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“Chapel of Glass: Lace and Architecture Anthony Chapel 1 of 4”Garvan Gardens, Hot Springs, AR This was from two years ago when I was at Garvan Gardens in the spring. It is hard to believe that was two years ago and a lifetime away from Covid. The black and white on this is really tricky on these with 1) so much light, 2) so much wood that without a lot of fiddling around on Lightroom it would look to bleached to be interesting, and 3) so much hidden depth in the wood to try to capture.
So...lockdown's a thing now, and dare I say it's super fun, fresh, flirty and good for me! By that I mean, no, not at all, I am genuinely confused as to what day it is, how to process information, and just a general state of unease. It has led to more and more alone time, as I thankfully managed to spend 4 months away from my claustrophobic and highly tense household. A tiny glimmer of peace and quiet, however after, perhaps....3 days of on- my- own- gratefulness complete with "good evening moonchild vibes", I was struggling to keep things together. Keeping things together, maintaining a certain level of sanity differs from person to person, my version of this was making a conscious effort not to just, well to put it frankly, open my mouth and scream for a solid 28 minutes. (A personal all time record- not proud of it, well sort of, as a raspy, husky voice came out of my mouth for the next 5 hours.) The next stage of lockdown is well, what do I do now? The answer is- if you are already on the cusp of a low level identity crisis, to buy as many wigs as you can from a suspiciously cheap website, plaster your face in make up, and just go the whole hock. Not just the hock, I'm talking tail, snout, trotters, the whole shebang! Then you look in the mirror, giving yourself that pep talk, the 1 we all have, the 1 that makes us convince ourselves we can and will do anything, but ultimately leads to you crying, foetal position, on the nearest bed and or floor. The best ones end up with you on the kitchen floor, there is just something so gratifyingly pathetic, stupid, and disgustingly privileged of a "grown" white woman doing so. It's as if you think the cold hard tiles are a way of paying penance for being so ridiculous, but actually ends up feeding into the melodrama of the whole conflama of it all. After about 30 minutes of that hell-scape, what's the next step, what's the next stage? Well, you get up wipe off the make up, regretting it the entire time as you are perilously low on micellar water, oh the horror, and you realise you WILL be left with that black smudge underneath your waterline, for another day- minimum. Now that's done you check your fridge, freezer, cupboard and search for the serotonin lift that accompanies a sugar high; much to your despair, but unsurprisingly you can't find anything and it's too late to go to the shops. You curse yourself for having the audacity to refuse to buy junk food as you pledged to yourself not 2 days ago, to turn your li9fe around, get healthier eating habits, and for sure, workout feverishly, just so you can pretend you have some sense of control and discipline in your life. Fearing that even though they 're your friends they would somehow judge you for not losing that cumber band of fat, or not being able to solve world hunger and eradicate the patriarchy through the power of self love. The self love screamed at you anytime a petite influencer needs to sell the newest "fit tea", or indestructible toothbrush, not quite understanding the irony in the whole fuckery. Anyway, you have no junk food, you have no drugs or alcohol, so you sit in it, you sit in your feelings, your boo-hoo poor me feelings. It would almost be comical if it wasn't so inherently selfish and privileged. You need to combat those feelings and fast, quickly get yourself on change.org, sign a bunch of petitions, the more racially diverse the better, you find it eases the white guilt a bit and also you get brownie points, as you can brag to your friends, lord it over them, showing them proving to them that, yeah, perhaps I haven't lost weight, but at least I have proof that I'm a good person. I deserve to be seen. Please recognise me. Don't let me fade into the background. I'm clawing my way up the ladder of a superiority complex. Please just tell me I'm a good person, I don't want to be thrown into the fires below. Then you sleep, you've worn yourself on the emotional rollercoaster, you wake up the next day, and what do you know, you repeat the 3 day process again.
Between war, negative life circumstances, depression and my dreams which one will win? You will be an important person, an American soldier told me. Alone in the jungle, I am freezing, I am hungry, I am afraid. There is a lot of blood. Let me hide. There are dead bodies. What's going on? I do not know where I am. I am lost, I am afraid of Dracula. The Bush is moving, it might be a lion, not maybe a tiger or cheetah. Oh my God, I am too young to die. Anyway, I am not ready to die. Come on, dying at this age. I just totalized 11 years old one week ago. “I am screaming mom, dad, where are you? Like ten times”. My parents are not responding. I am hearing some noise, it is a roar. How did I get in a jungle? All these thoughts in my head, let me take a nap and maybe tomorrow will be a better day. I remembered Mama once said to me “jo never ever forget to pray before sleeping" in my prayer I thought God to bring back my parents and help me remember what happened? I found a tree where there was a little bit moon shadow far away from those dead bodies. I decided to force myself to sleep despite it was cold. In my dream, my mom and dad calling my name I am alone in the jungle. It was all dark. ''They found me and mom asked me why am I alone and crying?" "I told them I am lost, and I was looking for you". "'My dad told me don't cry any more, my son". "You are the son of a leader who will be a leader". "He said son remembered you have my blood." "I gave you everything u need". "Life is going to be difficult but if you are keeping working hard and praying". "One day you will be successful and make us proud". "Life took us away from you, but we are watching over you and just know we love you". After that, I saw a person with a bright shadow appearing and tell them the time is up. My mom and dad hugged me for the last time, and they disappeared. Directly I woke up in the jungle early in the morning, I thought about my dream, but I realised what happened yesterday was a bad dream. instead, it is a reality; I am a child turned a man. So, I decided to find a way out or find where people are. I started walking, walking without resting and I didn't eat. I kept walking until I saw a river. I was thirsty so I decided to drink water from the river, and it tastes like salt, but I had no choice. Then I had a pen and a small paper in my pocket, but I don't know where it was from. the pen I had in my pocket just felt down in the river. It started flowing and I decided to follow the pen as I followed the pen, I saw a girl running so I decided to follow her. By following her, I saw there was a kind of armed soldiers I never saw before after her, so I decided to run smartly behind them to discover what is going on? Then I saw one of the soldiers getting out of the car and took her by force, so I was behind the remaining soldiers. I saw the soldier who was before her, trying to take off her clothes so she is shouting leave me alone and I thought they want to rape her.
“Oye, choca, que lindos tus ojos,” a middle-aged man called out to me from his small, beaten up car on the small dirt road I dread walking on so much. This was not the first superficial comment I had gotten that day. Most cat calls directed towards me came from large, unkempt men whose appearance alone caused me to feel fear and unease. I hurried without giving him a glance for fear of fueling the fire that was his acute need for attention that he may go to desperate measures to quench. All my life, I had never been allowed to play out on the street with my friends. I had never been allowed to do something as simple as walk to the little corner store half a block away to buy a few eggs alone. I always needed an adult by my side, and even that was not a guarantee of my safety. As a young child, I had been taught to divert as much attention as I could away from who I truly was. This was done by simple things such as never speaking English in public, never looking people on the street I did not know in the eye, never going out without an adult - preferably a Bolivian man, and by dressing in an attempt to hide some of my snowy skin. Even my best efforts at blending in could not keep all the attention away; cat calls were a common experience to me for as long as I can remember, and this put an inevitable fear in my mind of men. For this reason, getting as far away from that man on the street as possible was my only concern in that moment. As soon as I got far enough away for me to feel comfortable, I remembered the reason I was walking; my mom was waiting for me at the other end of the street to catch a “micro” - a public transportation bus. My mind settled instantly at the sight of my strong, beautiful, Bolivian mother, and all the fearful thoughts that seem to short circuit my brain disappeared for a split second that did not last anywhere near long enough. As soon as I reached my mom's side, she spotted the micro heading towards us. She reminded me to keep my bag in front of me since the risk of either getting something stolen or getting inappropriately touched were high if I did nothing to prevent it. Consequently, I stayed by my mom's side as she paid the bitter, overweight driver who had already stepped on the gas pedal again. No seats were available, so we stood in the overcrowded bus until we reached the “abasto” - a vast market in which one can buy fresh food; cheap materials; and agricultural goods. Immediately after stepping off the bus, I was hit with the seemingly origin-less, inescapable stench. I mindlessly followed my mom through the weaving market that seemed to never be the same as she searched for the perfect bunch of bananas for her banana bread. On the side of one of the endless numbers of small fruit stands, there was a little girl sitting under a truck in an attempt to escape the powerful sun that so violently beat on everyone who dared stand directly under its rays. She looked up from the corn husks she was playing with to observe the unusual sight of a white girl with green eyes. A teenage girl sat in the bed of the truck with one leg carelessly hanging off the side. Contrary to the child's simple way of achieving entertainment, her fingers vigorously flew across the glossy screen of her small cellphone. Unlike the child, the teenager barely glanced at me, and as soon as she saw that I was just another girl, her phone retook her attention. The little girl, however, was still mesmerized by my appearance, so I smiled which seemed to satisfy her as she immediately smiled back and returned to playing with anything she could find. Meanwhile, my mom had decided that she had found the bananas that she wanted, so she asked the middle-aged woman standing behind them how much they costed. The woman, dressed in faded clothes and a threadbare apron in which she kept the money she had earned, readily recognized my fair colored skin and naturally assumed that I was not Bolivian and, therefore, ignorant. She chose to take a chance at gaining more money by charging us extra; however, we were used to being charged extra a countless amount of times due to the fact that I was different. My mom convinced the woman to charge us the honest amount of how much the bananas were worth, and we kept walking through the abyss. After an hour, we got on a micro and returned home - one of the few places I felt safe. This short trip had not brought about any terrible events; however, the possibility of being taken advantage of due to irrelevant and superficial things was a constant likelihood in my life. I have grown up trying to hide who I am because of a fear of those who I do not know, but I have never seen it as a fully negative thing because being different means that I am special; the unwanted attention is simply due to everyone around me recognizing that. Maybe, just maybe, someday I will be free to be whoever I want to be without a threat. For now, I live as a minority in what I consider to be my own culture.
I never really felt the need to classify myself into a particular group because I felt like classifying myself would mean that I would be stuck in one specific thing while I wanted to be so many different things. Now that I am a little older I can see that it is not a terrible thing to acknowledge that not only do I fit into a community, but that I also fit into many different communities and as cheesy as it sounds it really makes me the person that I am today. There are many obvious communities that I am part of such as the hispanic community and the women community, but there are also some communities that I am part of that relate to the things that I am interested in and passionate about such as the art and design community. I have been part of the art and design community for as long as I can remember. Since I was a little kid I have always been interested in anything that had to do with using the right side of the brain. The right side of the brain is the creative side while the left side of the brain is the more technical side. Some people are either right brained or left brained while many people are both creative and technical. I am more of a right brained person and have always loved drawing, painting, and anything that had to do with being creative. This creative spur started with the inspiration of my family because most of my family are artists so I was exposed to art very early in my life. Fortunately, I was able to see the work that my family showed me when I was a kid and used that inspiration to make doodles and paint with my fingers. Over time I started to think about the future and realized that I wanted a job that allowed me to be my creative self. By the age of ten I made up my mind and decided that I wanted to be a graphic designer even though I did not really know what a graphic designer was. Since this realization, I have taken so many drawing and basic art and design classes that I have really dug myself into the core of this community. Whenever I meet someone who is also into art I feel like I am meeting another club member, which is really funny to me because it sounds like I am in a cult. I just feel like whenever I meet someone who loves art just as much as I do, it is like we are on the same wavelength and we instantly get along so well. It is almost like there is this unspoken understanding of why we are in this community. With this unspoken understanding I always feel excited to see other people's art because I love seeing what they are inspired by. Seeing what other people are passionate about motivates me to keep creating based off of my inspirations from the other cult members in my community. Since I have been part of this community for so long, I realize that there are many words that we use to describe art and to communicate in general. For every art class that I have been in, the class was always given a list of vocabulary words to study and memorize. These words are only useful to the art community because it helps to describe an art piece in a more detailed way instead of just using the words “pretty” and “cool”. These words also help to know what a certain technique is called. Instead of just saying “move the pencil up and down a lot” it is easier to just use the word “hatching” which means the same thing. I never really realized that many people do not know these art vocabulary words until I say one of them. One day in the summer I went to an art museum with my friends and we were looking at a black and gray colored painting. After looking at it for about five seconds, I speak up and say “I like the monotone colors that are used in this painting”. My friends look at me and one of them says “what the heck is that” and while looking at their confused expressions, I thought about what I said and described that monotone means different tones of one type of color. After I finished explaining what monotone colors mean, I realized that they were already walking to the next painting and that they stopped listening. This was pretty funny to me because I knew that they did not care because they did not have to care and the only reason that I do care is because of my art classes and the career that I want have. Knowing and learning these art vocabulary words to describe art pieces and different types of technique was basically my first step into the art community. I have been part of this community for so long without knowing it. Looking back at all the things that I have learned while being in this community has made me feel secure in knowing that I want to stay in this community because I feel like I belong in it since I am so passionate about art and design. I know that I am qualified to be classified into other communities, but I also know that I am and will always be another art kid.