The only constant and all that…

changes

I recently found out that the contract job I’ve been working for the last year just ended and they do not have the budget to either renew it or hire me permanently. Which is sad because I like my job and love my supervisor, and feel like this job has been a huge step in helping me recover from the damage done by the shitty, stressful jobs I’ve had previously. But I’m also starting to re-frame it as an opportunity to find something even better, a process that has been greatly helped by seeing similar positions that have better schedules and higher pay and are in companies that are doing really exciting awesome things. I’m waiting to hear back from my recruiter about one that seems pretty ideal and trying to balance not getting my hopes up too much while also allowing myself to be excited and let that energy carry me forward in wrapping things up with my current place. In the meantime, I’m taking a lot of deep breaths and trying not to refresh my email *too* compulsively.

It does feel great to realize that even with the job upheaval, I’m still feeling stable enough everywhere else that I can keep working on long term plans. I’ve been thinking about housing a lot. I have a fantastic short-to-medium term situation now, sharing a gorgeous condo with a friend who has been pretty easy to live with. And I’m plotting with my once and future roommate to find another place together within the next year or two, depending on where life takes us between now and then. And daydreaming about our future WitchHaus is still one of my favorite pastimes. I really should set up a pinterest board or something to capture it all.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at right now. I may do a more comprehensive State of the Aimee post closer to my birthday, but overall things are going in new and interesting and mostly the right directions.

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Know Your Value

 

agent-carter-season-3 Something has come up a lot in my physical and online interactions lately. So many people seem to need a reminder that they have value, that they are worth more than a shitty relationship, an inappropriate comment, or any obligation to be nice, polite, or quiet. I feel like I’ve been shouting DTMFA to the heavens and picking up my mantle as Agony Auntie/Breakup Whisperer. So here it is, all of my advice hard-earned through years of being a demanding, difficult bitch who is no longer willing to settle for scraps of affection or approval.

  1. You are exactly enough. So many people will try to control you by telling you that you are either too much or not enough. They have created a box that they will try to convince you to fit into, mainly by cutting off any pieces of yourself that they don’t want to deal with, until you don’t even recognize yourself. Once you realize you are in that box, the only option is to smash that motherfucker apart. You deserve to take up space, to be appreciated in all your glory, and anyone who doesn’t see that isn’t worthy of you. I’ve embraced being intimidating, it’s a great way to weed out the people who can’t handle who you really are.
  2. You are capable of so much more. Part of keeping you small is convincing you that you are powerless, that you need them, that you are not enough on your own. I spent years convinced that I was too messy, too broken, that I needed him to care for me and give my life structure. But when he was gone, I realized all that was bullshit. It’s amazing what you can do when you no longer have someone constantly telling you that you can’t. You are stronger than you know, and that scares them.
  3. There is more happiness out there than you can currently imagine. It’s easy to convince yourself that this is as good as things are going to get. That not-miserable is close enough to happy. That maybe this is all you’re going to get out of life, so you should just learn to appreciate it. As coping mechanisms go, it’s a pretty good one. Letting go of that was literally the scariest and most powerful thing I’ve ever done. It still amazes me how happy I can feel and how much love I can share when I’m surrounded by the right people. Even when I’m alone, my baseline is so much higher than it used to be. I’m no longer willing to settle for just ok – in my relationships, in my job, in my home. Raising my standards in all aspects of my life has led me to places that I couldn’t have even imagined a few years ago. It’s been hard as hell, but I don’t regret it for a second.

I joke a lot that I’m a bi, poly, switch because I don’t believe in limiting my options, but it’s totally true. There are so many people and institutions invested in in keeping you small, docile, and easily controlled. Don’t do their job for them. The only limits are the ones you set for yourself and it’s worth evaluating them.  You can do this, I promise. I believe in you. ❤

I’m still #WithHer

nasty-woman

The last 24 hours have been really hard. Watching Hillary lose to the literal personification of toxic masculinity has made me realize just how fucked a vast portion of our country really is. I’m scared for so many people I love and so disappointed in us as a society. This election was incredibly personal in a lot of ways and the loss has hit me hard.

The Clintons were my First Family. Bill became president my freshman year of high school. His second term was my first vote. Chelsea and I were awkward teenagers together. The Monica Lewinsky scandal was my introduction to the power dynamics of womanhood. Specifically that whether you were a temptress, a loyal wife, or a young girl caught up in a rush of power, it didn’t matter. You were still wrong because there is no “right” way to be a woman. Watching Hillary navigate that minefield taught me a lot. After the presidency, I loved watching her come into her own as Secretary of State and fight for the lives of women and girls around the world. She has been an inspiration to me for over 20 years and I was so happy to cast my vote for her as the first woman president. I come from a long line of Nasty Women and I proudly claim her as one of my lifelong role models.

Last night I was at a party with a few friends (and a lot of strangers) that went from yelling along to angry punk songs to crying on the kitchen floor. When we realized the numbers showed the inevitable, the fear and panic set in. My chosen family of weirdos is basically the exact opposite of Trump’s America. Most of my friends are some flavor of LGBT. People I love depend on Obamacare to stay alive. I have friends who may have to choose between invalidating their gender identity or their marriage. This is the first election that I’ve ever been actually afraid that we won’t survive. I’ve spent today on the verge of tears, obsessively checking facebook to make sure my people are ok. I can feel it changing though, my sadness is turning to anger and goddamn do I have a lot of that to feed.

I’ve been angry for a long time. I try to channel it positively. Like most women, I’m practiced at playing nice and being the good girl so people will like me. Fuck that. They think we are nasty women? They have no idea how nasty we can be for the right reasons. One thing this election has shown is that the people who fell for Trump don’t respect us. They will never respect us. I no longer want their respect, I want their fear. I want them to fear the loudness of my voice. I want them to fear the persistence of my actions. I want them to fear the ferocity of my love. They want a fight? Bring it on. We have four years to give them hell, let’s get started.

Badass Witchy Majestic Warhorse

One of my ongoing projects has been overhauling my wardrobe and developing a cohesive style. I have been really excited about with moving to Boston and living in a city where I could be a Goth again. Vermont’s complete lack of fashion and a string of jobs with no dress code made me lazy. While geeky t-shirts and jeans are fine, I was sick of them being the only thing I ever wore. When I started spending weekends with my partners here, I realized that my look was completely different and I was much more myself when dressing that way. Now that I’m 6 months into my new job and comfortable with letting a little more weirdness show, I’m diving into it with abandon. So far, it’s been met with compliments and I am feeling more confident than ever.

It’s been a process. I chopped my hair off and have been finding more interesting/edgy haircuts to play with. It’s been black, blue, and purple, angled, asymmetrical, and flirting with an undercut (maybe I’ll go for it this summer!) Black eyeliner is just part of my face now. I own multiple shades of black lipstick. But the changes are more than just surface. I’ve embraced my chubby bits as part of the whole package that comes along with these curves. I revel in taking up space and drawing attention. I’ve stopped apologizing for just existing as a woman. I’m comfortable in my body and in charge of how/when I share it with others. Sometimes I look at pictures of the mousey, long-haired, quiet but attention-hungry girl I was just a few years ago – the one who still had that spark but was afraid to let it show – and I hardly recognize myself. At 37 years old, I feel like I’m finally growing into my true self.

Now that I’m figuring out who I want to be, how I present myself to the world is a huge part of that. This past weekend, I had a friend with a similar aesthetic and brutal honesty come over and help me go through my closet. She did a fantastic job of separating out the clothes that work for me now and the ones I was just holding onto out of some weird sense of obligation or nostalgia. She made me get rid of everything brown. Now I have a much more edited closet full of clothes that make me feel awesome and a big bag full of things to take to consignment. I’m working through my dresser and the rest of my wardrobe, and reaching the point where I’m much more discriminating about what new things I bring in. I have a Style now, and I’m only going to buy things that fit that vision. It’s been really fun to play with that and test these new images of myself.

One of my most significant investments has been a pair of Fluevogs. I now own shoes that cost more than my car payment and make me feel like I could kill a man. The whole experience was fantastic, the salesgirl pointed out that my posture and whole body language changed as soon as I put them on. They didn’t just suit me, they manifested. I couldn’t leave the store without them. In comparison, the first pair of Fluevogs I fell in love with always seemed like a far-off someday dream, and then they were discontinued before I could get up the nerve to justify spending that much on myself. I am not going to let that happen again. Fuck it, that’s what credit cards are for. They haven’t gone into the closet yet, they sit out in my room and make me smile every time I see them. I needed a big symbol of this change, and there they were.

One thing I joke about is how much better my life is now that I have standards, and this is just another facet of that. I am learning to appreciate myself and I am surrounding myself with people who do too. I’m no longer content with begging for scraps of affection. I put up with a lot less shit and have gotten much better at standing up for myself and walking away.  And now I have the perfect shoes to do it in.

odette

Not the Fairy Tale Type.

snow white

I love fairy tales, but sometimes I feel like they let me down. I bought into it so hard, finding the man who who would rescue me from my dysfunctional family and help me build my happily ever after. Unfortunately, my prince didn’t want me once I was no longer in need of rescuing, the castle was a trap that cost me untold thousands of dollars and any chance of financial security I may have, and I realized that I’m really more of the evil queen type anyway.

I’m 37 years old, divorced, subletting a room, and working in an entry-level job with coworkers a decade my junior. This is not the life I imagined. But it’s the one I have and it’s so much better than what I was sold as what I should want. My least favorite brain weasel is the recurrent sense that I wasted over a decade of my life with nothing to show for it but my cynicism and a shitload of bad memories. I was an unfortunate combination of idealistic and stubborn, refusing to give up on the relationship that I had built my life around no matter how unhappy it was making me. I think back on how I used to feel like I just needed to accept that was the level of happiness I was going to get, how I submitted to the idea that “not completely miserable” was good enough. 20’s me really needed a hug and a kick in the ass.

Moving to Boston last summer was my big leap to move on to the life I wanted. I keep reminding myself that it’s only been a few months and I’m just getting started. To be patient and keep working toward my new goals for being self-sufficient and successful on my own terms. I’m still figuring out what that looks like, and it’s the type of life that doesn’t have many examples to draw from. My goals are not the norm. I just want a day job that pays the bills and funds going to shows and doing the things that I love. I don’t need to be passionate about a career, and I don’t want to destroy the joy I get from my art by relying on it for money. I have a network of partners that I love dearly, but none of us are the marrying (or even cohabiting) type. We’re figuring out our relationships from scratch, and don’t have the usual expectations to rely on. It has been really challenging to do this without the community I built in Vermont, but I am working on building a new one here. I get so impatient sometimes though, and it’s hard not to get discouraged about the fact that I’m basically starting from scratch.

One of the things that I’m also starting to reclaim is my sense of the future. I really didn’t have one after the years of divorce, unemployment, and everything going to hell. Moving was the first step, and now that I’m here I can start thinking about the long-term again. I’m still not sure what it’s going to look like, but it’s nice to feel hopeful instead of just a vague sense of dread. Sometimes I do wish I could get those years back, that I’d seen the signs and gotten out sooner. My life has a lot of holes in it, times that I just can’t remember or that I’ve actively blocked as a reaction to stress and trauma. I really don’t want to lose any more of it. I want my future to be free of that regret and to build a lifetime of powerfully happy memories to replace the ones I’ve lost. I’m still figuring out what that means, but I think I’ve got a good start.

In the meantime, I’m surrounding myself with people who love me and appreciate my devious ways. My nights are filled with glitter, music, and the new artistic community that I’m hoping to make my home. I’m slaying dragons, cuddling with my demons, and writing my own story for once. It may not be the happily ever after I was promised, but it’s more honest and a little jaded and still the most happiness I’ve ever had.

Hold My Flower

got yo flower

I love this image. It encapsulates everything I love about my current partners. They accept my anger and know to step back and let me fight. They hold my flower. They keep the soft parts of me safe so I can reclaim them when the difficult work is done.

I am a very angry person. I’ve accepted that and embraced my demons. Sometimes we snuggle. My anger is a source of power, of passion, and I use it to protect myself and those I love. Maybe someday I won’t need it as much (that would be nice!) but for now it’s an important part of me. For so long I denied it, trained myself out of expressing anything, swallowed it all down to keep the peace. Fuck the peace, all it did was make me miserable and ultimately left me sitting in the shattered remains of my life wondering what the hell just happened. Part of rebuilding myself was reconnecting with my rage and welcoming it back into my life. The people who are most important to me now accept and love me for that. They love my passion, the fierceness of my love, and that I am willing to take on the world for them. In the past, I sat back and allowed myself and people I loved to get hurt for the sake of some imaginary peace. Never again.

Hold my flower, baby. I’ll kick their ass for you.