Friday, October 2, 2015

We failed.

 I don’t want to know his name. I don’t want to know a goddamned thing about him. I believe we should take an Ancient Egyptian approach to these soulless people and erase their names and likenesses from the records.

 Instead of giving them what they want, those precious 15 minutes and a place in our collective history, they should be stricken from it entirely. May their names never be spoken nor their faces looked upon, simply moving from this life into nothingness.

 Once more, we find ourselves faced with the choice to either crumple in uncomprehending, gut-wrenching grief or allow ourselves to go numb with acceptance. For what other choices are there? Righteous indignation? Disinterested apathy?

 How ‘bout a little finger pointing superiority? Cue the bullshit about guns. Because we have to place the ultimate blame somewhere.

 I have a better idea. How about we look in a mirror? Because we, the generation that has birthed and raised these children-turned-monsters, are the ones who ultimately failed.

 Fuck blaming video games, the internet, or TV programming. The truth is, it was our job to teach our children right from wrong, empathy and respect for human life. It was up to us to protect them from the world and, when needed, the world from them. It was our responsibility and we failed.

 How did the idea of leaving your mark on this world move from hard work, whether it’s creating through industry or art, and devolve to the lowest common denominator of 15 minutes of fame?

 I could blame our media driven world. I could blame a society that places infamous above selfless. But it was our choice to become parents. Part of the weight of that decision was guiding our children through this rat maze of bullshit. And we failed. We the people allowed this world to become what it is.

 I would venture to guess every last one of us has felt marginalized at one point or another. Because we’re human and the teenage years suck. In an ideal world, we have at least one parent there to hold our hand and talk us through it. After all, parents have been there, done that, so they should know.

 It just seems, at some point, a shift occurred and children went from being a future that needed to be loved, protected and guided through the rough places, to little more than accessories to make us look good in pictures on Instagram.

 We ignore pleas for help and warning signs of mental illness because it wouldn’t look good on our perfect family resume. We expect overloaded school systems to monitor our children and do half the job of parenting for us, then point the finger of blame at them when someone “drops through the cracks.”

 We work too much to buy things we don’t need so we can look like we’ve achieved the dream, all the while leaving our children to be raised by iPads and cell phones. Then we hold up the culture that promotes this lifestyle as the Gold Standard of Excellence, rolling our eyes at those who choose a different route, labeling them religious nuts or too poor and uneducated to know better.

 We have become a society of social media veneers and now we’re paying for it in blood.

 Guns didn’t commit this atrocity anymore than my fork made me fat. One sad person with a twisted sense of what was important in this world did. And we’re the ones who made him.

 Admitting there’s a problem may suck, but it’s always the first step in correcting it. The important thing is to be honest with ourselves about what that issue actually is and stop making excuses.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

There is beauty and magic to be found in the broken

WARNING: The following content totally ignores the rules of writing. If you are a Grammar or Punctuation Perfectionist, it will probably drive you to drink. You have been warned.

 Around here, when something stops working, it ends up torn down to its puzzle pieces, cleaned off and (hopefully) reassembled into some kind of a whole.

 That doesn’t just go for stuff. It sometimes works for people too.

There is beauty and magic to be found in the broken

 I woke up one morning feeling broken. It was like there was a disturbance in the Force, only it wasn’t so much that the Dark Side was closing in, but more like I’d swallowed the Death Star and Luke was flying his X-Wing through my guts, coming in fast. If something didn’t happen, I was gonna end up blown apart from the inside out.

 So I took a walk.

 I walked away from social media, from worrying about whether anyone was listening - away from the universe of online worries.  

 Not even gonna lie here, it felt so damn good I wasn’t sure I was ever coming back. Think about it like this, when you’ve spent a season living in Cloud City, why the hell would you go back to the alternating chaos and desolation of Tatooine?

 Yet, here I am.

 I tore myself to pieces, found the empty spaces and broken parts and then tried to reassemble. Some things work better, some not at all. But at least I feel whole again. That’s the important thing; the wholeness of it.

 Broken things can still be beautiful! They can still work in magical ways, even if not for the purpose they were originally intended. And so can people. To be honest, I think we’re all a little broken in one way or another, and that’s OK.

 Just like a Star Wars Collectible, the only way anything remains perfect is if it’s kept locked away inside of an airtight case, only taken out on special occasions to be handled with lint-free, white, cotton gloves.

 Personally, I would rather run headlong in the world - seen, heard, and alive! Free to be broken, torn down and reassembled. Not mint condition, but still useful. Even if not conventionally perfect, at least perfectly me.

There is beauty and magic to be found in the broken

 The last few months I’ve felt like a kid who dumped all the puzzle boxes in the middle of the room, then climbed in. Up close, the finished picture may not make a lot of sense, but step back and you’ll see something...more. Think of it as a panoramic view of realness.

 Every lost piece, broken part and missing accessory tells a story - marks a moment. And moments, even the bad ones, were meant to be celebrated because they mean we’re alive!

 I’m not sure about you guys, but I think I’d rather live a little beat up than merely exist in mint condition. So I’ve decided to go big instead of just going home and jump back into the insanity that is the digital world.

 Not because I long to be internet-tastic. Not because I need to hear that I’m funny or clever. Because I simply want to be me. And me has a big mouth, an exaggerated sense of fun and LOVES to tell stories.

 Especially ones that involve way too many mixed metaphors. Because screw the rules! Those things are made to be broken anyway.

 So...what’d I miss?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Wild Woman Unleashed

 It’s been said that there lives deep within the wilds of Indiana, a Wild Woman. In the dark hours of the morning, she prowls the doorway of her cave, waiting for stray raccoons or possums to wander past so she can yell, “Hey, you crazy critters, get off my porch!”

The Elusive Wild Woman of Indiana

 I’ve been told that she spends her days talking to ducks, dancing with geese and frolicking with the herd of cats that follow her wherever she goes. On rare occasions, she’s even been known to flash a passing car or two. (TOTALLY by accident, y’all!)

 But there’s something about this Wild Woman that some folks might not be aware of - she makes things besides messes. Even though she never refers to herself as one, this Wild Woman is also an artist working in watercolors, clay and anything else she can get her grubby little hands on.

Art Therapy - making something besides messes

 In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the weird Wild Woman would be me. And even though I consider myself more of a doodler than an artist, Art Saves Lives International Magazine said I was wrong and they wanted to chat. So we talked about how my art has helped me deal with mental illness and I couldn’t be more honored to be one of the featured artists in this month’s issue!

ASLI Website Badge photo Phototastic-2015-04-07-13-16-04_zpsmnuvwiqu.jpg

 Not gonna lie to you guys - talking about my crazy is one of the hardest things to do. BUT, for me it’s also a biggie in the fight to kick stigma’s ass. That’s why I’d love it if y’all would check out Art Saves Lives International Magazine. Read the articles, meet the amazing people who are working through different mediums to educate and inspire, and share their work!

 After all, how cool is it when someone can not only make the world a little better by erasing some of the shame and stigma of mental illness, but make it a more beautiful place to be at the same time?

"Legacy" Our past may help to make us who we are, but what we choose to do with it determines who we become
Our past may help to make us who we are,
but what we choose to do with it determines
who we become

 Do you create to help deal with your glitches? (And creating most certainly includes writing!) I’d LOVE it if you’d share links to your work in the comments! Because working together, we’re more than the sum of our parts.