Posted in art, dealing with stress, stress, writing

Sharing My Other Writing

I began water-colour painting some years ago and above is one of my first paintings. Recently I’ve started painting in acrylics as well. My earlier article, From My Journal – We Want to Leave Our Mark, showcases some 8″x10″ attempts at acrylics. I tried to finish each one in one day, as a painting challenge.

This site is for sharing the more personal aspects of my life and I have another site devoted to my writing at tinafriesen.com. I just published an article on dealing with stress as a writer, entitled When You Face Resistance as a Writer. You may want to check it out.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in individuality, personality

From My Journal – We Want to Leave Our Mark

Yesterday I gained an unexpected insight. Looking back, I see this has been a process over time as I have observed certain traits in myself and others.

We live in a condo and when we first moved here there was a mystery tenant who always left a bit of evidence behind in the elevator, or the elevator waiting area–a small windowed room in the parking garage. It might be an empty cup, a candy wrapper, a tissue or another small item. Every day there seemed to be at least one new piece of trash. This no longer happens, so I think the tenant must have moved away.

I think about graffiti. It’s sort of the same, leaving your mark. Doing things differently.

We don’t all want to be cookie cutter people. We want to be distinctive.

I’ve noticed a couple of celebrities starting a trend of baring all for the public. Unfortunately this sort of has the opposite effect, because it reduces us to one common denominator. Without our clothes on, we don’t have a lot of distinctions, except for variations in color, shape and size, and of course our unique gender identity. But, if you are the first, or one among few, then you can stand out. When everybody is doing it, then it’s no longer remarkable.

This past weekend my husband and I were assembling a piece of furniture that required a lot of precision. The reviews were bad because people had trouble with stripped screws and misalignment. Aware of this, he put in extra effort to prevent these problems from occurring and the result was that we have a beautiful desk and had no difficulties with assembly.

I thought about a previous project we worked on, where I noticed that he always put the screws in crooked. I commented, “It would be just as easy for you to put them in straight.” With a little bit of attention, he did. But it had been part of his identity not to be good at wood working.

So, that’s where I was at when I made a discovery about myself.

When I was in school I always had a messy desk. That’s not even really my personality. I like tidy spaces. The problem was I did not pay consistent attention to my desk, and I ask myself, why? Perhaps it was part of my uniqueness too. Why be like everyone else? Or maybe there was more?

I gained some insight, yesterday, as I prepared to put a display of art up on a wall in the house. I began calculations on a small piece of paper. I actually needed more space to write but I thought I would make do. I scribbled down some figures and then drew a sketch. My calculations crowded onto my sketch and it began to look messy and almost illegible.

“I can still make it out,” I said to myself, thinking, even if nobody else can. Then it hit me. I have a habit of concealing. It was the same thing I did with my desk in school. It was enough for me to be able to see everything clearly. I didn’t want to give others access. Maybe I wanted to be mysterious. I wasn’t really the person you saw when you looked at my desk.

Or maybe it was just the rebel in me resisting conformity.

For many years in our marriage I would speak cryptically. I didn’t do this consciously. I grew up with this model. Occasionally I said something humorous and if my husband didn’t get it, then it was my own private joke. After awhile he became amused as he began to catch on that I was being funny and he started watching for my humor but for years he didn’t notice. I had a friend who got my humor. One day I realized that it was not only my humor my husband wasn’t getting. He wasn’t getting me. Concealment wasn’t working for me.

I see our son has inherited this trait and I find I don’t really like it. The reason I don’t like it is because he remains hidden to us, and I want to know him. He is like me, in that he thinks this is some sort of fun game. But only he is amused. Sometimes we are even irritated. My husband would become irritated with me when I did not take the time to explain myself clearly. Or worse, he would not understand me at all, and come to wrong conclusions about me. Over the years I have learned to take time to elaborate, even to come back to subjects and offer more clarification.

As I said, my patterns stem from my family of origin, where fewer words were better. This is because we didn’t want to be like my dad who, for a period in his life, talked so much that others didn’t get a chance to speak.

At one of my recent jobs I was misunderstood because I didn’t speak up. I didn’t clarify. I didn’t add important information. I didn’t talk about what I had accomplished.

I grew up believing you should never talk about your accomplishments because that was being boastful and proud. So at my job, I would present problems and not talk about solutions I had worked through. These were things people I worked with didn’t know about, but needed to know to get the whole picture.

I still have an aversion to drawing attention to what I have done, but I can now speak comfortably about my accomplishments. I am even beginning to learn the art of self-promotion which seems to be a requirement for bloggers. But I will probably always be challenged in this area.

I looked at the scrap of paper I held in my hand and realized that this sense of satisfaction that I could figure out what I had written, even if others couldn’t, wasn’t a very good thing. It mean’t I was not sharing well. Perhaps I was unique in some way, but not in a good way, just like the person who had the annoying habit of leaving scraps in the elevator cubicle.

Nobody wants to be squeezed into a mold. We don’t want “one size fits all.” We want a unique identity. In this way I think we are all alike. We want to be uniquely identified and appreciated for the things that make us special.

As a parent I learned it is important to praise what a child’s actions reveal about them. When I was a child we were rarely praised, so I did not cultivate this art. As an adult I find that it is indeed something I need to learn. Finding just the right words to express what you see in a person is a gift. This is why the card industry flourishes. Writers say for us what we don’t know how to put into words.

I ended up getting another piece of paper and making a very clear sketch of where I would put my art on the wall. Anyone could have used it as a template. Revealing myself is actually working out well for me. My husband, for one, is much more understanding of me now and this has improved our relationship.

Posted in art, Children's Music YouTube, Coronavirus, De-stressing, Health, Home, Music

Surviving Coronavirus Isolation – Week 6 at Home

latte
Latte delivered to my “office.”

I missed my weekly distancing walk on Sunday with family. I was sad about that, but it’s OK. I’ve been having some minor health issues, not coronavirus related. My system has always been sensitive and requires a delicate balancing act.

This past week I celebrated a birthday, in isolation, as many of us are these days. The day before I was a bit down about this, but then I told myself I would make this day great! And I did! Our son and daughter-in-law gifted us with Skip the Dishes so my husband set up the app and we ordered a meal. Another new experience!

skip the dishes

For breakfast I requested that he make us waffles. His first time.

“I gave you the opportunity to do something special for my birthday,” I smiled at him as we were in the living room later that evening. He smiled, a little tentatively.

“I had never made waffles before.”

“It’s really not that difficult. The only thing you have to do is be willing to stand over a waffle iron and know how to beat egg whites,” I told him.

The waffles and the latte (above) were his “gift” to me. We used bacon drippings in the waffles and had them with eggs. The drippings gave the flavor of bacon and eggs. It was delicious!

During this time we are trying not to waste anything, however, we pulled a glass container out of the fridge today and neither of us were able to identify what it was. It was green and furry. Well, we try.

I just finished my part in the production of Music with Mr. Sheldon. My husband has gone down from full-time work to about five hours a week, but he is a trooper. I’m glad I live with someone who insists on being optimistic. This morning when I awoke feeling really off, he had to take over the filming on his own, for the first time.

Guess what I did, after I rested today? I got out my guitar and started singing. I even printed three new songs off of Ultimate Guitar. I want to put a plug in for the site. It is one of the best investments I’ve made. Lately I’ve learned to sing Tennessee Whiskey, Chris Stapleton. Never thought I could do that, but it’s amazing what you can do if you try!

For about twenty years I stopped listening to the old Rock’n’Roll music I used to love. I think music was my surrogate parent and taking a break was actually a good thing. During those twenty years I was a worship leader. Last week I organized all of my worship music. I have a huge collection. Now, strangely enough, I’m picking up some of my old secular favorites again. I can’t say why a lot of the worship music just does not appeal to me at this time in my life. It’s not like I’m having a crisis of faith. But I am re-evaluating a lot of things.

After singing for awhile I decided I might as well put my adrenalin to use editing and I finished the Mr. Sheldon video in the bedroom, with a latte–did I mention my husband roasts his own coffee beans? He stayed in the living room to teach a couple of groups of students in a school that has gone online. Earphones come in handy these days.

I noticed flags near our place are at half mast this week. I haven’t seen any news report on this but between the coronavirus and the shooting in Nova Scotia, we have reason to give acknowledgement. Yesterday we met a lot of people applauding health care workers with bells and other noise makers during our walk, around 7:00 p.m. I became teary-eyed because I had just got off the phone talking with our son who is a health care worker in the U.S. Three people died in his dementia unit this week, but not of the coronavirus. I could hear his heartbreak over the fact that relatives were unable to visit in the past month and only came in during the final hours to be with their loved ones, outfitted in protective gear from head to toe and not allowed to touch their family member, but needing to remain six feet away. I do hope there is more leniency for seniors to have visitors soon.

One bit of good news is that my sister’s cancer is localized, so she will only require one surgery. We are so relieved that it has not spread. We are still working at stabilizing my mother’s electrolytes, with family taking her for weekly lab tests and an intravenous intervention that left her feeling unwell this week. She is a very stalwart and positive person of faith, so I read between the lines when she said, “I’ve had better days” and seemed eager to get off the phone to rest.

paintings

This week I finished a painting I’ve been working on. Two paintings, actually. I’ve recently tried my hand at acrylics, after painting watercolors for years. It’s been a challenge. Here is another painting I did this year.

roses painting

We haven’t dug out the puzzles yet. Still time for that. Cheers!