Putting it Out There

So I downloaded OBS last night with the idea of using it for twitch. But then I saw twitch had a creative section where you can watch folks draw and put shit together and stuff. I got really excited because I’m an artist, and I would love to share my artsy things with folks via video!
 
But then I realized I would be putting myself out there for everyone to see, and what if people actually LIKED what I did? What if I actually became successful with my artistic endeavors?
 
Then I realized what a nightmare that would be. I have several things working against me. 1. I am female. 2. I am fat. 3. I don’t conform to beauty standards. I don’t want fame, fame gets you trolls, fame gets you stalkers and I have both already, I don’t really need anymore thanks.
 
But then I started thinking about how fucked up that is. I got really excited about sharing something I am passionate about, about doing something I might actually enjoy, and I had to pull back because some asshole out there will shit all over my happiness simply because I’m a fat chick. (and let’s be honest, even if I were stunningly beautiful in all the perfect barbie ways, I would STILL have haters out there who shit on my work, because WHY THE FUCK NOT.) Heck, even white men have folks shit on them for one reason or another because apparently shitting on folks is a national past time or something.
 
Think about how fucked up that is. All I want to do is share my passion with folks who are interested in what I do and I’m probably not going to do it because assholes exist and I don’t need that shit in my life.
 
That’s pretty fucked up.

Mrs. Fixit

Listener

I’m a fixer.

You have a problem?  I’m going to do my best to try and fix said problem.  I hate walking around an obvious solution.  Either do it, or quite whining about it.

It might take me a while to figure out what a fix is, but once I get to it, I hate wasting time trying to find other solutions.  Try it and if it doesn’t work THEN think of something else.  Life is short and I have living to do.

That being said, I have come to realize that approach doesn’t always work.  I’m nearing 40 now and I have been through enough in my life to understand black and white thinking can actually make it MORE difficult for the person I’m trying to help.  Sometimes fixing things for folks is actually taking away from lessons they need to learn, not to mention the toll it puts on my shoulders when I try to fix everyone’s problems. (That’s a whole other post!)

I don’t know if it’s tough love exactly but it certainly is allowing folks to take responsibility for their own actions.

It’s hard holding safe space for someone when you have been down the road they are on.  It’s hard not to want to shake them out of their daydreams to show them the end result of their wanderings.  But it’s not my lesson to learn.  It is theirs.  If they are lucky, they will get a different result than I did and many wishes that they do!

So after several years of torturing myself, I learned to listen without comment, to hold that safe space even though I know they are just going to get hurt.  If they ask my help, I will certainly give it.  But they have to be willing to show they are accepting of that help.

I do so desperately want to help people, I always have, but the greatest help I can give is to allow them to live their lives as they see fit, and to be there when they need me.

Life IS short, and we must do what we can, while we can.  I will not stand in the way of someone and their lessons because in order to get further on their journey they need to learn that lesson.

I struggled with that for a long time.  Heck, I still struggle with that lesson when I see loved ones making bad decisions.

But in the end it is their decision to make, and I must respect that.  Because, if they are truly friends, I respect them.

Uprise: And Down She Fell

She had been given a task.  Stand guard at the door till the music started, and then make sure nobody started shit inside.

Easy enough task.

‘Til the zed started swarming around both sides of the building.  Half the court ran off, fucking cowards, and she jumped down off the porch so she could see the zed coming from both sides.  Don’t let ‘em get behind you.

And down they fell.

Then she realized Remy, Freyfaxi and Alvie were still on the porch, and the zed were falling on them like a wave of flesh and teeth.

Her heart skipped a beat, those were her people, she was not going to let them fall.

She swung around the outside of the wave, taking down zed as she went.  Trying to pick off enough so that the others could handle the rest without worry.  But the wave turned, and the zed kept coming.  They surrounded her, dragging her to the ground.

She wasn’t concerned, she reached for her injectable.  She knew that she could stand again, do more damage, help save her people.  She could feel the Poet’s song burning under her skin, driving the needle down towards her thigh.

Pain interrupted it’s decent.  A sharp prick along her spine, pushed deeper, past her ribs, down into her flesh.  She screamed as the air rushed from her lungs, a weak, pitiful sound that stopped suddenly as the blade found her heart.  She never saw what got her, only felt the blade.

And down she fell.

Her eyes dimmed and the needle dropped from her fingers.  She did’t feel the teeth sink into her flesh, she didn’t hear the cry of the court as they tore their way to her side.  A priest called upon their gods, brews poured down her unresponsive throat, injectables sunk into her skin all to no avail.

Tears fell on her empty, cooling flesh as they lifted her limp body, carrying her to safety and away from the chaos of the battle.  She did’t respond as they laid her out properly and sat vigil with her before she sunk into the ground as eventually she did.  Like they all do.

The darkness that surrounded her now was complete.  She did’t know how long she remained there, floating bodiless in the inky darkness, cold and alone.  The music that had become a constant companion faded, and she spent an eternity screaming into the silence until exhaustion stole her fear. She fells silent, crying tearless sobs into the vast nothingness.

“Hello.”

The voice shattered the silence, a soft whisper that wormed its way into her mind.

That voice twisted her more than her ascension.  For the next, hour?  Two? It asked her questions she could not answer, sung her songs that tore at her very soul.  It opened her eyes, and gave her a horror she could not shake.

In the end it stole her voice, her one comfort in the darkness, and tossed her out to the waiting arms of Primus.

She sobbed then, his touch like fire on her newly formed flesh.  She could hardly stand to accept his worried embrace.  Everything so warm, so full of life, but the Song of the Dead remained, a constant discordance in her soundtrack, a twisted earworm she couldn’t shake off.

Even after Primus consoled her, and Cole helped her find her voice again, the music remained.

She knew she had to find the answers to questions she couldn’t ask.  She had to find solace with her decisions, with her life.

It’s the end of the world as she knows it.

And down she falls.

Picture Dump!

When I went to college, one of my favorite classes was photography.  I learned how to use an SLR camera and even spent much of my time in a dark room.

Apparently, I am ancient.

With the invention of high definition cameras that are included on pretty much everyone’s phones the days of the dark room are numbered.

I don’t know how to feel about that.  On one hand, we are losing an art, and, as someone who treasures the knowledge of creating handmade items, that always makes me sad.  On the other, it’s so much easier now to document your life and your work.  Photography has become much less expensive, and more available to folks who may not have been able to afford to explore it when you had to pay for processing.

I spend most of my time photographing my dog and my guinea pigs.  I would capture my husband’s smiling face, but he hates to be photographed, and I respect that.  I also photograph my jewelry, and I try to photograph all items I have ever made.  I like to be reminded that I have created beauty in the dark moments when my depression lies and tells me I am worthless.

I haven’t posted pictures here before, so I would like to share with you, dear reader, some of my favorite photographs.  Here are some of my favorite photographs of Akari, my lovable mutt of whiny doom.

It Makes You Think…

Beads have always been a source of sanity for me.  Way back when I was an 8 year old kiddo I started using beads as therapy.  To help focus my thoughts, and to make me feel like there is beauty in a world that didn’t seem all that beautiful.

I still do that today.

Beads are a prayer.  A prayer that despite all the negativity and all the horrors that exist in this world, that someone will look at this tiny piece of glass or rock and see something beautiful.  Something worthy.  That they will understand that not everything has to be dark and scary.  Beads are a reminder that even though it might seem like life is focused on blood and bombs and pain, it also has joy, and light, and laughter.

At least.  They are for me.  Perhaps they can be a reminder for you too.

If all I accomplish in my life is creating reminders that life is full of goodness and joy in a time when it’s hard to see it as such, then I will not feel as if the short time I spent here on this planet was a waste.

So say I.

RP 101 – IC vs. OOC

For people new to role playing there are a few things that older players talk about that may confuse you.  I am going to go over a few topics to make sure that you understand what they mean when they say things like IC vs. OOC, metagaming, godmodding, blurring and the like.  Pretty simple stuff, but if you are new, it’s good to have someplace to go to find out what these things mean.

One of the most basic ideas behind role play is that you are playing a character.  There may be aspects of the player that are mirrored in their character, but in the end you are not your character, and your character is not you.  This is an important distinction!  This is one of the biggest problems even seasoned role players have to deal with.

Our characters are going to do things that we as players would never even think about doing!  I would never condone slavery, nor would I murder someone for an insult to my faith.  But my character might.  Being able to distinguish between a player and their character is a big part of the enjoyment of a scene.

In Character actions (Or IC actions, also known as IG or In Game actions) are actions taken by your character.  Nothing that is done IC should be taken personally.  You are not dealing with the player themselves, and in many instances the player could be just as horrified by their character’s actions as you are.  Out of Character actions (Or OOC actions, also known as OOG or Out of Game actions) are done by the player themselves, and in an immersive environment are kept to a minimum.

If my character yells at your character during the course of a scene, it is not that I, the player, am screaming at you, the player.  Some of the best, and most intense role play comes from tension and drama between characters.  Best friends can play the worst enemies, husband and wives can play relationships between other people, and genders could be swapped.  Unless otherwise stated, you can assume that none of those things are real, because it is done between characters.  It is a story that people are telling, not the people themselves.

That being said, IC actions should never trump OOC comfort.  This is a game after all, and if we aren’t all enjoying it, we are losing sight of why we play to begin with.  If you notice that the person you are playing with is uncomfortable there are several different ways to check in with them to make sure the player is okay with continuing the scene.  If it is just the character being uncomfortable, and the player is fine, continue on.  But if the player is no longer okay with the scene then stop, drop out of character and make sure the player is okay.  In this instance it is totally okay to let the other player know that their comfort is more important than the scene itself.  It doesn’t matter why they are uncomfortable, and you shouldn’t try to get them to explain the issues at the time, you simply want to hold a place of compassion for them and let them deal with their issues as they see fit.  If they want to talk about it later, make sure to come at the conversation with respect and understanding.

Making sure to keep IC and OOC separate is the best way to make sure you avoid the most common problems with role playing.  Metagaming and blurring are two of the most common types of problems that happen when you lose track of that hard line between you and your character but we will talk more about those in future RP 101 articles.

Hopefully, that helps to explain what folks are talking about when they discuss IC and OOC actions.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!  Role play can be such a rewarding hobby, all it takes is a little know how and a lot of creativity!

If you have questions about role play that would be good to discuss in an RP 101 type article, please comment below and I’ll add it to the list of discussions to have in the future!

 

 

 

 

Why Create Jewelry?

Helping HandsOne of the things I struggle with in my life is my need to help people.  I have seen people suffer, I have felt suffering myself, and knowing how destructive it is, I have always felt the drive to help people move beyond that suffering.

I had begun to work with beads very early in my life, my family is very artistic and my counselors encouraged me to seek emotional outlets in safe and healthy ways.  Beads allowed me to work through my depressions and sort out my frustrations.

The repetitive nature helped me to focus and calm down when things got too intense.   I had worked my way through drawing comics to crochet and painting, but when it all comes down to it, it is the precision and color of beads that drew me to bead work.  It allowed me to satisfy my need for ‘perfection’ by being perfect for me.  You can count on the shapes of the beads and plan your pattern around them.  All it takes is some thread and time and eventually you will have a thing of beauty. The problem quickly became a question of how did creating jewelry help others?  Let’s be honest it’s an expensive hobby and not nearly as important as food or shelter when it comes down to basic human needs.  Many of the people I found myself surrounded by early in my life were struggling to make ends meet. They couldn’t buy jewelry and it was selfish to want something pretty when you had to save up just to pay rent.  Believing I could make a living by creating jewelry was a dream that I couldn’t afford to strive for. So believing beads held no value for anyone but myself I pursued a career in the medical field. It fulfilled my need to help people, but at the expense of my own sanity.  The hours were long, the work thankless and dirty.  While I enjoyed helping people, I burnt out quickly.

I make jewelry because I have walked through darkness.  I have felt despair like ice beneath my skin. Whether it be negative criticism about the quality of my work, or complaints about who I am ‘supposed’ to be or even the isolation of being in an abusive relationship.  I have felt the deep depression of one who has spent way to much time staring into the abyss. I believed the lies that because I enjoyed ‘girlie’ things I was lesser in some ways. I believed that by wanting beauty in my life I was selfish and greedy. The thing about the abyss is once you are in ensconced in the darkness, it’s easy to remain there.  It’s misery can be deceptively comfortable.  The idea of hope suddenly becomes foolish because the bullies tell you it is.  The darkness becomes your new accepted reality. “Creating beauty isn’t helping people.”

I believed that for a very long time. But for me making beautiful things allows me to drive away the sorrow and pain of daily life so that I can see that the world isn’t a horrible place.  There is beauty still out there, there is still a reason to hope for the best, even if it is just for today, even if it is for just one, more, day. If my jewelry can do that for me, then perhaps it can do that for others.  If it gives even one other person the ability to hope for a better day, then surely that person sees it as helpful.  Surely it can be their talisman for hope in a better life. Through all my careers, through a failed marriage, through the ups and downs in life, beads have helped carry me over the troubled waters.  They have become an armor I wear against the darkness, who’s hateful lies tell me that suffering is the only thing I can do in this life.  It drives away the thought that being called ‘girly’ means you are weaker, dumber, or of less value, that seeking out positive things means you aren’t focused on ‘the reality of the world’ when, in fact, reality includes those positive things too.  Creating jewelry, for me, drives away the thought that I am not good enough to be loved for who I am simply because I don’t meet some constantly shifting set of societal ‘standards’.  I wear jewelry because it makes me feel pretty in a world that says I am not pretty enough. For me, life has gotten so much better. I have beauty I can wear on the outside that reminds me that it is the light that we have on the inside that makes us truly beautiful.

I have someone who loves me to remind me that I had to love myself first.

I have compassion for those who suffer because I have suffered and seek to ease their pain in the best way I can. To you who read this I want you to know: It is not foolish to hope.  No matter what society says, you don’t have to focus on the negativity in the world.  Bad things happen, but they aren’t the ONLY things happening.  Good works are going on all around you, they are just quieter and usually more humble.  I want you to know that you are beautiful and it is okay to think yourself as such.  Even if your hair isn’t the right color or your teeth don’t line up or your ‘too fat’ or you don’t make enough money.  If you are constantly working on who you are as a person, your light will shine through. In this world, hope is not a luxury we can take for granted. And that, my friends, is why I create jewelry.

Upcycling your Jewelry

2015.07.16 - Beading BasicsI hate to see people throw away their jewelry.  Even the costume kind.  Mardi gras beads are about the only type of jewelry that I will throw away or recycle.  Those are less beads and more plastic on a string.  Everything else can be remade into something fun and more fashionable.  Beads can be restrung, chain can be used in various different ways.  It can all be shifted about and made into something you find beautiful again. Here are some tips for upcycling your old jewelry:

  1. Chains can be cut and the pieces can be made into pendants, earrings or used between beads on bracelets and necklaces.
  2. Beads can be cut from their original cording and restrung with different beads and findings to create a totally different look.
  3. Look for quality components even if you don’t like the original design, you can always take apart something of quality, you can’t make something of quality out of shoddy materials.
  4. Be creative!  Even if you have something you don’t think would ever look good, think outside the box to make it something fun and funky!  Taking a few beads to make earrings is a great way to break up a stash.
  5. Try switching from one strand necklaces to multi-strand necklaces or vice versa!  Adding or subtracting beads can change the whole look of a piece.
  6. Don’t be afraid to combine gold and silver.  Done well it’s totally a thing.  Be brave!
  7. Browse the internet!  Get ideas!  Pintrest is super fun for feeding your imagination.  Just be sure not to copy a design, folks work hard on designing their pieces, be original and create one of your own!
  8. Beadweaving can be upcycled too, though it can be a bit more difficult with the smaller beads.  Making a bracelet a necklace is always a fun way to spice up a piece! Or if the piece is too plain you can always add more stuff!
  9. Check out rummage sales, garage sales, and flea markets for old jewelry.  You can find some great deals!
  10. Have fun!  Designing is all about tapping into what makes you feel pretty, what you decide is beautiful.  If you are not enjoying it, you are doing it wrong!

Here are some ideas to get you going!

Upcycling Old Jewelry with Enamel

Upcycled, Recycled and Repurposed Jewelry Tutorials

DIY Upcycle Improve Old Cheap Jewelry Accessories Tutorial

Here is an example of a piece I re-purposed from two different necklaces.  It was fun and I can’t wait to wear it!

Sun Necklace

Image Comics

Are you a fan of comics?  If you are Humble Bundles are your friends.  I’m not getting paid to say that, I just want to share a great way of exploring comics without breaking the bank.

So one of the hardest things for me to do is to justify spending money on a comic series if I don’t know anything about it.  What is it about?  How is the artwork?  Is the story worthwhile?  If you haven’t done any research on the series you won’t know.  This means that unless you do a lot of research, expanding your comic repertoire is difficult.  I want to explore comics!  I want to read off the beaten path stories.  I tend to shy away from your usual titles, Batman, Superman, The Avengers, X-men.  They are all great comics, but they aren’t what I’m looking for.  Give me the weird and unusual, give me the original and unique.  Tell me a story I haven’t heard before.

It’s really hard to find if you don’t already know what you are looking for, lemme tell ya.  So when Humble Bundle provides a group of comics I usually snap them right up, because hey, I don’t have to invest my life savings AND I get to explore comics I may not have heard of yet.  Win/win!

While not every comic I end up getting is a four star gem, there is still a few that are worthwhile that I hadn’t even heard about before I got the bundle.  Good stuff!

Back in January I downloaded their Image at 25 bundle hoping to find a few of those hidden gems.  I already knew about RatQueens (amazing), and Saga (WELL worth the read) and I had just finished reading The Wicked and the Divine (Beautiful and well written), so I figured they had a good chance of having even more comics I might enjoy.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.  I was right! Image Comics immediately jumped to my number 1 spot as my favorite comic publisher.

From the bundle I now have a list of comics I plan on following, or at least catching up on.

Limbo

A detective with no memory, no identity, and no manners. A femme fatale seeking escape from a powerful crime lord. A voodoo queen with a penchant for mixtapes and hi-tops. A goat-eating TV… A surreal neon-noir fusing hardboiled pulp with an 80’s VHS visual aesthetic, dripping with neon and static.

This trippy little gem is sure to keep you guessing to the end, and while it’s full of magic and realm hopping it’s presented in a way so it doesn’t become confusing.  Love it.

East of West

This is the world. It is not the one we wanted, but it is the one we deserved. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse roam the Earth, signaling the End Times for humanity, and our best hope for life, lies in DEATH.

I’m not a big fan of westerns.  Not really my type of story.  So when I first opened this one up I was kinda, meh.  But it isn’t a western, it is SO much more.  It ropes you in early and keeps the pages turning to the end.

Black Road

1000 CE. When a Vatican official under is murdered on the infamous “Black Road” while under the care of Magnus The Black, Magnus uncovers a secret so big it threatens to change the balance of power in all of Europe.

Historical Comics are something I have explored only briefly as my usual comic of choice is sci-fi or fantasy.  This comic will be on my list for a number of reasons.  It is a slowly unfolding saga that, when paired with the artwork, tells a gripping story you won’t want to put down.

Pretty Deadly

KELLY SUE DECONNICK (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) & EMMA RÍOS (Dr. Strange, Osborn) reunite to bring you an all-new ongoing series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher. Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.

This one caught me by surprise.  I didn’t expect to enjoy this one as it starts out as a another Western-like story.  But just like East of West it really isn’t a western.  Add a couple of strong female characters and you’ve got me hooked.

Prophet

On distant future Earth, changed by time and alien influence, John Prophet awakens from cryosleep. His mission: to climb the the towers of Thauili Van and restart the Earth empire. But, news of the Empire’s return brings old foes and allies out of the recesses of the vast cosmos.

Aliens that aren’t remotely human?  Strange worlds that aren’t anything like earth?  A story that keeps you wondering what the heck is going on?  Ooooo boy, I’m gonna be reading this one for a while.

These are just a few of the titles that made Image Comics a fascinating follow.  Anyone else have some comics from Image that they recommend?  Let me know in the comments below!