books, personal

a series of updates, book reviews, and advice

In regards to the current books in my life:

I am out of my reading slump! It’s a fucking miracle! I did not read, like, all summer. I read casually, like short blurbs of non-fiction or magazines. I don’t have any idea why my brain decided that it loved reading again. I woke up a few days ago and was like Fuck, I miss books. I felt so uncomfortable with myself the entire time I was in that slump. It was a constant war of “I want to read, I need to read, I can’t read”. I’d start a chapter of something and my attention span would direct me elsewhere. It felt so unhealthy. Books are one of the best forms of therapeutic activity for me, other than listening to music and getting tattooed.  Not to mention, I could feel my fucking brain cells dying a little every day. Honestly? I think it was the pre-wedding stress that was making me way more attention-deficit. Weddings are stressful as shit and one of my main anxiety symptoms is restlessness so if I had to use the logical side of my brain, I would guess that a solid portion of my reading slump was stress-based. I don’t know if I talked about this before but I’m an over-analyzer who deals with every hypothesis and conclusion on the right side of my brain. So, I use logic and sound reasoning a lot more than I like to admit, but the emotive side usually does the talking for me. Due to the fact that I’m either a ball of rage or annoyed, I think my emotions usually present themselves in a way that’s more of a warning, less of an invitation. Anyway, let’s talk about books, baby.

I just finished the Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault today. It was an easy read for me and very compelling so I kind of flew through it. I liked the main character and I felt like the other characters were really complex and layered, which is great since I feel like so many side characters are allowed to have three defining traits that determine the entirety of their purpose. The premise is extremely interesting and has actually prompted me to take an interest in learning how to read tea leaves in my downtime. (This means that fuckweasel is going to be dragged to a pottery painting workspace so that I can make a tasseography cup! Yay, fuckweasel!) The ending was the only part of the story that I didn’t like. I felt like I should have been expecting something way more sinister and it kind of fell more on the meh spectrum than I had hoped for. I was very close to figuring out the mystery but eventually decided not to care, since I was going to find out at some point. I also hated Matt with a passion, so that dampened the story a bit.

Solid 3/5 stars.

I am listening (thanks to the lovely folks at Audible) to All the Crooked Saints by The Stiefvs. This book is gorgeous. I love all the characters, especially Beatrice and Pete. I read in an interview of hers that Beatrice was modeled after the Myers-Briggs type, INTJ, which is what I am! I can also be an INFJ, depending on the day, but my scale usually tips to the Thinking side. Anyway, the story is beautifully crafted in classic Stiefvater style and just like all her other stories, it’s completely unique and authentically creative. I’m a little over halfway through and I am more emotionally invested than I ever wanted to be. Speaking of our lord and savior, Maggie S., she’s also teasing us with snippets from the Dreamer trilogy, aka the continuation of my male-counter part’s story with the love of my life, Adam Parrish. Although, I still miss Kavinsky. More than I should at this point in my life but hey, there are way worse destructive behaviors I could indulge myself with (not that I don’t already but moderation is key, kids).

I picked up An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson today. I have been waiting to read this book F O R E V E R.

Here’s the synopsis:

 

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Doesn’t that just sound like some shit I’d be into? I am so fucking excited to read this book. Plus the title? Ravens are my shit, man.

10/10 will keep you posted.

Lastly, I’ve been thumbing through Witch by Lisa Lister. It’s a pseudo-spellbook with a heavy sense of female empowerment. I have been highlighting passages like crazy and it will probably end up being my manifesto for a while. The author cusses a lot and I really appreciate that on a deep, spiritual level. I strongly recommend it for people who are newly discovering witchcraft or are trying to rediscover their own which brings me to the topic of…

In regards to my witchcraft practices: 

Firstly, I have an appointment to get a very witchcraft related tattoo tomorrow. I just wanted to tell you that because tattoos are always exciting. I also have another tattoo appointment to get Johnny Cash quotes with my godmother (who also practices). I did a lot of tarot readings in a short amount of time and apparently, I attract the Magician card. I am not fucking with you, it showed up in every reading; whether it was a card in the spread or it fell out into my lap, it was there. It pissed me off. For those of you who don’t know, the Magician “is a master of all trades, resilient to what the world throws at him, a reminder that your power is larger than your physical body”. It’s basically someone who has mastered their magic, their emotions, their logic, and their work. I am not a balanced person so I’m sure most people would have seen that and been like “Get your shit together” but I saw it and was like “Fuck, I need to get back into doing some serious witchcraft and also, I should get a tattoo of this card.”

No one ever said I was of sound mind.

So, here we are in the middle of my favorite month and with the veil thinning more and more each day. You bet your ass that I’m working on making my craft a little stronger each day. I did have a regular customer ask me if I had a broom to go with my hair and choice of clothing. In addition, I had a quiz on the internet tell me that I’m a “wild shadow witch” so I guess you could say I’m doing okay with it.

Today, I made a french press and persimmon cookies to honor the dead. Honoring the dead is something that I have a particular skill in throughout the entirety of the year but when that veil is lifting, I basically throw parties. My Mimi and I shared October and coffee and persimmon cookies.

In regards to my marriage / personal life: 

Marriage isn’t any different. I don’t say that to be a dick, but we’ve been doing this for so long and with such intention to make it work that it’s not like anything actually changed. Fuckweasel has been working very long hours so I’ve been an extra crazy housewife, cleaning schedule and all. We were going to start looking at houses but he wants to hold off for a couple of years and I’m totally okay with that. I love our apartment (even though I’m fairly certain that we have a ghost now, it’s a long story) and I just want him to be happy and comfortable (fuck off, he’s my best friend). I haven’t legally changed my name yet because its such a big pain in the ass but I’m going to get that process started while I finish our thank-you notes. I’ve been cooking like a fucking lunatic. I’m working on getting the hang of our cast iron skillet and sometimes my chicken is a little overdone but I would rather NOT get salmonella, so its a fair trade. Here’s a list of my most recent cooking adventures:

  •  Chicken piccata
  • Quinoa and red pepper power bowls
  • Alfredo pasta with bacon and sauteed mushrooms
  • Creamy lemon salmon
  • Crushed potatoes with an herb and olive oil dressing
  • Orange and spice salmon
  • Creamy citrus chicken
  • Persimmon cookies
  • Parmesan cauliflower bites
  • Avocado fries

There’s more but I think you get the gist. I’ve been cooking a storm up in this bitch. I wouldn’t call myself a skilled chef by any means but I enjoy the cathartic aspect of cooking and its a really fantastic creative outlet.

In other news, photography class is my favorite thing ever, other than tattoos and motorcycles. Someday, I hope to take pictures of tattoed people riding motorcycles so maybe all my true loves will intersect in the future. I struggle hard with Photoshop but I don’t really plan on utilizing anything other than Lightroom, so it’s okay.

In regards to other aspects of my life that you may or may not give a fuck about: 

  • Found out my temperament is choleric, which further adds to the Slytherin / Capricorn dominant / INTJ / wild shadow witch thing that I’ve got going on.
  • I’m trying a new acne regimen. For those of you who read this and know me outside of the interwebs, I have struggled with adult acne for about 6 years now. Nothing has actually ever worked, including birth control and seeing a dermatologist. This regimen comes HIGHLY recommended for people with hormonal issues like me (PCOS and Endo are a bitch, guys) so wish me luck. I’ll be doing before/ after pictures and cataloging any improvements and setbacks.  Be prepared to see my dumb fucking face more often. I’m extremely self-conscious about my acne because I had perfect skin growing up and then my face was a spontaneous war zone. I’ve given up certain foods to make my acne better and that is some serious bull shit. Stay tuned.

 

Thank you to all of you fucks who still check this shit out even though there’s no designated posting schedule. Y’all are the real MVP and I look forward to gracing you with my shining personality every time that I start writing.

That’s all there is,

The Book Witch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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books, personal

hello, it’s me (back from the dead)

Thank you to everyone who has been patiently waiting for me to post again; my fiance and I have been in the process of finding an apartment, packing all of our shit, and moving said shit for the past two months.

I have a lot to catch you guys up on. I have two new tattoos – a thestral and a crown of thorns. We live in a brand new place, and so far, I absolutely love it. Jay graduated so we’ve been navigating that. My car broke down on the day we moved all of our furniture – so we’ve been carpooling ever since. I have a fuck ton of pictures to show you guys. But first, I wanted to tell you why I didn’t write while we were moving. Firstly, I work a shit ton. Spare hours are hard to come by and I was basically managing every aspect of our transport by myself so Jason could finish his classes in peace. There were not a lot of free seconds to devote to writing, unfortunately. Secondly. my space is so crucial to my sanity. I’m an introvert, an INTJ on some days, and an INFJ on others. I am an autumnal spirit who needs solitude and peace before I can function like a person. I also have OCD and anxiety, so everything must be in its proper place. (When I say I have OCD, I don’t mean that I’m afraid of germs and dirt. I mean that I have a little voice inside my head that the psychiatrist I went to actual said “Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier? You have classic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and no one has ever diagnosed you properly, so that sucks”) My personal space is so fucking crucial to my mental health. My home is where I go to recharge, it’s my witch’s cottage, my castle. Don’t fuck with my home or the inhabitants.)

I strongly believe my first home was a song. Maybe it’s because I was raised under the wings of two Cancers but “home” is a very fluid term for me. Maybe it’s because I spend so much time trying to reign in the fireworks under my skin that “home” has shifted from person to object to lyric so frequently.

Anyway, my first home was a song. It was the only thing that held a glimmer of safety and I tucked myself under the lyrics and stayed there until I was strong enough to be my own crescendo. That song was “Skinny Love” by Bob Iver. I know! You were expecting something by Johnny Cash, hang on, it’s coming. Wait for your fucking turn. You can tell me forty thousand times that Skinny Love is about unrequited love, which, for some, it might be. For me, Skinny Love has always been about suicide and depression.

I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s not so much a secret now because the shame is wearing off and replacing itself with something more vicious.

The years between my thirteenth and nineteenth years of my life saw NINE suicide attempts. You read that right, fuck off. I don’t really want to talk about them but they were never supposed to not work so let’s just leave it at this: I’m really horrible at committing suicide. Kind of like how I’m horrible at communication or not using “fuck” as a filler word. I can point out the lines in Skinny Love that helped me recover the next morning after I downed a bottle of narcotic pain pills. I can point out the lines that I sang along to with red-rimmed eyes and panic attacks crawling under my skin. This sucks to talk about so let’s finish on a high note – Skinny Love was something that I always thought was written for me. Not in an egotistical, people-are-writing-songs-about-me way but in “Listen, you sad little bitch, the universe is trying to tell you something”

Hence, my latest tattoo. When I got my thestral patronus, I thought “Fucking perfect, I’m a morbid piece of shit with a death pony as a spirit animal. Who could love that?” Who will love you, who will fight? This leads me into a brief discussion of my second home: myself. I never really cared for myself as an object of permanence until I started decorating the walls. I think my partial sleeves actually started my journey into self-acceptance. Not self-love, that’s a work in progress.  I have all these pieces of my soul etched on my skin and it gives me great comfort to know it’s giving everyone a forewarning before they talk to me.

The other tattoo I got, my crown of thorns, lives ever-so-happily on my middle finger of my right hand. It’s a homage to two things – Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt and my Catholic upbringing. I’ve always felt like us reformed Catholics wear a crown of thorns. My crown is formed of guilt and grief. I’m sure there are other ties that bind us to our thrones, but those are mine.

Thirdly, as you can probably guess, I find a home in the books that I love. They become part of me, so I cover myself in them. I cover my shelves with them, my bathtub is lined with them. If I ever saw someone trying to hurt one of my books, they would get a right hook to the jaw.  Harry Potter, Wicked Lovely, Looking for Alaska, and the Raven Cycle are series that I consider to be especially comfortable.

Lastly, I find my home in other people. Before you get all judgy and start accusing of being a false prophet of introversion,  let me tell you something – I am very particular with the people that I settle into. Above all things that I am proud of, I am most proud of the fact that when I decide to love something or someone, I love them with all that I have. I made a home for myself within the confines of maybe four or five people, tops. One of them is my sister and one of them is Jason. Jason is a very interesting choice of residence, as I am always so sure that we could break each other entirely.  My OCD makes me think I am the catalyst to his destruction, my tarot cards say I am the catalyst for his resurrection.

By the way, my sister gave birth to my goddaughter on June 2nd. Little Annabelle Jade, my little Gemini trickster queen.

So now Jason and I have a tiny 900 square foot fortress and in turn, I have other dwelling places within that home.

I feel as if a home has a different definition to every individual, but I always think of it as a place where I can tell the truth of myself without judgment, a place where I can let my magic reign free with no fear of consequence.

Here are some pictures of my tiny home

deskliving roomravenwitch

Yes, that IS a Ronan Lynch quote above my witchcraft station. Call me morbid but I thought “Not death but his brother, sleep” was a perfect addition to my bedroom. Fight me, I dare you. Did I happen to mention that I got my DNA test back? Guess who is 65% Irish with a Russian and Bulgarian twist. It explains my kinship to the Lynches and Kavinsky.  It also explains my intolerance to the sun, weather above 60 degrees, the spectrum of human emotion, and my love of Jameson.

Speaking of books, I finished Labryth Lost and it was surprisingly really good.  The lore was interesting to read about and I appreciated the way the main character was written. I was surprised by the romantic twist but it was one of my favorite LBGT moments thus far in a book. I also read Diary of a Haunting and it was an easy read but the ending actually snuck up on me a bit. I am having a super hard time getting into A Court of Wings and Ruin, I think because I honestly prefer the Throne of Glass series and I think Aelin and Rowan could kick Feyre and Rhys’ ass. Fun fact: I like slow burn books IF YOU COULDN’T ALREADY TELL.

While we’re on the topic of my favorite literary couples, can we have a moment of silence for all the Dreamer trilogy niblets that Maggie keeps dropping? Not going to lie, I cry when I see them. I save them to my phone and look at them when I need a moment of cathartic release.

I’m currently listening to The Song of Achilles on Audible and reading a physical copy of  My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and I have already picked out which quotes I’m going to get added to my Book Sleeve. These books are going to destroy me, I can sense it.

I will start blogging more often, I promise. I’ll have to give reviews of the books I’m reading now and keep updating everyone on my domestic bullshit. I’m back in business for tarot readings since I have more privacy, so tell your friends.

That’s all there is,

The Book Witch

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Sunday Ramblings

So, I’m finally crawling out of the despair pit that was my Post-Raven Cycle Reading Slump. I’m still completely over the moon with that series – it was a life changer but I’m easing my way back into other literature. I read Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe and was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. Then I tried a contemporary romance and that was a mistake, so I gave it to a friend and moved onto Me, Earl & The Dying Girl which gives me a sneaking suspicion that I, too, might die at the end. I’m also listening to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea and also enjoying it quite a bit.

On an unrelated note, I strongly recommend listening to podcasts about subjects that you enjoy if you ever feel lost, they’ll help you rediscover your love for “stuff”

On a semi-unrelated note, here are some updates about my life:

  • I’m coloring my hair to black in a couple weeks. I had a black fo-hawk a couple years ago and I loved the color but the length was a bit much. Trying to keep up with my growth right now is a bitch, so I’m going to nix that problem right in the roots. (That WAS a hair pun, you’re welcome)
  •  I have an appointment to get my thestral tattoo in a couple weeks and I’ll also be adding to my fingers; my tarot symbols didn’t take very well to my skin but my artist is the most amazing human ever and I have no doubt that she’ll be able to fix that.
  • I may be upgrading my camera! Seriously, I’m so excited. I did not expect to love photography this much. I also plan on giving my sister my Kodak, in the event of said upgrade, because she loves taking pictures and it would be nice to have a buddy.
  • I have been agonizing over my Imagine Dragons tattoo. Combining five songs into a single bicep-sized image is basically torture. I was stoked when I finally created this masterpiece on my computer and have thus decided to have thousands of tiny needles engrave it on my skin. imgine dragons
  • Last but not least: I ordered a DNA tracing kit in order to find out more about my personal heritage. That’s what this particular segment of my odd ramblings is going to focus on: family.

You know the word: family. Familia. Teaghlaigh. Семейный

It’s defined as all “descendants of a common ancestor”.

My mom is adopted so I don’t know anything about my ancestors. The fact that she was adopted has no relevance to my life other than that. My Papa and Mimi taught me that we chose our own family, and I’ve stuck to that doctrine throughout my whole life. I am closer to and more loved by people who aren’t even in the same genetic pool as I than some people that I share blood with. But, more on that later. The moral of the story is that my mom was so loved that my grandparents chose her to be their child. I share no blood with those same grandparents and yet, I share their hearts.

Let’s talk about my dad.

Our last name is “Primak”, which is a very Russian rooted word. So, we know that much. I go by “Hayden” because I feel as though an alias is something I was born to have and middle names can totally count for an alias, right?

Fucking right.

My dad…

dado

(The resemblance between us is uncanny, by the way)

My dad was in the middle of building a student union at my University when I was much younger. He was one of the upper dudes who told other dudes how to do math-y shit and how to not be idiots. My dad, for lack of better terms, is not an idiot. I keep thinking about this particular time period because there’s a memory that has lodged itself so far into my brain that I have theorized it would take some serious sort of accident to dislodge it. My dad took me to the University library. It was different than it was now, but I remember two things:

  1. I was scared shitless. These college kids were tall and smart as fuck and I was an awkward Catholic school kid. I imagined every one of them looked at me with disgust and years of wisdom beyond mine. Little did I know that they were all dying internally and had I paid better attention, at least 26% were in pajamas and 38% were hungover.
  2. My dad doesn’t have a lot of words to say. He’s one of those individuals who doesn’t fill your life with meaningless bullshit if he can help it. As a child, I did not understand that. I grew up around Italians and Italians are the loudest breed of human beings who love (I say this with as much endearing fondness as I can) meaningless bullshit. Today, I very much understand that my dad offering me admittance to this library of scholars was his way of saying “I see you reading, and I see your passion for it.” I had been put down for my love of books for so many years that this realization was a bucket of ice water to my brain.

Long story short, he’s someone that I do happen to have a blood relation with, and who I am grateful to have a blood relation with. My dad is the reason I have a caffeine dependence. I look for him tucked in corners of my town, in cafes, on Lander St, in the stars. Jason, bless him, can now take one look at my face, see the tears in my eyes, and know that I am about to say “My dad and I always came here” or “This is something my dad would love”.  I don’t have those moments as often with my Mimi, because she follows me in my grief, in my sorrow. She does not bind herself to places like the living but wraps her absence around my wrist like a leash. I always thought “I am not like the people I come from” and I will be the first to tell you, as an adult, how wrong I was. You believe yourself to be an individual completely separate from your paternal or maternal influences but I am at least 48.5% Lou Primak. My dad is the smell of really fucking good coffee and pine trees. He’s old leather briefcases and the ridges of a baseball glove. He’s learning to ride a bike and the first time I went to Seattle. My dad is a winter child, like me.

I have a few moms at the moment, so let me talk about that really quick. I have my biological mom, Violet. I have my stepmom, Heather. I have my god-mom, Tonya. I have other moms who have picked me up along the way, but these ones are the most prevalent in my everyday understanding of the world. My Mimi was also my mom but she’s gone now and crying was not the point of this post. Obviously, you know I’m blood-related to Violet so let’s discuss Heather and Tonya because they are prime examples of “The blood of the covenant”

Heather is my dad’s wife. They got married when I was, like, nine or ten. They gave me a brother –  Jackson, who looks like me in dude form and has more energy in his pinky finger than I do in my whole body.

Heather is autumn leaves, a river in the distance, a home cooked meal when you’ve been living off of Ramen. Heather is an ocean of creative energy, a new project, a summertime nap. She’s the moment when the season changes to autumn, the brief seconds between “then” and “now”. She is my kindred spirit, the whole reason I got into blogging and cooking and photography and crafting. She’s the driving force behind my ingenuity. She’s my model introvert; she showed me that being comfortable with yourself is what really makes us unique. So many people lack the ability to sit with themselves for an hour before they begin to hate it. I look at kids who have stepparents that they feel bitter towards or dislike and I can’t even begin to tell you how ignorant I am on that topic. I had someone who helped me through so many difficult areas of my life and still put up with my shit, even though she had no obligation to do so.

It’s one of those phenomena where you look at your life under a microscope and can say “Holy shit, thank you”

Tonya is my god-mother which means, if you haven’t a clue about Catholicism, that if everyone died, she would be my new mom. She has actually said at one point “If everyone dies, I get to be your new mom. I mean, I am your mom. But this would be, like legally. It’s on papers at the lawyer’s office”. She’s also said things like “If I ever heard someone talking to you like that, I would spider-monkey over the counter and rip their throat out.”

Tonya was my spirit guide in another life (more on that later) and she probably gave birth to me in another one, too. She’s a fucking badass and I feel quite a bit better when I’m in her presence. She has that calming, “All is well, child. I’ll fuck a bitch up” vibe going for her. Tonya is rose quartz on a living room table. She’s a cone of incense and smudging your home with sage. She’s a wildfire, a hurricane of kindness and honesty. She’s a Pride flag, bright and burning. She’s a tattoo needle, a patch sewn into your heart. She’s a leather jacket and a Johnny Cash shirt. I am not blood-related to Tonya, her dad was a firefighter with my Papa, but I would never be able to put a tangible amount on how much I love her.

In short, I am not doing a DNA test to find my genetic relatives. You know why? Cause fuck that. know who my family is. I refer to myself constantly as a “walking contradiction of impulsivity and contemplation” meaning I’m the type of person who moves on a whim but budgets for it, the type who decides to dye her hair black but waits a month, the kind who suddenly realizes that they need a motorcycle but sets up a piggy bank for it, the kind who thinks “I need a new tattoo” over twenty times a day but spends more time designing them than getting them. The kind who says “Fuck it, I’m doing a DNA test” but holds off for five weeks.

I am a pretty big believer in reincarnation. In fact, I would probably say that it encompasses most of my thoughts on the afterlife.  I don’t actually believe in an afterlife but I think most people are recycled into new things. I do, however, think that some of us don’t get more chances. Like, when Hitler died they were like “Bro, what the fuck? We were gonna make you a sunfish or some dumb shit so you could learn but you just kept going?! We’re gonna have to scrap you, this energy can’t go anywhere else. You piece of shit, what the fuck. We were able to recycle Pontius Pilate for fucks sake”

So, in my search of my DNA, I’m hoping to find pieces of me scattered amongst the globe. I’m hoping to put them together and maybe resurrect the story of my lungs, my hair, my eyes.

That’s all there is,

Carry on,

The Book Witch

 

 

 

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An Introvert’s Insight Into Toxic Influences

So, learning how to use a DSLR camera is a fucking nightmare. I got some reading material to try and clarify some things but it looks like the mostly focus on Nikon and Canon…and I’m a proud Kodak owner. 

In addition, I haven’t gotten any positive news about my laptop so my nerves are a little frayed. On a brighter note, my fiancé started his new career yesterday. We have some bills to pay and some wedding costs to manage and then (hopefully) we will be able to move. I’m dying to have my own space and a push in the right direction is something we definitely need.

I was really excited this morning because I woke up, went to the gym, showered, and then had a personalized makeup lesson from one of the girls at my second job. Makeup is one of those daily routines that really empowers me.

Here’s the finished look:


In other news, I came across a few quotes recently that really resonated with me. The first one was:

You should give a fuck. You really should, but only about things that set your soul on fire. Save your fucks for magical shit.

and then this one, a quote about INTJ’s that I felt deep in my soul:

We love few people profoundly instead of several people sparingly.

and, finally:

Life is too short for bad books, decaf coffee, and toxic people.

I befriended my first toxic person in middle school, and much like I collect Virgos, I’ve been attracting them ever since. When I began this friendship, I had already been dubbed the “Harry Potter girl” and the “fastest reader” in my class of thirty-six students. I was strange and wall-flowerish and too sarcastic for my age. I rejected most of the religious readings and, above all, hated being separated from my books. For someone who had always been comfortable in my own skin, it was surprising how fast my friend was able to make me hate myself- I was called fat and emotional and weird. Suddenly, I wasn’t as at home in the silence of solitude or as in-love with the quirt nooks of my home. I needed to be reassured that my presence was important, desired. I didn’t care about any of this; I had found a friend! A friend with similar interests, as well!

Years passed before I reclaimed my self worth. After my first toxic influence, I continued to allow toxic people into mt life – welcoming their personal issues as my own – until recently. I cut the ties, fishing wire and red strings, holding me to the toxic people in my life. Re- learning to enjoy my own company was much more rewarding than being a doormat.

I’m not sure what it’s like for extroverts to have toxic influences in their lives, I have never been an extrovert. Even in the days that I spent covered in sunshine and chlorine, I craved solitude. I can tell you, however, how important it is for introverts to let go of negative people. Allowing toxicity into our lives is consenting to the idea that we aren’t worth more than their opinions. It’s letting go of Friday nights at home, with our hobbies and our thoughts, to go be with someone who will eventually turn us against ourselves. It’s saying
“I don’t love you, the bones that form my foundation and the mind that dwells inside, to keep you safe from voluntary harm”. It sounds harsh but it’s true; every time I’ve told someone “That friend doesn’t treat you with love”, I’ve watched the fear in their eyes so often that I feel it as my own. You shouldn’t fear cutting ties with someone, but that’s what happens with toxic humans – they inject themselves into our veins and take root in our hearts; they poison our blood with false promises and their own victimization.

I know lovely people in my life that I wish would cut ties with their toxic friends. I know it’s hard, I have toxic people in my family tree that I have no hope for severing, but I have learned to stand my ground and allow myself to create considerable distance.  I know people who light up my world that are friends with people who want to control them or change them or turn them into something that they aren’t.

If you come away from this post with anything, I hope you understand that you can’t fully love the right people or trust healthy relationships until you let go of the wrong ones.

May you always know your worth & let your truth shine,

The Book Witch

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Uncategorized

a letter, in lieu of a list

As 2016 comes to a close, I thought a good way to wrap things up would be to write a letter to 16-year old me – the Chandler who existed five years ago. I don’t do resolutions so this seemed like a cathartic, reflective way to end the year.

To myself, at 16 –

The first thing I would like to say to you is that I’m sorry. I failed you in a lot of different ways in your upcoming five years of growth. I encouraged you to hang out with people that bled you dry, I allowed you to be a doormat for everyone to use. I let you stop writing, drawing, reading. You distanced yourself from the people who would one day carry pieces of your soul and I said “Okay, go ahead”. I let you, with with your head full of dreams and a heart overflowing with trust,  give everything I had to someone and then forget who I am. It will take five years for you to come back to yourself. I’m so sorry.

The second thing that I’d like to tell you is that you get resorted into Slytherin. I know, but are you surprised? Remember all the times where you thought “I’m such an oddly selective Hufflepuff, there must be more out there like me!” There are, they’re called Slytherins. The Sorting Hat did say that you’ll meet your true friends here, and he was (hopefully) right. Be yourself, don’t ever be ashamed to be quiet or have a dislike of crowds. Don’t ever feel like you have to trust everyone because it’s in your nature – you are allowed to turn toxic people away.

The third thing we need to talk about is that you don’t marry your first love. Before you get upset, let me tell you: it’s okay. I know it feels like you built a life around this person and then someone took a sledgehammer to all the walls, but that’s okay. You see, in a couple years you’ll end up with a man who you never expected to end up with. You are supposed to marry this person on September 9th, 2017. I’m not going to tell you who it is because you need some more time to learn and to grow. You’re going to get hurt really, really badly and it’s going to be like the world has stopped for a couple months. Trust me, you will continue to hurt some people, too. You, my most empathetic darling, are not without flaws. Here comes the silver lining, the liquid gold they use to fill the cracks – he’s wonderful. You already know him – he’s been so kind to you before. He comes with some problems, he’s had a difficult life, but he’s going to be your best friend. Some days, he’s going to break your heart, it will be good and ugly, and he’s going to propose in the most heart-achingly beautiful way. You will drive five hours to adopt a dog and name her after Mimi, because she is so perfect and you will never have to be alone as long as she’s around.

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The last thing I want to tell you is that you will lose Mimi, your grandma. You will lose your soul-mate, your partner in crime. She will tell you for years that the two of you will open a bakery and then she’ll leave with an unknown condition and one last shuddering breath. Please be kind to her, when she’s gone you will have lost a parent. I know everything is about your friends right now, but who is a better friend to you than her? Bring Sammy over to the house more often, let her hang out with you and Mimi. Get your license and drive them to Dairy Queen. The loss of the person who introduced you to astrology and sewing will completely destroy you. Memories that you don’t want to revisit will haunt you at night and they’ll give you medication for the grief. Do you want to know a secret? I know the cure. Never, ever stop writing. You’re going to be a senior in high school with an English teacher who tells you that you’re one of the best she’s seen. She’s going to invite you back to read poetry that you wrote at midnight during a panic attack. You’re going to go to college (we’ll save that discussion for another day) and have four teachers bring tears to your eyes when they tell you that you should pursue writing. Hang out with Dad and Heather; have them read your work and give you feedback. Tell them that you love them and you’re grateful to be in their lives. Never stop carrying around a book. Bring colored pencils over to share with Jackson. Offer to babysit. You’re going to get over your fear of children when the world brings you Amelia, your niece, and you’ll wonder why no one has ever understood you more than a tiny girl with bright blue eyes.

I know that they say having an old soul is overrated, but its going to help you more than you know. Embrace forgiveness, but never forget. Practice compassion, but stand your ground. Understand now that you are the epitome of change and adaption. You will need to create in order to stop the overwhelming tide of life. Don’t drink and drive, do Mimi’s dishes, and give her a hug every single night.

Carry on, little one

The Book Witch (you, only more badass)

 

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poetry, Uncategorized

date a girl who loves the cold

Here is a short essay – poem I wrote spontaneously during my forensic anthropology class (i know, I KNOW). If you haven’t read the poem that this is modeled after go read it now. Here is the link so you have no excuse to not read it. It’s glorious and I want it as a tattoo.

Mine is much shorter, but I hope its enjoyable – nonetheless.

Without further hesitation, here is – date a girl who loves the cold 

“Date a girl who loves the cold

Her whole life is spent waiting in anticipation for endings

A girl who loves the cold understands that the finality of things is not permanent and that patience is ultimately the most important card to play

Like sitting in the window sill during a snowstorm, she can endure long lengths of fragile silences and cold shoulders

 

Date a girl who loves the cold

She will have a perfect remedy for a variety of ailments; she will tell you to drink peppermint tea to soothe a broken heart

To a girl that loves the cold, a warm bath with lavender is the cure-all and you will end up surrounded in bubbles on long days, good days, awful days, cold days, warm days

She has spent her life soaking her bones in sadness and learning to live alongside herself and only herself

 

Date a girl who loves the cold

You will be introduced to oddities and strange collections; she will have crystals in the corner of her home and bones she has collected on walks in the snow

She will cry over the characters from her books and you will realize that if you don’t read her favorites, it will be like ignoring a piece of her soul

She will have thrift store coffee cups and seashells from December afternoons spent away from home

 

Date a girl who loves the cold

When the first Autumn wind blows through the bedroom window, she will come alive

She will take you on trips to pumpkin patches, forests, and cemeteries with stars in her eyes; you will visit the ocean in November instead of July

Halloween and Christmas will be sacred in her home and you will learn to love the duality of ghost stories and stockings

 

Date a girl who loves the cold because she will understand the darkest parts of you and love them anyway

She will encourage you to enjoy the overlooked aspects of life, to stop and see the significance of a snowflake

She will be a storm of shattered glass and broken chords, a moment of truth and blistering honesty in a world that lies under the falsehood of instant gratification; she will uproot the person you thought you were, she will make you show the colors under your skin

Date a girl a who loves the cold, she will show you several different women within a year and you will wonder why a queen is without her crown”

 

Stay tuned for my next post, if you want me to write about anything specific – let me know in the comments. 

Happy full moon in Gemini,

The Book Witch

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