Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fall is Definitely Here!

You know those chilly summer mornings where dew is on the grass glittering like a field of diamonds, and you know it's not going to last because the already revved up sun is trying its hardest to pull itself above the trees to dry everything up? There isn't nearly enough time to run for the camera, and maybe that's why it's so spectacular. You just have to enjoy it right then, you can't save it. And then there is that one morning, out of the blue, where the morning chill bites you all the way to the bone, and you know something has changed.

It's here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

*Cue the Fireworks*

The Celebration? A Blogiversary, of course! (And this lil guy's 1st birthday!)
I can't believe it's been a year already, but then I can. I feel so far away from where I was at that time, but I think that's proof that my plan (or what little of one I had) worked. I felt so bombarded by negativity, everywhere I turned there was more for the taking, as if the universe had somehow turned into ye olde high school lunch lady (hair net and all) ... you know the one who always gave out way too big of servings of drippy macaroni (a great reason to start brown bagging again). I started taking a look around, and realized I wasn't exactly helping the situation either. If what we're putting out there, really is what's coming back to us, then shouldn't we be more responsible for our actions, thoughts, expressions, vibrations, and whatever else were emitting? I admit, I wasn't doing my best (or for you life coaches out there, I wasn't showing up at 100%). This isn't my first time around the blog-block, but I'd realized that I'd started falling into the too familiar online trap of just complaining about things, or publishing rants about things that don't even matter. While getting things off your chest, and blowing off steam can be a good thing, it doesn't mean that every little gripe needs to be public, and what's the point in passing the negativity around? Does misery love company SO much that it disguises itself as a funny, or clever post so we think nothing whatsoever of publishing it? Or do we spend so much time convincing ourselves that this is a normal way to communicate, commiserate, and connect? Really? We have to connect over mutually hated topics, or things that we both discover are completely beneath us? It seemed the more questions I came up with like that, the more I saw the things around me conforming to this model, and the more I had to ask them of myself as well.

Where had all the positivity gone? Where was the creativity? Where were all the people trying to make this world and experience a better one? Why weren't more of us trying to enrich our lives and those of others, instead of tearing everyone down, and ourselves along with them? What's more difficult is when all this is found in the circles closest to us at any given moment in our lives. Suddenly you realize that you're not spoken to unless that person wants to complain about someone, something, or how bad they have it, and why they're not to blame, and every thing's unfair, and of course, they have no responsibility in their situation either. And then you start to see the people who are furious in their own lives but for whatever reason can't show what they're truly angry about (maybe they're worried how society will see them, or maybe they'll realize there's really nothing to be angry about at all), so they start projecting what's got their tail in a knot onto the people around them. Seeing this was an awakening all of its own. I would say seeing these people for who they really are, but I don't believe that. Perhaps seeing them for how they choose to be at this moment is the better explanation, because I know we are all capable of being better than how we are at any time in our lives. There is no limit to what we can be, and there is no cap to the goodness we can extend to one another. But in that moment when I opened my eyes to my personal situation, and those who were in my life in a close way ...

... for the first time in my life, I was lonely.

It was the worst kind of loneliness, in my opinion. It's one thing to be alone, and something completely different to be lonely in a crowd of people you actually care deeply about. I definitely believe that just because someone isn't loving you, or rather, expressing it in just the way you need, it doesn't mean that person isn't loving you with all they've got, but when respect goes missing, and ill-treatment begins, and one-sided relationships take over where something more whole once existed (or so you believed), then I think it's of the utmost importance to re-asses your situation.

I also believe that all change begins with me, not because I'm cosmically of almighty importance, I mean me, you, each of us, at home, on the singular level. The work needs to be focused inside. You know, kind of like scrubbing the light house windows, so the light can shine through nice and bright for everyone to see. With a little elbow grease, we'll get there. Some days we might need just a little squirt of glass cleaner, and other days we may just have to replace the glass altogether. The work will be work, for sure, but I think it is well worth it, the only thing we have to be sure of is that we are not afraid to be honest with ourselves. Otherwise all the things we do become utterly pointless. I for one, do not want to be an old, dilapidated shell of the greatness I once was, standing dark, and alone because I couldn't be real with myself, or I just didn't want to put in the work.

It was at that time, a year ago, that I decided I needed to throw myself a life preserver. I wasn't drowning anymore, but I was treading water at best, and getting very tired, I knew it wouldn't last, and I also knew that no one else had the responsibility of saving me. If you're not willing to be your own white knight, then you really shouldn't be looking off into the distance, and tapping your foot while waiting for one. I knew I had to do two things, one being the closure of the emotional gas station. No longer will I be willing to fill up anyone's tank of anger only for it to then be taken out on me, just because someone's needle is on E. And I started surrounding myself with beautiful things. Not expensive things, not material things, not anything that pumps my status up, not anything anyone else would think is "cool". Just beauty, mostly in its simplest of forms. And creativity. Since I was certainly low on it myself, I decided to at least put myself in close-ish proximity to some. That's where the blog list of "Creative Chicks" on my side bar originated. And while I was flushing myself of the disingenuous, and searching for something real, I came upon different blogs of seemingly genuine authors. They wear their flaws on the outside, and work from the inside out, they don't hide who they are, or pretend to be people they are not. They don't just say the words, and spit the rhetoric to impress other people, they say what they mean, and I believe mean what they say, no matter what. I find comfort in that. And I've enjoyed reading their words this last year, hearing of their triumphs and failures, sometimes seeing my own thoughts spread across someone else's pages. If nothing else, it is an honesty that is hard to find not only in person, but especially in a forum where you can "pretend" to be anything you want to from the privacy of the glow of your own computer screen.

So did it work? I think so. I'm not the same as I was a year ago. I feel more like myself, but different, newer, zestier, fresh-er ... ok, I'm not produce, but you get the idea. I haven't felt this way in a very long time, and certainly not since moving back to this area geographically. Am I travelling in the right direction? I don't know, but I'm moving in a forward motion, and not in a backward one, or one which moves away from my true self, and that, to me, is progress. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm not afraid, and I'm not losing myself this time for anyone.

Here's to another year! ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

What's the Story Morning Glory?

What a gloomy, dark morning! Though I admit, it's a nice break from the heat wave ... I never thought I'd be so happy for rain. Last night I listened to the thunder, and the rain beating itself against every surface it could find until I fell asleep again. That is until the next thunder clap, of course.

The morning looked like it was trying to recover from a pretty raucous night (who hasn't been there?), the sun trying to illuminate through layers and layers of thick, angry looking, and tired clouds, creating one of those moody mornings where the colors are so intensely rich they're usually only found in dreams. I noticed it was time to collect the seed pods off my Morning Glory. Yes, they've had a short season, but when you're in an apartment you're kind of at the mercy of the location, and work it out as best you can. Whether I plant them again sometime, I don't know, but at least I collected the seeds instead of letting them reseed themselves right into the building's flower beds ... that would go over big, I'm sure!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Good Morning!

I may be the only person on Earth who wakes up with a hot cup of decaf ... (true!) ever since slaying
the caffeine dragon about two years ago, and in doing so, once the detox ran its course, I realized I never really drank coffee for its stimulating effects. I love the taste of it, and the more I pay attention to the things I do, I've come to see I'm a creature of all things comfort. Good food, good drink, music, textures, lighting ... what can I say? I like to be cozy.

So I took a knitting intermission to brew what would turn into a tidy little latte this morning. This is where I'd probably be humming what I would consider a good intermission jingle of some sort, but not this morning ... I just thought it, and laughed to myself instead.

Anyway, I'm diving into knitting up some lusciously fall-coloured yarn (I believe you can't properly discuss fall colors without the "u") (What? It's not like my inner monologue has suddenly gone to the Madonna school of how to (poorly) rip off accents or something!) As I was saying, I'm in love with this pumpkin patch green right now, and I'm delighted by the sight of it on my purple needles (color theory 101, I know, but you can't deny it). I thought it would be the perfect color to start with being August and all (birth stone peridot, know about it!). August has never really been one of those months that "speaks" to me, but I'm beginning to appreciate her more and more. I used to despise her, because I knew once she'd gone that school was soon on the roster ... and then when they pushed it up to actually START in August, we really had our issues! But those times being long gone, I can now look at the month through different eyes, bleary with fond memories, and forgive her. I am able to appreciate her in her own right now, the winding down of summer, and the issuing of the new harvest season. It's all very romantic if you allow it.

So that's what's on the table right now. Trying out a few old things with new materials, and dreaming up some new designs to test out. Can I just say right here (because it's bugging me) no one can actually copyright anything that falls under the category of wearable apparel? I guess I can say it, 'cause I just did! Haha. Anyway, I've been seeing people in the cyber world who (wrongly) believe that this is some how possible, and it just ... in no sense of any of the terms ... ever ... could make sense, with the very narrow exception of certain things created inside the country of France, and by licensed couturiers (and if you have not been licensed you are not one, and that's a whole other blog, for sure) but even these "copyright" items are few and far between. At best a piece of art that is used as a printed pattern on fabric can have a copyright slapped on it, and if that's the case the fabric should state that it's for "home use", and it very rarely is actually protected. I just really had to get that off my chest, because running into disclaimers on garments, and accessories is getting a little rich. You may design something "new" but a scarf is a scarf is a scarf, and always will be one ... you have not invented something new, and let me tell you in the apparel industry you are hard pressed to do so; they had fringe skirts in ancient Mesopotamia, and cowls in medieval Europe ... trust me, at present even the most genius designers are technically knock-off artists. And as we know "knock-offs" are legal, "counterfeit" is not. The difference? A knock-off, just used your already regurgitated idea, a counterfeit is pretending to be yours right down to the (hopefully) licensed name on the product.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest, it drives me nuts to see all these "serious" looking *disclaimers* that have zero protection backing it up. Intimidation method? Maybe. Misinformed? More than likely. Seriously disillusioned? Who knows ... hey, I think apparel is "art" just as much as the next designer, but we also have to be real with ourselves, shelve the ol' ego and realize what it really is ... fine art goes on your wall, practical art in your hutch, and wearble art on your back.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Needed to Breathe Today.

Time Out, I'm convinced, was created by a grown up who just needed to go to a quiet place and think for a moment about life, how things develop, his or herself, and those around us. Then some parent saw this person doing it, and decided to make their children do it when, in fact, the adult is the one in need of the breather.

I took my moment.

Wrapped in a friendly blanket, hot, apple cider steaming up from my reindeer cup in hand. I curled myself up in the chair that I stained, and built, next to the seeds I dropped into pots some months earlier who've sent up their ever ambitious sprouts who continue to reach for the sky on this misty morning so palpable you could see and feel the moisture in the air as if walking through your very own cloud. Watching lazy leaves cut trails through my cloud on their way to the cool grass below while the whole world slept ... I was a million miles away.

Part of me was, anyway. The rest of me couldn't have been more here. My senses felt more alive than they have in weeks. I felt a part of everything around me, for a brief moment I was seamless with everything in existence ... or, you know, the stuff in my immediate environment, at least.

As I sat, and observed I thought about all the things we do to one another to disrupt this sense of connectedness we all share. We do this in many ways, but the one that seems to discourage me the most is how we choose to communicate with each other ... not necessarily the words we use, but how about the words we don't use?

If time is relative, and not something we're constantly chasing, or running out of, losing, or gaining, then how is it so many of us don't have enough of it to devote to actively communicating to those around us? What is keeping us from meaningful exchanges if this "time" business is an illusion? Are we really that self-centered? Do we just not care? Are our egos intoxicated by the idea of making other people feel as though we see them as somehow less important than ourselves?

In this moment on my patio I found myself thinking about a class I was in my last semester at college. It was all about communicating, public speaking, how powerful our words are, and lack thereof, how to use them effectively, how to work closely with other people, and how to create a respectful environment, among other things. It was more than just a "do a silly speech about how to make jam on toast until you no longer fear speaking in front of peers" kind of class. It broke down who you thought you were, and showed us that in essence we are all the same; our fears were shared, we all had things to overcome. They may have been different, but we all had them even if at different saturation levels. It taught us that communicating is more than just chicken scratch on paper, or noise we're just spitting out at other people. There's a reason why we do it, in fact probably several at any given moment. But the underlying reason every time would arguably be that the person trying to express something thinks it is important to do so. When we ignore it, or listen to just the parts we like, or respond to just the things we're interested in, what are these actions saying about us as individuals? I am more important than you.

It's not a very attractive way to present ourselves to the world, not in the superficial sense, but more that it's not an effective way to attract people into your life, or keep them there for that matter. It's no wonder that the very people who live in this way are often disgusted by the fact that they are not listened to or given what they feel is appropriate face time. If like, does indeed, attract like then it is no surprise that people who neither wish to treat others in this manner, nor wish for themselves to be treated as such, don't stick around. I know I find myself retreating when it's apparent . It would make sense then to heed the call of those before us who grace us with their notions that being the change you wish to see, will indefinitely bring about change, before we're all just a bunch of squawking noisemakers with nothing of any value whatsoever to say.

Which wouldn't matter anyway, because none of us would be listening...

And with that, I finished the last swig of cider, and padded my slipper-ed feet back inside.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When One Cat Opens a Door

Another jumps out the window. Is that the saying? Well if it's not, that's what happened anyway. The day I wrote about my stray, my sister's indoor cat escaped, and hid by the mailboxes until the mailman found her. Poor baby, was pretty traumatized, and ragged, but our other sister got the call and went to bust her out of The Clink.

So instead of coming up with wildly creative content to discuss here over the weekend, and start off August in a blogging frenzy, we were scattered, searching for our little Smokey, hanging posters, and tromping through flower beds, and shrubs ... but it was all worth it, just to get her back.