It’s much easier for me to be inspired to write about what I’m currently working on than to write about what I have finished.
“I never look back, it distracts from the NOW”– Edna Mode.
But there is so much I have made while not writing that I’d like to figure out a way to harness the excitement of the now to that which has passed.
So, let’s try this. We’ll got on the journey of my day or my current endeavors and then endcap it all with at least one finished project. Perhaps the two things will relate…perhaps they won’t.
It’s summer vacation but I had some school-related work today.
This week I go to Jr High schools in the mornings to assist students with English speech contest practice. Today turned out to be a light work-load. We worked with one student in the morning until 9:20 and then had to wait for a second student at 11AM. Between these time slots the English teacher I worked with and I made sample recordings of me reading various speeches for students to use for practicing.
Recording didn’t take long. The English teacher I was working with and I sat and talked until 11AM.
We ended up talking a bit about ADHD. I disclosed I had it and she, having read up on it a lot, had asked questions to try to understand why some of her students with ADHD DO the things they do…one example was a student who tries to cut their nails with craft scissors while class is in session. Which made PERFECT sense to my mind.
Like people on the autism spectrum, folks with ADHD often stim. Stimming is any repetitive actions that help a person self-stimulate their senses: auditory, visual, tactile, and even olfactory. Stimming behaviors relieve boredom/anxiety or distract from pain / discomfort while also burning off excess energy.
The urge to stim is NOT going to go away with a teacher or parent telling a child to stop the behavior. The underlying anxiety, boredom pain or discomfort that is triggering the need to stim hasn’t gone away. Stopping the coping mechanism may actually elevate the anxiety. Even if it doesn’t, the absence of the stimming will make the underlying discomfort hit even harder.
I’ve always fidgeted with my hands. It wasn’t strange for me, from elementary school through high school, to have art projects WITH me at my desk. Finger knitting. Origami. Drawing. Filing hard wax rings for lost wax casting. Building wax figures. Using needle nose pliers to manipulate wire into 3-d objects.
Because of the specific public schools I went to this the reaction to this varied. I was occasionally seen as a problem in elementary school (depending on the teacher), it helped mark me as a bad student all through middle school, and was tolerated in high school because I could quickly demonstrate my understanding of the class topic when challenged…and my high school cared about art. It wasn’t an issue in college because I went to an art school where I was either making things or taking liberal arts classes I had a genuine interest in.
My schools were NOT Japanese schools
I know how strict Japanese schools are about students not having objects unrelated to class out on desks or in hands. I’ve seen how quickly stimming that bothers others (humming, tapping the desk, clicking pens) gets shut down (although that’s the same in America). Often students only have the option of stimming with hands, bodies (quietly) or staring at a particular object or thing in motion.
So what’s with the cutting nails in class?
Take my hands. I didn’t need to be told to frequently massage my surgery scar to help break up the scar tissue and aid in mobility. That scar is on my hand and I can feel it
To stim I tend mindlessly rub the pad of my thumbs over the fingertips and nails of the same hand. If my hands and fingernails are smooth, no hangnails or scabs or jagged nails or chipping nail polish, it’s possible to focus on something else while my fingers and hands do what they need to do. When that smooth surface is compromised OH BOY.
The interruption of my hand movements by an unfamiliar or unpleasant sensation can quickly change my stimming to an intense fixation. That jagged nail is now the center of my world.
ADHD people are not deficient in attention. We’ve got SO MUCH energy to pour at things. We have a deficit in the ability to regulate where and how our attention is focused.
A jagged nail interrupts the motion that was alleviating my anxiety/boredom ( and allowing me to focus on the task I needed to tend to). As that stim is removed, and the underlying mental noise pours in, that jagged nail presents as the thing to intensely fixate on. If I didn’t have ADHD I could simply note that I’ll have to clip my nails later….but I have ADHD. I can’t quickly and quietly regulate my focus back onto the task at hand.
Now that I’m on Strattera (a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that helps me with my dopamine levels) I can better recognize that I an fixating on something and work at how to redirect that focus.
Even on Straterra I sometimes will not be able to refocus without first removing/dealing with the new fixation issue. I might automatically surreptitiously try and rip that jagged edge with a fingernail. During a dull meeting I WILL have to fight the urge to dip my hand into my desk and grab some scissors even though I know how socially unacceptable it is and how ineffective a tool craft scissors are for the task.
I’m an adult on medication. The average neurotypical child is going to have a worse time fighting impulses. The average child with ADHD? Even one on medication (which is hard being dosages and medication have to be adjusted as they grow) that is helping with the larger issues will have a very VERY difficult time refocusing until the fixation is eliminated.
And that’s why the craft scissors are out, in class, going for that nail. That child knows that until the issue is dealt with they will be emotionally and physically unable to do anything else. They might also know they’ll be in trouble but that won’t stop them, it’ll simply make them try and hide it…and they’ll feel like a failure if they are caught and chastized. Knowing the consequences isn’t enough to stop all impulses.
That’s my dance everyday. The tango of temptations with an ever changing irregular rhythm of regulation thrumming under it all.
Little Pullip to Edna Mode.
If you can’t link Edna Mode to the speaking habits, intense focus, delight in a new challenge and ever gesticulating personality of someone with Impulsive/Hyperactive type of ADHD…that is on YOU.
removed wig and makeup
replaced stock Little Pullip body with a more posable 11cm Obitsu body.
scultpted onto face with apoxie scupt.
Doll wig from Parabox.
sewed outfit with black cloth, black ribbon, and pink ribbon.
carving into and sanding the face to change the features/shapes
opening up the head and inserting new eye chips.
painting the face (actually drawing chalk pastels and watercolor pencils…I still differentiate dry and wet media work from when I was a drawing, not painting, major)
creating a custom wig cap and then making a wig out of brushed acrylic yarn
Sculpting some rings with apoxie sculpt.
Over winter break I was trying to rest my left hand, hoping that buddy-taping and resting my injured finger could heal every thing and I wouldn’t need surgery. Spoiler: it didn’t.
My plan was no knitting, limited sewing, no small dolls (that I’d have to hold in my left hand, only large enough dolls I could rest on a surface while working on….and I made Stefon his iconic shirt because most of that was painting with my dominant hand.
I already had stretch white fabric from making Powerpuff Girl tights. I found the right shade of green fabric in the form of a kid’s tank top at a used clothing shop for 100¥.
After sewing the shirt I used a combination of acrylic paints and ink to make a simplified version of the Ed Hardy shirt Stefon wears. I used a photo of the original shirt for reference. The SLN version has removed the Ed Hardy logo, so I didn’t include it either.
I dressed him in a pair of fake snakeskin pants I already had from another used doll. I may make costume acurate black cargo pants in the future. As the character is behind a desk you only get to see his legs in the wedding finale. I figure the difference between the sort of black pants Stefon WOULD wear and the actual pants he DID wear are inconsequential because most of us are filling in that information in our minds.
The final touch being getting him a pair of boots. I am not ready to start making tiny shoes and boots. I just am not.
In November of 2020, while practicing at home, I smacked the tip of my middle finger into a bookshelf while in mid-spin.
Spins are fast.
I hand intense hand pain when jostled, joint swelling, and difficultly bending my middle finger. My first ortheopedic doctor took x-rays and ruled out any fractures. I attempted to go about life as normal, no taping or splinting and I performed veil work at a charity show a week later.
For the following three months my hand continued to swell and continued to be in general pain. I sometimes experienced intense pain. I saw my doctor every few weeks.
My first doctor thought my taping and splinting might be overkill but I started doing it, because it prevented the most painful of movements from happening. It paid off down the line. I now know I probably should have just insisted it be viewed as a sports injury. The impact and damage is similar to what can happen to a rugby player catching a ball wonky. High speed impact at the wrong angle.
In January of 2021 it wasn’t getting any better so I was referred to a hand specialist and was in his office 30 minutes after leaving my first doctor’s clinic. Ultrasounds were taken. They showed so much swelling that any other issue couldn’t be determined. I was taught a more sleek version of buddy-taping my fingers. This doctor understood my injury to be similar to a sports injury.
My new doctor’s clinic ONLY does hands/wrists. He was a delightful man who often clapped and cheered at my healing process and hand knowledge. Really.
After a month of taping and bi-weekly check-ins the swelling went down enough for the injury to be seen. The impact had torn loose an extensor tendon connecting my middle finger to the back of my hand. I was in surgery less than 1 week later in mid February.
Surgery went as well as could be expected. My doctor was able to reconnect the tendon to my bones with small screws that live in me now. I did NOT require an artificial ligament for re-connection as feared might be a possibility.
After that was three months of bandages, braces, and physical therapy while seeing my doctor and PT every two weeks. In late May I was cleared to do ALL the motions and activities I do with my hands and body.
At all stages of P.T. I asked detailed questions about what I could and couldn’t do…because I teach 6 dance classes a week AND it’s very difficult for folks to understand just HOW MUCH TIME each day I make/craft objects with my hands.
Sherifa Zuhur/ Samrah AzZuhur Arabi falsely claims to being Arab-American or of Arab descent ( usually Lebanese) due to her father’s lineage. She also consistently claims to be “brown and white” or “br white” Sometimes she simply disputes coming from a Jewish family.
Sherifa Zuhur is an academic. She studies and dances under the name Samrah AzZuhur Arabi. None of this is a secret. I expose nothing by linking the two names. She often posts about both names/aspects of her life on her various social media.
Her life in dance and academia is legitimately rich in lived experience and research. That is not in doubt.
She believes I have been involved in blackmailing and blacklisting dancers. She has targeted and harassed many BIPOC who she believes are unfairly persecuting her.
I understand the hypocrisy in laying out all this in the name of wanting her to stop harassing others. But this is a world where we’re finally learning to give additional weight to marginalized/source voices when matters of concern to them are being discussed. She uses her claimed racial identity at times in the MENHAT dance community in ways to pull rank in and silence disagreement.. She has extensive travels, experience in ME countries, study, and academic credits. She shouldn’t need to lie about her race. She shouldn’t hide behind a lie while harassing BIPOC dancers in America .
What the following will show: Robert Cecil Blum and Margot Helmuth married September 9th, 1951 in Marin, California. They had two children, Paul and Sherifa. Sherifa was born in Aug 31, 1953. Paul Helmuth Blum was born Apr 30th 1955. Robert and Margot divorced in July of 1965. Neither parent was of Arab descent. Sherifa is NOT of Arab descent.
When I first wrote this there HAD been a video interview with Samrah AzZuhur Arabi by Cairo Shimmy Quake that included the claims that her father and grandfather introduced her to Middle Eastern culture and music due to their background and discussed her mother more in depth. It also covered her mother remarrying and moving to Rhode Island….Sherifa also used the G slur to refer to the musicians her grandfather would hire. In June the video had been removed from the site
First let’s establish who Sherifa Zuhur/Samrah Azzuhur Arabi’s mother is. In interviews in the dance community Sherifa has mentioned that her mother was an opera singer when Sherifa was born and that this led to many family travels. She’s shared pictures of her mother and a link to a youtube video of her mother wishing the Merola Opera many more years on their 60th anniversary.
Sherifa Zuhur’s mother is Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill. She was born Margot Carolyn Helmuth on Aug 15, 1931 in San Joaquin, California. She is still alive as of when I’m posting this. She’s an opera singer turned academic anthropologist specializing in South/central American textiles
From Dorothy Bryant’s article Books; Threads of the Life of a Singer, Anthropologist, Author:
In 1951 she began singing on high holy days at Temple Emanuel. Soon she was hired to sing at services on all Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. At about the same time she married and became Margot Blum. The next five or six years became the classic juggling act of the woman artist—she had two children, and sang with ensembles of all kinds, including the Civic Light Opera’s 1957 production of South Pacific.
It was Mary Martin who stopped her after a rehearsal and said, “Why are you wasting your time here?!” She gave Margot the courage to audition for the Merola Program, which grooms promising young soloists for the San Francisco Opera. She was one of the chosen few accepted into the intensive program, which includes free coaching in languages and stage deportment. “You know, like, how to fall and die gracefully.”
Margot had almost arrived. Almost.
“There was one problem I already knew about: my voice wasn’t big enough for the San Francisco Opera House. My best chance in opera was to build a career in Europe, where there were many companies and many fine smaller houses.”
Margot shakes her head. “Impossible.”
In those days, barely a decade past the Holocaust, the idea of an American Jewish couple raising their children in Europe was unacceptable.
“It was time to give up my ‘golden ambition’ to do opera.”
But not to give up singing. Margot hired an agent who kept her busy during the early 1960s, singing at concerts and on radio, performing with numerous ensembles, large and small.
Please note that Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill stresses the fact that her family with Robert was an American Jewish family and that is why she did not build her career in a post Holocaust Europe.
Sherifa D Zuhur was born on August 31, 1953
Born Aug 31, 1953, Sherifa Zuhur’s birth name was probably Danna Carolyn Blum, her mother’s maiden name was listed as Helmuth. She seems to have still had that name when she married her first husband in 1973. Samrah/Sherifa would have had her first married surname, Jenkins, when starting in the Bay Area dance scene.
It is legal to change one’s name. I don’t need to know if she’s always been Sherifa or if she became Sherifa later on. The obituaries of her father Robert C Blum and of her stepfather James Scheville respect the name Sherifa Zuhur.
Just in case you wondered if Robert Blum and Margot were still together in 1953
In 1953, the year of Sherifa’s birth, Margot H and Robert C are listed as residing together in the city registry of San Francisco county register published by R L Polk
And Sherifa’s brother Paul H Blum was born April 30th 1955
Sherifa’s Father and Margot’s first husband: Robert C Blum
Robert C Blum was 73 when he died of ALS April 15 2001. This date was also Easter of that year.
Robert C. Blum, an expert in philanthropy who with his wife developed fund-raising strategies that are now used by universities and nonprofit organizations throughout the world, died April 15 in Kentfield from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 73
The following are screenshots of his whole obituary by Mark Martin. it can also be found here.
Also from his obituary:
“Mr. Blum is survived by his wife of 34 years, Joan Blum of Kentfield; two sisters, Shirley Levine of Beverly Hills and Barbara Semelman of Atherton; two sons, Chris Blum of San Rafael and Paul Blum of Lincoln, Neb.; three daughters, Louisa Lucie-Smith of London, Sherifa Zuhur of Beersheva, Israel, and Marty Blum of Greenbrae; and 10 grandchildren.”
There are Sherifa Zuhur and her brother Paul Blum.
From the obituary, “for more than 50 years, Mr. Blum also was a member of the Austral-Asian Fundraising Association, Lake Merced Golf and Country Club and Lake Tahoe Yacht Club, and was a Knight of the Order of Saint Stanislas in Poland.”
The lake Merced Golf and Country Club was historically a Jewish golf club.
The obituary also notes that “He was president of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives in the early 1980s.”
In interviews Sherifa Zuhur claims her Middle Eastern lineage is through her father, so her father’s parents are important.
Robert C Blum was born in San Francisco. His obituary notes “A native of San Francisco, Mr. Blum graduated from Lowell High School and Stanford University.”
Robert Cecil Blum born 17 Nov 1927, mother’s maiden name Edises
1940 Census Data
He was 12 when the San Francisco 1940 census was taken. You’ll see his two sisters, Shirley and Barbara, listed in the census. They are also mentioned in his obit with their married surnames Shirley Levine and Barbara Semelman .
Robert was listed as white but that doesn’t mean not Arab …there’s no category for MENA in the census so we need to know more about his parents. Luckily they are in the same census.
Robert C Blum’s mother, Mildred Blum, was listed as having been born in Russia.
His father, Jean Blum, was listed as having been born in Romania.
And the wedding coverage of Jean Blum to Mildred Edises at the Temple Beth Isreal from the Oct 7th 1912 San Francisco Call newspaper.
Robert’s parents, Mr and Mrs Jean Blum were locally active in the community and politics.
I asked you to note that Robert Blum was said to be of the “Jean Blums of Hillsborough”. I found a 1952 article about Mr and Mrs Jean Blum throwing a party at her Seabury road estate (that’s in Hillborough) for the first American Ambassador for Israel, James G McDonald. Mrs. Jean Blum was also a member of Hadassah the Women’s Zionist Organization of America a religious organization for promoting and upkeeping Jewish social and religious values in the US and to strengthening ties between U.S. and Israeli Jewish communities. In fact she was the president of the Central Pacific Coast Region for Hadassah.
This is NOT a Lebanese/Arab family.
Sherifa’s step father/ Margot’s second husband:James Erwin Schevill
Who Sherifa Zuhur’s step-father is shouldn’t matter.
Sherifa’s own mother identifies herself and her first husband as a Jewish couple AND her father’s parents are from Romania and Russia so they are not Syrian/Middle Eastern AND there are records of the Margot and Robert having a daughter on the day Sherifa was born
Yet Sherifa Zuhur/Samrah AzZuhur Arabi consistently claims that all confusion about her racial identity (Br/white/biracial/notwhite/not Jewish) is because people confuse her father with her step-father. So let’s differentiate who her step-father James Erwin Schevill was.
The marriage between Robert C Blum and Margot Helmuth Blum ended in 1965. Margot married her second (and last) husband James Schevill in 1966 or 1967 in Framingham, Massachusetts to become Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill. Robert C Blum went on to marry his second (and last) wife Joan.
Around that time her marriage was unraveling, as was Jim’s. They fell in love and were married in 1966. By 1968 they were settled in Providence, Rhode Island, where, for the next twenty years, Jim Schevill was to teach and write poetry and plays at Brown University.
At that point Margot’s story could have become that of the faculty wife with a few music pupils, an occasional singing gig, and—like the vast majority of our best practitioners of all the arts—occasional twinges of regret for the fame and fortune bestowed on the lucky few. Instead, she made a surprisingly smooth turn in a new direction.
(I’m aware that the marriage archives I found said 1967 and the Bryant Article says 1966
From the Everybodywiki “In 1967, she returned to Europe and then moved to Providence, Rhode Island after marrying poet/playwright James Schevill who became a faculty member at Brown University. While there she sang with the New Music Ensemble funded by the governor of R.I., taught music in the public schools and returned to college to graduate in the first class that included women at Brown earning a BA in Music and Spanish. She then obtained a Masters in Anthropology and began a second career as a museum anthropologist specialist in textiles.”
Sherifa Zuhur’s step-father is James Erwin Schevill. Sherifa Zuhur and her brother Paul are listed in James Schevill’s obituary as his step-children. The photo above is Margot with a musician, not her second husband the poet.
From James Shevill’s Obituary: Professor Schevill is survived by his second wife, Margot , of the family home in Berkeley; two daughters, Deborah Schevill of New York City, and Susie Schevill of Berkeley; a stepson, Paul Blum of Lincoln, Neb.; a stepdaughter, Sherifa Zuhur of Carlyle, Pa.; three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.
And that is the family Sherifa Zuhur/Samrah Azzuhur Arabi was born into as far as I can find.
I don’t care who she eventually married or divorced or what countries her marriages may have allowed her to gain citizenship in. That has no effect on her ethnicity/racial identity. I’m only concerned with who her parents and grandparents were.
Sherifa has written a lengthy post refuting this on facebook. Here is the link. You are a freethinker. You can judge for yourself. You’ve got this here and that there.
I generally trust that people are honest about their ethnic identity and I don’t question if someone who is white passing, or any other hue, says an identity I didn’t expect. When I make a mistake, like assuming someone is white and they’re just ligfht skinned, I try to apologize quickly when I learn of my mistake. These are best practices.
I’ve also known a scammer who did misrepresent her identity to be more interesting. I’ve known people who’ve claimed false relatives/false kinship. I’ve followed the scandals in acedemics and organizing groups of white people who have posed as Black, Afro-Latinx and Latinx. That it happens at all is enraging. It’s not something that can be allowed to go unexamined.
Fast forward eight months. That’s how long it’s been.
I’m now on ADHD medications. The middle finger of my left hand has been bandaged in one form or another for two and half months as I recover from tearing part of a tendon. Typing isn’t a breeze.
If I try to catch you up any more I’ll get bogged down. I figure that the way to pick up the thread is to use my photos in my iphone. I’ll just search by month and figure out what needs to be shown that way.
2020 April and May were peak “at home” quarantine times for me with school closed and my daily life indoors
True, there’s a current state of emergency in effect for Tokyo and we’re having a huge spike and vaccines haven’t even started being distributed but now I’m expected to take the train into Tokyo mon-fri to teach two school’s worth of children each week ….let’s not unpack that yet.
I sewed those months. Oh boy did I sew. See the pattern below? McCall’s M6696. After some early tests to get the pattern fitting right I CRANKED out the dresses.
My stash didn’t have many fabrics in the quantity I needed (about 4 meters) so the fabrics were ones I found on Mercari and the fabric shop located near the dentist I saw 12 times between May-August. I figured if I had to go to the damned dentist that much I might as well make use of those trips to gather essentials like food and fabric.
You see that? The oranges? That’s the inside of the dress. all french seamed and everything. That’s due to this invaluable sew along youtube series about the pattern by Kittenish Behavior.
Ebony had also given me a few patterns earlier in the year including Simplicity 4077, so after bust adjustments I made three shirts for work.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. How about the McCall’s pattern variation with the slim skirt? I made it…in a fabric featuring apples and hedgehogs. See the fabric on the floor? You’ll see it again.
In July or August (Summer break after school started again) I found an awesome traditional styled Japanese fabric with hidden kitties. I also had some Japanese fabric I found too overwhelming once I sewed it so I over-dyed it a purple hue. Same pattern but now with band collars.
I also made myself this Vintage Simplicity from one of Ebony”s patterns. Unlike the button and go style of the McCall dress it isn’t suitable for work so I haven’t had the chance to wear it anywhere. I’ve worn the McCalls dresses SO MUCH for work it is insane. It has pockets, ya know.
It should be noted that the vast swinging between “I can sew everything I HAVE FOCUS” and “I cant focus on anything I’m going to do nothing” in March/April/May is what got me to get on ADHD medication.
And that is the start to returning to bloging…wonky finger be damned,
Yesterday I plugged away. I’ve trying to finish ongoing doll products but am quickly figuring out what small supplies I need…and don’t have.
Beast Boy needs some EVA craft foam to make his belt. I don’t have it.
17″ Starfire needs more “Grapeberry Saran…just a tiny bit..Don’t have it.
I started to thing about the next steps for a lot of my unfinished dolls and many of them require a fabric store trip.
And that’s how “I won’t start new projects” became “This is a pandemic…does trying to plan my dolls really matter? If I’m working on my Japanese study and content for online dance lessons while stuck at home…does not starting new dolls matter? Because I have a CRATE and more of raw dolls and that’s stuff I can do without more supplies.”
And THAT is when I took a hacksaw to two dolls.
Hormone Monstress from Big Mouth it is.
She’s not doll shaped. Her face is probably going to be “interpreted” a good deal She’s REALLY not monster high shaped…but I have a container of Monster High dolls.
It took me some trial and error to find a leg length I liked. The hot glue is just there to bulk her up before adding Apoxie Sculpt.
Why did I add hot glue before I was REALLY finished? Because, remember me NOT planning this and winging it? This is what winging it with wire/tools/glue looks like.
Damn, I feel like those…calves? need to be shorter still. just a smidge.
Well. I can wait for this Apoxie layer to dry and then saw those calves down a bit.
And…yes..I did say I hacksawed two dolls…but then I realized I was out of the tinfoil I’d need to create an armature for three tails…so that’s on pause.
In my attempt to entertain myself and others I didn’t stop with doing Theda Bara make-up. I went on to Clara Bow. Hollywood’s headstrong “It Girl” who got widely slandered in her day.
Now, the hard part about this look is…I don’t have much eyebrows but I do have SOME eyebrows where eyebrows are generally found.
I had to watch some drag queen tutorials about using gluestick to stick your eyebrows to your skin and then conceal them. I didn’t have any super fresh glue sticks and couldn’t justify GLUE STICK FOR MY FACE as a reason to go out to a shop.
Like many adventures in eyebrows, one eyebrow was victorious and the other pretended to be a good sport about the whole ordeal.
People have told me the cupid lip really works for me. My secret? I barely have lips to start with so I’m not actually making them much smaller, I’m just creating the idea that they have a shape.
And lastly there’s this shot…which encourages me to try a face I know I will fall short of…
Lousie Brooks. She’s a total babe….with an overdrawn top lip.
I could tell you how I’m doing, how Japan is doing, but who is really in that mood?
So, lets get some visuals going.
I started really learning how to put on makeup at age 28 for my first dance performances. There was a learning curve.
My skin is clear so I’d never done much except a dramatic lip here, some mascara and eye shadow there, and called it a day.
I now have a solid stash of make-up, brushes, and skills when it comes to making a performance face.
And now I have time.
Towards the start of Coronavirus I was listening to a lot of the “You Must Remember This” about Hollywood in it’s first century. Enter Theda Bara.
No…That’s Marilyn Monroe AS Theda…
THAT’S Theda. Our first screen vamp and perhaps the first actor to really play with the media about how the studio’s script about who she was wasn’t really who she was…or was it?
I was struck with the fact that while Theda’s jawline isn’t exactly like mine, her eyes and nose weren’t that different. And, she’s got the make-up of many an Edward Gorey illustration, and I am more than a little influenced by that man.
So day one of start inspiration brings you… me inspired by Theda!
And….me overly dramatic as Theda
So, as we’re all feeling a bit…
I’m here, playing with the things I can control. I study, work out and am prepping dance lessons for on-line, make things and play with brushes.
What do you wear when it’s time to take the train into Tokyo to sign a work contract and you know that Japan is not socially distancing?
I’ve made many styles of mask but by now there are 20 times the online tutorials that there were towards the end of February when I first made one. There are ample places to get that info.
Today at the company office I entertained a handful of “OMG did you make your mask?!” which, if they noticed my matching shirt (and how could they not?), means they also wondered “Are matching button-up shirts and masks now commercially available?”
Nowadays everything seems simultaneously possible and impossible.
Let’s skip back a few days.
Shortly after my post, March 24th, about having found a job for the next school year came the family reactions to the news, most noteworthy being my mom’s.
My mother is strong. She’s a whole universe to me. When she’s scared…it’s not something I can handle.
When the texts reminding me that she had started restricting early because I had worried…they hit hard. Reminders that neither of us live somewhere where we should trust the government to be honest…yeah
They also gave me flashbacks to 3/11 Tohoku/Fukushima. Things like panic buying have reminded me of those days…but just reading my mother’s stress brought me back to her tired and crying face on Skype in those days. The emotional return to a time I wrote extensively about and then tucked away.
By 4am I was ready to accept financial help, study Japanese online, turn down my job offer, and live in a bunker for the forseable future.
I was also ready to jog because it was 4am and I hadn’t and couldn’t sleep. A few minutes into jogging a blister made me aware that jogging wasn’t a possibility and I’d just have to be awake with my thoughts. Screw you, feet.
I slept from 5-7am. I made a few dramatic LINE texts to friends about my plans to give up work and be a studying hermit… which might violate my visa..yeah. They asked reasonable questions.
I started to focus again and remind myself:
You have two hours of sleep.
You are emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed.
You have ADHD.
Those things combined are a recipe for making impulsive emotional decisions. The sort of flamethrower decisions that burn away all other options, leaving you no other path but the one you were sure was THE ONLY CHOICE…and no way to retreat. I know. That’s how I once rolled all the time.
I told myself :
No. Decisions. Are. Being. Made. Today.
I contacted the company office to move the contract signing from that day to Friday…and to discuss a bit about their plans if COVID19 shuts down Tokyo (because really, how can it not?).
I believe that there are going to be huge changes between now and two weeks away when I’m slated to start being in classes.
I video chatted with my mother.
Mom had also lost house wifi during all of this and had only her phone…which wasn’t adding to a sense of security. We figured out a usable app for her not-apple phone and just video talked. It was good.
Going forward near daily videochats will be essential. We’re both more rational when we can see and hear each other and know the other isn’t being reckless.
I’d go ahead with my job and contract signing. I’d accept financial help so we could both know that if things got scary I could drop my job. I’d check in more regularly.
Then there was a whole day of “do I nap or power through?”
I’ve had so many days this week of bad sleep and naps to help offset it that I knew I couldn’t rely on naps to reset me.
Instead I stayed awake and busy. I listened to podcasts and youtube advice about ADHD and sleep issues.
I’ve had lifelong sleep issues. I have medication but it can only keep me under for about 4 hours.
Everything about sleep habits always screams “USE THE BED FOR BED THINGS ONLY AND DON’T USE ELECTRONICS IN BED.” and I always say “THAT MAKES SENSE” and then watch tv on my computer from bed and “sleep” with my smart phone next to me.
I’ve moved a very comfortable chair, one of two, from my sewing room (where it never gets used) to my bedroom to create a “cozy electronics nook”.
It took some testing and additional pillows to make it both slumptastic and useable as a chair if I actually want to type.
I’m trying to train myself when the impulse comes to flop on the bed and check my smartphone to get my butt in this chair instead. I’m also trapping my phone over here at night, out of bed reach, and going back to reading printed books as a bed wind-down.
It’s gone well for 2 days but….we’ll see.
Ready for more video chats with friends. We both are.
General JinJur is quite a hit during video chats. She and I are about to have our birthdays in April…so I switched my journal temporarily from Plague Motif to Hedgehogs and Birthdays.
I’m also starting a page of tracking my sleep times and notes. I have a notebook by my bed to write both sleep and wake times (before charting them) AND so that if a thought wakes me up at night I can write it down and move it to morning instead of fixating on it.
Last night I woke up around 3am and, instead of trying to follow through on the thoughts that popped into my head, I wrote them down. Can you figure out the difference between my awake-wearing glasses handwriting and my 3am handwriting?
I can actually read that but I assure you that in the light of day it it was an idiotic idea not worth following through on.
I’m also taking down notes to figure out a bedtime routine (when to dim lights, what pattern to stick to to remind my body it’s wind-down time).
What are you doing to help yourself sleep in these uncertain times.