I called up a friend I haven’t spoken to in years when I found out she had scoliosis. A fellow tattooer from Detroit, we were both in a documentary together. We met when she came to Cincinnati like eight years ago, since then I’ve traveled to Detroit a few times. She tattooed the scissors on my left arm, with the banner that says “SHARP!”
So much life lived since we last spoke. I’m really happy to reconnect with her, and hope to work together more this year. The love never went anywhere. Nothing happened between us, her family grew, I moved around. We didn’t purposely stop talking to each other, just didn’t have reason to stay in touch outside of social media.
I sent her a before and after pic of my spine curvature and was telling her about how I did it with the foam roller and binaural beats. She told me how she started working in the medical field, and has a great chiropractor that she really trusts. Her chiropractor was explaining how scoliosis affects other organs, the slightest movement or pinch can cause an avalanche of discomfort or pain. Organs can start to break down, since the spine is the neural passageway that links the mind to the rest of the body. The entire network of nerve cells is compromised by the misalignment, which affects how nerve impulses are transmitted. The spine being the operating panel for the body’s entire nervous system, scoliosis can cause anxiety and emotional imbalance. The nervous system processes and interprets sensory input, determining our ability to respond appropriately. The brain and spine are so connected, they are one. The brain is the flower or seed, the vertebrae is the stem.
When she started getting adjustments, she said she was crying all the time, and the slightest thing would set her off. It makes you feel so vulnerable, I said and she agreed. At first, I wasn’t sure what was happening, I was just trying to make it so my lower back disc wouldn’t feel like they were pinching. It was causing muscle spasms. I started the process of straightening my spine during winter of 2015 going into 2016. This explains my erratic behavior during that time.
I wasn’t sure if my emotional pain was caused by physical pain or vice versa but I was spazzing on everyone. It was so bad that I was walking around hunched over at a 90º angle, throwing my shoulders forward to stretch the length of my back, as well as dragging my back down stairs, pressing pressure points on the ledge. With the foam roller, I adjusted my spine continuously, and it changed overtime, fusing in its new position. From the shape of the foam roller, I was able to push any part of the protruding curve into a straight axis. When this process begins, the vertebrae is somewhat dislodged, and you have to continuously pop and stretch the vertebra discs so they do not return to its misshapen default position. Proper postures and yoga poses and binaural beats remedy this.
This also makes sense as why I was so reactive and easily triggered by things, bringing up the past as if it had just happened. My lower back stored memories from 15 years ago. My chest and sternum was holding memories from 10 years ago. My neck, which is straightening now, contains the programming from the past five years. These are the memory timelines that are activated by where I feel the cracks and pops on my spine. The chakra system has been an excellent tool in diagnosing and balancing myself.
I’ve been mainly working on the spine but my hips, shoulders, ribcage, and abdomen have all adjusted. All of these are much more symmetrical, especially in the abdomen. I may have gotten taller. Emotionally, I’m more stable and less extreme. I don’t say that my nerves are bad anymore. Change the inside to change the outside. What strikes the shell does not budge the pearl inside.
I must be gentle and patient with myself as I now recognize that I was undergoing a deep recovery process. I realized it when I first saw my updated x-ray (2017) but after talking with Alyssa, I learned that the psycho-spiritual aspect of healing involved toxic purging, re-integrated abandoned emotions, unexpected breakdown, feeling all the way vulnerable, stripped of defenses. Thank goodness it happened when it did and not a moment later, more organs would have suffered. I’m so grateful for this new insight that explains the chaos and confusion of mental breakdowns from a couple of years ago. I didn’t see what was happening on the inside at the time but I now get to live inside this new body that endured the hard work of necessary transformation.
i think i don’t smoke anymore.
not everyday, not every week.
eventually, not even socially.
i don’t mind if people smoke around me, it’s me smoking alone that does the most damage.
i go on breaks all the time, but never longer than a week. my little one who stops by to sweep and stack papers suggested i go the whole month of december without smoking, since christmas is god’s birthday. to show god i can do it. that’s reason enough for me to try. they say kids are impressionable but the reverse is also true for me.
so i haven’t bought any or smoked by myself in over a week, but finally did over the weekend to reward myself and prepare myself to draw. i could afford it, and i deserved it. but i never got started on the drawing once i got high. there wasn’t enough of me in my body left after i smoked. once your body has detoxed and gone a while without smoking, you really feel it when it hits your system again. the herb has an inertia to it, it’s hard to quit when you’re already high but it takes some adjusting, once you have gone a while without it.
there’s a lot i want to do with my time, an enormous amount of clarity and mental focus i require of my brain and body, in order for it to do what i am here for. if i ask myself where my last three years went and why my production has dwindled, i must honestly answer: it’s the weed. so far, i’ve like it, but it’s no way to live. i know it’s always accessible so there will be times where it is hard, but i can’t do what everyone else is doing. the quickest get rich scheme i know, is to quit smoking.
i’m trying not to put too much pressure or restriction on myself, because then it still brings attention to the problem. the goal is for the NEED for it to shed. to find an empowering alternative. to delay the gratification. to not get stuck in a stress cycle. smoking doesn’t solve any problems, it just delays symptoms that are mostly mental. as i was smoking most recently, i wondered, how was i doing this everyday? anything you do daily produces a gigantic build-up, so what do i have to show besides physical deterioration and chronic fadedness? i want to be sharp and bright and pure and efficient. i had it in my mind that i was taking temporary break, and going to reward myself with it later, but now it is no longer a viable reward. the reward for not smoking can’t be smoking. the reward for not smoking is the clarity and control in the absence of addiction or dependency itself.
the weed itself contains spirits, the spirit of inspiration and also that of sloth. i think that the plant was originally banned because it made people free thinkers. people get high and start questioning what they were taught, what they eat, what their minds are truly capable of, government conspiracies, etc. in the same manner that the weed will make a person rebel against the powers that be, it also makes a person rebel against their own priorities. just like any crop or flower, the plant has to adapt in order to seduce humans into furthering its existence. so to get high is to host the spirit of weed.
after getting my wrap, a lady in the store looked at me and said “she don’t even look like she smoke.” which means my face and lips and eyes changed after not smoking for a week. i still want to a little bit. i still might. no matter what, i won’t let it get in the way of things. more discipline, more freedom.
a sink is getting installed in the back tattoo room. since i’ve opened i’ve been using the bathroom sink which is right next to the back room.
the business slowed down the whole month of november after someone called the health department. i’ve had a cease and desist for a month. ideally you’re supposed to have a business license before you start but it caught up to me a year and a half later. i’m not mad but very inconvenienced by it, but going through protocol procedure is making me stronger. it’s upscaling, it’s a level up. it’s something that warrants enthusiasm during the ideation phase but drags on during execution. it’s good then bad then great. impatience is the only stressor, but still a big one. my faith doesn’t waver.
the plumber is really cool and i appreciate him. i appreciate my neighbor and friend for letting me borrow his drill. i appreciate my friend for the plumber referral. it’s not a sink replacement but a whole new sink, new pipes and plumbing that needs to go into the basement.
spent today cleaning, wiping down mirrors and watering the plants. went to the gym, listened to the new meek, about to work on the plan review papers after i post this, then go pick up some birds to charge.
after i wrote the saturn blog post, i worked on the online shop ferociously with stunning detail and focus. it felt good, it made me happy. the pressure i was putting on myself is gone. i’m glad i waited. the internal frantic feeling has dissolved into a deep reassurance that i am doing a favor, providing an exclusive blessing for each customer and won’t lose no matter what the outcome is. writing about my process a crucial part of the process and this is where i’ll do it. every monday i will update this, if i don’t get to post, at least i’ll start on something to post and work on it through the week.
my recent saturn revelation had more steps in it than i anticipated, truly an awakening process. the first night and day was research, then for another day or two i interpreted the patterns and how it applied to myself. then yesterday i wrote a list of hindering thinking and behavior patterns to release.
don’t help people before helping yourself. stop trying to hook up all your friends and be friends with everyone. control your control issues. take pride in craft and appearance. presentation speaks for itself. decorate passionately and purposefully. don’t spread yourself thin to escape what needs to be done. see yourself as more than rich, but wealthy. but don’t measure your worth with money because not every soul you touch will have a dollar to spend. understand that abundance comes in unexpected ways, perhaps not how you expected but exactly how you need. desperation is hustling backwards, reverse ambition, short-changing myself.
November 30th 2018:
i am agonizing agonizing agonizing procrastinating triggered triggered triggered, my chest feels tight and my breath is slowing as i am typing these words. i’ve been hyperventilating and letting out slow screams trying to make myself cry so i feel better. this is not a cry for help it’s just part of the process, i am supremely confident i will be ok i am confident in my abilities i am confident in my abilities i am confident in my abilities. my success is important to myself and others. i am just as valuable as i have ever been. these are the words i need to hear so i tell them to myself until i believe it, these are the words i need to see so i spell them out on here so i can read it, i see it before anyone else does and once i decide it is good enough, i hit publish. by the time it is new to the public, it is old to me, the final push is the commitment to consequences, projections, following up, criticism, or most horrifying: praise. (just kidding, i still enjoy praise. just not in front of everyone)
for over a year i’ve had “launch online shop” on my to-do list and it didn’t move and i didn’t work on it because it’s one of those things that have fifty to a hundred smaller to-dos inside of it. december 1st was the deadline i gave myself and that’s tomorrow.
the down is as low as the up is high and i was on a productivity high yesterday afternoon but then in the evening i felt very lost and lonely, could not shake this fragmented fog of failure. stacked up against the memories of all the other things i started and didn’t finished. it feels like losing ground, treading water, the fear of being defined by your flaws and failures. it’s an unquenchable hunger. normally i would get high but i didn’t allow myself to. i don’t want to run from the pain or do things to make myself feel temporarily better but cause long term regret. i got to reroute my serotonin supply. i won’t try to escape the discomfort necessary to achieve my desire. how is making your dreams come true so dreadful?
after i wrote something hard and honest, i said “making art doesn’t feel like busting a nut anymore, it feels like giving birth.” and it’s still true. the labor pains, the sickness, the commitment, the postpartum sense of loss and new identity to adjust to. the first push that begins a whole new entity with it’s own mind and moods. i embrace it because it means that what i’m making means more.
i’ve ran an online shop before, i know i can do this because i have done it before. i want to do it better than i did before because i have more than before. i have more freedom, resources, knowledge, stability and strength than three years ago. it can take a long time to perfect a product, multiple trials and botched recipes and updates. the entrepreneur has to take time to prepare to profit. it’s only six items with short inventory runs of each product. not even as big of a deal as i’m making it out to be.
it’s harder than it’s ever been, i texted myles about it. he said “because we’re getting older and there feels like there is less space for ‘practice'””. psychological issues can become more pronounced in adulthood. a grown-up develops addictions and relies on vices in the same manner that a toddler wants their blanket or teddybear. you have to stop and take the rocks out of your backpack every now and then.
the next thing i need to do is to finish writing a press release. so easy. probably about the same amount of effort and energy to write this shit. why this shit instead of that shit then?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [ stopping point. a day passes. mreeuh takes a walk to calm her thoughts. goes grocery shopping. confides in her family and old friend. has some red wine and cheese pizza. decides to postpone the launch. says fuck it to the stress and is highly amused at her ability to get her own self worked up over
nothingsomethingeverythinganything herself? ]
emotional simultaneity. feeling multiple ways at once. excited, stressed, pressured, destined, disgusted, self-important, self-sabotaging, self-aware, embarrassed, transforming, transforming, transforming.
realizing i have a incompletion trigger. let’s call it that instead of impostor syndrome for now. a trigger is a trauma wound, a land mine, a pitfall portal, something that reminds you of all of the other things just like it. how do you heal a thing like that? i love to make things but then i stop right before it’s done. i’ve done it so much it that it feels like it’s just how i am but that has to change. i know i’m not alone in this, so many people do this with books, food, clothes. buying new things, overlooking what they have. i have to look inside. there is no need to go outside.
what does the hater in my head have to say about my hopes and dreams? the bastard whispers that people will say that i’m copying someone else, force-following footsteps, trying to be like someone more successful than me, similar in business model and industry but vastly different in style, execution, creativity, attitude. “damn i guess tattooing isn’t working out?” fuck you. of course no one has actually said this. i haven’t launched yet, i haven’t even revealed anything to criticize. it is my own expectation, my own limiting belief beneath the sabotage. that is one perspective but another is that i am the perfect person to execute my vision because of my previous involvement in assisting other companies, going after potential competitors. if i don’t do this, i’ll remain unfulfilled, envious and resentful of everyone doing something similar, feeling like i could do better, trapped by fear with no one to blame but myself.
my procrastination led me back to my birth chart. i started researching my saturn aspects, the eighth house. i’m at the cusp of my saturn return. saturn rules bones, authority, father figure, time, karma. it is the task master, whistle blower, custodian, disciplinarian. serious and mature, the saturn return demands thorough assessment and necessary transformation. because it handles karma, it also deals destiny.
the birth chart can be studied for a lifetime. because saturn rules the bones and has malefic aspects to my sun and jupiter, i interpreted that as the reason for my scoliosis. last year, i began straightening my spine and it’s significantly straightened. because saturn represents a father figure, i figured my father issues were correlated by my saturn placement. two years ago i wrote about it and stopped telling the story. the birth chart doesn’t change but the person grows so the understanding of the birth chart can be reinterpreted with deepened insight as the chart owner matures and masters lessons.
saturn in aquarius in the eighth house. what the hell does that mean. i spent two days and one night ruminating on it. what is saturn, what is aquarius, what is the eighth house, what are all the possible combination of these, what does it all mean, here, now? the eighth house is the house of sex, death, rebirth, inheritances. here is the best article i found on it.
i have at least three main nemeses in this life, enemies with enduring hatred, once sweet relationships turned sour. grudges that borderline obsession that got so out of hand that the initial reasons why became distorted. characters committed to my undoing, going out of their way to make my life harder, lying on me, blaming me for their actions, obsessed with me but trying to make it seem as if i am obsessed with them, which resulted in me becoming obsessed. i don’t care about them as much as i am bothered by their antics, but sometimes my compassion kicks in and then i do. victim playing, gaslighting, reaction-baiting narcissists who will stoop to the lowest lows. they’ve tested me to my limits and brought out the worst in me. they expose my shadows, they’ve scarred my psyche. they are the stepmother of the hater in my head. the wars we’ve waged have made me who i am. they have all tried to do something to interfere with my livelihood, even my freedom, slandered my character and reputation in attempt to control how strangers see me. they are all aquarians. one a former lover turned stalker, one a ex-friend and sister, most recently my upstairs neighbor. but even i ignore them or a relationship ends, if i don’t understand the underlying issues, the situation can reappear in another person. i have a karmic cycle to close. if i stay there, it would be by my choice and that’s not what i choose. if someone was born late january to mid february, that’s a red flag for me. only exceptions i can think of are chris and natalie.
what am i saying about myself if my saturn is in aquarius and saturn is discipline and karma and eighth house is legacy and inheritance and other people’s shit? how can i make an enemy of aquarians without denying the aspect of myself that relates to structure and discipline? it can be an excuse or it can be fuel. ego death, ego death, ego death. career-wise it makes total sense i am a tattooer. the seriousness of the craft, permanently modifying other people’s bodies. aquarian energy is that of deviation and eccentricity so it also makes sense that i am professionally subversive, even in the industry of tattooing, i don’t fit the profile of “serious tattooer” because i do so many other things. i’m a disgrace by the standards of more than one cultural limitation. i am here to pioneer the new, with nods to the ancient. while understanding that not all projects need to see the light of day, i want to heal my incompletion trigger. i want to finish and release and keep getting better.
saturn in aquarius means i could invent new technology or champion social justice rights. aquarians are independent so in the eighth house it means i don’t ask or receive help from others well. an elusive genius with a schizophrenic work ethic. saturn spends about 2.5 years in a sign so it’s not just me but everyone born in 1991 and beyond. it makes sense that so many people my age want to be their own boss and not work for anyone, equipped with the technological savviness of making the internet work for you.
with saturn in aquarius, its difficult to define what is work and what is play. the gratification of hard work versus the enjoyment of leisure become overlapped. we need our wants. the craft is burden and blessing. the calling fosters fulfillment and inadequacy. the procrastination is productive. the progression can be pointless. go on a far enough tangent and it loops back into the bigger picture.
i want to give my life to my work.
i want my work to expand my life.
i want my expanded life to improve my work.
i want my improved work to archive my life.
i want my archived life to inspire the world.
i want the inspired world to find their work.
i want their improved work to inspire my life.
i want to live my inspired life, working.
taking a trip around the galaxy to make myself feel better inside my body. my standards are high but my expectations are low, taking the scenic route to simplicity with overthought conundrums, i work myself up just to laugh later.
Nothing gets done without deep focus, even while multi-tasking. Uninterrupted immersion on one task at a time is key to seeing things through completion, or at least measurable progress. The lifestyle of creative entrepreneurship requires one to wear many hats, playing various roles. Even if you are in one industry, the different opportunities and responsibilities within that field can make anyone who serious about their craft, a wide-ranged individual. If you own a business, work is never done. There are no days off and all the overtime you can get. The to-do list will always exceed the number of hours in which completion is possible. Stay dreaming, stay working.
Time is not linear, but exists in multitudes that come full circle, overlapping on other trajectories based on plural realities. We overestimate what we can do in a month and underestimate what we can do in a year. Plan some, improvise some, but everything is not in your hands all of the time. “It will never work out exactly how you want, and if it does, don’t trust it. It’s the devil.” Dame Dash one said on an interview.
Astrology captivates me because it’s a map of time, based on star positions and personality archetypes. A new moon in virgo comes two weeks after a full moon in pisces. A new moon is a sun-moon conjunction. Virgo-pisces are opposites. Plus, It’s always changing. Do you ever look up at a swiftly shrinking moon and wonder where the week went? It went from gibbous to crescent because that what’s a week does on a spinning planet.
Time management, just like an exercise routine, can increase performance when you switch it up. In the gym, it’s considered body confusion. In the office or studio, it’s a shifting your hours. Sectioning off your time is puzzling at first, especially if it is made of parts that contradict, seem to have nothing to do with each other, or utilize completely different modes. A big challenge is shifting gears from one mode of thinking like problem-solving and repetition to a creative mode that encourages you to deviate, take risks, daydream new possibilities. The same frame of mine required to organize your space is a different setting than being on the floor, present for clients. You need time and space for it all. Going from getting rid of things, to research to maintenance to managing inventory, communicating with customers, marketing, branding design, etc, most entrepreneurs work nonstop, doing a little bit of everything.
Before being able to create a stricter regime for my hours, I lived on the planetary week for about a year or so. It is based of the ruling planet for each day. When you observe the etymological root of all of the names of the week, it corresponds with the planet.
Monday – Moon – Luna – Lunes
Tuesday – Mars – Marte – Martes
Wednesday – Mercury – Mercurio – Miercoles
Thursday – Jupiter – Júpiter – Jueves
Friday – Venus – Venus – Viernes
Saturday – Saturn – Saturno – Sabado
Sunday – Sun – Sol – Domingo
Based on the ruling planet for the day, I dedicate that day for doing tasks that correlate with the themes of that planet.
Monday – Moon
Writing, Reading, Meditation, Yoga, Planning, Quiet time, Introspection
Tuesday – Mars
Art for clients, Business decisions, Signing contracts, Meetings, Drawing, Tattooing
Wednesday – Mercury
Emails, Errands, Packaging and Shipping, Grocery shopping, Inventory, Meetings
Thursday – Jupiter
Branding, Promotion, Sales, Marketing, Publishing, Designing, Merchandising
Friday – Venus
Art for self, Leisure, Self-care, Friendships, Grooming, Priorities and Values
Having a overall agenda for each day helps me keeps the wheel spinning, since my lifestyle has many different parts. Nothing will get done if you’re thinking about all of it at once. Taking things one day at a time without fretting tomorrow or regretting yesterday is the way to go. Naturally there will be some glitches and lapses, sometimes Tuesday type tasks get done on Monday, then you have to catch up on Monday chores another day. Then there are the hours you have to account for, within the days. No matter what, each day takes on the direction of its ruling planet, so the galaxy may be contained in a week.