I personally didn't put a lot of thought into stigma until this past experience with depression. For the most part, I always felt as if it was a word for those who didn't deal with serious mental illness. Naturally people who can't understand the depths of emotional despair and the wrenching heartache of "disconnectedness" automatically distance themselves from those of us who do. In the past, I constantly replaced the word stigma with ignorance. It's understandable given the amount of gray surrounding mental health. When it comes to the brain and behavior it still remains to be known what exactly is in our power to control.

As I said above, I didn't start to really think about this stigma issue until recently. Major barriers for those of us who have mental illness and this depends on the intensity thereof and where we are on the spectrum, but the barriers most definitely come in the form of social interaction and connection. They also show up in the form of motivation and the zest for life. I have found that this most recent episode of depression revealed a deeper understanding and most definitely an unwelcomed one of that infamous word -stigma. For me I no longer think of ignorance, I think of separation... from family/friends/purpose/passion... from life. This chasm creates room for a self-imposed stigma, thinking "I'm different from everyone else. Why are they able to go on with life and I'm not?" This is unfortunate because stigma is compounded –not only from oneself, but also from society.

We seem to think that we can conquer stigma with education, but education alone does not alleviate the urge for people to shun those who are different from themselves. We shun because we are fearful and we fear because that is a part of the human condition. Ironically enough, the human condition also refers to those of us who have been clinically diagnosed with a mental illness. Combatting stigma is acceptance of the full human condition. Tackling this issue requires understanding and acceptance and for the most part -faith!

Regardless of the many fictional mountains I climb; I have faith that EVERY experience is worth it. I believe in the starfish story and I believe that if I can help even just one starfish/just one spirit believe in the power of self/their own self-worth, then none of this will be for naught. Truth is I create my own barriers and I venture to say that this is my personal stigma that I must overcome. God has given me my own unique path and He has provided me with this need to constantly question/self doubt. In many ways, this is a fight and thanks be to God... I am still a fighter.


Learn to value yourself; fight for your happiness. -Ayn Rand

Hold on to who YOU are! Question everything else, but never forget where you came from and don't be ashamed. YOU are you're own worst enemy -stopping yourself time and again. -Trevor King


I've been thinking about the concept of unconditional love -how powerful to know that we are loved just be being. Without a doubt, it's the most important gift you can give not only to others; but to yourself. I don't want to sound like Pollyanna and I am far from authorized to actually preach on this topic -most especially given the recent months/years... but in all honesty -if I could give a piece of advice to anyone right now it would be this; believe in yourself at every turn.


If I can teach my daughter one thing, it will be the love of self unconditionally. 'Unconditional love and peace are obtainable, but they are only obtainable if I can learn to move beyond the conditions that I placed on my life. When conditions are placed on my life and on the lives of others, they ensure that I will never experience the depths of love and happiness. -Dr. Asa Brown

Follow the raven into shadow and we will find the light. -unknown


A note
sans harmony.
A soul
without purpose.
Stuck lacking vision.
Here void of direction.
She sits not knowing gratitude. She prays seeking connection.

Waking up from the matrix.
Looking outside herself.
Alien to the within. She is like a stranger.


Take it one breath at a time -regardless of rhythm and quality of light. -mm

A ship without a rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom. -Kahlil Gibran


Whatever spark of gift I possess has been transmitted to her and has kindled a fire in her brain. Jung compared father and daughter to 2 people going 2 the bottom of a river: 1 falling and the other diving.
-Michael Greenberg/Hurry Down Sunshine
It's a miracle for me to say that I have experienced both: fallen by circumstance and what felt like force, then found my way back. I now choose to dive; a.mazed by the sheer depth/the power of spirit and my need to constantly challenge the within.

Throughout this journey -I pray for safety/help as I attempt to thrive/access positive energy and respect the flow. Have faith in what this world/lifetime has to offer and entertain the inner tiger -her desire to rebel/fight for something greater.

I seek profound/eternal love -a safe harbor, which essentially comes from my core. Release expectation with good intention; be brave and courageous/honest and compassionate =most of all with myself. The trips my mind has taken/time zones transcended/other worlds penetrated -every path provides me with insight/holds purpose. The routes taken/vacation spots and not so awesome layovers throw obstacles in my way/confront my peace of mind -that elusive oasis in the desert. Always a search.

As much as I doubt myself and judge me for mistakes made/opportunities lost -deep down I know that I just have to keep going. This solace is not in the every day -perhaps it's fleeting like lightning bugs/shooting stars, but having faith in that glimpse of beauty/the flash of grace -THAT is what I live for. Holding on as I dive into the depths and hold myself back from the falling edge.


Your intuition is on fire!
Ask for guidance often because you have a direct channel to the wisdom of your soul right now.
Analyze your dreams for insights and creative ideas.
Enjoy your playful side.
You might begin a new hobby/spend more time with kids OR start a new romance.
When you surrender to your higher self, life gets streamlined =more time for fun!
-Taurus June 2010 horoscope thanks to Aluna Michaels

My intuition IS most definitely on fire and my constant prayer for guidance is already a go -good thing my channel is direct and efficient/saves me from a great deal of unnecessary pain. *This type of struggle is frequently associated with unhealthy connection and fabricated intrigue aka. ancient patterns and blasts from the past.
Deep introspection/insight and creative innovation/out of the box thinking always a part of the routine day to day.
Enjoying the playfulness/my innocence -that's a check.
As for these options: new hobby/more time with kids OR a romance. I choose all of the above.
And finally -to truly surrender and streamline life is a work in process with the ultimate goal being my summer 2010 theme =fun.

Sincere gratitude to the many who have landed on my path -peacelove and light.


My family is my core/I am their promise.
A true legacy lies not in what we leave behind, rather who.

Knowing that I am my family's voice is a powerful concept to grasp.
Every life
lived has strengthened and continues to impact my foundation. -sp
Vater Unser.
Vater unser im Himmel geheiligt werde dein Name.
Dein Reich komme.
Dein Wille geschehe.
Wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser taegliches Brot gib uns Heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern.
Bewahre uns vor der Versuchung und erloese uns von dem Boesen.
Denn Dein ist das Reich und die Kraft und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit.


Cassandra -the girl with a vision foreseeing the fall of the Trojans.

Fast forward to modern times -you'd have to be blind not to see what's happening in our world. I want to simplify: strip down and start over. Why are we here? Why did God plant us in this time; in this place; with these people -with so much suffering and destruction/complication and mayhem? Few people understand my psyche -the frustration within. A resurgent feeling of emptiness/worthlessness/confusion/depletion. I WANT struggle in my life. I want to work hard and fight for something great. I want to stop running and put a halt to distraction/drama.

Imagine a place -free from corruption and ignorance/greed and commercialism; a world FULL of spirit and substance/freedom! Where do I feel free? racing down the lone highway; rolling in the tumultuous waves; riding without inhibition on the back of a horse; with 5 year olds and their innocence; in the presence of strong spirit and unconditional love. That is where I am at right now -close my eyes and I can channel my place of peace. Truth is -my dad is with me; more now than ever before. He IS my vision/eternal flame and I can only thank God/the divine for this flow/this evolution.

The fire inside -spark is always on while the flame ebbs and flows; like the tide.
-inspired by Bob Seger and tw

Cassandra of Troy is a figure both of the epic tradition/tragedy,
where her combination of deep understanding and powerlessness exemplify the tragic condition of humankind.


The strongest form of communication is visual -the universal language, through which one can convey a deep emotion, express a profound thought and/or influence an aimless stranger. My history as an artist stems from my strong passion to freely communicate and connect.

As an artist; I am a link.

Making connections is my method of learning. Forming relationships inspires me to create. Opening my eyes and searching for the ties that bond compels me to embrace diversity and relate on an organic level. My objective is to build on yesterday so that I don't have to start from scratch tomorrow. Moving forward is impossible without looking back. When I reflect on where I have been; I realize that every experience and each person has contributed to who I am today.

I have gathered these "pieces" and put them in my pocket. A good portion were passed on by family.
OPA -admired for his strategic prudence and his incredible artistic abilities;
OMA -inherited her wicked determination and a stubborn streak;
NAN -thanking her for the discipline and her positive "I am woman hear me roar!" influence;
twin brother PAUL -most genuine person I know;
MOM -astounded by her faith and the resilient way in which she overcomes life's challenges;
DAD -intense passion/grand dreams/a powerful spirit with me always.

What will I do with my 30 years of "pieces"? Build the puzzle/spin the web -I will continue to collect/strive to find a relationship between cultures, religions, societies, behaviors, attitudes, and perspectives. I want to study various theories, speak with numerous artists/designers/writers, and discover a way to achieve my lifelong goal, which is to make a visible difference in the way society views mental health. My passion stems from personal experience -losing my dad to suicide and dealing with my own struggles -whether it's related to the infamous BP1 label or not/this lifetime is what it is. My challenges are not unique -the way I choose to confront them/tackle them face first... THAT is.

These "pieces" serve as my inspiration, allowing me to be an artist; a link.

My family is my core/I am their promise.
A true legacy lies not in what we leave behind, rather who. Knowing that I am my family's voice is a powerful concept to grasp. Every life lived has strengthened and continues to impact my foundation. -sp


I feel as if I'm walking a bridge =from bullshit TO truth; from superficial TO super; from who "society" expected me to be TO what I will inevitably become; from a land wrought with constant pressure/needless expectation TO my destined vision. It's a transformation of sorts; where my skin begins to fit/the spirit I've been known to fight makes amends.

The obstacle/a constant bump in the road/thorn in my side is dishonesty -whether it be with myself or with those I encounter. I can understand why people do it -whether it’s to protect themselves from danger/labeling/judgement/or whatever the case may be; but if I can do my best to fight for the truth; to eradicate the shellac, then I’m that much closer to my peace/a sense of grace.

In the past -I've been careful/built walls to prevent loved ones/randoms from getting too close -at the same time; the need to be close and be loved has always been at the root. I want so much for people to accept me for where I’m at/what I feel/know and truly desire in this lifetime. For a long time now -I haven’t needed “another”. It worked for me to push through as just me, but now I find myself yearning for a team/people on my side. Slowly, but surely (over the past almost 30 years), I've been defining my A team and thank the good Lord I believe we're coming together. Defense is strong and now is the time to work on offense -make the transformation!


Remember that in EVERY moment we are being taken care of...



The following journal entry is from 12/2009 -it's now 4/2010 and my feeling is that this is a whole new world. Piece by piece/things have fallen into place. I'm focused on the NOW/what I'm capable of and with the overwhelming sense that my mission is to inspire... my job is to never underestimate this power within/respect its force and respond to the energy. Many thanks to those who have been there over the past couple of years/to see me through! My number one support being my mom, without her/the rock -I would NOT be here; she is my angel.

December 5, 2009

The past couple of days have been a little rough for me. It seems that this hamster wheel of who am I and where am I going is still in full force. Yesterday as I was reading various quotes and trying to engage myself/move me back into whatever it is I care about in this life –I thought to myself what crap. I’m so sick of “inspiration” and the cheesiness of you can be whatever you put your mind to. Then this morning as I was watching tv, I thought to myself, “wow –I am living the life of someone who fucked up in high school.” I always hear people say –work hard, do your best, be responsible, etc. and I did all of that. Everything that was ever asked of me –I did it. So if that’s the case, why am I here and why can’t I make something out of “this”. It’s a vicious cycle of feeling this way, then feeling bad/ashamed for the way I’m feeling because honestly -9/10 people in my shoes would not complain nearly as much.

This is what I think/feel…

As I look around my apartment –I’m reminded of failure (AAU portfolio/world map/pile of files and blank canvases); and then there are the memories (USDA stress cow, African hat, and prayer flags/pictures/postcards/journals/letters); and finally death (some of nan’s belongings/dad’s ring/pictures/and their absence). Barbara’s bracelet/ring makes me sad because it’s a clear reminder of the way this life works. We definitely can’t take anything with us and what we leave behind is left for our loved ones or whoever to have.

Maybe it just comes down to the bottom line and that is –I have no clue what I want out of this life. Whatever I’ve been through since 2006 has clearly made a significant impact on my functioning/train of thought –it’s left me feeling insecure/exhausted/selfish/discontent/confused and utterly lost!


My heart is true/my love runs deep/my words have meaning. I don't compromise myself for anyone. When the waves hit/I resurface stronger with more compassion and a real sense of what I need/what I want/what I deserve! -sp