Thursday, December 30, 2010

working girl

So I've only hinted at big, positive changes going down at work.
I'm super thrilled about them, and you will be too, here's why:

-I've substitute-taught 2 workshops already
-they've decided to 'give me' one night a month to host an 'open craft' THEMED party at the store
-they loved all my theme ideas, and put them into the Cherish calendar!
-I got a raise! a tiny raise, but a raise nonetheless.
-I get to stay on longer than 'holiday help', obviously (yay!)
-They're designing and printing fliers to advertise my 'open craft' nights, and I got to discuss my 'aesthetic' for them. it felt like having my very own Kendra 'brand'.
-They are now allowing me to host 4 "She's Crafty" nights: a themed party/craft workshop/girls night out! (Example: the 1st one will be in March, with a Mardi Gras theme complete with demos on how to craft a MG mask & how to craft with beads, King Cake cupcakes, and 'hurricanes' cocktails. Doesnt that sound fun? I'm very excited!)

Biggest News Of All:


I've an official title!
Can you believe it? After everything I've suffered through at other jobs, always feeling 'not good enough', I finally found one that not only do I adore, but one where they recognize my heart, embrace me, think everything I suggest is an amazing idea, and give me a raise and a title!

Oh I'm one happy girl! as one decade ends and flows into another, i feel more like myself than ever before.

I've more big news about big changes come Jan 1st.
But I just want us to bask in this career glow for a moment.

current mood: elated.
current music: ida maria - queen of the world.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

post xmas post: gifts i made; to have & to hold

at work we did a not-so-secret santa gift exchange. this means we drew names out of hat and posted the results on the wall. i know it takes the fun out of it, but i guess last year a couple people never received gifts from their very secret santa. how sad!
one of the victims of last year's secret scrooge was the name i drew, Carrie. Seeing as how she was jipped last year, I felt a lot of pressure to make it good.
The Rules: It must be something that we MADE, & it was due by December 31st.

I hate to gift people 'stuff'; I always want it to be something as functional as it is adorable and beautiful, as useful as it is thoughtful.

Here's what I made for Carrie:
Gift #1: Chalkboard Bubble Wrap To-Do List.

 I bought Chalkboard paint and painted the piece of MDF from an old Ikea frame I had laying around. I cut strips of unpopped bubble wrap, and adhered it to the chalkboard with double-sided tape. So she can pop the bubble as she accomplishes her tasks. I also included a bag of extra strips of bubble wrap, so that she could use this chalkboard over and over. (I wrote on the bag: Lots to do!).

Gift #2: Candy Cane Puzzle.

I covered an old shoe box with faux-wood contact paper, and the rest is pretty self-explanatory. Clever huh?

Well then all of us at Cherish received an email that after weeks of the decision being up in the air, our beloved manager Deb and her husband Don were in fact moving to Portland. ASAP. Like, this is her last week at the store and she's gone.
It seems I was the only person that didn't know she was even moving. Everyone else kinda knew it was happening, but was just unsure when.
So I was SHOCKED. It really shook me to my core. You see, after nearly a year of dead-end, misery-inducing, what-the-fuck-am-i-doing-here, hard-labor, uber-intense jobs, I had a single shot to change my life. I literally woke up one morning and thought: I like to make things. I like weddings. But thats more of my future career, and because I'm still in school, I can only work part time. Hey waitasecondhere, there's no reason I can't work at an art supply store. You know what? I'm gonna try. Please help me, Universe.

Deb saw something in me. She saw me as a sincere, passionate, creative girl with a lot to offer. How do I know this is what she saw? Because she consistently held up a mirror to me, persistant and insistant on showing me, making me see, exactly who she saw when she looked at me. After years of trials and tribulations, and more failures than successes, and too much time spent feeling wrong, feeling somehow displaced all the time, everywhere, I am not exaggerating when I say that Deborah's unshaking faith in me SAVED me. I've never felt more embraced than at this job, at this store. I have found a home because of her, and because of what she saw in me.

I made her this:

A framed jigsaw puzzle made of corkboard (functional) and covered in chalkboard paint (even more functional) with Deborah's piece being removable. We'll be forever incomplete without her.
I've been crying since I heard the news. I hugged her and told her she was 'amazing', which set off her own tears and we made plans to see each other January 1st.

I can't think of a better way to start 2011.

The gift I wrapped for myself and put under my tree? A copy of Thoreau's Walden (which is actually a hint about my New Years Resolution, but which I'll address in a more upbeat post later today or tomorrow).

current mood: incomplete.
current music: blitzen trapper - furr

Saturday, December 25, 2010

comfort & joy

While I've loads to update you folks about work (so many positive changes!), and personal life (big changes on the home front, as well as a MAJOR CHANGE come January 1st), I'll simply tell you about my Xmas so far.

As a very single city gal that was originally hired as 'holiday help', I knew I was doomed to work xmas eve. Sigh. But I was able to clock out in time to attend my weekly Buddhist meditation group. There was only a handful of us on this special holiday, and the meditation leader was a 'subsitute'. Nonetheless, I had a beautiful meditation, albeit a distracted one. Later, during the lecture part of the sit, the leader was talking about the Buddha's teachings on Equanimity, and described it as "the radical permission to feel". I started crying instantly. Because as someone who is too oft accused and chided for strong emotions, and having ended a relationship where he constantly told me that my feelings were too intense and where therefore wrong, I finally felt FREE. The radical permission to feel. My ex was wrong, just like I knew he was. I can feel, as much as I want. The rest of it, my actions, are just mindful self-control. But it is not wrong to FEEL. All of it, any of it. The radical permission to feel.
Obviously, that stayed with me and afterwards I thanked the leader and we chatted about that concept for a bit before I headed home to watch Frontier House.

Today's christmas day and I was anticipating an anxiety-ridden day of suddenly feeling acutely single. But instead I crafted all day (pics tomorrow) and set up my tiny table-top tree.

Ornaments: one handmade one from Lorissa (in the shape of her homestate Michigan), one sparkly glittery purple snowflake from Stacy at work. Topper: a paper flower I crafted this morning.
Under the tree is the gift I bought for myself. Yes, I wrapped it. And what! I plan on opening it in a couple hours, I'm very excited!

A few hours into crafting, I realized I wanted a nice xmas dinner. I sat back and watched myself shower, do my hair and makeup, get dressed, and make a nice little meal for one.

I took the picture in candle light because while I did indeed set up candles, the dim lighting masked the fact that I burned the chicken, the spinach, the biscuit, and some of the vegetables. Oops. Well, I'm still learning;)

After a chat with Agata where we praised each other's courage and brave hearts, and made plans for a road trip to Lake Tahoe in January, I'm about to curl up with a kalimocho cocktail in a mason jar and watch Dances With Wolves on CMT.

Best Christmas Ever.
I am so complete.

Stay tuned for more details.

Love, warmth, and peppermint kisses to you all.

current mood: warm
current music: iron & wine - faded from the winter

Friday, December 17, 2010

everything all of the time

hello folks.
well, yesterday was my last presentation for my Expressions in Clay class, where I debuted Diagnosis: Make A Wish. Yes, I changed the title a bit. Its my prerogative. Hmph.

Here are photos of the results of the past weeks laboring to make clay look like wood, to make clay look like pills, to make clay look like medication bottles, to make clay look like cloth curtains, to make clay look like frosting. Essentially to make clay look like everything EXCEPT clay.

the whole piece

close-up of the 'stage'

close-up of the steps and pills
I had some technical issues when setting it up. Ceramic is so fragile. A couple of my 'very' steps broke off and shattered on the floor. I didn't have time to feel devastated- I simply took a deep breath and set up the rest the best I could.
I carefully placed all the pills along the stairs, one by one. You see, I had thought I would just scatter them precariously, but then I realized I wanted the tiny words I had painstakingly applied to the pills to be easily seen. It took a good half hour. Damn those pills.

Then the critique started. In art school, 'finals' are code for 'critiques'. We all set up our art pieces and all the students in the class gather round and stare at it in silence and then someone finally speaks up and usually uses diplomatic words and phrases like 'incredibly resolved', 'evolved concept', 'successful', 'intriguing', or 'evocative'. Ugh.
Well, my Borderline Personality Disorder acted up while I explained my piece. I tried to be vague, and merely said: "My goal was to create a piece that spoke about the drama of growing up with a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder, and the trauma that it creates."
I was so self-conscious as I stood next to this ceramic faux-wood collection of slabs, I dissociated. I didn't make eye contact with anyone. I looked at the floor. We all stood there in silence. Eventually people said things, though I barely heard them. I heard only negative comments, and even now I can't remember them. My psyche checked out and left me hanging on a critique ledge.

However, during the lunch break, a classmate and I took a stroll and she raved on and on about the piece. "Really?" I was slightly stunned. She said "Yeah, everyone really loved it Kendra. C'mon you heard 'em." Too embarrassed to admit that no, I actually hadn't heard them, I simply thanked her and changed the subject.

I did learn some things about myself and my art this semester, though:
-In Mold Making, I learned that I don't want to use molds. It feels artificial, making copies of things. Its just doesn't sit right with me. It feels dishonest, somehow. So from now on, if I need multiples of something, I will just make them one by one. Yes, each one would be slightly different. But that's what i want.
-In Expressions In Clay, I learned that I don't like the idea of making clay look like something it isn't (i.e. wood, cloth, etc). That whole process feels somehow evasive. If my sculptures require wood, then why wouldn't I use wood? If my piece calls for cloth curtains, why wouldn't I use fabric? I am much to honest with my Self, my viewers, and my Art. It only makes sense that I would be true to the materials as well.

Now excuse me while I pray to the art school gods for a good grade.

current mood: sincere.
current music: deerhoof - you can see.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

finals, art school style

oh man folks.
you need to know just how different art school finals are from other finals. we are not memorizing, cramming. we are, in fact, trying to finalize conceptual ideas + figure out the words to explain the piece + the actual physical labor of the piece + limitations of time + limitations of space in the kiln + limitations of being able to lift & carry your mold in order to get a proper casting out of it + cold barrels of dirty wax + glazes that melt your ceramic pieces together instead of simply making them glossy + limited amounts of decal paper to apply text to your clay piece + a part time job that you MUST keep because it pays for more art supplies
= frazzled kids in dirty clothes standing outside the art school building, smoking, starving, exhausted and by now, half delirious.

or, lemme put it this other way:
-i cant remember the last time i ate something, washed my hair, or changed my socks
-my arms are covered in lumps of gunky PC-7
-my cuticles are shot to shit, with manganese ink wash and englobe under my nails
-my pants and shoes are specked with globes of wax
-my shirt is flecked with white underglaze

on my face? a contented smile.

BUT, I will confess: my Borderline Personality Disorder saw an opportunity. this morning, in front of half of the class, i had a breakdown in front of my ceramics teacher, because i was TERRIFIED that my clay did NOT look enough like wood, while she enthusiastically persisted that it looked perfectly like dark, carved wood from every angle of the classroom.
i knew i was crying in front of near strangers, and i knew i should stop, that these tears and the intensity of this emotion would scare them. luckily for me, this time, the sheer embarrassment was enough for me to find the brakes and i inhaled strongly, strongly. it was eventually strong enough to suppress the salty waterworks momentarily.

so, i'm a bit busy. if not equal parts crazy, huh? ;)
I'll post pictures of my installations as soon as they are complete.

wish me luck.

current mood: busy.
current music: cassius - toop toop

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

a cause for celebration! a moment of reflection, in its sincere sense.


Its true! Its really really true!

I'm floored!

You see, being the DIY-Wedding-Planner-in-training that I am, I frequent like-minded blogs, one of which is OffBeat Bride. Well just this morning I saw the news!
Amanda Palmer married Neil Gaiman! In a surprise spontaneous ceremony!
You can read Amanda's blog about it: Still Life with Wedding Party (god shes brilliant)
And read Mr. Gaiman's perspective here.
And you can see their wedding album by Kyle Cassidy here. And trust me, you should.

My idol did it. She found and fell in love with a talented amazing man. And they'll live happily ever after. Did you see how happy he looked?

Messed up people can still find love and happiness.
Maybe I'm to find my brand of crazy, my brand of romance.
I will never promise him that it'll be easy. I'm intense and dramatic and passionately commited to nearly everything that crosses my path, no matter how brief. I'm equal parts distractable and unfailingly loyal. I can't make a good cup of coffee to save my life, but I can pick out a red wine that'll knock his socks off each time. My BPD will act up and try to take over and all I can ask is that he hold my hand while I battle it.
I hope he's out there. I hope he can find me. Cos I'm thinking about him a lot lately.
My very own Neil Gaiman.

Do you think it means anything that my idol married my ex-boyfriend's idol?....
Probably not.
don't get your hopes up, kendra. the universe doesn't work like that.

current mood: hopeful.
current music: here comes the bride.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

say it aint so

today was my first day off in a while.
today my Borderline Personality Disorder decided to take the reins.
today i've been a mess.

I guess I've not been managing as well as I thought.
I guess all this alone time is catching up with me.
I guess I've a long way to go still.

It looks like this:
though I've recently acquired several new books i've been anxious to read, i couldn't pick up a single one.
though I've a long list of crafty projects I've been eager to make, i wasn't inspired to start any.
though its finals season and my stage and steps could use another layer of underglaze, i couldn't get myself to school.
and though i've beautiful friends trying to make plans to spend time with me, i couldn't be bothered to even glance at my phone.

What did my BPD have me doing?
I loafed aroound my tiny apartment, my emotions swinging out of control. My moods changed rapidly and intensely. I alternated between tears and smiles every couple of minutes.
Its been hell.

Before my official diagnosis, I would have beat myself up about a day like this. Even now, I feel disappointed at my lack of self-control, my lack of productivity, my lack of motivation. But this is the BPD, in raw ugly form. This is what it looks like. This is what it does to me. It incapacitates me. It cuts me off at the knees. Its terrifying to be at the mercy of this BPD.
My therapist says it takes years to learn to work around days like this.

And apparently I've been 'dissociating' a lot lately. This means a part of your cognition, a part of your consciousness, sort of 'checks out' for a while- it can happen for a few minutes, or for hours, or for a whole visit somewhere, or a phone conversation, etc. This explains my recent increasing forgetfulness. I lost my ipod, my sunglasses, my latest paycheck.

In my research I have learned that Borderlines see things in black and white. There are no shades of gray, there is nothing in between.
Today was very very black.

current mood: devastated.
current music: radiohead - motion picture soundtrack

Monday, December 6, 2010

a text message exchange

K=kendra; A=Agata

K: today a girl at work was scrapbooking her wedding pictures and i started crying

A: u r awesome:)

K: what! it was so embarrassing! i was bright red and kept apologizing.

A: i love that about you! it is so endearing. Dont ever change!

K: now i'm emotional all over again!

I am lucky to have people like Agata, people that know me well and love me anyway, in my life.
that is all.

current mood: sleeping pills.
current music: mumford & sons - awake my soul (especially the last 90 seconds)

Friday, December 3, 2010

women who wonder

Remember my salvaged idea for my ceramics class? The one that was reduced to just a morsel?
Well I’ve begun to apply the underglazes and inky washes galore, and here’s phase 1:

Isnt it lovely and beautiful! Oh its merely the stage and a few of the steps, but a few weeks ago it was a rough sketch and now, well its just really shaping up, isn’t it? Doesn’t it look like real wood? I was unsure at first but I got so many compliments on it as I layered on the colors that I’m certain it resembles the beach-weathered lumber I was envisioning.

Feeling highly encouraged by my progress (especially my increasing craftiness thanks to my current employment), I booked an appointment with the Director of Graduate Sculpture to discuss melding these two worlds with my determinedly Victorian aesthetic  into my very own brand of Sculpture. Her eyes lit up. She reached for a mini post-it, wrote one word, handed it to me and smiled.

More than just a beautiful word, it references an entire genre of art: the Cabinet of Curiosities. Literally translating to “Wonder Room”, it also means “Cabinet of Wonder”, and is the aesthetic I’m meant to be a part of. Oh I simply can’t wait to do more research! Wouldn’t it be fantastic to depict my Borderline Personality Disorder in a cabinet? Yes.
Even though it was pouring buckets, I made a mad dash to the school library to check out the appropriate books, so that may fully drown myself in this new direction. I found one on an artist I’d heard of before, so I paid my previous fines and checked out the one and only book on: Joseph Cornell.


I picked up my car from the shop today and celebrated by driving all around this damn town.

Tonight I attend temple. Official Buddhism classes begin February 1st, and I wanna be prepared.

Tomorrow Lorissa and I will:
-start with mimosas
-attend the Women in Crafts show
-drink wine
-attend a craft workshop/ NoisePop Holiday shop by MissionMission
-drink wine
-maybe make it to local artist crafts show
-where we would be drinking more wine, of course

When you put together a feisty Mexican woman with an equally irreverant French/Hispanic gal, you've got boozy craftiness ahead.

current mood: she likes to dance.
current music: art brut - modern art.

Monday, November 29, 2010

never the same forever

Oh MY!
I'm aware I've been absent as of late, and for that I extend to you my apologies. I thought this blog was my own personal little vacuum, but I checked my 'stats' page, and lo and behold- it appears I have readers! This is very exciting for me, and as a result, I promise to post more often.
Shucks, guys. Making me blush!

Well, here's what I've been up to since I've been wrapped up in my life:

Agata is graduating this semester, and since her major is New Media, her final project included shooting, editing, and partially animating a music video. She called me asking me for a favor, to which I replied without hesitation, "Anything." She, in turn, asked me to be the Art Director/Stylist for said video. I was FLOORED, honored beyond belief. And she was so grateful and relieved, I could barely believe it.
The only time Agata, the actress, and I could all shoot was Thanksgiving morning. Not having a family or any firm plans, I said yes. I did not know at the time that it would involve waking up at 430am because Agata needed to capture the 'soft morning light' of Pacifica (about 1/2hr south). Damn.
But totally worth it. Here are some pictures I hastily took with my camera phone at the shoot:

We had to HIKE, but the views were something else. The beauty of the moment was palpable. Standing on those cliffs on a clear sunny day, I felt infinite. Best Thanksgiving EVER.

The night before was my friend Cadence's birthday. We met in Moldmaking class and bonded immediately. We are intensely kindred spirits, sisters in a past life. I knew she deserved a great birthday, so I hatched a plan. Cut out of magazine letters, I left a ransom note in her workspace the night of our class that read: "Go to Studio 4 at Dinner O Clock". (I'm Studio 4, by the way). Taped to my door at dinner break was another magazine-cut-out note that read: "Have A Happy Birthday Or Else", which I had our classmates all sign. She opened the door to find the 3-tiered cake I had made her: out of newspaper and filled with her favorite candies.

She was happy, I was happy.

In other school news, today I spent some time working on my trompe l'oeil piece. Trompe l'oeil is French for "fool the eye", and means creating a piece out of a certain material with the deliberate intention of making it look like something else. The key is in the finishing: mimicking the colors, textures, and details EXACTLY. Because I was still working at the cafe/bakery at the time, my trompe l'oeil was a chocolate cupcake with pink buttercream frosting.
Today I went halfway by layering on an underglaze:

Now it just has to be fired at a low temperature and it should be ready by my class on Thursday.

I've yet to catch a glimpse of my "wooden" steps and stage, as well as the pills and bottles I managed to finish in time to be fired before Thanksgiving.
I'm excited!

And like I said, I promise to post more often. I am flattered by my readers. (Gosh!)

current mood: electric.
current music: courtney love - but julian, i'm a little bit older than you

Thursday, November 18, 2010

in the life

"Well you're just a little southern Suzy Homemaker wrapped in an urban city girl's style, now arentcha?"
-Ginelle, the Arkansas native in my Moldmaking class, after I told her all about my search for a bonnet now that its rainy reason.

Though I was nervous and anxious to an unbearable extreme in the hours beforehand, my Juniors workshop went wonderfully and at the end the little girls hugged me, kissed my cheek, and called me 'Miss Kendra'. The only awkward part was when I was asking them about their xmas lists and in turn, they asked me if there was really a Santa Claus. Ummm..... whywhatdidyourparentstellyouidontwanttotraumatizeyouforlifeohmygod.
"Well, *I* write my letter to Santa every year, and if I've been good, I get presents."

Today was really quite extraordinary, though.

First, I dropped off my car for its insurance-approved-body-work this morning. It feels very grown up to say 'my car's in the shop'. but it feels very juvenile to take the bus everywhere.
Then I headed to my Expressions in Clay class, where my piece really started to come together. Once I figured out how to make clay look like beach-weathered wood (wait til its 'leather-hard', and take a wire brush to it. then wait til its 'bone-dry' and go to town on it with an exacto knife and a strong will), I felt so much more inspired, and I hacked away at the clay until I was emotionally satisfied.
As the class was coming to a close and I was working away, the very nice young man that works next to me, incidentally named Art, paused, turned to me, and asked if I wouldn't mind please being the subject of his photography installation. He was wondering if he could take my photo: one set of me standing in front of a brick wall, looking 'pinned back by tension', and the other of me walking, mid-stride (later to be made to look like I'm made of rope).
Considering that I've been intrigued by his concepts ever since he began voicing them mid-semester, I was flattered. I gave a blushing pink 'of course', and he then proceeded to thank me incessantly from that moment, through the photoshoot, and until I left the building for the day. Haha. He directed me into the alley next to the Sculpture building, where I posed in front of an old wooden door, a brick wall, and a set of iron gates.  He was really very sweet and respectful, and we had a conversation about how I wasn't at all hesitant about the spontaneous request.
You see, I told him, there are reasons I very very very carefully watch my weight and make sure my Self looks like Me: there are aspects of my art and my life that would indicate that I am indeed a 'performance artist', though I consider my body to be more like another medium at my disposal for my art, another bag of clay, so to speak. I feel that if I were to come up with a concept, something to say, that would be best represented by an artistic performance of some sort, then my body has become a material, my material to use. And I should be able to.

And well then there are the few that say that I live my Life as if it were a work of art.
I can only hope thats true.

Lately, what my therapist calls 'dissociations', have been plaguing me. I can't remember the logic behind ANY of my decisions, even for small things like what to eat or what color to paint my nails. This may not seem like a big deal to you- that is, until you come back to your car at the end of the day and see a giant shopping bag there, and you can only manage a vague recollection of your stop at Target. And this may not seem like a big deal until you can't remember which bus to take to work now that your 'car's in the shop', even though you looked it up five times before you left the house. Or that you can't remember why you chose a certain underglaze, or what glossy finish you told your teacher you wanted to have for your piece, or what that piece was called in the first place.

The dissociations are getting worse, more frequent.

Though it does add a layer of mystery to my daily activities.

 And I admit, it IS quite exciting to see a stack of new magazines on my coffee table, every day.

current mood: pensive.
current music: cocorosie - werewolf

Monday, November 15, 2010

being my mother's daughter

My work at Cherish has me positively delighted, and so I was quite 'bowled over', so to speak, when they asked me to substitute teach a scheduled workshop: Junior's (12 yrs and under) Fall Wreath-Making. I felt so honored! Oh my goodness! Oh no! Oh yes! Oh me! Oh my! Oh!!!

They asked me on Friday, and choking on my giddiness, i barely managed to give a resounding YES. My Borderline Personality Disorder acted up right away. I felt anxious and happy and tired and excited and joyful and PEACEFUL (of all things) and deliriously confused, all overwhelmingly so.
Then it was time for my weekly group meditation meeting. Needless to say, it was a bad sit. I was able to wrap the intellectual side of my brain around the Buddhist lecture, but the meditation itself was teeming with my thoughts, my plans.

in my excitement, I called my mom to brag and scrape the well for some form of validation. But no. And I should have known that she wouldn't let me have my moment, even for something this small. HER Borderline Personality Disorder was running on high, because her response was nil, except to tell me that she had a boyfriend.
First of all, I'm getting a kick out of the fact that my mother has more of a dating life than I do. Secondly, I am proud of myself for not falling into her BPD traps, her self-righteous attempts to induce pity. Thirdly, bitch didn't know the evolved human being she'd be dealing with, because MY reaction was to invite them both for Thanksgiving. HA.

And Oh whaddayaknow, they simply can't make it (surely more of my mother's manipulative twists and turns).

No matter. I've the Tasha Tudor 'Take Joy' documentary on VHS and netflix is in the midst of sending me the Colonial House series.
You know, this season I am noticing that for the first time in a long time, I will be single for the holidays. Last year I was engaged to a local celebrity (more on that at a later date), and the year before that I was falling in love and travelling cross-country with a Canadian-born animator. I'm a little trepidatious, slightly hesitant about facing the holidays all by my lonesome. What do single folks with strained family connections do?

Looks like this

and this, of course

and a little of this again.

I wonder what my new daddy will get me for christmas.

current mood: proud.
current music: feist - sea lion woman

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kendra Ever After

Oh what a lovely day the universe has given me. Sheathed in captivating conversations about everything from eastern religions to the magic of gingerbread houses and lumberjacks, it was a whirlwind of beauty and fervent pursuits of the arts.
My alarm interrupted my dreams of canning my own jam in the Portland frontier and I unwrapped myself from the covers to get dressed for school. I arrived early to my Expressions in Clay class and checked the kiln for my rejected compartments.

Aren’t they gorgeous?  They are aborted fetuses of my brilliant idealism. Only the first one has color: a light blue underglaze and an inky manganese wash. The second one says 'dear beloved, if it happens to you, i recommend FIRE'. The last one is the beginnings of a  mangled crib, intended to look pieced back together with bricks that, once rearranged, spell out ' i think we've lost her'.
Oh poor, neglected things.

BUT! I’ve not told you about my new piece. Because I was quite literally REDUCED to an iota of my original idea, I decided to make this one piece COUNT, damnit.
It is a site-specific installation: a series of small ceramic steps ascending from the ceramic room tiled floor to the waist-high canvas-covered table, leading to a stage.
ah, fuck trying to write it all out, heres a quick and dirty coffee-shop sketch:

Its sideways, but it reads: Happy Birthday Darling/ We Love You/ Very……/Much
It is progressively covered in ceramic pills, which will have PTSD diagnostic criteria, as well as all the emotions my BPD has me experiencing so intensely, printed on them. And yes, that is a candle on that pill bottle, whose dosage instructions  will read “Off With Her Head”.
It is called “Diagnosis: Don’t Look Down Pretty Pretty Princess”.
I’m actually significantly timid of it. It’s highly personal and it is my first work about my BPD. Working on it has been especially emotional, and I’ve lost  count of the number of times I’ve ‘snapped out of it’ to feel tears running down my cheeks and into the slabs of clay I’d been pounding out.
my biggest trepidation? That it will say too much, reveal too much.
You see, I’ve become exceedingly self-conscious about the diagnosed intensity of my emotions. I don’t want to scare anybody, or ‘weird them out’, or put them off, all things my Intensity has tended to do.
Even at work! I am so happy there, I become thoroughly giddy, nearly to the point of delirium. I know I must contain myself (my BPD), and so I vow to only emit 50% of myself, and I run to the ladies room and do a series of jumping-jacks to release the anxiety of the remaining 50%.
And of course the negative emotions come just as fiercely, though with more turbulence. They are much harder to contain, as the reservoir of my anger and rage wells from the depths of my corrupted childhood. Oh my the hurdle is Sisyphic.
Anyway, the second part of my day entailed my dragging  a handful of fellow art students to the opening reception of the Andy Goldsworthy exhibit at Haines Gallery. Mr. Goldsworthy himself showed up and of course I stood across the room and stared at him, willing the glass of white wine to imbibe me with the ability to form the words of all the questions I had for him. When I got to the bottom of the glass, I walked across the room, stared openly at that infamous Clay Wall, and vexed myself.
No matter, folks. I left feeling abundantly fortunate to have been in the presence of amusing students, a talented artist, and significant art.
A clove cigarette while I waited for the train.
A glass of Malbec.
I am complete.

current mood: forever, ago.
current music: nico - these days.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

'enough of your fairy tales'

Allow me to begin by bragging. I simply can not BELIEVE my luck with my new job. Essentially, I get paid to craft all day. No joke. Upon my punching the time clock, the manager handed me a stack of old Hanukkah cards and instructed me to make something out of them. Girl, get your craft on.
I made adorable book marks that are perfect for your Jewish friends this holiday season. Check.
Next she pointed to a stack of DIY placecards and told me to create a display for them. I spent the next 3 hours happily playing with ribbon, paper, and glue while I set up a Thanksgiving table. Check.

How jealous are you?

Ok but before you get too excited, let me tell you about:

So with all my studious research on Borderline Personality Disorder and its roots in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the insanely interesting biochemistry of it all, I had finally come up with an idea. More like the idea happened TO me.
My mind's eye saw a large table full of open ceramic boxes, various sizes and heights, each compartmentalized in a different way. Yes, just like the brain compartmentalizes information, traumas, situations, events, memories. Each compartment was to be representative of a symptom or diagnostic criteria of either BPD or PTSD by either filling it or writing in it or etc. Smack dab in the middle of this span of boxes there was to be an erect double helix, decayed and fraying.
The piece was to be called 'Diagnosis: Runs In The Family'.
Now, isn't that positively genius? Yes. YES.
I began working feverishly. I needed to complete this piece and I needed to get it done by finals in December. I kneaded clay, put the slab roller to work, assembled these boxes as best I could.
My ceramics teacher said no. No. There wasn't enough clay to go around, and there's not enough room in the kiln for my ambitious project and the work of other students. WTF.

So, I've been reduced to ONE PIECE. ONE ELEMENT of this installation. I am utterly disappointed. It feels so 'measely'. I can't even explain. It will never be what it could have been. The meaning behind the piece is lost. LOST.

So last night I bought a stack of wedding magazines and proceeded to plan imaginary weddings for my all my friends (single or not). I felt a little better.

Fuck school and their imposing limitations.
Today I'll be at work, crafting, for 8 hours, then I plan to come home and sit cross-legged on my tiny couch and watch the 1952 version of The Importance of Being Earnest. Hmph!

current mood: defiant, disappointed.
current music: the yeah yeah yeahs - art star.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

theres a reason i didnt say goodbye...

...because I never meant to be gone!

I've been very busy attempting to put my life together. I am finally FINALLY creating the life I've always wanted, building it like a sculpture, a work of art in and of itself.
Here's what it looks like:

Today I start my new job at Cherish, an art & craft supply store in a cute little neighborhood. It's part supply store and part studio space, where patrons can pay $5/hr to use all our fancy stationary and scrapbooking machines, supplies, etc. I'll get to make crafting kits all day, and they'll allow me to sell my own crafts on consignment there.

All I want is a life where I dedicate myself to my Art (school), and craft in all my free time.
It appears I'm getting closer, though there's still a big hole where my Significant Other should be.

I've been trying to learn to co-exist with this Borderline Personality Disorder, because I still feel it overtake me at times, and the line between It and Me blurs. I've begun to do research on it, to both arm mySelf and fuel my art. BPD stems mostly from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This makes sense for me as I had a very tumultous and scary childhood.
One symptom of PTSD/BPD is dissociation and partial amnesias, and unfortunately I've been experiencing a lot of this lately. I forget who it was that made the decision to eat all the persimmons in the fridge; or who it was that decided to cut her hair from shoulder-length to pixie-short. It was me. Of course it was. The thing is, there is something about those moments, those choices, that reach far back into my childhood, something in my childhood, and I dissociate. I disappear into the trigger.
The next day, the next hour, even the next moment, I see the fruit stems in the trash, I see my cut hair on the floor, and I can't remember for the life of me WHY. Any thoughts I had during those decisions are gone, unrelatable, unfathomable.
So this is the hardest part: Not recognizing myself from one moment to the next.
Which explains my lack of presence on this blog lately.

But I do love to write, and so I go back and forth about how much/often to post. Shouldn't I be writing 'just for me'? But I swear I'd write more prolifically if I had actual readers. So if you read me, please let me know. I'd post more and its even very likely I'd craft you something and send it to you.

Tomorrow I plan to write about what art school does to you when you've a brilliant idea for an installation. Its not pretty.

current mood: curious
current music: the pixies - where is my mind

Sunday, October 24, 2010

distracted. distracked. discotraxxx.


Just this past friday, i put in my 'two weeks notice' at the cafe. WOO! I QUIT THIS BITCH!

I celebrated by going to two job interviews, both of which went awesomely.
One is as a Showroom Consultant at a boutique bridal salon (yes, I can finally be like those gals I see on Say Yes To The Dress!), and the other is at a craft workshop/store, making, selling, instructing crafts.

Because you see, when I grow up I'd like to be an Event Designer. Particularly for weddings. Particularly DIY weddings.

These possible jobs means I'm on the right track.
I'll keep you posted.

In other news, I was able to get rid of the crush on the Italian. All it took was continuous intense denial and recurring flashbacks of a broken hearted version of myself. No prob! Well that and he's got a girlfriend.
But he is still very nice and quite lovely eye candy.
School life is much easier sans the distraction of a crush. Especially because my Borderline ass was already daydreaming of him proposing, and I'm sure it was written all over my face.

My therapist was out of town this week, making Coping difficult. I've fallen behind in the research of PTSD  and Borderlines that I'm attempting to do in order to make a more effective installation. I really need to buckle down with that, but then I get distracted by crafts or boys or something good on TV. Curses.

current mood: distracted
current music: suzanne vega - tom's diner

Sunday, October 17, 2010

update in (my favorite) bulletpoints

before i pull the trigger on my bulletpoint list, let me explain my absence. my cafe job, coupled with my school work, has really put a strain on my right hand. at the end of the day, my finger joints are throbbing. yes, i am looking for another job, because i want my Art to come first, and i cant let this latte-making-life affect it anymore.

ok, here goes:

  • got creative inspiration and came up with an idea for my Final Project (a performance art piece that embraces the Victorian Era and culminates with me breaking everything i've made during my entire art school career)
  • received via Amazon all the Anne of Green Gables movies and books and have been diligently digesting all of them
  • reading up on Life Inside the Victorian Home
  • reading up on Tasha Tudor and her home/life (so inpiring!)
  • Anxiety has become my annoying roommate, keeping me up at night and showing up everywhere i happen to be
  • got some bad news: therapist says i've begun to exhibit signs of Bipolar disorder, and she's to monitor my daily behavior
  • creating ceramic compartments for an installation about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and inherited personality/mood disorders
  • been doing lots of research on PTSD and personality/mood disorders
  • been attending weekly Buddhist Meditation meetings with Agata and really loving it
  • have a crush on an Italian transplant at school: essentially a Calvin Klein underwear model with a thick accent, oozing charisma and the ability to very easily break my heart. his name is (get this) Massimo and i am already in love with him. let it be known that we've spoken a total of three times. this crush is very distracting and i plan to get rid of it as soon as possible.
  • because dammit my Art comes first!

Stay Tuned!

current mood: ow, my hand.
current music: arcade fire - rococo

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Artist BreakThrough

Hello again newborn baby blog. I fully intend to post on a more frequent basis, its just that this past week I’ve been dealing with/attempting to come to terms with my Diagnosis.
Then something truly profound happened. I had an Artistic Breakthrough. Now, things, thoughts, ideas, heads, energies, tides, winds, everything, is shifting. Its amazing. Some artists wait their whole lives for the coveted Breakthrough: the major realization you come to within yourself where suddenly it becomes very clear what you want to say and how.

Here’s the story of Mine:

I have felt so defeated. I didn’t want the Diagnosis to be true. I had worked too hard, journaled too much, prayed too often, for this to happen to me too. I was raised in a house with my mother’s Borderline Personality Disorder as a proverbial landlord; I know first-hand how horrific it is. And here I was, the apple right off the tree.
I thought about how long and how hard I had been running from BPD, and I immediately felt tired. I give up, I thought. It’s done. It’s true. I’ve BPD and I’ve had it and I’ve been in denial and its gotten me nowhere with it except deeper into a cycle of self-induced misery.
What would happen if I stopped all the running? What if I stopped the numbing and the constant struggle to rein in my emotions and the unending battle to regulate my moods and sleep patterns and eating habits and exercise and all those things that “Fitter Happier” Radiohead song says we should be?
Cos I’m already who I am. There’s no more denial, no more dancing around it.

The picture in my mind became very clear.
Who I am:
An art student with a deep affinity for all things Victorian. A sufferer of Borderline Personality Disorder AND a practicing Buddhist. A traumatized girl with an ache to express even just a morsel of the emotions that take over, to exorcise them through the arts, to relieve them just a bit, so they don’t threaten the heart they belong to.

In a subconscious search for empathy, I found myself listening to the entirety of the Who Killed Amanda Palmer album, and I realized: she’s done It. She’s captured the ability to channel her pathos and chaos and emotional upheavals, her struggles, her traumas and all her pain into compelling, sensitive, dramatic Art. And bitch does art of all forms. In my aesthetic. Using words from my diaries.

I felt relief.
Because yes, maybe I’ve BPD, but maybe It has something to offer my Art, which combined with my Self, can offer Beauty. And isn’t that one of my reasons for living?
It looks like this video:

But its not easy. Apparently my Psyche took this breakthrough as an opportunity to let my emotions finally run wild.


Now that I’ve stopped running from BPD, its in full force. I’ve anxiety about anxiety and I’m not sleeping much.
But I'm just trying to observe the BPD, coexist with it for now, to see what it does to my Art.

Along the way I’ve discovered some great artists (like Tasha Tudor- brilliant woman!) and music and books and clothes that I can’t wait to incorporate into my life more and share with you.

Thanks for sticking around. This ought to be an interesting ride.

Current mood: exhausted.
Current music: the dresden dolls - girl anachronism.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Today is Wednesday.
Wednesdays I have Therapy.
Today I had Therapy.
Today, I was mutually brave enough and frustrated enough to ask for a Diagnosis.
I sat across from her and said “Iwant a diagnosis, once and for all.”
Without blinking, without skipping a beat, she looked me straight in the eye and said:

I immediately began sobbing uncontrollably.
No. Please, no.

This means I am my mother’s daughter.
Until now, I had thought myself ‘better’ than her, because she chose to have BPD and I, well, I had managed to be smarter than that by getting myself a therapist, journaling, becoming spiritual, being consistently self-aware, following my heart, doing all the Hard Work.
NO. Nonononononononono.
I was hoping that I was ‘normal’, ‘fine’. That yes, maybe I was more emotional, intense, passionate than most folks and oh yes maybe I had tendencies toward abandonment panic and severe rage, and it yes, WAS weird that my moods swung so often and so frequently, and that I had bouts of debilitating depression followed by bouts of frantic anxiety, but so does everyone, I thought! How human of me!

My therapist has known this entire time (about 3.5 yrs) that I’ve BPD, but I am devastated by this Diagnosis.  
She said its along the same lines as having anorexia or alcoholism: the tendencies have been, are, and always will be residing within me; that I can learn to manage the symptoms and characteristics, but I’d have to fight it my whole life.
Medication may or may not help.
It will take years to master the Art of Coping with BPD.
Along the way relationships will fail and friendships will break apart.


I spent the session attempting to accept my fate but fighting every iota of it.

I went to class today (Mold Making) because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. I mean, after the Diagnosis, I spent fifteen minutes frantically searching my purse for the keys that were in my hand the whole time.
Now I am laying in bed with a glass of red wine watching Anne of Green Gables.

Current mood: defeated.
Current music: Amanda Palmer – Runs In The Family.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

aspartame weekend

Friday: Not scheduled for a shift at the cafe, I did my laundry, abused the free wi-fi at my neighborhood coffee shop, and though I never had a craving for it, drank my weight in diet orange soda. Bizarre, I thought, as I mentally noted the empty cans in my trash bin.

Saturday: Yes, it was hard to get out of bed, and though I managed to get through the hair/make-up/get dressed routine, Depression was keeping me indoors, making excuses for me to NOT get to my studio today. Just then, I got an email from my dear and genuine friend Agata. She liked my blog, she said, and that I should feel free to please come hang out with her whenever I wanted to, and she wouldn't mind if Depression tried to tag along too (It can be a bit of a third wheel), she wouldn't judge. She called me 'lovely', I felt Embraced, and it sent me out the door.
         Upon my arrival to school, I whipped out my journal and wrote 3 free-writing pages of how proud of myself I was for getting there, how OKAY I felt that moment. I proceeded to play with watercolor pencils and paints and different kinds of paper.
This led to me tearing up a pieces of newspaper and writing on it, in black ink over the grayscale printed text, a letter to my ex-boyfriend, the Love of my Life. I agonized, I confronted, I lamented, I apologized, I accused. It took an entire page and by the end of it I was EXHAUSTED. I couldn't give my 'play time' another minute. With promises to myself and others that I'd be back the next day, I gathered up my purse and got on the bus. It wasn't until I was home that I noticed the paint on my hands and clothes. I must've been really 'expressing myself'.
    Even though it was Saturday night, my evening ended with comfy socks, a glass of white wine, and more Dave Eggers (AHWOSG).

Sunday: With every intention to go to my studio and do it all over again, I found myself sprawled on my couch with zero energy. Damn this Depression. Though I read and took reference notes on the entirety of Alice in Wonderland (trippy, trippy book, man. trippy.), journaled, and did research on the habits of the Victorian Era, I did it all from my couch while I watched a marathon of Say Yes To The Dress reruns.
    At least today I enjoyed myself while I did it. I didn't stay on my couch out of misery, like before. The Depression kept me indoors, but my Spirit was content.
  And watch for new sculpture ideas inspired by Alice's adventures, a Victorian aesthetic, and a wounded heart.

I've still not been able to go back to my Old Life, which included daily workouts and a hyper-productive schedule. I'm disappointed that I've not been to the gym in a couple weeks, and I've let my Self and my Home fall by the wayside (being so single compounds the latter).
I'm determined to pull out of this. The Desire is there, its just the Depression blocks the Motivation, blinds it, cuts it off at the knees.
Love can overcome all this, right? *please say yes* I believe Yes.

Oh also, I drank my weight in diet orange soda again.

The Depression seems to find something oddly comforting in orange-flavored carbonation.

Now I sit watching Mad Men (my first time!), with a glass of wine and a mild tummy ache, and crossing my fingers that the Universe hasn't given up on me quite just yet.

current mood: searching
current music: amanda palmer - the astronaut.

Friday, September 24, 2010

theres plaster under my fingernails. plaster and a little Hope.

Hope source #1:
A few days ago I hung out with my friend Lorissa. This is big because lately Depression has kept me as a prisoner in my own home, grimly allowing me out only for serious obligations like work or class.
Lorissa does my hair in the basement of the trendy apartment she shares with her husband and their record collection, and when I grow up I want to be just like her. She always gives me a healthy, loving dose of reality, and I left feeling Understood.

Hope source #2:
My classes have been going just okay. But after some students noticed that I seem to be just a shell of the happy and hardworking person I once was, I set up a meeting with the Chair of the Sculpture Department to discuss my new direction, considering my new Situation (clinical depression). It was incredibly enlightening, and provided me with a small dosage of artistic hope. As long as I’m trying, each day, to function like a normal human being, I might as well surrender to the Emotion. I could use it, in my art.
Hope source #3:
The next day I met with my therapist, who told me the battle is all inside of me. I don’t trust myself to not lose the love of my life again. Depression keeps me home, safely away from falling in Love again and fucking it up again and being alone and miserable again. But it’s all so futile, isn’t it? –because I’m alone and miserable now. I just have to indulge my self-destructive side in my Art, though the therapist prefers the word “channel” over “indulge”.
Hope source #4:
Then the day after that I sat and had quite a long discussion with my Ceramics teacher, a Welsh woman with blond and fushcia hair and glaze under her fingernails. I told her that I felt so lost as an artist: I’m so terrified of producing something cliché, I psych myself out before I even begin. Her advice was to allow myself to “play”; to take a day or weekend in which I make art simply for the sake of making art, devoid of any intention besides the pursuit of my own pleasure.
Hope source #5:
The world seems to be echoing the same sentiment: that I am to embrace myself, my Self; all parts of me can coexist within me, I don’t need to try to drown one in order to Not Get Hurt. If I’ve learned anything, its that Love is risky that way. But you see, I HAVE learned.
Hope source #6:
So I visited the school library and stocked up on books on Victoriana, tossed in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius on the bus ride home where I ate cheap sushi while listening to Cyndi Lauper sing the blues with Jonny Lang. This is much more like it J
This weekend, in terms of me and my Self, anything goes, everything is okay. I won’t judge myself, I will embrace myself. And I will share with you the results.

Current mood: duh. hopeful.
Current music: the black keys - tighten up