What if everyone understood?

CNN: Twitter suspends account that helped ignite controversy over viral encounter.
https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/21/tech/twitter-suspends-account-native-american-maga-teens/index.html

The news may report many different things about this situation – Black Israelites, Native American war veterans, Catholic teens in MAGA hats… but it fails to report that this situation is really a product of institutionalized hatred and a gross lack of understanding.

I, myself, used to go with my Catholic church to the March for Life. It was taught that all life is sacred, and that was something I truly felt, so I went to stand up for it. It was there that I learned about peaceful protest and we delivered petitions to offices. The experience was sometimes scary, sometimes intense, but I’m glad to have had love at the heart of it. My brother and I were discussing recent events, and he remind me of the words behind the concept – we were taught “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

It was this love that allowed me change my perspective as I understood more.

Realize that I’ve only lived with having access to the internet for about half my life, I don’t expect my pre-internet self to have so much knowledge and awareness, but after, I consume it, trying to further my understanding.

Somehow, we take the wrong parts and radicalize them. I’m not entirely against radicalization, I just think that the only good way to be radical is through pure love and compassion. Jesus.

What else is the point? Power? Dominance? Ultimately these are workings of fear. Hate is it’s tool, and it prevents us from meaningful existence. It will dismantle no institutions, because it busies us with our personal judgements against one another. We are so afraid and hateful that the systems that keep us suffering, keep chugging along, and we are instruments of it’s manipulation.

The only way to break free is through love. Radical, table flipping, Jesus-level love.

Looking at this situation, I see the colors of money and manipulation. In red hats, and hateful words. This is an age of (mis)information. But the truth is there if you seek it. Don’t put faith in their systems, the only faith to be had is in holding compassion for each other.

Tribune-Review: Out & About: Patrons choose new paintings for The Westmoreland

Tribune-Review: Out & About: Patrons choose new paintings for The Westmoreland.
https://triblive.com/lifestyles/outabout/14389294-74/out-about-patrons-choose-new-painting-for-the-westmoreland

I absolutely love our art museum. I’m not sure everyone locally realizes how lucky we are to have such a gem, to access so much art and history so easily. Recently, in response to the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, art museums opened their doors for free. Refuge, history, comfort, knowledge. The museums know how much we need art. Which is why the Westmoreland American Art Museum got rid of its suggested donation fee for good. That’s right, go visit the museum FOR FREE. Whenever.

What I find at the museum is not only a home as an artist, I find hope. I find strength, and connection. The paintings of local scenery and history give me context, something to hold onto when the world shakes me.

This opportunity is an invaluable gift.

I thank the people who make this possible, including those who said, yes to both paintings.

In the article, when given a choice between two very different paintings for acquisition, some said both, and put their money behind it.

I am also excited about the fact that one of these was a Mary Abbot, and that Barbara Jones (not my mom) gets the importance of the contributions of women artists, how they shaped the history, BUT WERE NOT GIVEN CREDIT.

Preach. Rectify.

Art will save us all.

memory and trauma

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Studies are now showing that memories pass through DNA. What does this mean for trauma? There’s also a component of Fibromyalgia that it is familial, and mostly women end up with it. And then there are thoughts occurring, I don’t know of research yet, about how our culture is causing complex PTSD, through drone war tactics, media inundation, and constant hate speech.

I have always felt incredibly sensitive, I know that tensions and hate fueled agendas take a toll on me, but now it is suggested that I might suffer from complex PTSD, and need treatment to heal the trauma, to release it from my body, to change the way my brain perceives these situations, presently, and in the future. Now, part of having fibromyalgia is having a brain that is in constant fight or flight. My body always thinks there is a traumatic situation happening – and in this society, I can’t really convince it otherwise.

There are instances of clear trauma for people – fighting in a war, witnessing violent death, physical abuse, sexual assault, physical injury, weather disaster… but some are more murky and happen over time, like living in extreme poverty, or a family of narcissists, or holding a constant fear of one of the more obvious traumatic events. Layered together, one trauma might not even stand out from the next.

I also think that we experience instances of trauma to our collective psyche. And we don’t even know how this manifests. Complex PTSD is a newer term in the field of psychology. Exploring how someone like me might be affected by the whole of society’s traumatic events, or how women may carry the traumas of all women before them, through DNA and collective consciousness/unconscious, is probably something we’re not going to hear about for a long time. This doesn’t mean it isn’t there somehow, that these experiences aren’t felt now. Maybe just that they don’t have a name, and we don’t know what to do with the information.

Bodily knowledge is it’s own kind of truth.

 

 

It’s the same source…

Everything I make is an echo of something infinitely larger and infinitely smaller than myself. It’s within my programming, something I understand and carry with me to everything I do. It’s beyond words. It’s a feeling that’s both the most true and the most mysterious, like some shiny rock I keep turning in my hands, studying, peering into, holding up to the light, examining in the shadows. Everything I make, photographs, graphic design projects, sketches, paintings, sculpture, etc., each of these is just an iteration of something of greater importance. It doesn’t exactly matter what I make primarily, at any given time, what matters is what I bring to it, and being open to that great unnameable thing.

Sensory

At the pain center fibromyalgia group, we talked about ways to distract ourselves from pain. Things that engage the mind, such as puzzle games were common. Some people had another coping mechanism, like a fidget cube or a tapping habit. In physical therapy they taught us how to do tiny motions, that wouldn’t cause stress to your muscles or increase your pain, but just send another signal to your brain other than the pain. Another method on that uses the same science is using a light tracing with a finger or something gentle to counteract pain signals. It sounds weird, but when I was in really terrible pain, I would have my husband lightly brush the palms my hands with a soft round watercolor brush. It would help me get the pain under control. TENS machines work for the same reason, and I think this is why sensory stimuli are so popular culturally right now.

Google ASMR, if you don’t already know what it is. Look at how things like playing with slime, cutting sand, and other sensory experiences are popular on Instagram and YouTube.

I have heard that even though we’re more connected than ever, we’re also more lonely. I don’t doubt it. Is it possible that we’re seeking these simple sensory experiences because we’re lacking simple sensory experiences? Maybe we’re in so much pain from our cultural PTSD, that we’re looking to cancel out those painful signals we’re receiving with some other stimuli? I think about this a lot, and what it means for us, our personal and societal mental health, and physical well being. Are sand cutting videos and people pretending to cut our hair taking place of authentic and connected touch?

And what role can art play in this?