To roar. Or not.

After awhile I begin to feel that, whoever I am, is stuck inside all these layers. The letters of language are used to try and be heard. The network of pain that cascades thru the body, making the eyes so sensitive that looking at or into normal light levels just hurts, is all too real. In the meantime, under all that is this sort of adult who continues having ideas, impulses to create, sparks for connecting art to heART.


Had Pinky and the Brain streaming in the background one day, and it struck me that they are sort of projections of the mind. The same mind. Flip sides of one mind. They work together to make a whole. A dysfunctional whole, but still. NARF. Sometimes the roar comes and other times it is just a narf.

Sometimes my hands shake, making drawing or even cooking, messily impossible. Often it seems related to iron levels, but there are so many chronic issues going on in this one bod of mine that it is hard to tell. And even trying to DO something is weird. Sometimes the something works. Sometimes it doesn't. Much as I think I am commanding my health (Brain), sometimes my body is just sitting there all Pinky-like going NARF.

It is a weird thing. To be raised in a modern western world that implicitly and explicitly tells you that you should have command, you need to have discipline, you have to become an expert, if you want to be taken seriously and make a mark, you have to...have to...have to. The myths of being the commander. When the truth is that being human is a damn messy NARF most of the time.

I mean sure, you can put in 100,000 hours on some obsession you have and learn a lot from it. I get a lot out of making more and more art, putting more and more hours into the practice. But my shaky hands bop in now and again to say, "Hey Commander! NARF!" I'm not poo-poo'ing process or learning or passion or spending your time doing what moves you. I'm just saying the complicit stuff of the modern western world that turns that all into experts and "six-figure years" and such...well...NARF.


Was reading Improv Wisdom and one of the prompts she offered along the way was to "count on insecurity." Isn't that great? Count on it. Don't try to beat it into submission. Don't try to expert your way around it. Stop trying to get to the perfect place where it resolves and never surfaces again. Rather, count on it. Count. On. It. Count on insecurity. What a novel and creative idea. Count on the NARF.


Stress. Whether coming from "real" situations or coming from my insecurity (that i now count on), stress has a damn fucked up way of messing with me. The chronic pain returns. The stomach does weird things. The shakes shake. If we had the money or an insurance company/provider that actually cared, and we tested things consistently around the experiences I have with stress, just guessing, but I think stress may relate to much of what goes on with me.

I find it difficult to give words to what is happening to me physically, especially after going to great lengths to communicate w supposed caregivers who then say everything is "normal" and begin to treat me in a dismissive manner or as if I'm a drug seeker. Especially annoying given that as of the other day, I've been sober for a solid 20 years. But whatever, dismiss me. NARF.

And one begins to understand the frustration of so many chronic fellow beings. You see every provider your insurance will cover and none help. For that you fork over a day of work, cost of ferry and gas and parking, and a $55 copay. For nothing in the end. And if you find someone who might be able to help but insurance won't cover them, you literally ponder groceries or the cost of trying yet another supposed caregiver. After awhile, you just sort of feel tired and defeated and actually begin to wonder if maybe you are crazy. Except that one side of your face is swollen and you have hives under your eyelid. Those are hard to just conjure out of nothing...NARF.

Not that I don't aim to do best care possible for myself, but stress, in general, and these specific examples, seems to affect how my body reacts, takes up nutrients, gets rest, etc. I think. Total guess. Could be completely full of shit there. But guessing.

Mind you, I know it is a privilege to do anything these days:

  • even just having a doctor, any doctor
  • having access to clean water (Flint, MI, USA still doesn't have access to clean water!)
  • enough to make the ends meet so we can buy fresh veg and fruit regularly

I notice these things. I notice how being able to "afford" in this modern western world is a huge piece of the experiences humans have. Affording doesn't buy us out of racism, sexism, disability-phobia or chronic illness, but with enough "affording" those bastard show themselves a lot less in the ways we are able to care for ourselves, or not, in the choices we have, or don't. Or at least we are able to make choices even in the face of those bastards.

I'm thinking here of how last year we had the privilege of coverage to "afford" to get my husband's eye exam and new glasses. Our "affording" allowed him to see properly again and be able to continue driving, etc. But our "affording" could not buy us out of the health-corporate-mindset that targeted my husband as a black man, scared him w narratives of how he could go blind, bullied him into multiple additional tests that he didn't need just so they could bilk more from our insurance. There was absolutely nothing wrong with him, everything came back totally normal. And still the next year, for coverage, we were bumped to more expensive "affording" because of those tests, my hub was now see as more risky. We "afforded" the privilege of caring for his chronic eyesight loss, got the glasses, could make the option to get what he needed to see again. BUT we could not buy ourselves out of the targeted racism that was aimed at my hub insidiously within the health"care" system.

It's bullshit.


I don't know. No answers really. No resolutions, no tidy answers, just continued process. ❤ Just noticing all the times that, even with my best efforts, stress still steps in here, yelling, "Hey Commander! NARF!!"


Thanks for hanging in there with the ramblings of another radical grandma trying to figure it out,

Transformation Talk on grief, creativity, alternative paradigms, and more...

Had a wonderful opportunity to connect with Alana Sheeren when she was hosting Transformation Talks, and our conversation is out on the interwebs for you to watch any time you'd like. Just click the image below to go to YouTube and listen in:

We talked about so much, including:

  • our son's stillbirth and how his name KOTA turned out to mean Knowing Ourselves Thru Art
  • how grief + creativity were immediately linked for me
  • grief + creativity education opportunities being continually offered
  • creative prompts, narrative therapy, and other tools for breaking open the definition of creativity
  • learning to find your own heARTmaking way
  • alternatives to traditional "slay the dragon" and "closure" paradigms
  • externalizing: "I am bereaved" vs "I have had a bereavement experience"
  • letter writing in narrative practice lets you continue the conversation
  • experiences at Mister Rogers Neighborhood
  • and more...

Couple updates since this Talk first aired:

  • Cath and I have added a whole bunch of lovely faculty to the Certification in Creative Grief Support program, offering you new content and team facilitation for each session. We are now offering the course multiple times per year with sessions starting in March or September. To read all about our continuing education for helping professionals, click here to see our site.
  • If you are personally having a grief experience and want to explore creative approaches with me, I now offer multiple opportunities for small groups and individuals. To learn more about the classes and session I offer, click here to see my site

Miracles to you,

[This talk originally aired on August 14, 2013.]