The Process of Being.


The Process of Being.


This Sat­ur­day, April 22, I will turn 30 years old.

Con­tent note: men­tion of sui­cide and rape.

Frankly, this ter­ri­fies me.

All my life, I nev­er envi­sioned myself liv­ing past the age of 28. I fig­ured that either the rap­ture would have occurred, or I would have killed myself. So you’d think 29 would have been my all-out pan­ic year, but I spent 29 deal­ing with a lot of oth­er things.

Now, with 30 at my doorstep, I’m caught in its head­lights, await­ing its impact with an ever-increas­ing sense of dread.

Before I get into how I’m approach­ing Stayin’ Alive at 30!, here’s a few life updates.

Employment, marriage, and impending name-change.

I’m cur­rent­ly work­ing 2 jobs. I’m free­lanc­ing almost full-time (need a design­er?), and I’m real­ly pleased to be teach­ing a graph­ic design class at my local com­mu­ni­ty col­lege. I guess I’m doing okay, since I’m slat­ed to teach the fol­low-up class in the fall. Teach­ing feels odd, but I’m also real­ly enjoy­ing it. There’s so much to learn.

My divorce is almost final­ized, and I’ve decid­ed to go back to my unmar­ried name: Dani Ward. Once I have the mon­ey to spare, I’ll be updat­ing my web­site and all that good stuff, so stay tuned (it’ll like­ly just auto-trans­fer, so no wor­ries). If you want to help speed up that whole process, there are links to my Patre­on account and my Pay­Pal account in the side­bar.

#HaikusWithDani and more.

I recent­ly com­piled all the poems I’ve writ­ten as an adult (at that time) into a dig­i­tal book­let, enti­tled Process. The main set of poems fall under the same title, describ­ing the process of my griev­ing and cop­ing after my mar­riage end­ed. That sec­tion is in the midst of the rest of the struc­ture of the book, which hope­ful­ly illus­trates the process I’ve been going through from despon­den­cy to hope. Be warned that top­ics include domes­tic vio­lence, inter­nal­ized fat hatred, rape, and intense depic­tions of men­tal ill­ness. You can pur­chase the book­let from Etsy for $12.95.

Breath of the Wild = Breath of Fresh Air.

Screenshot from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The main focus is of a very large black horse with orange mane and tail, with Link (the main character) standing in front of the horse. The horse is so tall that Link is only as tall as the horse's legs.

I TAMED THE DESCENDANT OF OCARINA OF TIME GANONDORF’S HORSE. His name is Reshef, named after the Canaan­ite god of plague and war. And yes. Yes, Link real­ly does only come up to almost the horse’s shoul­der.

Back when I had some dis­pos­able income, I pre-ordered Breath of the Wild for the Wii U. I’d for­got­ten about this by the time I went to GameStop to see if I could afford it. What a pleas­ant sur­prise. This game is every­thing I could have want­ed in a Zel­da game, and I am obsessed. Way to go, Past Me, for think­ing ahead! My brief (ish) par­tic­u­lar thoughts on the game:

  • Cook­ing. Omg, I love cook­ing. I love exper­i­ment­ing with ingre­di­ents and see­ing if I can get that real­ly awe­some sound that hap­pens when you cook some­thing par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful.
  • Grind­ing. This game speaks to the part of me that loves repet­i­tive actions and hyper-focus­ing on seem­ing­ly mun­dane tasks. I absolute­ly love that there are so many things to col­lect. Gems, insects, mon­ster parts, food, plants, gear, fairies…I’m obsessed.
  • The sid­e­quests. I haven’t done any­thing for the main sto­ry­line for quite some time. I want to explore every inch of the world first — and it’s so reward­ing to do so! There are ani­mals, ene­mies, peo­ple, ruins, guardians, and Yiga all over the place. You nev­er know when you’re going to stum­ble upon a set­tle­ment or a Bokoblin encamp­ment or a mini­boss. The world is full and vibrant and you’re not pun­ished for not car­ry­ing on with the main quest as quick­ly as pos­si­ble.

I won’t say much more for fear of spoil­ers, but speak­ing of think­ing ahead when I bought this …

A studio all my own.

As an ear­ly birth­day gift, my par­ents worked togeth­er to help me trans­form my old office into an art stu­dio. My mom pur­chased most of the orga­niz­ers, and my dad and I spent a cou­ple days putting fur­ni­ture togeth­er and rear­rang­ing the room. My ex had reworked this room a cou­ple of times for me as an art room, but … much like most of the rest of the house, it nev­er felt like it was mine. It felt like I was allowed there, but it was nev­er meant for me.

But this … this is every­thing I could have ever want­ed.

And now that I have this amaz­ing room at my dis­pos­al, I have plans to use it.

Stayin’ Alive at 30!

As I said in the begin­ning, I nev­er intend­ed to be as old as I am. I nev­er envi­sioned myself being 30. Ever. That in and of itself is mak­ing this par­tic­u­lar birth­day dif­fi­cult. But there’s more going on.

My depres­sion meds are under­go­ing some change, which always means a bit of upheaval in my life. I’m stress­ing about mon­ey since I won’t be teach­ing over the sum­mer (if I pinch my pen­nies hard enough, I may make it). There are some rela­tion­ship things I’m sort­ing through (polyamory can be hard, y’all).

Then there are the much heav­ier things.

In Jan­u­ary, a friend of mine killed her­self. This was in the midst of the year anniver­sary of kick­ing my ex out, fol­lowed quick­ly by the year anniver­sary of being raped, and hon­est­ly — I just haven’t been the same since all of those tragedies and trau­maver­saries dropped so quick­ly. I’m becom­ing more and more ago­ra­pho­bic — and less and less able to do more than work and kind of exist.

Frankly, I’m des­per­ate­ly look­ing for ways to con­vince myself to stay alive. I have this inter­nal Survival/Suicide Incon­ve­nience Scale, in which I try my hard­est to make sure that sui­cide will always be more incon­ve­nient for oth­ers than sur­vival. I know that’s a mis­er­able way to live, but that’s just it — it’s a way to live. That’s what it’s like with the kind of men­tal ill­ness­es I bat­tle. I have to make con­stant plans to keep myself alive.

So I make goals.

I have lists of things I want to buy to con­tin­ue to make my house Mine. Cur­tains, media, a portable pantry, dish­es, plans to reor­ga­nize and ren­o­vate var­i­ous rooms and sec­tions of my house. (Like the art room above.)

I’m mak­ing goals for myself with my teach­ing and with a new YouTube chan­nel I’m start­ing in my friend’s hon­our. Before she died, she told me she loved the idea of me start­ing a YouTube chan­nel address­ing all the var­i­ous and sundry parts of my life. I’ve begun work on that, and it’s a way to help me feel clos­er to her.

Even “stu­pid” “lit­tle” things, like look­ing for­ward to upcom­ing movies and games. I can’t die before I see Chad­wick Bose­man play the Black Pan­ther again! I need to see how some of my rela­tion­ships grow and deep­en or change. I want to feel com­fort­able in my own skin, in my own house. I want to teach my stu­dents so many things.

And that’s where one par­tic­u­lar strat­e­gy has come into play, specif­i­cal­ly to keep me dis­tract­ed, alive, and active dur­ing my 30th year on this earth.

I plan to sim­ply draw every day.

I know it’s not very orig­i­nal, but I kin­da don’t care. I want to learn new tech­niques, new styles, work with media I’ve nev­er worked with before, approach many top­ics and objects and sub­jects. Even if what I cre­ate sucks, even if it’s just a quick sketch or some hand-let­ter­ing/­cal­lig­ra­phy exer­cis­es. I want to keep cre­at­ing and learn­ing.

#Dai­ly­Draw­ing­With­Dani has begun already, a bit ahead of sched­ule, large­ly to get me in the prac­tice of doing it. On days when I don’t have ener­gy to draw, I’ve been indulging in colour­ing my beau­ti­ful Johan­na Bas­ford colour­ing books. This, too, is help­ing me learn, as I’m using coloured pen­cils. I’ve nev­er been good with them, and I want to learn how to blend and use them effec­tive­ly. Johanna’s books are per­fect for this, as there’s so many small con­trolled spaces for me to fill and test.

Already, it’s been real­ly hard to keep up with this prac­tice. (See that big ol’ list above as to what all I’m bat­tling cur­rent­ly.) But I’m pur­su­ing it. I’m work­ing on it. It’s a goal with a tan­gi­ble man­age­able action attached that will cre­ate a body of work and allow me to expand my knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence in ways that will enrich my life and my career.

It’s a process. I guess that’s my One Word of the year. My brain is con­stant­ly think­ing about the mere process of Being. And I’d love to know what it’s like to want to keep on Being, rather than dis­tract­ing myself from the tan­ta­liz­ing prospect of Not Being.

Posted in Fat Girl,
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