The Picture of Our Lives

I read a blog post -- the link escapes me, now -- about how we present these images of ourselves on Facebook and social media that can be created for 'likes,' images of a together-life. It got me thinking of something I encountered recently that had me realizing social media and blogging is only one aspect of our lives...we want to be positive and upbeat, shading all the amazing experiences we're having.

But what about the rest of it? What picture of our lives are we painting?

You may see photos of me art journaling with friends, or off at CHA, yes. But what you don't see are the text messages to friends having to cancel on friends. The tearful breakdown I had walking from the convention center to the hotel, camera gear and junk on my shoulders, the longest walk in a long time fraught with pain and limping and the solid wall of a flare-up. You don't see night spent curled up in a chair because of overwhelming fatigue and a headache that appears, nearly every night, around 6pm. 

You don't see the depressive moods that come on at any moment --  I recently read the best quote about chronic pain and depression (the entire article is well worth the five minutes it'll take you to read): "...chronic pain may cause secondary depression (wouldn't you get depressed and down if you were hurting constantly for months or years?)..." How I can suddenly turn sad and have to force myself to not sign onto Facebook because I always post sad things that I regret hours later. 

But that doesn't mean I dwell. It doesn't mean life is full of acceptance. Sure, I spent two hours in bed watching silly 80's BBC shows this afternoon, but I also went out for lunch with a friend and worked on a painting for an hour. I'm curled up in my chair again, but my Couch Box is next to me and I'll doodle & draw in my art journal for a little bit. 

Life isn't all or nothing. It is living in the moment and enjoying the best of each we're given. Perhaps we could all be a little more honest when posting, showing our true, messy, broken selves -- and all the beauty we can create from it. 

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I was given fabric pigtails tonight to make me feel better. It's amazing what a bit of shimmering fabric and a sense of cuteness can do!

fibromyalgia awareness day

While I’ve been open about my living with FMS, and told a bit of my story, I thought I’d go more into what life — daily life — with FMS is all about. You can read on Wikipedia, or other FMS-centric websites as to the specifics of the disease, but that doesn’t relate the reality of what living a life with it is really all about. 

 

My Story

When I was 14, the heel of my dressy shoe got caught on the edge of track lights and I took a tumble down the stairs. Most people were trying to find their seats, and there I was, falling, my weight landing on my left leg as the edge of a table slammed into me so hard, I had a bruise for over a year and a half. 

It looked like one man was going to catch me. At the last moment, he decided it wasn’t important enough for him to stick around, and he headed another direction. 

I spent the show with an ice pack on my ankle and was “requested” to sign a document that said I wouldn’t sue the show venue. 

I did, unaware of just how much damage had been done. 

While Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is thought to have a genetic component — and mine certainly does, with two aunts living with the disease as well — many report that an accident or injury is what “jump started” the long road down diagnosis lane. That sprained leg — ankle, knee, and hip — and shifted jolt to my hip (that has developed into severe bursitis) that kept me out of school for a month is what, finally, catapulted me into the revolving door world to seeking a diagnosis. 

I knew something was wrong. I was in constant, unending pain. I was tired all the time despite sleeping normal hours. I walked with a limp though high school. So many complications and health issues arose that made me think I was going crazy. I must have cancer, or some other unseen disease that was slowly killing me. 

It takes years to find a diagnosis, and even then, it doesn’t do much for you. I’ve been on so many medications, I can’t remember them all. Things that have worked and things that haven’t. Exercises, specialists, MRIs, X-Rays.

None offer comfort, and having a label to apply doesn’t magically present a cure. 

 

Being Diagnosed

The truth is, there is no cure. Being diagnosed with FMS can be frightening and confusing, and doctors don’t do much to fully explain things to you. Your best resources is a local or online support group (I run two online, one of which you can join at The Studio) because those are the people who are going to tell you to you straight: there’s no cure, but there are ways to live a productive, joyful life despite this life sentence hanging over your head. 

Which meds to try and what kind of diet to eat (the less processed food, the better. As well as less sugar, no HFCS, and cut down on the caffeine). What exercises will be easy and which should be avoided. How to deal with family and friends who may not understand that just because you don’t look sick doesn’t mean you’re not. 

 

A day in the life...

I don’t remember a day without pain. 

As I sit here, writing, My body’s overwhelmed. It’s just one of those days, when every movement brings about another reminder of my FMS and my only comfort comes from a heating pad and comfortable couch. My thoughts are running crazy. I’ve lost my train of thought about five times since I started writing this, and my energy’s waining. 

Some days, I can’t even get out of bed. Others, I can spend a good hour or two in my studio, painting and playing, before my back starts screaming and I need to rest. Naps are fun, but mess with my chronic insomnia and only have me staying awake longer and longer. 

I forget a lot, because of the fibro fog, which makes running a business very difficult (so don’t take it personally, please, if I don’t reply to an email, or forget to post something) and keeping appointments requires a few people reminding me and alerts on my phone. 

Life with FMS can be difficult and costly and unpredictable. I can’t even count on my hands how many times I’ve had to cancel appointments and hanging out with friends and events because I’m just not able to do it. 

 

Art saved my life. 

When I discovered journaling, I was a deeply depressed, suicidal woman in college wondering if my life was ever going to be more than a constant struggle of doctors and meds and pain. Pain pain. I was trapped in this swirling vortex and there was no light in my tunnel. I was stuck in the center and hopeless. 

Losing hope is the worst thing in the world. 

And then I found journaling. 

It was easy. I could do it from the couch, in bed, wherever I was. I didn’t need fancy things. My journals started as drawings, then progressed as I learned more and more about myself and supplies and color. 

And magic. 

I found magic between those pages. I don’t know when, exactly, this happened, but it’s there, sparkling and loving and all-encompassing. It distracts me when things get too bad. It gives me an outlet when all I want to do is cry. My journal is a hug that is always there, that I never need to ask for. My paintings show the true me, the one buried under all this inside. 

 

Awareness = Understanding

So the next time you hear someone say they have FMS, ask if you can give them a gentle hug. Don’t get angry if they say they can’t hang out or need to cancel. Bring them a treat when they’re feeling low. Don’t worry about what they look like, but ask how they feel. And care about the answer. 

They’ll love you for it. 

 

Friendship & Kindness

Just a last note. Many of my friends have a disease of some sort, and their empathy comes from that. I’ve had friends in the past, people I call “typicals,” who have thought my issues were fake, that I was crying out for attention. That looked down on me, or took it personally. But I’ve also had friends — my best friend — who always asked if I was okay. Who was cool with just hanging out and watching tv. Who never made me feel bad or guilty. She saved me by accepting me as I am and I have tears in my eyes just thinking of her kindness. 

So if me posting allows you to be just that much more understanding, if anything you simply give a little kindness, I weep in joy for the woman (or man!) you touch. 

 

Understanding begins with awareness. If you’d like to learn more, please visit one of the websites below, leave a comment, or send me an email. I’m more than happy to answer questions or offer support. 

 

But You Don’t Look Sick

The Spoon Theory

National FMS Foundation

Fibromyalgia Support

 

Shifting Self-Care for Illness from 'Rest' to 'Work' Really Does Make All the Difference

I wrote this essay at 1am on Saturday, before I finished the novel. I can now say OMG you must read this novel because of it's beauty, honesty, humor, and thought. I miss these characters, but am thankful they were brought into my life by chance (A wish list fill by Teresa, who's note I carry in my house sweater pocket).

 

In the middle of reading my book of the moment (“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, who’s writing is so beautiful, funny, and sad at the same time, I’m glad this book will throw more money at him to keep writing beautiful books) and a line jumped out at me that got me thinking.  

And yes, dear reader, I have actually paused reading said book to write this, propped up in my bed at a quarter to one in the morning. 

Basically, it goes something like this: Hazel is asked if she’s going to Support Group, and she recounts: 

“…but I was really tired from a busy day of Having Cancer, so I passed.”

The thought that entered my head was this:

“I never thought of having a chronic or terminal illness as work.”

But if you, like me, are unfortunate Side-Effects (as Hazel calls us) of Disease, then you know just how much work it is. Oh, it may not look like much on the outside, and if you met me in the street without having read or seen my vastly transparent digital life (side-note: is there such a thing as too much authenticity?), you would have to be as hyper-observant as Sherlock Holmes (and here I’m thinking more BBC Sherlock than any other, though I do enjoy a good Rathbone Sherlock from time to time) to know there was anything less-than-healthy about me. 

And since I’m pretty sure you’re not Sherlock, nor any of his contemporary incarnations, I’ll lay down the clues for you, since I’m in a helpful mood: I walk with a slight limp, grimace when I sit or stand up, and move constantly. In fact, that is the one clue my mother can pick up with alarming speed, though that might be from prolonged exposure to, well, me. My twitchiness and inability to sit still increases in relation to my pain level, and this can be quite annoying, I’m sure, when you’re sitting next to me. I don’t notice it myself, but that’s probably because I’m trying to distract myself from noticing on purpose. 

Quite a lot of acting goes into Living With an Illness That Will Never Leave — you learn to project smiles and excitement when you feel like a zombie out for brains, and resist the knee-jerk reaction to answer the question of “How are you?” with the truth (which would probably make the asker uncomfortable — and that’s okay, since most people aren’t equipped with how to respond when someone admits unrelenting pain and fatigue coupled with Medical Drama when all you wanted was a good or alright in response). 

But acting isn’t the only work you do. I currently have 5 prescription bottles on my nightstand, with another tucked away inside, one in my purse, one I haven’t filled for years since I’m uninsured (America: get your act together, please!). I need to keep track of refill dates and how many refills are left, then check when my next doctor’s appointment is to make sure I won’t run into any bumps (I usually do, as one of my medications isn’t taken at the high dose, normally, so pharmacies are always running out of it). I have to make sure there is a back-up dosage of medication with me at all times in case I go out somewhere and am too fatigued to make it home — friends and family have been known to stay on the phone with me to make sure I stay awake. 

Then there’s the simple act of Living With an Illness. Going up and down stairs is not fun for me in the least, and yes, person watching me hit the elevator button, I am going to elect to use it to go up one floor despite appearing young enough to not need to. 

People love to judge with the eyes. 

This is where I roll mine. 

There are the times when you’re asymptomatic, or in a flare up (affectionately misspelled during my times as Flair Ups, which sound so much more fun, don’t they? Also, there is no spell check on my cell phone and computers usually make me sick when rolling with the waves of pain) when all I want to do is crawl under my covers and die — I’ve been known to punch my legs (the main source of nighttime OMG Kill Me times), pull out hair, slam my fists into the mattress, and so on. When all I can do is sit on the couch or lay in bed, caught between asleep and awake, unable to fully commit to either. 

And even on good days, like today, where I managed to run a few errands, play with paint a bit, and smile more often than not, I come home to rest my body because it simply doesn’t want to move anymore. Like it’s given up on it’s one and only job. Get it together, body! 

How many times have I berated myself for not getting much done in a day? How many times have I gone to sleep feeling guilty because I only managed to cross one or two things off my to-do list? 

When I go back to examine what I did that day, I see large holes of time used for what? Nothing? Rest? An impromptu Netflix-induced television marathon? I beat myself up even more for this unaccounted for time in my day, feeling it could have been put to better use. 

But if I really look at it, I was probably spending a lot of time busy Being Sick. 

Read that again. Go on. 

I never really considered Being Sick as busy or something requiring more of my time. I’ve often fought against my limits, measuring my output to that of others who are Not Sick, striving to achieve more if only to prove my worth to society. Shifting self-care from the Indulgent column to the Work column doesn’t change the inherent facts of the case, simply allows for a bit more slack to be thrown my way when things haven’t gotten done and I’m still in my pajamas at 8pm, having watched four episodes of “Hoarders” as a way to tell myself my apartment doesn’t really need to be cleaned. 

In fact, re-organizing Being Sick to something you can possibly be busy doing gives it the proper time it requires in a daily schedule to stave off those asymptomatic times. Ask a bunch of us, and we’ll tell you of times we’ve bounced back a little too quickly simply because we were feeling a bit like complainers. 

Which is my cue to stop typing this essay and get back to reading, as I only just removed my wrist brace and typing 1200 words was probably a bit too much, too fast. 

I’ll be busy Mending tomorrow, and that’s a hard job all by itself. 

Creating in your art journal on those kind of days...

Yesterday, Cassandra wrote:

The last few days, I've been hit with a serious wave of weakness and fatigue to the point where getting dressed is a major accomplishment-- but I'm not sleepy. Getting chores done is nigh impossible, and I'd rather not turn my brain to complete mush via computer and tv. I know you've had "fibro days" that are at least somewhat similar, and your art journaling arose from those. I was wondering if you would be willing to put together a post on getting through sick days with the help of art-- what sort of things work best from the couch and such.

While I’ve written about my armchair art box before, I wanted to write about something a bit less involved than that overfull shoebox. I’ve been working out of a smaller box myself, as long days make for tired nights. Simple is best. So here’s a little overview of my current armchair box and a few pages I’ve done in the past few days. 

 

Waterbrushes are a sick girl’s best friend. They allow you to put down color without needing a cup of water next to you or messy brushes. I totally recommend grabbing one of the nicer ones you can get in the embossing/stamping/Tim Holtz section of your local hobby shop, as you really do get what you pay for. 

Pair one with pan watercolors, tube watercolors with a little palette, or watercolor pencils for instant color with little mess. I have dogs that like to jump after shiny things, so a cup of water isn’t the best idea. Also, watercolors are forgiving — let some dry on your palette and re-activate them later on! Curl up and doodle or simply spread around color! 

Smaller scraps you’ve collected in the studio, rub-ons, and photographs are easy page kits for when you just want to tape bits down and do a bit of collage. 

Markers are a nice alternative to watercolors if you want to do some doodling but don’t want to get out the water or any paint. I have a few Pitt brush markers, Marvy fabric markers, and Sharpie pens to color with, but have also pulled out Copics or colored pencils. 

Gel pens & multiliners are great for doodles to be colored later. White pens are great for adding embellishment to previously-finished pages. 

A small pair of scissors and double-sided tape are a must for any sick day art!

 

 

Here are some tips for working in your journal when you’re sick but need something to do. 

 

 

1. Practice lettering. This bit of journaling took me 45 minutes and kept my attention. Write the words with a marker first, then outline them. The first loosens you up, the second takes a bit of easy concentration. You can easily fill a page with this. Pair it with a photo, and you’ve got a nice looking page that allows expression without taking too much energy. 

 

2. Doodle. I recently started doodling with my waterbrush & watercolors, and have had a ton of fun with very little in the way of supplies. Use markers, or even a pencil, to doodle across a journal page. There is so much for you to discover by way of doodling, you shouldn’t discount it (I recently bough Stephanie Corfee’s book Creative Doodling and Beyond, which is full of amazing doodling prompts that can be done right in the book).

An alternative to this is zentangles. Oh, zentangles, how I love you so…

 

3. Give a page a colorful wash. You can use watercolors or colored pencils to spread color around doodled elements or words you’ve written across your page to pull everything together. Spread several colors around and then doodle on top of them, make fun frames for photos, or tint some of your found papers to make bright elements to collage onto the page.  

4. Be okay with less. When it comes down to it, a journal page created while sick isn’t going to measure up to one you work on in your studio with all your supplies. And that’s okay. Not every page needs to be full of color and collage and cool techniques. Allow yourself to have fun with the simple processes that come with doing less; get lost outlining a favorite quote, spend hours blending colored pencil colors, allow yourself time to refine your doodles. 

 

You may feel too tired or sick to do any art, or feel that whatever you make while curled up under a blanket isn’t good; it is. You’re working from a different place, one that is less flashy and bold, but no less important to investigate. All the little things can give way to discoveries that may, down the road, change and shift the art you create when you’re feeling better. Give yourself a break, get a mug of tea, and show your journal some love. 

I'm off to bed, as I'm teaching my first class here in Arizona tomorrow afternoon and want to make sure I'm well-rested for my students. There's still time to join us (just email me if you do call and sign up so I can make sure to bring enough supplies!). 

Creating Beauty in the World

 

Wow, have I had a whirlwind of a few months. 

Sitting with Dawn over hot chocolate the other day, I talked about how I feel like myself, finally, for the first time in months. She smiled and said, “That’s the fibro-fog. You were stuck in it.”

Isn’t it always when someone else says something, you suddenly realize you knew it all along?

I started July with two family members in the hospital. I battled with 100F+ temperatures to film and complete True to You 2. September saddled me with carpal tunnel + fibro so bad, I couldn’t use my hands for two weeks. At all. I only got full use of them back in October, and by then, I was so buried by months of being behind, I was digging myself out.

Here’s the thing about fibromyalgia -- it’s always there, in some way, every day. As I type this, I have orthopedic gloves on, a wrist brace on my right hand, and my wrists are on a nice, bead-filled wrist pad for my keyboard. I’ve all but given up on typing on my laptop, and have tried to cut down on IMs, if only so I can save my hands for my 2,000 words a night for NaNoWriMo.

But I’m doing it. I’ve finally dug through all the sludge and come out on top, ready to tackle the world, a little wiser. Here are a few things I’ve learned these past few months:

1. Better safe than sorry. When my hip started to hurt, riding my bike wasn’t the best idea. And I could have spared my wrists if I’d only been kind to them instead of pushing myself.
 


2. Journal all the time. I couldn’t write for a bit in there, but I could paint with my fingers and cut things out. When in the hospital, I had my journal on my lap to relieve stress (you can see my visitor’s badge from the ER on the cover of my current journal). There is SO MUCH you can do even if you can’t use your hands, or are tired, or are in pain. I am blessed to know so many strong ladies who do art every day with FMS and other chronic conditions.

3. Know it is okay to say you can’t handle things. This is a lesson I’m still trying to learn. Especially with trying to make a living online, and thus having to deliver content and actual items. I dropped the ball with journal orders and prints in the Etsy shop. I am so, so sorry. And don’t say that I don’t need to be, because I do. I need to be more up-front about what’s going on. But always know I am doing my best.

4. I’m thankful. If it weren’t for my FMS and surgery in college, I would have never picked up a pen and started to draw. Or a paintbrush to learn watercolors (simple, simple watercolors!).

I know there isn’t much art-talk in this post, but that’s okay. I’m writing to those of you reading this who can identity with these journal pages. To those who struggle. To those who overcome.

Tomorrow, I’ll broaden my gaze. But tonight, I want to give you all a hug and show you that you don’t have to let your circumstances or illness keep you from creating beauty in the world.

 

 

{show them what you're worth}

At times, I forget how solitary art-creating can be.

Push aside interacting online or showing your work to others, or even being published --all you create comes from you, a stillness within, and comes out in your own secret alphabet on paper or canvas or fabric. You are the only one who sees all you’ve created, can see the struggle hidden beneath the layers of a painting or the pain in the swirled doodles running off the edge of a journal page. No one else pages through your journals the way you do, reading the words seen and unseen.

Simply put, the outside world has no idea what you go through to create.

A few days ago, I was feeling the pressure of getting a few projects finished. I’ve improved a bit when it comes to deadlines, finishing bits up at least a day or two before they’re due, but this is the result of putting incredible pressure on myself to finish, and finish early so you’re sending in quality -- not rushed -- work. I’d been sick for about a week, starting off with a horrible flare-up of my fibromyalgia (to the point I couldn’t get out of my bed without crying from the pain) and ending with a stomach bug that kept me up for 36 hours straight. All in all, I could only think of all the things I should be doing, while trying to remind myself to forget that incorrigible word.

Recovery takes longer when you have fibromyalgia. What takes you a day takes me a few, and on that day at the beginning of the week, I was really feeling everything fall on my shoulders.

And so, when talking to my mother, I said:

“I don’t understand why you don’t see what I’m doing as work.”

A bit of back-story: I work my ass off. There’s a lot more to living as an artist full-time than just making paintings and having no set work schedule. There’s administrative things. Posts and social media to keep up on. Images to snap and crop and fix up. Clients to speak to. Money and accounts to balance. Emails to answer (you’ll be happy to know I’ve instituted an ‘answer when you read it’ policy when it comes to comments and notes). Packages to mail.

And this all happens in a small area at the back of my apartment, away from others. Remember how I said art-making is solitary?

She responded with something that really got me thinking:

“That’s because we never see any of the money.”

I know we don’t do this for the money, that art is a way for us to express ourselves, deal with the difficulties of our lives, even works as a meditative state for many of us. But that’s inside our world. Outside, the world still measures worth by how profitable it is, even if that statements a bit backwards and capitalist.



But her statement got me thinking about a few things. First, the solitary nature of art-creating. How many of you share all you create with your families? Do they understand when you’ve been re-tweeted or linked to by someone well-known, or that you’ve won a workshop or print from someone they’ve never heard of? How many of us have taken the time to really explain what our world consists of -- and what is valuable to us, as artists?

We should invite our families into our studios and show them what we’re doing. Explain to them how important this is to you -- let them see the joy it brings. Bring them into the fold when it comes to swaps or projects you’re working on, and try to impart the significance of what you’re doing. Let them share the victories and comfort you when things don’t go so well.

For example, whenever I’m working on a painting or piece for a project, I show it to my family and close friends and ask for their honest opinions of what I’m creating. It doesn’t matter that, maybe, my style isn’t their favorite kind of art, or if they even like art. What matters is they get to see something as I work on it, the steps in-between, and offer constructive criticism that might actually help me improve my art.

Most of my funds come through Paypal, and if you’re not reading my emails, you won’t see any activity. When I do get paid for articles or interviews, I jump up and down and show it off -- let my family and friends see the little steps of success I’ve made, and that helps them to appreciate what I work on. But what about the other stuff? Maybe I should take them out to dinner, or offer to pay for movie tickets once and awhile. I don’t make a huge amount of money with what I do, but I think it is important to show others my world in terms they can understand.

The second part was actually a realization prompted by a combination of my mother’s comment and Dawn Sokol’s treasured friendship. It is the value of your work.

I love my (mostly) weekly coffee dates with Dawn. We talk about what we’re working on, what we’ve seen, share our art and lives. She gets things in a way my family doesn’t (which is why what I’ve written above is so important).

She also is a great voice of reason and reality.

She has said, “Kira, I think you’re undervaluing yourself.”

How many of us do this? How many of us look at the work we’re creating and compare it to others’ and figure it isn’t worth much? I think there’s a difference between being humble and having a low self-esteem, and it’s so hard to find that balance in the art world.

When I priced my paintings for the Charity Sale to help Japan (which is still running, if you’re looking for a way to donate to the Red Cross & get a painting to boot!), I actually had to message my friend Nolwenn and said, “Can you go look at the prices I’ve picked and make sure I’m not undervaluing myself?”

Sometimes we need others to show us how much we’re worth. I may think listing a painting for $105 is silly, but I sold that painting within 24 hours of putting up the charity sale. We need others to be there to knock us on the head when we’re not at our best, to be an outside source looking at our creations. All I can see are flaws. All others can see is perfection.

By the way, when I told my mother I sold that painting, she went, “You could have gotten $105 for that?”

I think that was a big message to her as to how far I’ve come.

So show your family and friends what you’re really worth. Take the time to share your world and art and thoughts. Let your kids create alongside you. Turn off the TV for a half-hour to babble on about your latest blog post or amazing email.

By sharing your world, it’ll grow and blossom in ways you never imagined.

{in between my mind leaking out my ears...}

Wow. My brain has been eaten by this new workshop I'm putting together; everything's been either in my head or scribbled as notes for the last few weeks, and now I'm collating it all into written lessons and resources and samples. It's a lot of work!

So I created a new journal to work on samples and later film in, and totally went all out and made it messy and fun.

class journal cover

The covers are from a vintage book I picked up at a thrift store a week ago.

inside the class journal

 

inside the class journal

Each of the signatures are covered in file folders I layered and spray painted. Totally fun! And I just love how they look inside the covers...

impromptu hand-carved stamp

When I went into the studio this afternoon, I saw this buttery new block of handi-carve and just had to make something. And, yes, I've read that we're starting to over-do the hearts-with-wings image, but I just adore it. This one's actually based off the art of CLAMP, who had these kinds of wings in Card Captor Sakura, one of my favorite manga.

doodles...

Then, doodles for layered pages for endpapers in two new journals I'm binding for etsy.

working at the table...

Of course, I have to make pretty pages in it, so I got right to it, finishing the text edits and such for Week One's stuff (tomorrow, filming for it!). I don't usually work in spreads, but this journal is smaller than I usually work in, at least in the last few years, so spreads feel more natural.

new journaling class sample

I'll probably work on the pages individually, but it was fun to make this background. I know it may not make sense right now, but take the class, and you'll totally understand what's going on here!

journal page -- little girl lost

And, of course, I had to journal for myself!

I know most of you don't know what's going on in my personal life, but it's pretty....all-consuming and difficult. I almost didn't post this page because of how much it says, or, rather, doesn't say, but I want to be true when I show myself.

When I got the vintage book for the journal above, I also happened upon a 1927 edition of the Sears Roebuck catalog -- for $1! I'm not huge on these images, but this girl seemed perfect to show how fragmented I feel. The facing page is even more personal, and for once, I'm not showing everything.

I don't have all the answers. It's hard to accept that fact.

Tomorrow -- live vlog! At 4pm central, as usual. Hope to see ya there!