When the world is a battlefield, I promise you an open door. A soft place full of quiet. Two hands that cannot fix or save, but can ease. I promise compromises and adventure. Red lipstick ringing a glass, that glass full of tequila. Laughter that echoes and makes your sides ache. I promise fights and arguments without gloves, but without teeth. No names. No unnecessary knives, just the honesty of people butting heads and hashing it out. There’s no going to bed angry. There’s no going to bed apart.
Dinner will burn. Things will break. Money will get tight, and there will never be enough time. But everything works out, with enough heart and consideration. There will be days full of question marks and closets full of worry. But those are ghosts, and a little light can banish them. No house is perfect, but home is just a framework for everything you put inside it. Everything you carry in that cage in your chest.
Happiness is not always a choice. It’s a pursuit. It’s looking down the barrel of a gun and daring it to fire. It’s believing that you’re worth more than your lowest day and darkest moment, and baring your teeth at the fear. It’s letting the light in through the windows, even if the glass is dirty. Not everything has to be perfect, clean. Most of life isn’t. Most of life is ballet on a razor’s edge.
Sometimes, we are incapable of seeing ourselves. Our eyes are a broken mirror, our days too stuck on surviving. I will hold up a better mirror. I will hold up my heart. I will keep you from that pit of dogs you keep trying to throw yourself in.
You don’t ask for someone’s patience. It is freely given. That is love in small moments. Time. A way to sort out the shadows without abandoning the dark. Everything is a balance. But what is offered, without expectation, is an open hand. That is love. It is never a closed door, never an asking thing.
Today, I was driving home from work, noticing how the leaves are changing so quickly. So many branches are full of different shades of fire, a sign that winter is on its way. That soon, things will be quite different. What’s green has gone gold, and bits of what was are already dancing to the ground. Everything seems quiet, so I turn up the radio, defiantly singing along.
Crossing the bridge around the corner, halfway between the bend, I started to cry. It was the kind of feeling that hits from nowhere, but once it emerges, you know it was in every one of your bones all along. So many things are shifting, changing – there’s no set season or pattern. There’s no definite place of arrival. There’s just the road and a bend.
A question mark. Empty space. These things fill up with a sneaky kind of drowning. The unknown and the unknowable can be a vicious monster, but not of hulking terror and overtly gnashed teeth. No, it’s more like the things that flicker in the edges of your vision, at night, when you’re alone and the world is otherwise still and quiet. It’s like the shadows that seem to move, but when you turn your head, nothing is there. But you still find yourself walking faster, breath hitching at the way everything’s turned cold. Trying to get away from what might be.
But good and bad thing about empty space is that it can fill up with anything. It is potential, possibility. Not definitively loss. Not definitively gain. It is a waiting canvas. And while all things – people, relationships, etc. – have their breaking point, it is only in those moments of radical change that we can really see what matters.
You have to show up.
You have to take a stand.
You have to say no.
You have to say when.
You have to stop giving away your power.
The leaves change because of nature. But none of us are trees. And we don’t always have to follow the road.
I met a woman, once, who was made of storms and secrets. Magic threaded through everything she did, everything she touched. She created entire worlds in a single whisper, a single photograph, a single brush of paint. She could read cards and people with a depth that is unmatched. She could light a candle and change the world – even if the world in question was simply yours.
Sound impossible? It’s not. Allow me to introduce Katelan Foisy, mistress of magic (and occasional minion to her cat, QPI). Few people are so talented in one medium, as Kat in her myriad arts. She paints. She acts. She makes magic. She tells fortunes. She teaches online classes on how to read tarot, how to discern the lines etched in a palm. She sees, and she also sees through.
I’m lucky enough to own a couple of pieces of Kat’s art—one original piece and one print.
I will, next year, be buying another. She recently had two pieces featured in different shows. One of them is Al Capone, and there’s something about his eyes and expression that stops me every time. You can see that here.
Kat sees the past and honors it, but she also finds a way to situate it in the present, even the future. She’s captured folks like William S. Burroughs, Amy Winehouse, and Taylor Mead in stunning detail. There’s a bit of Frida Kahlo in her work, but everything she creates in uniquely and amazingly Kat.
And on a personal note, if I’m being honest, she’s saved my sanity more times than I can count – and more than I can ever repay her for. But that’s a story for tequila and a quiet bar. Suffice to say that I’ve been fortunate enough to partake in Kat’s tarot readings. I’ve had reading done by different people in the past. Hell, my 16th birthday had a tarot reader (the last time I actually had a birthday party; it was a costume party, and it was fucking awesome). But no one has ever gotten so much right, with emotional weight and insanely granular detail as Kat does. It blows me away, and I’m not a person easily blown away.
(This is where I tell you she’s working on her own tarot deck, which features a really stunning array of important people from her life. The artwork is gorgeous. The book to go along with it is tremendous.)
Kat’s also co-owner of a business called London Conjure. I wear one of their oils every day as perfume. That wasn’t originally why I bought it, but it smells too good to keep on a shelf. Plus, who doesn’t need a bit of extra magic on the regular?
Check out some of Kat’s art. Have her read, then draw (or paint!), your palm. Get a tarot reading done (she’s running a sale for the month of October on full deck readings for $80; they’re usually $100. Take advantage of it, guys. Trust me. Her 10-car readings are $40, if you want to snag one of those.). Ask for luck in love or court. Whatever you choose, I will tell you this: Kat will absolutely change your life, whether it’s through art or otherwise.
You think the picture is finished
but it isn’t. It’s true
that my heart is stained glass, but
it is also kaleidoscope, always
reforming, making beauty
out of the impossible,
and I love you
with every shattered
little piece, never questioning
whether or not
you are worth it, never weighing
what is weightless
but still heavy. Kisses aren’t rocks
on scales, and neither are hearts,
there is no balance, only
the promise that it will
all work out. Better men
call it faith, but I am no man
so I call it hope. Sometimes
I whisper your name at night
because it’s the only way
to conjure you next to me.
This is everything I have to give,
heart as open as a church door,
hands like rosaries, waiting
for you to come say your prayers.
I know how it looks,
I know the way empty space
fills up with what’s unsaid,
that there’s no guarantee that god
is even listening – would you be surprised
to find that I still pray? Sometimes,
old habits resurrect themselves
and I can’t stop it. You are not
an old habit. You are the marrow
in my bones, and I don’t know
how or when that even happened,
but here we are. Come
with all your quiet shame, every
bad moment and worst fear, every
ounce of your swollen heart, all the little
nightmares you never let live out loud –
give them to me, and I will
take each pain and make a mosaic
out of what some call ruined,
is its own grace, and some
hearts are bandages
for the wounds
we never admit to even ourselves –
is that I love you
with all that is whole
inside me, with all that is
shattered, too. Sometimes
it is our so-called flaws
that turn us
into miracles, the way light
falls through stained glass, taking
broken and making it into