Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Day At A Time

Well, there you have it, folks. It's been one whole year since Yasaman (Autumn) Rahnamay died. I can actually remember sitting down and writing the blog entry for March 8th 2011. (Again, I'm sorry Yasaman, but I just can't call you Autumn. It feels wrong, like I'm talking about a different person). I remember reading somewhere that the first year is always the hardest, because you're just constantly thinking "This time last year, she was still alive." Maybe it'll be easier from now on. Less fucked up.


I would be a liar if I said that Yasaman's death hadn't changed me. And I feel guilty for that almost every day, because really, who am I to feel so fucked up about this? We were friends in grade 8 and part of grade 9, and then I never saw her again. Her parents and brother and family are allowed to feel like this. Her new friends from Port Coquitlam and SFU are allowed to feel like this. I feel like I'm just some schmuck getting choked up about it all the time. I feel like I'm being a pussy.

I did think of a reason why this might be bothering me so much, obvious reasons aside. See, I had never experienced the death of someone close to me before. My grandparents were all dead by the time I was 6 years old, and while I can remember bits and pieces of my nonna's funeral, it didn't have an impact on me at all. Yasaman is the first of people I would consider close to me to die. Other people have, by now, at least been old enough to see their grandparents die and have it affect them. But this is the first instance in my life where death hit really close to home.

Even a year past, I still think about her almost every day. She's become a sort of driving force for me. A month before she died, Yasaman commented on a picture that I'd drawn and posted on Facebook. "Proportion = excellent", and then you implied that my stuff reminded you of Alex Grey's work. I think about that comment a lot, whenever I'm feeling like a failure of an artist. Actually, I was always jealous of the doodles she would make when we were in school together. Just little things, but they were so amazing. I was surprised that she never pursued art (Guess you had more sense than that, huh?). She drew me something once, but I've since lost it. Damn.

I have changed though, somewhere in my psyche. I am now terrified of the people around me dying, especially Max and my family. And what's more fucked up? I've imagined all the funerals, for everyone. You too, Tanis. I know. That's fucked up, right? I just feel like I'm hyper aware of death now. I collect the goddamn obituaries out of newspapers now (only from The Province). I've done tons of independent research on mourning practices from other cultures and different forms of burial. Also, I'm having a hard time keeping it in my head that she;s dead. I forget a lot, or think that I just imagined the whole thing. It's stupid. I have to remind myself, and remember the funeral to make it stick. God, that funeral... It's going to haunt me for the rest of my life. Her tiny casket...

The only thing that has flourished from Yasaman's death (remember I said that I don't like all the cop-out terms people use about death? Yeah, I still don't like them) is that I have become much more in touch my atheism, and that brings me a lot of peace. I looked into that a lot too, and started reading books on the subject and thinking more about it. I know Yasaman isn't in any afterlife, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Though I will admit that I frequently want to know what certain stages of decomposition look like. I KNOW, OKAY? I KNOW. IT'S FUCKED. I CAN'T HELP IT. Yet I can't bring myself to Google such things, because as much of an atheist as I am, I'm still a human being that would rather remember her friend has the absolutely gorgeous young woman that she was, rather than what she's becoming. Also, I think Yasaman would appreciate the grisliness of this.

...Okay, I know I mentioned this before in an April 17th post from last year, but I frequently like to imagine her as a ghost. Yes, it goes against what I believe, but it makes me happy in a bittersweet way. I am going to write a comic book one day with her (or someone like her; I wouldn't want to tarnish her memory in any way) with this as the plot: Ghost of a recently deceased girl gets the chance to roam around the world and see places and things she otherwise never would have been able to experience. She could talk to all her long dead idols, and hell, let's throw a cute ghost boy in there for good measure. I could wish for just one thing to be true, I would wish for this. That she was still seeing things, more than the living could ever hope to see.

Ahhh, sad thoughts for a sad night. It's stupidly late now, and I wanted to write something more deserving of her, but I'm spent for now. I still cry, Yasaman. I still remember. I think I'm going to try and find that roadside memorial and leave you some flowers. If you could still think I know you tell me I'm being dumb. Oh well, guess I'm just a dumb girl then.

Everyone misses you.

Yasaman (Autumn) Rahnamay
November 3rd, 1990 - March 8th, 2011

PS. I watched "Life in a Day" a couple of hours ago. Remember on Youtube, they wanted everyone to film a day in their lives for July 24th, 2010. They made an amazing documentary out of it. I cried more than once, sometimes because something was so nice and beautiful, and sometimes because things were so sad. I will warn you, there are a few things in there that are not for the faint of heart. But you should watch it, because it's a beautiful time capsule of a day in our world. This song from it is amazing, and makes me feel... hopeful? Something along those lines.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Alive!

I'm sorry that I've practically abandoned this. I just have no time for anything.

I was just staring absently into the distance, when I should have been working on my Art History paper, and lamenting the time that I am going to be spending in school.

I miss Max. I miss sleeping. I miss being healthy and having time to eat properly. I miss having money, and being able to travel if I need to. I just have this constant anxiety quietly gnawing away inside of me. Compared to previous years, I'm much better at controlling it now, but Art History is making it worse. It's the first academic course I've taken in at least 2 years, and it's like I forgot how to think anyway but visually. I can't draw my way out of this, I have to do research papers.

The paper I'm trying to write is about The Book of Kells (one page specifically, the Chi Rho page), a really cool, ancient illustrated bible from Ireland. Stunning artwork. I encourage everyone to take a look at it. It's my current obsession. But damn it all if I am not being continuously fucked over by this paper.

We had to make a very specific thesis pertaining to the subject matter. I decided to do something about how the early Christian missionaries used the native Celtic art to aid them in swaying the people towards a new faith. My rationale behind this is that it would have been easier for the Celtic people to associate with the gospels and the word of God if it was presented to them in a style that they were familiar with. That's all good stuff, but I have no idea how to keep this from deteriorating into an opinion essay. It's easy to say these things, but I need to find evidence to back this up, and I have NO idea how to find it. To be honest, this is completely my fault. My professor told the class about this paper when the semester started in January, and here I am, a week before the paper is due, distressing because I have a thesis but nothing else. It's only a 3-5 page paper, but it's worth 20% of my mark.

So, what do? I think I have a good thesis, but no way to back it up. I'm going to ask my professor for her opinion tomorrow, but I'm just so consumed by stress right now. On top of this, I have projects and homework for all of my other classes. My intaglio print is due on Wednesday, my wood sculpture is due on Thursday, and I still have Drawing homework to complete. There are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially when you're having rather severe motivational problems. Now, I know once I get some sleep, I'll feel better about everything in the morning. But it doesn't take away from the fact that I need to seriously hustle from now on. No more fucking around, dude. You're better than this.

Yes, I constantly speak to myself. I need positive reinforcement from somewhere, and I'm the only person I'll take seriously. When other people say these things to me, I just assume that they're saying what they think is the appropriate thing to say. That's horrible, I know, but it's true. Even when Max tells me these things, I can never just enjoy a compliment or a word of encouragement, because I don't believe that anyone really means these things. I first noticed this when I used to regularly write. People would read my poems/stories and tell me that they were so amazing, but all I could think was "What do you know about good writing?" And most of them knew nothing. They couldn't tell good writing from shitty writing, so I could never take their word for anything. And still, this trend continues with art. I draw something and people congratulate me on a job well done, but they don't know anything about the differences between good and bad art. I drew a pretty lame picture for a friend of mine who makes cards for people as a hobby. She wanted to show a couple looking through a telescope together (a gift to a couple she knew for Valentine's Day, who loved telescopes). I had completely forgotten about it, and remembered on the day that she was expecting me to give it to her. So I rushed and drew a fairly lame picture before I rushed off to work. I was actually embarrassed to give it to her. But she GUSHED over it. This just proved what I had always thought. These compliments can't mean anything to me because people will pat me on the head for producing low-effort, shit-grade art. Trust issues? Self-worth issues? Oh hell yes. Do I tell many people about this? No. I think I've only mentioned it to Max in an off-handed way once or twice. I guess now you all know.

Again, I'll feel better about all this once I get some sleep, but right now I'm just daydreaming about summer, and the semester being over so I can enjoy waking up every morning again. Yeah, yeah, I can hear you there, Depression. Just shut up for a moment so I can get this paper done.