Bras and Sadness

 
IL - Bras.jpg

Fun fact: "Bra" comes from the French word "brassiere" meaning "a soldier's arm guard or shield." At times, life can be more than stressful, it's painful. Things can happen that deeply wound and bewilder us. We'll not feel quite ourselves for a long time, maybe a very long time. Our self image becomes distorted. We can become alarmingly unsure of things that used to be easy to believe. Sometimes being in our own skin becomes very hard or even scary. And things that felt familiar grow to seem unwelcoming.

For the past several months, eh, year(s), I haven't felt totally myself and my beliefs have been wracked and my head and my heart and pretty much all of my insides have been aching ruthlessly in some ways. And I promise this has to do with bras because I've been desperately trying to surround myself with positive messages. Not the kind of annoying positivity printed on dollar store notebooks, but ones that change something about me because they go nearly as deep as my hurts. Messages that respect pain and the realness of being broken but still give hope and healing a fighting chance. Symbols that remind me of who I am and Who my life belongs to. 

As I was painting this picture, I was thinking about a friend who's dealing with some not nice stuff right now and wanting so badly for them to be well. I was reflecting on my own labors with pain and loss and sadness. I thought of other folks who have walked really really really hard roads. There are people I'm worried about and friends I want to hug and strangers that are dealing with rough shit and I wish they weren't. So, I find myself on the lookout at all times for reminders of real strength. That means there are days I listen to "Anything" by Hedley four times on my way to work. Some times, I need to specifically drink "Big Joy" coffee (@camber, you're a life saver) in the morning, probably in an extra large mug. And some times, I need to know the etymology of a term used to describe a lady's undergarment, so when I get dressed every miserable and/or merciful morning, I'm reminded that I'm strong and alive and able and loved and everyone else is too. Thank you, @darling and @melaniespoon for coming up with the best ideas first. 

For the kids.

This week I closed my two-year career of working with children in early education. The past few months I took some time to focus on the inspirations my afterschool job provided, and here are some illustrations from the collection. Enjoy! 

IL - Sleepy Bears.jpg

Shalom!

I had the privilege of closing out my undergrad education with a trip to Israel. Our over-sized and very American group of students toured the Holy Lands for about a month. Although the program mainly focused on academics, we witnessed many faces of the land of Israel, and these paintings depict a few: the natural world, daily life, and eclectic scenes. This brief collection, some five-minute sketches and other more detailed works, unfortunately doesn't cover all of it. There was so much to observe. Enjoy this sampling and know that the real thing was sensational! 

A collection of potted plants in the courtyard of the Church of Dominus Flevit, Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem. 

A collection of potted plants in the courtyard of the Church of Dominus Flevit, Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem. 

Modern day shepherd and flock near Nahal Zin. 

Modern day shepherd and flock near Nahal Zin. 

Young boys chatting during a morning ride, Jericho. 

Young boys chatting during a morning ride, Jericho. 

Play time, near Jerusalem.  

Play time, near Jerusalem.  

Market passage in the Jewish Quarter, Old City Jerusalem. 

Market passage in the Jewish Quarter, Old City Jerusalem. 

Third-floor view from Hotel Neve Ilan, Jerusalem. 

Third-floor view from Hotel Neve Ilan, Jerusalem. 

Tiny flowers. 

Tiny flowers. 

Giant seed pods from trees near TIberias, Galilee. 

Giant seed pods from trees near TIberias, Galilee. 

Palms on Shabbat, near Tiberias, Galilee. 

Palms on Shabbat, near Tiberias, Galilee. 

Noticeable interior decor, near Jerusalem. 

Noticeable interior decor, near Jerusalem. 

Potted plants near Jerusalem. 

Potted plants near Jerusalem. 

Leftovers.

The past few weeks, my roommates and I have been in the process of moving out, and Friday is the final farewell to our third-story, 900 sq. ft. home. I'm the last to leave, and when I walked through the door the other night to silence, only-white walls, and maybe too much space, I experienced some nudges of slow panic and isolation bubbling to the surface of my gut. But gradually, as the newly found quiet side of the apartment and I have gotten to know each other, this week has become a space for recovery, preparation, and reflection from the past few years, for an upcoming trip, and for the transition ahead (cheers to post-graduate life!). All of the sudden, familiar living spaces have produced new looks from the removal of two year's worth of stuff and chaotic flutter of move-out madness. I'll turn around now and again, surprised and delighted by the company of beauty snippets that sit quietly in the corner or on the mantle, waiting to be found.  

Enjoy.