Complicated Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day always creates such a barrage of mixed emotions for me. There was a lot of trauma, abuse, mental illness, and foolish decisions that marked my childhood. My mother was far from a perfect parent. Luckily, she does admit to that and seems to be really trying to be a better person now, but being around her always triggers so many memories, thoughts, and feelings – some good, some bad, some funny, and some tragic.

I think part of the issue is that my brain has a tough time seeing how she acts towards me now and reconciling it with memories of how my sister and I were treated while growing up. I do believe in forgiveness (within reason), and I do love my mother, but I doubt there will ever be a day in her company that doesn’t create confusion for me internally.

I write this post today to recognize those of us who struggle on Mother’s Day to even know how to feel…

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I Won 3rd Place in Another Art Contest!

Maranda Russell, Untitled #1, 2.5 x 3.5

I got some great news yesterday! The above artwork won 3rd place in the “Finding Your Inner MozArt” art contest! I get $75 in prize money plus whatever the piece sells for, so not bad!

I think the best part for me personally though, is that the head judge is the Director Emeritis of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego! This is the first time I’ve had someone that important associated with a major art museum recognize and reward my artistic endeavors! I know we shouldn’t focus too much on important job titles and all that, since the art itself is most important, but it still rocks to be recognized officially like that!

I saw quite a bit of the competition works for the contest and they were very impressive, so I know winning 3rd place really is a big deal! Had I been a judge, I would have had a hard time deciding!

Water is Back! 800+ Blog Followers! Awesome Book Series!

Hey everyone! There were a few random things I wanted to share today. First, an update about my water heater situation….we now have hot water again! I can shower, I can brush my teeth, and I can flush the toilet again! Woo-wee!!! We are out almost $2,000 though, so that part really sucks.

Secondly, I want to thank you all so much for getting my blog to over 800 followers!!! That is awesome. I set a personal goal a while back to hopefully reach 1,000 followers by the end of the year and I might not exactly reach that, but I’m getting close and I appreciate all the support! You guys are awesome! You have no idea how much having communication with you all helps my mood and my attitude in general. You make me feel less alone and like I do have people in this world that care about me other than my immediate family.

Lastly, I want to share this awesome series of books with you all. If you are like me and you enjoy the children’s picture book format, but also have a sarcastic, wacky sense of humor, and a love for philosophy, I’m sure you will love this series just as much as I did!

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The series is called the Animalosophy series (written by Eric Kesselman and illustrated by Erica Missey) and includes the following books:

#1 The Existential Giraffe
#2 The Moribund Mouse
#3 The Perspicacious Penguin
#4 The Nihilistic Sea Otter

My Drawing Won Honorable Mention!

I received notice today that my drawing “A Soft Place to Land” won honorable mention in the Disability Legal Rights Center Art Contest, run in conjunction with the Art of Autism website. Here is the drawing that placed:

Maranda Russell, A Soft Place to Land

I enjoy entering contests like these and am always honored when I actually win or place in any way. Receiving this news today was a welcome happy moment in a week that has been pretty hard overall.

Over 1 Million Views on YouTube!!!

I am not the type of person to typically “toot my own horn” or brag about my achievements, but my psychiatrist and psychologist both say I need to “become my own cheerleader” in a way and learn to celebrate small victories, so I figured I would take the time to mention that my YouTube channel, Maranda’s Toys & Books, just passed the 1 MILLION views mark! To me, this is huge!

I simply can’t believe that over 1 million people have wanted to watch something I created! That is simply crazy. I know for huge YouTubers, 1 million views is probably what they get on one single video, but for me, I am just so proud that I hit such a benchmark! So, just for today, I’ll say “Go me!!!” and do a little happy dance in my mind (since my body is too tired to do it with me)!

A Really Good Day!

Today was a good day. For the first time in a long while, I actually felt like going out by myself and having some fun. The weather is really nice (which always affects my mood as well), hopefully it is a sign that spring is right around the corner!

So I went to the library (where I found my first frog of the season in their outdoor pond) and saw a cool display they had about developmental disorders, which included information about a local art center that offers services and artistic vocational training for those with autism and other developmental disorders. I’m definitely going to check into that, it sounds pretty cool!

For lunch, I went to a local diner and had a big ice cream sundae (vanilla soft serve with Reese’s peanut butter cups and peanut butter syrup). Maybe not the healthiest lunch, but it was good! Luckily, I did remember to take my IBS pill before eating it, so it hasn’t had me doubled over in pain like that kind of food normally does.

I also did a bit of shopping at Goodwill and Walmart. I love seeing all the cute Easter stuff, but I might be developing a slight candy problem here at home:

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Happy Art – Pegasus and Sunshine

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I share a lot of darker art and writing on this blog, so thought today I would share some bright, happy art! I like the way this ACEO art trading card came out, featuring a pegasus and a swirly sun. I also added a bit of pastel splatters to dress it up a bit more. Stuff like this is just pure fun to make and share 🙂 Currently up for sale on my Ebay!

Writing Prompt: What Would Your Happy Ending Look Like?

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For a while I’ve been wanting to start posting occasional writing prompts to my blog. Just a question or two or a spark of an idea to hopefully inspire you guys to take up your pen/pencils/keyboard and write out your thoughts and feelings. Even if you aren’t a writer by profession like myself, writing out your ideas, beliefs, and emotions can be extremely therapeutic. I plan to post the prompt itself and then do a short writing response myself to the prompt to hopefully inspire you further or help you get to know me even better. So today’s prompt is…

What would you envision as a happy ending to your own life?

My response: If I could plan the perfect ending to my life, it would look something like this: Most importantly, I would die loved and surrounded by people who will genuinely miss me. I hate to think of hurting people by leaving when they want me to stick around, but it is much better than the alternative of dying all alone and having either no one to care or having a funeral where only the officiator shows up.

Secondly, I would like to go out a success. What does that mean to me? Not being rich necessarily, although it would mean not dying penniless or homeless or from starvation and lack of medical care. I would have enough resources to meet my needs and a few pleasures on a regular basis. I would die having left a large positive impact on the world, being respected for what I did, inspiring others to be more creative and compassionate, and having contributed to helping many people think about important things more thoroughly and reasonably.

Lastly, a good death to me would mean that all the people and things I loved and leave behind (family, friends, books, toys) will all have found good homes of their own and others who appreciate and love them as much as I did.

I’m getting my first picture book published!

Yesterday I received the news, a publisher officially wants to publish my picture book manuscript.  It’s only a small press, and my book will only start out with a small run, but depending on how hard I am willing to work to promote it, the sky is the limit.  I am so excited and can’t wait to hold my own book in my hands.  I think the first thing I will do when I get it is to sniff it and savor that new book smell.

Along with all the excitement and the pride, comes a lot of nerves though.  I keep hearing the same refrain go through my head: what if no one wants to buy my book?  What if I set up a book reading or signing and absolutely no one comes?  Or even worse, what if a bunch of people come and I get all tongue tied or want to puke while talking to them?  What if none of the local bookstores will even let me come speak?  And one of my biggest fears of all…what if I don’t even like my book?  After all, I’m not illustrating it, so what happens if the book looks nothing like I imagined? 

If only I could shut all of these thoughts down long enough to actually enjoy the process.  Is this normal?  Do all writers go through these panic attacks before they sell their first book?  Someone please reassure me that I am not freaking losing my mind!