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
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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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»
It occurred to me that while there is a fun element to going all out with these monthly recaps, they were previously painfully long and ridiculous (both for me to create and for you to read). Going forward, I’m going to exercise brevity.
In that vein, the most important moments and feelings, the ones I want to remember from March (and share with you) follow in images and poetry that I created throughout the month.
A bit of sorrow.
Family love and togetherness.Read More»
I’ve started taking a lot more photos with my phone than I used to take. I still shoot with my larger camera(s), but I’ve enjoyed the simplicity of using my phone: I don’t have to “pack” it up, I don’t have to lug it around, I don’t have to worry about lenses (though I do have little ones I can put on my phone). When I take photos with my phone, I get taken back to the basic idea of capturing a moment, rather than worrying so much about things like fstop and shutter speed. It’s kind of liberating! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being able to control those elements and really create an image that looks as I’d mentally envisioned it, or have a more powerful tool so that I don’t miss a shot because of variable available light, etc. But in taking and editing a daily photo with my phone, I’ve also reminded myself that with a few basic tools, no matter how I shift those around (camera, photoshop, lightroom, scanner, iphoto…. or my phone and some apps) I can create art that sings of the world around me, who I am, and what I’m doing and feeling.
I can look back through all the photos I took in the past month (regardless of capture device) and see a story that tells all those things for me (with the help of my memories, of course). Here’s what the story of my life and thoughts in February looks like when I do that.
A simplification of huge, life bending concepts when applied daily:
big things are little.
little things are big.
it’s up to you how much credence and attention you give to any of them.
Some days you feel really small, and defeated, but you know (from experience and faith and hope and dreams that you can’t give up on) that love will help you, that love is greater than any other thing in your life that might try to distract or overpower. And so, before your journey ends, long long before, you know you should always seek it, no matter how discouraged you may be about that fight at any given moment.
I think that a lot of my life has been spent looking for perfect love. I could hypothesize about why that is (and often do) but the main issue is that it’s non-existent. There’s no scale or grade for love; no love is greater or lesser than any other. There are moments when I check the tally marks in my heart and count up all the time I’ve wasted wishing for someone who “wouldn’t hurt me that way” or someone who “really knows me,” and if I think of these as tears in a bucket, the weight feels crushing and regretful.
But I don’t want to think of this all as wasted time, rather, it’s been a journey of learning. It may have taken a long damn time, but I’m finally realizing this, and it feels really big, bigger than that bucket of tears.
All (any, every) love is a gift.
Love is bright and shiny and scarred and broken, it has wings or scales or feathers or skin, it is strong and it is weak, it is straight on or sometimes crooked or angled, it is first and second and third and fourth chances, it is falling down and getting up, it is crawling and walking and for damn sure it is flying. But it’s all love. And love is a gift. Hell, love looks funny sometimes, but it’s there all the time.
You have to learn to see it right in front of you, don’t parse it or weight it, and then take it without judgement.Read More»
This past month…
I quietly (shhhh!) started working on a project I’ve personally challenged myself to: create a piece of art every day using only my phone (no other camera or computer software) and write something with it. It has been a wonderful practice for me so far, helping me work through emotions, keep my proverbial and literal eyes open, and share my writing passion (I’ve been a poet all my life, but I don’t always share my work).
If you would like to see all of these, you can keep up with me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/lotuscarroll
“We” are not calling this a “365 Project” because I hate those and I never finish them. This isn’t one. So I will. Shhhhh.
Here are my January favorites (sans poetry):
This image, in particular, was difficult to create with just the phone. I was SO excited when I finished. Mad props to the Image Blender app, which I used for compositing and masking.
Had a salon visit with the family. This mirror insisted that we take a family selfie before we left. I obliged the mirror, as one does. I mean it’s huge, look at it. You don’t want to piss off the huge mirror.
Braden opted to shorten his previously long and glorious, flowing hippy locks.
Word has it he might go even shorter soon (hint: he hates actually taking care of his long hair, even though he thinks it’s “beautiful” and all).
I did that thing that makes you feel kind of stupid where you’re framing up an image with your phone and then your dumb thumb hits the camera-reverse button right before your smart thumb hits the shutter button.
So, I now gift you all with iPhone Photo Composition Concentration Face…Read More»
I have so much to say; half the time I’m afraid to say anything and the other half
I’m afraid not to say everything.
When you meet me in the middle
by listening to every word I need to spill
and I can see in your eyes that you hear me
and you understand,
that relentless, insufferable monster inside me grows calm.
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