Impressions of Gel Medium

I'm writing today to share my thoughts and experiences (which are limited thus far) with gel medium. I don't have many pictures to go over the process but hopefully I can explain a bit about it. When I purchased this there weren't very many articles explaining how to use it other than in single brush stroke folk art ways, and I don't do that, so it was useless to me. 

A bit on acrylics in general
To be honest, acrylic paints get some flak in the (already snobby) art community for being amateur or the "chubby crafty wanna be mom" paint of choice, haha. Personally, I love acrylics for their bright colors, cheap price tag, and versatility. I think a lot of the people sniffing down their nose have experienced acrylic paint's inability to mix with water and thus think they are worthless paints. Straight out of the bottle they're pretty much the opposite of oil paints and watercolors, which both have far steeper learning curves. If treating acrylics like watercolor or oil and failing sounds like something you've done, find a gel medium and give it a try.


What It Takes - EMT Edition

I thought this was a really interesting thing to write about -- so often I find myself stewing over whether I have what it takes to do this or do that, I suppose I'm a chronic pre-analyzer, but there are a few things I think I know how to do pretty well and those are important things to write about.  I like the idea so much I may even make this a series.

To Be A Good EMT
I just want to stress, there's a huge difference between "EMT" and "Good EMT."  When I say "good" I don't mean "most lives saved" or "most cool sexy firefighter."  Like any other job, there are a million personal reasons why people take the path toward emergency medicine, and there are a million different attitudes and abilities that those people bring to their profession.  I've seen the full spectrum, which is astonishing to me considering I've only been an EMT for four years.  But I still like to think I know a few things, and here's my thoughts on those common traits the good ones have.



Have You Ever Seen A Cloud.....

Today I want to talk about a recent bit of advice I heard, and how it affected me immensely.  I'm really, really excited to write this post because it concerns something that is extremely difficult for me--self-perception, and for the first time in forever I actually feel like I have a little hope.  That's a huge thing when dealing with a mental health struggle, and I can only hope that by sharing it, someone else might be reminded to hope.  Even just a little bit.

Self Love = Real Love?
In recent years I've come to have a lot of disdain for the "self love" and "self care" movement that the internet eats up like pie.  I guess the main reason is that I worked so incredibly hard (cognitive behavioral therapy, writing, an entire dedication for a year to the idea) on loving myself and still ended up with the hollow empty worthless feeling I'd always had, plus more struggles with suicide, more depression, you get the gist.

A secondary reason though, is how incredibly superficial and vain I find a lot of the "movement".  There's no thought or process, it's just slapped in your face -- LOVE THAT UGLY WEIRD ASS THING YOU ARE, YOU STRANGE BALDED BIPEDAL MAMMALIAN CIRCUS FREAK!!! WHY SHOULD YOU DO IT? CAUSE!! CAUSE YOU'RE JUST BEAUTIFUL! THAT'S WHY!  Some severe circular logic there --- "You're beautiful > love yourself > because you're beautiful > because you love yourself.." what.


Utah State Capitol and Memory Grove

This weekend I ventured out and met with one of my oldest friends, Jorge, (who knows how to actually work a camera) and took some photos at the Utah State Capitol and the park next to it.  The capitol building here is absolutely gorgeous, and built by Richard Kletting (the architect who made the famous Saltair pavillion I'm obsessed with.)  The capitol has seen a lot of activity recently; Bernie Sanders came out and talked about presidential stuff I guess, and a whopping 14,000 people showed up on the grounds to listen to him talk about presidential stuff.

Anyway, for our outing, it was just too chilly to be warm, and the city still looks pretty wintery (actually it's snowing right this minute, thanks Utah and your indecisiveness..)  You'll see in the photos that the trees are still pretty sparse and the city looks a little dreary...but it actually felt like spring out there, having the sun shining on us.  And not only is the building impossible to take a bad photograph of, but I adore the open lighting (the inside looked a lot warmer than what it was outside.)  Memory Grove is a really popular park but something about it has always seemed eerie to me...even in broad sunny daylight it has a dark feeling and I always feel like I'm being watched.  But it's probably because the danged thing is at the bottom of a huge ravine and all of the monuments are war memorials (which is great, but solemn.)

Thanks Jorge for adventuring with me!


7 Life Questions to Answer

I knew I wanted to write a bit today, but have so much on my mind it's not going to come out in a pretty way--then I was lucky enough to find this entry over on Go Fox Yourself.  I'm all for thought-provooking "life" questions if I'm going to do a survey....so here we go.  Thanks Kim!  (And go check out her post..and if you do these, send me the link.)

If I were to die tomorrow, would I feel satisfied with my life? 
I can't be satisfied with something I don't understand and haven't even wanted for a few years now.  That may make me sound like a stupid cynic, but it's true.  It would be like seeing some strange interpretive dance with people shouting in incomprehensible languages, mixed in with a few kissing scenes and some cats.  If I look at that as a third person, and then get asked "are you satisfied with this?" I would have no way of answering...what am I measuring the satisfaction on? What am I supposed to do with this mess? Clap? Laugh, cry? Eat it? I don't get it. 


Favorite Scandinavian Music

I'm not one of those people who specifically searches out bands or artists based on their geographical location.  But it's really funny to me how many times I've heard a singer or group and thought "holy crap I LOVE this" and lo and behold--they end up being Scandinavian.  They don't all sound like ABBA.  Anyway, it's been even more common for me to find Scandinavian music since living there.  The weird part is that I found absolutely zero of these bands while I was actually in Sweden. 

It may have been because I was busy enjoying culture, as witnessed in this gorgeous midsommar photo.  Anyway, I have no idea what this says about me or my tastes, but I thought I'd list them.  In the chance that anyone is interested for a listen, I've included a sample song from each! I hope somebody finds someone new and weird and Vikingish to listen to. I'm actually going to throw in a few traditional Swedish folk bands at the end for those HARDCORE HEATHENS. 


5 Fandom Friday - Geeky Tattoos

I'm a day late--sue me.

I don't usually join these linkups but I thought it was a great topic, since I am interested in tattoos and very interested in geeky tattoos.  Plus it's a fun and quick post and might help people get to know me better and those are always great.  As of right now I have four tattoos total, and three of those four are from video games!! Whut. (The other is from a movie....)

So here we go:


My Struggle with Assertiveness

Unlike most people I know, I am unusually aggressive.  It seems that the status quo is to be this slightly awkward, uncomfortable pip-squeak, and when I talk to friends it's always about how they want to, or need to, stand up for themselves a little bit more.  Or how they try too hard to please others or "keep the peace."  You see it all the time in relationships, in work--everyone is too polite, too reserved, or conversely on my side of the fence,(and these people are rarer) they're a huge asshole who pushes people around.  Where's the happy medium, guys?  (I'm including myself in this rhetorical question?)

I won't go into why I think that people should be more assertive, because that's not my struggle.  I know there are a million therapists talking to people about that every day.  I also won't get into passive-aggressiveness, because that is my most hated trait in any person--either be a pushover, or be a jerk, but don't do both at the same time, it's INFURIATING!!!  No, my problem is that I am all too-ready to put on my gear and rush into battle.  I find myself, after every explosion, later sitting in a chair and thinking "Holy crap, I need to tone it down..." but how?

Taught to be Angry

I was taught to be aggressive in the stereotypical ways.  Fighting, yelling, screaming, violence.  That was my reality for a long time.  When I got put in foster care I realized quickly that a lot of other foster kids had the same habits, and they got thrown into group homes, kicked out of school, ended up in juvenile holding--not a path I intended to go down.  My coping mechanism was to shut down and become pretty submissive.  I won't say it was the wrong thing to do because I got out of foster care without a record, and that's impressive, honestly.

But once I snapped out of that prison system I was 1000000000000% aggressive.  The way I had been raised, plus years of torment in the system and all the issues that brings on, I turned into a super violent crazy person.  It wasn't pretty, you guys.  I was awful.  Things broke around me.  People got hurt.  I learned in my early adult years that I had the power to be exactly like my parents, and I didn't want that.  I slowly started toning it down.  I learned about fear and anger, how anger is a secondary response that stems from fear of something, and that fear is our oldest and arguably most powerful human emotion.  I'd love to go into more detail about these someday, but let's keep to my anger timeline.

The Things To Let Go 

The most important thing I let go, and thus the first, was my physical violence tendencies.  I had to train myself to not throw things: to find satisfaction some other way instead of breaking my various possessions, or punching the wall.  It was hard, and really did take years.  Now at almost 30 I can say it's been about six years since I broke something in anger.  And that's a great feeling.


Here Vs. There

I wanted to really open up and share a sort of conundrum I've had going on and something that's recently helped with it.  I don't really know where to begin to catch everyone up but here we go.

I have been applying for Swedish residency since 2014.  That is, the beginning of 2014--two full years ago.  Due to the ridiculous migration/refugee status Sweden is in, what should have taken maybe ten months took a two full years to complete.  I received my residency permit in January, in Solna, Sweden.