Saturday, January 5, 2019

This is Me: 2018 Edition

This is me.  I'm a 30-year-old successful small business owner, slinging ink and drawing funny faces as a caricature artist for over half my life.  I've been married to my high school sweetheart for ten years, together for almost 15!  We're homeowners here in Kansas City and have five rescue pets who get along perfectly.  I'm chronically ill with a condition called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a form of autoimmunity that affects the brain and nervous system, along with various other autoimmune diseases that tend to come with the package.  That being said, I have it under control with a combination of medication and injectable biologics.  Finally, and probably most importantly regarding this blog: I'm a witch.  I've been a witchcraft practitioner of varying forms since I was a preteen.  I began Witchy Words in 2012 as a way to document my journey and beliefs, a blog which has grown to hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of followers.  I couldn't be more grateful!

Every year, I utilize my organizational skills along with my abilities in the Craft to create goals for the upcoming year.  Last year specifically, I reinvented this process utilizing a spirit work ritual.  This year, I do have witchy plans involving New Year's.  However, before we can approach that, it's time to review the evolution of the previous year:


I spent most of my year working my tail feathers off!  I've taken twice as many events this year than I have in any prior year, and thus actually doubled my income for 2018.  All that work gave me a chance to have a new sign designed:

I also rebranded my social media and business cards:

I didn't travel as much this year as I have in previous years but that's likely due to the fact that I was always booked when an out-of-town inquiry came in.

I don't mind!  It's given me a chance to work some pretty unique events!

Also, I started teaching classes for our local library system.  I did a total of ten classes this year.  Next year, I'm already scheduled for that many and that's just during the summer!  It's likely that I'll double that amount at this rate.  Exciting!


In the process of working non-stop, I managed to pick up a nasty cold that turned into bronchitis in the spring.

It stemmed from working an outdoor event in sub-freezing temperatures when already sick and spiraled from there.  The illness wiped me out for nearly a month, but I had to continue working during that timeframe.  Canceling contracts is frowned upon and my job is pretty niche, so it's hard to find replacements.  

This also included leading my May Day ritual while terribly sick.

It resulted in its own fair amount of repercussions, but I did what I had to do make it through.


I finally managed to move my piano from when I was a teen to my home.  This thing is a family heirloom at this point, passed to me by my grandfather.  I have a lot of fond memories of it.  When my mom threatened to post it on Craigslist, I managed to scramble the funds together to have it moved.

I even had it tuned...

And replaced the missing ivories!  I still have some big plans for it, but they were delayed because...


Above was the last picture we took together.  Leaving the circle was bittersweet but essential when things dissolved into personal drama.  Having already left the greater community, leaving CF wasn't a stretch, even if leaving each was for completely separate reasons.  On to better things!


Iris is a feisty, independent Alexandrine, but her attitude is her most lovable trait!

Like a toddler, she throws her food at me and yells if she doesn't get her way, but she's equally affectionate.  We're still working through some health issues.  When we got her, she had two bacterial infections and a yeast infection on her wings and legs.  We've since managed to clear that up and are now focusing on the underlying causes.  She also gets along very well with my other pets!  She was hesitant of Artie at first, but is warming up to him:

She has loved Zeus since day one:

And she tolerates Hermes and Apollo:

With her large beak, she's more of a threat to them than they to her, for better or worse.  That being said, we obviously take all the appropriate precautions when managing the tiny zoo we now keep.

Iris is not a familiar, though it's possible that she may be given time.  I'm always open for it, but I don't see it coming.  That being said, I love her no less than I love the other four.  She's got a huge personality which fits perfectly with our horde!


When we first moved into Rhoeas Hearth, we knew we'd eventually have to replace the sewer line.  We were given a timeframe of about 5 years.  They were off by a few, however.  This year, we made an emergency replacement in August thanks to fundraising from readers and help from my in-laws.  That allowed us to use our savings to make another emergency purchase:


After we had to abandon my husband's 17-year-old car for mechanical issues, my husband and I had a lengthy chat.  Our original plan was to fix his car enough to get through the winter months and buy a new car in the spring.  Then, we'd buy me a new car given my lengthy drives to events and he would get my then-current one.  It had been well over a decade since I shopped for a car, though, and I had no idea what I wanted.  I went out, test drove a few cars... and fell in love.  Suddenly, we were buying a new car!

To be fair, I'm not sure his car would have made it to spring.  It was pretty much dead when it rolled up to the dealership.

I named my new car Serenity after my favorite childhood cartoon, Sailor Moon.  I decorated it as subtly as I could.  I didn't want to make it a loud Sailor Moon Mobile, but I liked having a little nerdy flair here and there.


Turning 30 wasn't quite how I imagined it at the beginning of the year.  I ended up spending it mostly alone.  A few friends attempted to treat me that week but it just wasn't quite the same.  That being said, my husband spoiled me:

And I spoiled myself:


My husband and I celebrated 10 years married this year!  I was utterly booked with work, so we weren't able to actually do much for it, but we'd long made other plans.  We're hosting a vow renewal next year on our 15th anniversary of dating, so we have plenty to look forward to!  That'll also include a second honeymoon.  I can't wait!  Aaron has been the only person in nearly fifteen years that has stood by me, lifted me up, and believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself.  I might have been just 13 when we met and 15 when we started dating, but I knew I'd found the right one from the moment I saw him.  He is literally the best.


For much of my life, I've felt like volunteering, teaching, and guiding have been my purpose, my calling.  As such, I've often lost myself to the greater cause.  Having left the community and the circle, I've begun to work on my own path, forging my own way through the dark.  

It's a lonely road but we witches have always been on the fringes of society - the solitary, the unknown, the lone soul in the abandoned house on the outskirts of town.  I'm learning to revel in haunting my own body.

I entered 2018:
29 years old.
Fur-mama of four familiars.
A small business owner.
A homeowner.
A blogger.
Coordinator for Circle of Fountains.

And I left 2018:
Officially in my 30s.
Married for over a decade.
Fur-mama of three cats, one dog, and a parrot - all rescues.
A successful small business owner with improved signage.
A caricature trainer!
A homeowner.
A blogger.
Forging my own path alone.


2018 GOALS

1. Circle of Fountains needs to complete the Introductory Novice Training together.
Originally, I thought this goal was to emphasize that we needed to work through it together, and I worded it as such.  Instead, it was pushing me to complete my portions ahead of time.  The spirits knew well that I wouldn't be with CF by the end of the year.  By my completing my portion of the tasks, I ensured my obligations to CF were complete - even if they don't move forward with them.  Either way, I mark this one as complete.

2. I need to get my altar to my psychopomp guide erected this year.
Done and done!

3. I'm going to get immensely ill this year unless I can get my health under control.
Did I get my health under control?  Physically, it's about the same as it was, and I reaped the consequences.  Did I get really sick this year?  I did indeed.  But I wonder if this goal wasn't more pointed at my mental health.  I began seeing a therapist this year to take responsibility for my mental illnesses.  I've made incredible strides in this area and I'm proud of what I accomplished.  Good enough.

4. My finances are on track and will continue to be given proper health.
I didn't just double our savings - I added even more.  I didn't expect the amount of income I achieved this year.  With help from readers and our in-laws, we managed to find more stability.  Not only is this 100% achieved - I blew it out of the park.

5. I need to find a relaxation method this year. 
Under this heading, I mentioned something about getting a piano.  Not only did I get my piano, but I've gotten it tuned and functional!  I'm pretty darn proud of that.

6. The house will find its own projects for the year. I have to let it be.
Did it ever.  The sewer line threw us for a loop at $11,000.  I definitely let that be the only major repair we managed this year.

7. I should encourage Aaron to cook more.  The spirits like his food.
I didn't follow this one as stringently as I should have.  It's something to aim for next year.

8. My career is going to go through some big (and amazing) changes this year and I need to be prepared.
Goodness did it!  I've never worked so much in my life - and I had three jobs while going to college at one point.  It gave me the opportunity to create a new sign and rebrand my work.  It's also causing me to raise my rates this year in hopes of finding more time for myself while still making the money we need.  Speaking of which...

9. I need to take more time for myself.
"I've been stunted in my career, in my health, in my mental and emotional growth and more, because I spend too much time focusing on catering to others.  What do I want?  What do I need?"
That's what I wrote last year regarding this goal.  Not only did this goal slap me in the face - it gave me an extra one-two at the middle of the year.  I've learned my lesson and I'm working on me.


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