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Happiness / Learning / Life / Love

Honestly? I don’t like how this year sounds. It sounds too old. It kinda terrifies me. It sounds like a number, that, many years ago, came with different pictures attached. This is not only not what I’d have imagined my life would look like at 34–this is outright not what I would have wanted. But, it is what I have, and it’s the only life I’ve got. So, instead of bemoaning how this isn’t the way I wanted things to go, I’d better make the best of things.

I did let myself wallow a little bit. It’s always healthy to feel how you need to feel, so long as you don’t become trapped in an unproductive place, or in a mindset that leads nowhere. It’s not like my circumstances are terrible–there is a lot of good in my life and I’m in a better place now than I was a year ago, but this is still not what I would have wished for. But is life ever really what we “wished” for? Some parts are fantastic, others blow. For everyone, I think.

Sometimes, when I look at the landscape that is my life, there is a desire to find the single point on the map where “it all went wrong”. I want there to be a point up to where I could reverse it all and rectify everything. But I have trouble untangling my past so neatly. I think I find the point after which it all went downhill, but then I see that there was also a lot of good that followed aforementioned point. For example, I often wish I hadn’t gotten my Masters Degree in Education–but had I not done that, I’d have never been able to get a job in Ecuador. I’d have never learned what I did about the American educational system and poverty and institutional racism–and that is knowledge and experience I’d never want to lose. I’d have never met all the students who changed my life and made me grow. This Masters-less Katie might indeed be happier, more “successful” in the arts, married, living in some cool house with a leafy garden… I could go on and on about all the things this alternate Katie might be and have–but it’s quite pointless. It’s simply an impossibility to be anything than what we are; there is no turning back time, nor is there any guarantee that an alternate route would guarantee me a “better” life at present. And even if it did, I’m not sure I would actually change anything. What would I lose in the process? What would I have to give up in order go back in time and undo things I wish I had not done? I am not willing to find out.

So if I’m not going to dwell on past mistakes, or on present circumstances I don’t like, then what can I do?

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Festivity Tree!

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Art / Atlanta

Below are some images–in progress but mostly finished and in its home for the month of December, of my painted festivity tree for Colony Square ATL. It was a LOT of fun to ideate, draw, and paint 🙂 My themes reflected, a little bit, our ever-present connection to the natural world, and to each other.

Body parts

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Adventures / Happiness / Learning / Life / Love

Every city I’ve lived in, long term, has felt like some part of the body to me. Guayaquil felt like a heart, and I found myself often listening for its beats. Sometimes they eluded me, other times I was caught in the midst of them, unable to hear anything else. Rochester was bones, stacked oddly, a woman lying on her back, one leg extended, the other knee bent, foot on the earth. It was a hollow place, for me, and when I recall it, it’s often from the perspective of standing in that ribcage, wondering where the organs were, and looking out, all around me.

Atlanta is like a pair of lungs. Huge, beastly, heaving lungs. Its breath is audible, at times becoming an almost mechanical or accordion-like wheeze. The exhales, to me, are particularly satisfying; an orchestra of noises, of diminishing weight, of momentary release, all cascading into a few seconds of perfect quiet. Until, of course, the lungs begin to expand again.

I’m not sure what any of this means, except, perhaps, that maybe I’m crazier than previously suspected.

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Airplanes + Trees

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Adventures / Art / Atlanta

Life in Atlanta so far has been… interesting! Made better by the bizarre and plane truth that everything is simply a total surprise. A few updates:

In attempt to continue facing what frightens me (and getting comfortable and cozy with fear) I decided to let a near stranger jump me out of an airplane last weekend. It was: utterly terrifying, exhilarating, and unbelievably beautiful and peaceful. I seriously love this planet, and getting to be here! Also: I will totally do this again. Floating back down to earth while wind whooshes through your parachute is the closest thing to magic I’ve ever encountered, even though it’s just good old physics and atmospheric haze.

And within the realm of the arts, and not airplanes, I was one of the artists selected to paint a festivity tree at Colony Square in Midtown Atlanta. They’ll be on display for the month of December!


❤ Katie

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South Down

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Adventures / Happiness / Learning / Life

For so long I’ve wanted to write something, to be able to say something about what it’s been like to move from upstate New York down to Atlanta, Georgia. To leave a stable and rewarding job as an art teacher to resume waitressing with a big old backpack weighted down with student loans–for no reason except that I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right, and that I wanted something different: mainly, whatever allowed me more time and energy to make and write. I wish I could write about this in some sort of formal, orderly way, but, I can’t seem to follow a thought long enough. There are too many thoughts, too many nuances and shifts and ups and downs to capture it all. In stages of transition, I’ve learned, my brain relies heavily on pictures, and less on words.

My first week in Atlanta was followed by five days in Copenhagen punctuated by two long, transatlantic flights. The week in Denmark, and my return to Atlanta, was followed by a few days of minor nervous breakdowns: HAD I CHOSEN THE WRONG PLACE!? WHY DID I PICK THIS CITY WITH AWFUL TRAFFIC!? AND WHAT THE FUCK WAS I DOING IN THE SOUTH!?

But ultimately, those breakdowns were freeing. They untied me from any expectations of what Atlanta could or should be, and allowed me to tumble more swiftly and courageously into whatever this phase of life might be called; an ambiguous in-between, perhaps.

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