the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Work In Progress v. 2


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An Artist’s Journey: Get The Balance Right! (redux)

Those of you that are in my abuse and PSTD survivor Twitter support groups might be familiar with my Sanity Sign series.  What you might not know is how it got started, or how far back the inspiration goes.

I’m a big Depeche Mode fan.

There was a particular album cover that I just adored.  Granted, I’d gotten the image during the compact disc era, when gorgeous art that had covered vinyl LP jackets were shrunk to the jewel cases that CDs came in.  This image was for the single “Get The Balance Right“:

This song really resonated with me, and I figured that the Town, Country & Planning’s (TC&P) design for the artwork was based on construction signs (especially as the single was released around the year “Construction Time Again” was an album).

So I did a lot of artwork based on the image- variations of street signs that I could think of, and such.  I don’t think I’ve managed to save very much of it, but there was this:

North Hall Mural 1994

North Hall Mural 1994

North Hall was a dormitory I stayed in, while attending Whitman College from 1994-1995.

Then I decided to recreate some of the images I’d made in 2010, as part of a card I sent to a pen pal Down Under:

Yep, that’s all freehand, and not digitally cleaned up.

About three or four years passed, and I started getting involved in a Twitter chat called #sexabusechat, as I heard about it from a prolific blogger.  A particular quote from this person seemed to fit this old theme of mine. (See Rachel Thompson reminds us that we are a Work In Progress.)  This image was the result:

workinprogress

which was largely modified from the standard US crossing traffic sign, because I wasn’t too sure if TC&P Associates’ designs were under copyright.

Then I found someone on RedBubble doing artwork based on DM album covers.  I figured if any attorneys connected to DM weren’t chasing after him, and the artwork remained up there (and is still there, last I checked), my own use and modification was fair game.

So I grabbed this image:

GetTheBalanceRight-375x360and then created this for #NoMoreShame/Trauma Recovery University:

no-more-shame-we-are-not-to-blame

Sometime later, I went and made a digital recreation of one of my original images, heavily modifying the image I’d taken above.

Get The Balance Right v. jak

As I said, I’d done a number of variations in the distant past, but of course, the Internet had come a LONG way since I started making this image in 1993.  Standard symbols featured on U.S. and international street signs were easier to find by way of Google Images.  I decided that the image above would be my trademark signature, and so I started putting it into subsequent projects, like this one I did for Aussa, based on a comment from one of her readers.

no-fix-for-rest-of-crazy

Like all recovering perfectionists, however, I wasn’t satisfied with the fonts I was using.  I wanted something that was close to Clearview, which is what the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) uses.  I found that a font called “Highway Gothic” had been created, which was free of charge.  And so I grabbed it and started incorporating it into my following projects, like this one:

congruencywarning

I hadn’t had much success in the past using scalable vector graphics (SVG) before, at least not as far as producing images completely from scratch.  But once again, my rabid perfectionism pushed me back to try again.  Since I was sharing these images with my Twitter followers, and I had to resize many of them over and over again, I found raster-based graphics (using the GIMP) didn’t scale very well.  There was too much pixelation, making the work look rough.  Over time, I found many stock images (that is, the standard symbols I referred to earlier) were available in SVG formats.

So I fired up Inkscape and remained determined to make something.  This image was the first result:

abuseisabuse

Yes, I’m showing this image at its original size to show you how clean SVG is.

and used Inkscape again with excellent results for this last project I did:

Negative thoughts in the bin

I hope I’ve demonstrated that my work is improving.  I’m not the same sort of artist as my wife Cimmorene (@wavemistress) is, or my daughter (@YellowNeru)– I think they are much more talented in traditional freehand methods.  But this is inspiring to me.

You can find the Sanity Sign series, and some other old artwork I’ve brought way, way back from the dead to get new life at jaklumen.deviantart.com.


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Fortune Cookie Ponderings

jaklumen:

Please give Cimmy some blog love. She hasn’t been writing as much lately (been more into gaming)

Originally posted on jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar:

The other day following a dinner at one of the local Chinese Buffets, the cookie following my meal had an interesting fortune.  It said  “You long to own your own home and family is all important to you,” or something similar to that.  My husband, jaklumen, suggested I write a post on it.  So here I am tapping away at the buttons of my keyboard, trying to come up with something you might find interesting or that might, at least, perk your interest.  Personally, I’m not sure how interesting you’ll find philosophical discussions with regards to fortune cookie inserts.  Still, it’s worth a shot, right?

6566848537_8977d5444e_m Christmas Fire with Mom and Son

So, my family lives in a home that we aren’t renting.  Still, technically, we don’t own it.  It’s under mortgage, a payment that jak pays every month without fail.  The main reason we bought are buying the house in which…

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Internet Hug


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#1000Speak: Hugs for the Survivors

I think just about everyone had a teddy bear at one point, didn’t they?

My father had one named “Boo Woo”.

I had a number of teddy bears, with different names.  One of them, I’d take the tag and stick my thumb in it before sucking.  For some reason, it made my thumb taste better, although sometimes I’d get it caught.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, dear readers, I shouldn’t have to remind you of some of the ugly parts of my childhood.  I was bullied and abused at school and church as well as home, especially during my preteen years in middle school.  I think that was about the time that I finally started to banish cuddly toys from a space on my bed.

Rather odd that any boy would bully another over that, though, considering the history of the teddy bear.

The teddy bear was named for Theodore Roosevelt, easily the most badass president the United States of America ever had. (Image credit: hdimagegallery.net)

Image credit: buzzle.com

I came back to cuddly toys after marrying Cimmorene.  She offered me Milo, who still occupies a space in the master bedroom.  She decided to buy me a Bekin-made bear, whom I named “Buster” for the movie Phil Collins made famous.

Because I was still sensitive about being bullied, I’d loan him to my children, especially my son.  I’d tell him Buster needed to store up more hugs.

Sister #1 used to collect Beanie Babies.  She decided to gift her collection to my folks so that grandchildren (mostly my children, and my niece and nephew who are Sister #2 JenntheAmazon’s kids) could play with them.

This delighted Princess to no end:

Monkey Girl gives Monkey a ride

It wasn’t too long until Boy started loving on the Beanie Babies.  His current case manager for counseling has a small collection in her desk drawer, and it turns out that one of them (“Goatie”) was the very same kind I sent Aussa for a bridal gift.

Both Aussa and “Snack Cake” Deborah (who spearheaded a Heifer International campaign for the Great Goat Shower) were amused by this pic.

Aussa’s going to have to monitor Pinterest now, since Pinning this image was the quickest way to grab it. Image credit: aussalorens.com

Of course, I was just expecting that she’d quietly get the gift of the Beanie Baby and the “got goats” window decal, with little fanfare.  Nope!

I just about fell out of my chair when I saw that tweet.  No way could I shrug it off, saying, “Well, it was cheap.”

So it was just easier to tweet about the awesomeness of Beanie Babies.

When I first started having back pain, Cimmy got this snake Beanie Baby for me.  I can’t remember what the Ty corporation gave it for a name, but I dubbed him “Bruno”.  He’s currently guarding my mini red wastebin full of scissors and pens and is on the shelf just above my computer monitor.

Anyways… my point in all these rambling stories is that hugs are essential, and as a survivor, if I can’t get one right away from a loved family member or friend, I will take it from a cuddly buddy, even if it’s not alive.  I am lucky that living creatures will give me physical touch, however– this includes my parents’ talkative cat, Skittles:

Skittles & Roger

My father and Skittles. Image credit: Dad Pratt at Flickr

Skittles and Cimmy

Skittle and Cimmy, during a housesitting visit

to Jenn’s stupid but loveable beagle mix, Dexter:

and a schnauzer named Oscar, who barks his fool head off whenever anyone comes to visit.  (Jenn probably hasn’t done a video with him because he’s just too excitable.)

Hugs are POWERFUL.

Image credit: socialgreetings.net

Princess gets really stressed out when Cimmorene and I fight and argue, and, no surprise, she feels that her little brother is a chi vampire (meaning, he steals energy, or more literally, in Western terms, “the breath of life”).  Yes, I know that’s not quite fair– he can’t help his struggles with autism– but, it’s still difficult.

After an intense family council meeting reviewing our mood charts (we made some so Boy would better be able to recognize emotions), she drew a rather raw, dark portrait of herself.  So, if you look at the image just above, I gave her a hug, without too many words.  I let her hold it as long as she wanted.

Dear readers, we survivors need hugs.  Are you part of the 1000 Voices for Compassion movement?  What more can we do to be more compassionate towards each other?

Special thank you to Serins, who sends us hugs in her comments.

Compassion-Logo-FINISHED1

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Feminist Friday: The Myth of “Girl Stories”

jaklumen:

“Eclectic” Allison writes about the Myth of “Girl Stories”, or why it’s a great disservice to young readers to stereotype stories by gender. I hope, dear readers, that as I’ve written about the Hero’s Journey, that I’ve demonstrated that both men and women characters can follow the Monomyth cycle. Today, especially, there are more storytellers that men and women alike have much to show us about becoming heroes, and that we are telling such stories more than ever before.

Originally posted on Eclectic Alli:

When I asked my friends for fantasy book recommendations for an 11 year old, they had many wonderful  suggestions.  I hadn’t mentioned the gender of the child in the original post and a few posters made assumptions which appeared to influence the recommendations they gave (much to their chagrin).  When I noticed this was happening I pointed it out, and that led into some great conversation.  One friend, Lynn, had recommended books that her son enjoyed, but noted that she “assumed the child in question was a girl, but only because she liked the Princess Bride — interesting huh?  I kind of hate to admit that.”

“It’s incredibly frustrating that parents, educators, and librarians continue to say that boys don’t have to read books that center on girls. There’s no reason that boys can’t empathize with girls, other than that we don’t teach them to. And as we continue to not teach them…

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REBLOG: Masks Aren’t a Precious Asset (mattheweatonwriter.com)

From Matthew Eaton: Writer | Child Abuse Survivor, Writer, Blogger- Finding My Voice One Post At A Time

Masks Aren’t a Precious Asset –.

Matt is using WordPress.org, which is the full-on, DIY, self-hosted WP.  Maybe there’s a plug-in that would allow WordPress.com-style reblogging, but, none that I know of.  If I wasn’t so horridly in pain, I would have done the proper blog thing and wrote up a lovely comprehensive post of my own, instead of using the “Press This” bookmarklet.

Anyways, to my point- someone caught me wearing my mask a few weeks ago.  I waited for things to blow over before making an apology, but, they didn’t, and I was compelled by said person’s spouse to give one.

Please, read Matt’s post, to understand this mask analogy.

 


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God and Meditation.

jaklumen:

Ronovan writes about how the concept of meditation is not foreign to the Abrahamic religions at all, including Christianity in particular.

Originally posted on ronovanwrites:

Are you a Christian or even an Atheist and afraid of Meditation because you think it will turn you into a Buddhist, turn you away from your belief in whatever you believe?

Don’t laugh. A great many people associate Meditation with Buddhism because it is such a central part of that philosophy and way of life.

You’re already meditating.

Meditation, for Christians should not be something to fear. In fact, if you are doing as you should, you are likely meditating and not even realizing it. Each morning you should be spending quiet time preparing for your day by praying or talking with God. You are preparing yourself to not allow the events of the day to sway you or influence you.

During this time you are pushing the world out, those sounds and thoughts, and you are focusing on one thing, God. During these quiet times you may not…

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Image credit: http://www.theliberaloc.com


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Taken out of Context and Other Stressors

English: Example Project Context Diagram

English: Example Project Context Diagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post isn’t going to be as polished as I would like.

But as the title indicates, one of them is being taken out of context.  Dear readers, those of you who are actively reading and communicating with me, please rest assured this isn’t you.  Actually, anyone that has even left a “Like”, I assure you, it isn’t you.

I was given a name, but I’m not sure who it was.  This person, however, felt the need to sound the alarm to an extended family member, hmm, like an in-law of an in-law, if you will, over something I said in one paragraph in a very long blog post.  I gave very few specifics, but this person connected the dots in such a way that they thought a Yellow Alert was needed.

Cthulhu Warning

Yeah, this sums it up pretty well, I think. Image credit: Oscar J. Baeza (as seen at Flickr)

And then our telephone rang.  Cimmy answered it, and even after much wrangling like Abbott and Costello in “Who’s On First?” to figure out who’s tongue started wagging in the first place, I still have no idea whom this person might be.

The weather is still wracking my nerves, and today was stressful enough- much shouting, crying, and such from various family members.  Princess put a few more cuts on her arm.  I told her she should use a clean blade, not a soda can.  Now, now, dear readers… I’d rather she not at all.  I was worried she used one of my shaving razors, but yes, I did say that, explaining I thought it better not to risk infection.

And yes, there’s still a lot of hurdles for getting therapy covered.  I don’t want to force her into anything– no way would I want her having similarly terrible experiences as I did.

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