Feb. 22, 2023

Gratitude and Personal Updates

Gratitude and Personal Updates

This is the last episode of Season 4! Today I'll be taking some time to thank everyone who made this season possible, updating you about how I'm doing, and what I'll be getting up to over break!
New episodes will resume in July 2023. Just because there aren't new episodes doesn't mean there isn't new content! I'm taking time during break to practice self-care, focus on personal growth, and to doing lots of new and exciting things! You can check it out by following me on Twitch and Instagram, or joining Discord or Patreon.
I livestream on Twitch multiple times a week and you can still catch me there. Thank you all so much for making this season so special. While this break happens please remember that you are not alone! Please take care of yourself!

Survivor Support and Resources

The planner I use

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist by Ramshackle Glory

Ramshackle Glory

Hecate's Links

Follow Sage on Twitch and join the weekly Twitch and Paint event!

Follow me on twitch too! My paint stream is on 3/25/23

A friend and fellow survivor wrote this beautiful book of poetry! Check it out!

Join Patreon!

Thank you for listening! BLM. Take care of yourself!

Support the show


Thank You S4

[00:00:00] Ramshackle Glory: *upbeat punk music plays* Dalia never showed me nothing but kindness. She would say, "I know how sad you get." And some days I still get that way, but it gets better. It gets better. It gets better, sweetie. It gets better, I promise you. And she'd tell me. She'd tell me. Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist, keep on loving, keep on fighting, and hold on, and hold on. Hold on for your life. *music fades*

[00:00:55] Hecate: Hi there. Thank you for joining me. I'm Hecate, and this is Finding OK, [00:01:00] a healing podcast for survivors of sexual assault and any and all abuse. Today is the final episode of season four, so today I'll be taking some time to thank everyone who has made the season possible, and I'll also be updating you on how I'm doing, what I'm working on right now and what my plans are for over the break.

[00:01:22] And now it's time for *sound of singing bowl*

[00:01:28] Trigger and content warnings for this episode include the following. Trauma, religion, spirituality, and brief mentions of sexual assault, gender violence, and the pandemic. Please check in with yourself and make sure you're all right to continue. First off, I just wanna thank you for listening because the amount of growth that has happened this season is

[00:01:56] beyond anything I ever expected. This time last [00:02:00] year, we were celebrating 20,000 total downloads since the beginning of the podcast, and now it's reached over 45,000 with consistent international charting. So this season of the podcast surpassed the number of downloads it got in its first three seasons combined.

[00:02:22] When I started this podcast in 2019, I never even allowed myself to dream it would reach this many people because I was trying to limit my expectations. I was just trying to stay in the head space I needed to be in to learn new skills, put myself out there and do something I was passionate about, but that I knew in all likelihood wouldn't reach that many people.

[00:02:52] I've just focused on creating something that I can be proud of, having conversations I wish I'd had [00:03:00] access to earlier in my own healing journey. And along the way, all of you slowly started showing up and listening. And you're making dreams come true that I didn't even have the courage to dream when I first hit the record button nearly four years ago.

[00:03:21] So thank you. Doing this work and holding this space with you is one of, is one of the most profound honors of my entire life. Being here with you and creating this, I feel completely in line with my life's purpose, and that's an immense gift and privilege. Thank you for making it possible, and I'm so glad that it's resonating and making a difference in your life because it's changed mine forever.[00:04:00]

[00:04:01] When I started the podcast, I had no clue what I was doing, and Season one only turned into season two because a year had passed and I figured it, I, it was supposed to, but I just kept rolling into season two with no plans or ideas of needing or taking a break. And I started doing an episode every week.

[00:04:27] That's why season two has 32 episodes. It's because I just kept going till I crashed and burned and was forced to take a break. Last season was the first time I really started to acknowledge my limitations and take my wellbeing into account. There's so much personal growth, skill building and learning lace throughout the creation of this podcast for me.

[00:04:58] it's uh, it's [00:05:00] kind of wild. . This season was the first time I plotted things out on a calendar and planned on breaks during times of the year. That tend to be difficult for me. I've learned more about self-care and my needs as a creator and a human being while creating this podcast, then I probably have in the entirety of my life, including college.

[00:05:31] When season three ended and I was heading into my first scheduled break, I was so nervous because my other breaks were usually short burnout breaks. It was really scary planning to not publish any new episodes for four months. , I was afraid people would forget about me and stop listening. But you're still here and there are even more of you.[00:06:00]

[00:06:00] So I'm feeling less afraid this time and more free to just be excited for myself. The break gives me time to recuperate. Um, doing, doing this work does take a great deal of mental and emotional energy, and it also frees up so much time and energy for me to focus on other projects and pursuits. It also allows me to focus on skill building that's needed to improve and expand during the next season.

[00:06:35] last time I taught myself video editing, and that's been a massive change during this season. This whole season I've been editing and releasing video episodes to my V I P Patreon members. Over the upcoming breaks some of those videos will be released to the public on my YouTube channel, and you'll be able to see some of your favorite guests and see some special moments that may not have [00:07:00] been in the audio episodes.

[00:07:02] So if you haven't followed me on YouTube yet, now's the time. This season's format has worked really well for me, for the most part, and it was really wonderful to get my 2023 Passion Planner and to be able to plot out season five of the podcast with confidence that has never been there before. I'll be sticking to 15 episodes a season and continuing to air biweekly.

[00:07:31] That's been, that's been working really well. I've also, I've already got a full page in my planner that's just filled with names of people I wanna talk to. I'm already talking to some people and lining up tech calls and interviews. Uh, feeling, feeling this prepared this far in advance is Twilight Zone stuff for me.

[00:07:59] So [00:08:00] it's, it's kind of a trip. It's kind of fun and scary. Uh, half the time I feel like I'm cosplaying as an adult or a professional, but the more I just lean into that imposter syndrome and just keep doing scary things, the less scary they get. I got a lot braver this season and I'm getting better about reaching out to people I want to talk to, um, that feel way out of my league.

[00:08:34] At least once a month I try to send somebody a DM or an email with a guest invite. I've learned that the worst that's likely to happen is just that they'll ignore it because I'm small potatoes. But I'm okay being small potatoes because number one, small potatoes are delicious. And number two, all big potatoes had to start off as small potatoes.

[00:08:57] Maybe someday I'll be big enough of a deal [00:09:00] that they'll respond and, and if not, that's fine. I'm proud that I was brave and I tried, and so far not a single person has responded and been like, "How dare you speak to me!" And the best that's happened is that sometimes they do respond and they're interested.

[00:09:24] One of my big shoot for the moon moments this season was reaching out to the Lithuanian artist Obelis, and she said, yes, I got to create an episode with someone awesome whose work I love, and it's been resonating with other survivors. How freaking cool is that? It wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been brave, and if she hadn't been kind.

[00:09:51] But that has given me even more courage and moving forward, I'm gonna keep being brave and messaging incredible people [00:10:00] that I think I have no business talking to. I feel like I'm gaining a lot of confidence, and with Four Seasons to show for myself, I feel bolder about seeking people out. This season was the most diverse one yet with a wider spread of representation that's more in line with my values.

[00:10:22] Earlier on, I was very shy about reaching out, and I'm improving on that front because shyness is not an excuse for a lack of representation. I want to be a part of making it easier for people to hear from other survivors who have shared experiences and struggles. It's difficult to heal when you feel like all the voices you're hearing belong to people who have never had to deal with any of the systemic issues that you face every day.

[00:10:55] And it's my goal moving forward to continue getting better at [00:11:00] amplifying BIPOC queer and trans voices. And it's my goal to speak with more cis men. I have been trying behind the scenes to connect with men, but things kept falling through. It's very difficult for male survivors to find support and to hear from each other, and I wanna help with that. Representation

[00:11:22] is deeply important to me, and I wanna let you know that I will continue to improve on that front, and that's my promise to you. Sexual assault and abuse affect all different kinds of people, and I wanna talk to all different kinds of people. Something I'm also hoping to do is connect with survivors who are speaking out about feminist issues such as FGM and child marriage.

[00:11:50] The fundamental goal of this podcast is to support survivors in their healing and amplify their voices. By breaking the silence and [00:12:00] stigma we're also helping to deconstruct the patriarchy both internally and externally. The focus of the show is often on sexual violence, not only because that's a major aspect of my own trauma,

[00:12:14] but because it's one of the most common forms of violence weaponized against those the patriarchy wishes to oppress and control. But gender violence takes many forms and is felt around the world. I want to amplify the voices of survivors who were doing personal healing work, and from survivors who are participating in activism that fights these forms of violence and oppression.

[00:12:42] Like I said, I've got a long list of people I wanna talk to. So cross your fingers for me, and if you wanna help me get a foot in the door, please follow me on social media. I know it. I know it feels really silly and I hate saying this, you have no idea. But having [00:13:00] more followers can help me get certain interviews.

[00:13:03] It's a part of what makes people go from small potatoes to big potatoes these days. I also. I don't wanna give you the impression that I'm just focused on getting big names because that's not the case. Some of my favorite interviews and the ones I think can mean the most to people are the ones where I'm talking to people just like you and me.

[00:13:28] I wanna talk to punks and queers and disabled folks, and just everyday people maybe working a nine to five and figuring out how to heal their trauma while they get by in the world. I, I love just making real human connections and talking about the stuff that matters. And the stuff that's deeply present in all our lives and doesn't get talked about enough.

[00:13:59] I think a [00:14:00] part of what folks find helpful on the show is that it's not clinical. I'm figuring it out same as you. My own stories and progress are sprinkled throughout the episodes every season. But I think for these end of season wraps I also wanna make sure I give you an update on what I'm up to and how I'm doing.

[00:14:21] and I know some of you worry sometimes. I'm actually really excited to be able to share that since last month I've been feeling better than I have in years. I still have hard days, but they've been getting fewer and farther between, and I'm still navigating some really difficult and painful things, uh, going on in my life.

[00:14:48] But I feel like I'm keeping my balance. . I've been doing a lot of personal work and I wanna share some of what's been making a big difference for me. So [00:15:00] I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I think it's a lot of pressure to become a new person and completely change your life really suddenly based on an arbitrary number on a calendar.

[00:15:13] A lot of the time people do okay for a while, then let things slide and end up feeling like failures when they might have been better served by making slow and incremental changes in their life that aren't unrealistic or supported by the threat of shame. If New Year's resolutions work well for you, oh my God, please , go forth and continue doing what works for you.

[00:15:37] No hate. You, do you. I, I just wanted to put that out there in case anyone is struggling right now with resolutions they made that they're starting to slide on. So I don't make New Year's resolutions. I just make changes when I feel ready and grow as best I can all year round. That [00:16:00] said, that said, there's something about getting my new planner for a new year.

[00:16:08] It's like a fresh journal for me. And there's a sense of rededication to yourself. I use Passion Planners and have for years. I buy one every year as a Yule gift to myself. The one I got this year is hardcover rose gold with the embossed design of cute little bunnies in the clouds looking up in awe as one brave bunny jumps over the moon.

[00:16:36] It's their leap of faith planner, and it brings me so much joy. Leading up to this I've just been getting this feeling of I'm ready. I'm ready. It's time. There are personal habits that were huge parts of my life and my practice [00:17:00] that I've gradually drifted away from over the years for various reasons and the sorts of things that would really be beneficial to my mental health.

[00:17:11] But once you're in a rough place, you don't have the energy to do them. , Sort of the classic, like, "If you're sad, take a walk and you won't be so sad." "I can't, I'm too sad." That sort of, that sort of thing. But over the past few years I've been improving and recently I started to have the energy and the spoons that I need to make big changes to my daily routines.

[00:17:43] Having a fresh new planner gave me the push I needed to start working on it. So since January I've been working on maintaining and charting daily habits and reintroducing things that I'd let go of. I [00:18:00] am meditating daily again for the first time in over five years. I'm also journaling and writing again on the daily, which I haven't done in about a decade I think.

[00:18:14] I also started a daily gua-sha practice, which is new to me. It's been a really wonderful way to start my mornings with some self-care. It's been really relaxing and has eased a lot of muscle tension in my face that I did not realize I was holding. I experience a lot of feelings of despair and futility surrounding my living conditions.

[00:18:42] There's a lot that's beyond my control, and that's been an ongoing struggle for the past five years or so. Because of that, over time I started to retreat and engage less, and that has meant more household burdens have fallen on my partner who works [00:19:00] full-time. There's still some things I can't do for health reasons, but I've started making it a goal to

[00:19:07] at least do one thing a day to help out around the house. And it's a huge deal to be reengaging this way with my immediate environment. And it's just been, when it's just been causing shutdowns for years now, and this little daily step has felt achievable and charting it has helped me recognize that there were actually things I was doing and not acknowledging as valuable.

[00:19:36] I've also struggled with being chronically dehydrated my whole life. I'm rubbish at drinking water. , which you need to live. Um, so I'm charting my water intake and doing my best to improve on this, and it makes a massive difference in your physical and mental health. Um, [00:20:00] I've been a very dehydrated noodle and my brain meats have never been soggy enough.

[00:20:06] But I will get there. I'm making excellent progress. I have a special cup. It is my cup, my special cup, my water cup. But I will say I am peeing all the damn time now, and it's hugely annoying to me. Like, is this, is this my life now? I just, I just have to pee like every hour. How much of my life am I supposed to spend peeing?

[00:20:40] I already spend half of it unconscious. Which I'm fine with, but this feels silly. Um, and I hope my bladder adjusts. Boo!. , I'm kidding. Please drink water and peeing is healthy and good for you. Please do tho. Please do those things. Ignore me! . I also [00:21:00] started tracking brushing my teeth. I noticed years ago that dental care is always something that's a good indicator of where I'm at mentally, because when things start to take a turn, one of the first things to go is brushing my teeth every day.

[00:21:18] Personal hygiene is a real struggle for a lot of us with mental health conditions, so no shame. I noticed that when I was having a hard time, brushing my teeth before bed would just quickly become a Herculean task, even though it only takes a minute or two. . There were just too many steps and there's some neuro divergent sensory stuff that becomes an issue and because just genetically I have shitty teeth, there's also a sense of despair and futility and also some dental trauma because why not?

[00:21:56] One thing that I started doing over the years was [00:22:00] notice when I didn't have the energy to do the full toothbrushing thing, I. Put water on the toothbrush and scrub with no toothpaste. Better that than nothing, I figure. And that's actually helped a lot, uh, just telling myself that that's okay if that's all I can manage. But I am tracking it on the habits chart now to encourage daily brushing and I reward myself somehow for doing well.

[00:22:31] It's nice and it helps. It brings some positivity and acknowledgement of good habits and behaviors, uh, to something that's historically had a lot of pain and shame tied to it. . The other daily habit I added is reading. I am reading on a daily basis now. I'm one of those people that was a voracious and advanced reader as a kid, [00:23:00] and used books not only to spark imagination, but also as an escape into other people and worlds, and as an adult.

[00:23:10] I barely read at all now that I'm out of school, but still collect books and value literature and literacy highly. It's me. I do really wanna read more. Um, so I'm doing it. So I have a gorgeous bookshelf page in my planner I made to track all the books I read this year, and I make sure I read at least a little bit every single day.

[00:23:39] And it feels so good. It feels so good, and I'm so excited to finally read these beautiful books I've had sitting on shelves and in boxes and had hanging out on reading lists for years. Just feels right to. All of this [00:24:00] feels right. I felt so much more connected to my true self. I feel like I'm. , I feel like I'm getting something back that I lost.

[00:24:13] I've been improving my sleep schedule too, and trying to practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep has always been a massive struggle for me, and I've been waking up and making time for myself in the morning to practice my new morning ritual. I write down any dreams I remember. I wash my face and do gua-sha. I make coffee and maybe some breakfast, and I meditate, and then write in my journal, and chart out my day in my planner.

[00:24:46] Making that time for myself is honestly changing my life. I feel so much more centered and so much more in touch [00:25:00] with some of the most important parts of myself. I feel like I was finally ready to level up and take some big steps forward. I'm ready for a new chapter in my, uh, personal growth. I know they say everything gets harder when you level up, but right now I am just experiencing

[00:25:22] so much joy, more than I've felt in ages. It's a little scary because when you've got trauma and mental health struggles, you're sort of waiting for it to bottom out. But I've had some rough days amid this and worked through them and still felt so incredible. Yeah, so I'll be continuing to focus on instilling those daily habits.

[00:25:56] If I just keep tracking them, eventually they'll come naturally, [00:26:00] and that's the goal. I'm focusing on these habits for now, but over break I'll slowly start adding different ones. Once I feel more confident. I don't wanna try to change too much at once. I'm gonna pace myself. . So something you may remember is that this season there was the promise of a special episode devoted to the witch hunt trauma I experienced when I was a kid.

[00:26:30] If you're new to the podcast, no, that's not a turn of phrase. I mean a literal witch hunt. Um, my town accused me of being a witch and a school shooter. It was bananas bat shit in a deeply traumatizing and horrific, uh, sort of way. But I was finally going to do an episode about that this season. It was [00:27:00] really hard working on it.

[00:27:02] Uh, really grueling emotional work. and then me and my family all got covid. Uh, so that's why that didn't happen. I decided it was, uh, best to just move forward with the season rather than change everything for an episode that wasn't even finished yet. We're all okay, by the way. Um, I did have post covid fatigue for a few months afterwards.

[00:27:34] Uh, but we were really lucky, and as far as we can tell, we made it through without lingering effects or complications. Please, please get vaccinated if you're able to and if you haven't already. It does make a difference, and there are still people trapped in their houses. I know things have mostly returned to normal for many of us, but

[00:27:59] this [00:28:00] is like just kind of a bummer reminder that Covid is still killing and disabling people, and I am asking you to remember that there are still immune compromised and disabled people and that their lives matter. Please just keep that in mind. Okay. I said my piece. Moving on. So, I wanna take, take a second to recognize that I kept this season together,

[00:28:28] uh, despite getting covid. I made the changes that were necessary and kept working and doing interviews as soon as I could get out of bed and talk again. Celebrate your wins. Um, I had actually forgotten about that part of the season until like, just the other day. Uh, so I just wanted to take a minute to say that happened, um,

[00:28:57] But in any case, I will be working on the Witch [00:29:00] Hunt episode for next season. My plans are to pick a day of the week and make it a special leave the house day. I'll go to a coffee shop or my local library and bring my ancient 90's think pad so I can do some writing, support a local business, get out of the house, and be around other humans.

[00:29:25] It's gonna be a big step for me and I'm excited. I knew working on that episode was gonna be intense. , but I will be honest, it's even more intense than I had anticipated, so I'm glad that I'll have some more time to work on it. I'm contemplating sharing it on my old Facebook profile when I'm done so that the people who are involved might hear it, but I think I'll figure that out later.

[00:29:56] A huge step I've taken since last season is [00:30:00] moving even farther away from unhealthy connections. , I hadn't realized how much having the eyes of old classmates on me via social media was actually affecting me till I just stopped logging into my old Facebook. I have felt so much more free and I just. , I'm gonna do the episode for me.

[00:30:29] And I think when it's done, I'll figure out if I feel they even deserve to hear it, because I don't owe them anything. I thought I knew that, uh, but I guess I didn't because once I stepped back, I realized I was still performing for them. . And by that I mean like being really conscious and aware [00:31:00] of how my actions are perceived because I was always trying to prove, um, that I'm not dangerous, it's exhausting, and I'm done.

[00:31:14] Fuck those people. Except you. You're fine. Don't worry about it. I see you. You're good hun. No worries. Before I continue with plans for break, I want to take a minute to thank everyone who made this season possible. I want to thank my Patreon members first. You have changed my life and none of this would've happened without your support.

[00:31:43] Thank you. Sedonka, Kathleen, Betty, Emerald, Sharanya, Ashley, Christopher, and Meadow. I want to thank you for making this season happen and I hope whenever you see your [00:32:00] name in video credits or hear your name in one of these episodes that you feel proud of what you've been a part of. I love all of you so much, and I can't wait to share my break with you and get to work on season five.

[00:32:18] I am. , I am so deeply grateful to you for helping me start to make my dreams come true. Over break I'm hoping to get into mini episodes for patrons. I'm not positive what that'll look like yet, but it's in the works. If you're not a member yet, check out the membership options. It's the best way to support my work.

[00:32:44] And break is actually the perfect time to do it, you'll be getting content when there aren't any new episodes posting publicly, and you can provide feedback and ask questions behind the scenes that can end up shaping what Season five looks like. [00:33:00] And if you can't join, give me a follow on Patreon because sometimes there are polls and updates that you might wanna be a part of.

[00:33:09] I also want to thank everyone who donated this season. Every single donation makes such a huge difference. Thank you again, Dul and Voodoo for your incredible donations. You are both so kind and so generous, and I want you both to know it's an absolute privilege to know you. I also want to thank my partner Bacchus who so generously offered to cover my new Zoom subscription.

[00:33:42] There were guests this season that I would not have been able to connect with Using Zencastr. That gift meant I was able to connect with more survivors and share their words with others. Thank you. I would never have been able to make this [00:34:00] podcast happen without your support, and I'm grateful for you in so many ways every day.

[00:34:09] Love you. He doesn't listen to this. I love you. The donation goal for the season was $150 to afford a Descript subscription so that I can provide accurate transcripts for all my episodes and accurate closed captioning for videos. Unfortunately, we're still $45 short of that goal. I had hoped to get there by end of season, but

[00:34:38] I'm honestly shit at fundraising. I don't know what I'm doing or how to do better, but I promise I'll try to learn. Um, this goal remains open over the break and if you follow me on Twitch or Insta you can be sure I'll be celebrating and letting you know when we get there. There are always links to donate in episode notes, on my [00:35:00] website, and you can always donate on Twitch while I'm live to see my happy face

[00:35:05] and get a big thank you, and you also get to see the little donation goal bar at the top of the stream move. It's very satisfying. I promise. I will be working very hard to reach that goal for break because it would be the perfect time for me to make my way through the massive backlog of old episodes that need transcribing.

[00:35:24] Fingers crossed, and literally every dollar counts. Thank you. Sorry. Thank you. I also wanna address a big change that happened this season. As I'm sure you've noticed, there are ads on this podcast. Now, I wanted to talk about that for a minute because I don't think I ever addressed it, and I do believe in transparency.

[00:35:50] So this podcast reached a high enough monthly listener base to qualify for Buzzsprout [00:36:00] monetization, which I am so immensely grateful for because it's been a lifesaver, and how this works is I'm able to listen to and approve the ads that play. They are almost exclusively ads for other Buzzsprout podcasts.

[00:36:16] I do my best not to play anything that would be really upsetting or inappropriate considering the content of this podcast. The ads run on my episodes for brief time, and generally I make anywhere from a dime to a dollar on the ad run. I know having ads can be a bummer for listeners, but I want to let you know why I chose to do this.

[00:36:43] When I get lucky, it's sometimes covers the hosting costs of the show. I'm still not breaking even as a podcaster, that's a goal for sure, but I'm not there yet. . What I make in ads is automatically put towards the [00:37:00] monthly balance I owe for hosting the show on Buzzsprout and keeping it up and actually running.

[00:37:07] So I did just want to explain how those got there. It's me. I'm doing it, and it's helping so much. Please don't skip them. I totally understand if you do, but it is truly a massive help to me if you let them play. . I, I seriously can't even tell you what a big, big deal it is. When I manage to get enough ad revenue to cover the hosting fees, it's huge.

[00:37:35] I feel like I'm not, I feel, I feel like I'm not supposed to talk about this stuff, but I also wanna let you know what's up, um, and where that money is going. And if you're not into podcasting, um, pressing play on an app is so mysterious I think , uh, you don't know who this person is or what their life or situation [00:38:00] is beyond what they choose to share with you.

[00:38:03] I always assume if someone has their shit together enough to have a well produced and edited show pop up magically on my phone that they're doing all right and they're instantly elevated into a folder in my brain that's labeled more professional than me. Not true in my case. I just worked hard, uh, to teach myself how to do this, and I didn't stop doing this and kept getting better and people just kept helping me out financially.

[00:38:36] My partner and I are okay, uh, but he's the breadwinner and we do pay rent to live in my mother's house because we can't afford rent in our area. Fairly relatable story in my country and age group, I think. Uh, so if you're new to the show, hi, I'm figuring this shit out too. You're not alone [00:39:00] if you're still learning how to adult and make things work as a traumatized person in this extremely expensive capitalist society that's experiencing inflation and unspoken recession.

[00:39:18] Was that a weird rant? Um, that's where the ad money goes anyway. Um,

[00:39:26] As I've been feeling so much more stable mentally, I am excited to begin moving towards getting back into the studio and painting. If you didn't know, I have a BA in Visual Arts. I've trained my entire life to be an artist, and it's been very scary to take a, what, five year break from painting and producing work.

[00:39:56] I experienced massive creative burnout after getting my [00:40:00] degree. I mean, on a level that truly shocked me, uh, despite people warning me that this was a common thing that happens to artists after they graduate. It took me 10 years, four colleges, a shit ton of student loans, various periods of full-time and part-time jobs and work study, and endless exhausting battles with teachers and disability departments,

[00:40:35] uh, to finally earn my degree as a neurodivergent person. It took everything I had, and I wish I could say, when I finally got that fucking piece of paper, I was so proud and I was like, "yatta!" and like fully felt it, and was so proud of myself. No, I walked at graduation [00:41:00] like so many other people who need disability accommodations.

[00:41:05] I accepted a degree I hadn't finished earning because I still owed teachers work and I had taken some incompletes, and it was stressful, and weird, and shame filled just like school had always been since I was a kid. So it's taken years to finally start to put those big feelings to rest and to get them the fuck out of my damn art studio so I can have the energy to paint again.

[00:41:37] But I did learn many years ago not to panic. I've had creative dry spells in the past after something big like a graduation. I learned that sometimes I just need time to allow that creative reservoir to refill. I also learned to be secure in myself as an artist. , [00:42:00] I learned to allow myself the peace of artist as a state of being rather than a matter of doing.

[00:42:10] And by that I mean I am an artist because that is an inherent part of who I am at my core. I am still an artist, even if I am not creating work currently. . That's something I learned as a teenager and thank freaking Buddha. Otherwise, I would be batshit crazy after a five year dry spell, wondering who the fuck I even am.

[00:42:39] Same person, just growing and changing in different ways, which is good. And you should know this: you're allowed to have a variety of interests. I was always the art kid. It was always my focus and it confused and even annoyed some [00:43:00] people when I branched out to learn new things or pursue other interests.

[00:43:06] They saw it as a character flaw or a weakness. Don't worry, they're gone now. Um, You're allowed to be a multifaceted individual with a variety of interests. That's fantastic. You're also allowed to be extremely focused and not sway from your singular passions. That's also fantastic. Neither of those things makes anyone a superior person.

[00:43:34] Don't deny yourself the full range of your interests and passions because you feel like it will make you less. It won't. Every side quest I've pursued has made me a better and brighter person and has informed that central quest. Plus, how do you know what, how do you know what feels like a side quest isn't the main quest?

[00:43:59] Do it if [00:44:00] you want to. Yes. 10,000 hours for mastery of a craft, et cetera. I know. Believe me, I get it. Uh, but none of us know how much time we have. Follow your passions. Stay in a lane if it's what you want, but don't do it because you're afraid of being considered flighty. Fuck that. It's a big, beautiful world. You have a precious human life.

[00:44:29] Learn stuff. Do stuff, have fucking fun.

[00:44:36] I have no idea how much of that was relatable to anyone else, but I feel like every time I say some shit that I think was just me in my own head, uh, I hear from someone else saying, me too. So I'll just keep saying shit. . I do have some paintings, uh, I'm preparing to work on. Two of them are especially large and Patreon members have gotten sneak [00:45:00] peeks.

[00:45:00] I started one of them years ago and got a little stuck, and then burned out, and put it in the corner for several years to think about, to think about what it's done. Um, but I'm ready. Sage, who has been a guest a few times on the show is also a close friend and we're both artist models. So I hired her

[00:45:25] to model for me, and I took some beautiful photo references in a strong blue light so I can paint a beautiful, powerful figure under the moon that's already painted in the sky of this giant painting. And I'll be working on that over break. Sometimes live on Twitch, but you'll only be getting full progress shots of it on Patreon until it's finished and up on Instagram, because Twitch won't allow me to show even a drawing or a painting of a [00:46:00] booty.

[00:46:00] No nude art. Plebs. I have a, I have a self-portrait I've been meaning to tackle and I'm looking forward to going nuts with that too. , When I started this podcast, all of my creative energy went into this, and now that I think I'm ready to start painting again, I'm looking forward to sharing a bit of that part of my life with you.

[00:46:28] Part of healing involves reclaiming parts of ourselves, and so I do wanna share that process with you. I think that's kind of cool as I work on the podcast you'll get to see me healing along with you. Another thing I have planned for break is joining my local printmaking studio. I haven't done any printmaking in years, but it's actually a great love of mine.

[00:46:54] I adore paper and I love etching, [00:47:00] especially. Everyone was always, is always most familiar with relief printmaking, which is when you carve into a wood or linoleum block. But etching is actually my favorite. That's when you use a metal plate, usually copper or zinc, and you use carefully controlled acid baths to etch your design into the metal plate.

[00:47:26] I love the process, and I cannot wait to get back into this. I always think of myself as a painter rather than a printmaker, because I've had far more training in painting and drawing than I have in printmaking, but it brings me so much joy, and that's what matters. I'm looking to reengage with my creativity and invite more joy into my life.

[00:47:52] I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking to create, but that might actually be for the best. [00:48:00] Something else I love about printmaking is that it makes art more affordable for people and there isn't just the one single, expensive original. So if all goes well, I'd love to create a print series that would be available to you.

[00:48:15] These are pie in the sky dreams, and I need to focus on the joy first. But I'm a huge nerd about all this stuff, and I'm looking forward to just like, info dumping and showing my followers and patrons this fascinating and beautiful process. Plus you get to make art in metal out of fucking acid. How fucking cool is that?

[00:48:42] Okay. You know how I literally just said I have no idea what I was gonna make? Just after I wrote that, I got an amazing idea, and I am so over the moon excited about it. [00:49:00] I'm, I'm gonna have so much fun and I think you'll love it. I ran into the kitchen to tell Bacchus, he was making meatballs, and I did like a happy, little excited dance and told him all about it, and I really wanna tell you, but it's a secret, but I can't wait for you to find out.

[00:49:16] It's gonna be great.

[00:49:21] Okay. I got sucked into research and, uh, and I just keep getting more excited. Um, this could end up being a series. I'm really excited.

[00:49:34] Back to gratitude. Um, thank you to all my incredible guests this season. Thank you for your authenticity, your bravery, and your humanity. Thank you to Sage, Kaitlin Bellamy, Hollis Brown, Emi, Paula Mulamula, Dr. Michelle M. [00:50:00] Kang, Kalpashree Gupta, Obelis, Chie, and Ruth. All of you made this season so powerful and I am filled with gratitude.

[00:50:14] Thank you for sharing so much of yourselves and your stories and thank you so much for the work that you all do in the world. You're helping make it a more beautiful place to be. It was. It was such an honor and a deep privilege to speak with all of you. You all made this season so, so special. I also wanna thank all the systems, platforms, and techies behind them that make this podcast possible.

[00:50:46] Thank you always and eternally to my host Buzzsprout. Thank you, Reaper, Canva, Podpage, Patreon, Zencastr, Zoom, Nero video [00:51:00] editing. Thank you again to Jeff last season for the gift of that subscription to Nero that's making video episodes possible. , uh, Twitch, Discord, YouTube, and every platform that helps make Finding OK available to listeners.

[00:51:18] I know that I am nothing without all the techies behind the scenes and I bow to you all. Thank you for your genius and your hard work. Thank you also to everyone who has shared or tagged Finding OK on social media. It matters so much and helps me reach new listeners and followers. I'm working on getting better at social media stuff and it makes a big difference and I really do appreciate it.

[00:51:50] I promise I'll be working on getting my shit together and making more TikToks soon. Look for me there. I'll be dancing in my Raven Onesie at some point in the future and [00:52:00] sharing studio updates. Thank you to Bardic Sway, SageCirce ChaosPixieMagic, and TurboSlvt on Twitch for being such amazing supporters and helping to spread the word about the work that I'm doing.

[00:52:15] You are all so wonderful and I'm so incredibly blessed to know you. Thank you, Danielle, Kalpashree, arb, Ella loves cheesecake, and Cat for taking the time to rate and review the podcast this season. It means so much to me that you're finding meaning here and that you took the time to help me out like that.

[00:52:40] It makes a big difference for visibility. It helps survivors find the podcast and it means so much to me personally to read your beautiful words. Thank you. I also want to give a very special shout out to the band, Ramshackle Glory. I reached out [00:53:00] to them in season one with a hope and a prayer that they might allow me to use their music, and they said yes.

[00:53:08] I feel grateful to them every single day and every single time I hear that music start to play. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist is a song inspired by a powerful print made by the artist Dalia Shevin. I hope I said your name right, and I'm sorry if I didn't. Thank you, Dalia, for your art.

[00:53:31] Thank you, Pat the Bunny for your lyrics, and thank you Ramshackle Glory for allowing me to make this song a part of this podcast. I played the full intro today. For old time's sake, I used to have that longer intro in past seasons. I love it so much. If you haven't heard the full song, I'll be linking it in the episode notes.

[00:53:54] Go give it a listen. It's an incredible anthem. There's [00:54:00] so much more I have planned for break that I'll be getting up to. I'll be attending a Pagan convention next month with my sister Chie, and I'm really looking forward to that. Our trip was originally planned for March, 2020, and that did not happen for anyone.

[00:54:18] Uh, but they were kind enough to roll our entrance fee over to this year, and we're finally going, uh, we're gonna get to attend workshops, rituals, presentations, and lectures with practitioners from all different traditions. And I'm really excited to learn, check out the art show, see what all the craftsmen and vendors have available,

[00:54:41] and more than anything, I'm excited to see my family again. It's been, it's been a minute. So there will be pictures and updates in Patreon, Discord, and on Instagram. I'm also participating in a Twitch and Paint event every Saturday for the next several weeks. SageCirce [00:55:00] has gathered artist streamers together for paint along events, and she'll be starting it off this Saturday.

[00:55:07] Every Saturday you'll be able to tune in and a new artist streamer will guide you in a new painting. If you choose to paint along, I'll be posting a supply list and more information on Instagram and you can follow me on Twitch for updates and to join us in pre painting stream hype raid trains. Those words put together probably mean nothing if you are not on Twitch, but I promise they mean fun and good things.

[00:55:34] Happy Losar to anyone celebrating. Losar is Tibetan New Year and I spent Tuesday playing music, burning old and worn prayer flags, hanging up new ones, and burning incense. I'm going to continue festivities and next month is Spring Equinox or Ostara for pagans, which I'm very much looking forward to. [00:56:00] This time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, we're all celebrating new beginnings, fresh starts in our various ways, and whatever yours may be,

[00:56:10] I wish you the very best. I will see you in the summer, season five. We'll be starting in July, and I'm already looking forward to it. Remember that I've got new content in abundance, but it just won't be, it just won't be here for a while. Thank you for an incredible season four. This has been so wonderful and I am so grateful to all of you for listening and being a part of it.

[00:56:41] I love you all so much and this means so much to me, and thank you. Thank you so much for listening. This has been Finding OK., Black lives matter. Take care of yourself. *upbeat punk music plays*

[00:56:59] Ramshackle Glory: Your heart [00:57:00] is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep on loving, keep on fighting, and hold on and hold on. Hold on for your life. For your life, for your life.

[00:57:13] Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist, keep on loving, keep on fighting, and hold on and hold on, hold on for your life. *music plays and ends triumphantly*

[00:57:54] Hecate: Wait, what?