I had a wonderful 40th birthday. That number used to terrify me, but when you're thrust into facing your own mortality, it becomes a goal and a thing of beauty. I spent quality time with those I love the most, and it was a perfect transition from my thirties. I've loved every age so far, and I still feel twenty (who is actually in charge here?). 

One of my birthday gifts was a reading with a medium at the Psychic Festival the first weekend in April. This was a gift from my very kind stepfather and he also included a reiki session which I've never had, and was wonderful. I'm so grateful.

I am usually hesitant to share publicly about my experiences with those on the other side, because I have many people in my life who firmly deny an afterlife, which I respect. But my experiences have proven otherwise for me, personally.

The person I have always wanted to reach out to in the past for readings was Nana. She was the closest person to me that I had lost during those visits. Now my Amanda is gone, and I wanted to "speak" to her more than anything.

I had my reading done by Rev. Marjorie Rivera, a fellow cancer survivor. I always come to these tables with high amounts of skepticism and a bit of an attitude, even though every reading I've had has been astonishingly accurate. I also give them no information to go on; if they're connected to the other side, they should know why I'm there.

The session began with Rev. Marjorie telling me that an older woman - classy, elegant, a grandmother figure - was immediately trying to come through but a younger person was gently taking her aside and telling her that she needed to talk to me more. Rev. Marjorie told me this person had passed young, and I slightly nodded, still not wanting to give up any information. She said it was sudden. She said, "Tell me about all these tattoos," and, "She's been answering you when you ask, and she knows what's going on with you." And then I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.

She told me she was standing beside me, a pink aura, and that she rarely leaves me unless she is spending time with her children. I told her that the "answering when I ask" was in reference to a few weeks ago when I cried and begged her to give me signs and a photo frame fell over in the middle of the night, a book literally "jumped" off my bookshelf, and a drawer was open when I came home that was definitely not when I left. All these things happened in the same room of my house, the place where I cried and yelled for her to come back, just come back. Rev. Marjorie said, "She's laughing and said she's sorry if that scared you, but she wanted you to know she heard you."

I wear her ring almost every day. Now, the Psychic Festival has many vendors and there are literally thousands upon thousands of pieces of turquoise jewelry. At one point while Rev. Marjorie was talking, I started fiddling with Amanda's ring and she said, "Amanda says stop messing with my ring and pay attention." If Rev. Marjorie was not entirely sure that was Amanda's ring I doubt she would have taken the chance of saying that since I literally could have just purchased it, even if it just reminded me of Amanda. But Amanda told her point blank that it was her ring. Everything she told me was spot on and brought me more comfort than I've felt since I lost my precious girl.

For my birthday, Deb gave me Nana's favorite ring. She was never not wearing it, even if we were just going to a drive-thru. I've always adored its retro clunkiness and it is monetarily valuable, but I don't care about that. She used to let my co-workers try it on when I was a server, and once she was trying to impress someone and didn't realize she had a giant glob of mashed potatoes on the ring. Deb had the stone cleaned and the band dipped in sterling. I adore it so much and I feel empowered and peaceful when I'm wearing them both. I feel their strength from beyond, and that belief is enough to sustain my heart.



52 weeks words + images | week six




And we were the girls who were told we’d be ‘spoiled’ if we let anything inside us before marriage; a tampon, a penis, a finger.  Like a forgotten carton of milk left to curdle on a kitchen counter, light-swept with the day’s dying sun, our future righteous husbands could smell it a mile away.  Our sin, our trespass.  Our ache.

But what they didn’t count on was us finding something delicious in the damage.  We weren’t giving away our virginity, we were taking our pleasure.  And if it meant we were unclean, we learned to love that, too. Our lovers were leavers of bruises, blueberry-stains on our thighs and arms, they were the ladder of bites up a spine.  It was better than anything else God had yet to offer. 

We sat with our legs slightly open, we ate with our fingers.  We tipped our faces toward the sun.  We were the girls who would scream into the wind, who would kiss our sisters hard on the lips and spill ancient words into their mouths: Part the clouds, find your moon.  Howl.



shooting arrows at the sky


out of my way
you missed with your magic
out of my way
you see, you missed with your magic
out of my way
you see, you missed with your magic
I'm fighting when you fallback
I'm shooting arrows at the sky.

- ‘Shooting Arrows at the Sky’ | Santigold