Mortality Salience

The awkwardness of feeling sad without showing it on the surface. The awareness that the inevitable will someday arrive. The desire to fulfill all that is possible in the time allotted to still one day be incapable of breath.

Everything we work for must mean something or else those that have worked so hard for what we have will be forgotten and disrespected. Having a deep sense of self to protect the heart of which some day will no longer beat. To become so current yet so distant. This feeling. This understanding. This inability to change what has happened.

So many people in such a short amount of time. Life is hard. In so many ways.

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Pacing Myself

I have found that although I am very determined to create a sketch a day, I am still very uncertain of myself. Danny recommends just spending what little time you have, maybe 10 minutes here or 15 minutes there, and I really need to just listen to him so that I can truly build my habit back. I have found myself getting very discouraged and overwhelmed to create something or to post. Maybe this is a good thing, I am not really sure. But I do know that once I begin working during the week I will have less time to put forth my sketching, blogging, and ultimately my school work. So I will really need to start prioritizing my time better, but I am hopeful for what may come.

Due to copyright concerns I will not be posting my entire journey with art Before Breakfast, but I will post what I think will be acceptable. I am excited for my friend to receive her book so that we may take the journey together and see what we learn about ourselves.

I have been reading Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart and it has so many amazing ways to help incorporate the arts into STEM classes and extremely easy and effective ways of getting students to critically think about topics in the classroom. It is by far the best book I have read this semester regarding educator practices and professional development. I am extremely excited to update my current lesson plan and create more with these activities in mind.

Life has been quite a rollercoaster, but has been proving my strides are not going unnoticed. I shall update more about how my work life and personal have been influencing my mind, body, and work in my next post.

But until then, let me know what you think of my March Sketches

The First Half

I began reading art Before Breakfast yesterday and read the first half and completed a 20 minute sketch. The first sketch I have made in weeks, and before that months! The book is pretty self explanatory and essentially reiterates everything I learned in Undergrad, which Danny Gregory mentions is a plus to reading his book. Maybe now with more motivation and a more developed brain I am finally letting it sink in and get back in my groove. A list of things I have been reminded of and want to refer back to when I am “stuck”:

  • Stop wasting time on Facebook, Netflix, and gaming when I could be sketching. Even if its only a couple minutes. Get creative during the interim of a busy schedule.
  • Make connections to my everyday and my art by taking the time to sketch these moments. These connections will boost my mood and develop a healthy lifestyle.
  • Be consistent in making art, don’t skip a single day, know that it takes at least 30 days to recondition myself with better habits, and join or create a support group!!
  • Keep it simple at first and get more detailed when time allows, use what you have.
  • Follow basic steps of contour, additional shapes (don’t let your mind fool your eyes), shading using various texture styles, remember to focus on small sections and then gradually move through the sketch not forgetting about the negative space and distance between objects.
  • Dont get distracted with perfection, create in segments if needed, think abstractly or even forget all rules together and just create!
  • Consider various textures, reflections, lost moments, practicality, use your camera phone, make notations about sketches, or even block off pages for smaller images and create themes to help develop a series.
  • Make drawing a priority before chores, don’t lose all sense of organization but stop worrying so much about the laundry and stop to sketch and think about the chemicals I am using in the house.

This book is definitely worth buying! The ideas presented about what to draw and how to make time in the interim is genius and hilarious to say the least. Its very positive and something I may even consider having available for my students to view when the time comes. I am definitely looking forward to reading the second half of the book. And am excited to see how I develop in my sketches with this rebirth into art making. I will be creating a new page in the blog to document my daily sketches, with the first coming yesterday! More to come 🙂

Putting the Smock Back On!

After reading through some articles and checking out art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory from the local library, I am ready to begin some serious creative art goal setting.

One of my biggest concerns is that I am not prepared or skilled enough to assist students when the time comes. Well, of course I’m not! How could any artist be prepared if they are merely spending their time learning about teaching techniques and watching Netflix in the evenings. Its just not realistic. If I want to be a successful and effective arts educator then I need to apply myself. I need to get my hands dirty! And that means creating my own experiences, not just hoping the degree(s) in front of my name make me look good (although I still think it sounds awesome).

Ian Sands from The Art of Ed has five strategies I will be using as a guide:

  1. Set a Space: home office
  2. Set a Time: art with breakfast
  3. Distance Distractions: only accessing artist page and blog
  4. Find Support: update with posts/images, look for outreach opportunities
  5. Set Goals: Short-term: a sketch a day and upload journey progress.
    Long-term: develop lesson plans from sketches and learning process.

I have attempted to publicize my goals in hopes it would make me more responsible in completing them, but that is not always the case. Unfortunately I have always used the excuse that I am so busy, I don’t know what to do, or I have no inspiration or motivation. Well, that time needs to come to an end. And hopefully with these five strategies along with the book by Danny Gregory I can begin making time for the things that fill my heart with so much joy.

I have planned to begin cleaning out the home office and converting it into a workable space tomorrow morning, so that by Monday next week I will be able to create in an inspirational space free from distractions. I am always so concerned about making something grand and elaborate or else I feel I have wasted my time and materials. In order to remedy this I will plan to incorporate daily sketches into my breakfast as a beginning stage to getting my hands and mind moving together again. Learning to accept that something as simple as a sketch can turn into a series of awesomeness is a lesson I need to conquer on my own, especially if I want my future students to do the same. I cannot consciously ask them to do something that I know I myself cannot accomplish.

Appropriate goal setting, finding support, and sticking to the schedule is always a moment of truth in the process of developing skills and experiences. I will get to really test myself and my intrinsic motivation. I think through continued posting of my results and actions to complete tasks I will further my support groups and establish new connections in the community. In order to make those connections I will plan to upload and post about my journey back to creative art making through my daily sketches. And then there are goals.

Goals. Goals. Goals! The trick here really is to set attainable short-term and long-term goals and to stand strong. I am really concerned about myself as an artist and creating a sketch a day during breakfast shouldn’t be a hefty goal, but I know that sticking with it for more than a week or even a month is going to be some serious trial and error for me. Sadness, but opportunity! Uploading my progress will help me to see value and acknowledge my accomplishment, regardless of how small (dependent upon perspective). But the long-term goal for these sketches will be to create at least one lesson plan a month from the sketches produced, in some form or fashion. I am really not going to hold myself to saying that if I make a months worth of food sketches I should develop a food still life lesson. Sure, it seems appropriate but if my creative mind takes me into a different direction I am happy with any lesson plan at this stage in my process. I have one lesson plan to date, so having a handful to choose from, throw out, or revise will be a blessing by the end of the year.

Wish me luck! Help support me with guidance and comments about anything you do differently that I could use in my own practice.

When Is Too Much

Maybe I think too much, or maybe I know too much. Or maybe I just think more of myself than others. I’m really not sure. All I know is I have this drive in me that never seems to develop. I push myself, but I never seem pleased with the results. I always feel so average. When I compare myself to others who have accomplished less I gain mixed feelings. I want to feel better and say “you have achieved great things, keep pushing!” but it never really comes out that way. Instead I find myself moving towards goals that I am uncertain I will ever put into motion. I want to be happy, fulfilled, and remembered for the great things I accomplished while here. But I am afraid I have hurt just as many people as I have helped along the way and I am unsure of how to ever receive forgiveness for what I have done.

I am mean, rude, and blunt. I believe that honesty is important, but I find I have difficulty expressing my opinion without a negative tone. As if what I have to say and think is so much more superior to anyone else’s. It is unfair for me to treat people this way. But I am unsure of how to express my voice and concern without belittling the person I am talking to. Some would just say, “well stop being an asshole.” But its not always as simple as that. Sure sometimes I can say okay, I will be on my best behavior. And I will be. I will bite my tongue, not speak out of turn, or even use a cordial tone but somehow other parties still will find a way to interpret it as rudeness. I am very confused.

I am discovering that although I may learn to change the way I respond and react in situations, for the better, everyone else will not always follow lead. We are unique individuals, but I still want to push myself to be a better person. A better version of myself. And I need people in my life that are just as determined as me. To find that there are still people in my life, or rather people I allow in my life, that do not share these same aspirations in life – is very troublesome. At what point are you giving up or just giving space?

Does any of this even matter though? At the end of the day there will still be people who are only out for themselves and merely only want to get by until their death and there are others who are actually willing to persevere in order to achieve greatness. I just really hope I stay true to my path and do not allow others to misguide me out of affection for my relationship with them.

Its a weird situation, relationships. You have them with your family, friends, and coworkers and sometimes you tell yourself that family is everything and they will be the ones who are always there for you. And then something changes and they turn on you and destroy all trust you ever had with them. You can turn to your friends or coworkers in hopes that you have made the right decision in who your friend/coworker is and hope that they have your best interest in mind, but sometimes they do not because they are not just like you – you just happen to share enough in common that you get along with this human the best out of others you have encountered. And then there is your spouse who falls into this weird dimension of friend and family. You feel a closeness to them unlike anyone else, but they do not always agree with you and you do not always agree with them. They do not always motivate, but rather because of their closeness can actually limit your motivation and desire to achieve greatness.

This is where I am having difficulty. I want to be a good friend. I want to be a good wife. I want to be a good teacher. But I find less motivation in my spouse than in my friends. I want to push him to achieve great things as well, but is it possible that I am hindering him just as much as he is hindering me? And how do we motivate each other? At the end of the day I want to be independent. I want to know that what I achieved my friends and family helped me gain through their support, but that I made it happen. I did what it took to achieve my goals and that is no one else’s bounty. But as a wife I never feel like an independent. I feel as if my decisions must go through my husband. Or when my friends say “would you like to hang out?” that somehow I must immediately inform and ask my husband. I am unsure if this response is due to learned behavior with my spouse or if this is just the person I am? How do I learn to control my negative feelings so they do not disturb my current relationships?

I want to have a career and a family, but I am afraid I do not have what it takes to obtain both. I want the strength to say I do have what it takes. But I am not confident.

Little Disappointments

Sometimes I feel larger than life. But as of late I feel like I am drowning. I am unsure of how exactly to even talk about it sometimes. I have been having more negative thoughts than usual. My desire to work and excel is low. I know what I want in life I am just lacking motivation to obtain my goals. I do not feel like I am being pushed by anyone anymore and for the first time in my life, I myself am the only force. While simultaneously I feel pressure to support my husband and push him. And although there are times when people ask me about my studies, I have no one I feel comfortable with to really talk about everything I am struggling with. I feel either too advanced or not experienced enough for my peers. I would like to think that these feelings are because I am not currently working but I feel this weirdness about a job. Am I suppose to have one or am I not? Im trying to use the time I have wisely but it is so hard.

I am about half way through the book Quiet and am starting to notice that much of what she talks about are situations I have encountered. I am not convinced I am a team player. I am not certain if I even appreciate people as much as I once thought, or maybe life has just darkened my heart a bit. Im really unsure, but the book speaks to me and scares me at the same time.

I tried something different this morning to connect with my husband and it was not a success. I feel terribly sad now. Im not sure if its me or him. But this is the unhappiest I have been in a very long time and Im not sure what to do about it. I love him immensely but I am finding it difficult to stay close to him. But at the same time I don’t even like myself very much right now so its hard for me to see him as the reason for any of this. I just really don’t feel like I have a support system anymore.

As we get older our lives become more complicated and diverse. We move apart, grow apart, and have difficulty understanding even our closest of friends. When I left Oklahoma I was extremely sad at all the family and friends I was leaving behind. And when I settled in Washington I was able to establish new friends and a new support system. Now that I have returned to Oklahoma I feel I have lost both of those systems.

Anyways.. I suppose writing is pointless because all it does it tell me what I have already told myself in silence. Maybe I’m not as strong as I thought. Maybe I am not a leader, but a follower. Maybe I’m not meant to be successful. I am just so extremely heart broken and I want it to change.

Clear My Head

How can we go through these days and some we know what we are doing and then others we are totally lost? How is it that we can call ourselves adults but we act as children? How can we raise the future when we ourselves do not even know what we are doing as “adults”?

How is it that something that seems so small can be so big? How is that my heart can control my mind, which is the chicken and which the egg? What words? What is this that we call language and why do we communicate when people still do not understand what we are saying? Where are we failing and where are we succeeding? What exactly is success and what exactly is lack thereof?

Maybe I ask too many questions. Maybe I am not asking the right questions. Maybe I am not making the right choices. How do we justify anything and why do we to begin with? What is living and what is being alive?

How do I concentrate when even the silence is deafening? How do you prove yourself when you aren’t even sure what you are trying to prove or to who?

I thought to myself this morning, “maybe I am just stopping to smell the roses” but then I immediately thought how do I justify that to others. And why would I even have to.

Why do I call you my friend when I barely know you. Maybe this is a mood or maybe its just the day. Maybe its hormones or maybe its real. What is real? I feel so far away from myself that even I am having difficulty understanding my own mind and the thoughts running through it.

Regardless of how I feel or how anyone feels we are all forced to put on this face and act like everything is okay. We keep pushing but there isn’t ever anything where you can just go to your boss, professor, or mentor and say my mind is trapping me from thinking, I just cannot work today. How do I say, I am sorry but i believe I have an undocumented case of crazy and just cant quite feel today or think or really even appear normal can I have the day off from pretending for a while?

I suppose life is what you make it, or at least that is what they say. But its hard to make it your own when so many people are telling you how to live and what you have to do to have the life you want.

I am too analytical for my own good. I cannot stop processing information but I also have not found the right way to center myself and benefit from my …

Energy is every where and I suppose I have put enough negative out today that I probably should start focusing on the good but I really just want to curl in a ball and forget about the rest of the world.

Maybe its a good sign and means that my menstrual will start and my mind will return to me soon. Until then I really just hope to keep myself together. Or maybe I just need to admit to my doctor that I, like my sisters, am emotionally unstable and have difficulty dealing with life. But then I just feel  like a loser. But maybe I should just finally try it because I should be well out of the developmental stage where I am having difficulty to functioning. Im not really ready to admit that I am incomplete and need something to stabilize my mood though. Or maybe I will just keep being “crazy”…

Today Is A Good Day

Having recently talked with a dear friend about art my mind is rejuvenated on how all things in life are beautiful. In making brunch this morning I recall the movie, Perfect Sense, in which a scientist and chef fall in love when an outbreak effects the senses. When you look at food its best to appeal to the eye, enjoy a nice crunch to appease the ears, have a variety of texture and flavor for taste and touch, and an enjoyable aroma that altogether you just want to nestle with.

Some days when I go through life I forget about how something so small, is actually so large. The things we take for granted like walking, reading, having our voice be heard, birds chirping to remind us of life, and even something as relaxing as going to the bathroom in peace. There are so many things in our everyday that because we experience them regularly we have somehow become numb to them.

And in a movie I more recently watched, Becoming Jane, a young woman is reminded that “Nothing destroys spirit like poverty” but in some cultures poverty actually strengthens the mind and soul in a way that wealth cannot. But with that being said, when we have the strength of our loved ones to remind us of the beauty we hold in our hearts and minds, I am unsure that a spirit could ever waver.  So whether we have wealth or not, we must remain attached to the person we wish to be.

I am so lucky to have friends that live their lives by their hearts and not the money in their hands. I have lived so long in a world controlled by money, I wish to live a more simple life. In many ways it is not something we can escape, but I think there is peace in a more basic sense of life. I have felt this way for some time now, and maybe it is due to living a few years in a world of constant innovation, but as time passes I realize that I want a more simple home so that I may be wild and free during my adventures.

I thought for a long time what I wanted was independence from a man, but what I really want is self-reliance. I want to know that I am capable of making my own supplies, growing my own food, protecting myself in dangerous situations, and maintaining a sincere heart. I want to understand the world around me more than the people who inhabit it.

I spend a lot of time wondering if I am a bad artist or a good one. Deciding whether I have wasted my time or if I am really discovering new things without work. But I have come to realize that the mind is the most important tool we will ever use, and without its development we cannot develop our work by the means of other utensils. Many days I spend wondering if my education was all for not and if time has stolen some of the lessons from my mind. And other days, like today, I am reminded that they have just been stored in a place I have not travelled to in some time.

I am optimistic for the future. I am grateful for those that have helped to guide me. And I am inescapably indebted to my husband for showing me the light when I thought there was nothing but darkness ahead.

This Feeling

I hate this sadness. Some days its easier than others, but most days I just feel so alone. I get messages and those are great, but get old fast. And when other people message me, I am not always happy to even talk to them. I feel annoyed by anyones interest in talking to me or trying to cheer me up. If I feel it is not a charity behavior then I am less apprehensible, but in most cases I just want my husband back.

When I finally get the interest to do my school work it is a test of my will to power through just wanting to curl in a ball and cry. I want so badly to finish my degree, but I just want my husband more. I have been exerting energy doing tasks around the home and that helps to make me feel better or at least tire me at night. But when days like today happen, and it rains all day. I feel so hopeless.

I eat out of sadness instead of hunger. I waste time trying to feel something. I think that I hold my feelings in so much because I don’t want to make other people sad and then it just bottles up and makes it unbearable when they are not around. I really would like to have someone to talk to and someone going through the same thing as me, but its just not possible. I wouldn’t be able to get homework completed if I hung out with another spouse.

Whenever I mention my concerns and sadness to other people they just act like its not that big of deal. And you know, I get it maybe he doesn’t have a gun pointed at his head every day so why am I crying, but this feels like a loss. When you start to feel like the person you talk to isn’t even your husband. You know it is, but you just feel like you are listening to a recording on repeat or re-reading a book about the tasks of life.

Maybe I am weak because so many people are able to live by themselves. But then I ask those people, do you have a job where you socialize and talk to people? Because I don’t have that. do you have an animal at home or a roommate to keep you company? Because I don’t have that. I wake up alone. I study alone. I cry alone. I cook alone. I eat alone. I go to school and see other humans 8 hours every week. That would be like working one day every week and thats the only time you got to talk to anyone other than the weekends.

There is such a huge part of me missing and I just want it back. I want to feel motivated and concentrated and involved in my school work. I want to feel close to my husband and know that I have friends and family that know my suffering. I need a weekday support group, and I don’t have that. I want my husband so badly. I hate this feeling.

I do not like this feeling. But I do not know how to improve my motivation and decrease my sadness. I get upset so quickly. My patience is so thin. I feel constantly stressed. My sleep schedule is limited and sporadic but I am still sleeping. So I guess thats a good sign. I wouldn’t label it depression because I know the reason for my sadness. I just really do not know how to stop feeling this way. And I don’t know if I can keep feeling this way for the remainder without seeking treatment. I just don’t want to.

Even worse is that I do not want to show him my emotional state because I do not want him to worry or feel sadness. I do not want him to feel responsible for my sadness. I want him to stay strong. And I want to be strong for him. I don’t like chemicals in my body and he knows that. And I would feel awful if I had to take medicine for this. I just want to be happy. How do I build strength and do this. I don’t know what to do.

Development

Some days I look back at my life and I am proud of the things I have accomplished. Other days, like today, I am not so convinced I have made as large strides as I have thought. I have a lot of difficulty expressing myself and understanding who I am as a person, an artist, a wife, a friend, an aunt, etcetera.

I want to be good at whatever I do. I want to look at myself and say, I am successful. Recently though I am starting to wonder if I have survived by the curtail of those who care for me. I am questioning my own strength. Maybe I am just more mature? Maybe I am just starting to realize the importance of what I need to do in order to have the attainment I seek.

Regardless. I feel weak, poor, and behind the curve. I am starting to realize that I have always blamed others for things that were not their fault, or at the least theirs alone. I need to start taking hold of my problems and solving them on my own. I have lacked self control in the past and I do not want that in my future.

My husband has really helped to guide me. He is helping me to be the person I have always strived to be. But I cannot rely on him alone, he has his own dreams and I want to be able to provide him the same opportunities. I feel like I am finally aware of my surroundings and understanding the information given to me.

I have difficulty deciding what is of import and what is a minor detail. I feel like I am suppose to know who I am. That I am old enough to have this information of myself. But sometimes when I look at myself I am still very confused about who I am.

I am not confident in my skills. I am not confident in my beliefs. I am not confident. But people think I am. Maybe some days I am. Or maybe my friends and family just like me so they are nice to me. Either way, I feel more comfortable with who I am now then who I have ever been. But its still isn’t good enough. I want to know who I am as an artist, a teacher, a native, whats my full heritage, is there something about my family that could help shape who I am and why I feel the way I do about things? I think maybe I am searching for purpose.

I have been thinking about religion and spirituality a lot lately. Some days I really need guidance and the god I speak to does not answer, all the while another will respond that I do not expect to answer me. Is this just my mind playing tricks on me? Or is this my lack of confidence getting the best of me? All I know is that I have many unanswered questions, that I wish I were closer to answering. I fear I will be a crazy lady for the remainder of my life, without ever getting as near to solving my questions as I really want.