Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In the interests of trying to write every day:

1. I love my new printer. It's small, dinky, and I can hear it wheeze every page out as though a hamster was applying the ink, but I can print out anything I want anytime I want and that is wonderful. No more stealing printing from work. I am a fairly adept thief when I want to be but it hurts my heart to do so.

2. Working independently is hard, which anyone could have told me beforehand, and many did. I think that the hardest part so far has been struggling with procrastination tendencies and actually working during the day so that I am not crazed and over-caffeinated at three in the morning. The most irritating thing so far has been the endless bureaucracy, and the most nerve-wracking part has been waiting to see if enough work comes in. Am I going to make rent this month? Can I juggle my finances with enough finesse to make this work? I have never felt so in touch with what I spend and what I make, and that has actually been deeply satisfying. I'm making my own way in the world. Whether I fly or fall comes down to my own ingenuity, hard work, stick-to-itiveness and natural luck. And while I am worried, I genuinely believe that I can make a go of it. Being at that place of believing in my own capabilities in a fundamental way is not something I take for granted, and I can't help but look at the long distance I've come to get here. Not simple in the slightest.

Tomorrow I'll go fight bureaucracy some more and finally finish that translation I've been putting off. Right now, my muscles are telling me to lie down and read about gardening in bed for a while.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The days in Poland were intense and full. My first experiences were all sensual and almost overwhelming- the way the trees smelled, the type of clothes people wore, the translucent quality of their skin, the sour salty food and epic amounts of alcohol- all these struck me with a strength that was different from a regular tourist experience. I felt strangely, immediately at home. Cracow felt nostalgic to me in an intuitive way that I have felt about no other place, and it didn't make sense- I had never been there before. The food felt like something I had tasted in my Grandmother's house, although this clearly was not the case- my Grandmother never cooked with bacon, for one thing.

Nostalgia is one of the queerest ways we fool ourselves. One of the reasons that I didn't want to go on a Holocaust-themed trip is because I deeply dislike contrived history. I know that all history is to some extent contrived, but I resent the way in which we are steeped in Holocaust culture in Israel and the way in which it's used to inform so many of our decisions and aspects of our lives. Maybe because I moved here at an advanced age and didn't grow up in it, it has always seemed artificial to me. However in Poland it made complete, "natural" sense to think about how my ancestors may have walked those very streets, or imagining what they might have been like or invent stories about how their lives may have been. This has never been true for any place else for me.

I was pleased that we spent so much time going around "regular Poland" (as though you could divorce the history of Polish Jews from the rest of Poland,,,). One of the most interesting things for me was learning how Poles saw their own history. I liked that we often passed groups of children on school trips as we tramped through forests or castles or grottos. I felt like we were getting similar stories.

Our hosts were unbelievably warm and generous, inviting us out every night- out to their hangouts or into their homes. I felt so welcomed, and maybe this was one of the reasons I felt safe enough to explore issues of family and history the way that I did. We never stopped having conversations, my Israeli traveling-mates and our Polish counterparts. Some evenings we only cut off conversations because it was too late and we had to go to bed, and continued them the next morning.

The trip was very much a juggling act between planned sightseeing, artmaking, going out with our Polish counterparts and downtime to just wander and soak up our surroundings. I generally enjoy art that has mystical elements in it, but in Poland my mystical tendencies became much more pronounced. By the end of our time there I felt as though I was being buffeted between long, great days and nightmares that cropped up every night. I felt as though there as so much to explore, that we were only getting the very tip of the iceberg. One of the things that I did before leaving was get the names of Polish authors from our new friends, so that I could continue to try and understand. I sincerely hope that this will not be the last time we meet up with them. I felt that what we had was a rare meeting, and it would be a shame for it to be just a one- time thing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Alopecia: how much fun is it? (not even a little bit fun)

What I am doing: trying to eat well, doing yoga, taking antidepressants, getting enough rest, working in the studio every day, putting coins in a jar to remind myself of the positive even though it's hokey as hell.

What I am not doing: continuing to go to that acupuncturist who charged an arm and a leg for every session and had me on a schedule that revolved around doing things to/for my scalp. Enough. My finances are only just beginning to stabilize now after having gone to him for several months, and I need stress like that like I need another hole in my head.

What I am doing: hoping that I'm not acting like an idiot for stopping treatment, no matter how expensive or weird the treatment happens to be. Hoping that what I'm doing is enough. Trying to let my body take things at its own pace. Trying not to trawl wig stores online and wonder about just shaving it all off. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A longer post will take the place of this one, but just wanted to jot down: took valerian today, and anxiety at a discernably lower level. I have more of an attention span and of note is the fact that I've been studying and getting things done all day, it's close to midnight and I'm not exhausted. I mean, I'm not sleepy at all. And not in that I'm-awake-cause-I'm-too-anxious-to-sleep way. Just in a not tired way. Christ on a cupcake.
Plan for an installation: A group of people lying curled on overstuffed couches with their faces made up to look as though they had the shit kicked out of them. Maybe the couches organized in the center of the room like a fort?

Jumping off points would be the Saw franchise, Hostel, youtube uploads from Iraq..the public narrative of taking pleasure from torture.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plan for a sculpture: Chicken bones made of carved wood (cherry? holy god that's expensive), tied together with a twist-tie. The whole thing should be oversized- maybe larger that a person? Maybe the twist-tie should be one of those plastic ties that clack when you close them? Leaning in a corner of the room, like the proverbial elephant.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So if I'm not already in the territory of depression, I'm certainly in the outskirts of the area. The symptoms are easily recognizable at this point: dazed, tired and distracted all day but becoming wide awake at bedtime, not hungry (but still getting that sugar drop when I skip meals), lack of sex drive, generalized anxiety and vivd, awful dreams. All in all, I feel like i'm just barely making it through the day and accomplishing all my commitments, but only just. Thank god I got that day planner. I honestly don't know what's going to happen if it gets worse- at this point my mistakes at work are few and easily explained, but there's no garantee it'll stay that way.

At this point I've dealt with depression enough times to know what needs to happen in order for me to pull out of it. I've actually got a standard set of "guidelines for people dealing with depression" that I tell my friends, when they're also feeling sad and blue: Exercise. Eat right. Get enough sleep. Depression is a condition with physical effects, and just as you wouldn't beat yourself up for not being to run a marathon with a sprained ankle, so you shouldn't beat yourself up for not being able to accomplish as much while depressed. Be kind to yourself. Depression's mechanisms feed itself, and unless you make a conscious effort to pull yourself out of it, it will likely get worse before it gets better. Even if you try, it may still get worse before it gets better. Check out medication and see if it's right for you. Check out therapy and see if it's right for you.

And even though I can look back and say, yes, this has been a long and deeply crappy year in many respects and being depressed at the end of it is a pretty reasonable response, it is still so frustrating to be back here. When I left Jlem I had finished off 5 years of therapy. I was going towards a fresh start, after having aquired new tools with which to deal with stress and anxiety. And here I am, back again.

It's not that I failed (and I have to keep reminding myself of that, since in my low state it's very easy to see it like that). But I had hoped that I would do better.