a sink is getting installed in the back tattoo room. since i’ve opened i’ve been using the bathroom sink which is right next to the back room.
the business slowed down the whole month of november after someone called the health department. i’ve had a cease and desist for a month. ideally you’re supposed to have a business license before you start but it caught up to me a year and a half later. i’m not mad but very inconvenienced by it, but going through protocol procedure is making me stronger. it’s upscaling, it’s a level up. it’s something that warrants enthusiasm during the ideation phase but drags on during execution. it’s good then bad then great. impatience is the only stressor, but still a big one. my faith doesn’t waver.
the plumber is really cool and i appreciate him. i appreciate my neighbor and friend for letting me borrow his drill. i appreciate my friend for the plumber referral. it’s not a sink replacement but a whole new sink, new pipes and plumbing that needs to go into the basement.
spent today cleaning, wiping down mirrors and watering the plants. went to the gym, listened to the new meek, about to work on the plan review papers after i post this, then go pick up some birds to charge.
after i wrote the saturn blog post, i worked on the online shop ferociously with stunning detail and focus. it felt good, it made me happy. the pressure i was putting on myself is gone. i’m glad i waited. the internal frantic feeling has dissolved into a deep reassurance that i am doing a favor, providing an exclusive blessing for each customer and won’t lose no matter what the outcome is. writing about my process a crucial part of the process and this is where i’ll do it. every monday i will update this, if i don’t get to post, at least i’ll start on something to post and work on it through the week.
my recent saturn revelation had more steps in it than i anticipated, truly an awakening process. the first night and day was research, then for another day or two i interpreted the patterns and how it applied to myself. then yesterday i wrote a list of hindering thinking and behavior patterns to release.
don’t help people before helping yourself. stop trying to hook up all your friends and be friends with everyone. control your control issues. take pride in craft and appearance. presentation speaks for itself. decorate passionately and purposefully. don’t spread yourself thin to escape what needs to be done. see yourself as more than rich, but wealthy. but don’t measure your worth with money because not every soul you touch will have a dollar to spend. understand that abundance comes in unexpected ways, perhaps not how you expected but exactly how you need. desperation is hustling backwards, reverse ambition, short-changing myself.
i am agonizing agonizing agonizing procrastinating triggered triggered triggered, my chest feels tight and my breath is slowing as i am typing these words. i’ve been hyperventilating and letting out slow screams trying to make myself cry so i feel better. this is not a cry for help it’s just part of the process, i am supremely confident i will be ok i am confident in my abilities i am confident in my abilities i am confident in my abilities. my success is important to myself and others. i am just as valuable as i have ever been. these are the words i need to hear so i tell them to myself until i believe it, these are the words i need to see so i spell them out on here so i can read it, i see it before anyone else does and once i decide it is good enough, i hit publish. by the time it is new to the public, it is old to me, the final push is the commitment to consequences, projections, following up, criticism, or most horrifying: praise. (just kidding, i still enjoy praise. just not in front of everyone)
for over a year i’ve had “launch online shop” on my to-do list and it didn’t move and i didn’t work on it because it’s one of those things that have fifty to a hundred smaller to-dos inside of it. december 1st was the deadline i gave myself and that’s tomorrow.
the down is as low as the up is high and i was on a productivity high yesterday afternoon but then in the evening i felt very lost and lonely, could not shake this fragmented fog of failure. stacked up against the memories of all the other things i started and didn’t finished. it feels like losing ground, treading water, the fear of being defined by your flaws and failures. it’s an unquenchable hunger. normally i would get high but i didn’t allow myself to. i don’t want to run from the pain or do things to make myself feel temporarily better but cause long term regret. i got to reroute my serotonin supply. i won’t try to escape the discomfort necessary to achieve my desire. how is making your dreams come true so dreadful?
after i wrote something hard and honest, i said “making art doesn’t feel like busting a nut anymore, it feels like giving birth.” and it’s still true. the labor pains, the sickness, the commitment, the postpartum sense of loss and new identity to adjust to. the first push that begins a whole new entity with it’s own mind and moods. i embrace it because it means that what i’m making means more.
i’ve ran an online shop before, i know i can do this because i have done it before. i want to do it better than i did before because i have more than before. i have more freedom, resources, knowledge, stability and strength than three years ago. it can take a long time to perfect a product, multiple trials and botched recipes and updates. the entrepreneur has to take time to prepare to profit. it’s only six items with short inventory runs of each product. not even as big of a deal as i’m making it out to be.
it’s harder than it’s ever been, i texted myles about it. he said “because we’re getting older and there feels like there is less space for ‘practice'””. psychological issues can become more pronounced in adulthood. a grown-up develops addictions and relies on vices in the same manner that a toddler wants their blanket or teddybear. you have to stop and take the rocks out of your backpack every now and then.
the next thing i need to do is to finish writing a press release. so easy. probably about the same amount of effort and energy to write this shit. why this shit instead of that shit then?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [ stopping point. a day passes. mreeuh takes a walk to calm her thoughts. goes grocery shopping. confides in her family and old friend. has some red wine and cheese pizza. decides to postpone the launch. says fuck it to the stress and is highly amused at her ability to get her own self worked up over nothingsomethingeverythinganything herself? ]
realizing i have a incompletion trigger. let’s call it that instead of impostor syndrome for now. a trigger is a trauma wound, a land mine, a pitfall portal, something that reminds you of all of the other things just like it. how do you heal a thing like that? i love to make things but then i stop right before it’s done. i’ve done it so much it that it feels like it’s just how i am but that has to change. i know i’m not alone in this, so many people do this with books, food, clothes. buying new things, overlooking what they have. i have to look inside. there is no need to go outside.
what does the hater in my head have to say about my hopes and dreams? the bastard whispers that people will say that i’m copying someone else, force-following footsteps, trying to be like someone more successful than me, similar in business model and industry but vastly different in style, execution, creativity, attitude. “damn i guess tattooing isn’t working out?” fuck you. of course no one has actually said this. i haven’t launched yet, i haven’t even revealed anything to criticize. it is my own expectation, my own limiting belief beneath the sabotage. that is one perspective but another is that i am the perfect person to execute my vision because of my previous involvement in assisting other companies, going after potential competitors. if i don’t do this, i’ll remain unfulfilled, envious and resentful of everyone doing something similar, feeling like i could do better, trapped by fear with no one to blame but myself.
my procrastination led me back to my birth chart. i started researching my saturn aspects, the eighth house. i’m at the cusp of my saturn return. saturn rules bones, authority, father figure, time, karma. it is the task master, whistle blower, custodian, disciplinarian. serious and mature, the saturn return demands thorough assessment and necessary transformation. because it handles karma, it also deals destiny.
the birth chart can be studied for a lifetime. because saturn rules the bones and has malefic aspects to my sun and jupiter, i interpreted that as the reason for my scoliosis. last year, i began straightening my spine and it’s significantly straightened. because saturn represents a father figure, i figured my father issues were correlated by my saturn placement. two years ago i wrote about it and stopped telling the story. the birth chart doesn’t change but the person grows so the understanding of the birth chart can be reinterpreted with deepened insight as the chart owner matures and masters lessons.
saturn in aquarius in the eighth house. what the hell does that mean. i spent two days and one night ruminating on it. what is saturn, what is aquarius, what is the eighth house, what are all the possible combination of these, what does it all mean, here, now? the eighth house is the house of sex, death, rebirth, inheritances. here is the best article i found on it.
i have at least three main nemeses in this life, enemies with enduring hatred, once sweet relationships turned sour. grudges that borderline obsession that got so out of hand that the initial reasons why became distorted. characters committed to my undoing, going out of their way to make my life harder, lying on me, blaming me for their actions, obsessed with me but trying to make it seem as if i am obsessed with them, which resulted in me becoming obsessed. i don’t care about them as much as i am bothered by their antics, but sometimes my compassion kicks in and then i do. victim playing, gaslighting, reaction-baiting narcissists who will stoop to the lowest lows. they’ve tested me to my limits and brought out the worst in me. they expose my shadows, they’ve scarred my psyche. they are the stepmother of the hater in my head. the wars we’ve waged have made me who i am. they have all tried to do something to interfere with my livelihood, even my freedom, slandered my character and reputation in attempt to control how strangers see me. they are all aquarians. one a former lover turned stalker, one a ex-friend and sister, most recently my upstairs neighbor. but even i ignore them or a relationship ends, if i don’t understand the underlying issues, the situation can reappear in another person. i have a karmic cycle to close. if i stay there, it would be by my choice and that’s not what i choose. if someone was born late january to mid february, that’s a red flag for me. only exceptions i can think of are chris and natalie.
what am i saying about myself if my saturn is in aquarius and saturn is discipline and karma and eighth house is legacy and inheritance and other people’s shit? how can i make an enemy of aquarians without denying the aspect of myself that relates to structure and discipline? it can be an excuse or it can be fuel. ego death, ego death, ego death. career-wise it makes total sense i am a tattooer. the seriousness of the craft, permanently modifying other people’s bodies. aquarian energy is that of deviation and eccentricity so it also makes sense that i am professionally subversive, even in the industry of tattooing, i don’t fit the profile of “serious tattooer” because i do so many other things. i’m a disgrace by the standards of more than one cultural limitation. i am here to pioneer the new, with nods to the ancient. while understanding that not all projects need to see the light of day, i want to heal my incompletion trigger. i want to finish and release and keep getting better.
saturn in aquarius means i could invent new technology or champion social justice rights. aquarians are independent so in the eighth house it means i don’t ask or receive help from others well. an elusive genius with a schizophrenic work ethic. saturn spends about 2.5 years in a sign so it’s not just me but everyone born in 1991 and beyond. it makes sense that so many people my age want to be their own boss and not work for anyone, equipped with the technological savviness of making the internet work for you.
with saturn in aquarius, its difficult to define what is work and what is play. the gratification of hard work versus the enjoyment of leisure become overlapped. we need our wants. the craft is burden and blessing. the calling fosters fulfillment and inadequacy. the procrastination is productive. the progression can be pointless. go on a far enough tangent and it loops back into the bigger picture.
i want to give my life to my work. i want my work to expand my life. i want my expanded life to improve my work. i want my improved work to archive my life. i want my archived life to inspire the world. i want the inspired world to find their work. i want their improved work to inspire my life. i want to live my inspired life, working.
taking a trip around the galaxy to make myself feel better inside my body. my standards are high but my expectations are low, taking the scenic route to simplicity with overthought conundrums, i work myself up just to laugh later.
i haven’t updated this thing in months, and of course much has changed, grown, evolved since, in spite of lack of update. one of the best compliments someone can tell me, besides that the place looks organized and pretty, is that things have changed. most people stop by once every other month or so. this time frame is long enough for things to be rearranged, an old project completed, a new project started.
still configuring my domains.
behind curtain building.
products available soon.
the weather is getting cooler. it’s harvest season, time to pick and pluck the fruit and petals of what was planted in the spring and thrived in the summer.
This place is a fucking mess. Not just this site ~for now~ but the actual storefront where I’m typing this. Messy, yet less of a mess than usual, and a huge improvement to how I’ve been in previous years. I knew I hoarded but I didn’t know I was a hoarder until Briana came to visit a few months ago, in March. Before I tattooed the elephant on her, she made me put my cluttering furniture on the street. Things that only an old friend who really knows you can do. It was so hard for me, we went back and forth over it, but I felt way better after clearing the area. Essentials aside, the empty space of cleanliness is far more valuable than most things you could fill it with. It’s the fresh air that feng shui is made of. It’s the feel of sage smoke. It provides a crisp jolt of possibility.
Last time we spoke, I told her since she left it’s gotten messy and clean and messy and clean but now I think of her when I throw away something meaningful. It’s easier for me to let go of material things now. The fear of loss that binds me to the unnecessary has lessened. The way my mind works, I want to hold on to things that may be useful one day. I’m going to use this for something one day. I want to work on this project, build this thing and I’m going to need this, one day. Yet that “one day” stays far away because the clutter ruins today and the other days it takes to get to that one day, some day. Plus, whenever I clean, I’ll stop to make something, the discarding-organizing process turns creative and I won’t finish putting things away because most of the stuff I’m organizing is art supplies. I create and destroy, not put away. It’s easier for me to stop and make something than clean thoroughly.
Last week I started shopping around for housekeepers, looking to hire someone to come in once every two weeks. I’ve been doing temp work part time for a month now so I’m proud of myself for adjusting to a different lifestyle for some structure and stability, eager to outsource the cleaning that I’m convinced I’m just bad at. My boy owns a cleaning company and I asked if I could hire one of his workers. He said it sounds like I need a personal assistant because how will they know what to throw away or what to keep? How can anyone else beside myself know what I intend to keep things for?
Right after we had that conversation, a client recommends me this book (Hi Trihn!). It caught my eye years ago but I couldn’t get it then although I felt like I needed it. I found the audiobook on youtube immediately.
I’ve been messy most of my life, I’ve accepted that’s how I am but this book is changing my mindset. “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” relies on a method in which you discard, then organize. If you organize everything without eliminating the inessential, it quickly becomes disorganized again. This book is written to provide trusted techniques to lessen cleaning time, while keeping areas permanently tidy. The author says that putting your home in order is something that you should only do once, sparingly, thoroughly and from then on, everything is placed back as soon as you’re done using it. Also, keeping your home in order is something only you can do because it involves the very personal choice of determining what to keep in your life.
I have a lot of stuff and I work on a lot of stuff and I start making other stuff before I finish that stuff and it just ends up being a lot of different stuff everywhere. On the easel I have an unfinished painting for the tailor across the street: a canvas print of poppies with the word “Peace” painted across it in different languages and fonts. “pacem” in a lowercase lime green serif. “Paix” in a fancy lavender script. “pax” in a lowercase red cursive type outlined in white border. I could honestly finish it in a day, it’s just taking me forever because it’s so easy and it’s a barter with no deadline. Cases of lip balm that need labels on them, a sheet of rubber I been meaning to laser cut into stamps for candle packaging, plastic jars of sage blends, to-do lists. It’s not as all-over-the-place as it looks. I’m on the brink of something and I can feel it; things can wait no longer, I’m finishing tasks that I’ve put off for months and the tidying is becoming natural, unconscious, permanent.
I feel like there is always cleaning to do and getting everything spotless feels impossible because there are so many different sections of the studio that all need varying attention. I don’t know how, but I’m improving. Moving around over the years, reducing my possessions down to a suitcase helped a lot. My apartment on Court Street used to look like those I Spy books, with so much random stuff on the floor and shelves in no particular order. Not dirty, just disorganized. Something in me was mentally disconnected from my surroundings then, I didn’t see or feel the mess, I was a part of it, a random thing, a consequence and reflection of my chaotic mind state. Back then, I couldn’t manage my emotions well either.
Keeping this blog up will help me keep my place presentable and productive, because I will be consistently posting photos of the space, as well as what I’m working on here. Plus, I need a new, more customizable, engaging way to share thoughts and multimedia online again. To lessen my internal mess which manifests as physical clutter.
Anyone who has studied Hermeticism understands the concept of “as above, so below”. That the micro reflects the macro, the earth reflects the heavens, the physical is a manifestation of the nonmaterial. Something internally in me is ready to eliminate and elevate.
DISCIPLINE = FREEDOM. MORE DISCIPLINE = MORE FREEDOM. NO DISCIPLINE = NO FREEDOM.
IF YOU WANT WHAT YOU’VE NEVER HAD, YOU MUST DO WHAT YOU’VE NEVER DONE.
NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES.
Although heartbreak and tragedy can make for compelling art, I don’t want to create from chaos or confusion or dysfunction or desperation or lack of options or obligation or even impulse anymore. I literally cannot afford to. Life happens, much is uncertain, I cannot depend on drama, I get my fair share of it anyway. Routine turns goals into accomplishments. Habit is more reliable than passion so you have to build good habits around your passion.
tidying up is life-changing magic. the life changing magic of tidying up is trickling down my life into all other areas. it’s needed. i’m ready. change is constant. evolution is essential. i’m not who i once was, or what i was even before that and so forth. i don’t operate the same as my old me, and i needed some years to disintegrate and reintegrate myself, my vision, the world i live in and how i see myself in it. it’s been a lot of work and it only gets harder and i only get stronger. i’m itching to snap creatively again. if i don’t, it’ll manifest as anxiety and self-loathing and suicidal ideation but i know i don’t want to off myself. it’s a sense of dissatisfaction towards myself i feel. if i can pinpoint and harness it, i can wield the dissatisfaction as a tool to carve the life i want, not beat myself up.
the last piece i’ve painted that i impressed myself with was “The Reconciliation of Atlantis” done in Wake Up Star Studio in Wynwood, Miami, at the end of 2014.
After that, I wrote and illustrated Drones Don’t Dream, I self-published it the following year after moving to Miami. It’s currently going through final stages in the proofing process before it’s available for purchase. Before I was printing, selling, shipping them on my own and wasn’t making any profit off costs although I did sell a lot of copies on my own. It was costing me $10 to print a book, the same company who prints some of my custom merch. It was designed and processed as a custom photo book. I got an email today from another publishing company I’m working with, they’re charging me an extra $285 because the hardcover size I planned for is not available, and also saying the paperback and ebook will not be available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. I’m dealing with frustration on multiple levels, treading water in a sea of projects at varying levels of completion. These are projects I surrendered to, made space to weave out of the air and bleed into, uncertain of outcome, determined to complete and producing results that surpassed my expectation. The high you get from doing something you thought you couldn’t do is incomparable and that’s the high I am hungry to chase again. Not just the triumph over self-doubt, but the trance-like state of flow that occurs when you submit fully to the craft.
A tender drop in an ocean of mercy, the will of the water carries me.