My emotional wellbeing is being tested right now. Fighting the blues. Especially here in Portland, OR where it is cold, grey and raining again today. Actually, there are quite a few things that seem to be adding to the weight of it all. So my reason for writing today is to vent a little and try to let go of some of the stress. If you’re reading this, I bet you can relate – the world is a little crazy right now.
Creativity is my usual go-to for feeling better. I started a project last month where I’m creating a piece of quilted wall art every week for a year. I need to be creative or my depression grows exponentially. So I thought that I could offer these Thread & Fabric Compositions in a Pay-What-You-Want format and I would sell them so I wouldn’t have to store them or be attached to them in any way. Letting go of my art is hard for me, so part of the whole project is to not keep them. Unfortunately, I have no real social reach so they are starting to pile up.
In the time that I’ve started this project, there are a few other quilters that have also followed Victoria Vanderlaan’s model. They are all excelling and selling their artwork. I’m super happy for them – because it means it’s possible to succeed in making fabric art that people want. I just have to make more attractive things or figure out better social media (ugh). I’m questioning my commitment to this project because I don’t want to create more storage for myself. Want to see? I put all the unclaimed #TAFcomps in my store.
I guess finances are the main stressor for me. Budgeting right now has me spinning. Isn’t it crazy the amount of inflation on EVERYTHING?!? Even our house insurance went up 57% this year. Our screen printing business has been keeping us supported for the last 20+ years, but this year we need to make just a bit more to make ends meet. Having spent 5 years of my life houseless – half that time with a toddler, I have real and serious fears about not making enough money. What I hate about that is I don’t want my life to be about money, but it’s all I think about when things get tight.
Chalk healthcare up for being a big stressor too. We’ve been insured for 3 years now and I feel like it’s such a scam! A monthly expense which doesn’t cover much of anything with a $17K deductible. It’s basically just sets a high limit on what you will spend in an emergency.
I have very low ferritin (iron) readings – even with infusions. When I get dizzy and my lips turn pale blue, it seems like something to address – even if my blood numbers are okay. But my Dr. does not seem to be concerned in any way. Until I pass out, I guess I don’t need to worry.
I think I need to find a Naturopath who takes my insurance and can be a PCP. I also have constant tinnitus, gastritis, IBS, migraines, neuropathy all over, anxiety, joint pain, degenerative TMJ + discs, sensitivities to everything, and I’m guessing some sort of autoimmune thing that hasn’t been figured out yet due to my digestive and nervous system issues. So I’d like to find a healer type person who likes a mystery and is willing to work dietary avenues rather than prescriptions! *heavy sigh* So yeah – a little stressful – but no worse than everyone else I know. I hate to complain… but this is my venting post!
I’m not as alone as I used to be – my husband and daughter both supply me with constant unconditional love -of which I’m super appreciative! However, past traumas keep affecting my current day-to-day and it’s getting to me. My family disowned me over 30 years ago over their religiosity and have not had contact since. It’s like they are dead… but they are not. They are CHOOSING to keep me out of their puritanical lives. This is what conditional love looks like. It really hurts, even still. I feel like I should be ‘over it’ by now, but I’m having a hard time letting it go.
It really has me hating on christianity in general. I can’t get away from it. I feel like people are constantly pushing that crap into my world. It’s completely overwhelming and scary to me. Too many people are sticking their head in the ground as a fascist theocratic autocracy is taking over. By trying to appease christians and their propensity towards feeling oppressed, we are allowing terrible people to take control. It makes me want to scream! Sorry not sorry.
In my experience, when you believe you are the chosen ones – you know god will destroy everyone else at armageddon. You just have to tolerate people until then. I know how those people think. I was one of them, I even went door to door preaching on the regular! The last time I saw my 3 sisters was 1987. My brother was born after I left so we’ve never met. He also left the religion, but is pretty emotionally wrecked by it too. To the point he can’t meet me yet – too many triggers. It’s so sad.
I created the Chakra Quilt Series to help me work through a lot of my grief and anger over this, but I obviously still have a lot of work to do. *even bigger heavy sigh*
My main tool against depression is gratitude & positivity. Gratitude is the one emotion that can heal all others. It’s easier to be grateful when you look for positivity in life rather than seeing all the negative.
The other night I was talking to a friend who used the term: “toxic positivity” and I think that’s a real thing. If you’re just being positive and ignoring important realities, you will make terrible decisions that could negatively affect others… and that’s just selfish. I totally agree with that. It’s important to see things in real terms (ie: melting glaciers raising water levels – causing significant global changes) because sometimes you have to fight for a good human existence.
Having gratitude comes easy for me. I love having a warm house with a private toilet, good food to eat, and a bed to sleep on at night. I also created my own family who support me and love me and I will always be thankful for that! Now I also have my craft that I can be thankful for! Using my hands to create colorful textures with fabric and thread makes me feel productive, and keeps my hands busy from doing harmful things to myself (smoking – etc.).
I’m also pretty darn happy to have a bunch of furry little beasties living around us. My husband has been dutifully caring for 12 feral cats. I can even pet 3-4 of them! We make cat toys out of sticks and leftover fabric pieces that they love to play with. Plus there’s Taz. He’s our indoor cat who had a rough life before he got to us, so he’s learning how to do the love thing without claws or teeth… but there is still a lot of blood drawn!
If you read this far into my little personal rant, I want to say how grateful I am for YOU. This is my itty bitty corner of the interwebs and I’m happy you are here. It really does make me feel good to make a connection, and as you know – a little positivity goes a long way!
I just did a big overhaul to the backend of this blog. I’ve been blogging since 08 and there was a lot of messy code I needed to fix. It’s still loading slow – which I’m working on – thanks for your patience! To test it out, I’d love it if you left a comment below! Tell me your favorite color and why it’s your favorite. If I get responses, I’ll use them as inspiration for my next Thread & Fabric Composition(s) – so thanks in advance!!
Hi Gail! Sending you lots of love from Colorado! My favorite colors are black and white. I love the stark contrast, especially in black and white stripes. I don’t know why I’m so totally drawn to it, but I’m obsessed. Especially black and white stripes with teal and red. So good!
Hi Rachel – I’ve been missing you! Hope CO is treating you well 🙂
Thanks for the color inspiration… I’m also a B&W fan!
Thank you for so bravely sharing your healing journey. You just keep writing and sharing because, whether you know it or not, your storytelling will get you through the hard times.
Reading your words reminds me of another eloquent and honest writer, Ann Lamott. (Sp?). You are strong and brave. Your strength has gotten you this far. Brave because that’s what it takes to be so vulnerable as to share your life story in such an authentic and fearless way.
It’s been my experience that people who have had the hardest life are the most compassionate and sensitive to others because their own hard life has made them understand another’s pain.
Your husband, daughter and friends who see and love you are a gift and that alone is much to be grateful for. Not to mention your lovely art. Your quilts are amazing. Keep sharing Gail.
Sending you lots of love.
Oh Joy! Thank you for such a sweet comment. I’ve been questioning how much I want to put my personal life out there… and decided it’s better to let it out than to keep life all secretive. Thanks for the support!
Hi Gail – I miss you! And I’m sorry that you are struggling. I am bogged down by my own health issues (either ME/CFS or long covid) that can neither be diagnosed or fixed. Not to make this about me, but I really identify on how hard it is to have health issues and no answers or solutions. And it’s certainly been more difficult to connect with people during these pandemic years as well!
I get the gratitude – a home, a family, food, warmth, craft, but I think that depression and sadness can be present as well. Positivity is kind of a double edge sword, in my opinion. We can have much to be grateful about but still be suffering. Your early family trauma will probably always be a part of who you are, but thankfully you haven’t perpetuated the dysfunction. That’s rare. I don’t always read people’s Facebook posts, but I’m glad I found yours. Sending love and hugs your way!
Hi Marcia! I miss you too! Long Covid totally sucks, I can relate… hair loss is my biggest side effect from that. Not that bad, except vanity issues ;). Sending love and hugs back – and we do need a little hang time soon too! Oh – do you have a favorite color?
I love blue-greens, which is kind of like really saying that I like blues and greens. So hard to pick a favorite!
I’m so proud and grateful that you can share yourself like this. You are a great example for the rest of us. You have chosen your happiness and health instead of staying in an unhappy and unhealthy birth home. Your birth family is poorer for having lost you, despite the pain you still feel at not having their acceptance of you and your life. I am sorry for them and happy for YOU.
I can’t choose a favorite color. Sorry, not sorry! I love them all, but find myself drawn to reds and yellows in all shades in quilting. I usually WEAR blue. So go figure. I admire your art and beauty. Keep on sharing and creating, my friend. You are a gem.
Thank you Marjorie! Means a lot to me 🙂
Reds & Yellows – YAY! Now I have a short list of favorite colors – it really helps to have a little direction.
I’m not keeping up with social media. But it is so nice to “hear” your voice. My favorite color… ha I love them all, from a pure magpie perspective I’m drawn to purple. But when I look at yarn and clothes I’m mostly drawn to ocean colors, for other things pink or yellow! It probably depends on what my mood needs at any given moment.
Hi Michelle, Purple, pink and yellow would be a fun combination! I go back and forth with social media, sometimes I want to try to work it, sometimes not. It WAS really good to see you IRL at the last meeting!!