Friday, January 29, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reconnecting with the blank canvas.

I think there's some sort of energy in (at least American) society that tells people to fuck over artists because they need tension and drama to produce great art.  That's not true.  Or whatever it is, lets pay the artists and teachers the fat wads and let the ballplayers run around chasing balls for cheap because, they'd do it anyways and it seems a bit unbalanced to say the least.  So if you have that misconception or if you know an artist, give him or her a huge hug and say "thanks for your small part in pushing our culture to a new level!"  Unfortunate events happen to everybody.  But for me, a sensitive guy with an overactive imagination and an anxiety disorder, all things seem a bit more amplified.  A gift and a curse depending on the situation.

So a couple months ago Tana's getting Jade into stringed instruments and classical music on youtube and whatnot. She asks Jade if she wants to play the cello and if she wants one for christmas.  Jade says "yes!".  I think it's a great idea and so Tana makes one of her famous craigslist purchases and soon after I'm coming home from San Jose with a cello on a rainy Sunday night.

When I get home Tana tells me she's cheating on me with a violist she met a few weeks prior and that she loves him and is going to continue seeing him.  I am surprised I didn't die right there in the family room.  Total shock.  Panic attack on top of living nightmare.  And the shit storm began.

Actually I jumped on the guilt train believing that I did this wholly.  And of course I had fault in this happening but I didn't "do" this.  Then I got online and bought an e-book on how to save your marriage, which should be a book everybody reads BEFORE they get married and every year following.

Obviously too late.  Tana's mom was in town for Christmas.  I hung out with her while Tana spent the day packing her things and sneaking out the door to her new apartment.  Her boyfriend is living there with her.  Now he's picking her up in front of the house and they go out and do their thing 5 nights a week.

I'm happy staying home with Jade.  I've sort of missed out on sleeping next to her.  And the added responsibility is great because I can do it and I'm happy to.  Tana still takes care of Jade during the day and most school mornings she's back at the house at 6 am getting things ready for Jade.

I'm lonely at night.  Super duper lonely.  I had Tana every night.  And we hung out every night and laughed and talked.  And I looked forward to it.  Still she seemed physically and emotionally guarded and slowly like she was unhappy and just stuck in the mundane.  But I was there.  Listening and talking and helping her though life.

As many of my close friends know after a really stressful year or two at work two years ago I developed an anxiety disorder.  It took a year to properly diagnose me and many horrible prescriptions, side effects (tremor, cramping stomach and muscles, twitching, restlessness,  racing heart, depression...) and withdrawals (fuck me) from those then ramping up on another to finally get me to a point where I could just be me 84% of the time.  Still I was working hard and really getting my shit done.  And after fighting for so long I start feeling mentally good and actually better than before, then whammo!  She hits me with this.  And there's so much to process.  I know what I did wrong but what did I do to her to deserve THIS?  And if she just wanted out, there were better ways to do it.  More respectful ways.

I've never ever been hurt this much in my life.  But I have Jade here and I really really don't want to get into a custody situation.  She's here upstairs sleeping.  And if I can totally hypnotize myself to just be "buds" with Tana then things aren't so bad in the mean time.  And I tried that, but starting feeling love for her and then I totally came crashing down emotionally when her boyfriend picked her up at the house one night.  I can't fool myself.  At least we agree that we are great parents.  But even that grade point average will fall too because we were a family and now we're not.  This was our home.  Now it's broken.  The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.  I'm so mad, but at the same time I truly love her and I want to do what's right.  Stay in there, work on my issues...improve myself for us.

But day after day it looks like she's really settled into this guy and the hope I have is just my "etched in imagination" and our life fading away.  I'm so lost.  But my strength is persevering and it's one of those "two steps forwards, one step back" things.  Work is great.  Busy and hard but fantastically rewarding.  The only thing I can't handle is my emotional tie to Tana.  But as everybody says...time.  Time, time time.  Let it pass.

So to pass the time in the evenings I have the oil paints out again... and the smell reminds me of art college.  The thinner, linseed oil, the one glass of red wine that sits near the paper palette for hours.  I enjoy working in silence mostly but really miss creating with fellow artists.  The oils are like an old predictable friend that I haven't seen for a long time.  It makes me love a blank canvas again.  And I sort of need that right now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Follow the rules, break them... gently stir

A big part of intelligence, in my opinion, is the ability to absorb useful elements around you and the intuition to notice what could be useful, for not all that exists beneficially, presents itself in such a manner to be noticed.

Right now.  Experience.  Open your eyes wider and seek the truly unique positives.  Then better or worse continue gravitating towards them.  Because it's all compromises.  Life is hell.  Life is heaven.  It's positive or negative and yet exactly how you see it.  My good friend said to me that he notices people all the time who are chronically naive (stupid) and thinks to himself, man, they don't know how good they got it.  The more you know, the harder life becomes...but there's always a route that's a bit more fun.  A way to rebel.  Rules to know that need to be broken in order for society to move.

In all my creative branches, there's this rule that I live by.  "Make it interesting you idiot.  It's ART!  It's made to be fucking looked at (or listened to, or read)!  Don't go the distance if the end result is dull."  That's my rule word for word.  And I fuck it up all the time.  I'm learning though you know.  It doesn't matter if you suck.  It's the subject matter.  It's presence.  The art wasn't there before.  Why is it here now?  YOU control that.  If you can only draw stick figures then draw a shit load of stick figures in all different colors doing all kinds of risky activities and keep going until you have something cool. Don't stop at interesting.  Paint stick figures, sculpt them.  Stray, refine.  Follow the rules, break them and then gently stir. You learn shit by making choices, whether they be successes or mistakes, living with them and absorbing the effects in a manner that benefits you.  We're all human though.  We know we're going to die.  If you're reading this, you have a life.  The only one you know is real.  So put a smile on and get out there.  I'm telling myself to go fuck myself.

It's hard to say "be positive" when chemically, you cant.  Depression.  I don't have it, but I've definitely experienced it on some of the meds I've been on over the last couple years.  I know what being depressed feels like.  That aint shit.  You can still semi-function.  Depression is crippling.  It seems there's no door to the doom room when you're in it.  I really feel for people who have to live with this day in day out.  It's like everybody else in the world is on another team.  The "grass is greener" team.

I'm going through some trying times in my life right now, not mentally really, but because I'm concentrating on improving myself and loving who I am I'm able to push through.  For me, and most importantly for my daughter.  There's the bigger picture too.  Things could always be way way worse.  I'm learning from this time in my life because I'm a fixer and because I have a little girl who needs me to be a rock and the textbook example of what I think a father should be.

We all have to be a bit "selfish" to be ideal people and parents and friends.  But sometimes people over estimate what they are capable of.  They start relationships all full of spirit and vigor and get married and have kids and they keep pushing toward this ideal and this American standard of living even if it feels wrong.  And they lose themselves...or they sacrifice who they are to be in this relationship and then, snap.  The thrill is gone until someone else shows up with that spark in their eye and a whole different perspective.  It's enticing, and it's human and unfortunately it's real when somebody different with less responsibility shows how fun life can be again to someone who has been locked down in the mundane.

And that's why I say everybody should break the rules and be who they are, pursue life.  Don't sacrifice yourself too much.  But going back on huge promises, not being true to yourself and the ones who love you most, over time will eventually break you if you don't change your pattern.  And for Pete's sake can we learn to accept change in people?  They change.  It's one of those things you have to trust with inevitable heartbreak time after time unless you want to be a bitter hermit.  Because when one person goes the distance for you or someone you love, drop the bullshit...that's a beautiful thing and it's rare as fuck.

And now I must retire, for tomorrow is an early morning.  The adventure begins again!