Video: My Experiences with Emotional Pain or Abuse from a Church or Religion

Hi everyone! I wanted to share this video I made recently for my Spiritual Agnostic YouTube vlog channel, in the hopes that perhaps others who have experienced similar things or even much worse, might find some comfort and strength in knowing they aren’t alone and that it is possible to heal and move on from things like this. In no way did I make this video to be mean or vengeful, but just to express my own process of growth and learning through these experiences.

Trying out new artistic styles – mixed media collage featuring naive, folk and pop art inspirations

So lately my artistic style has kind of taken some interesting turns. I tend to bore with styles quickly so I try out lots of new stuff, some that works, some that frankly doesn’t. Lately I’ve been playing around with mixed media collage techniques, using my love of cartoons, favorite characters and naive child-like art to create unique and sometimes amusing or slightly satirical works of art. Obviously this style is not for everyone, but I’ve had fun with it. I guess some other people like it too since I have sold quite a few of these little pieces. The materials I’ve used have varied greatly, including pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, marker, paper cut-outs, random stickers and decals, glitter, foam pieces and other odds and ends.  Here are a few examples that I’ve created recently (many have Halloween themes because it was that time of year!):

“Evil Sweetie” My Little Pony fan art collage on paper, 9″ x 12″

“Wake Up!” mixed media collage on paper, 9″ x 12″

“Two Black Bats” mixed media on paper, ACEO size (2.5″ x 3.5″)

“Werewolf Night” mixed media collage on paper, ACEO size (2.5″ x 3.5″)

“Ghost Minion” collage on paper, ACEO size (2.5″ x 3.5″)

New YouTube Video – “Behind the Scenes of My Newest Book Release – “Searching for the Truth”

In my latest YouTube vlog, I gave some personal information about what inspired my most recent book release, “Searching for the Truth: Poems & Prose Inspired by Our Inner Worlds”. I also read aloud a couple of the shorter poems from the book and explained why they meant so much to me. I hope you will check it out!

Favorite Song Lyrics – Nirvana Edition

nirvana__band

I’ve been wanting to write a few blog posts about my favorite bits of song lyrics by various bands and musicians for some time. Since I have been on a Nirvana kick lately (my aspie obsessiveness kicking in), I figured I would start with them.

To me, song lyrics are a form of poetry we all encounter on a daily basis whether we realize it or not. I feel that the words to a song matter just as much as the music. A truly great song speaks to the mind and heart and leaves the listener pondering the meaning behind the words even after the song ends. So here are a few of my favorite Nirvana lyric excerpts (all of which make me feel deliciously angsty and young once again):

Hey!
Wait!
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice

– Heart Shaped Box

I’m so happy ’cause today
I’ve found my friends …
They’re in my head
I’m so ugly, but that’s okay, ’cause so are you …
We’ve broken our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday for all I care …
And I’m not scared
Light my candles, in a daze
‘Cause I’ve found god

– Lithium

Load up on guns, bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend
She’s over bored and self assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us…

Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it’s hard to find
Oh well, whatever, never mind

– Smells Like Teen Spirit

We can have some more
Nature is a whore
Bruises on the fruit
Tender age in bloom

He’s the one
Who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Don’t know what it means

– In Bloom

I’m not like them
But I can pretend
The sun is gone
But I have a light
The day is done
But I’m having fun
I think I’m dumb
Or maybe just happy

– Dumb

Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an old enemy

Take your time, hurry up
Choice is yours, don’t be late
Take a rest as a friend
As an old

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria

Come As You Are

What else should I be
All apologies
What else could I say
Everyone is gay
What else could I write
I don’t have the right
What else should I be
All apologies

– All Apologies

Lastly, an honorable mention – the title of their song “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam” always makes me laugh and I love watching the live unplugged performance. Seeing a grunge band playing the accordion is just awesome 🙂

A short bit of creative advice

f-it-meme

After a few years of being a professional writer/artist, I have come to a sad yet seemingly true conclusion – in order to be a success in any creative field, you have to adopt somewhat of a f***-it attitude. In other words, you have to stop caring so much what people think. Yes, some people will hate your work no matter how great it is…but on the up side, some people will love your work even when it sucks. Hopefully in the end it evens out.

If you dare to create work dealing with important subjects, you are bound to eventually come under attack from people who disagree with you. Many times it won’t be your work they dislike but your point of view…unfortunately most people are unable to be objective about anything relating to subjects they are passionate about. Learn to shrug your shoulders at the oddities of human nature and let it go.

Remember that in the end it is yourself you must please as an artist. There is nothing wrong with making money from your creations or even becoming popular, but always make sure to stay true to yourself. Make what you love. Make a contribution that only you could make.

My New Year’s Intentions for 2015

NewYearsEve

Happy soon-to-be New Year everyone! Around this time of year, I always like to pause and assess my life. I decide what is going good, what I need to leave behind and what I might want to work on. I don’t like to make “New Year’s resolutions” because that phrasing to me seems to have guilt built into it. When people make New Year’s resolutions, they tend to feel guilty if they fail or make a mistake and eventually just give up. I like the phrase “New Year’s intentions” better because it doesn’t have that stigma to it and to me, intentions are about trying to do the right thing. Sure, we all mess up and even epically fail sometimes, but as long as we keep getting up and trying, I don’t think we truly ever lose.

So here are my three New Year’s intentions for 2015 –

1. Focus on health. I have many health problems that I can’t do anything about, however, I do have control over some of my health and unfortunately, I often ignore the importance of taking care of myself. So for 2015 I plan to try to exercise at least 3-4 times a week (even if I can only do light exercise like walking and yoga). I will not push myself too hard or make myself do things that cause real pain, but I can try to work within my physical limitations. I will also try to eat better. I won’t force myself to give up things I love (like chocolate), but I will try to consciously pick out more fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy grains at the grocery store (because if I buy healthier foods, I will eat healthier foods).

2. Be more social. A few years ago I had to be more social. But now that I work at home, have taken a break from fostering kids and my husband resigned from being a youth pastor, I don’t have to be social. I can hole up at home and be a hermit. To some extent I have done that. We still go to church, but now that my husband isn’t working for a church we get to pick and choose what to be involved in instead of having it decided for us – which is great, except that I have to remember to actively look for things to do and ways to serve. It is far too easy to ignore social activities because I feel that I am not socially proficient. Sometimes I get kind of depressed seeing how easy it is for others to connect with people and make friends. I just don’t have that kind of personality.

Having Asperger’s Syndrome can make socializing uncomfortable and awkward, but I still want to make a difference in people’s lives. I want to care about others and have them care in return. The only way I can do that is to make myself reach out more. So this year I hope to reach out more to others, whether it be by saying a simple “hello” and learning someone’s name or by making myself go out a little more often, even when it is easier to stay home and veg out on the couch.

3. Stop letting people hurt me. In the past few years there have been a few people who hurt me deeply. They may not even realize they hurt me (in fact some of them think I deserve to be treated badly and have said so). In most cases, they were people who never really got to know me and then misinterpreted things I said or did. Instead of approaching me and clarifying what upset them, they either shut me out entirely or told other people a lot of bad stuff about me which isn’t actually true. By the time I knew there was really an issue, damage had already been done. I tried to work things out with some of them and find out what I did to upset them, but I was either ignored or told everything was my fault.

Maybe my lack of social skills in some areas caused the problems…or maybe they never really liked me to begin with. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve allowed these people to make me feel bad about myself and wonder if I am unlikable. It really dealt a blow to my self-esteem in some ways. At this point, I want to build my ability to trust others again. I want to not let a little meanness or misunderstanding hold me back anymore. I have already chosen to consciously forgive, now I want to let myself learn from any mistakes that were made and move on.

So there you have it, my list of intentions for the coming year. What would you like to change or work on this year?

New book release – “Searching for the Truth: Poems & Prose Inspired by Our Inner Worlds”

Searching for the Truth cover

I am happy to announce that my new book, “Searching for the Truth: Poems & Prose Inspired by Our Inner Worlds” is finally available! This is a book that I have been planning and working on for the last few years. I have always been interested in subjects such as spirituality, philosophy and psychology, so I feel a strong desire to share my thoughts and feelings about those matters. Most importantly though, I wanted to show that the real magic is in being allowed to contemplate these deeper subjects and be open to possibilities instead of focusing only on one aspect. This is not a “religious” book because it doesn’t adhere to any specific theology, but it is spiritual in nature.

“Searching for the Truth” embraces simplicity and honesty in an almost zen-like fashion. It is easy to understand, but often filled with layers of meaning for those who like to dig deeper.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this new book, it is available on Amazon ($6.99 for paperback and $2.99 for the Kindle version) and Barnes & Noble. I love to know what my readers think of my books, so if you read this collection, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads.