Hello blog world. It's me, Suzi. I have been away for a bit, easing into the new year. Thinking of goals and adventures and I am happy to say, I AM READY. So very ready. They say that you are not supposed to think of the how you will achieve something, but to instead take action towards what you want. God, the universe, will take care of the rest.
There are many reasons I can come up with to not live my RV dream. No, not to make meth parked in the dessert of New Mexico, but to wander, make art, and teach. I watch a lot of Independent Discovery, however, and I am a realist. Even though the chick from the book Wild was safe trekking though darkened forests and escaped without incident of rape, the world is shady for a girl traveling alone. But look how super cute this is:
I imagine painting the walls and decorating it all colorful and gypsyful and parking it next to a lake and painting outside with my babies, teaching art to anyone who wants to learn.
It is a lovely dream and I don't know how it will happen, but I am going to make it happen. The first start is new Mixed Media Workshops. My newest class will be put up March 1.
Here's to a wonderful new year where we ALL make our dreams come true!
A Gypsy Warrior carries her power around in glitter, in a gauze skirt grazing the ground, in flowers painted on bare toes. She lives in the moment and doesn’t care what the herd is doing. She celebrates life and is slave to no one. She believes grungy jeans and paint-stained hands are not only feminine, they are her super power. She takes up space and sprawls out on couches, which some might call uncouth and low class. That's okay; a Gypsy Warrior does not care what they call her because she won't answer anyway. She is too busy listening to the BIG THOUGHTS in her head and dancing and painting her way through the day.
She watches girls who barely catch their breath, their goings on - the cleaning, working, smiling, being skinny, crossing their legs, dressing sensibly, racing, striving, improving. “I’ll be better when I have this and this,” they say. “And when I look this way, and when she acts like THIS to me, and when my skills are THIS good, then, oh then, I'll be happy...”
A Gypsy Warrior knows it is the simple things that make her happiest. She is married to art, hot coffee, and napping in the sun. She may look a mess, but her heart is full.
Dreams can come true, they can happen to you. But, should they?
Everyone tells us to DREAM BIG, but no one asks us to ask why. Why do you want what you want? I did, finally. After five days last week when I was convinced I needed a baby. A fat cheeked, healthy, rolly polly cutely dressed, happy, giggling baby.
I watched youtube videos.
Babies laughing, babies in hysterics at someone ripping paper, babies on tables in South American countries dancing to Ricky Martin. No babies crying, no babies puking, no shattered mothers longing for five minutes of uninterrupted silence.
In my dream life, my babies are only happy and cute.
I have a lot of dreams. One was to have a dog. For two years I kept a photo on my wall of a large headed puppy I met walking around in philly. I knew my life would be better if it had a dog. It is. Everyday. I have never doubted it for a minute. If one dies I will rush out and get another one just like it. I will always have a dog. It is not a choice.
It is also not a choice to make art fulltime. Sometimes I need a break but soon I get itchy, and people around me beg me to go away and draw. I have to expell whatever is inside of me into color. I process everything that way. When I was stripping I wished I could somehow make art for a living, even though I wasn't very good at the time, so it was only a distant dream. I worked at it very hard for very long. Today I don't take my clothes off for money, and I get paid for art, so that dream has come to pass. But did my dream match my reality?
There wasn't internet then, so I could not envision blogs or youtube or uploading onto an intangible web. It didn't exist. And that is the thing about dreams, often what you are dreaming of is not going to be your reality. Our dreams are too perfect. But most of what I dreampt is the same. Art still thrills me every day I sit down to white paper. I never did it only to make money. I do it because I cannot, not, do it. Like an insatiable urge to kiss fur babies in the morning, I have to draw and color for most of the day. Then kiss more fur babies at night.
A dream, the conscious ones, the day-dreams, are usually not reality but wishes of an ideal situation. Life would be perfection if I had this thing. Yes, sometimes. I look down at finney and watch his little finney breath and I am complete for that moment. Having doggies match my dreams of having doggies.
But sometimes our dreams are not based in anything remotely considered reality. I have a pinterest board as proof, (here).
Pinterest is porn for dreamers. My board, called Someday, has pictures of children I envision myself adopting. In the pictures the babies are propped up on brightly colored, clean, Sweedish patchwork pillows from Ikea, they have on cute hats, and are hugging a very cool dreadlocked mom. These pictures are not very different then the pictures I take of me and my dogs. Sans cool dreadlocks.
When you have a longing you need to satisfy, first ask yourself why. I read the book HOW TO SURVIVE by Augusten Burroughs, all in one day, and he asks you to ask this question. What is it about this thing that will make your life so great? Then check reality. I enjoy quiet. Period. Children are not quiet and if they are made to be it is not fair to them. I shake at any noise, it is just how my damaged psyche reacts to things now. I hear a loud bang and I drop plates. People talking, even a tv for two long, and I start twitching. Stretches of time with warm sunlight and silence is my goal in life. This is not baby friendly atmosphere.
Whenever I get the craving for fat baby cheeks, I will seek them out, but I don't have to rethink my life because this longing will pass. I could do it. I am responsible. I take extremely great care of my doggies. I would give up my life for a child if I had to. But I don't. So that is that. I get all the quiet and time to read and make art that I want and I wont feel bad about it. I won't think your life is better than mine because you get things I don't. I get things you don't, so we're equal.
If you can imagine a life without your dream, then it is not your passion.
Just because you can dream, doesn't mean you should make it come true. There are many things we can put our energy into and easily become distracted. In the past I have taken on too many other people projects, wanting to please and be friends with everyone, and I neglected my dreams for theirs. You might have done this too.
If you want your Live Your True Passion, you must first know what it is, then say no to everything that is not. If you don't know what your Passion is, go look on your pinterest board. (I know you have one.) Write down your boards and pins and what you like. Imagine yourself living these lives. Write about them. Be wretchingly honest in your imaginings. Are your babies (insert your thing in instead of babies) all cute and laughing? Do you think if you were a full time artist you would suddenly be famous and make tons of cash? Do you think Ryan Gosling is really going to show up at your door and help you organize your scrapbook paper? Do you even really want him to? (I would be turned off by a cute guy who would rather color coordinate paper then do almost anything else.)
Which one of your day dreams is something that you cannot live without? This is a clue to what you should put your energy into making come true. If your heart stops a little and it scares you, then you are on the right track.
So the first thing I had to do was bleach out my hair and dye it pink. Any pink would do I just needed it to get as light as I could and still keep it somewhat healthy. Then I just hung out for a bit and let the roots grow in. Tomorrow I will go and get the real color that I want. Raspberry. Provana Chroma Silk is the hair dye I will use because the color lasts.
Here is the etsy shop,Anmorata Designs, that I commissioned to make my custom dreadlocks. They should be here at the end of the month!
What are synthetic dreadlocks. They are awesome! You do not have to dread your own hair. They attach by braiding the extensions into your hair. Now, if you have slightly damaged hair, like if it was bleached then colored like mine, then they will stay attached easily. Silky healthy hair they may slip out. You keep them in for 5 weeks and then remove and put them in again. IM SO EXCITED.
Whatever has happened in your life up until this point, no matter what your age, you and I have been brought together for a reason, and it is much bigger than painting. We are Gypsy Art Girls. And I mean ‘Girl’. ‘Woman’ denotes maturity and temperance - the qualities that keep women stuck and wounded, and in the status quo. Girl has more energy. She has not been defeated by the world yet. She has ideas and vigor. She’s ready to change things and doesn’t expect opposition. The forever youthful and beautiful spirit because she has never known anything else.
A girl who lives in the moment and doesn’t care what the herd is doing, this is GYPSY. She celebrates LIFE however she sees fit and is slave to no one. She believes within every inch of her body that to be healthy, whole and complete she must never shrink and become ‘less than’ to make others feel comfortable. She also has no doubt that jeans and a T-shirt and paint stained hands equal femininity. She doesn’t need to appear ‘altogether’ and ladylike. (There is nothing more sad than to see a woman with her hands folded neatly on her lap and her legs crossed.) Gypsy Art Girls take up as much space as possible and sprawl out on chairs and couches. Some might call that uncouth and low class. That’s okay. Gypsy Art Girls do not care what you call them because either way they won’t answer. They are too busy listening to the music in their heads and dancing and painting their way through their days. Because they have commitment. Not to your standards - but to brushes and pens, and to themselves. The rest of the world can work jobs they don’t love and clean house repetitively, nauseatingly, to the approval of Television Cleaning Supply Advertisements. Instead of a perfectly clean house, the Gypsy Art Girl will reach her goals. She will practice and be dedicated to art not because someone told her to but for the insatiable sweetness she gets as she makes things. As she embroiders a flower onto her jeans, as she stirs homemade cheese soup in a pot and dips in chunky bread. Gypsy Art Girls are out of the fast lane of femininity and are pulled over to the side of the road, bent over and catching their breath. They, we, nearly didn’t make it. They all wanted us to keep going, keep going, keep cleaning, keep working, keep smiling, keep being skinny, keep crossing our legs, keep dressing sensibly, keep not getting enough sleep, keep racing and striving and improving and never, ever stop.
A funny thing happens in the slow lane - it’s not so dangerous to take your eyes off the road and notice the scenery. The beauty that IS all around you. You miss it completely when you are FULL STEAM AHEAD concentrating on future goals. “I’ll only be happy when I have this and this, and when I look this way, and when she acts like THIS to me, and when my skills are THIS good...”
If you see any of this in yourself, then you know I’m talking to you. If this is how you think, then you will never be able to pull over and relax because you’ll never reach all of your ridiculously unattainable and unnecessary goals. If you reach one, it won’t feel good enough because there are 20 more areas in which you can improve.
I say this with ease because it takes one to know one, and we are both in the same tribe. I want everyone to like me so I say yes even though I’m busy. I am 45 and do not have a date let alone a soul mate. I could go on and on about what people have said is wrong with me, but I tell you in all honesty I do not care. I am married to my art. To hot coffee and napping in the sun with my dogs. To violin music and writing in my journal. To going out of the house in pajamas, unshowered, and glowing from within because I like what I painted today. My hard work is paying off.
Take my classes because you really want to make great art. You really want to practice and you really want to learn. IF you do what I tell you and do it everyday you will make something you are proud of, something you never thought you could do. Take a class with me to be part of the tribe. Gypsy Art Girls of all different skill levels doing it because we love it. Like the Gypsy on the open road with her backpack full of supplies and the wind in her hair, I want you to LOVE the journey. I know I do. And we can take it together.
For the last week I've had bad dreams every night. Maybe not nightmares, no zombies were tapping on my window. That would have been entertaining. No, my dreams are about real life and survival and make me feel bad.
Since I was 16 I have been running away, escaping one bad situation and barelling into another, looking for safety. I have lived in my own place since I was 19 and I have moved over 40 time, I stopped counting. Always in search of a place I could sit in quiet and not be yelled at or molested or used or taken advantage of. Which has meant living alone. And although I am a dreamy girl who needs time alone I need to share my life with others. Not so they can blog about what we did together but peeps who want me around - to watch zombie movies with and paint our toes rainbow colors. For moments I have felt safe, but it never lasted. I never had a net.
I moved to Salt Lake City to live with a family of chicks who have adopted me, and I am safe. Really. safe. So the bad dreams have started. For 45 years I've been gripping the bar tight, hanging on. Carol tells me I can let go. And I do, but my arms are numb. My fingers cramped.
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER is not just for war vets. Whenever a person has to grin and bare it for a lengthy amount of time the emotions learn to freeze so the trauma can happen and you no longer feel it. It is the minds way of protecting itself because if you felt the trauma fully for the whole time you couldn't take it. You'd have a mental break and start running through the streets screaming. To go on working and living while taking abuse the body shuts down from it and pretends it isn't happening. Grin. Bare it. Hold on Tight. Eat some cupcakes.
Trauma doesn't have to be a major event like rape, it could be being bullied, put down, and harrassed for years. It could be living in poverty and not able to get out. Being desperate makes you vulnerable to trust the untrustworthy. To befriend those with alterior motives. When you are down you pray for a break, a real one.
For some reason I was given the right people and here I am, taken care of. Safe. I can work as much as I want and build my future but if it doesn't work out I am still part of the family. No one yells at each other. I can be nervous and drop things and do not have to hear, "Seriously, what is wrong with you?" I am surrounded by normal, peaceful, and joyful. But to let go of my tight grip on life, to let go of the bar, here I am on the grass, knees curled up to my chest as I lie on my side. I can't stop cry or feeling like I want to.
A flood of everything I never felt or faced is sudenly allowed in.
What would it feel like if you painted your dining room walls pink and put all your art supplies into the China cabinet? What if instead of making your bed, you sketched and painted and wrote love notes on your clothes? And what if you brought that color and love out into the world? What if YOU were the person everyone was waiting for? You were the party, the sunshine, what would that feel like? Lately I have been spending my time journaling in a 99 cent composition notebook, writing about the life I wish I had. The one with color and glitter and happiness and the words ‘If only,” wasn’t part of my mantra. IF only people weren’t so critical. IF only people didn’t look at me oddly when I wear bright colors. IF only I had permission to live daily as I want to, with glitter and pink hearts on my face.
After the “IF only,” I think there is something wrong with me for not wanting earth tones. Even now when I leave my home and studio (my colorful, safe, world) and go out into the general population, something that only happens when I run out of food, I look at girls around me for an idea of what people wear: natural colors, healthy and styled hair. Eating lunch out is particularly insightful because I see corporate people. There’s a world, that while it dominates our culture, I never am in. It’s like a zoo and lunchtime is when they are allowed out of their cage. And here is the shocker - girls in business attire these days for women are tasteful black dresses and stilettos. When did this become normal? Heels so gorgeous and high my lower back hurts just looking at them. And every women standing in line around me for lunch is wearing them.
So I compare myself to them. How could I not? Teal sweatpants and a hoodie that is the color of grass. Knitted clogs on my feet. My clothes are clean but not wrinkle free. Though I was happy when I left the house, colorful and comfortable, I now feel under dressed.
I know what stilettos do to the back; I wore them for 15 years. I watch as the girl in front of me tilts her foot and rests it on its side, a sign that she is relieving the pressure that is stinging her lower back, something that happens in heels when you stand in one place for too long. Thus, the illusion is broken. She looks great, coiffed, seemingly put together. And that’s what we want, right? For everyone to think we know what we are doing, that our head isn’t swimming with insecurities, and that sickness and death cannot touch us. But I bet when this girl gets home tonight she will take off her clingy black pencil skirt and four inch heels and put on soft cotton teal pants and purple fleece socks and wish she could wear them all day.
It is the fear of what other women think of us that keeps us in our place. Men don’t give me nearly as many disapproving looks as women when I wear unexpected things. If a guy thinks you are pretty, you could be wearing a paper bag from the grocery store and they will hit on you. If I am dressed exceptionally outside the box and they think I am weird, then I will be ignored. However, when dressed this way ,women will never ignore me. The ones with an artsy soul will smile but the ones without will glare. If you are not secure with yourself, this silent judgement will hurt. If you are looking to others for validation about worth, this can destroy you.
THIS is what keeps women in impossible black heels that hurt, and keeps them from bringing their creative side out of hiding and into their lives. This fear of what other people will do when they look at you stops you from experimenting, expressing, and inventing yourself. And that to me is sad.
But what if Crayola Hair was accepted? Really accepted? Not just in stores like Hot Topic but everywhere. What if when you went grocery shopping there were more people with hot pink hair than brown and blond? What if everyone had glitter on their cheeks? Would you feel more comfortable with your pink hair and glittered face? If you wanted to stand out, you’d have to wear a giant pink bow or a necklace made out of LED lights that blinked. When everyone around you is colorful, earth tones will stick out. What does this tell you? If you attend an art retreat, ink-stained hands are normal. No one wants to put on gloves while they are spraying onto stencils when they are caught up in the flow of creation, and at lunch gathered around a table, ten women eating sandwiches with Andirondak sprays in dark purple all over their hands, no one glares. Take those same women and put them in a Starbucks sipping Mocha Lattes, each with purple stained hands, and the corporate girls in black heels will disapprove.
Lesson: GYPSY ART GIRLS NEED TO REMEMBER WHO THEY ARE EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT WITH THEIR TRIBE. In our society, earth tones dominate so your neon pink will stand out. This doesn’t mean you have to tone down. On the contrary:
Gypsy Manifesto #1 You Are An Ambassador of Color
You are an example of the FREE life. The one in which you do not have to tilt your foot to the side to ease pain off your lower back to give the illusion to others that you have it all together. Your color says you have it all together, that you know what you want to do with your life. That you have PERMISSION to live in a way that makes you happy. Browns make you sad. Waking up to pink hair and allowing Alcohol Ink stains on your hands because you made a most beautiful painting last night, this shows a successful life. Glossy hair is not important, not to you. More important is the feeling you get creating. And your ink stained hands prove this.
And by giving yourself permission to live colorfully, you GIVE PERMISSION TO OTHERS. You are planting a seed of freedom into every person who sees you. Gypsy Art Girls need to show up in the world IN ALL THEIR SPLENDOR as an example for everyone who feels stuck, for who brown makes them feel sad. That is what a Carnival is - Blowing into town and waking up the sleeping people and creating a space for them to live larger and more authentically.