“Living well is the best revenge.”
These words were burned into my late December 2020. I happened across them, reading something I deemed trivial at the time. It summed my entire tumultuous year with its loud grand finale and series of unfortunate events. After submerging myself under an ice cold spiritual bath, I took to my spirits and consulted my next steps. My anger towards a number of people at the close of the year suddenly made me realize too many people were romantic with the idea that I’m their spiritual doormat and took liberties with my kindness. I grew fiercely wrathful but gave myself a long stretch of time to sit with it.
“Take 90 days for yourself and speak to no one,” said my spirits. “Focus on your recovery. Give yourself all the room you need to breathe for a change.”
But then what? I asked.
I had invested so much of myself in so many loved ones over the past couple of years. My 20s were plagued with people behaving foolishly towards me, harassing me over nonsense, being intrusive and invasive, attempting to disrespect my privacy and discretion. It was a decade of firmly setting boundaries, with others, and oneself. My favorite boundary? “I’m too old to be explaining shit to people dedicated to misunderstanding me anyway.” By the time mid-December had rolled around, I snapped and had enough of everybody and their gahddamn mama on the planet.
“A lot changes in 3 months,” my spirits reassured me. "You have more ancestors than days on this earth and we will get you through every one you need. Fall on your own sword if you must. Pray until you receive the answer you need. You will have to lean on your faith to liberate you. Be willing to give. ”
Exasperated, I kept my head down and surrendered my will to them. I cut off all social media indefinitely, gave up the phone I was tired of anyway, and halted all of my other work immediately. I told myself, I’m not gonna do diddlysquat. I’m tired. No one is worth having a panic attack over, fuck that noise. I’m going outside to go be blessed.”
90 days is a dramatic change, indeed. I did not know what to expect initiating that journey, but instead of anxiety, my days suddenly became absolutely alive with joys despite all of my enemies repeatedly failed attempts to assault it over recent years.
I maintained my prayers. I built fires for myself and dressed the wood with condition oils. I petitioned protection for myself and for a select few. I asked for justice to be done to those who sought to sully my hard work. I set offerings in the forest and fed all the animals there. I went to the Waters and spoke. I took no new clients. I set no new candles. I shut down the workshop and handed over the reins of my business to a friend who’d become my assistant to ensure things could function with little of my oversight.
I had no desire to spend any of my free Negro days arguing, coming out of character, elaborating one a single extra thing, scheming or dreaming up ways to besmirch folks like some of the people I had the misfortune of meeting over the years. I told myself – I am not them. I’ll just be more ferocious about my boundaries from now on, the only way forward is through.
I signed up for classes and also taught myself many new things. I learned to build structures with my hand. I submerged myself deeply into books again and I found that my collection had grown extensively. Nobody warned me I had so many gardening books bitch LOL. I spent many days and nights reading them. A dear friend I hadn’t seen in many months donated me one of his fantasy series and I adore seeing all his books on the shelf my husband built for me.
I traversed the woods for hours at a time, learning to identify all the plants, vines, and trees growing around me. I delved more deeply into my birding adventures and built feeding stations for the local wildlife and found that’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed everyday. I started waking up at 5am to hear listen to them belt it out like the Mississippi Mass Choir by 5:30am. I met 3 flying squirrels I named after Alvin and the Chipmunks.
I almost got jumped by a gang of chickens during an afternoon nap. Then made friends with an entirely different chicken at somebody else’s house for a week. (bitch, don’t ask, this is the South). I bought a hot tub and it changed my world.
My daily meditations expanded to hours at a time. I gave myself all the grace I afforded everyone else in my past who’d been less deserving. I gave myself permission to accept no right answers except to anything. That just for today, I have everything I need. I continued to pray.
I started new medicines to handle the adverse effects of what I suffered through at the close of 2020. I planted many, many, many more flowers. Soon, I found myself planting extensively for others, and so many of my days would be spent snipping, pruning, weeding, identifying, hollering at things, feeding plants, watering plants, making my own feeds, studying insects until everything ached. I got to pet a little bee, twice in the same day. I named him Nebbles Barclay.
The ancestors reminded me to chop wood, carry water. Aye.
I made love. So much.
I returned after 90 days to consult again. They asked me how I felt.
Certainly not the same. I have peace and quiet. Something in me is different now.
They asked me what I needed to do for myself next.
“I’m gonna need a lot more than 90 days.”