Friday, October 21, 2016

I had some real trouble getting to sleep last night.
Yesterday, the building that holds my art studio went up in flames. Firefighters couldn’t let me in there, but they were able to grab one large work-in-progress and assure me that all my stuff in containers should be fine. I took the painting home in the back of my van. It smells like smoke.
Like I said, I haven’t been up to see yet, but I figure my losses amount to a junky laptop, a new-ish printer, a whole stack of paper and canvases and boards for painting on. Most likely a few of my recently-finished works, but they’re not a huge loss.
I’ll keep finding ways of being creative, of making art, of adding to the beauty. I barely lost anything.
I have family who’ve got nothing to lose.
I’m talking about the Syrians, the Sudanese, the Somalians, the Iraqis – the Chibok, the Kaka’i, the Muslims, the Christians, the Yazidis – it doesn’t even make sense to separate these humans this way, because they’re all HUMANS like me. Family.
You know that gnawing feeling in your stomach when it’s been a while since your last meal? In your throat when you’re thirsty? In your limbs when the plans you made got cancelled or burned or soaked in firehose water, or you missed the bus?
I don’t have to keep on. You know where I’m going with this.
All I wanna say is, if you feel bad at all for me, please take a moment to give. $5 to a Human Rights non-profit (I know a good one). Print a poster for a cause. Share a campaign online. Encourage those who have intentionally stepped out of their comfortable homes and schedules and safety zones to make a difference in this world. Fund their work.
So we can sleep better tonight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

she told me to write this down

i've been meeting with a Professional Listener.

i need to hear myself say the words i think, which is kind of a big deal, because typically the words i think don't actually exist. they start as things i feel and dissolve from there. formulating feelings into words and then saying them out loud is a big deal. it takes assertiveness, and i'm not assertive.

i'm a mirror.

that's what i told my Professional Listener. i barely formulate words, and i don't formulate plans, and i don't formulate steps for arriving at plans. i'm alive and i live, and while i'm living i see shit that needs doing, so i get shit done.

i follow. i reflect. i'm a mirror.

my Professional Listener says that this is okay, as long as i don't get lost in it. "Me" isn't supposed to disappear.

who's Me?

i grew up in a family that was led around by a lot of religious people -- scratch that -- "religiosity people". since i'm a girl, they told me that God spoke to them and told me to trust them and told me that girls are meant to grow into ladies and told me that ladies are meant to be led into wifehood and told me that wives are meant to be led into motherhood and told me that mothers are meant to quietly raise children and tell them the Gospel.

and i did, and i do, and i read my Bible, too; but Jesus spoke to me there, too, and He never said any of that other stuff to Me.

i love my family, the wind on my face, the sun on my back, the smell of wet dirt, the way light filters through maple leaves and blades of grass, the things i find underwater, the way i feel when i run far or stand on my head or drink wine or dance to loud music or sing or be quiet or cuss a lot.

i spend a lot of time there.

i love Jesus and Christians and Agnostics and Atheists and Buddhists and Muslims and everyone else, too. i love the pain of helping people out of pain. i love relationships. i love to reflect. i love to make art. i love reflecting for others, to help them see.

i need to spend a lot of time there, too.

the last time i met with my Professional Listener, i left with a vague sense that it was time for me to meet Me. i felt that assertiveness was the path to Me and saw my lack of assertiveness reflected in my utter inability to win at chess.

i picked up a friend's invitation to play online chess. i played and played, hoping to kick-start some assertiveness. it took time and attention, but i figured it'd be worth the investment.

he'd send me screen-shots of moves i should have made, scrawled over with the words, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING".

i dunno. playing chess?

i gave yoga a shot, too. in the mornings, as a way to wake my body and greet the day. i have a girlfriend who does this. she does the shit out of it.

i'm just shitty at yoga.

i'm better at reflecting. my family and friends see Me and are beautiful -- i should try painting them, not being them. a lot of painful, lovely things are right in front of me. if i give them time and attention they'll become plans, and then those plans will become art.

art for Me.

art for others, to help them see.

this i assert: i'm becoming a better mirror.