Do you want to live a wholehearted, unconventional life?
The Dervish and the Mermaid is a podcast about pathfinding, the Enneagram, living wholeheartedly, feminism & activism for sensitive people, self-love & body love, and plenty more!
Pace (the Dervish) is a Sufi, a Pathfinding coach, a pansexual polyamorous transgender Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) player, and an Enneagram 3.
Kyeli (the Mermaid) is a wildhearted witch, a self-love advocate, disabled, adventurous, and an Enneagram self-pres 4.
Together, we fight crime! …as well as curiously explore how the world works, build bridges of compassion by working to understand people who are different, investigate how to be effective activists when we’re both highly sensitive, and generally explore life through the lens of mystic feminist queer gamer geeks.
We live our lives wholeheartedly and we’re here to help you do the same.
We publish a new episode every Thursday morning, so tune in to join us for these and all sorts of other shenanigans!
p.s. This is the podcast formerly known as Wild Crazy Meaningful Life (and also the podcast formerly known as Wild Crazy Meaningful Enneagram); listen to episode 121 to find out why.
Best Media of 2018
- Best Youtubers of 2018: Natalie Wynn, Ian Danskin, Mark Brown. Natalie and Ian helped me feel like I’m not alone in my political views. Kyeli and I coined the term “creepy lemon” because we didn’t know anyone whose views were similar to ours. Watching Natalie and Ian’s videos gives me hope. *fistbump* And Mark is doing the same for game design! Not only are we learning a ton and enjoying the heck out of it, but he cares and is making the world a better place.
- Best Visual Media of 2018: Elementary
- Musical Artist of 2018: Demoscene Time Machine
- Best Game of 2018: La-Mulana 2
- Games that inspired me because I enjoyed them and could actually potentially create graphics of that caliber: Darkside Detective, The Last Door, Dream Quest, earlier versions of Dicey Dungeons, and maybe even Minit
- Games that inspired me because they could have been great if they had fixed some design oversights: Dr. Doyle and the Mystery of the Cloche Hat, Shalnor Legends: Sacred Lands
- Game that inspires me to create a metroidvania without combat: Super Win the Game
- Game that proved that a procedurally generated metroidvania is possible: A Robot Named Fight
- Game that I did not like, but I finished anyway, making me realize what I sucker I am for a surreal mystery: Earthworms
- Other notable games I enjoyed: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Dark Souls III, Snake Pass, Yoku’s Island Express, Recursed, Rumu,
- Also played: Hand of Fate 2, A Hat in Time, Rabi-Ribi
My word of the year for 2018 was engage.
In January, Zoloft borrowed my soul. For six weeks, not only did I believe the universe was a meaningless uncaring void, but I believed I’d always felt that way.
In February, my tiny but indomitable internal bird pecked me back awake, and Zoloft returned my soul, none the worse for wear. I made peace with my dissatisfaction.
In March, we lived in Vancouver, WA, as a trial run to see if we wanted to live there. The Couv is just across the river from Portland, and way more affordable. We learned a lot about what we want to optimize for in terms of location, comfort, and friendships. We spent Kyeli’s birthday weekend on the coast and saw whales!
In April, we rejiggered our budget to optimize for the common case, and as a result, bought our new car, Lilith. We had a weekend journey with Amanda. Kyeli relearned that she can’t take the heat in Austin, so we removed Austin from our list of candidate forever homes.
In May, I was diagnosed with ADHD, started taking Adderall, and it immediately solved 70% of all the problems in my life. Kyeli went to Beacon, NY for the summer, to hang out with Kelly’s new baby. I started playtesting Dicey Dungeons.
In June, I joined Kyeli in Beacon for the summer. Being apart for two weeks was nice, but three was too long. We saw Hamilton on Broadway with Dru and a shady, secretive fourth person!
In July, we celebrated Kelly’s 40th birthday by masterhearting with Emma and Christine! I began indie game development (thank you, Terry, for inspiring me!) and started working on Compass Rose – I created puzzle #1. The Great Utensil Shenanigan began. Kyeli had a
stroke migraine with aura. In therapy, we discussed how I can support Kyeli when she fragments, and I took too big a stick.
In August, I participated in my first game jam: Ludum Dare 42! I teamed up with Brandon and Sarah, started learning Unity, and together, over a weekend, we created Overencumbered! I loved Unity so much I rewrote Compass Rose from scratch. We decided to move to Seattle instead of Portland/the Couv, because the weather is cooler, and we want to optimize for the long term.
In September, I participated in my second game jam: GMTK(jam)! I teamed up with Jake, Chloe, and Vilinder, and together we created Youhou 01 ~ Eternal Piracy, Breezeless Sea! I got frustrated with tilesets, and decided to scale down Compass Rose to just a puzzle game instead of a puzzlevania. Julica and I repaired our friendship. Kyeli took the stick back.
In October, we started saving for retirement. Kelan visited, and we talked about systemic racism. We moved back to Austin as planned. I explored new ways to manage increased work stress. A coworker asked me a personal question, I answered truthfully, and they used it against me in a professional capacity. I created Compass Rose puzzle #2 of 4.
In November, we started helping Dru out with tuition, under more precise conditions. We asked ourselves, “Why wait to get a kitten?” and we acquired Bastion Hawthorne Weatherwax Smith, Esq.! We stopped podcasting. We decided to research the cost of living in Seattle, and the weather in more detail. We confirmed that the weather was indeed significantly cooler, and learned that the cost of living was prohibitively high anywhere reasonably close to Seattle proper. So we’re going to try Tacoma instead. Tacoma has Seattle weather, but at Couv prices. It’s LGBT-friendly, and it’s big enough to have everything we need and almost everything we want. We’re optimistic – and this time, our optimism is founded on some actual research! Kyeli and I celebrated our 13th anniversary with a double-wide weekend of sporkfoon excellence.
In December, I created Compass Rose puzzle #3 of 4. Amanda dyed my hair pink near the roots and purple at the edges, and it’s my favorite hair color combo ever! I played Pump It Up, and remembered how much I love the game. Brandon and I discussed future gamedev collaboration possibilities. We celebrated Yule with Dru. He beat me at chess, he crushed me at Smash, we discussed politics like adults and he didn’t just demur. It was awesome. Kyeli and I celebrated our 13th anniversary once again with our Probably-Final Cruise. We picked out the past year’s patterns with our minds, held its hard-won truths in our hearts, and let its subtle music sing silently to our souls. We cast our hopes for the next year as a net made of plans into a sea made of dreams.
My goal for 2017 was to put down roots in Lansing and engage with my life. It didn’t work, because the culture was not a good fit.
My goal for 2018 was to put down roots in Austin and engage with my life. It didn’t work, because Austin is too hot for Kyeli. But even though the roots didn’t take, I did engage with my life!
Adderall increased my capacity and lowered my daunt. It lightened my depression and smoothed my anxiety, making it easier to take initiative, easier to connect, and easier to get up off the couch and do small self-care things for myself and small sweet things for Kyeli.
Instead of just going along for the ride in NY, I initiated a new hobby – indie video game development – that has now become a big part of my life.
Instead of just deferring to Kyeli, I suggest we not wait to get a kitten, and once we got Bastion, I moved we commit to keeping him. <3
Instead of just sticking with the Seattle plan or reverting to the Couv plan, we kept researching and found a potential win/win in Tacoma.
In addition to engaging with my life, 2018 was also a year of self-love and healthy boundaries.
In therapy this year, I unburied the shame I had internalized about being trans, and began belatedly healing it with self-love and compassion.
In couples, we worked on how to have healthy boundaries when we each have very different needs and very different abilities. Equality based not on how many to-do items we can accomplish, but on how many souls we each have. Complementary.
In 2019, my goal is exactly the same as it was in 2017 and 2018 – to put down roots and engage with my life – except this time in Tacoma. Since my intention is the same and only the location is changing, I’m choosing the same word of the year – engage.
Inshallah, this time it’ll take. (:
Podcasting five years, it’s been swell!
But now we are saying farewell.
Let’s talk about why
We’re saying goodbye
With many more stories to tell.
A last parting gift, our ten jewels,
Ten easy-to-memorize tools
For living intentionally
They’re what we call our House Rules.
Pace & Kyeli’s House Rules
- Resilience, Not Perfection
- How About Now?
- It’s Always OK to Ask; It’s Always OK to Say No
- Always Mumble
- Never Hurry
- Never Wait
- Just Keep Crying
- Grown-Ass Women
- Assume Love
- You Are Not Alone
- Don’t Be Creepy in the Bathroom
- WCML 004 – Living in an Instagrammed world
- WCML 068: Wild Crazy Meaningful Death, with Caitlin Doughty
- WCML 107: What Kelly learned from living with us for a year (and vice versa)
- Direct vs. subtle communication (aka ask culture vs. guess culture, low context vs. high context communication)
- WCML 070: Wild Crazy Meaningful Day Job
- We are selling our RV and moving to Portland. Here’s why.
- “Be a tube, not a bucket”
- WCML 051: Love Like You Don’t Share a Bathroom with Patty Newbold, assumelove.com
- Why I hate compassion
Thanks for listening to The Dervish and the Mermaid! If you miss us, you can find every episode we’ve ever recorded at PaceSmith.com.
Kyeli helps Pace deal with her attachment to other people being moved by her creation.
Before my creation is hatched,
I’m already hella attached.
If nobody cares
To sample my wares,
My plan might as well stay unhatched.
- bitching vs. venting
- game jams
- Compass Rose
- September Safari
- The Usual Error
- Time & Again
- internal motivation vs. external motivation
- “How do I want to feel while working on this?”
- “How do I want to feel once I’ve released this into the world and nobody gives a shit?”