Widowmaker

Such a beautiful, poetic read, and gorgeous photo.

Widowmaker Water swirled around the old tree, oozing into the spaces between its trunk and loose bark with borborygmous sucking sounds, ripping it …

Widowmaker

Phoenix SFX Makeup

For those of you who don’t know, I am a certified makeup artist, and in my certification curriculum was an Intro to SFX class.

I learn all of the cool shit, like zombie makeup, burn makeup, injuries, etc., but I also learned incredibly useful things like bone structure, and how to re-create it, and how to properly use it for correction makeup.

So here is a look that I created, and that I’m incredibly proud of. It’s been a really long time since I’ve done any true SFX makeup, and was able to use makeup that I already had.

It feels profoundly liberating to be able to create art like this again. I’m so grateful.

Rise of the Phoenix

The only not so fun part is clean-up. My sink looked like a crime scene, and I now have red stained rags, but it was so, so beyond worth it.

Crime Scene Makeup Removal

For the first time in a long time, I feel a creative shift in my life, and I am so deeply grateful.

Thank you so much for your time; I am grateful.

Simple Date Night Honeymoon

This is not a paid endorsement or an ad. I’m not opposed to one, though. Call me, Perry 😘

My husband and I got married on Halloween, and it was such a magical day. When I walked into the room and saw my husband, our eyes locked, he walked over to me, and everyone disappeared. And then I twirled my dress, because of course I did.

Hallowedding of Emily and Patrick

Because we were in one of the many waves of Covid and lack of money, we weren’t able to go on a honeymoon, nor did we have any ideas as to what we wanted to do. Plus all of the cool places I’d normally want to go, like Salem, Vegas, New Orleans, are full of people. Fuck people, and fuck that shit.

Patrick’s boss, however, was generous enough to gift us with a gift card from Perry’s Steak House, which, just passing by it in the car makes me feel poor.

Things have been pretty difficult lately; I lost my job, I am having to learn to let go of toxic people in my life, my husband’s job has been stressful, and I’m tired just from writing it.

So we made reservations, dressed up, and went to dinner. Let me tell you, if you have something special to celebrate and don’t mind spending extra money, it is well worth the experience.

They created a heart with real rose petals in honor of our Honeymoon. It felt so special.

Our food was incredible and the service was phenomenal. We stayed off our phones, and simply enjoyed each other’s company during a very boujee dinner. I am so grateful to have been given the gift of an experience. Things come and go, but the memories that are created during those experiences are precious and priceless.

I am grateful for generosity, for a reason to get dressed up, and for the memories we created. I am forever grateful to my love, my rock, and forever my pain in the ass.

Love, respect, and gratitude.

What I Learned This Week

Sometimes, the truth is so much worse than you think, but despite the sheer amount of pain that it causes can be the key to setting you free. What they say is true: Freedom isn’t free.

Living in silence is not living; it’s oppression and fear.

Reaching out to find an answer is better than not ever knowing. Knowledge is power, and I am powerful.

When things are hard, go to your girlfriends and talk some mad smack, and then work through it. It’s the unwritten Burn Book, and it is magical.

Stop looking allowing people from your past take away from the now. You can’t take it back, and you didn’t know.

You are so much stronger than you think.

Finally, the sun will keep shining, time will keep moving, and as long as I take the time to breathe, I’m going to be okay.

I am in exactly the right place at every moment.

Re-Introduction: I am…

Featured

I started this journey in 2019, and since then, I have had my heart and life shattered, I have quietly sorted out most of the pieces, put them back together, only to have my heart shattered again. Then, it felt as if the pieces had been stolen by The Pandemic.

This time, organizing the pieces will still be painful, but putting them back together will be simpler, because I know how to better organize and fit them into place, delicately and deliberately. I am in exactly the right place at every moment.

I am loved.

I am grateful.

I am wise.

I am fierce.

I am resilient.

I am empowered.

I am Enough.

I am a woman that owns my sexuality.

I am the daughter of domestic abuse.

I am a partner, and a soul mate, and a lover.

I am worthy of love and belonging.

I am a dreamer in a rigid world.

I am the woman your mother warned you about; the one that stands her ground, and the star peg in the round hole.

I am a lonely lotus.

The Woman in Black.

The Phoenix Risen.

And I am here to Fuck. Shit. Up.

The Imposter Within Me

Imposter Syndrome

I’ve been hearing this phrase dropped around quite a bit lately: Imposter Syndrome. I had a general idea of what is meant, and assumed I probably fell under the umbrella somewhere. I kept trying to avoid it, but as we know, what the mind tries to ignore will fester and start to eat you alive. It took me probably a year and a half of hearing that phrase, thinking about looking it up, and then gently putting it on my “Things to Eventually Get To” list in my brain – AKA the shit that’s never gonna fucking get done.

Strangely though, I kept being pulled back to that phrase. So recently, I finally sat down to look it up and my search results ultimately led to Wikipedia – of course. Which, for anyone who thinks that Wikipedia is just garbage, you are mostly right…. But! Sometimes you can go to the references area and strike gold. I found a few peer reviewed sources (I was shocked too!)

I have never felt good enough to be able to take credit for my small achievements. I always attributed any kind of small success to luck. “Geeze, I was lucky that xyz happened today that I could xyz!” It feels fake to call myself a researcher because I am not in a PhD program. It feels fake to call myself a writer because I don’t have any credentials to be considered one; as far as I’m concerned it’s just a creative outlet, something I have to do for school, and something I enjoy. I don’t even feel like my writing is even that great, even though I’ve been told by others that they enjoy my writing. I think, “They’re just being kind; they don’t actually think that.”

“Women who experience the impostor phenomenon maintain a strong belief that they are not intelligent; in fact, they are convinced that they have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise.” (P. R. CLANCE & S. A. IMES) Great women like Maya Angelou, Brene Brown, Tina Fey, and even Tom Hanks have all admitted to having issues with imposter syndrome.

In fact, women who exhibit the impostor phenomenon do not fall into any one diagnostic category. The clinical symptoms most frequently reported are generalized anxiety, lack of self-confidence, depression, and frustration related to inability to meet self-imposed standards of achievement (P. R. CLANCE & S. A. IMES).”  When I was reading through the list of characteristics of imposter phenomenon and realizing that my thoughts, attitude, and personality checks off all of the boxes. It was incredibly eye-opening for me to finally see it with my own eyes, and for someone to confirm what I’d always been feeling was incredibly liberating. For me, though, it was also kind of devastating.

I grieved for the girl and the young woman who always out of place every where I went. I always felt like my friends would eventually realize how annoying I was and not want to be my friend anymore. At work, if I had a shitty day with sales, I would feel like shit; but if I had a good day at work I would think that I was just lucky, even when clients that I built up came to see me, I was still feeling lucky that they had come in that day. It was such a frustrating feeling of never being able to celebrate my little wins.

So as it turns out, according to Clance and Imes from Georgia State University, there are 2 types of imposter syndrome: 1) someone who had a sibling that was deemed the smarter, more intelligent child; or 2) someone who was deemed the smarter, more intelligent child by their parents.

For me, I fall under the second type, and according to Clance and Imes, the family conveys to the child that they are superior in every way—intellect, personality, appearance, talents. In the parents’ eyes, there is nothing that they can’t do if they want to. She is told how smart they were during infancy and childhood, such as learning to talk and read early or counting earlier than other children. In the family members’ eyes, they are perfect (P. R. CLANCE & S. A. IMES).

I was that child. From an early age, I remember being told how smart and/or how pretty I was. According to my mother, she was constantly stopped and ogled by people. She tried to get me to be the next Gerber baby, and she put me in a couple of beauty pageants as a kid, but stopped when she realized, thankfully, that she didn’t want to turn into a pageant mom. And to add a cherry on the top, I was an only child for 8 years, so all the attention was on me.

According to Clance and Langford, imposter syndrome is correlated with anxiety, and rank high on the neuroticism and perfectionism personality score (SAKULKU, ANDALEXANDER 2011). Guess who tests high on that score: THIS GIRL. Don’t be jealous though; it’s the worst high-test score ever! Thanks mom and dad!

But seriously, if you recognize something in yourself that sounds like what I have just described, there is help for it. Therapy is a great place to start! For this type of condition, it’s completely internalized, and so there are step that can be taken to externalize the pain. It is proposed that therapy comprised of learn, “a warm acceptance of all aspects of the person, an empathic understanding of the person’s internal world, and an attitude in the therapist of genuineness and emotional honesty.”

So thank you for reading; as always, I am grateful for your time. If you’d like me to do a more in-depth piece on Imposter Syndrome, please feel free to send a message or leave a comment down below.

If you like what you see, please feel free to subscribe. I am trying to put out 1-2 entries a week, and there is much more to come!

Thank you again so much!

How One Moment Can Change Everything; An Epilepsy story

Sunday, July 28, 2019 started like any other: I woke up, dreaded and bitched about going to work that day, I actually went to work, and then I went home. After I got home, there was something I had to go get really quick, so I hopped in the car, and away I went again. I had no idea that my life was about to change in what, to me, seemed like an instant. I don’t remember how far I got; the last thing I remember is pulling out of the apartment building and driving a little way down the road, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up to a desperate banging on the car window. A woman, I later learned was a cop, was banging on the window of my car, trying to get me to come back to reality and open the door. I opened the door to learn that I had had a seizure while I was driving and drove straight into a light pole.

I remember being really disoriented, and not understanding why or how I’d crashed the car, and thinking, “Oh fuck, I crashed Patrick’s car. He’s going to be pissed! Is he going to leave me because I crashed his car?”

Everyone keeps telling me, “Cars can be replaced, you can’t.”

It’s truly amazing, though, the irrational thoughts that were going through my mind as I was faced with this information. A lot of it is still fuzzy, although I do remember making a “That’s what she said joke” as they wheeled me into the ER. I remember trying to put on a brave face, and then I remember bits and pieces during the night. Apparently, I’d started seizing again in the ER, so they admitted me for observation and drugged me up to try and stop the seizures.

Mind you, this is not the first time I’d had a gran mal seizure: my first one was as a preteen, which we thought was an isolated event, but then I had one again in 2016, and that’s when I was diagnosed with epilepsy; I was 27 years old. Even though this was not my first, this was definitely the most traumatic. I drove past the pole a few days later and it was not only bent where the car struck it, but the full pole now leans. The cop who witnessed the event, and subsequently helped me, told me that it’s a miracle that the pole didn’t fall because of how much it was now leaning, or that I didn’t hit someone else.

I feel guilty because I destroyed his beloved car; I also feel somewhat guilty because I cannot drive, and I’m also now terrified to drive, so other people now have to cart me around.

But I’m so grateful that I am a place now where I have more knowledge on how to work from home, whereas in 2016, when I couldn’t drive, I didn’t have the same knowledge and/or coping skills, and/or nearly as strong of a support system as I do now. I am so grateful to the cop who witnessed the event and went out of her way to help me, the people who she said stopped and offered to help, the ambulance workers who had an amazing sense of humor and dealt with my stubborn ass, and the medical staff who took care of me in the hospital.

I am so grateful to my husband, who has been so supportive during this time; my family; my friends who have regularly checked on me and have sent endless amounts of love.

I am grateful to this blog for giving me an outlet for difficult feelings, and the community I’m slowly building here.

So from the bottom of my heart: thank you.

Moving On

Photo Credit: Iribel

It’s been almost two months since I’ve seen or physically spoke to either of my parents. To say that putting them on a “time out” for awhile was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made, is an understatement. The pain and trauma of having to realize that my parents are not on my side, and that at the core, only care about what other people think of me, has put a strain on my relationship with them that I don’t think will ever be forgotten. People keep telling me that I need to forgive them, that it will set me free, and while that may be true someday, I don’t think that pain will ever go away.

And when you think about forgiveness, it’s an odd beast: it’s a thing that you’re supposed to do, because that’s what society tells you to do, but it’s an incredibly painful and vulnerable process. Berkley defines forgiveness as a, “conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.” Get that: it is a conscious, deliberate decision, whether they deserve it or not.

And what if you don’t feel like they do? For example, it’s hard to imagine forgiving the cheating ex-boyfriend that left you for a chick that matched his “true ideals”; I feel like part of the heartache is always wondering if it was something to do with you, if you were to blame.

But the reality is, forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s giving yourself permission to move on; you can’t force it, it has to come with time and proper processing.

I know that as of right now, it isn’t time to forgive yet; I still have a lifetime of memories and lessons to process: my parents divorce and subsequent nasty custody war, my mom’s co-dependence, both of my parents’ low-key racism, antiquated beliefs on marriage and the woman’s role in it, is something that I’m trying to separate from, but after 30 years of hearing that your opinion is wrong, and theirs is right, it’s a slow process.

My parents tried to control every aspect of my life; my father blatantly, and my mother by planting little seeds of doubt. They both used their powers of guilt and shame against me for years. After all, I am the oldest child, and was raised to be an obedient people pleaser, so it was easy for them.

Good things are finally starting to happen though: my “fiancé” and I are finally planning our wedding, engagement photos, etc. and I could not be happier about planning it with him. I’ve also reconnected with some people that I’ve loved for many years but had disconnected with. We have a brand new (to us) beautiful apartment in which we finally feel like we’re home (even if it is on the third floor).

I love my parents, and I miss them, but for the first time in years, I feel like I have room to breathe, grow and excel without fear of disappointing them.

I also feel like I can finally be myself instead of having to pretend to be the daughter they wanted.

I am a Phoenix, a lotus flower, and a survivor.