art work

A couple of weeks ago, I got myself a pack of 10 canvases. Considering I haven't had much of a relationship with painting, lately, it was a bit of a weird choice to go so overboard with my purchase. They were cheap, and a series was calling me. When I finally spread out my materials, shut off my distractions, put on my paint clothes, and decided to let my paintbrush do the talking, I saw something that surprised me.  I was coming from a place of distress. 

It has been a struggle to openly admit that I'm tired of the world. The anger, the immaturity, the pussy hats, the fighting, the pointing fingers, the war, the competition for who is hurting the most. It's so tiresome, and I don't feel I have to be part of it on a daily basis to classify as caring. Happiness is a recipe we all want to get our hands on, yet it is bashed and trashed for being too much. It's not a competition. I've decided that if I can't control the sanity of the world, I can at least control my own. 

Since becoming a paid artist, the disconnect from work and art have come to blur my vision. For years now, I've been doing it in an entirely different way from what is natural to me. My skills haven't improved, my drive no longer exists, I'm following lists of instructions from someone else's vision, in some ways I'm even dumbing it down so far below my capabilities just to play it safe for what is acceptable. Art isn't about reading minds, or doing what you're told. At least not for me. Ask any artist about custom orders and they'll likely tell you the same story. So soon as we're asked for reason, we shut down. It's what I believe kills creativity to begin with.

I've struggled with seeing the value of my position, even though there are a number of incredible artists who I look up to.  I don't know how to put myself in a higher position, or even see myself as intelligent, or brave enough to firmly believe that what I have to offer has far more value than a marketed price tag. It's where my confidence falls short, where I don't trust even my own voice, and why I'm pushing harder to understand what it is that keeps us standing in our own way.  All at once, I'm discovering my true value. This is a push to move forward. 

This is still a growing practice, putting myself out there. I don't even know where I'm going with it. All I know is that a lot of struggles are going on under the surface, along with what is going on outside. It's not easy to keep up with, and I feel that now is the time to really find the strength to get through this. You are in more control than you are led to believe. 

I'm here to help you.


the art of healing

I feel we could all use some time to acknowledge our strengths. In this busy world, it often takes an actual effort to make time for ourselves; where it becomes too simple to look past all of those things that really matter. The world has been in a flip floppy place. Emotions are high, feelings are vulnerable, and the tension is thick. I'd say it's almost toxic to get too close to it right now, and so, I'm pulling at my own heart to hear it out, and heal. It's time.

If there's one thing I'm good at, it's healing. The downside is that I had to learn through some really unfortunate experiences. I've been told that I'm more optimistic than I allow myself to believe, because when things become a natural habit, we often forget that not everyone feels or believes or behaves the same. Optimism isn't an easy thing to hang onto, when life gets real, and throws a punch or two in your direction. We can get totally knocked off of our feet, and have no idea when we'll land. It's when I call upon my creativity, to map out the journey to get there. I suppose that's a gift I should be more grateful for. I don't know what I'd do without it.

It's why I want to share more. It's something I feel people can get some real closure from, to express in their own way; once we get rid of rationalizing and trying to understand everything. I'm a great over thinker, but I never block myself from feeling it out.  If I did, I likely wouldn't be drawing anymore. It's why I feel sort of sad when I hear people say that they "can't" draw, when it's really a matter of trying. I feel creativity is what keeps our hearts alive and happy. Look at how kids play with their imaginations. I'm pretty sure most of us were like that at some point. I don't believe in ever letting that go.

When my grandma died, it was probably the biggest life altering experience ever. I had no idea how I was going to go on without her, and sometimes, even after 20 years, I think of her and wish I could sit at her kitchen table and just chat for hours. It's what we did best. When that was gone, it was absolutely like I'd lost such a part of myself that would never return. Loss has an incredible impact on so much around us, never realizing how much it takes from us, as we move forward as different people. This is life, and it's not easy to accept at all times. I just like to remember that I've gotten through it, and to a better place since then. I didn't think it was possible. I have my art to thank for that. It literally painted a picture of everything I was feeling underneath the surface. That's the beauty.. You get to see it all in front of you as you let it all out into the open. What's more special is that it's all yours to know, see, feel, and understand. It sort of builds a special relationship all over again, that no one but you will ever know.

I painted pictures of trees. It's something my grandma once said she'd like to come back as, if given the chance; so she could continue to provide for her family. We never planted a tree, but I chose to look at my surroundings as a comforting presence to bring her closer to me, for my own healing. The more I painted trees, the more I accepted that this was the shape she would forever remain. It's of course not the same as who I remember, but something I can go to if I ever need to get through those lumps of coping with life and death. It closes those gaps of distance that we have no control over. I am so appreciative for all of my tree paintings. I think it might be time to make another one, just to see how much has changed. I'm sure my grandma would be proud of who I am today.

I use my creativity to get through personal challenges. When I was heading to the island, in 2015, I drifted into isolation, and yet my art went into outer space. I realized my fears and curiosities of the unknown, and let it be a part of me. I was moved by Bowie's Space Oddity because the words inspired me to take the leap into an unfamiliar place, just to see what I could discover for myself. I will never forget the drive, and hearing that first strum of the guitar to start me on my journey. An image came to mind, my thoughts exploded, and before I could rest on the first night I arrived, I was in my sketchbook, recording these thoughts. This will always be a moment in life that I'll value forever. It's when I changed entirely, and found who I am. I sometimes still don't know who that is, but I know if I need guidance, I can pick up a pen and see for myself. 

Art is an act of expression, and it speaks in many volumes. It can come in the form of a painting, drawing, a song, a sculpture, a poem.. endless mediums that bring an incredible amount of healing and emotional discovery. I hate to admit that when shit gets bad, I look at it as an opportunity to make great things. It's like the Trump stuff. We're all sick of it, we're all fearful; but we can laugh for a moment at someone's comical depiction of him; because we need that relief from our feelings. It doesn't mean we don't care, it's just a reminder that we can find laughter in the face of so much negativity and in some ways terror. I just don't believe we have to be in that thick of emotion, in order to be a part of society. It's why I said that when Trump was elected, the world is going to have some amazing art to share. 

I'm looking to express, and practice more of my strengths; because the point of this post was for my own personal reminder. Healing takes time, and I believe we all go through moments of absolute despair and frustration. If you are in need of some relief from the real world, pick up a pen, sit down at your piano, dig out those scrap pieces of fabric, scissors, ink, a new journal for your thoughts. Don't deny your creativity the time to speak. If you're hurt, alone, sad, broken, beat; now is the time to pull out your finest.You know you have it in you, and so do I. There is so much to share with the world around you. It needs more love. 

I'm here for you.


the sinking horse

A little while back, I decided to illustrate something for self motivation. Much like how people use inspirational quotes, I rely on imagery and art. I'm inspired by stories and character; and the emotions that surround them. When I first saw this scene, from The NeverEnding Story, I remember feeling -once I got over how sad I was about the beautiful white horse getting dirty- that when it comes to personal struggles, sometimes you have to let the horse sink. It doesn't mean you're selfish, it doesn't mean you've failed, and it never for a second means that you don't care. Just sometimes, you have to realize which position you're in, before it's too late to ask for help.

This image makes me consider my own personal struggles. I've become more honest with myself when it comes to my insecurities, my frustrations with anxiety and depression, and how my self esteem honestly blows. I don't like to put that stuff out there often, because then I feel the need to over explain, so that I don't get emails from people who think I'm in a bad place with myself. I don't need to hear that I "don't need to feel that way", or that it's stupid for me to even be insecure at all. Being told your emotions aren't right is where the struggle begins, and I'd say that for many years, I've been the role of the horse; because I didn't know how to ask for help.

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

A few weeks ago, I fell on the ice and broke a rib. When it first happened, I was pissed at myself for being so stupid. Who falls on the ice? Why weren't you paying attention? How do you manage to make things worse for yourself at all times? It became less about the accident itself, and more about my personal downfalls. Pity party central, actually. Where do you expect to take yourself, when you only expect yourself to fail? It's exhausting. Don't be the horse. There really is no need. 

It takes a lot to know when it's time to let go. At least for me. I always try to work things out, to gain understanding, to somehow balance everything in order to say it's just fine. Taking on too much at once, can really result in too much weight to carry, which eventually leads us to the failure we've all been trying desperately to avoid. This whole experience, and this image, have taught me so much about myself, and how unnecessary it is to play both roles, at all times. As a good friend once told me, "just because you can do it yourself, doesn't mean you have to." Know your limits, reach out when it's needed, and you'll never be the sinking horse.

It's okay to ask for help.


anxiety in pictures

I missed over a week of writing, because my anxiety had other ideas. Don't ask me what I'm anxious about. I don't have an answer; and yet I have a million. Anxiety doesn't want me to make up my mind, or form an answer with confidence. Anxiety has its own ideas. Far too many to keep up with, and so many places to put them.

When I get anxious, I make a habit of drawing it out in front of me. It comes out in the form of a monkey. My feelings toward monkeys are similar to how most people react toward spiders. I really don't want one in my house, near, or touching me. (To be honest, I personally don't mind spiders.)

Anxiety likes to create a presence. It wants you to feel like someone is waiting for you. It could be one person, or it could be the entire universe. Likely, it's the universe. Imagine the heartache when you let them all down. It's almost as bad as Alderaan.

Anxiety doesn't make decisions, yet it makes them all at once. Just as it wants to fixate on what is already behind, it wants to anticipate everything that lies ahead. It will pick, poke, and scratch at all of the things it can to distract itself from moving forward. Anxiety doesn't like forward. 

And yet, anxiety is in such a hurry to get there. It will run in every direction, in hopes it will get there safely, and on time. Not knowing where "there" even is, it is on a mission to find it. It anticipates so much at once, it takes effort to slow it down even for a moment. Anxiety doesn't like to rest. 

One thing you should know about anxiety is that it isn't a fan of the moment. There's not so much to see or do, when you look at what is presently in front of you. Nowhere to run. Not back, not forth, not forward, or behind. It's why meditation helps when anxiety is high. Meditation is a practice of being in the moment. You breathe and become present with now. Anxiety doesn't like that, and that's totally fine. No one asked for its opinion.

Even when things are going good, anxiety will want to come in and sort out what doesn't need sorting. Truth is, change of any kind (good or bad) takes time to adjust to, and you just need to be fair. It doesn't have to happen in a certain way, at a certain time, all at once, in the air, in the sky, in a parade, or in the grocery store; no matter how hard you try to chase it, push it, pull it, understand it, accept it, dismiss it, to see it for yourself. STOP. Breathe. Be fair. All that you can control is this very moment. And when you realize that.... 

No monkey. 


this truth of mine

I like to write about my emotions, because it puts things out in front of me to see. I feel I've done a lot of reflecting lately, because it gives me a certain confidence in realizing that change is possible when you firmly believe that what you deserve in life is better than what you're allowing yourself to see. Happiness is a funny thing, and it feels incredibly possessive.. but the truth is that it is entirely yours to make. And you don't have to be scared or defensive about sharing it.

I feel I've become so different in the past year, because I learned how to offer myself exactly what I needed. I write about this so often because it's really a massive discovery that I didn't even know existed until I got up and tried it. It makes me laugh, and sometimes it makes me cry. I mourn often, the sad truth, that I didn't allow myself to see my actual value for a very long time. I didn't believe in it because I chose to let my outside sources dictate it for me. There's this weird blur between confidence and arrogance, and the key is to not care what others think of it. It's all about choices. You can't control the choices others make, but you can control your own. 

I've had my fair share of name calling along the way, and those things hurt the most. Even to see someone label me as "holier than thou" was a super laughable situation, because I realize that people choose to see you the way they want to see you. It has nothing to do with you at all. Especially when the internet is used so loosely as an emotional dumping ground for approval and acceptance. I no longer express my emotions on social media platforms, when it's something that could lead to misunderstanding or question. People are going to read your emotions, and make them their own. It's partially why I struggle with writing this blog. Truth is, this is about me.. and that's why I'm here. It's your own choice to read it, and take what you want from it. Just maybe, for a minute, realize that it's not always about you. I take my own advice with this, as I accept the multiple losses around me. Everyone and everything is susceptible to change. 

I'm still learning how to maintain my confidence without feeling it's something I have to hold back, because someone might have a problem with it or twist it into something ugly. The truth is, someone is always going to have a problem with your successes; especially if you make it look easy. There's something weird about the expression of happiness and how it is received in society.. especially on the internet. The amount of people that I've seen/heard grumbling about someone posting something happy, with an "okay I get it" or "I'm so sick of hearing about it!" It's why trolls exist. Happiness puts us at a distance from those who don't know how to join it. It's why it can often be seen as a threat, because there's a sensation of leaving something behind. The sad reality in that is you're likely leaving behind what you didn't need in the first place 

Part of embracing my own happiness involved letting go of some of my deepest, darkest struggles and my most cynical beliefs; which to be honest, were not very kind at all. I felt guilty for being alive, and for being a woman, because of my examples. Because of those examples, I also believed that it was impossible for any man to love anyone past themselves.. unless of course you have something they want; which likely involves your body and not so much your mind or your own voice. I present to you, my daddy issues! Really, this is the only example I grew into believing, and it was often supported by other people who chose to hurt me along the way. Two father figures that treated me like an absolute waste of breathing space. I was never human to either of them, and they took control by abusing and abandoning me. This is not at all being read in a voice of pity. This actually presented me with the challenge of discovering my own personal strength and beauty. I heavily value my experiences for their lessons. Even if they're not the happiest ones to put out there. 

I chose to keep this pattern of doubting my value (with men) through my own actions, because it was easier to prove myself right than it was to prove myself wrong. I could get super deep into how much this affected my relationships with men, and how I often treated them far better than I treated myself. I gravitated to distance, rejection, arrogance, deceit, and full out neglect. I recall some of the things that were even said to my face, and I laugh out loud at how absurd it was to even allow it... or in most cases, defend it. I was always proving myself right from my experiences; that I was worth nothing. One man told me he didn't love me anymore, on my own birthday. Another said he liked my face better when it had makeup on because my natural face was "weird" to look at. I even had one man flatly say to me, that he was using me for sex, and couldn't put his feelings toward me into words.. because there were no feelings at all. I allowed it. I smiled. It was cute. I took it as the best I could get. The best I could allow myself to receive. It really is absolutely profound to me, to prove to myself that all of the pain I didn't want to keep feeling, was actually in my control. 

Habits and beliefs are tricky to break, but I'm happy to say that I'm seeing love in a very new light. I reach out to the men who offer me the right love and support; and they continuously prove me wrong.. or I should say right.. for knowing that love is something that does exist in this world, and that I'm an important part of it. It's why my journey to the island will always be treasured, because it was a time when I learned how to get out, rid myself of what was only holding me back, break those patterns and beliefs, and to gain closure with myself through love and support toward no one else but me. I let go of so much heartache, and came back with even more to give ...and receive... and believe that I'm absolutely worthy of it. It feels really amazing to see it in such a different shape. It's so honest and simple.. and eeeek, it scares me in the best way. I can only hold it tight and be thankful that I did the work to see things for what they are. Confidence in my own value is a constant effort to maintain; because change takes time. Patience is a virtue, and I'm learning that I can only go at my own pace. Some will follow, others won't. It's okay to push forward and into a happier place, so long as you're not leaving yourself behind.

I smile at my experiences, despite the sadness that sprinkles some of those memories, and I let them go, one by one. I have held on to so much that wasn't mine, and I handed it back to the source by leaving it where it belongs. It isn't always easy to accept it, because it involves severing ties to relationships that I really wish I could maintain and share as I find my happier place. My father, and even some of the people I once loved and shared my life with; I wish each one of them well, and I smile warmly at the sensation of being free from ever losing sight of who I really am. Men are capable of love, and in such a remarkably strong yet gentle fashion. The key to finding this sort of love is to lead by example, by giving exactly what you desire for yourself, to yourself, before anyone else. That's what happiness is. If you don't like it, you can stay where you are.