Friday, March 12, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
My column appears bi-weekly as 'Ask Beatnik Betty'. I look forward to this unique cultural publishing medium. If you are local to the Portland area, please pick up a copy at one of various local coffeeshops, bookstores, and nightclubs. Below is the second entry to appear in Issue #002 of The Portland Outsider just last week.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I am pleased to announce that this advice column has been picked up and syndicated by a new dark arts and alternative newspaper launched just recently in Portland, Oregon called The Portland Outsider.
My column appears bi-weekly as 'Ask Beatnik Betty'. I look forward to this unique cultural publishing medium. If you are local to the Portland area, please pick up a copy at one of various local coffeeshops, bookstores, and nightclubs. Below is the first entry to appear in Issue #001 of The Portland Outsider just last week.
Dear Beatnik Betty,
I'm a crafter in Portland looking to move my hobby into something more serious. Everything is is alignment for me to get going on this, but I'm having a hard time finding the motivation to start. It's all a bit overwhelming and daunting. What can I do to encourage forward momentum, and keep my creativity thriving while I tackle this challenge?
Thank you for sharing the fantastic question about your artistic challenge which many creative people in the community will relate to. If you have been given the gift of creativity, you should share it with the world! Let me dive right in by identifying the basic need of motivation to start, while the obstacle is feeling overwhelmed. First, get practical. Break it down into smaller, bite-sized steps and goals that will give you small, quantifiable results.
You might want to try taking your art online. Ask your web-savvy friends to help you set up a simple website and Paypal account. Take some photos and write proud descriptions of your crafts, and upload them for anyone, anywhere, to see. Also, many artists shy away from talking about themselves, but please do take time to write a compelling bio to connect your audience to you and your art.
Once you are "live", don't feel pressured to start acting like a CEO or salesman, but it would help to take yourself a little seriously without feeling unnatural. Just start casually telling friends, family, and even occasional strangers about your art, and where they can find it. Research other artist websites for inspiration. Get involved in local craft faires such as Last Thursday on Alberta Street, and start connecting with other artists and crafters around the community at galleries and other fun events. And let this new mantra for the 21st century be your guide: Network, network, network.
This evening, I've meditated on your energy, and I've drawn three Tarot cards for you.
The first is The Emperor, asking you to develop the leadership qualities within yourself that allows this figure to go out into the world and make change with his wisdom and talents. The emperor often struggles with allowing his inner creative child to be heard, but you can summon your advantage by coming from a place of creative connections, rather than a place of power.
The second and third are the Two of Cups and Three of Cups, in order. Although drawing a card from the Cups suit is often regarding matters of the heart, there is also the level that addresses our deepest creative passions, and the relationship we have with our art which spurs us to share it with the world, as if it were our lover! The two and three of cups is asking you to have trust in this journey with blind faith, and soon you will have much to celebrate as you begin to see the creative LOVE in your life expand and solidify.
I wish you the best on your creative journey, and thank you again for writing...
~ Beatnik Betty
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I was hoping if you had some advice for me about a friend. I have a close friend whom I used to live next door to. We've gone out and partied together many times and been there for each other through rough times, particularly last year, you could even say we were best friends for a while.
I have not been wanting to hang out with her this year though because shes always negative about everything, and she seems to relish in it.
I am afraid she might be borderline racist. She has gone on dates with neo-nazis/very racist men before and I don't see how she doesn't think its a problem (especially me being a a woman of color).
She is always making colorful jokes and she seems to lack any sympathy for people of color (she has empathy for poor people though, her being one of them). She grew up self-described "white trash" so in the past I've been able to shrug off some of her comments are just having been raised that way but its really starting to bother me. So I have heard made racist jokes many times before but she claims she doesn't REALLY think that.
We both hated our school last year but I decided to pick my battles, move on, and try to enjoy my life, while all she seems to do is complain about our school, be superly antisocial, do lots of drugs (mostly prescription drugs), and dates terrible guys who are assholes. Everytime we talk about guys, and she complains about how the guys shes dating are jerks, and I tell her to date nicer guys, she says she is just attracted to guys who are assholes and can't help it. I tell her she can do much better, but she says that she can't do much bettter because shes fat (I don't think she is, she is a bigger woman but she goes to the gym way more than I do.). I really like her I do, but shes way too much negativity to be around, and I don't know what to do. What should I say? I feel like she always has a negative attitude when I see her, and I feel like she's content trying to bring me down with her.
She frequents goth clubs and I've gone with her, but she seems to surround herself with negativity. I love countercultures but all these combined behaviors worry me.
A Concerned Friend
Dear Concerned Friend,
When I received your message, I felt heavily for you and reflected on past experiences of my own dealing with people who were negative or "toxic". This isn't an easy situation, because while you care about your friend and have history with her, you still have a right to look out for your own well-being and feel comfortable about those you share your life with.
Since you are a student, it sounds as if you and your friend are both young and therefore still getting a grip on your new "adult" identity. Self-confidence is a major issue facing young women today. When we make bad choices, it can be because we don't think we deserve something better, or we don't know what those better options are. It is sometimes a challenge to identify the higher road to take.
That being said, one problem you describe is your friend's racist comments that offend you. Whether you or she are black, white, or blue, a friendship is ideally based on mutual respect. When your friend makes derogatory comments about race, you have a right to be offended, and a right to express that to her. It's important to do this in a way that is not perceived as an attack, but rather sharing your own view and requesting compromise. If this friendship is important to you, you're going to need to attempt communicating your needs to her and give her a chance to meet them.
If you have the unfortunate experience of hearing more racist remarks from her in the future, you may want to consider pulling her aside and gently saying something like: "I want to ask something of you. I know those jokes about race [insert specifics here] are humorous to you, but they really make me uncomfortable because [insert specifics] and I would feel better if you would not say them around me. Thanks, I would really appreciate it. "
As for her disastrous taste in romantic partners, I wish there was a magic wand I could wave that could save all women from bad relationships. Unfortunately, people cannot be changed unless they are ready to change. Self-awareness is a constant struggle to be honest with oneself about why and how we live our drama-filled lives. Not having a positive male figure in her life growing up may have contributed to her lack of ability to find healthy partnerships as a young adult. Certainly don't spend time with her and her unsavory partners if they make you personally uncomfortable. Giving her the number to a local domestic violence group to "keep handy" might not be a bad idea either, but is perhaps too presumptuous in this situation. In any case, you are not responsible for her bad choices, and while you can and should tell her that she can and should do better, the consequences are not yours to bear.
As with any problem you may face with a friend, it is reasonable to bring your concerns to their attention in a way that allows them to respond with a friendly and cooperative attitude. If their behavior in response to your petitions are filled with more negativity, denial, blame, or any other unhealthy behavior, you also have the choice of wishing her well but cutting your ties and moving on with your life.
If you have another close friend or two, it wouldn't hurt to let them know what is going on and how you plan to handle the situation, now and in the future.
Generally speaking, "goth" clubs and other alternative-lifestyle scenes are fine and good while people are exploring it in a healthy, safe, and creative way. Anything that starts to become unhealthy or dangerous, however, require immediate concern and action to remove oneself from the situation. Remember also that actions can sometimes speak louder than words, so be a good role-model by "walking your talk".
I consulted the Native American Medicine Cards for you this evening. A card literally jumped out of the deck as I was shuffling and reflecting on your situation. The wisdom of the Medicine Cards calls upon an animal to share its teachings with us. Your situation has summoned quite a cute little guy...
Prairie Dog - Keyword: Retreat
When situations like what you face take so much out of your time, energy and emotion, it can literally be a "drain" on your life-force, and may consequently affect other areas of your life. Remember to take care of your Self first, and if that requires hiding away from the world or a situation for awhile, Prairie Dog encourages you to do so.
Here is a link from another blogger which shares the full text interpretation of the Medicine Card for Prairie Dog.
Thanks for writing. I hope your friend is responsive to you when the right opportunity is found to discuss these issues, for both your sake, and hers.
With the love and support of the Goddess,
Dear Beatnik Betty Mo',
I've got a shitty cold that plugs up my right nostril but not the left. Ironically, taking a decongestant makes things shittier by plugging both nostrils. Breathing through my mouth leaves me a drooling mess.
Any advice on how to shake this cold? Thanks.
Editor, The Silver Spring Penguin
I hope you are doing your best to keep that germ-infested cold to yourself and not passing it along to the hard-working writers over at the SS Penguin!
As you probably know, bacteria and viruses are everywhere, including doorknobs, countertops, and other frequently touched items such as your computer keyboard and mouse. Although we're past preventive measures at this point, it couldn't hurt to keep those places germ-free with a strong disinfectant wipe. Kill whatever germs may still be around to prevent your sickness from getting worse.
Also, you may be running up your hot water bill by doing this, but hanging out in your shower with the hot steam will start to loosen the congestion and give you a fighting chance for the relief you seek.
You're not going to like what I'm about to tell you, but I have it on the best authority that these next steps will help your congestion:
First, grab some Alka-Seltzer Plus tablets, drop 'em in a glass of water, and chug. The taste is disgusting, but the medicine works and gets into your body fast.
Next, prepare for more discomfort by conducting an at-home nasal saline irrigation. The Neti Pot is a useful tool that will actively clean your nasal passages by thinning the mucus caught on the tiny nose hairs called cilia.
Although I purchased myself one of these nifty little pots last year, I never got the guts to use it on my own ol' factory. Several friends have, though, and the reports of their experiences all sound pretty much the same: "It was disgusting, but it worked!". So although I cannot give you detailed instructions based on personal use, I have located a video on YouTube that will instruct you on its methods.
Lather, rinse, repeat, until your nose is once again happy and you can breathe freely. By the time you're ready to write your next review for the Silver Spring Penguin Local Licks installation, your head won't feel so clogged that you can't hear the ground-breaking (and possibly mucus-thinning) sounds blaring through the amplifiers.
Get well soon, and good luck figuring out proper use of the Neti Pot. I might just serve tea with it.
From a bacteria-free bubble,
Beatnik Betty Mo'
email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org