Sunday, January 12, 2014

Get Planning with Your 2014 Planner!

The new year is here. Know what that means? My awesome chickie, Leonie Dawson's 2014 life-awesoming planners are out. I love them and swear by them for productivity and getting your creative dreams fulfilled. There is one for life and one for business. I use both. I love seeing my goals manifest. It's such a great resource and it's one of my top 3 highest recommended "get that creative life going" tools.

http://tinyurl.com/k3q9wag





Friday, September 20, 2013

Robbed of Personal Power - Beyond Your Story

I talk a lot about your story up until now and how you should not let it define you.

We all have had people in our past who have taken away our personal power. It might have been parents, kids at school that made fun of us or people who have abused us in some way.

In the words of The Bloggess, depression lies!

 I've been right in all these places. I've been told I was fat, even though I was beautiful. There was a man who told me that he loved me, then choked me until I blacked out. There was a man who, when he saw me walking around the college campus without him, told me that I was fat and that he was embarrassed to call me his girlfriend to his coworkers. Girls, so insecure with themselves while in my presence, that they systematically tore at my self esteem over years until by age 17, I didn't think that I was worthy of even drawing breath, anymore.

A picture of me at 17 - suicidal and believing I was horribly fat, ugly
and not worthy of drawing breath, anymore.

There are so many things that float around in our heads from these situations in our lives. They come back to us as we are driving down the road. They replay to us as phantasms behind our closed eyelids in the shower or before we drift off to sleep. These are horrible stories that we repeat in our heads and they hold us back in our lives.

"Oh, I can't do that because my family was . . . "

"I don't deserve to be happy because I'm too fat, too intimidating with my intelligence, too ugly, too . . . " any number of things.

All of these things that you tell yourself in your head, no matter who told you that? They were wrong.

A conversation my local grocery store with a cashier led me to make the statement, "I don't know why people are so mean to each other."

In my younger years, I was (to borrow a phrase from TRAPT) "a little piece of heaven raising hell." I was beautiful. With a dancers' build and modeling contracts, I still didn't think I was worth a damn. And because I let my past define me, I was angry. So angry. I watched this TED talk, recently, and I really know how this woman felt.


For years, I was so hurt. It started with my heart being broken by a good friend / high school romance and it built from there. But I never really allowed myself to feel the pain from that betrayal. I didn't see the outside influences on him. His parents, etc. Only my own pain.

I still had to go to school. I still had to care about getting good grades and getting into college. I had to pretend to care about so many things when, really, all I could think about was the fact that I felt I had lost the one and only person who had understood me and that I was alone in the world, again. I couldn't feel that pain or honor it.

Parents and well-meaning peers told me to "get over it," so I hid it. I "sucked it up" and it became tighter and smaller and it morphed in my heart into a black ball of anger that followed me. Situations and years came and went and my anger just knotted in upon itself and I raged.


I raged! And the more I raged, the more I found to be mad at - righteously (I thought). Patriarchy, sexism, racism, genocide, cruelty, the Native holocaust. Ani DiFranco sang "I'm not angry, anymore," and I screamed back at her. "Fuck you, Ani. I'm still angry!" Hundreds of personal and cultural and worldly slights to be mad at until I spun myself out of anger in exhaustion some time in my late 20's - right around the time Hubby and I started dating.


During my period of rage, I pulled back from any vulnerability. My anger made me strong. It made me goal driven. It gave me scholarships and grants and awards and accolades far beyond my schooling and years. It gave me fire and it gave me drive. It made me hard.

When I did form relationships, I was so terrified of being hurt again, I kept everyone at bay. Even those that knew me for years only had an illusion of intimacy. Two year relationships only scratched the surface of "knowing who Bri was." I couldn't be authentic because of my fear, so I sought out other broken, hurt and furious souls, like me. There was no way that these relationships were going to last, but at least the two of us could find comfort in someone who was just as broken as the other was, for a time. And if my partner was broken, too, they wouldn't judge me for my damaged self.

I'm not quite sure what has changed me. Maybe it was Hubby or age. Maybe becoming a mama has softened my edges. Maybe moving back to my hometown has made little Native me want to "bury the hatchet." Maybe picking my art back up, being in therapy, admitting to being in pain, finally getting medical attention, and regular writing are all contributing to my change of heart and mind.

Or maybe it's because I'm 32 and I'm finally ready to start growing into the woman that I'm meant to be in this life, ready to step up and be the creative, the medicine person, the healer that I was always been meant to be. And you will know me, now, by the way I dance with the fire and the wolves.


There could be a hundred different reasons that I'm not the same person, anymore. But I like who I am, now. And I like who I'm becoming. I like that I am content, most days, though I still do have the yearning to grow, to explore, to learn and to create.

I used to be hard, like a scalpel. I find myself, now, becoming soft. My arms, my belly, my eyes, hair, skin and smile. All soft. And I'm okay with this. I'm reclaiming my personal power. I am strong. I've moved beyond my story and am writing a new one.

And, the one thing I want to tell you, my readers, about all of this. I am not special. I'm just one girl, out here, in the middle of the corn fields of Indiana. Trust me. If I, with all my faults and foibles can move from a place of hurt and anger to a place of peace and calm joy, you can too. There is nothing special about what I've done. All it takes is the effort to try.


You, my readers. You are my pack. So, if your heart is aching. If your spirit is downtrodden. If you're angry or alone or misunderstood or feel like you're forgotten - know one thing. There's one soul, out here, who's been exactly where you are and has come through it to a better place. There is hope. There is a way. And you can find it!

Oh my lovelies, I hope this entry finds your heart in a place of joy. If it doesn't, I hope that joy finds you soon.

And please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All My Relations,

-Bri

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Costume Horns Halloween Giveaway

This time, Visionary Bri has partnered with Oonacat
to bring you the Costume Horns Halloween Giveaway!


AND

Halloween is fast approaching, so it's time to plan your costumes, now.
Oonacat makes custom horns that are lightweight and durable and
her work is the best costume work of this nature that I've ever seen.
Oonacat hand paints all of her creations,
and I have to tell you,
I've never been this blown away by my set of horns.
She really does some great work!
If you're looking for a cool accessory for stage, conventions, LARPs
or Halloween this year, then this giveaway is for you!

Check these babies out!


She even does ears!

For this giveaway, Oonacat has offered one lucky winner
their very own pair of medium - small horns
 Any style. No leather headband. Elastic band only.

I sent Oonacat a couple of photos for reference
of the kind of horns I'd like, and look at what she came up with
for me, Visionary Bri!


 They make me feel very satyr / wood nymph.

And just look at the detail on these little beauties!


Mine came on an elastic band and don't think I'd like the leather band.
The elastic allows me to get the horns very tight to my head
and a few bobby pins holds the elastic very snug.
I could dance and go gallivanting about in the forest
and these little babies would not budge.

As far as the weight goes,
I couldn't even tell that they were on my head,
except for feeling the elastic.

Each one of Oonacat's pieces is truly a work of art.
 
Really, this is another one of those things
where the photos don't do them justice.
The attention to detail that Oonacat puts into these
is amazing.

Enter the giveaway now,
and let Oonacat help you unleash your imagination!
Open to US only
Must be 18 to enter
Bloggers not responsible for prize fulfillment


Wardrobe notes:
Makeup by Visionary Bri
Original necklace and hair jewelry by Visionary Bri
Custom Horns by Oonacat

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Creative in the Kitchen: PB&J - Adult-Foodie Edition

It's been awhile since I've done a "Creative in the Kitchen" episode, so here's one for all you foodies out there.

Peanut butter and jelly is a childhood comfort food, here in the US. Now that I'm a mama and am chronically ill, I've been eating it a lot. It's quick, it's tasty and it's good fuel. But plain peanut butter and grape jelly can get a little boring, so why not mix it up a bit?

BEHOLD!


On wheat bread, the order goes as follows - for jelly L-R - strawberry, apricot and currant. For the peanut butter side - T-B - peanut butter, hazelnut butter and almond butter.

You can go and eat the whole thing and let the flavors play. But, for me, I like them cut apart into separate little flavor explosions, as you can see an "exploded" version on the bottom of the plate. Serve that up with a tall glass of milk? A foodie twist on a childhood basic.

And, in case you wanted to know, my favorite flavor combo was the currant jelly with hazelnut butter. But, then, I'm spoiled 'cause my mom-in-law makes the currant jelly and it is amazing!

Let me know what flavor combos you've tried and let me know which one is your favorite.

And, as always, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,

-Bri



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Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Puppy Is Here! ***UPDATED***

After much waiting and anticipating, my service puppy is here!

And, now, the moment you've been waiting for. I introduce to you . . .


***Torrie***





"Uki" was a name proposed by Hubby. It's a word in martial arts that refers to one's training partner. As Uki will grow up to be my service dog, a name meaning "partner," seemed appropriate.


***UPDATE*** - There was some confusion of the puppy being named "Uki" with my daughter, whom we call "Pookie." Thus, the puppy's name has been changed to "Torrie," the word for the other 1/2 of martial arts sparring partnership.


Thank you to all of you who participated in the puppy name poll. I look forward to sharing news of Torrie as she grows and progresses in her training.

For now, she's sleeping beside Hubby and I on the couch, adjusting to her new home.


Until next time, my lovelies, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,

-Bri

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Best Advice I've Ever Given

A few years ago, I went into a gas station in my hometown to buy cigarettes. The cashier was a friend of mine and he knew about my inspirational writing and the kind of "out of the norm" life I live. Outside the gas station sat a girl, all knees and elbows, around 15 years of age.

My friend said to me, "Would you sit and talk with her a bit? She's getting disheartened about her life." So I said, "Sure," and I went outside to talk to this girl.

I sat on the bench across from her, outside this run-down gas station and as I looked across the table, I saw myself looking back at me. Large brown eyes that shone both hope and despair. Long brown hair, brushed but not styled. And I thought back to myself at her age.

Given all the years and experiences that separated the 15-year-old Bri and the 27-year-old Bri, what would I say to my past self, if I was given the opportunity? In the humid August evening, I spread out my long cotton skirt. I sat and talked to this girl who could have been me.

"This is the best advice I can think of to give you," I said. I took a long drag of my cigarette and exhaled it for dramatic emphasis. "I want you to go out into the world and fuck up."


This young girl's mouth dropped open. That was exactly the reaction I was looking for. I knew, at that moment, she was hearing me. I knew that I had just cut through all the walls that all 15-year-old girls put up between themselves and adults. With those two final little words, I had her.

"Let me explain," I said. "The best thing that can happen to you is for you to finish high school and go on to college. From there, I want you to go out and explore this world. I want you to talk to people that you think you have nothing in common with. Become friends with them. Go out and have adventures. Make mistakes. Make HUGE mistakes. Inconvenience everyone around you - friends, family, lovers. Because through your mistakes and your fuck-ups, you'll learn not only who you are, but who and what you really want to be."

I talked to this girl for almost two hours. I told her stories of my life. I listened to stories of hers. In the end, she went her way and I went mine. I haven't seen her, again.

But my advice stands. And it's the best advice I can give to anyone, really. Everything transformative that I've ever experienced and every great story that I recount at dinner parties? They often started out as really bad decisions.

"Hey! I'm going to hop into a car with 6 people I barely know and go camping 1,900 miles away. There'll be about 30,000 other people around in a state park - none of which have showered in 2 weeks. There won't be any toilets or cell phone reception, but I'm gonna come back with a puppy!"

"Hey! I'm going to go and dress up in Medieval garb. At 11:00 pm, somewhere in Pennsylvania with myself dressed like a hippy and my friend dressed like a Catholic priest, we're going to go get carryout beer from the only bar we can find. It happens to be a biker bar and the guy who's staying with the car? He'll be crocheting a scarf in the back seat!"

"Hey! I'm going to strap myself to a guy I don't know and jump out of a perfectly good airplane at 13,000 feet with nothing between myself and death but a thin sheet of nylon!"

See? Bad decisions.

But each and every one not only turned out for the best, but gave me an experience and memories I'll carry, forever. Essentially, each horrible decision and each fuck-up, they made me who I am, today. I am grateful for each and every time I made a mistake, each time that I stepped outside my comfort zone and each time that I said, "Well . . . why not?" Each time, adventure happened. And each time, I learned a little bit more about who I was, as a person.

During our daily routine, we get stuck. We begin to think that who we are during our routine life is who we really are, at our core. This is almost never the case.

Camping with 30,000 other people, I learned that I am not alone in my strangeness and that there are many different ways of existing in the world. Walking into a biker bar dressed in crazy costumes? I learned that I can be adaptive in awkward situations. Jumping out of a plane? I learned that I am strong, confidant, brave and that I can FLY!


And that's the truth. So I urge you all to take risks and make some bad decisions. I encourage you to fuck-up and fail and flounder and be confused. Stretch and do something you've never done before.

My comfort zone expanding as of late? I auditioned for a movie (which I didn't get), and I'm competing in a landscape art competition this weekend. I've never done A) an art competition or B) landscape painting, so I'm really psyched to be pushing my art envelope in this new way.

What are you doing to push your comfort zone? What do you find when you're outside of it? Let me know. I'd love to hear your stories!

Until next time, remember that every single one of us are visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,

-Bri


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Monday, July 22, 2013