Surprise or Mystery

For the past few days, her mind has been lost, in the confusion and aftermath of something she didn’t quite understand. All she had done was try and face her inner critic, change the scathing words rebounding in her head to something more positive, something uplifting, something better than what she had been hearing of late.

On top of that, her birthday would soon be here. Lately each year she was alive was now not so much as a surprise as it was a mystery. What was her purpose for being here? Was it simply to raise a child she never thought she would have, or was it to learn as much as she could that would create growth of spirit? The first, was easy. The second would explain so much.

She looked at the man, asleep in her bed. He was another surprise or rather a mystery. His arrival in her life came when she had finally stopped wanting a man. Six months ago, she had made the decision to stop trying to force life into the mold she had created for herself. It was hard, so very hard, to let go of all the expectations, all the things that had been drilled into her.

You have to work for what you want.  You won’t get anywhere if you don’t work for it. Had been the constant theme in her home growing up.

And yet, she had worked hard, really hard, and in the end, she had been tossed out on her rump. Thrown out into the street like a piece of trash. Well, a well wrapped piece of trash that is. But that wrapper only lasted for so long and she knew it. Desperation set in immediately.

It didn’t matter how hard she worked now. It didn’t matter how much she put herself out there. No one wanted her. No one cared that her experience would bring a lot of value.

Finally, after six months, she had enough. All signs pointed to forgetting what she ever knew about life, and start over. Instead of forcing life to conform, she chose to let life guide her. It didn’t take away her fears but it did give her some peace.

For six months, and in reality for far longer than that, she had felt like she was constantly in a fight, constantly in a battle, constantly waiting for the proverbial hammer to smash its way through her life, destroying everything in its path. The battle she fought was to try and prevent it from happening or to deny it would eventually happen. When it did, she was unprepared. It was devastating.  It shook the very foundations of her mental stability.

That stability didn’t return until she finally let go of everything she thought she knew about life and living. She knew she was on tenuous ground. Tenuous in comparison to what she had been taught one needed to feel stability, be considered successful, and being able to take care of one’s family.

She had to go back to learning what life really was. It wasn’t a job. It wasn’t even a family. It wasn’t about doing what society demands as ‘normal’ in order to be a functioning part of society.

Life is what we have inside of us. As a child, she has always known something very special. Somehow she knew, if she spoke aloud about what she knew, people would call her crazy. Luckily, she had grown up in an environment which did not encourage any such discussion. This protected her from criticism and judgements from those she loved.

Sitting in church she knew what they taught was only fractionally true, the rest was created by man to manipulate humanity. To keep humanity away from the truth she instinctively understood. They either didn’t want them to understand, for fear they would lose their power over them, or they didn’t feel humanity could handle it. It didn’t matter which. She didn’t come to understand this until she was much, much older. She just accepted the knowledge and kept it to herself.

Since letting go of everything she had been taught about life and living, things began to change. She was no longer accepting of the harsh words her inner critic had to say. When her inner critic wasn’t successful in one area, she would move on to another area. Lately, that area had to do with her physical appearance. Refusing to let her inner critic convince her that she was unlovable, both physically and mentally, she instead chose to love herself.

It was difficult at first. Deciding to take one day at a time had been the best decision she had ever made. Then taking one small step at a time. Bombarding herself with a dozen things all at once had been her downfall in the past. It was how she sabotaged herself. It was her way of proving to herself that all the negative internal talk was true.

Then one day, she looked at herself in the mirror and realized she had indeed changed. She was no longer the frumpy, dumpy woman who looked like she had come from the wrong side of the tracks. She had slowly altered her wardrobe. One day she walked into a store and found a blouse that made her feel good, so she bought it. Each week she chose one thing to do that would make her feel good. One week it was a piece of clothing. Another week, it was an accessory for her hair. Another week, it was maybe a book or another piece of clothing.

Daily, she had begun to take walks. Instead of thinking about walking as an exercise to change her physical body or convince it into losing weight, it was to just feel the air flow through her hair, or the rain upon her skin, or the earth under her feet, or see the beauty in nature around her. She started to notice, she felt more grounded, more in tune with her environment.

On occasion, her inner critic would get terribly loud. That is what happened a few days ago when she happened upon a man she had once known years ago. They had known each other when she was young, vibrant, full of life, but oh so confused about everything. They had a brief love affair but she had run off when her feelings reached a certain depth which frightened her. It was years before she understood this about herself.

They sat and talked. He had been curious about her life and what had happened. She decided to be completely honest with him about what she had finally understood about herself and why she reacted as she had. She had often wondered why he hadn’t pursued her. As they spoke, he revealed he had been just as confused.

For the following days, they spent hours together just talking. Neither of them held back on anything about their past. Neither of them judged the other. Each meeting left her feeling lighter. She hadn’t realized how much she had needed to talk to someone about everything without feeling as though she needed to justify any of it.

Occasionally, whenever they would talk, she would begin to shake. She knew the shaking was caused by the intensity of the emotions she held back. One day, during one of those moments, he reached over to her hand that was resting upon the table between them and let his fingers just lightly rest upon her fingers.

A bit of magic occurred. The energy flowed out of her and into him. He absorbed it like a sponge. She could feel herself breathe again, and from him flowed a calm, relaxing energy, which filled her completely.

After half a dozen or so of these meetings in public, she decided to invite him to her home. He offered to buy some Chinese takeout and they could eat and talk without having to worry about taking a table for too long in a restaurant or cafe like they had been doing. Before they knew it, they had talked through the night. It was 5am. Luckily, neither one of them needed to be anywhere the next day. She wasn’t ready for him to leave yet and he wasn’t ready to go.

The simple touch of his fingers had slowly graduated to holding hands, then to sitting close on the sofa as they continued to talk through the night. By 5am, she was wrapped in his warm embrace, with her head resting on his shoulder. They were past the need to look in each other’s faces as they spoke. She found this seemed to allow them to speak more freely about their hopes, their dreams, and even their lack of having any dreams at all.

Over the past couple of years, facing so much, dreaming had become a past time she no longer had a desire to spend her time doing. Dreams had become something she no longer had. When she revealed this to him, his arms held her tighter, expressing his sadness for her more completely than any words could ever have done.

Moments of silence occurred throughout the night, sometimes she would doze off for a few minutes and when she woke, they would continue talking again. Sometimes he would doze off as well. By 5am, it was becoming apparent that both of them were in need of sleep and the sofa wasn’t sufficient.

She stood, offered her hand to him, “come”. He took her hand, followed her to her room and fully clothed they lay down together. His arms wrapping her in warmth. He slipped off to sleep within moments. She turned towards him pulling the edge of the comforter over herself and looked at him. She took in all his features, loving all their characteristics. Some would call them flaws but not her.

For the past few days, her inner critic had been bombarding her with harsh words. “He doesn’t love you, could never love you. You are ugly. You are fat. He could never want someone like you….” On and on she went.

Finally, yesterday, before he was to arrive in her home for the first time, she had enough. She sat down and used the art skills she had been learning over the past year, to face her inner critic. She wrote out her frustrations over her inner critic and the harsh words she was always saying. She put energy into it, by letting her feelings flow into the words she wrote. She told her inner critic how she was such a liar and would no longer believe her. That it didn’t matter if he loved her on not, that she loved herself and that was all she needed.

She filled the fourteen by seventeen inch canvas, telling her inner critic how she felt and how she would no longer allow her lies to interfere with her life. She also told her inner critic she understood her inner critic’s purpose was to protect her from being hurt but that she needed to understand that her harsh words hurt her more.

Once she was done filling the canvas with the words, sometimes overlapping them in order to get them all on the canvas, she reached for her art supplies. She covered the canvas in her favorite colors, making abstract marks. She didn’t focus on anything, just let her feelings flow as she randomly reached for the colors she loved so much. After two hours she had a canvas filled with beautiful marks. One thing she loved about acrylic paint was how fast it dries. She hung the canvas on her bedroom wall where she would see it each morning when she woke. She looked at it now as she drifted off to sleep, knowing she had come to an understanding with her inner critic she had never thought possible.

Hours later she emerged slowly from her sleep. His arms still wrapped around her. His breath soft upon her cheek. He held her close, so close, she had no doubt of his physical response to her, but then again, her inner critic had something to say about that. It could be just from dreams as he slept. She almost laughed out loud when almost in the same moment those thoughts crossed her mind, did a soft kiss upon her cheek dispel them.

He, who so easily read her body language, felt the humorous chuckle flow silently through her body and asked her what it meant. So, she told him, explaining what she had noticed about his physical condition and what her inner critic had to say and the timing of his soft kiss.

Suddenly, gone was the patient man, the man who took slow steps. She had turned towards him to see his reaction to her explanation. As the last words, left her mouth, his mouth covered hers, proving beyond a doubt how wrong her inner critic was.

She both felt in his kiss the power of his attraction to her but also his demand in showing her just how wrong her thoughts were. His kiss wasn’t harsh. It was sensual. He tasted her like she tasted like fine chocolate. Devouring her while at the same time, cherishing her so as not to rush through a single bite.

He moved them both, rolling her onto her back, he covered her completely with his body. He didn’t, so much as press down on her as, to let their bodies mold against each other. He was strong, and hard, soft and yielding, and somehow comforting and protective.

He kissed her face, her cheeks, her eyes, her neck, and nibbled on her earlobe. No further did he go. She could have made love to him right there and then but he pulled back. Sat up on the edge of the bed and softly caressed her cheek with his thumb.

“I’ll prove your inner critic wrong, as many times as I have to, until you are no longer tempted to believe her. For now, this is enough to start with.”

She understood. They had spent over twelve hours together and they both needed some time. This last meeting had introduced more elements to consider and they both needed time to absorb what it meant.

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Survivors

I love this…

Purple Tulip Art Studio

I worked on this piece for a few days, layering and layering acrylic paint. After each layer I gave it a day or so for me to come back to it so I could look at it with fresh eyes. I’m glad I did. I had no forethought for what I wanted this piece to be. Intellectually, I understood the concept of how a sculptor would say, all they did was bring out of the marble or the wood what was already there.

In a way, this is what happened with this painting, but not until the next to last layer. It took a day or two for me to see it. Once, I did, all it took was black and white oil pastels to bring it out.

Survivors

If you like this painting, you can get prints here.

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I’ve been practicing lately…

Often times we find ourselves on a journey we did not expect. I’m not sure how many people actually succeed in creating their life exactly the way they had envisioned it to be. All I know is, anything I have planned doesn’t turn out like I envisioned it to be.

That isn’t to say it is a bad thing. It just can be very frustrating, and most times it pushes our comfort zone. May be that is why it happens. May be we need to find ourselves a bit out of our comfort zone in order to grow and to change, so we can become more than we are.

I have found myself in such a situation. Which has made me do some soul searching, but most of all it has made me re-evaluate myself.

I’ve been doing a lot of practicing lately. I’ve been practicing positive thinking. That sometimes doesn’t go so well. It is so easy to fall back on old habits. I used to think I was a positive person, but over the past year, evaluating my life and especially myself, I have learned that isn’t necessarily true. Practicing though, is turning that around. I’ll probably be practicing positive thinking for the rest of my life.

I mention all of this because one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, other than facing cancer and the loss of my job was to break down barriers, blockages which have been in place since I was a child. One of those blockages has to do with how I feel about myself and my abilities as an artist.

Like many artist, I’m very critical of what I create. I was so critical in fact, I allowed it to interfere with even picking up a pencil and making a single mark on a page with the intent to draw something. Part of practicing positive thinking includes practicing telling myself I am an artist.

This has led me to practicing other things, one of those things is drawing. Portraiture drawing to be more precise. I was looking back through some of the pictures I posted here and realized I haven’t posted much in a while. I have my reasons for that which I’m not going to explain here. At least not at this time. I thought though I would post something to show my progress.

This first picture, I posted a while back when I first started working on learning how to draw faces. In fact, it was October 28, 2016 when I posted it. I remember being proud of myself for being able to create the drawings without a reference photo. I steered away from reference photos because it was just too hard to look at what I was able to produce and see how far off it was from the picture I was referencing.facesToday, I still don’t use reference photos very much, but occasionally I do. Tonight was one of those nights I decided to use a reference photo and this is the result:

Page 12-2 copy

It still doesn’t look like the person in the photo but I am a great deal closer to being able create something that closely resembles the person than I was last October. It also looks more realistic than my previous drawings. I’m still working on getting proportions correct. The eyes are right, which always seems to be a problem for me. I would say the eyes are the hardest for me, but that isn’t necessarily true. Just getting the whole angle, size, shape, and alignment correct is challenging. It’s getting better though.

I still have quite a ways to go before I have a life like drawing, but even I can see the improvement I’ve made since last October. That being said, I’m continuing to practice. Maybe one day I will be able to draw her and some of you may be able to recognize her.

~Kate

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Selling art….

Purple Tulip Art Studio

My journey as an artist had begun with just wanting to awaken my inner artist. This journey started by simply learning to doodle by following some simple step out instructions on tanglepatterns.com . This was simple enough and soon expanded into learning how to draw mandalas.

I couldn’t stop there and soon developed into a full fledged adventure into all different mediums in the art world. I learned about mixed media art which appealed to my inner artist because, and to be quite frank, I’m just not a one medium girl. Even though I had some preconceived ideas that some mediums wouldn’t get along with me very well, I was soon to discover those ideas had no foundation to stand upon.

I ventured into all sorts of mediums and found some I am falling in love with. Acrylics and watercolors are probably my top two favorites right now. I’m also…

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Rudderless and change…

I’ve been trying to figure out what to blog about. Should I write a short story? Should I write an update about what has been going on in my life? What would my followers want most? I have no idea.

I lost track of how many posts I started and never finished. Some were short stories. Some were updates on my life. Some were just meanderings of nothingness.

This sort of reflects where I am in life. I’m in a period of confusion. I’m feeling lost and alone. I’m feeling betrayed. I have had the whole range of emotions cycling through me, sometimes when I least expect it and without warning. I don’t always know why or what triggers the emotions. I am, however, learning.

What I’m feeling most of all is the feeling of being lost, or adrift, no rudder to be found. I have nothing to grasp onto to help me steer my ship.

For some, Tarot, is the tool of the devil. For others, it is just a game. For others, it is a way to divine the future. And for still others, it is a way to connect with our higher selves. I have had to try and breach the wall of judgmental thinking of Tarot being the tool of the devil. I grew up with Christianity as my foundation where just wearing clothes the church deemed provocative was sinful. Where enjoying the beauty of our bodies would send us to hell.

I couldn’t live up to their standards, so I walked away. I didn’t walk away from my beliefs, I walked away from religion which was too judgmental, confining and even condemning in their thoughts and actions.

I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be happy believing as everyone else believed. Or living like everyone else lived. I still have problems understanding why I don’t fit within those molds. The cookie cutter world so many people seem so happy to live within. I still struggle with this.

I know, the reason I feel so rudderless, is because I am embarking on a journey so different from what I have ever experienced. I find myself asking myself, “What do you want?” That is such a broad question, I try to narrow it down, so I ask, “What do I want in a relationship?” or “What do I want to do for work?” or “What do I want to do for fun?

Sometimes, I come up with answers, but mostly I come up with more questions. “What do I want in a relationship? Do I want a relationship with a man? Maybe, I just don’t want a relationship at all? Do I want to go through all the work it takes to get to know someone and then find out they aren’t the one? Do I want to have someone come into our lives and have him completely change everything? Can I have a relationship with a man and still have everything I have now?” on and on the questions go. Each topic, very much the same. Just change the word ‘relationship’ to ‘work’ and ‘man’ to ‘business or company’ and you have the same questions I ask myself about work.

Who am I kidding, no matter what happens, one element entering our lives will change it. The question is, am I willing to have this happen? If I were honest with myself the answer would be ‘no’ and ‘yes’. See what I mean? I’m rudderless. I want these things, I just don’t want things to change. But it will change. I’ve had so much change over the past three years, I’m scared to have any more changes come into my life.

Why am I afraid? Because the changes that have gone on these past three years have been devastating in so many ways. The next change that occurs has to be something uplifting, something wonderful, maybe even something beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t handle another devastating event.

So, in order to prevent this from happening, I remain rudderless. No movement, means no change. Nothing new and wonderful, means no room for it to go sour and fall apart.

I, however, cannot continue to remain rudderless. This will only work for so long before I have no other option than to make a choice, that puts the rudder back in my hand in order to steer my way into the current of the stream.

Life is a stream. It moves. It flows. Sometimes, it will become what appears to be a stagnant pool but eventually that stagnation will end. I am hoping I have restored my energies enough to withstand what is coming next. I have no option but to face it and do what is necessary.

Again, a question.. what will that be? I have no idea. I can only hope it will be something good and wonderful.

I brought up Tarot earlier. Here is an example of how I utilize Tarot. In a class I am part of, they have daily prompts to fill into the blank space left in a sentence or question. This month’s question is “What do I need to know about _____?”  Today’s prompt was “nature”. Filling in the blank space and the question becomes, “What do I need to know about nature?”

What you are meant to do, is focus on the question while shuffling a deck of your choice. Whether you use an oracle deck, tarot deck, playing card deck, or whatever, it is your choice. Once you feel like the cards are shuffled enough, you then pull a single card from the deck. You then look at the card. Study it. Ask yourself, what do you see in the card. How does this card make you feel? How does this card, or the feelings you feel when you look at the card, relate to the question?

I pulled XX Judgement, from my Tarot deck. I sometimes read the guidebook for the card I pull. I did today but it wasn’t helpful. It is best to go with your first instincts of what you thought and felt when you first looked at the card. My first thought was, “it is our nature to be judgmental”.  This then helped me to understand, that we need to be aware of whether our judgements are negative or positive. What we think and do goes out into the world. It comes back to us, sometimes more powerful. We might not consciously think about sending our thoughts out into the world. They go out there whether we want them to or not.

I’ve been less than kind in my judgments over the past three years. I’ve been rather harsh in my judgments towards my doctors and the company I worked for. I want to let go of all of that and be more positive, think more positive. It isn’t always easy. In fact, for me, most times it is very difficult to think positively.

I grew up in a negative environment, therefore, I learned to be rather negative in my thoughts and outlook on life. I want to change it but not sure if I can. It is a constant struggle. Again, another feeling of being rudderless, with no direction and just letting the stream take me over the rapids and hope I don’t tip out of the boat and drown. See how negative my thoughts can be?

Nature in itself is a slowly evolving entity. It doesn’t react well to a sudden onslaught of changes. Build a city and nature recedes. Have a sudden flood and nature goes dormant. But all of these things are temporary, eventually nature, in its persistence, will slowly revive itself and grow. In the case of a city, if left without interference, nature will devour it, leaving behind a network of skeletons it will use to become stronger.

Evolution really is about nature becoming stronger. Even mutations are natures way of evolving into something more powerful. You can’t stop change. I can’t stop change. At the most, I can enter into a state of dormancy to hold off change for as long as possible, but eventually, in its persistence, change will come. Change will take over.

I have a choice, either accept it and work with it, fight it, or remain neutral and let it take me where it will.

The question is, how do you tell the difference between fighting change and working with it? There have been times where I thought for sure I was working with change but now wonder if I have been fighting against it.

~Kate

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Challenges great and small…

I have been facing some interesting challenges of late. I don’t just have the challenge of trying to find a job. I have other challenges.

After being laid off my job, I was faced with having to cut back on expenses. As with most everyone, one of the larger bills is internet and cable, so I decided to cut out cable and just have the internet. I was spurred into action to do this when another company tried to win me over as a customer.

I had signed up to switch over because the new company had unlimited data for their internet solution. When my provider at the time found out I was switching they called and convinced me to stay as their customer. They did this by telling me I could reduce my plan and not worry about my data usage since they don’t charge their customers if they go over their data usage for their plan. I was reassured to not worry about it.

Since then, I have received two calls. One last month, trying to get me to switch plans due to exceeding my data usage. When I chose not to change my plan, they sent me an email with guidelines on what I could do to possibly reduce my data usage. I told them I would try but in fact, there wasn’t anything I could do.

I was called again today because they said my data usage had gone up. This is not surprising since my daughter is now doing all her school work from home and I am also taking classes, all involving a lot of video downloads. This time however when I asked what would happen if I didn’t lower my usage, I was told they may suspend my services for three days in an attempt to try and get me to comply. I told them, no problem, I’ll find another provider that has unlimited data usage. There are a few in Canada now that do provide this. In fact, the one I was going to switch to would provide it and the cost would be the same that I am now paying and being harassed about my data usage from my current provider.

Of course, when I told him I would find another provider, his response was the other providers would cost more. This is always their response and then when I find one that doesn’t cost more, then they offer me special cost reductions for a year, then we go through this all again. (yes, I’ve been through similar situations with this same company but for other reasons) My year will be up in August for this special pricing. I am sure I will find another provider and I won’t have to be bullied any more. So my work is ahead of me to research and have discussions with other internet providers.

The other challenge I am facing is trying to find my daughter an educational program that will fit her style of learning and her current situation. My daughter has missed a lot of school the first two semester due to a severe hormone imbalance that ends up with her out of school two weeks out of every four weeks. We finally transferred her to a distance education program recommended by her school counselor. However, the transition was not smooth.

The transition though quick, had problems. The work she completed in her classes in the public school was not transferred well to the new school. Her course schedule included a lot of repeating work she had already completed INCLUDING courses she learned in previous elementary grade levels. She had progressive teachers in her elementary school who included teaching modules that were in higher grade levels.

Inspiration and motivation to take the modules in her course curriculum was severely lacking. I can’t blame her. Especially when some of the modules were from her current year as well which she had completed. We sat down together and went through her science curriculum and by just looking at the titles of the modules my daughter was able to tell me all about the course and what she knew and when she had learned it and from which teacher.

The other challenge was, in essence, the distance education program she transferred into was nothing more than all the public school classes converted to online modules, videos, and reading materials. Very dry and boring stuff. Her assignments were the same only instead of handwritten assignments they were now typed and emailed to her teachers for grading or downloaded into a special folder for her teachers to access.

The first month to two months was fraught with issues. One assignment she turned in couldn’t be accessed by her teacher, it took three times and almost a week for her teacher to get it. Another teacher had assigned her to grade 9 math and she was supposed to be in grade 8 math. They were supposed to omit her from a portion of the modules that she had already completed from her previous school and yet looking at her curriculum it looked like she had all four semesters to complete and no idea of where to start except at the beginning. She ended up getting almost through one whole module before finding out she didn’t have to do that module.

This just added frustration upon frustration for her and her motivation ceased almost entirely. In the process, I, as her home facilitator, am supposed to monitor her progress. However, the tools to do so are completely non-existent. In order for me to see what she has done, I log onto her account, and can only look at the report where they log her grades. The only progress they show is when her grades are submitted and then the report is upgraded to show a percentage completed. I am unable to see her progress on a day-to-day level unless I’m sitting watching over her shoulder or she shows me what she has completed. Anyone having a fourteen year old will know that doesn’t happen.

Consequently, because of missed attendance and inability to keep up with her school work, she is facing the possibility of failing grade 8. Anyone who knows how smart my daughter is would be immensely shocked at this. I have been at a loss as to what to do.

Just walking by her the other day, I heard her exclaim, “Why can’t I just write my own story?” I asked her what that was all about and she said, the assignment was to write the next chapter to the book they had been assigned to read. In her opinion, the way the book had ended, there was nothing to write about for the next chapter.

I can understand her frustration. English is about learning the tools. It isn’t about whether you can continue writing a story someone else wrote. It isn’t even about whether you have the imagination to write a story. It is about learning the tools, can you put the words together to form a sentence, sentences together to form a cohesive paragraph, and then yes at least the understanding of how to formulate a story. Does it make sense. Did you leave out punctuation that can cause someone to understand the sentence, or paragraph differently from what you meant?

I agree that children should attempt to write a story, or poetry or other forms of writing because if they don’t then they will never know if it is something they would really enjoy doing. But teachers and sometimes those agencies who administer the requirements for education miss the point completely. If my daughter wants to write her own story then why not let her instead of writing a sequel to a story someone else wrote? Either one would provide the proof of my daughter’s knowledge in writing to satisfy educational requirements.

After hearing her exclamation and the frustration in her voice and body language, I realized I needed to find another solution. When she was having the issue with public school I considered home schooling and started researching it. Finding out she would not qualify for a graduate certificate if she is home schooled I spoke with her counselor about other options which is why she ended up in the distance education program.

With finally accepting that this particular distance education program isn’t a fit for her, I reconsidered home schooling and started researching it. I came across a Home Educators’ Association and found other resources which led me to other distance education programs and ultimately to SelfDesign.

SelfDesign is an education program which allows parents and students to have a say in how and what they learn. They still adhere to the education requirements and will qualify for a graduate certificate but in a much more fluid way. If it works as I hope it will and as it has been described to me, my daughter will be able to choose how she learns math, or what she will do for English and so forth. For instance, it was described to me this way, if a student loves art, then there are ways in which they can learn math through their art. Students are given an education counselor, these are certified teachers who will discuss with my daughter what she loves to do, and how she likes to learn, then with the cooperation of the student they create an education plan together and they offer resources or help her find resources she can use in her learning. They can use real life experiences as proof of her knowledge on a subject and any other various ways to provide proof of her knowledge to earn her graduate certificate.

I made the comment that this seemed so different from public school and the distance education program she was in that I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around how it would all work. I was told to throw away everything I knew about public school and the way they administer education. SelfDesign was founded in 1990, so they have been doing this for a long time. They are having more and more families enroll their children because the regular school system no longer meets the needs of their children.

I am excited about this for my daughter. She is also excited about it. It melds very well with what I have been teaching her since she was born. I have shown her how she can learn anything she wants to on her own with the right resources. Finding this school now, I feel, is a blessing and a confirmation of what I have tried to do with my daughter since day one.

It is my belief this will free her to grow in leaps and bounds and no longer feel restricted or confined or controlled by a governing system that in my opinion is becoming outdated. I think too it will help her build confidence and belief in herself and her abilities.

The first challenge I mentioned is really just a nagging pain in the ass type of challenge and a confirmation that corporations can’t be trusted to stand by their word. Integrity in large corporations seems to be lacking these days.

This second challenge, I feel, is a major life changing event for my daughter, as well as myself. It is my hope this will free us both up to become more than we ever expected to be.

~Kate

 

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Insanity

Waking up wasn’t so easy for her today. It wasn’t just because she hadn’t slept well. No. It wasn’t that at all.

She looked around her. It was something she did constantly, even in her sleep. It wasn’t habitual. That would indicate she had lost some control over it, but that wasn’t it at all.

What she saw eventually produced a mind numbing effect. There wasn’t anything grand about it. The space she inhabited would make any mind want to scamper into a place where the senses could no longer be acknowledged.

She welcomed the absence of thought and feeling. It was better than what had occupied her mind and senses only a few days ago. Could it have really only been two days ago? No, it couldn’t have been. It had to be far longer than that. If not a year, then at least a few months. But, the only telltale sign were the marks she left behind whenever she chose to try and open the door.

A door she knew she had stared at for hours, upon hours whenever she had finally allowed her mind to leave her. Did those hours add up to a day, or two days, or a week? There was no way of knowing. The only thing she was absolutely sure of was what she saw when she looked around her.

Looking wasn’t the only thing she did. She had to try the door again, if only to reassure her numbed mind that it was indeed closed beyond her ability to open it. Coming awake after having slept was harder than trying to open the door. For a brief instance, she would believe her situation was only temporary. Her dreams had allowed her to believe it was true. In her dreams the door would open when she turned the knob. In her dreams, she could walk out the door into a whole other world. When she woke, her brain, though numb and lifeless, would fight hard to stay within the land of her dreams.

Waking was like a stepping out of heaven and entering hell. She wondered at times if it felt anything at all how a baby would feel being forced into the bright cold world after living in a warm dark environment that provided everything it ever needed. The stark reality of it was enough to make her mind snap.

The movement of standing was harsh and brutal. After sitting or lying in the same position for hours, her body protested against any movement. Sometimes, she thought she could hear her joints and muscles scream but in reality there was no sound, only the painful firing of the neurons as she forced her limbs to straighten and hold her diminishing weight.

Her clothing hung limply upon her slight frame. A frame that once held an abundance of flesh. She had surpassed any feeling of emptiness or need her body once produced. Luckily there were no mirrors for her to witness what she had become.

The cold tile of the floor registered upon her naked feet. Every time her foot touched the floor her brain registered a slight jolt of surprise. Was it really so impossible to believe she could feel anything anymore, let alone the coolness of the tiles? Why was that so unbelievable and shocking to her mind? Was it because her mind had ceased to register how cold she really felt inside and out?

It wouldn’t be so unbelievable if there had been no more remnants of what her life used to be like. She didn’t acknowledge her past anymore, or it was a rare occasion when she did. Moments like this when she couldn’t stop her mind from examining everything around her, seeing it for what it really was.

Allowing herself to believe it, now that was a different story. She preferred to believe it was just her imagination, that this was really her dream life when she slept and her dreams were her real life. But waking always inevitably shattered the illusion she tried to weave around herself.

The coolness of the door knob barely registered as her fingers closed around it. The motion automatic to turn it. This was like a test she performed each time she woke. A test her brain devised to reinforce her captivity. Her inability to go anywhere but turn around and witness the expanse her mind conjured before her. Each time the knob didn’t turn, didn’t budge, didn’t wield the results she remembered from her dreams, she would turn a hundred and eighty degrees, like a soldier being commanded to do an about face.

For one brief second before her hand and her mind would register the refusal of the door knob to move, all her hopes and dreams would be allowed to awaken. For one split second, she would truly feel the joy, the excitement, the astounding belief that this would all be over. For that split second, she lived again in a world of never ending, unbelievable possibilities. For one split second, she wanted to dance a jig, sing a joyful song, and smile. For just one split second, she would hold the door knob, suspended in time, but only for one split second. Anything longer than that was torture. Torture for her soul.

Reviewing her surroundings was in essence like taking inventory. A mat, pushed into the farthest corner. Upon it, a thread worn blanket, extolling its endless use. A white porcelain sink floating upon the light grey cinder block wall, next to it a cold porcelain bowl jutting out from the same cold grey cinder block wall, each with their shiny silver tubing for input and output of the sustenance called water.

There was only one other oddity. An encasement within the wall which at times provided sustenance of the somewhat solid variety. Nothing else inhabited the room, except for her. In time, even she would cease to exist in solid form. Maybe she would remain here as a ghost once her body finally released its bonds upon this existence.

This was her captivity. The world of her own creation. This is where she would live out the rest of her days. The only contact, the only proof there was a world outside of her cold cinder block room was the delivery of the almost inedible matter within the encasement in the wall. She saw and spoke to no one other than the voices residing in her head.

There was no tomorrow. There was only now. This moment. This…. This… that was right now. It was her whole existence. It was all that kept her from going insane.

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