Water Cooler Blues

img_20160127_011855.jpgNew addition to the homestead relocation program: one slightly used water cooler. Three 5 gallon jugs of spring water will arrive later this afternoon. Yes, I signed up for home delivery service. It is well worth the $3 fee as a full jug weigh 42 pounds, which makes it a bit hard for a disabled woman to haul home via bus.

Someday, the jugs will be delivered to my workshop.

There has been a shift in the paragon. I am more focused now. The only difference between an illusive dream and an achievable goal is a well executed plan of action.

Why did I use that word? What is a paragon?

I had to stop and look it up.  Paragon is a noun that means “a model or pattern of excellence” so yes, I suppose it is the right word to use as there has definitely been a shift in my life patterns since I wrote Sixteen Changes.

The water cooler comes with two taps handled in primary colors: red hot and blue cold.

I don’t have taps inside me. I cannot turn my feelings on and off, cannot make myself stop caring about someone who axed our friendship just because they jumped to a raw conclusion.

Yes, he was hurt because I kept secrets, lied by omission, did not immediately tell him about everything that was going on with me… it was personal, about ME… had nothing to do with him.

Want to talk secrets? Lies by omission?

I lie every single time I say a variation of “okay” in response to “How are you?” Why? Because giving an honest answer feels like asking for pity and I won’t tolerate pity from anyone; refuse to pity my own self. What I deal with is no one else’s business, unless you happen to be my doctor or sleep in my bed, feel me jerk with every spasm. Besides, attitude is everything… how am I supposed to keep a positive attitude about living with disability when those around me look at me with sad puppy eyes or burst into tears because I can’t do what THEY like or want to do?

Everyone lies by omission. Meow. Yes, even that friend lied by omission… hid the fact his kitten survived. Oh well… unfriending me was his choice.

I miss my friend, but harbor no hope for redemption.

I’m thinking this shift in the paragon might be good for both of us. That maybe being each other’s long distant muse was no longer beneficial to him… like texting me was a diversion, a way to pass time, a means to think about doing without actually doing anything… like the man is an excellent poet with performance art experience, but is too paralyzed by depression to go to a poetry reading.

As for me? I will survive.

It feels odd to slam out a chapter on a new story and be really psyched about it and NOT discuss it or toss a printed copy into the mail. But, I read it out loud to my sister in Michigan and I will take it to my local Writer’s Workshop on Thursday.

I went way out on a new limb with this one… jumped right into the middle of a fantasy action adventure story by writing the chapter as it would be if it were a scene in a movie.

I don’t know what chapter it is… it might be 4 or 5 or 18… sis thinks it could stand AS the first chapter, being that it is an action adventure story. I do have a vague idea of what came before; but, this particular scene is what filled my mind. It was the scene I had to write. And it was so much fun! Things happened that I did not plan. I have no idea of how this story will end. I’m just going to write it, one scene at a time.

Then I really went out on a limb… gave a printed copy to a reader (not a writer) because he asked if he could read it. That is scary because it feels like I am exposing a part of me that he does not know yet. Writing about anything, even pure fiction “outside” yourself, is kind of like walking naked in public. When you pour your heart and soul into anything creative, it comes out in the work. Other people might not see it, but the person who made it or wrote it does. On that note, thanks for reading!

 

 

Defining My NEXT

It has been awhile since I’ve posted on this blog. Or read a lot of blogs.

My focus went internal, into that closed off little world inside my head where major decisions are made in silence after much contemplation and analysis. In other words, I was thinking.

What about, pray tell?

Everything.  Past, present, and future.  About the fact that there IS a future, a NEXT yet to be determined.  Or to be precise, determining what that NEXT shall be.

Disability changed my life in 2007.  Beyond the physical, there are psychological ramifications.  We define who we are by what we do.  When you meet someone new, one of the first things asked is, “What do you do?”  And the answer is usually given in terms of occupation.   Our identity is so wrapped up in our jobs that when you lose the ability to work, you lose a sense of who you are.   So for seven years,  I have been trying to redefine who I am without an occupation while learning to cope within the limitations of my disability.  Art has been a godsend, not only as something I still can do, but it has proven to be the best diversion.  When I hurt, I can zone into making art and take my mind to imaginary places so I don’t dwell on the pain.   When mobility issues have me stuck for awhile, art gives me something to do.  Still, I feel like I am in limbo.  This is my life, it is not going to change, and I’m just passing time waiting to die.  That is how I feel without a NEXT, as if I am living a life without a future.   Everything – reading, blogging, whatever – is just something to do to pass the time.

That’s why I need a NEXT.

Earlier this month, I attended an “Art is Business” workshop on writing business plans.   I have a hard time thinking of art as a business venture because I don’t think of art as a product to sell.   Beyond the reasons stated above, I make art because there is something deep inside of me that says I have to, it is not a choice.  Well, everything is a choice.  But, it does not feel like a choice.  Ignoring it does not make it go away.  Choosing other occupations does not make it stop.  It does not matter if my art sucks, if no one in their right mind would ever want to buy it, I still have to make it.  That might not make a lot of sense, but that’s just how it is.

Am I being down on myself or just being realistic?

I am never going to be an exceptional artist capable of netting $75,000 a year (the five year goal of the fictional fresh out of college visual artist who paints unique abstracts in acrylics used as the example in the business plan workshop), but I could tailor a business plan in line with my own artistic potential and physical limitations.  In other words, I need something else going on.

That’s what I’ve been doing… researching that something else.

Tell you how my mind works:  first question I asked myself was, “What could you do if you lost your disability check and ended up homeless living in a handicap accessible cardboard box?”   Answer:  become an itinerant retailer.  Yes, a street vendor.  So, I researched the city ordinances pertaining to itinerant retailers, which is how I know that they are called itinerant retailers.  (I also learned how to spell itinerant.)  But, that was my launch point.  Next question?  What would I sell?  Art, trinkets, handmade things… but would I earn enough to move out of that hypothetical cardboard box?   No, need something else… a money maker, something that people actually want or will buy on impulse.  I have been racking my brain and researching options trying to decide what that will be.

Not should be.  Will be.  I picked a something.

If I let myself dream out loud, I would open a store… sell art and trinkets and handmade things, hire people to do what I can’t do (one way to wiggle around physical limitations), and this “something” would be the bread and butter money maker that keeps it all afloat.   Of course, I would have to hit the lottery first as it requires a serious investment.  Well, as they say, there is more than one way to get somewhere once you have set your sights on NEXT.

OH… couple FYI’s.

1.   The mosaic guitar is finally DONE.  (I will give it it’s own post, with photos, as this is getting awfully long.)

2.  BeesATC (my other blog) is participating in the “Blogging from A to Z April Challenge” this year.  It is proving to be exactly what I needed to get back into drawing daily.

3.  If you live near Youngstown, Ohio, stop by the Mocha House in Boardman sometime within the next month or so.  They have good coffee, a full menu that never disappoints, and cheesecake to die for.  And right now,  you can see my art there.  Below is a sneak peek, a cell phone photo shot on hanging day.  Arrangement was limited to existing nails within my assigned section.  If you go see in person, please let me know what you think!  Thanks!

My art on wall at Mocha House in Boardman, Ohio.

My art on wall at Mocha House in Boardman, Ohio.

 

 

 

Confession

I did not write about last week’s Reality Check weigh-in because I got scared and did something on my no-no list.

No, I did not gain weight. I lost just enough to land on a “new” low number, which pretty much explained why an oh too familiar, deep throbbing ache had settled into my spine.

Some numbers are just bad. I assume it is a distribution thing, how the body carries itself as a weight loss or gain can change the stress factors on the spine. All I know is I hurt and it was not the “normal” bull from doing too much. I push my limits to the edge of pain all the time, back off, pay for it with “hobble days” and do it again. That’s how I have improved bodily function, increased mobility, etc. Oh geez… I am already saying too much.

Perhaps I should explain?

SHORT VERSION: I live with disability. In the best of times, it is no big deal. The worst? Pure unadulturous torture. I will do anything to avoid “killer” spasms as I am a big ol’ chicken-wuss, a little-wittle baby when it comes to pain that rocks right off the frikkin charts. No joke. Killer spasms make me scream involuntarily.

So you see? I can deal with the normal bull, but the kind of ache that pre-curses horrid spasms scares the hell out of me.

Desperate times call for drastic action. After weighing myself for the Reality Check last weekend, I made the harsh decision to put myself on a diet even though dieting is my number one binge trigger.

So far, so good… that bad ache is starting to fade. It is no longer constant throbbing, just comes and goes, so maybe diet one more week? I just want to get as far below that bad number as possible ASAP, then I can go back to doing the intuitive eating thing.

:

LATER: I saved this as a draft, walked away debating between posting or deleting. I must be wacked in the head as it is so bizarre to be willing to talk about the messed up secret world of binge eating disorder but unwilling to talk about disability. I think it is the pity factor. It pisses me off when people look at me with sad eyes. I don’t have time for other people’s self pity directed at me because that is precisely what it is: people saddened because I can’t do whatever it is that they like to do, going weird on me imagining how they would feel if they couldn’t do it anymore, and most of the time it is something I would never have taken a notion of doing anyway. So what if it takes me longer to do some things, if I stand crooked, or come off looking like a frikken cartoon now and then? Life is what it is, roll with what comes, play the hand as dealt. What’s my choice here? Wallow in misery or find the humor? I prefer to laugh.

Tell you a twist on something my grandma Goldie used to say: “all you get out of this world is what you eat, drink, or smoke…” and if you are really lucky, you might just get to love someone along the way.

See, that’s it. Simplistic view of life, what really matters. Love, peace, art, laughter… I feel blessed.