child care · children · mental health · parenting · self expression · special needs · writing

I’m a parent to a special needs infant.

I’m a parent to a special needs infant. There I said it. It’s a thought that I’ve been juggling around in my brain but haven’t been brave enough to express. Before I go further let me show you the definition of special needs.

Special Needs
PLURAL NOUN
(in the context of children at school) particular educational requirements resulting from learning difficulties, physical disability, or emotional and behavioural difficulties.

‘the absorption of children with special needs into mainstream schools’

  • Oxford Dictionary

Without going deep into my background I suffer from feeling like an imposter quite often. Up until now saying I’m a parent to a special needs child scared me. Honestly it still does. Instead of being scared of what other parents might say I’m scared of how I’m going to help my child succeed. Being scared is good because now it’s motivating me to proceed with helping my son.

In severity my son’s needs are incomparably small compared to many special needs children. That doesn’t exclude him. He may present as a normal child. That doesn’t mean he is. He has made a lot of progress. This does not mean there wasn’t ever a problem. In fact his progress is an accomplishment and testament to how hard he and I have both worked.

My son at 16 months is a caring, loving, friendly, beautiful, fun, independent, determined, inquisitive, deep thinking, special needs soul. I’m honored to raise him as a single work at home mom with pride.

art · cartoon · comic · creativity · how to · Inktober · self expression · Uncategorized · writing

A Simple Thing You Can Do to Art Up Your Life!

I never claimed to be an artist, some people have said I am, but I’ve never felt particularly arty.  Maybe some of that is because I see other people who can whoosh down to a canvas and create an amazing painting or careen over to a piece of paper and write a story that captivates. But I enjoy doing art, and I enjoy the feeling of being involved in something arty. Problem is, there’s this life thing that interferes, like constantly. So, what’s a person to do when they want to art, don’t have time to art, have a family, a job, a cat who wants you to know they really ought to be fed on a constant basis, and need to do sundry self-care things like eating food, bathing, etc? Well, I don’t know what YOU should do, but I know what I tried.

I got my first idea back in September 2017. Some of my friends are comic artists and other artists. They were gearing up for Inktober. For those who don’t know, Inktober (inktober.com) was started in 2009 by Jake Parker. It is a challenge where you make an ink drawing for each day in October using a prompt list. Prompts for 2017 included words like divided, ship, squeak, and crooked. I decided to give Inktober a try, but I would do a 2-3 minute sketch rather than trying to do some big art thing. And I would try to do whatever came to mind and most importantly, try to have fun with it. My drawings ranged from super quick sketches to more complicated drawings (days when I actually had 10 or so minutes to spare).

And I did it! I got behind a couple times, but was able to catch up. I did a little art almost every single day of October and it felt really good!

As October was coming to an end, I realized I didn’t want to stop, but I also didn’t want to keep doing the same thing. November is NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org) which stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge every November where you can sign up and try to write a 50,000 word novel in that month. I did do it one year, but knew there was no way I would be able to this year (see above explanation about the busyness of my life!). So, I decided to start a different thing using the art of writing this time. I created a list of prompts for each day in November and started #TinyWriter.

RArt4

For every day in November, I wrote a 2-3 sentence fiction story. Some were better than others, but I was still arting! Every day! It felt amazing. Here are a few examples:

#TinyWriter Nov 1 “Pants”

It turns out it was the pants. I never thought pants could do something like that, but they could. So, I put them on, felt super happy in them, and walked out the door into a new life.

#TinyWriter Nov 15 “Moon”

“It’s my favorite, the moon” they said dreamily, “so beautiful and round and powerful. The moon gives me power.”

“It does? I just kind of look at it sometimes, but I never cared much about it.”

“Well, no one’s perfect, my friend,” they said gazily at the moony, “no one’s perfect.”

#TinyWriter Nov 24 “Dragon”

“You look like you’re draggin’ ha! Am I right?”

“Really? You know I could actually eat you, don’t you?”

“Pfff, you won’t eat me, you’re totally a vegetarian dragon.”

*Sigh* “I know”

You get the idea. It was a lot of fun! I didn’t do anything formal for the months after that, but I have continued with a monthly art theme. In December, I decided to learn how to do woodburning and woodburned ornaments for family and friends for the holidays. I decided to focus on coloring in my coloring books in January. For February, I have been working through a therapeutic coloring book I have that has exercises to help with survival (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/582580124/seven-strengths-a-coloring-book-for-resiliency).

I have been really proud of being so arty, for a person who never felt like much of an artist. And doing something simple has made it easy to stick with it. So, how about it? Want to join me?

anxiety · art · depression · mental health · poem · self care · self expression

Self Care isn’t Pretty

Self Care Isn’t Pretty

Self care isn’t Insta-worthy pictures of fresh salads, fizzy bath bombs, and face masks.

Self care is sitting at the table for hours, tears and snot streaming down your face as you stare at the bare minimum of food you need to stay alive and will yourself to actually eat it.

Self care is painfully combing out weeks worth of tangles because it’s been too hard to get out of bed lately.

Self care is changing your smelly sheets and schlepping your laundry to the washer.

Self care is taking your meds when you want nothing more than to flush them down the toilet.

Self care is picking up the inches of debris off the floor so you can walk across your place without tripping.

Self care is sticking to your budget, not going out for lavish meals and manicures that you can’t afford.

Self care isn’t pretty. It’s survival.

anxiety · mental health · poem · self expression

Panic Attack

Sometimes a panic attack isn’t something anyone can see.
On the train in the middle of the rush hour crowd
you sit silent because you’ve learned all your life to make your self as
small
as
possible
You stare at your phone, your finger stuck
poised just barely
above the screen
it shakes a little, you notice with detachment
as your heart pounds for
2-3-4-5-10-15 minutes.
You manage somehow to get off at your stop
make it to your bus
ride to where you are almost home
all the while feeling like every particle is going to fly off and you’ll be left in an exposed naked pile of ash
that someone can blow away.
You, forever gone, forever dancing with the wind.