Dreams are Illustrations…

“Dreams are illustrations…
from the book your soul is writing about you.”

A girlfriend of mine on Twitter just had this tattooed on her arm. How fitting. How Perfect. How simply beautiful. The meaning itself goes so much deeper than the ink in her skin. I know little of her personally but this simple quote speaks volumes about who she it. The moment she posted it I saw doors opening and closing in my mind. Memories, thoughts and ideas of who I am pouring across the milliseconds of time it took to grasp it’s depth of meaning to me.

It describes me, my life and all that I am in every minuted detail in only 12 words.

How is that possible? How can something so simple and meaningless to some have such epic meaning in my reality? I guess to know that you have to know something about me. But then now you do. Now you know everything about me. I have no more secrets, no riddles or questions hidden away to be pried from my dead fingers when that day comes. To understand you must appreciate the art of my life.

My life is a dream. My life has been filled with dreams in dark, unfocused gray on black, in crystal clear technicolor  with symphonic sound and lucid hyper reality upon wings of my own design. My book is filled with all these beautiful, tragic and loving illustrations. I sometimes transpose these dreams into my own reality, my art, my music, my life.

My life is a work of art.  I am that illustration, unfinished and ever evolving. Styles changing and morphing from one to another. My “Blue Period”, my Renaissance, Classical and Modern period all unfolding with each breath. Simply to be the charcoal upon the paper or am I the canvas upon which it is laid?

Dreams are illustrations. And my soul is a master of fine art.

Strength of Life

What heart does not hurt that has not lost
What day is not long that has no sun

Searching, ever searching
My soul the intrepid explorer
The adventure of life
Chances not taken regrettable but past

Why do we not sleep the endless quest for self
Why alone is not a part of our making

Exploring, ever exploring
Unsatisfied lover within
Breaking tradition, rules and sweat
Following paths made of love and ambition

Why is there life after love
Why is death not the fate of a broken heart

Forgiving, ever forgiving
Ourselves, family, frineds and past regressions
Isolation of self answers no prayer
Strength of life to power a galaxy of suns

Why not now when needed most
Why not then when paired in passion and experience

Loving, ever loving
Myself, ourselves requisite firsts to succeed
Not all puzzles fit nor glasses unbroken
Hope in the dark a lone souls bright beacon

Not all answers are songs of a question
Not every moment is shared though felt and remembered

Hoping, ever hoping
Hope is the dream, forgiveness and loving
Living, ever living
Life is the journey, searching and exploring

Hope is the dream, forgiveness and loving

My View, Pride, Sushi & Stuff

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Well here I sit. I was literally sitting on the curb for a bit while writing today. Now I’m sitting on the stoop in front of my flat. The sun is shining and there is a nice breeze making today and especially wonderful day here in San Francisco. This city is growing on me for sure. I miss a lot about San Diego but it is just different. One thing I have noticed here is that no one sits on their front porch or stoop much around this part of town. Not like in some parts. The people seem nice enough here it just is not very neighborly. I never seen ANYONE out on this street except the French kids a couple houses down. Just seems odd to me.

San Francisco is definitely the gayest city in the world. My kind of town ;-). Last week was Pride. My first Pride here. All I can say is OMG I have seen just about everything now. So I am wondering why is it only the fat ugly and very white gay men are the ones that have to roller skate down Market Street wearing nothing more than a cock ring? Why can’t the good looking gay men do it at least. I mean the one guy was so lacking the guy in the clown suit yells out “OMG Small guy… ” as Mr. Cock Ring rolls by. I about tipped over the concrete when he blurted that out. So many heads turned and “Small Guy” quickly rolls off into the crowd.

Eeewww. On so many levels. But I digress. I’m good at digressing.

Back on the ground again. Need some shade for my sunburned shoulders.  “This is the Thing” by Fink is playing on my lappy right now.

We have a great cut off view of the city with the Castro in the foreground. If you look closely you can see Dolores Park in the distance. Dyke March 2010 started there last weekend. Wow. All I can say to that is Wow. Spending the entire day in the park with my people was so awesome. And I only had 2 beers.

I seriously need to make some real frineds. Peeps I can just hang out with. It would go a long way to improving my enjoyment of this city. I have met a couple people including Autumn who has a great San Francisco blog at “A Mindful Individual“. Had an awesome sushi dinner with her and her frineds a few weeks ago. Hopefully we can do something again soon.

Oh and I signed up to play in the Woman’s Football League here.  That is Soccer for all you who are a bit slow.

There is so much to do here it’s crazy. A little country girl in a big city. I have so much more to figure out here and in my life. But I am pretty satisfied with the view.

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View from our deck.
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Sitting on the curb, writing.

The Battle Rages On.

For those of you who know me, I have been through some wicked radical changes in the past couple of years. The specifics of change are only marginally important most of the time. Sometimes not. I am a woman of change. I have seen and done things most people cannot imagine. But I am still just me. A bright and often animated person still searching for her spot on the field.

I consider myself an extremely lucky person. Especially considering I am an open and out lesbian in a world that seems so hell bent on not allowing people to live an d be happy. I have a great family who has been there every step of the way since my formal self outing. I have some good frineds and many acquaintances. I have a great job with a really good company. I and I live in a nice little quiet nook in San Francisco.

What more could I want?

A lot more actually. I may be a forty-something goddess in control of her life. But I am also still a teenager at heart more often than I admit. I am fickle and want every freaking thing now. Change happens and I want it over and done with. I sen my eye or my heart on something and I want it started or done yesterday. I know this is not how life works. I cannot keep up the light speed change of pace I often expect in my life.

And this is where the battle begins.

Me fighting myself. Nichole vs. Nikki. It’s tantamount to insanity. The seemingly endless skirmishes with my own sense of self and desire class often sending me off on wildly divergent paths. The unfortunate victim in this constant flux is me. The wounds are often intense depression and even overwhelming anxiety.

Over the past month I have been stuck in a perpetual black hole of depression and questioning everything in my life. I can usually pull myself out of this funk within a few days or even a week tops. Not this time. It was so profound I upped my therapy sessions. Slept way too much and stayed up way too late thinking.

Thinking is my enemy. I have written several poems about my struggle. “My Enemy” being the most recent. I often write as a result of these “moments” of struggle. If I don’t write for more than a week it is not a good sign. It means I am losing the battle. Of all things I have struggled with in my life, depression has been the cruelest of foes. And the one battle where I have never really come out the victor.Though I keep trying.

Giving up is giving in. I have vowed too never give up. I have come to far and accomplished to much to just hand in the keys to my life and let something or someone else drive. Last week just before the Pride festivities I suddenly and inexplicably found myself emerging from the month long battle over depression. This time I really can’t put my finger on how I did it. I am just glad that I did. So here I am back to writing. Back to living. And back to enjoying the feeling of sunshine on my face.

Girl on a Plane

Today I traveled to Phoenix via our country’s increasingly unaffordable air service. Southwest Airlines. That cattle car to the stars <= That would be me. Remember: … so famous you don’t even know me? meh, never mind. So anyway. SFO to PHX. Easy flight no worries. Did I tell you I despise airports?

I must admit however today was actually a pleasant day on the cattle run. I was not rushed, well rested and it has been a beautiful day on the ground and in the air. I arrived at SFO with plenty of time to spare for a yogurt and H20 breakfast. As I am NOT the cheep seats type of girl I paid a little extra to get the front of the line ticket. We boarded the roomy and rather comfy 737 and I took widow row 2. I passed on the Vodka and OJ since it was a bit early even for me.

An attractive gentleman took the isle seat leaving the center unoccupied. The staff soon escorted a young girl of about 9ish traveling alone and sat her next to me! This actually made my little maternal clock tick, tick, tick a bit faster. Sadly I do not have kids. I wish I could but the only thing coming out of my belly these days is … well… Not kids. She is a beautiful child. Seriously beautiful. Long golden blond hair, freckles and a tan to die for.

The girl came with a little red sac her mom had packed for her. It was filled with candies, popcorn and other goodies including the cutest pink DVD player I ever saw. We chatted in short sentences until the plane took off. Then we talked more about boys, the little teenie-bopper magazine she pulled out and the cool view from the plane. She had never flown by herself before. But her little brother had become dangerously ill so mom and dad had to send her off to grandmas alone while they stayed behind. I felt for the girl and her parents. I think she said her name was Allison or Alicia? Gawd I suck so bad at names.

Alli pulled out a puzzle book and asked if I would like to help her with it. Heck yeah I did. This little wannabe mother not my daughter experience was worth every precious moment. And she was truly engaging and I was really enjoying the interaction. I guess I am good with kids. And it seems I was doing a good job.

Suddenly her nose started bleeding. I got to hand it to her for quick reflexes. She got a small pool of blood in her hand and only one drop on her leg. I quickly told her to pinch her nose and tilt her head back and at the same moment hit the stewardess call button. She was there in a second.

Now I must digress just a spell. The stewardess was drop dead OMFG gorgeous. She was a dead ringer for a young Meg Ryan. I mean the way she moved, talked, everything. I could not keep my eyes off of her from the moment I got on the plane. So not only were my hormones running my hormones were going haywire. Sadly she had a rock on her finger the size of Nebraska so no amount of I love you via ESP was going to work. Not to mention inappropriate considering the current events and company.

Regress – Back to Alli.

I point out the situation… calmly. Meg hovers back with a box of tissues. I ask her for a cup of water as well so I can help clean Alli up. I wet some tissue and clean the blood off her hands and leg while she gets the bleed under control. After a couple minutes the bleeding stops and poor Alli has blood all over her chin and face. I wet another tissue and clean her up proper. Know way I’m gonna let that young girl walk around with blood all over her face.

Did I mention all this was happening as we were landing? Well it did. The funny thing and I guess the wonderful thing for me was the smile and the thank you I got from Alli for helping her. The little twinkle in her eyes about killed me dead on the spot. And as I reflect on the incident I remember how utterly calm and collected I was. It was s surreal experience in a way. I mean it was like she was my own child for those few moments and I only wanted to help her and make sure she was O.K.

We landed about 3 minutes later.

I was kind of sad to get off the plane. Alli was flying off to Missouri to see grandma and Phoenix was my stop. A really quick goodbye and the last vision of Alli was of her hopping into the window seat I had been sitting in.

It may seem odd to some who read this. But I miss Alli already. I hope she has a wonderful time at grandma’s and a beautiful life.

St. Germain’s Shelf

St. Germain LigueurThursday I came home from work to stop at the Residence for a drink. I have kinda made this my local bar of choice.  But maybe we should step back a tad to Wednesday before I progress.

I woke up Wednesday morning in pain. This is a common re-occurrence  that has me a little concerned. I have bone spurs in my neck that cause my right arm to go numb or my right shoulder to tingle and throb in pain. Surgery is the only way to fix it that I am told. My intense workouts are helping to strengthen the muscles around my shoulders and neck making the problem less severe. At the same time the day after an intense weight training session can be brutal.

The biggest problem with my neck is my job. Heck it is my current career actually. I like the company and the people I work with very much. It’s the what I do that is the problem. I sit in front of a computer all day. This is a highly aggravating thing for my neck problem. Thus my desire to get out of this career all together. But that is an entirely different blog.

Back too Wednesday morning. I woke up feeling depressed and very tired. I have an acute problem of staying up till 1 or 2 Am way too often. So I don’t get enough sleep. I know, I know… I have issues. I dragged my ass into work yest again barely making the daily 9:45 meeting. Guh! I hate that. The rest of the day was pretty normal with me fixing a few bugs and helping QA to get our release done. Ass-hurts-thirty and it’s time for me to go home. I cannot work for more that 8 or 9 hours. the pain is just too intolerable at that point.

I raced to the gym so that the guy I pay lots of money to beat the living crap out of my “soft-n-fluffy” physique cab go home knowing he accomplished just that. As he did. The most intense workout thus far. I barely made it into my car. I get home shower and do a little laundry, read and stuff then crash pretty hard. Night night sweet Nikki.

Thursday I awake to the startling revelation that I could not move. I literally rolled sideways out of bed and let everything fall to the floor in hopes I could stand because my abs and legs were incapable of doing the job. As for my arms… no honey I have no arms at this point. More like overdone angel hair pasta for limbs. They were not about to help me do anything.

Thursday morn is turning out swell…. swelling is more like it. I somehow manage to shave half of one underarm, apply eyeliner and mascara at which point “fuck it all” comes to mind. So I did. Thursday is so declared “I don’t care” if I look like hell day. I get dressed and for the umpteenth time this month…. race to work to make it just in the nick of time.

And it was a rather slow day. I barely got out of my chair despite the pain I was in simply because it hurt more to stand up then it did to sit and suffer. All of you younger folks out there I send you this warning. Head t well. DO NOT LET YOUR BODY GO TO WASTE. It is hell trying to get a 30 year old body back into a 40 something year old dilapidated meat sac.

We finally get back to the beginning of this story. I did not have a very busy day so I thunk too much. The lonely thoughts set in and the what the hell am I going to do with my life thoughts. But I drag myself to the Muni expecting to go squander another night alone in my room all depressed and feeling sorry for myself. But I did not do this.

I get off the train a stop ahead of my normal stop as I often do. The walk is good for me. I walked around the corner to Church and 14th, the long way home. As I round the corner the “fuck it all” attitude comes back in a good way and I decide to stop in the bar for a drink. Today would not be the first time I get there when the only person in the bar is the owner. Peter.

I like Peter and the bar so I have recently designated this “My” bar. Every time I have been in there I talk with people. Other locals. Nice people. It makes me feel 10 times better on those lonely days. It’s that kind of bar. The music is not loud. Yes you can talk to people. The drinks are good and the atmosphere is not a party hearty place after work. Love it. I can sit there and just relax. And I did.

Poor man’s Manhattan is my drink right now. They are good, a little pricey, but they do the job. And today the job is muscle relaxer!   The first drink I nurture along for a good 40 minutes or so. The second and last I stretch out for about an hour. I  have a 2 drink limit when I do drink so I make them last. Between the drinks and the friendly conversation I felt so much better. My muscles were sufficiently relaxed at this point. A very good thing indeed.

As my evening closes I notice a bottle on the shelf. I had to squint to see the name. St. Germain. What caught my eye was the incredible retro and artistic bottle. The Art Nouveau design is quite elegant. I think I must have stared at this bottle for half an hour contemplating what was in it. Elderflower liqueur if you were also wondering. The nice thing about this design is how it really stands out from all the other bottles. It even seemed to have it’s own light source making it pop even more.

But there it sat on the bottom shelf with all the other liqueurs. I call it St. Germain’s Shelf. The image is still burned clear in my mind. I kind of like that.

Nobody There

Tears stream down an empty cheek
No hand to raise and wipe away the pain
The sounds of sadness fall upon no ear
Reassured embrace a distant memory
The still of the sheets cold and empty surround
Light casts dark shadows in the mid of day
A heart beats its solemn song
The lone soul wonders silent halls
Unlocked memories still remain
Rising to the surface a wound unseen
Friends reach out in distant refrain
Words of comfort only glimmers in the night
A turn in the mind
A respite faintly shared
A voice echos in the dark of closed eyes
Only to open to nobody there

Portrait of Robin – A Study in Faces

Portarit of Robin

Portrait of Robin. Pencil on paper. A very beautiful young woman I have had the pleasure to meet. The interesting thing about this pic aside from the subject is what happened when I went in to clean up the photograph made from my phone. Notice the subtle colors and texture of the paper. Serendipitous Photoshopage to be sure.

This is my third “serious” drawing in a month. I have always been drawn to faces. Woman’s faces to be honest. There was always a reason for that. I usually end up drawing women I find amazingly beautiful and of course girl crushes. The magical essence of a women has captivated me my entire life. SO I draw what I like and love.

What better form of self expression than to draw your dreams. In art school I took a couple years of figure drawing. The body is easy. Hands and feet are always hard to capture without mangling the perception. Faces are in fact the hardest thing to draw. And yes I am going to tell you why.

Our brains are essentially very powerful facial recognition systems. When it comes to subtle, yet significant details no computer can match what the human brain can see in the human face. Our face is the most significant part of our identity between Homo Sapiens. Expressions change in very subtle to very dramatic ways. My computer (brain) is tuned to picking out the softer curves and subtle beauty in women. To this day I am never fully satisfied with what I have drawn. I can immediately see the mistakes when the subject or a picture is available to do a comparison.

Eyes too high or too low in the skull. Lips to hard edged. Nose wrong shape. The list of FAIL goes on. But what is more important is that it is not necessarily the intent to make a perfect copy of the subject. So yes her eyes may be a 32nth of an inch to far apart. Our brains will see this almost immediately if we are familiar with the subject. The work of art is flawed in the very first stroke of the pencil.

Or is it?

As an artist my intent is to capture the beauty of the person or subject. While some artists pride themselves on their amazing technical ability to capture a near photographic duplication of their subject. Realists. I am more than happy to make subtle and often accidental changes. This is interpretation. Sometimes it pays to enhance a feature. I love the eyes so I always make them bigger than reality.

When I complete a drawing to my own satisfaction I have put to paper my own vision of the world passed through my eyes, post processed by my brain and executed by my own hands. Every point of interaction is a point of failure or a point of immeasurable success in creating a work of art that is uniquely mine and mine alone.