It Ended with Silence

The funny thing is, nothing about me has changed since the day I cut him out of my life. I am no less the self I was then, only now I have a little more experience under my belt, and hopefully I’m a little wiser. I hold no animosity, though I have plenty of reason to in our case.

Still he tries to have the last word. It’s been nearly two years, and he’s still trying.

Today he tried to contact me on Instagram, under a new account with a new alias. Nothing threatening, just the usual petty remarks about how I look or what a bitch he thinks I am. I deleted the nasty comment after taking a screen shot and saving it to a folder of potential harassment case material. I blocked him. Again. Probably the 3rd time now.

But today was different…

Today I wasn’t thrown into chaos by fear. Today I wasn’t worried about running into him in the street. Today I wasn’t afraid of seeing him. Today I wasn’t afraid of the next attempt to harass me. Today I recognized what all of this was…a show. A show he’s putting on for himself in hopes others will watch and be amazed, only to be disappointed when I refuse to retaliate. Because without my response, he isn’t a show at all. He’s just a man child crying out for attention and making a spectacle of himself. Or worse. He’s nothing if no one notices.

Retaliation means something to play at. Silence means there is nothing but the sounds of angry wails on deaf ears.

Some would say ending my friendship with him with silence was cruel. In his case, it was the only way. You cannot win with Narcissists. They will find ways of blaming you in their own mind and twisting it so they truly believe they are never to blame. So to be silent is the only way to keep him from having reason to retaliate, so if he does harass me, it is entirely of his own choosing.

I keep choosing silence every time he tries to contact me, because with silence I have chosen absolute rejection. When I choose not to retaliate, I ultimately reject his thoughts, his negativity, his bad energy, and his feelings…none of which I am obligated to take responsibility for since ending the friendship. I refuse to acknowledge them. I refuse to be a victim to them.

Still, I wish he would just move on. The only “crime” I committed was out growing him. That’s not a crime at all. As long as this continues I intend to retaliate with silence.

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I am a Maker

Like my Creator I too have been given the blessing of being able to create. I have been given hands that can hold my instruments, and a mind that can see things that are not yet there. I have seen beauty beget beauty and deep searing pain beget beauty. I have seen that which seems impossible and made it so. I make words work together. I make small beautiful things to adorn people and places.

I work on my artistry and craft for the same reason I write here…for therapy. Every piece has held, helped, and healed a moment in my life that was joyful or painful. Each piece I have crafted is a monument to my desire to make beautiful things as I have been made into a beautiful thing. To remind others that though they adorn their homes and themselves with my work, they have been adorned with a souls, crafted by the greatest hands of an Almighty Craftsman.

I work to remind the world, that if you want beautiful things you must…absolutely must….stop starving the artists.

Below is a collection of some of my small adornments. They are a combination of metals and natural materials. If you’d like to see more you’re welcome to visit my business Facebook page.

Christmas Plans

The day has been grey, and as I sit here at my laptop I can only be thankful to be indoors. The combination snow and rain is making my bones chill, even though my heat is on full blast and my cats are warmly tucked at my feet and behind my back as I type.Β It officially feels like winter now, as I can watch the sun sink a little earlier in the day. It’s only 4pm and nearly dark out, accompanied by clouds looking stern and cold through the water droplets on my window pane.

My husband and I set up our Christmas Trees last weekend. This year we set out only 3 instead of 4. Our little 3 ft white tree in the living room, our 2 ft frocked tree in the bedroom, and a 3 ft metal frame “tree” my husband keeps in the basement with the rest of his nerd ornaments. This year we have no travel plans and no required places to be. We’ve not committed to anything at all.

I’m actually looking forward to Christmas this year.

As I’ve posted in the past, I do not often like Christmas. I dislike the commercialism, even though I do enjoy shopping to a fault. I struggle between wanting things and wishing I didn’t want things, as I think most people my age do. We’re raised by TV and Internet to be consumers and then we we are adults, we realize we cannot afford to consume as much as we want, and more than half the time, we can’t even afford what we need. So while I love shopping, I shouldn’t, and while I would love to give Christmas Gifts to people I love, I usually can’t.

One of the remedies I have discussed in past posts has been to alternate Christmas gift giving between making handmade gifts, and giving gifts that support greater causes like Charities or a small family-owned business. By doing this, I find either I give something a little more thoughtful and custom made, or I’m giving a gift that gives back in some way or another. That way my family gets gifts, and my gift giving feels more meaningful than just buying the lasted gadget at a large corporation that doesn’t do that much for it’s community or the charities it claims to support. Plus, I leave with less buyers remorse than usual.

A few of the Charities I’ve given to and supported this year I posted in a previous blog post and have been supporting for a while either with my money or my time (or both).

Another reason I’ve been enjoying Christmas more this year, is because I’m doing more to celebrate. My husband and I are starting to formulate and investigate Christmas traditions, which we hadn’t done last year because we were only celebrating our first Christmas and didn’t quite know what the other thought about the holiday, much less what we thought about traditions. One of the traditions we decided on, that also works as a personal goal, is that we’ve decided to attend every Advent sermon at church this Advent season to help us reflect on not only the positivity we should feel for the season, but also the greatest Gift of all…The birth of Jesus Christ.

Another tradition my husband and I are starting this year, is we’re throwing a small Krampus celebration, where we have invited friends over on Dec. 5th (Krampusnacht) to watch the Dark Comedy Film based on the old lore of Krampus, the Christmas Demon. Apparently an old European tale of a demon who took care of the naughty children in a way that St. Nick didn’t (usually kidnapping and eating them). A little dark and ridiculous, but all the same a fun little something that we can look forward to every year.

What are your holiday plans? What traditions do you celebrate in the winter months?

A Confession: Failing

I was supposed to be a friend’s plus one at a wedding this evening. “Supposed to be” being the key term. Tonight, during a bought of freezing rain, my car slid a little and threw me into a panic attack induced by a car accident I had a few months ago, where my husband and I hydroplaned into a cement divider on the interstate going 70 mph. I was driving at the time and totaled the car.

The panic attack I had this evening forced me to pull into a parking lot to calm down, and when I did, I had to call my friend and tell her I was struggling to make it the 45 min drive to her place, and told her I had to flake out on her. She understood and told me to go home and stay safe.

I was really disappointed when I got home. Disappointed at how much the anxiety from my car accident made me fearful and prevented me from living my life. Before the accident I didn’t have issues with minor things like sliding. I knew how to control slide. I was able to push through them. I wasn’t paralyzed by them. But since the accident, I’m afraid to even drive in rain during the summers.

So I flake out on my friends and fail myself and them. I wish I knew how to get over it. How to not be afraid.

Diabetes Awareness Month…is a joke.

So November has been diabetes awareness month, and I have to say I haven’t done much posting about it. Why? Because I fucking hate it.

I don’t want to be a diabetic. I hate this disease. I hate being obsessed with food and with counting carbs and needles and all the complications of everyday diabetic life.

I don’t want to make people aware of my disease…I want my disease gone. I want it eradicated like polio and small pox. I want it destroyed.

The problem is, I don’t think there will be a cure in my lifetime. Why? Because insulin is the sixth most expensive liquid in the world. The fifth most expensive is Chanel perfume. If that doesn’t tell you the priorities of common man, then I don’t know what does. Big Pharma makes money off my plight, and I for one am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

There. That’s the awareness I’m spreading. That diabetes awareness only educates people more on how to care for diabetics…care for….not cure. While I appreciate people being aware that I have a disease that causes me to need special attention…what I really would appreciate is a cure and making people aware of how much that probably isn’t going to happen.

Still I hope for it in my lifetime. Not for my sake, but the sake of so many others like me.

End rant.

Giving Tuesday

It’s giving Tuesday! That means I’m sharing some of my favorite charities and non-profits with you!

Here we go:

Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum

I’ve been involved with these guys for 3 years now, and besides memberships and donations they have an online store where you can get some sweet merchandise and help keep the history of letterpress printing alive!

LINK

Helping to liberate people from oppression is the most rewarding thing you can do! Liberty In North Korea helps find refugees (known as “defective” to the North Korean government) and relocate them to safe zones. They also have an online shop where you can purchase merchandise to help the cause, or you can become a freedom fighter to help the cause if you are unable to donate.

My Rescue Dogs

This one is a personal friend of mine who creates beautiful art and merchandise to help pets find forever homes. All 100% of the proceeds go to helping out shelter animals.

What are some of your favorite charities? Put them in the comments and share! πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

Broken Heaters & Bathroom Remodels

On Monday morning, in the very early and dark hours, I awoke with a very cold nose touching mine. When I came to, I saw both my cats laying on me, and realized that my nose, was also very cold. Going to the thermostat I saw we had the heat set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermostat indicated the actual temperature was just below 60, and sinking.

My heart sank with it.

My husband had the day off and dealt with it, and the repair man came over, fixed the unit, and left us with a $115 invoice to change a fuse. The next morning at 2:45am, I awoke to the house at nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow on the ground and a high of 10 degrees Fahrenheit for the day.

This time I stayed home for a couple hours so my husband could go to work. The repair men replaced the entire control panel, slapped me with a $490 invoice, told me how my particular unit was “known for killing people,” and then left reminding me time and time again that my heater needed to be replaced, and really they only put a bandaid on the problem.

To be realistic, any heater can kill people either with Carbon Monoxide poisoning or by fire if old and broken enough, so that didn’t bother me as much as the anxiety of how we were going to pay for a new one as well as the repairs. I canceled plans with friends in anticipation. I stayed at home all week so I wasn’t tempted to buy anything I didn’t need. Between that and a bathroom remodel that we currently had going simultaneously, we were running out of money very quickly. Of course with property tax season just around the corner.

When the repairmen left I went to work, but between my own exhaustion from being up so early, the many projects, a mouse running around my office, and some coworkers who were having rough days and taking it out on others, it was too much for such a short time period. I came home that night to a warm home, and poured myself a cocktail to drive out the thoughts that reminded me how much heating a home really cost.

The bathroom remodel at least was going slowly but smoothly. We had a new toilet, a new floor, and the walls painted. The sink, cabinets (my father is making us), and the trim were the last items on the list, and they were stained and drying in my parents garage. We were going on week 4 of the project, but as long as I had a toilet and shower, I was happy. The kitchen sink was used for brushing teeth, and washing hands could happen in the bathtub or the kitchen. So nothing felt like it couldn’t be handled.

Just the stress was getting to me, having to live with things in a state of transition or disrepair. That and the money it was costing to complete both projects.

At the end of all the stress, I have to be thankful. Thankful I have heat. Thankful that the bathroom has a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankful that I at least have the money for what I need right now even if it I don’t have it for wants or Christmas gifts. Thankful for flexible work hours and my husband being willing to take care of things. Thankful for warm blankets during the struggle of staying warm. Thankful for repair men with 24 hour service. Thankful I have a house at all.

Creative and Poor

I purchased a font this past weekend at the Wayzgoose, and I’m so discouraged by what a hard time I’m having with the poster I want to make using it. Either I over ink or under ink and my paper jumps and I just can’t get a good print out of it to save my life.

Normally I don’t get so discouraged, but this week, having spent so much time seeing what other people do with their own creativity, especially in the letterpress world, I’ve become quite discouraged by my lack of equipment, time, and creativity.

My talents usually lie in being a bit of a wordsmith. Yet, I haven’t found my knack for translating that into some kind of appropriate format with letterpress. Which is ultimately my goal. Usually it’s because I never feel like I have enough. Not enough images. Not enough type. Not enough talent. If only I could make my own type, but alas, it is another resource that I simply have no money for. Depleted and discouraged by the font purchase, I worry that perhaps I was not worthy to work with such a lovely font.

If only I were better at woodcuts or something. If only I had more time. More money. More original ideas when I needed them. A bigger and better press. A bigger and better shop. More lead slugs. Less distractions.

I keep trying to remind myself that I really don’t have to be more, but it still feels so discouraging when I feel like every time I make a gain in an artistic direction and I have an idea…I don’t have the resources to execute that idea.

It’s difficult being creative and poor.

Ultimately I know if I had the funds and the practice I could make some really awesome stuff. I’d just need to really be willing to dedicate myself to the design and put in more effort to make something really great. But between my day job, my life as a home owner and wife, and my lack of funds and resources… being able to work on my letterpress has been difficult, and though I try not to be discouraged, I find more often than not I’m comparing myself to those who have quit their day jobs and just work on their presses as a livelihood. They come up with amazing work. So much more beautiful than I have the capacity for right now.

Most days, I laugh at myself for having the audacity to call myself a printer. I’m hardly a designer most days. It’s like my creativity has left me. I’m all dried up and discouraged that this hobby is so expensive, and yet has captivated me so deeply.

I Voted

“My husband told me he doesn’t want me to get a job because we’ll lose our state health insurance.”

She poured out the sorrowful story I had once known all too well. People having to work a broken system to stay alive. In her case it was behavioral medications she and her family needed, with several members on the spectrum, and herself with severe mood disorders. All of them with suicidal tendencies, and the youngest of them 9 years-old.

It’s days like that that I feel so deeply we should have socialized healthcare, being chronically ill myself and knowing so many others who also are in situations like his, where woman can’t contribute to her own home an society by remaining unemployed to keep their public healthcare. It just breaks my heart.

I wouldn’t mind helping others stay alive and healthy given the opportunity. I pay for sidewalks I’ve never walked on, and parks I’ve never visited with my tax dollars, how much more important is the person who HAS walked on those sidewalks and visited those parks, clearly we give enough to help them enjoy those perks of our tax dollars, so why not help keep them alive and healthy?

It’s all I could think of when I voted yesterday.

While some have reason why they’d rather not have socialized healthcare, my heart only broke as I recalled listening to my friend talk on her situation. I too know that fear. I too hated the idea of having to abuse a system to stay medicated and alive with insulin costs only on the rise. I too was tired of paying high copays and deductibles, having more than half my paycheck going to keep me alive and very little else. I recall giving up food, internet, showers, and heat at different points in my life as I lived alone, just to make sure I could get my insulin. How much better would it have been if I could get more help and have reasonable payments on insulin? That would be nice.

Alas, while only time will tell, there is so much resistance to fight.

Wayzgoose

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines Wayzgoose as

A wayzgoose (or wayz-goose, waygoose or wayzegoose) was at one time an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). It marked the traditional end of summer and the start of the season of working by candlelight.

For those of us in modern terms, it’s a time of year that many letterpress printers, paper manufacturers, wood cut carvers, wood/metal engravers, font and typography designers, and lovers of printed ephemera come together for a weekend of workshops, creativity, and art/equipment swapping/selling. In the spirit of the tradition, the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum puts on the event the first weekend of every November, and I have been fortunate enough to volunteer each year for the last three years of the event, as well as offer my time there every Saturday I can during the year.

This year had a couple of firsts for me.

It was the first Time I could attend a full-day Friday, which is usually workshop day. I was fortunate enough to assist with the workshop Rick VonHoldt of Foolproof Press and Bill Allan of Gaslight-Daze Printery using the Silver Buckle Press collection now housed at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. I learned so much during that session and assisted in helping so many talented artists create beautiful and meaningful pieces using this rare collection of type, ornaments, and illustrations.

My other first this year was going to the pre sales for Virgin Wood Type and moors Wood Type, which involved huddling in a crowded hotel room, drinking, purchasing newly crafted wood blocks for letterpress printing, and publicly shaming Brad Vetter for hogging all the good stuff (all in good fun of course).

But the first I enjoyed the most? Finally attending the annual bowling outing and bowling with Jim Sherraden and Celene Aubry of Hatch Showprint who was also our volunteer coordinator. I was out until 2:30 AM sipping gin and tonics, belting out songs that were playing on the juke box, and bowling…badly.

While I had many firsts, some things never change. Friends I see yearly were back, and we were able to reconnect for our annual catching up. Work was swapped, business cards passed, and nearly everyone was in tears when it came time to call the weekend quits. Even though I was tired, I found myself misty eyed as I drove back to my home to rest, knowing it would be another 365 days before I’d see any of them again.