Taking Responsibility for My Life Path

I’ve still been feeling rather stuck on where I want to grow next creatively and career-wise in life. There are excuses, some more valid than others (lack of sleep due to baby – very valid excuse), but I realized lately that I’ve partially been sitting around waiting for some signs from the universe. Aside from allowing myself to be trapped in an office job for about a year and a half longer than I should have let myself be back in the early 2010s, my life path has always progressed organically. I’ve mentioned before that I decide I really want to try something out, and it happens. Opportunities come up and I take them, and they may not be specifically what I had planned, but things progress. I work my butt off, gain experience, and that’s what life is for me. Taking opportunities as they come. But before I decide I want to do something, I spend an insane amount of time hemming and hawing and waiting for a nudge or hint that I’m doing the right thing. Sometimes I get involved with very serious doubts on whether it’ll be good in the long run but just trust that I’m meant to be at certain places at certain times. A healthy way to live life, I think, but I’m pretty sure I don’t get to have it that way this time.

I have to take action myself. I preach taking personal responsibility and I know that there are inherent human freedoms, and I have to now step fully into the weight of that and take charge of my life. Which means deciding what I really want. Which is something I’ve always had a difficult time doing. And I find it doubly so now, because beyond a vague desire to “be creative”, what I really want is more time with my family. Which we’re working toward, but I miss that ambitious drive to push me through on projects.

I think I also have always wanted outside validation, a stamp of approval that my work is good. All of us creatives have that to a certain extent, don’t we? I want to march to the beat of my own drum, but I want other people to be tapping their hands along to the rhythm. It’s almost like my whole life I’ve been looking for permission to create the way I want to. And if I didn’t get that outside validation, I kind of just stopped pushing forward with that side of my creativity. Which is a tough thing to admit, but it’s true.

So I have a lot still to process in these realizations that hit me a couple of weeks ago. But processing through this is A Big Deal, and this will lay the groundwork for the next part of my life. A life path I will choose wholeheartedly. It will still be eclectic, and I’ll probably still be all over the place in my creative instincts, but it will be mine.

Internal Progress

I video recorded myself playing piano and singing two songs the other night and then watched it. And I was able to not be too overly critical of myself. Which is huge progress. My perfectionist streak which I’ve battled for years to channel into productive paths has gotten in my way a lot, as has stage fright that rose up sometime between undergrad and grad school, so the fact that I didn’t cringe or shy away from myself is a very big deal.

The songs were two I worked on with my voice teacher last year – a Joan Baez song and one from the musical The Scarlet Pimpernel, so I knew I had certain nuances down before I even started playing. The next step will be to record myself playing my own music, and at that point, I can let the perfectionist out a little for tweaking purposes.

Music is so important for healing. I’ve said it often that it is the one area I’ve felt a lack in my life since leaving undergrad. So I’m glad I can introduce it into my life again.

I’m So Very Very Tired…

Cue Madeline Kahn. If I ever decided to pursue a career in acting, my goal would be to follow in Madeline Kahn’s footsteps.

But seriously, I’m so tired. My 9 month old has been going through a sleep regression for weeks now. And the lack of sleep is taking a huge toll on me emotionally and physically. I’ve been suffering a severe lack of “me” time, either to relax and self-care or to create. We know what we signed up for as parents, especially being the second time around, but it’s still not easy. I pity those who are chronic insomniacs.

I’m also tired in the sense I blogged about last spring. You can read it here. More people seem to be growing aware of the bigger picture, that change is needed, but will it be enough?

And really, I’m so tired of being strong. Strength of will, strength of character, a pillar of strength, a warrior woman, juggling it all…  Is it strength to do what you feel you have to do? I don’t know.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t start this blog until after my son was a year and a half years old. He was a terrible sleeper and I was a “mombie” for a long time. A couple of weeks at a time with his sister doesn’t seem half bad by comparison.

I’ll be back to normal soon, I hope. I feel like I’ll be emerging from my cocoon soon.

Doctor Dragged from United Flight And the Greater Metaphor

There is the shocking footage currently circulating of the doctor that was dragged from a United Airlines flight due to overbooking. You can see the New York Times article here. And people filmed it, people verbally protested the man being dragged, but not one person moved to intervene. And following the incident, everyone, including the doctor, got back on the flight. This boggles my mind, because I would not go anywhere with that particular crew given that they clearly showed what they truly think of the passengers.

For me, I immediately imagined myself in that situation, or being at home and watching my neighbors be violently dragged away by “the authorities” for no reason whatsoever. And I honestly don’t know. One person against several are not decent odds. But an entire plane-full? Why didn’t they collectively demand a different crew, demand their money, demand for lawyers to be brought to the airport? It didn’t have to be a violent uprising, but some kind of uprising would be more respectful. We’ve been treated like livestock by the plane industry for years, but this really surprised me. Yet another sign of how complacent we’ve all become.

So here we stand, on the brink of yet another unjust war fought over oil on a foreign field that we helped set the stage for, that the powers that be have been manipulating and trying to accomplish for years. And we may loudly protest what will come, but will any of us actually try to stop them? Will we stop giving our power over? I don’t know.

Liberty for All – A Poem

What have we done to Fellowship?
Where’s the love for our fellow man?
The insular lives we now lead
Means that we don’t do all we can
No more living the Golden Rule
Each for theirself, so weak, so small!
No help for your neighbors, nor hope!
It’s one for one, not one for all.

Can we e’er find Equality?
So elusive, it seems to hide.
It’s us verses them ev’ry day.
To walk this path, always deride.
Rather judge a person theirself
By thoughts, actions, and their deeds.
Instead of what we still look at:
Gender, race, sexuality, and creed.

Whence has flown great Intelligence?
Where have our brilliant minds all gone?
No more knowledge for its own sake,
The focus is on rich gains alone.
The latest big consumer toy
Or vanity pills down our throats
Learning reviled, hated, in vain.
Party lines are our only quotes.

How can we now achieve Justice?
That lovely and resilient song?
Impartial code for all to see.
Two rights can never make a wrong.
No more destruction or violence.
Each working to remove that stain.
Natural rights for ev’ryone.
The end of strife and futile pain.

Who knows how to speak out the Truth?
Unbiased and clear as a bell.
And could we even recognize?
We may not know and dare not tell.
It still is there for us to hear.
All it takes is for us to start.
The clarion sound can ring out loud
If we carry it in the heart.

Who now remembers Liberty?
To get it, will you make a stand?
Rights and responsibility,
Alway together, hand in hand.
Never yet in our history
Have we seen this, but let’s begin.
To grow beyond our current fate,
Search the mirror, dive deep within.

Copyright 2017, Kat Micari

Edwardian Lady – Pencil Sketch

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Copyright 2017, Kat Micari

I sketched this Edwardian lady as a gift for my mom. I didn’t have time to get as detailed on the shading as I have been able to in the past, but because the necklace is so complicated, I think there is enough detail work.

In other art news, there are a couple of local shows that I want to submit for, which means I have to actually get off my butt and finish the gallery page on this site finally. I will hopefully do that over the weekend.

The Rain On My Parade – an abstract painting

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The Rain On My Parade – Copyright 2017 Kat Micari

I finished a painting! Hooray! It felt really good to do, too. Now I’m going through and updating all my other listings on Fine Art America and then I’ll start working on the gallery section here on this site. Progress!

You can get prints and other fancy merchandise of this at Fine Art America, if you are so inclined. I really like this one as throw pillows.

 

A Path for 2017

Every year since 2010, rather than write a list of resolutions, I’ve tried to focus on one major self-improvement task and set myself creative goals. I’ve found it immensely helpful. You can read the past several years here, here, here, and here.

This year is the most difficult one I’ve yet to face in a long time. Everything is still in a state of flux. How will earning the money to live on work for myself and my husband going forward? Who will be the primary caregiver to our daughter? What kind of time and energy will be left for creative projects, and in what direction do I want to go creatively and business-wise? How will that balance with creating a more sustainable life for myself and my family physically, mentally, and emotionally? It’s a lot to sort out.

My big goal for the year is to let myself play more – play with my kids, get outside, make art and music and write purely for the joy of it instead of for the finished product. I need to in order to refill my creative well and have the energy to then pour into other people and the world. And that means not taking on too much of a load for myself going forward, which is what I did that contributed to my crashing.

It rings hollow to wish people a Happy New Year when so many are not in a good place right now, but I say it to you anyway. Wherever you are, whatever state you are in at the moment, I hope you can find at least small ways to be happy.

Holiday Sale – 20% off!

Just a reminder, there is one more day left on my 20% off sale!

Kat Micari

I am running a holiday sale, now through December 23rd!

Artwork – Fine Art America gallery – coupon code MZTGTH

Penumbra ebook – Smashwords – coupon code  GZ97E

Also, I’ll be setting up my art gallery page finally in the near future here on this site, so if you would like to commission an illustration of any type, let’s talk materials and pricing. I’m very reasonably priced now but might not be forever. 😉

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“I don’t want to live in my father’s house no more…”

The lyrics to Arcade Fire’s Windowsill have spoken to me since hearing the album Neon Bible for the first time years ago. Actually, that whole album is thought-provoking in many ways. But it was this song that came to my mind waking up after the election in the United States last month.

I’ve always been a floater socially. I know that’s a jump in topics, but stick with me because there is a point. In high school, I had friends and acquaintances in a lot of different groups, without truly belonging to any one group. It made me feel both alienated in some ways and free in others, because I never concerned myself with dressing or acting a certain way to fit in. And for someone getting over the scars of being bullied in the years leading up to high school, it felt safer to not dig in too deep anywhere. Sure, there were feelings of isolation sometimes, of never fitting in, of loneliness, but I was also given the opportunity to notice the similarities between individuals in different groups. We all struggle for the same things in life, and we’re all struggling for them alongside each other. And it would be far easier if we reached out a hand to help each other rather than hope that an entire group of people ceases to exist. That way leads to disaster for everyone.

I’m not entirely sure what the answer is. How can you help heal cognitive dissonance in a massive number of people? How do you help them to realize how much they are manipulated by various systems in such a way that doesn’t alienate them? It seems a herculean task, but a necessary one.

So despite my initial response, I am not leaving “my father’s house”, either physically or mentally. I intend to remain and do the work needed to build the society we could be living in. I intend to engage as much as possible with this time we find ourselves in. As part of that, I will start to blog about some ideas I have but don’t really have the knowledge to implement, and maybe some of you will be able to chime in, and maybe ideas can become realities.

Here are the full lyrics. Gives me goosebumps to read them.

I don’t wanna hear the noises on tv
I don’t want the salesmen coming after me
I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
I don’t want it faster, I don’t want it free
I don’t wanna show you what they done to me
I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
I don’t wanna choose black or blue
I don’t wanna see what they done to you
I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
Because the tide is high
And it’s rising still
And I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
Don’t wanna give ’em my name and address
Don’t wanna see what happens next
Don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
Don’t wanna live with my father’s debt
You can’t forgive what you can’t forget
Don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
Don’t wanna fight in a holy war
Don’t want the salesmen knocking at my door
I don’t wanna live in america no more
Because the tide is high
And it’s rising still
And I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
Mtv, what have you done to me?
Save my soul, set me free!
Set me free! what have you done to me?
I can’t breathe! I can’t see!
World war iii
When are you coming for me?
Been kicking up sparks
We set the flames free
The windows are locked now
So what’ll it be?
A house on fire, a rising sea?
Why is the night so still?
Why did I take the pill?
Because I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill!

Windowsill from Neon Bible
By Arcade Fire