Welcome to a New Era!

I’m revamping this blog. I went on a hiatus but it doesn’t mean my life was anything but uneventful. I have more art and so many stories to share, I just didn’t know where to start. I also lost family members, I became a Grand Aunt, and am slowly adjusting into becoming a young Crone. As the world becomes more troublesome, my life has become more quiet, and this is precious. I used to complain that I’m too isolated and alone, now I love being on my own and share the healing silence of my home with those who seek healing. Being something of a “hermit priestess” I counsel with the Tarot, provide paranormal consultations for those who experience spiritual disturbances in their homes, and have no need to advertise online or in the newspaper, those who need help arrive on my doorstep (actually by Twitter feed, Instagram direct message, or Facebook private message, etc., you get the idea) and we deal with it. I have no complaints. I need people as much as they need me.

I love being a modern Witch!

It’s not a crazy or spooky life. However, I am very outspoken. Like all Witches, I am an outsider, a rebel, and quite bitchy LOL!

So what will you find to read here? Well, coming up I will be addressing some hotbed issues I meant to write about but held back because I once had people in my life who berated me for speaking up — about anything! But why exactly did I start writing about my personal life so candidly in the first place? What spurned me on to just let everything out? And what drives me to sometimes not give a f— when I talk about myself?!

When Someone Finds Your Life Interesting Enough to Steal, You Have to Take it Back BOLDLY!

I had this incident that happened to me back in 2002 when I trusted someone, we’ll call her a “Karen”, with watching my apartment while I was gone on a seven week long stone circle study. This Karen had the nerve to go through ALL of my private hand-written journals, seeking any juicy details about my life. Oh, and darling? SHE READ EVERYTHING! But you know what else she did? SHE PHOTOCOPIED ENTRIES AND SENT THEM OUT TO MY FRIENDS, INCLUDING MY LOVERS!

Oh, but it didn’t end there!

Have you ever written unsent letters to your unrequited love? You know those special kind of unsent letters you’d never want anyone to read? Well, Miss Karen thought they were so GREAT that not only did she think my crush needed to read them, she took it upon herself to send them in to a local newspaper columnist! THE NERVE, right? The columnist wrote about this submission as being the most eloquently written, yet strangest series of letters he was ever sent. BUT IT GETS WORSE! Karen found nude photos of a mutual friend of ours and decided to make it seem like those photos were of me! So not only did she violate my privacy, she also violated my other friend, whom we’ll call “Lucy”, and made it seem like we were one desperate woman writing to a newspaper columnist who frequently wrote about the sexual hang-ups of people.

I didn’t find out about what happened until a year later… See, I was wondering why some friends were acting “distant” towards me, afraid to tell me what happened for fear I’d kill Karen. See, I was already angry when I came home from my long trip to find my apartment had been ransacked by Karen. She went through my closet, left boxes emptied of their contents everywhere because she went on this massive hunt through my most personal of belongings. Jewelry and other keepsakes went missing, and I felt completely devastated. When I confronted Karen? She felt she did nothing wrong. How? Well, long story ended: her mental illness was finally exhibited, she had no sense of boundaries, and I thought, “if someone finds my life so interesting enough to steal, I better take it back and publish it in my words then!”

A Short History of My Web Logging: 1993 to 2015

Originally, I first started blogging back when the internet was still green and black screens, back when things were still just “web logs” where you told people what your plans were for your web site, back when web sites were all text! Then those web sites, such as, oh, I think it was called “homestead” where you were given a number, and just one page to write about yourself, like a call sheet. You couldn’t be heavy on images since it took forever for them to down load on dial up. Such were the early 1990’s back when I was in my early 20’s and was slow to catch on to the World Wide Web until I had a best friend who was something of a wizard at it. She talked me into presenting my artwork online. I learned quickly by looking at code, really eye-balling it, and simply copying, at first, what everyone else was doing, then tweeking the pages to fit my aesthetic. By the late 90’s, I was on Xoom.com until 9/11 killed the servers at the towers and I lost all of my old web logs. But I always hand wrote everything before I published it all online. Having hard copy drafts of things was a great history of my life to keep, and a deep hurt to lose again when a crazy person walked into my life and literally stole them!

Okay, skip ahead to 2004… I started a blog at a lovely site called Mindsay! I kept that blog as my most personal, most revealing, most private diary-like place for a whole decade. It was there I met many best friends I continue to correspond with today. Some I lost during petty online conflicts where, quite frankly, I feel were just differences of perspective and clashes of disposition. You never know how friendships will work out until you meet offline and interact in person! But you can only grow after these confrontations. Some friendships only became stronger afterwards. We learned more about each other and grew to be better adults.

Just like other free hosting web sites, Mindsay did not last. But, like I said, the friendships continued on other social media sites. I tried to download all of my old blog pages, but then one day when my well-meaning Uncle Doug was helping to update my desktop computer, he accidentally deleted everything on my hard drive! Needless to say, I also lost beloved photos, too. Just tons of memories gone in seconds. I still have the old hard drive in the hopes of reclaiming the data, yet it was too late to go back to Mindsay to reclaim my old blog site. I had to accept it was gone.

And so we must let go of things passed.

Originally, I Started Writing “Postcards” Here to My Lost Mother

I started this blog on November 1st, 2011, with the hopes of starting over and also trying to make up for lost time with other old friends I eventually lost contact with, too. I also began a series of entries called “Postcards from Home” that I wrote to my mother who passed away on March 23rd, 2010. Originally I wanted to write these “postcards” to a friend who was traveling, but the subject of writing to “someone” I could never talk to again? That went deeper than just trying to write to some guy who was galavanting around! My Mom was dead! I was angry about it. Not sad. ANGRY. My friends around me had their mothers. I didn’t. I even felt angry at them for having their Moms! No one understood this. Except maybe my own mother who wasn’t “there” and so I wrote postcards to here about how my life was going and how I was feeling.

Some people I knew thought I was addressing them.

My thoughts and grief aren’t about anyone but me. So sometimes when I write here, it’s a venting point. My blog is part diary, part info-article writing station, and the sharing of my drawings and paintings and what-not. Oh, yeah… about my art.

During these last five years hiatus from blogging, I also dealt with artist’s block. I suspect this has to do with grieving. I not only lost my mother, I lost my father. Both my parents are dead.

I get angry about that, too.

I also get angry about suicide. I lost a nephew-in-law to that. Nothing hurts worse than seeing a child grow up to be a young man, only for him to seemingly disappear over night. It’s like he went to college, you catch yourself almost talking about him as if he’s still here, but then you remember depression took him… his “college” is death, and he won’t be graduating back to life… or at least not in any incarnation I’ll get to see. So the comforting spiritual stories you once loved before tragedy hits you don’t work anymore. You end up rewriting them, knowing that traditions must change.

Well, I wrote much too muchness here. If you read this far, then you must like me, really like me. Next time I’ll edit better. I just thought you’d enjoy a new kind of introduction. Later I will have to clean this blog up. Photobucket is no longer a site I can use to store my images, so this means I have to go through all of my pages here and basically “clean” everything up.

I hope you like the new look of the blog. I’m going for better “read-ability”(look out, I use a lot of kenning with my word salads) and an orderly theme. But if I get bored, I may change it.

Catch you later.

Digital Daydreams: New Self Portraits!

Since I re-vamped this blog, you may notice I have newly featured digital paintings as my header art — shown at random with your every visit to this blog. Most of the images are my self portraits digitally rendered and re-imagined from photographs. The art is a kind of “found art” — created with the help of apps, Photoshop, and sometimes collage — I have *yet* to master digital painting, I might add, and don’t do any painting on a tablet. I painfully render things the hard way using a mouse. Someday I would love to graduate to using a tablet but, alas, I do not own one for I cannot afford it! So I succumb to using photographic filters and manipulating AI (Artificial Intelligence) to do some dirty work for me. So, yes, some viewers may recognize a few elements borrowed and “remixed” from online applications and patterns created by other craftspeople — such is the creative sharing/cauldron melting pot that goes with social media! Digital paint brushes have saved me some swelling of my wrists, yet I still confess I find *actually drawing* the best way to make my art! I will feature more of my drawing later. For now, feast your eyes on these lovely examples:

“Selfie as goddess Pele”, June 1st, 2019, Digital Photography & Painting by Valentina Kaquatosh
“Fire Song; A Winter Solstice Self Portrait Re-sung in digital”, June 5th, 2019, from a photograph taken during the Winter Solstice of 2008
“Deep Forest Selfie” digital self portrait painting June 2019
“Lightning Selfie”, June 2019, digital portrait
“Fire for a Crown”, digital self portrait 2016
“Pink Magick”, digital self portrait February 2019
“Witch of the Woods”, digital self portrait March 2019
“Headache Storm”, digital self portrait May 2019
“Darksome Witch Am I”, digital self portrait May 2017
“Witch of the Wild Willow”, digital self portrait 2015
“Walpurgis Night Dance”, digital self portrait 2016
“Beltaine Shade”, digital self portrait May 2019
“Harvest Sprite”, digital self portrait August 2018
“Shadow Self”, digital self portrait 2017
“The First Frost”, digital self portrait September 2015
“Deep Forest Witch”, digital self portrait June 2019
“Embrace”, 2018
“Into the Future”, a digital fantasy January 2017

I engage in self portraiture not as an ego-boosting practice, but one of self exploration and transformation. It’s the creation of making masks and trying them on, yet I find that making this “selfie art” on social media is a way to expose my inner self — the very opposite of what a mask is supposed to do. A facade should hide who you are, not reveal a mystery — each image is an awakening dream and that’s the reveal, the open-part of my mystery — I’m not fooling you or myself here. I am still myself, goof ball and all, at play with being a Witch, totally playing up that occult camp, but also giving it a firm nod, “yes, this is who I am, the sleeper has awakened” to quote a favorite book. I hope you enjoyed the show and tell!

Tarot Lust: My Ultimate Wishlist 2019!

Hi, there! Yes, I know, it’s been several years since I’ve written anything here. I went through some tough times, but instead of hashing out all the crap, I decided to just get into the swing of things and talk about what I love: TAROT !!!

A Tarot Reader (not sure of the title) painting by Leandro M. Velasco Pardo

One Can Never Have Too Many Tarot Decks
Oh, how often I’ve wished, in exchange for giving Tarot readings, to be paid with Tarot card decks! I would love to have that job where all I do is just review new (and classic) Tarot decks, but clients are not always so keen, or wealthy enough, to grant me this wish! Beautiful Tarot decks are numerous, some printed in small editions but (as much as I’d love to be paid with cards) they don’t feed or clothe me. The problem is there is simply too many unique decks out there now! And the tragedy is I don’t have enough money to buy every deck that catches my eye. My collection, however humble, I can safely brag that I own a few decks that are rare (worth in the triple digits), something I’m quite proud of yet I hold onto my Tarot cards like a dragon guarding an underground lair filled with mounds of gold, and, just like how I am with an ever-growing collection of crystals and gemstones, my treasures are “majick’d” to the very core. Every card deck used in one ritual or more, each with a story of how it came to be mine, and some previously owned by other witches. If it was bought on eBay however, I soon give the deck its own mystical reputation to bring clients great pleasure and comfort.

Why Is It So Important to Collect Tarot Decks?
My Tarot querents (another term for someone who is questioning, asking, or “looking” for answers, from the Latin quærēns “seeking”, the present participle of quærere “to seek, gain, ask”) are not only seeking advice, they are looking for entertainment. No one goes to a psychic just for counsel, people want a spiritual experience that they can brag about. When they seek you out for a reading, they expect you and your cards to have an air of beauty and enchantment, perhaps even a hint of the macabre, that they will never get when they visit an ordinary therapist. A Tarot reader with a nice collection of visually stimulating decks is going to gain a lot of attention. When I used to attend psychic festivals and perform as a street artist, having a very specific type of card deck that no other reader was utilizing gave me an edge. Also, as a reader, I want to use more than one Tarot deck simply because I can get bored easily using the same one over and over again. I want to be stimulated as well, and the artwork can work me into the kind of trance I would normally get from divining omens from nature. Tarot cards are basically the flash cards of fortune telling! They make it easier to “tell” a story. And you are “making up” stories for strangers using a deck of cards whether you realize it or not, every time you are “reading” the cards, never quite knowing how it will completely apply to someone’s life. The surprise conclusion is finding out how these images can conjure the majick (or magick) you require to tell someone’s fortune.

At the end of every reading, clients are already helping me to purchase my next Tarot deck — I try to set aside a little something with each reading I give. Every year I make it a goal to buy at least one deck after my birthday (December 30th). I never get bored with Tarot decks because storytelling is at the heart of the Tarot. Artists and writers can re-imagine the Tarot and apply its archetypes to any mythos — there are even Tarot decks, like The Game of Thrones Tarot, that are from the worlds of television shows, movies, and books.

Let Me Introduce You to Some Awesome Cards!
The following list is a short and sweet one, followed by another list of cards that have yet to be released and only available for pre-order! If you like what you see here, please follow the links to check the decks out (and if you’re out there and would like to send me one of these decks as a gift feel free to visit my Amazon Tarot Wishlist to see what is still wanted on my list, I will give you A FREE IN-DEPTH READING ASAP!). Thanks for stopping by to lust after these amazing cards with me!


Tarot Apokalypsis by Kim Huggens, Erik C. Dunne

Tarot Apokalypsis book & deck by Eric C. Dunne and Kim Huggens

THIS HAS IT ALL! A 400 page book concentrating upon gods and goddesses throughout many ages and cultures whom are lavishly illustrated by master digital painter, Erik C. Dunne. I have Erik’s first deck, Tarot Illuminati, and it is STUNNING. No other Tarot decks are this richly ornate and detailed. After using Tarot Illuminati, I can just imagine how awesome it would be to utilize Apokalypsis! So this deck and accompanying book is top on my list! And by the way, I am a HUGE lover of Tarot and playing card deck publisher Lo Scarabeo. If you are looking for the highest quality card decks in the work, look no further.

Tarot of the Haunted House
by Sasha Graham, Mirco Pierfederici

Tarot of the Haunted House by Sasha Graham and Italian artist Mirco Pierfederici

I can’t wait to get my hands on this deck! It’s literally a Tarot deck that tells the story of a woman trying to escape a haunted house, witheach card “opening” a door that could help or hinder her progress, all playing out like a vintage gothic horror film! The artwork reminds me of classic paperback horror novel cover paintings, something I have a great fondness for, taking me back to my childhood when ghost stories really scared me like nothing else. Now nothing phases me. Bring on the ghosts and monsters, yes, please!

The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook (Official Keepsake Box Set) by Kim Krans + The Wild Unknown Journal !

The amazing nature art of the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans

I’ve had my eye on this deck for a long while, never knew how wonderful it truly was until I saw another reader use it for a reading for me! The nature art is very comforting, the ink drawings harken to my comic book illustration background, and I feel it is also very much in tune with my Pagan religion as well. It is mysterious and elegant. Getting the journal that matches the deck would be lovely — I love it when an artist/author goes the extra mile to put together something like a workbook like that. I look forward to someday exploring my life, and hopefully enlighten others, with these insightful cards!

STARMAN TAROT KIT by Davide de Angelis

Starman Tarot, based on the art behind the music of David Bowie, by visual alchemist Davide de Angelis

The Starman Tarot is, by far, the MOST unique Tarot deck out there right now, featuring the art of David Bowie’s collaborator, Davide de Angelis, each card is bursting with color and psychedelic vivre! If you’re also a fan of David Bowie, this is a must have collectable deck!


REBEL DECK – The Oracle with Attitude – Oracle Deck (60 Cards) by REBEL DECK

Rebel Deck/ the Oracle with Attitude has cards that give very direct advice!

OMG this card deck is the shit! Just the kind of deck you need for a WTF Tarot spread like the following:

The “What the Actual F–k” Tarot Spread for times when you need some very direct answers!

I can definitely use the Rebel Oracle Cards for times when using Tarot just is too vague and for clients who really not only want a blunt answer, but could use a laugh during a tough time.

The Gospel of Aradia by Stacy Demarco

The truly beautiful High Priestess cover image by artist Jimmy Manton from Stacy Demarco’s “Gospel of Aradia”

I love the sacred stories of the old “Aradia, or the Godspel of the Witches” as recounted by Charles G. Leland (1899), which I consider part of the basis of the magico religious tenets that helped form what is today’s Witchcraft and Wiccan religion, and has impacted my spiritual life for the better. Having a deck that beautifully illustrates Aradia’s gospels would enhance my own intuitive journeys as a Witch all over again. As an artist, I, too, have explored the legends of the Witch messiah Aradia, but sometimes it’s nice to see the lore through another artist’s vision.

The Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck by Lesley Morrison & art by Lisa Hunt!

The Hummingbird from the Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck, art by Lisa Hunt

THIS DECK IS AMAZING! I’m a fan of Lisa Hunt whose watercolor paintings and drawings are so uplifting and mesmerizing, I could look deeply into the patterns and work myself into a trance. Her art bends you into a divination mode, so it’s no wonder she’s been the powerhouse talent behind so many Tarot and oracle decks out there (just Google her and you’ll see). My two favorite decks of Lisa Hunt’s work are the Shapeshifter Tarot and Fantastical Creatures Tarot, both decks I frequently use and recommend! Reason why I would love to add this deck to my collection is because, well, frankly, I love birds! Most of my spirit animals are birds, actually. I share the Hummingbird card as a sample from this deck because this bird showed up numerous times in my life shortly after my father died, and since then its become a new spirit guide for me. Also, birds play a mighty role in my divination work — if you watch them closely they will indicate what kind of weather we’re going to have! They “know” things ahead of time. We could all do with getting know the habits of our birds better!

TAROT & ORACLE DECKS I WANT BUT CAN’T GET YET (but are coming soon!)

The following are Tarot card decks and oracle decks that are SO NEW that some are not yet available for purchase, but can be pre-ordered. The artwork I’ve seen is fascinating and the concepts breathtaking, so I think they will make fine additions to my meditation and fortune telling routine! Please have click on the links and take a peek, I think you’ll love them, too.

Amenti Oracle Feather Heart cards by Jennifer Sodini & Natalee Miller are inspired by the wisdom of the Goddess Maat

Amenti Oracle Feather Heart Deck and Guide Book: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World by Jennifer Sodini , Natalee Miller *Available: May 21, 2019~!

One of the beautiful images of mystical cats by Pabolo Barbieri

Barbieri Fantasy Cats Oracle by Paolo Barbieri *Available: September 8, 2019

Vanessa Vanjie Mateo as the Ace of Swords from the RuPaul’s Drag Race official Tarot!

RuPaul’s Drag Race Tarot Cards by Paul Borchers * October 1, 2019

The totally #relatable new interpretation of the classic Rider-Waite cards from the Modern Witch Tarot deck!

Modern Witch Tarot Cards by Lisa Sterle *October 2, 2019

Okay, enough wishing! Got Tarot? Me, too! Share with me some of your favorite decks and let me know if you’d like me to review new or vintage decks as part of this blog OR if I should start a YouTube channel!

Let Me Re-Introduce Myself to You by Answering 20 Questions

It’s been a long while since I wrote simply for the joy of, well, writing. I need a fresh start. This is a way to relieve the tension and get back to my natural self. Nice to meet you all over again.

Wild Wind-Blown Self Portrait Near Lake Joanis, photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015
“Wild Wind-Blown Self Portrait at the shore of Lake Joanis”

What did you eat today?

One cup and a half of rice and cream of mushroom soup, washed it down with Vanilla Coke. It’s now late at night, I forgot to have supper, so I have to make up for it by making a quick tuna fish sandwich! I tend to skip meals whenever I get manic creative like I did today. Yes, I’m kicking myself in the fanny over it. But, to be fair, I’ve been on a treatment called Bydureon that has significantly reduced my appetite, so it’s made me extra forgetful when it comes to eating!

What have you done today?

Slept in too late, that also meant I took my medication later than usual (I’m talking about my diabetic meds) so that gave me a combination of a belly and headache, so I spent the first half of my wakefulness in meditation, stretching, easing my body back to a natural state of composure. This is what happens when my chronic fatigue attacks my system, so I compensate. I move slow, have done so for as long as I can remember, but now I accept it instead of beating myself up for it.

Next, I answer to the call of my cats who are ever mindful to help me stay awake by tending to their every need and desire. I not only just feed them, I clean their bowls, make sure their water is fresh, check the litter boxes three times a day (otherwise they will complain, loudly), and the best part is cuddling them. Today my elder cat, Calie, wasn’t feeling well, she’s got a hair-ball problem, so I massaged her belly and throat, prepared softer food for her, and made double sure the water and food bowls are free of dust.

The biggest chunk of the day I spent at my COLOURlovers profile site where my digital coloring obsession helps me relax and forget about the troubles of the outside world. It’s a part of my daily routine. Whenever I get stressed out, I’m there almost too much!

Tonight I am house cleaning, taking out trash, clearing clutter, and preparing for a late night visit with a good friend. She and I planned to collaborate on art projects while I put in a load of laundry. Unfortunately, didn’t work out, so we had to re-schedule, which is just as well considering I still have more cleaning to do before I can really make my place presentable. Ugh!

Name a few friends and what their talents are:

Saumya: Multi-talented, so I will name the one talent she has that’s my favorite (actually, I don’t have one favorite, so I’m just picking the one at the moment) — her ability to create intricate drawings where there’s images seemingly within images, like paisley maps that lead to “mind’s eye” hidden things but each time I take a look, I see something different within each drawing.

Michelle: Watching her drawings and paintings develop is like seeing flowers open fast forward, and they don’t wilt.

Nicole: She’s a true visionary, someone I can really relate to and can communicate with on a psychic level, but even when we can’t seem to connect in the “real” world, she has this earthy, motherly quality that soothes everything out. I can truly call her a “soothe-sayer” because as both an artist and healer, she can apply both at once in her efforts to bring someone a calming truth.

Trent: He drums like he was born out of a different era, yet also can drum in any style of music, or genre. What he is best at is rockabilly and jazz. His specialty is really keeping that nice, flowing beat… I can’t describe it as well as you can hear it. You have to hear him live.

What is your star sign?

Capricorn with Leo rising!

Can you play an instrument?

No. But I can sing. I took vocal training as a child and performed in semi-professional church choirs while growing up. I hated the travel, the church retreats, and constant auditions for solo and duet ensembles I didn’t get to be a part of! Yet when I did get to be, I did it like a Diva. Now I only sing on stage for karaoke contests, or just to surprise friends. I perform Stevie Nicks songs the best, my favorites songs to do are Enchanted, Talk to Me, Stand Back, and Edge of Seventeen, just to name a few, yeah, I could make a HUGE list. However, people who really know me often request I sing Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit.

What has been your work experience mainly been in?

Retail hell.

Considering we’re only a few days away from Black Friday, I am VERY glad to not be experiencing that anymore!

Have you ever been to uni or done any courses?

I spent what seemed like decades in college obsessed with achieving my BFA in Studio Art, emphasis on Drawing and Painting, with a minor in Writing. Originally what kept me in classes so long was I double majored in English and Fine Arts! I soon realized I had to cut down those classes and focus on Art since that was where my talents truly were the best. I didn’t graduate and went on to just achieving a degree in Life Experience!

In fact, it really does feel like I spent my entire life in universities. My mother worked at Cardinal Stritch University during my grade school years, so after school I was “enrolled” in a life drawing class while Mom was at work. Instead of going home alone, it was great to take a bus to the university and engage in creative pastimes like that, really had a major influence on me. Later my Mom went to Central Bible College where religious studies also had a major impact on my life, but not in the way my mother would have hoped! By the time I was of age to get into college myself, university life was already a part of who I was and it’s my “church” in a very real sense.

I miss being in classes. I still feel a deep loss not attending. I have constant dreams where I think I’m late or didn’t show up for a class, and I’m missing out on it “all”, or I need to catch up. I also still feel like I am in my 20’s!

Are you in a band or do anything creative?

Hell’s belles, wish I could of been in a band, gods know I practiced like I was in one when I was a teen! But, no, that didn’t happen.

As for creative… I got that going on up to my eyeballs and beyond! Art’s my bag.

What is your favorite planet?

Planet? Planet sch-man-et! THE MOON!

Last film you watched?

The Shadow of the Vampire — I love my vampire movies. I’m also a HUGE fan of actors Eddie Izzard, John Malkovich, and you can’t beat the amazing Willem Dafoe as the classic Nosferatu!

What have you discovered about people?

Anyone I know, and love, can pass away, or leave, at any time, without warning. So make every moment count. Make sure everyone knows they are loved. Even when they refuse to believe you are their friend, or that you love them, still extend to them love. Just as often as people change their minds, they can change their hearts as well. Forgiveness is liberating, perhaps even necessary for survival.

What clothes are you wearing?

A turquoise and forest green batik sarong I sewn into a poncho, pair of black trousers, no socks, no bra, feeling like an all natural woman.

Are you a jeans and t-shirt girl or dresses and skirts girl?

Bah! I weep if I have to wear jeans. I love to wear dresses as long as they are semi-formal and exotic. And skirts, yes, skirts! I rather wear flowing things than tight, hugging my legs and thighs things.

Don’t even try to make me wear shorts in public. I think shorts are the ugliest things women wear. Get yourself into a skirt or pants, a romper even, but not shorts. And jumpers? Puh-leeeese!

However, you will only see me wear shorts to bed. When you’re a woman going through menopause, shorts are the best thing to wear at night. Never thought I’d EVER wear turn to wearing them for anything until I got the sweats.

Denim or leather?


But I feel like I should be more kind and point out I don’t condone harm towards animals, even though I do have a leather couch that I know wasn’t made from the hides of cows who committed suicide. I also own a coyote fur coat, a gift from a friend and my father. I honor the animals and thank them for their contribution to my well-being as much as possible. We all nourish other living beings in this life and death and re-birth cycle. Someday my body will return to the earth, and perhaps will contribute to another’s life in this cycle as well, gods’ willing. I don’t know yet. Or I may disintegrate in an instant. Should I even think too long about this?

Why do I feel guilty over my humanity whenever I think about how leather is made?

Oh, I look back at my couch and suddenly start to imagine the moo-ing moans and death cries of the cattle when they lined up for slaughter… ouch. Stop it, Val.

What was the last song you listened to?

This is sad for me to say, but I don’t remember! This means I need to listen to more music again. I get into a silent mode. Last night I was content to listen to the geese outside, and then became very concerned when I heard a blue jay cry out in alarm just after dusk. I get to be a watch dog for my neighborhood woodland, the flora and fauna mean a lot to me, so I worry sometimes when I hear something strange like that.

Lately I am watching more movies, so the last songs I heard were instrumental soundtracks. However, to be specific, last time I heard an actual song was from Pink Flamingos!

The Trashmen : Surfin’ Bird ( 1963 )

Probably one of the most annoying songs ever created, but the “Papa, ooma mow mow” lyrics are perfect for the “singing asshole” scene during DIVINE‘s birthday party.

How many pokes have you got on Facebook?

You know, I’m slow to social media, always have been. Never understood how “pokes” work. So whenever someone pokes me, I don’t poke back, and I never poke anyone! It also took me FOREVER to get the hang of Twitter as well. I even wrote about how much it frightened me.

What things frustrate you?

People and money.

What political party do you support?

Liberal. I lean to the left. No particular party.

What is more important money or love?

Love. Because when you got love, the money follows, it really does. You might be able to “buy” someone’s loyalty, but when push comes to shove, people who love you will stick by you when you’re broke and sick. I know this because whenever I am broke and sick, I’m not that way for long, and my friends aren’t that way for long, too, so supporting each other with or without money, you can’t buy that. Love glues us all together.

You get invited to see your favorite rock star, what do you say?

Ha! I’m either speechless or over talkative at first, but the conversation will be mundane, which may be refreshing to the star. I don’t want to gush all over them because I think it’s just stupid and everything they’ve all heard before over and over again. I also know they are jet-lagged, or weary after a performance, so what I have to say will depend upon the circumstance of the chance meeting. I will dance according to the music played. But chances are, I’m awed speechless, or speech-full silly, so I should let them talk, tell me a story I can repeat for bragging rights later for me to tell to my friends. I collect stories of chance meetings like that, not autographs. Maybe I’d take a selfie with them, if they feel up to it, but even that will feel rude.

Fame can turn people into assholes. Being popular and successful is a job. Very stressful. It can get ugly just as much as it can be rewarding. When you’re famous people think they can say whatever they want about you, uncensored, sometimes even to your face, and this means my “heroes” have to wear thick, heavy armor. When I meet them, I know I’m not meeting the “real” person inside, it’s still a part of their performance. I know this because I’ve met and worked with several famous people, seen the life behind the stage, so being careful and kind to a performer goes a long way. I can’t just walk up to some star and think I’ll be their best friend over night. Even if that star was someone I used to know, went to school with, or was a friend of a friend’s friend, I don’t have the right to call on them willy-nilly.

Also, I no longer have any heroes, no one to look up to like I once did. I don’t believe in heroes anymore. There’s just people who are good. Good at what they do and doing good in the world.

We don’t need to put anyone else on a pedestal above us. Appreciate someone who deserves it more, like your mother, or the people who struggle to save refugees. Or just appreciate yourself. Yes. Do that! Great way to end this tonight. See you again soon!

My Harrowing/Hero-ing

Walking Away: A Self Portrait in Red, photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015
“Walking Away: A Self Portrait in Red” photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015

When I take action to control my life, I’m told I’m being manipulative. When they say I do not inform them of my life plans, it means they wanted me to ask their permission. When I decide what I want to do, it’s not done against anyone else’s will. When I ask for help, I am not asking for everything. When I ask for assistance, I am grateful, because there are things I cannot do for myself due to abilities I lack. I ask to be useful in return.

…and here’s where it gets personal.

It is not my fault when my help is refused. I am not your burden when you took me on as a “project”. I am not a project. I am a person, and I grow, I learn, and despite disabilities, in order to be happy, I have to help myself, do for myself, and not subsist on the crumbs public assistance assumes will leave me healthy.

I never ask anyone to break their back for me. I never lifted a hand to swipe away your bread for mine. I never got this depressed and sick in order to live lazy. When I volunteered at places I loved to work at, with people I loved to work with, it’s not my fault they turned me away because they thought the work was too hard on me, or maybe they thought I became a burden, too? If I cannot even volunteer, what use am I?

When I lost friends, those so-called pals told me they dumped me because they wanted to remember me as I was before I lost my health. But I am beyond pleasing them showing how crazy that made me feel. And when I could not fulfill deadlines for projects of my own, my passions were dying, I felt my fire flickering, my heart burning… What does it matter if I fail or not when I am considered this burden?

I cannot be a burden. It’s too heavy. I have to lose this weight. Not in the physical sense, but as in this weight of expectation. No more will I let my father tie me to the ground and shape my body into nothing but fat. No more will I let anyone sink me into mud whenever they give me looks of disgust like that. I am not this weight. My body is more than fat and meat. I’m not this heavy thing, yet…

I can be an anchor.

I intend to take action to control my life, and, yes, that is being manipulative because I am cutting off these strings to be master-less. I intend to live my life as I’ve always lived, really: as I choose, by my own power, whether or not you feel it’s what you think is proper or not. I do not need approval or acceptance. I never did. I don’t exist to take advantage of anyone. If I can, and I do, I support others in return with the abilities that I have that you do not. What I can do no one else can, and in that I have great value. Let me shine. Let me be my best. Let me produce.

I am a creatrix.

I should not subsist on crumbs, or favors, or public assistance alone. The shame of disability is a shroud created for me once diagnosis rears its ugly head and all the medical expenses pile up, keeping me a slave to an insane little budget, but how else to live when I have to maintain this balance? I no longer fit the mold. Since I cannot do as all the rest, what use is there for me? Do I forfeit all my learning and talent and remain in my closet drawing pretty pictures no one will see? So what shall I do? Wait to die? For years this body has rested underneath the burden of being a burden, practically the word alone “disabled” is enough to shame me into permanent instability. I am not disability itself. I am my own person. I am myself. Don’t mock me or tell me I’m this burden on society, or that my illness means you’re obligated to nurse maid me to Hell. I am not a crippled child who needs to lean on you in that fashion. Who said you had to work for me? Or fix me? It’s not your job.

While on disability, I’m not unemployed, I am working for myself.

When I choose to stand up for myself, I am not putting anyone down. When I decide to try something new, I am not abandoning help. When I ask someone to let me go, I am not asking them to dump me. Stop beating me up for being me. Quit hurting yourself taking responsibility for me. I never asked you to take my job. That’s always been up to me. Someday you won’t ever have to worry. It’s okay to think like you do because you really think it’s because you care. But it’s not helpful.

I am strong. I survive. I work my way through many tough things. But even when I am alone, I realize my survival has been the sum of many peoples’ assistance through many years. Even in my solitude, I am not an island.

I want you to know, I am not this so-called burden. Each time I’m called that, I think I die, and sometimes I thought I did, but each time I bounce back, I know it’s a lie. I grew up angry. How many women like me are told the same thing? How many lose their lives trying to work their way out of being a burden? How? Why?! I suppose I’m to feel guilty for everything they did for me when I couldn’t do anything in return, and they knew I didn’t have the means, so why did they decide to make me a burden? Does it feel good to stab themselves for picking me up when they knew I was too heavy? Because I’m not stabbing them. Just like they accuse me. I don’t do anything! All day, oh, yes, I sit here and project nothing. Especially not that.

Once you realize I am not a burden, you’ll be on to calling someone else the same thing. By then, I hope, I will have forgotten the sorrow of it, yet for now it is not a nothing, it is something I choose to toughen me up. I do not like getting like that. I like being soft, but like so many of you have told me,

  • “it builds character”


(not addressed to any one person, or organization, but written for all the women like me who are striving for independence while living with a disability)

We Carry Them With Us, Always

I don’t know where to begin, except to start at the trail of my tears, and trace back to a place of calm, somewhere where I can recount a time when maybe there was a time when I sincerely felt solace in this space.  I cannot find it now except in this inner temple where I carry you.

The Island in October, photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015
“The Island” photograph by Valentina Kaquatosh, October 2015

And when I speak of you, I do not talk of one single person whom passed beyond this life, but of the several I last spoke to, or seen, if only in a dream, and now remember as if still awake in that dream.  I try to think of poetry, to form my words into something divine so my memories of you can float up into a heaven we can all recognize you in, someday, yes, that dreadful word someday I speak it like it will be tomorrow.  When I type it a bit of thunder rumbled outside my window.  Imagine that, thunder on Samhain!  What solace can be had this midnight with a thunderstorm?  You know how I am with storms.  My heart trembles and my skin goose pimples as the rain falls as if it were made of pure electricity.

Outside tonight the Halloween revelers are all a scream, running for shelter, their individual bonfires flooded out with the down pour as one more thunder strike silences everyone indoors.  A peace falls again, darkness swells as the rain tumbles with the thunder, thunder growing more gentle now even as it swells in intensity all along the clouds.  The rush of the wind makes me feel like I can hear your voice better now, telling me to call it a night, “go to bed, find a pillow, cry into it, or watch a scary movie, maybe take a shower, wash it all away like old make-up” and the rush becomes a fever.  There is heat all over my face.

I can’t help it.  I carry you with me everywhere I go.  I always will.  But you are not a burden.  You weigh nothing, yet only the sorrow is heavy, that is why I have to cry it out in doses, dump all these tears as much as I can and pray, at this moment especially, the Thunderers take it as my offering tonight.  May my salt leave my eyes, stop stinging my sight so I can finish writing these words, release my sorrow-burden and go on pretending everything has not left a mark, and all will be as if you did not die.

I know some of us say we do not die but we change from one life to the next and in this, yes, we must acknowledge death!  Accept death for what it is!  Do not hide sweet death and shy not from darkness…  but why, why take you so suddenly?!  What cause has your death sweetened for this life?  Those who say there is a plan for everything and that this is the work of God are mistaken.  No master plan is behind this.  Nature is random.  Only people put a riddle, rhyme, and reason to it all.  Poetry.  Yes, forever the poetry.  If only life were poetry!

We’d live forever if you and I had wrote our days long-hand poetry.  What epics we’d be now.

In this end, the poetry still leaks, strays away from me, repeats, even when I am at my loss for words I am poem-ing — perhaps that is how I carry you all — I poem you with me, always.  Like starting from a trail of tears to leaving a tiny, dry, dusty trail of glitter behind me as I reach the end of my lines, reaching for my solace.  On Samhain, forty minutes before midnight, my only strength in lighting candles, petting cats, about to watch an old scary movie, a black-and-white one I never got to watch with you, but one of you would appreciate the most.  I feel a smile somewhere in the darkness like an embrace.  It lifts me up a little at my waist.  Blood rushes back to my feet.  My finger tips tingle back to life after a numbing-stabbing of pain when I was at my bursting of tears.

I am not alone.

I’m not alone in carrying you with me.  You can be with so many different people now.  You need for no cell phone or internet.  Travel isn’t a bitch anymore.  Your body is only emotion, imagination, perfectly mobile in every meaning of invisible, impossible, and beyond understanding.  You can fit into anything, can take the shape of everything, and be the talk of everyone like you never were as a person.  No one need measure you by scientific means, or record you on video, or track you with any devices.  You’re gone in the sense that no one need touch or see you if they don’t need to, or want to, and even if they do, you’re there in the sense you never could be when you were.  As a story, more than fiction, but in this I can back that up with my poetry reference.

But in my times of solitude, where I am in my place of believing experiencing you out of your old body, it is another burden to sleep in the closet.  Sometimes, however, it is nice in the darkness.  It can protect me from the garish light, stop a migraine cold in its tracks, and heal me during times when a crowd is an assault to my senses.  When all I want to do is curl up with you, it would be nice to share what you have to say, yet the worry of the words…

perhaps only poetry is the way?

— in memory of Dylan, Joyce, and Shawnus

Restoring a Stradivarius

I haven’t posted anything in a long while because, it seems, each time I have this year, someone has passed, and/or someone criticizes me for being too emotional. So I have turned to reading more, finding comfort in the words of others, and building stamina in the realization we are all together in this awareness of beauty and infinity. No one thing is a small thing. The following is a poem by one of my favorite authors, Iris Orpi… each time I read her work, I feel that kind of kinship — the observance of timeless joy in each thing, no matter if you can only touch it with words.

Rampant & Golden

Kiss me along the rays
of my inner sun.
Call your serenity after
the ocean blue of my soul.

Remind me again
that I am infinite.
I have cast my future
in faith and fever dreams.
I have a lithe spirit,
but the rushing of days
and the dragging of nights
have taken with them
parts of my song.
If you can please
sing it back to me so I can
remember the words.

Love me
to the limits of awakening.
Lay your head against the night
whose stars are my eyes,
whose fragile stillness borrows
from my dark, silver-edged fears.
Get lost again in the city
peopled by all the ways
I am beautiful.

And I promise to belong to you
like I have always belonged,
deeper than the skin
and larger than these four walls.

“Red Winds” by photographer Mihai Dascalescu


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The Message of Goddess Fortuna

I live a life of devotion. I love my Gods. Sometimes they talk to me in my dreams.  Since today is a very auspicious day, dated 12-13-14, I thought it appropriate to finally post a dream conversation I had with the Goddess Fortuna.  This is a re-post from my old Mindsay blog.  So posting this again, I hope, will bring you a great message, and us both wonderful luck.  Enjoy!

On the night of September 3rd 2009, I dreamed about the Roman Goddess Fortune (also known as Dame Fortuna).  The following is posted directly from my private handwritten dream journal.

“I am not Lady Luck,” she smiled, dressed in jewel encrusted red velvet and gold (as if she just stepped out of an Italian Renaissance painting) her hair colored amber honey, tied up in braids with ribbons of gold — real gold that shimmered like tinsel. Looking at her… she seemed ablaze with that gleam of gold, so gold it blurred my vision. When she talked to me, she was hard at work in, of all places, a modern morgue (or mortuary, it kept changing from today to ancient and back again) yet all the while, between the flickering back and forth of time, shifting of places, Fortuna’s golden aura made the room warm and comfortable. She was attending to the bodies — unzipping the body bags and decorating the dead with flowers, jewels, chains of gold, scented oil, rose petals… it was easy to breathe in the thick scent of myrrh, gardenia, roses, musk, incense…

“I am FORTUNE,” she sighed lovingly, firmly while placing daisies over the eyes of a dead man, “I am there at the end of life, but I am no nurse. I am the one with the job of making sure the lost and unknown receive a proper funeral — especially when there is no money or living people around to bid farewell to these souls. This is what you need to tell people, Valentina.”

She gave me a serious down-to-business look that sent a shiver through me.

“When a person — no matter what their significance when alive — passes from body to spirit without a funeral, it is as if they never existed. No one acknowledges that they lived. But this is not their fault. Death came to them inconveniently. It happens. However, it can be remedied. They do not have to pass into the next life without someone knowing who they were. Gods like me, we do not miss them. We grant these unknowns grace and peace — their bodies, their faces, their names, all these things stay a mystery to you, but we know them. This is perhaps the most important thing I do, providing a funeral when there was none.”

She paused while scattering more rose petals over the severely battered body of a woman. The woman is dark-skinned and Fortune’s light makes her broken corpse seem like a liquid black gold. Fortune’s eyes are moist with sad recognition. She briefly touched the dead woman’s head and the face reconstructs, glowing with Fortune’s golden aura so bright. “This one was stolen from her destiny, and enslaved by men. Her fate was entangled by money — as long as her body provided pleasure she made it with great ease, but the gold she earned never went to her. She could not own herself. In order to escape, she had to die. Her family does not know she died. She was beaten so badly, and on purpose, so no one can identify her. But I know her. See how beautiful she is? Death is kind to those who have suffered. Keep that in mind.”

I follow her as she moves on attend to other battered bodies, repairing them in death, touching and decorating each carefully.  I notice that behind her there rages a great, fiery furnace. There are two men completely clothed in black.  Completely void of any identity, they move like shadows, they are covered in a kind of opaque chiffon, wrapped up like mummies or ninjas, strips of the strange cloth cover every inch of their skin, it seems they are nothing but this fabric — without body and soul. Fortuna notices I’m disturbed by their presence.

“You see my workers?” She winks and smiles. “Pay them no mind. It is their fortune to carry the dead. They who kill cannot rise again to life until they answer for the burden of murder. Keep this also in your mind — write it down — share this — this is the killer’s burden. Murder is heavy on the soul. You cannot escape the fortune you take. Tell as many as possible. This should not occur anymore. People must know. Share what Fortune is telling you, Valentina, and your fortune will be assured.”

When I’m about to express some self-doubt, my thoughts are laid wide open for I stand before a goddess and she knows all. “Just do this, Valentina! You will see I will not forget you. You will prosper. This is not a fiction. Gold will follow these words.”

She says this as her workers, these shadow men, stir up the coals of the furnace. Quickly, they zip the dead back into their bags, some bodies into old-fashioned sacks, and one by one, the bodies’ are placed into the furnace like they are backing bread, beginning to melt into black puddles and then, without smoke, they disappear. When gone, there is no mess, no residue, no trace of them left behind. As the last body disappears, this place of death becomes cold and silver.

Funny how I associate “silver” with cold…

Dame Fortune blows me a kiss and sends me back to bed. Her voice is still in my head.

“I will reward you for following my wishes,” She said.

So let this be shared.  Let it be passed along.  May Fortune’s words of gold also be yours.

Thank you, Fortune, thank you.

**This dream was very important to me because, in the following year, my mother died, and it helped prepare me, in an unexpected way, for that life-changing event.  I began to understand more about life and death, yet also went through a series of emotional upheavals, that, I always discover, lead to breakthroughs (often our break-downs are breakthroughs in disguise).  Immediately after my mother’s death, when her body was sent away for cremation, I watched the documentary A Certain Kind of Death (about what happens to the dead with no next of kin), and not only was I reminded of this dream, that film brought me relief from my worries about what happens to bodies after they die. It’s the side of “fortune” we rarely examine — who will care for the physical parts of who we were after we’re gone, and will someone respect us when we’re dead? From what I saw in A Certain Kind of Death, even the unclaimed dead are treated with respect, a sobering prospect to ponder. One of my fears was dying alone and undiscovered like those stories you hear about in the news every now and then — no one wants to be known someday only as “that person” who died in a horrible circumstance where no one cared, or know someone who died alone undiscovered for a long while…  I truly believe the gods don’t forget us.**

The following is a list of the many aspects of this gracious goddess. Call upon any of her names below to ensure good fortune (derived from the page on Fortuna at Wikipedia:

Fortuna Annonaria brings the luck of the harvest
Fortuna Belli is the fortune of war
Fortuna Primigenia directs the fortune of a firstborn child at the moment of birth
Fortuna Virilis attends a man’s career, celebrated only by women
Fortuna Redux brings you safely home
Fortuna Respiciens — She is the fortune of the provider
Fortuna Muliebris is the luck of a woman (of note is the fortune of a woman in marriage was also Fortuna Virilis, tied to her husband’s career)
Fortuna Victrix brings victory in battle 
Fortuna Augusta is the fortune of the emperor
Fortuna Balnearis brings the fortune of the baths
Fortuna Conservatrix the fortune of the Preserver
Fortuna Equestris fortune of the Knights
Fortuna Huiusque Diei fortune of the present day
Fortuna Obsequens fortune of indulgence
Fortuna Privata fortune of the private individual
Fortuna Publica fortune of the people
Fortuna Romana fortune of Rome
Fortuna Virgo fortune of the virgin
Also something to note:
Pars Fortuna is your Lots of Fortune, or Part of Fortune; “time of birth” determining your fate that are calculated by the three degrees/angles of the major cosmic bodies that make up your Astrological natal chart — your Rising Sign (Ascendant), Moon, and Sun.

As you can see, the Goddess Fortuna, or Fortune, is incredibly involved in all aspects of life. The name Fortuna finds its root in the Latin fero, meaning “to bring, win, receive, or get”, hence why she was later associated with gambling luck. She was a very popular goddess in Ancient Rome, and today She is actively worshiped by Pagans, Witches, and many polytheists.

Awesome pages about the Goddess Fortuna and the people who worship Her:
The Obscure Goddess Online Directory: FORTUNA
Temple of the Goddess Fortuna
A Rite to Fortuna — Mirror of Isis, A Fellowship of Isis Publication

An art installment by Dawn DeDEAUX using imagery that is very close to my dream, so close it frightened me when I discovered it online: The Goddess Fortuna and Her Subjects In an Effort to Make Sense of it All — however her work has a totally different statement.

Forecast Your Own Future: VOTE

I’m breaking my silence. I hate elections. I hate politics. I don’t like all the political ads on television, and I can’t stand politicians quarreling on TV (um, I mean debating) over my rights as if it’s their fight to run for me. Do they even know what I need, or what I am fighting for? I tell you what I do about politics… I choose to end it.

I chose to vote.

I want action, so I act, I vote, and I’m proud to do it. I’ll wear my “I Voted” sticker today loudly. I’m gonna do it. And when I’m done, I’m going to move on, and whomever’s elected, even if I didn’t vote for them, I’m going to remain an active citizen and make sure my voice is never silent.

You see, I don’t vote for politicians, I vote for change!

Elections, like wars, or the weather, have some predictable business about them, yet all is uncertain. I hate the uncertainty. Perhaps this is why many folks do not vote. It’s the fact that even when you vote, much is left out of your hands — you throw your ballot in the hat, but when’s all counted at the end of the day, the odds are stacked against yours. We don’t trust the system doing the counting, the money exchanging hands, all the going’s on behind our backs we never see, and I like to pat myself on the back and say “at least I had my say” yet will we ever know?

All I want is to wake up tomorrow to find some hope waiting to pick me up! It’s my assumption that you do, too, but hope is not going to just happen out of a vacuum. We have to do something to cause it to have an effect on our lives.

Most importantly, we must be persistent with our endeavors to get our “hope machine” running — if the current system runs by odds stacked against us, we have to put our own parts together to create and run a better system that will beat the former one — we cannot be alone during a time when we need change, working change!

Even though we do it alone, the first step is to vote.

If you don’t want to, that’s your choice, too, but think of the millions of people throughout history who died and fought for our simple right to vote. Maybe then you’ll change your mind. Our ancestors didn’t have a say. Women didn’t have a say. Now they do. You do.

Speak with your vote. Be counted. Do yourself an honor.


Because it’s not about the politicians. It’s really about you. How do you want forecast your future? You have to tell the leaders how to do their job. They work for us! Remind them.

Simply Grateful

Today I am grateful for all the things I over look, take for granted, grateful for the ground underneath me staying still and solid, for the sky above me remaining calm, that I am in good health and so is my cat, Velvet. Even though I have zoned out today, letting time skip in a blur, I am letting tomorrow come as I would unfold a new and unexpected gift — because everyday I’m alive, even if I’m sore or lonely or sad, is a day to celebrate! Even if I have no place to go tomorrow, I plan to dance out the door and face any little adventure available to me with great knowing gladness.

This is the conclusion I come to most usually despite the nights I weep over the friends and family who have died, or left, and sometimes in their absence I have to pinch myself to remember to refresh the experiences of joy that they brought into my life. It’s far too easy to beat myself up over the losses. I’m not sure why my body and mind misbehaves like that when I’m most tired, weakest, vulnerable… most usually when I can’t sleep, or haven’t slept, and the days and nights of insomnia blend into a kind of non-existence. There are times when living the Solitary Life can cage me into a shadowy, hidden place, when my introversion doesn’t serve any purpose but prolong depression.

Last week, as part of an independent living community volunteer service, a peer counselor invited me to a house run by people like her. It was a way for me to get out of my shell again, and I have to tell you, I did panic a little! All of the panic immediately faded when I recognized women from downtown. It’s a relief to know I’m not the only woman in town dealing with menopause, grieving, and depression, etc., and the plus side is none of them were the judgmental type. All of them were used to dealing with the same things I deal with, some of them trained nurses and “travel buddies” who assist people like me with communicating with other people. What a relief to discover resources around and about where I live! The only con is we have limited volunteers. But it could be worse. A neighboring city isn’t as open-minded as mine, treating such “club houses” for the mentally ill community as troublesome. *makes frowny face* Whatever.

I once wrote about there needs to be a shrine on every block, or in every neighborhood, well, I want to revise that and say there needs to be places of refuge in every city for people who have emotional and mental distress. In these places we should be able to let ourselves cry, volunteer our time there to be shoulders to cry on, and provide ears to listen to other peoples’ concerns and problems. There should be kitchens and stoves for free that we can stock for anyone who needs a break, or who ever wants to brew a hot beverage or warm up a hot dish for people who need a little home style comfort.

Because not all of us have that kind of social interaction with others. I got through months without it. When I don’t see people so often in that ordinary way, I get all kinds of homesick. I miss my mother. I miss her home cooking. I’ll never get her kind of care ever again. There are no substitutes for her. Just as there are no substitutes for anyone else. Each loved one I’ve lost is a gem!

And I used to shine so brightly when I had more of those gems in my crown.

But as I write that, I cannot ignore the brilliant new gems in my life whom I should polish on a more regular basis instead of neglect while I fall into my darkness. I don’t want anyone to feel like I don’t listen to them more than I do voices who put me down in the past.

However, it’s a slow process to turn off the repetitive memories and words of those whom I could not reach a resolution with.

I will not talk about any one relationship, but there are three people I wish would have talked to me in person, face to face, in order to erase all the assumptions that ultimately severed us. But, then again, to even request contact would mean to them, I’m assuming, that I’m not able to let go, that I’m still unhealthy and manipulative, and whatever. I’m “meh” at this point. I just want my passion back. I don’t know how to get it back. I only know how to go on living… and dancing.

When I get moments of release, I eat them up! Early this morning at 4am, I had this incredible surge of energy and started to just dance, dance, DANCE. My cat, Velvet, chased after me, so I grabbed a ribbon and lashed it around me so we could dance together. Moments turned into an hour. As I got my wiggle out, it was good to just let my cares go, to work myself into exhaustion, and drop into my pillows again, anxious for the evening.

Because I slept all day, and now that night has come, the woods and cool, wet night air is heavy with that wet bark smell, I feel all cares are gone. That there is hope for my passion to creep back. Velvet is a doll, she tilts her head up, prances around me, anxious for me to get off the computer so I can go to being her giant cat toy again. She hasn’t taken the place of Mr. Snuggles, but she does the same thing he used to do: remind me to unplug from all the bad memories and PLAY!

And so I plan, just like I wrote at the end in the first paragraph, even if I have no place to go tomorrow, I plan to dance out the door and face any little adventure available to me with great knowing gladness.