Billy’s House 6/07/2021
A story I wrote about this house that has never been occupied in the neighborhood I grew up in.
Decrepit buildings are very alluring.
My sister and I would visit Billy’s house often. Even after our parents forbade us, we still lied to them and went. They were under the impression that his parents were alcoholics who were raising a corrupt child, when we, in fact, never saw his parents. Ever. The house was always empty, which gave us the freedom to delve into our imaginations and go on fantastic adventures. We’d return home and tell our parents of our wild and magical day. They never believed us and grew tired of our stories. That’s when we learned to keep to ourselves - which made our visits to Billy’s even more fun, as they were super secret missions.
We never once asked where his family was, we’d just immediately hop into a storyline: hiding from dinosaurs as we snuck behind furniture, summoning fairy dust and making magicians appear and disappear as we clapped dusty cushions together. Outside was even more fantastic. We’d discover alien creatures in the grass - which became a jungle certain times of the year when the blades would grow up to our belly buttons. We’d always leave before it got dark, since the lights never worked and we understood the adult frustration of paying bills, as our parents would sometimes complain about them.
Eventually, we all went our separate ways, but I would still write Billy letters. Over just a few years, I’d write him whenever something new or exciting happened in my life, or when I was just recalling old storylines. He never once responded and I, in turn, gave up trying to stay in touch.
Just a few months ago, I found myself driving through my old neighborhood and came across Billy’s house. I pulled over and observed - everything was more decrepit than ever, yet still somehow felt the same. I knocked on the door and realized no one was home. The door was locked, so I pressed my face up against the window. The same furniture was there, but much more dingy and neglected. I strained my eyes to see the pile of mail that had fallen out of the slot by the door and onto the ground. There was a lot of junk, but I could make out my handwriting and stationary. I quickly realized what the reality of the situation was after all those years and the fact that I couldn’t even remember what Billy had ever looked like, or what face we imagined him to have.
Watercolor, gum bichromate, Cyanotype, photo oil on watercolor paper.
Gwragedd Annwn 4/15/2021
In Welsh folklore, the Gwragedd Annwn are beautiful fairies who live beneath lakes and rivers - "lake maidens."
One such tale parallels Goldilocks when a young boy finds a maiden combing her hair by a pond. He tries three times to win her affection by bringing her various stages and dryness of baked bread. She finally accepts under the condition that if he strikes her three times, she will disappear.
They got married and he ended up hitting her three times due to her fairy-like habits that were considered rude in the human world. She left him to return to the water forever, but summoned her children to visit her ever so often to teach them healing abilities of the water. It's said that the greatest doctors of that region are descendants of great Gwragedd Annwn healers.
Watercolor, gum bichromate, Cyanotype, photo oil on watercolor paper.
The World/Framed 1/7/2021
I skedaddled out of Seattle on a very bittersweet note. My last day at the IN was harsh. My cousin came over to help me quickly pack a few more boxes, knowing that I couldn’t possibly take everything with me. While I was trying to go through all my drawers to decide what to keep and toss, roommates kept entering my room telling me they’d miss me and then started sorting through my piles - while I was still in the room sorting through them myself. More and more roommates showed up to say goodbye and also try to get first dibs on what I wasn’t taking with me. No one listened when I told them to give me space, and whenever I left my room to put boxes in my car, more people showed up. At some point I said screw it, and just left. I was done with that house.
I left Washington because I had four jobs that paid me close to nothing, which made it so that I couldn’t afford rent (and my rent was considered cheap, but should have been far cheaper considering I shared one kitchen and several gnarly bathrooms with 30+ people). I was too broke to leave the house during those dark winters, which only heightened my depression and anxiety. I had wonderful times and promised that I’d move back, but only if I could do it right next time: I had to have a perfect living situation and sustainable income to thrive in Seattle.
As I sit here writing this, I’ve noticed that I’ve come full circle. I’m here with all of those things. And yet, I find myself missing California. It’s no wonder, really, since this pandemic has stripped me of feeling like I’ve actually landed in Seattle to explore all the odd things that remain (what will remain?). It’s a common feeling that bubbles up whenever we finish something - we accomplish our goals and don’t take the time to acknowledge or celebrate the fact that we made it. Rather than looking backwards and feeling bittersweet, I’ll recognize and cheers to my completed task (the World) and work my way towards a new goal (the Fool).
Out of Reach 12/22/2020
I’m still in the process of unpacking.
Normally, I spend all of my free time quickly unpacking so I can have access to everything sooner than later. This time, however, I’m taking it slow- which is so hard. I’m arranging my room with care and sorting through items I’ve carried with me for a long time and am finally in the headspace to recognize what’s not needed anymore- and that’s been super liberating. There are times when it’s unnerving that I don’t have certain things readily available yet, but my room is finally turning into a cozy nook. Plus, I’ve moved so many times within the past few years, that by the time I unpack and get settled, it’s time for me to move again. This time, I’m planning on staying put for a while. This time, I’m putting half my energy into unpacking and the other half into creative efforts (since those boxes were unpacked).
I came across some old journals and sketchbooks and spent an entire night looking at my old drawings. I used to love drawing and painting. It’s interesting to notice how my sketches have dwindled in relation to the more time I’ve spent on social media. I partially know why that is, but also can’t fathom why I’d let that happen. Looking at my old silly sketches, I’m reminded to create just for the sheer fuck of it and not worry about perfectionism. Yee-haw.
Topsy Turvy 12/15/2020
“When the world turns upside down, the best thing to do is turn right along with it.” - Marry Poppins
Within a matter of days, the whole world seemed to have flipped upside down. Who knew that a pandemic was in the midst, when everything seemed to be running smoothly? For many of us, maybe things weren’t smooth, per se, but at least we could breathe outside and partake in simple creature comforts- life was “normal.”
For me, my main client of 3 years filed for bankruptcy and I struggled with unemployment while living in the mountains in California. After that drastic period, I was pulled up to Seattle - envision a cane sneaking out from the curtains and pulling the motionless actress off the stage. I had income lined up and was ready to get my life back on track with thorough excitement. I suppose I could have “sensed” that things would go awry, however, when the morning after I moved to the Pacific Northwest my Uhaul and car got stolen. All of my life disappeared. 24 emotional hours later, everything was found - minus a chair that I shouldn’t have had anymore, anyway. My world flip flopped yet again. And then the pandemic happened, which stripped away my new clients and my dream of finally living solo. Flip flop.
Throughout all of this, though, I’ve learned to settle into this reality (it helps that I have such a strong support group up here). I’ve had calm, enlightening moments - unfortunately far less often than I’ve had sour and bitter reality checks. It’s not easy adjusting to reversed gravity.
We’re living in the upside down right now. We can adjust to this environment until it’s time to flip, or we can struggle endlessly to be right side up. This inverted reality strongly reminds me of the hanged man in the tarot. Here’s this figure dangling from their foot. They’re not struggling, but have a peaceful halo around their head. How often are we reminded that certain things are out of our control, and that our constant battle to change things only wears us out? This pandemic isn’t going to last forever (or is it? It’s been almost a year. Yikes.) and for a lot of us, our inner demons have spawned. Just another thing we needed, but yes, face those demons head-on! I know exactly what it’s like to be too busy with life to even acknowledge what’s been bubbling up beneath. We finally have this opportunity to reevaluate what we hold dear, understand what’s been tormenting us (social media, anyone?), and just appreciate what we have now. In the very least, that’s what I’ve been doing to get by these days, since it’s difficult to set plans for the future.
“If we don’t want life to pass us by, while the world is swiveling around us, let’s look inwards and turn things upside down in the inner chambers of our mind. Only after reshuffling our rooted values we can look outwards, find out the fascinations of life, and rediscover ourselves, layer after layer. ― Erik Pevernagie
“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” ― Rumi