Darlings, I am going to give you some advice. Now, I know you didn’t ask for this, but after a conversation I had yesterday—I think it’s needed. And with Valentine’s Day coming up, I figure it can’t hurt.
If you’re single, it’s okay. Bad failed first dates—dates that lead nowhere? That’s okay. That’s not a reflection of you. If someone doesn’t appreciate you for who you are (not funnier, not taller, not prettier), then that person is not right for you. Period. You are not unworthy or less, if someone cannot see all the wonderful things about you. If you have to change yourself (physically or personality-wise) to fit into someone’s life/heart? Well, that’s not real love.
And let me tell you something about real love: it will blow you away, once you find it. It will lift you up, not keep you down and never keep you small. Crazy Muppet hair will be appreciated. All your humor will be endearing. Because finding someone who cares for you just the way you are? Man, it’s magic. And it will do your soul more good than a thousand empty, shallow relationships.
Because you are not a vague ideal of a person. You are not a silhouette. You are blood and flesh. You are years of gathered wisdom and experience. You are a person, not a human-shaped checklists of requirements. Life is too short to be with someone just to be with them. It’s too short to settle. It’s too short to be anything less than 100% bloody you. Because you are excellent, just as you are—rambling and nonsense included.
Find someone who loves your weird. Find someone who loves your flaws (spoiler alert: that person won’t see all the bad crap you see about yourself). Find someone who sets your soul on fire. Find someone who thinks your taste in books (or comics or movies) is fantastic. Who can match you Princess Bride quote for Princess Bride quote. Someone who encourages and supports you without hesitation or question. Because that’s what you deserve.
And me? I’m single. I may be single for the rest of my life, and that’s fine. I know what I deserve, and I won’t take any less. Sure, I’ve been on my share of bad first dates. And it’s rare than anyone gets a second. Does that make me a snob? No. I just know what I want. And I know what it’s like to be understood and appreciated. Anything less is…well, bullshit.
If someone wants you to be thinner or younger, blonder or more poised, or somehow more easy/manageable? That person is not right for you. That person is not worthy of you. Because real love can find you in the most unexpected place and the most unexpected time. And the secret is, even if it seems insane, it’s worth it. It’s worth all the crazy. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to put in time and effort. It doesn’t mean love isn’t work. But it’s the good kind, like pursuing a passion you love. Like doing something you can’t live without. For me, real love is like writing. I can’t breathe without putting words down on paper. If I don’t write for a while, I feel so off-kilter. So…un-me. Love is like that too. Not a need or a want—but somehow both. Easy, like second nature, an instinct.
Find the person who feels like art. Who thinks of you when they’re falling asleep. Who meets you for coffee and remembers how you take yours. Find the person who lets you in and asks you to redecorate, not the one who expects you to slide into what’s already that. Because love changes you, on both sides. And it should. But always, always for the better. It’s not that you aren’t whole to begin with. You are. It’s finding someone who matches you, step for step, without ever thinking twice.
Believe me, darlings, you deserve that kind of love. Nothing less will do.
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.
This has been a crazy year. There were good, bad, and bananas things. To say that I’ve learned a lot is an understatement. Because, honestly, if I’m not learning – I’m doing life wrong. Because life is about trying. It’s about making mistakes. It’s about putting yourself out there, in whatever fashion that might be. Making art, for instance. Trying a new hobby. Saying I love you. Traveling somewhere all by yourself. Meeting people.
To me, that’s the important thing about life: living it. Being present. Finding, stealing, and savoring moments. There are three things I couldn’t live without: love, laughter, and coffee. Let’s face it: no one wants to be around a non-caffeinated me. It’s not pretty. But, to me, those are such vital things. Without love, I’d cease to exist. I am nothing without my idiotic, somewhat spastic, completely willful heart. A sense of humor, too, is a must; there have been things, over the years, that I would not have gotten through, if it weren’t for a sense of humor. I’m not going to list them. You don’t need to hear my scars. Suffice to say, finding humor in the dark parts will help pull you through.
But I feel like I need to say thank you, here (feel free to skip this, if you’re easily bored or pressed for time). To my family and friends, who love and put up with me (even when I’m crazy…which is a lot). To anyone who has ever read something I’ve written – and even liked it! To everyone whose life I’ve been lucky as hell to be a part of, who has touched my life in unexpected, but beautiful ways. To the mad ones, who light up life like stars in the blue-black night sky. To my people, my lost witches, my Gilmore twin, my partners in crime, my Wonder Twin, my darling gypsy witch, and my best friend. To the agents who have blogged, tweeted, and generally been awesome. To my fellow writers and editors who live in this ocean made of words.
It has been a year, darlings. There are moments I wouldn’t trade for the world. Although it has been an especially crazy few days, I’m grateful. I keep thinking about this time, last year, where I was and what I was doing. What was I feeling? Like I’d lost everything and nothing would be the same again. I was reeling in a soul-deep, earthquake way. Since then, I’ve seen, been, done, and loved a lot. I’ve been true to myself. I’ve tried new things. I’ve been open, honest, daring, and probably a wee bit bonkers. I’m proud of everything I’ve learned over the past year.
I hope that 2014 is filled with so much joy, laughter, magic, art, adventure, wonder, love, and honesty. May you face all your shadows bravely. May you always remember you’re not alone. May you kiss someone with reckless abandon, someone who adores and cherishes you. May you make good changes. May you walk right out of your comfort zone and discover new things about yourself. May you laugh until your face hurts. I wish, for you, unexpected blessings, strength, and resolve.
In 2014, be good (and true) to yourself. Believe. Allow yourself to hope and dream, then act on those things. Wish and want, and then do everything within your power to attain those desired things.
For all of you who are in my heart, whether or not I’ve said it lately – I love you. Carry that with you in the new year. Tonight, I’ll be raising a glass to you and making wishes of my own.
*Title pilfered from the incomparable Neil Gaiman.
There’s something about fall that makes me think of magic. That makes me feel like everything is magic. If there’s something the world needs more of, it’s that. Even if it is the magic of small things, like kindness and hope. Emily Dickinson once described hope as a “thing with feathers, that sings that tune without the words and never stops at all.” The phrasing is correct, but the line breaks probably aren’t. I would have to agree with her, but I’d also say that hope is a leaf turned to fire, beauty just before transformation.
Every morning when I’m in my car, I’m reminded of the power of change. I used to hate change. It used to terrify the hell out of me. It used to make me rebel, either internally or externally. I liked tradition. I like consistency. I like the safety that you can find in certainty. And then, things happened. Instances that change everything. I can number two. The specifics aren’t relevant. But think of a moment that turned everything inside out. Think of a person. Think of a kiss. Think of a leap you took, hands shaking. The good and the bad. Conjure it. Remember equal parts tears and laughter.
I’ve gotten better about change. There are times where I even welcome it. I’ve become more flexible than I used to be. Not that I was some kind of rigid, unreasonable monster. But I often had to talk myself into things. Now, I’m more inclined to grin and say, “What the hell?” According to Marilyn Monroe, that’s always the right answer.
There were things that used to scare me. They don’t anymore. I’ve never been one to be concerned about what people think. I know, and I’ve always known, that people are often quick to judge, condemn, and raise an eyebrow – without really stopping to listen or even try to understand. I’m the opposite: even if I don’t agree with something, I will do my damned best to try and understand it. I will listen. I will put myself where you are. I will try to see what you see. Maybe that’s because I’m a Libra. Maybe it’s because I always want to know. Either way, I am what I am. *quietly eats spinach*
But fall. It’s here. The wind feels like the ghost of winter. It kiss with a chill. And yet, I don’t mind. I see the leaves, ranging from green to gold, from yellow to red, and I am not in mourning for the inevitable winter. Instead, I’m opening my heart to the magic that we often overlook. The power to say yes. The power to bend. The way everything makes sense, even when it shouldn’t. The way we often, inexplicably, know the depths of our hearts – dancing and bottomless, brave and vulnerable.
Lately, life feels like a matter of when, not if. I can’t remember the last time I believe in so many things so feverishly and without doubt or hesitation. This is what comes of following your passion. This is what comes of looking into the face of a scary thing and diving off a cliff. Of, as I’ve often advised my friend Jessica, just doing The Thing, whatever it is. Because anyone who dares, knows. Anyone who tries, understands. Anyone who has been brave will tell you of the power of it.
I’ve never lived a perfect life. I’ve never been one to live inside the lines. I’ve walked the line, crossed it, and never looked back. This is a thing you need to do if you’re going to be true to who you are. If you are going to create things, be it art or relationships.
I tend to be neurotic. I’m low-key (not Loki. Although…), but I can be a total spaz. Sometimes, I babble and cannot shut up. Sometimes, I am entirely silly. I am smart, sometimes too smart. I am made of belief and good intentions, stitched together with absolute love. I am unconditional. I am never someone who runs. People need to be reminded of that, occasionally, because the world is full of people who do run. Those people are usually more lost than they know or admit. But I have never once looked up at the sky and not seen the stars. e.e. cummings once wrote, “Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.” There is nothing I trust more than my own heart, whether the sea is on fire or I am.
Tell me, darlings, what do you trust? What do you put your faith in? How often do you chance to truly see the stars?
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan