Stalled

Everyone needs a hobby, or in my case several. 

With the chaotic mundanity of being a stay at home parent with twin toddlers the doesnt sleep enough, I decided a couple of months ago to try my hand at carving wood pendants.  

In my previous pre-parent life, I carved stone sculptures, and for a tome had done antique furniture repair, so the skill set is similar enough.

A local jewelry maker was selling her inventory out and had a bunch of wood cut into little discs and I bought a handful for a couple bucks, and started experimenting with my dremel. The next thing I knew, I bought the rest (about 100 pieces) and was motoring away at them averaging 4 pendants a day. 

So, what to do with all these little trinkets? I decide early on to maybe try to sell them on etsy or through farmers markets or craft stalls. 

Great! A little micro business i can do from home that is a healthy outlet, that won’t take from other hobbies in the future.

Cue going non stop for 18 hours a day or more with the kids/house/life/carving for almost two months straight (A few days downtime carving for appointments and illness etc. ) and I have a tidy amount of stock. So I’m prepared to open am online store!

And here I sit.

After doing all that hard work, inspired to keep carving, etsy account made, postal information on hand, and all I need to do is take pictures, write a description for each piece, post, shamelessly share it and cross my fingers.. or maybe toes because hands are handy.

The great machine has stalled.

It’s not the first time either… And there’s no answer as to why I do this to myself, but this time I’m admitting and addressing the silliness that it is.

Is it that I don’t like doing fiddly things? I obviously can commit to a point, know full well this isn’t a career and it’s more just for enjoyment with maybe some extra coin on the side. Worst case all my lived ones get pendants for Christmas, and I still got to carve stuff instead of cleaning and cooking and rearing children. 

It’s not like carving stops when I do the store thing, or it’s that much extra responsibility to mail stuff off to customers. So… why?

This is the conundrum of my day, if anyone reads this and has suggestions, I’m open to them 🙂

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Codependency 

It’s my birthday but it’s just another day.

Here’s what I’ve learned about codependency, and instead of using ambiguous statements I’m going to use a personal experience.

1. Most birthdays end up being me disappointed that my s/o does nothing for me at all. This birthday, although I’m nowhere near any friends or family other than the kids and the s/o, I’m going to have cake and ice cream and the kids and I are going to have a fun day. I might nap or make art while they sleep but regardless, it’s going to be about enjoying the day.

(Owning my feelings and finding better ways to deal – my happiness is my responsibility)

2. The house needs extra income, my s/o has made it difficult to maintain enough routine to get a part time job and refuses to caregivers the children if I do. That said I also need an outlet so I’ve decided to start making art again with all of the art supplies I’m sitting on, and try selling it. Worst case, it’s cathartic… best case decent money and cathartic, and maybe I can afford a sitter once a week.

3. Refuse to do anything more than I’m supposed to do in my role as a stay at home parent. 

4. Delegate. When stuff needs two people politely say to s/o to do/grab/deal with the thing. If s/o doesn’t, talk to them about it later.

5. No is the magic word. Reframing boundaries.. this is a hard one, and unique to each person. I see posts about how to lay boundaries and there aren’t many clear answers regarding the subject. What it seems to boil down to is separating yourself from the other person and even your relationship to them. Who are you when you’re single? That’s who you need to be in a relationship. Who is that person outsode your relationship? Let them be that. If the relationship doesn’t work by just being, then you aren’t compatible, and that’s okay. 

6. Expectations are lies we tell ourselves about what we deserve. Yes we deserve love and affection and compassion, but we need to find people in our lives that we share those things with, not find a person, give it our all to that person with the expectation that they need to give us anything back. Healthy love is naturally reciprocated, not demanded.

7. Self care. If you need permission to take a walk or have a shower or just sit and relax, here it is. You have permission, so say what you are going to do and just do it.

8. Destructive self indulgence.

Smoking, binge eating, habitual self damaging habits of whatever kind. I tried to quit smoking and the chaos suddenly got ramped up in my house. The doctor that prescribed champix said, once I got to 5 smokes a day think about those ones. They are the reason I smoke. I smoke to step out of a calm situation to a stressful one. (Morning smoke, post meal smokes, etc.) I also smoke to be indulgent. It’s my little thing that let’s me be selfish, and make up for the “giving” and “sacrifice” that I do. Which is all ego.

9.  You aren’t needed. If you dissappear tomorrow, life will go on. You’ll be missed, your presence desired, but nobody needs you, except you. Tough pill to swallow. Your codependent addict will most likely replace you with another person willing to fill your role, worst case they will go down the path they were headed before you stepped in to take control, best case, that’s rock bottom and they start actually getting coping skills and learn how to be responsible. 

10. The path to hell is paved with good intentions.

You aren’t helping your addict. You’re stunting them further. Your ego is telling you that you know best. You don’t. If you can’t control your life and behavior, you have no right to controlling or being responsible for anyone else’s life (if you have kids, get help if you’re codependent) you can offer friendship, or advice or find sources for help for your addict, but you can’t make them change. Period.

11. You don’t like your situation. You love them, you aren’t ready, you don’t have the resources, the list can go on, but it boils down to you aren’t happy…. do things that make you happy and feel secure. If you want to go to counseling, do it. Ask your addict to come, if they don’t want to, that’s where they are. It isn’t your problem.

12. Love languages work for reasonably functional couples. If your relationship is a train wreck, subtle things like love languages mean nothing. And really still puts the onus of your happiness on your partner and vice versa. 

13. Be a whole human, be loving and compassionate to yourself, all those shitty things you say to yourself daily: catch yourself doing it, and make an effort to apologize to yourself and reframe it. Talk to yourself like you are a 5 year old. 

Scratching the abyss

This is going to be a heavy post about addiction and suicide. 

For those people struggling with addiction, I have no answers. All new studies point to having love and a fulfilling life to prevent addiction, but once in the throes of addiction that community becomes a foreign place to an addict. 

As an outsider loving people who have spiraled through the event horizon of addiction, it’s a terrifying experience to behold.

After watching a person spiral in and shoot out over and over, one’s mind can go to really dark places. 

Tonight was a dark night in my mind. The differences between addiction and suicide hit me tonight.

Suicide is swift and final. There may be things left undone, unsaid or unexplained, but loved ones can grieve, and in time move forward. 
Addiction always teeters on the edge of finality holding on to a tiny thread of hope. The death of an addict is usually a slow and painful process.

One grieves a loved one that slides down the rabbit hole out of sight, but gets a glimmer of hope when the addict reaches up and cries for help.

The grief is paused. 

Then the addict slides down again.

Over and over the cycle goes until the addict destroys themselves partially or entirely. But up until the end, there is hope.

I don’t know how an addict feels during the cycle, and I refuse to ask for justification. It’s needless. I can’t force sobriety, or a fulfilling life. None of us can, it’s entirely up to an addict to make that decision.

Addiction is a sad part of society, and hopefully we can help our communities find a solution to help all who struggle with it.

I found happiness once

Years ago, I found happiness and actually had it hang around for six months or so.

Like actual happiness, I would wake up at peace and look forward to my days, there was joy every day of the week. I slept well at night and honestly can’t remember anything wrong happening at that point in my life.

It’s taken me 11 years to figure out what it was that made me so happy. Yes I had quite my job to chase my dreams to be an artist, and I got up when I was rested and wasn’t governed by clocks, or any other societal norms.

Over the years I tried and failed miserably to recreate that situation in a more stable and financially stable manner, and be truly happy again.

But I’ve come to realize that the art was a byproduct of what was actually making me happy.

I did art in a park downtown and there was always a stream of people that paraded by. In that stream there would be a random that would plop themselves down on my painting blanket and let me listen to them.

They would share a piece of life with me and I would actively listen to them and cultivate this spark, and as the conversation unfolded somehow one of the paintings I was working on would come to life. It would evolve from a bunch of colours and lines into something tangibly interesting.

I was happy because I had a fluid audience to listen to and communities with. Each fleeting micro-relationship special and entirely unique. And I thrived on experiencing the beauty and mutual vulnerability of it all. It was raw, natural and didn’t follow most social rules.

I had women and men alike, people in poverty and Versace wearers, Bikers  (yes leathers and Harleys) and the most prim and proper devout religious individuals. All hanging out on my little painting blanket, sharing life and just existing as they actually were… deep down inside, without judgement or criticism.

Obviously this lifestyle probably wouldn’t make most people happy, but it was perfect for me at that point, and I wonder if I can find a way to incorporate it back into my life now.

Civilizations come and go

With all of the strange violence and chaos that seems to be popping up lately, one has to pause and wonder what it is that is actually going on?

What would make a middle class suburban kid decide to go and fight for some strange violent group of people in a foreign country?

Security and a sense of direction, meaning in life, solid foundations regardless of creed.

We are at a nexus point in human civilization and most people are unaware of it.

The digital revolution is no longer a revolution, but an evolution. There are no answers to the days ahead, no predictability at all.

For the longest time I expected some major upheaval, more dissent something tangible that would signify the end of civilization as we know it, and either the human race imploding or us making some sort of major advancement.

But today while I was looking at new tech trying to ponder how to prepare the twins for adulthood I came to realize something.

It’s happening. We are moving forward regardless of trademarks, profits and property rights. We are as a species circumventing the powers that be, and we are unifying in a way that has never happened before.

Free knowledge and public licensing in technology has opened the floodgates. And access on a global level is giving laypeople the opportunity to create real-time practical solutions to their environments, all the while crowdsourcing the resources they may not have.

It all seems a sham to people who hold power because they can’t calculate it. You can’t tally knowledge and there are no dividends on freedom. But there is a technocratic creep happening. In fact it’s upon us and we don’t have the faintest idea what it will bring.

Which brings me back to people going to strange lands and adopting violent mantras. They see it, and don’t understand it, and they are looking for a solid conservative direction to protect them.

Ultra conservative people need a sense of meaning and defined directions and roles in order to feel safe. It’s ingrained in our genome, and has served us in the past even though it doesn’t serve us now.

But the change is upon us and there is nothing that can be done aside from complete destruction of humanity to end it. And nobody is insane enough to step across that line.

As the change comes, it will keep accelerating and those able to adapt and think on their feet will have the most success.

What we are seeing is the death throes of a dying civilization, but as there are so many of us, humanity itself as a whole will be here to usher in its replacement unlike previous civilizations.

All in all we are going to see some amazing things in the short term, and I look forward to where it’s going.

:D

Things I’ve learned about life (part unknown)
1. Get off the couch and do stuff. Hobbies, volunteering, travelling, LARPing. Just don’t be a couch potato.
2. Read. Voraciously about everything you can, even if it’s not your “thing”.
3. Listen to a variety of music, and be open to new tunes.
4. Push yourself hard
5. Take care of you, and love you for who you are right this moment, things change, bodies change, lives change.. it just takes time.
6. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Move on.
7. Listen. Listen to your friends, your world around you, your body and your heart. They tell the truth.
8. Success is a lie. Achievements are relative and failure is subjective.
9. Be you. The best you that you can muster. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
10. Facilitate others to also “be” and discover them as they are.
11. If you meet someone and get into a relationship, don’t stop doing the above. Period.