Tag Archives: art history

The Last Day

Today is the last day of university classes. And while we still took some notes and talked about the last couple of movements in my ARH 202 class (Renaissance to Modern) I did something different. I received a package this week from the Amplifier Foundation, which was an education packet of posters they put together to send to educators who were signed up for their program. Through this program educators are guided on how to have conversations about art and the changing face of America. I have been working as a volunteer with this organization since the Women’s March in Washington DC almost a year ago. I supported the kick starter to have the images produced, and I am the proud owner of the 5 original images. The We the People campaign was magical and I am eternally thankful for those who made this all happen. The conversation about art is vital and important.

As an Amplifier Educator I was supposed to open the dialogue about art, diversity, equality, activism, etc. Today, on the last day of class, I got there a few minutes early and put the posters that I was sent up on the wall around my classroom. I lectured for about 40 minutes and then asked the students to get up and look at the art in the room. From there I told them once they had looked at it all to stand by the image that spoke to them the loudest. Once they were settled in place I asked them to explain why. What about the image struck them and what did they see? Some were drawn to the science posters because they’re science majors. Some were drawn to the Native American inspired posters that fight for water and the earth. Some were drawn to the equality images as they see how incredibly unequal the world around them is and strive to change that. The three Shepard Fairey images the We The People series had 7 students hovering around them. When I got to them, and why they liked what they saw, all of them were drawn to the determination of the faces of the individuals. Some identified because they were the same ethnicity, as well, but even those students commented on the determination seen in their faces. The pride they have for being African American, Hispanic, and Muslim was electrifying them and they gravitated toward it.

Y’all, today was the first day that I felt students connecting and seeing the power that art has in society and the world. I felt their interest spark and the desire to know more grow in each of them. Curiosity is magical, no? I can’t even begin to explain the sense of gratitude that I have for my job today. Or how fulfilled I am by how magical that moment was. What a way to end the semester! I need more days like today. I wish I had the money to buy loads of posters each semester to give out to these kids so they could keep the conversation going. That was my only stipulation for those who got a poster. They had to keep the conversation going.

I am for once looking forward to the Spring semester. Excited to see how the interaction with the new crop of students will be. I can’t wait.

If any of you are interested in the amplifier foundation, check them out at http://www.amplifier.org.

Holiday Reconnect

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It has been a hot minute since I’ve had an opportunity to blog. Since I moved I’ve been running around, unpacking, traveling, etc. and quite frankly I’m so happy to be able to be home for a few weeks before the travels start again. I need this time to ground myself. Focus. Hang out and just breathe!

I have had a blast running around though. I went to New Jersey to see my friend, Olga, and her family. Her oldest daughter got married and the wedding was beautiful! Spending time with Olga was much needed. I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, since I moved out of NYC. It was just like old times though. The only the that had really changed was she moved, and she got a cat. Everything else, the same.

Upon returning from Jersey I had to work one day and then I was off to visit my family in the North Carolina mountains. I drove way too much, but I was happy to get the time to see everyone. I like hearing what they’ve been up to. It was also my cousin Jon’s 26th birthday on Thanksgiving. I can’t believe he’s 26. Scares me that the youngest (he’s 3rd from the bottom age wise with the cousins) group of kids in our family will all be in their 30s very soon.

I spent Thanksgiving evening with my parents at their house. Mom had to work, so she was unable to go to the festivities at grandmas, but it was nice to see her and spend time with both of them. I broke the news that I had been seeing someone, Zack (just in case you didn’t know either). They were quite happy and look forward to meeting him. It won’t be over Christmas, because he has to work, but none the less, one day!

So here it is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. December will be here Friday. My lovely yogi sister, Starr, has a birthday on Friday too! And it wraps up the end of the semester for me. I’m excited to have time off from teaching. I get to focus my time on doing some academic writing for myself and studying for the GRE. Hurray! Christmas break is so fun! I have planned on doing a yoga tour of Wilmington. Spending time learning and practicing from those around me. I am excited to experience some new things and really push myself to get outside my comfort zone. I’m stuck there, and I have to stop it. So, naturally, I am going to go to my mat and try all the things. There are so many wonderful teachers in this town (it’s legit over flowing with amazing teachers) and it is silly of me not to take advantage. I think I might start on Friday morning, since it is the first day I have ‘off’ from work. And I know just who’s class to take. Alexis, I’m coming for you!

In addition to my yoga tour, I’m excited to study. To spend time expanding my knowledge and working toward a larger goal. I have been anticipating this time off so I could focus and just work on stuff I want to do, instead of stuff I have to do for work. Not that I don’t like that stuff, but sometimes I find it really hard to actually split the two and I know that I need to learn to do that again. I plan to pursue some big things, and push myself again. I’ve done a lot of pushing this year, and I want to wrap up the year itself with one last one. It will lead me into 2018 and help me stay focused next year. Because, I’m not doing all this stuff to not keep at it. Dreams are worth chasing. And I’m trying to focus on some short term goals for now, that will possibly lead me to that bigger dream. Dr. Deirdre. It has a fantastic ring to it, no?

In closing, here’s to the last week of classes! I look forward to the month off. I look forward to the holidays with friends and family. I look forward to pushing myself outside of this comfort zone so I can grow and prosper in a different way.

2017 has been an awesome year. 2018, I hope you’ll be the same.

Namaste!

Thanks, Universe!

It is a societal norm for us to stress over dumb things. Am I right? Whether it is something superficial like the clothes we wear not being “good” enough or the car we drive. Maybe it is where we live or how much we spend on fancy things like jewelry. All of that shit doesn’t matter. You think it does, but it doesn’t. Really sitting down and observing what you have, why do you have it? What purpose does it serve? Maybe it was a gift and you’re afraid of getting rid of it because it was a gift. Maybe you don’t even really like it? We’ve all been there.

I’m moving in 7 days. One more week in a place that I have grown to despise. It isn’t because I’m too good for where I am, or anything like that, but it is because the property managers royally suck, so many corners were cut to try and make this place “good” but it’s just falling apart. Do I have everything I need? Yes. Do I also hate the fact that my toilet never stops running (and no one will come fix it) and that there’s a good chance that if people in my building do laundry, my living room becomes a swamp. Yes. I can’t tolerate it anymore. But in this process of moving on to bigger and better I find myself getting rid of so much stuff that I never thought I would get rid of. From furniture to objects to dishes, etc. I went through a box that I have been keeping for years. I call it my box of important crap. Yeah, the shit I thought was once important isn’t important to me anymore. Love notes from old boyfriends, little trinkets that they had given me along the way, etc. Gone. I felt nothing anymore. No attachment. Nada. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, but I’m here at the end and I don’t care so much. And, here’s the kicker. It’s totally okay. There’s nothing wrong with that! Let the shit go. I did. Not that you should do something because I suggest it, but why not give it a try?

Talking to a girl I did my Yoga training with the other day. I saw a fox painting that she would love, so I took a pic and texted it to her. We got to chatting about getting rid of old stuff and old energy to make room for new energy. And she said something that really resonated with me. I don’t need material things because my heart is so full. Full because of the things that I do on a daily basis. From teaching art to teaching yoga. It’s all really magical and I think the Universe agrees. I am content in my life. I’m excited about the future for the first time in a long time. I have something to work toward. And it seems that the Universe is going to provide some great opportunities for me to continue to be successful. What do I mean? Let me tell you a story.

Earlier in the summer my left eye started hurting. After a week it didn’t get any better so I went to the doctor. They sent me for a STAT MRI and ran all these tests and needless to say I had a huge bill by the end. Thanks to the American health care system! Anyway, I got everything in my account set up to be in a payment plan. $150 a month. I made the payments. I got a new bill in the mail on Friday last week saying I owed $300. Turns out I forgot to pay the damn thing last month. I’m not one to miss payments, but that isn’t the issue. I ended up calling the billing office to talk to them about the bill. I wasn’t understanding why it was as high as it was. The lady who helped me is a freaking saint. Turns out that they charged me for the MRI twice, and never applied the pre-payment that I made the day of the procedure to the account. So basically, my bill that was $2186 ended up being $307 by the time she fixed everything. Honestly, y’all. I was planning on getting an itemized list of everything I owed, so I could get financial help to pay it off. I couldn’t keep making the payment. But because this lady was actually doing her job, I just paid the $307 on my credit card and we called it a day. Moral of the story? Call and talk to people about the bills you have, especially if they’re medical! This is helping me because one less bill is always a blessing, right?

The story doesn’t stop there. I also work at a local University. Back in September I realized that I didn’t have any classes for Spring 2018 and asked when they would be setting up the schedule. Turns out they already had, but by mistake left me off. So I emailed my boss asking her to at least give me one class! This is the bulk of my income, so I need that to stay afloat. Time passed and I saw that I had one class on my schedule. Thankful! But I looked again two weeks ago and I had TWO! That was even better. Well, last week she emailed me again asking if I could teach a third class. Why yes, yes I can. I would love to. 3 is the max I can teach, so they don’t have to pay me benefits, but I will take 3. Then yesterday, just after I got off the phone with the lady at the billing office I checked my email because the Summer 2018 schedule had come out. Turns out I get to teach 2 sections each summer session. This is the max I can teach (or anyone for that matter) during the summer. And While I knew I had one class each session, having two now is like silver icing on the golden cake! I was brimming with joy! I had kept asking the Universe to help me figure this stuff out. Financial stuff gives me a lot of heartache, but I managed to get everything to work out in my favor. Big things are happening and I am so blessed and so thankful and grateful for those blessings.

Ultimate thanks to the universe. And also goes to show that worrying isn’t going to handle anything. You have to go out and make things happen for yourself. You have to keep asking the Universe to provide, and keep working hard in order to make that happen. You should also probably get rid of the old stagnant energy in your life to make room for new blessings to come in. If there’s no room for them, then they won’t show up! Silly as it sounds, I can’t help but thing it is real.

As I wrap up this time in this space I am thankful for what it has provided me in the time I’ve been here. It has facilitated some good, and a lot of bad, but those were obstacles that I had to handle. And I have. Now, HOPEFULLY I have done my damage and I can just relax for a bit.

Unrelated side note. Excited about Halloween! And I’m also super excited about the trip i’m taking in November to New Jersey. Going to see my old friend and watch her oldest daughter get married. Should be quite the party! I am also super excited about having some time to myself away from this town and such. I never go away, and if I do it isn’t far. So, going back to my old stomping ground is going to be great. Then it is the Holiday season and the end of my semester. Yikes! So crazy to think that everything is basically done.

I plan to spend Christmas break–the whole month off–just writing and researching and studying. I also plan to work really hard prepping for my upper level class in the Spring. I want it to be different. I taught it once and it wasn’t so great. But the first time never is. So this is my chance to get things together and really do it justice. Wee! I know I can. It is going to be epic.

Oh yeah, and today is my Dad’s 61st Birthday! Happy Birthday dad! Love you so much!

Okay. Time to get this day going. Yoga practice is go! And this is my new theme song.

Personal Evolution

Lately I have been doing a lot of writing. Just in my own journal because I love the feeling of pen on paper. I like the tactile quality of doing things the “old fashioned” way. I have a love/hate relationship with the screen too. As someone who has spent so much time hanging out in academia I have spent too much time in front of the screen! So getting away from it is a blessing. And carrying around a journal instead of a laptop is, by far, much easier.

A very wonderful friend of mine has recently started a PhD program at FSU in Tallahassee Florida and while she has been separated from me I still feel like she is close by. We were talking yesterday because the job she wants is open in the location she wants. The only problem is that she needs the PhD to be able to get the job. I flirt with the idea of going back to school for that doctorate. I want it some days, and other days I struggle with the idea of putting my student hat back on. What happens when I finish and have spent so much time and effort doing this great thing, and there’s nothing for me to do with it at the end, beyond what I already do? Don’t get me wrong the title alone would be epic for me, and I’d be the first doctor in my family, but I often struggle with the potential future that it would create. Yes, I would love to be able to study and do the things that I love in this world more effectively and write about them. Yes, I would love to be able to find a tenure track position and teach art history to the masses (because maybe one day it will be important again!). And I realize that I have to be far more dedicated to my studies than I already am in order to achieve any of this. There is lots of studying involved in even being accepted to a program. There’s lots of writing as well. Which I don’t mind, I just am so out of practice of all of these things that I feel I might be completely terrible at it. And I know that I probably will be at first, but eventually it will all come back. I’m not stupid, I am quite capable. I may in fact be the best damn researcher on the planet (I’m not really, but I’m damn good at it!). So what gives? What is holding me back? I honestly don’t know, other than fear.

So what is fear? Fear of failure? Fear of never being accepted to a school? Fear of not finding a university that would actually pay me to be there, because there’s no way I can afford to take out any kind of loan to do this degree. It will have to be a completely full ride. Basically, I have to get over these fears. If I try, and actually apply myself then I should find a program that will see my potential and let me in. If I try and actually find myself succeeding, then I will know this was the right path for me, yes? And maybe the universe will recognize the effort that I’m putting into it all. The personal evolution that I am going through to let go of these fears and just let things happen. I keep saying that I want my new place to be a different kind of energy and getting rid of the fear that lingers in my head about these tasks is something that has to be left behind. I’m throwing them out with the old furniture that I am not bringing with me! I’m letting it go with the old clothes that I donated. I’m throwing it all away with the trash I leave in the dumpster. Because I can do this. I know I can.

At first I didn’t think that I could be a successful yoga instructor, but I am slowly growing into one. I have had some great mentors! So if I can go from thinking that I’m not the best, to actually thinking that I am pretty good on the mat, then I can find my way to apply that to my education and growing my crazy number of degrees. Counting my High School Diploma I have 5. And one day, counting my high school diploma I want to have six.

I want that PhD. I don’t care what I have to do to get it. If I have to study all night, and work all day, then I will do what is required. It is something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about for a long time. And they say (whomever “they” are) if you can’t stop thinking about it then you should probably just go ahead and do it.

I know that I am on a path of growth. I am uncomfortable most of the time, and that is simply me adjusting to this new realm of possibility. I want to be something better than what I am. I want to be the best that I can be. I want to work every day to find my way to that better place. I want to study and to grow and learn.

The journal that I am writing in these days, the cover says “The best way to get something done is to begin” and the only way that I can get this done is to start. I have to. I know how to. I just have to actually do it. So I suppose I should stop milling around, grab a fresh cup of coffee and dive into something beneficial for me and my future. No matter what it is, no matter how little I think I am accomplishing, a little is better than none. And eventually that “little” will evolve into something much bigger. Even pennies add up to something!

Fear is no longer an option. I have to push forward. The universe is pushing me in that direction and I can no longer resist.

❤ Namaste

It Takes a Village

Happiest of Monday’s to y’all! It’s going to be a beautiful week, full of lots of things and I just needed a moment to reflect on this past weekend. So much happened.

 

Saturday I wrapped up my mentorship at Salty Dog Yoga & Surf. I could not be more thankful for the opportunity to get feedback about my teaching from the seasoned yogi’s that I work with. Such a blessing to have their leadership and skills to help me learn. From now on I am a full fledged member of the staff and I’m so excited to continue to grow in this space. I am really enjoying getting to know the people who practice there as well. Bunch of awesome people. And I have to say, the flow I put together for them was by far the best one I’ve done to date.

Sunday morning I went to Island Beverage to lead a yoga class. Not a great turn out but that was probably due to the insanity of the half marathon taking place on the island yesterday. It was muggy! and I felt so bad for the folks running. When they signed up for it they probably thought it would be a cool run, temperature wise. Either way, it looked like there was a good turn out for that. Way to go half marathoners!

After I was done there I made my way home to grade 50 bibliographies. They were fairly terrible, and I’m sad to see that people have no idea how to evaluate the sources they use for research. However, once I was finished with those I made my way to the Yoga Village Festival! Such a nice turn out and the day cooled down a bit, and there was a nice breeze too. I got to meet so many people! Networking isn’t my strongest side, but I was in charge of Svasana assists at the “Relaxation Station” and because of that people really enjoyed hanging out with me. But who wouldn’t? You get a massage and to lay on the grass under some majestic pine trees! So perfect. I will say that touching so many people is exhausting. Having all of that energy pass through you and expending your own energy put me out by the end of the festival. To the point that making dinner was quite a task. It was so nice to see people come together to support this organization. It is such a beautiful part of the community and having so much positive energy in one space was inspiring. I can’t even begin to tell you how loving the space was.

As for the week ahead I’m going to a book club meeting today at noon and we’re reading the Untethered Soul. So awesome. I am really enjoying this book. I’ve never been much for books you find in the “self help” section of the book store, but honestly I haven’t been able to put it down. Learning how to not let things bother you. How to just let it go and when you feel like things are getting under your skin to just breathe and watch it go away. Something that I am really working on in my life. I let too many things get under my skin and drive me insane or make me mad, and it is unnecessary. I look forward to the discussion this afternoon.

This past weekend was also Fall break from my university job. So nice to, for the first time in 4 years, put my email on “Out of Office” and not deal with anything from Thursday to Sunday. I created a boundary. A real one and it was awesome! Everything was still there when I logged in today and I handled it all pretty swiftly. Back to the classroom tomorrow!

Well, I suppose the rest of my To Do list won’t do itself today, unless I actually get going. Welcome to my new followers! I’m thrilled to have you, and I hope to see some of your faces in a class soon!

Much love to all!

Namaste ❤

Symbolism

Earlier this evening Zack posed a question to me. He said he had been thinking about symbols of history. The cross was once a Roman symbol that was used to oppress Jewish and Christian folks to show them that they would be crucified if they defied Rome. The Star of David was used by the Nazi regime to mark and oppress the Jewish folks. Then posing the question about the confederate images that are being taken down.

I study symbolism. I approached my answer from an art historian view. Over the centuries great men (and some really shitty ones) have been made into monuments. Whether it is a statue of Robert E Lee or the Emperor Trajan, at some point the men of the past are no longer appropriate to memorialize in public. You don’t still see all the statues of people who were once in charge. Napoleon isn’t displayed all around France, he is in museums but he is no longer appropriate in public. He asked me when people decide to take these things down, and the only answer that I can come up with is when society sees a reason to take them down. Sometimes you need to melt down the metal and make bullets, other times is because the image of certain people is out grown by society. At one point in this country the symbol of Robert E Lee and other confederate soldiers were seen as commemorative. Hitler had statues of himself too, but once he was no longer acceptable, those images came down. Robert E Lee is not okay anymore. The confederate monuments across the south are not acceptable in society anymore. They will be replaced with other imagery, that one day a few hundred years from now will no longer be appropriate and will be removed again.

My ultimate argument with his original discussion is that the images he brought up, the cross and the Star of David, are symbols, not people. Yes, I realize that the people are symbols of a lot of things, but generally they don’t have the same pull as the symbols he brought up. The Star of David was already an important symbol in Jewish religion. The Cross became an important symbol because of the oppression that it caused Jesus. Had he been stoned to death, our symbolism would be much different.

Those who wish to argue with me about how statues are history, no they’re art. Art becomes out dated. At that point it goes into a museum and is no longer in the public. At that point you’ll have to pay to see it. However, if it doesn’t go into a museum, that is simply because the person that made it didn’t become popular enough to warrant a home in a museum. At that point they will probably be melted down and used for musket balls. The reenactment battlefield soldiers might need more.

Here’s the kicker. The people of America are not attached to these statues. They no longer hold any power as themselves, but only because someone threatened to take them away. That is the only reason anyone cares. Someone is taking them away, and for good reason. The country that this once was is still here. There are plenty of racist bigots running the show and keeping minorities in their place. Thankfully time is quickly ending.

Taking down a statue doesn’t mean the history didn’t happen, because it did, obviously. Not having a statue that supports the confederacy, a group who wanted to destroy America and break it apart, really isn’t that bad. Some people might associate a statue with their home town because it has been there for over a hundred years. Some folks are upset about that, but honestly, why does it matter? Your city isn’t identified simply for the existence of one statue, or a couple statues. Your city/town/etc is identified by a zip code, by groups of people, by a name. A statue does not make the city, it is simply a memory that you have associated with your city. Memories fade. Art changes. Objects and things aren’t that important. What matters is that you treat your neighbor with kindness and compassion. What matters is that you say nice things to people and behave in a manner in which you would expect your children to behave. Follow the golden rule and things will be fine. Keep fighting about insignificant bullshit and things will continue to be the ridiculous back and forth that it has been.

Take a step back and assess the situation before you begin to speak. Do some work and find out what is going on. Don’t be upset when people want to change the landscape and the conversation to something more positive and less oppressive.

I hope everyone has a great rest of your weekend. Those who are out protesting, please stay hydrated! And spread love not hate.