The end of last week, Friday afternoon, I felt so good
I busted out
THE ABOVE WORDS
on my lamp
while I sat at my desk working.
Sat back, felt satisfied and gangsta
all at once.
I genuinely like working.
It feels very good to me.
These days I know how to enjoy the good times.
To take a few breaths and lap it up when life
Kinda making like a squirrel saving nuts for the winter.
Because, before you know it
life gets you
on your knees again
and it helps
when you're sobbing yo ass off
to be able to
remember those how good those
good times felt.
SO FUCKING GOOD.
2. I LOVE YOU DAD
My father had a stroke the other day.
I heard about it Friday afternoon
on my way to an exhibition opening.
I felt literally sick when I got the news.
no Dad, you can't.
You can't leave me.
Not you, too.
Thank god & the universe & all the angels & Jonah Lomu, too,
He's just got a bit of paralysis but his mind is working okay.
I love my dad deeply.
I always have.
We don't have that much in common.
He is a man of his generation.
A bit sexist. A bit racist.
A bit too far right on the political spectrum...
He has no clue about art and doesn't like my work...
... Offends me on a regular basis.
But I love
in a way that has nothing to do with my head.
How I love him
is right down deep in my heart and bones.
It is visceral.
A lovely thing happened when I took my mother to visit
him in the hospital.
She is in a lot of pain, my mum. She needs a wheelchair to get around.
She is 78, and dying.
Dad didn't expect her to come visit him.
When we arrived and he saw her, he
"you are so pretty. You smell so nice.
You look so good.
You've got your rings on, you must have a rich husband..."
They had been apart two days
and when he saw her it was like
I wasn't even in the room.
For a couple of minutes, they
only had eyes for each other.
Married nearly 60 years
and still that spark.
It was one of the nicest things that has happened in my year,
to witness that
between my parents.
Most days, they sit around their house bickering.
Dad getting food down his top,
Mum telling him off.
Dad forgetting to take out the washing,
Mum telling him off.
Guess that's the way of it after so long together.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder and
too much time in a house together
is just gonna annoy you...
But you know, this dying business,
this stroke business,
it's sure made it clear what matters
to my mother and father.
They know they just have to get through their days,
get through all the pain and sickness
while trying to cling on to the good bits
- past and present -
they each have left.
Try to love eachother
best they can
in the meantime.
Reckon we all should follow their lead, eh.
On a lighter note,
the Xmas Market on Saturday
at Space Studio and Gallery went real good.
Met some good people,
had good conversations.
Plus I made this signage.
I like it, a lot.
Maybe in 2016
I'll be making some artwork
In my life,
the best things have often happened
when I wasn't looking for them.
It's no different in my artwork.
Often new directions and ways forward come
when I'm just mucking round
makin' like Cyndi Lauper and
4. PRETTY HURTS
I was blindsided the other day by a joke someone made.
A man, let's call him Paul, had called me pretty.
He was a man who hadn't seen me for a long time.
When we met, Paul said,
"you haven't changed a bit, you've got even prettier".
It doesn't happen very often,
that I am called pretty.
Because I'm not.
Never have been.
And that's okay with me.
I never did aspire to pretty.
But I liked it anyway, that P called me pretty.
No one dislikes being called that.
Even when you know the word doesn't accurately apply.
So I told this other man, let's call him Joe,
about what Paul said.
Then Joe said to the other person in the room,
"Jeez if she's prettier now, she must have been bloody ugly before".
From Joe's perspective,
he was "joking",
as many kiwi males seem to.
Yeah, Joe, you were hysterical.
Get up on the stage, mate.
Take a bow.
I can't tell you how much it hurt, that joke.
I left the room and cried.
Four days later and I'm still hurting.
It is interesting, this response. This hurting.
I understand it is about old wounds.
It shows me my self-esteem isn't as rock-solid as I thought.
I have worked long and hard, over decades,
in my own way,
To get past
being called ugly
as a child.
I understand that I don't look
like a conventionally beautiful
I never have liked the middle of the road anyway,
98% of the time,
I walk around feeling
just lovely / proud to show my face.
When people look at me, as they often do,
I assume they like what they see.
This last few days, though, I've been a bit gutted.
A bit less confident.
A bit returned to the fifteen year old girl I was
before my nose job surgery
when my nose was very flat
& I used to raise my hand
to cover my profile
if there were any boys around.
To counteract all of this,
I've been taking some shots of myself.
Close-ups of my face.
In different lights
to show myself who I am right here in the present day.
To remind myself I am a real live grown woman
who doesn't just exist to be looked at and judged,
but who is very capable of taking ownership of her own
body/face/image - in her own head at least.
And mate, what's in our own heads, our own self-talk, is the most
crucial part of this self-esteem puzzle.
A million people can call you beautiful talented sexy blah blah blah
but if you don't believe it right down deep
all those compliments are water off a duck's back, mate.
This "joke" and my response to it
has been a timely lesson in why I want to teach others
about the power of making their own self-portraits.
In the photograph above, I sure don't look pretty.
But I like what I see all the same.
I like the scars and wrinkles.
I find them interesting.
What I especially like is the look in my eyes.
I look like a human being.
I look real.
No make-up. No pouting lips.
No pretending I'm other than a 45 year old woman
who feels slightly sad today.
Looking as if I am truly living this life of mine.
That's what is beautiful to me.
Some people who don't fit into the stereotype of what is beautiful,
[or quite frankly, weren't even close...like me]
they exit the game.
Decide they are not beautiful and that is all there is to it.
Walk around for their life just being
that person who is unattractive and doesn't care.
The inside is more important than the outside and all that.
I never did subscribe to that way of thinking.
After more than two decades as a portrait photographer
I am of the firm belief that what is on the inside [or, more importantly, who we think we are ]
shows itself on the outside. Always.
Especially as we get older.
I too could walk around with greasy hair sporting a tracksuit that makes only J-lo's butt look good.
superficial or not,
I always wanted to be beautiful.
Wanted to make a world for myself where I was.
From a young age, I was always clear that I had to be the one to make that world.
If you give someone else the power to make you feel good and beautiful, then if they leave you, they take
their beliefs about you with them, and your good-beautiful is gone.
Anyways, they say you teach what you need to learn.
Bring on January and the Regarding Your Self workshop.
I reckon I'm gonna learn just as much as the students.
6. ENUF SAID
HOMOPHOBIA IS GAY.
should be winner
of the best t-shirt award
don't you reckon.
Man, when teenagers are
they are very very
7. THANK YOU FOR THE DAYS
among all these wild jangly feelings I got at the moment,
I'm trying my best to be grateful.
This song helps me get
in that grateful mood
thank you for the days
those endless days
those sacred days
you gave me
I won't forget
a single day
The Elvis and Chrissie Version
The Elvis Version
8. ON COMFORT
I know I'm a bit of a grinch.
I don't love XMS.
Never really have.
I more often find this time of year
hard and difficult
than joyously ho ho ho.
This year, with everything going on,
feels more difficult than most.
So I have been looking to what comforts me
to help me get through.
Here's a quick
sweating at the gym
big shoulders to cry on
a small stuffed toy I may or may not sleep with sometimes
did I mention kissing.
Yes indeed this time of year is all about giving.
About being thankful.
But we gotta give to ourselves,too.
Make sure we're full-up enough that we can
find the strength to give
what we need to give
that we love.
I am very much in the
CAN'T BE LOVING OTHERS WELL
IF YOU'RE SO DAMN DEPLETED
EVERY LITTLE MOLEHILL FEELS LIKE A MOUNTAIN.
Find at least one little thing that alieviates
all the grief and stress / distress
and dive down into it.
One freaking hour away from all the jobs
and duty won't make the sky fall in.
you and your family
will love you
This is my last
This artist's life
for the year.
I'm off on Saturday
to go be with
Gonna take some time
to love them
best I can.
Take some time
to get a little
my last day for checking emails until 1 January will be
20th December. If you have anything massively
urgent to communicate to me before 1 January,
021 337 661.
UNTIL NEXT TIME