Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The In-Between

The last year I keep talking about this being my "in-between" year. That I need to ride out this in-between space. The fear, the emotion, the joys, the fatigue. But the longer I am here. The more I realize that this "in-between" is the juicy spot. The spot where life is. The place where I get to explore and keep growing. I don't want to stop doing that. some people judge my actions as wrong, failure, or just plain crazy and what I learned this last year is they are all wrong. It is nothing so black and white. Life is a grey area. It can be fun. It can be misery. You build what grey means to you.

For a year, I didn't have a home. On purpose. I packed everything. Gave things away. And I left LA. I traveled. Did a residency. I am still processing what I learned from Walk with ME travels. Now I am in Minnesota. And the "in-between" doesn't end. I moved into a duplex that a day in became a duplex with a leaky roof. Leaking right into my roommate's room. A lapsed landlord who didn't seem worried about any of it. Even after an inspector came out to the house. A house he shares with us. as he is our downstairs neighborhood.

Here I was, "settling down" and well my roommate and I have to move. With that, I realized with being in a very good emotional place. I wanted to live alone. Battling depression on and off for years, I have done some great work and feel ready to truly take care of myself. It is truly work. This means looking at lots of things I have covered up. This means not being co-dependent on anyone. It doesn't end. New experiences throw me into emotions I haven't let myself feel. Liking people. Romance. Things I have ignored or shunned. I am now letting in and it throws me for a new loop. All these choices about sex, love, and companionship. What do I want it to look like and how does it feel?
How does a 33 year old take it slow? How do I ask for what I want and not feel hurt when dudes just want to sleep with me?

As I walk down Second St. a butterfly lands on a flower. It is a gorgeous large yellow and black butterfly. I wait to get a better look following it's loopy journey to the next flower. So here I am in the "in-between"... realizing that life is allowing life to keep you on this edge of knowing and unknowing. Of protecting yourself while letting yourself be open. The "in-between" is also about career, family, and spirituality. I am always wanting more. Feeling less than. Than leveling out and realizing what I have is awesome and enough. Riding these waves better than ever before, now I have the job of finding out what I truly love. I love a butterfly. I love a good book. I love seeing where a path can take you.

As I walked to work, I thought about this next year alone in a new apartment as my time to see how things go. To let go. And just create a place to rest and not push. Not take on the next big project but just what see what project comes to see what men come into my life and what they can bring me. I love dreaming up the next travel adventure and asking the world for what I want. I am done seeing myself as unfulfilled because I can't afford to travel the world. But rather see what I gift I have finding adventure in a walk to work and a trip to the lake. I hope for balance. But mostly, I hope to be ok with this "in-between" that is life.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Walk with ME: Finale Walks at Walker Open Field: What a Great Night!

If I would have known how awesome the atmosphere of Thursday Nights at the Walker were. I would have asked to do Walk with ME on all the Thursdays. :) It was a great night. It wasn't too hot. It wasn't too cold. It was just right.

I got to the Walker a bit early. Drinking down as much iced tea and water as I could. For some reason I am ravishly hungry and thirsty this summer. I am not working out much so I am not sure what my deal is. I went with a slightly more aggressive approach of hanging out more zines. Also, there was just a more social feel to the Thursday night. There were three different programs of the Walker presenting events. So it was a busy night.

I went up to the Open Field Social table and handed out some zines and a woman exclaimed "Oh the hand holding project! I want to do that!" Now large companies PAY people to do that. Exclaim out of no where their excitement for a product or a person or an event, and wow! Here was a willing participant. Nicole was her name and she was one of the hosts of the Social event. I told her we would keep it short so she could get back to her job of hosting and away we went.
Pic taken by passer by couple

Nicole is a confident, beautiful woman who felt no nerves about holding my hand. We spoke about touch and our culture. She told me how she thinks it is silly we are so weird about paying for touch from massage to sex. I have to agree with her. My father thinks massages are for sickos. I get massages sometimes three times a month. I don't think I am sick. I think I am trying to balance out my body and as a single person that tries not to sleep with people outside of a relationship (and I haven't had a relationship in quite some time) massages are not sexual but they are intimate. Something I need just as much as sex is intimacy. Massage therapists give that. As far as getting paid for sex, I think there is nothing wrong with it in principle. BUT patriarchal prostitution I have a problem with. If EMPOWERED women and men could get paid to give sex to others. I think that is great. And I am sure there are a handful of sex workers out there that give just that. It is the women and men in slavery that shouldn't be giving sex for money. This is a huge topic. One I have no answers to but I agree with Nicole. Sex should be something that can be given in different contexts. Though what I am finding out about myself is that I am very comfortable with touch and cuddling many folks. I am far too sensitive to want to have sex outside of a well constructed romantic monogamous relationship. I don't know if it was my up bringing OR just who I am. As I start to date we shall see how I navigate this.

Nicole and I went straight into the heart of the mini golf set up. Catching a few glances but mostly just cruising around. On our way down there a nice couple took our picture while another couple laughed at us. There were many pairs holding hands. The Walker First Thursdays brings out a lot of people on first dates, older couples who love art, and families. The diversity I saw was amazing. Nicole is a social worker, a thankless job if ever there was one but I could tell that Nicole must be an amazing social worker with they way she handled this unusual experience. With grace, boldness, and savvy. I felt really lucky to have Nicole be willing and excited to be a part of my project.

When Nicole and I had left, a woman had shouted out "Oh!! You are going for a walk with her!" And I knew who my next walker would be. Her name is Jessica. Very tall woman in her 30s. People dress up to go to the Walker. That is the way we treat special events at cultural institutions and I think in Minnesota people look for reasons to dress up. Jessica immediately started telling me intimate things. A fight her and her boyfriend had about hand holding! how perfect! Why she likes her boyfriend including his dimples. I love this about hand holding. That she felt ready to share right away. We walked around the Sculpture Garden and I loved watching Jessica gesture. She gestured about being together and intimate as this straight line between two people with her hands. That gesture will stay with me and i hope to use it in my next performance. I liked hearing about Jessica's relationship. It gave me hope for my own. She let there be inconstancies. The way in which people infuriate you and make you swoon. From dimples to communication we make things work because we want to. We learn and we commit. I find this amazing. Jessica had been divorced and she is doing this thing called love differently this time. How wonderful. I loved Jessica's energy. As the walk ended things shifted and I spoke a bit about my boy situation and she was supportive. After reading Jessica's notes. I could tell that she was sort of waking up to the fact we were holding hands. She started to leave the just the two of us stage and see that we were surrounded by others. Which can be frightening. She wrote that afterwards she felt exhilarated. Full of adrenaline.
I wonder what part I play in that excitement. Do I create a channel for that? By holding hands to I give you a bunch of my energy? I know while traveling. I gave it all away. I was a ball of tired by the time I arrived in Georgia.

I am much more centered now. And a friend of Jessica's came up to walk. His name is Mark. Mark is hearing impaired and wears hearing aids. He asked if it would work for him to walk with me because of his hearing lose. I told him I have done silent walks so I couldn't see a problem. We started out silent but it wasn't hard to turn and talk to Mark so that he could see my lips for the lip reading he does. It was a very sweet walk. It was easier for Mark to speak than for him to read my words. But we had a great conversation about his cats Petey and Penny. Penny the grouchy older cat. And Petey the cat that found him at the shelter.

I liked how deliberate things felt with Mark. Slowing down to understand eachother. His hand was easy to hold and there was a small hitch in his elbow but overall it felt like he was relaxed. He even when explaining him meeting Petey he showed me how Petey's face moved around in the cage, getting closer and then farther away from my face. I was so unprepared for that! And it was so playful.
Mark has never lived anywhere other than Minneapolis and one year in St. Paul. His mother died and he has lived in that house ever since. It was interesting to hear of him speak about the stress of moving. How he just doesn't handle that and doesn't want it. Which is so different to my attitude about moving and stress. I see those things propelling me. Moving me places that bring around change. I am starting to get this staying still. But I wonder. I wonder what we do when we push ourselves and we change things up, what that does for us? I like someone who has never lived outside of the state. And well that scares me. And I thought of that while walking with Mark. The thing is. Moving doesn't equate to success or emotional stability or many positive things. I really like how grounded Mark was. I liked that he doesn't believe in fate. he believes in happy coincidences. I am opening up to this view point. I explained how much I had moved and he was astonished. I don't know what I am driving at here. Maybe that it is ok to want to be where I am. That I am letting go of the modern idea that travel is where all change comes from. I think change comes from within. I am ready for some real change. I am thinking about it isn't if you can afford to travel the world. Being invigorated by the world is a mind set and a choice. Mark shook my hand as we said thank you for the walk.

Now, three walks is a lot to do in a day. Three is the most I had done in a day. Until today. I knew my co-worker was coming to walk. Which was really exciting to have that type of cross over. As I may have mentioned in my blog. I really like my job at MTN. And Jessica is someone who has impressed me with her professionalism and smarts. She also is adventurous and seems to have a full life outside of work. I envy her that. She showed up just as I had ended an interview about feminism for another awesome Walker Open Field project. I discussed how I think gender is fluid, #YesAllWomen and it's powerful message, my thoughts on supreme court and birth control, and being a woman who rides transit.

I was nervous to walk with Jessica, she is a very pretty young woman. Though we are co-workers I am aware how so much more prettier she is than I. We started right out to the Sculpture Garden. She told me though she has been in MPLS for 3 years just a few weeks ago was her first time at the sculpture garden. Our conversation was pretty nervous and about work. Then we spoke about the garden itself. How Jessica hadn't been there. We didn't look at each other much. But holding Jessica's hand felt familiar and easy. She wore stripes. She spoke about the arbor and the glass house arboretum and it's similar structures as tunnels. I loved that.
We looked at the flowers. Talked about an amazing project some folks in Rochester are making to help new Minnesotans understand that park land is public and free. What they can do with their children in those parklands. Like bike ride, look at flowers, picnic, etc. Towards the end we took a photo of ourselves in front of the Spoon Cherry. Me discussing how when I was younger I thought the spoon cherry was the WORST. Being an art student, I didn't see the profound importance of it. Now I think it is great, it gets people who are not into art, near a museum and maybe they will learn more about art by looking up Oldenberg.
At the very end, Jessica opened up about herself as we walked through the Jenny Holzer part of the park. It reminded her of New Harmony, IN. An Utopic tourist destination that I almost accepted a job at. We talked about her family connection to the chapel there and how she had dreamed of being married there. It was a small glimpse for a reserved person. But that place is magic and I like that we both know of it.

It was a great way to end the walks, walking with Jessica. She wrote that she felt energized afterwards! And that it was so nice to walk with someone her own height. That is probably why it felt so easy. I am fortunate to start a life in Minnesota where I work somewhere that has openminded adventurous smart people. People who even support my art. Doesn't that feel great?
This night was a great way to end the stint of Walk with ME at the Walker. I enjoyed talking with Gabi and Laura. I enjoyed listening to Balkan music after my shift. I enjoyed the one glass of wine I had to come down off the high of walking. My cold summer squash sandwich. I am settling into Minneapolis. I am letting go of expectations. I am trying not to set too many goals. I let the night air cricket, rippet, and rustle me through Loring Park and to my bus stop. I am tried to reach out to someone I care about. And I have to be ok when they don't want to connect. I am going with the flow and I know that each day brings me love and surprises I can't be ready for. I walk now with a confidence I didn't have a year ago. I feel my feelings and I know that they come and go. My effort remains the same to give what I got and to smile, cry, and touch with extreme passion. I feel very lucky to be alive.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Walk with ME @ First Free Saturdays @ Walker Art Center

I woke up in a much better mood to walk this Saturday. I knew that a few folks were planning on coming and I had slept better than the week before. Also, I had decided to give the walk a specific time and have an open time of 12-3pm. I got to the Walker Sculpture Garden and it was HOPPING with families out for First Free Saturdays.  
Here is my awesome spot. 
I got there early and set up the zines and books. A few folks stopped by and I told them about the project. What I found amazing were the people who came near my lovely shaded tent and I would say hi to them and they wouldn't say anything. Literally looking in my direction and they just....stood there. Now, I have mentioned in other posts that I feel like Minnesotans are reticent about this project. I thought maybe I was making it up. That I was just nervous to be home and that I was over exaggerating. I KNOW there are people in LA that would scoff at this project and think it strange. But here I am in an art garden and people are freaked. In LA, I feel like folks that come to art things are a bit more ready for this type of experience. I know I have glorified LA and I am scoffing at Minneapolis' ability to be open. But I am starting to get some data that supports that hypothesis. 
BUT that makes it EVEN MORE EXCITING when folks say YES to this! Gabi and Laura helped me recruit for the 130pm and we all struck out. I approached a good 15 people and not a one would come over. Then a new friend of mine, Carlos showed up. Boy, was I happy to see Carlos. Even if nothing else happened today. I could walk with Carlos. Gabi is an awesome intern at volunteered to walk. So I sent Gabi and Carlos off on a walk. 
During the half hour before the walk was meant to start I spoke to a few groups of folks. They took zines. I begged to young adults to walk. They were not into it. My friend texted saying that her and her crew would come Thursday night for my last walk with me. So I was like "Well, one walk is good enough for me." I don't want to bribe, beg, or bitch to get walks. I want them to come to me a bit. Those are the best ones. So up, walk two kids and their Mom. And the teen girl was wearing a M tshirt. And I just knew that M stood for Minnetonka. Minnetonka is where I grew up. So I said "Hey you guys go to Minnetonka?" "I went there!" I explained the project expecting the rejection I had gotten all day from families. And the Mom, Maria, turned to the kids and said, "Well, hey, do you want to walk with the person that created this project?" They said yes, we took a walk around the pond. Mr. Stranger, (the character Cameron had created at another First Saturday event) and Macie. We spoke of where I went to elementary school. If I went to West or East. The concerns of teens. I asked them how they felt walking with me. Fine. I don't feel like I imparted any wisdom to them. I was a bit nervous to walk with kids. As an adult, I always want to make sure I am appropriate with them. My life is not filled with kids. I didn't want to swear or say anything too liberal. I exclaimed how jealous I was that they got to go to Excelsior. As I love Excelsior. We got back to the table and there was another family there. I explained the project and the mother looked pretty shocked. So away I went on a walk with Maria. 
Maria grew up in the city but has moved into the western suburbs. We talked about what diversity was. As a city person, she went to a school with a lot of different races. But we hit upon an interesting concept the diversity of a western suburb school. That now there are kids from all over the world that end up in those schools and that folks she went to school with never leave their hometown. She was speaking to openmindedness. That maybe color is not the only type of diversity. As people she went to school with never left their neighborhood. I think it speaks of class. You can move around and become a more tolerant person if you have the money to feel comfortable in those moves. But I agree with her that being open to diversity is something that you learn and embrace or you do not. It was very awesome to hear that where I grew up is expanding a bit with kids of different races being more blended into the upper middle culture I grew up in. I am so glad that this amazing woman takes her kids out of Minnetonka and brings them to meet crazy artists like me. Crazy artists that end up being from the same place. When they all left I told them not to take everything too seriously. Which maria probably thought was kind of funky. I just remember the pressure out there. to be perfect. To fit in. To say the right thing. I hope those kids stepped out of that for a few minutes while we walked and talked. I applaud Maria for leaving her comfort zone of the city. Caring for her kids' education. And integrating the city with the suburb. 

When Maria and I got back Gabi and Carlos had finished their walk. I was jazzed by how things had played out. I don't win any audience participation awards but I was very true to my art form and I didn't dumb it down for the kid audience. I felt supported by Gabi and Laura and I enjoyed meeting another artist who has ties to LA that I had wanted to meet. 

Carlos finished up his writing. I have to mention I didn't walk with Carlos, cause I was worried he came with some romantic intentions. Carlos can refute this. But I avoided that situation, because I am kind of madly interested in someone else. I told Carlos when I met him that I was seeing someone. Which is a bit of a lie. As the guy I like and I, have not discussed that future. In all honesty, I wish this person I have feelings for would have been at the Walker yesterday (distance is a factor). Anyway, I felt super honored that Carlos had come AND I hope that Carlos and I can be friends. What an awesome guy to show up to a crazy ass art project! So Carlos and I had some coffee, lunch (Jasmine Deli the absolute best), and checked out my friend's art show. Carlos was kind enough to drive me home. Both of us are going through a major transitions, we were able to talk about some serious things and just have fun. I had a great time chatting.
The most amazing things always happen after walks and the amazing thing that happened yesterday happened while Carlos and I stopped at the Quatrefoil Library to return my VERY VERY overdue books. Andy Strudevant and I had gone to the Quatrefoil Library so I could become a member in June! And my books were due in July. And here it was the beginning of August. Two amazingly fun gay men were the volunteer libraries that late afternoon. Jean and well, he joked that is name was Wayne, so that is what I now have to call him. Wayne was wearing an amazing Espirit belt and looked like an elderly GQ model if GQ models were super skinny men. He wore white, red and blue and it looked fashionable not like a fourth of July outfit. Jean looked super familiar, like he goes to my mother's church or something, in a plaid button down tshirt. No matter, we all got to talking and I told them about Walk with ME. By the end of it, Jean had volunteered to walk with me! And he said he thought other folks involved with Quatrefoil would probably want to walk also. THIS WAS SOMETHING I had WANTED to DO!!!! I had put up a road block that I needed to contact the Spirit on Lake people and do it all formally and here is this guy saying "Hey! Let's do this!" All causal like. Nothing wrapped up in bureaucracy. Ahhhh when things fall in place. Let's hope my walk with Jean happens. I truly hope it does. I want to hear the stories of Jean's era of being gay and I want to honor it and write about it. Here's hoping! 

Laura and I before the walks. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Walk with ME: No Walks

I woke up grumpy. Like real crabby. Why? Cause it has been so hot and humid here in Minneapolis. I am not made to wake up sweaty and feeling like I am carrying around extra water weight. The other thing was, I woke up knowing there wasn't going to be any walks at Walker Open Fields. I just felt it.

I want to stop this chronological story telling to say a few things. When I saw that the Walker had opened a Public Practice Programs Director. I cheered. I wanted her job. But mostly I cheered. It was one of the reasons I felt good about  moving to Minneapolis. I am slowly getting to know people here. I am terrified of being rejected but I also no longer kiss ass. Which in LA, there were so many asses I kissed. Mostly metaphorically. Maybe one or two ass kisses happened while dancing. They were purely platonic. I also know how hard it is to put on events. I do it as my job. Alas, this Saturday, Open Fields was put on top of a hill out of the way of all the foot traffic. The awesome Open Field director said I could venture down to the sculpture garden to invite folks to walk. But there we were five different artists, mostly in a U-shape. And I felt a solidarity to them. Staying with theme. Like well, if I am meant to walk someone will come up here.

I had a great chat with an artist and her husband. I thought for SURE I could get the lady to walk with me. Alas, their son was one of the other artists so they were there to support him. And well they thought it was a great project but it was too scary...or so it felt.

An amazing Dad of two, came up and with a 7 month old strapped to the front of him asked some really insightful questions. Taking the time to be an adult for a minute while his 3 year old wanted to boss him around. That was an amazing moment to me. That he wanted to keep my zine and talk about my project seriously. (Please remember how crabby I started the day.)
Getting Set Up for Open Field

If someone gave me a check list of if my performance yesterday was a success. It would be diagnostically a no. No walks happened. I worried that the organizers would be upset at me for not following through not BUSKING in the park to get someone to walk. I just wanted to wait and see. I wanted a walk to come to me.

Well it didn't come but some other great things did. In the form of a clown. One of the other performers was a clown. And she was set up next to me. I like supporting artists. And with our slow turn out there was time to chat. I had time to chat with most of the artists. And it turned out that this lovely clown, Scooper, is opening up a business right by where I will live. I will let her announce her awesome news when she and her business partners are ready but DANG it felt serendipitous to meet this friendly woman who is passionate about art and opening a cool business by where I just decided to live! After a much maligned experience in my leaky Minneapolis slum lord apartment. We ended up having lunch after Open Field and discussing my desire to put together a Feminist Film Festival here in Minneapolis. Her time in Colorado. And possible funding opportunities for me. Along with much more. And though there were no walks. It sure felt like I came to Walker Open Fields to meet some nice artists including Scooper. Serendipity. Or something. I mean cool people propose projects to Walker Open Field.

So after many sunny hours and a back sunburn (I couldn't find my sunscreen but luckily Laura had some later in the day that saved my face and chest from burn.) A lovely lunch. I went and watched a fantastic performance by Maren Hassinger for the Radical Presence show that just opened at the Walker. She had local women artists, rip, twist, knot together, and roll into a ball newspaper and then the last woman threw the ball into the crowd. To me actually which was exciting and terrifying. I quickly threw it to the woman next to me. As a performance artist I loved every minute of it. And then we as a crowd got to make them. Things got very communal and loud and lovely as we all made our twisted newspaper strings. What I was in awe of was hands. Of course, doing walk with me. Holding hands and all I am attuned to them. But everyone noticed the glory of these women's hands. I noticed how differently each woman did each task. It was a glorious meditation.

I then went in watched The Clock, for awhile. Which I find panic inducing as there is no space to forget time and each minute. I wait for it to pass. I will go back though for the extended hour night and try to stay up late watching it.

I then grabbed a chihuahua dog at the hot dog stand and spent an hour and half reading "Americanah," by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie . Which is a most amazing book! I hope it ends up as a book read in colleges. My time in Africa makes me relate to some of it's issues of race and class more. But I think anyone would enjoy reading this book. A huge African wedding came into the garden as I packed up to go to "Wild Moon Bhaktis" the amazing Kirtan music group I spent 2+ hours with meditating and chanting. My friend Laila plays the flute with them often. She invited me and I had wanted to go for so many of their full moon celebrations. I am very glad I made it as I sang my heart out. Sat in meditation on the floor for two hours without my foot going to sleep (!) that is a first! There is nothing like being intuned to your spiritual center and then even make small movements. It is a strange and powerful feeling. Afterwards, I was blissed out beyond belief. I felt high. What a better way to get there than drugs!

Laila and I went out for a drink afterwards at The Lowry (cause they have a parking lot!). Laila and I most definitely vibrate at the same high frequency. There are not that many of us out there. As Laila pointed out we are Highly Sensitive People. They have labeled us. I was proud as a highly Sensitive Person to not take today too seriously. To find the definite bright spots. To celebrate the hard work the Open Field people put in to make it happen. Can't wait to make the Group Walk next Saturday a more conventionally successful event. To celebrate what I have. A growing in depth friendship network here in Minnesota. A growing calm in loving myself and others. And a high vibration to hum/enact/set fire in this world.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Walk with ME: Walker Open Fields: Walk with ME Jon

So it was an intense moment coming back to the Walker after walking with my Mom. My body felt wide open, cracked open and sort of buzzing, humming. I felt bad because as per usual I left my mom when I should have stayed. I usually write with the person after the walk but the walk had gone on far too long and Jon had been waiting. Jon isn't an impatient person but he had waited close to an hour to walk with me.

It is hard to explain the importance of people in your life. But I have to say knowing Jon has been rather important. Why? Cause we are very similar people. We are both angsty artists who battle the demons of art making daily. We are both extremely intelligent. We both love to be the center of attention while on stage. Jon is the husband of my life coach. I met him in the role of accountability partner. Jon helped me apply to college but more importantly came over to the house I lived on in Bryn Mawr in 2007 and he came over for dinner with myself and my roommate Anne, once or twice. We would drink tea, talk about Japan, as Anne had been there and I have a great interest. And Jon would make us laugh as he developed his performance character, Zen Master Zero. It was a ball. I was depressed at the time and Jon was a humorous light spot within that.

So to the day at Walker Open Field. It was still raining and the official activities ended early or had been cancelled. Jon had gotten some lunch while he waited for my Mom and I to return. Jon got a magenta/pink rain plastic poncho from the Walker. It said something amazing and Walker-y like "It is Happening" or something. A wonderful conceptual saying to wear on a performance walk.

We walked up the hill behind the Walker and there was a man with a cassette tape player and headset staring off into the distance. I wondered if something profound would he would say something insightful or rageful and it would be our first benchmark. But he just kept staring off into the distance. Jon and I walked into the neighborhood and we chatted about how as an artist most of the time you feel what you do is shit. Till at the last moment you think it's wonderful and then you fall back to feeling like shit. This led to the great thought that the highlights, the things you strive for are never the things that feel fantastic. It's the unexpected moments that feel the greatest. That perfect conversation. The accidental discovery. The random person you meet that loves your work. It isn't the big shows. The things you work SO hard to get to. It is the surprises.

So we walked. It kept raining. Every once in awhile Jon would squeeze my hand not completely but in pulses of two or three. Lightly. It reminded me that we were holding hands. It was reassuring to hold Jon's hand. I felt VERY GROUNDED on this walk. Possibly the most I ever had. Though we were talking about religion and art and life...I felt very grounded. Like from my very root I was being nailed to the ground.

Jon discussed how believing in a religion is a feeling not a thought. That what feels right, feels right. This coming up after we passed the Unitarian Meeting Hall. As intellectuals, I think this is an important conversation. That we can go around and around but sometimes there are no answers. Or not one answer. Or no explanation for certain things. I think that is why I turned to binge eating and why I was depressed for so long. I needed answers and the answer is no answer. Oh how Zen. Ah so.

So on we went, Jon mentions in his writing how it didn't feel like an art project. (Shhhhh don't tell the Walker) But rather just a walk with a friend. I am actually worried that maybe this just isn't art anymore. That the boundary and art and life have collapsed. There is no reason to be doing this. That Kaprow would scoff at my performance and intentions. But why did it take an art project to get Jon and I to walk together? It would probably not be ok for me to hold Jon's hand, even though Laurie and Jon are very liberal, in every day life. Art gave me this transgression of the every day. Art gave me this space to bring joy to my life and to Jon's. How nice. Thanks art. And as Jon also wrote he had just been talking to a consultant/activist named Dylan that the best ideas come from "peripatetic pedestrian experiences." There is nothing more pedestrian than walking. And hell if I remember what peripatetic means. it is too hot outside to remember.

So in contrast to an intense family walk, here I walked with someone who is a mentor and an equal. Someone who validates my interest in, well everything I am interested in. Art, philosophy, religion...though I don't think Jon watches sports. Jon and I were brought to the present moment. We were allowed big thoughts in the rain. We were allowed to think about as Jon put it "the limits of our ability to understand REALITY." From housing issues to Catholicism to The Situationists we covered all that but we did it in a mundane, pedestrian way. It was so magical.

It really started to pour as we headed back down the hill. I worried about Jon's watch getting ruined in the rain. We were terribly soaked around the edges of our rain gear. I was very cold. We wrote inside as my mom waited to have lunch with me and Jon went to watch The Clock.

On a side note, as this project has been about me opening up to the idea of loving in a romantic sense. Jon and Laurie are my role models in that field. They are one of the few truly happy couples I know. Last time, I saw Jon, he said an amazing thing. That at the time I found strange maybe even a little uncomfortable because I have been alone for so long. But now it rings so true I have to bring it up.

We were at an awesome Cambodian place Jon brought me to. He was innocently discussing how much he adores his and Laurie's kittens. How they lick eachother to help eachother bathe. How they push eachother playfully around on the bed And I burst out, "Wow that sounds lovely. I wish I could play like that with someone." Not thinking how, well, sexual and how personal that was of me to say. It just spit out of my mouth. Imagine, two kittens. That carefree love and attention they lavish on each other. Completely unselfconsciously.

 Jon with out skipping a beat and with the most sincerity said, "Yes it is fun. You deserve that. And you will find it." Something to that effect but better said. It was a lovely thing to say. Not condemning for not having it yet. Not rejecting my sexuality by thinking my comment weird. For him as a mentor, to accept that I deserve that type of care was something no man in any role had done for me. He didn't deny me my whole personality. He didn't deny that cultivating love with another person isn't important. With that silly example of two beings caring for eachother in such a carefree way really resonated with me. I find it sad it took this long to realize I could cultivate that type of space in my life. Thanks Jon. I believe you now.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Walk with ME: Walker Open Fields: Walk with ME Mom

It sounds funny to write. A walk with your Mom. As part of a serious art practice. Or does it? Here I was nervous to have my work be a part of Walker Open Field. Just sort of wondering what I was doing there as I was clearly told this was sub-programming to what happens at the Walker. Of course, that is when your mother surprises you at the first day of four that you are putting yourself out there. 
From Noon to 1pm I waited. Waited for someone to want to walk. There was much excitement as the 100 choreographers got ready. I spoke with an awesome Walker employee, Ashley about the project. I tried to get Christina to walk with me but alas she was working. I handed out a few zines to some of the choreographers hoping that after their performance I could get two of them to walk with me. All told me how cool the project was but that they were busy. Places to dash off to after the performance.
Then it started to rain. This is what I had been hoping for! I was so nervous about doing this all at the Walker I had hoped to get rained out. It started raining right when the choreographers were supposed to go on. Well, I thought, I might as well get to see this awesome performance before I go home. I had one walker, Jon, on his way. I could get that walk done and then I could go home. Maybe even get a ride from Jon. 

As, I, in my rain jacket watched Laurie Van Wieren's 4 x 4 performance where 100 choreographers performed in 4 foot by 4 foot squares…or so most stuck to the rules. My favorite was two men dancing the electric slide in their square. 
Anywho, while up the hill, my mother had arrived wondering why I wasn't by my sign. And so had my friend/roommate Andrew, with his friend Ahndi, and Jon arrived for his walk. Jon said he needed some lunch so someone else could walk first. Here I was all worried and now I had 4 WALKERS! Well, the official Open Field event may had been cancelled but the thunder and lightening had passed so we decided to walk. 

I had been pushed to do Walk with ME with family members. That exploring family emotions while holding hands would be challenging I thought it was a good idea. But I never pushed it. I had gotten push back from my family about quitting my job and taking this project on the road. As is likely of a family unit that is concerned for my health and well being. They probably thought I was gong nuts instead of striking out into fresh territory. That traveling Walk with ME will always be a pivotal moment in my life. That I still don't know where it will take me. I had family members get angry that I was bucking normal societal rules. But my mother, though wanting me to keep my former job, was supportive. At least to my face. And here she was ready for a walk. 

To say the least, I was nervous. So off we went in our rain coats into the Walker Sculpture Garden. If you read this blog, you will know I wrote a very personal blog that has caused ripples/effects through my family unit. I spoke about being sexually harassed by a family member. Realizing that it had been going on for years. These incidents have not crippled me but they most definitely have effected my relationship to how I think about men and safety. 

My mother and I started out the walk just chit chatting for five minutes. About the Walker and this project. But I felt incredibly uncomfortable. We had to talk about the blog. I apologized to my mom. Told her that I love her and Dad. But what I said I wasn't taking back. I was told by my mother that it wasn't that what I said wasn't truth it was that I had done it in public.  
I don't want to perpetuate anymore anger in my family unit. So I will keep my observations a bit truncated. One, it is powerful when women support each other. It is powerful to have a mother who will come out and walk with you when you are not the favorite person in your family unit. Two, what I am doing maybe, just maybe, can heal some of this family unit. No one wants to talk about what I am talking about. No one wants to look at the male figures in our family and say…what you did isn't right. Which goes for a lot of the male figures in my family unit. You can love someone and want to point out behavior that isn't so great. My mother was open to talking about this and reassuring me. What a gift. She isn't taking sides. She isn't steam-rolling anyone's feelings. But she didn't condemn me. 

Well, that is what love is. Isn't it? Accepting someone no matter what? It tears me up that that is what love is. Because it gives excuses a bit to all those times people have yelled at my mother. Or been mean to my mother. What I hope is that instead of being a victim, my mother can stand up and say that isn't an ok way to treat me. To those people. Including me. Cause let me tell you. I have yelled at my mother. I think that we can love and respect ourselves. I think women deserve love that isn't predicated on abuse from men or women.  
As we walked I noticed the way my mother's knuckle rubbed against my skin and moved against her skin. My mother has RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and it was right there in the hands that we held. To say that my mother is a powerful person is an understatement. She is stubborn and persistent and ever optimistic. She is proud of all the crazy things I have pushed myself to do. She pushes herself to do the same. 

Getting older there is a crazy shift where you are an adult and no longer need the same caring from your family. This is where the bonds can break or weaken. But with my mother I want to let her know that I don't need her cooking, her money, or her home as support. Now is the great time, when we can love each other just because.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Walk with Me: Path to a Path #9: Misogyny in Family's Clothing

*NOTE* This is the most difficult post I have ever written. I know it will upset my family. It upsets me. But with all that is going on in the world of women's rights right now. I have to make the personal political.**************

It was a big weekend for really breaking through why I binge eat and my emotional issues surrounding my family. I just didn't realize it would come down to such a big issue. I didn't realize how wrapped up my safety was with my sexuality. I didn't realize how much these all has to do with the issue of misogyny. 

I was a binge eater. For most of my childhood, into adolescence, and then into adulthood. Three years ago, ironically around the time I was thirty. I started the process of breaking the addiction, as I do see it as that, of binge eating. I changed eating habits, I worked through emotional issues, I exercised. I started meditating. All of these things got me to a clearer head space to be able to control urges. What does my binge eating truly come down to? Safety. I don't feel safe. So I over eat to feel grounded and safe. I ate when sad. I ate when happy. I understand binge eating is not as "bad" as shooting heroin. I sometimes understand that. Sometimes I think binge eating is worse than shooting heroin, cause binge eating keeps you alive longer as you continue to hate yourself and the life you have built as you eat your way through life. Am I sober? No, I still on occasion binge eat. This weekend was one of those times.

Maybe you have read my blog and know of my journey the past few years. Especially my trip across the country the past year. Maybe you have heard I made the choice to move back to Minneapolis to be closer to my family and still live in an awesome art city. Things have been a bit rough with housing issues. But I love my job and am feeling pretty good about my entry into the art scene here with a some Walker Open Fields events planned this summer. 

To make a long story short I got it on most sides from distant relatives that are intimidated by me (I am just a struggling artist). No one was happy when I didn't have anything to complain about. They searched for weaknesses. Did I have job? Well, when was the next Walk with Me event? Not to really ask about me and my life but to be able to say HA! there are her weaknesses. Finally landing on my not having a boyfriend after asking all the other questions…my distant relative was able to walk away with what she felt was an upper hand. I feel sad to have missed an opportunity to really connect.Why ask me questions if you don't want to know what is going on? I bring this up because it was the beginning of a not so great night. This feeling that I don't fit is not new. I was always told it was my fault that I THOUGHT I was different, so I was made myself different. Well, I am different. I am a woman. I am a woman living in a misogynistic world. With all the political choices being made my sudden awareness of how misogyny effects woman to woman conversation just as much as man to woman was my first lesson of the weekend. My relative is intimidated by me cause I am a single woman who seemingly isn't lacking anything. I am a mostly happy, working hard, woman. And instead of celebrating that people try to make me feel less than. I think patriarchy has to do with this. (I am going to start reading some Mary Daly to inform myself but I think intuitively I am on to something.)

For years, I have put myself in uncomfortable situations in the name of learning. In the name of diversity. In the name of wanting other sot feel better/comfortable/at ease. With my family it is my being an artist. My being eccentric. My being not of the mainstream. I always tried to meet people where they felt comfortable. Talking about things that are important to them. Talking to make people feel comfortable with me. I have recently taken that out of my personal life and leave that for when I am working as a PR person.

I am trying to just be me. I am a woman. I am an adult. And I deserve to be respected. The evening got worse when a cousin of mine got drunk. We, my mother, father, sister, brother in law, other relatives were at this cousin's house. He had kindly let us stay at his house. He drank about 4-6 glasses of whiskey and coke while we all ate pizza and chatted. I was tired. I was tired because I had used my old friend binge eating to get through this family weekend. I was so tired from eating things I don't usually eat, including many many many slices of pizza. That I decided to go to bed before everyone else. I had taken off my bra and put it by my bag and was saying good night to everyone when my cousin blocked my path to leave the living room. He started insisting I hug him. In front of everyone. Someone joked he wanted to hug me cause I didn't have my bra on. Everyone including me guffawed. Well, he wouldn't move. So I freaked out a bit. I ran away from him and told him to move. I was told by my sister, "I was just egging him on."


I put up with this behavior ALL THROUGH ADOLESCENCE. And well I was done. So I told him "To stop being a molester." He backed off and I went to bed. Him saying "You didn't have to be like that." 


In the moment, I wasn't mad. In the moment I went to bed. Not going back out to go to the bathroom one last time because I didn't want to have to fend off another hugging attack. TRULY, I didn't go pee because I didn't want to shake off my cousin trying to hug me. 

But it doesn't end. The next day, I had shrugged off the action of the night before. Cause I had shrugged off many days/nights of this type of behavior by men. And I asked a relative not to yell from the same room I was in while those she was yelling at others in another room. She then retorted with "Oh Paige, you are so sensitive! You are just too sensitive." 

I don't know if this was related to her watching my interaction with her son the night before. I don't know if she is just mad at me too for being a stronger woman than she. I don't know where this all comes from but I have realized her reaction is part of the internalized misogyny that is running rampant in my family. The cousin didn't speak to me as he scarfed down cake my brother in law made. When I left with my father, my aunt hugged me and said how great it was to see me after not speaking to me after our spat. 

The reason I haven't felt safe my whole life is because I am not. I just didn't realize it was always about sexuality. No one in my family stood up and protected me from what was labeled harmless harassment. I was supposed to protect myself. I was told I was over sensitive. I was told being a girl, a teen, a woman, was something that made me in the wrong and it is even ingrained in the women in my family. I don't get a voice, cause I am too sensitive. Too smart. Too full of myself. What is most intriguing is this was told to my aunt after she had a child at a young age. She was ridiculed for her choices or who knows possibly a non-choice that she paid the consequences for…she has misogyny written into her consciousness. It seems if she can't break the bonds of patriarchy, then she is trying to keep me in them also. By her words and actions. 

This is a huge break through for me. Cause this is what the Walk with Me journey has always been about. It is about intimacy and feeling safe enough to have it. I had to go back to my family to realize where my inability to love a man came from. It came from horribly dysfunctional dynamics that for my whole life I blamed myself for. I blamed myself that I couldn't fend off the teasing, the harassment, that was "harmless." I wasn't given the voice or the back up to say no. Because I am a woman my family hasn't protected me in the way I needed most. My family clothed, sheltered me, supported me financially, which is more than most women receive, but they have never stood up for me when I was teased or looked down upon for being me. Ever. 

I am standing up for me now. I will make a scene. I will scream. And most importantly I will not go. I moved back to Minnesota to be close to my family. But for now, that will be a truncated size of family. My mother, my father, and my sister's family on this specific side of family. I am beyond mad. I am beyond angry at myself for taking all of this in and blaming myself my whole life. This is what patriarchy and misogyny is. I was able to put it at arm's leg in a lot of ways by distancing myself from family. Well, I am back and I am in it. I will not turn away from this. I don't need to be groped or even hugged by any drunk man, relative or not. There is no behavior that is acceptable if not desired. I learned this from a walk with a S & M practitioner in Pittsburgh while holding her hand. I can say NO and I don't need a reason. 

I am safe because I make myself safe and I surround myself with people who will defend our rights to be safe. This was a sad weekend.

A Huffington blog that I think brings this conversation to another level and that I resonate with is this post by Kristina Wong. As a straight woman with queer politics I ail be reading this again as I mull these issues over.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Path to a Path #7: It is ok to be the over excited passionate artist that you are

Sloppy with sweat 
I emerge from the cloud of my bed
I feel the friction of clouds pressing down on my singular body
Sweat flowing into sweat flowing into sweat into heat into sticky musings

Sloppy with sweat
I emerge from the confusion of hatred
That had nowhere to collect
in the dry desert heat of the vista by the sea

I come home
To get sloppy
I come home 
To allow the valleys and peaks 

To gather under the immense sky 
To stomp
To accept
Go old memories
Strike out on the tarmac 
Flash and dance 
with wet damp heat in the night's sky
interrupt my sleep tonight
then race the moon to your next destination

Sloppy with sweat I move slowly 
in fits and starts
I let it all hang out 
to be gathered again in a new formation
tiny water droplets of new memories in the making

Sunshine has new meaning when I am not sure of it's return
I grab today 
I grab today
I wipe the sweat of my body
and I grab today
Today I will let the moon dance 
the sun blare
the trees will be my beacons
sketching anew
breathing anew
Moving through the untrainable air of today
The rubbing of fluffy clouds

Releasing a sigh of relief they fly 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Northern Spark Experience/Review written at 8am after less than 4 hours of sleep

It is 8am in the morning. Doesn't sound so momentous or anything. The thing is, I stay up until 345am in the morning. Something this 33 year old, does not do often or on purpose.
My muscles feel cramped up and my throat is a bit scratchy. Because for 6 hours last night, I roamed around in the rain and lightning going from one site to another for Northern Spark. 
Just moving back from LA, I decided I couldn't miss this event. It would give me a sense of the Minneapolis art scene and I could meet some fun people. To be up front, I am weary of Northern Spark. As I reevaluate Public/Social practice I see pitfalls to these large art events. I also think they are completely rad. 

It was sealed that I would be a part of Northern Spark after going to their TPT TV takeover, another event that I am weary of, as a public television employee, I found it hurtful that they made fun of what our station's studios look like. Not ours in particular just public access a la Wayne's world. But I met Molly, who runs Marketing for Northern Spark. She was kind, gracious and energetic to meet a recent LA transplant. By the end of the night I was signed up to work the Launch Party. One of two ticketed events of Northern Spark. Dosh was playing and it was at Orchestra Hall. I would do a 3 hour shift and then be set free to explore all that NS had to offer. 

In fine Minnesota spirit, the weather did not cooperate with Northern Spark. Though NS went "rain or (moon)shine," this year's Northern Spark was an abbreviated one. The pomp of large projections were cut unceremoniously, and smaller outdoor video projections didn't happen either. Which made for a different art crawl experience. So did the torrential rain. Luckily, when my volunteer shift began, it wasn't raining. While volunteering, I met most folks that spent $50 to hear Dosh and eat some fancy foods. I handed them Spark-ers and welcomed them. I have not lived in Minneapolis for 6 years. I assume I met some fancy writers, local celebs, and people of note. I just can't tell you who cause I don't know them. Except for Mark Wheat, Sara Schultz, and Jack Becker, who I met and flubbed being my natural awesome self because I knew who they were. Celebrity is a strange phenomenon. I would love to talk to Sara about my concerns for Social Practice art. I would love to be taken seriously in this town as an artist. I am doing a Walker Open Fields this July/August and the organizer as been very kind to me. But it is also very much clear that Open Call means less than. Not by Sara but by the fact people ask when I tell them I am participating if it is through "Open Call" or not. I know there is  more time. Part of me finds this hierarchy hilarious. Part of me is angry that I have to play this game. I feel it is a game. This game of fighting for a niche in the art world. There were a few people that even with my smiles, witty banter, my easy goingness were so disdainful to me cause I wore a neon volunteer shirt and hadn't paid $50 to be there. I feel sorry for these people. They are wasting their time trying to be elite. Which made me realize if I am meant to be friend's with Sara, and Jack it will happen on it's own time. AND that I met Jane, Brie, some gorgeous man with white blonde hair, many smiling faces and I got to be this anonymous smiling face for a great event. A few art folks took my card. I talked to everyone and it was grand. 

Anywho, the Launch Party was a success, and while it occurred it started to rain torrential in earnest. I had a great time being me handing out spark-ers and being funny. I grabbed a half dozen desserts at the end and chomped on them and a pulled pork sandwich to get ready for the evening. The evening that I was planning to have was going to end around 1am. I thought I would be dragging by then and planned to be in bed. I met up with Andrew and Ahndi at the convention center. I don't want to give a play by play of the whole night. Cause well it is 8am and my 1am deadline was not kept but rather was extended to 345am. I am up writing this cause I can't sleep and am sort of jazzed to write this stuff down. I want to hit on what was amazing and some of my concerns.
Let's set the scene. There was no way in the rain and on foot I was catching everything. I saw what was around the convention center and what was along West River Parkway. The Parkway was the part of the night that intrigued me most. 
I would say Spark was too spread out this year. That larger institutions could have created smaller installations in a more confined area. That being said I love the use of the Convention Center cause people can pee and congregate so easily. I have to start off with my rant and then get to what I loved. 
I saw some shitty social practice art. I saw some groups trying to do the collaborative work that was like a question on a chalkboard variety and everyone gets to answer. This work to me dumbs down your audience and your art. It doesn't challenge anyone and it isn't that engaging. There were variations of this in a few spots. I am not here to name them. 

There was a second thing. The not really engaging your audience. The pieces that are hard to read and not much guidance is given. Sometimes I love these pieces. In one such piece there were moments of engagement. It is the inbetween ones that think they are engaging while still being totally opaque. Ugh to those. I wonder if people just make things to be photo ops. NS creates MANY photo ops (is that what art is?). 

This is my quandary of Northern Spark, are many of these pieces just not well thought out, half baked ideas…that happen in public? I saw things that I think will be great ideas in 2 more years of work. 
I got angry at one point around midnight that just because some small non-profit has a building space they could put on a half-assed project. That it looked lame and was hard to follow and not engaging and I had walked there in the rain. That the people running it seemed not happy to be there cause they were there for there day job. Now angry is a harsh word, I just turned around and walked out. This is my rant of the evening. 
But overall, I think Northern Spark is magical. And as an event planner I WAS IMPRESSED by the size and structure of all the sites, volunteers, and security and was thoroughly impressed by how this thing ran. 
What was redemptive and magical was walking into one of the Letter Writing to a Stranger aka "Nighttime Ride" tent and sitting down after walking miles in the rain and writing this note to a "Grumpy Couple" at 145am in the morning. Getting warm from the flood light on the ground. This adorable man getting EXCITED…like that magical writing we are making poetry look on his face, he signed and bridled…seriously like a pony…when finishing typing up our postcard letter. This was a creative moment in a tent on the banks of the Mississippi. I had taken a shot of bourbon from Patrick the man with a tartan umbrella. The one drink I had all night. Cause I was cold, soaked through, and needed to get warmer before trudging to the next bridge. Andrew and I sat down and wrote an amazing letter and then shook hands with our postmaster and left. THAT was worth the whole night's walking around damp. 
I enjoyed Gamut Gallery's Jungle themed media party. There button give away my favorite piece of visual art I saw AND I got to take it with me. 
Minnesota for the Book Arts was totally awesome and Andrew and I spent much time making screen prints and a fluxus book. Which well here is the thing…the act of a screen print and making a small book are NOT Fluxus…love to do these things but theming a book 1978 and giving it a score of putting the book together…well ok it is oft of fluxus…but I mean we would have donut his act if the theme was book making 101… :) i don't know…yeah Fluxus used letterpress too…yes Fluxus is every day acts made into scores…but i don't know….make the score a bit more adventurous…quirky…there was a strange overlay to making a normal demo a FLUXUS event. I see my hypocrisy about critiquing this…Fluxus is about scores and making everday objects of course the book I made fits that…but something was missing…some other art historian would know. I am just an under slept artist writing a blog. 

I was impressed with how many folks braved the elements. Picked up a mallet or sat at a piano for All Night in C under the Central Ave bridge. People participated. Had fun. I learned I was a Vata in Ayurvedic medicine and had amazing fennel, cumin, cardamom tea and ate popcorn in accordance to that. There was some great Super 8 films by a Sam that works at the U of MN.

I am happy with the slice of the Northern Spark pie I ate. I consumed. I was a part of it, volunteering and roaming. It was a mental and physical challenge to withstand the cold and the rain. And I most definitely am fighting to not get a cold. There is magic in Northern Spark. It is made by the participants. The willing to trudge through rain to see art. It is made my earnest artists. I am glad to have experienced this amazing arts event. Though I have to say I was so glad NOT to have my own piece. The stress of setting up and staying there all night. The roaming is the best. The expiring. The stumbling upon. 

As an artist, when a piece wasn't earnest. Or just an ad for an org. I was upset. Like Gamut Gallery they put all in. They had freebies and they had a party. There was art with there self promotion. But a half assed set up…and weary employees manning their stations led to a boring time and bad art. Not good bad art just poor under conceived art. Will I Spark again? YES. No doubt. We all need more magic in our lives. Do I see my place as an artist in Spark? Not yet. I worry that Northern Spark takes funds from individual artists that want to do longer term projects and gives it to production costs. I worry about this with the tidal wave of money that is being given to orgs instead of individual artists. I want to draw again and that seems taboo. I want to perform and interact with audiences and right now that is the hot ticket. 

As Andrew, Ahndi, and I trudged back over the Hennepin Bridge, without finding Kevin Obsatz's piece, I was getting a bit rickety in body and mind. I was swerving from exhaustion and talking to keep myself going. To the chagrin of the two introverts I was walking with. I stand on the other side of Northern Spark. I see why people stay up all night to eat pancakes at 5am. I  saw/met some many cute boys. I enjoyed myself and have a great volunteer tshirt. In my work I am looking for the intimate. Maybe in something like Northern Spark it is hard to create that space. Or wait, no there was intimacy.Just maybe not my kind all the time. I want glowing fields and quiet moments. Which maybe their was somewhere else…or would have happen without the rain. I want to stumble upon things not marked. I want to see out growths of people's thoughts. I want to see less production and more intent. Not just at Northern Spark but in the art world in general. Obviously, I come out of last night inspired. Happy to be just one of many in the crowd. Thanks Steve Dietz and his huge crew for keeping this going. And thanks to the major who wasn't a jerk to me when I asked if she was at the launch party and standing right next to the coordinator. I told her I had just moved back from LA while I shook her hand and handed her her spark-er. Who ever her assistant was that night was a hot dude…who I am sure is a local figure and/or her husband. May my public gaffes continue to be entertaining and may I continue to not take it all too seriously.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Path to the Path #6: Not the Right Time

Well, I apologize for those of you that follow this blog. I started my new job and it took a month to get somewhat adjusted. Lucky for all of us, this blog is not about hating my job. I like my new job!!! YEA!!!!!!!!! Getting to do marketing for MTN is a great fit. And the people I work with are amazingly kind. I left the work force for a year. Partly after being bullied and harassed at my last job. It was terrifying. I don't need to get into details but I am already healing after a toxic situation with this non-toxic situation.

Joy and I have been facebooking both of us saying..."OH Hi! Sorry. Sorry for not making art or talking." joy would tell me she was feeling tired. While I told her of the leaky roof, Andrew and I have found ourselves with in our new apartment.

Joy is most awesomely PREGNANT!!!!! So she is a bit tired. But the great thing is she launched her e-Children's Book before knowing she was pregnant! Here is a link. It is $2. Buy her book. It is adorable.

So for a quick monthly catch up and then the moral of the story. Other than housing woes, life in Minnesota is pretty sweet. I get to see my family two to five times a month. :) I get to be a part of family outings.
My Dad is outfitting me with two amazing cruiser "Panama Jack," and he is getting me a road bike cause I LOVE to ride all the trails and the greenway of Minneapolis. My best friend, Brenda took me on a cool local event, "Spinning Stories" that her friend Brian coordinates/is the creator of. We did 15 miles of biking and stopped every few miles of another story. Brian made it so there was very little biking on streets. I went to my parents the next day (to do my laundry, the excuse we use for me to spend time with them.) And Dad had me try a bunch of bikes out. He has a 15 year old trek that I hope he will bring me soon so I can jet around. Panama Jack is the ultimate cruiser...but I need a little bit more for trail riding with these biker women of awesome I have met.

So the job is good, and I am learning a lot. I am learning how to calm down. That the most important part of a job is not the ideas you have but learning how you fit into an org. Also, that being kind always does go a long way. Not the right time, is sort of a theme right now. I am trying, through meditation, through exercise, through what I eat, to learn to just flow with what happens. With this, my free time is being used for art making. These great sketches are coming out and a bigger project is being worked on.  Pushing anything isn't going to make it work better.
 Connections can be leaky. Has Andrew and I fight to stay cordial to a landlord that ignores us and the roof issue that is making Andrew's room partially unlivable (water damage on the ceiling) I just remember that connections/relationships leak. They don't go has planned. Things slip through the cracks and meanings get lost. That the most important thing is I am flowing into the empty spaces more and often times that is when the art gets done. I walk or bike to work and on those walks I always make sure to look at the Mississippi River. I live less than a mile from work and I walk slow and I watch the rushing river.

I was thinking about how that flowing river remembers what it is to be ice. Or rather there is a memory of ice. That thought made me sad when I thought it. That no matter how we flow, how we move, how we rejoice. There is always the bitter cold to remember. But ice is sublime. There is nothing that is all bad or call good. And why is ice bad anyway? Let your memory of ice dance as you flow down the river.

The thing is...with all this learning of emotions are coming into or through my body in a more intense emotional way and I am having a hard time holding things we shall see where that takes me in the months to come. So not the right time, is not a time of impatience anymore, or at least less of it. Not the right time is filled with friends, learning, art, and joy. Not the right time is losing it's inglorious, pugnacious, rotten, smelly, feeling of being a downer. Glory to Not the Right Time and all that it contains.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Path to Path #5: Turning 33

There is nothing like having 2 button up shirts, a handful of tshirts, enough leggings to go with it, a sweater, and a backpack stuffed with a swimsuit and toiletries. For about a year, I lived out of a backpack. I cherish my denim shirt with anchors on it. It started out a deeper shade of denim. Yellow sweat marks crease where arm pit meets sleeve. I wore that shirt out…beet juice, ink, mystery stains lithely dot the edges.

For about a year, I took to the road. I performed. I played. I rested. I made a book with a dear friend. In one years' time, I expanded my view of what the world can be. I bumped up against societal edges of proper daily life. There was one or two fights. Mostly, there was a feeling of ease as I explained what I needed and was loved in returned. In one month's time I saw dear old friends and they created the dearest art project with me called, "Walk with ME." They brought in strangers to walk with me. They walked with me too. Homes were shared. Air mattresses were inflated. Baked oatmeal was shared. Thank you meals out at restaurants were bought by me. Train rides and the dreaded greyhound was used.

I saw their skylines. I dodged pot holes. I drank tea. What a gift that was. A gift to go from house to house, friend to friend, being treated carefully and considerately in each spot. Every place I felt more and more present. Able to speak my truth and have it celebrated. Barring one real rocky interaction. My excitement about life was met with the same. I never think about me as a force. Growing up, I was taught in thousands of ways to try to be invisible. But I felt the ripple effect of my ease at being a positive energy brought to others lives. i could shake things up so others could make changes. Or on a smaller level it was sure nice to hug my old friends while I was changing my life.

I ripped myself out of Los Angeles. Out of an abusive job. Out of the burn out that was reeking havoc on me. I wanted to do it differently. So I jumped on so many planes and I connected to people. I listened to their stories. We wrote them down. I saw the hearts of many. I felt the fear and felt it subside of the people I walked with. Obviously this last year is a life changer. I had spent 32 years following what others told me I needed to do to be a famous artist. I did it very well. Now I need to be an artist and a person who does things out of pure excitement and the need to discover. (This was in many of my past actions but got clouded up my perspective of needing to be rewarded.)

I have grabbed up life in all it's intensity. After finishing "Walk with ME," I was waiting to be punished. I had quit my job. I have left my life. Wasn't someone going to be mad? How was I going to get a job again after only working part time at the gallery in between arts gigs? I wasn't making enough money to keep that up. I didn't want to pay $1200 for rent every month while trying to make art in LA. How was I going to BE SOMEBODY if I wasn't in LA? Where was my life?

So the question is how can I take the Paige I cultivated on my tour; the Paige that created so many firsts this past year, into the present? How can I keep fighting cultural norms that say we have to live a certain way? I have to make money unless I join a religious order or commune. I like living alone and having certain creature comforts. I am very independent and though the gifts of this last year were many that I couldn't repay. I don't feel comfortable asking to live on the generosity of others…So where does that leave me?

Luckily, I have found a great job doing something that I feel is helpful, challenging, and creative. What a blessing that is! I will start working for a fantastic non-profit. Where I will help people learn media production skills. Wow! That will be great. It will pay my just enough to get by in Minneapolis. I am scared of next winter and how I will deal with it.

When I was young there was no limit. I thought I could be or do anything. I am stubborn and passionate and made things happen. Now as I age I see the limitations and I get tired…with my integrity does not always come monetary rewards. That I probably won't have the time or money to travel one month out of of the year every year. I get really depressed by the thought of limitations. I get depressed with the idea of I can't have.

What I am hoping for this time where I settle is that I will find the depth of relationships I have been skirting. That I will find communities that give me just as much enjoyment as a Perugia skyline or a Los Angeles sunset. That I will start to look inward and keep nurturing the spiritual power I found sitting in meditation in California. That I can really believe that where I am from is just as beautiful as those places marketed to be so. That I can continue to get inspired and learn.

In an ironic funny twist, I am turning 33 on Easter. Now Jesus was 33 when he died and rose to heaven. I am agnostic. Jesus, to me was an amazing, amazing role model for all of us. I find it really really amazing that I start my 33 on this spiritual note. Turning 33 on Easter! Jesus died for the sins of others. Now that is a life of sacrifice. He wasn't worried what others thought of him or his bank account. Not only that, he spent a lot of his time making others feel better and bringing them to a place of solace (God). If I can take this next year to continue to grow to shed away what I think others want me to do and get to what I find important and helpful to others. This will be a year well spent.

I have been meditating for about an hour a day for 4 months now. In December, I did a Vipassana retreat where for 10 days I had my eyes closed more than open, day in and day out. I learned an immense amount in a short amount of time. With meditation and my extreme year of living, I have calmed down quite a bit. Other people have noticed. My friend and mentor Laurie for one. I volunteered to be a guide for a friends awesome art event at a local museum where we will lead people to find answers to their questions by using the museum as an oracle. Or as I explain to my friends, a big Ouija board. I have done this with my friends for about 5 years. Laurie led us in a training to get ready to lead museum goers the April 26th weekend and she said, "I have talked to you on the phone for all the years you were away but I will have to get used to having you around in your body."
We kept talking and I asked if it is because I had changed so much? And she said yes.
I said, "I know I am a lot calmer now."
She said something to the effect of, "You got that right!" :)
With the calmness, I hope and think I have stripped away some of the anxiety and desperation that clung to me when I was younger and that possibly I can come off a tiny bit wise. If anything there is a presence that I carry now that isn't a burden but rather an open space for others to enter.
This year brought me to calm. I wore myself out. I proved I could do it. I took a step back. I failed. I succeeded. I ran a half marathon. I performed my first piece I directed. I printed my first Artist Book. I quit a job. I got a job.

Like waves, things come in, things come out, people arrive, people leave, anxiety rushes in, anxiety rushes out, the rhythm doesn't stop. No matter how hard we hold on. The great thing is with each person I connect with the passion and love that is exchanged has a resonance and it lives on. As I move back to Minnesota I am finding that some resonances still has a hummm to them that can be picked back up where we left off. With others it may be over or it may be just beginning. Maybe I will return to LA someday, maybe I won't. I'm scared and I look forward to creating a new song for today.