Carry On

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Depression is a war, not a battle.

It’s fighting not to call off once a week, because you just can’t do it today. So you get up and plod along, and you make some resignations. “I laid in bed too long. I’m going to skip the shower. I can’t be bothered to care about what I’m wearing today, I don’t even care to put any jewelry on. They’re lucky that I am making it there.” You start your day emotionally checked out from the tasks at hand.

It started with a dream. I dreamed of an old friend. He had let me drive his car and I had to adjust the seats because he is a good bit taller than I am. I woke up and realized this friend has 2 kids and a wife. I am still living single in a rental. What these people are going through, creating families, is probably a level of maturity that I won’t get to understand. I’m creeping up on 40 and I’m still driving my mother’s car. I used to partially pride myself on being so mature. But at some point, I’m pretty sure my emotional disabilities left me in a state of arrested development.

I started my morning by beating up on myself. I should have gotten married to the man who put a ring on my finger, even if he cheated on me, my groggy, sad brain said. He was willing to put up with your hang ups and your mistakes. I should have kept on pretending that I was enjoying the sex, and kept going some place else in my mind. Worse comes to worse, if I had selected another path, I could have been a single mother. I would have a preteen child. I would have given up being selfish and had someone else to live for. I wouldn’t be having existential crisis if I was trying to make sure my child had everything they needed.

But the truth is that I don’t know how I would have managed that. A part of my brain thinks if I had gone that route that my depression may have been exponentially worse. Because the truth is the grass is always greener. That was what I came to realize about my longing for another life, one that wasn’t the one I’m in. I wondered what it would be like because it becomes more and more unlikely, more and more foreign to me. Much like that period of time that I kept dreaming of NYC because another of my “childhood dreams” was to live there. But now I work full time, and I have a lease and 2 cats.

I also began to feel a bit of the old penis envy, because as a man you have all the time in the world to find yourself and discover meaning for yourself before you decide to turn around, find a young, hot, piece of ass and make a baby. That’s not so much entirely an option for women. 

When I do think about my life, I often feel like I always had so much more time in the past. I remember the casual down time. The times that I went out places, or did really fun things. I don’t think about the hours that I sat in front of a computer. They feel like sleeping time, dreaming. Add them together and I’ve spent less than a 3rd of my life living.

But still, I get up, I go in. I walk the long way to the bus stop, so that I can say I did 20 minutes of walking today, at least. I try a new drink at the coffee shop to try to perk me up, but it’s a disappointment. I’m trying to wrap my mind around being in the present. That’s why I decided it was a war, and not a battle. A battle is fought and won or loss. A war is waged on and on. There are victories and set backs, and no clear winner.

All I can do is just keep living this life the best I can, and hope that in the conclusion that it was worth it.  

Attic treasures

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On Sunday, I went to my mother’s house. I dug around in the attic, and rooted out some of my old notebooks. I’d like to share some of the things I found as a precursor to the potential video blog I’d like to make.

First we have the back cover of a notebook, covered with song lyrics, quotes, a vampire smiley face, and the ankh all Goths are required to draw on shit by law.

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First lets review my handiwork on these dividers, shall we? We have our post modern statements:

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“C’est ne pas une pipe.”

And I’m not even sure what I was trying to say with this one:

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On one of these dividers, I found the most peculiar combination that I will probably ever find.

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Where else are you going to find the combination of The Brady Bunch, Bob Villa adoration, and Marilyn Manson? Not at your local Piggly Wiggly, I assure you.

Now let’s look at the pages. I think I had a thing for codes and secret languages. Okay, I still think they’re fun. But I’m still the kid that used to go to the library in middle school and make my own word puzzles for a good time.

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(I apparently also RULE.)

It wasn’t all serious business. There was this 90’s ode to the Starbuck’s “Siren”.

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There was a page full of random doodles including a middle finger and a heart with an arrow.

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Often these notebooks are filled with unfinished letters to a good friend who moved out of state when we were in high school. This page full of large print, amusing dates, and overwhelming angst amused me.

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I’m apparently counting down the days until I am a high school senior. My friend and I have always had a dark sense of humor, so take the following with a grain or two of salt.

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Dear 16yr old me, you still don’t have that cult. Maybe some day… Keep in mind, for context, this is all before Columbine (1999), or the days of shows like Dexter. We wore black, and played in cemeteries. We could have easily fit right in with the “Trench Coat Mafia”, except we would never have shot up our school. Because we went to art school, so we actually enjoyed our experience with minimal bullying.

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This note is actually my friend’s handwriting.

I also started going through my old journals. I found this one. My guess is I was playing with markers and pens. I don’t think “Wings of Freedom” had any deeper meaning.

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And I found this sketch in red pen.

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And lastly, another example of the “dark humor”.

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I had just gotten some star wars stamps and glitter crayons, from what I read on the opposite page’s journal entry. Why I chose this subject matter, I can’t officially say, other than I was being goofy.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with something lighthearted and whimsical.

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Enjoy!

Reveal the Real

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It all started with another one of those posts. They are supposed to be affirming. There is a photo of a plus sized model, but they have blown out the photo with a bright light so half of her is shaded, or they’ve photo shopped her to hide her stomach, or they’ve dressed her in a corset and put a panel of black fabric on either side of her dress. All these “tricks” to make her look as thin as possible. That doesn’t strike me as affirming. My other pet peeve with this end of the spectrum are the slogans. Usually saying things that puts down thin women.

Among my friends, we’ve been discussing “body positive” ideas, and wanting to create real world events. We haven’t gotten that far yet, but I had the idea for a virtual one. Along with a group of 4 other women, we discussed the idea and strategy, and came up with the name “Reveal The Real”.

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This was the logo I created, and another friend helped me format it so I use it for the event.

We launched it in the beginning of October, and it’ll go until the beginning of November. Here is the description and the rules:

October means Halloween is coming up, a perfect time to be whoever you want to be. We think you are beautiful without photo shop or digital alteration! We want to see you in the way that makes you feel sexy. You’re body is a wonderful thing and you should feel empowered to show it off in a safe environment. So go ahead, don’t wait until Halloween to be sexy and creative. Post something today and share this event with you friends, and tell them to share it with their friends. We want to be inclusive!

This event was created with positive body image in mind. We encourage you to love yourself and be courageous by posting a photo of yourself here.

Everyone is welcome: men, women, trans, young, old, slim, medium, big, short, tall, every color and ability. Please invite your friends and loved ones!

What body positive means to us:
Every human is uniquely beautiful, just the way you are or want to be seen. Everyone has scars, stretchmarks, cellulite, body hair, hair loss, discoloration, or asymmetry. No one looks like a photo in a magazine and not every magazine photo speaks to all walks of life. We want to promote healthy self-esteem by taking today to post bold and revealing photos of ourselves on our own terms. We hope you’ll join us.

Here are the rules:
1. This is an 18 and over event. No minors.
2. Post an unaltered photo of yourself in whatever you feel comfortable in. Underwear or bathing suits are welcome and encouraged.
3. No exposed genitalia. If you want to post a nude photo, you must be covering your genitals. Nipples are not genitalia.
4. No pornography. No sexual acts.
5. Anything posted here is the intellectual property of the poster. Please do not copy, repost, share, or alter the images without the explicit permission of the person who posted it.
6. This is intended to be a positive experience. If you attempt to ridicule someone with the guts to post, you’re out, point blank.
7. If you don’t feel brave enough, quite yet, to post your own photo, it’s okay to post related links that are thought provoking and on topic.
8. Have fun and if you have any questions, ask one of the hosts.
9. The hosts of this event reserve the right to remove photos or remove someone from this event for any reason. Let’s all try to behave ourselves, okay?

Thanks for being a part of what we hope will be an amazing and affirming day!

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see the event, now that it’s not public, but this is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/176014499255337/177180379138749/?notif_t=event_mall_comment

I invited my entire friends list. At the time of this post we’ve got 80 attendees, 31 “maybes”, and just shy of 1,500 invited. The only small pitfall so far was, perhaps, having it public. I didn’t realize that would make anything you post show up in your friend’s feeds. But luckily, it didn’t end up blowing up too big. One of the moderators had the good idea to do a survey after the event to get feedback for future ideas. So that information will probably be included in a wrap up later on.

Hopefully everyone feels welcome, has fun, and finds some insight and self love, with a big group of like minded people.

Pittsburgh Art Car Show 2013

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Let me start off the bat by apologizing for my lack of “journalistic integrity” on this post. I didn’t get any participants names. I totally didn’t take any notes. I was a vendor, and it was my first time ever being that. So I was a nervous wreck that choked on her coffee before the show started.

I guess I should start from the beginning.

The show was from 12-4. My mother, my willing and consenting unpaid labor, picked me up with table and chairs in her car. I didn’t have an epic ton of inventory, or an elaborate set up. I used my old CBGB’s shower curtain for a table cloth, because I figured if I could call it “punk”, I wouldn’t feel so embarrassed about not being the most professional. I had borrowed a friend’s canopy, but as the day began the forecast only predicted a high of low 70’s, so we didn’t suspect we’d need it. (This is what the kids call “foreshadowing”.) By the time 12 approached, my mother and I dissected the contents of the canopy bag, but neither of us had ever assembled one and made the judgement we would carry on without it.

Here is my table right before the start:

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I didn’t get any pictures but Phat Man Dee and her husband Tommy Amoeba performed first. Then the cars arrived.

There was a tiki car:

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There was also what I was calling the “shiny car”, although I did not catch its actual name:

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(Okay, I guess that license plate in the window says “THAT CAR”.)

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There was also an incredibly Gothic looking van that had a plate that said “VANADU”:

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This van had a stove and a rocking chair inside, and since I didn’t get a photo, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Most Wanted Fine Arts Gallery also had their own decorated cars. I’m fairly certain from the condition of the one I photographed, that it had to of participated in at least one demolition derby. But I cannot confirm that.

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There was also the “Signature Van”. I’ve seen it around. They encourage you to put stickers or sign on the car.

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And this person was cleverly selling hot rod magnets, by displaying them on his/her car. Sneaky…

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There was a live art competition.

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There was also a pin up competition. This woman was the winner.

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I’m sorry I missed getting a photo of Trixie, Trundle Manor’s car. But they did make it into the paper.

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Lastly, I procure one small treasure for myself. Among the other vendors there was a “flea market”, at which I found this pocket  watch. No, it doesn’t work. Yes, I bought it anyway. Who knows what I’ll do with it?

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The day ended with a small profit, a sunburn on half of my body (remember that foreshadowing?), and a giant burger at Tessaro’s with my mother. Thanks to Nina and Jason from Most Wanted Fine Arts for having me and my friends who came out to show their support. I had a great time and hope to do things like this again!