You might be wondering where I’ve been.

*Warning: I’m being really real here, so if you’re sensitive, or have issues with tattooed pagans, you should skip this blog and move along.

Truth be told, I’ve been to some very strange places for a very long while.

In 2020, I decided I just couldn’t live the life I was living anymore so I rented my housemate a U-Haul, packed it up, sent it down the road, and sold my house. I gave away everything I couldn’t pack into my RV and I left Texas. It was my equivalent to doing this:

I was fried. After working 16 to 18-hour days for 7 years to support everyone in my household, including the housemate, and build Tequila Aficionado Media, I had gained weight, lost hair, was convinced I’d gone through menopause, and was beginning to wonder if life as I’d once wished it could be was a pipe dream.

An unhappy life is not living. I was dying.

After taking stock, I realized it was time for drastic measures, so I started over.

My teens were ready to spend some quality time with their father at his new house in Minnesota, so I planned to visit the last place I’d been truly happy and then maybe get a cabin somewhere and become a forest witch.

But a funny thing happened on my way to Cherokee, North Carolina…

I reconnected with the man I’d first gone there with, my first husband, “The One That Got Away”. “Woodie” and I had married in 1992 and, long story short, the Air Force and a series of miscommunications and missed communications led to our divorce. When we finally talked again, 28 years later, we compared notes and communicated clearly – finding we still loved each other dearly.

For 28 years, I’d believed a story that wasn’t true. A story about him, us, and me.

*Sidenote: I originally wrote The Path to Freedom after weeks of dreams about Woodie. There’s a lot of us in those Task Force 125 stories.

I’ve spent the past year healing and reviving my own story, finally reconnecting to the person I’ve always wanted to be but had to hide because people in my life couldn’t handle it.

So here I am, on the other side of the longest “Black Moment” in history and not only have I survived, but I’m finally thriving. I’ve spent the last year healing, resting, taking care of myself and reconnecting with myself – and someone I’ve loved for the better part of my life.

As it turns out, I’m not going bald as I’d thought – my hair started growing back long, thick and curly. I discovered that I couldn’t lose weight because my Thyroid was completely jacked up and started treatment for it. (My TSH was over 17.) And menopause? Yeah, that didn’t happen after all, but my cycles did stop for several years. Seriously – years. Ladies, never assume it’s menopause.

I’ve been a bit of a hermit, but I’ve done a lot over the past year. One important thing I did was this tattoo. It was my first and it was significant. The artist questioned my getting such a large, detailed tattoo for my first, but it was this or nothing. I’m not the sort to go into permanent ink lightly, so yes, there is a story to this.

First is the Tree of Life because I’m a Pagan. I’ve never broadcast that publicly before. I joke now about how I’ve been in the broom closet for years, but it sucked to try to “fit in” because other people were uncomfortable with my beliefs.

The second is the Vegvisir, an Icelandic magical stave. It is said about the Vegvisir:

“If this sign is carried, one will never lose one’s way in storms or bad weather, even when the way is not known.”

As someone who has lost her way for so long, this is the compass that reminds me that I know my way. It’s only when I let the opinions of other people interfere that I get lost.

And here I am at the end of 2021, living in South Carolina with the love of my life as we make plans for a fiber farm in Maine next year, still running my business – Tequila Aficionado and publishing Tequila Aficionado Magazine, writing a series (Dauntless) of short self-help books that includes some lessons learned, and writing a rural (not really urban) fantasy series about a reluctant vampire and a handsome gypsy.

I’ll be blogging more. Some of it will be articles that didn’t get included in the Dauntless books, excerpts in progress about my reluctant vampire and a few other characters, and some of it will be random personal stuff.

If you care to read along, great. If not, that’s cool too. I’ll do me. You do you.