“Life is a blank canvas and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.” -Danny Kaye.
If the Bible says to keep your body clean as a temple then I suppose I’m in trouble.Usually I write about more serious or inspiring subjects.However as the holidays get thrust upon us and lurch ever closer,just like recess why not have some relaxing fun!?
Over the years,whenever I had to do a historical report or speech I would choose the subject of tattooing(sometimes vegetarianism) because I found that a once taboo art form reserved for Sailors and Prisoners was interesting.Also not to mention it can be pretty if done right.
Photo:Torrie Blake on Tumblr) Her leg piece!
I fully plan to get yet another(#8) to mark the experience of nearly dying and surviving to
begin a recovery with a flowing phoenix surrounded by peach and robins egg blue flowers.What’s more, thanks to the mention from a friend I plan on earning the money for it myself doing a small humble(but paid!) job.It may take awhile but it will only make it even more meaningful.Because,I wasn’t expected to live much less work a job! If our bodies are temples then you can call me a graffiti artist.
Photo: art by Banksy)
In closing,dear readers don’t be afraid to express yourself! Life is too short to worry about what other people think.
I think you should know I don’t believe in you,but I do know a lot more about you then you think and I have a bone to pick!
I know that you ran off with Misses Claus soon after you were both married at the ripe age of 18 and joined the Navy.While you were enlisted you were also gone for a year when I was a baby.Misses Claus told me since I didn’t remember who you were at first when you came home, I would only communicate with you when you used your hand to talk to me like a naked sock puppet.Unfortunately the elves were not very savvy in building iphones and the like so you had to resort to cameras that recorded with 8mm film.When I see the pictures you did get,the North Pole looks a lot warmer then how it’s depicted in holiday folklore.Almost like Virginia Beach actually.While I could gripe about the many missed presents,I won’t because I got other things I asked for and some I didn’t!Luckily the elves are proficient at electronics these days,so watching home films on the wall is a thing of the past.However, why didn’t you hire that elf Steve Jobs sooner!? Because you didn’t, instead the Claus family had to use giant cameras and inconvenient memory storage methods.Even though you two dropped the ball on that one I forgive you,hindsight is 20/20.
Furthermore, you did catch the ball when it came to sending me to a good school,providing a roof over my head,not letting me eat too many cookies,(although you did yourself sometimes!)and fixing up numerous reindeer that I could fly around on as soon as it was legal.I must say for as busy as you were visiting all the houses in the world in 24 hours you always had time for Mrs Claus and I.When I eventually grew up and walked thru the Lincoln Tunnel to move to New York City, Mrs Claus and you even skipped out on the North Pole when I got hurt.Those songs are right, you DO know everything! It was worse then living with a psychologist or a psychic,if you believe in that sort of thing.Although you crazy kids moved away to the North Pole at a young age,it’s a lovely thing that you two discovered magic when you got there.That magic is still alive today every time my needs are met,I get driven to a place I want to go,have emotional support,the piles of paperwork that get done for me,and all the special requests met too.Since I have grown up with Christmas I know it means more then just presents,flying reindeer,and mass consumerism.Since I almost wasn’t around for anymore Christmas’s I think you and Mrs Claus know the magic that has worked and in many ways saved me, is love.Too many people forget that and instead focus on what the elves churn out.Speaking of mass consumerism,in the mall the other day,I heard the song ‘I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus’ that kid was majorly confused! I slightly felt bad for him because I knew who my “Mommy was kissing,” and it was my Dad.So,thanks Mr and Mrs Claus for doing a pretty good job.
Since the New Year is nearly upon us, rather then write a reflective piece on the time that has passed and future things to look forward to,I decided to list some of the more fun or “crazy,” things I have done.Because naturally that’s more interesting and funny.Without further ado and in no particular oder Here it is:
1) Made a snow angel on the subway platform at 3 a.m. before the train arrived and after a snowstorm,I then headed to my midnight shift.
2)Igot my motorcycle license to ride my Vespa around New York City,one of the smallest and only girls in a drivers ed class and among a sea of burly men(My Vespa w/saddlebags below)
3)Spent an afternoon on a rooftop in a trapeze class,with the final trick flipping into the hands of the person across from you…
4)went bungee jumping,while my Mother unknowingly lounged on the beach and showed Her the video when I returned.
5)shot fireworks off the roof of my apartment,figuring if police were called I would spot them first(nah-nah-nah-nah-naah)
6)drove to Montauk with friends around 3 a.m. to sit on a cliff of boulders,drink cheap champagne and watch the sunrise over the Ocean…
6)Often applied and went to job interviews I may have not been qualified for,but won them over somehow with my knack to succeed.
7) Climbed very steep and narrow stairs for a rooftop view in Italy.
8)Took a 4 hour safety class to go scuba diving in Turks and Caicos that afternoon!
9)Sang songs to a cozy group of lovely people at an open mic night in Queens NewYork several times(R.I.P Cafe Marlene)at a quaint and cozy French Cafe in Sunnyside Queens.
10) Bought ice cream to share with a young girl asking for money on the street.
1)Submitted my artwork to be hung and shown at a gallery in Detroit,Michigan.
12)Purchased a party bus or what turned out to be a full blown tour bus to celebrate my 21st birthday on,well into the morning.Best money I ever spent! 🙂
13)Was chosen by a successful designer at an Oscar Party to win best dressed.
14)Worked in Manhattan in the wee hours,thus I have many funny subway stories.Speaking of,witnessed a car full of Drag Queens playing tag in the middle of the night see also- glitter confetti
15)As a joke tried to breakdance for quarters on the street in Ann Arbor,Michigan see also -I am too white.
16)Accidently sent some frat guys to a gay bar on a Friday night when they were looking for chicks, see also – awesomely hilarious!
17)Pulled a complete stranger onto a stage to dance,and afterwards He told me “Your body is poetry.” It’s a good thing I didn’t give him my phone number!
18)Moved to NYC on my own with no job and landed a prestigious job pretty quickly see also -Blood,Sweat,and Tears….
19)Boycotted Starbucks in favor of independent,local coffee shops see also- I’m a “hipster.”
20)Had my wish that was written on a piece of confetti dropped in Times Square on New Years.
Inconclusion,life is short and a New Year brings more possibilities,and moments to remember as well as moments to seize.
I have had a brush with the end of my life,it came unexpectedly and without warning.I look back and revel in all the great moments and accomplishments with a smile.I hope you will/do as well.A New Year brings more possibilities,and moments to remember as well as moments to seize.
I used to think that sometimes I was better than other people because of my accomplishments.
The truth is that I’m not and that no one really even knows or cares about your accomplishments.
Most people are self focused, and odds are they aren’t talking about you either.
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” -Oscar Wilde.
Unfortunately most people’s accomplishments aren’t generally acknowledged.
What I have found is that it doesn’t matter if people recognize it or not as long as your proud of it and don’t become too prideful(snob alert!)this lead me to think of those that are elderly or forgotten.There are people just walking around that have done immensely interesting things!
Because I have experienced this myself I for one try not to judge anyone too harshly.
At the end of the day, whether people see my inner being or not it doesn’t matter.Because I know myself and I’m very proud of it.This translates into confidence and happiness. However, being proud of yourself walks the fine line between proud and pride.If you too live on this Earth,chances are you too are an overcomer.everyone has had to overcome something.Some are more difficult than others but nonetheless we all struggle in some way.Regardless of the circumstance we all have deep down that fighting,suprise even yourself spirit.This is why at the end of the day no one should dislike looking in the mirror.Because if we truly saw ouselves we’d see something beautiful.What made me come to reflect deeper internally was the event that stripped me externally of anything seemingly impressive.Right now I don’t have a nice car or a lot of money,I don’t even have my prized amazing shoes! Currently I’m stuck in ugly velcro shoes,with a cane,and my left arm just hanging at my side ending in a hand whose fingers will not move for me. To the outside observer I appear to just be handicapped.Little do they know I’m not(to me at least!)nor do they know of my vast accomplishments.Furthermore I hardly appear impressive(ha-ha)but that doesn’t matter because I know.The wondering stares and lack of knowing about the real me no longer bothers me as it once did.Do you know how I accomplished this? Well, I looked at myself but really looked at myself.It doesn’t hurt that I have an incredible support system either.The poem And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou says it best:
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
Dear friends and readers my hope for you is to feel this way too in the battle you are fighting.When you look in the mirror don’t only consider your exterior.
Like a pheonix may you too rise from the ashes!
Usually Cosmo magazine is really good at informing it’s female masses about sex and how to please their male counterparts.However, with this more recent article (read here) I was pleasantly surprised as I sat in a salon with my head covered in tin foil.I was looking for some reading material to pass the time while I waited for my hair to become a member of
the copper family,this is where I met Penny Fisher.
The reason this article was significant to me is because I could relate.
Penny has a rather remarkable story as well.Additionally what’s more remarkable is Her attitude.
I quickly perused the pages of Cosmo expecting the same old vapid content,that is until I crossed paths with Penny.
This woman had to forego multiple amputations,when some of us complain about our hair!
Needless to say perspective is everything.I found this particular article to be uplifting rather than another “puff piece.”
People need to see more articles like the story of Penny Fisher. Everyday the world at large concerns itself with things that are shallow.In reality as people were not all that superficial.However, mass media would lead one to believe otherwise.The truth is that after such a life altering event occurs it’s difficult to relate to “normal,” worries when they truly are quite petty in the bigger picture.Sometimes, I feel like a being sent back in time to deliver an important message.Except instead of a time machine I came back from the brink of death to yell “Appreciate your life,” using media as a bullhorn.It’s not that either of us(Penny or I ) lost a great life,but rather now we have a chance to make an even better one.While I have endured much suffering,out of the pain a baby has been birthed.This child I hope will grow up wise and knowledgable.When the dust clears on the playing field I’m trying my best to continue standing there having endured a storm.I’m looking forward to taking a nice big gulp of life sustaining oxygen again soon.Finally,besides the air clearing up it’s also clear that it’s important to have a clear mind and value the correct things in life.Had I known what I know now,rather than gripe over minimal worries I would have skipped down the street handing out all my money to the homeless in NYC.If your main concern is the subject of physical looks or money,or even your significant other your doing fantastic.Life is too short to live it in the constraints of the “worlds,”or other people’s expectations. Follow your heart but just don’t forget your head
As the young Will Smith sang“Parents just don’t understand.”
While 16 year old me agreed with that, I actually felt that way not too long ago.
When I was first taken to my parents home for recovery I was highly agitated about it.
I even accused them of kidnapping me!
However, after one day when I was particularly mean to my Mum(i.e taking it out on Her) I began to think that maybe it’s ME that doesn’t understand…
After all they want the same thing I do, which is ultimately to get my life back.
As teens we all despised our own parents at one point or another and I found myself feeling that way again.
Although at the time I failed to take into account that they’re just people too.
We all were struggling with how to deal in the midst of this tragedy(see here.)
After I thought about it more and reminded myself that we were all working towards the same goal, it helped lessen the frustrations.
Because, you know they’re just humans too.
In fact they were a pair of rock n’ roll kids who basically ran away from home together at the age of 18 or so.
See the awesome “professional picture” of them below from the 1980’s which is my favorite. Many a visitor to my NewYork apartment marveled at it.
When it comes down to it between these two humans, I think they did a pretty good job in raising me. They truly love my sometimes crazy self.
In sum, who I am today has in a large part been due to my parents.
Whether it be due to age or trials and tribulations, I’m proud of who I am.
They helped me when I needed it, and even when I accuse them of kidnapping they still love me and your parents do too, so try and cut them a break once in awhile.
“If your always wishing you were somewhere else, you’ll miss most of your life.” -unknown.
All of us at one time or another focus on what we don’t have. However, when you flip the switch and focus on what you DO have that list of don’ts, suddenly becomes much more positive. Lately I have decided to make a list of don’ts in order to feel better. For example: While I may have had a devastating stroke, I don’t have many of the problems associated with one, thus I made a list of what I don’t have. This is like many positivity exercises, although I’m no new age guru. While I did previously subscribe to some of it, I no longer do. Instead of believing in only myself, I do indeed believe in a higher being. Part of that is still very much positivity,health, and wealth. While your list may be different than mine, I think you too will find your list puts a spin for the better on an otherwise negative view. Furthermore by taking note of what you don’t have rather than be saddened by it, you’ll probably be more grateful.
While wallowing in your own problems it’s easy to get swallowed by them. There are times I’m sure when you’d rather be someone else. Little do you know there is someone who would wish to be you!
I went on for months wishing I was anyone but me. Except one day I met a woman bound to a wheelchair, that really wished to be me.Little did I know the blessings I had because I was too busy looking much farther than my nose. When your studying for a test if your overly concerned with the final grade, you won’t do well in studying for it. I was so worried about where I would end up I forgot to look where I was at that moment. The best advice my parents received while I was in an ICU dying was this: “Don’t look any farther than right here.[ taps nose]
To summarize, if you look too far in the future or too far in the past, those thoughts will eat you alive. Life, for me at least truly is day by day. After all, we aren’t promised a tomorrow. The best you can do is take advantage of your here and now. I am still learning as are all of us, but at least I can share my wisdom in hopes you will avoid your own troubles.
Cheers my fellow friends and travelers! I bid you well on this journey,
“You used to be much more…”muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
Much like Alice we are all on a journey to find our muchness.
I have found that my own personal journey has very much reflected the story of Alice in Wonderland.
Over the past year and a half I have met character after character.
The jabberwocky for me was the recovery and overcoming of the massive stroke.
Many times I have been at a crossroads of confusion.
It was as if the Cheshire Cat was pointing me in all sorts of directions.
However, I couldn’t always listen to him but follow my own feet as best I could.
The evil queen of hearts for me though, resided in a large hospital castle.
She sent her army of doctors after me,while I ran thru a garden maze looking for the exit.
Luckily, I have found the tiny door to a room that leads out though.
When I finally return from the depths of the rabbit hole I have plans.
Like Alice,I too have large dreams and new frontiers to set sail for.
Alice keeps getting questioned who she is in the film repeatedly.
Until, finally the mad hatter recognizes her after she regains her”muchness.
I also was questioned repeatedly on who I was.
In test after test I determined to show therapists “I’m still here, I’m okay!”
After months of outpatient therapy, I began to feel mad.
However as in the film:
“The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter’s temperature]
I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.
Except few people can command attention with it,despite their cries of indignation.
Through circumstance I have been given that authority,
likewise ,“With great power comes great responsibility,” as said by Stan Lee.
Through unexpected,and unplanned circumstances I’ve found myself primed for a soapbox.However small the audience,each person matters.The question begging an answer is,now that I’m here, what do I have to say?
While driving along to a concert with my family a thought occurred to me;Attempting to describe any singular great experience is akin to trying to fit music and the entirety of feelings it encompasses into a box.
Besides such an act seeming impossible, at times so has my recovery.
However, I have some good news it’s not impossible.My hopes besides a full recovery are to demonstrate what’s been given to me to others similarly in need of their own recipe to bring them through their troubles.No one person can fulfill this because its something we have to find on our own however other people, like the Cheshire Cat(Alice in Wonderland),can certainly help point the way.
Which direction will you choose? Well, that depends on which cat you encounter.
The best kind are positive,follow through with what they say,and are able to properly demonstrate love.
It is in love that I recommend blocking out the negative things of this world,
especially when faced with an important mission.
It is not enough to simply be alive, but to also actively live your life and share that lust for life with others.Because were all in this boat together.
Overall it has been these types of people that have built a human chain of sorts that has brought me through.
Humanity is like a chain link fence,were all together as one, if any link be weak,strengthen it.
How do you help the weak link? Just as you would a metal fence,build it back up.
Be it with words,inspiration,a hug,some physical help,or whatever the method it’s important to do it.
***When I was living in New York City I saw that negativity could spread throughout people almost like a cancer and physically exhaust you.
Now that I have been able to look back into it like a snow globe after returning from the brink of death,my hope is to be an inspiration,not only thru actions but in,interactions as well.
Each one of us is a walking,living story, in order to let other people read your book, you have to show them.
Nonetheless I am determined that where I’m headed is nowhere near where I came from.