Am I good enough?

sm-cah-the_gift-closeup3-Image5

Each & every damn darn time I complete an article I get a sudden case of the dreaded ‘amigoodenoughs’. Let me reiterate:

Every.      Single.      Time.

My brain works overtime into this ri.dic.u.lous. sort of insane frenzy…  Am I good enough? Is it innovative enough? Is it clear enough? Did I forget something? Is there something new for people to learn? Is it supportive? Is it pretty? Am I sure I am done? Should I have added another piece? Did I proofread it well enough? Is it original and creative?  Is it at all inspiring? Can anyone do this? Is it too bizarre? Is it too common? Are the color palettes pleasing?  Are the pieces balanced? What will people get from it? Did I stretch my wings? Will the editors like it? Will it fit the issue they have in mind? What if it doesn’t? What if all the work was for nothing? OMG maybe I should start over. This isn’t good at all. This is the worst piece I have written. How boring am I? Am I good enough? … and it begins all over again. You know, that vicious circle thing.

Nothing is guaranteed. You may write a perfectly pleasing piece – it could be the nobel prize of art – and it just may get cut because it doesn’t fit. Granted, this has never  yet to happen to me – but I still worry it will. Financially, I have to place the majority of my time (or keep learning to) in things that I will profit from. I need to make a living.. and while rejection doesn’t bother me (much).. the idea of having wasted my time… THAT really friggin’ gets to me. Scares me. Scares the living bejesus outta me.. which triggers all the normal anxieties any one of us may have… and triggers my mood swings. Yikes. 

Earlier this year, was the first time I dropped the ball on an article. (i am still so, so, very sorry pokey) Mentally? I was in a bad, bad place. Physically? Not so good either. I was overwhelmed by life – overwhelmed by pain – overwhelmed with work – overwhelmed with home – you get the idea…  and when I couldn’t complete the task at hand, I beat myself up for it. I still do. It has and will always bother me.. that from time to time, this disease gets the best of me. I don’t want to be ‘that’ girl. Ya know? Things hit rock bottom for me this year… and I picked myself up. I have spent the year focused on getting that proverbial ‘all’ under control, while battling some life changes that would make a normal person crazy.

Still with me? I really do have a point here, I promise!

So I stopped writing, I didn’t commit to very much. I have found strength I forgot I had. I started over again, and began writing once more. When I completed my latest article, (which you should hopefully see in Somerset Studio next spring .. hello part deux) I was actually a bit surprised that my brain went right back to that way-too-friggin-rambly-insecure-mess you saw above. Talk about frustrating. Like a trooper though, I packed it up – shipped it out and hoped for the best. It is a good article, I think. Yet — is it good enough? I really get the most from inspiring someone to do something that they didn’t believe they could — I guess, like any of us… I want to know I contribute, that I have value – and that maybe, just maybe… someone else will gain something from that ‘thing’ I so loooove to do.

When the nasty lil thoughts hit me, I remembered something – a letter I received after my first article with Cloth, Paper, Scissors. It wasn’t the normal, ooo i like it… it wasn’t from someone I knew complimenting me… this was a stranger, who tracked me down.. and sent me the most touching note I have ever received about my writing. It made me cry. She gave me permission to share it years ago, and I hadn’t… but I think today I will. I would never post a private letter without permission.

I know this post is long. I know you may be sick of reading, I am asking that you continue doing sopretty please?

Chrysti,

I wanted to write to let you know how much your article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors has helped my 30 year old daughter.  She suffered an episode very similar to a stroke after the birth of her 3rd child last year and had to have surgery on her brain.  She has limited use of her right side and her speech is slowly coming back.  I have been trying to get her to play with some form of art or another (I am a cloth doll maker and jill of some trades) to help her heal and when I read your article I knew that I could get her to try her hand with this.  Her brain injury occurred on her left side and I knew that if I could show her how much fun she could have just trying some of the techniques she would find the confidence to try even more artistic endeavors.  One thing that we have been told is that the right side of the brain can compensate inadequacies (sp?) that happen to the injured left side and I knew that this was an art form that she would be able to do.

 She was a hair stylist by trade and color was her specialty yet she never felt that she was “artistic”.  Today she tried the first three steps in making a “Skinny Book” and even applied these techniques to some watercolor paper postcards.  We have taken a break until next weekend to let things dry.  I truly want to thank you for the great article with steps that made her feel like there are “no mistakes”.  She is her own worst critic and with limitations put on her now her self confidence and self esteem has been waning.  It was so fabulous to see her eyes light up as each new layer of play was completed. 

Biggest of hugs to you, my dear!

kimber

I of course, replied.. through tears.. the follow up note from her read as so…

Dearest Chrysti,

Thank you so much for writing and by all means share my note with anyone and everyone that you would like to.  You have a gift, my girl, and you were correct in saying that being “different” is one of your blessings.  Know that you touch more lives daily by creating the works that you do. 

When Morana first had her AVM episode they told us not to expect her to live.  A mother’s worst nightmare, I can assure you.  The blessings bestowed on us were many and we continue to be blessed in her healing process.  One of the many has been how you and your art have touched our lives.

When Morana was growing up she considered the art that I did daily just “something” her mom did.  When she was a little girl she drew daily but after a bad experience in school where they made her conform to what “they wanted” her to create she quit drawing, doing so only when assigned.

With this injury being on the left side of her brain I knew that if I could show her that there were no rules I could stir the right side of her brain to react positively.  I have always believed that art has healing qualities and I can already see this in her attitude and outlook about her life in general. 

Your article for Cloth Paper Scissors was just what we both needed to begin the baby steps in her art therapy.  I will be sending some pics next weekend to show you our progress. 

I will also be sharing with Cloth Paper Scissors what your article has stirred in our lives.  As “great” as it is to get “published” they (CPS) were the lucky ones in having you do such a wonderful article for them.

Biggest hugs to you, my dear!

kimber

See, this was my long-winded way of reminding you that despite our deepest reservations, despite our inner critics, despite what has seemingly become routine to us — through the good times, and the worst of times … we touch people. Our lives are all somehow connected, and each of us – has impacted someone in ways we may never know. In ways bigger than us.

Just by being who we are.

Just by sharing what we know.

So, goodbye, for now my-woefully-annoying-lil-insecurities .. I am reminded and trust that everything happens for a reason… once again. How many times will I learn this lesson in my lifetime? And Kimber? Thank you, for still being such an inspiration to me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Chrysti

Tying up loose ends…

* looks around sheepishly …*

So. Ummmmm. Yeah. 

Hi!  Hello! G’Day! Bonjour! Aloha!

And even more ways to give a long, long overdue hello.

*cough, cough …*

The blog is a bit dusty eh? Even though I dont’ quite feel in the frame of mind to write well, I know I need to get this done. Perfectionism is overrated anyhow. (if i say it enough times, i just may believe it!) Seriously though, the logical side of me knows it isn’t even attainable. Why DO we fret over it?

 Untitled - WIP

I am not even going to apologize for letting my trusty blog slide recently. (See Blogging Without Obligation)  How is that for impressive? When hard times hit us – we do what we must to survive, and my blog had to take a backseat for a bit. SO very many of you have checked in, to see how I am… seems y’all know when i vanish, it’s either for very good (too busy) or very bad (hello depression) reasons. This time, it was a combination of both.

Life has thrown some pretty big, life-altering wrenches my way in the last few months … I really am not one to dwell on the negative (we really do become what we think) … nor am I one to publicly air my issues. When the time is right, I will most likely share a retrospective viewpoint of this time period with y’all; but until then .. just please understand there have been some monumental changes in my health and personal life … and I am working through all of it the best I can.

I am confident that I will indeed emerge stronger than before. I have felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown several times recently, but yet I have not completely lost it. 10 years ago, I probably would have been hospitalized handling all of this…. so it is with great pride that I share that growth with you, and continue to remind myself of what a blessing it indeed is. Bipolar disorder is disruptive, it is extremely difficult at times- but it does NOT have to be crippling, or cause one to suffer immensely. There are techniques, medications for some, and tools to help manage it- and those of us who live with it, it is our responsibility to utilize them the best we can on any given day. Choose to fight, daily.. hourly… or by the minute if you have to. It is hard work, but well worth it.

 Untitled Birdie - 5

Now, on the other hand .. there have equally been as many amazing things happening. The yin & yang I suppose. Exhibitions, Juried Shows, Publishing , Teaching, and Licensing opportunities.. and lots more have been heading my way! Sadly, I have had to turn a few things down as I sort things out .. but I continually take on what I can, as I love the distraction and focus on my artwork. Oddly, my recent work has been bright, and vivid and colorful – quite a shift from what I usually create when battling depression. I am TOTALLY digging that, and cannot paint enough these days. I will elaborate on more of these in separate posts.

Now, Moving on…

I wanted to wrap up the giveaway and apologize to the incredibly talented & generous Jodi for taking so long to do this. Don’t worry, I will be doing more giveaways, interviews..and all the fun stuff… just not by blogging daily ..since at this point in my life I cannot commit to it.

Artwork by Jodi Ohl

Artwork by Jodi Ohl

First – Go refresh yourself on the giveaway  & interview with Jodi.

Now… peek and see if you’re a winner…

1)  Prize Recipient Is:  Laura Taylor Mark custom 6 x 12 piece  made especially for this giveaway  (value of $79 dollars)

2)  Prize Recipient Is: Regina R.  A  $40 dollar shopping spree to Jodis online store.

 3)  Prize Recipient Is: Dawn Gold set of 4 of of Sweet HeART magnets “Green Apple” (recently featured in Cloth Paper Scissors, Jan/Feb issue),  value: $24

And I nearly forgot! one more giveaway to wrap up…

read about it here

Prize Recipient Is: Jill Thompson  the delightful book: Layers: Inspired Collage for Paper Projects with Meaning .

Leave me a comment if you won, or I will try to track you down – and contact you for your mailing address!

The remaining 7 days, will be finished – just slowly, as I can. I never default on my commitments, but in this case I need to do it at my own pace… hope y’all understand.

Now – the exciting news, is that i will be doing another 29 days of giving – in a way I CAN commit to. Via …. TWITTER! So be sure to follow me there for chances to win. I will announce here, when it begins… and I can promise you that 140 characters is VERY doable for me. I plan to make it fun like we did here… so I hope you will join us when the time comes.

Facebook & twitter are quick ways I have been utilizing to stay in touch with this amazing community- so join me there, since I tend to keep those up through the rough times. Blog posts typically take me a few hours to do, and is usually the first thing to fall behind.

Again, I cannot thank those of you who check in on me, offer me encouragement, inspiration and positive light enough. I really do hate how trite it sounds to say it’s nice to know people care … because it couldn’t be more real. I am hoping now that I removed this big pink elephant… I can keep up with the blog again, and if not.. I know I will be back, as I can.

Warmly, Chrysti

An Unquiet Mind

“I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. If lithium were not available to me, or didn’t work for me, the answer would be a simple no and it would be an answer laced with terror. But lithium does work for me, and therefore I can afford to pose the question.

Strangely enough I think I would choose to have it. It’s complicated. Depression is awful beyond words or sounds or images… So why would I want anything to do with this illness?

Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters… and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty and seeing things through. …Depressed, I have crawled on my hands and knees in order to get across a room and have done it for month after month. But, normal or manic, I have run faster, thought faster and loved faster than most I know.”

-Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind

Just wanted to share that passage from a book that once changed my life . The bold words feel as if they are my own, and for whatever reason, I felt compelled to share them this evening. Perhaps, there is someone else who needed to hear them too?

Chrysti

Gladness, Sorrow and Promise

“A Gladness Mingled w/Sorrow”
11″ x 14″ Mixed Media On Canvas
by Raleigh,NC Outsider Artist ~Chrysti~
For sale here

I’ve been postponing writing about these pieces for quite some time now. Laziness? I dunno. I have had my reasons. It seems one of the things people enjoy most about my blog, is that I am so ‘open’ about myself, my disorders..and of course my art. A thought I have always found a bit odd if truth be told, as I feel that I am still fairly closed off.

The thing is: i have yet to find a way to adequately express what being bipolar is truly like. It is not that I lack the desire to — the chance to connect with others is a blessing I am grateful for daily. I have spent a lifetime, feeling ‘alone’ with these things… then the internet comes along, and bam! I find I am not. A blessing, a curse and a bit overwhelming in moments.

“Gentle Spirit”
11″ x 14″ Mixed Media On Canvas
by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~Chrysti~
For sale here

I don’t want to be defined as someone who is Manic Depressive. Yet, it is an integral part of who I am. It fuels my creativity, it allows me to feel emotions on a level that most people will never, truly understand – (myself included) which in turn gives me the gift of being able to really connect with what is around me; people, nature, animals… my surroundings. But for every positive aspect it brings my to life, there is a negative one that goes hand in hand with it. So when I create pieces that seem to have a bit of longing, a bit of sadness, and a bit of joy — it’s often immensely personal, and almost a bit to introspective. Hence – it’s difficult to share.

I used to wonder.. why I start pieces, then let them sit for days, weeks, months..and yes sometimes even years before adding to it. Time has allowed me to realize that it is my own healing process, I work through my moods on canvas. Where one day I am sad, the next i see promise — as I have said many times before… art has some sort of metaphoric, visual healing process that no other medium has given me. It’s fascinating for me to look upon my work and see how I continue to transform, and learn to live with this illness that was given to me.

“Fly on Wall”
8″ x 8″ Mixed Media On Canvas
by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~Chrysti~
For sale here

Within each piece are big chunks of who i am, how I see the world around me and what I long for most. Within each piece is the promise I see, the heartache I have felt and ultimately the joy I take in from in everything around me. Sound trite? To me, it is a huge step where from i was a decade or so ago — a time, in which seeing the positive side to things was immensely difficult for me. I hope, you too can take something from these pieces that I put so much of myself into. It is my hope, that they serve as an inspiring bit of promise to those that may need it and touch someone, as they have touched me.

Warmly, Chrysti

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Speaking Through Silence & My Newest Piece…

Music of the Soul

“Music of the Soul”
An Original, One of a Kind, Mixed Media Painting & Assemblage w/Beeswax
by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~ Chrysti ~

Size: 6″ x 6″ x 3/4″ D
Created On: Gallery Wrapped Canvas; Ready to Hang!
For Sale Here

I completed this piece in April ’07 — all but one part, the caption. Last week, as I sat down.. the words just began to form…

“Through silence you speak the music of your soul”

I smiled to myself, as I realized that is slowly becoming my own, personal mantra.

The last few months, have not only been extremely productive, but also very challenging for me. I have come face to face with myself, over & over again… both my strengths, and my weaknesses have been practically shoved in front of me as I have spent large amounts of time alone, in isolation — simply trying to get caught up, and establish new routines. More time to myself means more silence, and more time to over contemplate every aspect of my life. Too much time in fact. For someone with bipolar disorder, this can often be a one way, fast track into extreme depression.

What I initially found frightening — that face to face time with myself, has since turned into an enlightening experience, as I find myself embracing my own, personal evolution. I am learning to trust in my own instincts, to trust a bit more in myself and a bit less in what other people think.. to not only trust but to seek that inner silence, that we all tend to push aside. A process I am beginning to find comforting, and not at all scary. See, we really do have a purpose for every part of our life — even if we can’t recognize it at the time.

Blocking out all that external ‘noise’, has truly brought clarity to me, and a newfound strength that is manifesting itself through my art, my photography, my accomplishments, and most importantly in who I am, and who I want to become. A lifelong, never ending process for all of us.

Music of the Soul - Close-Up

For Sale Here

“Silence tells the seeker in us to love, to love himself.
It tells us it is wrong to hate ourselves because of our imperfections.
When the seeker loves himself, loves the Divine within himself,
he eventually realists the Ultimate Truth.”

So go on, take a few silent moments for yourself today… you never know what you may discover, if you just give it a chance.

-Chrysti

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Life’s Simple Lessons

“Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.”
~Antoine Rivarol

If someone would have ever told me, I’d be sitting here blogging about a celebrity’s untimely passing .. well, to say I would have scoffed at the remark is an understatement. Yet, now I find myself deeply touched and moved enough by the Steve Irwin Memorial Service that Animal Planet aired .. to do exactly that.

 
Steve Irwin 1962-2006
Originally uploaded by gira.

“Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.”
~
Henry Van Dyke

Isn’t it odd, how the very thing that hurts, scares, and touches us so deeply .. is the only certainty we have in this life? Yes, I’m talking about death.

So much has been recently aired, talking about Steve’s life.. and though, I could comment, and talk about my gratitude to him as well.. I just wanted to share 2 almost simple thoughts with you today that struck me while watching the service.

 
Steve Irwin
Originally uploaded by Bella Of Bacardi.

 “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

His absolutely adorable.. wise beyond her years daughter Bindi… really hit a chord with me.. her smiles as his clips played, the hint of sadness and confusion in her eyes at other times .. but most importantly her enthusiasm .. still showed. She looked proud when they spoke of her father, almost giggling at clips .. her father’s death didn’t take away her life or her passion for it.. like most children, she seems to have the ability to be sad.. but to live.. really live.. a lesson most of us adults, could stand to learn. When she spoke, and talked of her daddy .. it was a heartbreaking moment, yet her confidence, her pride, her spirit, her bright smile .. were all in tact .. and contagious at that.

 Children really do have a way, of showing us the basic yet oh-so-important things we lose sight of.

 
Steve Irwin ='(

Originally uploaded by §hoooo§hat●Qt®.

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”

Now, when Kevin Costner’s taped piece aired .. I was particularly struck by one of his statements.. he talked about the fearlessness Steve Irwin seemed to have.. Yes, his courage, and passion with dangerous animals.. but more importantly, his fearlessness in showing the world his true self.. his true spirit… he was unafraid, to just be who he was. Costner continued, saying how when we show the world who we are, we open ourselves up to ridicule, but Steve Irwin didn’t care about that .. he saw the larger picture.. and went for it.

Think about it.. really think about it..

How many of us, can honestly say we show the world who we truly are consistently?
How many of us truly live our lives with true passion, and with minimal fear?

We are drawn to those who do. We find their enthusiasm contagious, the greatest accomplishments have arisen from it … but still .. most of us.. well.. we hold back. Why? It’s something I find myself contemplating today.

 
Heart
Originally uploaded by Beefus.

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”
~Kahlil Gibran
Memorials & funerals are such a blatant reminder of how we should live. The greatest life lessons can be seen through each tear, each story, each person… and they are often, simply small reminders of what we already know.

“If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”

Once again, I find myself inspired, to continue finding my passions, to try and live them .. to learn to let go of fear. To live, with heart. To value myself, and honor my own life — while I’m alive.  How about you?

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”
~Confucius

 Chrysti

Quick Updates, Chrysti Style

 7/21/06 Vintage Freebie 29

Today I posted 30 new Copyright Free, Vintage, Printable Images for you to use in your artwork at Flickr!

The Collage Images Group I founded, has close to 3,000 free vintage images for you to use.. how awesome is that? Come join the fun!

Store Downsizing – Last Chance Items!As some of you may know, eBay has announced a significant fee increase for store owners. Since I barely mark items up, and don’t want to raise prices … I will be pulling hundreds of listings from my store by August 21st, and focusing on opening my long awaited store in progress .. The Altered Abbey. (this will be a HUGE undertaking, and you won’t see much of me until all is complete!)

To receive an announcement when the site opens, please click here.

Not all products will be offered on the new site, so stock up on items now… while you can.

  • Fibers by the yard will not be offered here any longer.

  • Most items priced around $1.50 and under will be pulled from eBay entirely, a necessity I wish I didn’t have to do.

  • Select items will be moved to the clearance category, check daily!

I will not be closing Covet Me, but a huge restructuring will take place. One I hope, will be a benefit to both of us. Thank you so very much, to all of you who have helped make me a success, I look forward to serving you through other venues in the years to come. The Altered Abbey will continue to offer you inexpensive, quality altered art supplies, once it is open…and a whole lot more, you haven’t seen an altered art site yet like it! (but at first, it will just be the shop since ebay’s pushing me into it faster).Upcoming Vacation Notice!


Suitcases, Carl Street
Originally uploaded by heather.

For my customers..

From July 25th – August 3rd, I will be unable to ship items as I will be in the lovely NC Mountains. Items will be shipped as fast as humanly possibly upon my return, and include extra goodies as a thank you for your patience while I’m away!

***Payments must be received by July 24th to ensure shipping prior to my departure.***I will still be available to answer emails, and send combined invoices ( assuming the internet connection works at the hotel) … but it won’t be daily. I truly do appreciate your patience while I’m away!

For my online activities & friends..

 I’ll be available for emergencies should the need arise ( and assuming that the connection works ok!). Time permitting, I’ll post some photos of the gorgeous mountains here at my blog!

Not-Waving-But-Drowning
Originally uploaded by
Fib.

I do feel like I’m drowning in a way… with the new Try It Tuesdays site to do, sponsors to get, tutorials to read, edit, and publishing it weekly, and bi-weekly…and all the other little things it entails. Now this with e-bay, my health, time for art, travel, friends moving that I want to spend time with… the list goes on…and all so time sensitive.

However.. I’m feeling a bit better, or have been too busy to notice the depression…either way, it’s a-ok by me. I do have new art to list, it will be at a buy it now price while I’m away, time permitting…I’ll update y’all here when I get them up. In the meantime, check out the auctions ending soon!

Hugs to all.. I’m back to the mad rush I also call life!
(gotta love when your workload more then triples right before a trip eh?)

-Chrysti