Three Things

So I have this “game: I like to play sometimes with my friends. I usually start it if I’m feeling a little poopy pants but I’ve also been known to throw it out randomly or if friends seem a little poopy pants. Anyway, the game goes “Quick! Three Things!” and the goal is to quickly list three things you have gratitude for, or makes you happy or feel good. It’s something I learned to help combat my depression and I’ll be damned, when I’m consistent, it makes a difference.

So yesterday, I got tossed a similar Three Things challenge. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”. Wow. I’d been asked that question before, but it was a long time ago and life looked very different then. I was a mess way back in the day. “She was lucky to make it to lunch” is how I believe she described the me from that time. Not inaccurate. And at the time it kind of blew my mind. Such a simple question but man oh man the answers I had then were so very very eye opening. I don’t recall the exact answers I gave but it was pretty much “everything” and “be happy”. So, about 15 or 16 years later everything is different. I can make it to lunch just fine. Most days. And I’m happy. Most of the time. And I have, am and will do as many of the things I never thought I could do because of fear. Notice I didn’t say I was free of fear. Nope. Still there. I’m sure like depression, general bad attitude and naturally high volume level, it’s always going to be a part of me. Thankfully I don’t always let it lead me around by the nose anymore.

So let’s play!

Quick! Three Things: Gratitude Edition! (Since this is a blog you can participate without needing to pause the thing, so go on, write three things down)

  • Clean, running hot and cold water in my house
  • My animals (yeeees, even the cats)
  • Music

Quick! Three Things: Fear(less) Edition!! (Come on now, don’t be poopy pants! Write some things!)

  • Learn how to play the guitar, and maybe even sing along with it.
  • Skydive
  • Fall in love again

Yesterday one of my answers to the Fear(less) Edition was different. It was “Quit my job and be a full time artist”. Boy that one is scary. I’m sorta kinda in a teeny tiny little bitty way working on that. I did open the Etsy shop after all. And I am working on things in my art room. It’s slow but I’m taking action. And I know what I’ve got in the shop isn’t really art. I like making fun jewelry too. But that’s the ultimate goal with the shop. Have more than just some cute jewelry things up there, but some well crafted artful pieces, as well as just Artsy Things. Maybe even one day have my own site instead of a little bitty spot in Etsy-Land.

ANYWAY, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. We can all thank my buddy AL for making me think about that stuff again. Even blogging the shit. This whole blog thing is just so awkward to me, but I also like it. And it’s also a little scary. So if any person actually really did in fact read this, comment with your six things! Please?


Oh boy, I did something involving Fear.

Ok so jumping right on in here, I opened an Etsty shop. Big fucking deal, right? WRONG. Very Big Fucking Deal. To me anyway. And then I made an Instagram account for it. Whaaaat?!?! With pictures of me wearing my jewelry. Awkward pictures of me wearing my jewelry.

K, little background ….

So I graduated from college with a BA in Graphic Art. Not computer graphics, but 2D art, like painting and drawing and shit. But I am not good at that. I’m ok with water-color I guess and I like oil painting but am really bad at just plain drawing. If I spent more time working on it I bet ya I’d improve. And I do love dicking around with sketching and stuff. I love color – it’s what I love about painting. I love mixing and using color and I usually end up with something different that what I originally planned. That’s not what this is about though. When I had to take a 3D class and ceramics I went THIS IS WHAT I LOVE. I have always loved doing things like that, putting together weird creations with sticks and leaves, making crowns and shoes and belts and bags with the giant leaves off the ancient mulberry tree in the front yard. I would use paper and markers to make dresses and flip-flops and crowns (what kid doesn’t need a freaking crown and flip-flops?). I would play dress up with my grandmothers fancy gowns and use her jewelry to make (yup) crowns and belts and bras (I don’t know – it was before I got boobs so I was fascinated I guess). I pissed off my mom because I kept taking my music boxes apart to see how they worked. My record player too. Getting older I started doing those friendship pin things, with the weird plastic beads that have the three ball things and fit together and safety pins. Moved up to embroidery floss and knots for friendship bracelets and graduated to seed beads, big beads, glass beads, all beads for necklaces and earrings. In highschool if figured out I liked messing with fabrics, making clothes and bags and shit. I discovered ceramics too.

But college made it all come together for me. I learned basics and techniques. I learned what I really like and what I don’t. I learned what I’m good at and what I fucking suck at so bad. The top three, silversmithing, fiber arts and ceramics. I love those. And since then I’ve wanted to make and sell shit for a living. But fear, insecurity, self-doubt and then more self doubt, alcoholism, relationships, excuses, bills, fear, and ad infinitum kept me from doing anything.

So now, 18 years later, I am finally taking action. My skills are rusty and so is a lot of my equipment. I’ve had to replace some thing and get out a couple of old books. I’ve reconfigured the art room, added shelves and shit. Got my flex shaft set up, made a spreadsheet, and pulled together supplies and stuff I’ve made, started and never finished and ideas I never started. And then just opened the shop. I have a few things up and more to get pictures of to post. I’ve sold two things already!

I have to keep reminding me that it does not need to be perfect the first time. I need to keep telling me that it’s a process and takes a bit to get in the groove. I won’t have a trillion customers all at once and it’s totally ok if my inventory and skill grows slower than I want it to. What’s important is that I am taking the action.

So, there you have it.

This is fucking terrifying. What if I fail? My stuff isn’t that good. People won’t like it. It’ll never sell. I suck. I will fail fail fail and people will laugh at me and the world will melt and burn and we will all die a horrible and painful bloody death.

That is what my head tells me.

But man, gonna do it anyway. If the planet explodes, I’m really sorry.

Hey hi hello

Warning: poorly constructed sentences here

So I’ve been wanting to do another post but haven’t had much in the way of subject matter come to mind so …. nothing happened. But now I think I have a few things to say. Aren’t you pleased about that?

I love to read. All kinds of shit. My mom started me reading really young. She encouraged me to try new things. She got me started on science fiction when I was still in grade school and moved on to James Thurber in junior high. Mot of my family was pretty encouraging too but  when Grandad found me reading Catcher in the Rye he was aghast. Yes, aghast. He was very upset at the filthy filthy language. Also I may have been a grade or two too young for it. Maybe it’s a brag but out of all the school subjects, reading was what I was consistently good at and when testing began, reading comprehension was where all the high scores were.  In the sixth grade I was at a 12th grade reading level. Yeah, a brag. And I bet there are those of you that will scoff and say “oh that is nothing, when I was two I was reading at 37 year old’s level”. Good for you. I’m taking my brag. There were only a couple other kids in my class with that score so there. Nanny nanny boo boo.

ANYWAY. I love to read. Novels, short stories, essays, sci-fi, horror (sometimes), mystery, suspense, an occasional biography, some poetry. But fiction was and is my jam. And as long as the author knows how to write well, I believe I could read just about anything. And then I found fanfic. Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I discovered all kinds of shit. Like, good shit and some really really really bad shit. Very really bad. Using a lot of really big and/or obscure words in long sentences doesn’t make you a good writer. Neither does making each work a spiritual and moral reflection of blah blah blah. I mean that shit is tempting. I have fallen prey to that myself. In this very blog too, I am sure. It’s fun to write that shit!!! But I think for readability other things should be considered. I could maybe take a minute and consider them myself, if I want readers for this thing……so anyway, here are some things I’ve run across that would be simple changes and would improve readability and, well, everything else about the story.

Ok, one, please reconsider the use of ‘orb’ for anything spherical in shape, especially eyes. Jesus. “The candlelight was reflected in his green orbs”. Ick. No. Eyes is sufficient if you really really need to write that sentence. Two, who fucking smirks all the fucking time? I mean really? Every single time that character does something with a facial expression it’s a smirk? Every time? Really? Stop making your characters smirk! Like, once a story is fine if they are being super snarky or something, maybe. Also, carding fingers through locks of hair, locks of hair fell in his orbs, the sun made those golden locks shine. Good Christ. Just, no. It’s ok to make a simple sentence about how pretty her blond hair was, or that is was soft or some shit. No need to be super flowery all the damn time. Save that stuff and dole it out piecemeal. One of my fave fanfics has a paragraph that makes me cry every time I read it. It’s kind of long and it’s just describing a coat being pulled from a dryer and zipped up. She writes how the kid getting zipped felt watching his brother do the zipping, how the metal was hot, what his facial expression was. She might use a couple three dollar words in there but there are only one or two. She is able to structure the sentences and use simple words to describe this mundane scene that makes my heart almost ache. And there is more than just the coat zipping, there are the feelings being described too. Jesus. She is a very good writer in my opinion, whatever that is worth. If I ever decided to try writing fiction I would pay attention to how she writes. Her dialogue is easy to follow and flows naturally. The ‘voice’ of each character is true and while the subject matter is fairly out there (fiction!!!) the people are very believable. I think it’s almost time to re-read that one.

So, there is my thing about writing. Time to apply some of that thoughtful consideration to my words as well. One of my fave writers is James Thurber. That man could pack so much shit in just a short essay. He said once, that he felt that continuous editing was what made his work successful (not a direct quote, don’t get all MLA on me here). He was constantly re-reading and re-writing, paring it down and taking out the extra padding, if you will. I guess his style was somewhat spare, like Hemingway. I think he had a similar philosophy when it came to his writing. Just take out all the unnecessary words and what’s left will still tell the story. But, I also like a wordy style of writing too and the author that can find a balance between the two is very enjoyable to me. (think Stephen King – has written some really beautiful stuff about not beautiful things and used lots of words and stuff)(and I seriously doubt he ever used orbs or locks). So I know I sound like a snob but I also do like a nice big word every once in a while. And sometimes a little fancy word combination is fun. A little bit of that extra introspective flowery shit can be a good addition sometimes! But let’s not get carried away here and cram each paragraph with that kind of stuff. I’m a reader, not a writer and I was just talking about what kind of stuff I like to read so I do hope no one takes this personally. I enjoy writing, that’s why I’ve got this damn blog, but it’s for personal enjoyment more than anything at this point. And in one previous post I said something about “the brain thinks, the fingers type” or something like that.  Also with pen and paper. Gotta have the right pen, writing surface and paper though. You get a good combo of that going on and it’s a damn enjoyable experience. Throw in some of those big words and deep thought and your journal has reached new heights of angsty greatness. So yeah, here we are!

Ok. I said I was done then kept going. Sorry about that. Now I am done.

And now I want to talk about…….lunch.

What have I done

So gishwhes….good Lord. I knew I signed up for insanity. I think that was one of the main draws to be honest. I wanted that Gishwhes Experience. Well I don’t know if it’s The Gishwhes Experience but it’s def A Gishwhes Experience. It’s been every single one of the feelings, I think. At least once.

I was supposed to be doing all these really great posts about all the shit we’re doing and how it’s going with teasers about pics to post when all is said and done but guys, well, I didn’t do that. Getting close to the end here and honestly I’m not sure what’s going on.

:fast forward a few days:

Man. It’s Monday now and I think I could still sleep a week. What a ride that shit was. I waited far too long to do this. I should have done Gishwhes ages ago.

So, I’ve been thinking pretty hard about what I want to write about, or how I want to describe what happened but I’m still kind of processing maybe? Yesterday I was so fucking tired all I wanted to do was sleep. Not as tired this morning but I could have slept a few more hours. But it’s back to regular life today. In a way I’m pretty happy about that but also I feel like I need a vacation. Also, hormones and Ice Cream the Cat are driving me nuts this morning. Jesus if it’s not one thing, it’s always several other things.

So we all know that our team had a pretty rough start. What with it all being our first time ever to do this then those first team members we got, I’m pretty sure none of us were prepared for the actual week of the hunt. But then, what light was granted us! What a miracle was sent to us! What goodness they gave us!!! The icky people were gone and the new team members saved the day! I was seriously considering just saying fuck it all and not doing it. I so close to just giving up. Sometimes I can be overtaken by despondency and man was I taken over. Thank all that’s good and holy that Team FrumpBusters was saved. And right before the hunt started too. Like, Friday. The day before the hunt. And BAMMO I was thrust into high-speed chaos for the next week.

I’ve worked on teams before. Been on conference committees. Once I even chaired a conference. But I think I was woefully unqualified to head up a Gishwhes team. Thankfully the team I had was a motherfukcing kick ass group of people.

So maybe what I should say about the whole thing is how it was amazing. How it pushed me to keep trying even though I wanted to hit the fuck it button. I was made to get out of my comfort zone. I was made to go against my introvert nature and talk to people, trust people. Let results be what they may. And those are all reasons I decided to do Gishwhes. I’ve known about it a few years now but have been scared of trying it. I was sure that I couldn’t do it. But this past year hasn’t been the hardest year I’ve had by far, but it’s been….ugh, I don’t know. Hard but not, sad but not, depressed but not, lonely but not. All totally contradictory. And all very accurate. And I needed something to force me out of it.

In the past when I needed a Jumpstart like this I have been known to go to unhealthy measures to get that relief. In the past decade and a halfish though, I’ve learned better ways to cope with a pretty heavy case of The Blahs. Or downright fucked up times too. (all that is for another blog post). That being said, this year, while not bad has certainly tested me. Last summer my sister died. Right at the end of June. Today is her birthday too (another blog post may be coming). I had been expecting it to be honest, but that doesn’t prepare you for the call. It wasn’t pretty. Actually it was tragic. And it threw me for a pretty big loop. All these feeeeeeeelings and more feeeeeelings and then family and feelings and travelling and feelings and more feelings that I, successfully or not, crammed pretty far inside. Jesus who wants to feel all that and sort it out? There were circumstances that made it more complicated. We were estranged and goddamn but that made even more icky feelings. So I really pulled in on myself and isolated. I dropped a lot of commitments. Didn’t even really want to work in the yard, and that’s my jam y’all. Well, one of my jams. So yeah, I guess I was a little depressed, numbed out, kinda separate from people and things I loved.

I cannot live to good purpose that way. I cannot sustain that kind of ‘offness’ for long without repercussions. I shared a little with a couple of people about it but it was such a tangled mess inside and feeeeeeelings. Plus I didn’t want to be a whiny baby (I know I know don’t talk like that but it’s a thing I do sometimes). And then GISHWHES!!!!!

I decided it’s fucking time to get my big girl panties back out and do something. Nothing changes if nothing changes, yeah?  And sometimes I do the whole ‘go big or go home’ routine to varying degrees success. I think this time it went well.

So I signed up to feel all the stuff that people have written about in blogs and blurbs and articles and chat rooms. I did it to make some new connections and refresh some old ones. I did it to fucking feeeeeeeeeeeel shit. And goddamn did I ever feel. Holy shit balls.

If you’ve read the previous posts you may have seen the one about the first set of new team members we got. Jesus Fucking Christ Almighty that was a fucking nightmare mess. And I felt. Then we got the new new team members and they were a dream come true and FrumpBusters was saved. Because I was this . close to quitting. Omg and Slack. Who knew?!?! I know it was crazy for some people and moved so fast with so much stuff but looooooved it. I loved the fucking weird random conversations. I loved how we came together when the Mean Man was Being Mean. I fucking loved how excited people got when we met the new ladies. I loved learning about Trello, and new music, and different ideas and just all that shit that we blabbered and shared about. I loved how I got to spend time with an old friend that lives states away and make new ones and get closer to the ones here.

And then the challenges. Dear God. I fucking peed my pants kids. Laughed so hard I peed my pants and I am not sorry. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

So, Team FrumpBusters, you helped me out of a funk, back into some creativity and positive actions. You gave me so much joy (eeech, corny I know, it’s fucking disgusting but true) and something exciting to look forward to in a way I haven’t in what feels like a very long time.  Thank you for doing it with me even though all y’all had a lot of shit going on in your worlds. It means more than I can articulate. And I just don’t think I have adequately described the fucking awesome gift this was for me. I needed gishwhes. I neeeeeeded it. So here’s some squishy hearty gross squishy feelings of goodness and gratitude.

And some pictures.