February 05, 2020

Radical self-acceptance

radical self acceptance. the complete up and the complete down. accept the really wonderful and the really shameful. accept the bad, the good, the pretty, the sad, the lame, the unworthy, the been there done that, the poop face, the acne face, the annoying one the funnny one, the headache, the hungry, the cool, the awkward, the clumsy, the fake, the beginning, the shy, the intolerable. accept the dramatic, the bad dancer, the good dancer, the really over the top happy and the really over the top sad.

What would it look like to completely accept the thoughts and feeling, the mood, the swing, the change in inner temperament. so everything happens. and you gotta flow with it like a current of water. i should start swimming again. flow flow flow water. accept and don't intellectualise. when you intellectualise you are at some level not accepting it and that makes you feel the need to understand it and intellectualise it and figure it out, and conquer it and own it and name it and control it and dominate it. sounds like the western imperial thought process.

what does radical self acceptance look like? what are some things that we just naturally accept almost without trouble? almost like where do we feel ok with uncertainty? today i felt paralysed with fear and unable to do anything but just sleep. had no desire to do or accomplish anything. thats the hardest thing for me to accept that on some days i cannot accomplish anything and that sucks... or does it? accept it.

but im not.

i need to accept that. simply accept that. i am what i am. i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am i am what i am.

Dance like no one's watching.

What the hell man, whenever I am dancing when no one is watching, my moves are always so fire! Why is there no one watching? The conundrum of my life, or actually even more accurate, when I make music when no one's recording, my music is dope! Why is no one recording?

This is my life over and over again on repeat! Why? When no one is watching, when there is no critic, no eye, no ear, no nose (?) to judge, to bear witness. It's like that snake that you like to pet but bites you at the same time. How can this be? Without the pressure to perform, I can perform like a professional, but then with the pressure to perform, I buckle like a gingerbread house. Is that what sets the pros apart from the proles? Most likely. But knowing me, I want to talk around in circles about it until I figure out a way to make myself feel better. 

When we dance and no one is watching, what are we doing? We know we are not being scrutinized. We know we are liberated from the observer, the panopticon. We are more relaxed and we flow into the rhythm and essentially we play. We are at play. Like a cat in heat, we become adults at play. This is a hard state to achieve if you are surrounded by people and exist in environments where you are constantly being assessed and monitored. So how can we ease into playmode more frequently? How can we slide into our comfy clothes and sing like no one gives a fuck?

Can we find a way to convince everyone in the world that what we produce is legitimate, beautiful, meaningful? Can we remove all other artists and singers and dancers that are outproducing us? Can we find a way to freeze time so that we can finally release our inhibitions and do something wild and liberating? Obviously, not, but nice try. I have a hunch it's more about how we think and perceive the world around us. 

Firstly, I want to address a gross misperception I deal with and that is of competition with my fellow humanoids. Especially against other females, against other straight females, against other straight female artists, against other straight female tattoo artists, against other straight female tattoo artists, ad infinitum... ad nauseam. 

I am not competing with anyone. I didn't enter a race at birth, I'm not competing against my fellow beings. I must remind myself. The success of a female artist is a success for all female artist, for all artists and all humans together and forever.  Ok that last sentence was partially bullshit. For what is success? Asked the mighty scholar? But in all serious face, there is some truth here maybe my version of success ins't the same thing as a version of success for the next female artist. So there can never be an objective winning point, or finish line, or climax or what have you. There is something to be said however, about witnessing the (your version of) success in others. It makes it attainable, it makes it legible, it makes it palpable, it can also lead you to the next step or serve as a roadmap for reference only (not to be photocopied). And sometimes it makes it real and not so sexy. Huh? Who would have thought that what I thought was success is actually just more work and responsibility (*return to this idea in another post.).

Damn this girl ain't consistent

My older brother once told me, always be consistent. He gives really good advice normally, but that time wasn't so much my favorite. I am one of the lease consistent people ever, and I guess what I mean by that is that I cannot keep to a routine or stick to things very long. Whether it's waking up early, meditating, exercising, or even writing a blog (it's been almost one year since I wrote my last post) I suck at routines. I hate them so much that I would go out of my way to not have them. But now that I have been out of a traditional nine to five job for a couple of years now, I've been flirting with this desire for routine. I'd like to make a quick caveat here, that I prefer to use the term ritual, since for me the term routine implies a sense of dead repetitive movement, ritual for me implies an action with a living intention behind it.

So this is a great topic to discuss in my (almost) one year anniversary, I initially thought to start out by recapping the year to see if I made "enough" growth or "expected" growth this year. This language reminds me of being back in school, as a teacher and as a student, to progress reports and teacher evaluations. No thank you. I have made the growth that I have made. Growth isn't linear, and I admit sometimes during this past year I was probably growing backwards, or ungrowing or taking steps back. I think that's normal, it's like the two-step jig, one step forward, one step back, swing your partner round and round, then you have to touch the ground. Something like that. But in serious face, personal growth is always very jaggedy and rocky, it's not perfect. It's more sexy that way, there needs to be a little mystery. 

That being said, now I can recap the year and see where I grew and where I would like to implement a ritual, our routine, or habit, or Repetitive Healthy Action.

"RHA! RHA! RHA!" shouted the cheer captain. 

I moved across the country. I got married. I started my website. I got my own printer. I made some dope fliers. I am learning Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator. I am getting MUCH better at organizing my art. I sold my car. I work two days a week. I am eating healthier.
I would like to implement a ritual or routine around making art. I seem to always make art in between times rather than on a schedule. I feel like a lot of times it's either got to be something I feel ready or in the mood to work on. For that reason, I'm a beast at multi projects, I start many projects and catch up with them when I am in the mood. For instance now writing this blog post. I seem to have been possessed to write. I cannot really stop. It is flowing from me. I wish I could harness that all the time and direct it toward the project of my choosing (I was compelled to go on the computer and work because I was not feeling my drawing this morning).

An antidote to continuing on a drawing that may have started to run dry could be to start on another drawing, build up my excitement again about the whole drawing process.  Maybe this one drawing got me down, but that doesn't mean I can't draw another one.

So pondering on a ritual that will get me to where I want to be. For example, I have this idea of drawing a buttload of bootleg cartoon characters. I know that there might be a sense of reluctance to get started sometimes. And really there needs to be something that I am excited to do or be a part of. One thing for example may be to light some inscents while I draw. a little action like this can be immensely gratifying. Also creating the space I want to work in.

This is my next goal to be working on. Refining my rituals around the work that I do so that the work becomes more intentional and enjoyable on those days when it doesn't flow.

Movement

I've decided to move back home, temporarily. The moving process has been amazing, it has been cleansing. I have been decluttering the house, selling off furniture, clothes and other stuff I've accumulated. It's a rebirth within a rebirthing moment in time for me. I hope to return home with a stronger sense of direction, a stronger passion and drive to manifest the life I want. I have been working on my art and working on myself. I ask myself what I desire, and I am beginning to see that I can and deserve it. Sometimes it's coming to me, straight to me. I am beginning this journey everyday with a better head on my shoulders and a stronger heart in my body. I need to remind myself that I am what I desire and that I am becoming it everyday. I can bring about the life I want if I believe in myself. If I follow my heart. My heart has been silenced for so long, I think it is hard to hear it over the chatter in my mind. But as I allow myself to flow and to move with the current, I am not fighting against anything. Instead I begin moving with the wind and allowing it to guide me.

I dream of drawing, travelling, tattooing, inspiring, curating and creating. I dream of combining colors to uplift the spirit. I dream of creating beautiful art, that stimulates the eye, the mind and the heart. I dream to share, to learn, to teach and to blossom. I dream of smiling, laughing, loving, moving and breathing light on my feet. I dream of seeing and feeling new experiences. I dream of opening my mind, expanding my heart, practicing gratitude, generosity and authenticity. I dream of being with family, with friends and creating, making art, making music, generating humor and energy. I dream of dictating my own life, of not being an employee of someone else, of not being on the clock, of not rushing to meet deadlines and meeting expectations. I dream of being free.

Right now, I am living a beautifully simple existence. I work periodically but I live around the clock. I am simply happy. I am simply happy. I hope that moving back home I will be able to maintain this level of energy. I hope that I will be able to remain strong in the face of opposition and those who think I should be living my life differently. I hope to stay strong and drive towards the life I deserve and will obtain. I hope that through the ups I shall remain humble and that the downs shall not detract me off my path. I hope to be able to go through this journey and share it with others. I hope to inspire others to live fearlessly and live authentically. I hope to inspire love, creativity and joy.

My hopes and dreams shall be turned into reality...

I am drawing, travelling, tattooing, inspiring, curating and creating. I am combining colors to uplift the spirit. I am creating beautiful art, that stimulates the eye, the mind and the heart. I share, learn, teach and blossom. I am smiling, laughing, loving, moving and breathing light on my feet. I am seeing and feeling new experiences. I am opening my mind, expanding my heart, practicing gratitude, generosity and authenticity. I am being with family, with friends and creating, making art, making music, generating humor and energy. I am dictating my own life. I am not an employee of someone else, not on the clock, not rushing to meet deadlines and meeting expectations. I am free. I am maintaining this level of energy. I am remaining strong in the face of opposition and those who think I should be living my life differently. I am staying strong and drive towards the life I deserve and have obtained. Through the ups I remain humble and the downs not detract me off my path. I go through this journey and share it with others. I inspire others to live fearlessly and live authentically. I inspire love, creativity and joy.


I already know that I am there. Now.

The Motions of Unemployment Part 2

Encroaching upon my one year anniversary of renewal of life I begin to declutter the remnants of the past. A job I've been putting off for, well almost a year now, I doused myself with some Kendrick Lamar to begin my purging mood. This has been something I've put off for quite a while since it is painful to return to memories of a life I've left behind me, or more so a chapter of my life.

I cannot say it's been a process that's been easy, since getting to the point of reimagining my life in a positive way has taken me a long time. It's still a process. Everyday is a lesson for me. Somedays better than others. This post has taken me a couple of days to write specifically because of those hard days that keep me in bed, comparing myself to the life I wish I had, the person I wish I was. It's a process of accepting myself.

To begin with, now out of full-time employment, and instead working towards establishing my art and independent source(s) of income, I have more time to contemplate. I'm not busy like I was before. When I worked as a teacher, I had no time to myself. Weekends were consumed with thoughts about work, and many times I spent my days at school, catching up or trying to prep for the following week. I was never satisfied with my work product, nor with myself. I self medicated daily, felt depressed and suicidal almost every day. I became reclusive and spent most of my time alone, high, feeling anxious, depressed, stressed and inadequate in all areas of my life. I was in a long-distance relationship which felt even further since he was emotionally distant. It was painful and pathetic.

Now with so much more time on my hands, I have been able to dig deeper into myself. This isn't always pretty, it isn't always meditative and many times I feel depressed about my situation now, barely making enough money to pay the bills. I wish I could paint a perfectly beautiful picture of this life, but I must admit the struggle that comes with the uncertainty of not working. Telling though, is that I have chosen not to pursue another teaching job. After a couple of interviews, I knew that I did not want to be in the classroom. I did not want to participate anymore.

So after getting fired, I got a roommate and began nannying. In my mind this was an easy way to keep the bills paid while still giving me time to breath, to draw, to dance, to sing and to just be. Strange how seemingly shameful it is to just live and get by without having a 5 year plan or career path. Deep down inside though, I know it's not shameful, it's life. We live, we die. Nothing else is certain. Why have I spent so much time chasing the proverbial carrot? To what end? Most importantly, when the journey is unnecessarily painful, why do we put ourselves through it?

The Motions of Unemployment Part 1

It's been almost exactly one year since I was fired from my comfortable yet high stress and mediocre paying job. It was the first job I had that made me feel like an adult, or what I imagined adult life was all about. Getting a career, having a salary, medical and retirement benefits, and the esteem that comes with feeling like you fit into the world. But things are never what they seem. And really that fitting into the stereotypical mold of adult life is not for me. I cannot conform for the sake of conformity. Nor can I blindly accept things as they are simple because that's how it's been done. In fact, quite contrary to it all I don't fit in. I am still a child inside that wants to play, create, and love with all my heart. Why must I supress that? Obviously growing up I've accumulated more responsibilities and that's okay. Responsibilities help me to get into character to perform as an "adult" or better yet a well adjusted member of society. However as much as I do perform this role and many others on a day to day basis I am no more  certain about life than I was as a child. But I was certainly filled with more joy and excitement as one.
So let's get one thing straight. I'm still navigating this terrain and probably will continue to be just as uncertain ten years from now as I was ten years ago, and that's okay. Just like when I was a child I will continue to learn, explore and bave fun playing. Who says one must change?
Returning to the nearing of my one year terminated anniversary I am inclined to reflect on what has transpired since then. Immediately after losing my job, I sought after a roommate to help me with rent. Of the many replies of interest I received on craigslist only one did not flake out. I see this as the universe sending her to me, because I would not have wanted it any other way. My new roommate was more than just someone to split rent. She is someone who became a very close friend of mine. Not only was she smart, fun, sincere and awesome she was super inpirational to me. I will continue this journey down memory lane in the next post since there really is so much more to share...