i’m excited

This morning, I discovered that, after months of working on publishing, the novel I’ve spent five years writing is now available for order on several websites!

It’s called Whiskey Cult and has approximately 630 pages, and I’m very proud of it. If you’re interested in learning more, many excerpts can be found on my Instagram page, @_featherquills. If you decide you want a copy (which you are by no means obligated to do), copies can be ordered on Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, and amazon.ca. You can also download e-reader versions for much cheaper on Smashwords, Kindle, and Kobo.

Feel free to email or private message me for more information, and have a great weekend everyone 🙂

on cancer

In the middle of the night, he wakes up to be sick.

It’s cold in the hospital room where he’s asleep.

The Grim Reaper is such a capricious man.

It’s a shame, fighting to live

living to fight.

“Sit in bed with me,”

says the man near the end

of his life.

There’s a chance that you’ll survive

but nobody gets out of life alive.

Fuck you, Cancer, with your death-grip

and your non-discriminatory tactics.

A middle-aged man in his hospital room

soggy and tired and counting every breath.

The cold has a face and She’s the face of Death.

The cold has a face and She’s a ghastly mess.

In the movies, things like this are glorified, romanticized,

and that’s not how it goes.

And to think that all of this started with a bloody nose.

Early in the morning, she loses her balance in the shower.

Nobody was there to hear her fall.

Cancer leaves the bruises in such arbitrary spots

they’re hard to see

but I loved her dearly, oh so dearly.

It’s warm underneath the blanket, at least.

“I don’t want to die,”

says a woman who can hardly speak.

The drugs make you delirious

and shamed.

Mortality, I suppose, is such a fickle thing.

No sense of control, no second chance, and that

can seem so dreadful.

The good die young,

the cruel survive,

and I refuse to be the first to say goodbye.

In the middle of the night, he wakes up to be sick.

It’s quiet in the hospital room where he’s asleep.

The Grim Reaper is such a sadistic woman.

What a shame, sleeping to death

dying to sleep.

“Don’t mourn for me,”

says the man with his uncovered head.

But fuck you, Cancer, you and your face of Fear.

There’s darkness here.

So the man draws a breath

and blows out a cloud of smoke

from the end of his pipe.

And the woman awakes and

prays to the Lord that she’ll

have everlasting life.

But the man doesn’t pray

today, today,

just wastes the days away.

When I became the Grim Reaper

I didn’t mean to stay.

pretty liar

you’re a bitch.
for a girl who wants to rule the world
you don’t know much of anything
claim to love the boy you share a home with
but
though you know he’s dying you
don’t give a shit.

when you’re not sneaking out you’re sleeping in
when you’re not chasing cars you’re sucking dick.
you’re a trap
a girl with a pretty face
and nothing to say fucking
random men so you
don’t waste away
but you’re a pretty liar
and nobody need know.
for a girl who seethes with confidence
you’re all alone
[ to break your hearts + wreck your homes ]

you know what they say
nobody cares unless you’re famous or dead
cant you just be pretty and rich
instead

but you’re a bitch
but you insist
they all must know your name
[ it’s eloise ]

i go where life takes me

It’s been awhile. Life is hectic, and change takes up a lot of it. It was time for a change, and there’s been a lot of them. I want to think I’ve got control of everything all the time. I want to think I’m a perfect parent and partner and friend. Obviously, that can’t be true. I’ve spent very little time in introspection these days, but I don’t feel the need to think back on every life decision and re-analyse it. I don’t know what it is. I’m feeling good these days.

Last month, my son, my boyfriend and I moved to a new place, a small town twenty minutes north of where I grew up. It’s my boyfriend’s brother’s house, which he was kind enough to let us move into (if we pay rent and help supply groceries, of course). It’s a pretty little town, population 9000 or so. I can walk to the other side of town in half an hour, which I enjoy, especially in the summertime. We’ve done a lot on the house since moving in: vacummed and mopped the concrete basement, painted the walls, installed underlay and flooring, decorated. There was a lot to be done. There’s still quite a bit to be done. All the hard work will be worth it.

Recently I started driver’s education. Thanks to Covid, it was pushed back a few months, which admittedly did give me more time to practice and prepare myself. I practice driving twice a week for two hours, and I think I’m getting better. My dad’s got an old car he said he’d sell to me for five hundred dollars. I want to have my license and a vehicle by the end of summer. There’s still a month left. I think it’s possible. I had a fear, initially, of never learning to drive because of the crippling anxiety I feel every time I get behind the wheel. A friend gave me some non-drowsy anxiety pills to take before classes. They help. I feel good about where I’m at.

Things change, of course, when you move in with a significant other. I haven’t lived with a partner since my son’s father, at least five years ago. I’ve come a long way since then, both personally and romantically. I think, relationship-wise, I couldn’t have gotten more lucky. I’m in the most secure, accepting, healthy relationship I’ve ever been in, and I don’t know how I got here, but I did, somehow. Taylor likes to tease me about being a housewife (which honestly, I don’t mind). I’ve always wanted to cook for him at night and wake up to him in the morning. I think that’s part of the reason my mental health has been so good lately. I don’t ever worry about annoying him. I don’t worry I’m too clingy or too awkward or too much. That’s a lot, for me. We’ve never fought. Some people think that’s strange, but I don’t think so. We communicate well. He’s very patient, and very hard to make angry. He’s great with my son, and that’s important to me.

Despite all of this, there’s one thing I haven’t been able to fully understand, and that’s our differing love languages. I’m a lover of affirming words, and he isn’t very verbally affectionate. He’s a good communicator, and although I’m improving, I’m far from perfect. It’s been a little over a year and I haven’t heard him say “I love you”, though I know he does. People say things differently. A back massage, a good morning kiss, remembering small things someone’s mentioned – all of those mean way more than any words could, anyway. I’m a big believer in “actions speak louder than words”. I don’t want you to tell me you love me. I want you to show me. That’s much more convincing, I think. But it’s important to remember that not everyone will say things the same way you do, and you shouldn’t expect them to. I think it’s important to learn how different people say different things.

On another note – I’m publishing my first full-length novel. It’s nearly six hundred pages and a piece that took me five years to complete, and I’m very proud of it. Whiskey Cult will be released in September, the same month that my son starts kindergarten [[but guys, can you believe it’s almost already August]]?, in book stores and on e-readers. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a bit afraid, as I’m sure every other writer can understand. It’s scary to put your life out to people like that: all your vulnerabilities, insecurities, it’s like opening the deepest parts of yourself up for strangers to examine and judge. For something that’s so dear to me, that feels so personal, it’s scary to think that people might not like it. It’s quite paradoxical, really; I want everyone to read my work, but at the same time, I don’t want anyone to read it at all.

I’ve developed, since reaching my mid-twenties, a deep sense of doom towards my own mortality. It sounds a bit depressing, or dramatic, or maybe even pointless since we all know that death is inevitable. It isn’t as bad these days, the anxiety. I haven’t had nightmares about it, as I’ve done in the past. Sometimes it just feels like I’m wasting my life away – and I know that’s foolish, I’m only twenty five, but what have I really accomplished? I know life is not about accomplishments. I know it’s not a competition to see who can get the most done or who can get it done the fastest. We live at our own pace, and that’s something I’m only just now learning to accept. It isn’t even just the fear of becoming a nobody, though. It’s mostly the fear of death itself, which is of course just fear of the unknown. I’ve spent a lot of nights questioning the afterlife, and whether there is one. I’m still not completely sure. Taylor thinks when a person has unfinished business on earth after death, they stick around in their spirit form until they can find peace. Maybe that’s true. I like to think we don’t all just cease to exist altogether. I like to think we’re not just gone, and that’s that. I’m not religious, but I’m starting to become more spiritual. I meditate, sometimes, I’d like to do it more. This is a lot, I know. It’s late. I always get introspective when it’s late. I like to think. I think too much.

Two weeks ago I got my sixth tattoo. When I was a teenager, I swore I’d never get a tattoo, and now I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Though I’m no good at drawing or painting, I love the idea of expressing yourself through artwork. I love the idea that someone can look at the pictures on my body, and get to know me without saying a single word to me. I feel more free, now, than I have in a long time, maybe my whole life. If I had the money, I’d cover my entire body in tattoos.

Since moving, I got a cat. She’s a rescue, a Calico, one year old. It’s the first time in my life a landlord has allowed me to have a pet – except for a hamster, but that hardly counts. She doesn’t shed, which is nice. She puts up with her harness and walks on a leash nicely and impressively, for a cat. Sometimes she picks fights with my boyfriend’s cat, but cats do that sometimes. With two sassy, opinionated women under the same roof, that can happen. Ziggy’s my cat. She loves to play, and cuddle. I never really understood the importance of pets to people until I got her. I don’t think there will be another point in my life where I won’t have one.

I hope all of you are doing well. The pandemic was beginning to slow down, and then businesses started reopening, and it spiked again. A lot of people seem to act like everything is back to normal. At this point, I’m not sure it ever will be.

i am not a girl

Like most people, my journey to self-understanding was a long one. Unlike most people with journeys like mine, I didn’t spend my entire life knowing I was different. A little backstory: I was raised by people from religious families, people whose beliefs revolved around heteronormativity and gender roles. I played with dolls as a child. My brother played with cars and action figures. Pink was for girls. Blue was for boys. I “played along”, as a young child with limited understanding of the world. Whatever my parents said, went. I didn’t question, my mom and dad were always so strict when I was younger, always so condescending and manipulative. I knew better than to get on their bad sides.

I’ve had anxiety as long as I can remember. I’ve always blamed it on my parents’ name calling, the shouting matches they’d have at me through my door. As a preteen and a teenager, my mother was always adamant I could tell her anything, and she loved me unconditionally. After awhile I realised that was a lie. She loves me, sure, but only the parts of me she knows. I only show her the parts she’d like. When I got older and began to talk to her about things, our conversations almost always ended in lectures, or yelling, I was always the scapegoat. Eventually I stopped talking to her about anything personal at all. She still wondered why.

I was a tomboy as a kid – or at least, that’s what I chalked it down to. Ever since I was a young kid, I’d wear clothes that were stereotypically boyish. I remember my mother asking why I’d never wear a dress, and me explaining I didn’t like how girly they made me feel. I never wore makeup as a teenager. I never dressed up. I’m just a tomboy, I’d say to myself and to everybody else, and for years none of us questioned it. Living with my parents was hard, I could never really expres myself in the ways I wanted to, I could never really experiment with hairstyles and fashion. I was a straight, cis-gender girl for more than twenty years of my life.

I remember asking my mother, about ten or so years ago, what she would do if I were a lesbian. I remember her looking at me, making a face, and saying she would take me to a psychiatrist. I remember my father hearing that the lead actor in his favourite show was gay, and promptly refusing to continue watching it. I think, in those days, I was so conditioned to heteronormativity and so deeply terrified of my parents that I managed to fool even myself for years. I’d get crushes on girls at school, and I’d convince myself they were only platonic crushes, and that’s how it was for most of my life. It wasn’t attraction, I didn’t even consider that it could be, this is how every girl feels when they want to be friends with another girl. Thinking about it now makes the whole thing sound ridiculous. I suppose after long enough, lying to yourself becomes second nature.

Ever since I was old enough to know what attraction was, I’d find myself drawn to the women in movies, books, television shows. I liked them because they were ‘pretty’, or because I ‘wanted to be friends with them’. There were even times I’d wish I were a boy, so I could date a pretty woman I saw. I knew lots of queer people growing up: my cousins, my friends. Fun fact: two of my best (girl) friends, who are now married and trying for kids, had only just begun dating when I befriended them in middle school.

In college, I cut off all my hair, and left the sides of my head shaved. I still lived with my parents at the time. I remember coming home and my father instantly commenting, the same judgemental way he would when I wore fitted clothing, or didn’t shave my legs. It was scary for me, I’d had long hair my whole life, and in an instant all of that was gone. It was an incredible feeling. I’d leave my hair uncombed and dress in hoodies and jeans from the men’s section of stores. I felt like myself. I came out as transmasc to my closest friends, and I began to experiment with new names. I’ve changed my name a lot over the years. Avery, Emory, Jack, Finn, Danny, it took awhile before I found one I felt comfortable with.

When I was twenty three, I moved out of my parents’ home. I had a three year old and I’d grown tired of the harassment and my mother trying to over-parent me. I lived in a basement suite with my son for a year, and the freedom was liberating. I’ve kept my hair short through the years, always shaved on the sides; eventually, my parents stopped hassling me about it. Something was missing, though. I was identifying as male, but still I didn’t feel satisfied a lot of the time. Was that normal? I had crushes on girls all through college, and I told myself the same shit: it’s just a friend crush. Only what if it wasn’t?

The feelings I had became very conflicting. It was hard to determine whether I was drawn to women because I was attracted to them, or because I wanted to look like them. My gender usually stays the same for quite a long time. When I started feeling the urge to put on dresses and grow my hair back out, I was confused. I’d spent all this time identifying as male, and I’d been so happy doing it, and now I wasn’t. It made no sense. I thought it was a phase, maybe, I’d just been experimenting, but I think deep down I knew that wasn’t it. I had some identity crises. I talked to a lot of friends. In my later years of college, it finally clicked. I’m attracted to women, and men, and everyone in between. I’m not a girl, or a boy, but sometimes I’m both.

My whole life, I’ve only dated men. There’s a huge part of me that feels like I’m missing out, or that I’m not worthy of calling myself LGBTQ+ if I’ve never been in a same-sex relationship. I guess I’m too afraid, of my family, of strangers, of judgement. I guess I need to learn to devour that fear before I can really be true to myself. I feel regret for never having done more exploring into my same-sex attraction. I feel like an outsider, sometimes, like I’m posing for attention or whatever else. It sounds silly. There’s a pressure to conform; I’ve always been terrified of not being liked by people. I’m not out to my family. I’m still far too anxious of even the thought of bringing it up. It’s challenging, sometimes. I’m afraid of what people will think of me. I’m afraid of offending somebody. In today’s day and age, it’s impossible not to.

When I was younger, I resented my parents. I resented them for the way they raised me, for the stress and anxiety they’ve caused me. I’ve forgiven them, now, but it’s a shame, all that time I wasted being afraid of them. We’re on better terms these days, although I still wouldn’t say my relationship with my parents is “great”. It’s decent. It’s frustrating. They are stuck in their beliefs, and I am stuck in mine. I don’t really need them as part of my support group: I’ve got wonderful friends, and I’ve got a partner who accepts me just the way I am. I’ve learned there’s no use trying to change people who don’t see a problem with their ways. I’ve learned you won’t always be liked or accepted, and I’m still coming to terms with that, but I like and accept myself now, at least, and that’s something.

I just want to take this one last moment to say that it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you were born. What matters is how you feel on the inside, and you should pursue that, despite what people think. It’s easier said than done, I know that. It’s hard to be yourself in a world that’s always trying to make you into somebody else. I wish you took more pride in how you looked, my mother would say, I want my daughter to dress up. (News flash, mom, I’m not your daughter, not all the time, anyway). It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t willing to understand. Your identity is yours, not anyone else’s. Your sexuality is not a phase, or a gimmick for attention, or a disgrace. You’re valid.

That’s all I wanted to say for today. Stay true, everybody.

why are u so angry

because children all around the world are living in households of abuse, and can’t escape, and aren’t listened to.

because innocent men, women, and children are separated from their families for no reason other than race, and are refused the chance to be reunited.

because fashion magazines and the media tell women they aren’t pretty unless they look a certain way, and it’s an unattainable way to look.

because humanity still bases the worth of a person off the colour of their skin, and deems you a threat if you don’t look the same way they do.

because people are persecuted and killed every day for who they love, or what gender they identify as.

because humans kill other humans with no regard for their lives or their loved ones, and they don’t give a shit.

because all lives are equal, and that shouldn’t be controversial.

because boys suffer in silence, and can’t reach out because they’ve been taught it isn’t manly to have emotions.

because trans women of colour are treated disgustingly and are in danger just by walking out their front door.

because women are raped and too afraid to come forward for fear they won’t be believed.

because gender norms exist.

tombstones + cop cars

only one more day until martyrdom,

fighting the masses

they live and they bleed.

you throw your stones at people

like you’ve never been the shunned

but

exaggerating your truth don’t make you a saint

for someone with no opinions

you’ve sure got a lot to say

we refuse to adhere

silence is violence and

apathy

only breeds fear

mistreat the elderly

suffocate the black men

ignore the slain

they will die with purpose

you will die in vain

you talk a lot but you’ve

got nothing to say.

you can shoot a gun at us

but don’t think that will make us go away

counting blessings

With everything that’s going on in the world these days, I’ve been especially contemplative. It think it’s easy to forget to be thankful when the world goes to shit, but also I think it’s really important. Nighttime has always been my introspective times. With the stress of life and the anxieties of living through a pandemic, I just really wanted to take a minute to truly understand the magnitude of my fortune and privilege.

I live in a developed country with universal health care and good opportunities for education and employment. I’m a high school graduate, and I’m healthy. I’ve never had to worry about being sick or taking daily medications to keep my body working properly. Okay, so I’ve got mental health issues, but who doesn’t, these days? I’ve gathered a small but secure social group who supports me through everything, and I know that already makes me much more fortunate than many people.

I read the news. It’s appalling, the racism, homophobia, and terror that’s being inflicted on innocent people. Black men dying for no reason other than being black? My son is going to grow up in this world, and there are times that it makes me sick. He’s privileged, already, born a white male in a racist patriarchy of a society. He will never be stopped because of his colour, and neither will I, and I’m absolutely disgusted that this kind of behaviour is ever seen as appropriate.

Though money is a struggle, to me, sometimes, I’m putting more effort these days into remembering that I never have to struggle alone. I’ve always had a place to live, a bed to sleep in, enough food to keep myself satisfied. As a single parent, I think it’s especially hard to remember, I often need a reminder. I’m blessed to make enough money to support my family, and even if I didn’t, I’ve always got somebody willing to help me. It’s sometimes hard to stay optimistic. I can never be pessimistic without feeling guilty about it afterwards, like I’m an awful person for pitying myself and my life when, in the grand scheme of things, I’m very well off. I think it’s important to remember your struggles are not invalidated by somebody else’s seeming worse. I’m not an awful person for struggling even with all the privilege and opportunities I’ve had in life.

I wish I could change the world. I’m trying, as much as it’s possible for one person to do on their own. I never feel I’m doing enough, and I always forget that it’s just about a little at a time. Of course, it takes a village: they say that about raising kids, but I feel it’s true about changing the world as well. The trouble is that we live in a mostly egotistical world, and people don’t care about changing things that don’t affect them. We’re all connected, as humans, all influenced by others’ lives, even in the smallest ways. Black men getting shot and choked in the streets are somebody’s children, somebody’s neighbour, somebody’s friend.

See, I was lucky enough to have been born into a middle-class family in a safe country, but not everyone has that luxury. I kind of feel like, as humans, we’re sort of all obligated to look out for each other. Give voices to people whose voices are being ignored. Give acceptance to people whose families cast them away, food to people who are starving. I just feel like that’s the only way to change the world. You can’t, unless you change the people who live in it.

it’s time for a change

With the world beginning to reopen, my son has started to go for sleepovers again. He spent all of last weekend at his grandparents’ house, without me, which was kind of strange because of all the time we’ve been spending together lately, but it gave me a chance to relax and stop stressing so much about my duties. When he’s home, we still remain inside except for the occasional hike or bike ride. Even when he visits my parents, they spend their time indoors, for both his sake and mine.

I haven’t been quite as anxious these days. Maybe that’s because the news hasn’t been quite so dreary. I’ve been keeping up with my home workouts, every day for 20-30 minutes. I think maybe that’s been helping my anxiety, too. It feels good to exercise. I’ve never been in shape, really, even though I’m thin. Growing up and moving out has meant trying to maintain a healthy diet, and getting (and staying) in shape.

It’s boring being inside all day. I’d like to go to the swimming pool and the library and the mall, and I don’t think it’ll be too long before I’ll be able to. The thing is I get tired of doing the same thing and being in the same place for too long. I’m moving in with my boyfriend, this summer, hopefully, to a small town twenty minutes from where we live now. I’ve lived in the same city my whole life, I’m excited for a change. I like a change of scenery. I like a change of pace.

There’s something worrying me about moving, though. We’ve been in a relationship nearly a year; by now, we’re pretty much a family. My son loves my boyfriend. He’s a good, willing babysitter, and I’m appreciative of that. When we move, I’m worried he’ll get annoyed of living with me, of seeing me every day, and all that. I know we love each other. It’s hard to be around a person every day of your life and not get tired of them. That’s my worry, anyway. Everybody needs their space. Everybody needs their alone time. If we’re living under the same roof, sharing a bedroom, how will we manage that?

I’m a chronic overthinker. I always have been. I like to look at everything from every possible angle before making a decision, and even then, I overthink the decision I end up making. I suppose we’ll make it work. I suppose we’ll find a way to have our separate times, whether that’s by going out with friends or just hanging out in different rooms for awhile. I don’t want him to get bored of me. I don’t want to accidentally suffocate him. We communicate well. We’ve never had an argument. I seem to always unintentionally make everything a much bigger deal than it needs to be.

My son’s best friend lives in the same apartment as us. I’m worried about separating them, although it’d be a short drive to our new town, and her mom has a car. I don’t. In quarantine I took an online driving course, so I’m ready for my in-class lessons whenever they happen. My father is selling me his old car. I’m terrified of driving, but I want to be able to go where I want, when I want. There’s a bus that goes directly to the town we’re moving to, and it’s a short drive, so I could return whenever even before getting my own vehicle. My boyfriend’s niece and nephew live in the house we’re planning on moving into, so my son would have someone to play with whenever he wanted. He’ll love that. And hey, he’ll even be able to go to the same school!

The boyfriend says I can get a kitten when we move. I’ve always wanted one, but I’m not allowed pets in my apartment. I might adopt a cat from a shelter. Tay has a cat, and I’m always trying to get her to snuggle me when I visit. She likes me now, finally, it took her quite awhile. I want my own cat, though, a baby girl hopefully. We’ll see. I’m working hard on only focusing on one thing at a time, I’ve always been awful at that. I always get too ahead of myself.

Anyway, I’m ready for a change. I’m ready for the world to let me live in it again, and hopefully this quarantine will leave everybody a bit kinder and better.

316

& i want to wake
up 2 u cosy &
peaceful ur face
carefee & young

& i love the way u
laugh
so fulfilling so contagious
it reminds me of summer
& u r the sun

it’s been a little under a year
but we are only mortal
and i wish we could live forever

& i want to make
love 2 u
close my eyes to become
lost in u like a maze

u r soft
& smell of happiness

i am a homebody
i want to
make u dinner every day
bcus u never eat enough
i worry 4 ur health
i like to think ur invincible
but we’re only human
we could die tomorrow

& i want 2 be there
4 u
when ur sick & tired
of being sick &tired
we r poisoned ppl
our hearts bleed as one