Monday, October 16, 2017

Can you speak up please....



So I am about to do something WAY OUTSIDE my wheelhouse.
WAY OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE

I have been asked to be a panel member to speak to artists in college.
It is part of the career services department and they asked me over a month ago.
I said yes thinking that I would freak out less as time passed and it would all be ok.
I sent an email last week confirming that it was still a go (half thinking it would be canceled)
but instead I go the response that yes it is still happening and in fact I was on a panel of four people addressing something like 60+ students!
okay...
who are the other artists on the panel I wondered as I read the email...
oh, you are the only artist.
the other 3 people are two gallery directors and a Whitney Biannual recipient.
When I read this, I began to cry and then proceeded to spiral into a full blown panic attack!
They couldn't find anyone else!!!

Thankfully, even though The Barren was on the other side of the country for work, after he stopped laughing after learning the news, he was able to walk me off the ledge and get me to laugh too.

I am speaking about my everyday as an artist sitting next to the very people who judge and jury my work. I offer a unique perspective to the scenario....
I am crazy scared that my words will be hard to find, and fumbled when spoken.
I want to sound cool and collected and honest.

I then freaked out about the mop that is growing out of the top of my head-vanity
...I will be attending this event after morning yoga, then a full day of work!

I am getting a haircut tomorrow in hopes to shock it into submission for at least 48 hours.
The Barren will not be able to be there, and I have not told anyone that I am doing this.
Mostly because I am not sure knowingly having someone there, might not calm me down.

My freak flag is about to fly....
I am nervous but in my heart of hearts I know I can put on a mask of calm 
and ideally speak clearly and in a helpful manner. 

It is real
I am an artist
I can not not support myself on my art alone, but not from lack of trying
but that doesn't stop me from making art...
as it is the only way I know how to connect and understand the world around me.

Okay, haircut, clean clothes
tic tacs, deep breathing and don't trip!

Mantra: speak slowly, honestly and gracefully
and laugh, because really this is a first world problem and although it is scary it will not kill you!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Beer and Cowgirl boots



It is that time of year again.
Check in on my uterus and ovaries, 
make sure they don't have any new hitchhikers.

I travel to a nearby town to check into the local hospital to 
have my pelvic ultrasounds.
I have found a great tech, that tells me what she sees before I get my results.
I take her observations as a no need to panic foreshadowing.
I spent too many years worrying after the exam whilst waiting for results.
So I found a person who will tell me if she see changes or give me a heads up.
She is awesome that way and has a similar fibroid and cyst situation.
We are in a sisterhood like that.
She offers respect and compassion that I seek on this crazy reproductive journey.

Today she told me a story of a client that came in last week for a pelvic ultrasound:

A woman came in kind of drunk she said....
she was wearing a skirt and cowgirl boots.
She told the tech that she was a little drunk that she choose to drink some beers 
for her 30oz of clear fluid to prep for the pelvic ultrasound.
(I giggled and wondered why I never had thought of that, that makes for a personal party out of a sucky medical exam.)
After the external ultrasound, she emptied her bladder and hoped back onto the exam table in a hospital gown and her boots.
The tech thought, OK I guess this is how she rolls.
As she was performing the internal portion of the exam she proclaims to the tech:
"you know my husband always wants me to keep my boots on, and I always say no....
 But for you I kept them on! "

Ahhhh the clarity of alcohol
and a vaginal probe

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The ugly bathroom

fancy wear
The Barren and I attended a wedding recently. It was for one of his coworkers and it was one of those events where you know no one but the groom and have met the bride once or twice before and when you did you were slightly drunk....
and distracted.

The groom comes from a wealthy family...the kind that lives in those houses that you drive by and think what does it look like in that house?!
We dressed in our best fancy clothes and attended the backyard (of an ESTATE) wedding.
Guests were gathering in the living room before the backyard was opened and I was looking at family photos when I noticed the grooms parents had photos with people
like MARGRET THATCHER and BARBARA BUSH and stuff....

We were the country mice in the big city.
I complimented, who I thought was the father of the groom, on the beautiful etchings that were on display and was told that was the uncle of the groom....
so I didn't feel awkward or anything. 

I headed to the toilet before the backyard was opened and could not stop laughing....

the fancy house had an ugly bathroom!
Padded fabric walls in green fleur toile!!
This is what made these very fancy people real...
this made me feel relieved, reassured and entertained.

I am wearing my grandmothers belt, yes that is a HUGE lion buckle
The Barren calls it my big pussy belt.
I can do that

We were so freaked out to be on our best behavior and proper but after we saw this bathroom our guards came down and we relaxed a little.
We sat in the backyard before the ceremony and drank a drink or two and played corn-hole 
(where that name comes from I don't know....)
then the very sweet ceremony and we were off to catered reception.
The bride and groom are SERIOUS dance floor party animals and The Barren and I left for home before the cake was cut...I hadn't had anything but a couple carrots and celery (nothing else was vegan friendly) and The Barren had earned passenger status and was fed....
We felt like outsiders, invited outsiders, but it made us feel old and strange.

We were honored to attend and witness a sweet vow exchange and when the talk all turned to babies
as it does at weddings...we looked at each other and said "I hope their home is filled with babies"
then kissed each other and drank another drink.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Triggered

" I can not imagine what these people are going through. 
It is mostly the packers on the floor, almost all women"

A dear friend has organized a shipment to her company's packing plant just outside Houston.
She put a call out for supplies and she would ship them tomorrow.
So a bunch of us have gathered things and
 have been dropping them off at her door, since last night.

I went out this morning and got two huge bags of supplies.
Soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, pads, baby wipes, dog leashes and harnesses, and socks.


I felt a deep trigger when I grabbed multiple packs of little kid and baby socks.
I almost didn't include them but then let the sorrow wash over me and went deeper and 
thought of the parents that just want dry socks on their kids feet.

Natural disasters like the ones we are experiencing are hard to process.
They leave us feeling so fragile and helpless.
I made a donation to a local animal shelter too...so many animals have been impacted too!

Then there is the flooding in India and Nepal and I am lost again.
I sent a text to The Barren:
" I feel so emotionally spent, I need to calm down and focus "
So, I came here.

I feel like a puddle of myself.
How do you process so much grief around you and inside yourself as well?


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pride in the journey


So The Barren is growing in his grief...he is learning to identify his triggers.
That is HUGE

He was at work learning some new stuff for his current role and a new parent was talking about how thankful they were to have some time off work and it was supported by the employer.

I got a text message saying:
" HR was talking about paid family leave and out of nowhere I find myself about to break down...doing OK now, but it was touch and go for a moment"

After work he met with him mom and they were chatting and she started to ask about all our friends with kids and how we must hang out with them and play with their kids...
He spoke up and said, you know we often need to protect ourselves from our triggers and make sure we are alright with going to an event or party. We often skip them so that we can relax and enjoy our afternoon too. He told her about the event earlier in the day.
She was flustered, and out of no where asked if we were thinking about adoption.
to which The Barren said NO

He thinks she was not sure how to deal with suddenly witnessing his grief 
...I think she just needed to get a question off her chest.

Regardless, I am beyond proud of him and his new ability to speak up about things that trigger his sorrow and memories. He is making progress and that is to be applauded.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Yoga anniversary

Ok, So I try REALLY HARD to not evangelize yoga....
I never want to sound like this....but it is funny as all hell


This last week I celebrated my 4th yogaiversary
I have been going to yoga three to four times a week for four years now!
It is the longest I have ever participated in an activity and still want to go.
This is amazing to me.

what!? are those muscles!!!
extended side angle with a double bind

I started yoga because a couple ladies I know wanted to try it
...I am the only one practicing.

When I began I was just out of my stage 4 endo diagnosis and wanted to find a way to start and reclaim my body back. I was in incredible pain from my cycles
and my back was weak and I felt broken
...just totally broken.

I started to see a difference in the first three months, I was able to mange cycle pain better.
I learned how to breathe more effectively and move my body.
I can manage stress (physical and emotional) better.

I am stronger and feel like I am in control of my body again
I can't do everything I want YET in class,
as I am still figuring out what my endo has seized up and what I can work through
...and what I can mentally believe I can do;
because it really is an exercise of the ego.

I can look at myself in the mirror while practicing,
but I will never be a front row person and I am ok with that.
I can practice next to a visually pregnant woman and not cry or focus on my loss.
I continue to do yoga in strange places at home (like above) and in public places where when I feel stress I do "lions breath" and make The Barren laugh.
I know my tummy will never be flat, no matter how many situps and how much food I restrict,
I carry the visual reminder of my losses in my belly, presenting at 10weeks forever.
I am embracing that too.

I thank my body after every class for being able to heal and move and breathe.
I like feeling strong
I am pretty proud of me right now and I simply wanted to mark this with a post.
I am tooting my own horn
and that is OK too sometimes

Friday, June 09, 2017

Triangle Goddess

extended triangle

The triangle that points downward is one of the oldest symbols of the divine power of the female. It is an ancient symbol that represents the genitalia of a goddess. The triangle is connected to the number three which can represent true 
wisdom


I have explored photographing my practice at home, to see how my form is and compare it to that of instruction online and then practice in class. Instagram is amazing as a yoga resource! This pose has always been one of my favorites and after looking up the meaning, I was happy to see that even unconsciously I am moving in the right direction.

Celebrating the divine within me 


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Another toe in the pool

I think I made a leap...it feels like it at least.

I have been submitting to numerous exhibitions and this opportunity came up and although I think my chances are slight...I needed to not pass this up:

What they are looking for:
The exhibit will feature a wide array of works by female artists each addressing erotic themes in their works, and how that relates to feminism and/or contemporary society today. We are looking for works across all mediums that are uninhibited, and fearless with regards to the explorations around this theme. 


Describe your work submitted:
"A series of photographs in which I reintroduce myself to the body that I once loved before learning I was infertile. After a focused decade of sex geared towards reproduction, I am remembering what sex for pleasure is again. Overcoming the stigma of what womanhood meant, or means and embracing my sexual self."

I continue to find niches that infertility touches.
I will not be silent.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cycles

The proceeds from this t-shirt help provide menstrual hygiene kits to people experiencing homelessness

I only get my period four times a year now.
It is part of the agreed plan to control my endometriosis, fibroids and cysts. 
It has been working well, and retarding growth on the current fibroids and any creation of new ones.
It has also allowed me to keep my uterus instead of having the suggested hysterectomy.

At first I thought it was like being neutered; taking away something so sacred as a monthly cycle.  The monthly pain left me unable to stand upright, or eat or sleep, so the idea became a welcome retreat from pain and in many ways a space to grieve my lost fertility.

I had to walk away from my efforts twice in 8 years of trying to make a family. 
When I first went off the monthly pill to dive into the pool of trying, I was almost immediately faced with a wall of pain and only after half a year was I able to advocate for further testing which first revealed my fibroids and the sudden growth had me at an oncologist. 
Back on the pill to shrink them and try to give me a window to try to get pregnant again.
The second dive into the pool had me in the ER and multiple trips to the doctor to find answers to the miscarriages. Suddenly 8 years passed and it was too much loss and too much pain to live.
I went back onto the pill after my removal of a large chocolate cyst, and an ovarian cancer scare;
that confirmed my stage 4 endo that had head-locked my ovary behind my uterus, a septum in my uterus and calcified fibroids.
The road was shut.
I grieved and celebrated this information at the same time.
I did nothing wrong in my efforts to get pregnant, but my body that I had lovingly cared, for had decided that no child shall survive in me.

Now 5 years later, I am facing a new kind of knowledge.
My periods which only come quarterly,  will eventually stop coming all together.
I am prepared to grieve that as well.
a bitter sweet party

I have my period now, I have always been a full moon bleeder.
I guess I am a druid that way, an earthy girl, a wolf woman.
I can now not have to decide if the pain is bad enough to need to go to the ER, 
instead I can sit on the couch or sleep away the mood and aches.
Still honoring the need to take care of this body.

My period arrived later than normal this cycle, and for the first time in a LONG time, 
my mind did not go to the "maybe I'm pregnant" thought...
in fact it never even entered my mind.

Instead I thought, soon there will be no more.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Circling the sun


I awoke feeling happy
I got dressed and went to yoga
I had a lovely class and felt like a million bucks

I went to my parents place to enjoy our newest ritual
birthday cake for breakfast.
As long as they are around, I figured we should have cake together 
first thing in the morning 
and I can thank them in person for making me. 
Literally.

This year my 3 year old niece was there, so she got cake for breakfast too.
Honestly, she just wanted the icing, so I gave her mine.

I had made the cake the night before, and tried something I'd never made.

My parents and I sat and chatted and we visited for a long while.
then I packed up, took a photo of the driveway; where my mother had made chalk circles
of number 1-47 and had them lead to the front door.
(another ritual they do every year for birthdays, some sort of chalk drawing. They even did it when I was employed near their home and all my coworkers had to drive past their work, and then proceeded to come and wish me a happy birthday)
I love her shadow!

I traveled home, picking up actual food along the way and ate a quiet brunch at home.
Then a little nap
a little more food and then The Barren came home and we sat and visited until bedtime.

A quiet birthday.

We had gone into the big city the weekend prior and I took in some art gazing.
I think we are planning to do a similar adventure this weekend too,
Sightseeing, art adventures, with snacks

I have been focusing on enjoying little visits with dear people in my life.
I have gotten great pleasure from that.
Like I can feel my body respond from the positive visits.
I am aiming to do that as often as I can.
that is my birthday wish for myself.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Boring Thankful Thursday



Once again it has been a while since I have felt compelled to write here...I read your blogs and comment when I am moved to....but I haven't felt the need to blog here. 
I am not sure why.

Distractions...that is what I will blame it on.

I have been battling a sour stomach for months now
...and I finally got tired of taking antacids and waking in the middle of the night from burning pain and so I went to the doctor.

She pushed here and there, asked what I was eating and I listed my boring list of food.
I listed my boring list of vitamins and supplements and she nodded.
I was not eating any "trigger food"
I was simply suffering all the effects of gastritis but there were tests that could be done.

So I did them,
including a long ultrasound session to examine my internal organs.
As the ultrasound technician moved the paddle slathered in ultrasound jelly over my belly...
she gave me the scenic view complete with narrative.
 (I love this about her, she lets you know, without telling you, what she sees and doesn't see)

She showed me half my heart, I waved and said "hello heart".
Then on to the big guns: my liver and gall bladder and kidneys
She made comments like, boy these are boring nothing interesting here...
see if you had a fatty liver they would be different colors...
and these veins are hard to find when healthy...where are they?!

She made me giggle, even though I was so hungry and my stomach acid was almost unbearable.

All the results came in that I didn't have a super scary bacteria that causes ulcers and stomach cancers, and I had healthy organs.
All signs pointed back to gastritis.

I have since, reduced/eliminated my facebook time, and news time and social activism time.
I am stressed out...I am overwhelmed
I am feeling all of the responsibility of everything and for everyone...
I needed to step back.
I am blind in many ways...and it is because I need to take care of me.
It is not ideal, but I am finding that it is really important....so I grudgingly have submitted to it.
Ignorance is not bliss, but it is slowly reducing my stress and ideally reducing my longest and latest flareup episode for gastritis.

I am eating miso and soba noodles, no raw veggies (so strange!) and eating very small bits of food all day long...very slowly! 
Most of my submission art is for fundraising, donated work...although I could really use some funds in the coffee can, this is my happy medium. Finding a stress free way to help others...quietly.

I still do my yoga practice three times a week and it is hard to believe that I am rounding into FOUR years of this!!
 It is the longest and most I have ever stuck to some sort of social physical thing!
 this is truly crazy!!


I learned a new mudra 
mudra (/muˈdrɑː/; Sanskrit मुद्रा, "seal", "mark", or "gesture"; Tibetan: ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ THL chakgya) is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers.)  the yellow one:

Your Solar Plexus (Manipura) Chakra is the third Chakra located in your abdomen, above your belly button. It is the energy center responsible for personal power, self-esteem and confidence.

I have been using it while meditating as it seemed quite fitting for
 both infertility and my current situation. 
My meditation only last a few moments....I
 have a monkey mind (constantly going, never really still) 
so I do little sessions when I can....it helps too.

So I am finding that I am boring right now....
I am seeking adventure, but it seems I need to do a few boring things first, 
like laundry and eat miso soup.



Friday, March 17, 2017

Self Awareness

stop the hate, both in yourself and for others

it has been too long....
I have been distracted, by everything...struggling to focus on anything.
I have spread myself thin and opaque.

I started to feel overwhelmed by life...
like I was responsible for everyone, and everything.
I was trying to change the world single-handedly.
I felt the responsibility of everyone's white privilege, I needed to take responsibility for every act of racism and sexism and xenophobia I saw, heard or read.
It became too much!
I was becoming paralyzed.

I have started to triage my life again...it is going much slower than I thought it would...
but I think I have landed on the right path, at least for now it feels like it.

I am still quite politically active, far more than I have ever been in my life!
I find writing a postcard and sending it off is QUITE cathartic.
cheap therapy...I recommend it to anyone; write about anything and send it to anyone!

I had forgotten to take my Vitamin D and felt the effects of the deep sadness...
I have remedied that now as well.

I have been kinder to myself when 4am comes around, and I simply don't feel like driving 40+ miles into town early for practice.
 I know I need to go at least three times a week but sometimes that doesn't happen and that is OK. 

I have felt the changes of aging without children.
My best friend (we live far to many miles from each other) was in town for 36hrs for an art installation and asked me to help. Which I gladly did. She needed to race home to be with her kiddo for his 12th birthday....when I asked he about the day he was born, she started to cry and looked me in the eyes and said that she now knows so many people who can't have children besides me and she feels so thankful that after her miscarriage she was able to get pregnant again and that she is so sorry.
I hugged her and told her it was not a burden she needed to bear, she was allowed to complain and be frustrated and thankful all at the same time!
I felt her pain so deeply.

I have been feeling EVERYTHING so so so deeply.
It is another aspect of my overwhelming of life.

My niece turns 13 today, I unconsciously calculate where I was in trying to create our family.
Each of these children in our lives are markers of how far down the path we have walked.
How far away from our hopes of a child we have wandered.

The birth announcements are father apart now, and the birthdays are larger numbers.
I know the second round, generation is on the horizon...I wonder if I will still calculate where I was on the day they were born...how long that marker of memory will last and when it might be replaced with a memory of them...simply them and me.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Putting feet where my heart is


I have become an voice in the fight
I am making choices everyday to speak up, regardless of my fears.
I am actively choosing to attend marches and sign petitions and make calls.
I was quite overwhelmed for a couple weeks, 
slipping into the door of depression for a time and again.
I felt the weight of my white privilege and 
the responsibly to make sure others acknowledged theirs.
I felt angry and heartbroken at family that said they loved me and the world around them,
 but then stood in support of Lord Marmalade and his racist, sexist and xenophobic choices.

I have made the choice to be a voice, 
I am fighting the BIG fight, looking at the BIG picture.
I am thinking about the generations after me, 
I am trying to secure the rights and safety.

I am learning and growing.

I find being infertile in this struggle has given me a unique voice
in this conversation. 
For that I am thankful.



Friday, January 20, 2017

Why I am marching

I am the dreams of my Great Grandmothers

My grandmothers were amazing women, and I love them dearly...but they were not ones to stand up when something was wrong.
My mother made sure from day one that I was to say something if something was not right, to speak up when I saw or felt that someone was not being treated properly. I am the woman I am today because I am not afraid to ask questions or question what it happening.
Openly and without hesitation.
This has caused problems for me in the past, but I have never let that pounding in my chest stop me from asking or saying something.

My great grandmothers were born of a different time.
My maternal great grandmother died from a heart attack, was a tough talker and dominate figure in the family. Not taking shit from anyone, and making her point of view heard....above all others.

My paternal great grandmother died two days after my grandmother was born, from complications from birth...a rumored drunk doctor. She is a bit of an enigma, but what I know of her, she was soft spoken and strong and beautiful and kind.
I thought for a long time, that my fate would be the same as hers, if I had a baby....
I have her name as my middle name.

Both of these women were born not being able to own property, vote or have access to reliable birth control...one was an immigrant, forced from her home because of the Pale of Settlement- the other born in the states.

I am marching in their honor, and the honor of my mother, who made sure I was never afraid to speak up.
I am marching for my nieces and nephews, because I want them to have every choice available to them to love and marry who they want.
I am marching because I know what it is like to have your reproduction taken from you, and shamed for wanting to be sexually healthy and free.
I march for them so that they understand that a woman's worth is not measured in her appearance.
I want them to understand that speaking up is always the right thing.
Stopping violence and coming to the aid of those in need is always the right thing.
That we need to fight to keep this earth pure and healthy, just like we need to fight to keep ourselves healthy too!
I march because I want to answer that I marched for them when they discover this information in their history classes, and wondered what people did.

Tomorrow I walk in solidarity with my sisters in Washington...and for my future because I can not be silent in the face of so much that is wrong!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Silence in between



I have been quiet again.
I had my HUGE annual art opening and this year I kept telling The Barren that something felt different. He told me that I was anxious each year, and that I was simply feeling that.
It turns out, that my work has yet to sell.
For the last 6years it has sold either before the show opened, or at opening night.
This year it is still hanging on the wall, unsold.
This pretty much CRUSHED my fragile and small sense of self.
I have carried this in my heart like a heavy stone.

I focused on the holidays, but after throwing up Hanukkah...
 I got a cold...it was a new years eve gift I guess...
It had me out of both society and yoga and 
The Barren told me I was acting like a grumpy 14 year old.

I will own that.

I don't like being sick...I don't like my freedom of motion infringed on
in any level; 
whether it is a runny nose or a sore muscle or a cough that won't let me sleep, 
or a car that is out for the afternoon getting an oil change....
I am bossy and grumpy that way.

It seems the cold has finally hit the road and I am getting back into my groove.
While on "holiday" I tried to work on my relationship with food.

I have one, going vegan has made me look at food differently,
not that I had an issue before but now there is a lot of guilt 
associated with food that was not there before.

Over the holiday, I worked on loosing the grip on my restrictions.
I had crackers
I had "ice cream"
I had cake
I ate bread
I ate chips
Now looking at this list I think, oh gosh look at all that bad food.
The food isn't bad, my relationship with it is.

I repeated a mantra I use when I am faced with being "decadent" 
and thinking about how long it will take to make up for the decision.
exercise is not punishment for what I ate, it is a celebration of what my body can do.

I used kinder words with my self talk and simply said, you need a break.
You are doing nothing wrong eating something different here and there.

Now all the "holiday" food is out of the house 
and I am eating dates to combat my sweet tooth
 and drinking green tea to kick the caffeine to the curb.

Things are clearing in my head, I also realize that:
I am still reeling from this election and each day, the USA seems darker and scarier.

I am trying to manage this too...
I am not watching news anymore, listening to NPR for a short time daily.
I only watch movies
FLEABAG on Netflix was fun...and dark

I am sitting in the studio a lot, staring at the wall...but I am showing up.
I am an artist, my job is to make art.

I am back at my 3-4 times a week of practice...
which is really my mental health appointment with myself.

I am excited about the Women's March in 8 days...
The Barren and I are going because we need to go!
I am trying to figure out what I want our signs to say.

Mostly I am trying to find how I fit into this new crazed place.
It may appear that I am sitting in silence, but I am really planning and plotting.
I have never been one to be quiet in the face of something that is bothering me.
It has caused problems before, but now...
My parents joked that they will put some money aside to "bail me out of jail"

I have no intention of getting myself arrested
but my voice will not be silent.