Mother May I?

Every year I tend to start to getting inexplicably itchy, emotionally, toward the end of May.

I start to feel listless and out of sorts, rudderless and vaguely unhinged, until I remember that it's not actually inexplicable at all--I somehow always have a way of forgetting that May 26 is the anniversary of the date that my mother died.

I've always been a hugely sensitive empath, and so over the past 29 years, I've had to hold space for not only my own grief about this, but also the grief I can feel emanating from everyone else around me. The only way I could figure out, unconsciously, how to deal with this was, for far too long, to minimize my own feelings. "Oh, I'm fine." "It happened so long ago." "At least I was old enough to have memories of her--my younger siblings barely remember her at all." Deflect, deflect, deflect. If I could just convince everyone that they didn't need to worry about me, then I didn't have to worry about them coming at me with all that excess emotional intensity, which meant I wouldn't need to manage their emotions in addition to my own.

Well, of course, the main problem with that shut-'em-down strategy is that pretending I was fine for so long actually kind of resulted in my turning off ALL my emotions for a while. There was a span of quite a few years when I hardly ever cried, and when I did, it was usually late at night, hidden in the privacy of my own bedroom. I've written a bit elsewhere about how joining a Zen Buddhist Temple here in Chicago and making time for a regular meditation practice helped me thaw out quite a bit.

But, in the years since, I've realized that simply thawing out isn't necessarily a virtue in and of itself, especially if that means I've just thawed to a point where I'm simply feeling, and re-feeling, all the same emotions, cyclically, again and again, without ever actually, truly ACKNOWLEDGING them. Hence my annual late May itchiness. "What's this I'm feeling? Oh, it's an emotion. This emotion feels bad. I guess I'll just wait until it passes." Which, while mostly allowing me to maintain a semblance of normalcy day-to-day, hasn't ultimately turned out to be the best approach for my own growth as a human.

When I was first starting to learn about energy work in middle school, I remember reading about a pain reduction technique where if you had, say, a headache, you were advised to "look" directly at the spot that was hurting and, in your mind's eye, give it a very specific color, shape, and texture. Once the pain was sufficiently envisioned and acknowledged, it should dissolve of its own accord. I was pleased to discover that, yes, this trick worked for me pretty much every time I needed it. But, because it takes me forever to actually learn anything beyond its surface application, I'd never thought to try that strategy with emotional pain as well. Lucky for me, I know at this point I have, at the very least, a yearly opportunity to try to look at the specific color, shape, and texture of the grief of May 26.

What's new on the blog?

This month on Queen of Peaches, I talk a bit about the perfumed path that took me from smelling like vanilla all the time to smelling like a wet dock on a rainy day.

But then one category I would have never expected started dominating my preferences without my consciously realizing it: wet wood.

Yes, specifically wet-smelling wood scents.

I’m not joking—dry woods were often too screechy on me, and anything just straight-up aquatic was, of course, anathema after my teenage memories of the Cool Water and Aqua di Gio overdoses of the ’90s. But somehow the exact combination of wet wood drew me back to certain perfumes over and over again: Profumi del Forte’s Tirrenico, Byredo’s Encens Chembur, and Comme des Garcon’s Hinoki.

Click here to read more!

As the saying goes, whenever God closes a door, he makes sure to slip you the number of The Door Doctors cuz fuck if that busted door is gonna cramp your style.

This month's cover of "I'm Waiting for the Man" comes from this lovely little bit of non-professionally filmed footage of a 2010 Juliette Lewis show in Paris. It's exactly what a cover of "I'm Waiting for the Man" should be, which is to say, kind of a mess. I love that the first, like, two minutes of the video is just technical trouble getting all the amps and mics to work, French heckling, and Lewis vamping to kill time. And then the performance of the song itself is just shoutin', shoutin', shoutin'. There's absolutely no nuance, nor should there be. I cringe with acute recognition, especially during her little improvised monologue, at how much she clearly LOVES being on stage and how hard she's working to keep the performance together and make the audience happy. It's a disaster, and it's perfect.

Do you also find yourself feeling listless and out of sorts, rudderless and vaguely unhinged these days? If you're having trouble getting to the bottom of your woes, a psychic reading or energy healing can sometimes be a helpful way to plumb the depths you might not feel capable of accessing otherwise. Sometimes just having someone be a witness to the truth of whatever's keeping you stuck can be a profound way to neutralize the emotional charge enough so that you can figure out your next steps. I would be honored to hold space and help move you to that spaciousness you're seeking. Click here to find a reading or a healing that might be right for you.

With love,