Sunday, February 28, 2010
I can't believe that it has been over a week since I last posted. My other half was out of school this past week for Winter Break, and I had less time on the computer. There really hasn't been anything I would have posted anyway. I've been in this low cycle for a few weeks now, just feeling blah.
We have been watching the Olympics, however. They started out with the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during training, putting a pall over the opening ceremony and first few days of the games. In between, the skiing and skating events had some interesting results. I particularly enjoyed watching curling, a sport which I guess is like pool. It seems such a strange event compared to all the other ice events, seemingly in slow motion when compared.
The final event was so amazing! Canada and USA faced off in the men's' hockey gold medal game. It was extremely exciting to watch, and it was nerve wracking when they went into overtime. I have to say that I was disappointed in the outcome, but I'm happy for the Canadians to have won in their country.
Unfortunately, the games sort of ended in another tragedy when Chile experienced an 8.8 magnitude earthquake on Sunday and sent residual tsunami waves into the Pacific. Thankfully, those didn't amount to much.
The closing ceremony will soon be underway, so I'm off to watch. And finally, congratulations, O Canada!
(Photo from yahoo.com.)
Friday, February 19, 2010
First off, let me say that I started this entry on Monday. Various things have taken up my time this week, so I couldn't finish and post it until today.
My mom and I went to see "Celtic Woman" in concert this past weekend. She knows that I adore Celtic music and had gotten the tickets for my birthday. I've always loved the music, the songs, and I love to hear anything sung or spoken in Gaelic. I've had an obsession with the Celts forever. That being said, I had long known of my father's ancestral family, but no one had ever done any research on my mother's family. I took that upon myself a few years ago. I traced her family history back to Ireland, so this is the music of my ancestors. How else to explain my love of the music except that it's in my blood! My dream is to one day visit that beautiful country.
There is a type of Irish called "Black Irish." This group differs from the traditional Irish who typically have lighter and red hair colors. One theory suggests that the many Spaniards who came ashore following the wreck of their ships in a storm intermingled with the Irish, adding their genes, resulting in the Black Irish type. The genetics of the human race is fascinating to study. Very difficult to follow, but fascinating nonetheless. There is a study that used mitochondrial DNA to trace human origins back to what they call the Mitochondrial "Eve." From there, they tracked the spread of the human race. All of that to say that there are certain characteristics of each ethnic group based on genetics. I have very dark brown hair. When I was young, it had a lot of red in it, but as I grew older it got much darker. I have green eyes with just a bit of gold in the center and a blue outer ring. I have very fair skin, and I am short. Based on genetics of the Black Irish, I look typically Black Irish. The Irish were the first emigrants to the United States, and the largest group of Irish descendants still live here. I count myself as one!
Life has never been easy for the Irish people. They have long been subjected to discrimination and persecution, in early times as evil pagans who needed to be reformed and later as a lower class who were socially unacceptable and backwards. They have been economically and socially oppressed in their own country as well as in those countries to which they immigrated. The significant divisions of political and religious beliefs brought punishment and abuse, leaving the Irish struggling to cope. The two best known stereotypical Irish characters are the mean-tempered and the drunk, both of which can be attributed to the extreme oppression under which they lived. Studies have shown that the Irish generally have poor health which they lovingly pass on to future generations, and they also have more long-term illnesses. As physical health is an indicator of mental health, it isn't surprising that there is a high incidence of mental health disorders among the Irish. They also pass along the tendency toward mental health disorders. Ain't heredity grand?
Because of their suffering, I think that of all cultures, the Irish know best how to celebrate life. They are a practical people who work hard and then play harder. And music has always been part of that celebration.
The concert was fabulous, just as I knew it would be. The four women who sing have angelic voices. Although I adore the pixie fiddler, the percussionists are my favorite musicians. Of course, there were bagpipes, various stringed instruments, pipes, etc., so it was all very authentic. However, this "easy listening" music is not the only genre of Celtic music of which I am fond. Various groups that are either more "rocking" or "primitive" are in my CD collection as well. The more authentic, the better. So imagine my excitement this morning to discover a group called Eluveitie from my favorite blogger, the fabulous Buffy Leigh of "kaKofonie Of si(gh)lens"! The group is from Switzerland, and they are a folk metal band, their sound a blend of metal and Celtic folk music. Definitely not angelic! I'm already logged onto Amazon to make a few CD purchases. BL usually clues me in on amazing fashion finds, but I love her music preferences, too. Thanks, Buff!
Instead of our usual tea party, I think I'll invite my friends over for a wee pint or two of good ole Irish stout.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I am not much of a TV watcher. I prefer to read and listen to music. My other half, however, cannot be home without the TV on at its loudest volume, while also online looking through YouTube videos with that volume at an ear-piercing level. Unfortunately, he also wants to constantly replay the videos so I can watch them. Imagine my happiness. The cacophony is mind-numbing to me. I can't think at all, certainly can't read with any hope of understanding. And that is only one of the reasons he and I live in separate parts of the house.
However, last night I saw the preview for Alice's new movie. She has been very low key about it due to the competition between her and Dorothy. Now that the release date is close, she has barely been able to contain her excitement. Her story has been told many times and in different genres. Her original story was told in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," followed by "Through the Looking Glass," both as novels written by Lewis Carroll (English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). Since then, many of the adaptations have been a combination of these two stories, and in recent years the big screen has been ignored in favor of television productions. The SciFi (SyFy) channel took her story further and made a miniseries that was set 150 years after her first visit to Wonderland, entitled simply "Alice." It was a great concept, similar to Dorothy's own futuristic story on SciFi called "Tin Man." These are both worth watching.
Now, however, the genius that is Tim Burton paired with the genius that is Johnny Depp is finally bringing back Alice's story as a movie. How can it not be incredible? I'm mad to see it! If her story isn't familiar, or if it has been a long time since reading it, I recommend a bit of research. This movie is set a few years later than the original, but the characters are the same. It is a nonsensical story, often confusing to follow. Sometimes things simply do not make sense. Even Alice said "...I can't quite follow it...It would be so nice if something made sense for a change." It will be interesting to see how Mr. Burton handles her story.
Dorothy is very supportive of Alice, but I can tell that she is hoping someone will update her adventure. Yes, we all love Judy Garland's portrayal of Dorothy (Dorothy did chose her specifically), but as she says, "if they can remake Alice's story, they can certainly remake mine." Alice argued that Dorothy's story has long been the favorite and that it's her turn. Our tea parties are getting quite interesting, if not downright dangerous. Hot tea slinging does not a party make.
Perhaps I need to put in a word with Mr. Burton. Of course, he would make Dorothy's story into a darker version. The Grey Brick Road and the Drab Olive City. I'm not sure my psyche could handle it, but it would look more like me and my wardrobe.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Another problem these days is trying to decide what to do about finances. I was out of work last year for almost six months. I went back part-time in January, but thus far I've only been able to go one day per week. Our financial situation isn't one that will allow me to remain on the employment fence much longer. Actually, I think I have to be off of the fence by the end of this weekend.
It may be so hard to get my butt into the office every week because the extreme stress that sent me over the edge is probably always in the back of my mind. There is something in my head that just refuses to listen to reasoning even when I know I'm really going to be in trouble with my other half if I don't go into work. I have often thought that shame might play a part in how I feel about my failures or when I can't meet expectations. I remember specific incidents of shame being the disciplinary vehicle my mom used. Guess it carried over. It's either fear of the stress or shame, or it may be a combination of the two, but I'm not doing a very good job of getting past it.
I really liked my job. I really like the people I worked for. But I couldn't take the stress of being the only other employee doing all the admin and client paperwork. They admitted on more than one occasion that they needed at least two people and maybe three. They knew I was working too many hours and never making a dent in the stacks. We just couldn't ever find anyone. The one person we hired stayed only a few months. They hired someone else after I had been gone about two months. Now I'm more of a gopher, trying to help get things caught up. I can make my own schedule and am not responsible for any of the day-to-day stuff. It should be a no-brainer, so why am I so hesitant to go back? Maybe I should go be a greeter at Walmart or get a part-time job at the mall. I couldn't work at a bookstore, clothing store, shoe store or pet store. I would simply hand my check back to the owner on payday. That doesn't leave me many no-brainer possibilities for employment. I don't want to work somewhere that I will get so involved and feel so responsible. Gets me into too much trouble. I would love to do something at home, but I have no self-motivation right now. And there is still the issue of making a difference whatever I do. I saw an ad on TV recently that advised doing marketing surveys online that paid "thousands" of dollars. Yeah. What I really wish is that I could get paid for cleaning up my house. It has suffered the past year right along with me.
During tea today, my friends gave me a bit of advice. Alice said she wouldn't recommend falling into a hole, but she did admit that if I was in a place where everyone was mad, mad, mad, I might feel right at home. I'm thinking that the most important thing about their experiences is that neither one of them had a need for cash. Not in Wonderland or Oz. Something to consider.
Wonder how far it is to Yellow Brick Road. If I don't start making a monetary contribution to the home fund soon, I'm gonna be sent packing.
(Image used in this post is by artist Margaret Teichert and is entitled "The Yellow Brick Road." It can be found at margaretteichert.com.)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Immediately after publishing the previous post, I saw a news headline that shocked me. One of the greatest and most controversial designers ever, Alexander McQueen, was found dead today. The media are reporting his death as a suicide.
Tim Blanks of Style.com had this to say:
He was "an arch romantic with a pessimistic streak. It produced some of the most beautiful, shocking images in the history of fashion, but it’s a state of mind that can lead to endless disappointments. The death of McQueen’s mother last week would have validated his pessimism. It would undoubtedly have taken away his most vital support. It’s awful to imagine him trying—and failing—to cope, and one can only hope that, if he was looking for peace, he found it."
What makes the soul of an artist so tortured?
The image used in this post is from McQueen's 2001 Spring show at Style.com. On the runway was a cube which represented a mental hospital holding cell. The models were dressed in designs that gave the impression of insanity and dementia.
I have often been told I am a true Aquarian. I don't think that's even a word, but that's why it perfectly describes me. I walk to the beat of a different drummer. I am independent. Solitude suits me just fine. My mom and dad have often said that they brought the wrong baby home from the hospital! I am the weird one, the rebellious one, even though I never did any of the stuff my brothers did. I think differently, I dress differently. My mom made my clothes, and I never could find fabrics or patterns that I liked. I had a vision of what I wanted, but no one could ever sew it. My mom was a true seamstress--no seams showed on the inside, prints matched at seams, lined, etc. Perhaps because I demanded perfection in everything I did (though I didn't realize it at the time), I wanted to wear what we now know as deconstruction style. I don't think that was a word back when I wanted it. For certain, my mother had no clue how to make it. My outfits were an odd combination of bohemian, punk, and goth before the last two were popular. Kind of a step up from the hippies of the sixties. Long chains, metal fastenings, lace, high-heeled boots, ripped and shredded, loose and layered. Rings on every finger and toe, bracelets up to my elbows and there wasn't a day when I didn't wear a scarf tied somewhere on my person. And I went to a prep school/college. Pink and green and La Costa. Hated it then, and still do. And yes, I was considered quite different. Duh. Did I care??
My tastes were refined as I got older to include asymmetrical and architectural looks. If I was lucky enough to find something like that, I still wore it in a way no one else would. People would stare at me and might say something about how "interesting" I looked! The Japanese and Belgians, among others, were designing the kind of clothing that I wanted, but I wouldn't discover it for years.
I did a similar thing in decorating. Long before it was popular, I was doing the shabby chic thing without the chic. My love of fibers and metals and layering translated into antique clothing and rusty stuff put together in unusual ways. I bought antiques that were broken or falling apart, and I used them just like I found them. Well, I did clean them up. I just didn't do any repairs. I went to flea markets up and down the east coast, shopped antique stores, did some dumpster diving, picked up "trash" off the side of the road and even picked pieces out of trash piles behind the antique stores in rural areas. I consider the found freebies some of my best treasures! I display the old clothing, usually in some state of decay, like art. Broken garden statue parts are scattered around my home, as are old mannequins and tabletop displays. I have been told by quite a number of people that my house looks like a museum. They usually make it sound like it's a good thing, but who knows? There was the one woman who asked me why I had severed limbs, heads, and torsos in my house. What could I say? She didn't get it, and I wasn't even going to try to explain.
Now, I mention all of this because I know that I am different in so many ways. Odd, unusual, weird, but for the most part I am very comfortable with myself. However, a friend told me a few years ago that she thought the reason I dressed and decorated with things that were flawed and falling apart was because I thought I was flawed and falling apart. What? I didn't know how to feel about that comment. Is it possible that I am outwardly manifesting my inner self with all my flaws and problems by the way I dress? Did I happily keep broken things broken because I was broken inside? Is it possible for a person to subconsciously do that? And would that same friend see every person with a mental disorder in the same way? Or was it just me?
I have to say that I've been disturbed by her words ever since. I'd like to think that my style is a completely separate issue from my mental and emotional state. Because if they are connected, then not only have I been this way all my life, then I am likely unable to change. And truthfully, while I do want to change on the inside, I don't want to change my style at all.
Maybe I should dress like a mental patient. Because it really is my style.
(Image from Dazed and Confused.)
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The most recent cycle has run its course, and I am once again back in a low phase. I'm so thankful that I seem to have overcome the trauma symptoms since I have been able to get out and about again. That leaves just the depression, which is much easier to deal with and get past. Easier, of course, being a relative term. On Monday, I felt like everything inside of me was draining out of my pores. Like a balloon that was slowing leaking air, sinking lower and lower. By Tuesday, I was completely empty. I couldn't focus, couldn't think. I actually didn't even feel anything. No energy, no thoughts, no emotions. It is a relief to feel nothing. And although I am like a chrysalis, the inanimate shell, I know that somewhere inside I am gaining strength to face another day.
Now that I am past the trauma, I think a New Place has been created. A Place where I can find restful sleep instead of being overwhelmed. A Place where there is no fear or anxiety. A Place that will shelter and renew. I am so comforted by the knowledge that I have moved on from The Place. It will always be there in case it is needed. But knowing that I don't have to stay there encourages and motivates me to keep pushing myself. Well, probably not pushing. More like nudging.
(Image used in this post is from dreamthinkspeak.com.)
Sunday, February 7, 2010
It's officially here--Superbowl Sunday. There are three things that are of interest to me. First, I can indulge in any snacks I want and as much as I want without feeling guilty. Thus far I've had ice cream and M&M's chocolate covered almonds. I'm about ready to hit the golden Oreo cookies! (I sent Dorothy and Alice home since I didn't want to share.) The second thing is watching the commercials. I never remember the sponsor of the ad, so they are losing money on me. The third thing I notice about the game is the colors of the uniforms. I usually decide which team I pull for based on which color I like better. Tonight I like the Saints uniforms since I dress in almost all neutral colors. Although blue is okay since I also wear blue jeans. A dilemma. Hhmmm. Back to the food. Yummy.
(Find these snacks at candyaddict.com.)
Friday, February 5, 2010
We are once again experiencing Mother Nature's fickleness. Will it rain? Sleet? Snow? Any combination of the above? What we do have is a gray day with something coming down from the clouds that differs from hour to hour. Of course, I'm praying for snow. Please, please more snow.
Yesterday and today have both been very good days. I made it out both days for appointments and to go to the drugstore and grocery store. Two days in a row, more than one place to go.
This clearly calls for a celebration!
(The image used in this post is from artist Chuck Kaiser and is entitled "Celebration II." It is sold at his website chuckkaiser.com.)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
My one and only reason for this post is this beautiful picture. I've had in in my files and never been able to use it. So for today, please enjoy this artwork by ReneeRobbins, a Seller on Etsy. This piece is entitled "Rupture in a Mangrove Fog." I had a friend who went on an expedition to study the mangroves down in South America. She loved it so much, she moved there. I might move there if it looked like this!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
It snowed last Friday afternoon until sometime late Saturday. We got snowed in, and virtually the entire city shut down. Here in the South, we can't drive in the rain, so don't even ask what happens when it snows! I was content to sit and sip tea and watch the snow fall. It's one of the most peaceful things I know. It's amazing to think that every single snowflake is totally, completely unique. For me, that's mind boggling. Well, for me, a lot of things are mind boggling!
Being snowed in gave me some time to do more thinking about why I am here in The Place. I had to come here at the beginning. There simply was nothing else to do. I was broken, beaten down and exhausted. But I've been here for quite some time and decided it was time to reevaluate. I got the push from a friend who gave me some good advice. I didn't realize at the time just how good it was. She said that I should take care of myself and not try to control everything outside The Place. What? I was here because I couldn't control myself, never mind anything else, so just how was I trying to control the outside world? It took me a few days, but as I was trying to go to sleep Friday night, I sat straight up with that "AHA" kind of moment.
Previously I mentioned that I was staying here in The Place longer than some people thought I should. I don't go out very often, usually only once a week. The truth is, I have gotten quite comfortable here, and my friend has forced me to acknowledge that I am hiding here. By hiding, I'm doing two things. One, I'm assuming that everything on the outside will be difficult to deal with, and two, I'm not allowing myself a way to find out how much I've healed. Assuming everything outside will be difficult is putting boundaries on the outside, which is, in effect, controlling the outside. I set myself an impossible task there, no?
I do need to set some boundaries on the outside, otherwise I will be right back where I was six months ago. And I do need to go outside, for no other reason than it's time to take that first big step and see how far I've come. The Place will be right here should I need to run back. I can't control anything or anyone on the outside, and I can't live any kind of meaningful life without going back out there.
If I keep hiding, I'm going to fade away.
Many thanks to my friend for the wise words and the encouragement.
The image used in this post is from blog.myheartties.com. It's a blog by Leah Humphries, and in it, she discusses her life after an ostomy. I could relate to so much of what she had to say. She also makes and sells a heart-shaped ostomy pouch cover that she created to feel more "womanly" after her operation (myheartties.com).
Yesterday was Groundhog Day. Personally, I'm not sure how anyone could believe this little guy has a clue. And I've never figured out how the shadow has anything to do with the weather. Maybe I should do some research. On the other hand, I love the movie "Groundhog Day." The first time I saw it I wasn't too keen on it, but by the end of the second showing, I was hooked. Living any day over and over again doesn't sound at all appealing, but I love how Bill Murray finally just makes the most of it and decides to really enjoy the day. Because we aren't promised tomorrow. Something I've been thinking about lately.
Phil's prediction is for six more weeks of winter. I'm elated! I love snow. Give me more snow. We just had a weekend of snow, and the forecast is for more this coming weekend. I love it. Love, love, love it. We only get snow here once every decade. Maybe if I lived further north I wouldn't love it so much.
Anyway, Phil could be wrong. I hope not.
(Photo is by leanneeisen on Etsy and is entitled "Six More Weeks of Winter.")