Dealing with Death during Covid-19

As I’m writing this post I am grieving. Grieving for the sudden loss of a beloved aunt and uncle taken suddenly due to a car accident. A car accident simply caused by a semi-truck driver being too distracted. Too distracted to notice traffic coming to a stop before ploughing into my uncle’s car and killing my aunt and uncle instantly. While part of me is grateful that no one else was seriously injured or killed, I cannot help my shameful wish that it had been someone else’s family to have been affected so tragically. I also cannot seem to contain my staggering rage at the truck driver who was “distracted.” Distracted by what?! What was so important that you took your eyes off the road? Your one job while driving is to drive, paying attention to the road at all times. I am trying to be compassionate and realize that it was an accident and obviously, I know nothing about the truck driver, what they were going through that day, what their life is like, or even their working conditions. I am trying to imagine the guilt that they, or anyone else who has killed another in a car accident, may feel. But if I’m honest, my compassion is being smothered by my anger; the want to hurt this person as deeply as they have hurt me and my family is astounding. 

And while I grieve for my loss, I am grieving for the fact that I cannot be with my family during this crucial time. While many of my family is able to gather together to offer support and comfort to each other, I live hours away and while in any other circumstances I wouldn’t hesitate to drive those few hours to be with them, I have to remain at home due to my high risk of complications with Covid-19. This fact is eating at me as nothing else has since the pandemic began.

Covid-19 has turned our world upside down in so many ways. While governments and politicians have been largely concerned with the effects on the economy, the effects are most devastating for a family dealing with death. When a loved one passes, there is nothing more cathartic than gathering with others you know cared for them as much as you did, who understand how special that person was and how irreplaceable they truly are. This comfort is almost indescribable and has never been so glaring to me until this moment. Others can empathize, they can offer their love, support, and compassion but it is nothing like being in the company of those that share common memories with the departed, who understand wholeheartedly what was lost. 

I will never get the opportunity to mourn with my family over the loss of my uncle and aunt because of Covid-19. I will not be surrounded by those who remember my uncle as the rock of the family. An uncle who even after hours of work and driving around, would do more driving to visit a sick family member on a whim to brighten their day. An aunt who made me a delicious yellow chicky cake on my birthday from scratch, simply because she could, knowing my favorite toy was a giant stuffed chicky. An aunt and uncle who helped other family members financially, even when they didn’t have money to spare. An aunt and uncle who laughed and smiled easily, making any family gathering without them less bright, their absence always felt immediately.

Due to Covid-19, I will miss out on the funeral of my aunt and uncle. Many people fail to realize how important rituals are to us as a species. Every human society has had rituals for the dead as it allows closure and healing to take place, it is a way to say “goodbye” and wish them well on their next journey. Due to having cancer and other health risks, I cannot be physically present for any gathering, thus my aunt and uncle’s funeral, as the potential of exposure to Covid-19 is too high. 

Most importantly though, due to Covid-19 I won’t be there for my family. I cannot go to my family and hug my two cousins who have lost not just one parent, but both on the same day. I cannot offer the comfort of my presence or help them with anything they need. I cannot even offer them a place to stay while they are grieving so that they aren’t alone. There are no words to truly express how much this pains me. 

When this pandemic began, putting my health first and keeping physical distance from others seemed like a no brainer and not much to ask from my family and friends. But now it seems unbearable. I’ve never been more angry about the fact that I have cancer. I’ve never been more upset about the pandemic until now. And these words are truly inadequate to describe how I’m really feeling. 

I know I am not the first one who has dealt with loss during Covid-19, nor will I be the last. I am one of millions who has and will have to endure this terrible predicament. While I normally would have written these thoughts in my personal journal, I thought to write it here just in case it resonated with someone else. You are not alone. I care and hope that you find a small bit of comfort in that fact.

Tweet Tweet Tweet

IMG_20170606_102354So for those of you who have noticed, I have a Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook page. And I must confess that I don’t really enjoy social media. Hell, I didn’t really expect to like bloging but surprise, I’m enjoying myself! Maybe its simply cause I am the one doing all the talking… Lol.

Regardless, the hatred that I’ve held for most Social Media avenues didn’t necessarily stem from my overall dislike of electronics and technology. It was more the obsession people had about it. The drama that would insue if a friend request was denied or god forbid, someone deleted you as a friend! The amount of trash talk and gossip about celebrities is absolutely toxic and irrelevant, does it really concern you who is fucking who in Hollywood? And best yet, the cesspool of cruelty, hatred, and ignorance of some individuals that goes viral is unbelievable! These are my issues with social media.

However, I’ve come to look at the positives of social media and hope to use it in that regard. One serious benefit for me is to keep tabs on friends and family, and no, I am not a stalker. I simply no longer live close to family and old friends and it is hard to find time to call them since our schedules don’t usually lineup conveniently and almost impossible to plan visits with our limited free time. So Facebook is my way of checking up on them and making sure that no tragedy has befallen them. Another positive of social media is spreading positivity, spreading love, joy, hope, forgiveness, and understanding.

Celebrities have opportunities to reach thousands of people via social media in which they could promote a good cause, fundraiser, or social issue. I truly appreciate all people who use social media in such a way and hope that one day I will be able to join them in shedding light on important issues. Until then, I hope my paintings bring you simple pleasure, inspire hope, and give you joy!

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Personal Responsibility

Lily & Rose Petal Painting Trial 1Personal responsibility, I am responsible for my own actions, choices, behavior, and words regardless of my mental state. So that means it doesn’t matter if I am symptomatic or if I am under the influence of drugs/alcohol, I am still responsible for my actions and must face any consequences that occur because of my behavior. I try to always be mindful of this, as well as realizing that what I do, can affect others.

Realize that I’m not saying to live your life according to what others think or expect you to do. I’m saying when making decisions, pay attention if a choice may hurt another person and contemplate if it is worth it. Choosing not to go to college for whatever personal reason (school is not your thing, you would rather go to a trade school, you want to work/travel, etc) may piss off your parents, it might cause them to be disappointed and possibly cut you off financially. However, it is your life and you are trying to achieve happiness for yourself, make whatever decision you think is best. Now if you are choosing to get behind the wheel while drunk because you MUST get home and get sleep since you have a big presentation tomorrow, consider that you are creating a situation that may kill another person. For fuck sakes people, there is Uber!

Some of you may be thinking, well every time I get behind the wheel I create a situation that may kill me or another person, the pollution that my car is emitting is contributing to global warming, which is negatively affecting more than just humans. These are all true but these are situations that are not technically choices we have, instead, they are situations that are created by our society that are necessary to function in that society. In every city I have lived in California, never have a had a job that was close enough for me to walk/bike to, public transportation in this county is shit and unreliable, and most jobs now ask if you have your own means of transportation and if you don’t, no job for you. Ultimately my society has created an environment in which it is almost impossible to function without driving a vehicle daily but personal responsibility comes in on how I drive my vehicle. I have choices on if I get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs/alcohol if I choose to speed dangerously or weave through lanes.

So while living the life you want, make good choices and pay attention to how your choices affect others, try to create the least amount of damage as possible.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

What Does it Mean?!

Glitter Trial 2My artwork is colorful, random, glittery, loud, sparkly, quirky, and all around playful, very much like myself. With my favorite artists being Lisa Frank, Betsey Johnson, Amy Brown, and Josephine Wall, I’m hoping my art is just as fun as theirs. But what does it mean? Why am I spending all this time painting, throwing colors around, tearing petals off flowers, getting glitter literally everywhere?

I have several reasons, I’ll explore one of them for now…

First off, reality check: the world is a shitty place; life is not a bouquet of flowers, as I’m sure you know. There is so, so, so much suffering on this planet; there wouldn’t ever be enough time or space available to write down all the things that break my heart. From animal abuse, infanticide, shoot shootings, rape, starvation, human trafficking, homicide, global warming, war, torture, pollution, extinction, there is just so much ugly and bad here. All these things cross my mind frequently but thankfully not constantly, I don’t think I could survive that. But with all these bad and ugly things, there is just as much hope, love, and beauty.

I truly believe that everything has balance. As much love and joy a child brings to their parents, they also bring an equal amount of stress and heartache. With me having bipolar disorder, my ups and downs will always be equal to each other, just on the opposite spectrum. And with the world, there is an equal amount of good to the bad.

Ultimately, I want to bring more good and beauty to the world with my paintings. It is a small contribution in the scheme of things but I hope it inspires others to also create something with love, even if it lasts only for 1 second, that second matters. Perhaps one day all these little lights will add up and the good in this world will outweigh the bad…

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

The Dream…

Watercolor Petal Painting Trial 3So if you have been following along, totally okay if you haven’t, I’ve mentioned “the dream” a few times… And no, I’m not talking about a dream as in a goal, like “I dream of becoming a Hollywood star”, no I’m talking about the weird BS that your brain puts together. Yeah, that weird crap that Freud claimed was your subconscious telling you very important secret things about yourself and your “true” feelings.

Well, yeah, my strange, hidden self has informed me that I am a painter. And no, not like “I paint as a hobby in my spare time.” Nope my dreams have been about me being a professional artist, being able to pay bills and have a career with paint and my imagination. The reason why this like makes no sense to me and why I’m totally weirded out by it is that up until now, I haven’t painted since like forever, probably sometime in middle school.

Regardless, these dreams have been persistent for the last few months. I wake up in the middle of the night from a dream about a different painting technique or concept and cannot go back to sleep for the life of me. Instead I lay there and play the dream over in my head. I think about different ways I can execute the idea, various mediums I could use, how particular elements can be changed to evolve it. Kinda annoying really… I literally feel compelled to get up and paint in the middle of the night. Mind you, I have a day job that starts at 7am so painting at 3am isn’t the best idea since I work with the public and I get cranky without enough sleep.

I have noticed that I sleep better when I have painted during the day so obviously the only thing to do is to paint and see where it takes me! At the very least, I will be back to sleeping during the night. 🙂

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Book Reviews

Bubble Trial 3Considering that my most favorite hobby is reading I decided to blog my thoughts about the books I read. I will always give a brief non-spoiler summary of the book, I will then go into my overall thoughts, favorite scenes and/or characters but I will highlight that area as a possible spoiler zone. I would never want to intentionally “ruin” a book for someone.

So what can you expect on my reading list? Just like my taste in music, my taste in books tend to be a grab-bag, a lot of it depends on my mood, and also my intentions. I sometimes read to learn, to escape, to get another perspective, to feel, and/or to have fun. Pretty typical genres for me would be fantasy, fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, young adult, mangas, comics, romance, and sci-fi. If I had to pick my most favorite genre it would be a hard choice between young adult and historical fiction. I love historical fiction for satisfying my want of learning while usually getting romance and a fun escape from reality.

As for my other top genre, I’ve gotten teased about liking young adult and all I have to say is don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Alright, I understand that young adult isn’t for everyone but I really, really enjoy this genre. One of the biggest reasons why is because I’ve found that young adult novels bring up some pretty serious, tough, and sometimes completely fucked-up things in such a way that I’m not depressed reading through the whole book. Being an empath, I tend to feel deeply for others and yes, when I read I get so caught up that I feel for the characters. I cry with them, laugh with them, and get vicariously embarrassed because of them (hate that!). So while I realize that true life can be cruel, unforgiving, heartbreaking, and tragic and I expect all novels to touch upon these in some way, I don’t want to be reading a novel and feeling hopeless and depressed through the whole thing. I believe that the young adult genre has a nice balance of simple fun bantering between characters, a blossoming romance, overall humor, and character depth while still bringing up tough, worthwhile subjects. Ultimately I find most young adult novels to be fun, enjoyable, interesting, and quick reads so expect a lot of reviews from that genre here.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.