Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Mind-reading" / Mental health issues

I thought I'd use this blog as an opportunity to discuss some of my mental health issues as well as how I'm trying to manage them. Sometimes it can help to know that you aren't alone, and that you certainly are not crazy for whatever it is you feel.

One of the things that I struggle with on a daily basis is called "mind-reading", which I consider to be partially a by-product of my anxiety. My mind is constantly coming up with a variety of thoughts to superimpose on to whatever anyone else might possibly be thinking (about me). While it makes sense to care somewhat what other people think (we are social creatures who want to be accepted by a larger community), I shouldn't be trying to "mind-read" my friends. I believe this is detrimental to my ability to trust.

For a long time I didn't notice that this was something I did. As far back as I can remember, I've been just assuming what everyone else thought of me (which is usually something awful), and then accepting what my mind came up with. It wasn't until I started going to therapy a few years ago that I realized I was relying so heavily on this way of thinking, and that I could take steps to change it.

For example, if I got stuck in a thought loop such as "everyone hates me", I can counter it with the thought, "no one said that they hated me". Sometimes it helps me more to write it down on a piece of paper, and in doing so it's easier to process the counteractive statement.

Changing my thought habits has not be an easy process, and I still struggle everyday to not "mind-read". The difference now is that I have tools I can use to help turn my thoughts around. Something else I try to remind myself is that it's okay that I am still struggling, as long as I keep making the effort to try. That's what counts.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Where I'm at with college.

Long time, no post. I've been living life with all its twists and turns. A few things can be condensed into a nutshell, but I wanted to specifically elaborate on where I'm at academically.

If everything goes according to plan, I'll be graduating in Spring 2018. It's hard to imagine a finish line because I started going to college back in Fall 2011. It's taken so long to get through it because I spent many semesters only going part time. I was a lot less stressed out then, but in recent years have taken on much fuller workloads. I've never taken more than four classes, because four classes is my personal limit. Any more than that and it's so stressful that I have frequent mental breakdowns. Not worth it!

Last semester was especially stressful. A month in, I had to request months off of work so I could keep up with my homework and projects. Even so, I was still stressed out all the time and hardly slept. It felt so good to be done with it, and I spent a lot of time during winter break just working on art and enjoying the absence of deadlines.

This semester has been a lot less stressful in comparison. I'm taking three classes and two of them are studio classes, so I get to work on art projects most of the time. The other class is Asian Art, which requires a lot of reading but it's very manageable.

In addition to working on my projects, I've been preparing for a show that my friend Jade and I have coming up this week. Friday the 17th will be the opening reception for it, and I'm definitely both nervous and excited. Being around large groups of people can potentially cause me to shut down due to the social aspect of it, but I've been trying to work on that by going to gallery openings and exposing myself to that specific discomfort. ("exposure therapy")

Every now and then I get the urge to blog, but almost never follow through with it. Maybe I'll start updating more? Maybe!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

First Solo Show... then a second one!

It's been a while since I updated this blog, but the time spent away was due to life stuff. We had to move, so we went from living in a duplex near the airport to living in an old house in a really nice neighborhood. There are a lot of positives to this move, like being way closer to campus (and therefore my work), being down the street from an elementary school (which Lilah will start attending in August), and finally having an actual front and back yard! Good stuff.

There are a lot of other neat things happening, too. I was approached by two different people about having a solo show in two different venues - in the Arc gallery on campus and in a Café D'arte. At first I figured I would have to choose one or the other, but then realized that I have way more than enough art to have two.

Last Thursday we hung up my watercolor pieces in the Arc gallery. I have never done anything like this before, and the manager for the gallery, Ellen, was more than helpful. My friend Kiara also helped out. Ellen guided us through the process and it took almost four hours! The majority of that time was spent doing the measurements. It was a lot more complicated than I imagined it would be, but everything looks great. I will definitely post pictures soon.

I was pretty stumped about coming up with a title to the show, but I impulsively ended up choosing the word Obscurascope, which is also the name of my Etsy shop. I think it fits well!

Here is the artist statement that I wrote for it...

Obscurascope is a word that I assembled which means to “investigate the unseen”. I think a lot about the transience of life, the permanence of death, and enjoy the mysteriousness of it all. The eye is a symbol that I use to represent my fascination with this mystery.

My drive to create has been with me from a young age, and I spent countless hours drawing and writing as a child and as a teenager. As an adult, I was in an abusive relationship for over three years. I spent the majority of that time in seclusion and without access to my family or  friends. Drawing in my sketchbook and exploring my imagination helped me get through those dark times, and made me feel free. Creating still holds this power for me, and it also acts as a meditation for helping me through my anxieties and depression.

I started drawing with ballpoint pen many years ago, but didn’t start using watercolor paint until I took Beginning Watercolor at UAA with Professor Garry Mealor back in early 2013. At first the medium frustrated me and I was sure that I would never get the hang of it. With each assignment I felt like I was improving, and have since worked primarily with watercolor paint. It wasn’t until the past year that I thought to combine my love of both ballpoint pen and watercolor. Since the ink in the ballpoint pens I use is oil-based, the water based paint does not smear it.

I will be applying to the BFA program at UAA this Fall.
I will write again soon about the Café D'arte show once I get that hung up.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mini-Update in Etsy Shop

Just wanted to announce a mini-update in my Etsy shop! I took a mental break from the semester for a day, and just worked on some pendants. I really like how they turned out!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Draw me like one of your DMT elves.

About a month ago I purchased a Snazaroo face paint kit off of Amazon. The quality was surprisingly great compared to most face paints that I've used.

For a while now, I've wanted to try and paint my face like one of my art pieces. The end result was kind of rushed, but I'm fond of how it turned out, despite the jagged lines and lack of even blending.

Looking forward to some more face painting fun in the near future!
(All pictures were taken with my phone & post was published using the Blogger app. Super convenient! Should try that more often...)