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Category: Life As We Know It

General life and witchery.

News! News! I’m so excited!

News! News! I’m so excited!

BREAKING NEWS:

SJ Witchling has been admitted to the law school of xyr choice. This law school’s application asked biographical data such as Preferred Name (required) and whether one wished to identify as a flavor of LGBT. Gender was not a required field. (SJ declined to state xyr gender, as the two options were “male” and “female”, and SJ feels either or both of those on any given day.) SJ is looking forward to beginning xyr law career in August, and the admissions staff and faculty at the school-of-choice appears to be just as excited to orient SJ to the campus and law student life. Xe feels like xe is dancing on Cloud 9.

Before classes begin, SJ is preparing to read Law School Labyrinth; take tours of the campus; meet with xyr faculty advisor; conduct informational interviews with lawyers in the environmental advocacy world as well as professors in that field; and, oh yeah, work part-time on the weekends; cover xyrself in glitter at summer festivals; get back into the Tarot world; find a new apartment and move to it; and do some website consulting on the side.

Pretty sure SJ doesn’t know how to stop and breathe. 🙂

State of the SJ: taking a break

State of the SJ: taking a break

Sadly, my breaks tend to include a lot of self-flagellation, with a day of breaking down crying for hours instead of being content with going at my pace instead of everyone else’s for a few days.

I’m not good at giving myself a break.

Blackberry bush toppling into a pond
A blackberry bush falling into the pond

I’m at my parents’ for a while, which is a rare opportunity to feel completely comfortable in my skin and in the house. I can take baths. I can take advantage of their membership to a salt-water pool and go swimming. I can spread out my Tarot cards and the books I’m reading in the living room, in the dining room, in the family room, and I’m not afraid that I’ll be judged poorly for my reading choices — my parents know me, they love me unconditionally, I’m not sure if they understand my Tarot and Pagan inclinations, but they certainly encouraged me to pursue it when I was young, with buying books and letting me research into it. My housemates might get it, but they don’t really get ME, so I don’t want to open up the conversation to begin with.

And there’s space here.

Here I can curl up on one couch, or go downstairs and curl up on the other, or go outside to visit my dad’s wonderful and, dare I say it, witchy garden, where bees are pollinating the blackberries.

Two blackberry flowers with a bee pollinating one
Bees eating, getting ready to give us blackberries

(There’s a huge rosemary bush, and a huge sage bush, which I like to think of as protection and cleansing agents for their home, and there’s mint, and oregano and thyme, and all kinds of non-edible plants, and citrus trees, and just so many things in the backyard!)

Rosemary bush with a log to the side
So much rosemary for the kitchen witch!

While I’m here, I’m supposed to be meditating, and taking baths, and going swimming, and contemplating what I want in life. So of course that triggered a panic attack and so much fear because I am just so tired of reaching and reaching and reaching for the path I was supposed to follow, and failing. I graduated from college five years ago (five! five! where has the time gone), and haven’t had an interview for a career-path job, let alone held one. The career center at school tells me it’s all about networking; well, I’m an introvert who despises networking, but loves volunteering and building connections. Has that helped? Nope, not even the jobs I’ve applied to where I knew people who told the hiring managers to consider me got me an interview. No wonder I don’t have much confidence in myself — when I try to do the things I’m “supposed” to do, doors slam in my face.

I’m lucky enough that my parents have been able to help support me during this really challenging time to be young and alive, and that they want me to have what I want to be happy in life. After the break down, I got myself back up, patted myself on the back for turning in my law school application, and wondered what the Gods would have me do next.

Turns out, once I ask, They were happy to answer: Tell Our stories.

A stick of incense burning to facilitate communication with the Gods.
Asking the Gods what to do next

Work with the Tarot, break into writing stories again, and do what you need to do. What you need, SJ, is different from what others need, and you’re forging your own path. It’s hard, and scary, and insecure, but your path is the one that’s best for you. Keep at it. You are loved.

Having it all figured out

Having it all figured out

You know, a lot of blogs tell you they have the answers to everything, and I’ve always been staunchly against having the answers. I have what works for me, I have ideas and opinions, but answers? If I had the answers, where would I need to go next in my spiritual path? The search for truth and mystery is a journey that never ends. So while I’m here, I’ll share my journey and the insight I have gained from it, but I will never have everything figured out—and that’s okay.

A lot of blogs put me off because the authors make it seem like they have everything figured out and that they’re going to help you, too, learn How To Life, and yeah, nope. I’ve internalised the idea that I can’t post something unless I have something big to say, something well thought out, something that will enlighten readers. That’s a lot of pressure! Why do I let it get to me?

I vented recently to a friend that one time, the internet was all about what we could create with it. We teenagers made web sites to our favorite musicians, movies, and TV shows, worked pretty graphics, learned every bit of HTML and CSS we could to make web sites that shone our love for the creations. Then Google Adsense came out, and suddenly people were growing up and learning the importance of having money for sustenance, and adults were figuring out that the Internet could be “monetized” and suddenly blogs and web sites weren’t about talking about the things that made us happy and excited, they were working on gaining audiences so they could make money. So of course they’d put themselves in a position of authority—who would buy their books or e-courses or sponsor their speaking fees if they weren’t an authority?

Then there were blogs about how you, too, could make a lot of money by blogging, and then people clamored to write their own blogs to make money, and then suddenly there were all these people on the Internet blogging with the goal of making money instead of talking about the things they’re interested in. Now it seems like ALL blogs out there position themselves as an authority on something, relying on the capitalist structure where if your authority isn’t behind your product, you aren’t doing it right. And we the people writing the content ARE the product.

That’s a structure that just doesn’t work for me. I’m a person first, and can’t turn myself into a sellable product without repressing what makes me me. (Though I’m more than happy to charge for services rendered—want a Tarot reading? Maybe you’d like some advice on web sites? I’d be happy to charge for those things, but I won’t tell you I’m THE authority, just what I’ve learned on the Internet over the last fifteen years.) I won’t write about how to do this thing or that thing and expect you to believe me as the last word. I will write about what I’ve learned while figuring myself out, and how I came to the conclusions I’ve come to, and ask questions to get to more answers.

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

It’s the first day of April, and I’m kicking it off by writing essays that’ll turn into blog posts…

Ready. Just gotta start writing. #campnano

A photo posted by SJ Witchling (@sjwitchling) on

I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo this month with the goal of writing a lot of blog posts, finally finishing that law school application, and getting as much writing done as possible. I’ve kicked it off with a draft of a mini-essay that I’ll finish up and post over the weekend, and now that that’s out of the way, I might go for a walk, take some pictures, see the world outside, (rest my wrists). April is starting off bright and green, which is somewhat rare in my part of the world, and I should go enjoy it while I can.

Talk to you all soon!

Getting my groove on

Getting my groove on

Thank you, friends (do you mind if I call you that? It’s hard for me to make friends, but I treasure you), for commenting on my previous post. I’ve been working hard on managing my energy and talking to my therapist about establishing some Best Practices and Habits for me to make the most out of the energy I have each day. I think I’m just scared of fucking everything up, and that’s stopping me from doing the things I want to do. So I’m trying to breathe through the fear and keep going. Man, is it hard.

I signed up for an Instagram account today (sjwitchling). I’m skeptical of all social media, pretty much, but now that I’m signed up it reminds me of Flickr in the days when Flickr united people and let everyone make friendships. Here’s my first post:

My housemate encouraged me to start the morning with good things. So I did. #knitting #chocolate #tea #journal

A photo posted by SJ Witchling (@sjwitchling) on

(Follow me and tell me your username so I can follow you back!)

I don’t like that it excludes people without a smartphone, and I don’t like that I can only add pictures from my phone. (At least I’m in love with my phone camera!) But I am hoping it gets me to look at my surroundings more and appreciate them. It’s the little things that make it worth it, am I right?

Today’s little things will include processing some things in my journal and studying for the LSAT some more. I’m feeling pretty confident, but studying every day is a good idea anyway! Hopefully I’ll also grab some Tarot cards while it’s this bright outside. I would like to take some pictures, and I would like to get to know them again. We’ll see how I feel after hitting some books!

January is a hard time

January is a hard time

The weasels have slipped out. The brain weasels have gotten loose of their cage, and I’ve been too busy making myself busy to catch them again and lock them up. Over Christmas and New Year’s, I spent ten days with my family, my parents and sibling, because it’s been so long since we’ve all seen each other and we needed that. One of my mom’s goals was to have me go through some boxes of old things and ruthlessly decide to get rid of math notes (and chemistry notes, and biology notes, and some English notes, and definitely language notes I no longer need). That part was fine, but some of the things I found rattled my core. I found evidence of a creative, driven, artistic little girl… and I don’t recognize myself as that anymore. I didn’t get a good chance to cry about that, though, because I was trying so hard to be strong for other reasons. It was hard.

Now I’m back home, and it’s still hard. I am keeping myself busy with knitting (which my wrists would like me to stop doing today, thanks), cool television, and volunteer commitments. I haven’t pushed myself to take a time out and figure out what’s going on with myself, because I’m so afraid of what I will find.

This time of year is always rather fraught for me, so I’ve been telling people about how much better it is this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s all that. I’m so focused on being able to breathe enough to survive right now (hi asthma flare!), and to get through every day, that I’m not working toward the things that are important to me. Part of the reason is that I’m so scared. So scared that someone will tell me how stupid I am to try to take the LSAT, and confirm my doubts. Scared that someone will point out that I will never get good with my beloved Tarot cards, because, duh, you’re nothing special, SJ. Stop pretending you ever had anything to offer.

And I looked at the pile of things that little girl I once was created, and I grieve that she’s lost forever. I fear I can’t ever get her back. I know that most of this is my depression and anxiety telling me lies, but how do I get through that? I have so many hopes and dreams that seem unreachable—especially since I’m spending all my time lately worrying about the simple act of breathing, which turns out to be not so simple when you’re me.

I’m sorry. I wish I could say I’ll do better, and update this blog, and make the design happen, and ace the LSAT, and breeze through my upcoming surgery, but I fear that’s an empty promise. I’m too far gone into the desolate wasteland of my mental illness right now. I hope someday you’ll forgive me.

Winter made it.

Winter made it.

Last week, I finally managed to grab my couple of good sweaters from the basement just in time for snow to fall. We’ve had a decent autumn for once, and on Thursday winter made itself known.

A street of houses with snow visible.

I went for a walk today, while it started snowing again, and came back alive! Breathing fine, just COLD. I am finally getting myself out of the dark that was last week. It was such an awful week. Now it seems like even if I don’t have a virus, my body will find ways to knock me out and not let me do the things I want to do. It’s incredibly frustrating.

So I’m working on not letting it get to me, on catching up on my emails and projects, on taking care of myself while doing things for other people. All very important things. And the end of this week is going to be a bit stressful, so I have to store up the energy for it now if I can. Wish me luck! I’m hoping I’ll feel well enough to catch up on blogs and all of the other things soon, too.

How to take myself seriously

How to take myself seriously

My post on navigating the road blocks to getting started with a Tarot business was inspired by a previous post on cleaning up your “money is dirty” mindset. I had a complicated relationship with the first post, and especially because there’s a section on the power of positive thinking: it took me a long, long time for the phrase “positive thinking” to stop being a trigger for my depression and anxiety. It also mentioned a few tips for taking yourself seriously with money, but it seemed like the same things people say all over the internet. I want the nitty-gritty. How do you set up a PayPal account for business? What about keeping track of receipts for growing your business? Is the IRS going to care about what I’m doing?

Some of these questions are also barriers to getting started for me, because anxiety likes to latch on to “what ifs” and turn them into full-blown awful scenarios. So yesterday, inspired by my therapist telling me to Just Open For Business Already, I sat down and tried to figure out the answers to some of my questions.

  • How do I accept payments? Is PayPal the only way to go? Haven’t I heard of a Google option? Are there any other, better options?
    I’ve heard of drama with using PayPal in the past, and I’m wary of supporting a company that limits free expression. However, after asking around for similar money-processing sites, I think PayPal will be the best option because it’s better-known and its terms of use are not as ridiculous as Google Wallet’s. Google Wallet’s terms are trying to dictate moral behavior, whereas as near as I can tell, PayPal’s are “don’t use it for anything illegal”. Other sites just are not as well known for me to start with.
  • What’s the best way for me to put aside money that’s specifically for Witchling in Flight purposes?
    I’m going to open a separate bank account purely for this. That will make it easier to track fees and income. I’m sure there will eventually be business-related expenses (though, actually, this domain itself is an expense), and it will be good to be able to see straight from a different account what kind of expenses I will have and how much I’ll get from it.
  • How do I want to word my code of ethics?
    Call it a code of ethics or a disclaimer. I want to put into writing before I do Tarot readings for people who aren’t friends what to expect from a reading and what not to expect. While I doubt I’ll run into trouble with clients to begin with, it never hurts to have a disclaimer in place. Still, figuring out what I care about is time- and energy-consuming!
  • And, the “duh” question, what spreads do I want to offer and for how much?
    I’m still figuring out this question for now! Along with what format to email the querent the reading, do I want to make a super-shiny PDF to send people, if so how should it look, etc.! And that doesn’t even begin what I want the design on this site to look like—since I had to get Witchling in Flight started somewhat quickly, I had to use the most bland theme I could find right away. Now I’m trying to figure out how I want this to look, and that is decidedly not my specialty, but I’m going to figure it out.

I think taking these questions seriously, and starting with a conscious mindset that I want to provide this service to people, is taking ME seriously. I could probably be running for the hills right now, putting fingers in my ears and yelling “na na na na I can’t hear you” when I think about being an adult with responsibilities, but instead I’m researching my options for getting started. No, I doubt I’ll make enough money in the next few months for the IRS to take notice, but if I set things up so that I have records for the future, that’s taking me seriously enough to flourish. Not haphazardly putting up a “donate” button and getting an investigation into my account once (not if!) I make enough money. This is a real investment in myself, and if I take it seriously, maybe my readers will, too. I certainly hope you do!

The bonus is that if you search for blog posts on the topic of setting up your blog for business, none of them talk about the actual logistics of earning income. In fact, my search resulted in the first 6 or 7 articles looking like they had all been written by the same person! The tips were all geared toward finding readers, which is an important first step, but real logistics of how you’re going to get that income and keep track of it is a great thing to set up in advance.

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