On having tripped myself up.

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I had no idea what was going on. I thought that I’d prepared. Over-prepared, in fact.

 

I doubled the amount of time it’d take me to finish up the first installment of my graphic novel — Salt ‘n Pepper. I’d completed the script, leaving the fun parts for after the Kickstarter. I scheduled and booked off at least 2 hours every day for the following 7 months to sit down and work on the graphic novel.

 

Why was I stalling and being stopped in such an epically frustrating and stress-inducing way?

 

If you’ve ever done anything remotely like a crowdfunder, or had that type of financial or emotional investment from other people for a project that you’re super passionate about — you can probably relate to that sense of sheer terror and panic as you feel yourself slipping. In my case, slipping four months after Flavours of Life; Story 1 of 4 fully funded. Completely giving up and falling off the wagon after seven months — when the date of my self-imposed deadline passed.

 

Eventually, I gave myself permission to not care so much. Then not care anymore.

 

And I finally started to think about Salt ’ Pepper without that sense of sheer terror, overwhelm and frustration. I revisited ideas, concepts and images that had flashed through my head in the course of creating Flavours of Life since its conception. Looked at the themes and messages I wanted to communicate.

 

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I felt a wave of relief and frustration — I could finally see the biggest obstacle that I’d been running into the past year. Previous scripts for Salt ’n Pepper were synopsis’s of the episode with an estimated page count and location indicator. This script was too detailed and literal. (There were panel by panel image directions.)

 

It had completely slipped my mind that I’d experimented with a new way of creating a comic script without first testing the process of creating a comic from start to end.

 

Sometimes the systems and methods that you start to make things easier are the very things that create obstacles.

 

Creating is already a difficult process. Don’t suddenly change an aspect of how you work on in big and important projects.

 

And sometimes we just have to accept when something just isn’t (going to) happen(ing) for it to happen. Making everything detailed made me subconsciously think “What’s the point? » — I had basically already communicated and created my story. There still needs to be an element of surprise, unsurity and uncertainty in order for me to create.

 

It’s been super nice to get back into it. Back into working on the Salt ‘n Pepper story, and have it be this thing that’s fun and easy to work on and show up to again.
In progress and facing obstacles,

Maïmouna

You deserve your healing.

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(Updated June 2, 2016.)

Let me start off by saying that this is very how I love — in very big ways. Every time my heart breaks; it only grows larger, deeper and more resilient in the depth of which I can open up to a new person in faith and love.

Loss has helped me appreciate the gift of my huge heart; the depth of my emotions. A gift that I’d fought to recognize, acknowledge, respect and hold space for. I couldn’t and can’t possibly claim that this is the truth and lived reality of another.


 

It had felt like someone had ripped the air away from my lungs; leaving me desperately and silently gaping. My heart was racing. My anxiety was rising, and I was profusely sweating; all I wanted to do was run away and scream.

 

That was a particularly hot and sunny Wednesday afternoon. Sitting with my head down in my hands, trying desperately not to let the fat tears turn into giant sobs on my (now ex) lover’s fiancé’s front porch, I was in the midst of confronting some of my scariest and most consuming memories.

 

That same night, I would stand swaying in front of her door, yet again in the grips of a mounting anxiety attack. I was having a fierce inner debate on whether I should force myself to take off my shoes and clothes, and crawl back next to her sleeping figure — or leave her apartment at 3am never to contact her ever again.
It was one of those moments that felt defining and all-consuming. A moment in which all my inner talk about my dedication to love and loving in big ways, to showing up in spite of the trauma and triggers and fears, came to test and see how I’d actually show up in practice.

 

I decided to leave — but not before telling her that I was heading back home. That decision gave me an extra 7 months with my (now ex) lover.
It took me several days to sort out that, no, I wasn’t having this weird intense and bodily jealous reaction of my lover’s fiancé’s family, but that I was triggered.

 

The last time (and only) time that I had met a lover’s family was when I was with my abuser. A relationship that left me with a list of memories and experiences that still vividly live in the cells of my body.

 

I know abusive relationships.

 

Being repeatedly in situations where you’re being screamed at and yanked around in public. Having your boundaries crossed, then being gaslighted and dismissed when speaking up. Being forcibly held down with your mouth covered because you’re screaming for help.

 

 

I’m intimate with that process of loving, and opening in faith and vulnerability after abuse. After survival.

 

Back last year, on the night of the Aries new moon, I had little knowledge that I would start what would become the start of a new chapter in breathtakingly transformational relationships. A sentence that would enter some of the deepest chambers of my heart in such a sensitive, healing and light way. A paragraph that would open, change and heal my heart and soul in the most beautiful ways.

 

I was absolutely ridiculous over her from the very beginning, and those feelings for only grew stronger day by day. The desire to know her even more, even better, to spend even more time and see what she was like in all moments became an ache. My heart would fill with light whenever I heard that deep and playful voice thoughtfully say, “My Love.” “I love you.” “I’m here for you.”
I would spent the entire day and night nuzzling up against her, brushing the fringes of her hair away from peaceful eyes. I wouldn’t be able to stop the mischievous smile that crept across my face hearing squeals of distaste and yelps of shock when I stuck my ice-cold fingers to the crack of her butt.
I could’ve just spent all my time walking around feeling her against me. Feeling the heat of her hand against mine.

 

 

She easily worked with and dissolved some of my strongest and most deep-rooted barriers and fears.

 

Those extra 7 months that I was gifted were absolutely full.

 

I look back to who I was when we had first started our journey together, and smile. I’ve opened up to her my weaknesses, my fears, my secrets, my loves and my dreams. The bitter-sweet feelings reminding me just how deeply I loved and opened up.

 

And that makes me feel incredibly lucky, grateful and blessed. Not everyone gets the joy of experiencing this with someone they had crushed on for over 8 years after all (hello thought-to-be-impossible baby dyke crushes). To experience loving and being loved by someone so emotionally beautiful, tender and soft yet so full of fire, joy and pleasure.

 

I rediscovered and learned how to really appreciate so many parts of who I am and was as a person; intensely and deeply passionate. Easily excitable. Wise. Astute.

 

I started opening up more. Faster. Sharing those scary, unprocessed, in moment feelings.

 

I surprised myself. I gave her the scared and tender pieces of my heart, shared all those jagged pieces of myself. I showed myself in the most validating way that it was possible to trust to that depth again without it turning to shit.

 

Someone who doesn’t or isn’t willing to accept all your layers of being, your “baggage”, your “drama”); who doesn’t hold space for those things in a way that feels good to you? Not worth your time.

 

And just because someone fits you in so many ways doesn’t mean that you should compromise what you really and truly believe in. Doesn’t mean that you should fudge around your beliefs, and especially not your boundaries.

 

Don’t give up.

 

Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on your healing. Have the courage to love — to always love again. Showing up for love can be one of the most rewarding things ever.

 

Yes, it’s hard and really (really) sucks at times — but I believe in you. I believe in your healing. I believe in your process. You will be vulnerable, come to bits and pieces, and struggle because oh my fucking god can learning how to love and be vulnerable again be one of the hugest, scariest and loneliest things. I want to let you know that you aren’t too much. That your pain isn’t too much. Your feelings, your emotions, aren’t too much.

 

It’s your right to feel, to experience, a beautiful and healing love.

 

You deserve to be heard and acknowledged. You deserve to love and be loved. You deserve to be held — to have all the layers of your being held.

 

You deserve your healing.

 

In hugely defiant and healing love,

Maïmouna

Things to do when you’re struggling.

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I seem to mainly swing in-between two ways of being now. The mode where everything is fun and easy, and where it’s sure that anything I set out to do will get done (I call this mode “Fiesty Fierce Femming” because, well, alliteration); and the mode where (almost) everything is hard and difficult, and all I want to do is curl up, check out from the world and be a hermit in the middle of the woods with 7 dogs and 3 cats.

 

Because Canadian overcast winter.

 

I know there are moment where we’re better at remembering ways to make things easier on ourselves. Other times, not so much. So this is an easy, gentle and loving reminder to you (as well as myself) on those things that can be done when things just get holy shit overwhelming.

 

With all my heart,

Maïmouna