Honesty about creativity, art, mental illness, grief, feminism, human rights and chronic pain with a healthy dose of sarcasm


December 2016

And She Backslides…a lot

And so once again I have been admitted, submitted, and fitted into the psych ward for depression. Feeling rather ill-qualified to write about mental health so I’ll instead write of my mental illness. Let’s just say I’m sending away for my frequent flyer dicount card which includes discounts on antidepressants, free coffee mugs from Pfizer, and a secret decoder ring.

I’ve been slipping for weeks now. Diving deeper into darkness and I’ve run out of breath and I don’t want to drown. So here I am needing help to beat back my own demons because they have me surrounded and I seem to be armed with nothing but limp spaghetti and, let’s face it, that’s not a weapon that’s going to win the battle let alone the war. So here I am…getting help.




Why does society seem to place so much import, emphasis and value on the characteristic of strength lately? Sure it’s good to be tough in some situations but does strength really outdo vulnerability, empathy, and emotional inuitivness? I think not. 

This is strength to me. A tree goddess grows and nurtures her tree with peaceful love and fluid strength enabling her to adapt and change depending on the needs of her collective. I painted this gorgeous gal in Radium over the summer.

I don’t think I’m particularly strong, does this make me less of a person? I think not. I pride myself on my empathetic view of the world as this allows me to see all sides of issues and keeps me from turning myopically inward.

It seems, as of late, strength is one of the only qualities worth emphasizing. Although, perhaps, I’ve been paying too much attention to the cluster-fuck that is American politics.

First we heard from one of her brothers that Ivanka Trump wouldn’t allow herself to be harassed or raped because she’s too strong. I’m paraphrasing, but one of her brothers actually implied if a woman is raped she’s just not strong enough. I call bullshit! 

Next Melania Trump trumpeted in an interview she is a paragon of strength because…because…well I don’t think she really said. It’s not like she threw down and bench pressed the interviewer. 

Her explanation of wanting to be at home for her son rather than campaigning is noble and important to her, but she didn’t use this as example of her strength if I recall correctly. She simply mentioned it was the reason she hadn’t been spending time on the campaign trail.

Here’s the dictionary definition of strength:

strength [strengkth, strength, strenth] Show IPA


  1. the quality or state of being strongbodily ormuscular powervigor.
  2. mental powerforceor vigor.
  3. moral powerfirmnessor courage.
  4. power by reason of influenceauthorityresourcesnumbersetc.
  5. numberas of personnel or ships in a force orbodya regiment with a strength of 3000.
  6. effective forcepotencyor cogencyas ofinducements or argumentsthe strength of hisplea.
  7. power of resisting forcestrainwearetc.
  8. vigor of actionlanguagefeelingetc.
  9. the effective or essential properties characteristicof a beveragechemicalor the likeThe alcoholicstrength of brandy far exceeds that of wine.
  10. a particular proportion or concentration of thesepropertiesintensityas of lightcolorsoundflavoror odorcoffee of normal strength.
  11. something or someone that gives one strength oris a source of power or encouragementsustenanceThe Bible was her strength and joy.
  12. Power to rise or remain firm in pricesStockscontinued to show strengthThe pound declined strenth. 

To simply, without evidence, claim to be “strong.” This isn’t enough for me. I guess I want anecdotes and learning tales, humility, and demonstrated involvement whenever you claim to have a trait or assign one to someone else.

Show me with words, with actions, what strength is in these tumultuous times and perhaps I’ll be a believer. Don’t forget to demonstrate empathy and compassion too as these qualities are just as important. 



Losing a Parent is Rough at Any Age

When I was in 3rd grade a family myself and my parents knew very well were in a terrible car accident. The father and two sons survived but, tragically, the mother did not.

I recall my mother being grief stricken by this loss as she and the deceased were very close. They took turns babysitting us kids and we also often played together while our Mom’s gabbed over coffee.

While I understood on some level the tragedy that occurred I hadn’t the life experience to fully grasp what this would do to the family. My own Mother’s death two and a half years ago has given me new perspective on how the children were affected.

I am the same age as the eldest son and shared many classes with him at school both before and after his Mom died. I recall how a sweet, sensitive and caring child became desperately angry, misunderstood and unpredictably tempestuous.

He would often act out in class, erupting with rage spewing forth like hot lava over seemingly trivial things. His signature move was throwing, yes throwing, his desk before stomping from the room yelling, cursing and crying. He seemed to have lost his ability to cope with life in a reasonable manner and was often feared by teachers and ridiculed by other students.

Knowing what I did of his personal life to some extent I often reached out to him as a friend and defended his actions to our peers. I would occasionally explain, in a hushed and sober tone, that his Mom had died and he needed extra understanding from us all.

My Mom died when I was 35 and I often tamp down the urge to throw things and scream from the rooftops how unfair this loss is. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to lose a parent as a child. How outrageously unfair!

I have long ago lost touch with this childhood pal but I often wonder how he’s made out in the world. My hope is he’s found a sense inner peace and personal success.

Just as we will all die someday so to will our parents, some earlier than others. I miss my Mom desperately this time of year. No sooner does her birthday pass than we are into the dreaded and somewhat empty-feeling holiday season.

I will try my hardest to get through this month by looking for simple joy and resist the urge to begin hurling Christmas trees round department stores. I hope my old friend finds the strength to do the same.


So Long Lenard Cohen 

My life wouldn’t be the same without the work of Lenard Cohen. Here is a half hour sketch of my Canadian hero.


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