Note to Self : There’s a reason people paint flowers

Some people paint faces. Some people paint landscapes. Some people paint the creatures they see in their dreams.

I paint flowers.  

 Well. Actually, I draw all those other things to but my “go to”, the thing I draw when my brain is not really thinking and my hand is moving on it’s own accord, that would be flowers. 


I don’t have a “why” except maybe I love them. The flowers that my dad called weeds that grew in the hay pasture. The flowers that my mom spent hours taking care of I’m her garden on hot and humid nights. The flowers that, to my teenage mind, meant true love on Valentine’s Day.


But as I painted them {and painted them and continued to paint them} as an adult I grew a bit ashamed. Because, at the end of the day,  my inner critic tells me that these are “just flowers”.


And then, my brain {the one who is constantly fighting my inner critic} kicks in.Monet, Van Gough, O’Keefe : Three “big name” artists who I can name off the top of my head who were into painting flowers. 


I wonder if they had an inner critic that tried to stop their hands from doing the thing that it most instinctively desired to do. The thing that, for a moment, quiets the noise of the critic {both real and imagined} and simply creates. 


Maybe these flowers have a job. 

Maybe that job is to simply remind me that it’s not the voice of the critic that matters.  

Maybe that job is to encourage me to follow through with the teenage notion of true love, the love that I extend to myself.  


So I will continue to paint flowers. And hope I learn the rest along the way. 

Note to Self : The Sum

I found this list in my notes recently:

  • Pain
  • Fear
  • numbing
  • Remembering
  • Fallen officer vs street kid
  • Work

I’m fairly sure that, in all of this, I was attempting to parse it the meaning of life. That is, admittedly, a big undertaking for a four inch screen but is what I found myself wrestling with when I noticed the society I happily count myself a part of, honors a fallen officer via the naming of a bridge while that same society rushes to erase the memories of the abused woman and children who live under that same bridge.

I don’t discount the work of men and women who work tirelessly to help our communities be the best version of themselves. I’m grateful for their and their families work and sacrifice.

But I want to live in a world where we stand up and notice the others we’ve lost. I want to speak aloud the names and paint the faces of the children we’ve allowed to go hungry, who’s tears we’ve neglected to dry. Children who, despite living in the world’s most wealthy nation, are pushed quite literally into the gutter.

I want to remember both the heroes and the downtrodden, because the community I live in is the sum of all of its parts.

I didn’t know Roberta. And I have no idea how {or even if} a red lighter, a bottle of kumbotcha, a tiny minion toy, a dart, dice, and gold Mardi Gras beads signify her. But, like most memorials, this one is less about this one human and more about loss and memory in a way that is real and important. Even if it’s not beautiful in a traditional way. 

I didn’t know Roberta. And I have no idea how {or even if} a red lighter, a bottle of kumbotcha, a tiny minion toy, a dart, dice, and gold Mardi Gras beads signify her. But, like most memorials, this one is less about this one human and more about loss and memory in a way that is real and important. Even if it’s not beautiful in a traditional way. 

Let’s focus less on the heroic and aesthetically pleasing so we can see {and perhaps even help} the sad and dirty and real.



Note to Self : Open Your Eyes

I always know when I’ve traveled well because, at some point in the middle of the coming and the going, I feel my soul stretch.

As someone who infrequently practices yoga, I am very familiar with the physical discomfort that can come along with a stretch. Not a pain exactly {though the older I get the more that comes into play as well}, but discomfort. The discomfort is a feeling that says, “This is not normal. This is, quite literally, out of my comfort zone.”



Most recently, the travel that pushed hard against my comfort was a trip with my young son to Portland. It is undoubtedly a beautiful city that abounds with both natural and man made wonders for a toddler and his mother to explore. But it is also a city that deals with poverty and homelessness in a way that, for me, is almost excruciating at times.

Unlike a lot of modern “first world” cities, Portland doesn’t let its inhabitants or its visitors pretend that poverty doesn’t exist. The mouths of the hungry and the “best new restaurant” are, more often than not, nearest neighbors. The path to the newly constructed bike park is lined with the acrylic tarp and cardboard homes of those too unfortunate to properly stay out of the rain.

Portland, unlike so much my modern day world, doesn’t have an algorithm. It’s doesn’t allow me to block the things I’d rather not see. It doesn’t allow me to mute the anger and the fear and the pain of my neighbor.

Pain and anger and fear: how much of our lives do we spend simply trying to avoid these? How helpless and inadequate do I feel when, instead of hiding from these things I am forced to confront these things in myself, let alone the wider {colder, lonelier, more fearful} world outside of my control? And what does any of this have to do with creativity?

It means, I think, that we can’t be selective in what the world gives us. Eyes that are closed to the ugly cannot adequately see the worlds beauty. Ears that have muted the disturbing screams are less able to hear the thoughtful whispers. A heart that is numb can not adequately love.



Note to self : {untitled}

 {Occasionally I will get on my phone and start typing to no one in particular. Mostly it’s whatever I have on my mind at the time. Thoughts. Hopes. Dreams. Regrets.  

Lots of times it’s regret. The thing I’m always running from until I’m forced to finally look it square in the face.  

I went through my writing drafts recently and saw the one below. Though it doesn’t speak to my state of mind at the moment, I think it’s valuable: because even though I am the same woman who wrote this months ago I don’t feel the same regret now.

I am the same but I have changed.

I am not my emotions and I am capable of change. Good gracious that’s a good thing. And looking back, even on hard times and bad punctuation, helps me remember that my low phases are not permanent. And that they are not the essence of me.} 


Looking through pictures  

remembering glimpses of sams baby-ness

larger memories of the stress and work of the podcast

wondering if I missed out.

Wondering if I screwed myself over.   Wondering if the podcast phase and the art phase were simply phases and I missed babyhood by hiding behind my projects.

Wondering if the things that matter to me now aren't as important as they seem. Wondering what, if anything, matters in my life in ten years other than him and my family. 

Wondering if this is me being blue. Or tired. Or the natural thoughts of. mom of a toddler. Am I dangling into creative apathy? Have the months of "he and me" atrophied my drive and desire? 

In both my phone note and today in this post I leave these questions unanswered. Because some questions can’t be answered in the moment. And I’m learning to be okay with the mystery.




Note to self: Let’s stop apologizing for writing “novels”

You’ve done it.

I have too. 

We spill our heart or mind or emotions via the tiptap of our thumbs on the tiny computer we carry in our back pocket or throw in our purse.


We open up in a way that seems too intense to do in person. We talk about how the relationship has changed and how we are a better person for it. We talk about the pain that comes from having to be strong. We talk about the anger, the hot burning volcano that we’ve pushed down a thousand times but can’t seem to swallow one more time.

We tell the truth. Via text or email or instant message. We tell the truth that needs to be free.

And then we apologize.

”Sorry for the novel,” we say.

Let’s stop: There is absolutely no reason to apologize for telling the truth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with opening ourselves up in a society that tells us to push it down and act like we have ourselves together.



My Journey : My One Word for 2019

Today I wanted to share about my word of 2019. Have you heard about this practice? Instead of resolutions {of which I’ve personally never had great success} one chooses a word to focus their year.


In the past I’ve had words such as “fearless” and “growth”, intentions that specifically spoke to where I was in regard to pursuing a more creative life.  This year I’m going with “open”.

One of the exercises I’ve practiced with the word of the year is to think about different phrases in which your word fits.

What comes to your mind when you think of “open”?

A few that come to my mind:

  • Open and receiving the goodness of the universe

  • Open mind

  • open heart

  • Open arms

  • Eye opening

  • Open for business

  • When one door closes another opens

All of these phrases excite me for their sense of possibility. And if 2018 has taught me anything it is that pursuing possibility is where the good stuff is hidden.

I’d love to know: do you choose a word to guide your year? If so, what is it? If not, how in the heck do you stick to your resolutions?  :)

Happy 2019 friends.