‘It is proper to speak the truth’

Screenshot 2017-03-14 09.01.02

My supervisor frequently reminds me to own the many realities of my current situation, and to not take for granted the work/art that goes into making a home and a life (the art of homelife?)… I am/do – try/ing – each day.

So many different things occur in every family in the run of a day – ‘high’ (art.?!), and ‘low’ (art.?!). The trials (constant dishes), and the triumphs (finished essays) – big events (kid’s birthday) and small events (mittens located without parental assistance) – my life is quite similar to those of many. No particularly ‘special’, but uniquely mine.

As part of my art/practice-led research methodology for my PhD reseach, I chose to adopt what is called Hermeneutic Phenomenology. A dense sounding term which may be simply translated in the care of my work, into the dedicated practice of recording events as I experience them. Then, looking back into those recorded experiences trying to better understand the event/s. That is what this blog is basically about. Me. My research. My family. My experiences. And perhaps by sharing these things, it supports some of your stories, experiences, research, lives.

Lately, I have been having terrible dreams, forgetting/losing important things, drinking too much coffee, and generally neglecting most things domestic (with the exception of my children)…  {see below for examples}

So full disclosure: I’m not sure if this post is destined to read as a “round up” or a bizarre personal “state of affairs address”..  Either way, I recognize that I have let a lot of events go by without putting much personal thought, or record to them. Therefor, this post  “is what it is” – as my sister Rian often says…

So, here’s me: new tattoo of parallel knitting needles (Christmas gift from Dad.  Intended to both read as a large equality sign, and to honour my maternal grandmother Ruby ,who first taught me to knit), the mountain of books at my bedside, and an early morning coffee with one of my best friends on the planet ‘looking over my shoulder’ as I stare [again] into my computer screen.

*

On February 24, my exhibition Painting Barcelona opened at Gallery 78. It was a special evening for my family and I. Germaine Pataki, Kimberly Bent, and the rest of the crew at the gallery always are gracious hosts. My father, Ed Hogan, came to be with us for the weekend and attended the show with me along with my husband, and our two kids. The show has so far, been reviewed in two papers which is an honour I never expect.

The past month has also been busy at The Gynocratic Art Gallery. We are featuring the work of two brilliant feminist artists, Jess Dobkin and Lisa Anne Ross in ‘Milk and Cookies’. Also we celebrated International Women’s Day, and have applied to have a pop-up exhibition in Flotilla the biennial gathering of Canadian Artist-Run Centers’ conference this coming September in Charlottetown. (Fingers crossed for us, will you?!)

(And these ‘little puppies’ are for a pub night the GAG is hosting. Keep an eye out for them!! at http://www.gynocraticartgallery.com, or Like us on FB). It’s gonna be a fun night soon in Fredericton!!

Also, I had the honour of attending two wonderful events featuring brilliant women last week. The first was “Shorts and Sweets” at the Charlotte Street Art Center in Fredericton, NB. Now, the evening was not all performances  by women, but most were, and they were SO terrific! I can’t rave about these writers, performers, creators enough!  Bravo Abby Paige, Lisa Anne Ross, Bianca Richard!! I learned from you, I laughed with you, and you made me cry…

It was humbling to have been invited to the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, Her Honour Jocelyne Roy Vienneau’s residence for a luncheon in celebration of International Women’s Day last week.

The Governor herself spoke, in addition to two others, on the topic of mental health for women. Most impressive on that day was Kayley Reed. She spoke openly and candidly about her struggles with anorexia and depression, in addition to starting the much respected Wear You Label brand. (I bought one of  their t’s last year, wearing a label I’ve carried for years #anxiousbutcourageous)

Over the weekend, my family and I travelled to beautiful Charlo, NB for out daughter’s final cross country ski race of the season. And, to attend the year end banquet were next year’s provincial New Brunswick 10-14 year olds, Racing Team was officially announced. She skied brilliantly – despite the sub -20 degree temperatures – earning herself a much coveted spot on the team!

Our youngest (only in grade one) skied himself to a silver medal. He past many other talented and determined children on the trail as well. I am extremely proud of both of them; more for their supportive attitudes even, then for their superb racing.

This winter of racing has  been full of highs and lows, for them and for me, and now that it has come to a close and they have reached great personal heights – my plan is to get more writing done on my dissertation over weekends in an attempt to reach one of my own.(wink!)

So. I’m not interested in advertising anything (though I do always recommend listening to the CBC), and yet I wouldn’t be being fully honest and open if I were not to mention one more thing that is on my mind these few weeks.

I have been thinking about an article I read recently in  Lenny Letter.com, along with a recent edition of Out in the Open on CBC Radio with Piya Chattopadhyay that I listened to called ‘Why Don’t Women Talk about Perimenopause’. They have put a few issues (pattern pieces?!) that I’ve been experiencing into perspective (place). The article from LennyLetters talks about a new book by actress Gillian Anderson and her friend, lawyer and journalist Jennifer Nadel. In it the book talk about their struggles with perimenopause (which they didn’t understand about at all at the time).

I confess that I turned 40 the first summer of my PhD work. That birthday also coincided with a massive cross country move, the leaving behind of loved, trusted friends, and a comfortable home on Vancouver Island. In the fall I began experiencing the night sweats (I had experienced them previously following the birth of each of my children, as my body purged itself of the hormones it had required during pregnancy) very unsettling, not to mention uncomfortable, hot flashes and, depleted energy are associated with this. I discounted the possibility of an early phase of menaupause – I had JUST turned 40!

I figured that I was just not dealing well with my stress.. [below are photos of me enjoying a drink of Champaign in Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB on my actual bd.]

17327920_630768973785659_2064293072_n

So, I want to be honest and own the fact that I do deal with many of the symptoms of perimenopause – and it’s not always easy.

From a Q&A with Gillian Anderson.
GA: Perimenopause, as I understand it, is a period of time that can last anywhere from a few years to even a decade before one’s period actually stops, before one actually goes into menopause proper. What happens is, over time our levels of estrogen start to deplete, and as a result we develop symptoms like anxiety, depression, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and find it harder and harder to cope with the normal routines of our lives.

http://www.lennyletter.com/health/interviews/a750/the-truth-is-out-there-about-menopause/ )

I take comfort in the likelihood that – as I said at the beginning  – and as I learned through the brave performances of the women from Shorts and Sweets, and from my courageous kids reaching for a big goal, in addition to those all those who speak out about the importance of women’s mental health on International Women’s day, and everyday;

My life is quite similar to those of many. No particularly ‘special’, but uniquely mine.

*

And so, now, this is it.  This is often just “me” – in addition to all of the many other things that are (also) me…

And THIS is my truth today.

17350954_630768983785658_989931328_n

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the interesting read. You are so busy! You can’t do everything. I like how you are raising the profile of the ordinary, although I think you are quite extraordinary in that you use all your gifts with such a passion. Lornaxx

    1. Thank you Lorna. It means a lot to me that I hear from you. Whenever I hear back from people – it helps me to better understand what is commonly ‘seen’ and what goes ‘unseen’ that MANY of us put our care and work into. ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s