Lately – The practice of being upside down.

In one of my classes at Fada Dance we’ve started a piece with headstands. So far though I usually don’t make it past the starting pose, head and arms on the ground, staring at my own feet on tip toes.

There’s some sort of huge structure being built on Broad St. a few blocks from my house according to this gigant-a-gon crane that I’ve made a habit of ogling daily. Beauty isn’t she.

I’m such a fan of stray sidewalk furniture.

I’ve discovered major love for natural dyeing. Eve, Jera and Katherine planned a whole evening of “blowing out” (all puns intended) our own eggs and dying them with things like berries, apples, coffee, and the unanimous favorite, red onion (far top right).

Between the three of them I pale in cooking/crafting knowledge, so my roles are often things like color theorist, dye stir-er, cheese grater and “drink this wine before it goes bad,” and I have to give them the credit, but man is it fun! Also egg blowing is like hours of entertainment, and makes for some hilarious competition. Afterwards we (they) made a quiche, using leftover food from making the dyes (so resourceful!). We also tied the eggs together to make mobiles for Katherine’s windows. The white of the eggs has a really nice glow, making them almost look lit ‘from within’, so pretty!

This past weekend Eve, Jera and I went to Regina’s sleeker and hipper, older sister city of Saskatoon for the weekend. We stayed with our friend Bishop who lives with her Grandpa, he built their house, and more importantly, made this:

the all time most fantastical thing to discover when coming home drunk at 3am.

Seriously, people there really are sleeker, and “hipper”, although the three of us decided we weren’t sure we liked it that way.

A running joke became that we were from 1992 (and so were the people we attracted, cars we got into and clothes we bought) while most of the city and it’s oh so young population were from present day twooo thousand and tweeelve. This comparison was made because although we’re probably biased, Regina feels considerably grungy-er, and kind of more authentic than the super styled, highly esthetic but often lacking in “fashion guts” look of all the beautiful people we were (at times unable to stop) watching.

The city structure and design overall are just so gorgeous, and all of the little restaurants have such an attention to detail right down to their too adorable menu cards that the uninspiring blanket look of hipster masses seemed particularly obvious. But also, they have way better shopping (obviously) and I found my new favorite tights, they’re multi colored and printed with vegetables! Like I actually screamed out loud probably.

I found some total jems while zoned on the highway, going though old photographs on my laptop in the back seat, like this picture my sister took of me rain painting 4 years ago,

I’m so bringing blue lipstick back.

Overall absolute road trip success, fully equipped with: nick names for every crush, homemade car snacks, drinking beers in bar washrooms, an indie shopping marathon, stalking adorable indie bands, a lot of venting, wine-in-bed philosophical conversations, interactions worthy of impersonations (I walked into a party this week where Jera was mid-way though a re-inaction of my flirting/being flirted with), serendipitous adventures, making friends, attics with blue 70’s shag carpet, the best naps and giggle-y-est of brunches.

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Holy endless book list! I’m still mid re-read of Sex at Dawn, I’ve just started ‘The Ethical Slut’, which I bought this weekend at Turning the Tide, and I’m saving the third Game of Thrones for my next available day/night that I don’t have anywhere to be the next morning.   I’ve also been inducted into a book club of one by my lady friends Lisa and Leah who were shocked to hear that I’ve never read the classics, Lolita is first on my list.

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March 27th, was my little sister Jamie’s 18th birthday.
She’s incredible and I love her wickedly.

This weekend I’m doing my first ever commissioned drawings, crazy!

Oh, and guess I’m going to Coachella. Insanity.

The first lesson in headstand school is to get comfortable being upside down.

Whadda’week

Friday:

I went into work for what I thought was going to be work talk but was instead a bunch of friends offering wine and picking favorite cuties on the greyhound rescue website.

We later made it to three of the four art openings happening in the city.
(at, The First Nations University, the Creative City Center and robBos Art Project Gallery)

Ate a lot of cheese, sat in a glass tipi, ran through a field-ish, made some new friends, drank from the communal boxed wine, had a childhood friend describe my blog as,

“It’s like a travel log, except just for your life”
– love this, had major girl talk circle time, had a super in depth like 2 hour conversation about relationships-poetry-photography-everything with someone I’d just met, had two photo shoots (one under pretty street lights and one with a lot of screaming), dance partied, got 2 for1 pizza, hugged a lot, had 4am under the covers girl talk and saw a lot of various art, obviously.

Saturday:

“I think I need to lock myself in my bedroom.”

This is a text I sent to girlfriends going out and doing fun things.

I walked down the street to the hospital and bought two XL double doubles from Robins Donuts (my mom fricken loves Robins like you have no idea, they’re so nostalgic to me) in my pajamaz with crazy pulling my hair out hair, and basked in my favorite part about the hospital: it’s like the opposite of everywhere else! No fake smiles, no small talk, no having to lie when someone asks how you are, because in fact, no one asks you at all! It’s amazing there. No one can judge you, or be rude, or nosy or snobby like how people can so often be in real life. Going to the hospital just to get coffee is kind of like being in disguise, it feels almost wrong but not actually.

I ordered the pad thai I’ve been day dreaming about all week for delivery.

I listened to CBC radio 3 forever.

I spent too much time stalking people on facebook.

I encountered a very hurtful argument with an extended family member on facebook. The kind that makes you go, “uhhh wtf! really? uhhh…. ” so I cried about and dealt with that.

Then I finally finished (mostly) what I’ve been trying to finish all week; the written portion of my application to Emily Carr, and had an amazing response from people willing to read it through and offer advice. An old friend of my dads often sits on the acceptance committee for the arts programs at the university where she works so I followed her suggestions mostly.Thanks Marnie!

Around 3am my girlfriends, Jera and Eve, came over and we drank tea in my kitchen and talked shop (this is a bad joke, by ‘shop’ I mean relationships, ha! ahahaha) which led to deciding what animals we would be, and what animals our friends would be. Eventually it was 5am and they were being the most adorable comforter wearing duo ever and I was doing impersonations of people as their animal, apparently I have a natural talent.

We had a hard time deciding what I am.
First I was a fox, nah a horse, nah a deer, hmmm no actually a cheetah, hmmm fox?

Sunday and Monday:

More hair pulling out, waiting for images to load, eating left over thai food forever, re-writing, worrying, saying “ughhhhh” out loud a lot, ect.

Tuesday:

I went to this tutorial/session on how Twitter works at The Highland Broker which I’d never heard of before but is basically a mortgage broker who wears a kilt to work everyday and his 3 rad friends who specialize in social media and business. Kind of my ideal way to spend an afternoon, chugging coffee and learning/discussing social media strategy.

Spent about 3 hours at Atlantis (downtown open late coffee shop) finishing up my portfolio. I got to that place of ‘I’ve been looking at my own art work for so long that I can’t even tell what’s good and what’s not’ and ‘I’m too emotionally attached to these pieces for my own good’. I needed to ditch two of the images I already had to be replaced with some that showed more range, techniques and materials but I was having an awful time about it.

So I decided to go find someone who could see them with outside eyes and help me out. As soon as I stood up (I was hiding at the back in a corner) I saw my good friend Eric, who had innocently just slipped in to use the washroom, and dragged him over. He was worried about making decisions for me but his un-biased reactions to each piece did the decision making for him, and me. It was also just straight up nice to feel encouraged and told honestly that I’m talented. At times like those it’s so easy to feel absolute much self doubt. My favorite part was when he said that I “have a very interesting perspective on the female body.” with serious eyebrow action happening. CUTE.

It was totally a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire – call a friend” miracle moment.

Wednesday – Friday:

Weeerked every day all day, submitted my soul to be evaluated by Emily Carr, saw the Combat Improv show, smoked sheeesha, deconstructed + reconstructed (space and emotions), moved these gigantic glass shelf cases around, made a jewelry display that I really like of a mannequin head wearing a blue vintage hat and an antler as a crown with rings on it, cried a lot and felt stupid lonely – what a frustrating human emotion – the desire to be held, wrote, went to a friends rad birthday party, played drinking card games, ate a lot of brie cheese, everything and everyone was matching, went d-d-dancing, put on my “big voice” aka my charming – selling voice, drank a lot of coffee.

You know, the usual.

Tonight I also had a long nap (but I’m still totally tired) and painted my nails.

So, this is basically my extended excuse of why it’s been so long since I wrote a blog post, I’ve been feeling guilty about it. Too wrapped up in other things and neglecting what I actually want to be doing, classic.

Here’s a screen shot of my portfolio:
(my computer is totally over worked and angry at me so it would literally take hours to upload every image individually)

One down, 3 or 4 to go. Testing my application stamina, whew.

Time Traveling

December has been an intense month for me.

It marks the sixth year since my dad died of brain cancer.

So strange how time passes, but in an instant can fold in on itself. I’ve felt so far from that time while also unbearably near. Suffering from  physical and emotional pain so all encompassing I felt like I’d time travelled.

Flashbacks, heartaches, headaches.
Days where I couldn’t stop crying for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Days where I was fine one minute and hyperventilating the next.

I started to call it ‘death aches’.

Like my insides could rip through me at any time. Like not being able to look in the mirror because my face reminds me of his. Like I didn’t have the ability to hold myself in this present world. Like nothing, my sanity included, was safe.

December has been kind of scary for me in that way.

Feeling like I’m “closer to the crazy” (than usual).

I’ve forgotten if last year was like this.
I was completely caught off guard by the effect the anniversary would have on me.
It’s like I’d somehow forgotten how much grief can hurt.

Karen (my art therapist, and friend) says that my body remembers. That we live in cycles, that the time lapsing-seasonal-triggers make a lot of sense.

After working with her this fall, I feel like I may be more self aware. I’m closer to raw, but I’m also closer to strength. I am quicker to identify the things I’m feeling, more trusting in asking for help and being honest with myself. The pain may be just as awful as it was then, but I am quicker to bounce back, I’m learning what helps and what doesn’t.

After having so many in my life and especially this month, I’ve sort of developed a system to battle breakdowns:

1. Call a friend.

– In my experience, I will often spiral quickly into completely irrational thoughts if I’m alone for too long in breakdown world. The sooner I surrender my despair to someone who can reassure me that I’ll be okay, the sooner I can feel like myself again.

Also, sometimes it’s enough just to have a conversation about every day mundane things, or say nothing and just be held by someone.

Note. My friends are incredibly supportive and open. (thank you thank you thank you!)

2. Write about it.

-When I can see my thoughts and emotions on the page, outside of my mind, cut and paste-able, re-visit-able and safe, than I can begin to let them go. I can accept what they were and my helplessness begins to disperse. When I’m creating from my emotions and experiences than I can more easily accept their purpose.

Note. I don’t usually read back (usually at least) until I’m in a new head space.

3. Look/read through old journal/sketchbooks from a similar crisis or time of year.

-Shortly after my dads death, when I was deepest in my depression, I used the image of the person I wanted to be to guide me (and I still do this). I knew what direction I wanted to go in, but didn’t know how to get there. So when in doubt, I would ask myself what I thought she would do, sort of like my own made-up-fairy-godmother. Now, looking back on the self that had the strength to live through those things, is incredibly comforting.

I feel like my past and future selves are considerably wiser than my present moment-living-experiencing self, if that makes sense.

Here are some of my favorite pages (of no specific theme) found while looking through old journals.

Wham! Time Capsule Boy.

After we’d talked I had him in my brain all day, you know. So I wrote about him:

 You’re just going about your life, in a linear way.

Then, out of nowhere, someone from your past catches you off guard, and suddenly, you’re filled with them.

Just like that.

… read the rest of the story here.

And decided to read/look through my journal/sketchbooks from around the time we were last together.

Here are some things I found:

“Some women choose to follow men, and some women chose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your dreams will never wake up and tell you that they don’t love you anymore.”-Lady Gaga

“I needed to feel real, and I did.”

I’ve been working on art journaling.

It’s one of my favorite art forms (to see/appreciate), along with mixed media and collage, but as much as I enjoy them, I also find them all quite hard to do. They feel completely contrary to my perfectionist nature, which often results in just not starting, worrying about “ruining it” or collecting pieces of paper that I never use.

So I’m practicing.

I was inspired by something I read on Anahata Katkin’s blog once about how she works her pages in layers, leaving them unfinished and then returning to them with different materials until they’re complete. I like idea that the pages will shape into that I want/need them to be over time. This takes away some of the “perfectionist” pressure, leaving  more space to experiment and forgive.

I’ve also recently discovered a love for text based art. I’m fascinated by the act of taking thoughts, statements and snipits of conversation out of context and isolating them on the page to see how they stand on their own.

Check out the incredible-ness of Sabrina Ward Harrison and Anahata Katkin. Ironically, AK just wrote a blog post about SWH and her beautiful feature on Apartment Therapy. Like SWH, I would like for my home to feel like you’ve just walked into one of my journals. Although, in my case maybe it should be the other way around. My art journaling practice may be able to learn something from chaos that is my bedroom.

Here are some of my recent pages.