Recovering from a cold; starving myself of art

Little by little, I’m getting better from whatever this is. I can sit through computer problems in order to write and upload this — barely. And I realize that what I want to be doing now is art. I don’t know why, though I know doing it as a vocation throws me into a group where “success” is not guaranteed and life gets a lot riskier. As someone with a documented disability requiring lifelong care…that’s not great.

I’ve been wondering about what I’m doing with my time while sick (I’ve got a cold or something). “Isn’t this a perfect opportunity to work on something nonlinear?” I ask myself. But then I’m like, no…art is work. That’s why they call it art work.

Apologies if I misspell anything; I’m touch-typing by hand with my eyes closed, mostly. Even though I’ve been getting better where it comes to my sinuses, my eyes still burn. Ordinarily I can tell when I mistype something…I just know that my fingertips didn’t go where they were supposed to. But, just in case.

And yes, I am writing this prior to working on homework for either of my classes. I hate that, but writing helps me keep my head together.

(I’ve since gotten my glasses, and my eyes have stopped burning. Huh.)

I kind of wonder if life would have been simpler, had I never taken a World Religions course. I think it was while I was there that I started to get a loose idea about castes, running parallel to my idea about genders. Try to hear me out; I misunderstand a lot of this stuff, but in a way that brings light to my own situation. Apologies, too, to anyone who has been hurt by this system and is reading this: I’m an outsider here, and so in this case I’m only commenting on what thoughts my World Religions class set off in my own mind. I’m in no way trying to color anyone else’s beliefs. I’m not an expert.

When I was listening to teachings on Hindu beliefs (I was maybe 24 years old?…I don’t have my unofficial transcript here), I was also in a space relative to gender that wasn’t all that easy to inhabit. What I got from that class was the idea that maybe I did have a, “true,” self: beneath all the conditioning that I had been taught about in undergraduate Sociology classes. They taught, basically, that conditioning shapes everything about who we express ourselves to be, and that in effect there is no, “true self,” under that conditioning. The latter view jives with Buddhism (which…I don’t know what I feel about that, now); the idea of having a personal essence or duty derives from Hindu thought (which is older).

My idea was that maybe I did have a, “true,” gender aside from man or woman, and it just wasn’t what most of the world understood or would like; or that maybe I had a, “true,” calling, even though I wasn’t born into a arts/crafts family. We’ve kind of made it an arts/crafts family over the years, but at inception I think it was M who was the artist.

In my case, I thought I was in spirit a person who made things…creativity was my main focus and drive. It was reflexive and needed to be directed outwardly, or it began to transform me personally, and not always in beneficial ways. Often it worked out so that I would be transformed in some way thatΒ I understood, but others didn’t.

That creative spark and drive is what I had then that was special to me. That’s why I’ve hung with this (the art, the writing, etc.) for so long. I’ve needed it as an outlet for my energy. It’s also a reason I now work in a Library: my interests change so often that it’s hard to stick with one thing. So I’ll stick with all things. πŸ˜‰

While things on medication are more logical, they’re also a bit duller. On the bright side, it’s easier to catch when my mind is not working well. The thing about beliefs is that people generally don’t look at their own beliefs, and call them false. There’s something about the brain that makes it think that what it believes is true, the majority of the time, whether any of its thought is true or applicable or not. While that makes it easy to make positive belief statements…it in no way ensures that those beliefs line up with any form of reality outside of one’s own mind.

The “professional” identity I find myself being pushed into now is an economic move so that I don’t go without treatment (for the same issue that caused me to be creative all the time) for so long that I relapse and get out of control again. I do have serious issues with trauma from having been sexually objectified all my life (which is a reason…but not necessarily a causal one…why I don’t identify as a woman. That is, being not-woman likely led to the objectification, which led to the rage). The rage issues are what I’m majorly guarding against, because…hey. I have a germ phobia. I don’t need to be fighting. It’s gross. πŸ™‚ Also, I’d go to adult jail, now.

Besides, I consider rage a form of pain.

It is…indeed possible for me to drastically reduce one of my medications after graduation. It should help with the side effects (largely, muscle spasms), and if I’m right, it should give me back more of my creative ability than it’s giving back, now.

Right now I can feel it still simmering under the surface, bumping up under some of the floorboards in the back of my mind…as I try and focus on getting my degree so that I can be a, “Librarian,” so that I can get health benefits. (Which, in itself…is beyond idiotic. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE for being a Librarian???)

πŸ˜›

It’s not an easy feeling. Really, not. I mean, just having to push that to the side so that I can deal with finishing grad school so that I’ll have class mobility, and be able to meet my basic needs. Even if I’ve realized that maybe I like working with things more than working with data. But craftspeople and artists don’t make an easy living in this society. And if you asked me now, yeah, that’s a reason why I’m thinking about not staying here for the rest of my life.

But I only have two more months of this, to deal with; unless, I don’t work.

I think I’ll be OK.

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Quilting??! (“Why would one need release,” you say?)

I’m experiencing a lot of levels of frustration with my work environment, right now, and the dysfunction is sapping my determination at studying.

On the bright side, I went to the quilt shop, today. I also have a bunch of quilting books to read, if I can pull myself away from what I have to do long enough to devote myself to something that doesn’t have to be done, right now.

Of course, this writing doesn’t have to be done, either: but I have just been so frustrated that I’m like, “screw all of this.” I need to remember, though, that all workplaces are going to be somewhat dysfunctional. My own workplace is likely particularly so at this point, however.

So…I was just reminded to take my medication. πŸ™‚ I also think it’s best that I put the study away for today, even though I have a lot of review ahead of me. This is due to not having stashed my assignments into ePortfolio pools at the time of their creation.

What I need to remember is that if I don’t commit myself to anything but my work, school, and upkeep, I have a good amount of time that I can devote to studying, on a daily basis. I don’t have children or a full-time job, and I live with family. I do have a disability to contend with, but that’s more of a mental struggle, than anything.

Probably the biggest thing I need to deal with is making sure I don’t go off on anyone from built-up stress, meaning that I’ll need to watch my anger level and give myself breaks when I need them.

Right now I’m being distracted by a show on orchids…it’s easy to get lost in stuff like this and lose track of time. Is that a good thing?

Anyhow…recently, I’ve purchased about…3 yards of fabric, and a large ruler to use in rotary cutting. I’ve just been hesitant to start into cutting and sewing. I have to give myself permission to do that, first. It also requires design, which I can shortcut into by reading and following some of the quilting books I have at the moment.

Right now, I’m considering doing a small model of what I would make, using the cheap fabrics from the big-box fabric store; and use the nice fabric for the final version. Or part of it, anyway.

I do have a bunch of fabric. Maybe tomorrow, I can photograph and upload some images. It will give me something to look forward to.

I’ve also decided that I’ll use the sewing machine, which should make things vastly simpler. There’s no real reason to stitch by hand, except personal preference; and I could make something much faster (and much larger and more complicated) by using a machine.

Stress and triggers. Recurrence of a familiar stance…

A few things have happened, recently. One: I’ve realized that I don’t really want to be female, though that doesn’t mean I want to transition to male. Not everyone around me seems to remember that “female,” does not always equate to, “woman.”

Another: Because of the stress of this final semester…I’m questioning whether I’m dealing with a bit of psychic fragmentation. I don’t think I would call it Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), but then I don’t really know what the medical opinion on this, is. I’ve just slipped back into a state that I recognize, which I haven’t dealt with for months (if not years).

I do know, however, that I definitely have used dissociation as a coping mechanism, in the past. Although it would be interesting if my way of being gender nonbinary was actually that I was plural (that I, “really,” had multiple identities, or deep facets that somehow include the same sets of identity and personality all the time)…I haven’t heard anything to that effect, and at this point it sounds too dramatic to be true.

On the other hand, I definitely have different subroutines in my mind, and I’ve read that being entirely, “integrated,” into one person, is an illusion, in all people.

It’s just…it’s weird that this mental constellation would come up again. Right now I’m dealing with a stronger-than-normal sense of being not-woman, along with what I can only call a darker viewpoint. I’ve also dealt more strongly with ideas about, “demons,” and the darker side of the paranormal, in this state — along with feelings of persecution when the darkness gets to the surface and others recognize it and try to condition me against it.

To be clear: when I’m like this, I’m not about being, “right.” I end up dealing with feelings of amorality, in favor of pragmatism and emotional validation, though I won’t generally open up about what I’m feeling. I know what is said to be the, “right thing to do,” or say, but…sometimes it’s hard to do it and keep what I’m actually feeling, hidden.

Though I won’t get into what it was that happened last night (I got triggered, particularly around issues of reproduction and, “motherhood,” which for me are obviously linked to ideas about gender and sexuality — which are obviously…slow torture for me), the pattern and the feelings are familiar. As is the social dynamic.

If it’s anything like it has been in the past…it may wear off by next Tuesday or Wednesday, at the latest. If it doesn’t shift, it would be weird. But…when this does happen, it leaves me without a non-occlusive vocabulary with which to communicate my state. That is, I do have a vocabulary with which I’ve explained this to myself: but others don’t understand it. To them, it suggests ideas that I was (thankfully) never exposed to, but which cause them to feel moral revulsion towards me.

I can see why this has come up, though, if I need to function and I am somehow not up to the task: I can switch into a mode which allows me to get things done by, “letting someone else deal with it;” that is, changing into a different person who can cope. And yeah, that does sound like DID, but DID is a serious condition, and I don’t feel that ill.

Of course, those around me may beg to differ…

Death, and sussing out evidence of Soul

Earlier, I began to read back through my “Blog — Roughs, Notes,” notebook. The sentiments I expressed in my last post are also recorded there, from almost exactly six months ago: January 13, 2018.

Some of the sentiments I also expressed in finding self-definition when immersed in a multicultural, pluralist society, is in the same set of notes. The series exploring this is named Cultural Location and Creative Context. The preceding link will send you to Part 3; Parts 1 and 2 are linked at the very end of that document.

I was getting excited; I forgot that 2018 is this year, so I thought I’d stumbled upon evidence from at least one year ago. No, it just feels like it was one year ago.

There’s something about time that’s unnerving. Yes, growth happens, but people (including myself) also age and pass on. When your social circle is largely family, that can be a scary thing (not to mention when you are without solid, “knowledge,” of; or, “faith,” in; what happens after death). I’ve been trying to spend as much time with people I especially love, as I can; because I know it’s limited.

At the same time, I’m supposed to be trying to become more independent. School is part of that, as is work. As is driving, for that matter, and cooking.

Just…sometimes, I lack energy, and it’s hard to actually…well, do things. I think the motivation is there, but fear and anxiety (and then, melancholy) also take hold sometimes and won’t let me move forward. Today was one of those days.

What I seem to have been doing, most recently, is inventorying myself — making notes as to where I am, mentally. Because some of this stuff doesn’t change, even if I want it to. The obvious thing for me to do about that at this point is to write it all down so that I can see who I am, as versus who I want to be, or who I think I should be.

The “psychic” aspect of my personal mythology* has come up again since I restarted creative writing. I’m thinking that the concept of, “time,” is kind of messing with me, though it’s also possible it’s one or another kind of intrusive thought: just the idea of the physical, being all there is.

(And no, I haven’t yet broken into my Sartre anthology, but I’m a bit struck by how he only lived 36 years. That’s as old as I am, now.)

I think that if I didn’t know better, I’d call it a type of demon. But there are things that look like, “demons,” which aren’t, and things that are demons that don’t at first appear to be (or which try to hide their status).

I’m not particularly talking about, “fallen angels.” I’m talking about things that screw up one’s psyche and life in a negative fashion. They do certain things like implant the idea that if you’re creative, people will attack you for it. Because creating is a holy act, and something dangerous to them.

If I’m being honest with myself and with you; the idea of death, out of balance, I do consider rather demonic, in a won’t let you go, haunting type of way. And I suppose…if I learned anything from Tarot (I didn’t learn all that much; the system’s mindset is — or was — kind of alien to me), it’s that each element can be either in balance or out of balance. It’s not death — or change — that is bad, it’s that my relation to it is not correct.

It could be that I’ve opened a gate by being honest with myself. Over the past week, I’ve told people about the, “psychic,” thing twice — although I wasn’t particularly looking for belief in or support of that, I’ve gotten it (to my surprise) both times. It’s just a given that in a certain part of my life, I did believe I was psychic, and in accepting that, had phenomena happen that would not have happened if I had cut the idea off at the knees and refused to entertain it.

So now I’m just dealing with sudden mental images of bodily decomposition. Are they random? I’m not sure. Where are they sourced from? Don’t know. But I do know that I probably shouldn’t worry about or focus on them, if I have a choice about it. One thing about spirits is that I haven’t known them to be entirely that tenacious.

What’s going on is called, “thought insertion,” in psychology — where some thought arises seemingly out of nowhere, and it feels like it comes from outside of you: that is, it is “ego-dystonic.” I’m not sure if being negatively emotionally disturbed by it is a criteria. But writing creatively does open a gate in my mind (a number of issues [discoveries?] arose after To a Spirit, meaning that it’s likely I started processing some unfinished business [or current business] by writing it), so it’s not unusual that something like this should arise.

That’s just what happens when I tune into my intuition.

And…the cost, for me, of tuning into my intuition is that if I talk about it everywhere, I’m just going to look a bit crazy. But I’ve been a bit crazy for a long time. πŸ™‚ For the sake of employment, I’ve been trying to push it down and stop the thought experiments…but if it’s a core part of my identity, maybe I shouldn’t do that. Then I have a couple of choices:

  1. Speak about it with discretion, or
  2. Don’t worry about the opinions of others

Of course, if I go back to an identity as a creative writer, we’re kind of known for being a bit eccentric, anyway.

And what could I do, if I opened those gates?

*What I mean when I speak about “personal mythology” is stories we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to make sense of our lives. They may or may not be true, but often it is difficult or impossible to change or eradicate these core beliefs, even if we know they are not accurate to reality.

Bodhisattva questioning. It’s probably immaterial, in the long run.

It’s been about eight hours of work, but there is now space in my office. Not to mention, a lot less dust. I still have some stuff to clean up, but it’s minor. I also still have books (and folders) to go through.

I didn’t realize how many materials I had, here. I rediscovered my little, “treasure box,” from the time I was collecting things like this…I had forgotten that one table in particular had been designated for spirit-nurturing stuff. Right now it also has a file holder on it. Not sure how I feel about that…

…but it’s…just odd, being on the verge of becoming a Librarian, and having worked with community organizing before. Plus being so involved in creation. There are other things that are important to me, but my own sense of integrity will not allow me to take some paths. Possibly, many paths.

I also did find a Kuan Yin figurine which had been gifted to me, a while ago. Around the last few days, I’ve been thinking about the Bodhisattva thing…particularly if the conditions of my life this time around are because of past-life directives.

Just now, my attention was drawn to an acorn I picked up some time ago. What is a seed if it’s never planted? (If I hadn’t picked it up, chances are good it would have been crushed, or food for a squirrel. If I plant it…I’d better be sure it’s away from gas lines!)

And I guess it’s worth mentioning that seeds are planted in the Earth…which can be as nourishing as it is polluted. Or, more to the point, the Earth provides disease-causing organisms as well as beneficial ones. We just hope the beneficial ones keep the others in check, most of the time. (And we all depend on it.)

A long time ago, when I was still notably ill, I did seriously question whether I had taken bodhisattva vows in a past life. The thing is, even if one is ill, it’s hard to move forward without acknowledging that one experiences what one experiences. My life didn’t really start to move forward until I acknowledged my reality, even if that reality didn’t match what anyone else experienced. Even if my explanation of reality was untrue: the experience of it was not.

I also had to own that no one else could have a clear window to objective reality, either: assuming that one’s thoughts are always true and right just because one thinks them (but others can be wrong), is part of what makes people ill.

The major thing about the entire bodhisattva concept, here, is that “American” Buddhism is still in its infancy. I also find that it is relatively vulnerable to romanticized and wrong ideas of other cultures, and people from other cultures, including the ones from which our knowledge of Buddhism has come.

Thus there is this thing about “how to be a Bodhisattva”…which, I’m not sure is actually true to how people in non-English-speaking countries, who are exposed to non-English texts and cultures including a more mature interpretation of Buddhism, experience being a bodhisattva.

A bodhisattva is someone who has sworn not to enter nirvana (liberation beyond rebirth and duhkha [“suffering,” or, “unease”]) until all other sentient beings have done so. That is, they have sworn to be reborn until the last sentient being ceases to suffer and is liberated from the cycle of birth and death. It gives them implicit motivation to help other beings toward their own enlightenment.

Bodhisattvas are also, notably…shown bedecked in jewels, with long hair (as versus shaved heads), and as beautiful. This is symbolic. From what I know, basically all the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) paths advocate this as an ideal, as versus just trying to get oneself to liberation.

What I read in English texts, however, seems like a cotton-candy idealized perfect version of something which was already idealized to begin with, so it’s like “How to Be A Buddhist,” and “You’re Not Being Buddhist Enough,” when I am not certain it is actually to anyone’s benefit to identify as a Buddhist. If the goal is to let go of fixed ideas of Self…the idea of identifying as, “a Buddhist,” is a stepping-stone at best, and grasping for permanence and identity in a world with a defining trait of impermanence, at worst. (“Grasping,” is noted to cause duhkha.)

Let me say this: I don’t think Bodhisattvas are perfect; because if they were perfect, I don’t know that they would be here.

That does bring up the question of whether taking Bodhisattva vows is born of imperfection, and I would say that, given the level one is at when one first takes them, it has to be. Does it start to make one, “clean?” I don’t know. But I would say it likely does give one a community to fall back on, at least in spirit.

There are people I’ve known and presences I’ve sensed which actually are beneficent…the process is called Taking Refuge (in the Buddha [the one who taught the way to live; note there are many Buddhas], the Dharma [the path out of pain], and the Sangha [the religious community, in whatever form that takes]). I have done this in the past, privately. It did help me. A lot. Particularly when I sought Kuan Yin (who is known to give compassion, and is one of the Bodhisattvas who appear both in male [Avalokiteshvara] and Goddess forms).

Do I understand Taking Refuge? Intellectually, no. But, emotionally, it helps.

I have not tried reaching out in person to any Buddhist temples — most of the ones around here are of the Pure Land variant, which isn’t where I’d ideally go first — but the aura I get from two actual Buddhists whose presence I have been in…is very different. (I am assuming my past sensei was at least lay Buddhist, if not monk…just, many things point to that.)

This is long enough. I started to get into stuff here linked with possible past-life influence…but it’s unnecessary and off-topic.

And this may have been partially caused by an artwork I did of a temple, which someone said did remind him of his visit to the Himalayas. (I did not paint this from a reference.)

The point is, for me, that the path I’ve taken in this life is actually kind of…congruent with what I would expect, if I did take Bodhisattva vows. The grad work shapes a person, but on top of that is the public service thing, and how we are not supposed to assume what a person is like, by their appearance. This hits me on the levels of gender, orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, occupation.

I have the ability to communicate. I can be a force for good.

And I am very glad I have certain people in my life…

Housekeeping

Tonight I started to tackle the mess in the office. And reorganize the bedroom. My folks found some bookends for me (though I hear store staff didn’t immediately know what “bookends” were), so now I’m able to have a bunch of “recreational” reading material in my bedroom.

I just figured that there wasn’t any actual reason for me not to read fiction. It’s still a valid mode of communication, after all. (Just, not always a straightforward one.)

Right now, things look pretty terrible in here (the office). But. Most of the CDs that I had (and didn’t know I had) are now actually organized and in one container. The fiction is in my bedroom; the metaphysics/psychic/energy work/channeling stuff is waiting for review, but unobtrusive.

I’ve gotten tired of the, “yes this is possible, but don’t try it because HORRIBLE THINGS may happen. WOOoOo.” Right now I’m taking the prolific warnings as discouragement from trying anything in the book because then the reader will know if the author is a fraud…although I have had interesting psychosomatic effects with energy work, for whatever reason (and if hearsay is accurate, I’m not the only one). Particularly, extremities (hands, feet) heating up despite the fact that I haven’t moved.

The irritating thing about dabbling in this stuff is that then you have to deal with attracting the “astral wildlife.” The phenomena of which, for whatever reason, seem to co-occur when people start playing with psychic or life energy. It could be self-generated (fear manifestations), or it could be actual. The thing is, it would probably FEEL actual, regardless of whether it is or not. And that’s something I’m kind of happy without, for now.

After all, I’ve only recently been able to consistently distinguish my own hallucinations (sensed experiences without a physical component) and/or illusions (sensed experiences with a physical component, which cognition warps) from reality.

I won’t get into what those are. Suffice to say that I don’t always trust my brain, and I’m learning not to always trust the people who write these books.

…I won’t get any further into that, for now.

All the textbooks are now on shelves, except for one book on HTML4 which has sections that are still useful (we’re on HTML5 now).

I don’t have to do any more work for Programming until Tuesday, and even then, I’ve got a head start. I might want to look into it after having done some work at recovering order, tomorrow.

And I could try chatting up some people in my class. Why not.

I have a large inclination to go through my old class readers, spiral-bound notebooks, folders, and old textbooks, to see what is where — and what I don’t need anymore (if I ever did need it). A lot of these things are remnants of prior classes, going back to the time I first attended University.

That means that tomorrow, in addition to starting the laundry, I’m likely going to end up taking another shower (meaning why not exercise; I’ll have had the 48 hours of rest recommended in strength training…don’t know if that applies to cardio), and getting my hair trimmed.

I might also need to change the sheets and wash my blankets; I went to bed last night unwashed, after sitting on a dusty carpet.

The most difficult thing I’ll likely be dealing with, is deciding what to keep and what to toss of printouts and paperwork which have accumulated in this room over the last two semesters.

It would also be nice to have some way to tell what is in each frickin’ folder without opening it first…but I won’t know how to do that without opening them all, anyway.

Today I restarted reading a book that was over my head, when I first got it. It’s called The Midnight Disease, and it’s on hypergraphia (the constant drive to write), Writer’s Block, and creativity. Now that I’ve been through the Art program, I understand a lot more of it than I did when I first got it.

Looking back on it, it’s possible apparent that I did exhibit hypergraphia when younger. I know that I majored in Writing because it was something I constantly did; though no one really told me that obsessive writing could be a symptom of something else (which then might go away with treatment…or how to deal with it, if that did happen).

Alright, I’m turning this computer off, because I’m smelling something weird. We’ll see if I continue to smell it…

Possible (subtle) identity shift

I’m considering modifying my primary identity from, “creator,” to, “Librarian.” Of course, creativity is a valuable component of librarianship. I think my health, mentally, is just reaching the point where I don’t need to fall back on stereotypical creative outlets so hard, in order to maintain normal functioning. (In the past, my creativity has been useful as a coping mechanism. It also could have been connected to my brain not working at its best.)

If you’re looking specifically for the section of this post which I mentioned in the opening line, skip down to the heading, “The necessity of Creativity,” below.


Monpe (mompei) project

That said, I was puzzling over the monpe (Japanese field pant) pattern last night (Folkwear #112, old version)…having finally gotten the guts to go and mark and cut out pieces for my toile (trial garment) and attempt to assemble them.

The major issue I was having from around this time last night, is that I couldn’t tell the right side from the wrong side of the muslin fabric, and the pattern cutouts were too much alike for me to easily make out what was what. Having extra fabric on all sides of each pattern piece also turned out to be more of a pain than a help: I ended up cutting most of it off (and am hoping I didn’t cut off a seam allowance by accident). A quilting ruler helped to add the extra 1/2″ which would theoretically size the pattern up to a 16. (The new version of the pattern goes up to size 20, but I don’t have that one.)

Looking ahead in the instructions, I was able to reverse-engineer what needed to go where, and now it’s looking correct. I have the pieces pinned out, though this is actually several steps ahead — I just needed to assemble the thing to be able to see what was going on (the instructions don’t help all that much if you’re going step-by-step with no vision of what you’re working towards).

I’ve found that pinning along (instead of across) the sewing line helps with precision, and that I shouldn’t baste until I’m sure things are correct. I’ve had to rip out diagonal basting (silk thread) at least two or three times (without using them) because of errors, and a line of sewing, I had to rip out once…and I’m doing this all by hand. Pinning is much more amenable to adjustment.

Also, it would have helped to copy the stupid shape-coded markings from the pattern to the cloth. I was using colored thread as markers for these spots, but I found when reading the instructions that the shapes mean something. I just didn’t want to go drawing big squares or circles on my fabric, though maybe I should. Color-coding is also another option.

I also need to use the cutting mat under my fabric, next time I try to mark it. I ended up denting the kitchen table with my marking wheel.

In any case, it’s better that I’m practicing on muslin than with my good fabric. It’s also surprising when working with the muslin, how much easier it is to pass a needle through than with quilting fabric (Fat Quarters, in particular). I was using Sharps in both cases, but it’s seriously much easier to sew through the muslin, than it is to quilt (which may be the reason why “Quilting Betweens” needles exist, I know now). I have a needle that’s actually bent from trying to pull it through quilting fabric, which caused me to just get a couple of new Sharps for the monpe project.

If the reason to sew is that I like working with precision, needles, and sharp things, too: well, it doesn’t disappoint. And actually having an end goal of a functional garment that I’m working toward, helps.

Since I haven’t been sewing for a very long time, it also helps to have the cheap muslin toile to screw up with and pin and unpin and mark and rip stitches out of.

But yeah, it can be frustrating.

The thing is that I don’t know where I can actually get a pair of authentic monpe for a good price, and if I could get them, they would almost certainly be vintage (i.e. used). It’s seriously difficult to find this stuff here. Either you look in Japantown and get vintage stuff, or you look outside of that and get inauthentic Americanized lingerie (the implications of which are things I don’t really want to get into, now).

I do…really, though, want to make a wrap top, utilizing a Japanese pattern which is modified for a curvy body and American aesthetic sensibility (i.e. not to a cylindrical ideal, as traditional garments generally aim toward). That is, I am thinking I want to tailor it.

Unfortunately, I think this means I’m either going to have to make the pattern myself (I have the instructions), or alter an existing pattern. I have a beautiful green-blue batik that I got a number of years ago for this purpose, but I want to make the monpe first, in order to hone myself at least a little.


Update on the Wool-Eater blanket project:

I’ve also been working on that Wool-Eater crochet blanket, though I got a bit discouraged when I realized that one of the skeins of yarn which I have and need to use, is from a different dye lot than the one it’s meant to match (even though I thought I matched them). This means that there are two slightly different colors going on in two rows that are supposed to be one color. I could rip out and stop at the pink row (I’m on light green, now), but I think I’ll go on with it imperfect, and try and make something more functional than just decorative.


Sleep update:

Today, as well: I was asleep most of the day. I’m not sure if it is connected to staying up late last night trying to figure out this monpe problem…or needing to get back to schoolwork today and not wanting to face it; or not wanting to go in to work for extra hours. It could also have been because it was really hot, earlier.


The necessity of Creativity

Anyhow…I’ve just noticed that I have accumulated experience in a lot of creative outlets, but that my life doesn’t have to revolve around those outlets. As, I’m thinking, it’s likely that a lot of people don’t really…you know, do this. I mean, I don’t think that most people wish to be creative. Or, maybe their creativity doesn’t express itself through arts or crafts or design.

It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing, but my “creator” identity is something I came up with when I was in ill health, in order to keep myself going. And I mean, I was likely seriously ill. I am not sure I knew the extent of this, I just knew my experiences would sound, “weird,” to other people. But now, I’m effectively 16 years into recovery.

At this point, a lot of the unwanted mental activity that I was dealing with as a youth and young adult has been effectively brought under control. I can also communicate better now than I could then, which lessens the need to go out of my way to find creative expression (though I do believe making your own clothes is a form of creative expression).

The identity shift isn’t a solid thing yet, I don’t want to scare you; but I’m wondering if I thought of myself as a Librarian first, and on top of that as just a creative person (as versus an agent of the creative Divine), if it would help me pursue my goals (and free up my energy). It just seems that this kind of really fulfilling way of being kind of crept up on me while I was trying to figure out a way to stay creative and survive in the world. The creativity was my reason to survive.

But now I’m moving from, “surviving,” to, “contributing,” and that is an entirely different proposition. By this I mean that there are ways I can apply my creativity and problem-solving skills to improve the lives of others, and help make the world a better place. This is as versus doing my best just to take care of myself and stay alive.

It was and is helpful to take some control of my life, and making things is a great way to avoid feeling at the mercy of others. I think maybe, though…there are more ways to create than I thought of when I was younger…and I’m about to move into a position where I can and most likely will be tasked with helping my communities (which helps others as well as myself). That actually is a much more powerful position than I’ve ever been in, before, and it takes away the feeling of a lack of control.

I’m also older and in more control of my own life than I have been before…hmm. This is to say that I’m not entirely certain why I’m less drawn to story-weaving or pictorial arts than I was as a youth, but it seems to be correlated with some relief on my part…