Tag Helpful Resources

8 posts

COVID Log 2

I’ve been managing okay focusing on creating resources and organizing my building and my block…until today.

Today I feel sideways and depression is loud and all encompassing and I am tired despite not doing much. I lost my balance while doing a grocery run today which was the first time I’ve left my apartment since Friday night at 9:30pm, which kinda just added to the chronic pain flare I’ve already been managing.

In therapy I keep coming back to discovering trauma I didn’t realize I had around Y2K and how my parents’ lack of survival preparation due to desperately hoping the rapture would happen wound up affecting me. I wasn’t allowed to feel all those fears and the angst and even the anger about not-so-subtly being told that life isn’t really worth living at the age of 9. If the rapture will probably happen tomorrow, then there’s no reason to think about the future.

Turns out, that’s a whole lot of bullshit to not be allowed to process when you’re 9. So, cut to literally 20 years later and uh I’m finding myself fighting the urge to kinda curl up and do nothing and also this endless anxiety driven desire to run myself into the ground fighting. Somewhere, there’s a middle ground but today has been a complete physical and emotional crash from that realization.

I’m grieving a lot for the 9 year old me who was handed all the worst ideas and shut down because the dissonance was too great. I’m angry that she had to carry the weight of feeling guilty about wanting to live. I don’t really have the energy to work through it all right now, it’s just so much.

Instead, here’s what I have been doing for the last 3 weeks:

Making art

Drawing my (partial) D&D Party

I also downloaded a coloring app called Pigment and have been coloring on my phone whenever I need something else to do besides look at news and twitter.

I (dramatically) read the Tell-Tale Heart

Setting up CRHE’s COVID-19 Response page(s):

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/
Landing hub of all our resources, advice, etc.

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/studentresources/
Specifically for students who are experiencing emergency homeschooling.

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/resources/
A compilation of resources for parents and students homeschooling through COVID19.

Please share these widely, and if they were useful to you – consider setting up a (tax deductible) monthly donation so we can continue to offer support and create resources like this.

Mutual Aid

Together with my fellow tenants and neighbors I’ve been working on organizing mutual aid infrastructure for my building and block. We have weekly zoom meetings and everything. It’s been super helpful to work with neighbors (some of whom I haven’t met in person yet!) to build something that y’know, we feel like we can count on given that the federal government’s response is lacking and bureaucracy is slow.

I definitely recommend joining your building’s tenants union and your neighborhood group (or starting one!) if you have the spoons but haven’t yet. There are so many ways we can help eachother even without getting our molecules close together.

Here’s what we’ve been doing to organize my block:

  • Started a public facebook group for our neighborhood
    • Facebook is the resource sharing/info hub
  • Posted flyers on the block to raise awareness and get members
  • Started a slack for folks who wanted to help create infrastructure for a proper support network
    • Weekly zoom meeting
    • Currently working on: setting up values/code of conduct, communications (email, google voice number), website, paypal, neighborhood census (google form for facebook), building organizing letter/census templates (google forms & printable doc)

Here’s what we’ve been doing in my building:

  • Building a tenant’s email list through writing letters and slipping under doors
  • Using the listserv to share news, resources, check if anyone needs groceries
  • Regular zoom meetings to discuss rights and recourse as tenants and how to help each-other with the bonus of cat interruptions

And, like everyone else on the planet with a Switch, I’ve been vanishing to my not-at-all-deserted island called Interriver and building ALL THE THINGS.

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And the most exciting bit of news: I finally. started. Androderm (patches).

I Helped Start an Organization Once…(and you can help)

About a year ago some homeschool alumni and I got together and founded the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. When Homeschooler’s Anonymous started exposing the stories of abuse and neglect in the homeschool community I realized that I wasn’t alone. It encouraged me to keep writing my story and I’ve written a lot over the last several years.
Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE) exists to do what we can to make homeschooling better for families like mine – families who use homeschooling to get away with giving their children a sub-par education, to cover for abuse, or as a thinly veiled attempt at isolation and indoctrination.
Here’s the thing: Homeschooling can be awesome, and most of my fellow board members had great home education experiences, but the fact that people like me, and many others, exist, means there’s a problem and we need to fix it.
Homeschooling should be a tool to give children the education that’s right for them, that equips them for the future, and gives them the tools they need to succeed at whatever they do –  not whatever plans their parents determine for them.
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Which is why I work for CRHE, and we advocate for the interests of homeschooled children – by doing research and creating resources. It’s an issue that’s close to my heart and it’s hard, grueling work, but we have ambition, passion, and big plans.

But here’s where you come in: It’s December and we have our 501c3 status which means any donations are tax deductible, and I would personally, really appreciate it if you donated what you can, get on our email list, and share this organization with anyone you know. Because what we’re doing is important, and what we’re doing has the potential to help so many homeschooled kids, now, and in the future.
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**Also, if you donate at a higher gift level (and opt in) I’ll draw you something, because you’re awesome. <3

Introducing Don't Panic[k]: Life Beyond The Kitchen Table

I had this idea several months ago, about making a site that’s basically just a compilation of advice, thoughts, and resources for people just leaving/graduating the world of homeschooling and religious fundamentalism.
It takes a lot of work and energy to find resources for life in the real world when you don’t even really know how or where to start, which is kinda why I liked the idea of Don’t Panic[k]. I hope to grow it, with the help of people from similar backgrounds submitting resources and articles and ideas, into something useful for people just leaving their parents kitchen table.
So check it out, share it, submit ideas/resources/etc if you have any, and don’t panic (you’ve got this).
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Good Reads

I’ve been going through some stuff this month – between my medications trying to get back to normal from being kicked off because vicodin, and the lovely little guilt-anxiety cycle and general overwhelmingness, I’ve felt a little lost. Some of the truths I discovered in Spring, this year and last, are more distant, which isn’t cool because they’re kindof…..really super important to my being and my confidence and my artistic journey.
But, over the last few weeks – as I’ve been taking the situation back into my own hands – I’ve run across several posts from the Rebelle Society that were just…perfect. Maybe it’s the universe, or maybe it’s coincidence, but, I thought I’d post them here:
Facing the Darkest Side of a Beautiful Person
Self-Criticism: The Way You Break Your Own Heart
So, yes, stress is good
I think I’ll come out on the other side of this stronger, for having, I don’t know, been in a sad-sauce hole for a while. I hope, anyway, because I sense something starting to come back to me, and I think that’s a good thing.
 

Sensing (more)

Been busy in my head lately, and it’s been wonderful. Sadly, neglectful of my little corner here, which (also sadly) is one of many corners of the web I assign my name and soul-print to.
When I took on my book and dropped a lot of other things, this got dropped, and that’s sad. But I’ve been enjoying the time in my head and finding my way back to center. A sense of clarity and a thrill is back and it’s wonderful.
read: The Nerdist Way (gooood book, not done yet, obviously, but dude, read. it. if you consider yourself a geek), The Art Journaler, twitter, the analytics on my channel.
taste: Coors Light Silver Bullet stuffs. So good. adding that to my new drink list. Also, THE MOUNTAINS CHANGE COLORS. Everything should change color. (I shared it 2 hours ago, I’m tired, not tipsy, I swear).
see:

The sky #aprilprompt #taj #norules

hear: 

 
smell: Fresh air, because the windows were open all day!

touch: furry cat and dry hands.

think: I need to think, but I’m too tired. Sometimes I just need to listen to people instead, and give my brain a rest. But I have a show to make, so I need to round up my material. Got to get into a pattern because I’m loving this new thing so much, and also, I want to make a 3 (or 5) piece Star Wars set of paintings because I have a Star Wars pillow in my living room. Well, and a Darth Vader candy dispenser….
feel: My wisdom tooth has been acting up off and on all day. Also, sinuses and headache. But I get to wear cute clothes and it’s warm(er), so I feel satisfied.

The Balloons

The past few days I’ve been working more on some screenwriting for our short film based on my book, The Balloon Lady. Our working title is currently, The Balloons.

We’ve been brainstorming for a few months and working out what we’ll need – like a camera (our Canon T3i) and making random short videos on vimeo to practice, well, shooting and editing. Right now, I’m just hashing out a rough draft, and I’m about halfway done. The idea is to turn my children’s book story, into a more “grown up” short film – which gives us room to adapt it without actually copying the original book.
I’m using Celtix and Google Docs for writing – usually up side by side so my screen looks something like this.

This way, I can see my outline as I’m writing the script. Then, when I’m done, I’ll upload the script to plotbot so Alex and Hannah can comment on it and we can fine tune it from there.
For some reason, I find writing easier when I’m just trying to channel some of my emotions into it when I’m having trouble letting them out. Maybe it’s because of the emotional state I was in when I first wrote the book, that because the energy that inspired it is so similar to the film adaptation, it helps to use similar (or the same) emotions while trying to write the screenplay. Music also seems to aid my focus – I’ve always enjoyed doing things more when there’s music in the background, I think it distracts me enough to concentrate in an odd way.

Building Wings on the Way Down (Act or Die)

I finished Act or Die today and the biggest lesson I learned (aside from great tips and exercises that I’m willing to put to use to get to know *myself* not just for acting) was don’t act, BE. Be present in the moment, as the character – feel, act on your internal impulses – listen to yourself and yourself as the character. Never stop thinking and feeling, allow yourself to be and access all parts of you and don’t judge. Listening isn’t about waiting for cues and springing into action, it’s about feeling and thinking as the character and being present in that moment, and the moments before and after your lines.
At the end, the author closed with this thought:

“As civilians we choose to function the best way we can within society’s ground-rules. As an actor we unprotect and reveal to the extremities of a character’s potential (positive or negative). As an actor we must live dangerously in our own work, be naked inside, be willing to leap off a cliff and build our wings on the way down.”

It kind of aptly sums up everything he wrote in his perfectly sized 149 page book (awesome, because thick books are daunting and take too long to read. Half the reason I never finished LOTR). I’d definitely suggest it to anyone looking to act, write, or direct – I definitely have a lot to think about with writing characters and my own (lacking) acting skills.

Act or Die Notes #2

I read another quarter of the book today – out loud. As an aside, I never really noticed run-on sentences until I read aloud, then I was searching for periods so I could catch a breath. As I was reading I realized that I (like everyone else) subconsciously use grammar as cues to pause, breathe, emphasize etc. Which I found interesting. It makes sense, that is how grammar works, but you notice it much less when you’re reading silently, than when you’re trying to put volume to the words.
This section of the book was full of great exercises for allowing you to access yourself without judging. It’s sort of a recurring theme. Anyway, here are my notes from today and yesterday:

As an actor, research your character – in depth. Practice re-creating *a lot* because there will probably be more than one take. There’s a difference between repeating and re-creating. Re-creating is more interesting, do that.
As an actor listening is key – not just for cues, but listen to what’s going on in the scene, the subtext, the vibes. You need to think as the character, basically you need to be that person, what goes through the characters head is what’s running through your head. Acting does not stop at the end of your line, you need to continue to stay in character, have a continuous conversation (in your head) as that character even after your line is up – basically, just don’t be done all of a sudden.
Note the subtext – the unspoken things, the background, the what-just-happened and how-we-got-here parts of the scene/script. It adds interesting elements to an otherwise non-elemental script.Subtext non-verbally addresses what happened before the scene – either right before or in the distant past. The backgrounds come into play and also the need the character has for the future/moment influences how he/she will react/talk/live in that moment. Like meeting someone you have a crush on, or trying to be polite to someone who hurt you in the past. You might not say “oh this is tense!” but you feel it, and that’s  what needs to be conveyed in the subtext or feeling.
The biggest question is: Who are you as the character?Act without it looking like you’re acting. Do the research, ask yourself questions, never assumer you know the answer. You have to commit to the work, the character – you have to be that person, don’t ignore the minute details.
As an actor, don’t be consistent. Be human. Read/act with different perspectives – different parts of the character. Don’t classify characters as good guys, bad guys, heroes, or villains. Every villain is a hero – go places within you that make you uncomfortable and use that as a tool, a place to draw a perspective from.
Life experiences are your source material. Ask questions from the character’s point of view. What are the obstacles and how does the character deal with them?Think. Understand. Then Act. The character should be sort of second nature, you should unconsciously learn as the character and then your acting will seem natural.
Observe people, and how they act. Always demand more of yourself and dig deeper.
Use every part of yourself – don’t judge or repress the parts you think are “bad” and only use the pieces of yourself you deem “good”. Everything is material, you need to access it and use it – if it makes you uncomfortable that’s good. The energy of your thoughts/emotions will be caught on film.
Then, use this as the character – explore all sides of who the character is – the good, bad, strong, weak, scared, valiant. Because this is how people are. Everyone has conflicting sides of themselves, to act well, you need to use and channel those bits of yourself into the character – use those emotions and thoughts, and then your character will be real.
 

So I think the hardest thing, is not to put your acting self in a cage, and to know yourself and not hide from yourself, but channel it. Yet, it’s probably one of the most important elements, in order to appear legitimate and not like you’re “acting”. Way easier said than done, I’m sure but good advice nonetheless.