I always feel pretty good about myself when I relocate a spider from the house to the garden. But the experience probably feels different for the …CONVERSATION WITH A SPIDER
Author Archives: Natasha Shapiro, ATR-BC, LCAT
The Self Checkout Line
I usually forget the phrase self checkout. It’s that self thing at the grocery store where you do the machine on your own. I often forget the word Cashier. As a kid I wanted to be a cashier. It was probably my first job choice before I stopped wanting any grown up jobs. I miss the cashiers at Whole Foods (otherwise known as Whole Paycheck). The self checkout is not usually fun because I am not a cashier and my ADHD makes my cashiering a brain maze. Of course I like the bar code making the noise, but I scan items in any order and then I have to throw them in my bags or in the cart with my bags, usually the latter. Life is hard enough when people are waiting for you to do something and impatient. I didn’t ask for that at the grocery store. I can get the stuff on my list and go around and back when on my own. Trying to do someone else’s job that they do much better is a disaster for me. I know it’s lazy and that I could just use the supposedly simple method everyone else uses, I guess. I suppose they scan the heavier items first to get them in their bags the quickest and then the lighter ones. Probably other simple rules apply. I never got cashier training and I would be a terrible cashier. Now there is a cash machine toy for little kids to play with. I wish I could have had that toy as a child, a plastic cashier machine, whatever those are called. You get to push some numbers and push a button and there are the rows separating the coins and you hear the cling when you open the door. It comes with fake coins and bills. I would have loved playing that. I did get to play that as a grownup with kid.s Anyway, my favorite thing at not self checking out is seeing the person who is the cashier and looking at their name tags and interesting unique parts of their uniforms, like one person and a ton of buttons on her apron that said all kinds of things. At Whole Foods almost everyone had really cool names. I wish I had written them down. They also had all kinds of other cool things you can’t ask about because eventually you seem crazy and you’re interfering with their job.
So I used to say, “How do you say your name or I love your name and I love your nails. About two things, one a quick question and the other a quick observation. Then shut up while you wonder about this person checking out your groceries and knowing exactly where to put what in the bags. There is the bar separating your stuff from someone else’s. I can’t find out more about the person. When I’m getting my hair cut I have no interest in finding out anything about the person cutting my hair and don’t want them to talk to me. It’s totally different then because getting your hair washed and cut is a relaxing experience. Also people working as a cashier probably have a much more complicated life because they make so much less money. And now what are they supposed to do to make money when self checkouts have replaced them. They lose their health insurance and whatever other slight perks they might get from the grocery store.
I knew someone who worked in the bakery at Whole Foods. Now she has her own company making choclolate barks and seems to be doing well with it. I think she had a relatively senior job at the bakery because she had a lot of experience. I remember bumping into her once and asking about some kind of option that involved some effort at being healthy.
Anyway my point is that I don’t like Self Check Out. What if your’e tired? I’m fast at reading and other stuff but not things like checkout. Yesterday I felt rushed and put something heavy on top of potato chips. I heard them crunch. I dump some stuff in bags and some in the cart and go to the side to take my time filling the bags. I don’t want people jobs to disappear, whether they are just a summer or temporary job some college student is doing or a person is doing it five days a week to survive. And the baggers.
Being a kid now going to the grocery store maybe the self check out seems fun but they don’t get the full experience.
1/27/22 Morning Pages 5:16pm
I’m back into knitting from using this poncho I made years ago that I was using as a layer when the boiler at work broke on the three coldest days last week:
So I decided to try making another smaller one and got going making pieces. I don’t know how to follow a pattern and make what is in the photo. People can’t accept when you explain your limitations. They don’t get that I can start origami and by step 3 Or 4 I know I can’t do it. oh it’s not hard you just follow the pattern. It just requires patience. No no no. It requires a different brain. My ADHD makes it impossible for me to do those sequential types of art. I can’t and never will. It’s like asking a blind person to open their eyes wider.
Anyway like I’m most art my skill comes from using my ADHD to just go with a process. I like knitting with two yarns at once and creating the effect of painting with yarn. I know I want a poncho shape so I’m using the poncho I made in like 2006 as the guide for the shape. I can see I’ve gotten worse at controlling the shape so this new poncho will look much less organized than the one where I somehow pieced together long triangles. It tells me my ADHD has gotten worse.
But I like the idea of a mini poncho so I’m going to make a quilt like one and see how it turns out. I’ll be working on the top to add more stitches as I go to make it get bigger as it goes done and somehow there’s a weird shape sticking out.
The other thing with using two weird yarns is nobody sees your mistakes purling half a row then knitting and mixing it all up. Those are all the stitches I know and please don’t ask me to learn any other stitches. I have a learning disability. Everywhere it says ADHD is not a learning disability but they’re wrong anyway, the experts too. If you teach me something I’ll do it wrong anyway. I still am not sure which way to cut an apple but probably could do it right because frustrated people have demonstrated it a million times.
What about putting things in different places all the time and misplacing them? That’s a learning problem.
And you pointing out that there would be a very different kind of affair showing up soon reminding me of the multiple meanings of the word.
Morning pages Monday 1/24
I have been writing morning pages wherever. This weekend was pretty bad so I wrote a bunch of stuff and then tore it up. That’s a great one for when you’re feeling high energy depressed then completely unmotivated and exhausted by the idea of taking a subway uptown. I didn’t do much. I hardly left the house except to go grocery shopping.
I also had that thing that a few people might empathize with where you feel terrible and at the same time you don’t want to feel better. It sounds ridiculous but it happens. It’s hard to describe. It’s hard for people around you to watch you obviously in a mood. I confess to being the moodiest person in the house.
Today again it was freezing at work. I bought one crappy space heater yesterday that sucked so I returned it and went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got a Vornado that wasn’t very expensive but they make good space heaters.
The space heater was warm but I still had two blankets, a knitted poncho, my hat, scarf and gloves and mittens. I must have been sitting on the floor hardly moving all day. Tonight I did a long workout.
Anyway I can’t wait for these morning night pages to be real writing. This is more like brushing your teeth kind of writing.
I was struck with a wonderful feeling of gratitude during the day that was real.
Morning pages Saturday 1/22/22
I am trying to start a real website I already paid for, from WordPress, only 4$ month. I had an art website on Otherpeoplespixels a few years ago but it’s 16$ month and a pain in the ass to do.
I’m staying in this site for now to do morning pages. If I make that a website to post a lot of art, then the blog can’t be very personal and I’ll need this blog for doing the morning pages. I’m really at a wall, bored with everything. I e been using Nike Training Club app for 3 years and all the new stuff is beginner and I’ve done all Kirsty Godso ‘s workouts and programs a million times. I actually asked her what to do in Instagram and she answered very quickly.
So I looked at some free apps but as soon as I start looking at their stuff it’s annoying and I go back to NTC. My other choice is I have “Insanity” workouts on my computer that I started way before the app or pandemic. I did a few and stopped as I wasn’t into working out back then.
The main thing I get from working out is I get depressed and bored and working out usually changes my mood. Like now I’m in a bad mood as I feel sick from binge watching Dead to Me on Netflix. There’s a reason they use the word binge. You feel bored and disgusted with yourself and don’t want to keep watching but nothing else is appealing either and I lost all my energy. I was going to read, clean, workout, cook, draw and I’m sitting on the couch doing nothing.
There’s nothing much to look forward to. Everything is the same. Work is the same. Being at home is the same with the same things to do besides hanging out with my 14 year old which is always interesting as everything is new and surprising or when it’s not hanging out with her is just great no matter what. But she’s busy and has her own busy social life. I don’t have a social life. Not much. Every Sunday I zoom or meet up with 2 friends I had coffee and did yoga Sundays before the pandemic.
There is cleaning and organizing to do. Our dishwasher is broken so there’s always dishes to wash. We were having a slightly regular home cleaner in the fall but the pandemic keeps getting in the way. I hate cleaning. I don’t have to do it all of course. The bathroom is my thing and I hate it.
My life is basically completely repetitive. I’m sick of my drawings and paintings. I have no sales or shows or anything about my artist career to look forward to. I’m sick of watching other fictional people have lives on Netflix when I’m supposed to be living my own life.
What the fuck is there to do. I can’t read for long. I’m bored with everything. Bored bored bored.
I was bored a lot when I was a kid, almost all the time except when I was with a friend. Otherwise I just read books. There was no tv or internet so there wasn’t much else to do except the summers that were fun as we always traveled.
Ok m going to Whole Foods to get stuff. There’s at least football playoffs to watch.
Introducing My New Blog
I have reached that fork in the road where I’ve used all the space in my other blog, titled, “Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast”, directly lifted for Through the Looking Glass”. So out of necessity, I’m starting a new blog; it’s kind of a carryover and I hope you will move with me and follow this new blog. Even though I didn’t choose to make a new blog, I also didn’t choose to move to a new studio, so, new year, new blog. Maybe there will be something new that develops from this blog.
I’m doing my morning pages in here to post daily as I was doing before until it became impossible to post. This is one of my impossible things for breakfast. Let’s eat this new blog for breakfast. Let’s enjoy it’s sweet taste, much like my favorite chocolate chip cookie.
Number 2: there’s a huge base in my apartment right here that would be hard to consume but it’s beautiful. Yum
Number 3: my sun clock
Number 4: 2 mini chocolate croissants. Usually it’s impossible not to have 5 of them…
Number 5: my tiredness and hatred of morning. I eat this whole f$7&@:;ing morning.
Number 6: my latest Tik Tok video. I think I’m one of the oldest “Tik Toker”. Can I post it here? Let’s see. Yes here it is
Since I can’t count pages here, I’m writing for 15 minutes. The usual applies. Here’s my warning: if you’re a former or especially a current client, don’t read this blog. I not responsible for you finding out your art therapist is this shocking clumsy mess of a human. Full Disclosure: you will find out things you don’t want to know. The video above covers this topic. As a therapist I prefer you knowing as little as possible about me.
Im your therapist. If you’re here, stop reading and go make your art or journal for yourself and remember, you’re the one in therapy with me. It’s about you. This here blog is my happy place to write about me.
This is the photo of the curtain of therapy that comes between you and my private life so please go away. I’ll see you at your appointment for focusing on you and maybe discussing the “Wag The Dog” you’re doing by Reade this
I have ADHD. There. If you got this far, don’t go any further. Did you really want to know that???
Wednesday, January 20 Morning Pages
Here’s my daily progress photo for the High Vibe 55. The sketchbook has morphed into weird birds. I should write about that tomorrow…
This post got really long and annoying. It’s morning pages but I look down on my own “stream of consciousness” writing because most people think it’s an adolescent style of writing and plain bad, the way artists sometimes think people doing Cy Twombly type stuff are pathetic. I’m still in the midst of trying to add to this new site and make my “About” page. Most people don’t post until they’ve sort of “created” the site and made sure about all the pages and the format and the menu and how it looks on the Home page and all that.
However, as my regular readers know, I’ve always dove into things that are not finished and sleek and prepared. I don’t know what this site looks like. I’m writing posts and tagging them and throwing them into the stratosphere of the blogosphere or whatever it is these days. I am doing daily Tik Tok videos on the weekdays, getting in my teeanage years that I didn’t get to do Tik Tok and would have loved it. I’m not much on Instagram, and Facebook time to time. Writing this blog is on the old people old school corner of the internet. At least that’s what I thought until I noticed lately that many sites have a blog corner. However, their blog corner is a part of their website for their business. This blog is my writing corner and not business. That’s why I spend time warning away clients from reading it. I’m still careful about certain aspects of my life, some of which I’m tempted to write about but just too scared to trust to the internet or to readers. You have no control over who finds you. I take comfort in being small. I don’t get a lot of followers, friends, etc. on any platform. I don’t have lots of people seeing my art on Instagram. I don’t have the success gene or the formula. Sometimes I’m annoyed and self pitying about it: what is it that I can’t seem to have that thing these other people have where there are so many other people seeing their “content”. In high school I was a freak/outisder but there were only 46 girls in our class so you couldn’t completely hide in a corner. I suppose I could write some password protected posts if I wanted to spill all the beans about my checkered past and the dark side of my moon these days.
Anyway I hope you have seen the link from the other blog to get to this blog. I should test it out and make sure it works. I don’t want to lose people who’ve been loyally reading my ridiculous meandering posts that are disorganized such that the only continuity in this blog is that I am writing all the posts, and I guess being out about ADHD: the topic of ADHD often comes up or is illustrated in whatever post it is.
Today I read the essay my 14 year old wrote about the time in first grade she found out that on Father’s Day her classmate/friend of two years was dead. They used to have the same people and teachers for two consecutive years, so she had Kindergarten and First Grade with the same kids and teachers. There were probably around 4 separate classes of each grade with about 30 kids in them.
Anyway it was interesting reading it from her point of view and her memory from today back to June of 2013. I’m sure I wrote about it during the days and weeks that followed on this blog. I could look it up and find the posts. I won’t do that.
I remember going into that school yard for at least a year, whether for drop off, pick up, special celebrations, anything, and I would not be able to avoid thinking about the girl and having an eerie sense of these invisible signs above every kid’s head, their “expiration date”. I would wonder, who is next? There is no catcher in the rye to save kids from all kinds of horror and to save them from running around and falling off the cliff that the catcher would have stopped from happening. I have sometimes thought, even from the beginning, that it can be dangerous to have one child. Life is so precarious. Do people unconsciously have a desire for two or more children as an insurance policy? It sounds morbid, but for sure many years ago when people had lots of kids and lots of kids who died at birth or of scarlet fever or whatever, this was true. People were prepared that if there were eight, it would quickly be six as two of the youngest wouldn’t make it past infancy or toddler years or whatever. People used to be accustomed to children dying as part of life. And of people giving birth and then dying. Now of course we do not feel that way at all. A very sick kid can be taken to special doctors and often get well and live past the 20 years or two years that were predicted. I have a friend whose son is running around free to be a kid but for years was not. He wrote a book about the most precarious year called, “More than You Can Handle”. He is a close friend of mine from Harvard. What he went through was a kind of unique hell but he is on the other side of it now and I smile when I think about it.
I have a friend who was the “replacement” sibling. Her older sister died before she was born. She does research on this phenomenon and the unconscious and conscious burden of being the savior child, the one that is there partly to end the constancy of mourning a child, the one born to keep the parents and family together to move on from tragedy.
A few years ago, I found out someone bumped into the girl’s parents who were pushing a baby carriage with a new baby in it. This was more than a few years later. A happy new life to accompany the other left behind siblings who had known the girl in my child’s class. It was so weird to hear about. There is something eerie about it because it is so long after the loss. Of course I was happy for them, this new life to love and take care of and get to watch grow up.
On every one of her birthdays I wonder who she would be now and my child still thinks about that and about how arbitrary that that unique and wonderful child who seemed to have read every book a six year old could possibly read is always going to be dead and never older than six. Writing about it now, it’s hard to wrap my head around. The not knowing any more than those brief six years. It’s very different from the death of my close friend in the fall of that year just a few months later. With her I was obsessed with why she was dead, why did she kill herself? That obscured any other mystery about what else would her life had looked like because she had a life that led to her going to medical school and becoming a psychiatrist and all the many relationships she was in and all the time I had with her and our special silly things. There are many mysteries about her and questions but she is not a tiny kid that didn’t get to grow up, didn’t get to be 14 and doing the teenage things my kid does.
These are morning pages in that you just write and see what happens. . If I go on and on I usually end up talking about death. I guess especially now that we’re actually mourning someone.
We watched some movies when we were up there. Mary Poppins was one. He hated when people talked in the middle of the movie. I have that thing where I want to just watch the movie and feel like I’m in the movie theater but I end up talking anyway. Oh that’s the same guy in the movie with… and all the other comments. I fly between being completely quiet and drowning out any comments to just giving in to the fun of bantering during the movie. I’m guilty of saying things around what’s going to happen next and always hearing, “Can’t you just watch and see what happens?” This coming from the great predictor of the whole plot or the predictor of some important mystery.
We all now have a thing with movies as we see them at home even more due to the pandemic. Do you eat and munch stuff? Do you sit on the couch with other people. Do you watch movies alone on your phone? I actually sometimes stay up late and instead of watching the movie on the TV or my computer or someone’s iPad. I love watching things on my phone, that I can watch something on a huge screen and instead I can watch it on this tiny screen for one, like the beginning of Fight Club when he talks about single servings of everything, that’s the phone movie single serving.