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   When it comes to the question, 'what was it like when you were growing up', the answer is often subjective. I reflect on my childhood often. The other day, a memory from mine popped into my head. It was of my Dad telling me and his other daughter, that we need to wear jeans or stop playing rough because no man will want a woman with scarred up knees. His statement sucked ass. Not only because it was hella sexist but because I looked forward to the reward for hard play, its accompanying pain and the blood that was spilled. It was the scab that would form that he was potentially denying me from.  As a kid, I loved picking scabs. Meticulously pulling off the encrustation were sometimes the subject of my classroom daydreams. Sometimes, I would leave class to just to go to the bathroom and pick just a little around the edge off just to gain that satisfaction. It was an act I took my time with and embraced because the longer the scab stayed around, the more time I had with something to look forward to. It was a gamble each time. I would either prolong the healing process by ripping off the scab too soon or take it off at the perfect moment that there was nothing underneath but a soft scar. I didn’t often think twice about not being able to find a husband when I pulled the scabs. In fact, I have very few physical scars to show from my childhood. Emotionally and mentally, I’m about as smooth as Regan's ass. See the Exorcist. 
   2021 was a scab of a year. The global wound that was 2020  seemed like it was showing signs of healing after January 2021. I never fell for any of that but I still had the “mojo” that gave me all the inspiration and drive I needed to pull off the scabs from many wounds of my past. I am a creature that typically welcomes a chance to shed her skin, heal from wounds and move on. In 2021, I did all of that. I decided to finally do what I had needed to long ago- break generational curses. I chose my path in what was a crossroads of my life's direction and finally moved to the Pacific Northwest. I chose a whole fucking new beginning. I feel like I am learning to live all over again. And, I wanted to allow the wounds from 2020 and from my life before to finally heal. I wanted to know what healed Michelle would look and feel like.
   When I planned out 2021, I saw myself, and my family, visiting SoCal every month. We put almost everything we had into the move. The timing was absolutely right, the messages from the Universe assured me. They still do! I knew that I was free from the doubts, projected fears and negativity that were previously talked into my plans by eliminating their source. I set up hard boundaries with my parents, my sister and her husband at the very beginning of 2021. The transition was smooth compared to other horror stories I’ve heard when people moved between states. It all felt right and continues to feel like the right move for myself.
   But, shit happens. We had to acquire new things we weren’t prepared for. Minor inconveniences but, inconveniences. So, our plans to go down south were thwarted. But, life in the PNW continued to be a wonderful distraction. Everyday I was greeted with new discoveries and there was magic manifesting right before my very eyes. Fantastical shit, I’m telling you! Then came the Delta variant and boosters, more postponed shows, and now Omicron. Not to mention a very unsettling vibe coming in from all the corners. Here it is, the last week of 2021, and I feel like I need to venture deeper into my majestic cave. 2021 needs to end. It’s a scab I look forward to picking off but not until the wound under it is healed. The wound underneath is not one I care to reopen. I cannot recall a time in my life where I was both full of gratitude and joy combined with heartache and despair. It’s exhausting. It’s infuriating. It makes no sense that I have achieved so much of what I set out to do and acquired so much knowledge, truth and majesty yet I am still struggling with crippling depression that is mating with self-doubt and imposter syndrome and probably adult ADHD. Everything that once came so easily to me, has become heavy tasks. I want to be invisible while simultaneously I want to be seen. 
   It feels almost like being a kid again. I want to go out into the world and do all the things but now I am held back by a nurturing mother, Gaia. I know she truly wants to protect me and allow me to grow before I set out. As a kid,  I used to have so much time on my hands between the beginning of winter break through the new year. When I was bored or used to play, I used to imagine my many futures that ranged from being a homeless whore to a renowned psychiatric journalist with a few novels behind her. I wanted to try everything and I was excited to leave the dreary confines of my mother’s kingdom behind. That hopeful anxiety, counting down each year until I turned eighteen was what got me through. Time took its fucking time while I was growing up. Similar to how this last week of 2021 is going. It’s as if 2021 is clinging on, dragging us to the depths with it. No one has mentioned how 2022 will be their year. I know better at this point. I certainly don’t feel like the struggle will end. In fact, I know we most likely won't see relief until 2025. That’s my intuition screaming at me. It’s a collective prophecy. But, what a time to live and die over and over again. While I usually welcome new beginnings and while I am quite exhausted from all that 2021 brought and removed from me, I’d rather adapt, change and evolve. I don’t want to cling to the former way of doing things for fear of change. That means certain death. I accept that I will need to grow even more patient and embrace the present, one second at a time, for the present will be what drives me through the rough storms ahead. And where I do battle, create magic and compile words is quite beautiful. 
   When I find myself succumbing to my depression, I look back on my childhood and pretend I am able to communicate with my inner child. I allow her to tell me what I needed to know at that moment so that I could create that future for her. I allow myself to imagine all sorts of futures when I rest or meditate. Sometimes I am just still. I keep forgetting that I don’t have a mother speaking doubt and fear into my plans. I don’t have a stale job or shared custody. I can do whatever the fuck I want. Many futures lie ahead. You would have thought ( I certainly did)  that I would have become more social, more inclined to be at all the happening there were to be at. Yet, it’s the complete opposite. I can’t handle too much of other people’s energy the way I used to.  I’m struck with lightning bolts when I am confronted with anything social. I haven’t been able to do much since October because of this. And, every time since, I have been given the obvious “told ya so’s” from my intuition. 
   I thought I wanted to take the risk and come down to SoCal for Season’s Screamings and to visit friends and family. It was left up to a few factors. Ultimately, the universe sent a heavy, “no” and I was heartbroken. I had one of those, "can’t get out of bed days" and social media made it worse. I don't want to come off as a spoiled brat who didn't get her way. I felt like a fraud. The halloween and horror community’s biggest flake. I would be dismissed. Starting over in a community I hardly know, seemed like the last thing I wanted to do and quite capable of. But, during this moment, I don't have it in me. I was pissed at myself for setting expectations. Well, as you may have seen from my instagram, during the night of December 19th, under the Full Cold Moon, it started snowing in Portland and Western Washington. That morning there was no snow in the forecast. Between the time it got dark and midnight, the chance of snow increased by the minute. I took a brief nap while I waited for it and as soon as I woke up, my new pnw friend, Tamla, tagged me in a video of it snowing at her home. She doesn’t live far from me. I ran outside and watched as the first few flakes fell from the night sky. A sight I only imagined in one of my childhood futures. It was happening. I knew it was a gift and with it - a message. I did the right thing by staying home again. Although it would be a quiet and overall awkward holiday, I did the right thing and everything would be ok. And, it all was. 
   It wasn't all doom and gloom though. One of the main highlights of this holiday season was the Jesus shaped dildo. That feels so good to type out. I am so sick of Instagram’s bullshit. Anyways, back in July, after visiting Danse Macabre (RIP) I envisioned sending one of their popular items -a crucifix with four butt plugs attached to it - to the creature formally known as my sister and her husband for their xmas. These two have egos the size of Kanye West’s so I imagined them receiving this gift, from me and my family, and assuming it was an olive branch. Yes, they are that into themselves that they think I’ve been over reacting by cutting them from my life as if it was done for no reason. Unfortunately, the butt plug crucifix was sold before I had the chance to acquire it. As December wore on, I found myself on Etsy searching for Jesus butt plugs when I found an actual dildo shaped like Jesus on the cross. I picked the color black, marked the item as a gift and left the gift message… For your threesomes with god. It felt like Halloween morning when I saw the dildo had been delivered. 
   Of corpse, my sister wouldn’t wait to open a gift addressed to her. It didn’t take long before I got the text message from her using my full name like she is my stern guardian and I got caught slippin' up. She wanted an explanation as to my intention of sending her the gift. Was it meant to be funny? Was it another fuck you? Which she didn’t fully spell out being the conservative christian she is. She told me she would face time me and added … Please answer. Um, no. Trust me, when I say I was tempted to but, I decided against it.  My texted reply was, you can feel how you want to feel and I don’t know why you feel so entitled to an explanation. Narcissists never cease to amaze me. She really thought she could still demand a chat and get the opportunity to make up for the gaslighting she missed all of 2021. No. I got the satisfaction of knowing the Jesus dildo got under her skin. 
   Now some of you are probably asking why I even bothered spending 21.99 on someone I had cut from my life. My reasoning is simple and not necessarily for revenge. However, it was a message that I needed to send to them. It felt good to finally give them the “FUCK YOU!” they rightfully deserved. You see, my sister and her husband have not once been confronted about their bullying, homophobia, misogyny and harassment because they have always used the bible as their shield and defense. I hadn’t formally given them a final "fuck you" with the dim hope they would take a look within themselves. These are two of the most vain people I have ever endured so I knew it would be hard for them to look past their reflection and consider how they have hurt me and my family so-much-so that I would cut them off. But, nope. We weren't worth it to them. They continued to encourage unvaccinated gatherings, germ spreading, general QAnon and Kanye rhetoric and all in the name of Jazus. It’s humiliating being related to such a wanna-be - old-testament-boomer in your otherwise progressive family. At last, I don’t feel like such an outsider within my large family anymore.
   I ended December 25th feeling validated and loved by people that matter most to me. Even by the ones over one-thousand miles away. The PNW was also graced with more snow. For four straight days, I woke up to a glittering accumulation of icy soft flurries. It increased in volume each day. With the worst of the holidays past, I had the motivation to wake up and do my very best to be the mom my kids need and who I needed to be for myself. There have been many naps and books and so many cookies. I am now comforted by my need to stay inside as covid cases surge. I don’t feel the need to be a social media’s whore. I am present. 
   While I am not exactly enthusiastic about all that 2022 will bring. I know that I will not set high expectations and hopes of gratification by seeing humanity actually change for the better. I am heading into this year without goals being my main focus. I saw this statement the other day…
   Winter is eerily silent. I plan to be silent as well. There’s much growth that occurs under the snow and I am aligning my spirit, my energy with nature and the phases of the moon. Just like little Michelle Halloween, I’ll be writing bad poetry, playing with sticks and making potions. I have written more in 2021 than I have since putting myself out there and whether I am seen or not, I will continue to do what I love and share it. I will be kinder to myself.
   Goth, how I miss you all so much. But, I’m comforted and kept warm by the friendships that have endured my move and my moods. I am grateful to those who understand and don’t hold my flakiness against me. I appreciate those who have allowed me to share my depression and anxiety without judgment, comparison and dismissiveness. Thank you to those who continue to support Michelle Halloween. After all, Michelle Halloween is the embodiment of my inner child. She is the many imagined versions of myself. There’s no way I won’t be sharing my evolution with you. 
   Whether you rip it off or allow it to fall off on its own, the scab that is 2021 is now behind us. More change is coming. As I type this, another unexpected snow flurry moved in. The snow is falling softly from the sky. I have found myself stopping all that I am doing to stare out of the window or take a walk around my neighborhood to relish in the moment. Instead of committing every snowflake to memory, I am allowing myself to enjoy the moment in real time. This has been a tough and awkward year. But, it’s time to be quiet and look out of the window for a season. Reflect on the past if you must, but give gratitude for what you have and for the moments you've experienced. No more trying to recreate them. It’s time to move on, let go and ride the storm of change. 2021 may have left a scar under its scab but, a scar you can wear proudly because you survived it. 

What painful change are you committed to making in 2022?

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