Archives for category: art and the artist

The weekend was relaxed and I spent it mostly in a state of general contentment, hoping to get over the latest ick going around, before the few symptoms I was beginning to experience could fully develop. The focus on self-care may have been worthwhile; I’m feeling okay this morning. πŸ™‚ Definitely well-rested.

One last autumn rose in my garden

The foggy autumn mornings became sunny warm-ish afternoons, which then led to orange-glow sunsets that filled my living room with hints of gold. Twilights were chilly, in shades of mauve, deepening to night fairly slowly. Days are shorter. Sunrise comes later. Sunset surprises me by arriving so soon. Seasons change.

I spent the weekend reading. Taking care of myself. Getting enough rest. Bringing order to chaos. Even turning inward now and then, and reflecting on how best to become the woman I most want to be. It was a lovely weekend, well-spent.

I miss my Traveling Partner. I’m still glad I took the weekend for self-care instead of travel. πŸ™‚ Hilariously, I am already looking forward to next weekend; I’ll probably make the down/back round trip, then. πŸ˜€

I look around my studio. No spiders. That’s a relief, actually. lol I’m eager to get some things done, artistically. Feeling well-rested also finds me feeling inspired.

This feels like an easy morning to overlook the potential in a new beginning; I could coast on this now, right here, and be content. There’s more to do, though. More to learn. A better human to be than the one I was yesterday. It’s a journey, and as lovely as life is in this moment, right here, there is more living to do in the moments ahead.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

It’s time to pay the bill. Every fun thing in life, every journey, every dream ever pursued, involved a cost. An investment in time, will, money, effort – coasting through life is an option, of course, but I suggest taking a second very careful look at the lives of those you think may be “coasting” through life. It’s not likely that they actually are, however different their choices may be from your own. πŸ™‚

There’s a place I know, where the rules are different, and the world seems built of love.

I spent the weekend wrapped in love, in the company of friends and my loving Traveling Partner, in a space temporarily re-made for the purpose. DJs, artists, vendors, and fans gathered. Family. Friends. Artists. Musicians. Dreamers. Visionaries. Performers. A small festival of like-minded folk, gathered in the forest to camp, dance, play, and experience life re-made to an alternate purpose. We celebrated. Even in hard times, celebration is a worthy endeavor – perhaps most of all in hard times. πŸ™‚

Put as much effort into celebrating as you do into working – or bitching – the return on that investment is so worthwhile!

I bailed on the fun a bit early. Friday was amazing, if rainy. Saturday was just… wow. Sunshine, forest, good company (a great breakfast) a feeling of purpose… I felt elevated, uplifted, and if not enlightened, surely I felt “made of light”. It was quite lovely – until my arthritis finally reminded me of years and injuries, and my joints began to stiffen quite irresistibly. I grabbed my cane as soon as my mobility became actually impaired. I didn’t really sleep on Friday night, ever, the music went all night, so did the fun, and although I grabbed a couple naps, it wasn’t enough to keep me from becoming fatigued. By late afternoon Sunday, on top of my arthritis, my legs began to remind me of other issues, and my steps and gait became affected, by those, compounded by my fatigue. The cane wasn’t going to be enough to get me through the night. I checked in with my Traveling Partner about “calling it” early and heading home. We were having so much fun it was a hard choice to make, and I wasn’t up to it without a bit of reassurance that he’d also rather I take the best care of myself, versus forcing myself to stick it out, slowly becoming miserable and putting that delicious vibe at risk, or wrecking my own delightful experience of the weekend. We were having an amazing good time together! It was hard to walk away from that. He is ever the supportive partner, and agreed that if I was already feeling worn down or struggling with impaired movement, it made sense to call it good and head out – if I were up to the drive. He offered me his place if I wanted to just go get some sleep and hit the road in the morning. Something nagged at me that it was likely a better idea to make the drive that evening…

What the hell? I hate late evening driving; it becomes night driving, and my night vision is frankly not ideal. Shit. Really? Am I going to do this? Yep. Doing it. I drank more coffee and hit the road.

The drive was uneventful. I took regular breaks at pre-determined times and locations. At the one point that sleepiness started to blur my vision, I stopped, got a big bottle of cold water (once it was clear iced-coffee was not to be had, there) and got back on the road. Water for the win. I didn’t expect that – and now I know to keep it in mind. I was thirsty, more than sleepy, apparently. I made good time, and the drive was stress free. Win and good.

This morning I woke at 4:30 am. I went back to sleep, after bumbling to the bathroom and back rather awkwardly. The somewhat less than 4 hours of sleep I’d had weren’t going to be adequate rest. I woke again around 6 am. Again, I went back to sleep. I finally woke shortly after 9 am or so, and got up. I experienced a moment of immense gratitude as I stood. It was the right choice to have made the drive the night before; it took real effort to get out of bed. Pain. Stiffness. More effort to slowly go through the motions of a morning routine. I’m still moving terribly slowly, with much effort. Everything hurts. Everything is stiff. Nothing is easy. “Freedom of movement” feels like nothing more than an advertising slogan. I feel as if I were the unfortunate recipient of a serious beating I don’t recall getting. lol This morning, I add sore muscles to the arthritis pain. I nonetheless happily “pay the check” for a delightful weekend of music, dancing, and enjoying the company of friends out in the woods. Totally worth it. I knew it wasn’t going to be any sort of “freebie”, and I took the time off I needed to, to make the best possible recovery before work. (I’m off tomorrow, too. πŸ™‚ )

Painfully sore muscles. Aching joints that don’t move freely. Fatigue. A few hours of driving. A few dollars in gas money, meals, and gear. Time. Totally 100% worth the price spent to enjoy the time I did. I focus on that, and try to sort out which is the wiser choice right now; a nap (I’ve only been awake for 2 hours), or a nutritious meal (that it going to be painful to prepare, but I probably should have something…)? Time to get back to all the adulting. lol

I make another coffee, I start another “to do” list. I begin again.

Yesterday was weird. I was angry all day; I’m a women, living in a nation that does not respect or value women, facing the possible Supreme Court appointment of an accused rapist. Well, shit. We’ve already got that very same sort ofΒ grotesquerie seated in the Whitehouse, and unknown, uncounted, unacknowledged numbers of that very same bullshit in our Congress, the Senate, our government agencies, our workplaces, and yes, even in some of our homes. Don’t be afraid to feel angry; this shit is worth our anger.

Be angry.

Vote.

Anger is weird toxic shit, though. As with a proper fairytale curse, it inevitably spills back in some way on the deliverer. We carry our anger in secret – problematic – then explode – inappropriate, ineffective, and generally the consequences are unpleasant. We end up doing a lot of “damage control” and repairing our angry words with excessive apologies, even pleading, and submissive posturing. We could do better with our anger. We can learn to be more skillfully, relentlessly, effectively angry. I’m not there yet – but I believe in the possibility, and the helpful folks of the rich white guy frat boy club currently holding office are totally here to help; they are keeping me seriously angry. I’m getting lots of practice.

One challenge is holding focus and keeping my anger relevant, limited, and correctly directed where it belongs. Preventing my anger from spilling over everywhere, into every relationship, is sometimes hard. The lines between actual harms, and perceived slights, become blurry. Anger is powerful shit. Wielding it skillfully tends not to come very naturally to me after a lifetime of being told I can’t have mine, that it’s not appropriate to express my anger, that my anger is unreasonable… being told for a lifetime to stop talking, to sit down and shut up, to restrain myself… being shouted down and talked over, for a lifetime, in most relationships (whether work or professional)… the underlying chronic persistent repression, being robbed of personal agency, being provided a restricted set of human and civil rights (just for lacking a penis, for fucks’ sake)… Yep. Harnessing that massive seething roiling pent-up body of lifetime rage and very carefully directing just so, at a particular moment or movement or person… is fucking hard.

One challenge is not being convinced, by those well-meaning loved ones inconvenienced by – or frightened of – my anger, to dim my light, to mute my voice, to stifle my rage. Rage is scary shit. I’m keeping mine, thanks. I’m fucking angry. I’m not going to shut up about it. You can walk on if that’s a problem for you. I’m okay with that.

No yelling though. No yelling in the house. No yelling in the morning. No yelling in frustration. Just… no yelling. Yelling is triggering, and generally, once a person is reduced to yelling, no communicating is happening at all. Knock that shit off. It’s not useful.

Seriously. Man or women. No fucking yelling. Take a deep breath. Give yourself a moment to calm the fuck down, and try again – without yelling.

I want to live my life well and beautifully. I want to enjoy moments. I want to indulge in life’s pleasures. I want great conversation, with close friends, and people who care passionately about things in life that also matter to me. I want to enjoy lovely emotionally relevant art. I want to feel joyous and empowered. I want to approach my life as a journey that belongs wholly to me. I don’t want to be swamped by my anger. I don’t want to be incapacitated or overwhelmed by it. I don’t want it to become a festering wound that deepens over time. There is much to consider.

I sip my coffee and consider it.

I sip my coffee and consider the friendship of women, too. So many of us struggle with that; women have been divided, often. Women are powerful together. It’s time we reach out more easily to each other. Forge lifetime friendships that support, encourage, nurture – and take back our world. πŸ™‚

Last night I enjoyed the company of two women. One I’d met before, briefly, and one I had not met previously. Women of great heart and emotional depth. Women with something to say about themselves, and about life. Women with a trajectory – a vision of their desired future. Women who care. Women who laugh. Women who “get it”. We had a great evening of conversation. We were authentic and vulnerable. We were real and frank, and funny. We forgot to go to dinner. We overlooked the time. We talked – continuously, delightedly, eagerly – in that very specific way that generally leads to, in other homes, on other evenings, some man breaking in to announce he “can’t get a word in edgewise”, or to make a “playful” accusation that we talk to much, or to request some service or task that he could easily handle himself, or to point out that we are “chattering away” in some dismissive tone – as if our words with each other matter less than our willingness to put our attention on him. I am so fucking done with that. (Keep up, bruh, or listen politely and maybe learn something.)

This Kavanaugh bullshit has gotten me – a lot of women – pretty angry. We don’t feel heard. We don’t feel supported. It’s become too hard to avoid recognizing that women are specifically not valued, and are specifically perceived as property, even now, and even by the men in the fucking government (why the fuck have we elected this??). It’s hard. So… I converse. I converse with women. I’m not making any particular effort in those moments of conversation to make room for the care and consideration of men; I need to be heard. I also need to be educated… or… un-indoctrinated, at least.Β So I’m also reading. The titles are very telling, I suppose: “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny“, “Rage Becomes Her“, “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower“… I am clearly not alone in my anger. I have spent far too long on the words of men. For balance, though, I’m also keeping “Resilient:Β How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness” close at hand. I do seek balance. Utility. Function. Effectiveness. I am not looking to loose the wild anger of my ancient pain on the world – just see through some changes that would improve the world for women, and thereby for all of us.

If you’re a man hoping to be some part of some sort of solution, listening is a good starting point. Really listening. Making room to understand that we (women) are having a very different experience of life than you are. (Please don’t push back on this with some sort of statement about your experience and your needs; we fucking know already, we live that reality for you every fucking day, it is part of our daily indoctrination, and even our formal educations. Knock it off for a bit, okay? That’s specifically the ask here; give us a moment of your time, really. Authentically. Listen deeply. Hear us.)

Enough with that. I’ve probably said enough. πŸ™‚

This morning is lovely and quiet, following a merry evening of lively conversation with beautiful well-spoken women. Powerful. I enjoy my coffee smiling quietly. It’s a good morning. I feel content, and whole. I am aware of my anger in the background – it does not rob me of this lovely quiet moment. It’s an extraordinary place to be with myself. I’ve come a long way as a woman, and as a human being, over the past couple years, and this feels like a reward for a lot of committed focused effort to be the woman, the person, I most want to be. I eagerly look ahead to seeing my Traveling Partner sometime soon, and sharing his energy, here, in this lovely space. We’re good together, and it feels good to be supported, valued, nurtured… Fuck. I miss him.Β  πŸ™‚ I’m betting that this visit won’t find my anger crowding out my love; there is room for all my emotions to exist in my experience. I am a human being – a creature of both emotion and reason.

“Emotion and Reason” 18″ x 24″ acrylic w/ceramic and glow details, 2012

It’s time to begin again. It’s time to change the world. ❀

Yesterday was a good one. Productive at work, minimum hassles, an easy commute in both directions, a comfortably chill evening that was also an evening on which I got a few things done; it was lovely.

I sit sipping my coffee and considering it, smiling, feeling content. It’s not that it’s some specific requirement to give yesterday more time, today; it’s just a great practice to make time to savor good moments. Doing so regularly has the power to slowly rewire my brain to be more easily able to bounce back from stress, to live in the context of implicit recollection (and limited certainty) that more difficult moments will be quite temporary, and that life is, generally, good. I have found it a highly effective practice, and along with practicing explicit willful gratitude, it is a practice that has taken me a long way from those dark days, well behind me now, of being mired in past trauma and present stress.

The day begin most delightfully with a ludicrously easy commute. I hit all the lights green. There just wasn’t anyone in front of me. It was… relaxed. There was that big full moon in the sky. It was quite pleasant and utterly stress free. I got into the office, got the work day started, and noticed that big beautiful moon sinking low over the city. I made time for that moment, right then and there, and alerted a camera-toting coworker of the opportunity to grab a couple cool city shots, each of us, sharing that experience with each other. It was fun. A great way to take a break.

One lovely moment. One beautiful city.

The day continued from that point, a series of moments, a series of opportunities, a series of choices. It was a very good day. The evening, and even the commute home, was equally pleasant, and, yes, productive. I managed to get a few things done before yielding to fatigue and arthritis pain, and those things were more merely the end of a day, than any hardship. Balance. It was… worth remembering. πŸ™‚

So, I sit here with my coffee smiling. One nice thing about such an extraordinarily pleasant day? I experienced that, which means it can occur, and if it can occur, and has occurred at least once previously, it could occur again, making it all quite possible. I like that idea. πŸ™‚ It wholly undermines that annoying experience that is characteristic of despair – the feeling that nothing good can come of anything we say or do, and that only bad outcomes truly exist, and well, fuck… then why bother, at all, it’s only misery and more misery, anyway? Yeah. Not pleasant. Also – not true. πŸ˜€ I can do better.

I notice the time. I finish my coffee. The day awaits, and it is time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Well, damn. It’s Tuesday, after a long weekend with a Monday off. Shit. It’s time to be getting back to the grind. No fun little emoji for this one; there’s real effort involved. lol

I sip my coffee purposefully, and still smiling. It was a lovely weekend. Right down to the discovery that the tires I had to buy (on Labor Day, when very nearly every tire place, specifically, is apparently closed), actually provided a noteworthy improvement in handling, and an obvious reduction in noise, and may even be improving my gas mileage. Ideally, I would not have had to buy a set of tires for the car until much closer to winter weather… but… buying them sooner also got me a better deal. πŸ˜€ So… there’s that.

I spent time in the company of a friend on the other side of town (a former colleague, and collector of my art work), catching up, and repairing a painting that is dear to us both. It was totally worth the drive across town and back. Friendship nearly always is, which makes it worth mentioning. πŸ™‚

It wasn’t a fancy weekend. I didn’t spend much money (other than the tires). I did a couple lovely day hikes, took some pictures, took a class, and mostly spent my time in the company of the woman in the mirror, getting deeply rested, and taking time for me. It was so worth it.

The weekend begins and ends with stray sunflowers, planted by squirrels or chipmunks. πŸ™‚

I’m ready to begin again. πŸ˜€