very fucking proud I am of myself and the man who has helped with much of it.

Crystal Healing : Getting Back Into It

We have always been a very crystal orientated family – thank you Waldorf education – and have used them for healing (as well as home decor and tooth fairy offerings) since I was under double figures.

But, since moving to Sweden last year, I haven’t had contact with my crystals – mar a couple of clear quartz and rose quartz pieces that come with me everywhere – or my mother’s impressively vast collection. (My mother has been a practitioner of crystal healing for years.)

Being back in the family home for a little while has meant I’ve been able to have hand to crystal contact with my collection again…and my mother’s. I’ve also been mining her books on crystal healing, including the quite frankly fucking epic tome The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall.

I need help with a lot of shit, to be blunt, so I decided that instead of overwhelming myself I’d take it nice and easy and source the crystals that would help balance me, protect me, dissolve negativity and prevent negative energies from entering my aura. The past several months I’ve been that rabbit in the headlights, the rabbit you almost kill at stupid o’clock in the morning. You know the one. And I’ve needed, desperately needed some peace restored.  

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So I reached out for hematite and amethyst. The hematite to carry around with me, the amethyst (well, this particular one) to have in my room. I rummaged through my mother’s crystal boxes and when my fingers found the smooth hematite stone and gripped it, I felt a change in me.

Almost instantly I felt calmer, the internal chatter in my head paused. At that moment my Dad shouted me to go and look at a medallion his Dad had dug up half a century ago. I went to him, the hematite in my hand, and I listened to what he had to say. Midway through the conversation I noticed that I’d been able to give him my FULL attention. If only you knew how long it’s been since I’ve been able to do that for anyone…the internal chatter has always gripped onto 50% of my focus. And this was even before I’d had chance to cleanse it.

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Hematite has always been a good stone for me because, psychologically, it’s very strong. It’s a self-esteem booster and is excellent at helping to overcome compulsions. It’s also a winner mentally. My concentration and focus has been fucking awful recently, embarrassingly awful, so it’ll do me so much good to have some hematite around. I also have circulatory problems and, yep, you guessed it, it can aid me with that issue too.

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I’ve also felt a closeness to amethyst and feel that a room is somewhat barren without a beautiful chunk of it somewhere. This purple-lavender stone, while being one of the most common, is actually bloody powerful. It’s a natural tranquilizer and overcomes blockages of all kinds. I need it for it’s calming effect. It helps me to feel less all over the place and more focused and in control. My memory has been terrible of late, and thank fuck, it helps with memory too. As a bi-polar person, it’s an essential stone to have as it balances highs and lows and also helps promote emotional centering.

Both stone haven’t been cleansed as you see them now…it’s something I’ll do tonight – I’ll be using a breathing cleanse –  then tomorrow morning I’ll start using them proper.

 

Some Things I’ve Learned : February

Despite not being able to remember who first said ‘Knowledge is power’ it’s a phrase I’ve repeated to myself on a daily basis for years. I’ve even thought about getting it inked.

(Note: thanks to Google, I now know ‘Knowledge is power’ was first documented in a tenth-century book called Nahj Al-Balagha which was originally written in Arabic, though it’s also commonly attributed to an English philosopher, the late Frances Bacon.)  

Learning itself is vital to my well-being. If I go through 24 hours without having learnt something new, I get twitchy, I get irritable, I become one of those ‘don’t touch me! I haven’t learned anything today,’ girlfriends. The same goes for achieving. I like to make every day count.

For many months of last year, just getting out of bed in the morning was achievement enough, but when I’m doing okay, and when I’m doing great, I don’t like to let anything hold me back.

Achieving creatively is what soothes my soul, but achieving in other ways – like learning to like a part of my body I’ve despised for years, or helping my boyfriend to relax when he’s been stressed to hell at work – are achievements that make everything worth it.

This documenting what I’ve learned idea only came to me about a week ago, so somethings will have, sadly and inevitably slipped the net of my aging memory (31 in 190 days). As a result, this post is a bit different to how March’s entry will look. March  will also be much beefier.

P.S. The little bullet points are the rune Kenaz which symbolises – among other things – knowledge, illumination and creativity.

The Macabre, Death & Wyrd Things

< Lavender Saved Lives During The Plague

I knew that lavender was used by in the masks of Plague Doctors to eliminate the thick scent of death and decay, but I didn’t know that it actually helped save lives when the Black Death was sweeping across Europe in the 1600’s. Fascinatingly, the population of an entire town escaped death because of the unassuming little plant. At the time, the town of Bucklersbury was the centre of the European lavender industry.

< You Can’t Actually Shoot With A Silver Bullet

One night, just before we were going to watch American Horror Story – Coven (re-watching and loving every minute) my boyfriend said ‘do you want to know something?’ Usually it’s me doing the ‘do you want to know somethings…’ so I was particularly excited as I turned around to give him my full, undivided attention. ‘You can’t actually shoot with a silver bullet,’ he said. This revelation was particularly devastating. He explained that a silver bullet is too light to make an accurate shot. The world of horror will never again be quite the same.

< In Belgium People With Severe Mental Illnesses Can Be Assisted To Die

I watched this fascinating, honest and upsetting documentary featuring Emily, a 24 year old who is ready to end her life due to debilitating mental health issues.

< An Arctic Icebreaker Makes The Best Ambient Music

I listened to nearly 10 hours of white noise from a polar icebreaker in the Frozen Arctic Sea and it was magic of the purest kind. Listen here.

Life Things

< I Love The Swedish Name Svea

I was researching a piece for Baby GaGa about Swedish baby names for girls and Svea just melted me. The fact it had a fucking brilliant back story made it even better. Pronounced SVE-ah, Svea is from a personification of the country of Sweden and during the 1600’s and 1700’s it was only used as a term for Sweden. Svea a derivative of Svear which is the Swedish name for the ancient tribe the Swedes. The Swedish name for Sweden is Sverige, a newer form of Svea rike, which translated means ‘the realm of the Svear.’

< We Need To Use The Blueberries In The Freezer From Last Summer

I was in the freezer this morning, and noticed we have about a kilo of blueberries left over from last blueberry season. I don’t know how they’ve lasted so long considering how much of a smoothie/blueberry pie fanatic I am. But before I know it, we’ll be out picking the bushes clean and the freezer will be chock full again with fruit. So, I’m going to do some thorough recipe research, and see if I can also find some ways to use them on my skin.

< I Am Actually More Patient Than I Thought

This morning I had such brilliant intentions when I hauled myself out of bed, and after a breakfast with my current read (In The Kingdom Of Ice by Hampton Sides) continued with my cross stitches for my little shop (that’s coming on the 5th of March). I ended up spending three and a half hours mostly unpicking my stitches but not once did I scream loud enough for the neighbours to hear. Cross stitch has MASSIVELY helped me to become more patient.

< Having Newly Dyed Hair Improves My Confidence Massively

My roots have been bothering me since November of last year, and going out without my hood on for the past four months has been a very rare occasion because I’ve felt hideous. It doesn’t help that my hair refuses to adapt to any style I try and put it in. The other day – after asking my boyfriend to dye my hair for several months – my friend helped me bring my roots from dirty mouse to Arctic night black. Though I like leaving the house with my hood up it’s a comfort knowing my head no longer looks like it’s been stored in a bin.