what is your tongue?

What is it? What is it worth? Do you need it?

I cannot fathom the restraint and heartbreak of those who live in totalitarian governments, or the men and women confined to strict social conventions about gender a generation before mine… or my mother.
I cannot fathom that strength because even in my heart of hearts, I know I am not that destitute. I will have no men with guns at my door if I speak freely about my religious beliefs. I will not be incarcerated and subject to a life without human rights when I openly discuss and critique my government. I will not be assaulted without penalty, because I can go to the authorities.

But I still feel like the majority of my life where I consciously speak has consisted of biting my tongue. I can still loose my job if I have an outburst, I can loose the respect and support of my peers should I be too audacious, and I can still loose the people who would listen if I speak too brazenly. If I speak freely, people cease to listen.

Very few believed me that my father had been seriously hurt in a car accident… or that it effected him both in body and mind. Even fewer believed that I felt the need to step up my contributions to the family… or that I had any reason to. It was as if people assumed these circumstances are too implausible or so unlikely; as if what I said were a lie. For all the majority knew, it was. I was a hypochondriac. I must have been. I wanted attention, that was it.

Well of course I wanted attention! I needed to know that my narrative was not an anomaly, not some weird occurrence meant for an alternative universe.

In some alternative universe, I’m actually very stupid. So stupid that I do not realize the causes of my own discomfort, nor would I hold my tongue despite consequences. If I were lacking in faculties, would I then be able to identify that my happiness is a choice? Likely not. But why is that that in this universe, however that I am conscious of this life, that I recognize the capability of my choice of happiness is hindered by knowing that it is a choice?

Or is it because I am aware that my personal life is not jeopardized like most others that I feel silly, worse guilty, that somehow the stress of not having the permission to articulate my own experiences and my own feelings affects me so. Most times I can leave my feelings aside while I dive into work. I can usually immerse myself in art or art-like functions, some form or creativity or technical and tactile skill, and subconsciously and without inner discord, find my solution. No. I am simply stuck wondering, and not able to make much action because I am wondering and getting no answers.

And asking my questions aloud means I must first be brazen, blunt and honest… but that drives away any listeners.

The solution then is to be “diplomatic”. Find a way to allude someone to your entire circumstance, however that is also so cryptic. I find that when you make your feelings or your ideas even your experiences cryptic, they loose their credibility. Being cryptic while not speaking the entire truth because that truth is too unprofessional at the time and place of its release is then a lie.

When I bite my tongue; I am lying. When I describe in poetry, it’s cryptic and I am still lying. But when I am truly honest…
… this is when I cannot find the words.

By the times I find that I can speak freely, I am exhausted. By then that articulation is lost.

Is this why they say god gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason?

Why is it those who have truly lost their ability to speak freely are the ones who have the most beautiful things to say? When was the last time I had something truly beautiful to say? Am I just talking but not saying anything?

I must be blabbering.

 

 

Your tongue.

It moves more than any other muscle.

Muscles of your heart, at separate times, are relaxed.

But even when you rest, your tongue does not.

So why is the most powerful and most used muscle in our bodies feel so hindered? Why does everyone’s tongue feel tied?

Forget about censoring for a moment. Forget about licenses and forget about the repercussions of your free speech, and think about how often you hold your tongue.

Are we happier for it? or is it to our detriment?

Is it better to have spoken freely and pay the consequence or is it better to make peace with everyone and be quiet?

At times, no one can be silent. When we see others tortured and maimed, when we see segregation, when we see that things can be better, we cannot be silent. Being silent means giving permission. But when someone doesn’t want to hear that you honestly disapprove of their actions though you love them, we must bite our tongues.

When is it important to speak and when is it important to keep quiet?

When does biting your tongue mean you have bitten off your tongue?

When have you made it impossible for yourself to speak anymore?

Is what has me flustered and what has affected absolutely every waking hour truly that important? Is what I want to say a necessity?

I know I am not hard-done by. I know that the stress of my parents divorcing is nothing to living in Syria in this moment. I am not truly bound by law, yet, to keep quiet because of my anatomy assignment. I don’t need to watch my tongue.

But why do I feel that I am constantly biting my tongue?

I cannot imagine the strength needed to live a life where you cannot speak freely because the hurt I feel from my own lack of utterance just now in the minutia of my stresses is overwhelming.

If we were meant to listen more than we were to speak, why is our feeling that we need to speak and speak often so predominant in our lives? It must be a choice like happiness; we must choose to listen more than speak.

If people listened, then cryptic descriptions would not be necessary. If we listened, maybe when one does speak, they are not at a loss to try and find again that singular moment of clarity and articulation. Maybe if we listened before we spoke, which is opposite of our actions currently, then maybe we would not all feel that our tongues are overvalued or undervalued. We wouldn’t have to lie to tell a truth. We would simply speak and be at peace if others could just listen.

Is what I wanted to say so important? What was it that I wanted to say? It was something about their divorce, my lack of art supplies to keep myself occupied, that the only art I can do without the intention of selling it is writing and even that has it’s very sparse time… is it that trying to get away has taken over even necessary functions like keeping composure and being professional? It was something to the effect that I am frustrated. I am deeply, immensely, overwhelmingly frustrated. And maybe a bit helpless. I’m waiting to hear back from someone to see if moving out is going to happen sooner or later… maybe my reasons for wanting to move out are silly. No. No they can’t be because I know that staying where I am now affects me. It affected me four years ago, it affects me now. I wanted to say something that would more or less come across like I was throwing my own family under the bus for my frustrations though it is more about my reactions than their decisions… or their reactions to decisions.

I’m angry, I’m frustrated, I’m exhausted, I’m almost melancholy, and trying so hard to count my blessings without loosing them to being affected. What is happening in the grand scheme of things is not that big, it is not life threatening, it is not going to end the world or leave me helpless… I do live in Canada and that’s a blessing on its own.

But it affects my health, my sleep, my breath, even the way I look into someone’s eyes.

But it’s really not that bad.

I don’t know if I made myself feel better than it’s not all that bad or if I made myself feel even more of a fool because I feel so hurt.

What is your tongue? We hardly know when to speak, or how to speak or care if it is important. How much is your tongue worth? I think at least in a few moments in life, we all have instances when we cannot speak freely and we feel such an agonizing debate in ourselves. Do you need your tongue? People have a voice without a tongue, and those people when given the moment to use their voice, use that temporary moment to say such permanent things.

I still don’t know if I feel silly and guilty, or if I feel enlightened.

I have to figure out what I have to do with my tongue.

hmm.

– I am Elizabeth Hoskin, and I am LovingBedlam

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I’m Carmen SanDiego, Guess Where I am!

So, what’s new?
Well… I moved to a new city, took me two weeks to find a job and that job is… disheartening considering my qualifications. Worse, I haven’t been writing a whole hell of a lot so this is going to be rusty, and squeaky and more like another stream-of-consciousness posts.

Two weeks, almost to the day, I moved back down to southern Ontario. Two weeks I was unemployed and that was the longest time I have ever been unemployed so I felt my brain rotting for a short time. How bad was that? I have gone into watching toddlers and tiaras thoroughly… dear god, someone save me. These symptoms coupled with an environment where shit has hit the fan (I won’t elaborate on it much more and please don’t ask. I’ll disclose what I want when it feel it’s pertinent [if you know, please respect this post and do not disclose for me. thank you]).
Since moving in a fortnight ago, I have gone through copious collected boxes that have collected copious amounts of dust. First thing was to unpack what I could and determine what had to be put into the storage unit downstairs (since I am in an apartment building now). Dishes, kitchen aids, extras have all been sent to their dark, cool and dry resting places until I am well ahead of being just self-sustaining. The reason for me moving back in with parental units is that I am being offered a year or so to work and be rent-free to build finances and a reputation within Barrie. I need this time to at least get a hold on paying back my student loans… though I need a deferral because the move has truly damaged my accounts. If my credit card and debit card were people, I would be pulling them back from ledges to prevent their suicides. If they die on me, I’m in more trouble that I can handle. Yay post-student hell!

The next step for me was job hunting. Within three days of my homecoming, I was wondering the mall aimlessly and endlessly. Thoroughly scouring for potential jobs and possibly catching a line that was not seen by the general public. In fact, I am still waiting for calls from them but I could not afford to be jobless for more than a month. I wondered, applied, and remembered some key things. I was talking to a friend who was wondering how I was fortunate enough to pick up jobs as quickly as I had in the past.
Here’s some tips that even work when trying to impress someone in the art world;

-have a 15 -30 second selling line – “HI! I’m Elizabeth Hoskin, I just graduated from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. I just got in town last sunday and was wondering if you had a position open for me? I have had experience in [food/retail/commission] through [whatever place], as well as I have had some supervisor positions and been a key holder for others. I’m available any time.” i just nailed any preliminary questions as well as reminding them that I know my assets (key holder, supervisor/trusted position and experience in whatever).

-don’t be cocky, but walk in as if to say, “you want me to work for you” and be super friendly with it. Attitude and believing in yourself always get somewhere.

– best face, best hair, best clothes and best smile. Just put your best foot forward and be prepared. Make sure to pack a small brush, deodorant, dry shampoo/ baby powder, touch up makeup bag, minty fresh gum, bandages, and your datebook/phone with your resumes. I also would sneak a spray or two of perfumes from some stores. Look ready for anything, including booking an interview right then and there. Almost expect an interview on the spot – and use your 15-30 selling line.

– look appropriate… I don’t know why that one is so hard for other applicants. I had on, usually, a black, a-line or pencil skirt with a nice top. I know it’s hot out, but always have your bra-straps covered (I am the last person to care, first to notice as an interviewer). Keep your skirts around knee-length and shoes that are recognizable but comfy and avoid ones with bones, zombie, spikes or blood…that’s a hard rule for me to follow to. Also, and it saddens me to feel like having to remind other applicants that your belly showing at any time, or even your lower back is inappropriate. Think of when your school had a dress code. Follow that or even a bit more strict. There’s still ways to look fashion-forward, unique, vivacious and polished.

-think ahead or look around first; you’re likely to be asked why you considered that store or establishment. You can fib here if you’re good at it. “I’ve been a customer for so long, why not work at a place i love as a customer?” or “I’m always in, and I love [a certain product/line/goal of the company and tell them something that you know about the company].” A lot of the time, you’re not fibbing. You’ll likely first go to the stores you like the most, first. After a while I applied at a children’s clothing store. My only real experience with kids are recent and the only thing about clothing that I know, is that kids grow out of them too damn quick. When I was asked why I considered them, I knew to mention that it seemed like all my girlfriends are becoming or are already mums and, even though I hope to work there, I would be shopping for my surrogate nieces and nephews constantly. It seems to be an exciting and fun place to work. I had an interview just a few days after with them and they asked for me to elaborate why I wanted to work there. I reiterated that kids were coming into the picture more and more often and since I have retail experience, it was logical to find a place that catered to both aspects – I made connections for them such as I used to sell makeup, but I can translate to selling clothes. It was also weird since I didn’t have kids so my experience with kids was also questioned – I did tell a bit of a personal anecdote that one friend was a room-mate with me shortly after her first child. My friend knew I was new to babies and sometimes “threw” her daughter into my arms to force me to get comfortable. Very quickly did her daughter found a place in my heart and had inspired me to become mommy one day. We had stayed good friends and it has been an experience to relearn the world through her daughters and the kids world in general. I mentioned I didn’t really grow up around a ton of kids or babies so my experience was recent, but very self-reflecting. The most fun part of that interview was the next rule.

-be prepared to be put on the spot. There’s always the hard questions you don’t expect or don’t remember to prepare for – and I’m not talking about the “if you were a tree, which tree would you be?”. I mean the “I’m going to give you a scenario, and you’re going to tell me how to handle it”. I can’t tell you how to answer those; if you’re goof in customer service, then you’re good. If you are not, then S.O.L. The best was at the children’s clothing store, the woman gave me a few minutes to browse a section of the store, to learn the stock and then she walked in as a customer and I had to help her. I’d like to think I nailed it until she became specific, like a coloured, girly dress. But I knew to point out current promotions, new stock and when she made a selection, helped pair it with other items like shoes that matched. Funniest thing was, I wanted her to do that. Nailed it. Lastly…

– Always have a question prepared from them, and phrase it in a way that you expect to be hired or hearing back from them soon. My favourite is “Should I be hired [remember, don’t be cocky, just confident], what is the biggest expectation/what would you like to see most out of me?”. It’s vague enough that you will get an answer. But there are others, including “How did you becoming a team member of [store]?”.
In one day of hunting I had two interviews for the next day and several prospects. I’m still waiting for second calls and other hiring but I cannot wait forever… hence why I am, at this current moment, going to work at a Chinese buffet restaurant. I have an Honours Degree, and I will be a waitress. Whoop-dee-fucking-doo. My father happened to see a “Help Wanted” sign out in the front of the establishment down the street from us so I applied and was hired on the spot. Yay I will be earning some money, but I am waiting to hear back from something better. Even if it’s a lingerie store. I need a job that challenges me in another away besides solely testing my patience. At least, at the places I want the most, there is an element of personal assistance and confidence building. I will feel like I have a purpose even if the day is so busy I want to scream. I won’t feel brain-dead and watch much more of toddlers and tiaras or storage wars. Though I like storage wars – I like seeing what people keep away and forget they have. People are neat.

 

What else have I started since I got back down south? My goals?

I have a new android phone and so I have instagram! just look for elizabethhoskin and it’s linked to my twitter!

I do daily makeup looks and tips on instagram and I am looking to join gagillions of other people on youtube tutorials! Still need a better camera but I am likely to be doing it soon.

I have a reading list and goals – a book every two months. After new years, I hope to bump that to a book a month. I’m a slow reader but I love to dive into a good book. And it’s just better for mental health, imagination and for writing.

Art making! … has taken a hit. I had been without of materials and the other night, I had realized I was being so short and curt with people, that I started something completely new. When my scanner gets here I will post more! For now, browse my instagram! I will make more tonight!

I still want to post that critical response I had thought of in Thunder Bay. Will do soon and I hope to do that monthly with new articles and new artists.

 

I’m employed again, that’s what matters. In this economy I cannot wait and I seem to have beaten a number of people out of the water in getting a job within two weeks of landing. I can cast a net out for a better job after that. I applied at the MacLaren Art Centre and so I hope to hear back from them. I think I can survive working at the buffet if my life has purpose at an art gallery. Better things to come, just need to keep my chin up and keep making art.
Good to be back and more to come,

-I am Elizabeth Hoskin, and I am LovingBedlam

splitting myself in two at a crossroads

I doubt this post will take long, in fact, I have a long day tomorrow so I need to sleep soon.

But you know when you were a child, and when you were asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and your response was long enough so whomever the caretaker was had enough time to do the dishes, flip the laundry or just keep the child occupied so you weren’t doing all the work? Yeah, the answers were often over-ambitious and in some sort of reality, impossible. “I want to be a fireperson, and a teacher, and a astronaut, and and a princess, and a mommy and, and a reeeeealllly big superd- supuhhero!” But it’s not actually impossible to be many things at once, we all have to wear several hats in a day. I’m an artist, cosmetician, skin care consultant, busker, artisan, writer (not that anything is published yet), a member of a community, a feminist, a role-model, a graduate and alumna, an illustrator, a sales-woman, an ear for the general public… and I’m not a mother yet, nor a partner, and I’m not a caretaker in general (which has 20 million hats to wear in each respective role).

Here’s where my conflict lies, do I pursue being a cosmetologist or aesthetician? Or do I follow to become a “studio artist”? Lastly, do I choose to be a curator?

I had a weird dream not too long ago that I am trying to analyze. My dreams, I find, are the best insight to what is going to happen or decisions I need to be aware of. And I am not sure how valid my dream was given “Colours of the Wind” was being sung in my dream. The dream itself is relatively foggy but I remember being given a blessing by an aboriginal elder. But the elder did not actually say anything, but I think I knew what was being “discussed”. Some new artwork ideas have come to me, and the art from around here, the woodland aboriginal arts and Group of 7 inspirations have had an effect on me.. but the images that are still prominent in my mind – mainly two paint brushes, two large filberts, were first wrapped in hide, then the brushes were wrapped in a plastic floral wrap with feathers as a part of it’s design. Feathers, brushes, wind and the “smoke” rising from the mountains…

Feathers are used often in blessings and smudgings in aboriginal tradition, and the brushes are a part of my trade… the wind seems mainly from the Disney contaminant, but also frequent in Thunder Bay. The smoke rising is from the roadtrips my mother and I have made from Thunder Bay to Barrie a few times now. Every time we pass Agawa, going towards Thunder Bay, it rains. The rain is so cool that the warm air from under the trees and on the mountains rises up and creates the most fascinating illusion.

They’re old photos from four years ago from a crappy camera… I need a good camera.

I think the dream was like a graduation ceremony from an elder but another discussion of where do I go from here? I suspect from the dream (and I am figuring this out as I type), that my path may be fine arts driven…

I have to work out the pros and cons, and I’m going to need feedback from those who read this and friends who know me, even the slightest…

If I were to be a studio artist, and by that I mean pursue a degree in the Fine Arts in Studio (painting, drawing…), roughly a similar song and dance to my undergrad (not quite  but hang on), I would be put through my measures creating art as intensly as I can for two years straight and never knowing my standing, and likely falling under the same curse as I always have of doing twice the amount of work for a good, but lesser mark than I deserve, based on the fact I do not brown-nose, bend to anyone’s will without reason and just because… I will likely graduate, with a job, a few publications and would be able to be shown in galleries more often and sooner in my life. I am becoming more and more opposed to the idea that a few people will determine my worth or capabilities vs. the general public who likes and sometimes purchases my art ( in all honesty, those purchases were commissions and those have been scarce). It will be a constant battle of will IF I am ever accepted… The bonus to being accepted is that it fast-tracks my ability to be accepted by professional galleries, can apply for more grants and higher selling prices to some of my artwork (because I have this thing in my head that I really should charge based on my cost of materials, labour and skill level I’m at, like paying students to paint your house rather than a professional individual – you’re going to get a different quality of work, not necessarily always for the worst). Still not thrilled over this option.

My other option is to pursue my cosmetics jobs. I have this weird thing, and a Shaman once told me it was something called “Weasel Magic” – and before you laugh, it sounds right. In myth, weasels were sent over to the opposing tribe’s camp to listen in on secret plans. Weasel magic means I have this thing where I hear a lot through the grapevine, have a tendency of being a double-agent, but also that I’m quick and clever, but most of all, people like to tell me things. I cannot tell you how many times people have given up their life stories to me within spending less than 24 hours with me (and someone, please testify!). A number of my customers feel comfortable discussing otherwise personal, embarrassing or frequently mistaken information about them. For example, one night I was cashing out one woman who was entertained by a stuffed monkey we had on for sale. Her voice was clearly horse from a cold, and that fact was confirmed by the large amount of medicine she bought. As I am cashing her out, she looks up and says… “Can I get your advice?”. I thought it was going to be about a product or lipstick shade… but no, she then says “I’m in an abusive relationship” and falls immediately into tears. Gobsmacked, I reach for a facial tissue and simply wait for her to elaborate. Without going into too many details, she was indeed in an emotionally abusive relationship and she was looking for a way out. The woman didn’t know that you can ask for a police escort if you need to leave a situation such as hers. I gave her information such as the woman’s shelter in town, a hotline she can call and just general advice I know (and just for you, dear reader, it would be helpful to know such things as shelters and a hotline or two in case you come across this, or someone you know).

People tell me things. I’m like the other woman to the hair-dresser who you complain to or ask advice from. And my job, being somewhat personal as it is and having one-on-one time with the people I help, is the same thing. And this is really quite a daunting gift at time. I don’t always know how to react when a customer has a flashback of a trauma incident (one customer I did have) or when I’m asked for help for a situation like abuse. I wait and listen, and often that is what is needed  (Lest not be judged, is also a good rule of thumb). I am genuinely helping people that I come into contact with – either boosting their confidence, honest advice on how to take care of ones-self or just being an ear. All the while having a blast. This job has opened doors into doing weddings or advertising… but then I worry there is a limit to what I can do. How many girls go into makeup and hair school? How many people are aspiring to be like Michelle Phan, and become a world-renown makeup artist just because she did youtube videos? How competative is that market and is this just a whim I am acting on? It would be cheap and only take a year to earn the proper certifications to be a makeup artist, and I have a plethora of knowledge (despite what people thought in highschool, I wasn’t allowed to wear a ton of makeup, but I certainly knew more about than those who just got whatever they wanted) and then some! This is something I stumbled upon… could this be a calling? My upset… I doubt I could be as challenged as I have been in other aspects of my life.

Or is my calling being a curator? When I did my internship with the Thunder Bay Art Gallery last summer, I was aglow with my tasks! Mainly – the cornucopia of research! The curator, Nadia Kurd, apologized at one time for the tediousness and lack of excitement in my tasks, and I assured her that learning about people and movements enthralled me. The only boring part to the job I had was some data input for a book donation the gallery chose to receive. I didn’t want that to end and I wished that my job at the time would allow me some room to work and volunteer at the art gallery more. I was like a 1000 watt bulb when I saw the write up by the curator with our research! “I helped with that! I noted that! Eeeeh look at some of my work!”. I had the same feeling that I stumbled upon a calling. Now education would be pricey, similar to the masters degree in studio art, I’m doing the same sort of education however my marks will be based in fact such as formatting, proving my points and just relevant research. I think I write about and research more art than I produce – which would be a lot. I would help other artists…and I could also help move art out of the galleries and into the public space so that it is not just those in the “Art World” who experience the purpose of art. I don’t know if I would reach and affect as many people as I would. However, the biggest bonus here; it would be challenging and I would constantly be learning.

Damn, I need to be in bed.

Okay, my life in the next bit will consist of serious application stuff – There is a work program through the Banff Center that would give me a brilliant opportunity to asses the possibility of pursuing curatorship.

It’s  would be similar to attending school for another year but actually doing work for the school… like a thesis or a trade. I’m new to the graduate thing, don’t make fun of me! I’m excited but I hope I can put together the application in time. IKES! Akimbo, you didn’t give me enough warning!

Here’s the interactive part – ya’ got any advice? Feedback would be awesome, and it would be AMAZING to hear back from my readers.

As far as I know – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, when life gets messy- eat it over the sink, it’s never too early or too late, if it doesn’t scare you – your goals are not big enough.

It will be awesome to hear from you all!

-I’m Elizabeth Hoskin, and I am LovingBedlam

 

ps- i learned how to use hyperlinks! (yes, that was fun for me).

 

another artist i have attended school with has posted our fun last night at the exhibition opening!

Jessica Buzanko

So tonight was the opening at Definitely Superior. I was very exited, its was the recently graduated (save for me, I still have one more year because I am doing concurrent education) Lakehead University Visual Art students that put the exhibition together. Because I’ve finished with the art part of my degree I too had my work in this exhibition.

It was a good night tonight, I spent time talking with friends and fellow artists, and we ended up at The Sovereign Room and had THE BEST PIZZA EVER!!!

 

Liz and me

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the gang (and a special appearance of Kat’s sister)

 

 

 

Hannah Johnson and me

 

 

 

 

And a very special thank you to these two girls. I was at work, and actually down for the count because of my legs and back and Breanna and Elizabeth…

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