synchronicity, accidents, thoughts, maps, concepts & original positivities

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

When the mute start yabbering....

It's Wednesday night.. finally, as though my fingers were my tongue, I can speak.   This week I have had to call upon every tool available to me. My art, my kids, my work...  just thinking about work makes me smile.  Thinking about all these things makes me smile.. because it is always when I am at my worst that I appreciate the gold which is all around me. 

Making Art has been challenging lately... I have wanted to make every day and I have been following that urge but there is the feeling of being in a rut.. or rutted.  :)  Just as I was about to give up, I began drawing with the stub of a soft graphite pencil and made some lovely drawings...  it's always the way. It feels like a test - to determine determination.   I think I may have scraped through by the skin of my teeth. :)  Pass. 

Tonight, I plan to rest, she said typing like a madwoman, and absorb the slight change in direction and look at my work and it's future.  An assessment. 

My mind feels as though it has survived a car crash... it is still rolling and lurching - but there is something grounding in the softness of graphite... something warm in the grey.. and it has, thus far, been a very cold winter.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

I like Me - I like Me Not - I like Me - I like Me Not

A couple of years ago I began taking a series of self portraits called The Flicker Book Series.  The Flicker Book Series had one main goal and that was to produce enough self portraits, close together and over time, which would be compiled (at the end of my life) into one book.  This book or collection of portraits is for my children and their children.  When placed in chronological order and flicked.. they would be able to watch me age before their eyes.  The idea was a long term project for me and fun.

Art is a sneaky thing.  Sometimes you think you know what you are doing.. only to find out later that you were really doing something else. 

As artists, I believe we aim to touch something within others - it is that desire to communicate.. and yet when art is inspired and real.. it can touch the artist as well.  You might assume that an artist is immediately touched by their own work.. but I can tell you, at least from my point of view, that I constantly searching for more within myself.  To touch my own heart, to tap into an honesty within myself - it's just awesome.  So, that said...

The Flicker Book Series has turned into one of those collections for me.  As well as staying true to the original idea.. there have also been some unexpected perks.    Seeing my own face - is good therapy.

Like someone who has a distorted view of their own body and it's shape - I have a completely distorted view of my own face.  I am haunted, quite viciously at times, by the past.  I have loathed the sight of myself and have spent a long time afraid of mirrors. 

My face, it seems, has gotten me into much trouble and I think somewhere, somehow, I disconnected myself from it.  It may have been around the same time that I changed my name.  Considering how much I remember.. there is also so much that is forgotten.

There is a big reason to be thankful of the past I have had.   I understand what people need.  I understand how they can slip through cracks.  I know how small we are and how strong we can be.  I have compassion.  For that alone I am grateful.

There has been one person who has missed out on my compassion though.  That would be me.  I don't think I have extended that human right to myself.  Another point to address and soon.  This image is just that.  I am just a person in space like you.  Space dust.. just like you.  And for this one minute - my compassion is mine.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Who wants to be a Millionaire - I don't.

I am thinking about love. Right now. It is an interesting thing to think about.  In fact, being a person.. I've devoted alot of time thinking about loving and participating in the act.. of loving.  (please do not take me too literally here).

As time passes and I continue to grow so does the love that I experience in my day to day.  Love is an elusive - it shifts from person to person from age to age and from sex to sex.. No two loves are the same. No two relationships are the same, regardless of status ie friendship or lover, family member or co-worker.

I am also thinking of balance in these relationahips.  Balance and expectations.  I have been so very unbalanced and have been foiled by own expectations.  But then... really.. what did I expect?  I am the sum of the parts... and expectations are a part of the final answer.  I am learning to remove the expectations people may have of me from those that I have of myself.. I didn't really think this was a problem.. it's something I am only just becoming aware of.  But there is a truth in there.  All these years of carrying assumed expectations.  Bloody heavy. 

I am my own worst enemy. I have set myself enormous tasks and goals.  And I like to be hard on myself.  I enjoy the suffering to a point - the endurance.  During this time I make or I write or I think and draw... to come out on a day EXACTLY like today and wash, brush, dress, cut and pluck... as though I have been off somewhere in a desert for months with no mirror or water or care for it. 

I washed today.  I washed it all off.. the paint, ink and dust.   I took a breath and felt mighty uncomfortable.  Rest hurts.  In my clean clothes and my brushed hair and without so much as missing a beat I picked up a relatively tiny brush and began to paint the lounge room white.  I could only paint as high as I could reach.  I must have been thoroughly warm by the end of it because I painted in a slope and my reach was longer at the end.  I completed 3/4 of a wall and a doorframe.    The whole time I thought about love and my friend, who I love, sitting in the next room, talking to me through an open door...

All those years, I wished for an open, honest and accepting friendship which carried on for a life time... shared time and experience.. not bound by stereotypes and expectations of labels.   I am more Picasso than Martha Stewart.  I have his creative arrogance at times - because I insist on making and the importance that I make - for the world.   Isn't that funny?  Delusion or prophesy?  And what a terrible joke, if at the end of it all, it was all for naught??  :)  I guess that is the risk we take in this dangerous line of work... being an artist.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Regarding my Favourite Melon

Here is a background tale...

Late last year I was in the middle of living in an isolated bubble.. I went out but only to do the things I needed to do.  I made sure I didn't see anyone I didn't want to and I was prepared to cross a street rather than 'engage' with any form of life.  Sad really and beside the point. 

On one of my sneaky trips up to my favourite cafe... I noticed one of my friends sitting out the front of the cafe (right near the front door) in a large electric wheelchair.  I had heard that John had been unwell.  The grapevine here is good at times.  To my shame, I took my time going to see him.  Selfish me didn't want any (more) bad news.  But today.. I couldn't cross the road or walk past or try any of the lame tricks I had up my sleeve.  I stopped an d smiled and we embraced and the love I had for him (which I thought had been swallowed up by my depression) was there at the surface.  far from being uncomfortable, we were two mates.. like we always had been except this time he was dying. 

In three months, I reconnected with Melon (John).  We met at the cafe as often as we both could.  His body was betraying him completely.  He was turning to stone in front of my eyes... but not once did it harden his humor or spirit.  After the first meeting I was inspired to start writing the book I had always wanted to write.  It was a graphic novel.

That first night I went home and wrote and drew pages of the first draft.  Melon had inspired me so much.  The next day we met and I showed him my work.  He laughed and I went home to make more.  The book was a tool for the both of us.  I wanted him to know how important he was to me.  I wanted him to know that this was 'his' book.  He was the muse and therefore immortal.  I thought I was helping him but it was quite the opposite.

I wrote and read to him for three months.. over coffee, beside jokes... late at night.  A few nights I stayed up in the lounge - listening to him sleep.  Loving him and the body which was trying so hard to surrender.  His Mother, Sister and Brothers..were amazing.  Thanks to this loving team, Melon was allowed the time and space to be and settle into the reality of the next stage of his journey.  I am proud to say that he was excited by the prospect of moving on.  He was reconciled.  At peace.  Brave.  An unexpected Hero.

I finished the first book on a Saturday morning.  That night it was a full moon and Melons sister and I caught up for a Vodka.  They had taken John to the hospital that evening.  He was very ill. 

We were watching the moon rising and talking about coincidence when the phone rang.  John had died.  Just twelve weeks had past.. too short and yet long enough - for him, John, to change me and a little of the world.

John isn't the first person I have known to die but his passing affected me in a profound way.  He was so young.. just 33 and a popular and very funny radio dj.  The world was his.  I couldn't help but think of my own life and what I was wasting...

It is now a mere few months later - I find myself in a rut - again.  The story which is his is here and wonderful.. the cover letter is written and the synopsis is clear and solid.  All I have to do is muster the courage to send it off.

Using Melon as inspiration - I will.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

I just smiled.  I can't quite believe it.  A smile.  Small but genuine.  A little self conscious but real.  And on MY face.  :)  There wasn't a mirror so I didn't see it and I didn't have my camera to catch it but it was there.  I felt it.  Little victories are victories all the same and they should be celebrated. YAY for me!!  This depression has been winning long enough. 

After visiting doctors, shrinks and psychologigists I have come to the conclusion that the key to this is me.  It is I who needs to be my own catalyst, my own inspiration and my own role model.  This, makes the depressed me shrink.  It seems like a lot of pressure to put on myself..To become a Hero overnight.  Wouldn't it be great if I could though? 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could walk into your own engine room and set a course for 'The Very Best I Can Be'?  Don't argue.  It really would be. :)  I like this thought very much. 

Teaching the Brain to turn it Around

Lately, I have been focusing on the negative and letting it focus on me.  This has been the reason for the down hill slide.  I gave up.  Well.. I'm still here, so I haven't given up all together.  But I have let things get on top of me,  mainly a depressed, funky rut.  It is threatening to swallow me whole.

The will flickers like a distant candle.  It seems so far away.

And so, the problem solver in me gets to work.  I want to work this shit out - if it kills me.  If it kills me.  We all know it won't.  But I'm not going to kid you or myself.  It is going to hurt.  How can it not?  I jumped right into trying to find a solution to my head case.. for three days I wrote and drew mind maps.  I traced and tracked events, timelines and incidents...  it was an amazing list.  Even for me.

The thing is - I know that I am not the only one to have experiences which lead to a condition like post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Simply living - even in a 'safe' part of the world - does not exempt you from trauma.  For all the personal damage I have felt.. I truly feel as though my compassion bone has been compensated.  I know how to feel because I feel... and that is awesome. 

As of tomorrow.. things physically change.  I will have no choice but to change with it.  I am frightened and excited.
I went to see a Psychiatrist last week.  Apparently, a good one.  The appointment went for one hour.  I wept for most of it.  The logical, aware and conscious part of my brain has been noticing changes lately.  I have been changing.  The image of 'going downhill' is apt... I have been watching myself as if watching someone else.. with fascination and nowhere near enough compassion.

Nearly half my life ago I was told that I had Bipolar Disorder.  It was also the second diagnosis and the third.  It's a heavy label to carry.  I didn't realise it was as tough as it is until now and exhaustion has slowed me to the point where I am writing... so not such a bad thing.  The Bipolar Disorder has affected the way I have been treated, my employment, my relationships, my health and the way I have viewed myself.  It has felt like a life sentence of symptoms I will never be free of. 

This week, though - it was taken away and replaced, officially, with chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I feel as though I have been given a life back.  My life.  I just don't know what to do with it yet.. or first. 

Knowing what this is - these feelings of decline - I thought they might abate.. but the symptoms continue.  They even dig a little deeper as though they know they are weeds and will soon be dug out.  They terrors want to hurt as much as they can on the way out.  The pain of this discourages rebellion... my spirit and I have a low pain thresh-hold at the moment.

So yes, I feel delicate today and positive that I will feel positive about feeling positive in the very near future.  Should it be the will of any God at all... :)