Look, dreamcatchers aren’t “aesthetic” investments. The regalia of indigenous American tribes aren’t Halloween costumes. Instead, you should invest in this wonderful list of Native American brands I found on Tumblr, where the artistry is spectacular and deserves more recognition. I really love Jamie Okuma‘s work (her work is in the featured image above [click here for her Instagram]) and Urban Native Era with their “You Are On Native Land” line.

Credit to the original poster, indigenoustifa, and the blogger who created the list, ficklewitchsupporter.

Not all the store links work, but most of them do. Please take time to check out this incredible art.

Writing Without Historical and Cultural Inaccuracy or Offense

Why These Native Americans Observe A National Day of Mourning Every Thanksgiving

Many creatives are caught in the rat race while trying to maintain the status of being a valiant competitor just to make ends meet. Doing this almost kills us. 

As creative and critical thinkers, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent, being forced to follow a regimen is something we can excel to keep AND completely fail to achieve because our potential provides us with everything we need to be successful at whatever we put our mind to. That potential, however, is redirected to someone else’s agenda, like the mission of a company or the tradition of a culture that encourages assimilation for the their own sense of validation, and in that, we become invalidated as the call inside ourselves beckoning our potential to take a more fulfilling path is scolded and oppressed. This almost kills us, but it doesn’t succeed.

The artist can cultivate this near death experience into the first step towards a more suitable life. Recently, I reflected on an old job and sketched a drawing representing how drained and powerless I felt. I don’t miss the job or that feeling, but I hope I can upgrade that (rough/messy) sketch into a digital painting someday since this feeling is all too common and like many artists before me, I’d like this artistic expression to be whatever “sign” a fellow artist needs to push themselves to get out.

Advice That Helped Me Get Out

How To Really Change Your Life – Mark Manson

Embracing Your Weird and Respecting Your Art – The Creative Introvert Podcast

The Backwards Law and The Wheel of Fortune

Recently I posted an update of my recent project on Instagram.

It’s not too bad so far… I’m loving that while I paint, I get into kind of a zone, but when I get uneasy or unsure, listening to other artists and finding other artists helped me put things into a more productive perspective. Let me share what I’ve found.

First one, Ethan Becker. This guy is a goof, but he gave really good advice.

He is totally against drawing from imagination. Instead, you should reference and “steal” from other artists you admire, which is any art that makes you go, “Yes! I want to do that!” In the past, my otaku (anime loving) self really wanted to work on the anime/manga style, but it screwed me and my confidence up so bad. Some people do amazing anime art, but I am just not one of those people mostly because some of the styles even from my favorite artists, wasn’t what I really wanted to do. It took a while for the real artist in me to dig out of the pile of manga and let me know that they wanted to be more of an illustrator so they could create work that was more conceptual or evoked a story/ambience.

One artist who really caught my attention and lit that spark under my ass was Nan Fe , a dark fantasy/horror artist from Singapore.

love lockdown by Nan Fe

Most of Nan Fe’s art has a dark mood that is sensual, macabre, gloomy, mystical; I could go on, but these are the moods I want to embody in my work. I am IN LOVE with her art. The piece she made here is based on the COVID19 crisis. I sense so much doom and vulnerability from this piece combined with a genuine desire to reconnect again. Love it.

Another artist who inspires me and is actually a new discovery while I was looking for references for my new project is Denis Forkas Kostromitin

Death and the Maiden by Denis Forkas

There’s something about Denis’s art that gives off almost an Italian renaissance atmosphere braided with metaphysical and occult symbolism. Studying Denis’s art helped be develop a better understanding of value, mood, texture, and even realizing that the cliche “less is more” actually works. This article, displays more of his work.

After I found a few artists that inspire, the next question was, “Where do I start?” I’ve never been much of a painter, but always wanted to try. Sketching was more my schtick, so going out of my comfort zone was intimidating until I found another art teacher on YouTube: Marco Bucci

I watched a few of his “10 Minutes To Better Painting” series and felt less and less afraid with each lesson. I was doing less overthinking and doing more critical thinking. Marco really is an excellent teacher with a very “teacher” sense of humor, but I couldn’t be more grateful that I came across him.

Since finding all these artists, painting hasn’t been excruciating. Now I’m just exploring and learning.

Poetry as Painting Prompts

After I published my horror short story “Autonomy Bleeds Black” (Available on Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Scribd, and more) I really wanted to create some illustration for it, but I wasn’t confident. This is as far as I got and I never shared the completion of the work because I changed the story a bit.

So, to build up my confidence, I’m using some of my dark poetry pieces as painting prompts. Like I said, I’ve been having a lot of fun learning and exploring painting rather than pressuring myself and hope to share the journey with you all.

Thanks for reading. Be well and if you’re a budding or experienced artist, comment below, I would love any advice or artist recommendations.

If you’re like me, maybe you had a history of shutting down your emotions. Perhaps you have a history of having your true feelings invalidated by those closest to you; a long, long history of emotional neglect. There’s power in emotional that can only be felt to be understood and I truly believe the most artistic souls are the ones who embody that because they break out and use that power to fight for what they lost long ago in that horrid history of emotional neglect.

It’s a blessing simultaneously, awakening us to an empowering reality that can also be very painful to process. That power can transform into a sickness that is so unique it seems incurable, yet it’s cleverly hiding the truth: it IS the cure.

I’m calling to you, my fellow goth and emo kids. It’s okay to feel alive and I promise you there’s nothing more thrilling than taking back your power through artistic means. Channel your emotional retaliation through shock, through awe, through horror, through beauty. Express yourself. Be alive. Stay alive.

Image: Exorcism possessed by Melissa Smith Photography

Edit 11/25/2019: A few of those earlier sentences didn’t make sense before lol fixed them now. Sorry about that.

This is another one of those “just me” posts. I need to express something that is incredibly important. When it comes to manifesting the life you want, you don’t reach your full manifesting potential when you treat it like a part-time job. This is hard to admit because right now I’m torn between this job, which is blogging/writing/making music professionally and my current part-time where I work with those with autism and developmental disabilities. I absolutely love every client I work with and I learn something new from all of them. I’m really not the kind of person to half-ass a job or anything, really. With that being said, I’m noticing the majority of my energy is going into the part-time job leaving me with little energy after that shift to work on this job.

And when I try to express this to others, I often get asked “Well, why don’t you just work on your dream job on your days off or the weekends?” Because the energy needed for my dream job keeps going to the other job throughout the week and I deserve rest days (I know angst inspires art sometimes, but really…). In a perfect world, I can balance the dream job and the part-time with the same amount of energy. We don’t live in a perfect world, my dream job suffers, the part-time still takes demand. Through my own meditations, I have learned enough about pouring your energy into too many things and being left empty. The power to manifest requires having the power to persist and believe. Yes, my part-time job is helping me provide for things such as transportation and bills, but I know for a fact that if depression and strong suicidal ideation didn’t convince me my dream job wasn’t worth anything, I would be providing for myself. What I’m manifesting, I’ve done before. I’ve seen for myself that it works, but I’m letting things, like this job and other fears, pull me away.

Part-time dreaming doesn’t work. It may pay the bills and it may be one of the most wonderful jobs I’ve ever had, but it’s not the career path I’ve chosen for myself. If anything, I know my career can bring in so much abundance, that I will be able to invest in the progress of this current part-time job more than I have already. I want to donate and give to other charities to, like environmental protection. I want to make a living as the artist that I am and excel to a platform of philanthropy. I’m not going to be able to do that with a part-time attitude. My part-time dreaming is going to be a full-time reality.

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I disappeared a couple of days so I could reorient myself towards a self-made schedule. I have so many projects in mind, but I want to bring them into reality, which required me to take a step back and look at the big picture. I have a week left until my first draft for my novel is complete. After this week, I’ll be publishing more, from articles to short stories to music. I feel like a broken record announcing this again, but it’s necessary. One of the hardest things about being a writer, musician, or any other type of artist is that the work you do takes time and every second you put towards that work is progress, progress that not many people see up close. That makes it difficult to have a support group.

I talk to my friends and family about it and it’s hard dealing with the confused looks on their faces, but rather than being insecure and think “Oh no. They don’t get it,” and then feeling like their lack of validation means all I’m working on is a waste of time, I instead remember that they’re just not familiar with this field. Most of my friends and family are in a type of healthcare, educational, or business line of work. Those fields are more straightforward in their job description and more reputable because they’re popular sources of direct income. There is so much in artistry that is passive income. I think too many people look down on that mostly because it isn’t a simple way to make money. That’s what I love about my job though. It’s not simple or straightforward. I don’t think any job is easy, especially if your heart isn’t into it, but the straightforward jobs do lack complexity and some people like that. Not me lol. My creative quirks need an outlet.

So, now that I’m reoriented after all that traveling (which gave me a migraine for over a week!), I’m back on schedule and I’m sure the way I’ve set things up will help me produce more content regularly so the passive income system can do its magic.

You know I’m talking about money and reputation, but ultimately I’m doing this because it’s what I love to do, I’m in a healthy work environment, and I’m seizing the opportunity to build a platform that I hope encourages others to embrace their truth. The world needs more authenticity with accountability right now. Who knows, it might wake us up to the hell that is global warming (because we sure can’t reverse it…). Upcoming burning hellscape or not, I’m excited and hoping the warmth of summer will inject bursts of life into my work (I’m excited to celebrate Litha too, obviously).

Side note: I need to get Amazon Prime so I can watch Good Omens. I’ve been sooooo excited for it!

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I highly recommend watching the documentary from BBC on photographer Nicolas Bruno, an artist who battles with sleep paralysis and transforms his nightmares into reality. The pieces shown on his Facebook Page and Instagram are absolutely captivating and I think for those of us who have endured sleep paralysis and questioned the mystery around it, you’ll experience an involuntary empathy. When I look at his work, the fear rumbles in my gut. It’s satisfying to see this because, once again, a brave artist reached out about an odd phenomena that many of us link to the supernatural. Now many more of us feel less alone. He’s even willing to contact others who have been through similar experiences.

I wrote an article on sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming, and astral projection as part of my metaphysical research for my upcoming dark science fantasy novel. In the article, I discuss how science and medical studies say one thing about sleep paralysis, but I encourage that we’re not too quick to dismiss the supernatural experience that can mingle with sleep paralysis. After all, lucid dreaming and astral projection have overlapped as well, so what could be happening while your lucid dreaming is still going when you’re awake? In the documentary, Nicolas discusses how his upbringing influenced his view on the supernatural and his sleep paralysis.

One of my favorite elements of Nicolas’s photography is the use of water, which he mentions in the BBC documentary. From a PHLearn interview, he discusses his use of water as psychological symbolism:

“Water, to me, is the unconscious mind or the realm of sleep. Being above the water represents the conscious mind or wakefulness. A lot of my characters are halfway submerged, trapped between the worlds of being asleep or awake. Ominous figures and props protrude from the sleep realm, and the wakeful protagonists within the images generally are tormented or trying to escape. I enjoy depicting the play between the conscious/subconscious mind. The water can also symbolize the suffocating feeling within sleep paralysis, where it almost feels that you are drowning in your own bed.”

From “Transforming Nightmares Into Hauntingly Beautiful Works of Art with Nicolas Bruno” by Jennifer Berube, 2018

Please find Nicolas on his social media accounts and support his work. We need this type of art.

Creative projects like cover songs, writing my novel, or painting digitally or traditionally helps me with so many issues I have. Even blogging is becoming a beautiful outlet for me. I need to praise this because my social anxiety makes it damn near impossible to talk to anyone. I will talk with close friends, but those brief talks aren’t enough. There are greater depths in my psyche, the place where my internal screams echo eternally. Excuse the melodramatics, but that’s seriously what it’s like. I imagine it’s like that for many of us, but holy crap there are certain facets of my mind that only art and witchcraft can really tap into. Actually, witchcraft is another artistic vent for me. It is a craft after all.

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Any artistic vent is so empowering. I’m just gushing with gratefulness right now because many of us have this horrible, nasty habit of expecting the people who cross our paths to engage with our internal chaos and bring order, but how the hell can they when they have their own chaos to conquer, let alone their own lives? It’s so tough being told you’re not alone and that support is around you, but when reality hits, you have to face your chaos alone. The support may or may not be absent because it’s up to you to face it. GAH! Change! Change triggers my chaos and it’s so thrilling. I freaking posted this on Instagram today and this whole day I’ve been trying to take my own advice.

So perhaps what I’m struggling with, what’s fueling the chaos, is letting go of all this brain training that convinces me that change is something to fear and be intimidated by and if you’re not ready for what’s to come it is utterly and completely your fault. Nope. There’s nothing and no one to blame. Change is a powerful, constant force, but so am I. I need to chose to use my power, adapt, grow, transform, etc. and, simultaneously, learn to surrender.

Okay. Had to get that out. Thanks for reading. Learn tarot. It’s great.

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It was the first time I ever laughed when asked what I was doing with my life. Usually social anxiety and hypothetical fears sweep in, but I just wasn’t in such a vulnerable state where I was going to allow myself to be crippled again. It was marvelous, a joyful success. My response in the mix of my laughter was “I don’t know.” That response often makes those who care for you uncomfortable or worried that you’re losing a sense of reality. Just because I don’t know what’s ahead doesn’t mean I’m aimless. I am a very passionate, determined, and disciplined person who is sincerely on the path of abandoning temporary validation. Validation from myself is most important right now.

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I’m not necessarily implying that it’s wise to disregard the advice and concern of others. Rather, I’m asserting that I’m more grounded and mindful than I was previously and I certainly can’t help but be proud of that. My mind is this creative jungle and none of the animals residing there are tamed. You can’t explain how much fun hanging out in that jungle is to people who go out of their way to ignore what their mind and inner self is trying to tell them. All the creative projects I have in mind and every moment of effort I put into bringing them into reality makes me feel so very alive. So very free. What people don’t understand is that it’s a process, a joyful one, but a process nonetheless. Why would I dabble with this when it’s more convenient to get a job that brings more immediate income and thereafter more stability? Well, it’s not like a job is completely out of the question for me. What I am doing right now, even writing this post, every page of my novel, every song I want to sing or write, every time my paintbrush hits paper, IS my job. Every project is my professional stride and while I work on these projects as top priority, I don’t mind having another job on the side that provides income, well, I see it more like funding, for my first job. Right now, that’s what I’m doing. It’s not an elaborate plan with milestones or scheduled goals. I love it so much.

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Also, being in this state of freedom doesn’t lack organization either. I have a general deadline for finishing the first draft of my novel and sometimes for other projects, but I’m my own boss. There’s a flexibility I’ve learned to grant myself without diminishing my discipline. I will compensate for missed time. I will work overtime somedays. I will also give myself a goddamn break when I’m overloaded. My creative work is inspiring me to fall in love with myself in a humbling way, where I’m acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses, constantly evaluating my capabilities, adapting my working process so the ultimate goal of sharing my accomplished work is done. Love towards myself has inspired this and it’s more efficient than harsh perfectionism and self-criticism ever was. It’s funny looking back on those perfectionist times and recalling how praised I was for that. Here I am doing the opposite where I have such a greater integrity towards my sense of self, but since there’s little understanding of which direction that’s going due to its ambiguity, there’s uncertain support most times. I shouldn’t forget, however, that there’s surmountable support from the universe as well. Waking up often leads to leaving the sleepers to their dreams or nightmares with the hope we’ll all walk together eventually.

I’m not taking any of this experience where I’m coming into my own, loving my life, and being proud of my accomplishments in any haughty way whatsoever. I had to write today because I am filled with a joyful, but fierce respect for my life. I am grounded, but my head is also in the clouds. I am focused, but also enjoying the thrill of imaginative wonder. I’m a walking paradox harmonizing with what and who I’m in love with.

I am.

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On my welcome page, I wrote that my novel takes priority. It certainly does. It’s everything. Sometimes life circumstances try to convince you that your everything is nothing, that there are more important things to address than your fantastical ideas. Art is such a battle, though I truly believe it’s such a glorious, introspective experience where I can take the time to understand myself and be relieved from all the life circumstances that convince me to censor myself. Those circumstances that implore that ignoring them is too great of a risk, that I should be safe.

Because art is a battle, it isn’t safe and never will be. Art is pure vulnerability, which can transform into terror or freedom depending on how powerful your fear is. There’s that 50/50 tug-of-war going on: The first fifty says “What if you share your work and this happens?” and the other fifty says “What if you never share your work and this happens?” Circumstance. Consequence. Chaos. I am so torn by risk, but I am so thrilled by the challenge. I’m in a position where I must bet on myself or bet on a system that may or may not take care of me. I know for a fact that if the system doesn’t have art or doesn’t let me create art, I’ll die. I’ve idealized death too many times to go there again. That was another risk. Another circumstance. Another chaotic instance of thrill and torment, but at least in art that torment tears me to pieces that I can reassemble and make into a new creation. Art provides rebirth beyond death or circumstance or consequence. Art is one of those immortal mediums that I’ve chosen to surrender to, so why shouldn’t I just fall and see if my masterpieces catch me or blow wind under me so I can fly as high as possible, see the big picture, and remember what I’m living for?

Risk as a writer is a dive into first-person narration where your perception is limited, but choices must be made. What I should take from my current risks as a writer, as an artist, is remembering that any choice I make will make me reborn. The chaos is beyond my control, but during the rebirth the least I can do is dance in the storm since all this experience I’ve gained has made me strong enough to brace myself for the storm’s blow or flow with its currents and absorb the unknown. This is what art has taught me. It’s not a “no risk, no reward” situation; the risk is the reward.

I can do this. I am enough.

I am enough.