About katmicari

I am a creative whirlwind looking to share my passions with the world.

Current Affairs

I’ve thought a lot in the past couple of weeks about what I can say to help with what’s going on lately. Life feels more fragile, a little more tenuous in the face of it all. But the truth is that life is always fragile. History is full of brutal manmade destruction and rife with natural disasters even while it is equally full of soaring beauty and truly wonderful levels human achievement. We are being reminded almost daily that everything we know can be snatched away at a moment, outside of our control. And we can either fear that and go on autopilot, or try to deny it and escape reality, or we can accept it and work to live up to our potentials in whatever stretch of time we have. And if we’re not striving towards the third option, what’s really the point?

So do what you have to in order to practice self-care. Heal yourself to the point where you can turn off the autopilot and stop the escapism for little stretches of time at first and then longer and longer moments. Find a life of meaning in whatever you do, and if something isn’t working, don’t fear changing it. And don’t be afraid to shine your inner light. Also, if you feel like you want to change things, find ways to help where you can. You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone. You can’t control the way the world operates, but you can control how you operate within the existing parameters and work to change those parameters.

Finally, if you really want to change the world, stop letting assholes win. If all the caring, empathetic people in the world would adopt this attitude individually and collectively, things would change so fast. Stop supporting those who don’t value their fellow human beings, whether it be the big fish in the small pond or the sharks in the ocean, small-town sleezy landlord or big time Hollywood producer or career politicians at any level. Stop giving them your money, stop giving them your time and attention unless it’s to rub their faces in their misdoings like a dog and say “no” very loudly and repeatedly until they get the message. If you are going to start demanding the best of yourself, demand the best from those who profit off of you as well. There is so much potential power there.

It is hard not to get caught up in the fear and the drama. But that let’s those assholes win, and that is the one thing I refuse to do.

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Secret Arts and Crafts

There was a time, long ago, where I made gifts for everyone. Then I started getting more involved with career and trying to earn money via my creativity, and I pushed myself to let my work shine and promote my stuff every chance I got. This was really important to making myself feel like a “real” artist. But it also put a lot of pressure on me to have the end goal in mind and my work suffered.

Now, with my creative time coming just in little chunks, I’ve dipped back into the past. I have started doing sketches or making little things and sending them to friends as a token of appreciation or just to say I care. I don’t take pictures, I don’t show anyone outside my house, I just create and let it go. It’s been freeing, to say the very least.

Going forward, I want to strike this balance between play and work more and more, until hopefully they will be one and the same. We  shall see how it goes.

You Should Not Sacrifice Principles for a Paycheck

This whole ‘take a knee’ movement and the backlash it’s created has presented some fairly alarming popular viewpoints (one being that professional sports actually matters in the big scheme of things, amirite?), but the one I want to address is this argument put forth that because these athletes are paid a certain amount of money, they should shut up and perform the job that they are paid to do and that’s it. The same argument went around when the Hamilton actors spoke out on Broadway, and I’ve heard the argument made for other performers that have used their fame to push a particular viewpoint or platform that they believed in. Basically, anyone who is in the public eye for a particular talent needs to completely separate themselves from their persona, whatever that may be.

Thinking about this, I think it’s because so many of the common folk either deliberately or instinctively do this at their place of employment, and when they finally sit down to watch the ol’ game or listen to music or attend the theater, they want 1) to just escape and not be forced to think and 2) to not allow anyone else privileges of speaking their mind when they themselves are unable to do so at the risk of being fired. If they are good little cogs in the machine, so should the entertainment class.

But this is so wrong. You should have principles that matter more to you than your job, that if someone wanted to you be immoral or to turn a blind eye, you would not be willing to do so for the sake of a paycheck. But we do because we fear – we fear consequences, we fear poverty, we fear the machine we support breaking down even knowing that eventually this machine will consume us. And then when other people don’t allow their fear to hold them back, that makes us uncomfortable, so we try to shout them down. And thus we place our own chains of servitude around our own necks, and we try to pretend those chains don’t exist, and we try to trap those who would escape. It’s really sad.

So, if you find yourself being uncomfortable reading this, really ask yourself what your principles are. If you aren’t willing to defend them, you need to find some better ones probably. We have so much amazing potential as a species if we just let the fear and pettiness go.

I Am Ready

“I am ready” is a thought that’s been rattling in my mind during my moments of relaxation and meditation that I manage to grasp. I’ve been waking up with it, even delirious from staying up too late prepping things for my sister’s wedding and dealing with a teething baby again, and now that I’m in recovery mode from all that, it’s becoming more and more insistent.

The only problem is that I have no idea yet what I’m ready for. So that’ll be interesting to discover.

Some Thoughts on Life

I’ve been listening to some random lectures and talks online while sewing in recent weeks, and a couple of things I’ve heard have stuck with me, so I wanted to share my thoughts on them.

The first was a positive, truly inspiring lecture, and the line that stuck with me was when the speaker was telling everyone to stop comparing themselves to others, that we each have a purpose to fulfill here in life. And the line was that we are all puzzle pieces making up the world, and the puzzle pieces fit with other pieces to make the whole, and without even one piece, the picture is incomplete. So we’re all vital, we’re all important. And it’s our connections with each other that are truly the most important thing. I thought that was truly lovely.

The comparison game is such a tempting one, isn’t it? And we’re bombarded all the time by advertising and programming that tells us to fall into that trap so they can sell us crap, and the prevalence of social media in our lives makes it oh so easy to constantly compare and then bring ourselves down by our lack. We spiral low, shop to make ourselves feel better, drown our sorrows in more media or unhealthy habits, and let ourselves get trapped. It’s terrible. But I have learned to look at my twinges of jealousy as the sign markers for where I need to grow and direct my life. My friend is traveling off to far lands while I’m trapped with a baby and no money? Plan a day trip or weekend trip with the family and crash with friends. Someone I know released a single or put out a new book? That little pin prick is the drive for me to carve out a little time to create. And continue to make differences where I can. But this metaphor of a puzzle is one that will help quell the twinges all together, I think.

The second was a psychologist speaking about something that touched deeply on my spiritual awakening that occurred several  years ago, and I’m going to be deliberately vague because it’s very personal to me, but mainly what she said cast the entire experience in a very negative light. And I reflected on this a lot, and I’ve decided that I still am glad I went through my experiences because of the profound growth that I’ve had. There was a catalyst, a rebirthing, and then a test, all in one, and there were risks involved, but because I stayed true to myself and listened to my heart, it was a test I passed. It was necessary for my evolution, and this speaker would have cast me as a victim. And I don’t know if she truly sees the world that way, or if she’s just out to make more clients and make a buck.

So here it is, any period of growth is tumultuous. Any true spiritual experience has risks because we live in a materialistic age and have lost a lot of the knowledge of the spiritual so you enter blindly. But I know that everything in life has a positive and a negative side – the same tool can be used to heal or to harm. And it is each of our own responsibility to guard our own paths. To a lesser extent, we can help guard the paths of those we love, but really it has to come from within. We need to decide the things we value in our hearts and souls and then not waver from those values. Because it is when we become untrue to ourselves that others can manipulate us.

Anyway, those are my random thoughts.

“Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam” A Poem – AKA I Finally Wrote a Thing

I wrote the following and it was super cathartic to do, but I think I would describe it more as a “piece” rather than a “poem” due to the discordant rhythm and the dialogue involved, but that suits the mood. Hopefully this means my streak has been broken. We’ll have to see.

Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam

Lady Liberty weeps
In the corner on the floor,
Torch extinguished.
Uncle Sam says
“Smile! Don’t you know
You are so much
Prettier
When you smile?
I can’t abide
Your ugliness.”
“Oh Sammy,” Liberty wails,
“Your games have gone
Too far,
And I feel such pain
That smiling is an
Impossibility.”
“You’re too temperamental,”
Uncle Sam replies.
“You let your
Emotions
Get the best of you.
Swallow it down, like me,
Until you are
Numb inside.”
Standing, Liberty shouts.
“No, I won’t allow myself
To become internally
Dead.
Nor will I hide
From the truth.
You have done terrible things,
And my name no longer means
What it did.
Payment is coming due, Sammy,
And I fear it has all been for nought.”
Uncle Sam snaps
And knocks Lady Liberty
To the ground.
“You’re a bitch and a whore.
How dare you question
My authority?
I know better than you
The way to control
These masses.
Fear and pain
Are tools of the trade.
Get used to it.”
He looks at her and laughs.
“You may be stupid,
But I’ll keep you around,
As long as you’re leashed.
I like that you
Do my feeling
For me.”
Lady Liberty rises once again
And lights her torch anew.
Calmly, gently, she sets
Uncle Sam ablaze.
“There are times,”
She muses to herself,
“That you just need to
Start over.”

Copyright 2017, Kat Micari.

Gratitude Can Become a Trap

We had a friend over last weekend for sketching, snacks, and mead, and over the course of the evening, the sentence “Gratitude can be a trap” came out of my mouth as I was discussing my life after having my daughter and leading up to losing my job. And I realized the truth of the statement. If you always feel grateful for what you have, even when life turns extremely difficult, the gratitude can easily become an opportunity to not process emotions properly or to allow situations to continue long past the point they should. At least, that’s how it worked for me. I have a wonderfully supportive and hands-on co-parent in my husband and my mom took time off after the baby was born, on top of help from other family and friends. So when I felt overwhelmed in my recovery, I buried those feelings in gratitude and told myself “It can be so much worst, I have no right to complain.” And I believed it. And because my previous employer allowed me to have the baby with me, when the nigh impossible job I had actually became really impossible, rather than complain, I just kept plowing ahead and told myself how lucky I was to get to have the baby with me. It became this kind of feedback loop that helped contribute to tunnel vision that got so severe I couldn’t even tell when I started working myself sick.

I don’t want to downplay the role of gratitude in my life. It’s really important. But it’s a passive virtue, and therein lies the crux of the issue. The passive and the active have to be balanced against each other, rather than allowing either one to dominate your life to an extreme, and I think the action that should accompany gratitude is another ‘g’ – generosity. Generosity of spirit. Generosity of love. Practiced both outward onto the world and inward toward one’s self. Because if you are generous towards yourself, you won’t allow people to drive you to your breaking point. You won’t drive yourself to your breaking point.

What are your thoughts on gratitude? Have you ever felt yourself in a similar situation? Do you find yourself falling more into a passive or active attitude toward life, or are you fairly well balanced?

Life and Love and Creativity

I have been absent again from posting here lately. The baby has been teething and starting her one year growth spurt, and I have also snuck away on a few short trips with the family, visiting the 1000 Islands and Buffalo/Niagara Falls. It is so much work to travel with kids, but the time with friends and getting close to nature was well worth the effort. I feel more grounded, more accepting of the current state of affairs in my life, and ready to allow myself to expand again after feeling retracted for so long.

My time to create has been so short, and this was one of the biggest things I had to come to terms with. Almost all my efforts right now are going into creating my sister’s wedding dress and jewelry. The only writing I’ve been doing lately is an occasional email or letter, and I haven’t had any time for music or painting. Because my energies are being poured into my family and into the work that allows us to survive, and that is where they need to be right now. Because the love I have for my family and the joy I experience witnessing my children grow makes the sacrifices worthwhile.

All this to say that my creativity is not gone; the fire has merely been stoked, waiting the right opportunity to blaze once again. In the meantime, I will guard my embers and feed them as I may.

 

State Constitutions – do you know yours?

I was inspired a few weeks ago by a podcast that had someone elucidating the rights spelled out in the PA State Constitution, which has inspired me to slowly work my way through the NYS one. Because while I’ve read the US constitution in government class, I’ve never looked at the states before, and I have the feeling that those may be more important in days to come.

The history of the NYS constitution is interesting. It’s been amended and even re-written a couple of times. And a vote is coming up this year on whether to call another constitutional convention.

I’ve finished Section 1, and I have several tidbits I want to bring up and discuss, and I think I’m going to use Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to do it because I really don’t use those platforms aside from sharing my blog links when I update. I’ll go in order, but I’ll pull one positive one out for today.

[Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel] §8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;

NYS constitution Section 1, Article 8

Bam! Freedom of speech protected but you are also FULLY responsible for what issues out of your brain. More people need to understand this, at every level of society. Maybe especially the politicians.

Now I really would prefer we live in a truly self-governed society and that humanity was evolved enough to be able to live in this way, but until that happens, it’s important to know what we’re working with. There is already some verbiage in the first section that made me raise my eyebrows a bit.

Do you know what your state constitutions or even local community charters look like? Do you know what rights of yours may be being infringed upon either legally or illegally? Do you care?

Little Boy Blue, a poem

Posting this poem yet again because my heart is hurting yet again. Things won’t change until we demand that they change.  But it takes a lot of us demanding change to make it happen.

 

Little Boy Blue

Oh little boy blue,
Playing with a gun,
Don’t you know someone
Once held you for her own?
Carried you for nine months,
Then rocked you for more?
Can you even understand
How you made her heart soar?

Oh little boy blue,
In your uniform so dark,
When you go about your work,
The stains never leave a mark.
You stand before your family,
Your chin lifted in pride.
The shine on your badge
Can’t hide the darkness inside.

Oh little boy blue,
How can you sleep at night?
Do you truly believe that
‘Might makes right’?
Your anger and aggression
Causes blood to pour.
Do you even know
Who you’re fighting for?

Oh little boy blue,
Your friends call you out to play.
Now you’re hunting in a pack
Each and every day.
Didn’t your mother teach you
Not to always follow the crowd?
Is there ever an end
To the violence you’re allowed?

Oh little boys in blue,
Playing with your guns,
Don’t you realize we’re all
Someone’s daughters and sons?

Copyright 2015, Kat Micari