I used to complain about things that other people did quite a lot, and I’d feel annoyed that they thought or felt or acted differently than I would. I still do it, but much less often. I challenge myself more often now to sit with *why* something that someone else does that doesn’t affect me (or harm them/others) should possibly annoy me. It’s an often difficult introspection. It’s a moment to realize and admit that I’m being kind of an asshole. Why do I feel the need to correct the thinking and feeling and expression of another human so that it falls in line with my own? I hope I am becoming a better person the more I do this.
I say go ahead and mourn whomever or whatever your heart mourns without shame, do it privately or publicly, and process your grief in whatever way works best for you. Blame the year, the world, the color of the sky… cry out in whatever way helps you walk through your pain. When we deny our hurts and hold them inside because we’re afraid of what others expect of us, we’re only doing ourselves (and them) harm in the long run.
It’s okay to cry out.
I love you.
Eight years ago, in April 2008, I lost a baby who was due on Christmas Eve… and then lost another later that year, who died inside me at 3 months gestation and had to be removed from my body in mid-December. I think of them at this time of year. I think of them while I trim the tree, while I make cookies, while I listen to holiday music. I still have this. I open it and smell it every year.
It still hurts. In quiet moments, at this time of year, I hear echoes of Christmas laughter that never actually existed and never will be. I still cry for them. For sure, there is sweetness in what I have, which is very much, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any bitter with that sweet.
I do not share this to evoke sympathy for myself or to bring anyone down. It is merely a gentle reminder: This time of year is difficult for so many who would do almost anything to feel more joy, and it is difficult for a great variety of often unknowable reasons. As always, remember that everyone is dealing with something, fighting something, and needing something. Without needing to know exactly what aches in our sisters and brothers, we can still offer kindness, patience, and love during times of heightened stress and pain.
Don’t worry about me, please, but send some extra love and peace to other people during this time. Look for those opportunities; make those moments possible. Give a smile to a stranger, hug a friend a little longer, hold a door, pay a tab, let someone ahead of you in traffic, say a kind word.
Kindness, above all, heals and strengthens.
Sending so much love to you all. <3
each day the sun rises, the sun sets
the world turns to create this illusion
your day may be my night
my calm, descending orb may be
your burning, rising fireball
all the while, the ground we stand solid on
is actually spinning relentlessly under us
whatever you “see” is perception driven
beauty and sadness
tragedy and joy
heartache and elation
all of these things shift forms
based on what the angle is
my lens is different than yours
yours is not the same as
his and hers and theirs
even common details
become blurry, ultimately
arguing absolutes and opinions, equally pointless
spend more time accepting
try harder to be aware and awake
be ready to receive whatever
put your energy into love
open your heart and mind
prepare to view from a different angle
try to avoid shame and judgement
see and feel and embrace all you can
expand and let in as much light as possible
before the last revolution completes
and the shutter closes forever.
could you love me?
all of me
even the parts
some people find
too emotional or flighty or
d a m a g e d?
could you love
the parts of me
that react poorly
when i’m in pain?
and would you love the
parts of me that are
s e l f i s h
and the jealous ones
and can you love
me even when
i am a bit immature
and very impatient?
could you find it
i n y o u r h e a r t
to love my whole heart
and not just the
parts of it you like,
those ones that
make you feel good and
that are romantic
and thoughtful, patient
or pretty or kind?
could you love me
if we were very different
in a handful of ways,
if I didn’t believe in
the things that you do
or if i did believe in things
that you thought were
w r o n g?
would you love
all of me
even if i hurt your
f e e l i n g s
if I had bad days
or made you
a n g r y
or if we sometimes
seem a little
i n c o m p a t i b l e?
would you still love me
if I was reckless and
wild and a bit
c a r e l e s s
or if I cry sometimes
and feel sad
for no apparent reason at all?
would you still love me
if i made mistakes
and some bad decisions
or if I someday changed?
can you love me
all the way
without giving up?
can you love me
despite all my
i m p e r f e c t i o n s
will you still
love all of me?
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No use allowed without a license.
For licensing inquiries, email me directly.
thelotuscarroll at gmail.com
Do you ever get to a point where you’re feeling uninspired, in a rut or generally, well, slumpy? (A highly technical term, I know. Also, I may have made it up. Shhhh.) Anyway! I know the feeling – intimately. I believe that artists and creatives can experience this periodically, maybe even cyclically, when they’ve kind of been plugging along consistently over time… and I think it’s even more common in this age of social media and sharing where we get into a routine of posting posting posting, especially if we start feeling pressured (by our peers or just by some kind of internal need) to meet the “demand of the audience.” In my most recent “slumpy-time,” I found a way to re-inspire myself with my phone – mobile creativity helped me refocus and gain perspective.
At the end of 2014 I was feeling definitively slumpy. In the time period leading up to that feeling, I’d walked through some stressful, emotional things and dealt with some rejections that made me re-evaluate why I even make art and also to ask myself something like, “Is what I create just pure crap?” (By the way, if you find yourself asking this same question, it’s a sign that you’re totally slumpy and you’re also probably being a total jerk to yourself, so stop it, okay?) The answer to the second question, if you haven’t already guessed, was NO… and for me, that’s mostly because of the answer to the first question. I decided, as I considered all of this, that I wanted to really re-focus on why I make art, and I needed to find some way to inspire myself to get that focus back.Read More»
This was the prompt for our Self Portrait Sunday event a few weeks ago. It took me awhile of just simmering with the theme to come up with an idea. I usually do this if there’s a prompt driving my work, rather than an internal expressive need to create something specific – I think about it a little in loose terms and then wait. Eventually, something will come that *is* an internal expression… and if it doesn’t, well, the prompt wasn’t my bag, baby. 😉
Once I realized what I wanted to do, the rest of it fell into place, including the setting, details (clothing) and the words I wanted to accompany the image.
It’s good to have a strong foundation, a balanced support system, and complimentary characteristics.
My guys were good sports and very patient as I developed the idea, and we tried a few variations of the pose I wanted until we found the perfect one.
In the end, there were a handful of silly outtakes that show how much fun we had. I am very pleased with the end product – but for us, the process was just as rewarding. <3
You’ll Come In Peace, Or You’ll Leave In Pieces
prints available here, for a limited time.
I had a lot of fun creating this image!
My setup was pretty simple: I tacked an old curtain section to the wall behind me in my garage, got some boiling water ready to pour over dry ice* in a plastic cup, and set up my camera on a tripod with my phone connected via a TriggerTrap dongle (this turns your phone into an intervalometer – so much easier to shoot self portraits with, as it enables you to pose without worrying about holding a wireless remote). Then, after I got into my handy-dandy space suit and applied makeup and wig, I faced the camera and pointed my “laser gun” at the lens, making sure to have it just a little to the side of my face. While I was doing this, I had the cup of bubbling dry ice in my other hand, moving it around, up and down and behind me, and making sure to bring my arm down right before the shutter released. I had to do a few test shots to get the focus in the right place. I tried several different poses, but this was my favorite.
For the post processing, I used Lightroom (mostly color and basic adjustments, like white balance, but also some targeted adjustments, like my eye color, and vignetting/painting in shadows) and Photoshop, where I used pieces of the “smoke effect” from a couple of different images, cloned out a few wrinkles in the curtain fabric, and added a lens flare to make the laser gun really pop with action. The title came to me during post processing, as I was taking in the look on my face – it seemed right.
*If you’re thinking of using dry ice, please take all the necessary precautions. Also, expect a learning curve – this was my first time using it, and it took me awhile to get the hang of the way it behaves! It’s fairly cheap, so I’d suggest a “play time” before your actual shoot, so you can get the feel for it.
This work by Lotus Carroll is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
To license commercially, please email.
I decided to create the “motion” self portrait from my #52selfportraits list this past Sunday. Turns out, I made more than one that I liked, so why not spam you with several? *wink*
“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”
Have you created a motion self portrait? Show me!