How Sitting in a Huge, Steamy Pile of Transition is a Little Bit Stressful.

We are in the middle of a huge, hot, steamy, stanky pile of transition, and it is scary AF.

 

There is no doubt that we are all up to our eye balls in stress and anxiety.  Adults are feeling it.  Kids are feeling it.  People (like me) who were once only wanting to see and spread “positive news” on Facebook are no longer able to ignore it. (And by the way, I felt it even when I was ignoring it….I don’t know why I thought denial was a sound strategy…) The bottom line is, shit is fucked up right now.  We are in a huge Pile Of Transition.  It’s a big, hot, steamy, stanky pile, and folks are getting stuck in it whether they like it or not.

When we get stuck in the P.O.T. we all react differently.  Some folks will sit in it and quietly let it happen while closing their eyes and hoping it will simply disappear (see “positive news spreader” as described above).  Others, are trying desperately to make sure that everyone else is also in the P.O.T., or are at the very least least aware of the P.O.T., and so they attempt to educate us all on the areas of the P.O.T. they are most passionate about. 

Many have fallen into a place of despair and can’t see anything but the P.O.T., while others are so pissed about the P.O.T. that they’re yelling, screaming, and stomping their feet, meanwhile the P.O.T. is splashing all over the damn place.  And then there are those, and I think this may be the largest group, who are terrified of this P.O.T.  They can’t see an end to this mess, are not sure where it’s heading or what they should be doing, and the unknowingness scares the crap out of them. 

We are an anxious people.  

 

People are scared, y’all.  I’m scared, I admit it.  Any sort of transition is hard.  I mean, the old saying about moving and funerals being the two hardest things a family can go through is totally true.  That being said, we are a people, 327 million strong, who are moving and mourning ALL AT ONCE.  We are fucked up right now.    

Women’s rights are being threatened.  Racial tensions are being called out.  The Earth is LITERALLY DYING. Climate change is wreaking havoc.  Politically speaking…honestly, I can’t even go there, but one of the worst fears I have has to do with our White House and global war. Not to mention the divide within our country that only seems to be getting bigger by the day.  I mean, in what universe did I ever think that white supremacy would be an issue in this day and age?

One of the biggest mind fucks for me has been the realization that I have been living blind.  Women haven’t just now begun being treated unequally.  Many if not all black Americans will tell you that race problems have been here this whole time.  People have been screaming about environmental issues for a long as I can remember.  Remember Save the Whales in the 80s?  That’s probably my first memory of seeing environmentalists at work.  That was almost 40 years ago!

So why now?  Has the age of the internet managed to disperse information so effectively that we are all now finally well educated about the health of our planet?  Has the ability to upload videos of white people calling the cops on black people, who are simply living their lives, finally shown us the reality of race relations?  Have we been so indoctrinated into a Hollywood culture that it took famous people calling out other famous people’s unforgivable assaults and sexual objectifications for us to take this shit seriously?

Or does it even matter why now? 

We’re here.  We’ve created this pile of transformation either through our own actions, indifference or denial.  Now we have to work as a people to get out of it.  Queue panic here because this is where it gets hard for me.  Are we past the point of being able to do that?  Can we work together at all? We are so divided.  

 

This is not comfortable.  I am not comfortable.  Change is not comfortable. 

 

But then there is hope.  I have a substantial amount of hope in my heart that all of this is leading us to a better way of living.  I know from my own personal transformation, that change is fucking hard, but possible, and so worth it in the end….until the next change, that is.  I am a woman who used to be completely ruled by fear, who is now having lengthy conversations with friends and strangers about how to get past it.  It’s a surprise to me too.

 

Acceptance, hope and patience is what we need to embrace in order to get us out of our P.O.T. 

 

We must accept where we are now, and accept how we got here.  We must keep hope alive that we can dig out of our pile and also accept that this is going to take some time.  Even if there is a shift in White House power, this is going to take a minute to resolve.  And I’m not sure resolution is what we’re looking for. 

Evolution may be a better word.  When I was a kid, and we were learning about evolution, I would look at that drawing of man, as we went from walking on all fours to standing upright with a spear in hand, and often wondered if man noticed evolution as it was happening.  Did man ever look around and say, “Hey Guys!  Anyone notice we don’t walk on all fours anymore?” or, “Hey Y’all! I don’t have so much body hair these days! You?”  

Granted, this current evolution may be a psychic change more than a physical one, but that is what we are experiencing.  We are in the middle, if not at the tipping point, of an evolution.  If you think about it, that’s pretty freakin’ cool.  Scary, yes, but cool never-the-less.

So, what in the hell are we supposed to do?  I wish I could say.  I think each of us has our own way of dealing with the current P.O.T. and so I will only speak for myself.  I have come to the realization that I cannot remove myself from the P.O.T. and that I am also not above it.  None of us are.  I must engage, but I also have the option to engage in a way that is healthy for me. 

I do know that the time for me to be quiet and polite is over.  I’m not saying that we all have to be out on the street, yelling and carrying signs (although that’s fantastic), but we can all be doing something each and every day to help make the world a better place.

For starts, we can be kinder to each other.  We can look each other in the eye.  Even strangers.  Even the one holding the sign that says, “Anything Helps”.  I can’t afford to give everyone money, but I can certainly make eye contact and say hello. 

We can start by treating people, ALL PEOPLE, like they matter.  It’s small, but it’s something, and hopefully something that will give people hope because, frankly, we’ve each been acting like the world revolves around our individual selves for far too long.  We are small, so let’s help each other crawl out of this P.O.T. and walk upright, with spear in hand, because if kindness is step 1, then step 2 is fighting for myself AND the person standing next to me regardless of sex, race, economics or politics.  We are one.  Let’s start acting like it.

 

The painting at top is from my Lovely Mess series and is titled, Night Rainbow (24x24, Acrylic & Paper on Canvas, $1200). This is a nod to one of my favorite children's books by Cooper Edens called, If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow. Edens also suggests, "If there is no happy ending, make one out of cookie dough."  Making our own happy ending seems like good advice, these days.  

  

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure

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How I Choose Beauty While Accepting Chaos

Take the beauty as it comes.  Accept the chaos along the way.

I’ve been thinking, painting, and writing a lot lately about transition, chaos, and the beauty that may sometimes be hidden by the two.  During the hardest times of my life, the most challenging feelings within the hardships were always the same: fear and hopelessness.

We are in a tenuous time right now, and one where the default emotions could easily be fear and hopelessness. There are so many things to be angry and scared about.  Children in cages, xenophobia, racism, sexism and environmental doom come to mind.  I’m sure you could add to that list without batting an eye. 

I’m a sensitive person.  By typing the above 2 paragraphs, my eyes have filled with tears.  If I chose to focus on these things full time, I’m not sure I could go on.  I have to find a balance between wanting to be educated, aware, and of service, and not wanting to go bat shit crazy. 

I have a few notes on my desk for what I thought were 4 separate blog posts, but I realize that they are all notes for this one.  How to cope in this darkness.  How to stay light.  How to see the beauty amongst all of this insanity.  The following is a short and by no means complete list of how I’m managing to put one foot in front of the other right now. 

And just so you know, I take these steps bravely, with enthusiasm, and with the belief that there is a positive future ahead.  I’m not crying in my coffee every morning at all.  In many ways, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.  (Which may or may not be totally fucked up, but hey, I’ve never really done things in the “right” way or order, so it kind of makes sense.)

#1 Stop, Drop, and Breathe

The simplest of my strategies.  When I get in my head, I can actually get so lost in my thoughts that I begin to panic.  My heart rate quickens and my breath becomes shallower. I get mildly confused, like I can’t hold onto one thought at a time.  They keep slipping through my grasp.  I’ll feel tears behind my eyes like they are trying to bust through a dam.  If you’re familiar with anxiety, then you know what I’m describing: an anxiety attack.  

I’ve learned how to stop this cycle before it gets beyond the shallow breathing, and the solution is pretty dern obvious.  I make myself breathe better.  It goes like this: Inhale for a four count. Hold the breath for a four count. Exhale for an 8 count. Repeat as long as necessary for my heart rate to slow and the panic to subside.  It usually doesn’t take that long, although I’ve been practicing it for a while now. 

#2 Graciously take the beauty as it comes and accept the chaos along the way. 

Remember when we were little and we read children’s stories and many of them ended with the line, “…and they all lived happily ever after.”  Yeah…what a crock of shit that lesson is. It took me a laughably long time to realize that doesn’t happen.  I may have “happily after” periods of time but that “ever” part is a problem. 

I have issues with teaching our children that there is a finish line they’ll one day reach in life.  As much as I hate sounding like a downer, that finish line…well…it’s death.  That is the ONLY finish line there actually is.  Everything else is one big, fat, journey, and one that is filled with both incredible hardships, and infinite beauty. 

The trick for me was learning how to not completely fall apart, slip into self-victimization or into hopelessness during the hard times.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel those things, but I have a new way of dealing with them: acceptance that they will come, and they will go. And also, that the beauty found in everyday life does not disappear in hard times. 

We need to learn from our pain but not focus on it too much.  Our focus must be directed at the beautiful growth that comes afterwards.    


The beauty may get pushed onto the back burner for a minute while we’re putting out our proverbial fires, but it’s always there.  Searching it out when things are hard may seem to be counter-intuitive, but man, does it make life’s monkey wrenches easier to handle.  If I think about it, fire, while a destructive element that can cause pain, is also mesmerizingly beautiful and an exceptional tool, if used correctly. 

Also, did you know that some seeds must reach a certain temperature in order to germinate?  Fires can be a literal necessity for growth to occur.  We need to learn from our pain but not focus on it too much.  Our focus must be directed at the beautiful growth that comes because of the hardship.    

#3 Laugh in the face of adversity 

Have you ever had one of those moments where so many things are going wrong at once that you drop to the floor in a fit of laughter?  Well I have. Sometimes there is simply nothing else to do.  I suppose I could (and do at times) cry, scream, pass out and/or eat crappy food.  However, laughter is much more fun. 

My Love Club project is a great example of this.  I got overwhelmed by the idea that my rights as a woman could be stripped from me, while also being confronted with the fact that we have never been treated equally, and the feeling that we are expected to live up to unrealistic beauty and “lady-like” standards, while operating with grace in this world that seems to belittle and underestimate us. Not mention that we don’t feel very safe in said world.  I’m seething just typing this.

That anger led to the Love Club. A satirical art project meant to bring attention to everything I wrote above. I had to laugh at the ridiculousness that my friend down in California didn’t feel safe walking her Pitbull in the park across from her house.  I had to find humor that women are carrying hammers with them on their morning jogs.  I had to chuckle at the fact that I don’t know if it’s safer to make eye contact, smile, and say hello to strange men on the street, and risk a nasty sneer and an up and down sexual assessment, or not respond to the hello, steel myself while looking straight ahead, and risk being called a snotty bitch for not engaging.

I channeled that anger and frustration into art that I found hilarious, and yet meaningful.  I had to put it somewhere.  Otherwise, I felt pretty dang hopeless.

#4 Look to others for inspiration 

Sometimes I can’t find the inspiration within myself.  I’m overwhelmed with such a feeling of hopelessness that all I want is the comfort and safety of my bed. Times like these, I feel, are the most tenuous for me.  I will say that this particular brand of anxiety doesn’t happen to me as much anymore because I take pro-active steps to not let it get that far.  Other times, it can’t be helped. I have been dug out of that place before by others who inspire me.  Most are women.  My current favorite femme de force: Bethany Hamilton.

“I didn’t need easy.  I just needed possible.”  - Bethany Hamilton


When she was 13-years-old, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark while surfing at her home break in Hawaii.  She was back in the ocean surfing 4 weeks later, and won her first championship within 2 years.  Her spiritual life, love of family, and passion for surfing got her through and now she’s a wife and mother of two with no less than 6 championship titles under her belt.  She does all this with one arm.  ONE ARM!

Not only that, but in 2016, when she was nominated for a ESPY in the category of “Best Female Athlete with a Disability”, she pulled her name out of the running.  Her reasoning?  “To me, the word "disabled" does not match my life, and who I am, and what I've accomplished and the way I go about every single day.” She went on to say that if she had been nominated for “best adaptive athlete”, she would have accepted it gladly.

Of her amazing recovery and career, she says, “I didn’t need easy.  I just needed possible.” Yeah…they don’t call her the Soul Surfer for nothing.  Women like her make me believe that I can do anything and that nothing is out of reach…if I’m willing to work for it.  Also, her experience was harrowing.  She nearly died, was disfigured, and still saw the beauty and positivity within her life.  Man, most of my anxiety is caused by much smaller problems. She helps me put my troubles into perspective.

These are just a few of my tools.  We all must find what works for us.  If we don’t, I fear that we will be a people buried under layers of anger, dissatisfaction and anxiety.  This perspective will come easily for some, and require work for others, but like Bethany said, it doesn’t need to be easy, just possible, and the possibilities are endless.

 

 The sketch at top is for a new painting commission that I am ever grateful to be hired to do. 
I'm a lucky lady.  

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure 

That Year I Had a "Lump" in My Throat: How My Anxiety Manifests Physically

Anxiety presents itself in different ways depending on the person. For me, it can manifest both mentally and physically.

 

There is an evil connection between my mind and my body.  Ok, it’s probably not actually “evil”, but it sure feels like it sometimes. Here’s how it works: I have something going on that’s causing me stress.  I use my tools which are to keep a good work pace up, exercise, some meditation, get in the ocean and make art. 

Apparently, this isn’t what I should be doing.  What should I be doing?  I have no freakin’ idea, but my mind will let me know that my attempts to tamper the stress are futile. How does it communicate to me?  By sending pain signals all over my body.  

Chronic, undiagnosed knee pain started when I was about 13.

 

As I got older, I managed to get that to calm down, only to have my back, hips and shoulders flare up. If it got bad enough, even my wrists would hurt.  In my 30s I learned some mental exercises to get the pain signals sent to my joints to stop…and they did, for the most part…and then the migraines started.

There was never any diagnosis or reason for the pain.  No injury, autoimmune, or other illness.  It was pretty frustrating until I learned about the mind body connection.  Our minds are powerful things that always look for the path of least resistance.  Once those pain pathways are established, it’s challenging to get them to change.

I know this all sounds a little bit “woo woo”, but I genuinely believe this and I believe it because I no longer have the joint problems unless I’m under a huge load of stress. I also know it because I once had a lump in my throat for an entire year.

One morning, a little less than 3 years ago, I woke up with a mass in my throat.  I could feel it all the time.  It was ever present.  When I talked, swallowed, yawned, laid down to sleep, it was always there.  I could actually press on my throat and feel a little "pop" happen.  I went to see my doctor.

My primary care physician knows about my struggle with anxiety and depression.  I have been very open with her about how I choose to deal with it, and my desire to not take pharmaceuticals.  I stopped going to see doctors a long time ago whenever I felt pain (although we address it each year at my annual checkup), but this time was different. I had an actual lump in my throat, so I went to see her.

What she told me blew my mind.  There was absolutely nothing there.  No lump.  No mass.  No obstruction what so ever.  She told me that feeling as though there is a lump in your throat is one of the most common anxiety symptoms that people get. It’s not my body.  It’s my mind. 

A good friend of mine, who does lean towards the “woo woo” side of healing, told me that this feeling is in direct correlation with not speaking my truth.  I tried to roll my eyes at this, but I also knew that having quit drinking a few years prior, I was just now learning how to communicate my wants and needs, so it oddly made sense. 

 

I was giving up a good paying job with people who had treated me like family for nearly a decade, to jump off a cliff into my own business.  I spent my final 30 days there thinking I was getting a tumor. 

 

What else had happened just before the “lump” showed up?  I gave notice at my day job in order to become a full-time, professional artist.  I had never not had a regular job.  This was an unknown that I was barreling into head first.  I was terrified of failing and letting down myself and my loved ones. I was giving up a good paying job with people who had treated me like family for nearly a decade, to jump off a cliff into my own business.  I spent my final 30 days there thinking I was getting a tumor. 

I was fucking scared.  Fear, it seems, is a straight path to discomfort for me.  This also made a lot of sense to me as I had recently come to the realization that I had spent the majority of my life terrified of just about everything.  So, my mind sent a signal saying, “Hey!  She’s not dealing with her fear in a healthy way and I don’t know what to do with all of this anxious energy, so I’m going to put it in her throat.”    

After my visit to the doc, I increased my exercise regime, I got into the ocean more often, and I brought a regular meditation practice into my life.  I was going through one of my biggest transitions to date. If I failed, the only person to blame was myself.  By the end of my first year in business, the “lump” still in my throat, I actually thought about throwing in the towel. 

I questioned if I was strong enough for the stress of being an entrepreneur. I doubted my abilities as an artist.  I was completely overwhelmed in having to learn about marketing in this age of social media and how to stand out in a world that has infinite content to choose from. I had wanted to embrace myself fully, knowing that art was at the root of who I am.  For the first time, I was actually being myself.  So, why was I so scared?  Why all the self-doubt?  

There is a cycle that starts for me that is extremely hard to stop once it’s in motion.  I get scared.  I don’t talk about it. Fear manifests itself in pain and/or discomfort. I get freaked out about that.  I still don’t talk about it.  The pain and discomfort gets worse and now I’m completely beside myself thinking I could very well be dying.  The pain and discomfort goes into overdrive.  And on and on I go until I'm a puddle on the floor.

I decided that there was no way I could handle another year like that.  I had to make a decision. I was in front of my bathroom mirror and I looked at myself in the eyes and said, “This is bull shit. Either be an artist and run your business bravely and with confidence, or just quit already and go beg for your job back.”  Then I lost it.  The idea of quitting because I was scared was awful.  Was I really going to give up like that?

No.  I was not.  I wanted this.  Bad.  I looked back up at myself with resolve.  Eyes hardened, banishing the victim that had been standing there mere seconds before.  I decided that there was no room and no purpose for the fear.  I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?  I make no money, have to rent out my house, and go adventure in my van.  That didn’t sound all that bad, actually.  While I did have to remind myself of this regularly, the “lump” was gone within the month.  No kidding.

Anxiety is a bitch.  Untreated anxiety, makes me physically hurt.  I don’t have the lump anymore but sometimes, when I’m particularly stressed, I feel it a little.  My joint pain is not the issue it used to be.  When I feel it creeping in, usually all I have to do is ask, “What’s actually bothering you, Marigny?” and it goes away.  Seriously.

Sometimes I think we simply need to check in with ourselves more often.  My mom and I talk most days and I ask her every time how she’s doing.  How often do we ask ourselves that? In a world where we are constantly looking for outward approval, maybe it would do good to check inward with ourselves every now and then. 

Moving forward, I’m going to attempt to build a new pathway in my brain.  Every time I ask someone how they’re doing, I will also ask myself because I think we could all use a little more STLC: Self-Tender-Loving-Care. 

 

The painting at top is from my Lovely Mess series and is titled, Incoming Tide, 8x10, Acrylic and Paper on Canvas.  $360 includes gold floater frame. 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure 

Be a Lighthouse: How I Protest Every Day

Want to make a difference in this crazy ass world?  Stand your ground.  Speak your truth. Shine a light of strength & hope for those who haven't found theirs yet.

Since my rant last week, I’ve been thinking… I was at my wits end, throwing my hands up in the air and waving them like…well…like I care.  I have a ton of care in my heart, as I think many of us do.  We are not ok with watching our country’s shit show from the side lines but maybe we’re not quite sure what we can do, what difference we can actually make, and exactly how to go about making it. 

I’ve been working overtime this past week, getting ready for my art show in Bend (which is this Friday!), and also getting a June pop up shop opened on my website.  It’s been a lot but I have some vacation time planned for the next few weeks and I wanted to get all the things done so relaxation can commence!

My pop up shop was a bit different this month.  What started as a joke, ended up being a product that I actually created.  A satirical product of sorts.  It’s called the Love Club, and no, it’s not a group of loving folks that meet regularly for orgies.  It’s an actually club.  A little wooden bat made as a visual deterrent for women to carry when they find themselves in situations when they don’t feel safe, or are getting unwanted attention from men.  So…it’s appropriate for 90% of a woman’s waking life.

It all started when a girlfriend of mine was lamenting on Facebook about how she feels threatened by toxic men when she walks her dog around the park that is next to her house.  She has a Pitbull, y’all, and she still doesn’t feel safe.  She was asking for advice from her Facebook community as to how to combat these men.

She got many suggestions such as, don’t make eye contact, steel yourself, carry pepper spray or a taser, and while the advice was well intended, she got a bit frustrated.  She likes being friendly.  She enjoys talking to people.  She wants to smile and say hello.  She named her Pitbull “Flower” for Pete’s sake.

I told her that when I lived in the French Quarter, I had a bright red aluminum bat that I slept with by my bed.  If I had to walk to my car by myself late at night or early in the morning, I took the bat with me.  “So, you just walk around wielding a bat?” she asked.  I explained that I didn’t carry it like I was about to swing it at everyone I passed.  It was more of a statement: “Hey.  I have a bat.  Maybe don’t fuck with me.”

About a week later, I went to visit a friend over at his wood shop gallery, and he had these little bats, about a foot long, made from solid maple.  I told him that would be perfect for an idea I had and he gave me the bat, which I brought home, and covered in hearts and bright, pretty colors.  On the top of it, I wrote “Back Off” within one of the hearts and named it the Love Club. “Bludgeon them with kindness,” I said followed by, “When Owning a Pitbull Isn’t Enough, THE LOVE CLUB”.

I received a text from her: “I love this so much.  I want to use it SO bad.” Then she commissioned another one for a girlfriend of hers who is about to embark on a solo van journey this Summer.  That got me thinking…  I would have totally bought one of these when I lived in the French Quarter.  I mean, if you’ve got to walk with a weapon, it might as well look good. 

Apparently, I’m not the only person who thinks so.  I have sold 12 of the 17 that I made for the pop up shop.  One person bought four of them.  Another snagged two.  Another woman who bought one lives just around the corner from the last New Orleans home I lived in.  8TH Ward represent!

What does this have to do with our country’s shit show?  Well, this is how I am protesting.  I am an artist.  I make things.  I create from my heart and soul.  What is stirring in my soul right now are thoughts of the hate that seems to be growing towards minorities and members of the LBGTQ community, the control that predominantly white men seem to think they should have over women, and the intolerance towards people who just want to give a better life to their children. 

I’m not ok.  It’s not ok.  This is not the world I thought I lived in.  And that’s a big part of my soul stirring…that I thought the world was a different place.  Yes, I was naïve and living my life within my own bubble that is safe, warm, and clean.  I’m rolling my own eyes at myself while I’m typing this.  I was in Never Never Land.  I think many of us were.  Some still are.

I cannot ditch my life and hit the streets.  Well not yet anyway. But I realized that what I have been doing, ever since the Kavanaugh hearings spun me into an emotionally charged break down, is protesting.  I protested by outing myself as a promiscuous teen and discussing the complex grey area of consent within our culture.  I have talked openly about how my troubled teen years created a decades long struggle with alcoholism, anxiety, and depression.  I created a series of paintings that represents the healing of my heart, and another about the beauty that I try with all my might to see when everything around me seems to be heading into the dark.  

And I created a love weapon; to be carried by women who are sick of being fucked with but also enjoy being friendly.  I mean, many of us ladies have been told all our lives that because we are girls, we have to be “ladylike”.  Well here you go.  I offer you my ladylike accessory that could also give you a concussion. 

Today, I ran across a quote from Anne Lamott that says, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save.  They just stand there shining.”  She’s absolutely right.  So, when you’re trying to think about how you can make a difference, how you can aid in the shit show disaster relief, know that you can do so by simply standing your ground and shining a light on what is wrong and what is right. 

Use the talents that you already have.  If you have kids in your life, explain to them what is going on and how they can do better than we have.  In daily life, when you hear sexist, racist, xenophobic or anti-gay comments and slurs (OMG they happen all the time…people don’t even realize what they’re saying) let them know what it means to you.  Bring awareness to yourself and all those around you.  

We’re in a little bit of trouble right now and I see people who think that because they can’t quit they’re job, and go protest in D.C., that they can’t do anything.  I’m here to tell you that you can, and most likely, you already have been.  You can be the reason that others stop to think about what they are saying.  You can influence those who also feel they want to make a change but don’t think that they can. 

Just like Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am the change. You are the change.  We are the lighthouses. Shine strong.  The world needs our light.

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do We Transition Along with this Crazy Ass World?

What do we do in a world where logical reason and human decency don't seem to be the norm anymore?  

Was it ever the norm to begin with, or have we just been living in denial?

 

On Monday, we returned from the beach.  Rolling up to the house after a weekend of surfing is always a bittersweet moment. I’m happy to be home, but usually the Zen bliss I receive from surfing wears off pretty quickly after getting back to the valley.  Especially when I’m running down the street fussing at a very pissy young man for not cleaning up after his dogs, who habitually crap right in the middle of the sidewalk in front of my house.   Welcome home. 

My tolerance level has bottomed out.  It might be that I’m at my busiest time at work, it’s the end of the school year, and I have a show next week.  Whatever the case may be, I’m already feeling frazzled and I haven’t even gotten to the show yet.  I’m doomed!  It’s all terrible!  How ever will I pull through? 

Yeah yeah yeah.  Blah blah blah.  Bitch bitch bitch.  I know myself well enough to realize that I’m in a negative mind set and it’s going to take some work to get out.  Combine all of the small things with what is going on in our political environment right now and it’s a surprise that we’re not all bat shit crazy. 

I’m finding myself in a place of extreme frustration and agitation.  I feel that my rights as a woman are threatened, the world is literally dying, that life is hard and that’s just the way it is.  It made me feel worse after I tried to cheer up my daughter by telling her that life being hard is not abnormal.  That life’s a bitch and it’s how you handle it that matters.  Well that is definitely NOT what she wanted to hear.  I might as well have killed her puppy.

I told her that she has to take the beauty as it come and accept the chaos along the way. I told her that it won’t get easier, she is not unique in the struggle and that she has to choose how she handles it.  Yeah…she didn’t like any of that. 

But here’s the deal: We have to accept what life throws at us and simply deal with the onslaught.  We have to face the fact that the world is in a moment of transition, we are not in control, that we as a people have weaknesses and it is not ok to sweep those weaknesses under the carpet just because we don’t want to look at them. 

We can pretend to have it all together.  We can pretend to be strong.  We can pretend to be macho.  It’s all bullshit.  I mean, how many people do you know who really, honestly, have it all together?  I’m going to go ahead and say I know two people in my life who have mastered Zen and the Art of Living.  That would be my Father and my Husband.  (Yes, I’m aware that I married my Father.)

The rest of us?  We’re hot mess sundaes with moments of clarity sprinkled on top.  Half the time, I have no idea what the hell is happening.  The other half, I seem to have an ok grip.  But life sure makes it hard to remain in a state of sanity. Why?  Life!  That’s why!

Here is a taste of what I’m talking about: 

  • Friend #1 just wants to take her dog for a damn walk.  She has a big ole Pitbull, but that doesn’t stop the skeezy men who hang out in the park across from her house from ogling and making unwelcome comments.  She doesn’t feel safe walking her fucking Pitbull.

    • Friend #2 needed a roommate, found one, allowed him to move in and he immediately went fucking crazy, refuses to pay rent, or leave, and makes her feel so threatened that she is now living at a neighbor’s house as she awaits a court date.

      • Friend #3 had to go to court to figure out a co-parenting schedule with the Dad, who has not paid a penny in child support, but still felt the need to drag her to court.

        • Not to mention the five different long-term couples we are friends with who have all had total relationship breakdowns within the past year.  Couples dropping like flies around here! 

          • Oh…and the small thing that’s happening to women’s rights presently…I mean how are we all not 100% cray cray at this point?  

           

          Need further evidence?  Here’s a sampling of the first three posts on my Facebook timeline right now:

          • From simple anger: “Growling. Vague book style. Growl with me please. Life is not fair & mean people suck. That is all. Grrrrrrrrr.”

            • To trying to make light: “What the hell is going on?? If my mind wasn’t so blown I’d be able to think of the punch line but there are so many jokes I can barely separate them all.” 

              • To resigning oneself to a global realization: “Worldwide embarrassment.”


              What the hell IS going on?  Is the wisdom I’m trying to give to my daughter doing more damage than good?  Is it just me, or does the shit storm just keep getting more extreme?  I’m finding it harder and harder to keep my cool.  Maybe I shouldn’t.  Perhaps the time has come to ditch all of my pre-conceived notions of how “normal life” works.  To be honest, normalcy got thrown out the window when I realized how naïve I’ve been my whole life in thinking that men and women are equals. (The fact that we don’t receive equal pay blew my mind. Insert eye roll here.) 

              So, what do we do?  Ditch our lives, head to D.C. and protest?  Drag out crazy roommates by the hair?  Shame dead beat dads on social media?  I’ve always been one to take the peaceful route, but frankly, I’m feeling pretty done being polite.  You can ask the guy who I chased down the street demanding that he clean up his dog crap.  He looked at me like I was the asshole. 

              I’m done being quiet.  IT’S NOT OK.  None of it.  I’m not sure what to do but protest in my own way, which today means breaking my own rule of using only one bad word per blog post.  I can talk about meditation and exercise, getting outside and practicing acceptance.  That doesn’t seem to be scratching my itch lately.  Everything feels broken.

              I apologize for being such a downer today but that’s where I’m at.  I don’t know what the answer is.  I think I’ll go do some Yoga.  Om fucking Shanti.

               

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

              How Going with the Flow Tames the Chaos

              Choosing to follow the flow may not make the chaos disappear, but it certainly turns the volume down.

               

              I have been living in a state of “WTF” for a while now, not really knowing what to do next and picking random tasks from my to do list that seem like they should be prioritized.  There has not been much of a cohesive plan for 2019.  Well…that’s not true.  If you recall, the official plan was to have no plan and to just do what feels right and makes me happy.

              Yesterday, something extraordinary happened: it all started to come together.  It’s as if four projects and all of the related tasks regarding those projects have been swirling above my head for five months.  They were flying around so fast, it was hard to even see them clearly. It made me completely uncomfortable and feel as though the strategy of not being a slave to my calendar was perhaps ill conceived. 

              However, yesterday, as I was finishing framing nine paintings for my June 7th show, I looked at the collection and realized that indeed, I have a cohesive series to present.  Not only is it done, but I LOVE it.  The Lovely Mess series is complete (minus one last painting I’m working on now), and each painting is dreamy, emotional and optimistic all at the same time.  I am extremely proud of this series and for me it is the marker of an important milestone: the moment my writing and my painting crossed paths and became one expression in two formats. 

              Creatively, that is a huge accomplishment.  Until now, the writing and the painting have been separate entities.  Painting was an expression of my subconscious, and writing was the organization of my chaotic hamster wheel brain, in an effort to figure out what’s behind the madness.  Now, those two things are actually one.  My subconscious no longer feels like some mysterious no mans’ land that I’m just now discovering, and my brain feels more tapped into the subconscious and able to draw out what is actually happening under all the noise.  That’s amazing. 

              Emotionally, an additional shift has occurred.  I have written before about how expectations used to drive me crazy and ultimately drove a good friend away.  I used to say that I was fine, “as long as I knew what to expect next”. Nothing made me more uncomfortable than to be in a state of unknowing…except maybe the uncontrollable-ness of other people changing plans that affected me.  That shit used to drive me absolutely crazy.  

              However, two things have happened that have fundamentally changed the way I think.  This first is surfing.  One thing I learned is that being a control freak and being a surfer do not mix.  I am constantly at the mercy of the surf report.  Waves, tides and weather…three things that I have absolutely no control over.  Over the past couple of years, I have changed from one who would get seriously irritated if someone cancelled or changed plans on me, to being that completely annoying surfer who is regularly making last minute changes in plans due to the surf report.

              I’ve also become a person who giggles when people want a straight answer out of me regarding future plans.  My favorite giggle inducing question is, “so when are you going surfing next?”  Dude, I have no idea. Whenever NOAA tells me it’s time.  Thankfully, my close friends are understanding if I move our breakfast dates.  They don’t hold it against me and man, does that make me feel like a fool for my past pissed off-ness.

              The second thing that impacted my need for knowing what comes next was to throw it all up to the Universe this year, and simply do what hundreds of eye-roll inducing motivational posters tell us to do: Follow My Bliss.  This was not comfortable for me, but when I surrendered, I mean FOR REALS surrendered to that which makes me happy, pretty amazing things started to happen. 

              I got into two new galleries. I was featured on HGTV and interviewed on a nationally recognized podcast.  I received great press in Bend regarding my show.  My creative expression deepened and I took my first cross steps on my surf board.  BAM.

              What made me choose to shift gears?  It’s pretty simple, the other way wasn’t making me feel good.  I felt a lot of pressure from my calendar and marketing plan and I realized that all of those deadlines were causing me to burn out.  I think that’s why this year felt like such a difficult motivation.  I was tired.  

              Did I accomplish a lot with my calendar as acting CEO?  Yes, I did.  Was it an important thing to do my first two years in business?  Yes, I think so. It helped me build my CV quickly which has enabled me to leverage myself in broader ways.  Was it making me happy?  In short term bursts, yes.  But in the long term, I was feeling boxed in, anxious, and exhausted. 

              I’m not necessarily saying that I should ditch all my time management tools, but the time had definitely come for me to chill the fuck out.  One thing is for sure.  The change isn’t effecting my business all that much.  In fact, in a way, I think I’m getting further in my reach.   I mean HGTV!!!!!   

              Actually, I have swung in the opposite direction to the point that I now look around and see a society of sick people who are working themselves to death.  I could write a whole essay on this topic.  It’s like if we’re not constantly working, we’re failures.  I believe in hard work.  I’ve always been a “worker”.  But I feel that in our culture, there are two lines of thought: you either work tremendously hard and be a success, or choose not to and be a lazy failure. 

              What about those who want to enjoy life NOW?  What about not working our assess off for decades, at jobs that are not spiritually or emotionally fulfilling, while putting all of our money in investment accounts for retirement at 65.  I mean, what if I’m hit by a bus tomorrow? Seems like a pretty big gamble. 

              I’m choosing now.  I’m choosing happy.  I’m choosing the path of least resistance.  And want to know a secret?  We can all make this choice.  It may seem scary and it may not look how we think we want it to look, but then that’s the point, isn’t it?  To see things as they are and not how we imagine them to be in Future Land. Can you imagine what would happen if every person on the planet stopped worrying about the future and the expectations surrounding it?  OMG.  That may be the liberation that world needs.

               

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.