Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just Do It

Lately, I've allowed the fears and the self doubts to envelope me and stop me from doing any kind of writing or photography.  The creative flow has been dammed by them and I'm as frustrated as a baby trying to pick up a crayon but just can't get his fingers to grasp it. 

It seems as though this creative dam is stopping others, as well.  For example, Bren Ryder just posted about it on her blog in her post Practise Makes Perfect.  I couldn't have said it better myself. 

It's time to just start writing.  No judgments.  No worries.  No self doubts.  Just me and the words flowing into pixels on the screen or ink onto the paper. 

Break the dam!  Write the words and take the photographs!  They don't have to be perfect.  They don't have to be fantastic.  They don't even have to be anything that someone else will want.  They just have to be!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kelly & I

I love this photo of us and just felt like sharing. I've been feeling really 'squishy' lately. I'm definitely falling...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Staying Positive

Staying positive in the face of frustration is difficult, to say the least.  When you just can't seem to find your way around or through a problem, or when the life you keep trying to get away from keeps trying to creep back up on you it's all you can do to find the positive in things.  Sometimes the frustration is a motivator, which can be a positive thing.  Other times the frustration can lead your thoughts in a circular and abusive pattern that get you no where.

Today, for me, is unfortunately one of those days where frustration is doing the later.  Leading my thoughts in some sort of circular pattern where all I seem to be able to do is beat myself up over it all.  I am all kinds of frustrated over my current situation.  The one where I am struggling and it's beginning to get the better part of me.

I've spent the last couple of hours looking at jobs to apply for in order to figure out a way to make it all work.   The jobs that I would like to be doing no longer come physically easily for me due to my knee and then there are those jobs that I can do, make a decent amount of money doing but have absolutely no desire to do them.  You guessed it.  Those accounting jobs.

My head keeps telling me, "Wendi, you have a degree in finance.  Why not use it?  You spent all this time and money to get it and now you're not even taking advantage of it."  Yes.  I'm not taking advantage of it because it makes me miserable and unhappy.  But why can't I just do it and suck it up and find a way to be happy with it?  Because it doesn't make me happy.  I've spent over 25 years trying to find a way to be happy with it. 

You see?  Circular thinking. 

Honestly, I could go on and on about this but it's not doing me any good.  I'm not figuring things out by going in circles like this.  All it's doing is making me more frustrated and more upset with myself.  I think a lot of this might have to do with my current state of exhaustion.  Exhaustion exacerbates everything.   Those mountains in the distance?  They started off as molehills. 

I am where I am because of the choices I've made in my life.   The question now is what will I choose to do next?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Letter To Myself


Dear Wendi,

I know you have some fears and old thought patterns surrounding the idea of being a writer, and even a photographer for that matter, and getting paid to do so.  You grew up with the idea that artists were not an important part of society and that they were always broke. 

You also still seem to be carrying around the idea that you aren’t good enough.  Well, let me tell you something that might shock you a little.  You are good enough.  You are much more than good enough.  You are deserving.  Look at your accomplishments already in life.  An amazingly talented, caring and creative son, the strength to walk away from the life that was not serving your heart or your soul and you’ll be a published author before the year is done. 

So, pick yourself up, tell those fears to get the fuck away from you and reprogram your thought patterns because artists are an integral part of this world that you live in and they can be successful.  They are successful because they are living their passion.  You are living your passion. 

I have faith in you and I have faith in the Universe.  Now go make some art with your words and photographs and find a way to share it with the world.

Love,

Wendi

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tattoos

I didn't get my first tattoo until I was 35 years old.  Since then I've gotten four more and started on the fifth.  It's true that they are quite addicting.  The thing about my tattoos is they represent transitional times in my life.  They've become a journal on my body.  I've always chosen to get them in all black mainly for the simplicity.  I do have one in color on my back but as you'll see shortly, I'm in the process of covering it up with a purely black one. 

My first tattoo is my Goddess rising out of the flames like a Phoenix.  When this image came to me I was sitting in a Women's Studies class at Portland State University.  The subject was Goddesses and we were discussing the significance of symbolism.  During this period of time in my life I was going through a lot of changes in all aspects of my life and realizing that I had completely lost myself in everything that I was doing.  Relationships, work and school.  My Goddess represents me coming back to my power and embracing the changes that were happening around me.  The flames representing the destruction happening around me and of my lost self, the Goddess representing my true self and the spiral representing the changes and the lessons that I kept coming back to. 





My second tattoo wasn't done until 2009 when I went through another major transition in my life and needed a reminder to have compassion for myself.  I was beating myself up a lot (mentally, emotionally and physically) during this transition and needed to be much more gentle with myself during this time.  I was also studying Zen Buddhism and identified strongly with that spiritual path.  It's a Buddhist knot that represents the intertwining of wisdom and compassion.  The words above and below it are in Sanskrit.  The one on the top is my last name, Kali, which has it's own meaning in itself (see my post on my chosen last name), and the one on the bottom is bodhi for the Buddha. 




The next tattoo I got the following year was in memory of my Chocolate Lab, Sumatra, who passed away on September 18, 2009.  She came to me from the Oregon Humane Society when she was 6 years old and we were together for 7 wonderful years.  She was my rock and my savior during some dark times in my life.  We went on walks and snuggled every day.  She listened to all of my problems and moved with me over and over again and she still loved me unconditionally.  I still miss her.  The tattoo is of her paw print.  My tattoo artist, Leslie Hero, was able to replicate it from the clay paw print they took before they cremated her.  It's on my left forearm.  It's an amazingly beautiful work of art and I get compliments on it almost daily.

The piece that Leslie is working on now signifies the transition my life has taken during these past 7 months.  It's a tribal piece that represents my freedom and my passions taking flight.  It will cover up the color piece that is currently in the middle of my back and I may or may not have her cover it up completely in the middle of the design where there are negative spaces.  She has a way to do it if I decide to completely cover it up but the more I look at it I'm thinking that the color peaking through may look kind of cool.  We'll see.  The first photo is the stencil on my back and the second is the completed outline.  The outline took about an hour and 45 minutes so this piece will take a while until it's done.  I've discovered that my max sitting time is 2 hours.  At that point I just can't get my body to relax and have to call it good. 




The entire tattoo will be black.  The design was drawn by Leslie after I gave her some ideas of what I was picturing.  She totally got it and came up with this amazing piece.  I can't wait for it to be completed. 

What was kind of funny about this piece is that I was a little nervous about asking Leslie to do it because she was the one who did the color piece that is now being covered.  After explaining to her why I was covering it she completely understood and had no problem covering it up.  She's the best!

I love that I can express myself with this sort of medium and have reminders that I can carry with me about the transitions that I've lived through and grown through in my life.  For me, sharing them makes them all the more powerful.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Own Space In The World

Back in 2005 I rented this adorable little two bedroom house in Northeast Portland.
I adored this house and made it my own when I moved in.  I didn't have much when I moved in but I didn't really need much.  The house was all of 800 square feet but I loved every inch of it.  
I had a small television and my books and even a plant or two.
Most of the artwork was given to me by my amazingly talented and artsy friends.  When I threw my housewarming party before I even moved in I asked everyone to bring me a piece of art made by them, if they so choose, to bless my home with.  Having their art around my house made me feel surrounded by my friends, as well. 
I added my family photos and the funky furniture I bought from friends or co-workers and the place started to feel like my own.  Very bachelor pad like. 
With the motorcycle helmets around it was definitely mine.  (Nevermind the fact that I wanted to try and get my motorcycle into the living room during the winter so I could work on it.)
Finally, I always have to have a space for my altar.  Once that was found and my things put up, the house was definitely mine. 

A year later I moved out of that house.

Five years later I've found myself in a sort of transient way of living due to different life circumstances and situations.  Transient, scattered, lacking roots is a better way to describe it. 

Well, this past week I found my new space and my transient way of living is finally over.  It's an adorable little studio apartment in Southeast Portland and it's mine.  All mine.

There's a room that is large enough to turn into my bedroom and a sitting area.  I plan on separating the two with a curtain of fabric.  Not sure what color yet.  Maybe a forest green or burgundy.   
Off of the room is a really large bathroom.  There's room in there to fit a full sized dresser!  It's HUGE!  The shower is pretty awesome, too.  There are cute little built-ins, as well, but you can't see them in this photo.

Separate from the room and up a few stairs is a full sized kitchen complete with full sized appliances and room for a small dinning room table.  It really is an amazingly large space for a studio and, again, it's mine.  Mine to do with what I wish.  The landlord will even let me paint the walls if I want to! 



I've spent this past week moving into the space and trying to figure out what I need for it.  I plan on spending tomorrow trying to organize it and get things put away.  There's a little bit of cleaning that needs to be done, as well.  Plus, I have all of my art pieces that I want to find spaces for! 

It seems a little odd, perhaps, but having my own space in this world is important to me.  More so than I let myself believe these past few years.  Also, knowing that I am healed enough mentally to be in my own space again is so important.  Having that craving again was a good sign for me.  I am happy to be back and, well, just happy. 

Life is good.