A Lucid Dream

I had a really vivid lucid dream the other night that is a great metaphor for some things, so I wanted to share it.

In the dream, I’m inside this massive mansion or palace with a huge group of people, all dressed in beautiful clothes, and in one large room there is piled a huge amount of food, but it’s all rancid and bad. I vividly remember entire smoked carcasses of animals, giant piles of vegetables and fruit, and elaborate desserts, but it was all putrid. And everyone was eating it like the rotten foods were rare delicacies and the best of the best. And then they’d go into other rooms and throw up, and then eventually come back to the tables and dine again. And I can remember the smell of the throw up and being aware at that point that I was dreaming, and I was partially aware of being in bed simultaneously. So when I realize it was all a dream, I suddenly burst out of the closed-in areas and find myself outside on a large semi-circle balcony overlooking a lush forest, teeming with freshness and life and everything that everyone in the party would need to survive and thrive and be healthy. And even though I was a couple of stories up, I knew I could easily go over the balcony edge, shimmy down some vines, and be in that forest, free. But I also knew that I couldn’t leave everyone to the fate of being inside that mansion, so I went back inside and started to attempt to convince everyone, anyone that they could go outside anytime they wanted to, that the fresh air would do them good, and no one would listen. But I remember thinking that the effort was worthwhile anyway. Then I woke up.

The dream has given me a lot to think about the past couple of days. About society, about our choices, about our abilities to control what surrounds us. It also made me think about the movie Zardoz. Have any of you seen it? “Penises are bad, guns are good.” It is, without a doubt, a ridiculous 1970’s film, but I feel like you need to watch this at least 3 times. The first time, you ask yourself what the hell it was you just watched. The second time (hopefully several years later to cleanse the palate), you acknowledge that there was a lot of interesting social commentary interspersed amidst the madness, and upon the third viewing (again with a few years in between), you realize that the director was brilliant and so many things open up. At least, that’s how it worked for me. And why did I watch it multiple times? Someone bought my husband the DVD in undergrad as a joke and I like to throw movies on when I hand sew and paint sometimes, and I cycle through ones we already own because in theory they are easier to just have on as background noise. Besides, how could I resist watching Sean Connery dressed like this? ::snicker::

zardoz_zed

Anyway, moral of the dream – we don’t have to stay at a crappy party that is making us sick and pretend we love it. We can leave and have fresh abundance. But we all have to decide to stop playing the game together.

A Blog Recommendation – Think Horizontal

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but I am recommending this new blog – Think Horizontal. The author has written some very thought-provoking articles, and I feel like they have coalesced a lot of the same wisdom that I have sporadically interspersed through my meandering blog here with a much more focused intent. I wanted to respond to all of the posts so far but my brain was mush last night as I read them so I just allowed the words to circulate in my head.

True freedom. What does it really mean? And are you prepared to do the work and the thinking necessary to achieve it? And then to teach others how to do the same?

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

Letting Go and Moving On

Last week I found out something that made me finally cry about losing my job. Outright sobbing for a solid 15 minutes, like I’ve done in the past when someone has died. I felt so wounded and betrayed, and thankfully my children were asleep and I was able to give full venting of my emotions. But I wanted to censor myself at first, because I recognized that what was wounded most was my pride, and really, of all the Seven Deadly Sins, Pride may very well be the least fun one. Also, in my efforts to evolve as a human, I try really hard to not let my ego drive the ship and to focus on deeper issues and discard the parts of my being that don’t serve me well, but I obviously have a long way to go still, and I really hated to have that reminder. That I still have attachments to certain identifiers about myself and my position in society. Objectively I know that it’s all meaningless, but subjectively I still occasionally care what other people think of me. It’s so contradictory that it is funny.

However, I am a creative soul, even as I seek to always be growing and learning, and I must admit that I will always have to give my inner artist-child expression or I will suffer serious consequences. And so I allowed myself to grieve and didn’t self-censor, and then I realized that I was indeed grieving a death – the loss of that version of myself and that path through life that I had set myself on. Those particular circumstances will never exist for me again, even if I do choose to return to the theater world someday. And that version of myself deserved a proper mourning and burial.

So if I was less wise than I am now, if I was less evolved, I could let myself linger in the betrayed role. I could play the victim and even relish the anger and bitterness for a while, fueling angsty poems and art pieces. But being where I am, I am ready to move on and figure out my new identity. Staying angry isn’t healthy for me, and my body already is showing me the benefits of letting it all go. The week I got sick leading up to losing my job, I had a fairly severe psoriasis-rash outbreak on my hands and then a patch open up on my back, and all the areas are healing now. I find myself laughing and being goofy with my family more, which is part of my self-improvement goal for the year of allowing myself to have more fun. And while I may get an occasional twinge of missing the part of me I no longer have, I can weigh it against what I do have and recognize the benefits of letting go. Life is too short to give other people the power to hold you down.

Whatever the future is, I trust that it will bring me what I need to continue growing and loving and creating. I may not agree with the Universe, I still may need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the next path I need to tread, but I do trust.

Postcards

I got my postcards for my gathering this weekend. I invited over 100 people to stop by and am guessing I will get between 10 and 20. But that’s how it goes. You can only do so much to get people active, and hopefully even if people are too busy or are sick of politics, getting the invite will get them thinking a little.

I hope I get some surprise guests and have to run out for more snacks. But I am excited to see everyone who has said they are coming and look forward to talking social issues and real solutions beyond begging for proper treatment from our current crop of so-called leaders.

But look how pretty!

IMAG0031

Gallery is Up and Some More Creative Progress

My gallery is up on my Art page here. Nothing fancy, just the freebie slideshow that comes with the page. But it’s cool to see all my work on one page! And I really like seeing my two abstracts together. It makes me want to do more. Now to start submitting to some local shows.

In other creative news, I’m working on another pencil sketch as a gift that I will post once it is received. I had wanted to finish it last week and it sits still barely started. But I hope to finish it all tonight, if I finish my work for the shop in time. Writing-wise, I’m still tinkering with a poem. Four more lines to go! I’m doing it in strict rhyming 8 syllable lines, and it is tackling some very serious societal issues, so it’s difficult. It is going to wind up feeling heavy and preachy, rather like an 19th century poem read out at a lecture series, but that was kind of what I am going for. I find it fascinating to consider that sometimes poems just pour out of me, like Little Boy Blue – I felt this huge weight on me after watching some atrocity online and the poem just popped out. And then there’s this one I’ve been working on for a very long time because I don’t want to force it. And musically, I’ve been playing and singing a little bit multiple times a week. Still haven’t gotten into a good practice with my flute yet but at least I’ve gotten it out a few times.

Since I’m easing into my new full-time position, I’m transitioning into an all new schedule again, which means being flexible about my time. My kids’ needs for me come first while we’re all adapting.

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 Hatred and Fear Behind Bigotry

I wound up in a comment chain last week that was attached to an editorial cartoon and a bigot was attempting to put forth “logical” arguments for taking a pro-white stance on all matters (it’s evidently all a matter of tribalism, and whites who are for equality have just been brainwashed to think this way, y’all). Because of course, everything comes down to self-interest in our me-first world, and people can’t possibly have empathy toward every human being because to do so is unnatural. And in the midst of his very long-winded though actually well-thought out in a closed loop way arguments was the statement that what other races want is the destruction of the white race. Complete annihilation. He used the word genocide somewhere in there as well. And said that all that is wanted is for people to break into tribes again, and if the white tribe just happens to have a bigger slice than all the other tribes combined, it was natural selection, etc.

It suddenly dawned on me why it is so difficult to get through to bigots. They are literally afraid of becoming not just obsolete, not just losing power, but of losing EVERYTHING. They are walking around full of hate because in essence they’re concerned that their pure-blooded great granddaughter may not have the option of a purely white man to reproduce with. Which is such a crazy fear to me, because these are also generally the people who don’t give a crap about the environment, which is also important for their great granddaughter, nor are they particular concerned about investing back into either the population or the infrastructure of our country, which again seems kind of important for future generations. The kind of mental gymnastics that has to be done to justify clinging to these fears is astounding, honestly.

As far as the tribal aspects go, there are hereditary traits we carry. There are also personal preferences we all have, as far as who we want to mate with and what makes us comfortable. For example, I am attracted to men. I find women the more beautiful of the two genders from an artistic/aesthetic viewpoint, but definitely am biologically attracted to men. When it comes to potential mates, though, I have to be connected mentally. If there’s no stimulation in the mind, there isn’t going to be any stimulation for me anywhere else, if you know what I mean.  But here’s a good measure of whether something is a personal preference and whether something is a prejudice – it’s a prejudice if you dehumanize anyone who doesn’t meet your preference, or if you want your preferences put onto everyone in the society you live and get angry when society doesn’t live up to your personal preferences.

So maybe yes, tribalism worked for us when we were just starting to come into groups. But to think that it still serves a purpose is so short-sighted. It is giving in to the scarcity mindset that those really in control put on us. It’s us or them but the only people really winning are those above it all pushing the buttons.

Realizing how deep the fear runs will change my approach when I’m forced into interactions with bigoted people in the future. I won’t tolerate the actions taken out of fear, but I will come from a place of sympathy toward the fear and division that runs deep inside. And I will use my white privilege to engage these people when I can and attempt to educate them on the way we’re all interconnected and convince them to lay aside the fear that is at the root of their hatred. I probably won’t break through to many, but maybe I can to a few.

America Image – Creative Commons License

postcard-front

Here is the redone illustration created for postcard size. I am granting this a CC-BY licensing, so if you want to print out your own postcards or flyers or use this for what you will, have at it.

My postcards will be ordered tonight for my Write-to-a-politician gathering. My friend who is an artist AND a scientist has created a science-friendly postcard that I will be printing as well, and I hope to get a good turnout when I schedule this event (probably early March by the time things ship). And my suggestion of a workshop at our local domestic abuse shelter got positive feedback and has been forward to the pertinent person in the organization, so my efforts for getting involved are progressing.

My new job got pushed back a week due to complications in the life of the shop owner. I am getting a little nervous but glad to have an extra week at home with the baby and take advantage of the extra time to get some smaller projects done. Life is what it is, right?

Getting Involved

I have a lot of transition going on in my life yet again, but it is important to me to start taking more action in the world. So, I am going to tell you what I’m doing in hopes that it may inspire you to do something as well, and if you have any suggestions for improvements on my end, please feel free to suggest!

  1. Inspired by my friend Shing Khor, I will be hosting a political write-in get-together early in March. Date still undecided because I am waiting for postcards from her (she made this Lady Liberty movement),  I am going to create this weekend and print a small run of postcards from my America Lost illustration below, and I’ve contacted a friend of mine to potentially use a piece of her art to create a science or educationally-minded postcard.
    America Lost

    Copyright 2013, Kat Micari

    It will be open house style with snacks and beverages, and I’ll have a list of government officials with addresses and suggestions of different topics for people to write about. My hope is to include stamps for people too, and I may put out a tip jar to help cover postage but we’ll see.

  2. I’ll be making the postcard file available for free download for everyone, so look for that here early next week! And use it how you will.
  3. I contacted a local organization that works with victims of domestic abuse to potentially do a hand sewing workshop monthly or so. If they’re interested, I’ll start with them, and if not, I’ll contact other organizations of at-risk populations. Hand sewing is an important life skill for people to have and something I can easily teach and make not scary. If the first organization goes well, I’ll add more as I feel I can handle it. Even if they don’t have money to reimburse me, contributing a handful of dollar store sewing kits and using my own muslin supply for the samplers won’t cost me more than $20 a workshop, and I can definitely afford that once a month or so.
  4. I am going to start a monthly “sketch/art” meet up at my house of mine and my husband’s creative and creatively-blocked friends. People will bring sketchbooks or whatever they’re working on, and we’ll sit and hang out and play. And hopefully brainstorm ideas to creatively get things going in the wider community. As an added benefit, it will force us to keep the house clean enough for people to come over every month.
  5. I have started to ask really difficult questions or make suggestions to get people thinking. And then I let them respond to me and I’ve gotten some really well-thought responses. I don’t argue with them, though I could, because I’m really trying to get their gears going mentally. My plan is to step up the questions slowly.
  6. My husband and I are trying to become more sustainable and self-sufficient, and I will be talking more openly about that rather than hiding it because I don’t want people to feel bad. We’ve started composting this week, and my husband has started taking notes for the first veggies and herbs we’re going to attempt to grow. My reverse osmosis water filter has been installed finally by my husband and the water is delicious (no chlorine! no fluoride! and if something like Flint MI happens here, we’ll be set!). And I am going to be making reusable facial wipes instead of using cotton balls/wipes thanks to a post suggesting it from a friend of mine. We already cloth diaper and use cloth wipes, and I switched to handkerchiefs years ago (though apparently used tissues are good to go in the compost heap). Not a perfect system yet, but baby steps are better than no steps at all. Why talk about this more? Because sometimes the most revolutionary thing you can do is be healthy in body and mind so you have the strength and stamina to fight the good fight, and not enough people connect those dots yet.

So that’s where I’m at. Since I’m starting the new job and still taking care of baby, this feels like what I can handle at the moment. As I get a rhythm going in my work/parenting/creative schedule, I’ll try to add some more community-based actions. But this feels like a good starting point for me.