Being sad in the light

I’m sure there is something that triggers it, but sometimes I just feel …. sad. It creeps up on me and then I scramble, looking around, wondering what is wrong… and usually there is nothing. It’s difficult, and I end up replaying weeks worth of conversations, thinking about all the tasks I haven’t started, and in general sinking into a minor depression. I am fully aware it’s happening, and can go through all the public motions of “coping” — going for walks, seeing friends, getting a massage, completing work projects — but inside I know I just need to wait it out. The sun is out for a few days, which is unexpected, and I am least appreciating the irony of feeling miserable in the warmth and light. Just keeping it honest around here :-)

How has your summer been?

June feels like it has been really full! These are a few of the things going on… including a new-to-me car! It was a struggle wandering around at dealerships, but I think I made a good choice… and it will be my first AWD vehicle! The Porcupine has some construction happening, so I try to be helpful. I am great at handing him stuff! Although to be fair, I am also good at measuring and cutting things on the chop saw, and relatively precise at hammering…

There has also been plenty of rain… and work… and some time chatting with friends… all in all, I’m heading into mid-summer feeling pretty content… I hope you all are as well!

What have I been up to?

I’ve had a storage unit for many years, sometimes shared, sometimes not… This summer I promised myself I would empty the current unit and let go of many of the things I’ve accumulated. Some of these items are easy: candles I don’t like the smell of, linens that are mildewy, books that I never actually read or wanted…

But at this point most of the items are sentimental. Items I’ve inherited. Stuffed animals. Journals that remind me that the bad times really happened, and letters that remind me that there were also plenty of good times. The books that I DO love. And various rocks and trinkets that are heavy both in weight and emotions.

The last week has been spent lugging boxes and bins and a large table from one town to another, and unpacking here at the apartment. I also went through all my clothes, and passed along a contractors bag full to my best friend :-) . My current living situation screams HOARDER, but I know it’s temporary. Books are heading to a library sale tomorrow. Picture frames are being emptied and cleaned and assessed for keeping or not. DVD movies have been sold.

The part that really has tripped me up are my journals (which I honestly thought I had burned years ago) and reminiscing over photo albums and letters. There is something both validating and disturbing when reading your own writing about troublesome days in your past. It’s satisfying to know that your memories are correct, but it’s sad to reflect on the choices you made (well, some, at least in my case). I’ve packed them away for now, but am trying to convince myself to be rid of them by the end of summer.

I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself over the last year, this is all part of it. At some point I hope to be looking ahead without feeling bogged down with all the hopes I had years and years ago, and just celebrate where I am and where I am headed. Sounds good, right?

Still pulling together a "work" page...

I swear, every day, near the top of my to-do list, is “Add work portfolio to website”… obviously it hasn’t happened yet. But here’s something fun I wrapped up this morning, a podcast logo for Jon Katz and Maria Wulf:

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And I’ll throw another logo into this post, one that I did for Elder Nourish, an amazing start-up in the DC area:

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The point being, I do logo and design work, as well as creating angsty bunny and porcupine drawings! I also design and flow books, yup, real books by real authors… so feel free to contact me if you’d like to chat about art or design!

Checking in...

Spring has sprung!

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Granted… it has rained more often than not… which means I am not feeling entirely springy… but man oh man, when the sun does come out it’s AMAZING! Soon flowers will be getting planted and the kayak will get dragged onto some water (it already went out once!)…

In the meantime, the porcupine and I have been doing some outside work at his place, my regular job work has been beyond steady, and we managed to get away one night to catch Jonatha Brooke playing at Tupelo Music Hall — it was fantastic.

Here’s something I sketched up today… my latest struggle…

Time flies when you aren't posting!

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December through May are my busiest months for work… I can see a slow down coming in the next few weeks and am so looking forward to focusing on some personal projects and spending more time here (including FINALLY putting up a page about my graphic design and book layout work!) You might want to look for me on Instagram, I've been posting some time-lapse videos and more on there 🙂

Keeping it Real and Donuts

There are donuts at the end of this, and all is well. Tuesday was Therapy Day and I had wound myself up by listening to a new-to-me audio about Non-Violent Communication (which sounds way scarier than it really is)… It was pretty interesting, and I was following along while working, and then they started discussing how people can feel that their needs are a burden on others. And in my usual way I started crying for no apparent reason. Well, I mean, the reason WAS apparent, something they said had set off my Neural Pathway Rollercoaster.

Isn’t that interesting? Say it out loud “My needs are a burden to others.” Can you relate to that? Do you express a need to someone and then immediately say “Nah, it’s okay, never mind.” or “… don’t worry about it if it’s a hassle…”? I do. I mean, within reason. If I need a hand getting up because I sat cross-legged too long I will ALWAYS take the offered hand. But if I am needing emotional support, it’s much harder. I feel like I am being silly, and often times, if I do ask, it’s worse when the person says “Yes” to fulfilling my need, because I think they are doing it from a place of looking down on me, or they think I am whiney, and basically they are helping begrudgingly.

The audio I was listening to continued — about how when our needs are unmet, usually because we aren’t asking for them to be filled, we can start feeling hostile and depressed… why? Because our needs aren’t being met. Because we haven’t asked anyone to meet them. This is a tidy little cycle.

Basically all this led up to a very interesting discussion with my therapist, and then another interesting discussion with a good friend, and then the Porcupine came over while I was in the middle of a well-deserved bubble bath (learning is important but exhausting). Oh, and yes, he brought donuts. And left the box half full with me in the morning. And all my will power went out the window. I’ll save that for my next therapy session. Donuts. This was all really about the donuts.

Haiku...

I discovered a new art challenge this month… only it’s poems! On Instagram I discovered #escapril — which has a prompt each day for writing a poem. Perfect for when my brain is exhausted but I still want to sketch something, and BONUS I am writing little haiku as well. I believe you can see some of my Instagram posts in the right side column of this blog (again, device dependent on where those darn things show up), I’ll put a post together later this week and catch you all up on here.

Overall the season is progressing nicely. The snow is finally melting (I can see bare ground HOORAY!), the temperatures have been in the 40s and 50s, and the sun has been shining. Feels like spring! My mind is racing with thoughts of kayaking, road trips, swimming, and in general not having to wear so many layers when heading outside.

I think I will be having a Spring Cleaning card sale soon — including holiday cards! I have plans for Bunny and Porcupine projects and need to make some space… stay tuned…

Below is today’s Escapril prompt.. hope you all have a cozy morning as well…

Yippee! It snowed!

Okay, I wasn’t actually excited about the storm. We ended up with about a foot of heavy snow and it’s falling off my roof and basically it will be July before I see anything green in the flower bed. Sigh.

I sold this original piece today to a lovely woman who asked about it after I posted on Facebook… I probably should mention that if you ever see art on here that you are interested in — as a card, a print, or original — please send me a note!

Tonight I am working on putting together some art and information to go on mugs that I can drop off at the Village Restaurant here in town — it’s a diner and they like to use mugs with local businesses advertised on them! I’ll definitely be dropping off the Blah Blah Blah mug, a perennial favorite and appropriate for diner chit-chat ;-)

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Well... that was exciting!

You may or may not have noticed that I took a little break from blogging and from Facebook. You also may or may not have noticed while reading my posts over the last few weeks (months?) that I was really feeling overwhelmed with snow, responsibilities, interacting with people, grocery shopping, deciding what socks to wear… okay, yes, I was having meltdowns over … well… pretty much everything under the sun (if the sun had been out).

What I hadn’t shared was that the Porcupine and I had already planned an Escape. We might have gone somewhere that had scenery like this:

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It was lovely. It was warm. There were lizards. And birds. And more traffic than I see for an entire year in Vermont (but I wasn’t driving, so, eh, no worries). There was the beach, and the ocean, and people watching to last me for months. I’ve never experienced this phenomenon, vacationing somewhere warm in winter, and you know what? I liked it. Of course I sketched a bit (I was posting erratically on Instagram)…

It’s been a whirlwind since arriving back home. There’s still snow here (with more forecast to arrive this weekend)… the chimney was blocked up and the chimney cleaner came today to clean it out… I had a little impromptu nose surgery (wart removal, I may need to draw about this as well)… and work, work, work… A few card orders need to head out the door tomorrow (HOORAY! And as always, thank you all for your support and sending me messages 🙂 ) … I am excited to be blogging again and am heading over to Facebook now to post some updates!! I had some creative brainstorming time in the sunshine, and I am going to try and keep the momentum going until I have free time and can get working on some bigger personal projects… Wish me luck!

February... almost made it...

I almost made it through February (my least favorite month) without imploding. And then yesterday we had snow, high winds, and lost power… and the town issued a boil water notice for the next 5-7 days… today wasn’t much better — still with the high winds and intermittent power. I can feel my inner bunny starting to rage back against the winter. I drew this as the last of the natural light was fading, grumbling to myself about how close I was to making it through this month without losing my mind. Now it’s 8:30pm and the power is back, my router finally recovered from all the hiccups of the day, and I double boiled my tea water and am settling into a book project. Sigh.

Hyper-Vigilance as a Comfort

I guess I am putting a lot of this out there, the low level anxiety… that’s because it’s something I am really trying to understand. I don’t have crippling panic attacks, I lead a fairly high-functioning life, but I am trying to work on these visceral reactions within basically any relationship I have … And trying to understand why there is this constant state of checking to see if I have done something “wrong,” which strangely also feels like a place I am comfortable in. Today in therapy we talked about what that hyper-vigilance / anxiety physically looks and feels like. I said it was dark and sticky. But I also realized tonight that it comforts me, it’s a defense mechanism, one that isn’t needed any more, but still wants to hold me tight when it thinks I am threatened or when I am feeling vulnerable. I’m going to work on comforting it, instead of letting it comfort me. At least all of this gives me good fodder for muses 🙂

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