๐ŸŽจ The Joy of Zazzle Business Card Art Therapy ๐Ÿ’Œ

If it all falls apart, I will know deep in my heart, The only dream that mattered had come true. In this life, I was loved by you.

– Bette Midler

I guess I’m not a good “adjuster” overall. Adaptability is supposed to be the hallmark of the human species… but not so much for me. I got married, did adapt after about five years, had a daughter, did adapt after about five years, had a son (the love of my life no offense to my husband or daughter, my son just gets me, he stares into my eyes and all the troubles in my heart melt away), still not adapted to that yet after two years, and then the pandemic, Covidy, tried to adapt but it just keeps changing too fast for me to keep up with the fall mask styles.

Since I have a 1 year old and a 5 year old and because I am a “trier” I tried not to fall apart, but like the egg my daughter cracked for the brownies I burnt, which she couldn’t have, because she threw a tantrum about something minor, yet again… I eventually cracked after repeated soft blows.

I think I was 28 when my therapist told me feelings like anger and sadness are good (they keep her in business right, a little biased? Just kidding, kind of…). Rebecca, I liked her. I wanted to never be angry, I thought it was something for inferior, juvenile, retarded-ish people. She said feelings were waves carrying messages, that once you listen to the message they go away instead of intensifying. She advised me to try to know how I feel, something I had always done the opposite of. I tried to stifle my own feelings, suck it up and finish the fight or think of others and smile through the pain of life. But it wasn’t great living that way. So I started on a new journey, walking exactly 180ยฐ the opposite direction I had been going before. I didn’t look at it as daunting, because I was just toying with the notion that I could even walk.

I think I was 28 then, maybe not though? Maybe 25?

So assuming I walk as fast as before, I should be as bad at feelings as a baby is by the time I’m 50 in 15 years… then as good as a 5 year old in 20 years.

That’s assuming that I can learn as well as a baby, which is deeply flawed.

It sounds pessimistic, but it helps me feel less guilty about being bad with dealing with emotions still.

I would rather not deal with emotions when I’m not at my best, or always, but people, like my family, are just walking zip lock bags of emotion more or less.

My daughter is throwing a fit right now about Meerkat Manor. She is being really rude to her grandfather, she only wants her aunt… it’s pretty asinine. I’m pretty sure her tablet ran out of batteries, so she is crying like an entitled brat, even though we have three tablets, she could just ask like a normal child, but the fact that what she wanted was interrupted for any amount of time is intolerable to her so she is going to be mean, be loud, scream and cry over it and everything else… I have a really bratty daughter, but I can’t recall spoiling her, I’ve had her clean, had her face consequences of behavior and save for items, I haven’t been overly strict nor overly lavish, but somehow I raised a huge brat.

It pains me that that is how I see her, but that is how I see her, that is who she has become for now. Perhaps behind that facade is fear or pain, but I would much rather deal with it without the brat facade that my daughter prefers to wear. I suspect something is behind it, but I don’t know what. I’m not trained in child education, not trained in child psychology, I don’t know anything about what lies behind her ugly behavior.

It helps to know most other families with young kids have a kid flipping out, but it makes me curious why it’s usually just 1 of the kids. Most kids aren’t thrilled with Covidy, but some are really pissed and others are mildly perturbed.

My daughter fell apart, I tried not to, but I’ve taken a knee. My son is counting on me, I’ve never been able to pay even 1 full day of attention to him, but I can do my best to give him the small amount of attention he is used to.

I knew I had fallen apart when I started being short with my “good” child, who didn’t deserve it at all.

During the begging I was just confused, then angry, then productive to compensate, then tired, then bitterly angry, then I was too exhausted, now I’m unsure of exactly how to crawl out of the well I find myself inside of.

Its not even depression, it’s more a loss of knowing about the world, a sense of aloneness, knowing exactly how thin the bonds of my family and friends are, knowing how little cohesion my country has (it’s not a group of people who share values, just a group of people who share zip codes). I would say that Covidy and the election didn’t rip people apart it showed the naked truth that we were always apart, that the average person doesn’t really care about the poor beyond talk, that the average American wants what they want more than they want democracy of the populations desires to lead.

I’ve never been as close to nihilism as now, but I still don’t believe in it. I’ve seen too much good in people to believe that mankind is worse than it is decent. I’ve eaten a few sour apples, but the average apple was quite sweet.

I was planning to get back on my feet emotionally before writing, but I decided to write while I’m getting back on my feet and maybe share some of the things that are working for me.

I really liked the Zazzle Customized Business Cards just as art therapy, I didn’t print them since it was way too time sensitive.

So today I made more, just for me (I decided to write about it after I realized it had helped me process life so much).

Gratitude is the pry bar I always need when my soul gets all gummed to the bottom of a barrel of sludge.

I say thank you much more than I complain, but my family remembers the complaints x100… I do as well, its hard to make gratitude speak louder, because it’s quiet like a whisper in a loud world.

This little card gives the good things that happened a cage to be noticed, it connects me to those moments more powerfully than just writing a list. It’s not an original, just something I pressed customize on, but it made the process easy enough for me to do it right now that I’m “not together”. It’s beautiful to me, it’s a happy moment memorialized instead of forgotten or dismissed. It’s me validating my own feelings of joy, they aren’t the same moments that sound impressive to others, but they were little moments when the world was alright with me.

This is different, the same card, but a different perspective. This time I think about gratitude, it’s only been about a year since I even knew how to be sincerely grateful at all. Only because of one article I read that I even started trying. It was September 29th, 2019, the day I first really felt gratitude, interesting to know thanks to blogging. I wrote a post called “the Challenge of Gratitude.” It was an homage to the Four Weeks of Consistent Gratitude Challenge by Nomzamo Madide and also to an awesome book The Pain of Challenges by Steven Turikunkiko. Steven was an orphan of the Rwanda Genocides… so a book about his gratitude and forgiveness was particularly inspiring and interesting.

So looking back on 1985 (when I was born) to 2018, I had never really know what gratitude felt like. But I hadn’t felt love either, until 2011. I think many parents who love their kids wonder if they do enough, it’s a lot, if you make someone feel loved it’s a lot already. Life kind of starts in a new way when you know someone loves you. Anyone can say it, but to mean it, it’s a whole different animal.

I’m kind of proud of myself, I’ve not been a cheery rock during this past year, but I’ve been mostly solid and consistent and striving to do just a little bit better today for tomorrow. Cooking more at home (by choice and circumstance) and trying to have less of a shitty attitude in general.

I’m not the person right now I wish I was, I would still like to be more patient with my kids, more able to let them know how much I love them when I’m angry and tired, more able to know what the right thing to do with them is and when good things are too much anyways. I still want more from myself, but I’ve got the gratitude duck more in a row than ever before.

I may be crazy, but I’m saner than ever! Ha…

I guess you don’t have to be a nut to write a blog, but it helps… I never run out of things to write about. But the things that I find the most important that I’ve written about remain not my own writing. For example this piece by Nomzano Madide was really helpful to me, but it only grew more helpful over time:

Plant yourself so deeply in gratitude that even the greatest landslides cannot shake your peace โ€“ Unknown

Covid-19 has really turned our lives upside down but when you consciously plant yourself in gratitude you gradually shift your focus away from everything going wrong and place you in a space of positivity and hopefulness. When you live in a space of gratitude, you show the universe that you appreciate what you have and are ready for more โ€“ because this too shall pass and our lives will need to move on so we need to be ready for all that we want and need post this pandemic. – Nomzamo Madide

Please remember that beautiful things can bloom from the seeds of your most difficult times.

From Nomzamo’s article Solidifying My Gratitude Through the Gratitude Application

This is something I work on, feeling like what I did was enough. Because I don’t. I hate myself when everything isn’t clean, and it never is. I hate myself when the kids didn’t finish all the homework, and they never do… so I tend to hate myself, but I fight it by noticing I actually do a lot, everyday. I did so much that I would hate myself for expecting more than that, so somehow the hate does cancel out the hate…

This reminds me of another great post by the same author, Nomzamo Madide, “Boldly Celebrate Yourself“:

Hey, even though you are not who you want to be as yet neither are you where you want to be as yet, but you are becoming and have achieved so much. You are here. Right now that is enough and that is worth celebrating.โ€

– Nomzamo Madide

I kept going back to that article over and over and over, it was kind of the push I needed to start celebrating myself of the present day, which is an essential part to living by values on a daily basis (1. Pick, 2. Plan, 3. Do, 4. Celebrate, 5. Learn). Without celebrating our flawed attempt, the path to growth becomes blocked, but really celebrating everyday life was something I was not taught and had to learn over the past year.

What I wanted from today was exercise, not burning the brownies, no fits from the kids, my husband here instead of working out of state, world peace, a perfectly clean house, but the reality shows me what my real priorities really are. My kids over my husband and relaxing, cleaning for my health over fun, trying to teach the kids over getting my mind straight (maybe not a good thing). I get tired of having my kids, and especially fits after fits after fits, but I guess I love them or I would just hand them an iphone each with kids YouTube all day and have an easy life. I guess I’m doing my best, I don’t know if it’s making everyone’s life worse, but there is some inherent value in trying your best (I have to believe that Daniel Tiger said so…).

So then I felt the need to make a COVID is Okay because list, recently on veterans day I re-watched Ted Burns “The War” about WW2 and it makes me realized how much it sucked in America almost always and how pampered we have become. It wears off, but for a little while watching the depression or WW2 history makes me feel like Covidy is a slap on the wrist and not a belt beating… This is the point I made friends with the Covid situation, though I don’t like it, sometimes you have friends you don’t like, because they are around or they are friends with your friends, or you have poor boundaries. So I call it Covidy now, since we are friends kind of.

Over the past few weeks I haven’t written much, because I don’t know who I am. I feel like I am a skipped cell between two movie frames. I know who I was and I have dreams of who I will be, but I no longer know who I am. I know I am different than I was, but not exactly what.

I started thinking this is good, I had a dream that the job I was saying I wanted on a mandatory form at the library was “a writer” but the real truth is “martial art’s teacher”. Teaching martial arts has been by far the most joy I’ve had in anything that seems like work. I don’t not like writing, but teaching martial arts is like a symphony of I like that and writing is like a piano solo of I like that… I finally had the noodle dream. Now I don’t know how or when I’ll restart that journey to opening a door with 10,000 ninjas training in synchrony, but someday, something like that, or just 1 student, but on a mountain, or a few students, but panda students… I don’t know yet, but it really feels right.

So after the positiveness, there was some negativity, and to not give it a place to be expressed, that just makes me more and more bitter, when I went to a marriage councilor alone (since my husband wouldn’t go) he said that not expressing resentment isn’t healthy. I really enjoyed my councilor Owen Williams author of The Relationship Revolution: Are You Part of the Movement or Part of the Resistance? Interestingly enough my marital resentment was all fixed by a single email that said, “I’m sorry.” It was about four years late in coming (for my taste), but a sincere apology is magical.

So gratitude led me to get unstuck, to accept who I am, accept the progress I’ve made in life (slow thought it has been), led me to accept the world as it is, hope for what is to be in the future, let off steam before it builds into something worse and make a plan for what is most important in my small world in the moment.

I couldn’t have processed my priorities without unloading all the emotions I was holding back, my mind and soul were paper jammed with back ordered reflections and life lessons.

Looking at this list I see I have all the same problems internally that I had last year, and this year has been, challenging, but I’m still in better place to deal with the problems of last year now than I was last year. I’m beginning to see three problems tangled up that when untangled may be solvable, 1. I hate emotions, especially fits, I don’t create a healthy place for them enough in myself or for my kids, 2. My daughter likes being inappropriate and may always like that, I can set limits, but I will not be getting her to “please and thank you” with the same quick tips that really do work for other kids, 3. There is no way to create more time for attention for two kids, they just really don’t get as much as they or I want, they won’t, no solution, hard fact, we have to chew on that instead of pretending I can be more than one person divided by three people’s needs. My son will never have me alone, my daughter will feel disenfranchised, things will be different now, the life before my son was born is gone (happy for me, bitterly for my daughter). So problem three becomes more of a problem because of problem 1. Problem 2 becomes more of a problem because of problem 1. Problem 1 may be the biggest trouble code of being human, or at least of being me.

But if you are like me, customizing business cards on Zazzle.com will help you sort through your life, emotions or problems and move on to whatever the future holds in a semi-sane way.

“In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” – Akira Kurosawa.

In a semi-mad world, only the semi-mad are semi-sane. – Bubble Gum Monkey ๐Ÿ’๐ŸŽˆ

๐Ÿ’– Love and Marriage ๐Ÿ’—

I just read “Misconceptions About Relationships” by one of my favorite authors, Nomzamo Madide, about relationships. I’ve been in a few relationships and avoided reflecting on them, for whatever reason it’s something I really don’t like to reflect on, perhaps I think of relationships as carnal and beneath philosophy, or perhaps I just am a train wreck with relationships, but I haven’t thought about it much thanks to a lot of intentional avoidance.

I got married in 2015, so I’m five years in at this point, I thought it might be interesting to see the same points covered from a different point in time.

1. [Debunking that] Sharing everything on social media is important. Honestly, the more you keep your relationship private, the better.

– Nomzamo Madide

I couldn’t agree more, something about sharing the details of our lives that were special makes them less special to me. Perhaps that’s why I don’t write more about love? Say for instance if I get a gift for my husband and take a picture and post somewhere about it, it feels kind of wrong to do. It seems weird to put intimate things in a public space. Not like hiding the fact I am married, but the less I disclose personal information about my husband that isn’t relevant to what I am saying it feels respectful and loyal to me. Sure from time to time I mention him, as he pertains to my life, but it’s not the same as narrating our private relationship publicly in detail or cataloging each fun outing we ever do together. Taking those kind of pictures, for others to see, it feels different than the ones that are just for us to remember and taking any pictures at all takes away whatever moment we otherwise would have experienced with the world. We never adjusted to taking pictures everywhere we go, no offense to people that do, it just detracts more than it adds for us. It’s nice that we both don’t like to take pictures so at least that is one point of non-argument.

2. [Debunking that] Relationships should be a fairytale. Every couple has to face its reality: career, family, and obstacles play a huge role in the dynamic of your relationship. Relationships are not what we see in Disney movies, they take both parties putting in the work and trust me no relationship is perfect but you make it work.

– Nomzamo Madide

It’s really hard to let go of the idea of the fairy tale romance for me, because I’m a romantic at heart. I would say fairies exist, but they are actually mosquitoes… everything behind the fairy tale romance has some basis in reality so it’s easy to be tricked. My husband and I were very much in love, he denies anything has changed to avoid doing any work to rekindle some of what we did have, but it’s obvious, though it’s alright as well. When he used to come home he would stare at me very happy, he described it as I was his new toy then. Now he is like that with our kids and barely notices me, because now they are the new toys and I’m the old toy. It’s a bit like Toy Story, I was Woody the cowboy, then my first child was Buzz Light Year the astronaut, then my second child became the new puppy that displaced both of them. So I guess love is a Disney movie after all, but in my case it’s not Snow White or Cinderella, it’s Toy Story.

3. [Debunking that] Love is enough in relationships. No. No, no and no. Love is not enough at all, mutual understanding and trust is just as essential. Letโ€™s be honest with each other, for a relationship to flourish, it needs more than that too. It also needs money.

– Nomzamo Madide

This idea was part of what broke up my parents marriage, my dad worked a lot to make money for my mom, who liked to spend a lot, but she resented that he worked a lot. It was a vicious cycle. If she spent a lot, he would take more over time work, she would get more angry and decide to spend more. She didn’t understand that being working class people he would just have to be gone at work, it could be 40 hours or it could be more, but it couldn’t really be much less. In my marriage money is less a big issue, but our issue is trust and respect. We understand each other very well, we just don’t always like each other. We both have a bad habit of rudeness and disrespect to each other and over time it’s hard to like someone who repeatedly disrespects you. We have love, but our marriage is kind of rocky, so it’s very clear to me that love is not enough to make a highly functional team.

4. [Debunking that] Possessiveness and jealousy are normal. As human beings we make this mistake of thinking that just because I am in a relationship with someone, that we are in love with each other, that we own each other. That person is not your possession, that person belongs to themselves and not to you. By choosing to be in a relationship with them, you are both just allowing each other to be a part of each others lives. Jealousy kills the relationship, to say the least.

– Nomzamo Madide

I didn’t want to admit when I was jealous, and therefore didn’t mention it before it festered, it would have been better to admit the jealousy than to let it turn to anger and distance over time, but it’s a very difficult conversation for me. Knowing it would be better, and resolving the issue are two different things. Right now we have a loose mouse in our house, we are trying to trap it, almost did with peanut butter, but the trap didn’t close because the spring broke… so like that actual mouse being caught, there is a difference between the attempt and the success of dealing with these issues.

5. [Debunking that] If you are truly happy with your partner, you should not need to be with anyone else. This may be true if you are both massively co-dependent but even that is not something I would think to be normal. I believe that for a relationship to be healthy and to grow, both parties need lives outside of their relationship. I think it is important to give your partner space to miss you, for them to be alone, to come home to themselves. Our basic psychological need for friendship and community needs to be fulfilled.

– Nomzamo Madide

I wanted to comment on this as an introvert, we need our lives outside the relationship very much, but it may not be outside the house or with people, the way we need space is different. My husband likes to go out with friends and he wants me to go out with my friends too, I can’t always, or sometimes don’t want to, it’s not that I don’t need my own life, it’s that my life won’t look like his. My own life is having time to reflect deeply and slowly about what I think about something, without being pressed for an immediate answer, perhaps walking along the town with no particular destination, perhaps reading a book on the patio. My husband wants to watch the kids while I have a girls night out, I’ve never had and probably don’t want to ever have a girl’s night out. I would appreciate if he watched them while I did my writing, but he doesn’t, I keep saying to him the things I want to do are at home and he keeps not understanding. Maybe someday he will and maybe someday he still won’t, but when I fully accepted myself it stopped hurting me that he doesn’t understand, I understand myself, I’m at peace with myself, I’ll keep looking for a way to show him, but if he never gets it, it will be okay, because I’m okay with they way I am.

6. [Debunking that] Perfect relationships exist. Lies. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, on social media we see what they want us to see. We will obviously not see the fights, the hurt and pain that goes into it. Every relationship goes through its ups and downs, lows and highs.

– Nomzamo Madide

Sometimes relationships feel perfect, but they don’t always. My first wedding anniversary we went to Seattle, it felt perfect to me, but perhaps not to my husband. Our second we went out to eat, I got my husband the same gift as the first year, for he had lost it, he didn’t so much as say happy anniversary or give me a hug. The third, he didn’t say anything, but I wasn’t hurt having been through it already. The fourth and fifth nothing good and nothing bad, no affection, no tension. I read a book with the idea that love has seasons, like spring and summer being pleasant, fall building tension and winter distance. That book helped me deal with the reality of being either irrelevant or disdained by my husband, who also provides for me and is sometimes kind or supporting to me.

In closing, love is a beautiful thing. One should not allow fear or misconceptions of love to make you miss out on love and pursuing relationships. Life is so much better with someone to share it with.

– Nomzamo Madide

I think love may or may not be a beautiful thing, that it varies a lot. I don’t think love is the most important thing in life, what it gives one person it seems to cost the other. Like a nice car, I think it’s perhaps the right thing for some people and perhaps not worth the cost for others. Love surprisingly, wasn’t something I sought, I thought I would have an easy time with a successful career and struggle to, or never marry, but life happened the opposite way for me. I am more happy to be married in terms of having my two kids, than in what it has done for me as far as making life better, it did make life better in some ways, but also worse in other ways. To me it’s a lot like becoming conjoined twins on purpose, it limits you to both going the same way sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes. Love comes with a high cost and high benefits, but I can’t say that my life married is better than what I expect my life would be like unmarried. I can’t say that. It’s not worse, but I don’t think it’s better. I wasn’t lonely single, but I felt free to be myself, to be unjudged in my own home, to do what I wanted that day, that year, in my life time, to have strange hair if I wanted to, I gave up a lot when I married. I don’t know if I had to, or if I did wrong in doing so, but I did, and although I gained a lot in marriage, I lost a lot too, so the unromantic truth is it isn’t clear if it’s worth it or not overall. Maybe it is?

“With or Without You.” – U2

See the stone set in your eyes,
See the thorn twist in your side,
I’ll wait for you,
Sleight of hand and twist of fate,
On a bed of nails, she makes me wait,
And I wait without you.

With or without you,
With or without you.

Through the storm, we reach the shore,
You give it all but I want more,
And I’m waiting for you.

With or without you,
With or without you, ah, ah,
I can‘t live,
With or without you.

And you give yourself away (complain about my cooking),
And you give yourself away (complain about my style),
And you give (complain),
And you give (complain),
And you give yourself away (undermine my goals).

My hands are tied,
My body bruised, she got me with,
Nothing to win and,
Nothing left to lose.

And you give yourself away (leave your dirty socks everywhere),
And you give yourself away (don’t bring back the Tupperware),
And you give (insult me in front of the kids),
And you give (make passive aggressive comments instead of being direct),
And you give yourself away (expect me to clean your broken egg in the fridge).

With or without you,
With or without you, oh,
I can‘t live,
With or without you,
Oh, oh,
Oh, oh.

With or without you,
With or without you, oh,
I can’t live,
With or without you.

With or without you…

– Paul David Hewson (Bubble Gum Monkey Version)


Wouldn’t it be funny if modern marriage was a way to trick women to provide free labor after that? Dressing up a life of servitude with a fancy party and important sounding title. It would be a little funny.