Amanda Has Words

March 12, 2013

© paz 2013

© paz 2013

And cameras.

I just completed a pen-and-ink portrait of a fellow blogger and friend, Amanda. Here blog, Amanda Has Words, is full of her awesome little poems. Please check ’em out.

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I’ve drawn more these last three months. Like most things I get into, I hadn’t sketched for years, had put the pencil down. But I’m back at it again and I’ve decided (let’s hope I don’t change my mind) that I will try making portraits on of my goals as a freelancer.

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I have therapy tomorrow and one thing Brunet Young and I discussed were my “abandonment” issues. I know I’ll have to finally resolve some shit from my childhood to move on from this. It seems to me sometimes, that everything that heals me also hurts me.

One thing that’s frustrating me is that my Nemo T-Rex Duck arm has been hella hurtin’. I mean HELLA. And that’s the arm I write/draw with! Damn you Osteogenesis Imperfecta!

If you guys remember (not that I’d expect you to), I fractured my arm February of last year, 2012. Well, apparently, the fracture didn’t heal properly and there is a part of the core that is still disconnect. So essentially, my arm is still a bit broken. Sigh. This is what I mean by the though, “Everything that heals me hurts me”. Why can’t I make art without something hindering me? First it was my music and hearing loss. Now this?

I know I sound upset, and I am, but I’m quite excited about my new illustration goals.

Thanks for the support Amanda!

addendum: if you visit her blog, make sure to ask her about her photography

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Lost Ant II

June 22, 2012

Lost Ant II (c) paz

Click the photo to enlarge.

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Lost Ant

June 21, 2012

Lost Ant (c) 2012 paz

Click the photo to enlarge and read the poem, unless you have amazing, super-zoom eyesight.

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I wrote a quick and silly small-stone poem today.

The photos are from several weeks ago when our spring “bug invasion” was ending. It hasn’t completely ended, neither has this card-making. My dad’s having me do two alternate versions (according to his taste). I’ll appease him.

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An astonishing thing happened today, he said, “You and your mother have changed so much. You are a different person!” He meant it in a good way. But then he added, “It’s a good thing God gave me patience [insert: to deal with you]… It’s a good thing I haven’t had to change much.”

What’s that supposed to mean? My dad is funny, and I mean this in… I don’t know how I mean it.

“We can all improve and change,” I said.

I know I’ve been a difficult person most of my life. But was I that terrible before? And how am I now? It’s funny, even when I get complimented by him, I don’t feel validated. I feel so small, so easily confused –lost and desolate like the ant. I can’t show him how much I’m hurting, how much I feel like I’m about to drown.

I’m left baffled.

My heart’s made of parts of all that’s around me

And that’s why the devil just can’t get around me

Every single night’s alright, every single night’s a fight
And every single fight’s alright with my brain

I just want to feel everything

~Fiona Apple

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The fever hit again in the afternoon.

Yep, I’m fighting a cold guys. It started Saturday when I hit my goal of fourteen laps in forty-five minutes at the pool. It came full swing at me Sunday night and yesterday morning. But yesterday was also my first day at the job, so I couldn’t back out.

I got to the office at two and Mansie showed me a few things since she’ll be my supervisor. I wish I could tell you guys what it is exactly that I’ll be doing (truth is I don’t even know yet), but all I’m going to say is I’m the “New Media Intern,” and H, Mansie’s boss wants me to have as much creative freedom as I can possibly get. That’s what she said he told her. He did tell me he saw something in me and that’s exciting but also very scary considering how unstable I’ve been.

What does he see? What is expected of me? I’m too much of a perfectionist to not drown in my own questioning and self doubt. Maybe that’s why I’ve never responded so well to compliments.

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I think the job has been a blessing even though it’s stipend pay, even though I have some immigration concerns, even though the pay is next to nothing. Why? It’s something that will keep me busy for ten to twenty hours a week. Keeping me busy, means I’ll have no time for tears.

At the same time, I’m afraid I’ll break down at the office. I’ve barely been there one day and already I feel I’m having to fight the Pretty Little Demons (PLDs) to the point of exhaustion. They’re a funny gang, these demons.

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There’s so much I want to write, but I haven’t been able to get my head around any of it. Or rather, as Fiona Apple sings in this lovely song, “the devil just can’t get around me”. Oh but it does. It just comes back with its gang of PLDs.

Speaking of devils and demons, I used to have night terrors as a kid and one of them was a recurring dream of the devil coming after me. It was like the devil lived in my closet. Damn Catholic superstitions! And now I’ve begun to have them again, only I can’t remember much.

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I’ve been swimming as a way to pacify the PLDs but today with the cold, the coughing, the phlegm, I had to hold it off. The fever in my body is down today thankfully, but the fever in my brain burns on. A funny thing this fire–this raw emotion. Kiera Van Gelder, the author of “The Buddha & The Borderline: My Recovery From Borderline Personality Disorder Through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Buddhism and Online Dating,” mentions this fire a lot. Ever seen the picture of the famous monk that set himself on fire? Kiera mentions that monk and says that that’s how she feels, though much less noble. That’s how I feel, like I’m burning myself alive. It shouldn’t have struck me as odd though because fire has always been a metaphor for intense and passionate emotions.

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What did strike me ass odd was the fact that the emotion comes with a fight. An inner struggle that is almost unbearable sometimes. Kiera always comes back to the metaphor of a “burnt patient” with no “emotional skin” which Dr. Linehan, the mother of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), first gave in her manual on treating borderlines.

Last night, Kiera’s words stuck out and struck me:

I try not to let go of the mindfulness practice. I observe the emotions crest and clash, tidal in the coming and going of perspectives. Opposing forces battle within me: I want to get better. I want to die. I want to be loved. I want to spit on the face of everyone I see. Such drastic shifts exhaust me, and I know they baffle others. And it’s gaining momentum again. My mercurial self is clamoring for a foothold, and I’m slipping. Borderlines are experts at wrestling with demons; the problem is, we always seem to lose. Fight long enough, and it only makes sense to join the demons. What other choice is there?

Every single night I fight the gang of Pretty Little Demons, and they seem to have recruited new members in the last two months. Every single night is a battle with my brain as Fiona says. But it’s all right! The Mouse is having ping pong matches with them every day, and when I swim, I can drown them out a little. Sometimes, like on Saturday, I’ll get a crying fit while a do a lap, but it’s alright. It’s alright honey.

If there ever were “borderline girl” songs, they would be in Fiona Apple’s entire discography as it is a reflection of my very being. Thank you Fiona for doing what you do best, write about your PLD’s, sing about them, and smash your angry hands at the piano. Kiera, like Fiona, like myself are drawn to the creative fields. “What other choice is there?” Kiera asks but answers by knowing that she just has to “transform this despair into power”.

That’s what Fiona has done with her music and what it means to me. That’s what I hope to do.

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Does life have to be a battle? I don’t know. Life just is. Yet seeing the way impalas run from a lion, seeing the way they clash their horns when fighting over a female makes me think differently. Seeing my own survival, seeing my owns demons clash makes me think differently. And I know that for some of us, it’s an all out war–those of us who, as Jill over at Not Quite Lost, mentioned “live in survival mode”.

addendum: I recently found out Fiona Apple’s fourth albums is complete and will be released soon! This song is from the new albums. Check this out! Yes, I’m going to marry her someday though neither of us cares for marriage.

And forgive my rambling, off-beat writing. These days I’m not so coherent.

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Then brother get back ’cause my breast’s gonna bust open
The rib is the shell and the heart is the yolk
And I just made a meal for us both to choke on ….

And maybe I’d relax, let my breast just bust open

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DISCLAIMER: I’m using the “borderline girl” phrase as sort of a mocking/sarcastic term. There’s no such thing as a stereotypical “borderline girl”. You can have a condition, but you are NOT the condition and these songs aren’t necessarily written by or about borderline girls; they merely reflect certain parts of my life as I see fit. This is what they mean to me, someone who has been diagnosed as having BPD and is only beginning to work with herself and her deadly emotions.

*trigger warning, though it does have a hopeful message akin to ‘art is my salvation’*

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The Heiligenstadt Testament or What Mouse Likes to Call Beethoven’s Suicidal-ish Letter to His Brother(s)

(English translation)

For my brothers Carl and [Johann] Beethoven

Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you. From childhood on, me heart and soul have been full of the tender feeling of goodwill, and I was ever inclined to accomplish great things. But, think that for six years now I have been hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible). Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was soon compelled to withdraw myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh how harshly I was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was impossible for me to say to people, “Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf.” Ah, how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed.–Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you.

My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished; I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands. If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed. Thus it has been during the last six months which I have spent in the country. By ordering me to spare my hearing as much as possible, my intelligent doctor almost fell in with my own present frame of mind, though sometimes I ran counter to it by yielding to my desire for companionship.

But what a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard a shepherd singing and again I heard nothing. Such incidents drove me almost to despair; a little more of that and I would have ended me life — it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me. So I endured this wretched existence — truly wretched for so susceptible a body, which can be thrown by a sudden change from the best condition to the very worst. — Patience, they say, is what I must now choose for my guide, and I have done so — I hope my determination will remain firm to endure until it pleases the inexorable Parcae to break the thread. Perhaps I shall get better, perhaps not; I am ready. — Forced to become a philosopher already in my twenty-eighth year, oh it is not easy, and for the artist much more difficult than for anyone else. ‘Divine one, thou seest me inmost soul thou knowest that therein dwells the love of mankind and the desire to do good’. Oh fellow men, when at some point you read this, consider then that you have done me an injustice; someone who has had misfortune may console himself to find a similar case to his, who despite all the limitations of Nature nevertheless did everything within his powers to become accepted among worthy artists and men.

You, my brothers Carl and [Johann], as soon as I am dead, if Dr. Schmidt is still alive, ask him in my name to describe my malady, and attach this written documentation to his account of my illness so that so far as it possible at least the world may become reconciled to me after my death”.

At the same time, I declare you two to be the heirs to my small fortune (if so it can be called); divide it fairly; bear with and help each other. What injury you have done me you know was long ago forgiven. To you, brother Carl, I give special thanks for the attachment you have shown me of late. It is my wish that you may have a better and freer life than I have had. Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy. I speak from experience; this was what upheld me in time of misery. Thanks to it and to my art, I did not end my life by suicide — Farewell and love each other —

I thank all my friends, particularly Prince Lichnowsky’s and Professor Schmidt — I would like the instruments from Prince L. to be preserved by one of you, but not to be the cause of strife between you, and as soon as they can serve you a better purpose, then sell them. How happy I shall be if can still be helpful to you in my grave — so be it. — With joy I hasten to meed death. — If it comes before I have had the chance to develop all my artistic capacities, it will still be coming too soon despite my harsh fate, and I should probably wish it later — yet even so I should be happy, for would it not free me from a state of endless suffering? — Come when thou wilt, I shall meet thee bravely. — Farewell and do not wholly forget me when I am dead; I deserve this from you, for during my lifetime I was thinking of you often and of ways to make you happy — please be so —

Ludwig van Beethoven

Heiligenstadt,

October 6th, 1802

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Though he never completely was able to rid himself of his depression, Beethoven went on to write Symphony No. 9, his most famous work to date, after writing this letter/will, much after he was pretty much completely (no my favorite but a damn good one). Life has more irony than fiction.

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) often causes hearing loss. Whenever people find out that I have pretty severe hearing loss (in my right ear mostly) and know that I’m also a musician, they almost always mention Beethoven.

“Oh, that must suck, but you know Beethoven…”

I often feel ambivalent towards their attempt to comfort me. I don’t like to mention my hearing loss because I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, but I often have to so people can know not to whisper around me. Imagine how difficult it is to have severe social anxiety with normal hearing, and then having a loss like that just multiplies the anxiety. If Beethoven lived in our modern day, he’d be labeled with “social anxiety disorder” and “major depressive disorder” for sure–among other things.

Whenever people start to give me their puckered face and their, “Beethoven did…” speech, I always want to show them this letter he wrote, as if to say, “SEE, it wasn’t easy! Beethoven wanted to kill himself for many years. So please, don’t give me that fuckin’ shit! In fact, some say he may have drank himself to death! But yes, you’re right, he did keep on writing his music. And thank you for your kind words, you make a good point about determination. Whew. Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on ya…”

The good thing is I’m learning to habituate. Again, art has been my salvation. And this letter has been a source of comfort.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Resource:
http://www.all-about-beethoven.com/heiligenstadt_test.html