a little more about me
I'm supposed to build up some narrative about how I am good at something here. Or that I have some unique set of answers. But I don't. The only thing I really have is a sincere desire to be in good relationship with the many dimensions of being a person in a living world. And to be aware of the stories I operate on as well as those operating on me. Maybe even to make new stories which are hardly new at all.
I've collected diagnoses, had emotional breakdowns in the vitamin aisle and become a non-profit burn out. I found liberation in library books about mental health when I thought I was a horrendously broken human and recognition in books about old mythologies. I've had conversations with plants that far exceed any depth my human care-givers attempted.
Trying to understand my CPTSD/complex trauma and the host of physical pain and struggles has led me right into the heart of old mystery traditions. Into looking at us human creatures through the lens of patterns and relational configurations. I want to be a part of a culture that is self-aware, that embraces relational justice and prioritizes actual physiological needs. One that offers reparations and centers the fluidity and cycles of resources, human and otherwise, as opposed to static stories, divorced from natural systems and interconnection.
I did a BA degree in Religious Studies post 9/11 because I was convinced that how we perceive our relationship to both the 'divine' and the natural world was at the core of whether a culture supports life-centering systems or death by poverty and racism. I crawled into a therapist office when I finally figured out that I couldn't work enough to make my traumas go away. I discovered the elusive quality of trust sitting in front of Rabbit Tobacco, Pseudognaphalium californica. I'm listening everyday to the folks whose experiences and needs are different from my own and am indebted to their teachings.
The threads I started chasing while stuck in a shit-storm of traumas as a young, non-binary queerling, have come full circle. The thing I love about folks doing their own trauma work where we have to unlearn so much of what was imposed on us, is how much insight we then gather about being a being. About the depth of interconnection and the oft dismissed power dynamics which float unseen in environments to most. They think we are too sensitive. Blah.
For me, looking directly into systemic oppression and the mediocrity that has been normalized leading up to now means squarely admitting that there is little I can be expert at in this life. What I inherited is white supremacy, and the emptiness left behind where culture, real intimate, land loving culture once was. White supremacy, patriarchy, cis-hetero-normativity, materialism, academic myopic reductivity, mysogyny and ableism became institutions over time through a variety of my ancestors bodies and it is my work to do something different with my body-self. Something, however, that is not a knee jerk survival mode reaction to it, which I spent my thirties highly invested in.
What I know about a journey of turning and looking head on at the cumulative damage from traumatic experiences is that finding solutions designed to avoid the grief and disintegration never really work in the long haul. White supremacy, extraction economies, colonialism and the like are bad ways of relating on all levels, in private residences and systemic institutions. They sustain one another through bodies. My body.
So I cannot claim an expertness here. Not when nearly all of my life will be about discovering what can exist beyond how I have been conditioned. Beyond the vapidness of what is currently normalized as 'progress.' I will not look away and I am super curious about what is possible. What comes next. If you are still reading this, likely you are too. I'm happy you're here.
My work here is sort of a Venn diagram interplay between physiology, plant work, mythology, old Celtic/Greco mystery traditions and practices, social justice and trauma theories. I want to make things that I wish were around when I had no idea what trauma was nor did I have anyone to connect with who was open about it. Maybe its art. Or prose. I don't really know. We might call it witch work, but I resonate more with ancestrally specific terms which express what one does for their community than something which might get conflated with an identity. I like names like 'wyrtgaelstre' (herb-chanter, Anglo-Saxon) and 'lybbestre' (woman who works with the life force, Old English). Ultimately, titles are of no importance without a community to be in relationship to, like with other CPTSD/anxiety-depression/mental health/trauma geek types who may or may not also like star wars or herbs or magic. Or cats.
I think that the amount of work we trauma folks have to put into exploring relational dynamics (both personal and systemic) can make us potent disruptors of the oppression of whiteness/white supremacy, capitalism, the cis-hetero-patriarchy, isolation and ableism. My goal in making things here, be they plant classes or projects, etc. is to place the source of traumatization on culture where it should be, to at least give voice to how culture sustains traumatization that has occurred and to hold the tension between immense grief and the body's appropriate desire for restoration and joy. I care about standing in that place.
I am currently living on unceded land belonging to the Sokoki Band of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi in what is called Burlington, VT for the time being. I've lived in many places throughout the US. Currently, because I have a pretty intense love of learning and teaching, as well as creating things, I'm considering an accelerated Master's Degree in Instructional design so I can get fancy. I'll keep ya updated. :)
Something that feels important to point out, given the wild rise of online personality types is that I am not trying to 'build an audience,' or 'attract high paying clients,' blah. No one on my email list is a 'potential sale.' I just can't at all approach this work that way. Bigger, more diluted work appeals very little to me. I don't have a lot of space in my brain to do social media stuff either. I usually only have the focus to offer something from my heart or work that I can field questions and comments from as if we were sitting under a tree chatting. So, I'm not on social media much, but I do love some of the ways connection can be made in those spaces.
Thank you so much for coming by and spending a bit of time with me. I hope something I have here brings you joy, comfort or recognition.