Adventures in Dismaland

{Forewarning: cross post from my other site Superficially Iconic which I am also reviving}

Some may wonder why people gravitate towards certain corners of art.

Growing up in a small suburb of Illinois, I stuck out so much. Weird colored hair and crazy pattern clothing combinations do that. But so does the rest going on in the core of my being. I just happened to match a bit on the outside.

My dad was the conventional son of a visionary. She, however, rode the line. It created the juxtaposition I live in with my modern outlooks and lifestyle. Therein lies the deep rooted nature of understanding within.

Dad may never understand art to the level my grandmother and I do, but, in his own ways, he gets it. Dad just gets a different side of the glass. He has moments where he will draw outside of the lines but he really does like and value the lines. This is probably evident by his love of comic books but only choosing to read superhero books. Dad’s mantra has been, “If I wanted to think about real life, I would.”

Dad is a disconnector. He dabbles in art to escape reality. It’s a natural thing and beautiful in its own right.

I’m a polar opposite to my father in so many ways with my love of art. I have an adoration and respect for his world of function and practicality but… like to jump off cliffs at times.

For me, the line between art and reality should be a blur. It should speak to you. It should make you think.

That said, the link below is not for everyone. I know several members of society that would look away or talk poorly of this pocket of art. Despite this, I’m still associated with several. I love their words- art or reality or spaces that blur the lines.

Controversy shouldn’t have to be a controversy. Revolutions shouldn’t have to be revolutions. Even if they are both or neither at the same time. But I must say.. it does take the bold to do either one. Blurring the lines and keeping things black and white is an art in itself. And that ain’t bad.

That said, here’s an introduction to the Bemusement of Banksy with his latest pop up installation: Dismaland. Take a peek if ye dare into the superficially iconic beauty of dystopian art and reality compounded into one.

For more info, see the other press pieces:

The Guardian’s coverage

Channel 4’s coverage

Uk Reuter’s coverage

Success is Being Able to Not be Afraid Successfully

For several nights, for several reasons, this has been the look on my face as I lay awake and thinking about… far too much and not enough.  It has also shown a bit about how I know that there are still pieces of the woman I was the day I was raped by my (now ex) husband.

Yesterday a friend posted a link to an absolutely wonderful project endeavor: Project Unbreakable.  It is my plan this weekend to add my voice to the project.  It is a voice that has felt so frozen and paralyzed… but doesn’t want to be afraid anymore. As cheesy as it sounds, I have learned through these years just how much success is the ability to not be afraid successfully… even if you are.

So many people have approached me over these years and said how strong I am.  So many people have said that they value my dedication to this city, my goals, my passions, my art, and…

But I feel like a phony sometimes.

People handle their pain in their own way.  It is not ours to tell them that their way is wrong or right.  It is, however, our duty as people to be there for them or not if they extend their hearts to us… respecting the ways that they would like us to do that.

Monday I nearly didn’t go out.  I was invited to attend a mini conference.  I have been feeling physically dreadful for the past few weeks.  Feeling physically ill does not necessarily make for the happiest of Jenas.  I have been on a fair amount of personal quarantine this week as I cope with it.

Going to that conference made me remember my strength.  I was just.. me.  Little did I know that doing just that was enough to be remembered in a substantial way I would find out later this week.  It is humbling to even think about… and perhaps, nearly as scary.

I think about those people who believe in me.  About the strangers that have me in confidence.  Of the new faces I met because I decided to shove the pain to the side and just… wake up and walk out there.

You motivate me.

You give me hope.

You give me strength.

 So why am I so damn scared sometimes?

A couple of wonderful things came into view this week.  Reminders of all the impact I have done.  Reminders that that girl laying in bed sick and scared is also bold and brazen and confident and… strong.  Reminders that… the scars are still there but they are not to be afraid of.

This is my day.

This is my year.

The scared girl doesn’t need to be forgotten.  She needs to be remembered as she is the reason why the strong one that exists is here in the first place.

 

Editors side note: the movie images used in this post are from a movie which I knew would become one of my favorites before it came out.  It was, as fate would have it, a movie my ex husband would refuse to watch with me.  I didn’t end up watching it until after he was no longer around physically.  Perhaps that was a little sign in itself.

The book of Jena-sis: What’s God got to do got to do with it

And now for a reading from the book of “Jena-sis:”

Once upon another life in a land far far away from where I currently reside, I grew up Catholic.  My parents would like to believe that things I was taught by this exposure to ten years of Catholic schooling would be the best thing that they ever did for me. Some may say that’s part of why there has been as much “wrong” with me.

Religion has been popping up all over in my daily endeavors as of late.  As the book of testament would tell you to “Keep Holy the Sabbath” I figured what better day than a Sunday to talk about it?

There are quite a few reasons why “my path has been led astray” from what my parents attempted to instill in me all those years ago.  Many of them are based within the foundations I was taught by said religion is the very reason as to why someone should be religious in the first place.

Religion taught me about the bad people do as hypocrisy ran rampant amongst those who attended or found themselves “at the house of the lord”… almost as much as it did the good that resides in people.  That is, not to say that there aren’t genuine hearts that attend religious functions. But, like the rest of the world, I have come to understand that there are fewer and farther in between.  And, more so, that those who do good for others generally have an agenda a majority of the time.

Religion taught me there was very little that was actually wrong.  It showed me ten important things that were to serve as life reminders of the correct path… but that following these ten important “laws” did not matter anyway as all of the wrong I did would be quickly excused in a matter of moments as long as I sat in a box and told a stranger who technically couldn’t tell anyone about it anyway.

Religion did teach me some wonderful things that I wonder where I would be had I not gone to all those aerobic Sunday meetings of sit, stand, kneel.

Catholicism taught me about the real life application of the world itself being a stage.  (This was later re-confirmed as I found myself with copies of Shakespeare books.)  “Fame” was something completely attainable.  I could stand up in front of an audience and force them to listen just by being in the right place at the right time.  It also taught me about elaborate storytelling as talks about a man being swallowed by a whale heightened my imagination as I saw that so many people can actually believe things to be facts no matter how ludicrous things are.  One could argue that I therefore learned about marketing, manipulation, charm, charisma…

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In other words, religion taught me sin and how to get away with it without the worry of actual recourse for my actions.  There was very little I could have learned from attending church on a Sunday and receiving a sacrament that I honestly didn’t understand at that age anyway, that I couldn’t have gotten had I had parents that showed me… books, the news (not just Fox News although my father regularly watches) on tv and taken me outside a bit to different diverse neighborhoods to expose me to world experiences.

Why, as a parent would I want my children to attend church to learn all these things rather than allow them to experience the world more naturally and learn these same lessons in the real world where they could then learn tangible approaches to these forms of people and… maybe actually learn that actions should always be accountable?

There are many other reasons as to why I’m opposed to the exposure of religion to youth.  I won’t dive into all of them with this entry as some items are…  a bit far away down the rabbit hole personal wise than I feel comfortable “confessing” in this box of text to strangers.  However, the main reason why I do not believe in following in my parents footsteps is that, with the knowledge I have obtained from personally going this path and seeing truth outside of it, it is that the mind is simply not developed enough to understand the complexity of a potential “higher being” whether its “God” or aliens, especially at that young of an age.

The word “God” is not a basic concept just as the word “love” is not.  Telling kids to read from the best selling book in the world and that these things are fact while a giant band plays on stage might make them excited and happy to attend but it doesn’t necessarily teach them things beyond using a scapegoat to get out of their actions the moment they do “wrong.”  Giving children material things or taking them to places like Disneyland (which I admittedly have done both of) doesn’t make or show a child the true meaning of “love.”  It is far more than that.

If anything religious could be said that could explain how I would even consider a religious context from a book being introduced to my children, it would be this passage found, ironically, in an interpreted version of suppressed text from the Gospel of Thomas, a text outside of the canon dictated by the Vatican:

“The Kingdom of God is inside/within you (and all about you), not in buildings/mansions of wood and stone. (When I am gone) Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me.”

If my children want to seek out some “higher being” as a purpose for their lives, I want them to be wise enough and old enough that they can understand its complexity.  I also personally feel that they will not find these answers without questioning the world around them… outside of a church.  You may believe that all the answers you desire are found within those walls but, as I have found, the only answers that matter or should hold any sort of weight are the ones learned from the within the heart.

Simply (my interpretation)-

“To find the world and all its answers, find yourself first and you will have all that you need.  Nothing will ever fulfill you like yourself.”

Cracked Lights and Cassette Tapes

Lately I listen to more Cohen than I do Waits.  I’m not sure how to feel about it.  Mr Cohen just seems to pop up more and more fluidly.  Like he did this morning.

I saw a word referencing a leak about a video game news story coming… down the Valve. And instead of following immediately to find out the news, I immediately thought of this quote and subsequent song by Leonard Cohen.

“There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.”

This year has had so many life changing moments.  This past week… oh my… it’s been a shark week…

I woke up to a phone call from an office in a land of enchantment.  A land where, coincidentally, someone is returning to as if to take the other’s place.

I thought so much more of that one… and the magic that I thought he helped create.  Like the nuclear explosion in a white dwarf star that makes the world brighter by its occurrence.  And he was, if only for a moment at least.

It wasn’t good news about either non sequitor situation.  It was… a snag in progress.  I have hit so many snags with all of this.  I’ve been starting to lose a bit of hope throughout all of it.

The holiday weekend brought with it so much affirmation and perspective it was mind blowing.  My mind goes through it again and again analyzing each moment and trying to: make peace with it, make sense of it, and change it.

I feel like a jammed cassette tape.

My brain.. under the microscope

(Ps if any of you feel compelled to do so I also wouldn’t mind getting this t-shirt)

I’m about to hit the showers.  Analyze why the phrase hit the showers exists.

(I mean, what did the showers ever do to me beyond get me all clean and smelling good?)

Head downtown to a courthouse with a pen, several notepads, my computer, chargers, and… this heavy heavy heart I have as I trudge through it all.. on the bus system… with an entourage of naysayers strewn across my path.

I think about the words of Mr Cohen once again.  I think about the beauty of enlightenment.  About how the greatest things to happen and the greatest works of literature and art seem to have come from cracked places like this one.

Is it weird that I’m smiling through tears?  That it’s not just society’s’ force that guides me to that smile right now but it’s… this silly stupid optimistic heart?

Maybe I’m just stupid.  Hell I’ve heard that in the past before too.  Either way?  Fuck it.  This is important to me and it’s worth fighting for.  If I don’t, the potential for it to change really is zero.

So here goes [hopefully not] nothing.

It’s a…

I haven’t been this glowy and happy since I first found out that I was going to be a mom again.  It’s ridiculously cheesy and sometimes I can be both ridiculous and cheesy so, for those of you already in the know, there it is… and for those of you not in the know.. you were warned.

Also a fair warning that this is not going to be the most grammatically correct or strict form of flowing words as I usually try to adhere to.  Blame the caffeine.  Blame the excitement.  Blame the… surge of happiness I am currently feeling after so many hardships that…

But that’s for another entry.

Awhile back I mentioned that my grandmother was very ill.  Combine that with her husband (also of great importance and inspiration to me) having progressively bad Alzheimer’s, I knew that this baby would be important for them.  It was one of my “bargaining chips” to hopefully entice them to hold on a bit longer.

“Gram you have to stick around and meet your new grandchild.  I plan on naming the baby after you if it’s a girl.”

My grandparents’ names are Aldo and Anita.  Sincerely, they are two of the most amazing souls on the planet.  But while I’m happy and enjoy my grandmother’s name, I’m not a huge fan of my grandfather’s… despite my fixation for older style names in general.

Flashback to what feels like another lifetime ago…

When my ex husband fled the state and took two of my children with him.

It devastated me.

For obvious reasons.

My middle and youngest children were so little when he left… and stole those memories from me.  Memories worth far more than any dollar amount… and unfortunately that’s what it seems like it’s going to take to fight him about it.

Again… another blog.

I have one son and one daughter with him.  My daughter Sakura was one of the two children taken from me by my husband.  She was less than a year old when it happened.  He gave those memories to another woman who couldn’t have children of her own… until she later did with my now ex husband.  While I love all of my children the same, I really didn’t get the opportunity to have those little bitty moments with my daughter.  It is especially hard for me.

Back to present day again-

I had been hoping for Anita.  The idea of it made my grandmother beam rays of happiness through her tears on the phone line when I first told her.

I was told to drink a ton of fluids to help get an accurate picture of the baby.  This baby, however, was wide awake and playful, and didn’t want to give up the secret of what the sex was just yet.

But rather than keep it suspenseful more, even though I know very well I could hook you for more clicks, I’ll… tell you another story first.

My child’s father, Bear, told me that he had a dream a long time ago about the sex of a baby he was going to have.  It unfortunately did not happen.  It has brought him a bit of sadness as well.

Hopefully…. that changed a bit yesterday when I told him the news. (Spoiler alert… it did!)

Little Bear moved around a lot during my ultrasound.  My child likes to hang out in my lung capacity to give me the most heartburn possible.  The two sonographers doing the test were taking a long time trying to get Little Bear to remain still enough to figure out what was there.  Like Bear, Little Bear did NOT want to be photographed.

I got a bit of video from the ultrasound… two videos actually that I will post in a later edition.  Little Bear moved around soooo much that unfortunately the sex was not determined in those videos.

The next stenographer came in the room. This was the woman who was supposed to tell me the sex.  I couldn’t get any more pictures or video.  However… the hospital gave me a DISK of pictures.  Those will be loaded onto the proper channels in due time.

(Ha.. due time)

But back to it… Little Bear finally DID cooperate.  And although Little Bear tried his best to cover up and dodge the view…

I need-a new name…

That little boy his father dreamed about then… is happening now.   I officially have become a bit of a 50’s show with this now… third son of mine.

That said, as I was originally set on having a daughter I did not really think of a lot of boy names.  My other sons names are Ethan Raphael and Maddox Conner.  Ethan’s name was originally going to be Trent Xavier- after the Daria character and the X-men character.  My daughter is named Sakura Faye (after Faye Dunaway and Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop).  As you might have been able to summarize, I have a soft spot for comic/pop culture related names and old fashioned ones.  Bear’s father and I are also fans of great writer’s names.

Have an idea about a name?  Please feel free to leave it in the comments.

Little Bear

Super[flawed]Man

Super [flawed]Man

Today is supposed to be a happy day. It’s for celebration. It’s marveling at the amazement that is biology and much more.

It’s a day to remember the great things about our dads and grandfathers and the men in our lives that shaped us to the people we are- whether present or not.

Today is a hard day.

I called my grandfather to wish him Happy Fathers Day from me and my little line of ducklings/spawns. To be honest, I’m not really 100% sure how he was when he was in dad mode. I feel that perhaps I need to ask my family and him more about that part of his life… to find the stories beyond the pictures.

I think about how my grandfather didn’t finish college or even high school. Of how hard he worked (and still does) because of that choice… the rebel choice. You would have thought that by watching his struggles that I might not have wanted to repeat in his hardships. I did, however, in my own ways.

In the machine message I left thanking grandpa I told him that he got the fun parts with us… especially as grandpa. My memories with my grandfather are full of him being the savior and smile and source of inspiration that, well, my parents could never completely fulfill. I think about how much he and my grandmother have shaped my life and brought with it such amazing color and inspiration that…

And then there’s my dad.

Once upon a time my dad was my hero. I was this little girl (watch it with the comments people) with pigtails and missing teeth. My father brought so much laughter and silliness and color into my world too- from my dad’s dedication to Halloween first and then Christmas, to comic books, to… reels of Three Stooges. What I’m not supposed to talk about is how much pain was inspired by him.

As I got older I saw more about the corporate suit with the stable job that loved to laugh and read comic books. I saw the harsh realities of how stubborn he could be… of where I probably get it from. And then I remembered a bit about the joking around with my grandfather about how stubborn he is. It’s so much easier to look at the flaws of your dad vs your grandfather.

I look at the other men that have followed my dad as far as male figures. There is a saying that every girl looks for her dad in the men they date. I have dated some very intelligent, very die hard to their beliefs, colorful and quirky… assholes.

Ethan is currently with my dad right now. His father figure was a ghost of a man. His father… was the colorful bit of lies and laughter. And it’s all my fault. Ethan being with my dad is partially my dad stepping in to try and assume the “hero” role.  It is the same role that my great grandmother did for him ages ago when my grandparents fought (more than the usual laughable kind they do) But were these people really heros or…

Enter Maddox and Sakura’s father- my ex husband- and how he’s probably sitting pretty high on that horse thinking he is the greatest guy in the world… who stole my children. He too, would like people to think he is the hero. And, once upon a time, exhibited that same amount of compassion and silliness that my dad and grandfather did.

And now Little Bear’s dad… Little Bear’s dad was probably the closest thing to my grandfather ever.  Joshie Bear was like looking at a younger version of my favorite male role model in the world… complete with his faults. Josh’s spirit and ease of getting along with people and making friends everywhere.. that silly cheesiness… was why I fell in love with him and why when I first found out about Little Bear, although the timing was not “perfect” I was… really really happy.   Joshie Bear always wanted to be a dad. He never got to be and it broke his heart more than I could comprehend despite some of my super harsh remarks about the whole thing.

I know that today is supposed to be for these men… but perhaps it could be for this wish too. My wish, as I thank each of them for the good they did, is to please remember the bad that their fathers did as well. It’s so easy to look at the hero parts but to truly get past all of that, we have to acknowledge where they were flawed too… so that our kids will know and hopefully not repeat the same actions.

To all the great and not so great men of my life who have made a dedication to the purpose of not just being a donor or the hero but to being a DAD… an unselfish compassionate one, I salute you.

Fat Lil’ memory Notebook

Lots of time on buses and what not running errands and dealing with Dr’s shit and, forgetting my Kindle in my friends car meant some quality time with the ole Fat Lil’ Notebook today. I bought it a few months ago for on the fly notes and what not as it’s essentially only a little bit bigger than two Post-Its (5 1/2 x 3 1/2).  You see, I have a little bit of a Post-It fixation as previous co-workers can attest to… but that’s for another entry.

On occasion I will flip back towards previous entries. Today was one of them as I realized my book was beginning to get a bit thin.  There’s only about 20 or so pages empty left in it and so, another is likely needed in the pretty super near future.

This notebook says so much it’s a bit crazy. There’s notes on an abundance of things from the everyday directions list to meetings to.. little snippets and memories of things from when I first found out I might be pregnant.  Reading the entries brings about thoughts that, although fragmented, show just how much brevity can still weave a story.  Reading this I’m able to watch the excitement and happiness I felt initially to…my latest entry which is, suffice to say, not.

I’m curious how much one could assess about my mind and it’s inner workings from seeing these little notes and blurbs. About the other notebooks that have been lost in moves. Who knows what happened to those old pages? Perhaps they never saw anyone else’s eyes before they were tossed into a trash. Perhaps they weren’t. Perhaps it’s for the best either way.

These pages are evidence of a life lived. They are a reminder of why I ALWAYS will have a notebook and a pen on me… and why that hasn’t changed for as long as I can [not always] remember.

These pages are why I know that I know that what I am before anything, first and foremost, is, and ever shall be: a writer.  Till death do I part.  And that ain’t bad even when it is bad.