Writing Time: New drawings and writing

I am very excited that my doing my new morning ritual of waking up around 6:15, meditation, yoga, writing and drawing, has been so positive and really expanded my creativity. The principle of doing things for 15 minutes a day is a big part of this new discipline, as well as going to bed of course much earlier. My bedtime is now around 10:30, way earlier than ever before.

I’m now on day 26 of this morning and 15 minute practice thing. I always start with meditation for 15 minutes, followed by 20 or more minutes of yoga. Then I do either 15 minutes of writing or drawing. If I write in the morning, then later in the day I set the timer and do the 15 minutes of drawing and vice versa. This morning I did drawing and haven’t had a moment for the writing until now.

So this is my 15 minutes of writing that I usually reserve for my journal. Some of the writing is stuff I rip up and throw out and some of it is just journaling and some of it is about things I want to eventually write or edit or use in some way.

The best thing that happened with the drawing and writing besides really getting back to the drawing, was how the drawing and writing for the first time ever started to go together. The way it happened was first I got back to really getting in touch with how much just drawing, making marks and lines on paper, is really my most authentic form of art making. I felt like I had neglected it and was hiding in collage and other stuff and hadn’t really gotten to purely draw in months. Then the drawings started to be connected to what I’d been painting/using collage and paint doing, namely my cityscapes.

These cityscapes of the past months was a return to cityscapes I did a long time ago, around 2006 – 2010, on and off, that I titled “Inner Landscapes”. Now that they got back into the drawings, the lines and marks started to be houses and buildings again, but there is more going on now that is different from the previous series or even what I’d been doing this past year. Suddenly I had a drawing and was writing a story about the landscape I drew, a desolate landscape that was a kind of deserted place.

The first one that got paired with writing was a kind of empty street. Then I made another one that was called “After the Fire” that continued some of the themes from the first one. I’m in the middle of writing another one that feels like it’s about Tokyo, when I lived there as a child from 1977-1979. The drawings seem to be about old places in my mind, and in each writing there is a child sitting up in a room alone. I think the next one will involve this child being in Tokyo. From the writing it isn’t yet clear that these are old places in my mind, but I think as they continue building, it will become clear what the concept of the Inner Landscape involves.

Through writing during and on the back of the drawing about the spaces in the drawing, I am more in touch with what I think of as the “Inner Landscape”, where before I just thought, these are not meant to be images of the city, they are imagined landscapes in my head, so whenever people saw them and said, “Oh those are the city.” or “Is that NYC?” it seemed off to me and like I couldn’t explain exactly what they were or why they were Inner Landscapes.

Strangely I had recently started thinking that the cityscapes I was making were actually about New York City and living here and 9/11 and that the first series from over 10 years ago were more connected to 9/11 and living here downtown near Ground Zero than I previously realized.

15 minutes are up. I have been trusting that 15 minutes is usually enough, especially with the writing. I will post some photos of the drawings and writings thus far.

Advertisements

Thought for the day…

I started this post writing:

One day, when gender identity is fully respected when humans realize they don’t have to understand someone else’s identity, they just have to listen and respect what the person says…

That was when I stopped and had a moment of silence and nothing. Perfect time to end the thought for the day…

5 Minutes of Writing

I am trying to do things in 15 minute chunks and if not, then in 7 or ten or even five minute chunks. I did my morning 15 minutes meditation and 25 minutes yoga and about ten minutes of writing in my journal so this is the five minutes I have left. I have done my daily comic strip and now I have these few minutes.

I am thinking a lot about Kate Spade’s suicide, including but not limited to, the ligature she tied to the doorknob to strangle herself, the housekeeper’s trauma from being the one to find her, the husband’s trauma from being in the house, and most of all, the 13 year old daughter’s trauma of finding out her mom killed herself and getting the suicide note written to her telling her it wasn’t her fault.

One of my patients yesterday in talking about this event said that there seems to be no way to kill yourself that doesn’t physically involve a big mess or a torturous painful death. I guess the choice tends to be between getting it to happen quickly and leaving a mess versus getting it to take longer and still leaving a mess.

I’m out of minutes, but I will say that I have trouble finding any compassion at first. I have to let myself be pissed off at the dead person who is now dead and doesn’t have to deal with the physical and emotional mess they have caused. It took me almost a day to reach the point of compassion, thanks to hearing an annoying news person actually say something useful, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.”

I arrived at kindness after a lot of anger. I now feel some compassion not just for those left behind with the big mess and the black hole in their heart, but also for the terrible pain Kate Spade was in and the battle I know nothing about that she was fighting and lost. I will not say Rest in Peace, as I don’t really know what that means, but I think she is no longer in pain as she no longer exists and life is hard for everyone. Be grateful for the amount of time you get of someone.

Gender Feature Story 1: The Shoes Review

In writing my other Gender post, I was reminded of the day I was on the Payless Shoes Website and saw a very cool review because it was a self described “gentleman” wearing “ladies shoes.” I then went back to the website just now and hunted down the review to quote it here. I posted it on something when I first saw it a year ago. It bears reposting just because it’s so great how gender and gender identity are not some side topic but are part of everywhere. I proposed my Gender Identity Altered Books Workshop and the person in charge said it may be too specific a population to do a workshop on, so I explained that it is extremely relevant to every clinician and ubiquitous and in fact everyone needs to be trained in gender identity sensitivity.

Anyway here is the review in all its glory. Thank you to this person who bravely put himself out there! And FYI, while they should be “unisex”, they are Mary Janes and look like non fancy practical shoes but have that element that makes you think of little kids (female) shoes.

“I just received my “Geanette” Mary Jane shoes today and have been wearing them most of the day. I could not be more pleased with them. My new “Mary Janes” are very comfortable and nice looking. I am a gentleman who enjoys wearing women`s shoes exclusively and find these to be very suitable for around the house or street wear. This shoe would be excellent for women as well as men, as it is a true “unisex” shoe. I am a red-blooded male and have already received a few compliments on this attractive looking shoe. I heartily recommend these well made nice looking shoes for anyone. I think I`ll order another pair just in case they are discontinued.”

Here are the shoes if you’re curious or want a pair, whatever your gender!

https://www.payless.com/womens-comfort-plus-geanette-mary-jane-shoe/77840.html?dwvar_77840_color=black#q=mary%20jane&prefn1=gender&prefv1=Women&start=3

 

New Blog Feature: Gender, starting with Gender Activism Presentation

I’m taking the Blogging Fundamentals Class very slowly and not in lesson order (knowing ones learning style is helpful!)

Assignment: Make a feature for your blog to post more regularly on a particular topic!

Challenge Accepted! My Feature will be posts on Gender, Gender Identity, Gender Activism and Related Issues. I hope to try to post weekly and make it on Thursdays but I’ll aim for two posts per month. I may post more than weekly. For example, this post is a many part post as there are many subtopics to it.

Today I’m did a presentation at nearby school PS 234 to a 5th grade class about my activism as an artist and art therapist, especially around gender identity and trans/alternate gender rights. Also to tell them about mental health stigma and activism, being part of the Open Path Collective and LighthouseLGBT affirming website of therapists. Activism in different fronts and through different means, ie. individual personal, making art, then on community level, sharing it on social media platforms for activism, such as this blog, and especially Instagram. I brought in foam door hangers as an art activity for the kids to do at the end. It was a big hit, so I was very excited when I left. I got the kids thinking about guerrilla art and talking about the bathrooms in their schools. One kid said she was only going to use the gender neutral bathroom on the floor below their classroom…

Here are some photos from my solo art show, #BathroomArtOnly, October 2016. I’m going to start the presentation talking about an old art project from the 90s about gender and this more recent one.

Gratefulness Day 12

The only time I used a ouija board was in 1991 when I was living in Paris on a street named Goethe. I don’t know where we got it. I was asking for something about my recently dead friend James. The answer I got was that he was “pieces-full”. I got this great satisfied feeling I’ll never forget. I was also excited that the ouija board worked of course. I’m not one for talking to dead people or ghosts and spirits. I have conversations in my head with people I know who’ve died. It’s extremely unsatisfying and frustrating. I don’t get dreams where I get to talk to someone dead either. And I don’t get any feelings of excitement like the ouija board answer yay feeling.

Anyway the phrase “pieces-ful” stayed with me because it’s a great feeling you don’t have to be dead to enjoy.

I started a 100 Days of Gratitude on Facebook for my recently dead friend/colleague Benedikte.

Today I was running and at the end of the run, I felt the “pieces-ful” feeling. It doesn’t arise like other feelings. It kind of descends and comes into you head first. Then it’s like you vacuumed your brain and then windexed it. It’s like a mixture of peace, clarity and stillness. The world is just there and you can quietly take it in. It’s a very quiet feeling.

I’m on Day 12 and I posted that I was grateful for that feeling of being pieces-ful.

It’s strange because this pieces-ful thing is where I can really actually be grateful, and not just feel it and get some idea of whatever from the Day that’s simple to post. The 100 Days thing is about the small stuff.

When I’m pieces-ful I can appreciate almost anything.

Yoga Post: Practice

  • I said at beginning of 2018 I want to link my yoga practice and writing.
  • Having a practice involves being in the process of practicing
  • Which mostly involves working on self judgments
  • Going off course from your practice can be a way to witness how you are towards yourself, punishing and judgmental or neutral?
  • This happens with yoga for me as I have an ideal or intention for my home practice:
  • I will go to bed early every night for the purpose of waking up earlier in the morning and developing a morning yoga practice
  • Today for the first time in weeks I followed the morning plan and pulled out the yoga map upon awakening and did yoga for 20 minutes while annoying morning program was on (not my choice)
  • My home yoga practice has always involved accepting whatever is going on in the environment including TV, and doing yoga anyway. There is no zen garden or yoga meditation room. It’s like doing yoga in the subway sometimes, not that I’ve tried that!
  • I am noticing more quickly how yoga can be a reminder and a reset button for the day or the next hours, reminding me to slow down and be in the moment
  • It’s weird that first thing in the morning I can’t easily do Ploughing Pose, for example, reminding me that the asanas are always different and repeating them in a different moment you notice where you’re at which won’t be the same tomorrow on or off the mat
  • I’ve been wanting my daily yoga practice to translate into food choices and struggles and constantly frustrated that it doesn’t “work”.
  • Probably I’ve heard too many yoga experts talk about how doing yoga helps you make healthy food choices
  • It’s not true for me. I want that benefit but it hasn’t magically happened.
  • A lot of food stuff is ADHD. I remember over 20 years ago, when I didn’t know about my ADHD, on starting vegetarianism, I noticed it made food easier because it limited food choices immensely. ADHD means I get overwhelmed by too many choices of food, have struggles planning ahead for it as planning is already difficult… so being able to bypass 20 other menu choices and have 2-5 choices or bypass a lot of stuff in a food market was a great thing I hadn’t thought of til it happened.
  • Self discipline is extremely hard for the ADHD mind, which gets excited by going down irrelevant paths, enjoying them and then feeling lost and unable to come back to whatever it was that the focus was supposed to be.
  • Maybe I should approach the food like my comic strip. Found a daily strip already limits me and makes it easier to do a comic. Then I started having Tuesdays be Affirmations Day and Thursdays be Gender Day. Then I found a theme for Mondays. I’m hoping I can do something for Fridays too.
  • Thus the more specific and structured and limiting, the easier time my ADHD mind has of disciplining itself.
  • Maybe food should work this way too. My daughter has “sushi Thursdays” and “Wednesday special dinner out”; maybe I could have foods on particular days!
  • I’m just figuring this out now, so I will try to figure out a plan and see if the daily comics approach to food works better than the other stuff I’ve tried, and I’ve tried all sorts of things to make my eating more healthy and “mindful”.
  • Perhaps there can be days for healthy stuff and days for “treats”. That way the schedule isn’t associated as much with denial and reward system which wreaks havoc on the ADHD already confused relationship to food…

Short Light Post!

My new writing challenge involves keeping to the point and organizing ideas so I will try that and delete the long disorganized piece I just wrote.

FYI, if you read this blog ¬†you know the fun part of adult ADHD is coming to realize something new, finding it really cool and exciting, and also realizing, EVERYONE ELSE ALREADY KNEW THIS, so they won’t want to hear about it. That means BLOG about it!

  • Issue: Setting the following rules with myself about reading that are no longer useful and that I hardly ever follow!
    • Choose the book with some rational reason for wanting to read it.
    • If you start and get further than a few pages, you must read the whole book.
    • You must read the book in the order it was written, start to finish.
  • Problems:
    • My relationship to reading and books and writing has changed drastically over 45ish years.
    • Thus, this framework is old, not useful, ineffective, and doesn’t fit my current relationship to reading.
    • The rules are now connected erroneously to some idea about ADHD and following those rules meaning you are doing the right thing to address the ADHD, thus resulting in the ADHD trap of feeling like you can’t do things other people do with ease.

Solution:

  • Read plot and content summaries.
  • Look at Table of Contents and Index.
  • Read a small part of a random page in the middle of the book.
  • Choose part of the book and read that only.
  • Don’t read the book in page number sequence. Pick and choose.
  • If appropriate, check out the paper, the font, the layout and the visuals.

Theory:

  • I have a deep reverance for books shaped by my childhood and adolescence, of which books played a huge and extremely positive part.
  • Working with ADHD tendencies instead of against them is a more effective strategy.
  • I can allow myself to apply that to reading.
  • It is more fun to do the above things with a book.
  • It doesn’t mean I don’t read all books start to finish.
  • I only recently discovered audio books and realized I had a bunch on my “BOOKSHELF”, and wasn’t finishing them, so it can apply to audio books as well.
  • Switching from fiction to non fiction is a big switch and obviously involves changing how I read those books.