Archive for the ‘Journal’ Category

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News

June 13, 2011

Originally posted at http://www.redbubble.com/people/flokot/journal/7315455-june-2011-updates

Monday 13 June 2011

My life has been pretty hectic in recent months. However, approximately two weeks ago I managed to get a major monkey off my back (so to speak). The release from the burden of study has been incredible. Juggling parenting, my honours degree studies, and volunteer work has been incredibly exhausting. Along the way I effectively lost my social life, which for an extremely sociable sociology student equates to a living hell! It also meant no time to engage in creative pursuits.

The last fortnight has been an incredible and healing time: a chance to read some novels, write and draw. To catch up with old friends. To have visitors for the first time in maybe one or two years. To travel to the beach (yes, it is a very cold winter here but I love the wild solitude of the wintry Victorian beaches where the wind blows in from the Antarctic). To enjoy some live music, something I have not done in years. To take the time out to watch the clouds roll by, to watch the ladybird (beetle!) crawling along a blade of grass when I hung out the laundry to dry today, and to refresh myself spiritually.

As a result, I hope to soon upload some new writings and drawings to redbubble. I want to thank the customers over the last few months who bought stickers, gift cards and t-shirts. Every sale is greatly appreciated.

I’m not sure what the months to come will hold. I look forward to graduating, soon. And after that, who knows what might happen?

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My RedBubble Folio Cull

September 29, 2010

I am currently going through the surprisingly emotionally painful process of going through my art and t-shirt designs on RedBubble and deleting the least viewed / least favourited / least purchased designs. Hopefully the end result will be a higher quality folio.

I warned my redbubble contacts that I would be doing an art cull, asking them to favourite any of my designs they particularly like to stop me from deleting those particular designs. You don’t have to be an artist to have a redbubble account, by the way – if you like to look at good art, I encourage you to consider signing up for an account so you can see what different artists and designers are up to!

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Dressing For The Inner Me

September 28, 2010

Here’s a brief excerpt from comments I made during a facebook conversation today. It happened on my current profile photo. The conversation amused me so much that I thought I should share it:

(On the topic of what clothes to wear to church) “I should just turn up one day dressed as the inner me…which will presumably be barefoot, wearing spiritual wanderer pilgrim style clothes crossed with sci-fi sensibilities with my hair down to my waist carrying the Bible printed on a papyrus scroll or something…”

I can just imagine turning up to church looking like that. I think it would very quickly divide people – there’d be those who encourage the whole free spirit attitude; the rest who desperately want to be all-embracing but would feel somewhat uncomfortable. As I also mentioned in the conversation, the current dress trend among fellow 20-something year old members of our church seems to be skinny jeans, tight bicep-revealing shirts (for the guys) and loose shirts with lots of necklaces for the girls. Then there’s me – flared or boot cut jeans, skate shoes and novelty t-shirts. That’s my safe mode of dressing. Believe me when I say that if my budget could handle it I would be dressing more like some pseudo-Goth-Jedi Knight(ess)-greenie-forest dweller-spiritual wanderer. Funny that what I perceive as more “natural” (or just more me) is potentially more expensive! And let’s face it, jeans and t-shirt isn’t a particularly confronting.

And, in random news, recently I’ve been taking a lot more interest in lingerie and clothes. What’s happening to me!?

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Beauty

September 27, 2010

If I can’t be beautiful, can I at least have the capacity to create something beautiful?

All right, I know, that comment alone goes against everything I believe philosophically, rationally, sociologically, historically, spiritually and scripturally about the true definition of beauty… but sometimes, looking at beautiful photographs of beautiful women in my general forays into art/photography land leaves me feeling a little bit crushed and hollowed out. Why can’t I look like that?

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Sometimes I feel a bit redundant

September 27, 2010

Yeah, what the heading said.

So, I’m in this weird state of mind where I look at what the people in my husband’s family do (career wise, spiritually, educationally, etcetera) and I wonder what on Earth I’m doing there. I don’t belong there. Everything that I have considered unique about me, or specific to my self identity, has already been taken up by other people there. Strange that it should bother me so much, but here we are!

I used to be an obsessive musician. Granted, I was never a virtuoso, but many people remarked on my innate gift for music. I was even the inaugural music captain at my high school (13 years ago, that was!). Then I moved to the suburbs, joined a brilliant mega-church, and discovered that good musicians are a dime-a-dozen. So, I gave up my music. Oh, I occasionally strum the guitar and I can help my kids with their own piano studies, but I feel like a part of me has died a very painful death in giving up music. Listening to the Karnivool album ‘Sound Awake’ this afternoon, I had to admit that putting my beloved 5-string bass guitar in its case and stuffing it away behind the chest-of-drawers in my bedroom was a terrible, terrible thing. I really should dust the poor neglected guitars off and play, even if just for my own sanity.

Perhaps I’m just in a low point in my life. I look at the high-flying, high-achieving 20-somethings around me and compare myself to them. I’m in my late 20s and what do I have to show for it? A still as-yet-incomplete uni course on the go, no job, no music. I struggle with the things I love, art and writing. I just have to keep reminding myself that other Australian women my age often aren’t married with children like I am, and it feels good thinking that my youngest will be finishing high school when I’m 40 years old!

In all the self-loathing and moaning and carrying on, I have neglected my Bible study. So, in order to combat this, today I spent an hour scouring a Bible study website to begin a word study on the “elements”: earth, wind, fire, and water. Talk about a massive topic! It should keep me occupied for some time.

Hopefully, as I pour myself into God and into the bigger picture, I will begin to regain my confidence and strength. I hope that one day I can create something beautiful and worthwhile.

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Thinking aloud: reclaiming identity and beauty

September 2, 2010

Is it possible to become simultaneously less judgemental yet more shallow?

I ask the question because I realise, as I look around the shopping centre, that these days I am far less likely to judge other people based on their outwards appearance; yet more likely to spend an effort on my own appearance.

Is paying attention to personal grooming actually shallow, anyway?

As I hit my late 20s, I reflexively observe that I am starting to claim and reclaim aspects of my personal identity that were not a high priority for me in my teens.

I am a mother, and I claim that as part of my identity. I also stand firm in my belief that to be a mother is not equivalent to losing all sense of self-esteem, nor is it an excuse to pay less attention to my outwards appearance. I have often thought this in my just-over 8 years of parenthood (9 years, if you count pregnancy as parenthood). It was once again highlighted for me recently when I noticed that at least a few mums (moms, for the North American readers!) spend a lot of money and effort on clothes for their children, but dress themselves extremely casually (not that I particularly care if a mum wants to dress in trackie dacks and ugg boots, but be assured, that’s not for me!).

I have Anglo-Celtic heritage – more Celtic than Anglo – with a bit of French somewhere in the background. I claim that as a significant aspect of my ethno-cultural identity, as an  Anglo-Celtic Australian. It is a package deal: don’t pick on me for my super pale white skin, and don’t pick on my many immediate family members with their red hair – it’s nothing but poorly disguised racism. I would never dare to attack someone because they’re “not tanned enough”, and thus I make a stand. I don’t wear fake tan, either. It looks stupid on me. I don’t sunbathe – certainly not with the high skin cancer statistics: two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70, according to the SunSmart website (article dated March 2010, accessed 2 September 2010).

However, I digress. I have spent far too long worrying about people not liking me for who I am. I am learning to accept myself and others, at the same time I am learning to spend more effort on “looking good”. My question is, then, are these things mutually exclusive?

On the topic of looking good, I recently read a great book: The Science of Sexy: Dress to fit your unique figure with the style system that works for every shape and size by Bradley Bayou (2006 edition) [Amazon]. I highly recommend it for women like myself who want to do the best they can with the figure they’ve got. I found it light-hearted, practical and realistic, and am now in the process of trying  to implement its advice in my wardrobe and accessories.

The short story is that it dawns upon me that life is far too short to be wasted on picking on other people for their clothing style, haircut, and body shape. Yes, I know that this is elementary Christianity*, and elementary feminism, all rolled into one, but to have a deep down illumination and revelation of this is another matter altogether. It’s one thing to have head knowledge, it’s another thing to live it from the heart. And it’s yet another thing to live in such a way that offers freedom to others. Life also seems far too short to spend living half-hearted – and for me, reclaiming my feminine identity is part of this process of living life to the full.

*It saddens me that very few Christian women authors appear willing to take a stance against the cultural-structural images of womanhood. Most of the Christian women’s texts on beauty that I have read centre more on the theme of “God loves you even if everyone else thinks you’re ugly,” rather than what I believe is the sociologically far more appropriate “Culturally designed notions of beauty are historically, ethnically, socially positioned beliefs that are not foundational to  Biblical interpretations of beauty.”

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