Failure, the Monster of Fear

I want to design things.

I keep seeing videos or projects or posters or fonts that make me want to make stuff. I listen to songs that make me want to make things and everything is just beautiful and so well done and I want to be able to do that too, but I can’t.

I hate the learning process. Let me unpack that a bit… I like learning new things, but I like to learn them and be able to be good at them right away. Maybe I like to discover things. Discovering things usually means they’re ready to go, like discovering a talent for something! Learning things means having to not be very good at them at first. It means being able to see something I want to be able to make so perfectly in my minds eye, and not being able to recreate it.

Learning is frustrating, it’s hard, it’s discouraging, it’s frightening. What if what I desire to create is something I will never achieve? What if no matter how hard I work and study and learn, I’ll never develop the ability to truly do to the extent I desire?

This week I feel like I’ve seen so many things that spark that desire to create, but I haven’t created a thing because I’m scared to try and sure I’ll fail. People tell me otherwise and they say I’ll be great, or they say, that’s part of learning! but that doesn’t actually lessen the sting of failure. I’ve built up failure as a monster of a fear in my mind’s eye, I might only be looking at the shadow, failure could be a mouse in front of a candle’s flame, but that shadow on the wall is big and scary and I’m not sure I can face it just yet. I begin to wonder if I’ll ever be ready to face it.

 

These are some things that I loved the look and sound and feel of lately:

Tessa’s music video for her song “Dream”

Dodie’s song “Sick of Losing Soulmates” (heads up, contains swear words)

Episode 1 of Emily’s webseries “Cold” (everything Emily touches is so beautifully made, her Letters to July series are amazing)

 

I turn 23 at the end of this week. It sounds too grown up.

-B

This Is It.

Heyyyyyy friend! It’s been, let’s see now, well, umm, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Nearly five months?! Sheesh, my bad… So how ya been?

Summarizing the last five months could be tricky, lets see, I did keep cooking a bit, I know the posts dropped off at “E” but I made chicken broccoli noodle thing (F), pretzel buns with cream cheese icing dip (G), and Sloppy Joe Mac & Cheese (H) and maybe some other stuff but I don’t remember. I’m going to try and get back into weekly cooking, still ironing out my back-to-school schedule though.

But the summer was great! Mostly worked, but did get to take a trip to BC with mah boyfriend Ryan to visit with family and adventure down there for a bit! If you’d like to see some of what we did I did put together a video shortly after the trip

And since then school has started up again! Well for me, Ryan’s a fancy graduate with a grown-up job and everything (he’s my inspiration for what to be like next year, you see!). I am in my last year of school. It’s weird. I remember my last year of high school, it was exciting and incredibly nerve-racking all at once. There’s the excitement of moving on but also the emptiness of what is going to happen next, it feels like everything is so unknown. I’m getting feeling like that again now. This is my fourth year in university, I have the year mapped out until April when I wear the gown and funny cap and get handed a piece of paper and then I have absolutely no idea and when I start to think about that, it terrifies me. I feel so unprepared and inadequate.

Now I’m not saying that school has let me down and not taught me what I needed, I hope it has, but I am not confident that I’ll find a job, I’m not confident there will be a job, I worry I’ll be working 34.5 hours a week in a minimum wage job forever because why would someone chose me over someone else? I realize my instinct here is to say, “I wouldn’t.” and that makes me sad. Why wouldn’t I chose me? What’s wrong with me?

The other day my alarm went off and I opened my eyes after a night of tossing and turning. I couldn’t have gotten more than two hours “sleep” all night – the start of a terrible day, no? But a thought popped into my head. My boyfriend (who is a very smart man) has three things he tries to do (or would it be, be? Grammar… :P), Be optimistic, be patient, and no complaining. So I turned off that alarm and I took a breath and I decided, this is my day. No one can ruin it but me, and I say it’s my day and it’ll be just fine. And you know what, it was. It was very nearly a pretty good day actually.

So this is my year. I’ll try and blog bits and pieces of it but I know already it’ll be busy as heck so I don’t know how often I’ll pop in. I wrote out a list of all my assignments and due dates and oooh baby, this’ll be fun! But it’s my year, it’s going to happen. There will be no repeats of grade 12’s downward spiral to capital “B” Bad Times, these are sure gonna be some capital “B” Busy Times, but capital “G” Good Times too. We got dis, got a team of great folks to support and be supported by and we’re gonna do some cool stuff this year 🙂

– B

PS – I went exploring in the woods behind my university the other day. That was fun.

Throwing our own Paint Nite!

Paint Nite has been becoming quite the thing in my sphere of friends lately. I hadn’t really heard of the concept before a few months ago but it seems to be basically a group art class. Materials (canvas, paint, brushes, etc) are all provided and the event is hosted at a local bar or pub or cafe and a host/instructor walks everybody through a painting step by step so everyone leaves with their own variation of the specific piece being taught that night. It’s quite a fun idea really! Problem is, when you’re a poor not-quite-but-close-enough-to-being broke student it can get a tad pricey.

Now I’ve always said I wasn’t artsy, never have I claimed artistic talent or much creativity. My area is video filming and editing and I enjoy that and like to think I’m decent at it, anything that involves drawing or paint however I tend to avoid. As soon as art classes were an optional course in junior high I took French or choir instead, I was out of the art room as fast as possible!

My friends wanted to do a paint nite though. We handily discovered there are a bunch of paint nite style tutorials on youtube and Karen, who is pretty dang artistic, had a bunch of canvases and paint lying around she said we could use so really I lost all excuses. There was a minimal fee, it was at a friends house, there was a tea party involved, how can one say no?

We decided to go for one titled, City Walk, Girl in the Rain which was quite pretty looking and when we arrived at Karen’s place she had the kitchen all set up as a little art studio! Canvases propped up beside paper plates for paint palates, cups of water and new packs of paintbrushes that Bekka had picked up for each of us.

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So we made us some tea and were ready to go!

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I learn by mimicing. I like to hear instructions and walk along them step by step. This seemed to be the perfect learning environment for that, especially as we could pause the video while we all finished a step before moving on.

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Mixing the colours was probably my favourite part. From learning to edit photos a bit I’m beginning to get the hang of balancing around the colour wheel and it was fun adding bit to make new shades and see things like that there was a significant difference in the colour results between, say, adding yellow to red, from red to yellow.

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We worked with a lot of orange. Like a lot. At one point I was pretty sure that there was no way it was going to finish off with the desired yellow dress and bright red umbrella. Everything was orange!

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But suddenly we were painting over the orange and, low and behold, the colours popped like crazy!

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To finish it all off we got to make drips and splatters, to extenuate the raininess I guess, and thaaaaat was pretty fun! First making water paint and then just splattering stuff everywhere!

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I got a little carried away while splattering a couple times, a few became more like splots!IMG_1156

And then it was done, we had created art! I found I actually was quite pleased with the end result of mine, especially for the first time painting anything since required art classes in grade six! Karen and Veera went with more muted backdrops for theirs, in fact Karen’s almost looks like its in a thunderstorm! Bekka and I stuck with the original colour scheme, not adventuring away from the steps quite yet!

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Our final products! (Clockwise from top right, Bekka, Karen, me, Veera)

I was surprised to discover I actually really enjoyed the evening, painting is a lot more fun then I remember! Hopefully we do it again soon!

If you want to give it a shot, it’s super easy! theartsherpa on youtube has a ton of beginner’s tutorials and all you’ll really need is a canvas, some acrylic paint, and some brushes! She even lists the paint colours and all the supplies that she uses in the descriptions of her videos to help you prep! Go forth friends, make art!

-B

The Need of Internet

I don’t need the Internet anymore.

Now there are a couple things in this sentence you could confront me on, first, need – who needs the Internet? But also anymore – so I did need it then? And what changed?

I’m reading a book for my Media and Society class right now called The Digital Invasion: How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships and it’s sort of freaking me out a tad but I think I’m also learning lots. It talks about Internet addiction and how it affects our brains and how we function and how it changes our relationships (for better and for worse, it’s not a doomsday book, they acknowledge that there are benefits!) but it’s making me consider how much I use the Internet and social media and why.

I began using the Internet more and more starting from around age seventeen. A friend introduced me to the vlogger (video-blogger) side of Youtube and within a few months I was vlogging myself. At this time I was in grade twelve and slowly giving into minor depression as I grew increasingly afraid of my unknown future and saw my friends all drifting into the great unknown. I felt that I was losing my friends, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, didn’t like my part time job at a grocery store post-grad (I would “entertain” myself by seeing how far into a shift I could get without talking to someone. I clearly wasn’t a cashier!) and wasn’t pushing into God and building my faith thus allowing that to drift away too. I was lonely.

And the Internet, oh the Internet! The Internet helped me find friends, find friends fast and who had common interests and fun hobbies. I had Facebook, and now Youtube, next was Twitter and Tumblr, more and more ways to connect with my new friends. Now I’m not bashing this because it actually served a purpose in where I was at because as I somewhat dissolved into “living in” the Internet, it also helped bring me back out. I went to a convention in California, meeting friends I’d only previously known online. I’ve since gone on a second trip to DisneyWorld with them. I began organizing meet ups in Winnipeg a couple times a year for other people who were fans of some of the same Youtubers as I was.

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2012

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2012

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2013

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2013

The Internet sucked me in, yes. I became too reliant on it, yes. But it also helped me grow, a lot. I planned my portion of two trips out of the country and then travelled there alone. I organized meet-ups with people I’d never met before and spent time getting to know them. As I found solace online I began to gain more confidence in my real life outside of the Internet. I made friends with coworkers, I reconnected with high school friends, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As I gained a few subscribers on Youtube I began to value my voice and think about what I was saying more and through vlogging I actually developed an interest and some practical skill in video making, an aspect of what I hope my future career will involve.

Lately the Internet hasn’t been very fulfilling though. It’s no longer serving the purpose it once did and I think perhaps I’ve outgrown it. It’s not that I don’t value the friendships I made while regularly vlogging or even regularly watching Youtube videos – I do, very much, I would consider many of them to now be friends, but I no longer solely need the Internet to feel that I am connecting with people and being heard. I begin to find it tiresome, Internet connections cannot interact the same way as people in real life. I have friends and hobbies and goals and a life that extends past the limitations of my laptop and my wifi. I can appreciate the ability to stay connected using social media and the like, but I prefer to see friends in person and actually go out and to things and build relationships in that sense. And that’s a big change for me. There was a time when I would Facebook message you instead of trying to get together in person. Now, well… now I’ll do both 😉

I suppose over the last five years I’ve been able to mature and get to know myself better. I’ve experienced life online, and it’s fun for a time and serves its purpose, but I’ve discovered it’s crucially important to maintain a solid foundation in the real world. To be able connect with people in person is something that cannot be replaced and it is only through the challenges and bumps that we face along the road that we can grow, and those are rarely found within the safe walls we build up for ourselves online. Online is a place to hide from challenges and bumps, however, in the sage words of The Sound of Music‘s Reverend Mother, “These walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.”

-B

Re-entering a Changing World

“What everybody became CIA or agents and stuff like that? Because that’s the only thing I can think of. Somebody walking around with wires in their ears.”

What if you had never seen someone wearing headphones, or using a cell phone? In seeing these gadgets in use for the first time, it could be quite easy to assume they were some kind of spy tech. Otis Johnson thought they could be when he re-entered society after 44 years in prison at the age 69.

Johnson is truly enjoying being free for the first time in decades and through a short documentary made by Al Jazeera we see as he relearns about the world around him and delights in the small things of life. He’s astonished by advertisements projected onto a window in Times Square, he enjoys sitting in the sun and watching people – a luxury that he was not accorded in prison. Grocery stores are a trove of new things to discover containing anything and everything from peanut butter mixed with jelly to brightly coloured Gatorade. “I started drinking that once and a while.” Johnson says, “Just because it looks funny.”

So many things in our lives can be easy taken for granted, watching someone discover them for the first time can be extremely refreshing.

Watch the full documentary here:

Why Vlog?

I close the door to my bedroom, set up my tripod and take out my camera. I sit at the foot of my bed and focus it on my face. The lighting needs adjusting, I turn on a desk lamp kept in a random corner of the room for this exact purpose. Ahh much better. I begin to tune my guitar. I am a video blogger.

Video blogging is a movement that came into play with the upstart of Youtube and its sharp rise in popularity around early 2007. In theory it is a “blog post” spoken to a camera and publicly posted on a video sharing website where it is then watched by, well, whoever wants to watch it.

Video blogging is an outlet for people much in the same way as traditional blogging, however video blogging has the added aspect of audio and film creativity. It opens up the option to create short films, music videos, song covers, tutorials, and so much more. People sit in their bedrooms, talking to cameras, not worrying if the world hears or cares to watch, because this is their expression, their outlet, their fun, their life.