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Carl’s Jr, Meals For The Dead, and The Mission of Self-Pleasure

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The wrapping crinkles

Layered, billowy buns

Float beneath fingers

Oozing with saucy creaminess

A fresh, bright green lettuce leaf

Bursting forth from stack

.

I arrange the papery film

To mark the halfway point

Better not go too far

These things are meant to trick you

.

Looking up, around me

Eyes, are they watching

Like they were, so many years ago

I remember eating

For them

For everyone…

But myself

.

As I take my first bite

Teeth sinking into doughy pillows

And through juicy flesh

And sauces running down my chin

It all amounts to mush upon my tongue

Rolling around, dressing drowned

I’m not terribly impressed

Sure looked better than tasted

Which before might have been tragedy

But now is just something to move past

.

It crinkles

Beneath my hold

Somehow I expected more

As I think of mother’s secret, hidden addiction

And the wolfman’s regular visits

Really, it’s the tomato and onion

I covet most

Dripping, crispness covered in saucy heaven

.

I look up wondering

Who’s eyes are watching now

And as the crystal blue sky

And seagull’s piercing cries surround me

I think back to the twelve year old, watching

Across from me, my daring bites, a guide

I ate for her

I ate for him, for them

But did I eat

For me?

I think a small part ate for hope

That through the pain

I’d eventually find freedom

And clarity of path

That the hold of despair

Of lostness

Would

Finally

Stop

Haunting

Me

.

But as I masticate

This doughy, salted mass

Calling me, as designed

To eat more

Still I feel, although shifted

That same lostness

That same question

That same confusion

Needing measuring cups

To structure and give guidance

To the harrowing, empty chaos

That reigns within

.

I sigh

Not quite sure WTF to do as usual

So I envision this car I eat in, open

As that treatment center

And with young fearful ones watching

Looking to me for direction

I think about how right it felt

To eat for them

To show courage

This being perhaps more important

Than my own final riddance of pains

.

But now I’m sucking remnants

Irritable

Sesame bits lodged

Wondering at

Strange textures of meats beyond

And all the dead memories, held to this meal

Steve and Skyedog begging

Momma hidden, gorging

Me eating for the good of the whole damned world

All these memories

Converging

Of playgrounds

And first metal concerts

And the wide open hope

Of teenage love

.

I think of someone else telling me

What to eat

Serving to me

And how utterly, deeply, amazingly wonderful

That felt

To have someone take over

Helping me remember

What joyful eating actually feels like

Helping me remember

That this (despite what the culture tells me)

Is okay

.

I remember

As I both surrender to and fight off the desire

To eat more, more, more

Of these perfectly layered burger patties

Their oozing creamy special sauce

The crisp onion flesh

The vibrant green leaves, waffled and bursting

The ripe juicy tomato

Their tastes have grown more pleasure-full

Is the risk of pained fullness

Worth it to take?

.

Here, still with untrustable appetite

And the words dance dancing in my head

When it’s full…is it really?

When it’s hungry…do I trust it?

When it’s nauseous…do I listen?

Still, these questions

Between layers and layers

So many years beyond

Leaving me with more questions

Only

More questions

.

Still

For my dead momma

And for him

And for those struggling

To even be able to eat anything

I eat this burger

And perhaps even

Perhaps possibly

I eat

Against all cultural brainwashing

For myself

.

To experience “ease”

To experience “normal”

To experience

Feeding…myself

Something good

With no one watching

With no other reason

With no great mission

But

Eating

.

Just for myself

.

Thanks for reading. Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “The Kitchen Witch Makes Bread.”

**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: 

https://www.ebookwoman.com/book/9781689839075

or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

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Pan-Fried Trout: An Excerpt

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I have a squiggly, wet fish in my hands. I am crying. Uncontrollably.

Its slick skin slides out from my grasp, and it somehow manages to jump away and onto the ground. As I am set up so far away from the pond, its panicking thrusts don’t manage it back to the water. It flops, to and fro, and there is so much grief in me I feel I will explode and crumble beside it as it dies.

I decide I cannot let it suffer anymore and search frantically for a way to end its pain. I pull out the fish knife in my belt and hold the blade edge carefully, thankfully it is still sheathed so as not to slice me open. The hilt protruding from my trembling fist, I walk up to the squirming fish and thwack its head, aiming hard so I won’t have to try again. I squeeze my eyes shut reflexively as I make this jarring motion. I wait for a moment, listening, my arm reverberating. My eyelids peel back open, afraid to see what I’ve done, but apparently I have succeeded. The body of a lifeless fish rests before me.

I go to my bag and pull out the ceremonial cloth I’ve chosen to wrap the body in, to honor its life and the part it is playing in my rite of passage. I feel the scratchy linen cloth, and through it a wet seeping onto my hands. I stop for a moment and feel this body, this cycle I have chosen to put myself in, remembering the struggle and the blood of just moments ago. All is peaceful now, and I feel as if I hold a precious sacrament in my palms. I do. I am.

I place the carefully wrapped body in the cooler I have prepared. I close the lid down and take a breath. It is done.

I gather my rod and equipment and head back to the car. Things seem very slowed down as I walk back along the path that before held my trembling steps. I hear birdsong echoing in the forest around me, and although the ripples of sadness are still flowing through me, there is a peace that has taken over my body. It is a pulsing feeling, deep in my bones.

I do not play music on the long, dusty road back to my home in the city. I listen to the silence; I feel the buzzing, how it etches out the lines of my body. It is as if I am humming, alive, and I want to really be in this feeling. I hear the rod jangling in the back of the car as I make my way over the bumpy roads, and finally I reach the highway and head home.

I pull up to the side of the house, cars rushing by on the busy intersection. I choose to leave my rod in the car for now, and only lift out the cooler with the fish body inside. I make my way up the stairs and into the house—no one seems to be home, which I am glad to see. My next task is to cook this offering, and to consume it. Decades have passed since I have eaten flesh, and my mind is nervous of how my body will react. I am grateful that I will be able to experience this transition alone, and I make my way to the kitchen.

I open the cooler and a wave of slightly fishy aroma rushes at my nostrils. I take another breath, and remember the Fish message I’d received:

We are here to nourish you, if you call upon us and treat this exchange with gratitude. We are happy to offer our lives so that you may thrive.

I have to put this message on repeat in my head. I have spent so many years protesting and activist-ing that this message is still such a paradox to me.

I walk over to the stove and place a frying pan on it, turning on the gas clicker and lighting a flame beneath. I splash a little oil onto its surface and hear it sizzle. I breathe.

I bring the fish body over to the side of the stove and unwrap it, placing its cool carcass onto a plate. I look at it, looking back at me, through the eye of its half-squished face. These eyes are glazed over and cloudy, and my crying heart doesn’t seem to react this time. I have become a little more comfortable with the fact that I am a killer.

I hover my hands over the dead fish and start to say my prayers. Prayers of gratitude for its sacrifice, for the worms and waters that formed it, to its fish mother, to the silky mosses it brushed up against and hid in. To the rains and the sun and whatever it is that made it possible for me to have this privileged experience, here, now. I wedge my fingers under the scaly underside and lift it up into the air, a gesture moving through me with no words. I bring it back down and into the pan, the sizzling intensifies, and I prepare myself to deal with the aroma of flesh cooking.

Surprisingly, as the fish body quivers and crackles, the scent is pleasurable. Savory, briny, smoky. My stomach begins to rumble. My stomach begins to rumble! My stomach hasn’t rumbled in what seems like…decades.

I am curious, and my mouth starts to water.

I grasp the spatula from its peg near the chopping block, and pry up the crisped skin of the fish body from the hot pan. I maneuver it somehow so that, in one fell swoop, I manage to flip it over onto its other side without a mess. It plops back and resumes its sizzle.

I am calm, reminding myself of the message. Guilt and fear try to creep into the edges of this experience, but the unbelievable fullness of the sacred overwhelms their tries. I look at the fish eyes again, and it seems the mouth is now smiling. The metalhead inside me chuckles at the grimness of a slightly smashed fish head smiling.

The aromas have taken over the air in the kitchen. I’m not sure whether or not the fish is ready, but it is now beginning to burn, so I remove it from the flame. I pull open the drawer next to the stove and pull out a fork, curious to see what it will look like, surprised again at the ease with which I’ve transitioned into this meat-eater persona.

I pierce the crispy flesh and pry into the muscle. I see it has hardened and its texture reminds me of fish-and-chips of so long ago. I decide it is ready, and remove the fork.

I slide the fish onto a plate and brace myself for the big moment. I breathe, body quaking again. The tremble has returned for some reason, and it makes my fork wiggle. I am called back to the wriggling of the fish, in my hands, on that mossy earth, dying, and how it’s now here, cooked, and on my plate. I feel tears well up, but they do not escape the rims of my eyelids, they just pool there. I lower my shaking fork down into the flesh of this dear creature, and lift a chunk of its cooked body up to my eye level. I look at it, fearing, but also in utter awe.

I place the fish in my mouth and close my lips around it. I slide the fork tines out and feel the saliva pooling around this new foodstuff placed there. All sorts of salty notes trickle around the sides of my cheeks as I begin to chew this strange, flaky texture. I close my eyes and breathe in, noting this ending of the rite it has taken so long to complete.

The tastes swirl in my head, and my stomach—and soul—is sated. I have received.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Thanks for reading. This is an excerpt from my recently published memoir, Food Memories.

**Join me next week for my next memory re-creation, “Hot (Recovery) Oatmeal.”

***If you’d like to learn more about or purchase Food Memories you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: 

https://www.ebookwoman.com/book/9781689839075

or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

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Food Memory #9: Diet Entree (and The Frozen Food Cultural Wasteland)

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Bright neon light

Activates at my arrival

And I am standing there

Just AI and I

It’s a familiar place

While I don’t often come to this door

The diet door

I’m in the freezer aisle often

Funny that I’m often also frozen

As I stand before the frosty items it holds

So many options

So many cold, cold options

I am overwhelmed

Numbers and grams

Bright perfect images screaming

This one! That one!

None of them really feeding what needs to be fed

No one is there with me

As I stand frozen at this door

Making choices, sometimes serious choices

Nothing

Except that neon something

That knows somehow

I am there

So this week I was a bit perplexed in how to re-enact my “Diet” food memory–one that was a basic description of the empty, tasteless immersion I had into the dieting lifestyle in my youth. I joined Weight Watchers with a friend when I was around fourteen years old, and don’t remember much of what I ate during those first pivotal months descending. The only thing I could think of was to go onto their site and see what meals they recommended.

What I found there was that Weight Watchers has now become a sort of digitalized coaching/phone tracking/food delivery system, very different than the in-person, come to the support group and get weighed kind of Weight Watchers I went to as a young woman. I found it interesting that as it was when I was a member, there seems to be no kind of warning or support regarding the possibility that an eating disorder could result from such endeavors. It’s almost as if that’s a shadow dream of its members, that only the lucky would be graced with such a thing.

I finally settled on looking up members’ favorite frozen meals so I could easily create a “diet eating experience.” Turns out Weight Watchers has its own line of frozen foods, Smart Ones, and I started there, with a backup of Lean Cuisine items if no Smart Ones could be found at my grocery store.

Now, I haven’t let myself look for diet entrees for a long time…in “recovery” it is shunned upon to choose these types of things. So it was a sort of novel experience, when I’m so used to being two doors down at the Organic meals door. New flavors and combinations I hadn’t reviewed a million times met my eyes and as usual I was overwhelmed with what to choose. As I didn’t want to eat non-organic meat in this experiment, the vegetarian limitations helped narrow it down but even then I met my familiar friend, choice anxiety. In these moments I look to numbers, I look to factual information to help me make some sort of logical decision as quick as possible so I don’t stand there forever looking like a weirdo.

The numbers and facts on these boxes shared a cold, hard truth with me, however–many of the meals were calorically the same as the organic ones I’ve been choosing instead all of these years. Aside from not supporting Nestle’ and GMO farming, really the boxes are the same…my life/eating box is the same. Ugh. Hard truth. I don’t eat the way I do to lose weight or because I think I’m a horrible person (it’s more about a fear of nausea and pain), but I can only tolerate “diet meal” caloric amounts all the same. Hmm.

So I chose a Lean Cuisine macaroni and cheese, hoping it would give me some semblance of flavor, and brought it to the register. While waiting, I realized that in this moment I had become one of “those women,” one that eats diet entrees alone in her apartment. The emptiness of that life! And somehow the organic meals I usually buy don’t advertise this sad truth as blatantly. Somehow, standing at the register with a Lean Cuisine macaroni and cheese seemed to yodel out this sorry state of affairs.

It made me think of how much I want to be a vibrant, voluptuous food-loving kitchen witch and how far I feel away from that reality, try as hard as I have to reach this seeming nirvana. It made me think of how many other women, men…teenagers even, who spend their lives eating out of these boxes, detached from cooking and growing food and laughing and enjoying hearty meals with others. It really did put me in a funk.

The eating experience was nothing to get excited about. Firstly, the meal was housed in a plastic bowl that prevented me from cooking it in the oven–it necessitated a microwave! Another layer of emptiness there. As I do not have one of these contraptions, I had to carve the orange frozen mass out of the plastic and into a pot to heat on the stove. I somehow managed not to burn the conglomoration, and sat down to experience it. All I can say was that it was pretty tasteless, I had to keep adding salt and at some point it reminded me of the macaroni and cheese one would eat out of a can. A slight plastic-y taste, and certainly no glorious crusty bits to enjoy. Just me and this yellow orange gloopy mass, alone in my apartment.

Afterwards, doing art in my journal, I couldn’t really shake this realization of the cold, frozen, sad and empty state of many eating these meals…of the disconnection both I and I’m sure many others are a part of, with their bodies, the soil, the cooking process, the joy and creativity available in this thing we call eating. There were a lot of blue tears, lines of frozen zombie women chasing after the “skinny” carrot. There was an image of that curvy wild woman, trapped behind bars. Of boxes and boxes and numbers and grams.

I may feel a whole lot different about myself, having worked on self-love and appreciation until it comes running out my ass, but the facts are still the same: I and a zillion others are caught in a food-cultural wasteland, wishing for other options but finding no support in facing the sheer deadening overwhelm of how to make that a reality. When measured products, programs and the Zeitgeist of weight loss surround us at every corner. Because the deeper importance of learning how to cook, grow food and spend quality time with others isn’t exactly K-12 education, because it is seen as “unempowered” to many to be in the kitchen….how we find ourselves here, frozen, in the frozen aisle.

*I am glad to say I will be returning to a more delicious memory next week: McDonalds’s. Please join me :}

**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: 

https://www.ebookwoman.com/book/9781689839075

or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

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Inanna, Part Four

Photo by Dean Ha on Pexels.com

And suddenly

She is before me

I feel her palm rest on my heart

I feel her gently pry open my mouth

And place It inside

I feel droplets

Of cool, cool mist

Bathing my withered exterior

And I hear her

A breeze of word

Into my ear

Rise, rise

She says

And suddenly

I do.

Ascendant

I have seen the turning point

Glisten in her eye

Steam rises all

Around

Her smile

Trickster Creatrix

She hath steadied

Thy hand

Weilding

Life-sustaining

Bread

And reviving

Crystal

Waters

By my own hand

She has fed me

Risen from grave

Begging me, integral

To stand by Her side

Her determined staff

Points my way.

Light washes down

The distant beckoning staircase

She urges me forward

The gatekeepers await

I arise

I arise.

Against the weighted

Gravity of descent

I take back my body

I take back my sex

I take back my pleasure

I take back my Will

I take back my Heart

I take back my Voice

I take back my Vision

I take back my Connection

To the All

Standing tall

I take back my Connection

To the All

And carry these Dark Lessons

Into the Light

Gleaming

Star-crusted

Mirage

Reality

Above

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Inanna, Part Three

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

Body, lifeless

Hollow

Carcass dripping

Yet still able to peel open weak eyelids

Through the sliver

I see

They’ve come

Attendants

Fly-like beings

And they’re with Her

She is wailing

She is raging

She is screaming

She is grieving

And they

Are with Her

Days and weeks and eons pass

Relentless

They hold

They hold

Until a most surprising

Teardrop struggles its way

From the lid of the queen

Rolling down her concavity

She wipes it away

Looking at this wetness with wonder

Confusion

Remembrance

Fire breathing

Bitter

Decimation

Her way

For so long

But they are with Her

And She has changed

Not fixed

But Alchemized

By holding

A new form appears

Glittering

Not Her yet of Her

Split selves

To reach above

To give them what they need

Even if it is my

Rotting corpse

Of which She has no use for

Any longer

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Inanna, Part One

Photo by Nick Bondarev on Pexels.com

I am Inanna

And I feel Her

My Dark Sister

I hear Her

I cannot ignore Her

Writhing in pain and agony

Below

Pretending to occupy myself

With the bright and shiny

Above

She

Distracts

Me.

I am Inanna

And I hear Her

She pulls me

She calls me

I descend

Spiraling downward

Sometimes cycling daily

To visit

To visit.

I am Inanna

And I am dismembered

By Her

She

Pulls

Me

Down

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“If Only One Person Is Helped…”

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One of the major visions/goals that helped me write through, and edit through, and self-publish through the doubt, skepticism and fear of creating this book was the vision of at least one person being helped by it. I told myself that I was writing for that one person, and if it reached them, my reason for going through all of this mess was worth it.

Well here I am, on the other side of getting through the creation and birthing phases, and I gotta’ tell you it’s a weird feeling. To date, I have had at least three people write me and tell me how my book really helped them with their food and body issues (not including my editor, as synchronicity would have it!). And in the moment, the warm honey-like glow that came over me as I received their feedback felt like Yes. This is the reason I wrote this. My work has been done.

I received most of this feedback from women, but there was one man who responded and this was the one that took me. He spoke of his struggles and his healing path, how it mirrored a lot of mine, and how it was helpful to read someone else’s journey that wasn’t of the “perfect recovery in a box ilk.” And that also wasn’t like the typical female struggle, so that it was one he could relate to. This was my biggest hope, not that my book would provide “linear steps to freedom,” but that my words would be read, my cyclic journey with healing felt, and that this would resonate and give hope to the less linear journeyers out there. Regardless of gender. So yes, this reflected a dream, a hope, accomplished, and my gratitude for this healing effect on others was sated. Temporarily.

It’s now been almost a month since the release of Food Memories and all the flurry of facing my fears of what would happen if my story went public, of the release party and appreciations, of these dear people who bought and reviewed and wrote to me and told me of the impact of the book on their life. It’s been almost a month and at this point, it is very, very quiet.

No sales. No new reviews. No more feedback.

I knew this might happen. I allowed, of course, for the shiny possibility of the book finding its way to people’s hands and building an organic, magical following without my effort. That was another dream–that if this book (and my friggin’ private insides) needed to be seen by more people, it would happen in this way. I had no interest in forcing that, through marketing, etc then, and I still have no interest in doing this. But now, as I suspected might occur without my direct involvement, I am in the dead zone, or at least seemingly so.

I have done some work to move the book into the world, in ways that don’t just blurt out and splay said insides to as many people as possible. I’ve mailed it to several healers, therapists and experts in the field. I even mailed it to a father of a young woman who is struggling with severe Anorexia, to help him with perspective and to offer my time as a guide if needed. This all felt good to do, putting copies of Food Memories in the mail to do its work in the world. But now, after some weeks, there is just this silence. Who knows how my story is working its ways with these people, or whether they’ve the chance to read it in the craziness that is our world predicament these days.

In this silence, I am left to wonder what I am to do next, and whether I should force the publicity of this book or wait for it to simmer. I wonder what the most aligned thing is to do. I am terrified, still, of having masses of people know my story, but am willing if it is the best for all concerned. I am not really concerned with the sales for money sake, more just wanting to see the book–and all I was “guided” to put into it–out and fulfilling its purpose. I fear it will just die if I don’t feed it in some way. But how? What is truly authentic for me to do?

I plan to follow up with these people I’ve sent the book to. I wish I didn’t have to, that the book would have affected them so that they would feel compelled to contact me. That something bigger than myself would move this into larger fields. That something bigger than my own need for feedback would take place. To prove it was worth it. But that’s not how it’s panning out, and I’m making this mean that there is still some part I have to play in bringing the book to more people. Maybe it is part of my life-game, to explore polarities further from silence and humility. Who knows.

All this silence has put me back in touch with that expansive, universe-wide space of void that I feel inside regarding my purpose here on this planet. Without the momentum and hopes of writing the book, without the way the initial feedback felt, and without the clear desire to market it like mad, I am left here to wonder what I’m really doing here, what I really wrote that book for, whether there was guidance in all of that or just some fantasy crafted life meaning I whipped up to quell the existential angst inside.

Don’t know. But what I do know (and am hanging onto with dear life so I don’t slide down that precarious dark slope) is that the goal, the vision, the dream that kept me going in writing Food Memories came true. A major life goal…and fear…was accomplished. And that one person, to my astonishment, was helped by the words I bared on the page.

Blessed, blessed be.

~Food Memories by Reagan Lakins, is available in all online bookstores. If you want to support a small bookstore, you can purchase it through Bookwoman at: https://www.ebookwoman.com or request it through your local bookstore. If you feel moved to purchase and read my story, thank you! I would love to know how and if it affected you :}

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Soul Endeavors

Have you heard this one before? Has it been a way to help you navigate your life direction? I’d love to hear, both what your childhood joys were as well as if you followed them into your life’s work.

I can share that ever since I found out that college + degree + well paying job does not = happiness, my aim has been in exploring this concept to find a more fulfilling way to earn income and invest my energy. I have followed pretty much all of my childhood joys:

*playing music (with cardboard cutout instruments and gogo boots!)—>being in a band, recording an album

*working with animals—>becoming a recreational therapist specializing in animal assisted therapy

*playing in the forest—>taking people on medicine walks, teaching about/working in herbalism

*watching horror movies and novels—>working with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett at his Fearfestevil Festival (this was SO great :})

*watching witchy and fantastical movies—>working at fantasy fairs and festivals, working for priestess/witchcraft organizations

*building forts and rehabbing abandoned houses—>building my own caravan trailer and helping to rebuild hostels and retreat centers

*eating yummy food—>traveling and working in kitchens with amazing and magickal chefs

All of these things I have explored fervently, they were often the only compass point in my times of darkness. In these times all I could do was to ask myself which childhood joy I hadn’t explored and to make it my goal to experiment with that. And woo, have I learned a lot, grown a lot, from that process! My inner kid certainly appreciates it.

But now, I am kind of at the end of the line, having tried and exhausted all of these things and wondering…now what? After one has done this exploration, what then? I incorporate a lot of these activities in my hobbies and free time, yet I yearn for a career that satisfies my deeper soul. That includes these passions in ways I haven’t imagined, or better yet, that involves something I don’t even know about yet.

After the publishing of my memoir, Food Memories, I started to wonder more about this, about stepping more fully into the world with my soul work. In the book I discuss my thoughts about living with a restrictive eating disorder, about my struggles with the concept of linear recovery, about the hope and despair I have gone back and forth with when trying to live up to the mental health system’s definition of “full recovery.” I started to wonder if my particular struggle was my unique gift to offer others–to provide a place to be “imperfect” in the recovery world and still acknowledge and work on healing within oneself. A place to honor the darkness rather than diagnose it, and to see what occurs in this cauldron of holding.

But it terrifies me that this is an irresponsible offering. It terrifies me that I will keep people from fully healing by encouraging the exploration of this perspective. It still terrifies me that I will hurt rather than heal.

I think this is my ego talking, and I am thankful for its wariness. But I also feel it is holding me back from my next leg of offering what my soul truly wants to offer in the world. I have spent many years in the dark shadows of what the mental health system deems as “healthy,” having to wake myself over and over again to the possibility that I am under some sort of unhelpful spell that disempowers me. That the terror of claiming my imperfection is healing too, and that it is actually the exact task for my growth and service to others. This is what I attempted to do with my book.

Yet now, as I contemplate how to work in the world, I find myself interacting with old systems, creating resumes to try to seem appealing to them, and it is challenging me to my very core. Do I really believe in the health of my imperfection? In the ability I may have to help others with my experience? In the face of the typical requirements for these treatment facility jobs, I find myself wondering if working for the traditional systems is really not in my best interest. That instead, I am to incorporate my childhood joys, and my life lessons into a coaching based offering to others. To work for myself…in service to others? Terrifying.

I am exploring both routes. To give respect to that little inner child who is waiting for me to create a more aligned life for us, as well as to give respect to that part of me that kind of wants to charge into the traditional systems and shift them from the inside. My inner child isn’t really into doing the latter, so perhaps that’s a sign. And who knows, I may find out that the System has changed and working within it will teach me in powerful and fulfilling ways.

As always, my agnostic fence sitting is helping me explore them both with equal curiosity. And some frustration and a whole host of other uncomfortable emotions, honestly. But hey, I’ve been gifted this life, and somehow have landed in a body and climate where I have so much to be thankful for. So I’m using it as best I can, and I hope both me and my inner girl can find a way to rock it together.

Tell me, how about you?

~Food Memories, by Reagan J Lakins (ISBN-10 : 1689839074), is now available through Amazon and all major booksellers. To my surprise, you can even order it from a little bookshop called BookWoman in Texas and they get some of the proceeds to stay functional during the pandemic!

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After

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

You know how weird it feels to wake up on the day of your birthday and feel like nothing is really drastically different, despite the utter impossibility of the new number you now inhabit? That’s how I’ve been feeling this past week, not because it was my day of birth, but because it’s the “after” of choosing to press publish.

As mentioned last week, it was unexpectedly quiet after doing so, aside from my internal revelations. And this past week has been similarly quiet, a few emails from friends and colleagues cheering me on for my accomplishment were all that seemed different than my pre-published state.

My original plan was to let this book float out into the universe and to see what happened, without engaging in the weirdness that is marketing. And I’ve kept to that, aside from alerting chosen friends and those involved along the way (including you :}) with the completion of the goal.

In the relative silence of this choice, I started to wonder about that plan, whether I should be doing more to encourage my book’s success in the world. Again I picked up sassy marketing books, contemplated entering contests, sharing about the publication with social media. Again I balked. Something, at least right now, doesn’t feel right about it. All the advice screamed, “Get on it now, or your book will go unnoticed! Pre-launch and post-launch are perfect times to run a book giveaway!”

Ugh.

Yet with these suggestions ringing in my mind, all I could envision was my book as a very small baby, and what it might feel like to be marketed and sold to the world, social media, etc. And of course this made my skin crawl…an obvious reaction with that re-frame. I also thought of my new-born vulnerability and how crazy it still feels to have my soul out there to be read by anyone. Do I want to gather millions to ogle at that? Um..no. I for one don’t even want most people to know I’ve had the baby! Do many new parents face this conflict?

Herein lies the strange and complex journey of following the soul’s guidance to do something scary, sometimes kicking and screaming whilst doing so. Whereas what a writer should want is many readers, I am the opposite, at least in having the desire to find them. I am open and willing to be seen by those who somehow find the book, but to call attention to it en masse does not feel right. Am I making a mistake, letting my book die on the vine? Who knows. All I know is I feel like puking every time I look at marketing material.

I’ve been going through pictures from my mother’s recent passing, and in them I found one of me as a child on stage with my mother. I’m in a blue and white polka dotted bathing suit, and there’s a sign behind us, “Tri-county Beauty Contest.” I’m probably about four years old. She has a marvelous bouffant hair-do and is dressed to the nines. It brought me pause to think that she did that, enrolled her four year old in a beauty contest, but the age span made me think. Perhaps it will be when my babe is four years old that I will feel ready to bring her on stage to the wider audience. Who knows?

For now, I’m letting it be. I’m enjoying the silence, although a little uncomfortable I’m doing it “wrong.” I’m gazing at my babe poised on my ancestor altar, amazed by it. I’m waiting. I’m asking for its journey to unfold for the greatest alignment of all concerned. I’m holding it, and my vulnerable self, like a baby not yet ready to face the screaming, blaring, honking, critiquing world all at once.

This blog seems to be a safe place to show her off, in a non-smarmy way. To share about the process of her in-utero growth, the ups and downs, and finally her birth. I’m so grateful for that, for you who make it here to read. Thanks for being the small community that I can share her with.

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It Lives…Food Memories Is Published! Boom!

Well folks, I did it. I still can’t believe that I did it, but I did.

I pressed PUBLISH, and watched as a link to my author page manifested before my eyes.

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08HSLZ1TD

Some part of me thought mountains would shake, arrows would fly towards me, or some other crazy result would occur from doing such a thing. But that Wednesday morning after pressing the button, things were pretty quiet ((aside from the entire West Coast burning around me–prayers all around)).

What did occur was a series of internal earthquakes. The first rippled through as I stepped out of the shower post-publish. I suddenly realized:

I just completed a major life goal. Something I committed to doing before I die.

Waves of pride, and amazement, flowed through me. And then, a powerful surge of wanting to volunteer somewhere! I was a bit puzzled by this reaction, but then thought how it made sense. I’ve been spending the last however many years plotting, crafting, writing, anti-socializing, editing, etc to get this task done, and now there was a well of energy being released for a new use. So I’m working on that.

The next boom that happened was the realization that I had taken a step to finally become visible. My words, my story, the fact that I struggle with eating and body issues, my ideas (and I’d like to think teachings) about all of that–these are all now able to be seen by the public eye. For so many years I have kept these things hidden from everyone save for a few trusted souls. Now for all to see? How terrifying…and exciting. A few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to hold this possibility. A few years ago I was still in too much of a Hermit mode, alchemizing. But now, it feels right.

The last boom (at least for now) was an image of my ideal reader, in my mind. I had to draw her, and I do hope she is out there reading somewhere, being comforted by my words. Here she is :}

If you are her or know someone like her please do check out/share my book page with her…I want this book to find her! Again the link is: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08HSLZ1TD

As always, I am ever so grateful for your time and attention. Hope all is well with you out there in these crazy, crazy times.

Love and booms~raVen