these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.

thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.

my artist website is here.

Sep 30, 2010

honey and agony

last night, i went to bed feeling pretty happy and satisfied; and today, i woke up feeling the exact same way. i wonder if it's the tea and honey?

i started doing a bit of research on honey because i got scared i was somehow thwarting my own attempt to kick as much refined sugar out of my life as possible (mainly, all that delicious hazelnut creamer i dump in coffee). turns out, honey is super healthy for us. as is tea. and i totally had my limited knowledge about tea and coffee all mixed up and backward- i though tea had more caffeine in it than coffee. nope! coffee has twice, some times 3 times, the amount of caffeine that tea does. though i wasn't at all concerned about caffeine consumption when i decided to step away from coffee and i'm still not concerned. it's a myth that caffeine is dehydrating unless you're consuming mass quantities of it in one sitting. but excess is excess, and even water can kill a human if they drink too much of it all at once. which was a very strange thing to learn.

it's mainly all about sugar for me. and the natural sugars inside honey are totally healthy and packed with antioxidants (cancer preventative) and every single bit of honey is put to use by the body. and, even though it's got calories, the calories aren't empty- they are easily converted in to heat and energy for the body and it's even recommended that people eat a spoonful of honey before working out. not just for the energy boost, but it also prevents muscle fatigue. as a runner, this is really good to know!

all this to say, my decision to get away from coffee and all the sugar-cream i dump in it has provided a very happy accident! a positive faux-pas! yay!

and another reason this is all so exciting to me is that i wasn't really taught that many healthy behaviors and decision-making skills growing up. i really wasn't. and i'm not mad about that- most people truly are doing the best they can under their particular set of circumstances. and the circumstances of my childhood were pretty heavy. and what that means for me now is that i have to unlearn certain behaviors and attitude and figure out how to teach myself how to treat myself well and with respect. especially when it comes to my body.

i was never involved in any type of team sport when i was in school. i was not at all interested. NOT. i thought those girls were jerks. haha! (sorry girls. i was angsty and shy.) i though high school was the worst place on earth. and it kinda is for a lot of kids. high school sucks. it's probably always sucked and i couldn't wait to graduate so i'd never have to go back. and for anyone in the audience who might still be in high school and hating it- my life got so much better after high school. so much better! and my teenage notion that high school society is ridiculous was instantly confirmed once i left and was out in the work world and on a college campus. the point being: if i didn't have to participate in something i hated, i didn't. and, though that sentiment is actually a pretty good one, i never really took (or saw) the opportunity to take care of myself in meaningful ways when it came to my body. i was much much MUCH more focused on taking care of my brain and my spirit. it didn't occur to me until much further down the road that the brain is a body part like any other and that, on days when i felt incapable of taking care of my brain, i could choose to take care of my body... and thereby get myself in a much better mood and a much more creative place as well. a rush of oxygen to the brain makes us more alert, more focused, and more creative. had i known that back then, i might've had a different opinion about exercise.

but, truth be told, i'm just not that in to sports. i'm just not. i've tried to be and i've failed. it's just not something that has ever come close to capturing my heart.

and then the other morning, my sweetheart was watching Sports Center before heading off to work and a program about running came on. the reporter described running as a "sport of agony". that phrase definitely captured my heart. ha! first, i was wrapped up in this idea of agony. is it agonizing? do i feel like i'm in agony when i run? am i an agony glutton? an agony addict? OH, all the lovely masochistic questions! ;) and then my mind turned to the other word: sport. running is a sport??? i had never thought of running that way. not once. but on my runs since, i've been thinking about it... how when one runs, one is competing with/against oneself. how it is only dedication and willpower that makes you finish the run. how i put myself instantly in to a measured and rhythmic cycle of breathing, get myself inside a day-dream, and ignore whatever pain or discomfort that might be taking place in my legs. the zone, as they call it. time falls away. i look at the light of the day. i dream as i breathe. ideas float in and out. and some of the best ideas i've ever had come to me while i'm running. and if i can stay locked inside those great ideas, i do not notice any pain in the body. it's when i don't let my mind go that i become cognizant of the agony of the run. it's when i focus on my legs rather than on my life or letting my imagination spin, that it becomes an agonizing thing to do. and that is the competition itself. to overcome oneself and keep moving. one more stride, one more stride, one more stride.

this is a metaphor (and practice) i am trying to apply to art as well.

do i feel agonized by art? sometimes, yes.

can art be talked about in terms of the phrase "a sport of agony"? yes! it definitely can be!

especially when i think about art as competing with/against oneself. when i think of how painful it can become, how agonizing, how hard, when i focus on the wrong thing. when i don't allow myself, for whatever reason, to get locked in to an idea i love. when i look somewhere else instead. when i compare my stride to the stride of others.

when i compare my stride, i'm not doing what i should be doing. i'm no longer competing with myself, i'm competing with someone else. i've made someone an adversary. someone i could be choosing to learn from or even just be excited for. but instead, seeing it as a competition leads to jealousy. envy. all sorts of self-mockery and hate and disillusionment. and all that amounts to is becoming Unfocused.

my stride is my stride. my breath is my breath. my work is my work.

i noticed a long time ago that when i am diligent about running, i'm diligent about art too. it's scientific for sure. a biological event. that rush of oxygen to the brain making me more creative, more alert, more excited. it is a spoonful of honey that way. it keep the fatigue at bay and i can just go.

i love the connections between things. i love that they are everywhere. and i love that i'm getting to a place where they are easier to see. i'm teaching myself some very healthy things. things that are tailored to me and the type of life i'm attempting. it takes time but i'm on my way. and on days when i'm feeling disappointed in life, this is all very good stuff to remember. that even making the decision to eat some honey is a healthy one and that i've done something good for myself. a small action that can lead to tremendous benefits if i just find ways to keep doing it.

and the same thing goes for all our paintings and poems too, friends. it really does. it's hard to keep my eyes on that fact some days but i'm learning, now, how to do that. and if an art practice is anything, it's learning how to keep coming back to the ideas we are compelled by and locking ourselves in to them and not measuring ourselves by the ideas of others. it is teaching ourselves how to sustain a Mighty Run.

find some honey. ;)


Hannah Stephenson said...

I love your Mighty Run. This is a call to action!!

angela simione said...

thank you! i love it too! which is awesome because i never really thought i ever would. but i do. i really really do. deep change is slow, i'm learning. and somehow running is teaching me to feel okay about change being slow. somehow running (something akin to RUSHING) alieviates my compulsion to rush. it's a good thing. rather than rush, i can just work hard and do my best instead. :)

and i'm so excited about the honey thing. i thought i'd never be allowed to drink something sweet ever again. YAY!!!!

Alanna Risse said...

And honey is a natural antibiotic and natural preservative. A spoonful of honey can cure a sore throat and sooth a cough (much better for kids than awful corn syrupy cough syrup). It can help cure allergies if you each local honey and I've even read studies that it might help your body digest glucose more efficiently. Its like the anti corn syrup. Sorry, on my honey box again. ;)

angela simione said...

i love it when you get on your honey box! hahaha! i'm getting on it too! it sure does seem like a miracle food and i'm all about it. :) thanks, alanna!