I came across this great image on Pinterest (pinned by Rhonda Moss).
It is truly fascinating to me that there are some people who do not understand that fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, i.e. lifelong…no end in sight…you have to live with it, etc., etc.
At the same time, it is important that we, who have FMS, do not become overly frustrated with such questions. In my opinion, they stem from feelings of helplessness. It is not easy to watch someone close to you (or not) go through such a difficult time. In this era of information overload and quick-fix, I think that we have come to believe that everything has to have a readily understandable explanation and an easy method of resolution–unfortunately, it is not so simple with FMS.
So, to everyone who asks such a question: No, we’re not better yet. No, we don’t know when we will be. 🙂
Image found on IsabelSharman.co.uk: Frida Kahlo, “The Broken Column” (Click on image to read an article by The Daily Mail on Kahlo
No, Frida Kahlo did not have fibromyalgia. This painting, however, and all of her paintings really, eloquently expresses what it sometimes like to have fibromyalgia, i.e. the pain, the sorrow, the mental struggle.
Starting from today, every Monday I will be featuring art that reflects, whether directly or indirectly, what it means to have fibromyalgia.
I welcome submissions and suggestions!
The word “Art” is being used in its broadest definition.
As I prepare for NaNoWriMo and am engaging in studying for exams, listening to music is becoming a more prominent feature of my daily experience. Whether it is listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or Gotye‘s Heart’s A Mess, I find that music helps me to focus my mind, and streamline my thoughts and emotions.
And so….I’ve been trying to put together a playlist specifically for NaNoWriMo.
Selecting music for a playlist is a bit like packing a suitcase for a long trip. You need to make sure that every item there serves a purpose. I am still not certain of my list as it stands. Thus, I am looking for suggests for instrumental as well as vocal music. Ethereal and dark sounds are welcomed.
I have about fifty selections at the moment (even though there are only forty listed below). I would like to make it an even hundred (100). So, make some suggestions! At the moment, my playlist is as follows:
It is cold today. The kind of cold that conjures to the mind apple orchards, pumpkin pie, and children running around in costumes. It’s that kind of weather today, and I am sitting outside. Perhaps I shouldn’t be. Perhaps I should go inside. I won’t though. At least, not until I have finished enjoying the feeling of being outside.
Living in the moment is an art form. Being able to say “Yes, I will acknowledge you” to the goings-on around and within you is not easy. It takes time to soothe the fear of the unknown known, or to learn how to live comfortably with it. I believe it is a lifelong self-dialogue. Today, I was able to give an affirmative to myself when I felt the desire to sing and play guitar. I worked through the fear of having others overhear me, or being disruptive, or sounding like crap, or whatever. I am glad for it.
Singing today brought about the realization that I have long missed this mode of expression. To find the right sound, the right words that reach within to evoke all that is so very difficult to state in regular speech, or in poetry, or in stories…
The sound of my voice has changed over the years. It is more melancholic, darker…still, I hear that clarity of old, which is something about which I can smile.
Now, if I could only sing like this… 😉 piano…piano
Until Next Time!
Self-portrait by Dolores Juhas. Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.
Reading manga and watching anime has recently turned into a pastime of mine. I enjoy this aspect of Japanese culture and am a very visually-inclined person, thus it works out. As I have been going along with my soon-to-be-obsessive manga/anime thing, I have come to recognize an important difference between Japanese and American cultures. That is, in America we use the actual words “I love you” as though we are automatic ticket dispensing machines… you know, the ones at the deli, or in a waiting room, at the post office… the ones that you push the button and out comes that little slip of paper that let you know that you will receive service?
When I first began read manga, I thought that the statement suki desu (“I like you”) were a direct translation of the English “I love you” as this is how it is often translated. I was shocked to discover that the word aishiteru was actually “I love you.” Furthermore, that this word was rarely used. Initially I was dismayed at the thought of what life would be like without hearing the words “I love you,” then it dawned on me… “I love you” as it is used in English seems to hold very little meaning. We use this statement seemingly freely, we love everything and everyone–disclaimer: I know that I am generalizing here. 😉 Just bear with me.
The above thought left me transitioning from feelings of anger to sadness, sadness to fear, and back again to anger, only to end with resolve. My anger stemmed from the many times I have heard, whether in my own personal life or hearing the tragic love stories of others, the statement used “I love you” that should have been really daisuki desu “I like you a lot” or better yet “I like you a lot until I find someone I like even more.”
No, this isn’t bitterness. Yes, I own the fact that I have grown more skeptical throughout years, especially in more recent ones. This is truly an attempt to understand emotionally honest and how clearly we can state our feelings given the limitations of our language. Somehow we have lost the ability to describe our more intimate feelings using words such as “adore,” “dear,” “smittened,” etc. Somehow it seems that we can only go from zero to one hundred in our feelings, and subsequently zoom down the love highway. We seemingly go from “I like you” to “I love you” without hesitation, but why?
Is it that we can no longer take the time to accurately identify and aptly describe our emotional state in relation to each other? Are we so very worried that if we do not say “I love you” that the feeling will not be conveyed accurately? I want to return to a world where I can say that I adore, am smittened, find dear, am enamored, find beloved, yearn for, desire, long for, want,etc…
So, what does this all mean, D.? Well, simply that I tip my hat to Japanese culture and am choosing to embrace in my life taking the slow lane to stating the profound feelings embodied within the words “I love you.” Afterall, life and people are too precious not slow down, understand, and clearly state my feelings. In the long run, it is simply with the aim of causing no or little harm.
I am an enormous fan of the novel Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden as well as of the film. I would recommend both novel and film to anyone. Of course, I would suggest reading the novel first, because it is truly amazing. The film, however, presents such lovely visual imagery that it may serve a purpose for those who read the novel after.
In particular, I enjoyed the following scene. More importantly, however, is the quote below. In my opinion, it reflects the process of emotionally shutting down, i.e. of isolating oneself from the world around. That is that we can sometimes create distance between ourselves and others, an emotional and psychological wall, in an effort to self-protect. We expose only the parts of ourselves that we feel are acceptable to the world around us and hide away who we truly are.
“The heart dies, a slow death,
shedding each hope like leaves…
… until one day there are
none. No hopes. Nothing remains.
She paints her face to hide her
face. Her eyes like deep water.
It is not for Geisha to
want. It is not for Geisha to feel.
Geisha is an artist
of the floating world.
She dances. She sings. She entertains you,whatever
you want. The rest is shadows. The rest is secret.”
All right, so the reality is this: I am writing this on March 4, 2011. Also, I am no longer in Rome, but sitting in the comfort of my studio-like room in the house I share here in the U.S. However, better late than never, right?
Tourists at Piazza Navona, Feb. 2011
People-watching is one of my favourite pastimes. I am also starting to believe that it is the national sport of Italy (yes, yes, I know… there is football/soccer) as Romans, regardless of sex, seem to naturally engage in the stare-you-down-as-I-pass-you-in-the-street activity. Also, both Romans and tourists alike enjoy sitting outside cafes and restaurants, in order to take in the events and activities of passersby. This is without wonder as there is so much to see, smell, hear, listen, and touch in Rome, whether it is the beautiful art prints being sold in the Piazza Navona, or the Bangladeshi street venders asking tourists to try out any one of the many gel-filled objects only for 1 Euro.
Promoter handing out flyers for La Traviata Opera at the Spanish Steps (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011
During my stay, I have definitely engaged in my share of people-watching, which has provided me with moments of both humour and contemplation. What I wanted to address in this post, however, are the talented people, who are fixtures on the streets of Rome, whom we sometimes rush by as tourists, because they are simple “street performers,” or “street vendors.”
Campo dei Fiori – Sasha
I remember the first time I saw Sasha Aleksovski perform. It was an early evening and I was on my way home. At that time, I did not have the opportunity to stop and stay for his entire performance, but I made a mental note to look out for him. Luckily, I found him one afternoon, and was able to take some pictures of him, and learn more about his work.
Sasha Aleksovski (Campo dei Fiori area) Feb. 2011
Sasha is a performance artist. Upon first glance, one might merely think him to be a mime, i.e. until he truly begins to move. The fact is, Sasha is an extraordinary dancer with a both grace and a fluidity that enchant the observer. The storytelling quality of his movements create a sense of empathy… And even if it is for a brief moment, one cannot help but to stop and pay attention to the story Sasha tells through the expression of movement.
Sasha Aleksovski was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and studied painting and sculpture. He lived in London for three years, where he studied mime and dance theatre. He began studying butoh dance in 1996 in Rome. He continues to perform both in public and onstage in and around Rome. You can find him on Facebook.com or email@example.com.
Trastevere – Alex
While making a trek around the city of Rome, it is fairly easy to find your share of watercolour prints, copies of famous paintings, and a host of other image-based art, especially in the tourist-filled areas such as the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Navona.
Everyday I would take a walk through Trastevere, and it was on late weekend afternoon that I met Alexandre Veron. Actually, to be quite truthful, I met his photography before I met him as Alex actually sat some distance away from his beautiful work.
Art stand, Alexandre Veron, Trastevere (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011
Alex is a black and white photographer, who takes images of Rome’s everyday life. He does not set-up situations, or gets models; he simply photographs what he sees… and what he sees and photographs is wonderous. I wish I had taken a picture of his pictures. Perhaps, however, a stroll through Trastevere… or emailing him might work too. Either way, look him up as he is quite a gifted emerging photographer.
Alexandre Veron is a French photographer currently based in Rome, Italy. You contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campo dei Fiori – Taras
Meeting Taras was one of those odd occurrences… like lightning striking the same place/person twice. It was quite a cold and dreary Sunday, and one of those days when Rome and I were not the best of friends. I was walking back from my usual stroll to the Piazza di Spagna. On this day, I stopped to listen to the band that played daily in the Piazza Navona, and then made my way to Campo dei Fiori.
Band performing in Piazza Navona (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011
Taras Bokan, musician, Campo dei Fiori (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011
I had not really observed many musicians playing in the Campo dei Fiori area since my arrival. Then again, I rarely came out at night, and perhaps that is when they often played. Thus, it was a surprise when the sound of music fell upon my ears as I entered the marketplace.
There, sitting on a small stool, sat Taras Bokan playing guitar. Moreover, on what was truly a grey day, he wore the brightest and most wonderful smile that matched well musical abilities. Also, close-by stood Sasha Aleksovski, the above-mentioned performance artist, who told gave me some information about Taras. From this conversation with Sasha, I had the distinct impression that there was a strong community bond amongst street performers, which I could only imagine would be beneficial due to the emotionally grueling nature of the work – It truly is not easy putting one’s self on display for the world and asking simultaneously to be compensated for one’s creativity. Each day is a financial uncertainty for those performers, who do not have other means of livelihood.
Taras Bokan's guitar, Campo dei Fiori (Rome, Italy) Feb. 2011
Taras Bokan, apparently, is amongst the fortunate, and has been able to utilize his musical talents in different arenas.
Taras is a multi-talented individual, who is not only a musician, but also a composer (and is quite a gifted artist also).
With Italy’s unemployment close to 9% and also its lure for artists of all kinds, it shouldn’t be unusual or shocking to see many talented, established and emerging artists utilizing the public space as a forum to display their creativity… and most importantly, to earn a living. Yes, the ancient buildings are important, and the art of old too. What I am suggesting is to move pass any biases, and take a serious look at the offerings of those who make up modern-day Rome, i.e. the street musicians, performers (and I am not talking about the ones wearing gladiator gear), and artists – These people are helping to build the new image of Rome, and should be equally treasured.