Welcome, Mignon! 🐰🌈💕🥕

My little Mignon (AKA Cabbage Rose by Charlie Bears) arrived today! It’s odd, when I first took him out I didn’t like his face AT ALL. It was an instant, oh, back you go, buddy. I really did box him back up and start looking at the return process. He just looks… grumpy? Haha.

But I don’t know, I dressed, brushed him, and then suddenly I loved him. Basically I’m fickle as balls, okay. So he stays. I love how poseable his ears are.

He’s already joined me for date night snack, and is gonna be with me for dinner and Tetris and puzzle-making. 😁

Doesn’t he look cute in his sweater, too! It’s by HalandMacy on Etsy.

Performative Grief

Is… is that even a thing? I didn’t realize it right away, but this is a big part really of what prompted my rant yesterday as opposed to religion itself (that too, of course, but after thinking about it last night, I wanted to talk about this aspect of it, also.)

Whenever we have a tragedy, most of all a death in the community, there seems to be a hunger for people to connect themselves with that loss in some way. And I get it. But sometimes, it’s kinda weird.

People who never even exchanged a word with, or even followed the art of a community member who passed away, will jump to their page with comments like “Never met you, but Rest in Peace UwU” or that kind of tone —I exaggerate but you get my point. They jump to make art to get on that Twitter hashtag, even if they didn’t know about the person until they found out the person died, even if they didn’t know the friends of that person at all. They rush to buy the commemorative pin, to write something about it in a tweet or journal, and certainly I would say most of the time it’s people being genuinely being affected by a sudden, sometimes violent community death, or trying to comfort those who suffered the loss. So that’s not what I’m talking about.

But other times it’s… something else. Not most times, necessarily. It’s something else that I can’t put my finger on. I wish I could explain it… Maybe someone can explain it for me.

It’s like some people, almost for attention, want to jump up, hand stretched in the air, “Me too, me too!” when it comes to participating in this shared grief. What I’m saying isn’t coming out right… I wish I could express it better.

Whenever someone dies in the community, I am affected. I think we all are. So, I’m not trying to dismiss that. The first time an artist friend of mine died at a young age after a brief illness, I was tremendously affected, and we weren’t super close, just at that point between acquaintances and friends. And I still think about him.

I don’t know. As usual, I am rambling. But I see people pushing someone’s death into conversation in a way that feels like the underlying message is “I’m acting as though this affects me for attention even though I won’t remember this person and can’t tell you a single thing about them and will have forgotten they existed in two weeks” or “Look at me, I’m such a good person for mentioning this.”

I don’t know, and I don’t think I’ve ever written “I don’t know” so much in a single journal. Most of the time this stuff doesn’t come across as insincere to me, quite the contrary. This outpouring of love is a big part of why I love this community.

But if you’ve seen what I’m talking about I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. And if you haven’t, you’ll rightly think I’m being a judgmental prick by nitpicking people’s reactions to a death (which is fair.)

I don’t think I am necessarily blameless, either. When Brandyn died, I made a little post on Twitter with the art I had done for him. There were several pieces. But he wasn’t my friend, and I didn’t grieve for him, I grieved for my friend Kiba, who lost someone he loved. So looking back, I do wonder. Was I, without realizing it, jumping on a bandwagon of performative grief by posting those images?

That little phrase again: “I don’t know.”

Then again, many times since I have gone through my gallery looking for those pieces. I am affected by someone I interacted with several times now being gone, yet always alive in my gallery. I still sometimes go through my gallery to see the drawings of Pandr. I’ll always regret not interacting more with him at cons. I still draw him sometimes, even after he passed. But he and I weren’t friends either. And I’m not going to pretend that we were. My thoughts were most often with Jimmy, who suffered that loss so deeply.

I guess it’s that pretense I often see —of a deep connection that never existed, when others do have a deep connection that is now a source of unbelievable pain to them— that pretense strikes me as disrespectful.

I suppose, if it wasn’t a personal loss to you, that is affecting you, I guess try to make it about the person who suffered that loss, and who is grieving. Comfort them —privately, if possible. Don’t make it about yourself, I guess? I think that’s what it comes down to.

Sorry I’m so rambly lately. People trying to show off how good of a person they are always rubs me the wrong way, especially if I see them lack compassion in other areas (I guess that’s my annoyance with public offers of prayer too.)

But, it’s not up to me to determine the sincerity of people, and really I’m just talking out of my ass, so don’t pay too much attention to me —and if you are grieving, I hope from the bottom of my heart that you find peace.

One Last Note Regarding My Religious Beliefs

In reference to my previous journal… I know there are people in my life who are going to be really shocked to see me write “former” Christian. Especially because right before it happened, I basically went through months of one final, wholehearted, deeply sincere attempt to return to the illusion of safety that organized religion/church gave to me. So I was fairly low key about it, and only one friend even noticed/asked about it. I know some people may even be sad on my behalf. I would have been for others, if the tables were turned, a few years ago.

Part of the reason for this is that I had to accept/admit that I never believed that if you don’t believe that Jesus died for your sins, then you go to Hell. Or to, you know, not Heaven. This is THE key factor in being a Christian and if you believe in this, think really hard about what this means and who it applies to.

To me, the idea that Hell (or just, no life after death) is what awaits someone who led an exemplary life in which they perpetually gave all they had and sacrificed it all for their fellow humans, even if they believe in God, pray daily, even follow Jesus’ doctrines, only because they don’t believe he died their sins, while someone who commits genocide can believe Jesus died for them and gain total absolution, is, I mean, forgive me for this, but it’s a little fucked up.

I know this may seem a big change from who I am, and it is, but it’s not new, and I went through it for the last two years.

I don’t believe in the Bible any more. I suppose in a way I never did, because I kept trying to explain horrible/terrible things about it away with huge mental gymnastics. I still believe in God but I’ve become WAY more sensitive to not forcing any of my beliefs upon others.

ALSO… regarding prayers. If you’re someone who is there for me, who is my friend, someone I can count on, not a random stranger who would just drop “thoughts and prayers ” comments on a journal, of course it would not upset me if you offer prayers. I would be touched, and gladdened, to know that someone is speaking to God on my behalf. It is very different if it’s done by someone I barely know and who doesn’t want to bother to be there for me at all.

On “Thoughts And Prayers”

EDIT: Though it’s mentioned several times below, I want to emphasize again that I’m still a believer in a higher power/God. If you are part of an organized religion, I do not think poorly or less of you, unless you use your religion to infringe on the rights of other people. A journal like this would possible have angered me to read a few years ago before I gained more knowledge. So I understand heated responses, but realize I respect your beliefs. I just don’t think you should use them as a crutch to not take action, or push them on other people.

This is going to be a doozy of a post, but I wanted to get these thoughts out because recently there have been multiple tragedies in our community and I keep seeing this pop up and it’s bothering me way more than it used to, even when I was deep into religion, because I’ve always found “thoughts and prayers” to be a pathetic cop-out, and something that is only said out loud to feel like you “did” something (you didn’t.)

I am a former Christian, and gosh… it’s still hard to write that, much harder than writing “former Catholic”. Indoctrination is a bitch. I’m not an atheist now, or even agnostic. I’ve disavowed any attachment to any organized religion however. But I digress. As a former Christian, and one who was raised into Catholicism, and still consider myself to believe in a higher power and in intelligent design, I can relate to the desire to offer someone your prayers at a time that is possible the WORST in their lives: you don’t know what to do, and praying is easy and free, right?

And yet, I would encourage you to at least consider keeping such religious offers, including of prayer, to yourself, UNLESS you know that the person you are speaking to specifically would welcome your offer of prayers, and be comforted by them.

For one, you could have the opposite effect. A lot of people have been hurt by things connected to religion, or have traumatic memories related to religious upbringing. You may tell yourself, “Well, my offer to pray is well-meant, if that’s going to upset them, clearly they don’t have enough problems.” That’s conceited at best. If you think prayer does something, wonderful. Pray away! I’m not even saying I can guarantee it doesn’t work. But keep it to yourself unless the knowledge of your prayer would bring the person comfort, unless you’re trying to make yourself look good (something that often strikes me as the case… which is gross.)

As an alternative, how about asking the person if there is anything you can do to help, offering them a listening ear if they want to, or a shoulder to cry on? Or making them a drawing? None of these things cost money. I’m not saying don’t include a little end note of “You’ll be in my prayers, if it’s welcomed/wanted.” But don’t freaking push your prayers on people. Don’t tell them how many rosaries you’ll pray. You’re not helping, you just look like you want to tell everyone on a public place how religious you are and seriously, makes my eyes roll so far back in the sockets. 🙄🙄🙄

And more than ANYTHING: don’t tell others to pray for someone if you don’t know their religion. Like, wtf??

You must realize, all of this comes from someone who considers herself a deist still: I still pray! But just to talk to God. And me talking to God is between God and me, because I don’t need others to know how much I pray (that’s weird). I don’t ask God for things because I think that’s so unbelievably conceited of me and I don’t think God can intervene (or would) based on prayer (and I will not even entertain an argument about this in the comments, so don’t even start with me: I’ll respect your beliefs, you respect mine, and other people’s.)

Part of respecting other people is not assuming that everyone belongs to your religion or is comforted by you engaging in it.

Also don’t try to take the easy way out by offering your thoughts and prayers. DO SOMETHING. If you think you can do nothing for someone else other than offering prayers I guarantee you’re lying to yourself. Do something for other people other than asking your God to fix things which often cannot be fixed or helped other than by people propping each other up. I do believe God, or whoever is out there, created us with incredible ability to do this. If you think you don’t have this ability you’re doing God a discredit.

But sitting quietly by yourself repeating Hail Mary’s won’t do that. Don’t pretend it does in order to feel like a saint.

✨ Lotsa Goodies ✨

Okay I just finished a commission and it’s not too late so I think I can complete this post before bed!

We went to a game store on Saturday. Christopher allowed me to pick one cheap “kiddy” game for our date nights. I already have (and love) Kingdomino so I could not resist Dragomino by the same makers because… BABY DRAGONS. And, this time they had Takenoko, which I’d only seen the expansions for before. So we got that also:

Before visiting the game store, I spent a long time in a thrift shop since there was a social-distancing related wait to go into the game store anyway –and BOY did I score in there! Everything was half off, from already stupidly cheap prices. I spent less than $8.00 in everything.

I got some colorful furry-ish socks for myself, and several baby caps for my bears:

Also, even though I am no longer part of any organized religion, I still have both a soft spot and a great interest in anything religious that is geared towards children. This book was free (nice copy from 1964) so I took it.

It’s not as interesting as most “childhood indoctrination” books, which I now seek, but rather a sweet little collection of stories about Jesus, beautifully illustrated.

For such an old book, it is in beautiful condition.

At the Vero Beach Book Store, I got two “Gummy Bear” clip-ons, three lovely bookmarks (lenticular bookmarks are my favorite) and a book I’ve long wanted to read, Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain:

But here… now here is the best find. This was actually from the thrift shop, but I wanted to leave it for last.

This utter beauty, brand new in sealed bag and still protected with foam, was $7.99, but 50% off that price. It’s small, just right for my dear little bears. I couldn’t believe how utterly beautiful it was for the price, the condition, just. All of it. I was happier about this than anything else I got this weekend.

Already Dijon took possession of it, at least for now. Doesn’t she look adorable sitting on it? 😊💕✨💕✨

Other than these outings, I did get a lot of commission work during our stay and even worked on some gift art for my friend. Overall it was a wonderful weekend. I’m looking forward to working on the current chapter of Meganeea again tomorrow and perhaps even illustrating it during the week.

I will be having Hoppi dropped off tomorrow for my refund. Still awaiting Cabbage Rose (whose name will be Mignon) whom I know I will love, and a cheaper bear that tugged at my heart strings nonetheless. He will be named Barley. I’ve made necklaces for both already.

Now I have to decide which bear I’ll sleep with tonight… maybe Mudpie? 🤔

Kiba’s Happy Rainy Day ☔🌈

The nice thing about days with a little rain is that there aren’t any kids on the swings…

A YCH commission for Onikiba that was immensely enjoyable to draw. This was a one-person YCH and is not open for more slots.

🍄 You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Only the commissioner/giveaway winner & those featured in the artwork may repost with credit and following my Terms of Use.

On The Way Home! 🚗 🧸 🌈

We’re heading home from Sebastian! It was a lovely time —I can’t wait to see the cats and the snailios, though.

On the way back, Sugar Lump took a hand at the wheel…

He was so proud! But the truth is he had a little help…

It’s a long drive home so we are taking a nice long nap. I’ll update again today or more likely tomorrow with more news about the weekend.

🌈✨ A Lovely Day ✨ 🌈

Today was such a lovely day! 🧸💕 Sugar Lump has his own little face mask to stay safe. We all wore ours, and used sanitizer constantly, but this is so-called “God’s Country”, and a lot of people just refused to wear them. 🙄 So, the stores that cared, were understandably hard-assed about it: limited people in stores, and masks required despite no mandates in the area. We appreciated this.

We did see a bar that actually prohibited masks. The people outside of it would kinda point and laugh at mask-wearers who passed them. It boggles me mind that people can be so self centered, and care so little for others, but, that’s how it was. 🤦‍♀️

Anyway…

Among other fun places, we went to Vero Beach Book Store. It was a DREAM!! My mom in law says it’s been there since the 60s. There were even scribbles by famous authors on the walls (illustrators of children’s books) even one of Llama Llama! But I didn’t get a picture.

The entire top floor was dedicated to children’s books and toys, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Jelly Cats in one place (interestingly, this helped me determine that while I enjoy looking at them, I just don’t really like Jelly Cats a lot for some reason… I can’t bond with them unless they have a certain look in their eyes, such as my little squirrel, Circo, or my worm, Ramen Noodle. In general little “dot” eyes don’t appeal much to me.)

Anyway, getting to see the store was wonderful, I did buy a few things I’ll talk about tomorrow. Not just there but at other really cool places we visited.

But now it’s time to sleep. I’ve decided I won’t be buying a “sleeping-with” plushie. I’ll try to get over my fear of ruining my Charlie Bears by just sleeping with one of them each night and being gentle. So last night I slept with Sugar Lump and I think he was happy. 💕🌙

I’ve been reading Cubby in Wonderland, which is really boring, and more of a… commercial for Yellowstone Park? But I’m trying to get through it since it’s a just a short little book.

Anyway that’s all I’ve got to share for now. I should have lots more to share later Sunday or on Monday. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend!

Just a squelf, squelfin' around.