My daughter Willow having some fun with Little Orange. I need to keep reminding her to be gentle, gentle, to pat the cat gently as she grabs handfuls of Oranges hair. Good thing he is good natured. Willow will be 9 months old on the 26th.
And you don’t know where you’ll end up until you take that leap of faith.
Last July life got a whole lot busier for me. I began working more at the City Market producing and selling art at the stall and Chris became a full-time parent overnight. Our lives changed instantly as Chris scrambled to find a way to look after his son while he was at work full-time. His son turned 12 shortly after and was then able to spend a few hours alone here and there so that helped.
It hit me hard. Chris went from sharing custody 50/50 with his ex to having his son full-time with no extra money, support or anything. It took a toll on our five month old relationship but it also opened it in another way and I got to see how wonderful this man really was. I also got to know his son better and saw how great of a kid he was.
While dating and single from 2007 to 2012, before Chris and I got together, I swore up and down not to date a man with children because of the experiences I had with them. These men were completely absent in their children’s lives or kept me a secret from their kids and/or their ex or were dating multiple women and lying about it. These things didn’t bode well for me as I wanted to someday have a child of my own and very much wanted an involved father in that child’s life.
So I began dating men without kids and usually these men were kids themselves who were more interested in their boats, bikes and pensions than in finding common ground to walk on together. I managed quite well to attract men who wanted no commitment.
I’ve known Chris a long time… since I was 19… so 20 years… long… time. We grew up in the same neighborhood. He went out with a good friend of mine as a teenager. He was also a mutual friend of my ex-husband and I. I can remember sitting on the couch talking with Chris while my ex was engrossed in video games. I was never just Jessica. I was Andy’s girlfriend then wife… then ex. This all seems so long ago. A lifetime ago.
We all attended college together and Chris hung out with my ex at our apartment. We partied together but mostly I stayed home as I was sick a lot during college with Chron’s disease and physically could not handle the late nights and party’s. We all studied Graphic Design, surface design and illustration.
After Fredericton we both went our separate ways. Chris spent some time in Toronto and then had his son here in Saint John. He married and raised his two step-children and his own child. All the while I divorced and partied my ass off for five years in Saint John, Fredericton and Vancouver, perhaps making up for losing most of my twenties to severe illness and for marrying a man who didn’t share the same values and morals as I did. And there is no fault in that, it’s just the way the cards played out.
And now, 20 years later Chris and I find ourselves expecting a baby, dealing with extensive child custody and divorce issues, managing two homes, three cats and simply doing our best to keep healthy organic food on the table, the bills paid up-to-date and all the while we both are doing it sober.
Our life may seem mundane to some but it’s our life and the one we are choosing to live. Chris partied lots during his teens and early twenties while I got the partying out of my system in my late twenties and early thirties. And while I miss the parties on occasion, it’s a rather nostalgic feeling of been there done that, had fun and moving on now to the next stage of my life kind of feeling.
And I’m so grateful and lucky to have this man to share this stage of life with.
I love you Chris.
I have never felt more hungry in all my life than during the last 10 weeks. I can’t seem to get enough food into me before my stomach is growling and howling again for more.
We eat a relatively well balanced, organic diet that does contain grass fed beef, free range chicken and organically raised pork. We eat many vegetarian meals too. We avoid soy products except for Bragg Soy Seasoning which is GMO free and certified organic. I love food so much that I’ve already put on 5lbs and can not fit into any of my clothes that don’t have stretch in them.
I do not take prenatal vitamins. I do take 500mg folic acid and 650mg calcium with vitamin D daily. My blood and urine tests show I’m healthy except for the deviant hypothyroid in the neck. The doctor raised the dose of Synthroid two days ago that I’m on to 125mcg from 88mcg. I already notice a positive difference in how my brain is functioning. But, unfortunately, the norm persisted and around 2:00 in the afternoon I started feeling dizzy, extremely bloated, bump into things and need to lay down for a couple of hours until it passes. And while this can be pregnancy related I’m realizing that it could be the dang thyroid wreaking havoc too.
I don’t know what is potentially crohn’s, thyroid or pregnancy related anymore. These last couple of weeks feel like the chron’s I had 15 years ago has been reactivated but then again it could be my uterus stretching. I spent so much time in the bathroom two days ago that could be because of the Synhtroid increase, it could also be because of the spicy food I ate or it could be a bug. I go to see a high risk pregnancy gynecologist/obstetrician on the 26th due to being over 35, pregnant and hypothyroid. I’ll be 12 weeks pregnant by then. The adjustment in Synthroid played havoc with my metabolism yesterday.
And today on this lovely Valentine’s Day I’m feeling a bit better albeit still dizzy I don’t feel the need to incessantly lay my head and body down like yesterday or the day before.
They say you should enjoy all of your pregnancy. And while I am I can not be happy about the pain of not being able to breath at night due to not being able to take my preferred antihistamine or smile about the candida that wreaked havoc on my body earlier this trimester.
These side effects could very well be first trimester agony’s that will pass by the end of this month. I really hope they are. I know something has recently passed because I’m able to write and form sentences again.
And the dreams of water… they are wonderfully incessant. I dream of water nearly every night. Calm dark waters that I float in and urgently awake and run to the bathroom to pee usually like clockwork at 4:00AM. Another dream was a mystical garden filled with large carved stone hands on long arms with each finger sprouting a single fountain of water streaming from it onto a green wonderfully overgrown garden bed. And last night I dreamt of sitting in a circle with people with my belly round and hanging out and drinking water.
So yeah, I’m pregnant. After wanting a baby my whole life, well, since about age 24, and it not happening with my exes, it’s actually happened and it was planned between Chris and I. And we couldn’t be happier.
Getting a positive pregnancy test on New Years Eve was incredible.
If you are a creative person you likely have many drafts or unfinished pieces of work in various stages of completion laying around your studio or stored on the computer.
In early November, 2011 I began entering a burnout from working online and from life in general. And by mid-January 2012 my health had completely failed and I was hospitalized for seven days. It’s only now that I’m coming out of it (publicly) so to speak.
What’s sad, is that I knew it was happening all of last year but didn’t know how to stop it or where to go for help or how to financially afford treatment by taking time off of working as I have no health insurance or employment insurance. I wrote the following on November 7th, 2011, the night before my 38th birthday, and never published it here on the blog.
What exactly does it mean when you hit burnout or rather when you succumb to not be able to creatively think or do anything else other than change who you are.
And when you are introverted, adjusting to extroversion is almost painful at a cellular level. To an introvert, extroversion feels like being tickled everywhere for an extended period of time and forced to exert and use one’s senses in life in an outward fashion that others can see, taste, smell, watch or feel immediately.
An introvert on the other hand basically sponges all that external sensory stimuli, balls it up, swallows it, mentally digests it and assimilates it all into the brain for use in original and unique regurgitation onto paper, instrument or dialogue that extroverts absorb in the form of entertainment.
The above few paragraphs are by no means a finished thought but they do summarize how fast my fragile boundaries were eroding. I was utterly overwhelmed most, if not, all of last year. Only those people closest to me knew the extent of what I was trying to deal with if they even knew at all. I didn’t share too much here on the blog… I don’t think I knew how to. Yes, my failing thyroid is playing a part in all of this and yes I’m keeping up with the blood tests and adjustments in medication again.
And what finally prompted me to sign into this blog and break the silence and actually write today was perhaps the most awful therapy appointment I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through yesterday. And it wasn’t that it was awful per-say, it was just unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before… and I’m going to submit myself to it all over again next week. Haha.
A few weeks ago my Mom gave me a camera to use, that she had won at work, as she already had a camera of her own. It’s a Canon Powershot SD 3500 IS, 14.1MP. I’ve begun playing with it. I snapped the pic above in the upstairs bathroom.
This past weekend I was talking with my dancer friend about a film she’d recently seen (Pina, a tribute to dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch) that she was very enamored with. She said I had to see it, that all artists would benefit from watching it, regardless of what art they created. I wasn’t opposed to the idea. Having read and benefitted from dancer Twyla Tharp’s universal perspective in her book The Creative Habit, I felt like I was down with the dancing crowd. I didn’t feel compelled to run out and see the movie, but sure. Why not.
To make her point, and because she had a captive audience, my friend whipped out her laptop to show me a few YouTube clips of the film. Okay, yes, it was pretty, and they definitely knew how to dance, and fine, they–OMG WHAT WAS THIS?! What were they doing?! The fluid movements and lovely down tempo beats! The sets! The costumes! IT WAS RAINING ON THE STAGE! The color and texture and framing and… holy crap, this was like watching a painting. I saw each scene much like I see the beginnings of ideas when I start a new piece. It was beautiful. I was downright inspired.
I love talking to other passionate artists. I love hearing them blather at length (as I do) about their individual loves and interests in art. I don’t even have to be familiar with their art to know why they do it. It’s a kinship. We speak a dialect of passion. Continue reading
I want to say upfront that this is just one story from my life, and not a commentary on the gallery system as a whole. My personal experience with “traditional” galleries has ranged from lackluster to unethical (and possibly illegal, but I’ll get to that in a second.) I do not believe they’re all like that. I’m very open-minded about galleries. I’ve simply had great success and enjoyment representing myself, and doing so is not a reaction to anything negative as much as it is a belief in doing something positive.
When I was starting out professionally, I heard from a number of people within the local art scene that I was ready for my own show. So I went out and got one. The gallery I’d found was up and coming, an offshoot of a more successful gallery nearby. The owner (we’ll call him Shawn) was an artist himself, and sold a great deal of work, all at higher end prices, with a pretty significant and growing following in the area. He liked my work, and immediately offered me a show. After securing a date, I heard from fellow artists that although his art “was a bit formulaic,” he seemed to be a fantastic businessman. The openings I attended in the months leading up to my show were lively events.
When I arrived at the gallery the morning of my own show to set up, I could sense a weird and unexpected attitude from Shawn. He was cold and unhelpful. He abruptly announced that I couldn’t use blacklights, a fairly integral part of my art, despite seeming enthusiastic about them a few weeks prior. He further informed me that I wouldn’t have access to half the space I was promised, because another artist was using it. When I firmly explained the necessity of the blacklights, he finally told me I could use a small room through a hall and in the back for this purpose.
I was determined to keep a good attitude about things. Continue reading
It’s easy to forget that our creativity needs practice. We often take artistic abilities for granted, because it’s just “been there” since we were children. Most of us are artists because it comes naturally. Sure we might have to learn discipline about the business aspects, but the art! Hey, that’s the fun part! That’s eeeeasy.
Until you hit a block. Then you spend each day staring at an empty screen or a blank canvas, cursing at the white space, convinced your career is over. The crying. The despair. Or maybe that’s just me. Continue reading
What’s your poison? Chocolate? Video-games? LSD?
Artists have become notorious for substance use, addiction, and a good measure of crazy, which is probably intertwined with our ability and our need to make art. Not that all of us are crazy (yeah, right) and not that we’re all addicted to chemical head changes.
Or… are we?
As artists, our way of processing things, everything, is a bit different than people who don’t have the inclination to make art. We feel everything strongly, we see color differently, we look past reality into a world that doesn’t exist without our imagination. That in itself is a bit trippy, and we wouldn’t have the wherewithal to make grand, fantastical statements out of paint, thread, or music without a tendency to latch onto the emotional vibration of life. It’s not that everyone doesn’t do this to a degree, but artists take emotion to a whole new level. We breathe emotion into life. Often in beautiful, awe-inspiring ways. There’s an ebb and flow to be sure, with much of our time spent in frenzied creativity, overflowing with inspiration and ideas, high on nothing more than our need to create.
But there’s a flip side. Sometimes, if not properly nurtured, our emotional processing skills get broken. Sometimes everything gets black and dull and scary. Continue reading