How I Lost My Soul, or A Fine Absinthe Adventure

Hello, friends!

The cocktail in question.

Sorry to double dip with posts, I was feeling inspired. I have made myself a cocktail of rhubarb simple syrup that I made last night, gin, and some grape juice that we had laying around. Every time I drink I feel the opposite of how I feel with caffeine, like the world is moving 3 times slower instead of three times faster. One such example of this crazy slowdown feeling was the time I had absinthe.

Absinthe was illegal for nearly 100 years due to the fact that it was believed to have some bad things in it. It became legal again in the States in 2007, but I am forbidden from ever drinking it again. Let me tell you why.

My husband and I were in the liquor store one time heading back from a sushi date and we came across some Absente absinthe. My husband was drawn to it because the packaging had Vincent Van Gogh’s face on it, I was drawn to it because I had heard it tasted good.

Absente Absinthe, the very bottle that caused this mess.

It did taste good, like black licorice. I got around to trying it after trying Rosé wine and one of those tiny bottles of Fireball whiskey (which has been proven to have some weird effects when given to me by itself, let alone with absinthe). It was very strong, but soon it got worse.

No, I didn’t get sick, no, I didn’t black out. Yes, I did start sobbing because of something that made perfect logical sense at the time. I had lost my soul.

In reality, I didn’t lose my soul. For some reason I became very concerned with the fact that I didn’t feel spiritual at that time and feared that the alcohol had robbed me of it permanently. Translated, I had lost my soul and couldn’t find it. So my precious husband had to hold me as I screamed and cried about the state of my immortal soul. What’s funnier is that I hadn’t given a single care about the state of my immortal soul for several months before that night, going on a year. I don’t often worry about the afterlife, but this greatly concerned me that night. I think what happened was that I made an attempt to access my spiritual side as it is most often amplified when I consume caffeine and I must have thought that alcohol would do the same thing. It didn’t, and it was all I cared about at the time. It seemed like the most important thing in the world.

I would later have absinthe a second time by itself and that time I did not lose my soul. I started crying about one of those orange wind socks that I had passed leaving my cardiology appointment the day I had absinthe the first time. My husband reportedly had to spend three hours talking me down from that one.

Moral of the story, friends: Never let me have absinthe. I don’t care if someone is threatening you with harm of any kind. Do Not Do It.

Love,

Mago

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I Guess We’ll Have To See

Hello, friends!

I have been giving the concept of a heaven some thought recently and I am still on the fence on it. All the Christians talk about it being a place of rest, but I don’t see the point of a resting place where I’m surrounded by only people of my same faith. In the past, I have been far more in favor of something where our souls take on a different form of energy rather than being transported to a resting place. The only place I run into a snag with that is when I think about never seeing my dad again, or never being able to hold my husband when both of us eventually pass. He wants to poke me, that is what he is looking forward to. If there were any other workaround to that that held some shred of proof of possibility, I would go for that. I suppose there isn’t much tangible proof for a heaven, either, so we’re in this eternal spot of “oh, guess we’ll have to see”. I’m an impatient person, so this bothers me. I want my answers and I wanted them yesterday.

I bring this up because the artist Avicii is (posthumously) releasing a new album called Tim. I was confused because I thought he had died back in 2018, and that appeared to still hold true. The thing that really got me thinking was that they had turned his website into a vibrant memory board where people from around the world can post messages about the memories they had with him and his music. This got me thinking about my aspirations for my soul – to do enough good to be remembered fondly on Earth without much care for heavenly things.

As with the Avicii memory board, I have seen many signs pointing to the restful side of the quandary I’ve been facing, the side where I will get to see the people I love again. I have this one aunt that I have felt connected to since I first saw an image of her. Her name is Florence and it is believed that she died of the Spanish flu before 1920. I saw a picture of her and it was like there was an understanding between us that we knew each other at some point and will see each other again. Even if there is no heaven in the traditional sense, I hope we come into contact with one another again somehow. I believe that she is a guardian angel of mine. After reading about how she threw parties in her hometown newspaper, I have no doubt that she does it well.

This is Florence.

I have heard several of my Mormon friends talk about those who are dying being greeted by those they love who have preceded them in death. Some would also call these beings angels. That’s something I have never seen personally, but have felt. As my dad was in his last days, I felt presences that weren’t physically there. None of them ever made a move to speak or touch any of us. If anything, it was a feeling of comfort that we weren’t alone as we held my dad’s hand and sang to him. If that’s heaven, I wouldn’t mind that.

There are times I feel close to the more afterlife-related areas of God and the Universe, like with the examples of Aunt Florence and my dad. I also meet people whom I feel I have known before this life, and I know that if there are to be future lifetimes, there are a few people I’m damn near certain I will find again and again. My husband and my best friend Lindsey are some examples of this. I also know that I have more people to meet. There is a purpose to everything and God is everywhere. That keeps me going when there’s hardly anything left. I don’t always remember that perfectly, but just because I don’t remember it doesn’t make it untrue.

Do you have any thoughts on heaven? Let me know in the comments!

-Mago

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All I See Are Explosions Anyway

Hello, friends!!

Lately it’s been like an archaeological dig in my brain. If you’ve been following the blog at all, you’ll find that there have been many discoveries made in the last few days. It’s been an awesome experience, but there are still some things to be desired.

I pray a lot in my own way, and sometimes people think I do it wrong. I have problems praying aloud and instead carry prayers like feelings close to my heart soundlessly. It’s kind of like meditation mixed with prayer, and it helps me a lot. It may be “the wrong way” to pray, but I am firmly of the belief that people can pray however they want so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or other people. There is a time and place for praying aloud and a time and place for praying silently. I’m in the time for praying silently right now.

My friend Laurie talks a lot about there being seasons for things. It was a bit odd to hear that language at first, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There was a time and a season where I was a Mormon girl, there was a time and a season when I was an agnostic, there was a time an a season when I identified as male. This is a growing and harvesting season. This is a season of freedom.

The title of this post comes from none other than a poem I wrote that talked about my old school in Maryland. There was a line in there that talked about the only true semblance of prayer I had in those days was when I looked through a telescope and all I saw were explosions of galaxies anyway, not any kind of real answer. In those days, it was hard to be close to God and the universe. I was going through a lot.

Returning to the topic of seasons, there are seasons when I am not close to God and the universe. It’s totally fair and valid if you aren’t close to them right now, in the future, or ever. Your journey is yours, not mine, your best friend’s, or that neighbor down the road that demands an expectation from you and doesn’t deserve one. There will days when you see in perfect clarity, there will be others when all you will see are explosions. You are loved constantly and eternally. That is the great constant.

As I go deeper into this digging phase, this season, the more I learn. Having a seat at the table means more to me than just having an equal chance at life as everyone else. It means being given the same gift of hope and the capacity to dream, be validated, and live fully, not just exist.

I remember bursting into tears at Maryland college after seeing a sign saying “no one deserves just a friendship of utility.” It was advertising a workshop on how to be a good friend. The school was dedicated to the study of philosophy, and a friendship of utility in the texts was a friendship for a purpose, not just for friendship’s sake, not so different from using someone. I was hurting and felt broken and wanted my friends to save me. Not surprisingly, the more desperate I became, the more they pulled away. I was wanting as much of a friendship of utility as that sign was warning against. Nobody could save me but me in the end. It took believing in myself to even feel saved. Nothing, not even believing in God or the universe, would make me feel secure until I started this journey to believe in myself. I may have been broken, but nobody but me could fix me.

My aunt always quotes the safety demonstrations at the beginnings of airplane flights when they say “you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting with someone else’s, even if it’s your kids needing help.” My aunt is a wise woman, and there’s much truth in that. There are a lot of ways one can seek truth. You can try and find truth in books, friends, God. A lot of them are ways you can try and avoid who you are. You can believe in and put trust in anything you want, but if it doesn’t help you trust yourself in a deep and lasting way, perhaps it’s not worth pursuing long term. Faith and relationships should give you inner peace and help pass that peace to others, not spread you thin. It’s difficult to help others when you yourself are breaking inside. That’s not to say that you don’t need others to help you get to where you’re peaceful; I’m far from it and I am constantly being filled by the people around me. But I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without realizing I had it in myself to be where I am now. Because I have people who are willing to be in my life as I transform and encourage that transformation, I am able to become me and who I am meant to be in this moment. I’m beginning to believe in myself and have faith in that seat at that table. I see more than an explosion in things now, myself included.

After all of this, how can I believe in myself, you may ask?

I try not to pretend to know others’ lives, only my own. So here’s what has worked for me.

I’m learning in my life about what I call the great constant – that I am loved at all times, no matter how much I feel I have failed or fallen short.

I am also learning about what I am worth as a human being and child of the universe.

Put those together and I find that I am worth indescribable amounts and so are you. You are given a seat at the universe’s table simply because you are here and you are existing, experiencing this crazy thing called Living. You are loved regardless of where you have come from, who you are, and what you have done.

It takes work and a lot of faith. What really helps is to think back on what I have learned when I’m faced with a setback or a personal failure and present myself with mercy instead of condemnation. Because I know I am worthy and loved, I am allowed to continue trying. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I am a permanent failure. The aftermath of a mistake is an opportunity for improvement, to strive to do better next time and the times after that.

I believe that the moment you start to present yourself with mercy in failure is when you start to believe in yourself. From there, your self talk begins to change and you will work towards being able to see that you are loved in infinite ways and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ll never be perfect, and there is always something new to learn. That’s something that also takes learning. Thank you for learning with me.

Love,

Meg

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The Great Constant


Hello!

Today is a new day, even though it is a bit young for me. I woke up at 12:30 PM and am kind of regretting my life decisions. So I have camped out in a super hip coffee shop and am just enjoying life for now.

There’s something I don’t think about often but am thinking about now. I don’t usually like getting out of bed nowadays unless there’s something that’s making me leap out of bed at 6 AM. That’s usually a lesson, to be honest. I like getting up at 6 AM, but there’s not been much getting me awake and alive. I am quick to blame that on my surroundings and lack of events in my life, but I honestly am not feeling super motivated internally and that is why it’s harder to get up and move, I think.

I’m not feeling depressed, is the weird thing. I am perfectly happy when I get up, I just feel unmotivated, like there’s not much to look forward to in that moment. In other words, I think that my reason why I’m doing things, why I am living and not just surviving, why I am happy, even, isn’t big enough. I have big dreams, but I don’t honestly believe in myself enough for them to motivate me. It’s not that they’re small, it’s my lack of faith in myself.

It’s funny that I feel this way, especially after I have discovered that I have a seat at the universe’s table and have a voice. I should be living this discovery, right? How can I use my voice? How could I possibly be bored with my life?

I find during these “boring” days that I overlook the little things that make me happy and make waking up worthwhile. One of my favorite little things is when my roommate leaves fresh coffee grounds in the coffee machine to be made in the morning. It saves me a step and I am always thankful for it.

I’ve got coffee in hand and I’m thankful for that, too. I used to make long lists of what I was thankful for in a day, and that got me through the final stages of my husband’s and my long-distance phase. I nearly filled up a journal with these thoughts. I keep thinking that I should do them again, but never get around to it. I make note of the bigger little things, but I need to actually write them down and properly thank God and the universe for these little gifts.

I was reading a book called Captivating, which is a Christian book. One of the chapters spoke about God-as-lover and elaborated more on how God shows people love in small (and big) things, like a gorgeous sunset, or for me, the entire state of Alaska. I see God a lot in nature and in the people I meet. I definitely need to do better at recognizing that facet of God.

It’s interesting to me that I generally learn about God and the universe one little bit at a time in the times when I need that facet. I didn’t believe in a God who could personally love me until I started thinking a lot about the process and practice of gratitude. When I started to take note of these things, my perspective shifted. YES, I was loved! Yes, I was protected! It made so much sense.

One of the things I struggle with in my journey with God and universe is that some things need to be taken on faith and that I don’t have to understand everything. I think of my journey with happiness, for example – a lot of the time I am happy and I don’t know why. I don’t always need a reason to have happiness as my default state. It just is sometimes, and that is that. I am a child of God, I am a child of the universe, their love is constant and a given. I am carried on their shoulders. So are you.

“Meg! What does it mean to be carried on the shoulders of God and the universe?” you might be asking.

Well, it means different things to different people. For me, it’s kind of like standing on the shoulders of giants, you can see more than an ordinary being. But it also bears a connotation of a child being carried on a parent’s shoulders. I am supported and seen, is what it means to me. I am loved.

Knowing I am loved is a powerful thing. Knowing that God and the universe watch over me and guide my path as I listen is a wonderful feeling. They are everywhere. I miss my dad, but he is always watching, too, but in a different way than he could when he was here in this plane. I don’t entirely know what the purpose was in him dying, but I know he was needed elsewhere. Some have said that he gave my husband the nudge he needed to talk to me again so that our journey could begin. That would make a lot of sense seeing how similar they are. I know my dad loves me. I know my husband loves me. I know that my husband came back into my life at the exact right time. God and the universe, in their infinite wisdom, knew what to do. I will always be mistaken in thinking that my life is boring.

I am needed and I am in need. It’s strange to think that we are never truly static, there is always something changing, constantly putting us in need of help or in a position to help others. We receive gifts and are gifts to others.

I have said it before and will say it again, we are given what we need in the times that we need it. We are loved spiritually, that is the great constant. Nothing we can say or do will change that, it was so from the beginning and will always be. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are given an equal chance and a seat at the table. Be seated! The meal is coming.

Love,

Meg

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To Be Seen

I have a confession to make.

I don’t know how to write for myself. I write to be recognized, to be seen. I don’t know how to put my thoughts together in a way that’s coherent that sounds like me. I’m so used to writing to share. I fear that if I were to write for myself, all that would come out would be a scream. It’s very rare that I can unlock myself in my writing. I feel pressure both internal and external to write something good, to write something poetic, something that will change lives. It’s all gotta be good, meaningful, or it means nothing.

At least that’s how it feels, and feelings aren’t always facts. I do know that every time I write for myself – or try to – it comes out horribly sad and ends up hurting more than helping. Does that mean that something inside needs to be fixed? Does that mean that there’s some fear or sadness not addressed? I look back at my journals and I find that the later ones are full of fear and sadness and anger, and they make a bad situation worse because I’m dwelling on the past and being afraid of the future. It’s just bad. I go months feeling okay and wanting to write about happy things to something erupting inside of me and having to fight off armies of flashbacks and wanting to dive headlong into the dark again.

Last night was one of those nights. I tend to get very sad at around 3 PM every day, and things just built up inside me to the point where I started to shake and cry. Why was I crying? It felt like an aerosol can of sour memories burst inside of me. With that came shame, both for what happened and for not being over it when I should have let it go long ago.

I have heard that people are supposed to write clear and deep about what hurts, so I think I’m going to take that advice.

Something about the scene that popped into my head feels dirty and wrong. It was a memory of my ex and me. He was driven primarily by sex, I’ll be entirely honest, and I was a young, desperate Mormon girl. We had talked about threesomes for some time and I have a memory of when he came to Texas and we hung out by that car I used to drive and I remember there was a red haired girl we both thought was cute and we talked about “sharing” people like that. In the moment, it was okay. But in hindsight, it feels as sick as the sun felt that summer. I have a lot of shame surrounding that memory. This was one of the reasons I started to reconsider Mormonism – I had finally started to come to terms that I could be attracted to all people, not just men like the Mormon church encouraged, and once that mental bomb went off, there was no way to clean up the scattered contents. It was this ex of mine that helped me in a sick way to have this realization. When I tried to go back to church, the shame ate at me and I couldn’t reconcile the beliefs I had once loved and the shame I had with the things I now knew about myself. So I decided to ditch the shame and leave, unrepentant.

I hated myself for the longest time for letting that happen to me. The church had lessons on virtue (read: sexual purity until marriage) and I wanted to dodge every single one of those lessons from even before I officially joined. My mind didn’t fit the mold from the beginning, and there was so much shame I carried. I remember mentally eating myself alive even from the time I was small for being attracted to other genders. I remember mentally eating myself alive for having thoughts of sexual attraction at all. After all, they were wrong, right?

I am now realizing that I have spent a ton of time suppressing parts of who I am. I’m getting better at verbalizing what is going on inside of my brain and what I want and need. I am growing and learning and living and loving.

My gender and appearance falls under this category. I have spent so much time hiding and suppressing it. Last November was a turning point in that I found I could no longer ignore my identity. It was a pull unlike any other. I have pretended to be someone I’m not several times, and none of them ended up well and I always ended up in the same place. I was told over and over again that to identify with anything outside female wasn’t me. To those who said these things, who am I, then? Who am I now that you are not here to tell me who I am? The short answer is that you don’t get to tell me who I am. That’s my job. I am smart. I am kind. I am gifted. I am an empath. I am loved. I am a leader. I am a handsome human. I am a light. I am an example. I am a mentor. I am a student. I am a teacher. I am spiritual. I am imperfect. I fall down sometimes. But I am alive, thank God. I sing praise to life for the first time. It’s scary as hell.

Happiness is on my side. And it’s past 3 PM and I haven’t cried. Nobody gets to define me. I am not a reduction to how people see me.

I am alive, I am alive, I am alive, and I breathe like a newborn, screaming. It hurts to see light, but that is temporary. I no longer believe the lies that sadness told me.

Sadness is the liar, not the constant.

I will continue to speak on these topics until I can speak no more.

I will continue to tell myself that I am okay, and I will mean it. There should be no shame in this. The can may have exploded, but there is no need to clean it up. I may not recognize myself in the mirror yet, but I am here and I am seen. I am heard. So are you.

Love,

Meg

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Synchronicity

My friend called me wise yesterday.

We had been on a call and I told her that I was hungry, so she almost commanded me to go eat. I listened. She would later tell me that as soon as we hung up, her supervisor called and she went on an adventure, for lack of a better word, and seemed to have had a very good time. I didn’t understand why that was wise, but if I had to guess, I think it was because I listened to her. I didn’t intend for there to be any kind of wisdom there, but I suppose by listening, I allowed for it.

I’m a firm believer that there is a plan for everything. A lot of times I have no idea what path my actions will take me down, but I do know that there are certain points – meeting a friend, moving someplace – where a grand plan is more apparent. Others, like being told to end a phone call because I’m hungry and sad, are less obvious, but equally as powerful.

I’ve been seeking to make a change for good recently, and what I seek has also been seeking me. That’s evident now. My Nana calls these moments where everything lines up “synchronicities”, and I’m getting better at noticing them. There are simple actions I take sometimes that cause powerful things to happen.

One snowy night, I was at a birthday party in Rexburg, Idaho, and I was not having a good time. I left early, driving through the snow as carefully as I could. That care didn’t stop me from almost colliding with two other students as I parked. I suck at parking. Everyone was okay, and I recognized one of them, a friend of mine I had made a few weeks back but hadn’t seen in a little while. The other was someone I had never met before. The three of us got to talking, and by the time I left Rexburg, I had gained two true friends who had saved my life a few times. They taught me how to trust again after my last awful relationship, and I am so thankful for them.

One of my strong beliefs is that we’re given the things and people we need in the time we need them. My husband arrived exactly when he needed to, for I needed him when I didn’t yet know it.

He’s taught me so much about how to love and how to be a better human. Marriage is a fun thing, but also very difficult at times. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not super great at working as a team, but I’m learning. It’s like sticking two rocks in a tumbling machine. The rocks lose their jagged edges if all goes well and both become shiny and smooth. That’s our goal.

And all because of a synchronicity.

I’m thankful for God’s (or your own Higher Power’s) wisdom. It’s infinite. They know how to guide our lives and know us better than we know ourselves, and know what’s best for us. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the synchronicities that have led me here.

Until next post,

Meg

A windless day

I don’t quite know what I’m writing about yet, so I’m hoping the writing flow will guide me. I hope what I write today will help someone.

My mind feels like a lake on a windless day, flat and clear. It’s a perfect reflection of the sky, and all is calm. I feel numb in a way, too. I don’t know if this is called “stability”, and this worries me. I don’t like feeling numb. Perhaps I’m too used to overwhelmingly strong emotions, so the lack of them is frightening. Maybe this is what serenity feels like.

I like the image of the lake reflecting the sky. I’m serene enough to become a mirror. A simple mirror. I hope that the people see themselves in me as I see them. I hope their reflection helps them see who they truly are. And who they truly are is beautiful.

I don’t know what you need, gentle readers. I’m using this writing time to meditate on what you might need and then to say it. I hope I can hit the nail on the head for you.

In my mental windless day, I see things more clearly. I am balanced, even though I’m slightly unsettled. I’ve always wished for balance, and I never thought I would find it. In the few times in which I have found it, it’s always been frightening. I feel like something’s wrong with me, even though it’s just my wish being granted without me knowing. That’s kind of how some wishes are granted – in surprising and mysterious ways. My wishes are important, and my needs are fulfilled in the times they need to be and in the ways they should be.

In realizing that I am serene, I’m able to see a bigger picture. I’m able to hope for something more grand than myself and start to feel hope that I can make a difference. I’m not saying I’m an idealist. I’m far from it. I spend time mired in depression. I spend time riding manic highs. But perhaps serenity is something that I haven’t valued in the past.

I don’t think serenity is a pure calm. I think that it’s balance between, in my case, my manic highs and depressive lows. Perhaps not a lack of them, but a lull between the two and a place where I can see clearly. I don’t think it should unsettle me. It shouldn’t be seen as a numbness or something to dread. It’s something to strive for.

I want to use this serenity to help others. My mind has been tidied up and I am in a position to listen and empathize. I can’t properly help others before my own mind is orderly. I haven’t felt this kind of balance before. Emotions are present, but I’m not swept away towards either end of the spectrum. Since my head is clear, I’m better able to solve any mental problems of my own that may try to sneak up on me. I realize that strong emotions are not the key to a healthy existence, yet I know that the highs and lows will return again. I can’t kill my highs or lows, they must simply be experienced. I need to use the manic for the good I can do, and do the best I can during the depression.

I also want to be the kind of person who helps people see who they truly are. I want to encourage people to be their true self and let them know through my actions that they are okay to be authentic around me. I don’t want to shame others for expressing who they are. I know I will fail many times, but I’m human and I’m trying. I want to be someone who changes lives. I know I can do it one person at a time. Even if I can only touch one person today, that one person can take what I gave them and initiate a series of ripples that can change the world!

Call me cheesy, but that’s what gets me through the day, serene or not. That’s my philosophy. I get discouraged because I want to touch more than just the people I have thought I have, but then my husband reminds me of my own philosophy. I may have helped more people than I realized, and I may never realize the good I did. But that good has been done and it is very real.

On windless mental days like these, I used to panic, thinking something was gravely wrong with my mental health. But perhaps I really am serene? Maybe the good I mean to do does mean something? My hope by writing here is that I will help you feel less alone. There’s something so powerful to me about having someone just listen while I talk. Thank you for being that for me! It’s my hope and prayer that you see yourself in me and that you smile at yourself.

Some days are hard. Some are easy. Others the wind goes away completely and you’re left as a clear lake, reflecting the sky. Are you serene?

Until next post,

Meg