Feeling Creative

There is something about January that makes me feel the need to create.  This year the feeling of creating is strong, but the desire to actually start working is slow to rise.  I made an intuitive portrait of a friend recently.  I liked how I shot it with one idea in mind, and as I edited, it became something quite different.  Definitely stronger, and more in line with what my heart wants to work on.  My mind wants to deal with provocative ideas that make people uncomfortable, but when it comes right down to it, I usually create something that makes the subject see something beautiful instead.

I am coming to the conclusion that as an artist, I have not yet found my medium.

It’s time to explore other areas of creative expression, like music and dance.  I am experimenting with a yoga-like meditation that is really stimulating.  I love the idea of allowing body and mind to move independant of thought and restriction.  I like seeing where my body decides to work on itself, and how the process of movement helps to open up areas of tightness and discomfort, both physically and emotionally.  Getting into a deep stretch and letting the mind go allows insights to arrive fully formed in my consciousness.  I am understanding more about myself.

I would like to find someone who could teach me how to play the guitar that Shaun left here last summer.  Every time I pass by it, sitting uselessly in the corner of the coat room, I feel sad and guilty.  It sounds so beautiful when it’s being played, and it deserves to have someone pick it up and make something beautiful with it.

I would like to work with a yoga instructor, and photograph the deep spiritual process that yoga facilitates.  I may like to pursue a yoga certification.

I would like to find some form of dance that would allow me to explore movement with confidence.

Perhaps by putting some of my goals in writing, the opportunities to explore these ideas will manifest.  I understand that you can’t expect to get something unless you are willing to ask for it.

Long Days, No Escape

Since I have run out of cannabis naturally, I feel this is a very good time to take advantage of whatever clarity I can gain from detoxing for awhile. I am in no way making a lifetime break, but for now there will be no more until further notice. I need to be able to afford to buy it, and not having a job severely limits my ability to purchase. I don’t want to ask my husband to give me money, as I believe he would prefer me trying to get off if possible. I think it would reassure him (and me) that I have control over the substance. As much as I love it, I recognize the need to take a break. Right now, my world is giving me a great opportunity to try clean living.

During my medical MJ hiatus, I plan to take full advantage of the opportunity. I am making more commitments to myself in the form of activities that keep me engaged and interested in life. I plan to journal every day, so I can have a record of any changes I see in myself while not using. I have been taking my med, getting more physical activity, spending more time outside, meeting new friends and drinking lots of water in the past few weeks. I supposed I knew that the pot would end, and no one would be showing up to replace it.

It’s day two on my pot moratorium and I’m doing fine. I miss it a lot. I washed up my grinder and storage pouch, and cleaned all my gear. It’s so final when I wash my grinder because i know all of that good shake that could be scraped out is gone. It’s better that way, as I know myself. I would scrape it to the metal to get a chance to be comfortable.

Yesterday I went walking with my new friend, H. She and I have been getting together a few times and we get along quite well. We are making some goals, and moving towards achievement, since there doesn’t seem to be much else to do around here. We have plans to create some photographs, and in anticipation of being a subject, we are going to get as fit as we can, in a relaxed and pressure free environment. Since we like walking, it’s pretty easy to get out and get some daily exercise and fresh air. It’s good for the body, and good for the soul.

She’s an artist, both performance and visual. I like hearing how another artist feels about creating art, and also the success or failure of the piece to generate the expected response. It’s good to finally have another friend here. We talk a lot about being outsiders, or other here. We don’t fit in, but I suppose we don’t want to. We are the weirdos.

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.


Bloody Turkeys and Epiphanies

This weekend was an incredibly cathartic weekend for me. My ex decided to have the kids for the holiday weekend without considering what my plans were. My dog ran away while I was getting pissy about my pathetically under cooked turkey on Saturday. We didn’t have a bite of the holiday dinner I prepared. The next day, I tossed everything into a turkey pot pie, and a pot of stew. Fuck it. It was just as good. I realized all of these triggers were going on around me. In the old days, I would have thought an under cooked turkey was a sign of impending disaster and doom. Now I realize it doesn’t matter. You can boil that shit up after and do something different and it won’t make a bit of difference. Sometimes things can be enjoyed just as well when they take a different, less complicated form.

I’m not a big turkey dinner gal. I’m a turkey soup gal. Totally okay with that.

As it turns out, the energy I wasted being pissed off at my ex was poorly spent. My King and I spent the weekend in a deliriously happy cocoon of love and joy. We connected deeply and enjoyed every minute. He unexpectedly got 4 much needed days off and we spent them wisely. We needed it.

I didn’t dream up any sad scenario about what might have happened to the dog. I let it go, and trusted that whatever would happen would happen. The local RCMP stopped by this am to give me the address of the dog catcher who had him, and let me know of the small fine. I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome. But truly, it was the outcome I expected, and put my energy towards. I’m so grateful. The electric fence goes up today. Fuck this shit. 🙂

I feel like I have become like the leaf floating down the river. I go with the current, not making the decision about the journey. How very, very unlike the old me. How wonderful to be able to rise about the stress and worry and let go. It’s very liberating. I’m not my worst enemy anymore, and now any enemies I may have are not my concern.

I am excited about our future here. It feels so right. I am finally where I always wanted to be. I have the life I dreamed.

I am thankful for the journey that brought you into my life. You are my sister and my friend. You accept me unconditionally. I feel your spirit and your energy and I know that you have changed my life for the better. Being friends with such a powerful, strong, amazing woman has helped me find more of that in myself. I am finally growing up, and you have contributed greatly to my growth.

When I read your words about how your ex made you feel, I know you have been through the fire too. It’s not something one wishes for, but once you emerge from the other side, you are powerful beyond measure because others can no longer make you feel like less. Some people act like their survival depends on crushing the spirits of others. I am not letting those people into my beautiful inner circle any more.

From The Notebook

Date:  ?  More than 6 months, maybe up to 18 months ago.

Start Small and Dream 🙂

Train your mind like you train your body. 

Learn to hack your weaknesses, to gain the upper hand on your shadow.

Find places where your inner saboteur is at work in your life, and how to fix it. 

The building is on fire and everyone is escaping. 

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Merry Christmas (AKA Celebrating the House of Lies)

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I’m definitely going to get hostile.

Christmas is not one of my favorite times.  It reminds me of the one time of the year when my family pulled its secretive, punitive, nauseating bullshit together to welcome the out of town family members that we only saw once a year.  We put on quite a show.

For a few days each year, ours was a bustling house filled with laughter and alcohol.  I was seduced by the merry-making, and all of the laughter and fun.  I believed these people loved us, and couldn’t wait to spend time with us each year.   I was hypnotized by my fathers magnetic family, and they did a wonderful job of keeping up the mirage of ‘family’.  In truth, these people rarely saw each other.  When I asked one of my 2 cousins what they remembered of our sadistic uncle, I found out that their mother had never even introduced them to him, even though they all lived in the same city.   How lucky for them.

Most of my life I thought these people were the best of friends and closest of families.  When I became an adult I realized I couldn’t have been further from the truth.  My whole life was littered with lies.

I feel a bit sick when I think of how much I put these people on a pedestal.  The same people who had to have realized there was something very wrong in our family.  More people in my life who pretended to love and care about me, but really only cared about keeping up appearances, and not rocking the boat.

Attending my own ‘family’ Christmas is a bitter pill.  Every time I spend time with the other members of the war I lived through in that house, I am reminded of the hypocrisy that surrounds us like a stink.  As long as everyone sticks to the agreed-upon topics of polite conversation, and paves a thick layer of sugary frosting over the reality of our ‘family’, I am furthering the duplicity, and choking on the bile of every polite word.   I am sick of the lies, and the tip-toe love that lives there.  The past is long gone, and for everyone else, it seems to have barely left a scratch.  For me, it remains a gaping, pus-filled wound.  I am just not okay with the bullshit anymore.

I have been IMPLODING for a year.  I have been in serious need of emotional support and my family has been completely MIA.  I did not end up with a dissociative identity disorder by accident.  I didn’t do it to myself.  It’s real fucking old, and it’s real fucking serious, and I would like to know why no one is the least bit concerned about HOW IT FUCKING HAPPENED?  I feel like I am living in the fucking twilight zone.

I know I am supposed to forgive and forget, but I am not feeling very forgiving this Christmas.  I don’t know if this is just part of the healing process, but it feels very angry and raw.  I feel let down and disappointed by so many people in my life.  I am happy to leave them in my past when I move from this province later next year, but for now, a part of me wants to feel this anger and fury.


Sliding down the rabbit hole


Fair warning.

In October 2013 I was looking for Halloween costumes with a friend of mine.  At the time, I had no idea of the shit storm I was about to sail into in life, and i was looking for something fun to wear to an annual party hosted by friends of mine.

I didn’t know what I was going to pick, but I knew it wasn’t going to be anything sexy or slutty.  A couple of years earlier we had attended the party dressed as Jack the Ripper and one of his victims (telling), and I had poured myself into an uncomfortable bustier that made me miserable for the entire evening.  I was going for comfort, not speed.

At the costume store, we goofed around and tried on a bunch of masks, taking photos as we went.  I began circling the evil clown masks.  I selected one that called to me.  When I tried on the mask, I felt oddly exhilarated.

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It was dark, and evil, and I had to have it.  I wanted to be ‘bad’ all of a sudden.

I had never chosen a costume this dark in my life, but suddenly I was intent on becoming the most disturbing clown I could imagine.  I rented a outfit and was fully engaged in bringing this disturbing character to life.  This behavior was completely outside of my usual norm.

On the night of the party, I packed an extra bag.  I had makeup-wipes, some makeup, and a change of clothing.  I instinctively knew I needed an ‘out’ if I changed my mind.

When I arrived at the party, all suited up, I was the embodiment of someone’s worst nightmare.

I'm on the left, with the killer glare.
I’m on the left, with the killer glare.

It was a very interesting social experiment.  Even though my friends knew it was me, they stayed away.  Strangers had no interest in introducing themselves. Most people avoided eye contact completely, and moved away if I joined their group to chat.

Inside that costume, I felt like the character.  I felt my eyes narrow, and my gaze linger coldly on the guests.  I was numb to their obvious discomfort.  I invited them to feel afraid. Another part of me was angry at the way people were avoiding me.  I am sure I was a very disturbing party guest for some.  There was a part of me that relished the discomfort I was causing.

I let that darkness surround me completely, and it was an experience I don’t have words for.  I was that character.  I hated everyone there when I was in that costume.

It was my first, and only foray into embodiment of evil.

I lasted about an hour.

I couldn’t continue to feel so outside of everyone else.  Showing people one of my darkest parts started to unnerve me.   I became physically uncomfortable, and went to the bathroom to remove my costume, and change back into the ‘me’ everyone knew.

I sometimes wonder if that wasn’t the beginning of my slippery slide into realizing that my mind was holding onto some very old secrets.

When I began to experience the first PTSD flashbacks, that clown mask in the basement taunted me.  I knew it was down there, and one day in late December, I was compelled to find it, and get it out of my house.  Throwing it in the garbage wasn’t enough.  Something in me demanded that it be burned, along with whatever ‘thing’ I uncovered in myself that night.  I think this was my first meeting with the Psycho, even if I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

I burned the shit out of that thing.
I burned the shit out of that thing.  It burned for a LONG time.

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