27 February 2011

Betty's Story Book

When I am down, when I am tired, when I am relaxed, or when I am happy I create. It's a lovely thing to do with my time and my feelings. A healing.

My mother made it to her 85th birthday. She and I are so shocked. She continues with pain and poor health but she continues. When our mothers turned 75, my husband and I had parties to celebrate. The new rule is you get a party when you turn 85. I turned my blues into creating for B.J.'s 85th.

I had everyone sign a photo mat for Mother's 75th seen above. We did this at our wedding also. It's really nice to see those signatures on display, so many little ones grown, people gone, people loyal. For my daughter's 16th I made a journal for everyone to sign and later added pictures and cards from the event. It turned out to be one the best things I have ever made.

I repeat anything good, or bad actually, but here is mother's Story Book for 85...

It went together very easily. Sometimes that actually happens. Sweet...

The front door announced the birthday girl...

Warning...my kind of porn...

And some old fashioned petit fours...

So much family came to celebrate. I had not realized just how much I needed to see them. I needed my family and it felt so good to have their embraces. There is something truly remarkable about some who knows your history before you were born holding you.

24 February 2011

Big 'ol Reversible Shopper

Time for my monthly installment  for Jemellia's Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge.  February's bag is the Reversible Everyday Shopper.

Kinda' love faux bois.


Lots of cute bags on the Flickr group.

Next month zippers. I'm scared.

20 February 2011

Under Construction

Last post I admitted to another depression. I have been feeling better and having more clarity about depression. I have been really thinking about seasons. I called my depression three years ago 'necessary' and a 'winter'. You know 'to every thing there is a season...' I took myself for a walk yesterday in unseasonably warm weather. My walks bring peace and introspection, one of the things I miss and need during winter, of both kinds. It occurred to me that I naturally slow down and feel blue during February. All kinds of triggers for that of course, but maybe rather than depression it really is a hibernation. I am not ashamed of the word depression but since it does have negative meanings, maybe hibernation is more appropriate. I can start expecting it and prepare for the restoration it is.

I know about seasonal affective disorder.  I am not about preventing these times as I have said. I am still functional and that is the difference between feeling down and depressed and behaviourally ceasing to function as with a disorder.

In my last post I admitted to my mental addiction to suicide. The walls didn't come crashing down. I was not struck by lightening. I felt nervous about hitting "publish," wildly giddy even. But like all secrets they lose a little power when light is shone on them. People emailed with their own admissions. I guess my healing light sent a flicker out to others. I hope for that but was honored and a little surprised when it happened. Thank you for that. Let's not cower in a dark corner. Let's look to a little bit of light and start. Start toward it.

I also wrote in my post that my husband was working very hard to understand my depressions and leave me to them rather than trying to fix things, or becoming angry with his own confusion and abandonment. Last year I asked him to get a hobby while my focus was on mother. He did. It involved wood and salvaged items. He started to collect a lot and sell a little. This parlayed into the recent purchase of a small building near our home that was formerly a commercial garage.

He strapped on his tool belt and got using that reclaimed wood. He started life as a carpenter, then left wood for another industry but his true love remained.

He started building.

And he has made something beautiful and amazing. I am so very proud of him. This is what he generated with a his time while I have been working with mother and healing. We have both been under construction... 

17 February 2011

Roses and Thorns

It was the two year anniversary of my blog this week. For it I decided not to post at all. But since I am feeling depressed again I thought I better air it out.

I am no longer ashamed of being depressed. I am not afraid to admit it. I don't like being it however. I look for reasons that is back, reasons why I am all crazy and entitled to being depressed.

I desperately want to live alone when I am depressed. Part of it is about indulging the depression which is so comfortable and well known to me. When my husband comes in I feel bad about being depressed for him. I wish I had color in my face and a smile. I do not. I am angry he is here reminding how abnormal I am simply because he functions so much better than I do. I wish my daughter didn't have a depressed mother.

My depression, as true for depression generally, manifests in two forms. One is a low energy depression, inertia, sleepy, no motivation. The other is an agitated depression with anxiety, nervousness, poor sleep and for me, anger, of course.

Part of my depression, and I am admitting this openly for the first time, is the addiction to suicidal thoughts. I am absolutely shocked when people say they have never felt like that. I have always thought of killing myself. Always. As I grew up, my sister would often call the house threatening suicide or she would take a bunch of pills and call a friend who would then call my parents. I was just a little kid. My parents would not want to leave me alone while they went to see what was up so I would get in the car in my pajamas while they went to an apartment and knocked on the door which was rarely answered or she would be there in a state of unconsciousness. She never committed suicide. My brother who never threatened it did it decisively when I was 15.

So I guess exposure mixed with depression made suicide my 'go to' for negative feelings. It really was an escape strategy. An effective albeit unhealthy one. I think I thought of it most days until sometime last fall when several days went by that I didn't think "oh well, I can always kill myself." I thought, mmmmmh, this is when I would feel suicidal, but I don't. Maybe this is how healthy people feel. Maybe they just solve problems and resolve feelings rather than bury, escape, repeat. I like it!

If you have ever had an addiction, like smoking for example, you know that the impulse to smoke is there. Through impulse control you do not heed the desire. I used to smoke and sometimes, decades later will think, "if I smoked, this is when I would have a cigarette."  I am sure recovering drug addicts and alcoholics feel the same way. My suicidal ideation is like that. I think about dying like smoking a cigarette. I am addicted to it and it satisfies feelings I do not otherwise know what to do with.

From last fall I had several months free of suicidal thoughts I told myself they would return like those impulses to smoke always have. This last week I was wild with suicidal thoughts. That is really depressing. Following these thoughts are the guilty feelings for having such a great life and wanting to leave it. Having a daughter. Wonderful fodder for the wild flowers of shame.

Depression is a recurrent illness for me. That is why I am not ashamed of it. It is still very hard for me to live with other people while depressed. I know that my depressions will lift. I know they will teach. I need to give over to them. It is a hibernation and is not really unhealthy. If I had osteoarthritis no matter what I did my joints would flare up, hurt, I would have to slow down and take it easy and better function would return. If I had diabetes I would have to be vigilant to keep my blood sugar even and still there would be flares and concomitant symptoms and comorbidities.

So depressions come and go. I cannot prevent it. The suicidal thoughts are the painful joints of depression. I can be having a completely fine day and have a suicidal thought. It is a mental addiction. I try to be objective about it and treat it with a certain sterility to remove shame from it.

But deep in it, sometimes I can taste gun powder so vivid and hungry am I to die.

The rest of the time I eat well, exercise, sleep when I am tired, learn, create, post, grow. I do not mind aging. I do not think it sucks getting old or hate having another birthday or try to hold on to 30. I am just now getting happier, why would I want to hold on to my bullshit youth? I was a mess then. I am so much more authentic and aware now. After nearly 6 months, the longest suicide free stretch in my life, it comes as a sad blow to my beautiful life to feel like that.

It is a relapse. An impulse I will not move on. But so draining.

I found the feelings did not last too long. I didn't do much damage to my marriage with this depression. My husband is starting to understand this pattern of depression and how no matter how I act or what I say it has very little to do with him. Thank God.

But it is all about my desire to escape. About feeling trapped. An illusion. But perception becomes reality. The closer I get to more truth and authenticity of course the negative puppet master in my head will work her magic. Bring me down, make me want to die.

A very wise and loving counselor of mine, Jo, would say "honey, you can feel as crazy as you want, you just don't get to act on it."  Such good advice.

I think I am just still working my suicide addiction out. I guess it will never go away. I guess February is a big trigger for it. Also moving. I just think shining light on it will help.

And because when I am depressed I tend to see what isn't said rather than what is said, I am turning comments off for this post.

I don't want to hear cheery sayings. I don't want to hear suggestions for antidepressants. Look, people with diabetes and osteoarthritis and recurrent depression know full well what to do with it.

My body aches, I have been ill, I am blue and yesterday I wanted to die so bad I could taste it.

It is just a reality that is ugly. It belongs to me. It is supposed to teach me something and I am in no hurry to pretend it isn't there. I don't think being happy that will break my addiction to suicide. I think it is being depressed that will. A hibernation. A winter. An experience and confrontation of those feelings that keep returning.

08 February 2011

Four Little Ladies

And now for Colette Copeland. This was my last Silver Bella project to finish. I have mentioned many times that I did not finish one project during the event. Look, I am a college Zoology professor. We have labs. I have taken lots of labs. You get busy, put your head down and finish the project in lab. This makes sense to me.  It seems to not wotk that way with art projects and thus my Incomplete Projects List has grown until I feel I cannot enroll in anything else. It adds buzz to the bee hive that is my brain. Completing a project is so satisfying as is marking all of Silver Bella off my list.

Colette Copeland is the sweetest most precious thing. I wish I had been more aware of her during class but the rush to work and listen and complain was all too much. Her A Bird in the Hand posts are just little sweet kisses. This project is three wee dresses hanging on a line. I used a picture of my mother circa 1933, me, very 70s and my little sweetie in the 90s. Mother was embellished with lace, a treasured button and these little celluloid bangles from the Tinsel Trading booth at Creative Connection.

On my picture I opened the beloved Mrs. Bird bottle for the first time and used some buttons from Miss Colette to surround my picture. I thought that was so appropriate. I love this bowhead picture of myself in the yard.

My little girlie in front of her white and yellow playhouse. I hand stitched a fresh green vine encircling her. Boy how I try to be that vine to enclose, but not encase her. She is a teenager and will leave for college in under two years. I can't take my eyes off of little girls right now. I find such sweet sadness so often these days.

I put my dresses on a linen background and made tabs for hanging. And then I thought it would be great to have some kind of commercial drapery hanger for it. Went to eBay and found one. Look how perfectly it fits. I love this about being alive right now.

Three little girls at the start of different lives with profound impact on each other. I really love all the symbolism here.

The Colette pages in my Junque Journal...

Capturing Colette...

Little Colette Copeland is so sweet and my Project Runway quilt channels her spirit.

04 February 2011

Love Birds and Post 200 Winner

We had snow, thunder snow. Yes thunder, sleet and snow. Blizzard winds at 58 mph here in Oklahoma City. Yes the wind does come sweeping down the snowy plain. I used our snow days as an opportunity to work from the Incomplete Projects List and accomplished this Love Birds Wreath by Heidi Wallingford. I received it one year ago. It is nearly vintage now. I rarely work with hot glue. No matter how much I know it is hot I always burn my fingers and yell "this glue is so HOT!" I don't like it. But it works so well...

Heidi does a really nice kit.

Looky! It only took one year...

The view as I walk in from the garage.

Thanks so much for all the love in celebration of my 200th post. You are my love birds, yes?

I will be sending this ephemera package to Alisa!!! Please contact me. How cool, you were number 24 by the number generator! Alisa has one of my very favorite blogs! Congratulations girl!

 I will be doing more give-aways this year! Thank you guys so much.
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