I was getting a jump on cooking dinner when I got a notification that I had a new email. Normally, I would glance at my lock screen to see … Continue reading Declined: A (Self)Love Story
My family medical history reads like a Cause of Death report
Any one of the illnesses I’m set to inherit
Would be the case close decision
For any dead body in any morgue
And if the high blood pressure, diabetes,
And likelihood of breast and/or ovarian cancer
Doesn’t clock me out early and in excruciating pain
Those genetic mental illnesses will
Double dipped chicken fried depression
Enough borderline to go over the line
[see what I did there?]
With more than a dash of attention deficit disorder
And some potential schizoaffective disorder for good measure
And I’m not even including those addictive personality traits
that course through my family tree
Like sap in the spring
Not that I was ever given any assistance
In learning how to deal with these second-hand things
No one taught me about eating right or exercise
Or even addressed calming techniques to quiet
My brain speeding around like an energy drink loving hamster on a wheel
But my mom did teach me
That chewing up Vicodin makes them work faster
And that drinking beer with a Twizzler is super funny
Both of those lessons came before I turned fifteen
I also learned that it’s okay to throw up after you eat
Its okay to do that in the Ryan’s Steakhouse bathroom during a rare family night out
And that its ok to take so many Oxys that you don’t hear your daughter calling
Or remember how to sign your name on her brand practice logs
I know I won’t be inheriting anything grand when my folks die
At most a couple of used cars,
Maybe an old goat or two
And a trailer overflowing with pill bottles and dust.
And that’s okay,
They’ve already given me enough
It was around four o’clock when the nine-year-old popped out an earbud and asked, “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?”
And there it was, the loaded question.
Silence fell across the living room as three pairs of little eyes turned to me. I’ve never been interrogated, but I would imagine it felt a lot like that.
My answer, handmade meatballs with bow tie pasta, was met with a chorus of groans.
My heart dropped. But I had planned this out! I made dinner around lunchtime that day, just like I do every day the husband works. I packed up some for him to take, and I saved the rest for us to eat after he left. We were supposed to all be in meatball heaven within the next few hours!
As usual, everyone started talking at once trying to find a solution to our nonexistent problem. Then out of the chaos came the tiniest of voices from my soon to be five year old, “You could call the Pizza Man.”
(The funny thing about this is that not once in his little life have I actually CALLED the pizza man. Phone anxiety is my kryptonite so I use online ordering.)
And in that one sentence, dinner’s fate was sealed.The desire for pizza had gone viral. But what about my lovingly created meatballs? What about the bow tie pasta I had already worked out jokes for? What about all the work I did?
I tried to explain that I had dinner already made and it was going to be great! I even broke out a few of the noodles to show them how silly and fun it would be to eat bow ties. A song and dance may or may not have happened.
But my gang of pint-sized mutineers would not let the idea of pizza go. In a last-ditch effort, I turned to the husband for guidance, for wisdom, for some hope that I wouldn’t have to wave the white flag and give in to their demands. While putting on his shoes for work, he shrugged his shoulders, “Pick your battles, babe.”
Pick your battles.
If it’s not the official motto of good mothers everywhere, it damn well should be. As someone who is anxious by nature, I need plans. Plans get me through events and help me keep the feeling of the sky falling at bay. Even though I don’t believe in things having to be perfect, I need to have a plan, a backup plan, and a tertiary plan.
With kids, however, a lot of the time those plans become pretty much obsolete. It’s not so much of constantly giving in to the little monsters, it’s about compromise. It’s my belief that children, albeit still developing, are people too. They deserve the consideration we give other adults when it comes to the things they would like to do. (Of course, this is on the other side of basic safety and health-related items. I’ll tell a kid to take a bath and wear their seatbelt in a heartbeat. I’d tell an adult that too, actually.).
With kids, it’s much better if you don’t create battles out of things that just aren’t that important. If the only reason you are trying obtain a certain outcome is that you want to be the one that’s right, you’ve got bigger issues than what’s for dinner. There’s a line between being a leader and a being a tyrant. You can lead your children to adulthood and finding themselves without breaking them down drill sergeant style.
There’s no shame in assessing a situation and finding that your way is not the way it should go. Bending, not breaking, to the ideas of others, especially your own children, creates an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding. It supports the idea that their ideas are worthy and that they actually have a say over their own existence. It also helps develop their problem-solving skills. Figuring things out instead of just bluntly being told is good for kids. Even if it’s for mundane things like how to clean a room or what to have for dinner.
On the night in question, we did have pizza but we didn’t “call the pizza man”. I broke some frozen pizzas out of my personal stash in the freezer and we had an impromptu pizza party in the living room. The kids were happy, I was happy, and dinner was enjoyable and more importantly, stress-free.
Motherhood is about compromise. Sometimes if you let the mutineers have what they want, they let you keep the ship. But even then, they won’t let you pee alone.
P.S.: We did end up eating the meatballs and pasta the next day. It was not as well received as the pizza, obviously, but it did not go to waste.
I don’t know how to start this. Perhaps my hesitation is from this not being easy or enjoyable to write. So here goes.
This is my goodbye.
This fragile relationship of ours is no longer good for me. You are no longer good for me. Your passive aggression taints every conversation we have, like second-hand smoke in a sweater. Somehow, no matter what our conversation is about, you warp and bend it until it reflects light onto that one time, more than a decade ago, when I fell short in your eyes. Our friendship does not make me feel good about myself. If anything, it makes me feel like a scapegoat. I’ve worked really hard to grow as a person and to cast off the shame, guilt, and self-hatred that I carried from my childhood. I can not allow you to undo what I’ve accomplished.
I’ve tried to be a good friend. I’ve tried to honor your feelings and allow you to hold them. But you used your feelings as a weapon. It’s obvious that you still hold on to the anger and pain that befell you in the past. It’s obvious that this hot coal burned its way inside your body and took residence in your heart. While I am not one to tell someone to let go and move on, I feel that for us to have worked, you needed to calm that burn. I supplied apologies as a salve, but they never seemed to soothe enough for you.
You throw shade (as the kids say these days) and make remarks that seem to have no other point than to paint me as a villain and you my victim. They seem to suggest that all your hardships are because of the perceived slight you think I performed. Just to put it to bed, my actions back then were never malicious. You know this. I acted on what my soul called me to do. It was what I personally wanted for once, instead of what was wanted for me. I explain this to you so you understand, I was just trying to live my life. No one should be kept from that OR be made feel bad because of that. Its exhausting explaining time and time again that my actions were not personal attacks. I just wanted sovereignty.
I understand your life has had ups and downs. So has mine. Everyone’s has. I will not say that anyone has had it easier or harder than anyone else. We’ve all made choices and we all deal with their consequences. That being said, you really seem set on winning some imaginary Misery Olympics. I do not support and will not take part in such games. We should be celebrating each other’s successes, not trying to impress others with who hurts the most. Pain is not something that is measurable like that. While I am sorry that your experiences haven’t all been positive ones, I don’t feel that they should be things you wave at me in an attempt to make me feel bad for or to discredit my own.
For my own mental health, I can not allow you lay your sins on me and send me out into the wild any longer. I do not hate you. I do not dislike you. I would very, very much like for us to be close again. I would like for us to have the relationship we assumed we would. But I simply can not with things in their current state. I’m sorry we can’t be the friends we imagined we would always be.
Please have a good life. I wish nothing but the best for you. But I can accept nothing but the best for me.
If you remember from my previous post The Subtle Art of Good Enough, sewing is one of my favorite hobbies. I grew up surrounded by women who could transform the simplest of fabrics into functional, sturdy clothing. Even though I didn’t join in until I was older and they were gone, a part of me feels connected to this art. To make it clear, I’m no Olivia Walker *. To me, as messy and beautiful as it is, sewing is an extension of my witchcraft.
Merriam Websters has the definition of witchcraft as :
1 a: the use of sorcery or magic
b: communication with the devil or with a familiar
Now, I don’t think my Singer sewing machine is a hotline to the devil (I mean really? Could it be so easy?) or a familiar (I usually try to keep her away from my fabric) but I will not discredit the sorcery it takes to turn a plain sheet of fabric into something functional and tangible. So, if I may be pompous, I present you with the Conjure and Coffee definition of Stitchcraft
1.a: the use of sorcery or magic using stitches made with needle and thread.
b: communication with the devil by yelling things like “Goddamnit!”, “Oh shit!”, and/or by accident piercing one’s flesh with needles, pins, or scissors.
The first thing I’d like to share with you in my Stitchcraft series is something I am all about right making right now. I was pointed to this Craftster tutorial by a dear friend and fell in love! I mean really, how cute is a triangular prism for a makeup bag?
Quick side note: If you aren’t wise to the ways to Craftster, please, please check it out. There are SO MANY great tutorials. The user community is so vast and knowledgeable that inspiration abounds. Whatever craft makes your heart sing you’ll find a chorus for there.
On to the triangular prism makeup bag!
Following the measurements provided, I cut out the pattern for the bag out of everyday simple printer paper. I would advise to maybe cut the pattern out of a more stable medium. Printer paper is really flimsy. Cardstock would be a much better choice.
After measuring and cutting the pattern, I folded it in half, lining up the sides. Why? I prefer to cut on folds. I have no real reason, I feel that it helps me judge how much fabric I’m using. Once folded, I followed the directions and cut two out of the outer and inner fabrics.
That’s when the fun started! It was time to attach the inner and outer fabric to the zipper! Zippers are still something I struggle to get “good enough”. Sometimes I can get them on no problem, other times it’s a garbage fire. Before I started sewing the zipper, I unzipped it enough so when I was finished sewing all the other sides I could turn the bag right side out. For this project, I did an acceptable job with the zipper. I still have a little way to go before I master it, but I’m satisfied with my progress.
One note about zippers: Make sure you check your zipper before using it. I bought a good size lot of zippers off Amazon. I didn’t go through and check their individual functionality. I just grabbed one that matched colors. The one I used for this bag was a little hiccupy the first few times I used it.
After doing that zipper magic to both sets of fabric, I did a seam down one side, stopping at the right angle edge. Then I sewed the bottom straight across. After that, I did the other side.
Once those three sides were done, I pinched the cut out right angle looking edges together and zapped them under the sewing machine needle real quick. The bag finally took shape!
I cleaned up some long leftover threads and turned it right side out. And BAM! A makeup bag is born!
I love this tutorial and pattern so much!! It’s easy to assemble and pretty fun. The bag itself is really versatile. I keep saying its a makeup bag but really, you can use it for anything. About ten minutes after finishing the one I made for this post, my three year old had taken it for her Shopkins.
I hope you enjoyed the first Stitchcraft post!! This kind of post was a first for me. I’ve never really taken the time to chronicle making something. It was definitely a learning experience. But isn’t that what growing in the Craft is about? Manifesting something out of pure idea and energy is never easy. Hopefully, when I bring you another Stitchcraft post, it will be a bit more polished and a little more informative.
- But wait! Who’s Olivia Walker? Olivia Walker is the seamstress who for decades provided the colorful robes that The Nature Boy Ric Flair wore as he walked that aisle. Being a Southern girl who was the daughter of an independent wrestler (trust me, I’ll tell you about this later) Ric Flair and his flashy robes were my first taste of costuming and pageantry. Without these robes, you could make the argument that Naitch wouldn’t have been the character or champion he is known for being.
Growing up in the South, most conversations that involve tales of hardship end with a hug and one party saying to the other, “Well, we’ll be praying for you.”. As someone who doesn’t follow any of the branches of the Abrahamic faith that influences every bit of life below the Mason Dixon Line, even something as innocuous as prayers can get overwhelming. If I had a nickel for every time someone informed me that they were going to pray for me, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. It seems like everyone wants to include you in their conversations with the Lord. And really, I’m okay with that.
To a lot of believers down here, not being a Christian makes me an uncaring godless heathen. Which is funny because as a polytheist, I have more gods than fingers to count them on. And as a person, I’m an Empath. So I care. I care a whole hell of a lot. While I don’t think of prayer in the same way most Christians do, I believe there is something powerful in communicating with the beyond. When that communication is done for the betterment of someone else, no matter who is listening, it’s incredibly meaningful. Whether you’re talking to God like a Southern Baptist, taking part in your daily Salah, whispering to The Goddess, or chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo there is something profoundly magical in the connectivity of that act of compassion.
To me, magic is all about energy. It’s about being connected to not only yourself and others around you, but to the Universe. So taking your energy and manifesting it into something positive for someone else is huge. It’s a big piece of everyday magic we all agree is powerful but we don’t talk about. It’s like telling someone to have a good day, wishing someone a happy birthday, or saying bless you after someone sneezes. It’s taking a bit of yourself and turning it into hope for someone else. That’s what prayer is for me.
I know it’s easy to think that the people praying for you are doing it only for themselves. And you know what, maybe they are. I’ve never inquired as to the rhyme and reason of someone’s prayers for me. I’m not naive enough to think that some of them weren’t straight up “Please Lord, help this girl find Jesus” ones. But, I’d be willing to bet you all my nickels mentioned earlier, a lot of them were for good outcomes. I’ve lit candles and cast circles for people who would have burned me at the stake for doing so hundreds of years ago. And I did those things out of love with the hope that they helped. And in the world we are living in right now, we all need all the help we can get to achieve a good, safe, and peaceful life.
So please, if you feel moved to do so, pray for me. Meditate for me. Chant for me. If my name and my situation are put upon you, do what feels right in your heart of hearts. Because I promise you, every time I feel that need, I will do so for you. I’ll just do it in my own way.
I live in the Southeastern United States. Winter, to us, is only a slight reprieve from oppressive damp heat and endless pollen. That being said, I have no idea how to drive on an icy road. If it’s icy, I retreat further into my home and refuse to venture out. I’m a horrible driver on a good day. So when the roads are compromised I’m extra dangerous. It’s not intentional, I’m just a bad driver. Winter weather just adds to my inability.
Sometimes though, you can’t avoid the icy roads. Sometimes you need to go out for milk, or toilet paper, or medicine. And sometimes the icy roads are not actually roads connecting geographic locations. Sometimes those icy roads are genetic paths that connect people.
I’m on one of those roads right now. I’m revisiting a relationship I had put a Dead End sign on long ago. I’m realizing that so much of the narrative that played in my mind for all these years was not only seasoned by other people’s agendas, but was mostly hypothetical. I had created wars in my head where there were just misunderstandings. The mountains I made and were struggling to carry, actually might have been mole hills.
With that, I’m facing the hard realization that the people I backed never really were backing me. Imagine standing the the corner for someone’s fight only for them to use your battles to hype their own. Someone I thought was a wise and caring person is actually nothing more than a gaslighting soul leech. Narcissistic abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. I realize now that my naivete and gullibility lead me like breadcrumbs through the forest right to the door of a storybook villain.
There’s so much I need to reassess. So many things I need to judge clearly on my own. So much to unpack. While I do that, the cold stays and ice continue to form. This road isn’t getting any less clear.
For right now, I’m just trying to stay in my own lane.
Postface: This is not about my significant other. Mr. Conjure and Coffee and I are wonderful.
At the end of last school year, a flyer was sent home with JoBean for a local Back to School Bash. The Bash was being sponsored by several local churches and small businesses. All those who registered and attended would be given a free pair of shoes, free school supplies, and treated to a hot dog dinner. I spent a day or two trying to decide whether to sign up. While sometimes we have financial struggles, we still do okay. I was worried that us signing up might take a spot away from someone who needed it more. I brought the issue up to my sister-in-law, and we discussed how missing out on opportunities because someone might need it more is detrimental. So I went online and sign JoBean up.
It’s been a while since I posted about the kids. As a refresher ,my lovely cast of characters includes:
- JoBean– 9 year old boywonder. He’s hilarious but often short sighted. He loves video games, especially Minecraft.
- D-Man- 4 year old gentle giant. He’s quiet and caring, but hates crowds and sharing. He loves everything JoBean loves
- MarMar- soon to be 3 year old Queen Bee. She is sassy and playful and loves talking to people. She also loves shoes and animals.
School ended and summer began. We did summer things and soon the day of the Bash was upon us. On the drive over to the event, JoBean and I revisited a conversation we had many times before. We discussed how different people believe in different things. We talked about how most people in this area, and America for the most part, are Christians. He, like pretty much the whole of our family, doesn’t identify as such. He talked to me about what he believes in. I talked to him about what I believed in. He talked about how the other kids at school treated him and how sometimes, it wasn’t very nice. We both agreed that being a part of a religion doesn’t make you a good person or make you an asshole. It’s who you are at your core. I also really worked on him to understand how important it is to allow people to believe the way they want . We don’t have to agree on what we believe, but we should allow other people to believe it.
We arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the event. I snagged us a good parking spot and we took our place in line. A light rain began to fall while we waited. It was a nice reprieve from the temperatures we had endured during the summer. When the doors opened, they started allowing groups of fifteen to enter at a time. We were in the third group taken.
We went in and signed the entrance forms and were quickly directed to the shoe room. It was there that things took a turn. This was not just a find your size and style shoe event. It was a huge conference room filled with shoe boxes, sock boxes, and a row of people kneeling in front of wooden chairs washing children’s feet. Apparently something I had skipped in the initial sign up was that a major sponsor of this event was Samaritan’s Feet. Samaritan’s Feet is a Charlotte, NC based charitable organization that, in their words “serves & inspires hope in children by providing shoes as the foundation to a spiritual & healthy life…”. Part of their mission includes washing children’s feet, praying with them, and providing them with well fitting, brand new shoes.
And that’s what they were doing. It was a like a well oiled machine in that room. Some people were running back and forth finding correct sizes. Some people were wrist deep in soapy water, chatting up giggling kids. Others were power walking discarding and refilling bowl after bowl of water as children and their parents shuffled through the line. We collectively were a little taken aback. When it was JoBean’s turn, we, with both Littles in tow, were shown to a chair and met a very excited lady. She politely asked JoBean if he’d like his feet washed to which he politely declined. So instead of that, they spent a minute chatting about what he was looking forward to in the upcoming school year. While he was being fitted for shoes, another lady came over and offered to let the two little ones get shoes as well. I explained that they weren’t registered and wouldn’t be attending school for a while. She patted Miss MarMar on the head and said it didn’t matter and helped me show them to their chairs. While I buzzed around the three of them, I noticed the the lady with JoBean asked if she could pray for him and he said okay. Together they held hands and closed their eyes. I have to admit, even as a Pagan, this made my heart swell. She didn’t pray that he find God or any of the other backhanded prayers you could imagine. She prayed that he have a good year and had help when he needed it. Those prayers were not much different than the ones I had whispered to my own gods for him. After an honest hug which left me a little misty eyed, we collected the Littles and our brand new shoes and moved on to the next station.
There JoBean received a new backpack and a slew of supplies to fill it up. We ended our walk around the school supply rodeo with more hugs and giggles and some major excitement over brand new shoes. According to JoBean, his new shoes were both “boss” and “baller”. The light rain of the morning had turned into a full on summer rain storm, so we skipped the hot dog line and ran to our car. In stark contrast to the clouds in the sky, the spirits of everyone in the car were light and shining. Even after all the overstimulation, everyone was in an upbeat mood. I drove us home were we rushed in out of the rain for lunch.
This event was so important. All the kids had a chance to be exposed to a belief structure that was much different from their own. And it was in a positive way. They were able to see that just because we are different, doesn’t mean we have to be separated. Love is a connective fiber that runs through all of us. When we tap into it, and extend our share to others, the feelings we create are magical. No matter the name, love is magic. And love for our fellow man is the best magic of all.
So you’ve probably noticed a few changes around here.
So what’s up with “Conjure” replacing “Legos”?
I feel like life is a little more than kid related. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is something I take pretty seriously. It’s what I do. It’s my job. But, I’ve gotten to a point where I feel that it defines all of what I am. At some point a while back I stopped being Angela completely. I’m tired of that. And if I want that to change, I have to change it with myself first. And to do that, I have to nurture the parts of myself I want to grow.
The esoteric and arcane been something that I have been filled with for a very, very long time. If you’d like to read more about this, check out my post Angela, Ascending here. My journey into finding and practicing my craft is important to me. I’ve neglected the song playing in my soul for too long. I need to listen and find my way back to it again. I might as well chronicle it here.
This doesn’t mean that everything is going to turn into being about spirituality. There’s still going to be the normal bullshit. Its still a personal/lifestyle blog, so you’ll get to keep on hearing about my everyday adventures. My journey through domestica is one that I feel is worth sharing. There’s some sort of crazy magic in everyday life. I think that we often overlook it because we’re inundated with the desire for something extravagant. We’re always pushed to want something better or something new. I think you can be simple and fabulous at the same time. I think that finding the perfectness in everyday chaos is an important battle. I’d like to share mine.
Also, Legos is a copyrighted term. Me and my dumb self never gave that any thought before. Lego building blocks are everywhere in our house. All four of my kiddos love them. So being surrounded by them I figured they would make a catchy title. And it did! At least to me. I hope to like make this blog legit one day, so looking ahead, it might be wise to pull the name out. Id like to spare me any sort of legal discourse. The previous posts, under the legosandcoffee name, are still available.
I also jazzed up the look of the blog. Sometimes you have to try a new color of lipstick to feel better. Hopefull, it makes the blog more appealing. My long term goal, like I stated above, it to move this from a side gig (lets not shit ourselves, “an often forgotten gig” would be more accurate) to a major thing. I follow some awesome bloggers around the internet. Women that have inspired and challenged me. I’d like to jump into the big kids pool and see if I can swim. (Spoiler alert: I can’t. Water is my foe.)
I hope you enjoy the changes. I really dig them. I think this will help me to be more active and, hopefully, interesting.
I remember sitting cross legged on the floor of the bookstore, running my fingers over the spines of the books on the bottom shelf. Tucked in the back corner of the small store, no one noticed the monumental moment that was about to happen. My pre teen brain was a storm of anxiousness and contentment. Slowly I zeroed in on a purple covered book written by an author with a perfectly picked New Age-y pseudonym. I pulled the book from the shelf and my life was changed. A magical moment had just occurred.
I was in a mall in North Carolina and I was just about to purchase my first book on witchcraft.
That book would not be the first time younger me had been pulled towards the nonconventional. I think I was born with one foot in and one foot out of this world. My dad would tell stories about how once I began to talk, I would tell him and my mother about the “Old Timey Days”, or my life before. I have no clear memory of these stories. Just a faint haze like a billboard passed at night. According to my dad though, they were yarns that a preschool kid shouldn’t be able to think up. What I do remember, even back in those pre school days, is feeling like there was more to the world than what everyone else saw.
Religion was an odd thing in my home growing up. We didn’t go to church or practice anything really, but the idea of God was the ultimate rule. Like when I was 8 and wanted to get my ears pierced, the answer was “If God had wanted you to have holes in your ears, you’d been born with them.” This line of reasoning continued until I finally bit the bullet and got them done at 17.
I never could accept that idea. Christianity never sat right with me. Who was God and why was he the only one? Why did we have to perform by these certain rules to please him? What about all these stories in mythology and lore? Why can’t they be as true as the stories from the Bible? No matter who I asked, no one had answers for me. Most people told me I was wrong to even ask. So that’s when I turned to literature.
I was always checking out horror novels and collections of ghost stories. I read a lot as a kid. I had some physical ailments that, at least in my mother’s eyes, limited what I could do. So that kept my nose in a book. It was in those worlds that I found things to believe in. The gray ghost of the Carolina coast, the poor women who were burned at the stake in Salem, the shamans and medicine men that were here before us white folk landed. Those were things I had faith in. The supernatural became something I found, well, natural.
That belief never left. I grew up as the weird kid. Now I’m the weird mom. But lately, this weird mom has been feeling dimmed, forgotten, and overworked. It’s the classic caregiver’s problem. You give so much of yourself, you don’t have any left over. I let my interest in the supernatural and paranormal wane so I could focus on dinners and school, milestones, and laundry. I gave up my magic. And I’ve been struggling without it.
I want to capture some of that feeling from the bookstore again. After getting my wake up call from the Universe, I’m ready to go explore. I’m ready to re-embrace what for so long has made who I really and truly am.
It’s time to ascend. And that’s just what I’m going to do.