It’s officially my birthday weekend because on Sunday March 1st, I turn 30.
Feel free to buy me presents.
Or just say hi.
It’s officially my birthday weekend because on Sunday March 1st, I turn 30.
Feel free to buy me presents.
Or just say hi.
It’s 4:30am and I’ve been working on this piece all night, hoping to have most of it finished by Saturday night when my friends are coming over to celebrate my birthday.
So here she is so far…she looks a little grotesque in my opinion, but I kinda like her that way…
The pictures don’t really do her justice. For instance, her face is shaded a lot better than the pics show and her nightgown is textured and bubbled, sort of like seersucker. Because her nightgown is made of mulberry paper, which is both fibrous and porous, when I add the red ink for the blood, it should, theoretically, bleed into the paper like crazy.
The Adirondack alcohol inks I bought to use as blood turned out to be the wrong colour palette (dammit!) so I’m going to be using Derwent’s Inktense pencils instead. Honestly, I’m not too sure how they’re going to work but I figure if they don’t do what I want them to do, I can probably make do with paint, water and glaze.
Anyway, that’s where she’s at. My back is killing me from being hunched in this chair drawing, colouring, cutting and pasting all night, so I think it’s almost time for bed.
Sometimes I really wonder what the hell is wrong with my brain.
So, I of course signed up for my friend Suzi Blu’s “Rodeo Girl” workshop because I really wanted to see what this “muddy effect” was all about, just in case I ever found a practical use for it. Now, I didn’t really have any intentions of making my own “rodeo girl”, which was kind of the point of the class and a lot of the women have been doing, I just wanted to see how Suzi did the technique.
And here’s where I worry about my mind. I see a lovely, muddied rodeo girl with a pretty skull balloon and tissue paper stars and a pink bunny and as I’m watching Suzi explain the techniques I’m thinking, “Wow, this would make for a really awesome abortion!” *head desk*
So, to refresh your memories, here’s what Suzi’s rodeo girl looks like in all her cute, shabby, muddy glory:
And here’s a sample sketch of what my version is going to look like:
I see “cute little rodeo girl”…. and think “girl who’s given herself a coat hanger abortion and is now hemmoraging to death as the cat watches”. I mean, I know my brain’s warped, but to be fair, I saw the technique with the muddy effect and the papery bits at the bottom and was reminded of the 40’s or 50’s and I’ve been on kind of a feminism kick over the past month so that’s just where my mind went. If all goes as planned, I think the piece is going to be awesome, although I’ve already had to do some improvisation I’m not totally happy with because I couldn’t find what I was looking for at Micheal’s. With this technique, you use patterned tissue paper, in Suzi’s case, stars, but I found the selection at our local Micheal’s pretty limited and had to make due with what they had. SO this is a call to arms! If any of you get any presents wrapped in patterned tissue paper, SAVE IT FOR ME! Then let me know and I’ll gladly give you my address so you can send it along!
At Micheal’s I found the other things I was looking for for the piece though, and that made me happy. For example, her nightgown is going to be made out of fibrous white mulberry paper with real lace trim and the blood is going to be made from these really neat alcohol inks made by Adirondack. In theory, the mulberry paper should suck up the ink like crazy and make it “bleed”, causing the blood to (hopefully) look pretty realistic. Oddly enough, we also found a mini metal coat hanger in the scrapbook section and I paid $7.00 for the goddamn thing because it happened to be holding a onesie in a baby sticker kit. You probably know the kind (Jolee’s Boutique), they use real material and snaps and stuff? Anyway, I got one and the piece is going to be fabulous.
The whole time I was planning it though, I kept laughing to myself because I really am just a perverse individual. I think I’ve told this story before, but I’m going to tell it again: In grade 8 I had this art teacher named Mr. Byers who was a total cocksnack to anyone who had even the tiniest bit of talent and for whatever reason, he had a special hatred for me. I remember one class in particular where we we doing a papier mache project with chicken wire and the assignment was to create a sculpture that was a play on words.
During the brainstorming session with my group, I suggested that we make a sculpture of a bear with his hands over his groin and call it “Bear Naked” and as I suggested this, Mr. Byers had been walking right behind me, heard it and gave me this tongue lashing right in front of the class – and I’ll never forget this – about how “everything [I] do is socially unacceptable and [I] will amount to nothing”.
And here I am, half a lifetime later, painting bleeding uteri, miscarriages and abortions. But guess what Mr. Byers? I’m sellin’ ’em, so fuck you. :o)
Oh and one day shortly after that, some of my friends who were also fed up with him, stapled his coat to his coat rack with a staple gun….repeatedly. Like, there was no saving it.
Anyway, it is true though, that a lot of what I do is “socially unacceptable” and I truly do think that there’s something wrong…or maybe not wrong I guess, but different, about my thought process. When I started painting, which was only about 5 years ago, my main goal was to take the things my mother had taught me about acrylic paint and traditional folk art and bastardize the hell out of it. I liked making acrylic paint and mediums do things they weren’t supposed to do. I liked using the ONLY technique my mother ever taught me, called “floating”, to highlight the inflammation inside a menstruating uterus or to create a white glow around a miscarrying one.
There’s just something in my brain that sees or learns a new technique and automatically thinks of perverse applications of it. Or I see pretty things and I automatically want to make my own ugly versions. I’ve got this damn rebellious streak in me that I’m just completely at the mercy of when it comes to art. Like, even when I was doing “Les Petite Dolls” (the first Suzi Blu class where I learned how to paint pretty girls), one of my pieces was “Ennui”. Everyone else was doing inspiring, beautiful pieces with traditional folk arty words like “believe” and “dream” and all of these inspirational phrases like, I dunno, “The Earth laughs in flowers!” and I create a monotone piece with a word that means “intense boredom”. I mean, come on, that’s not normal, right? To just automatically stick my chin out and do the opposite of everyone else, probably just for the sake of doing the opposite of everyone else?
I dunno. I dunno what that says about me, but I’ve been that way my whole life and it’s that characteristic Mr. Byers was talking about the day he went off on me. He saw it. Unfortunately he didn’t see it as something wonderful or exceptional or unique. Instead he gave me shit for it and tried to berate me until I saw the error of my ways and conformed, which I obviously never did. In fact I’m pretty sure that the older I get, the worse that characteristic comes through, I think because I can get away with it. I’m not 14 anymore and I can simply tell you to “fuck off” if you don’t like it. Don’t look at it if you don’t like it. Don’t buy it if you don’t like it. I’m gonna create it regardless.
And I think I’m just sick of seeing the same crap within the folk art genre. It’s always pretty girls and flowers and butterflies and sisters and best friends and quilts and quirky, inspirational sayings and while I get that a significant portion of the folk art buying population wants to hang that kinda shit on their walls (hell, even I do!) or on their kids’ walls, I grew up living, breathing and eating that shit every day of my life and I’m just so goddamn sick of it. (Especially anything with a country theme. *gag*) Again, don’t get me wrong here, I think what my mother does is BEAUTIFUL and I think she should charge a fortune and I think what Suzi Blu does is GORGEOUS and she’s a natural born teacher, but I’m a natural born trouble maker and I wanna stir shit up. I have the strongest desire to just, I dunno…subvert the dominant paradigm. It’s almost as strong as my desire to have children or get married was, it’s that big of a force in my life.
I really wish I could write about the series that I’m going to be working on after I finish “The Abortion”, but I’m so scared of people stealing my genius ideas that I just can’t. These ones are way too special. What I will say though, is that anyone in IT or any kind of computer science is probably going to dig them (well, two of the four anyway) and I’m painting them specifically for my homegirls in those fields.
I’m going to be treating these ones a little differently than previous works though. Right now I’m thinking that the originals aren’t going to be for sale, at least not right away, and that – pending I get this arts grant I applied for – I’m going to just sell prints of them in an Etsy shop or something. The original paintings will be 16 inches high and 12 inches wide and I’d like the prints to retain their original size, but I won’t know if that’s possible until I get them done and actually go and talk to a printer. I’m also hoping to get these ones professionally photographed because sadly, my skills in that department are way too subpar and I want these to be perfect because I believe in the ideas behind them so strongly.
I also think that once they’re done, I’m going to post pictures of them here on my site and take pre-orders for the prints and do a limited, hand signed and numbered run based on general interest. After that I’m hoping to get the originals into a gallery somewhere, maybe not to sell, but to at least show off.
So this is my plan.
Okay, it’s almost 8am, I’ve been up most of the night and I think it’s time to give my brain a rest and find something else to do.
It’s currently 2:18am and I have Gogol Bordello playing pretty loudly and I seem to be in a much better mood that I was yesterday. This is in part to getting a crapload of sleep today, talking to Blake until 5am yesterday morning, internet friends coming through with birthday presents so I don’t feel like a total loser, my friend Raya subsidizing my subscription to the Toronto Star because she’s amazing like that and having a good, productive meeting on a project I’m working on with Suzi Blu and some lovely ladies I’ve met through her Ning community.
Another thing that has helped is that I have my friend Jesse back and last night he and Alex came over and we just hung out, watched trashy TV and Battlestar Galactica and all in all had a grand ol’ time.
Now what I mean by having my friend Jesse “back” is that, of you’ll recall, in September me, him and his now ex-girlfriend Jen had a falling out due to them pissing me off by getting a dog when they weren’t ready to care for one and also got it at what I would consider a backyard breeder instead of a shelter. It’s a long story, but if you’re interested, feel free to dig through my Live Journal archives for August or September and catch up.
This week Jesse and Jen parted ways and he moved back home and as a result, we’ve picked up our friendship pretty much where it left off, minus our mutual love of marijuana and cigarettes. This makes me really happy because right now, I think Jesse and I kinda need each other and I missed that bald motherfucker, so I’m glad he’s in our lives again. Plus, the kids adore him and were happy about the reunion too.
Here are a couple of shots I took last night of my dog Lucky being a total suckface with Alex and Jesse:
(Alex is the girl, Jesse is the…..girly boy.)
I know this “high” is only temporary, it’ll maybe only even last through to tonight, but I’ll take what I can get. Tonight I took advantage of my good mood and extra energy and put the first coat of varnish on Wes’ painting finally. It’ll be dry by tomorrow and I’ll do the second coat and when that’s dry on Monday, I’ll do the final coat of light varnish on the sides and it’ll be ready to hang on his wall.
Anyway, none of this is what I wanted to write about tonight. Tonight I wanted to write about agoraphobia and my plans to overcome it, as prompted by Blake and I’s tearful 5 hour discussion on the matter yesterday. There are so many new people coming to my site these days that I feel like I need to put down some backstory and explain who I used to be and who I am now.
Here are the facts:
And I think that covers just about everything, although I’m sure some people would probably add to that list.
I get sad a lot, and frustrated, thinking about the fearless, independent person I used to be and the scared, nervous headcase I am now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been out of my damn mind since forever and I’m as bipolar as they come, but the agoraphobia is something different. It keeps me not just from living my life, but from having one at all.
Our theory on why it even happened at all is pretty simple. As a child, I took care of myself a lot and survived a lot and then as a teenager, I had to make my own way and take care of myself. And then after that I was a mom and it wasn’t easy and I did it while surviving an extremely abusive, fucked up relationship. After that, it was single mom time and getting through college all by myself. Do you see what might of happened there? The fact was, all throughout my life shit got piled on me and “losing it” was never an option because I was in survival mode. But when I met and married my husband, suddenly there was someone to help me carry these burdens and at the same time, I had a little more headspace to examine the previous 22 years of my life and fully absorb everything that happened. And it fucked me up.
Suddenly Blake could do the groceries, so I didn’t have to. Blake could handle the bills so I didn’t have to. Blake could go out and get take-out food so I didn’t have to. We lived in a very rural area where you had to drive to go anywhere and since Blake either always had the car for work or was willing to acquire the things we need, I never left the house. And after a while it just became easier to stay in the house where I couldn’t get in any trouble, where I couldn’t spend money, where I wouldn’t waste gas, where there didn’t have to be any worry on Blake’s part that I was seeing someone else, where if the car broke down, it wouldn’t be my fault and I wouldn’t have to deal with it. Where I didn’t have to interact with other parents at Sparks or my kid’s teachers, where I didn’t have to go to the birthday parties or school plays.
But back then, it was a choice. Somehow, and I don’t even know how, it stopped being a choice and suddenly the idea of leaving the house was scary. And much to my surprise, one day I realized that I could no longer do it. I remember the day well. Blake had won tickets for us to go see Metallica and on the day of the concert I found myself unable to get dressed and move my feet towards the door, so I sat on our bed and cried instead. It took Blake about 20 minutes to talk me into going, which made us late for the concert so I missed seeing the Deftones. The whole time we were at the show, all I could think about was getting back home and it got to the point where I don’t even remember the show at all except that I was there and didn’t want to be. I know I wore my purple Paul Frank polar bear pajama bottoms and a black tank top though, which is what I’d slept in the night before.
After that, we moved to the town where we live now, called Elmvale, which is very very small and has a population of only 1700 people. To be fair, this town is exactly what I wanted when we were looking to buy our first home, but once we moved and I realized how unlike the locals I was and the fact that I was now 2 hours away from everything and everyone I’ve ever known, the agoraphobia worsened.
Then I had my psychotic break and was hospitalized for 10 days. It would be a year later that I was diagnosed with biploar 1, generalized anxiety and agoraphobia by the shrink at the mental health centre I go to every month. Then came two years of psychiatric medication hell, which I’ve done my best to chronicle both in this blog and my Live Journal.
I’m so sick of telling that story. I’m so sick of telling people that I was the product of a teen pregnancy. I’m tired of telling people about why I was a young mother myself. I’m tired of writing about pretty much everything I’ve just written about and I’ve decided that after this post, I’m never going to write about them again. If you want to know the nitty gritty details, that’s what Live Journal archives are for.
I’ve always said that my agoraphobia felt like I was in a cocoon, that so many fucked up things have happened that I just needed time to rest, regroup and eventually grow and I feel that it’s finally time to turn into a butterfly.
I’m going to be 30 in exactly one week and thus begins a new chapter of my life. Do you know that tonight I found some new wrinkles under my eyes when I smile? I swear they weren’t there a week ago. Even my body is showing signs that it’s time to move on and become a new and improved version of my former self. And while the prospect scares the absolute fucking SHIT out of me, I’m also excited and I feel somewhat fortunate that I have the opportunity to start building my life from scratch, exactly how I want it.
As I mentioned, Blake and I had a long talk about all of this last night, mostly in regards to my insecurities about being productive, having value and contributing to both our family and the world at large.
My immersion therapy begins once the weather starts getting warmer and it begins by walking to the end of our driveway every day to get the paper. Ideally I’m going to adjust my sleep schedule and make it part of my routine to do this around 11am or noon. Then I’m going to read the newspaper while I have some sort of breakfast – BEFORE I check my e-mail, BEFORE I check my Live Journal’s friends list, BEFORE I hit up Twitter, before I do any of that.
My next step is similar to the above, except my goal is to have some sort of breakfast inside and read the rest of the newspaper on the couch we have under the carport outside. Where people can see me. Where I’m sort of sheltered, but also exposed if anyone were to walk by.
After that, it’s to do all of the above, then do internet stuff, then take Lucky for a walk to the end of the block and back. I may not do this every day, I do have pain often and some days it does rain, especially in the spring, but it’s going to be something that I’m going to do for as long as it takes for it to be no big deal.
Then comes the big step. I walk to the end of the driveway to get the paper, I come inside, I make myself a sandwich and pack it up and put it in my new bag along with the sections of the paper I like the most, my cell phone, my camera, my Nintendo DS, my sketchbook, my journal, my notebook and whatever book I’m reading at the time. (It’s a big bag!) Then I take a deep breath and Lucky and I walk down to the next block where there’s a park with a stage for outdoor music, but at the back of this park, there’s also a path with a river that leads to a bench in the middle of a garden maintained by the town’s horticultural society. The bench has a plaque and is dedicated to someone, but I’ve ony seen it once so I don’t know who. A couple I think, though. It is this bench that I’m going to make my own. It is here where I’m going to lie Lucky up and share my lunch with him while I read the newspaper or do the crossword or sodoku and every day I’m going to try to stay at the bench longer and longer.
But my plans go even further than that. If you go down the path, past the bench, there’s a clearing where the river opens up and there’s a bridge over it. Black squirrels run around everywhere there and the horticultural society plants all kinds of flowers there. If I were to go further along the path, which I don’t plan on doing, I would eventually come to a park for kids, with playground equipment, in a neighbourhood.
It is my intent to not only be okay with doing all of this, but to document it all through pictures and videos and post it all on this very site, because that’s pretty much what I do.
After I come home from these journeys, I intend to watch Oprah and make art and then after dinner edit pictures and video and make my blogs posts. This is how I want my life to go, at least in the beginning.
Once I become more comfortable in being by myself, in public and Lucky’s training (he has separation anxiety and takes off if you leave him alone), I plan on exploring this town a little more and photographing what I can, like the homeless man we have who’s probably the most amazing homeless man you’ve ever seen. Also? There’s this shed behind the hair salon where about 30 stray cats live that all the kids play with on their way home from school. I’ve never seen it myself by my daughter’s told me about it and I wanna see. There’s also a particular alleyway where high school kids like to sneak smokes that in my head sounds like a fabulous place to take pictures.
I would also like to be confident enough to be able to treat myself to lunch in one of our town’s restaurants and maybe even getting to know some of the locals.
In the summer I’m home with the kids and don’t feel comfortable going anywhere with them, so I’m going to take care of my garden, which, as I wrote about earlier this week, I was afraid to do last summer (seeds are coming!) and move my newspaper/breakfast activities to my front porch which is more exposed and prone to neighbour aggro, which is one of my fears.
And that’s about as far as I can see right now. I’m not sure what fall is going to bring, but I would like to be able to go to the post office and the pharmacy to pick up my own packages and drugs so Blake doesn’t have to do it, but I don’t know if I’ll be that comfortable with things yet. We’ll see.
What Blake and I talked about all last night, as I said, are my fears of being productive, having value and contributing to both our family and the world at large. I feel like it’s selfish and unproductive to sit in the park all afternoon and do something leisurely. I feel like it’s selfish to go to a restaurant and have lunch while there’s perfectly good food at home and my kids and husband are brown bagging it. (Even though I’d be using my own money from paintings, it’s not really about money anyway.) But then Blake pointed out that it’s just as “selfish” and less productive to sit in this house and basically do nothing but bitch about the fact that I can’t leave the house on the internet. Blogging, he says, does contribute to the world at large, he’s seen some of the e-mails I get that basically say that, and he says that me being in a better mood and being inspired is contributing to the betterment of our family and also the betterment of my art and writing.
I asked him what kind of life he envisioned for me one year from now, five years from now, 15 years from now and he said that all he wants for me is to have the adventures I’m prone to having when I actually decide to step out of Sunnyland and grace the real world with my presence. And he thinks that those adventures will only get bigger as I grow, which I agree with.
So, in a nutshell, it’s time to live life and today, I’m kinda psyched about it. Tomorrow I’ll probably be back to being a moody bitch, worried about my birthday and my upcoming surgery, but for tonight I’m okay and I’m going to take full advantage of it.
And with that, I’m off.
I did not know that. Fitting, I guess, that I’m having my laparoscopy on the 11th then.
I learned that fact from this blog: Endometriosis: the silent life sentence.
I’m going to be 30 in 9 days and due to that and the fact that I can’t seem to make art right now because of winter depression that apparently no amount of drugs can help, I need STUFF to retain my sanity and feel loved.
There. I said it.
Truly, I’m going out of my fucking mind this week and it’s only going to get worse for like, the next three weeks to a month or so. I feel completely hopeless and worthless and scared. PMS is not helping the situation, nor is the fact that I’ll be on the rag for my birthday.
I am terrified of my upcoming surgery (March 11th) even though I’ve done it three times before. The times before though, I knew and liked my doctor and it was in a state-of-the-art hospital. This time I’m being butchered by Midland’s biggest douche in a very small hospital. I used to be able to lay on the couch for 3 or 4 days and just watch TV but I can’t do that anymore, which is why there are so many books and movies on my wishlist.
I’m also sort of – just a little bit – excited about the prospect of reading books in this secret park that’s down the street from me this spring, even though the prospect scares the crap out of me as much as it excites.
Last night I woke Blake up at 2am in tears because I couldn’t do the steps involved to have a shower and he had to spend almost an hour talking me through it. That’s a hard thing to admit, but there it is all the same.
Jesse and I are friends again, which is good and I’m happy about that, but he just broke up with his girlfriend of (I think) 3 years and needs me to be a good friend and I feel like in my current state I’m totally failing and that makes me feel like shit. Tomorrow he and my friend Alex are coming over, pretty much because we’re all fucked and need each other, but to be perfectly honest, I’d much rather lay in bed in the dark and not deal with anything. I’m afraid I’m not going to be very good company, but I always think that when I’m like this and between the four of us, I’m betting we’ll all have a good time even if I’m apprehensive about it. (Oh btw, Alex, Blake’s picking you up after work.)
Too much is going on right now. I got involved in a project with some women I met on the internet and there’s a meeting with them on Saturday night that’s probably going to be several hours long. Tomorrow there’s social hour with Jesse and Alex. Tonight there was social hour with just Jesse, although I pretty much ignored him and watched Grey’s Anatomy because I’m a bad friend. (He & Blake played Guitar Hero so it’s probably okay.) Last weekend was pretty much ruined by my dad and my neighbour, which is a really long story and probably none of your business.
I have so much to express that I’m getting headaches that border on migraines, yet no motivation to actually express them. I need money, therefore I need to either sell the paintings I currently have for sale or paint new ones that will actually sell, but I have no ideas for those. I only have ideas for paintings that I don’t want to sell, that I want to make prints of instead, but that doesn’t help me with money now and is all dependent on the arts grant I applied for a few months ago.
I haven’t subscribed to the Toronto Star yet because I kind of think we can’t afford it. When I originally did the math, I read the fine print wrong and it turns out that it was only $4 and change per week for the month of February but after that it was more than $6 per week. I don’t think we can do that and it bums me out. Blake says we can, but I dunno. I already feel like I cost our family too much as it is, that I’m this walking, talking money pit and subscribing to the newspaper will probably just make me feel like a bigger financial burden. I don’t sell enough paintings to pay for the subscription myself.
I was really looking forward to doing the crossword and reading the arts section in the secret park by my house. :o/
I still haven’t varnished Wes’ painting and I have no excuse for that except…I can’t even fucking get myself into the shower and dressed afterwards at the moment, varnish is much more difficult.
The cat peed in our bedroom but I can’t find where.
There is so much crap on my desk I don’t even know what to do. It’s making me clausterphobic though, but at the same time, there are too many steps to solve the problem so I just take Ativan for the anxiety instead. It’s just easier that way.
So that’s my life right now. I’m sad. I’m really fucking sad. And I’m probably going to be like this for at least another 3 weeks, which just makes me even more sad, so I might as well wallow in it because there’s no getting out.
I need a break so bad.
I don’t want to turn 30 in 10 days.
I’m afraid I’m unloved.
I wonder how many calories are in pills, since I pretty much live on them.
I’m scared to have surgery.
I’m terrified of getting better.
But I’m tired of being broken.
My brain is fucking exhausted.
And I don’t know what to do anymore.
As I’ve mentioned about a billion times before, my mom’s an artist too. I really like a lot of her new stuff, so I thought I’d pimp her out a little bit.
This is her latest creation, it’s a chair.
For more/bigger pics of it, go to her Facebook group.
This is the matching table. Bigger pictures also available on her Facebook group.
These are birdhouses made out of antique teapots by my mom’s boyfriend, John, which my mom then hand-painted. They are sitting on the chair pictured above.
This chair matches my kitchen table and was given to me for Xmas. I now have 3 chairs to match my kitchen table. Next year I should have 4. :o)
This is a chair my mom did for someone. I think it was commissioned, but I could be wrong on that.
Lilac table with matching lamp. Better pictures of this are in the Facebook group too.
Crow chair and serving tray. There’s an end table that matches this, I think.
More crows, including “crowspins” (on the basket).
So, on the Suzi Blu forums there’s a thread where everyone’s showing off their art spaces and for a while there it was pretty much making me feel like shit because some of these women create art in beautifully decorated, organized rooms full of supplies I simply can’t afford and my art space is….well, you’ll see…basically? It’s a wonder that anything ever gets created here. Behold, this is where I spent 99% of my waking time:
Below this cut is 28 more images. People on dial up beware!
Start to finish learn how to this painting! Suzi takes you from the beginning of how to make this exact face, how to shade it, and how to make the background. The lesson of this workshop? DIRT. Shabby dirty we love this painting but oh no it fell in the mud for a bit but Rodeo Girl doesn’t mind! She has her skull balloon and a belly full of cotton candy and there is no where she would rather be.
Click here to register!