Life

A little bit of hope remains

I’ve been very sick and unable to keep this blog updated over the past week.  Today I woke up in a pool of sweat, shivering.  Not good.

2009 has been a terrible year for artists…personally, it’s been downright devastating to watch my page views dwindle to less than 1/10th of what they were a little over a year ago, while my work continues to get better and more expensive to produce.

People are more interested in Tiger Woods’ driving abilities than anything else if I’m to believe what’s on my television.

I’m not quite sure if there’s anything I can do to turn my situation around, especially while the economy is still in shambles.

The uncertainty of the future has caused me so much anxiety and depression, and I’m well aware that broadcasting my self-doubt to the world is NOT a good business strategy.

On the other hand, I am inches away from rock bottom and every opportunity somehow ends up with me getting royally shafted because I’m the reclusive artist who gets discovered after they die.

I don’t have much to lose, I’ve got just a tiny shred of hope left, and I’m sincerely asking for your help.

Please, please, please share my art with anyone who might be interested.  If you’re a past client who’s pleased with your purchase…this will uphold the value of your investment.  

Have a blog?  

Link to my website/auctions and I’ll reciprocate.  On Facebook?  Add me as a friend.  This is also about spreading good karma.  I’ll be giving away free ACEOs and maybe even full-sized painting(s) to anyone who can turn my luck around.

I’m currently listing a lot of reasonably-priced “New Hope” breast paintings – these will make fantastic gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people on your Christmas list.

Life

Turtle Symbolism

The following excerpt is from www.likeacat.com.  It explains turtle symbolism throughout different cultures and eras.

A great deal of mythology exists in regard to the turtle. In the Far East, the shell was a symbol of heaven, and the square underside was a symbol of earth.

The turtle was an animal whose magic united heaven and earth. The turtle is a creation of nature that carries its round shell over the ground, like heaven, and has a flat bottom, like earth.

With a profile resembling a mountain and the turning motion of its toes, it seemed to be a depiction of heaven and earth-changing constantly through the seasons.

In the West, early Christians didn’t like turtles, and they viewed them as symbolizing evil forces during the war. In Greece, turtles were once believed to be citizens of hell.

But like the Chinese, Indians have a legend that “the world is supported by four elephants standing on a giant turtle.” (As in the great Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.)

After hearing a Western scientist clearly give a scientific explanation for the formation of the world, one old Indian woman said that he was wholly mistaken, that the world was being supported by a giant turtle.

When the scientist asked what was under the turtle, she said, “Of course there is an endless pile of turtles, one on top of another.” 

Turtles seem to possess an enviable and god-like resistance to aging, and so they came to symbolize longevity. Their link to heaven and earth made them a natural for use in divination.

Turtles are also symbols of immortality and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana.

The turtle is considered to be the second incarnation of the powerful god Vishnu in the Hindu religion. After a great flood, which occurs every four billion years and dissolves the earth, Vishnu transforms himself into a great turtle.

On his back, he carries a vessel in which the gods and demons mix the elements necessary to re-create the globe.

After a thousand years, when the earth has been reborn, the turtle remains in place, and on his back stands a large elephant, which supports the planet.

According to some Native American tales, the Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth.

The turtle is a shore creature, using the land and the water. All shore areas are associated with doorways to the Faerie Realm. The turtle is sometimes known as the keeper of the doors. They were often seen as signs of fairy contact and the promise of fairy rewards.

A Japanese Fairy Tale about Urashima tells of a man who protects a turtle from some boys who were bothering it. As a reward, the turtle takes the man to meet the King of the Ocean.

As a reward for his good deed, Urashima marries the King’s beautiful water sprite daughter. In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.

The markings and sections on some turtles total thirteen. In the lunar calendar, there are either thirteen full moons or thirteen new moons alternating each year. Many believe this is where the association with the female energies originated. The turtle symbolizes the primal mother and Mother Earth.

To the modern Chinese, turtles are viewed in many different ways. It is regarded as one of the four divine animals, along with the dragon, phoenix and chimera.

They are worshipped in temples. Flour turtles used to be used as offerings at temple festivals or big family events.

However, the term turtle is also used as a curse word, and the Taiwanese expression for gamblers “losing your shirt” translates as “knocking turtles”.

Apart from gamblers’ fears that eating a flour turtle will turn their luck sour, turtles have many other bad connotations in modern Chinese society. In fact, when people curse each other these days, the first thing to come out is often “turtle egg” or ” grandson of a turtle”.

Even so, the image of the turtle as a spiritual beast has become deeply implanted in people’s minds. One ancient text warns its readers not to act rashly when catching turtles and always to carry out the proper ceremony to worship them first.

There are also many legends about how those who killed turtles eventually met with misfortune.

Common Buddhist restraints against the killing of animals evolved into the Buddhist ceremony of releasing turtles.

Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her.

For that to happen, we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth.

Life

Life keeps handing me lemons

Nobody takes the time to search for my cozy little out-of-the-way lemonade stand anymore (admittedly, I was never very good at marketing it in the first place.)

Sure, it may not be the newest or flashiest stand in town, but I’m proud of the fact that I built it myself (with no training in the field of lemonade stand building.)

I gave it a few minor renovations over the years, but it never seemed to make a difference in terms of lemonade consumption.

People visited because they wanted my world-famous gourmet lemonade.  The stand was merely a means of letting people know I had lemonade available – always 100% natural & made with REAL passion, hope and good intentions.

Initially, the onslaught of  lemons was a blessing because making lemonade made me happy and it made lots of other people happy too.  My lemonade used to sell briskly and I even ran out of lemons several times. 

I regularly donated some of my profits to charities that battle citric cancer, a devastating disease that affects 200,000 and kills 40,000 lemon trees annually.  It felt nice to be able to “ade” the community in that way.

My neighborhood is now littered with the garbage of corrupt lemonade vendors who have stolen my signage and tried to capitalize on partial recipes that were clearly obtained from my once-successful lemonade stand.

The lemonade industry has become cheapened with mass-produced, artificially-sweetened lemon water containing unnatural ingredients like lies and lemony tears that were obviously extracted from tissues found in MY garbage.  

I’d leave if I could, but I have nowhere else to go.

I’m destined to make lemonade…but what’s the point if nobody wants it?

Dear Life,

The lemons were nice at first (did you get my thank-you note???) but now they’re piling up rather quickly, don’t you think?  What I thought was a gift has turned into some giant practical joke to you.

Not cool, Life. It’s apparent that there’s some sort of crazy surplus on these things, and you have nothing better to do than torture me with them.  Real classy.

I am now refusing lemon deliveries on a daily basis for your entertainment.

You gave me common sense and a creative outlet, then told me to follow my dreams. 

I worked hard, helped others, and found a way to make an honest living doing something that was perfectly suited to the life of anxiety, trust issues, irrational fears, and traumatic experiences you also gave me.

I even took your advice and starting offering limeade.

Life, you hired me for a temp job that you knew was being phased out.  You left no instructions. Do you know how horrible that feels?   I have no clue what I did to deserve this.

Please stop with the lemon thing. At least switch to kiwis or something smaller to delay the drowning process a little longer.

Darby

2009 year-end review & misc. stuff & my open letter to Darby

Might as well grab a drink, because this entry has a lot of content. This post was partially written on December 28, 2009.  

Due to the subject matter I couldn’t post it during a time of love and peace and all that other nice stuff that only happens once a year.

irst, an update on my mental state.

Zoloft is helping me a little, but those first 2 weeks were pure heck. It could just be that I’m glad that the OMG unrelenting stiffness finally went away.

 I can’t even explain it…had to talk myself out of quitting the pill cold turkey on several occasions because the physical symptoms were so debilitating.  

I was scared to drive because my arms were so numb.  I didn’t want to leave my bed.  Ever again. My dosage was upped a tiny bit, which resulted in another 2 weeks of heck.

Now, I’ve left my bed and am taking my meds as prescribed (half the Adderall I was originally prescribed, but taking Ambien semi-regularly.

It seems to help me fall asleep better because the Adderall dose is lower and the Zoloft makes me slightly tired.

I’m still having insomnia, but nowhere near as often.  My focus is a little off, but being on Zoloft doesn’t make your problems go away, only the intensity of the negative emotions they cause.  I’ve been painting a lot, and it’s seemingly become more enjoyable!  

It makes me realize just how bad my depression had become. It progressed so slowly that I didn’t even know that I’d changed until I no longer wanted to live.

 I have myself convinced that I’d never go through with suicide, but just carrying those intense feelings around with you all the time is no fun.  

My husband deserves better, and we deserve better because we’re good people.  I’ve put Nes through a lot of unintentional stress.  

I don’t know where he finds the strength to put up with my “episodes” and unhealthy fishing obsession, but I’m smart enough to know how lucky I am to have married him.

He’s patient, makes me feel safe and he’s the ultimate in terms of snuggification.  He even does the dishes!

4th of July at Fenway

Christmas was OK…as atheists, we (parents & I) use the day as an opportunity to spend time together, mom uses it as an excuse to do a ridiculous amount of shopping and a reason to bake cookies & cupcakes then gorge ourselves on them.  

The season is a celebration of excessively salty pork products, and getting absolutely trashed is “optional.”  Oh, and Scattergories MUST BE PLAYED, even though I ultimately get upset because my mom attempts to rationalize how an impala belongs in the category “things you’d find in the ocean.”  Nes and I didn’t “exchange gifts” but he surprised me with a ticket to see Bon Jovi concert at Mohegan Sun.

 Yup, I told you he’s awesome.  🙂

Overall, it’s been a really rough year.

A lot of it comes down to money…this $14,000 medical bill (gallbladder-ectomy) never seems to get any smaller, another 11K in credit card debt that never goes away (even though I haven’t used a card in years.)

Business has been awful for many artists.  

I’ve considered ending the “Hope” series because sometimes I feel there’s only a “glimmer” of hope left.

I did get some publicity in 2009, although these small victories quickly turn bittersweet as quickly as the copycats swarm.  

I hate money, but let’s face it…when you don’t have any money, things get stressful.  Bills pile up; sacrifices need to be made.

It sucks. I no longer have the National Geographic Channel. :-(