navigating your story

self-care, self-discovery, self-expression

Mug, books, and journal

Your stories, your self.

What is the story you tell yourself when you look in the mirror?

When you reflect on the day?

When you think about your past, your present, your future?

Those stories shape how you see yourself and the world around you, and how you respond to situations and stressors. Some of these stories are positive, hopeful, wholehearted. But others are full of fear, shame, and internalized stereotypes and negative stories.

Self-care coaching can help you thrive by helping you develop sustainable and effective habits and strategies, regardless of the ongoing challenges in your life.

Narrative coaching can help you see clearly what stories you’ve internalized, and then intentionally keep the helpful ones and transform the helpful into something more whole, more true, more you.

And these two focuses work together holistically to give you immediately applicable coping strategies and support as you examine and transform your inner narratives. You already are the protagonist and the narrator of your own story – nobody can give you that power, and nobody can take it away. But often we lose connection to our deep self-storying abilities, and self-care and narrative coaching can help us get back in touch with that knowledge.

I can also help you write a new story through my “Transformative Year” package.

Coaching

Coaching

We can work together one-on-one, or with a group. My coaching style is collaborative and holistic – we will co-create a plan that will help you navigate, understand, and transform your life story in a way that feels sustainable, stable, and wholehearted.

Self-Care Resources

Are you looking for immediate and accessible help? You’ll find resources here. This category will be growing over the next year as I complete projects. These free resources are made possible by my patrons on Patreon and I appreciate it so much.

Writing in the Margins Workshops

From writing intensives, retreats, and groups to the monthly Smutty Story Circle, Writing in the Margins has offered accessible, sex-positive, queer- and trans-friendly, intersectional feminist writing spaces for the last seven years. We focus on creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.

Editing

Have you written something amazing? I can edit your fiction, creative non-fiction, academic paper, dissertation, or book. I bring a gentle and insightful editing voice, and a keen eye for detail. I read for grammar and style, of course, but what I’m best at is reading for intersectionality, accessibility, and queer and feminist politics.

Sostar Self Care on Facebook

Sostar Self Care on Facebook

Tiffany Sostar added a new photo.

Fear, especially trauma-related or phobic fear, can be incredibly isolating.

It can be difficult to explain to others how the fear feels, and why it changes our behaviour in such dramatic ways. Makes us angry, prickly, withdrawn, distant, clingy, weepy, or otherwise emotionally exposed in ways that can feel unappealing, unacceptable, or unwelcome.

Even when people are empathetic, we can feel alone with the fear.

Fear of failure.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of certain objects, locations, or experiences.

When people are not empathetic, we can feel 'crazy' - all the ableist, neuronormative stigma attached to being 'irrational' can land on us with as much weight and pain as the fear itself.

But despite the way these kinds of fears can isolate and hurt us, and how we can feel gaslit and invalidated by people's reactions to our fear, we are feeling what we are feeling.

Whatever you're afraid of, whatever invisible monster is hovering over your shoulder, casting a shadow over your day, those feelings are real. You are not weak. Just because other people can't see it or understand it, doesn't mean you're overreacting, foolish, or irrational.

Trauma-relates or phobic fears may not be based on an actual threat presented by what's happening externally in the moment, but they *are* based on what's happening internally or in the past. Those responses are real and reasonable, and trauma recovery is a long process.

You deserve gentleness, compassion, and space for the big emotions that come with big fears.

#stickfiguresunday

Image description: A stick figure sits with their arms around their knees. A monster looms over them. Text reads 'Fear can be overwhelming, isolating, and invisible to others. What you feel is real, even if nobody else understands it.'
... See MoreSee Less

Fear, especially trauma-related or phobic fear, can be incredibly isolating. 

It can be difficult to explain to others how the fear feels, and why it changes our behaviour in such dramatic ways. Makes us angry, prickly, withdrawn, distant, clingy, weepy, or otherwise emotionally exposed in ways that can feel unappealing, unacceptable, or unwelcome. 

Even when people are empathetic, we can feel alone with the fear. 

Fear of failure. 
Fear of rejection. 
Fear of certain objects, locations, or experiences. 

When people are not empathetic, we can feel crazy - all the ableist, neuronormative stigma attached to being irrational can land on us with as much weight and pain as the fear itself. 

But despite the way these kinds of fears can isolate and hurt us, and how we can feel gaslit and invalidated by peoples reactions to our fear, we are feeling what we are feeling. 

Whatever youre afraid of, whatever invisible monster is hovering over your shoulder, casting a shadow over your day, those feelings are real. You are not weak. Just because other people cant see it or understand it, doesnt mean youre overreacting, foolish, or irrational. 

Trauma-relates or phobic fears may not be based on an actual threat presented by whats happening externally in the moment, but they *are* based on whats happening internally or in the past. Those responses are real and reasonable, and trauma recovery is a long process. 

You deserve gentleness, compassion, and space for the big emotions that come with big fears. 

#stickfiguresunday 

Image description: A stick figure sits with their arms around their knees. A monster looms over them. Text reads Fear can be overwhelming, isolating, and invisible to others. What you feel is real, even if nobody else understands it.

Tiffany Sostar was live — attending Bridges and Boundaries: Social Self-Care.

The second course entry and self-care kit draw!
... See MoreSee Less

I spent a bit of time today putting together the self-care kits for the Bridge-building Giveaway and the Boundary-setting Giveaway. I'm happy with how they've come together, and I think the winners will be getting something worthwhile.

But I found it interesting how much easier it was to put the bridge-building kit together and how few people entered that giveaway, in comparison to how difficult it was to put the boundary-setter kit together and how many people have entered (you can still enter until 9 am Sunday! Just poke through the pictures on this page to find the giveaway).

There is a lot of external support for bridge-building - card sections, books about friendship and the value of social support, gift books about friendship, a TON of books about romance, heaps of books about family connections. If you want to build bridges, it seems like there's an almost infinite amount of support.

And although there are folks working on boundaries, and there are books about boundaries, there is just not the same range of material available. And most of the stuff that I would recommend is not easily packed up into a gift box.

I sincerely believe that the bridge side of social self-care is critically important - the willingness to be vulnerable, to ask for support and connection, to reach out after an absence, to recognize our own needs and honour them by seeking connection, to learn what meaningful connection means *for us* and work towards it.

I think this is just as important as the boundary side of social self-care - knowing our limits, recognizing and communicating where we end and others begin, allowing ourselves to step into the risky space of saying "no", setting limits that allow the kind of expansiveness, spaciousness, and generosity that can only happen when we feel that we have agency and choice.

But I think that it is much easier to talk about building bridges than it is to talk about setting boundaries. I think that we sort of gloss over and ignore the sense of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection that we feel - it doesn't feel as important to build bridges because, really, there ARE all those books out there, and anyway, what is the point of a bridge when our boundaries are being trampled every single day?

But as I put the kits together, and as I worked on the course content for Bridges and Boundaries: Social Self-Care, which is starting on Monday, I felt sad about this.

I know that in my own life, both bridges AND boundaries are important. I spend so much time not knowing how to connect meaningfully to my communities while operating under the pressures of capitalism, the stress and pain of chronic illness, the fog of depression and anxiety. I do need boundaries, but I need bridges, too. And although there is a wealth of material available, so much of it feels trite, superficial, and steeped in ableism, heteronormativity, and the casual assumption that we are all part of the (vanishingly rare) middle class.

Bridge-building is a skill. Maintaining (and finding!) friendships and other meaningful connections takes effort, and has to happen in combination with boundary work, so that our bridges are safe and life-enhancing. It's a skill that many of us struggle to learn, because as often as we walk past the card section, how often do we actually feel confident in reaching out to our communities, in being vulnerable, in establishing intimacy that is consensual and brave?

It's harder to talk about boundaries much of the time, because boundaries are tangled up with feelings of shame, obligation, attachment, fear, and vulnerability. Some of us struggle more with boundaries than bridges. Some of us struggle more with bridges than boundaries. But I think they're both so important for our social wellbeing, and I think that often when we struggle with one, we're also struggling with the other.

Hopefully, the course will offer support for both!

If you want to sign up for the 6-week online course, the cost is $150 ($75 for Patreon supporters), and you can sign up by emailing me at sostarselfcare@gmail.com. Sliding scale is available (as always).

(Among the boundary supports I would recommend, which are not easily packed up but thankfully ARE easily shared -
Witch cabinet: a cauldron for radical femme magic's course Hawthorn Heart - witchcabinet.com/products/hawthorn-heart-magical-boundary-skills-for-femmes
AND this blog post which is a masterpost of resource links and suggestions - witchcabinet.com/blogs/andi-grace/hawthorn-heart-bad-ass-boundaries-resource-list
Rest for Resistance's amazing article Washing the Salt Out of Shadow Wounds - restforresistance.com/zine/washing-the-salt-out-of-shadow-wounds
Jane Clapp - Body Intelligence for Trauma & Mental Health's post on Property Lines and Self-Care - www.janeclapp.com/property-lines-and-self-care/)

Image description: A grey-haired person (me!) holds up a card that says "You're a Tea-rrific Friend!" and a box that is labeled "Letters to Myself" - these are items from the self-care kits described in this post.
... See MoreSee Less

I spent a bit of time today putting together the self-care kits for the Bridge-building Giveaway and the Boundary-setting Giveaway. Im happy with how theyve come together, and I think the winners will be getting something worthwhile.

But I found it interesting how much easier it was to put the bridge-building kit together and how few people entered that giveaway, in comparison to how difficult it was to put the boundary-setter kit together and how many people have entered (you can still enter until 9 am Sunday! Just poke through the pictures on this page to find the giveaway). 

There is a lot of external support for bridge-building - card sections, books about friendship and the value of social support, gift books about friendship, a TON of books about romance, heaps of books about family connections. If you want to build bridges, it seems like theres an almost infinite amount of support.

And although there are folks working on boundaries, and there are books about boundaries, there is just not the same range of material available. And most of the stuff that I would recommend is not easily packed up into a gift box. 

I sincerely believe that the bridge side of social self-care is critically important - the willingness to be vulnerable, to ask for support and connection, to reach out after an absence, to recognize our own needs and honour them by seeking connection, to learn what meaningful connection means *for us* and work towards it.

I think this is just as important as the boundary side of social self-care - knowing our limits, recognizing and communicating where we end and others begin, allowing ourselves to step into the risky space of saying no, setting limits that allow the kind of expansiveness, spaciousness, and generosity that can only happen when we feel that we have agency and choice.

But I think that it is much easier to talk about building bridges than it is to talk about setting boundaries. I think that we sort of gloss over and ignore the sense of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection that we feel - it doesnt feel as important to build bridges because, really, there ARE all those books out there, and anyway, what is the point of a bridge when our boundaries are being trampled every single day? 

But as I put the kits together, and as I worked on the course content for Bridges and Boundaries: Social Self-Care, which is starting on Monday, I felt sad about this. 

I know that in my own life, both bridges AND boundaries are important. I spend so much time not knowing how to connect meaningfully to my communities while operating under the pressures of capitalism, the stress and pain of chronic illness, the fog of depression and anxiety. I do need boundaries, but I need bridges, too. And although there is a wealth of material available, so much of it feels trite, superficial, and steeped in ableism, heteronormativity, and the casual assumption that we are all part of the (vanishingly rare) middle class. 

Bridge-building is a skill. Maintaining (and finding!) friendships and other meaningful connections takes effort, and has to happen in combination with boundary work, so that our bridges are safe and life-enhancing. Its a skill that many of us struggle to learn, because as often as we walk past the card section, how often do we actually feel confident in reaching out to our communities, in being vulnerable, in establishing intimacy that is consensual and brave?

Its harder to talk about boundaries much of the time, because boundaries are tangled up with feelings of shame, obligation, attachment, fear, and vulnerability. Some of us struggle more with boundaries than bridges. Some of us struggle more with bridges than boundaries. But I think theyre both so important for our social wellbeing, and I think that often when we struggle with one, were also struggling with the other.

Hopefully, the course will offer support for both!

If you want to sign up for the 6-week online course, the cost is $150 ($75 for Patreon supporters), and you can sign up by emailing me at sostarselfcare@gmail.com. Sliding scale is available (as always).

(Among the boundary supports I would recommend, which are not easily packed up but thankfully ARE easily shared - 
Witch cabinet: a cauldron for radical femme magics course Hawthorn Heart - https://witchcabinet.com/products/hawthorn-heart-magical-boundary-skills-for-femmes
AND this blog post which is a masterpost of resource links and suggestions - https://witchcabinet.com/blogs/andi-grace/hawthorn-heart-bad-ass-boundaries-resource-list
Rest for Resistances amazing article Washing the Salt Out of Shadow Wounds - https://restforresistance.com/zine/washing-the-salt-out-of-shadow-wounds
Jane Clapp - Body Intelligence for Trauma & Mental Healths post on Property Lines and Self-Care - http://www.janeclapp.com/property-lines-and-self-care/)

Image description: A grey-haired person (me!) holds up a card that says Youre a Tea-rrific Friend! and a box that is labeled Letters to Myself - these are items from the self-care kits described in this post.

Mette Stentoft, Shannon Michelle Davis and 2 others like this

Rest for ResistanceThanks for the link! Rest for Resistance only exists because I started building bridges for survival. It has really paid off in terms of my wellbeing. 🙂

2 days ago   ·  1

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Joe KilmartinYou’re awesome, Tiffany - I find inspiration in your posts, Kiddo.

2 days ago

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Poplar Rose<3

2 days ago
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