Does anyone else feel like they just emerged from a vortex of transition or is it just me?
Hello hello hello my awesome Planet FOMO-ians–how the heck have you been?
I think the last time you saw me I was alternating between crying about light and tunnels and liberation and other such things and choking on my own saliva because the Bar Exam felt like it would never come. I honestly thought I might have died and been sentenced to a hell that consisted of vanilla being the only ice cream flavor and endless repetition of the distinctions between California Evidence and Federal Evidence.
But, my dears, it did come to an end. It feels fantastic.
I mean, except for the part where I have to wait until mid-November to find out if I passed or not but oh well. At least there are still a plethora of ice cream flavors to keep me company until then.
What have I been up to? Well, after decompressing with all the food and all the television Hulu and Netflix has to offer, I returned to work. Because deez bills ain’t gonna pay themselves. Adjusting to work after taking a few months off to study for the nightmare that is the bar exam was a little shaky at first but I’m starting to find my footing again. I have a lot more confidence now than I did when I first started in the position but I still get hit with those learning curb moments.
Let me tell you, those learning curb moments just about do me in. My anxiety will not allow me to use the situation as either a learning or teaching moment. My anxiety goes from being a backseat driver to crawling over the center console, sitting in my lap while wrenching the steering wheel left to right with reckless abandon as I flail helpless, eyes squeezed shut and hands covering them. My anxiety messes me up. Because after I learn things I need time to process them and allow them to work their way into my subconscious before I feel comfortable enough with this new information to ask if it would like to have a seat or if it prefers coffee or tea.
Pretty standard Christine Anxiety, ya know?
To top it all off, I still don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. What was I put on this earth to do? On those good days, I think, “Yeah, I could do this law thing for a while.” On the bad days, when anxiety is strangling me with my own safety belt, I think, “How bad would it be if I just cut and run from this–all of this?” If I just walked out the door (after an appropriate and responsible two weeks notice, of course) and into the mass of people and…just…did something else.
It was during a time very much like this, when my paycheck had long gone to pay bills and procure cat food and I couldn’t remember the joy of working because payday wasn’t quite in sight enough to remember why I get up and ride a train Monday to Friday to dodge insane bicyclists and leap out of the way of feces-smeared pavement (both domesticated pet and human) that I painted the postcard below:
I want to state for the record that I do know that our planets revolve around the sun. I know science-y things and stuff about astronomy, okay? I just happen to have a poetic streak that takes artistic liberties with stuff like how the sun doesn’t chase after the moon because it has better things to do with it’s life.
I was just feeling blue and kind of lost and searching for something. But I couldn’t name this piece Searching because I already did that in a previous post. I painted the moon first because I was just so full of emotion and felt that a full moon was the only way to get those feels out.
After that I started adding layer after layer of midnight blue and charcoal black to imitate the immense night sky. Because feelings. And then a little sun just wanted to peek it’s head out from the bottom of the scene. Because despite our real sun’s confidence that it is the center of our solar system–in my painting and imagination, even the sun chases after something. Just like the rest of us.
I realize I’m chasing after fullness. Softness. Illumination. I don’t want to be fragmented or feel like there are pieces of me splintering away in those dark recesses of my mind.
Speaking of dark, I may as well get this one out of the way:
What you see here is a painting I did in my Frida Kahlo journal. I call it that because I bought it from the gift store at Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City. And it’s a journal, in case I wasn’t clear about that part.
Sometimes if I feel like painting even something as small as a postcard leaves me too vulnerable, I’ll make a painting in my journal. I am still having a difficult time writing even for personal reasons. The words just won’t come out like they used to. Plus, my penmanship has become truly atrocious. So I paint whatever I feel or whatever thoughts or colors come into my head.
I felt trapped while doing this piece. Like I was being held captive in my own life and by the expectations I have for myself and the expectations others have of me. The more ticks I made to symbolize the days passing, the more it felt like I wasn’t keeping count of the days, weeks, months, and years going forward–but more like it was counting the days going backwards. These days marked here are a journey to the past. To the first moment I felt that drag of ennui; the first time I felt desperate in my life and longed for it to be over somehow; to before I was born and into the lives of those who came before me and from whom I inherited all my current conditions, phobias, and anxieties.
Then to round off the theme of captivity, I gave voice to some choice words that sprung up. The words I chose to scratch out pertain to identity and the potential for being remembered. To me, identity, memory, and carrying on our past traditions are the things we lose first when our cultures, traditions, and histories are held captive by outside forces. Those are the things that are hidden, obscured, eradicated, and scratched out of places where they were once etched into stone.
But sometimes traces are left behind and a remnant of the past is able to make it into the present. Like an echo or a ghostly imprint worked into the DNA of a house. Or like one of those temples in Mexico City whose slow and steady sinking into the marshy ground saved so much history from being destroyed and re-molded into the image of another.
If we take the time to look into the things that are scratched out or laying beneath centuries, maybe nothing stays buried. Maybe eventually everything comes to light and takes a big, deep breathe before it says, “Thank you. You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for you.”
This last drawing is one for my Goddess series. One of my favorite authors is Sandra Cisneros. That woman’s writing speaks to me. Whether she’s using the metaphor of a lost cat to describe the grief of losing a loved one or telling you stories about stories she wrote as a way to give you the tale of her own life–Sandra floors me every time I read her.
I think it was in La Sandra’s Stories of My Life that I first learned about Tlazatéotl. Tlazatéotl has a lot on her plate. Most scandalously, she is known as the goddess of filth and patroness of adulterers. She is also known as “the eater of filth” or “the eater of dirt.” There is a decent amount of information on Tlazatéotl out there and I can guarantee you that I’m not doing the entire essence of this diety justice in this little blog but the gist of what resonates with me is this:
Tlazatéotl is the one who knows how to handle shit, both literally and figuratively. She’s the one you call when it’s flying left and right and everything is just a great big mess because you’re a fragile human and you do really dumb things with your time here on earth. No matter what your ailment, Tlazatéotl can handle it: disease, vice, sexual misdeeds, or any other spiritual gunk you may have picked up along the way. Tlazatéotl has got you.
Because despite her reputation as she who eats filth and association with all things yucky, she’s also a purification goddess. Which makes sense to me because what better way to make way for things that are clean, bright, and shiny than by getting rid of the old things that no longer serve us?
The way I understand her (and it may take a lifetime to truly process her essence), Tlazatéotl eats up those shitty aspects in our lives and in the process cleanses it and releases it back as fertile ground brimming with possibilities. And despite the fact that it is now Pumpkin Spice Latte season, my soul and heart could use a little spring cleaning.
I try to do those things I need to in order to properly self-care. I take care of what needs to be taken care of but that falls to the wayside during the week. I meditate and have started chanting a mantra. I brush my teeth at night, wash my face, and use face masks sometimes. I listen to soothing music while drinking non-caffeinated tea and writing blog entries. I drink water because I’ve heard hydration is a thing that matters to humans. I eat fruit. Yeah. Okay, pluots and grapes. I eat pluots and grapes.
Yet I still feel like there’s all this excess stuff hanging around that I’m having a hard time severing from my life. What is the use of trying to attract good, healthy things into your life if the junk from the past is still in your head and heart space?
Are we ever really free of those things that we don’t need, my beautiful FOMO-lings? I hope that we are. Until then, I will try to channel Tlazatéotl in an effort to clear my life of the debris and fallout from past lives and traumas.
Anyway, enough about me.
What crap are you trying to cleanse from your life, Planet FOMO-ians? I’m all ears.