“NO NAYSAYING RUBBERNECKING FUCKSTICKS ALLOWED”

25 Ways to Survive as a Creative Person

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/08/07/25-ways-to-survive-as-a-creative-person/

Thank you Chuck Wendig for this inspiring post, and props to Erin for cluing me into it.

A couple of thoughts. First, my language ain’t pretty. I like to swear. I like to smoke. I like to be nasty. Sometimes, vulgarity is what expresses my feelings best. I used to think Zen was all quiet and proper and nice and shit. But it’s not always that way. It’s nice when it’s nice and it’s shit when it’s shit. “What is Buddha?” “Shit-stick”. Yep, Buddha is what you wipe your ass with. And what you wipe off of your ass. Buddha is used tampons, rotting carcasses, and stinky-assed farts. Buddha is also beautiful flowers, stunning sunsets, and so much love that it knocks your socks off. Deal with it.

But Chuck’s post hit home in another way for me: permission to get rid of the negative people in my life. “Don’t let ‘em in your house or your head.” I’ve spent way too much time giving guided tours of my house and my head to people who don’t have my best interests or success at heart. Fuck that shit. It’s my house and I don’t want you in it. Goodbye. I’ve got important shit to do.

 

Ch…ch…ch…changes

My apologies for my lengthy absence/silence. The last year has been a time of deep work and profound changes. I find it hard to write—words just don’t seem adequate somehow. Yet, here I am.

The work that was started on the cushion and continued in DBT continues to deepen. Each morning, I sit outside and rediscover myself in the nesting robins feeding their young or the fantastically loud “blatt” of the trumpeter swans. I watch the working of my mind and am usually aware when my emotions spin out of control. Funny thing, that awareness. First, it acts like a clutch, enabling me to disengage when my emotional engine goes nuts. This is a good thing. The engine may be racing, but I’m not laying down rubber, yay! But it doesn’t slow the emotions down. It does help me to keep from piling on *old* emotions.

What do I mean by that? This is new for me too, so please bear with. Previously, for example, Bri would say or do something that would trigger me. Suddenly, I would be flooded with emotions:

  • reactionary anger: a learned emotion. This is how my mother reacted when I did the same thing, so it’s my hard-wired reaction. My most embarrassing anger, cuz it just tends to come out and it tends to be very harsh and unflexible.
  • remembered anger & pain. This is how I felt as a child being abused at my mother’s hands.
  • shame and frustration. See the first bullet. Unfortunately, shame tends to generate more anger to cover it up and make it go away. It’s a vicious circle.

Somewhere around the beginning of June, there was a profound shift. Bri’s actions still triggered me, but it was just the reactionary anger, which I was able to clearly see. Since then, I’ve been able to handle those reactions without adding in emotional memories of my own shit or judgements of the situation. It’s like I can simply see the situation for what it is, without piling on the emotional baggage.

This has been such a profound change in my life that I have spent the last month “checking” it. Asking B if I seem different (yes), asking if I still seem different (yes). Checking in with myself. Yep—something has changed.

As if that weren’t enough, I applied for and was accepted to be one of the artists in a group project that Workman Arts is producing for Nuit Blanche. So my first art show ever is gonna be a big one. {grin} I don’t like to start small. This is also no small matter. I’m creating a sculpture representing a woman who lived at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane for many years. She insisted that everyone call her Angel Queen XIII, and they did. My kind of broad ;^). Anyway, I’m learning about sculpture and planning this life-sized work of art. For someone who is trying to transition careers and become an artist, this is about as big as it gets.

Oh yeah, there is one more thing. My ex-husband, the one who had a sex-change operation before our divorce was even completed, apologized in his her own way: she made me the beneficiary of her life insurance policy. Her common-law spouse at the time of her death wasn’t too happy about this, precipitating a court challenge. Toronto courts are overloaded and slow, so it’s taken over a year to get the case heard. But I’ve had my day in court and the judge ruled in my favour and I can’t believe we’re gonna be out of debt finally and able to buy a house. So, yet another huge thing. And not just because we can buy a house, but because this allows me to be an artist and a homemaker and not worry about going back to work at a job that would likely crush my soul again. So I can let go of another thing that I’ve been worrying about ever since I left work on disability two years ago.

Needless to say, such major changes are dangerous territory to navigate when one has an emotional disorder. In spite of my new awareness, or possibly because of it, I have been doing a lot of pulling back over the past while. My emotions are all over the place: the court stuff brings back memories of my ex and his transition to womanhood, an extremely painful and difficult period in my life. As those arise, I am doing my best to deal with them and not let the past poison the present. The money stuff, while good, is also change and creates emotional waves to be dealt with.

Most days, I feel good if I get a decent dinner made and some time spent in the studio on one of the various projects on the go. Things need to get finished. Plus planning to buy a house, relocate Brianna, figure out how to switch schools, when would it work best for her, how will this all work. I’ve been verging on overwhelmed much of the time, though I’ve been coping with it. Actually, I’ve been coping rather well, and part of that coping has been my pulling back to just the essentials. So I apologize if I’ve neglected my friends in favour of my family—just now, that’s what I need to take care of myself.

And that’s where I’m at. Though it is difficult sometimes, it is a good place. May you find peace where ever you find yourself.

Rising Tide

Now that I’ve developed some awareness around the issue of fear, I’m much more likely to recognize it in my day-to-day life. Right now, I have it in spades—my heart is racing, adrenaline released, on the verge of panic scared. Of what? Every day life. Of making the thousand of little decisions necessary when raising a young child. Of I don’t know what.

Of course, to focus on what might happen next only engenders more fear. Every day, time to sink back into the moment and just do what I’m doing. Eventually, this too shall pass. (Including the fear that it won’t.)

Somehow, universe, I’d really like to learn how to take that energy and use it for creation instead of destruction. At least I’m currently in limbo instead of active destructive mode—hey, more progress! Yay me!

Meticulous kindness, how do I practice that in the here and now? Let’s go find out…

What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a-happening…

Random thoughts on the day before All Hallow’s Eve aka Halloween.

Mental status update: Much improved. Seroquel and its side-effects have been jettisoned, trying an herbal remedy that has been surprisingly effective so far. Still plenty of baggage to deal with. Willing to consider the possibility of happiness in my day-to-day life. Still need to relax and trust myself.

Work update: My first attempt at commercial design, a tall window topped by a half-circle window, was accepted by the customer. Yay me! I’m still volunteering at the studio 2–3 days a week.

Physical: After a round of nasty side-effects that nearly crippled me (see Seroquel reference above), I am greatly improved. Back down to just hip bursitis and occasional flare-ups of achilles tendonitis. I’m losing weight quickly—one to two pounds a week (see Seroquel reference above). Not doing as much Wii Fit as I’d like.

Art: Took a studio drawing class and found out that I can draw pretty darn well. Making time to practice art is more difficult, but remains a priority for me.

Family: Doing great! Bri is frighteningly precocious (shock!) and no longer afraid of me. Bryan finally has a job that actually appears to recognize and appreciate his knowledge and contribution. Yay Bry!

Dog: Has fleas. Much vacuuming, laundering, and combing.

All in all, it’s life, in all its messy gloriousness. Whee!

Movies to See and other random thoughts

How to Cook Your Life

Move over “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance!” Filmmaker Doris Dorrie turns her attention to Buddhism and that age-old saying, “you are what you eat.” In HOW TO COOK YOUR LIFE Dorrie enlists the help of the charismatic Zen Master Edward Espe Brown to explain the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism as they apply to the preparation of food and life itself.

I had the pleasure of doing a cooking workshop with Edward Espe Brown during my monastic years. He’s a damn cool guy and an inspiration for me. I’m seriously looking forward to this one coming out. (Thanks for the link Bryan! Have I mentioned that I love my man?)

Blade Runner–The Final Cut

Ridley Scott’s brilliant classic restored to his original vision. The best science fiction film ever has its special effects restored. Plus, confirmation of what we long suspected: Deckard is a…

Philip K. Dick rocks. Blade Runner changed how I looked at the world. I will watch this one again and again. Besides, Darryl Hannah is so *cute*!

And now for something completely different…

The past week + has seen my bursitis flare up to a new level of pain. Oxycodone was helpful for a while, but I only had two of them. Unfortunately, I cannot keep myself unconscious until the pain goes away, though if the option were available, I would be tempted. Honestly, I don’t know how to fix my body.

I scored a piece of countertop and a section of kitchen cabinet at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $25 yesterday. With the addition of some legs, it will make a perfect workbench for my stained glass work. I’ll post before and after pictures of the project. I was very proud of myself for being thrifty. Workbenches for artists are stupidly expensive ($250+). Even with the Canadian dollar being on par, that’s just way too much money. It’s nice to know that occasionally my brain still kicks in.