frantic. Completely, and utterly frantic. And as I wandered through this uncertain frenzy, I found myself in the murky waters of depression.
I know what you're thinking. Crystal, you seem so cheery and focused.
That's the magic of editing, friend. It's also the magic of denial...
The reality is, when I'm cruising through my work day, I'm totally on, I'm 100%. I'm grounded, focused, and do great work. I'm crushing it. But once I've punched out for the day, I'm the one who's getting crushed. My brain is a shit storm and I was feeling paralyzed by it. Totally normal, but not exactly how I want to be feeling.
I've been putting a LOT of pressure on myself lately. I don't need to get into the details with you, for the same reason I'm not going to show you my underwear. It's personal, and frankly, you don't need to know.
But, I can tell you this; it feels good to put my denial down and to finally accept that I was depressed.
It feels even better to DO something about it.
This week I started doing something about it. Total win.
I wish I'd done this sooner.
I'm not writing this to gain attention. Nor am I writing it to get sympathy. I'm sharing this with you because maybe you're walking around in murky waters, too. Maybe you're in a bit of denial yourself, or are scared to admit that maybe you need a little TLC. Maybe you just need a little nudge.
And if that's the case, consider this your nudge.
It's ok to be depressed.
It's ok to be afraid.
It's ok to ask for help.
Here are some links if you need a little TLC:
Also, doodling and listening to music helps.
I'm an ideas person. I'm stitched together with thoughts of grandeur, business plans, artistic visions, prose, verse, recipes, events. But when the time comes to get down to the gritty, I become vacant like the desert. A couple of dry bones and the iconic tumbleweed. That's what I've got.
So when you see that I've produced ANYTHING, I want you to know, it took every ounce of focus, energy, and chutzpah I could conjure to git'er done.
Why is it so hard?
Perhaps it's A) I've spent all of my reserves engaging in the cerebral parts, that when I do have a chunk of time for my body to get on board with the creating bit, I've run out of steam. [enter Netflix here]
Or, maybe it's B) because I'm awash with so many ideas all the time that I don't know where to start, thus, going into shutdown mode 'cause my brain can't handle it.
Or, maybe C) the stuff I keep thinking I want to get my hands on isn't really what I want to get my hands on?
Or, maybe, D) I have ADHD?
Or, maybe, E) I'm afraid my efforts will prove that I'm no good at/didn't really enjoy what I've set out to do, and now I've just wasted my time.
Or, maybe, F) All the above.
"Eff" all the above. Maybe that's the approach I need to take.... Just eff it.
Maybe I should sit with my crickets, watch the tumbleweed roll by, and just start. Pick up my pen, fire up my laptop, throw down some ink. Get all Nike on myself and just do it.
What about you? Do you struggle with this, too? I'd love to know? ...and more so, I want to know your tricks for combating this!
shrine around it, or bow down and get all 'namaste' on it, but rather, just try and be ok in it. Because life is a whole mess of feelings and places and whatever, and to believe that one can walk around and be all la-la all the time is absurd. It isn't real.
And dude, can I just say, when I follow through on this philosophy, it totally takes the pressure off, and by default, I think I actually end up a little happier anyway.
Today is the day that I launched a giveaway. So, of course that means I'm waiting for entries to fly in throughout the day. Today I'm also gettting my car inspected. In fact, as I write this blog post I'm sitting at the mechanic's. I love it here. But to be fair, I love most waiting places.
I know I might be alone on this, so allow me to explain.
Before I get too deep into it, I'd like to point out, I'm within the same four walls a LOT.
I couldn't ask for a more rewardging gig than my massage therapy practice, but I work from home. Alone. And though it's totally dreamy 99% of the time, it's also kind of isolating. And though I see people all day, our communication is, well, limited.
I also art alone. At home. By myself. A lot.
Needless to say, I can get lonely and uninspired sometimes.
But since I'm a human being, I have things that force me out of my walls. Things like appointments. Appointments like this car inspection.
Besides having four exterior walls, everthing about this place is different from my norm. It's simply intoxicationg. Different is good. Different is stimulating.
The bright, overhead fluorescent lighting, the hard, dusty tiled floor, the scent of oil and tires in the air. And let me just tell you the guys who run the show here. Dudes in oil stained navy blue Dickies, love 'em. They treat me like a person, an equal, despite my fluffy occupation and gender. So. Rad. They're also kind, funny, and honest folks. Triple win.
Looking around the waiting area, I think about all of the people who've passed through here. A diverse group of folks all tending to their automobiles. Reading the paper, watching the tv, on their phones, drinking the free coffee from styrofoam cups; I like to think we're all connected. While we're here, we're all just people waiting for the car doctor's diagnosis. Politics, religion, and social statuses have nothing to do with this place. In here we're one of the same.
It's powerful stuff... And that's just the mechanic's. There are lots of places of waiting: In line at the bank, at the store, for a concert, at the dentist's office, doctor's office, airports, bus stops... These are gathering places for humans who are essentially sharing an experience. We're never alone in our waiting, and I think that's beautiful.
Thanks for waiting with me.
OMG, would you just look at me?
About a month ago I went to see my massage therapist (thank goodness I get massage once in a while or I'd have serious table envy. One can only give so many massages before they need one, ya know?). Anyway, I went to my lady and begged her to focus her magic on my head, neck, and shoulders.
I'm super pro-active about self care. I mean, I'd be kind of an asshole if I wasn't. The professional massage therapist doesn't even stretch? What a phony. But OH-EM-GEE, my effing head!
I'd been getting a lot of headaches from being glued to my computer. I scan all of my paintings so that I have a digital image of them for later reproduction. The problem with scanning them is, the true colors get washed out from the scanner light. SO, I then take this digital image and tweak the colors in Adobe so that they match the originals. This takes hours.
Another thing that takes a bunch of time is connecting with folks on social meadia, webdesign, blogging, 'n stuff (not that I'm complaining, mind you. I actually love the whole process of this art gig). But, that said, it does play hell on all my top 'o the body parts. And while I was nearly weeping at my massage lady's office, she mentioned something about computer glasses.
So I did a little research and ordered a pair online. I JUST went to the mailbox this morning and found them sitting there, all frosty cold, just waiting for my face.
As soon as I put them on I had to laugh.
Shit. I've become the very thing I'm painting. I have become a hipster critter.
I'm not sure if this is totally awesome or totally ridiculous (I'm actually taking a poll on Facebook and Instagram), but either way, the glasses seem to be helping so far. I'm not getting that deep straining feeling behind my eyes...yet. .But it IS kinda too early to really tell.
Anyway, I wrote this blog because maybe YOU are spending loads of time in front of a screen and could use a little eyeball TLC.
...and I kinda want to know what you think. Totally awesome or totally ridiculous?
BTW, I'm getting ZERO kickbacks for linking these glasses. There are others out there, too. It was a gamble and I went with these ones.
Happy New Year to YOU, dear one!
Wow. 2017 was a doozie, wasn't it? I know it was for me. But now here we are, 2018.
A fresh year, a fresh day, and as I sit here in coastal Maine, a (fairly) fresh blanket of snow. What did the meteorologists call that last storm? Bomb-o-genesis or something? Crazy.
All I know is this blanket of white is like a fresh new canvas for the year, and I intend on filling it.
As you may recall, I released my children's book, The Almost Rhyming Hipster Critter Alphabet Book in October of 2016. Well, apparently folks are still talking about those silly critters...and they want more. And if the people want more, then more they shall have!
"You need to get these guys on greeting cards, journals, tote bags, and I want to help you do just that..."
Needless to say, I'm BEYOND excited. My skills kinda rest in the painting part of the whole art gig, not with developing product lines or marketing. Good grief, where would I begin to start?
But thanks to Sarah, my critters will be migrating their way out of my home. And that pleases me deeply.
I've created a logo. A LOGO! I'm totally real now. I've ditched the other 1,000 blogs and websites I've created ('cause let's face it, I've got too many darned irons in the fire. I'm totally going to combine them all here some day. Don't ask me how. I haven't figured that out yet). And I'm drinking apple cider vinegar. ...I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but I do know it pleases my mom.
So there! That's it! Downsizing, organizing, mainstreaming, and getting legit. Feels good.
What kind of madness have you set up for yourself this new year?
Not much to say, other than this...
When you dedicate time and love to something, it pays off.
I've been feeling the pay off in three areas of my life. My body, my mind, and my art.
I've been practicing great respect to these things. I've been gentle, but steady with my devotion.
Moving my body to strengthen and stretch it, working my lungs and heart to insure they work efficiently.
Practicing silence and stillness, and tuning into my breath. Remembering I'm a living creature, and not a machine with emotions.
Practicing small repetitive tasks to learn a new art form. Being patient with myself, knowing I won't learn it all over night. Honoring the slow road to mastery. Celebrating each milestone...
I'm happy. I love myself. I dig my art. I feel like a lion(ess)! Great pride.
Devote yourself to yourself, friend. It's an easier path if you do.
While getting ready for work this morning, I was thinking about the benefits of engaging in activities like coloring books, knit/crochet, doodling (or zantangling if you're fancy), woodworking, cooking/baking, sculpting, etc. Being creative is very cerebral. It has been proven that creativity strengthens problem solving, it enhances complex thinking skills. Many art projects are also used to maintain or rehab fine motor skills in adults. While this is all AMAZING and more than enough reason to get to work on something creative, one of the coolest things about creativity (in my opinion) is that it's therapeutic.
I was a kid who had a pretty traumatic childhood. It wasn't the worst childhood in the world, but it was pretty lame (with an abusive father and a little sister who died of cancer). Creativity was my sanctuary, my savior, my friend. No matter how shitty life was, I could turn to my pencil and paper and do some deeply therapeutic work. I could write and draw out my pain. I could release my darkness onto my canvas and be free of it. Likewise, I could fill pages with beautiful colors. I could create something 'nice.' That was power. Being able to rid myself of pain, AND to create something out of nothing, that was power. And it still is.
Being creative is also very meditative. And if you know anything about meditation, you know it relieves stress, increases attention span, increases immunity, helps you feel more connected, improves sleep, etc. And that's why I think coloring is so rad. There are many who have this notion that "they're not good at being creative." But there are books out there for you! Coloring books take the "work" out of being creative, so you're left with the power to color however you'd like. And if coloring isn't your jam, maybe try baking, or knitting, or woodworking, or anything! There are endless books, and internet tutorials on all things creative. The learning process alone will be beneficial to your health, even if you end up not loving your new craft.
So, I urge you, in these VERY stressful times, save yourself and carve some time for being creative.
No, really. What's going on right now, folks?
I hope you're making good decisions.
I hope you're feircely loving your family and friends.
I hope you're taking advantage of your freedoms.
I hope you're taking good care of yourself.
I hope you're loved.
I hope you're safe.
I hope you're healthy.
And I certainly hope that you're not shaming anyone.
And I hope that you're not making decisions based on fear.
And I hope that you're not hurting anyone.
And I hope that you're not pushing people away.
And I hope that you're not driven by hate, intolerance, greed, or ego.
I hope that you're using your powers and talents and heart for good things.
I hope you're using your time wisely.
I've had to redesign my life a little. I had to reorganize and redistribute my energy. I feel I have a lot of work to do in these psychotic times we're living in. I live a privileged life, and for that I'm beyond grateful. I truly have a deep sense of my good fortune. I don't want that to go unnoticed. But day to day, I read the news. Day to day I watch social media create bigger gaps between us. Day to day I have to provide a safe place, and assist people in their physical and mental wellness as a massage therapist. Day to day I'm feeling more and more compelled to create art which supports the vision of the world in which I want to live. Day to day I fear more for our people and our planet. And, day to day I feel I'm spending more energy.
What am I doing about that?
I take care of myself. I'm making good food choices. I'm prioritizing excersice and rest. I'm surrounding myself with positive, progressive thinking friends. I take time to turn off the news. I play with my dog. I'm trying to get plenty of sleep. I'm keeping my home tidy. I'm being smarter with my money. I'm seeking humor. And I'm carving out the toxic shit.
What am I doing to feel proactive in my world?
I was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who marched on January 21st. There was no singular reason why I went. There are so many things I'm willing to stand in solidarity for. I'm glad I went. It was a powerful time. I felt less alone, and helped many to feel the same way.
I'm making calls to my state representatives.
I'm having conversations with friends and neighbors who have different beliefs than mine.
I'm being extra kind and curteous to strangers.
And I'm making art.
I'm currently waiting for tests copies for an 8x10 poster I created. I should know by next week if the colors are right. When they are, they'll be for sale. They will be sold for $20, and will be a continuous Pay It Forward Art piece ($6 for printing, $6 for shipping, $5 to the ACLU, $3 to support the artist).
There's a faint watermark over this image for copyright purposes ...
The colors speak for themselves. "In My House" means your personal house, as well as your nation's house, the White House. The images are transparent. Transparent is what I believe we, and our leaders should be. The fist is a symbol of solidarity, unity, strength and support. It is also a symbol of resistance in the face of violence. The peace sign is solid, and in the background because peace should be the force which drives us. The other symbols are for the things we're in solidarity for. At the top, we support science. We support ALL people: we stand for gender equality, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Atheists. There's a safety pin. The Native American hope symbol is rising behind the fist. And a dove flying "right" for peace. I feel a rebellious "punk" style was fitting because we need to step out of our comfort zones right now. And punk just does that for me!
As always, I'm exceedingly grateful for your support and look forward to reporting back with more news from the art world!
Big love, all.
Hey, friends. I'd like to apologize for being a little out of touch these days.
Short of having a show at a holiday bazaar (more on that later), I can't say that I've been doing anything extraordinary, meaningful, heroic, or even creative. I've actually been hibernating in the safety and comfort of my little home, focusing the energy I have on my massage clients, and binging on Netflix and mindless games on my phone (I'm not proud). The political news, the NODAPL fiasco, and really, reflecting on the events of 2016 in general have gotten me out of sorts slightly. I think it's a good sign, though. It means I care, right?
Getting back to the show I just mentioned, it went really well. I'm beyond pleased with the atta-girl's I received regarding my books. The books! Who knew? All this time I've been focusing most of my energy on the art side of things, when really, the books are what people are digging. I guess it makes sense, really. They DO something besides hang out on one's wall. They're great gifts that go with any decor. And they're the best of two art worlds, pictures and words. So, I've been thinking about books and what that means for my creative future.
If you know me at all, you know that I'm passionate about healing this world we live in. I feel like we're pretty broken. Luckily, my day job as a massage therapist, allows me to work in a very healing way. But what about my art? How can I promote positive change with my art, or rather, my books? As you may know, I've created a Pay it Forward portion to my website. Periodically, I'll be donating profits to different organizations that draw at my heart strings. This is all well and good, but how do I carry the healing even further? How do I spread awareness, support, unity, fairness, and all the things that are so important to me...?
I learned a lot at the show regarding my two books, The Sea People, and The Almost Rhyming Hipster Critter Alphabet Book. The first thing I learned was, people were definitely drawn to the artwork. My use of bold colors, and my style were something people enjoyed. They really appreciated the message of The Sea People, but ultimately, preferred the humor of the Hipster Critters. This is all great information!
So, dear reader, I'm putting down the phone. I'm turning off the tv. And, I'm getting back to work! My goal is to create at least three books in 2017. These books MUST have humor, be visually appealing, AND promote positive change. I've already begun working on the first one (more details another time).
If you have any ideas for potential projects, messages, or subject matter, PLEASE, let me know! I'd love to hear from you. xo
Big love, you guys!