Saturday

I am grateful. I sit in my car drinking faux cappacino and a toasted bagel that is toasted to perfection with just the right amount of butter. I don’t crave bread anymore because I gave it up for lent. Now I just want to indulge. It’s the little things.

The sun is trying like hell to come through. It’s cloudy and cold today. Listening to Ibeyi on the radio. You should check them out.

Later on, I will be attending a spiritual workshop. Don’t ask me what the title is. All I know is that I will be changed by it. First in a series of monthly workshops. I could use some elevation.

My art studio is a mess and yet somehow I still produce art. In the back of my mind I envision unleashing color on humongous canvasses. Symbols and images that I allow to move through me into the strokes of the brush. I imagine giving the censor a rest, or telling it to sit the fuck down and let me work, or both. Gentle and firm at the same time.

I am working on a couple of projects, the bones of which feel very right. That is my thing now. Not doing anything that does not feel aligned with my gut and heart. Thoughts and ideas swim through my head at the speed of light, which is hella annoying. Especially when I have a day job that drains the hell out of me. Grateful for that too. Pays the bills. But discernment is called for. Especially when my art self begins to swim in all the possibilities. And I can’t swim.

Guess I better take some lessons.

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Diary Of A Self-Care Sunday- February 18

 

7:10am

I seem never to begin my day without scrolling first thing in the AM but since this is Sunday I know that I will not be engaging social media after this first hit for the rest of the day.  I am good to go.  I make breakfast for me and my son. Grits, bacon, eggs. I have a thing for bacon that will not leave me alone.  I remind myself that I can’t eat bread because it’s Lent, and that is my sacrifice of choice.  I grow weak at the aroma of cinnamon raisin toasting.  That’s for Chris, I say to myself.  I sigh.  I convince myself that this small Godly sacrifice is also a blessing to my body.

11:08am

I watch the news and grow agitated and sad.  It’s Sunday, I say.  Less than a week after the Florida shootings.  I decide to turn off the television for the rest of the day.  I need to get out of here, I say to my son.  I am going to take myself to Barnes and Noble.  Artist Date.

Before I leave I empty one more bin in my bedroom/studio.  I inhale a deep breath where there is more space.  Decluttering is peace.  I find an old art journal and begin to tweak a page.  My daughter sees me doing this a lot.  She says, ‘Artist Standing.’  At first, I’m confused.  She says, ‘I always see you standing when you do your art.’  I smile, because I forget sometimes that I am standing and doing.  I forget that they see and notice. I love that they ‘see’ me.  Chicken in the oven before I go.

1:40pm

It is a beautiful cold afternoon drive after a bit of snow and slush last night.  Not a cloud in the sky.  I bemoan the demise of bookstores generally, and now I travel out of my way to one that is decent.  The drive clears my head.  I pass trees that look like cranes.  Farmland.  I open my window to feel the breeze. I thank God for this day.

I don’t find what I’m looking for in the bookstore but that’s okay because I have issues with spending so much on art journaling magazines.  Never understood the why behind that.  We artists are not a filthy rich bunch.  I find myself feeling bored, so many books. My medicine years ago was going to bookstores, drinking cappuccino while reading.  Always energized by the possibilities in between the pages. I think about whether the book I am wanting to write will survive here. These are weirdly different times.

3:35pm

I come home.  Roast chicken smells good. I take a moment to sit. I want to distract from the feelings.  Run from the sadness. In the moment, art can cure that. So can mining through social media.  I scroll for a moment and feel relief from feeling.  I am in vacation mode with no visible reason to fucking complain.  I am alive.  I am loved.  But, I accept that I am human and overly sensitive to the needs of the world.  Darkness and light are my best friends.

Somebody needs to bring my Amazon delivery inside.

Diary Of A Self-Care Sunday-January 28

7:30 am

I time my social media scrolling.  I know I have made the decision to stay away on Sundays.  Slow weaning. I prepare my facial mask and hair mask. Kinks are dry. Skin is dry. Thinking of my mother and what she used on my hair as a young girl. Mayonnaise. Egg yolks. Olive oil. The olive oil is my addition. No olive oil in my household of the ‘60’s. Crisco.

I review my intentions for the day. Yes, purging my closet is a priority. Clothes that no longer fit. Ideals that need to be discarded. Ideals that were never mine.  I am who I am for now until that changes. It is good to have choices. Feels even better to just be. This is what I know- it is hard and holy work to change.

9:38am

I admire my manicure as I type these words.  I can be an artist and have cute nails, aware that either/or has been my lifetime default with most things. Making up stories that I believed to be true.  Acting on those beliefs. Growing up around alcohol will provide fertile ground for that.  Both/and is my ongoing practice now. I am nicer to myself in this space.

I debate whether my Keurig delivers real coffee flavor.  The culture is driven by convenience.  I am missing the aroma of fresh ground and a fresh brew.  Expresso time.

11:47am

Working on the backlog of Sunday New York Times issues.  The articles are still fresh and relevant two months later. I will get to last week’s issue in a month or so.  The print seems smaller now. And I am older.  My readers should be at 1.50 or higher.  I am still working with 1.0.  Time to make peace with the passage of time and seeing.  I am disappointed that my new non-dairy creamer does not work in a cappuccino. I start over with Lactaid though I know my joints may scream.  Hope not.  Happy froth, happy cappuccino, happy me.

3:15pm

Saturdays always feel like Saturdays and Sundays always feel like Sundays. Does that make sense?  I would be hard pressed to put into words the difference.

Cornbread in the oven.  Collards on the stove. Jasmine rice and brown rice on the boil.  Organic yams sliced. The raw sweetness reminds me to never buy conventional again. I add a little more sugar to the greens in homage to my mama. I have yet to make her bottled hot pepper vinegar. I smile at the thought.

3:57pm

I decide to watch an art lesson video. The urge to create art is strong. Anything to distract from the closet purge.  There is anxiety in the letting go, in the decision making of what stays and what goes. There is still time to make the time to start.  I decide to devote an hour. But I would much rather paint.

It is hard and holy work to change. And dinner is just about done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary Of A Self-Care Sunday

I wake up early.  No sun yet.  I remember the bones of the dream I had.  My mom was there. Visitation? Her birthday is only a week away, so the veil is thin. I tell her it’s time for me to move out.

7:30am

I want my Ripple half and half. Non-dairy. I get up to make the trek to Whole Foods, fifteen minutes away.  It’s peaceful and the sun is moving higher.  I love the peace of early morning Sundays. On the way, I think about the dream.  What does it mean? I forget where I am on the road for a moment, and say to myself our relationship was very codependent. I am not phased by that truth. Moving out is a decision to be free.

I buy my Ripple, along with other items I did not intend to buy, but that’s the nature of food shopping. I debate about buying the New York Times.  I am behind by at least a month of reading and I can save five dollars.  I head to Starbucks to get the paper. It’s six dollars now.  I can justify anything.

I watch Sunday Morning while eating breakfast. I especially love the artwork in between commercials and the Moments of Nature segment. I relish Sundays and despise the inevitable anxiety that comes with it being the day before Monday. I overthink how best to use my time, hovering between reading the paper all day and catching up on cleaning the house.  The news is on now, and I am overwhelmed by the information but obsessed with it. I mute the television when I hear his voice. My son shows me the framed photographs he is submitting to the Art Show.  I am blown away by their significance. We talk, and I see in my mind’s eye his work in the Schomburg, Studio Museum of Harlem, Time Magazine.  I am sharing my perspectives on his work, its meaning, the layers.  I make suggestions about reaching out to people in the magazine industry.  I am determined to see his work in solo exhibition. I have yet to complete finishing touches on the work I am submitting to the show. I think more about promoting his work than my own.

 10:30am

I fold clothes. I know I have to change the sheets on my bed, mop the floors.  One thing leads to another.  I look at the time.  I begin to count in my head how long before dinner.  I begin to feel nervous that I am not doing all I can do.  I feel the standard I have set up in my head weighing on me.  I put sneakers on. Perhaps I can get treadmill time in too.  Check off how good and compliant I am to my physical health.  

I try to slow the thoughts in my head.  I eat animal crackers. I tell myself to slow down and take one thing at a time. I convince myself that I will be okay if everything does not get done.  I think about all of the beautiful sisters who have blog posts on Self-Care Sundays, and I wonder what they are doing right now. For a moment, I envy them.  I have not engaged with social media yet today. 

12 noon

I open the windows to let fresh air in.  It is mild for the end of January, and it feels like early spring.  I love that feeling.  New beginnings.  I do standing pushups on the doorway and at the kitchen sink. They count too. Another check.

 2pm

I take a break from mopping. I listen to the background noise of news. Take out my sketch pad, pencils and waterbrush. The pad is small enough for me to feel accomplished. I am in love with my Stabilo All pencil and its ability to create beautiful shadows when activated with water.  Black and white artwork is so healing.  No real decisions to make. No plan. No colors to choose. Just create.

I feel relief after sketching and note that time has passed quite quickly.  Creating is like that. I notice that I am more relaxed even though it is now later.  I have more energy. Time to cook.

 4:30pm

Chopping vegetables feels good to me.  I rarely choose words for the new year. To choose nourishment is important.  Nourishment is a noun and a verb.  There is an action that has to happen to realize what needs to be nourished and how to manifest it.  I choose to be dairy free because I had a feeling it was creating my joint pain.  It was a good move. I am eating more greens.  I know how it feels in my body to eat them and I want more of that. I make a ton of kale and mixed vegetables for the week. Nourishment takes many forms.

I note that I am a little tired now.  I don’t remember where I put my phone.  Good thing. 

I decide to take to the mat to stretch tonight.  Tightness is setting in, and my hips are asking for loving attention. I want to read tonight.  Hunger by Roxane Gay is mind-altering in its bare truths. I feel like she is talking to me.

I may visit my phone before bed.  I am addicted but this has been a good day without the noise and false comparisons.  It’s been a good day.

I’m Still Here

I think we all get caught up in the frenzy of ‘New Year, Gotta Change My Life’ thing that happens days before the ball drops.  I’m no exception, except this year I am feeling differently about it.  Bought three planners- one for work (legit), a Christian Journal, and a Creativity Journal.

Looked through the Christian Journal this morning and have absolutely no desire to use it.  I love the Lord, He loves me. I thought it would grant me favor in His eyes to write in it everyday. Brownie points.  This is a dumb concept.

I do love the Creativity Journal. Don’t love the vision board page even though I started gluing shit on there. I don’t need the vision board reminder to know what I want.

I love my manifestation box. It works for me, literally. Much of what I want to manifest is centered around my creativity in life matters and artistically.

So I think I’m done with perfectionistic readiness for the new year. My bedroom is neater but still messy. Relocating my art workspace into my bedroom has been challenging, but it’s the right move.

I don’t need the change of the calendar to know that it’s time to make changes.  I have felt the call for more solitude and less social media influence in my life. I want to focus more on radical self-care and explore my edges.

So, on New Year’s day, I will pull the tarot because that’s what I do. I’ll draw some, maybe paint some, definitely write in my journal.

And maybe I’ll tidy a little bit more. No self-judgement necessary on how fast it gets done. What’s important is listening to myself and moving accordingly.

I welcome 2018,  yes I do. I am here to see it with my kids, and that alone is enough.

What Is True

It’s been a minute since my last post because as always, life gets the better of pretty much everything.  But tonight I was moved to write because of blogpost written by Hali Karla Arts some time ago.

This was the takeaway.

That art, mine or yours, does not have to be pretty to be legit.  Or good. Or anything.

It just is what it is.

I have a shitload of ecourses I signed up for, and have not cracked open many of them to put on paper or canvas.  Watched a lot of videos, but have not done the work.

The art I did do was mostly my own.  Whatever wanted to be expressed.  And I found it freeing and for the most part honest.  While I still have the desire to learn and to grow in my technique, my soul is craving something else.

So in 2017 I want Truth to prevail in my art.  However that manifests, I want it to come from my insides.  I want to unleash.  Purge.

I don’t want to overthink it.  I just want to create.

What Is Your Thing?

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I am obsessed with the color black.  In most of my work, if I don’t have some black in there somewhere, I get anxious.  I wear mostly black.  My hair is dark brown but looks black.  So do my eyes.

And I am a Black Woman.  But this is not what I want to talk about.

If I thought about it long enough, my real obsession is telling the truth in my art.  And I don’t think I am there yet.  At least not completely.  I spend so much time watching lessons online, following steps, ooohing and ahhhing over other artists’ work, that when I free myself from that and begin to sketch all I can think about is whether what I am expressing is honest and true to what my insides want to say.  Some days, I feel I’m doing my thing.  MY thing.  But then there are days in between I feel like my stuff says nothing.

What is the thing in your art that is your non-negotiable?  And this is not just about paint colors or tools, though I’d be the first to holla about some new thing I just discovered. But if you get beyond that, what is the thing that drives you when you open that journal to the next blank page, or to the bare canvas that you don’t want to mess up?

 

 

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