Of Lice and Licenses and the Big Bad Week

my stressed kitty doodle

What this blog post should really be called is how a good week went bad, then good again, and then back to bad because this was one heck of a roller coaster of a week.

Sometimes it feels like my anxiety just pulls me in all sorts of directions, especially into the overzealous we-have-to-fix-this-right-now-or-life-itself-will-end mode. That’s just the life of living with PTSD I guess, the instant and unavoidable panic that everything is falling apart. If you also have PTSD, you know just how annoying it is for this to happen. I mean, yes, it’s terrifying and everything feels like death, but once it’s over… I tell myself “oh great, now we have to pick up the pieces from this too.”

I was so excited to start this week. I officially got my business license, I was working on some admin type stuff that I had been putting off for the business, got that done. Worked on a few paintings. Things were going so good, and then they suddenly were not.

It really all started at one of those walk-in hair cut places. Simple enough: kid has a half day at school, use the extra time to take care of child’s needs. And then you end up with a hairdresser telling you to get out right now because your kid has lice. That’s about when the oh, here we go again kicks in. The frantic calls to my mom and husband, the putting every cloth item into garbage bags, the deep cleaning of everything, the big to-do list of how to solve yet another scary problem. Everything chaos and disorder, as if the prospect of a child having lice isn’t enough.

The doctor confirmed, after first refusing to see her for fear of contamination, that she did not, in fact, have lice. It was dandruff and old hair spray, and all of our stuff was in garbage bags.

Despite all of this, I have my business. My child is healthy. My home is slowly returning to normal.

But more importantly, I advocated for myself and my daughter (eventually) in insisting that she did not have lice. I refused to put my child through treatment she did not need, at least not until we had an official diagnosis. I persisted even though her pediatrician’s office didn’t want her to come in to have her checked. I stood up for my family, which I think last year I would have never done. I would have rolled over and cried, upset that no one was listening to me, and cried for fear that I couldn’t even trust my own experience to be true.

I’m glad to see more and more how quickly the pieces fit back together; I’ve gotten really good at picking myself back up again.

Stubbornness is a Virtue, I Guess

Okay, well here I am being extreme again, but I mean what I say. I know stubbornness is not necessarily indicative of “goodness,” but it has paid off more times in my life than it has caused me grief.

Art has had a profound impact on my life. And when I say art, I mean all forms of it: from music to poetry to drama to painting. I took singing lessons for 2 years, learned how to build my own pinhole camera and develop film, I took classes in drama and helped perform and work backstage, won a contest for an oil pastel piece, created numerous chalk pastel aurora pieces, learned to paint with acrylic and watercolor, I drew tattoo designs, I wrote a novel, I wrote hundreds of poems, all before the age of 18.

I say this not to make me seem like I’m an arrogant person (I kind of am, though), or to put myself up on a pedestal, or to brag.

I say this because throughout doing all of this, I never felt like it was enough. I never felt like I was living up to the standard that I wanted. I wanted to, and still want to, be the best. And I don’t mean be the best I can be, but to be the best that anyone can be. A lofty goal. An unattainable goal.

If my brother went to pre-k, I had to too. So I started school a year earlier than everyone else. I had to be placed in a grade higher than mine for swimming competitions in elementary school because I was too fast for the kids in my grade (which, as I mentioned, was already technically a grade ahead of me).

Like I said, I’m extreme. Just ask my family; they’ve put up with me for almost 30 years.

Trust me, I think I’m a pain in the ass too. I’m annoyed by my confidence. I’m annoyed that I try so hard. And I am beyond annoyed at how much all of my efforts exhaust me.

I’ve talked a few times about how, while working on Sagittarius for my Zodiac Portrait series, I had to start over twice. Did I mention I did the same thing with Scorpio? Did I mention that I do this with almost everything?

It’s why I’ve had this website since 2012. Do you see how many blog posts I have? It’s two. Because over and over again, I’ve written and erased hundreds of blog posts. And yet here I am, blogging once again, trying to be better.

The picture above shows you the first version of Scorpio. I completely started over. Even after I was done with the final version, I couldn’t look at it for almost a month without feeling dissatisfied and wanting to start over.

Someone once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I think the word they were looking for was perseverance.