the tao of jaklumen

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


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an awakening, but not quite a rude one

There’s two things that brought sudden understanding to me, and the first one is probably more of a shock to YOU, dear readers.

A week ago, I spent two days in jail.  I did know this was coming, though.

The second thing was more of a shock to ME, although it wasn’t a total surprise.  It was more that things sunk in on a deeper level.

Wednesday night, discussing details of a family get-together for my son’s birthday, I realized that my mother really is a narcissist.  Again, I don’t think she’s a textbook case of NPD, and her narcissism is definitely of the covert variety, but I can’t describe her controlling antics as borderline narcissism anymore.  It IS narcissism, and discussing things with one of my sisters (who lives in town) made it that more concrete for me.  In other words, she agrees.

I’m not in the best space for writing– and yes, I reckon I’m piquing your interest.  I will write more later.  It is upsetting, and it is disappointing.  But I knew this… practically forever, and I mean forever on a very esoteric level, especially if any of you have read ..the father becomes the son.


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The son becomes the father… (Yoke of Generations)

Marlon Brando as Jor-El, with Kal-El played by...

Marlon Brando as Jor-El, with Kal-El played by Lee Quigley. Superman: The Movie Magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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As soon as we could get our wits about us, we rushed off to the ER, to Boy a medical examination.  He’d just had a seizure- not a grand mal, but still a seizure.  It wasn’t like the tonic spasms my father and I have from time to time, of course.  We’d find later, after he slept and slept, that he had no memory of the episode.

As Cimmy always does, she asked me to religiously administer to him, to give him a Priesthood blessing.  As I meditated and focused on clearing my mind, to let spiritual inspiration flow freely, a glimpse of a memory flashed through my brain.

My son was part of this, too.  He had agreed to take on a part of the burdens of my mortality, which I in turn had taken a part from my father.

JOR-EL: You did this of your own free will, in spite of all I could say to dissuade you…

Cimmorene desperately had wanted to share the load, but I could not acquiesce.  But my son would not be denied.  He understood the pattern.  And our Eternal Father- I feel that he smiled, as if to acknowledge something great had been accomplished.

JOR-EL: ..the circle is now complete..

I could see both sides, now.

JOR-EL: Now, you have returned to me, for one last chance to redeem yourself– this, too, finally, I have anticipated, my son.

JOR-EL: The Kryptonian prophecy will be at last fulfilled.

[recalling Jor-El’s blessing] JOR-EL: You will make my strength your own– see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine.

JOR-EL: The son becomes the father – the father becomes the son.

HeroesjourneyAtonement

Blogs by YOU: ask-Lillia-the-fan-troll

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My dear wife gives her Dragon’s Treasure Award to our daughter’s Tumblr– but this is no mere nepotism– this is where her art REALLY shines. Please have a look and give her some blog love.

The Dragon's Lair

Blog ButtonThis week’s recipient of the Dragon’s Treasure Blog award is ask-Lillia-the-fan-troll.  Now, I’m not going to lie to you.  This blog belongs to my daughter.  With that knowledge, I know quite a number of you are going to scream “nepotism” at me.

Hear me out.

My daughter draws nearly everything in this blog HERSELF.  Seriously!  She made up her own cast of characters: 6 trolls and 2 humans.

“Wait.  What?”  I hear you saying.

I hear your confusion and answer it with this:  Homestuck

Don’t ask me to explain.  It’s way too long and complicated for that.  Suffice it to say that, in a nutshell, everyone dies.  In the fandom, however, everyone fights over “‘ships” (short for relationships) which is much more relevant to this because it’s fan made.

Now then, back to why I chose this blog.

This is why.

tumblr_nu6dt38c7h1ucv4n1o1_1280So congratulations, Yellow_Neru.  I hope you display your…

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This gallery contains 6 photos


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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.

[EDIT November 30th, 2015] I decided to recreate one of my designs from the 1990s, and elaborate on it a little more:

the-work-moves-on

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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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.

Procrastination, Perfectionism and Blogging Perspective

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SanitySign-PP-crossing (Twitter)

I came up with this image to illustrate the topic for Trauma Recovery University‘s topic this week (which includes the #CSAQT and #sexabusechat Twitter chats as well as their Google Hangout video).

I was going to edit it into An Artist’s Journey: Get the Balance Right! but decided to give the image a post of its own, particularly after reading about the Community Pool at the Daily Post.  I figured it would be good to make some space here for bloggers to offer some feedback; I’m still trying to figure out what I must be missing after 11+ years of blogging and several reworks!

A few of you have been very kind to offer some feedback recently, but I could still use some help, dear readers.  Please be gentle; perfectionism and procrastination really is a stumbling block for me- not just in blogging.

What can I do to invite more conversations with you here?

Or am I just lost in my own little world?  (That’s okay; they know me here.)

Please let me know, in the comments below.


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Compassion for the Survivors

I have done a lot of artwork for Trauma Recovery University, to illustrate concepts I am learning about.

In #sexabusechat tonight, someone wrote about wanting to embroider “Knock It Off” and “Made With Love” on a pillow.  Others came up with additional phrases, and I thought they would go well on conversation hearts:

and I remembered that Rachel Thompson had shared a conversation hearts generator some time, back during the Valentine’s season.  So I put a few phrases through that generator, and put it to a collage.  The following was the result:

Collage of Survivor Conversation Hearts. Made with cryptogram.com and collage.com

Now, there is more to be found, but, I figure that it’s just easier to point you dear readers to my Pinterest board.  I avoided Pinterest for the longest time, figuring it was more for moms sharing recipes and the like (like my youngest sister does), but, collecting images on survivorship and recovery from abuse on Pinterest made sense to me, and so I joined.

Oh.  Right.  I guess it’s time to connect my Pinterest account to this blog.  For now, you may find me at https://www.pinterest.com/jaklumen/. The main board I add to is “jak & #NoMoreShame”, but, I do see now that it helps me manage visual content, and so I have a board for Monomyth images, too.

Special thanks to Serins for spotlighting this image

AthenaMoberg-empathyfor 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, and showing me that my artwork can have an impact, far beyond where I initially put it out.