The Photographer is at the whell.

And she’s a shitty speller.  haha.  I wanted to change it, but The Photographer doesn’t care about it’s spelling.

The photographer got me an interview at a place I think I might really like working, but didn’t think much of at the start.

Today I interviewed for the position.  I have been thinking a lot about this job and I believe it would really be a good job for me.  The Photographer has been getting me ready for this new stage of my life.  She has made sure I show up to my commitment to myself.  She uses my own weaknesses against me as motivation.  She is faithful about taking the meds.  She doesn’t require much food to eat, because she’s incredibly distracted by getting what she wants in life.   This used to be a bad thing, and a terrible thing sometimes, maybe for her, or maybe for others at times.  The Photographer is very damaged inside from having a very bad daddy.  The way her daddy damaged her made her perfectly prepared for the job she would have to do some day, which had something to do with killing someones soul.  It sounds very terrible, but if you think about it in a scientific/energy sort of way it makes sense.  If your soul/spirit/chi/whatever gets permanently ‘frozen’ at a certain point in your life, it keeps it ‘on hold’ in the event that the person may have a reason to put some skin in the game later.  Basically, you put your player on freeze until such a time that you desire to engage in the situation you see yourself in.  When certain energetic events go off in your life, you press play and resume development, starting off at ground zero.  If you ‘died’ at 2, you will start at 2.  If you are totally fucked up with your behavior at 2, you will either die, or have a NDE* which will reset you at 0 and give you a conscious view of your choices.  I was not conscious at 0, and woke up terrified and alone, just like a newborn baby, terrified of the light.  Overwhelmed and dissociated by the light more accurately.  When ‘god’ or ‘the devil’ or whatever universal force broke in, it killed [THE OLD]me.   And that’s the way I asked for it to be.  If I got so vile that I didn’t want to know myself I asked for a disconnection so I would be forced to find myself.  Energetic math demands it.  As I become more of myself, i realize I am only a collection of parts.  The flame that i run on is eternal.   Everything else is distraction.  I feel this flame when I commune with maryjane.  I feel my body and mind together, which hasn’t happened since I was busted so long ago.  Even in my re connection at ground zero, the physical loss sustained by the damage done by my father can not be repaired.  I can use cannabis to bridge the gap between the me I was, ethereal and beautiful, and the me I am today.  I spend time with my baby me, who is now a grown adult in my head.  It doesn’t have the tragedy of being programmed by the collective consciousness, so it is pure, unspoiled sexual energy.  I guess I’m some kind of pervert, communing sexually with a part of myself that’s a baby, but it’s not a baby anymore.  It’s a 45 year old baby, which is the most beautiful kind of baby you could imagine, and it’s super fun to hang out with.  And it’s so lonely in my mind, with so many villains and superhero’s and me and Baby just wanting to chill and vibe out together.

I will get back to The Photographer.

This fragment has been running my ass around, keeping my appetite suppressed naturally, reminding me to keep taking my meds and keep achieving my goals.  It keeps a tight leash on me, and makes me feel really, really good physically.  It makes me feel strong and powerful and in command, three concepts that were completely foreign to me before had the good sense to fall in love with my husband.  (And that’s another blog post).

I can attribute my dedication to walking, listening to podcasts and music to this fragment.  One fragment loves music to the point of being lost in it.  I love this fragment so much.  It enhances the chance I will follow through with my physical activity.  It’s interest is purely physical (photographer), but it enjoys the help of the others, who motivate me greatly.  All of these fragments encourage and support the use of cannabis for goal setting.

The photographer made sure the technology was set up properly, and that my hair was colored appropriately and styled properly.  It also set out clothes for me to wear that I liked, and looked good.  My teeth were brushed (and seemed VERY BIG AND WHITE when I looked at myself in the mirror) and I looked quite polished.  Nail polish was desired, but not selected.  Wedding ring was placed on my finger, but no other jewelry was worn.  I wore light blue eyeliner, and mascara, and a bit of lip stick.  Pretty natural.  [This fragment likes being married and proudly wears her wedding ring.]

During the interview, I had a large glass of water with me, and a coffee in camera lens mug. [This fragment likes coffee and water.  It prefers water, but understands that coffee satisfies some need that it doesn’t understand that helps me feel like doing certain activities].

I was relaxed and conscious of keeping myself still, and smiling as appropriate.  Slowly, not like a grinning idiot.  I worked to keep my attention grounded in my body, and not in my mind which may have started overthinking.  I stepped aside and let the best part of myself do the thinking.  I didn’t micromanage, and I didn’t tell myself to stop unless I had finished my thought.  I kept my thoughts organized and tried to plan out the answer to conclusion to keep on track before I spoke.  I clarified if I did not understand the question, and I tried to relate my experience to the universal experience of having a good product to feel proud of selling, and giving good customer services to people who want that product.

In the end of the interview, a different part of me sort of ‘broke through’.  It is an extremely confident and gregarious, and doesn’t give a fuck about rules and being modest.  I found myself saying something to the following to the interview panel of three women who had just conluded my interview;

“If I could finish up by saying that I really hope I get this job.  I think I would be really good at it, and I know I could make people feel better about their day.  I want to work, and someone is going to get me.  I really hope it’s [your company]”.  Then it delivered a big lazy smile and big my goodbyes before leaving the video conference.

When the conference ended, I had a huge smile on my face.  It felt likeMatthew McConaughey energy, [which is something I have absorbed during any scene where I find his character arousing], jumped into my skin and started to talk from my heart.  I really hope it doesn’t cost me the job, but it made my heart so happy inside to have such a smooth character ready to jump out and take over when I am nervous.  [as I am in any concluding interaction with another person].  I love the idea that my consciousness can pick an appropriate character who ‘feels right’ for a situation, and deliver an authentic response when I am too nervous to do so.

I am trying to keep more detailed notes of who is at the wheel any given time, but especially during important check points.  It seems some parts of my consciousness spend time dormant while at other times, my intuition is extremely heightened for no real reason I can understand.  Different ‘parts’ of me have the ability to take over my life over time.  I don’t notice they are there until i see the change in my pattern of behavior.  This most recent fragment is very distressed at the grey of my hair.  The other dominant fragment around lately (but not dominant over the first) is someone who doesn’t give a shit about her grey hair, and thinks it’s kind of interesting.  It pulls them out (to the delight of the first fragment) to examine their color (silver!) and consistency and strength.  There is real truth the the idea that age brings strength in different ways.

I realize I have been doing this unconciously all my life.  In the past I have not always understood what was really going on around me, and may have chosen poorly on my behalf, based on what I knew at the time.  As my understanding increases, so does my ability to choose more consciously when I am able, and to trust that my collective will choose the best choice for me when I am not certain.

I am so deeply grateful for my ability to connect with my own collective and to allow them to help me create a beautiful life with the people I love the most.  I am learning to be a blessing everywhere I go, and that has nothing to do with religion.  It has to do with healing the wounds we carry together.  It gets easier as I learn I am here to forgive myself and to allow others to forgive me too.  Some are stubborn and won’t take the healing that is offered because it doesn’t come from the person they desire, or the package they prefer.  Some will take it without offering the healing they are meant to give in return.  Some will see the value and intuitively know how to make the most of a mutual soul contract in any kind of relationship.

Life is really starting to move in the right direction for me to start realizing some of my dreams, and it is inducing a really exciting/exhilarating/nervous/anticipation feeling.  I like it.

The Phoenix

 

PS.  An email dinged and appeared in my top, right hand notification area on my iMac, as I was finishing up.  I had to laugh when I read it.  Just as my own pieces are wanting to write, there is an affirmation that writing is what I should be doing.

{Here is the actual email}

jambo

I do think I will be meeting that dude someday.  His emails roll in at the most curious times.  His calendars gave me hope in very dark days at the beginning. }

*NDE near death experience, commonly experienced by a soul wishing to make an abrupt change in path, whereby a lot of soul information is needed to be transferred in order to ‘catch the soul up’ to the new plan.  In my opinion.

Feelings Rise

Emotional overload. My feelings rise up so quickly and leave me cornered. I strike out in anger, my favorite defense. I don’t know why these people love me, but I wonder if my emotional disconnection has affected them. I try to be happy and kind, but my nature is angry and suspicious.

All my life I have been waiting to be understood. I want to say and do the things I want, but the reality is that as soon as I do, I encounter resistance from others. When I am well, things move along nicely and everyone is content. When I am struggling, they vacillate between concern and anger.

I am so angry inside. I feel like all of the people that were supposed to guide and support me to adulthood failed to do anything but the basics. I was fed and clothed, but emotionally starved. I grew up nervous and suspicious but I did my best to hide it under an amiable, people-pleasing exterior. Now that I am not interested in saying what others want to hear, I realize I am going to start finding the conflict I have always avoided.

My heart feels heavy and alone. I am loved by my husband more than I deserve to be loved. He puts up with my shit and supports anything I decide to undertake. He accepts people unconditionally, and is the most genuine person I have ever known. He has changed my life for the better in too many ways to count. He accepts me, but he doesn’t understand me. When I begin an emotional freefall, all he can do is love me until it passes. I truly wonder how long another person will put up with emotional instability. I know he loves me, but someday, I am afraid this will be too tiring for him to continue.

I live in some kind of emotional freezer. I fight to keep everything neutral, but the wrong look, tone or words send me instantly into a raging animal. I feel cornered and trapped and all I want to do is explode and hurt the person in front of me the way I am hurting.

I see my children triumph and I cry tears of relief, pride and joy. Then the feelings turn, and I am them, alone on an island of isolation in my own childhood, wishing I had a parent like me who enriched my strengths, and helped improve my weaknesses. The tears are selfish then, for a middle aged woman who never stopped being a child waiting to be loved and accepted.

I ache to be understood. When I was in grade 10 or 11, I read a Steven King novella, “The Body”. There was a passage that made my heart skip a beat.

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”

Some part of my teenage self started when I read this passage. I read it over and over, and highlighted it. Something about it felt so authentic to me.

This is who I am. This is my fear. I am afraid I will never find those friends who think like I do, and dream like I do. I want to be understood so badly. I’ve been to therapists and psychiatrists, friends and acquaintances, teachers and mentors; I’m still waiting to find my people. I’m afraid it’s been too long, and their beautiful, brave hearts have grown old, waiting to be recognized.

I’m giving up on you.

Therapy. It’s really such a crap shoot.

I have unpacked my psychological bags for 7 different health care professionals in the past 18 months, in order to gain assistance in sorting out my difficulties in living in this body, in this life. The difficulty in condensing the concerns of a lifetime into an hour long appointment is obvious. It takes several appointments just to get the information shared, and start working on solutions.

My first counselor was an icy clone of my mother. I spent most of the time trying to get her to warm to me, as therapy in a frozen vortex is difficult.
The next was a comical physical representation of one of my abusers. He was like a caricature. I didn’t notice the resemblance until I was in my next therapists office.
My psychiatrist met me in 15 minute blocks, via skype. This was the sum total of the help I received in Ontario.

It was a ridiculous situation, but I managed to find
something from each of them that helped me move forward. It never occurred to me that therapy is only as good as the therapist leading the parade. I didn’t think about what would happen if the therapist was a harried new mother, and only vaguely connected to her job. Perhaps it’s difficult seeing so many people who feel helpless. Maybe you stop thinking you can help any of them.

In BC, the wait time was short, and the candidates impressive. My first counselor here was an unemotional Asian man, who listened without expression, and mirrored back my feelings to me. Our time together was brief, 2 sessions, as he was being replaced by someone new.
My last therapist was the best so far. He was engaging, reflective and probably too good looking. I had to take my glasses off so I couldn’t see how attractive he was when I was talking to him. As it turns out, our two sessions will be all we have, since he is not returning either.

When he went to make another appointment, and he told me that he wouldn’t be returning, I decided to give up on the process of having a professional help me navigate my own mental wilderness. I’m so tired of sharing the warts and moles of my life, only to be shuffled off to someone new. It takes so long to build trust and empathy with someone, and there is never any guarantee that the employee will be able, willing or interested in helping the client make a lifelong change. It’s so frustrating to know that another person holds the keys to wellness, but I cannot maintain contact long enough to have a successful exchange.

In the end, I guess I will take what I can from these sessions.

From the frosty lady I learned about radical acceptance. I have adopted the idea that all of my life has contributed to the person I am now. I love that person, despite her flaws, and she deserves to be encouraged to move forward.

From the doddering old man I learned that it’s okay to stop caring for people who don’t care for me.

From the skype psychiatrist I realized that therapy needs time, and a personal connection. Good work can happen, but everyone needs to be very goal-oriented, with the ability to prioritize mental health needs. I learned how to advocate for myself to take medication, and what kind.

From the expressionless Asian I learned that being heard is so valuable. Just having a place to talk about things, and a therapist who doesn’t judge is wonderful. I liked how rational and emotionless he was about his job. Unfortunately for me, emotion is one of my greatest challenges, so we were not the best match in a therapy situation.

From the last, and best version of therapy I have experienced, I felt understood. I realize that there are others with problems that they are NOT handling well. Since I am stable, and coping well with my difficulties, I no longer have a need to be supported I suppose.

I am a person with a rich inner world, who is lonely and experiencing the first real isolation I have consciously known. I am living in a beautiful, isolated mountain town.
I have the most amazing husband, great kids, and a beautiful, inviting new locale to call home. I see so much potential here for healing and becoming the person I am supposed to be. I am impatient for my new life to begin.

I wanted to write this to remember my frustration with therapy, and how every time I start the process I have high hopes for what it will bring to my life. The reality is, no one can possibly understand what it’s like to be another person. One cannot begin to imagine the compound interest of the experiences that shape another human being, without investing a great deal of time and energy into such a relationship. It is difficult to enter into a one-sided conversation about healing when the person who is scheduled to be the guide has never personally navigated the waters they find themselves in.

I find therapy to be unsatisfying exercise in you vs me, where YOU get to know all of my mistakes and problems, and I don’t know any of yours. You tell me how to solve the problems you have never had. Learning about mental illness is not the same as living with it, and it’s very unsatisfying to be bounced from service to service by smiling service providers who don’t have the slightest idea how to reach and help a drowning person.

Art Imitates Life

Pain and distress is as much as aspect of our experience as love and happiness.  Often we only honor the comfortable aspect of ourselves, while pretending, or avoiding the aspects that give us pain.   Turning our attention to our lesser-loved, and more troubling feelings gives us access to parts of ourselves that need to be heard, held and helped. Sadness can connect us to the truth of our pain, the honour of our experiences, and the ability to move past it to something better.

In the early weeks of 2014, I was completely overtaken by The Artist.  S(he) wanted to see if other people were hiding pain too.

I wanted to know if other people would experiment with their sadness, and see if they could make some progress with their own pain.  They didn’t really understand what I was doing, and luckily they didn’t care.  They were brave, and they trusted that it was worth trying.  The agreement was that no one had to participate, but once they did, the image was mine to keep.  I used one image from each subject, as part of a collective project.

It took about 7 weeks to shoot 19 people.  I had no problem finding volunteers, but a few people backed out at the last minute, understandably.

Some thought it would be difficult to cry for no reason, but once we got down to it, the tears often started on the interview couch.  I was not surprised to find out that everyone had something to cry about.

There were aching, soulful sobs, and tight, angry tears, and sad lonely tears of things long ago left behind.  I shot 19 women, and each story is unique.  The tears are easy to spot, but are hard to look at sometimes.

cropped-collage.png

The process allowed me to connect personally with things that used to be ideas.  Areas of expertise that no person wants to claim. I can’t explain what happens when you see yourself in a way you didn’t expect.  Or when you find your face looks fierce and proud when you thought it would look weak. What a pleasant and grateful truth to see a warrior in the mirror, and not a mouse.

Around the same time, there was a photographer that got a lot of attention for the images he shot of John Schneider crying on a shoot for a show called ‘The Haves and Have Nots”.  I had not seen these images, although they happened right around the same time that I was absorbed in my self-portrait series.  The parallels were obvious.

JS had just lost his father, and he allowed the photographer to capture images of his pain, after the required images for the show were complete.  I thought they were breathtakingly beautiful.  Some of the people who had seen my project sent me the link to the photographs.

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http://www.jeremycowart.com is the artist (and photographer) that captured these images.

I always loved John Schneider when he was on the Dukes of Hazzard.  I loved him even more after I saw these images.

I understood these images more than most, and I thought it ironic that these sort of feelings are welcomed and congratulated as brave when it’s done by a celebrity.  I don’t know what I had expected from my own set of images.  I imagined they would be experienced as uncomfortable and interesting. I thought people might be interested in exploring the boundaries of experiencing emotional pain, and discussing the feelings the images provoke.  I thought there was some value to looking at the opposite of the feelings I was regularly being paid to produce.  I thought it was art.

I was so wrong.

Someday I believe these images will be seen by the people who will understand them.  Maybe then I will understand why they were so important to me that I destroyed my career, and my comfortable, veneer-covered life to make them.

I hope I will be able to know why I spent all of my waking time thinking of these images, and trying to make more.  Something in me wanted to be certain I knew I was deeply unhappy.  I believe most people are deeply unhappy in many ways, but are so brainwashed by the way we ‘live’ that they can no longer feel their disconnect.

I realize it’s probably only art when a famous person does it.  I think JC’s images are powerful and real.  This is the only kind of work I’m interested in creating any more, and there seems to be little market for it.

How will I ever sell people on the idea that feeling their own real, authentic feelings, is the gateway to a life connected to the real world.  In this place, there are no tv’s or cell phones.  There is nothing to distract you from the job of being human, and reveling in your own experience of life.

The paradox?  You must awaken to your own discomfort, to live the way you are meant to live.

Unwrapping The Gift of BiPolar

I had an epiphany 2 nights ago. I have been avoiding my sadness at moving. Imagine that. I have been running so fast, filling my plate with so many jobs, to keep myself from falling down with fear about what the next phase of my life will bring. I realized a while back that the first 6-8 weeks I was here, I was the old me, manic and denying all pain. Everything was NEW! NEW! NEW! and I plunged headfirst into every pool of interest I found. There was the unpacking, organizing, decorating, canning, cooking, refinishing furniture…the list could go on. I kept myself very busy, and my conscious self needed time to integrate the meaning of all of the abrupt change.

Eventually, everything got unpacked, organized, decorated, canned, refinished, and the frenetic energy dissipated. What replaced it, was deep insecurity and fear.

The arrival of my manic self was welcomed and appreciated when I needed it. As I descended into the opposite end of bipolar, I was scared and uncomfortable, just when I had started to feel relaxed. Issues of trust, and lots of delusional thinking had me acting like an insecure teenager. I felt ashamed of the way I was behaving, but I didn’t know why I was having so much fear, and I did what I always do to balance the fear. I walked, I listened to music, I distracted myself with as many healthy things as I could. In my old days, I would have distracted myself with things that were self-destructive. In my ‘new’ life, my coping strategies left my body lighter, my spirit stronger, and I didn’t feel alone.

I believe this was just another layer of truth being revealed to me. My authentic self was giving me time to make a graceful exit from one life, but was not going to let me away with not facing the fear I had just left. It was the first time I have ever ‘felt’ the full cycle, and learned to recognize the symptoms in myself.

Mania for me is wonderful. It is full of creative, exciting energy. I have 10 projects on the go, and my mind is happy to be doing something interesting every day. It’s party time in my life, and very few problems surface.

When I dip into depression, it doesn’t look like traditional depression. My body feels numb-ish, but not so much that I can’t function. I do less. I get many more paranoid or delusional thoughts. The intrusive thoughts are manageable but annoying. I don’t sleep, and this is the most physically distruptive aspect of my mental illness.

This past cycle of my bipolar has left me in some sort of a Limbo. I know you can relate to the idea of being ‘parked’. I am a wife and mother, taking care of everyones needs, and surprisingly, feeling very accomplished and content. What if the thing I have been running from (domesticity) is the very thing that has brought me peace and contentment? I can thank mental illness for showing me how many places my attention was being drained, and how useless it was to invest attention in these places.

What if unplugging your life from Facebook, TV, fake friends, parties, and being part of the ‘social engineering’ can bring an incredible amount of peace and well-being into ones life?

When I had no other way of continuing the life I was living, my new life rose up around me. I hardly noticed the journey unfolding because I was busy licking my wounds. My new life was simpler, more heartfelt, grounded and good for me.

I know that thoughts DO create things. When I was too afraid to behave in my usual patterns, a new set of healthy, helpful patterns arose. The more I began to put myself first and became unapologetic about healing my troubled mind, the easier my life became. When I became unstable and fearful, these new patterns kicked in automatically to help me navigate the rough ride. Somehow, without knowing how or why, my desire to be the person I have always wanted to be started to manifest. I had tools to handle the problems that I had always avoided. I began to sort out all of the old shit that I had been hanging on to for too long.

During my sabbatical from social media, and people that didn’t have my best interests, I lost track of what the rest of the world was doing. Life became still. In that silence, I began to listen to a different voice. One that was patient, loving and accepting. One that loved me unconditionally and kept encouraging me to always make the best choice for me, that did not intrude on the rights of others. In real life, that voice was my husband, who has always been the kindest, most loving person I have known. I FELT loved, and words and behavior aligned for the first time. I was able to invest my own attention in things that were really important to me, like my family and a few good friends.

I began to look at BEHAVIOR, not words. I realized most people lie to themselves, and because they lie to themselves, they lie to others, consciously or not. When you compare what people say, to what they do, over time, you can create a very accurate representation of who that person is, and what role they should play in your life, if any. When people show you who they are, believe them, and don’t take it personally. They are not aiming their discontent AT you, but you ARE in the line of fire, and if you choose to take it on, you may. (But I wouldn’t!!! 😉 )

I learned that people who show up in life for the good times AND the bad, are the best people to align with. People who have been able to cut through the bullshit around them to remain authentic are the kind of people who I want in my future. These are the vessels I will pour my energy and attention into. When authentic meets intention, the REAL

Music IS a Medium

Music is how I relate to the world. It provides me with the emotional understanding of situation and feelings I don’t know how to handle. The first song that got me was JT and Mirrors.

I know songs have given me The Feels before, but this experience took it to a whole other level. It was like the part of me that wanted me to wake up was singing to me directly. I probably listened to it, bawling, more than 100 times. It moved something that was blocked in me, and the rest of the blocks came tumbling down on top of it.

Another one was Drake’s ‘Hold on we’re going Home”

Similar theme here. Most of the music I was being drawn to was about going ‘home’. I can only assume now that it meant coming home to myself. When I arrived home in my own body, it was a shock to the system. There was so much blockage and false fronts…nothing was real. I had a lot of hard truths coming, but in my heart I knew them all.

One of my favorite musical experiences was the Taylor Swift song “Style”. The intensity of my feelings when I listened to the song surprised and intrigued me.

The smoke in the video made me instantly think of how I feel about marijuana, and how it makes me feel more in my own body, despite how the world around me seemed to think it was terrible. I have real anxiety and guilt about my relationship with pot, and I don’t understand why. I guess it might have something to do with the fact that I am healing some part of myself that has been in charge for a long time, and it isn’t giving up control without a stink. It’s also a clear reference to being The Other Woman, which I have been once in my life. It was not worth the heartache it caused, but it represents the beginning of learning required hard lessons.

At the time, this song made me feel breathless and excited and full of anticipation. This part of me is a part that makes me feel things that might make me very self-destructive, so no wonder it’s been under lock and key until the rest of me grew up enough not to let it rule the show. The song still makes my heart beat faster every time. EVERY. SINGLE.TIME.

Lately it’s been this song that resonates strongly with me.


I used to cry every time I heard it, and now it just makes me feel happy. It’s a long journey from hating yourself to loving yourself, but it’s worth all of the bumps along the way. I couldn’t have imagined how beautiful life would look like from this perspective. I’m glad I didn’t give up.

I love the lyrics:

Hang on, just hang on for a minute
I’ve got something to say
I’m not asking you to move on or forget it
But these are better days
To be wrong all along and admit it, is not amazing grace
But to be loved like a song you remember
Even when you’ve changed

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you’ve seen, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, oh that wasn’t me

When you’re lost you will toss every lucky coin you’ll ever trust
And you’ll hide from your God like he ever turns his back on us
And you will fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife
And you’ll learn who you are even if it doesn’t take your life

Tell me, did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you’ve seen, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, oh that wasn’t me

But I want you to know that you’ll never be alone
I wanna believe, do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet
When you fall I will get you on your feet
Do I spend time with my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
When that’s what you’ve seen, that will be me
That will be me, that will be me
That will be me

I really could do the musical game all day, but this is probably enough. You get the picture. Music is the medium. It soothes the savage beast, and I can think of no beast more savage than the human heart. The things we do to protect it, or share it, can be beautiful and terrible. When music plays it reaches inside our frequency, and takes us on a roller coaster ride of a feeling we have felt, but perhaps have never allowed ourselves to feel. The more we connect with music, the more we are healing our hearts, and changing our frequencies. Up, up up!

The Artist and I Square Off

I promised myself I would start my self portrait series but I am stalling. I have realized that in one of these images I am going to feel naked, and possibly even BE naked (I haven’t decided yet). It’s the last step to revealing all of myself to myself. I doubt I will share this portrait series like I did the last set. The fallout of the last series still lingers.

I was a well liked and amiable community member who used to bend over backwards for people. I went full crazy-artist on an unsuspecting small town public. There was a part of me that would not take no for an answer, and demanded to be brought forward. I was fascinated by the way my body reacted to certain music. I would cry and shake uncontrollably for no reason that I was aware of. My manic mind wanted to SEE. It wanted ME to SEE what was being experienced. It wanted others to SEE as well. I could FEEL how good it was to release these feelings that I had no conscious connection to. The music provided a bridge for me to physically LET GO.

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I had been fairly popular when I was behaving and producing palatable portrait photography, but when I decided to photograph my own pain publicly, i was met with a stony silence. This angered me. So I did it some more, with a whole bunch of other real women who had a bit of pain to share. Music was the medium that moved every one of them too.

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No one seemed to care why I was so interested in pain. I was confused. I felt like I had stumbled onto a very exciting connection. People had a very easy time expressing difficult emotions when music was the bridge.

My colleagues were disinterested. It seemed extreme emotion didn’t equal great photography if that emotion is extremely uncomfortable. I couldn’t understand why people who portray themselves to be artists did not see value in what I was producing, or wonder why I was creating these images.

The community that had lifted me for years with their ‘likes’ were embarrassed and quickly distanced themselves from me when I released the first authentic, emotional photography of my life.

It broke my spirit, and I retreated completely from life. I think this is when I felt like I had failed as an artist.

Isolated and alone, my mental difficulties grew and my social circle collapsed.

In hindsight, I realize it was unfair of me to unleash such a torrent of pain at an emotionally repressive community. I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time, because my mental illness was in full control of my faculties. While it was an interesting idea to explore, i was way too emotionally involved in the subject. I now understand that displays of sadness and pain are perceived as weakness. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Pain taught me more about truth than fake smiles ever did.
The rebuild of my life since I publicly imploded has been nothing short of traumatic, frightening and truly transcendent. I can’t tell anyone of this, but I’ve left a public record and as people begin to become authentic, they too will experience these complete breaks in their reality. People will come face to face with the part of themselves they have been denying. There is no journey toward ‘light and love’ that does not involve darkness and pain. We are all of these things. We CANNOT move toward our own true light without meeting the dark passenger that waits for confrontation.

Sister, we have both learned to embrace and care for our shadow side. We are learning every day to find balance between our light and dark aspects. We can be enthusiastic coaches and trusted advisers for others who find themselves experiencing a spiritual emergency. We are well trained to offer the support we did not find. We find comfort in beautiful, emotionally powerful people who are not ashamed of the darkness they have walked through. This is our tribe. Some of us will need help while we navigate the murky waters of truth.

So while I drag my heels on the first image of my series, I know it has to be done. The Phoenix is up first. We’ll see how it all turns out. Not going to lie…I am nervous. It feels as important as the first series. I am excited and afraid to see my parts in living colour, but they have asked to be shown, and I will honor their request.

I will cue this one up for The Phoenix when it’s time to shoot.