Wonder Woman: Not so Wonderful

I did not like the movie. It was a huge disappointment. I went with two 9 year old girls hoping to have the feeling I had leaving the movie “Hidden Figures” with my 9 year old. It was a kind of elation I hadn’t felt after a movie, maybe ever, a really intense feeling of the generations of women dealing with living in our reality and feeling a sense of hope mixed with anger and feeling bedazzled and in some sense of wonderment.

There was no wonder for me in Wonder Woman. I’m not comparing the two movies but I am. Sure, they are completely different but they do focus on women characters and women doing things the people at least on earth in the movie don’t understand and can’t do.

Well, my wonder women super heroes are still the mathematicians in the movie Hidden Figures. I like superheroes; I confess I’m partial to Marvel; my favorite is Ironman, at least the movie.

The movie was endless. Way too long. The writing was trite and unoriginal. The plot was simplistic and boring. Wonder Woman was needlessly overly naive and innocent in an insulting way. Why does the first big female superhero movie have to have a main character who is so ignorant and ernest? Why not make her a complicated and interesting person/superhero/goddess? Greek mythology is full of complicated goddesses. The dialogue is terrible. I don’t care what genders were involved in making the film, I felt insulted. It also was racist in a way that nobody seems to have noticed except for one of my clients who wrote a poem about the movie. She noticed the word “fair” and not meaning proper or level playing field, “fair” the color, used to describe the people/gods during the weird origin montage; I noticed it too and that all the random figures shown were not people of color. On the island there were a few Amazonians; my client who is a person of color, noticed that they cast an African American to play Diana’s caretaker. Lots of light blondes.

Anyway, putting that aside for a moment, the plot was ridiculous and the lines about realizing love not war is important and all the other banal cliches in it, I really don’t understand why this movie was so lauded, but then again, I didn’t like “La La Land”.

I have been wanting fierce independent woman to be the main characters in movies since I was old enough to notice that gender was a thing with these humans I was supposed to grow up with and live with. That’s why Katherine Hepburn was one of my main heroes.

I finally found an article addressing these issues on SlashFilm and then realized the writer hasn’t seen the movie. Anyway, it’s a good article on this topic of people of color in Wonder Woman:

http://www.slashfilm.com/women-of-color-in-wonder-woman/

None of the characters in the movie are very “real”, and lots of superhero movies manage to have some “real” people in it, Spiderman for example.

I felt talked down to. The whole thing was so simplistic it was painful. Seeing all the hype about it is painful too. Even knowing that the two 9 year old girls I went with loved it was a bit painful, but I did not ruin their buzz. One of the same 9 year olds saw “Everything Everything” with me recently, and that merits a whole post, finally a non animated movie where the main character is African American and her ethnicity and race are not part of the story. That movie was simplistic but in a good way. Leaving the theater with her, she asked if I liked it. I did, but it seemed like a fairy tale not a movie about reality, but not in a bad way. She then observed that it was a modern day Rapunzel and that was it! Yes it was, and it was pretty good. It’s very hard to make a movie out of a book involving the characters writing to each other, as opposed to making a movie from comics which are already in story board form.

No wonder was felt. And the whole time, I felt this bothering thought lingering in the back of my head. I bet they used World War 1 for this movie so they could make a sequel using World War 2, but it seems impossible they could do it without it just being the same thing; maybe no sequel. Sorry, to those who loved it: thumbs down and sad that a potential really cool feminist movie did not live up to expectation…

GOALS!

With the onset of this new mindfulness “diet”, I am going to try to set some goals and work towards them. One is to post more regularly on this blog, which is supposed to help with another writing goal, my book of essays. I’m marking my Mondays to remind myself to post.

I will figure out how to fit writing into my schedule.

Then there is the Graphic Novel, now 17 years in progress. Not sure how to tackle it, but the goal is to do something about it.

Other than that, I don’t want to fill up a list of goals I will never do. The food goal is to notice some good food each day that I ate while keeping to the no refined sugar. Yesterday it was frozen raspberries. The day before avocado. Today will hopefully be fresh spinach.

I noticed I started writing about my interest in fashion and set goals with it and never did anything more, so I may pick that up.

Thanks for reading as always. Please make any comments!!!

ADHD and Food

I just had two breakouts for non mistakes, which hasn’t happened in quite a while. I called my credit card to remove a late fee and found out I had just paid ahead for July and had paid for June a few weeks ago. Then I found a webinar and made sure I could take it on the day and time of it; I looked at this Thursday in my calendar where I noted the seminar for the week after, to remind myself. I missed that it was just a reminder and tried to change a session time as well as ask the Seminar people how to transfer a paid for class. The client answered and I realized I had not double booked and could keep the appointment.

Is this just the usual ADHD, where, because you’re using the skills to get things done on time, especially the mountain of monthly bills, and now that I’ve mastered it, where the “H” in ADHD rears its head and starts creating anxiety and impulsivity over things that I did right, convinced I did them wrong? Or something else.

I started the post with the title: “Deadlines Big and Small” but just remembered the ADHD, which, true to form, I tend to forget it exists until it suddenly gets in the way of something. It sounds crazy but it’s kind of like PMS. If you don’t remind yourself the week is there, you forget that there’s a reason the PMS symptoms are there!

I try to look at the funny side of ADHD, now that I know I have all of the letters (some people, especially adults, have ADD, where criteria for “Attention deficit” are met but not “Hyperactivity”).

As I went across the street to mail a check that I know I mailed a week ago but didn’t get to the company, I wondered if my new “food plan” could be blamed for all this generating what DBT calls “extra emotions”. Anxiety about things that are not real. Anxiety about paying bills on time, real when you haven’t paid them and its challenging, but not real when you have and think you haven’t.

Now there is no way to tell for sure what’s going on. I have a new reason for being grumpy, over anxious, generating extra emotions, having ADHD symptoms that were under control before. It’s a great reason, so there is a goal.

I again stopped eating refined sugar. In terms of deadlines, the death line of “No more!” came Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Day 1. Suffice it to say, my eating habits had deteriorated badly and my sweet tooth has been acting up since last summer, so I put on the brakes and decided to try again cold turkey. I had tried moderation but it didn’t work; I “forgot” when and with what to do the moderating, so, giving in to my ADHD and extremes, I am doing the extreme and on Day 7 of eliminating refined sugar from my diet or “food plan”.

Those of you who have sugar addictions know what this is about. Some rats or mice prefer sugar to cocaine, in case you don’t believe it’s an addiction. I realized I had the problem back in high school when I read “Sugar Blues”, probably one of few books about the topic in the early to mid 80s, and tried to do the diet then but failed.

I did this in a similar way back in 2015, probably in March, and lasted into the summer and then lost it all in late August. My new plan is slightly different and I’m hoping to have success this go round if I don’t kill someone in the process.

There are many “withdrawal” symptoms of going off sugar. Headaches, yes, luckily I only had 1 on Friday. Grumpy and irritable, yes, hoping that’s getting under control. Now I can add jumpiness and anxiety of the impulsive kind to what’s going on.

This time round, I will eat a lot less raisins and dried mangoes to try to really lower all sugar consumption, which means looking more carefully to learn where the sneaky “other” sugar shows up, the grams of sugar still there when you get rid of refined sugar. This seems like extreme as a food plan, but actually, it means I will eat more like all the healthy vegetarians out there: fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen fruit, yogurt, eggs, beans etc. because the sugar problem for me is that sweets take the place of healthy food, so when I remove sweets, it’s like magic. Suddenly it’s easier to eat healthy, especially the vegetables and other things like chik peas, black beans, avocados, spinach and other foods.

The diet works at the beginning because it’s suddenly easy to eat much healthier, probably as healthy as the average person, because when you eliminate bad stuff, you just do the good stuff. It’s like the sweets build a wall between myself and healthy eating. It can be very rewarding to do this. In 2015, I ate pasta and pizza. The other day I had the choice of pasta a few times and pizza and got myself to eat a great salad with hard boiled eggs, etc. instead. The good thing is that you still eat plenty of fats and the goal has nothing to do with lowering calories even though it may happen a little because of the new foods.

Habits change and healthier ones suddenly arrive. I see the pineapple sitting in the kitchen that I’ve been procrastinating dealing with. One recent morning I just cut the damn thing and realized again how lazy I get with food. The next challenge is to figure out what to do with dry lentils. At the moment I eat a lot of French Lentil Hummus from Whole Foods but the goal this week is to make the lentils. For most of you, this is just normal healthy stuff you do, but for me, the bar is very low because food is one of those ADHD things, either too overwhelming or extreme; The ADHD causes me to forget to eat and forget to prepare food at home; the thinking ahead has to be learned, and so does the awareness of eating at regular times, as well as not having extremes of getting too full or forgetting to eat for too long. Most of all “cooking” can no longer just be avoided much of the time.

It sounds nuts that I’m almost 50 and haven’t figured it out, but that is ADHD for you. Becoming a vegetarian 21 years ago was great for many reasons, and one ADHD reason was that it eliminated a ton of food that is now off limits, so I won’t get distracted by it. Eliminating sugar as totally as possible also deletes a long list of foods and suddenly there are clear choices of healthy foods, with no toxic foods distracting me. I used to wonder why I was so all or nothing with a lot of this, but the ADHD explains it. The environment is always too overstimulating and distracting, especially when it comes to eating.

Like with clearing clutter, there are and will be great side benefits! Instead of trying to eat mindfully by doing my daily yoga and cultivating mindfulness with other things and DBT mindfulness skills which are great, I will focus on the mindful eating above all, and then the mindfulness in other aspects of life follow. Going at it the other way didn’t work for me, because once I’m not eating healthy, awareness in general just goes down the drain. I have already noticed that it is easier to be mindful of everything else by doing this food plan.

The other day I saw a re dramatization of a British man dying of carrot and VITamin A overdose in a great TV show called Weird and Unusual Deaths, that’s close enough as the title. The man had orthorexia which the medical people pointed out. He was sandwiched into an episode with Isadora Duncan choking to death on her silk scarf and some poor guy dying in his closet.

Anyway, orthorexia is a real issue and should be listed with other eating disorders. It involves getting addicted to eating in an extreme “healthy” way to the point of obsession and other extreme symptoms similar to other eating disorders. Yes, that person you know who does an extreme amount of exercise and won’t eat at restaurants because of their extreme healthy diet could be in the territory of orthorexia. A small dose of it usually helps with getting rid of sugar and is more part of the ADHD, but as one of my goals is to be more present and productive in the rest of the hours a day not spent dealing with food, I’m not worried about carrot juice overdose. To be honest, I haven’t eaten a single carrot in the last 7 days, only because I was having other healthy options.

Anyway the extras also include having more energy and I hope, will also help with some long range goals and my writing. More than art making, writing seems related to getting rid of clutter and eating better, the bad food also being clutter; when I get rid of stuff that is not good, the writing benefits, so maybe I will write my book of essays now!

 

Grids! Grids! Grids!

I’m obsessed with grids; it started a little over a year ago. It’s partly an obsession with squares even though my grids aren’t exactly squares.

The longstanding goal has been: how do I achieve what I do in a drawing but on a painting?

How do I use oil paints but reinvent how I’m using them? How do I get back to oil painting but not the way I  used it in the past and on my first painting? How can I mix pens with oil paint or other paint.

Here are some works in progress:


This one was very different a while ago and went through several layers of making marks and media. I’m trying to have it stay light with the grids and not get too dark.


This is another that reincarnated several times.

I’m not sure about my own rules I’ve followed created by this project:

Fill the whole surface with colored in grids. 

Don’t put two “squares” next to each other of the same color.

Don’t put a color too often near itself.

Make sure the painting doesn’t get too dark.

Cover over big patches of paint.

When I first took a drawing class back in the dark ages and found out I wanted to be a visual artist I had this feeling of needing to cover the entire surface, more with paint than when using other materials.

In another post I will show and tell some more.

None of these have oil paint in them as I haven’t reached that goal. 

I am discovering a whole new world by using paint pens with permanent markers and gel pens. All the white spots are actually basic Bic White Out, which used to be called “Liquid Paper”.

The Sketchbook Project

The statement for the Sketchbook Project, theme: Distance from Origin:

The theme, “Distance from origin” fits this book perfectly. I must go far away from the origin and then come back and on the way re make everything from the beginning up to now through recycling, repurposing, editing. It originates with me drawing in it and then covering and cutting up those drawings, and continuing drawing/writing, cutting up, covering, using collage- going into old sketchbooks/journals and taking out pages to glue in the sketchbook.  At the end, the back cover is the distance from the origin of the sketchbook – the front cover.I wrote and edited and rewrote my artist statement for my first sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2017, called “Many Minds”.

I made up the title way before I did the book so I can’t remember what my many minds were thinking.

This is the first artist statement that I’ve written that actually makes sense to me. I’m sure old ones about old work were interesting and made sense. I saw one for a project I can’t remember the title of and the title was the whole point.

This is the first artist statement I’ve felt sort of is applicable to all my work, which is one thing none of my other well written and badly written artist statements did. Since I am very good at forgetting, actually this artist statement is about how I get knowledge from my creativity to make something I’ve never made before but is sort of familiar and completely new. I combine the forgotten completely, the half remembered, the newly found forgotten stuff and forget what I’m supposed to be doing, do a lot of stuff without thinking about it, get more ideas, start fitting it all together by taking it apart and redoing it.

The Sketchbook Project is the only art project I’ve really focused on how the process of creating is for me. I wondered this year why I was doing it again. It’s very obsessive and takes too much time, then I go through a terrible unpleasant slightly pleasant process and it takes forever to finish, but I have to finish it.

Here is my statement again; given the theme of origin and distance, maybe it reads differently after :

 

 

The theme, “Distance from origin” fits this book perfectly. I must go far away from the origin and then come back and on the way re make everything from the beginning up to now through recycling, repurposing, editing. It originates with me drawing in it and then covering and cutting up those drawings, and continuing drawing/writing, cutting up, covering, using collage- going into old sketchbooks/journals and taking out pages to glue in the sketchbook.  At the end, the back cover is the distance from the origin of the sketchbook – the front cover.

New Idea: I love fashion…

This is an example of a mid-rise reset button. For example, I notice in a bigger way what my constant interest in and excitement about clothing is about. I knew I loved fashion and putting together outfits, that I’m really a visual person and drawn in by the creativity of fashion.

Putting this together, I saw how I can see this in a much more meaning way; coinciding with me realizing I’m not having a mid-life crisis or mid-life review; I am creating my own mid-life reset button.

I already had my “crisis” about thinking I was having a “mid-life crisis. I pondered it more and realized I want my mid-life experience in the here and know to be a meaningful process of tying together things from my past self and seeing how they connect in a meaningful way. If I didn’t live awakened and fully present in my past, I can do it now and see what there is to see. I thought it was extremely narcissistic to be looking at this whole topic. I should be caring about the world now, putting aside irrelevant activities or using them as breaks. Maybe that is true. I guess it’s my life, and I am actually participating in the fight for democracy and civil rights and really to get rid of the current president…

Anyway, I have decided to post images of outfits, maybe daily probably once in a while. Take photos of the different aspects of the outfit, talk about what it means for me if it’s connected to something important. Like the headband I’m wearing. It has story. The other clothes I’m wearing have stories too.

Maybe in posting more often, I will pick a specific part of the outfit, including accessories and just muse about that in order to not get overwhelmed. I’ve given up on worrying about readers of this blog getting overwhelmed or confused. I’m never going to be able to unconfused anyone. It’s blog: you’re allowed to be narcissistic and people often look at pictures, read a bit, and move on.

The Mid Life Crisis, Continued. Movies

There have been great movies made about people having a mid life crisis. Too many are about men experiencing one: “American Beauty”, “Lost in Translation”, “Manhattan”, etc.

Are there any good movies about women or other gender identified people having a good old fashioned mid life crisis? Woody Allen made one, “Another Woman”, (1988). It’s a great def fpiction of a woman going through all the aspects of a mid life crisis. There’s the idea of having a sudden break of time, where you’re not doing everything as usual, in this case a sabbatical, then the way things can suddenly appear different and give you a different view of yourself, noticing other people’s perceptions of you not matching your own, the typical suddenly looking at a long marriage and seeing it and yourself and your partner differently. Noticing someone else and it having a big effect on your own self identity and concept of who you are. Big changes happening as a result, some that you don’t engage in as a choice. I found the movie very compelling even when I wasn’t viewing it as a mid life crisis movie.

I can’t really think of or find many movies about women having a mid life crisis. The Huffington Post dug up movies that will make you feel better about your mid life crisis, with women as the protagonist, “Enough Said”, “It’s Complicated”, “The Bridges of Madison County”, “Kramer vs. Kramer”. I draw the line at that one. Just because Meryl Streep is in the movie does not mean it’s a genuine mid life crisis movie. Yes, it has a lot of the ingredients, and she is the character that’s going through a crisis of identity, but she is just too young to make it convincing to me. It feels like she is questioning her life and choices, but it doesn’t have the elements of urgency having to do with a sense of the life span. It’s more like, she’s still young and wants to rewrite her story, but it isn’t that she wakes up and looks back on a long life with many choices and all the other complicated elements of a mid life crisis.

This is movie land, so all the movies you could dig up on this topic are full of the usual drama. There has to be a lot of extreme stuff going on on the outside to portray the big conflicts of mid life that go on inside the character.

In real life, it isn’t always about affairs, divorce, affairs, losing one’s mind, affairs, falling in love with someone really young to gain back one’s youth.

The title “In Search of Lost Time” sums it up well. I haven’t read the book, so it’s the title that appeals to me.

To be continued…

The New Mid Life Crisis

What is a mid life crisis? Everyone thinks of some middle aged guy with a receding hairline in a red Porsche having an affair with a 20 year old when they here the phrase.

Well, we’ve come a long way baby, since those backwards days. Now your gender doesn’t matter, it’s age that does. It doesn’t have to be about feeling physically past your prime either.

Maybe being 40-45 used to be when people had this “syndrome”. Now it could happen to you in your late 30’s, early to late 40’s or 50’s. Whatever feels mid life to you.

You don’t have to leave your spouse or disappear or find a new identity. You don’t have to spend tons of money on something stupid that is supposed to represent your last threads of holding on to your youth.

What is a mid life crisis? My definition is, you reach an age in your life, where you start looking back on your life, and wondering, sometimes regretting, sometimes wishing, sometimes scared to death. Usually it sinks in that you have less days ahead of you than behind you (I just heard that one, and it shook me). Even if you think you may live to 100, you have an equal number of days ahead of you than behind you, or you feel the weight of whatever many years are behind you and the time ahead of you looms as time you don’t want to waste, time you want to do something that makes you feel alive.

If you’re even thinking in terms of days you’ve spent that are over and days you have got left, you’re probably in the land of the Mid Life Crisis.

So it starts or is defined by a sense of urgency, thinking about your life as limited, ta a thinking about your death and what you did, could have done, could be doing, could do, might miss forever if you don’t do it now.

The actions that go with this self conception, the “red Porsche”, can take many forms. It may seem mild to some, getting a tattoo, changing your hair, going on a trip, taking trapeze or tango lessons, sky diving or bigger things, moving, spending a lot of money on something, whether a house, a car, a swimming pool, a horse, or picking some collection of books to read you never were interested in before. Its could be crazier, starting a drug habit, doing stuff that you always thought were “against the rules”…

There are other types of actions that are not so “bucket list” like things. Changing careers, suddenly realizing you want to run a bed and breakfast instead of working in a big city. Taking up some creative activity nobody thought you were interested in.

What do you think of when you think of Mid Life Crisis? What have you done or seen others do? To be continued…

Book Chapter!

I haven’t posted since February 7. I’m going back to trying short posts more often. I get too long winded and don’t finish posts. Hoping it helps me post more often. Say more with less…

This is the book I have a chapter in. (It’s available on Amazon for range of high prices: 50$ -95$).

The book is edited by Anastacia Kurylo, a Professor in Communication Studies at St. Joseph’s College. She has written several books about communication and stereotypes. I highly recommend her blog, The Communicated Stereotype:

Anastacia Kurylo’s Blog

The book is mostly written by communication professors. Chapter 15, my chapter, is in the last 4th part of the book, called “Practical Tips for  Navigating Intergroup Status.” It’s called, ” Questions That Open up the Field of Impossible Things”.

My writing process, as always, was crazy and torturous, however, I am excited that it has yielded results and an edited finished product with footnotes. I’ve had my visual art in published books before, but this is the first time I’ve had my writing published. The joke is that it is in a book about communication; a lot of people find what I say to be incoherent and confusing! I’m still learning the English Language…

The Job: Will You Wake up or Stay in Bed?

Sometimes my job as an art therapist is to help someone get out of bed, go outside, and get to my office. Once they’re here, they may not do that much besides be here, if they are very depressed or traumatized.

People don’t understand the way this act of getting out of bed can be so huge. That’s because a lot of people don’t see depression as an illness and don’t look at a their own lives as a struggle between being awake and staying asleep.

Being in bed is sometimes the only safe place for a person. When they’re really depressed, they don’t think they have any reason to get out of bed, which is true. They have no ideas for getting out of bed and it is very convincing to stay in bed.

THat’s where therapy can come in, thanks to modern day technology. The person can stay in bed and text me and read my texts. IF they want, they can call and talk on the phone. They can do this for 5 or 10 minutes, rather than 50 minutes. They can also use video technology to have a session and we can see each other. They can even make art in bed.

The goal would not be to get them out of bed. Why would I be able to convince this person that there is reason to get out of bed when they have no reasons? Stay in bed until you feel like doing the work of getting out of bed and dealing with not being in bed. Sometimes I too see no reason to get out of bed. At those times, my daughter is the only reason to get out of bed, since it is not ok for me to stay in bed and not take care of her and be active in her life. Before her existence, I could be entirely convinced to stay in bed.

My job then becomes just communicating with someone while they stay in bed and they are not alone during that time but not required to do anything except say hello and anything else they feel like saying.

There is a whole Russian novel about a guy who stays in bed all the time but he has a servant since he’s rich so he gets his servant to do stuff and come into the bedroom. The servant might as well be his servant and therapist. The guy in bed is very likable, I don’t remember much of it, besides understanding hime spending his waking hours in bed. He had not smartphone or even a telephone and no visitors so when he was in bed, he just lay there unless he was talking to his servant.