Daring to Love a Wild Woman

“Men may think a wild woman is a woman to be feared. They think, “Oh, she’s a wild woman, that must mean she’s dangerous. She’s probably crazy, too much to handle.” And in a sense, it’s true. She’s too much for someone who isn’t ready to show up fully and check their ego at the door.  She’s too much for someone who would rather have small talk than go deep. She’s too much if you expect her to hold back her anger or sadness or pain to protect you from seeing her in her chaos. But trust this: a wild woman is the safest type of woman you’ll ever meet. She doesn’t hold back. There are no surprises. You’ll meet her and she’ll let you see her for who she is. She trusts her own worthiness enough to reveal herself to you and let you decide whether or not you would like to walk with her. She doesn’t hide parts of herself in an attempt to keep your love because she doesn’t have time for connections that lack depth and meaning. A wild woman will invite you to love all parts of yourself. She’ll accept you in that place, because she has done the work to accept herself there.” 

| Sheleana Aiyana |

::: ::: ::: :::

How nice it is to be seen and described. My lover and I were talking about this on Sunday. He said these exact things to me, but I think it applies even if you just want to hang out or be friends with a wild woman (applies 100x more if you want to love her or get with her). I am wild, yes. I am too much for those who don’t want to show up. But for those who do? Oh, baby, you get my whole heart + mind + soul. It takes guts and courage to be a person who shows up for a wild woman, though. Which a lot of people don’t have. (And that is okay. We are all where we are.) I’m learning a lot about myself and relationships and love with this Mercury in retrograde. When it’s all over, I’ll share more. (Don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, less Life smack me, again.)

Big love, you brave and courageous souls,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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The sensuality of softness

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

 

Oh, ya’ll. It has been a week of intensity and today we turn the corner on this phase of Mercury in retrograde. That is- we’re half way through it (YAY!) and so we just have to travel the other half until April 14th and we’re out. Usually I sail through MiR like a champ but this one is dragging me low and kicking my ass. Yesterday was particularly tough and I had to dance my way out of a crappy belief, a nasty mood, and a crying jag.

In response, because today is the half way point, I’m turning towards softness. Calm things. Quiet things. Nourishment in simple things. I forget that sensuality isn’t all bright red, warm velvet, sexy, skin-slipping splendor. It is also softness. I keep a Pinterest board to remind myself what that feels like to me, and today I needed that reminder. So here’s what’s on tap for today, in mood and action.

It’s snowing and raining so it’s a blanket fort kind of day.
Favorite old books.
Hot tea and cookies.
If there is sex, it will be slow (so slow) and under lots of covers.
Skin on skin with no ambition is also fine.
Doing that thing where our hands just twist around each other. Touch.
Staring out the window and just breathing.
Short naps, curled up like a ball.
Soup and sandwich.
Resting.
No music, at least for a bit.
Hugs and snuggling [get closer, please].
Fat pillows in the corner of the couch.
Letting the chair hold you.
Daydreaming.

A Short Playlist for Soft Days

The Planets Bend Between Us | Snow Patrol

When I’m Thinking About You | The Sundays

Wild Horses | The Sundays

Crack the Shutters Open Wide | Snow Patrol
[if your partner can’t be silly, sensual, and want to learn you like this, maybe you need a better lover. plenty of good matches are made from practicality, but there has to be some magic.]

Puff The Magic Dragon | Peter, Paul & Mary

Somewhere Over the Rainbow | Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

New Soul | Yael Naim

 

Softness: I Need To Cry Add-on Pack

Sign Your Name | Terence Trent D’Arby

Hands to Heaven | Breathe

 

Softness: Lift Me Up Add-on Pack

Stand By You | Pretenders

A Sky Full of Stars | Coldplay

 

Be warm + kind + soft today, lovers.
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Broken. And Bright.

The Japanese have this very deep and beautiful type of art known as kintsugi. Kintsugi is the art and practice of taking something that was broken (china, pottery, etc.) and putting it back together using gold or silver to fill in the broken spaces. It’s beautiful when well done and I am fascinated by it.

 

Kintsugi (not the album by Death Cab for Cutie.)
[Photographer unknown. Please contact me if you do know so I can properly attribute.]

 

I believe all humans are kintsugi.

We all have our broken spots. And we can all work to heal them, or at least make them not leak so much. It is in the healing that we find our gold, and our beauty, I believe.

Yes, the world will break you. Your own heart will break you sometimes. But that brokenness does not have to leave us destroyed. We can heal, even if that healing is saying, “I accept that this brokenness exists” and nothing more. There is beauty and value in the relationship we have with what has been lost, as well.

We are all broken. And bright.

::: ::: ::: :::

When I was in my early twenties, a dear friend was trying to get divorced from her husband and had to get their two cars across town to her new apartment or job (I can’t remember which). So she would drive one car a quarter mile ahead of the other, park it on the side of the road, and then walk back and get the other car, drive that one up a quarter mile, park it and go back for the last one, and repeat the cycle over and over again. [She was 20 or 21 at the time, so don’t laugh. She was doing her best with no friends or family in a far-away city.] It took a lot of energy and a long ass time, but she did it.

I was remembering her story because three years ago I wrote a post titled, “I am Healed Enough Now.” [Read it here.] And in that post I talked about the process, the dance, of moving back and forth between wanting to grow and finding that I had things to heal first so that the growth could take place. I had to ‘bring up the rear’ to keep moving forward. It was as if my friend’s cars were tied together with flimsy rope, and she could only drive so far ahead before the second car had to be brought up, too. My psychological and spiritual growth happened like that- one was always chained to the other and I always had to go back to go forward.

I continued to dance this spiritual dance for another three years. I wasn’t wrong in that post- I was healed enough- but I needed three more years of taking tiny steps in that direction until I really felt it. I learned a lot in those three years, and I still did have plenty of healing to do, but I was ready to dance a new dance three years ago, I just didn’t start doing it.

After so many years of working on myself and helping other people work on themselves, I really do believe that healing our past is necessary work. We have to find out what makes us tick and why. We have to deal with the things that stick in our heart, mind, and soul. I am speaking of trauma, but also of the flippant comments a parent or teacher can make that scar us for many years. The ways we tell white lies to ourselves. The old stories from high school that keep us small or frightened. We have to wonder why we react a certain way or hate something or can’t deal with something when other people have no problem with it. Where did that come from? In the famous words of P!nk, “Why do I do that?”

The work of my twenties was to figure out who I was, figure out which societal boxes I wanted to check (job, car, house, kids), and kind of get my life together. The work of my thirties was looking at my shit, my problems, my unhealthy proclivities, and finding their root cause. And then working with the root cause to really heal. The work of my forties is loving who I am and not giving a fuck about what society says (because I am old and outside its reach anyhow).

My twenties were about being conventionally good and successful, ambitious and acquiring. To be accepted inside whatever group I chose to be a part of and define myself by (even if that group was ‘rebellious’- rebels want the rebels to accept them). This time was to form myself.

My thirties were to be broken and explore that space as fully as possible. And in that way, to begin to really know myself. And own myself.

My forties are to pull it together in this weird, artistic way. To fill the holes with healing and authenticity. To know what true beauty is: it is broken. And bright.

::: ::: ::: :::

This past Fall someone told me I was beautiful. And I don’t remember the last time someone told me that. I have always been ‘cute’ and ‘pretty’ to other people. But this guy called me ‘beautiful’ and it made a huge difference to me. I’m sure it’s because in this patriarchal society women depend on the good opinion of men for status- certainly that’s some of it. But I think it’s also that someone simply reflected back to me what I had hoped about myself for a long time. That I wasn’t just a ‘cute’ girl with dimples, but a beautiful woman. I had grown into something deeper and more mature and real. I sort of knew that already, but having it reflected back to me was an important moment. [Isn’t it funny how one small moment can push you in a whole new direction?]

One of the things I realized, pondering and feeling my way through that awareness of my beauty and strength and wisdom, was that I had gotten into the habit of always looking backwards in order to move forwards. I still danced the old dance. And maybe I was ready to dance a new dance. Maybe I was ready to look forward with intention rather than backward out of habit. Maybe I was ready to move forward through strength and wisdom rather than through fixing old stuff [which isn’t bad, it’s just another way to work things].

Now, this doesn’t mean there isn’t still growth to do. This doesn’t mean there won’t be difficulties or stumbling blocks or fuck ups. [I utterly refuse to be one of those ‘positive vibes only’ people; it’s such horse shit.] I had a little fit of early 20s energy at the beginning of the year that needed to get itself worked out [and it was kind of ugly and not my best moment]. And I still hold bits of an old story that I’m ‘too much’ for most people in this world [fact is, that’s true. I am too much for most people. But it weeds out who’s worth trusting pretty quickly, which is handy]. I’ve begun to learn that there are some people I will tone myself down for, but if people don’t dig me or can’t handle being around me, that is Totally Fine. We all gotta be who we are.

The cool part of this is that I’m really ready to step forward into the fullness of who I am. I really am healed enough now- if I did no more healing work (which I will do, but even if I didn’t) I would still be a decent human being who wouldn’t hurt too many people unintentionally. But I’m really ready to accept and know and feel that I’m beautiful, wise, smart, funny, healed enough, and maybe even ready to lead. And I’m also ready to live into my strengths rather than look back at my failures and holes.

To be honest, living into this truth – about my strength and beauty – is going to be a practice just like any other. It will take effort to point forwards rather than running backwards. [Sounds weird, but it’s totally true.] I will need to be patient with myself and practice and fail and learn. It is a daily decision I have to make because it isn’t habit yet. But I am so ready for this. I want it so much. And that is what will pull me forward, the desire.

I’m ready to be new and strong and live that way down to my bones.
I am my own kintsugi.
I am broken. And I am bright.

And here is where I start from.

 

Joanna Meriwether in color, beautiful and strong

 

Thanks for reading, fellow travelers. You don’t know how much it means that you all are here with me. I wish you strength and joy and knowledge of the truth of who you are (which is always good stuff; your truth is always good stuff, I promise).

BIG LOVE, big, big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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moons and seasons

I know I post about the moon regularly, and that certainly helps keep me in my own loop about where I am physically and emotionally in this ever-changing world. But I keep wanting to go back to a couple of practices I used to share here. Namely, noticing the seasons and naming my sensual pleasures and supports. I think it’s time to combine them. And because today was the ultimate in transition (see pictures), I’d like to start today.

Today, April 2nd, at 9 am.
It was the kind of snow you wanted on December 24th- fat, fluffy flakes floating downward.

 

Today, April 2nd, 4 pm.
This was also the kind of snow you wanted on December 24th- the kind that
cleans itself up by the afternoon commute.

 

One thing I’d like to do with this practice is list what sensual supports I used and enjoyed in the previous/ending season, and then list what sensual supports I hope or plan to use and enjoy in the coming/beginning season – and then see what I actually end up enjoying. So, here we go!

Winter’s Sensual Supports

black tea with too much sugar and cream
flannel sheets
nubby wool socks for bed
crocheted afghans
Star Wars
70s Lite Rock on Pandora
the sunshine of this song
putting up pictures
dreaming of Paris
gluten free oreos
longer, hotter showers
heavy black, leather boots (rainbow laces!)
laughter and snuggling
prayer + meditation
candles
the big silver earrings that ‘tinkle’ all day when I wear them
extra sweatshirts
homemade beef stew
hot bread with butter
popcorn!
listening and helping
building fires
the sound of them crackling
day trips with good friends
the feeling of being warm enough
watching the sun come up on my bike
books about witches
naps!
cleaning off the altar
daydreaming while I read
sorting through my feelings and letting go
the OMD concert

 

Sensual Seeds for Spring

first day with the windows down and the music up in my car
leather jacket + sweatshirt (instead of winter coat)
running outside again
green tea
ee cummings poems
Irish soda bread and Guinness stew
opening the windows
the blue bed spread
reading William Stafford (although, he’s really best in the Fall)
Snow Patrol station on Pandora
Snow Patrol’s new album (there’s nothing quite like poetry from a former priest)
short-sleeved white t-shirts + jeans
naps in the papasan
crocus’ arriving
licking the bowl
nights that are warm enough to sit outside in the dark
the smell of Spring
rain (I’m the only person in Rhode Island who loves it when it rains)
the sound of water running and children laughing
walking to the bus stop
cleaning out books (to make way for more, obvs)
prom
a new corset
almond-scented lotion
first glass of lemonade
touching fingertips
watching new green things push through the earth
growing peas

::: ::: ::: :::

This is where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I hope to go. The pleasures of this life I hope to delight in. What are yours this coming Spring?

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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I am a witch. And a monster.

You ever type your own name into Google and see what comes up? Or your maiden name? Or alternate spellings of your name? (Maybe it’s just me.) Well, it started like that.

I typed “Joanna Meriwether witch” into Google and this is what I saw:

The text reads:

“Ewen recounts how in 1543, a Canterbury townswoman, named Joanna Meriwether – who otherwise made no claims to being a witch – confessed to having cast a spell on a young woman named Elizabeth Celsay and her mother with a holy candle. Confessions were often obtained from suspects over a number of days through beatings and sleep deprivation. Meriwether ultimately admitted that she had built a small fire over Elizabeth’s feces and allowed wax from a burning church candle to drip over it. She had later told neighbors (it is not clear if they were called as witnesses) that this would cause the ‘girl’s buttocks to divide into two parts.’ ” (Folklore of Kent, Fran and Geoff Doel, 2009)

My friend, A, said she showed me this when we met two years ago. I replied, “I’m sure you did. And I have no recollection of it at all.” (Exactly INFJ, ha!)

When I shared this on social media, one friend, a comedian, noted that it was set up just like a Patton Oswalt joke, only to finally reveal that Joanna Meriwether was simply throwing shade at a bitch, the 1543 version thereof. And two other friends were kind enough to point out that I invented the butt crack. (Which, in addition to really dirty sex jokes, is exactly my sense of humor).

What’s really interesting here is that the name is spelled exactly the same as mine. Which is a rare thing. Usually it’s easy to find things about our name if the spelling changes a bit- add an extra ‘r’ or ‘a’ in my case, and I’m sure there are many other things out there. So the exact spelling makes a gal wonder. A handful of friends on social media certainly suggested that I was looking at my exact past life. I did have an irrational hatred for England before I lived there. And certainly my lot in this life is cosmic crap cleaning for other people, so maybe that’s just karma clearly at work. Maybe it was me. Or is.

The fact is, even today I don’t totally claim ‘witch’ as my label. Do I do some energetic work? Totally. Can I see into other realms? Kind of- I certainly find lost things, whether that’s rings or nametags or souls or your truth. But, just like my 1543 self, I’ve never fully claimed that title. I consider myself, very much, to be a bridge between worlds, whether that’s spirit and science or magic and muggle. I speak both.

Of course, in this post, I also promised to talk about how Mercury in retrograde was handing me my ass (terrible segue, I know) and how I’ve come to know myself as a monster as well.

This past week, as Mercury in retrograde began, I made an honest request of my latest spiritual patron and got exactly what I asked for. I asked her for truth about my self and within the hour one of the most sacred pieces of my spiritual practice was dashed into a million pieces as I realized how much of my ego I’d invested in it. I’m not going to say which piece, just know it was very precious to me and sustained me for many years. To see that it had become an amplification of my own ego hurt like hell, even as I knew it was the truth. It was like one of those situations when you realize the thing you’re supposed to hate or leave is actually the thing you want desperately to keep (or vice versa).That slo-mo sense of everything crushing inward was exactly how I felt.

The only way to handle this kind of ego crushing is to accept it. To cry and feel stupid and ashamed and guilty in my own sabotage. And, just like all the other times this has happened, my whole internal self is called into question- what is real and what is not? As the hours passed, I would feel all my feelings (because, holy shit, you want to bypass that kind of pain as quickly as you can, so staying with it is a major task) and then try to see what I might take from the rubble. And the cool thing was, what I could take was more rubble, more destruction.

There were things I had built inside myself, psychic or emotional or spiritual structures, beliefs, ideas, perspectives that were part of this practice that was destroyed. And all of those things were destroyed, too. It felt exactly like wooden houses, built like the Three Little Pigs, blown away in one fell swoop. And even as it felt like destruction, it also felt like freedom. I could let it all go.

I could let it all go.

So, I did. I let it all go. And I felt somehow cleaner inside myself, but also with a sense of grief and vulnerability, rawness. A sense of myself as small and silly and immature. But that’s okay. Because I was free. And free to start again- this time with wisdom.

 

Fire is magic. Burning it all into stars.

Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

 

One of the things I realized in this experience is how monster-like the truth can feel. When the truth comes for you, it can feel so utterly overwhelming and horrible, even if you know it’s right. It can feel (and is) destructive, crashing around like The Hulk inside of you. It’s hard to handle and accept and that’s why most people run or refuse to feel something until they are somewhere more psychically safe than their own mind (say, by projecting on a loved one or running away from a relationship simply so we have space to feel the truth).

And I realized how much of a monster I have been in delivering the truth to people sometimes.

I am a truth-teller. Truth is one of the three core values I live by- whether that is personal truth, capital “T” universal truth, or some other level of truth. I value it highly. But I also use it like a hammer sometimes- and it can be destructive and painful for others. (Sometimes I don’t give a damn if it hurts other people; sometimes people deserve to be hurt by their own truth if they’re so stupid as to avoid it for their entire life.) And that is true whether I’m delivering a ‘positive’ truth or a ‘negative’ one.

I should have known this, of course. When I’m at my full strength, fully myself, there are only about 5 people on this Earth who like me and can handle me. For everyone else I am some level of ‘too much.’ (Which I have learned to not let stop me- more about that Monday or Tuesday.) So, of course, when I stand in my full strength and power and tell someone the truth, it’s going to come out like napalm and set some things on fire. And I’m going to be the monster who did it.

What does this mean? More discernment is the thing I keep coming back to. Discernment about when and where to use the truth (which I already try to do), but adding in discernment about how to deliver it. In pieces. Or softly. Perhaps couched in a story. Simple but gentle. Because my tendency is to deliver it like a cannon delivers a cannonball. The truth doesn’t have to be so destructive. I don’t want it to be- I want the truth to help.

Of course, all this will take time and risk and fucking up. But I do have some wisdom and caution on my side. I will try to be careful, even as I know I’ll have to screw it up to really learn and grow. So, yes, I am a witch and a monster. But trying to be a better version of both of those things.

I was reminded by a favorite teacher that these moments of difficulty and growth are merely the valley in a multi-orgasmic life. The heat and the energy will rise again. This is just the refractory period for my soul. (Ha!) I’ll take it.

Love from the trail, my friends,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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