Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Germinator

Hello Beautiful Darlings, I hope you have had a good week being kind to yourself.

With the dicey weather we've been having on the Continent, nearly everyone has fallen prey to a winter cold. The last few days have found me lying on the couch in a pile of Kleenex...I know, it's not exactly the glamorous Miss O life you imagined. Me neither.

Living in close quarters, it is inevitable that Honey and I keep trading germs. It's too stuffy in here, it's too cold, it's dry, one of us is stuffed up, the other is coughing. Hot, right? Romantic. Um, no. And then there are all the germy people with whom we come in contact. Darlings, riding the metro during cold season is a serious health risk. City dwellers are very generous about sharing their germs with fellow citizens. Buh!

While it is important to avoid germs out and about in the world, let's talk about some that are dwelling in your home...specifically in your beauty products. Cue scary music.

Darlings, I am willing to bet that you have a couple (or more!) products that have been hanging around for far too long. Even as a seasoned beauty professional, I am not as diligent as I should be in ditching outdated cosmetics. Why do we do this? Are we being thrifty? Compulsive? Greedy?

Male readers: you are excused from reading the rest of this post (though you might learn something), but why not use the opportunity to adios some of the science projects currently residing in your fridge? No, sorry, even condiments do not last forever.

True confession: I have a Shiseido lip gloss that I bought *cough* a couple of years ago. There is really nothing left in it except fumes, but it was costly and I don't want to part with it. See: Irrational hoarding behavior.

As part of a Lenten resolution to release items/people/situations that no longer serve a positive purpose, and because I just read an article on germy make-up, I went straight to my beauty lab and plucked three offending lip glosses and an eyeshadow that are waaaaay past their expiration date. I already knew that they were outdated but had let them linger there breeding bacteria. Why? See: Irrational hoarding behavior. How can I name this disease so easily? Because I have at least a half dozen (ok, ten) other lip glosses on my dressing table, not to mention the four floating around in my handbag. And some are duplicates.

I believe in a woman's right to choose and in a woman's right to multiple lip colors, but even I have to admit that fourteen lip sticks/stains/tints is pushing it. For your amusement a peek at Miss O's former dressing table/beauty operations center.

and this picture, taken after a weekend of Bridal shows.
How do I know it was Bridal season? Note the "spare hair" prominently featured in the center of the photo. And no, that is not a mascara wand lying about, it is an eyebrow brush. This picture is dedicated to my dear friend, Neeners.

My current workspace is a tenth of the size but I still manage to cram it full of powders and potions. What can I tell you? I enjoy being a girl.

But let's get back to germy cosmetics...
You may be surprised to realize that cosmetics, like condiments, do not have an infinite shelf-life. We should be tossing make-up, especially mascara, often, like every three to six months often.  Products with wands such as lipgloss or mascara pick up bacteria from your face and deliver it back into the tube. Yucky. (Mascara Tip: do not pump the wand in and out of the tube, it creates air bubbles which feed bacteria and creates clumpy eyelashes). If your mascara is thick, clumpy, or has a curious odor: Toss it. Ditto if you've recently had a cold sore or pink eye. Throw the products away and start over fresh.

Drier lipsticks and powdery products (eye shadow, blush, bronzer) can last longer but you should not keep any make-up more than 18 months, two years tops. If you have a product in your stash that is more than two years old, stop reading and go throw it out. Right now. I'll wait.

Can't remember how long you've had a product? Here's a nifty idea:

If you use powder or concealer, make sure to wash your brushes regularly. (N.B. powder and concealer, especially ones you dab directly onto your face, should be replaced every six months) You can't imagine the scary germs lurking on make-up brushes. Yucky.  Even better, use disposable sponges...and dispose of them.

Products that are hydrating contain extra water, which, after a while can be a become a bacteria feeding ground. No, thank you. To keep your products in good condition, make sure they are tightly sealed in a cool, dry place. Please do not leave your foundation lying around without the cap on, the same goes for eye-liners (sharpen them often), and all other products. When in doubt, better to ditch it. 

What is the state of your make-up bag? Sticky with spills and stains everywhere? Yep, it's probably swimming with germs. Don't bother to try to clean it, just give it the heave-ho and get a new one.

What about moisturizers and other skin care products? (Nearly) all products these days have a PAO symbol, it looks like this:

PAO=Period After Opening (i.e. this product should be used within 12 months of opening) and M=months, not millennia, Darlings.

Ok, Beauties, you have been informed. No excuses! Protect your health and get rid of any creepy, old cosmetics taking up valuable real estate and I bet you'll have room for a new lip gloss. Hooray! No, Miss O is not an enabler. She is an empowerer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love the One You're With

Love the One You're With. What does that mean? If you've been following our posts over the last few weeks, you know that it sure as hell doesn't mean settling for a loveless story just because it is convenient or you don't know how to get out of it.

What it means, my Darlings, is love the person looking back at you from the mirror. That's "the One" you need to love more than anyone else. Until you truly love yourself, don't bother getting involved with another person.

You already know my credentials, so here Miss O will speak with authority.  I have found that those people who stay in dead-end relationships are stuck because they don't think they deserve better. They don't have a high opinion of themselves and so they allow any douchebag with decent hygiene to take advantage of them. If you believe that you are a wonderful person, you cannot allow yourself to be treated poorly. If you have respect for yourself, you will command respect from others. If you don't, why should anyone else bother?

If you are looking for a mate to be your life raft, the story is already doomed. If you think finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, and "being loved" is going to turn your life around, lift you out of loneliness and "complete you", it could work for a little while. In the same way putting a band-aid over a ax wound could stem the blood flow.

However, if you think you're already pretty f*cking great, and a significant other will be the icing on the cake, then you have a damn good shot at finding the real thing. My point: You have to love yourself FIRST.

When I met Honey I was having the best hair day of my life. I had splurged on a new 'do with the fabulous Sebastien and walked out of the salon thinking: I am the cutest girl in Paris. No small feat in a city teeming with babes.

I was supposed to have had a date that night with a Russian Count, who called me to say: Dahlink, I can't see you this weekend, I have to fly to Stockholm blah blah blah excuses excuses excuses. Are you angry?
I checked my pulse and thought: Nope.
The Count actually said: I hope you don't meet your future husband tonight, I will be so jealous.
Did he think I should be sitting at home pining away?
I simply replied: We'll see. I hung up and thought: I am fabulous and brilliant, and my hair and I are going out on the town. You snooze, you lose, Dahlink.

Honey has since confessed that he didn't really love my haircut, but I was emanating such an "I'm awesome" vibe that it was like a tractor beam he couldn't escape.

February 14th is a day fraught with anxiety and stress for many. If you are single, the fact seems to be rubbed in your face. If you are coupled, the ridiculous expectations are no fun. I sent her two dozen roses but she was pissed because I didn't write a card.  You can't win. It really is no different from the day before or the day after. I know that you know this logically, but sometimes it is hard to see past the cupid and hearts conspiracy perpetrated by the greeting card mafia..

So to take your mind off it, I am giving you a homework assignment. It doesn't matter if you are happily/miserably attached or single.

You are going to write a love letter...to yourself. No protesting. You will do it.

It can be flowery, it can be bullet-points. I don't care. This assignment is mandatory, and you will write it down. Or type it, if you're one of "those" people. You've never written a love letter? Now's your chance. I am asking you to tell yourself what's so great about YOU. The things you appreciate, the quirks that are loveable. At least one of the points must be a compliment about the physical you.

Sidebar: when I teach Charm School, the first lesson is: How To Accept a Compliment. Most people are incredibly inept at responding to a compliment. Why oh why is our first instinct to be self-deprecating? to put ourselves down? Enough with this rubbish, I say! Be honest: when someone gives you a compliment, do you say thank you and mean it? Or do you deflect and turn it against yourself?

You like my dress? Oh, well I've actually gained weight and can't wear my other clothes waaaah waaah waaah. NO.
You think my hair looks good? But my skin is a mess and I don't have a boyfriend. UNACCEPTABLE.

I'm going to quote my girl, Whitney:
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

Back to your letter...I know there are things that you love about unique, wonderful you. Please, Darlings, take a few minutes to do this for yourself.

I'm going to give you a head-start with a sample Love Letter to Me.

Dear Miss O,

Have I ever told you how happy I am that I get to spend my life with you? I think you're terrific, and I am lucky to be near you everyday.

I love you from your delicate ankles to your well-groomed eyebrows and every part in between. I love that you can sing the St. John Passion from memory and also the complete oeuvre of Hall n' Oates. I think it's pretty neat that you don't take sh*t from anyone, and that you color-coordinate your closet. I find it adorable that you want to eat ice cream even when it's frackin' freezing outside. I love the way you don't give a f*ck about styles or trends and have created your own original look. I appreciate that you are a dedicated friend to me (even when you have to call me out) and those you care about.

I am proud that you're my "One". I heart you and I hope that we will be together for many more years.

xox Miss O

Ok, Darlings, now it's your turn. Write your letter (or print it out) and save it somewhere special to look at if you forget how magnificent, how loveable, how awesome you are. After you finish writing, go to the mirror or take out your compact, and tell the person looking back: I LOVE YOU. Go do it. Now.

You are loved, Darlings. Now pass me those chocolates!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Last week we attended a birthday dinner for the adorable husband of one of my sassy gal pals. As we were getting settled in our seats, the hostess caught up with one of the guests, a friendly Canadian chap, seated next to me. 
" So how's work going? How's your love life?"
"Well..." he began with sigh, "I called my ex today."
I had a mouthful of fondue and could only shake my head vehemently in protest. He looked surprised at my interest. Mind you, we had only been introduced five minutes prior.
Once I could speak clearly without a mouthful of cheese, I said, "Don't do that. You're not being helpful to either of you."
He was slightly taken aback, but something flickered in the back of his brain," F*ck, I think she's right."
The hostess interjected,"She's going to be a lot tougher on you than I will be, but I'd listen."
"When did you break up?" I asked.
"Ten days ago."
"Are you in love with her? Do you want to get back together?"
"That's a no. So why are you calling?"
He shook his head.
"Give me your cell phone and I will delete the number for you. You can end this right now."

Occasionally readers have the nerve/balls to ask: What makes you such an authority, Miss O? I tell them the same thing I tell girlfriends who say: You're so lucky, you found a nice Honey. Your life must be swell.

I put in the time, People. I have gone on dates with a dazzling array of jokers. I have heard every shitty, cowardly line that the male mind can invent. I have witnessed shocking, egregious behavior in the dating arena toward myself and my friends, male and female. Also, plain-old, crappy, disrespectful, douchey behavior. I have comforted girlfriends who suspected that their boyfriend was g-a-y.  I have a buddy who has been fending off a stalker for almost two years. I have listened to pals who were betrayed and went back in for more abuse because they were "in love" or didn't think they could do any better. I know about disappointment and heartbreak and loneliness.
I have been stood up, dumped on my ass, lied to, cheated on. I have been hit on by my friends' husbands. I have had my hottest male friends confess that their wives are not attracted to them.  I have had wives tell me that they haven't been intimate with their husbands in months. I have been propositioned by couples to join them in a threesome to renew the spark in their sex lives. I have seen marriages that I thought were perfect dissolve into sadness and divorce.
I know a woman whose new husband was sexting someone else during their honeymoon. I have a friend who was walking down the aisle, faking a smile, all the while thinking "No, no, no, I don't want to go through with this!" They divorced six months later. I know a woman whose husband cheated on her, and ultimately left her, while she was eight-months pregnant. I have a pal whose girlfriend lied about taking the Pill so she could get pregnant and force his hand at marriage. They, too, are divorced.
I have also met great guys who weren't a match for me, and we were able to transform the story into real friendships. I have introduced friends who fell in love and got married. I have seen couples that seemed improbable on paper blossom into wonderful relationships and marriages. I have been a first-hand witness to love at first sight and marriages of 15-plus years that are going strong. I have seen amicable separations and divorces. I have seen friends survive crushing heartbreak and move on to find real love. Despite all the ways that people can hurt each other, Miss O remains an optimist when it comes to love.
I would never call myself a dating expert, nor do I aspire to that dubious title, but I have been around for several lifetimes, Darlings, and I've been taking notes.
My friends know that I am a good listener, sympathetic, that I will comfort a sad soul at any hour, but that I am also obligated to tell it like I see it. Darlings, this is not because I have all the answers, but because I am a good mirror, albeit one that shows you the uncomfortable things you might rather avoid acknowledging.
Lately I have been making women cry. Three young women in particular. They each chose to confide in me, and after listening, taking notes, and asking pertinent questions, I had to give them the bad news: that their relationships did not have a future.
One of them has been in limbo for months, her mate has been less and less available (but not clear about the status of their relationship) and doubt has become her constant companion. I simply told her: this is not your guy. But he loves me, she protested. Come to find out that her guy already has a new girlfriend and is moving on without a backwards glance. She is, naturally, devastated, and can't believe that she will ever find love again.
The second has been in a long-term relationship of 2+years. She and her boyfriend fight all the time, they have no intimate life, and her family is concerned for her safety. When I asked her if she was happy, in love, she said no. When I asked her why she was staying with him, she said she was afraid of finding herself alone.
The third has been with her boyfriend for 4 years. She is a beautiful, vibrant young woman and her partner is twice her age. She has been troubled lately and when I inquired if everything was alright, she shared that her boyfriend won't touch her. I asked if this was a new development, a phase, something they could talk through. It's been the status quo for three years. Do you feel like something is missing in your relationship? I asked. Yes, of course, but I don't know how to get out of it.
And this, Darlings, is where I am asking you to find strength and courage to take charge of your lives. It's not easy to end a relationship but staying in a toxic situation because you don't want to be alone is not a solution. It is a recipe for disaster and depression. Refusing to see the truth about someone will only bring you heartbreak in the long run. Settling for less than you deserve, less than you need, because you don't know how to extract yourself will only bring resentment and hostility. 
It's ok to be alone, Darlings. It's ok to be single. In fact, it can be very good for you. It can make you stronger.
Being on the receiving end of a break-up is not easy. Who likes to feel rejected? With time and experience, I have come to realize that the guys who broke up with me did me a huge favor, and in some cases helped me dodge a bullet. I was involved with a decent guy who on our second date asked: what are you doing with me? I thought he was being cute, self-deprecating. I should have listened. As the weeks progressed, I heard a little voice asking me: why are you dumbing it down when you're with your boyfriend? I ignored it. When he finally broke up with me, I tried to talk him into staying together, I tried to persuade him how terrific I was. Luckily he had the balls to stay his course. A few months later, it suddenly dawned on me that we were not a match, never had been, and he simply realized it before I did.
Sometimes it is easier to move on, to recover if your mate is a total douchebag. I had an ex explain to me in graphic terms what his sexual needs and preferences were (fear not, there will be a whole post dedicated to this episode) and I was easily able to conclude that we were not compatible, and I breezed the f*ck out of that sh*tshow. 
We have already discussed that men seldom want to be the bad guy and therefore can keep you in limbo, or rather purgatory, for a story that has no future. You must be courageous. You must not settle.  You can and will survive a break-up
Darlings, I beg of you, do not stay in a relationship for the wrong reasons or because of fear. It is always better to be alone than in bad company.
As we count down the Season of the Douche, I leave you with a quote brought to me by my dear friend, SW.
“... while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”
- Nikki Giovanni

Thursday, February 9, 2012

All My Exes Live in Texas - Part Deux

Darlings, in order to continue our ground-breaking survey of the Season Of the Douche, I have unearthed some treasures from the Vault.

N.B. These posts date from the early pre-Honey era (circa 2004-2006), so while the scenarios depicted may not be fresh news, they are still relevant to our study.

Warning: this reprint contains adult situations and strong language

Once upon a time, ok, it was three years ago (Editor's Note: this is now almost a decade ago), I was drifting off to sleep in the arms of my sweetie, when he nudged me and said, "I have to get going." I figured I was dreaming because no man in his right mind would say that to me in the middle of the night...unless he had a death wish.  The time was 3:14 a.m. I felt him shift in the bed and repeat his previous statement.  I slowly turned to look at him. Let me assure you that even in the dark, the death stare is effective. "Baby, I have an early tee time." Those last three words still hanging in the air, I bolted upright, jumped out of bed, threw his clothes in his face, and calmly said,"Get the fuck out of my bed." Ok, maybe it wasn't that calmly.

Man, you should have seen the look on his face.  I don't know if it was the tone of my voice or the shock of having something thrown at him, but he was stunned. One minute ago, she was a peaceful, sleeping cherub and now...now, a fully-armed battle-ready hellion. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief. Then ensued a brief shouting match...

Miss O: I said get dressed and get the fuck out of here!
Him: What's wrong with you?
Miss O: Me?! What's wrong with you? An early tee time?! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!?!
Him: You goddamn women are all the same!

By this time, we were standing at the front door which I had flung open. I'm sure all the neighbors were enjoying the heated exchange.  He had managed to get his jeans on, the rest of his clothes were clutched in his right hand. I was wearing a lovely black lace nightie, barefoot, hair streaming.

All of a sudden, a moment of clarity came to me. I felt my fist clenching and thought, "if I swing, I can knock him down". My second thought was "I'm already dressed fabulously, let them take me away." My third thought," No jury would convict me after I testify about the 'early tee time' comment."

The cretin made his departure, unscathed, while I was still considering whether a jab or hook would be more effective. We continued to trade barbs as he made his way down the stairs. "We women are all the same? You're right. We're too fucking good for you!" I have no doubt that my neighbors were impressed with my liberal and creative use of the F-word.

Anyway, said cretin reanimated several months later in the middle of a dinner party.  Here I am having a sit-down for eighteen, when Mr. Early Tee Time strolls in like it's nothing out of the ordinary. I was baffled, but, ever the consummate hostess, politely offered him a cocktail.

Miss O: What's going on?
ETT: I need to...see...speak to...tell you...
Miss O: Let's step into my room. (shutting the door) Is everything ok?
ETT: I'm in love with you.
Miss O: !?!?!?! $%^&*!?!?!? Are you drunk?
ETT: Baby, please.

"Baby, please" is one of my favorite phrases. My other favorite is "I was a fool..."  I never get tired of hearing that one.

Long story short, Early Tee Time's reanimation was brief. When we saw each other the following week, he was already singing a different tune called "I love you, but I can't commit". Oh, sure, he tried to reanimate three more times, before finally leaving town. I really prefer that exes leave the state, if not the planet, once we part ways. So much more convenient.

And here, Darlings, it is easy for me to see, in hindsight, that I was not clear in ending the relationship. We were neighbors and therefore I was worried about seeming "bitchy" or "bitter" or "crazy" at such close proximity. So I did myself a disservice by letting Early Tee Time enter and exit my life at his whim, instead of shutting it down once and for all. Also, WAY too many times, I gave him the benefit of the doubt thinking: He'll get his act together. He said he's in love with me.

Listen, Sisters, talk is cheap.  You deserve a mate whose behavior and actions make you feel like a treasure, not a sad sack on the mark-down rack.  Repeat after me: I am a treasure.   

Don't ever let yourself be devalued.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All My Exes Live In Texas - Part One

Darlings, in order to continue our ground-breaking survey of the Season Of the Douche, I have unearthed some treasures from the Vault.

N.B. These posts date from the early pre-Honey era (circa 2004-2006), so while the scenarios depicted may not be fresh news, they are still relevant to our study.

Why is it that ex-boyfriends always "reanimate" just when you're "over them", "moving on", "getting married to someone else"? Sorry fellas, but this is a phenomenon that is exclusive to men. Ex-girlfriends do not have the gene to keep turning up like a bad penny. Sure, they may be locked away somewhere, but they don't attempt to regain contact/check-in/catch up after an inappropriate amount of time.

What is an inappropriate amount of time? Opinions vary, but let's say you haven't spoken in three years and the reason you broke up is because he cheated on you with a classless trollop, for example (any similarities to a real break-up are purely coincidental.) That, on Planet Miss O, would be considered inappropriate.

I have an impressive (!?) roster of exes who like to reanimate every so often. I have never understood the motivation. Guys, please enlighten me. Is it to see if your ex is still thinking of you? still in love with you? forgives you? Are you bored? unsatisfied? romanticizing the past? Seriously, I would love to know.

I believe that men have a sixth sense when it comes to contacting their exes.  Not two hours after bidding adieu to a particularly hideous ex, my phone started ringing off the hook. It started with, drum roll please... The Moroccan. Followed shortly by... The Poet, whom, incidentally, I haven't seen in FIVE years, and who, oh yes, MARRIED SOMEONE ELSE. To be fair, I think The Poet not exactly apologized, but at least owned up to some bad behavior in our relationship. I say I think because his call was at an ungodly hour and I was in the midst of some serious REM beauty sleep. Reanimation seldom takes place during normal business hours. (Editor's note: we may revisit posts on The Moroccan and The Poet should I be so inclined. Briefly, they are exes - only mildly hideous - who, along with "Chris Mafia", are MVP's of reanimation.)

I concede that I must be partly to blame. I am obviously not making a very clean, clear break with these characters. One of my dear friends ended a long-term relationship by writing in lipstick on the mirror: "I hate you heart, body, and soul". That's pretty clear.  Doesn't really leave room for negotiation. I, on the other hand, am more of a "Have you packed all your things?" while I attempt to restrain myself from inflicting bodily harm and escort Mr. I'm-in-a-Place to the door. As satisfying as a smack to the chops might feel, who wants to get involved with People's Court?

Update: Darlings, I am suggesting that a cessation of ALL interaction and communication with exes can help to avoid reanimation and thus limit exposure during the SOD...and ultimately help YOU to recover quickly from a break-up. I know that this theory will not go over with some of you.

"But I want to keep him in my life. He's my best friend. Waaah, waaah, waaah. Can't we still be friends? "

And here is where Miss O is compelled to dispense the tough love:

A. Grow a pair. If your ex is like 99% of human males, he would rather stick a pin in his eye than deal with a confrontation and deliver the bad news that he's just not that into you...or own up to being a dick. So you have to have the balls to get yourself the fuck out of this going-nowhere relationship.

B. Can you still be friends? Let me ask you this: do your real friends make you cry all the time and doubt your self-worth? are your real friends inconsiderate and careless with your feelings? I didn't think so. This guy is likely not a real friend...and therefore deserves no more of your love and energy. Sure, there are rare cases where you can remain amicable after a break-up, but they are few and far between, so better to protect yourself and your heart.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cosmic Thing

Dear Darlings, with January 2012 already in the books (frack, that month went quickly), let's take a look at what Feburary will bring us cosmically.

The Sun is now in Aquarius (as of January 20),  the most independent sign of the zodiac. Aquarians are known for their free-thinking and unpredictability. These unique creatures live on their own terms and cherish their freedom. During the Sun's transit through Aquarius, all of us, regardless of sign, have the opportunity to embrace these qualities. At the new year, I urged you to take out the trash, to rid yourself of people or habits that were holding you back. Now I ask: are you living a life that is true to yourself? to your dreams?

Sun in Aquarius is the moment to break out of your comfort zone, to leave familiar routines. I have a verrrry familiar routine of procrastination and I am giving it the heave-ho with the help of Aquarius. Sun in Aquarius is the time to embrace your individuality. Are there people or circumstances that are limiting you and what you want to achieve? Tell them to step off. This doesn't mean you have to isolate yourself or go it alone. Go ahead, try something unconventional, be a rebel...and find some like-minded people to join forces with.

On January 23 we entered the Year of the Water Dragon. It is a fortuitous time to pursue to an important goal, a fresh beginning. You see, Darlings, the planets, the Universe are conspiring to help you. Let them.

The planet Mercury is busy this month. Mercury rules communication, perhaps you'll remember that during Mercury Retrograde communication is total crap. We're not in a retrograde (thank the Lourdes) but communication is highlighted. This can mean some serious (tough) conversations which can turn at a moment's notice. So think before you speak. Don't worry, I have problems with that one too. I can attest that last week Honey and I spent 48 hours in deadlocked hostile communication and shortly after it was smooth sailing. Take advantage of Mercury's transits to identify easy solutions you may have overlooked.

I don't want to overwhelm you with planetary movements, I leave you just with this last bit of information...and information is POWER, Darlings. On February 3, Neptune moves in to Pisces. If you know anyone born in Pisces, you know they are the creative, dreamy type. Neptune is an outer planet meaning that it moves slowly, and therefore its shift into a new sign is noteworthy. Neptune in Pisces = big time creativity, especially for writers and musicians. Being both of those, I have no excuse not to produce. You may also feel a pull toward spirituality. I don't know any artist who's work wasn't made better through the inclusion of spirituality.  Don't think you're an artist? Then use this period for exploration.

I recently read a post about better habits for writers. All of the advice was excellent, but my favorite point was: F*ck Dreaming, Start Doing. Put those dreams into action, Darlings. Turn your visions into reality.

The Oracle wishes you all the best for a creative, independent month!