Friday, April 10, 2009

The Tattered Gypsy... What's in a name?

Sometimes I think I've spent most of mylife being blown around by the wind. The other day I was texting someone with a past similar to mine - in that both of our fathers were in the Air Force and we were "military brats." While exchanging all the relevant information about the places we've lived - I realized why I embrace the name "The Tattered Gypsy" to the extent that I have. Well - here is the "gypsy" part of my story.

My father was in the Air Force back in the day the powers that be believed in moving everyone around "alot." I was born in Montgomery, Alabama - then we promptly moved to San Antonio, Texas, where we lived for a couple of years. We then moved to Bit burg, Germany for 1 1/2 years - then moved to Spangdolem, Germany for another 1 1/2 years. From there it was Dover, Delaware, followed by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. From there my father moved ahead of us to the Philippine Islands. I went to a small rural school in Wetumpka, Alabama for about three months (which became very memorable since it was the early 1960's at that time - but that's another story!) After surviving those three months, we moved on to live at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippine Islands. We lived 1 1/2 years off-base then moved on-base for the duration of the time (another 1 1/2 years.) The period in the Philippines was "marked" by Elvis meeting Priscilla (who was my age & a "military brat" who lived in Germany at the time - a tiny bit of envy there), the arrival of the Beatles to the music world (I promptly cut my hair John Lennon style!) and the assassination of our then President - John F. Kennedy. From the Philippines we moved to Big Spring, Texas where (you can probably guess it by now...) we lived off-base for 1 1/2 years and then moved on base for the duration of my high school years (another 1 1/2 years.) I moved with my parents to Wichita Falls, Texas for about 1 1/2 years - then moved on my own to Dallas, Texas where I promptly meet and married - guess what??? - a military man!

Okay - so now the part of my life as a "military wife"... From Dallas we moved to Fort Riley, Kansas for about 1 year. Then to San Antonio, Texas for about 1 year. Then to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a little less than 2 years. From there it was over to Frankfurt, Germany for (guess what..) about 1 1/2 years. Then back to Colorado Springs, Colorado. By then I was about 26 years old and I had never lived in one house longer than 2 years in my entire life. And for the next 18 years - the longest I lived in one house was a little over 3 years. I was about 42 years old by then.

Now here comes the most amazing part of my life to me..... I have lived in the SAME HOUSE since 1992. Whew - that was long in coming. (And yes, as I've already mentioned, I am 60 this year.) But I have to tell you, about every year and a half I feel as if there is something I should be doing that I'm not. So now I start businesses and then about a year down the road start thinking of a new name that would describe it better. I guess we all find ways to integrate our past lives with our current one and that seems to be working for me at the moment. But lately I've noticed I've got an "itch" again - both of my daughters have moved to New Orleans, and I keep thinking, hmmmm, how great would it be to be part of the rebuilding of a city..........

Love & Peace,
Pam (aka The Tattered Gypsy)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Layers of a Painted Life

Life is like a box of chocolates.... Life is like an onion, peel away the layers....

I've had a realization about my life - a light bulb moment, if you will - my life is like an old canvas, each significant part of my life is a painting painted over the previous significant part. I think every time I moved to a new home as a child - that was a painting. Well, I changed homes every year and a half until I was twenty one. From twenty-one until my early forty's, the longest I lived in one place was four years. Since 1992 I have lived in the same house. I think that is significant. That is a lot of paintings with one very thick top layer.

For someone who lives in the moment - or the current layer of her own painted canvas - this is a revelation. But what does it mean?

Yesterday I was reading through a thread on a blog and became very agitated. Yesterday was not one of my better days. This may sound strange, but I am so grateful that my drugs of choice are Pepsi and chocolate! Maybe you can see where this is going.... The beginning of 2009 I decided to quit drinking soft drinks; IE: Pepsi. It is now the end of March and I have had a Pepsi three times - one of those three times was yesterday. Why? Because it was one of those what-the-hell days. I was up to my eyeballs in an internal struggle I didn't understand. What does this have to do with reading a thread from a blog??? I've realized that I had started the process of projecting my own feelings of insecurity onto someone else - labeling them intense, grandiose, grand standing. What I came to understand is this is how I am feeling about some of my own blogs and some of the responses I've given to other posts.

Okay. How does this now tie into the "life is a painted canvas" theme? I think when I read the blog yesterday I chipped off a chunk of the oil on my life canvas. And the gouge was not a good feeling - but a necessary one. I don't know what this means overall, but I think it's part of a process I've been living for a long time - and now it's time to find a way to integrate all the layers. Maybe for me it's a matter of using a chisel, sandpaper and new paint to get to the real person that has been built up over the years. MAYBE that's why I'm obsessed with making all these little tiles lately! I fold the clay, roll it out, stamp into it, but it into a shape, dry it for a few days, sand it (a little), paint it, then sand it back to see what I have. Then I just keep sanding until I'm comfortable with the feel and look of the piece. I also have been working alot with ICON images - primarily Madonna & Child. I know this is important to me, I just don't know why - yet - so that's a post for another day.

So where does that leave me now - with my current life philosophy - I am left to "bless" the other person (or people) with whom I may have "struggled" - and with that I "bless" myself. I can now view what I read yesterday with compassion and understanding, knowing we are all just trying our best to make sense of every day. I will be more compassionate in any suggestions or advise I post in any blog. I will look into myself before making any judgements or pronoucments about anyone or their ideas. I will take more time to just be quiet and search for that feel of okayness in me that I seek in my clay tiles.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Moments and Memories

I sometimes forget that I am more than this moment. I was reading a few blogs from other people - listening to their stories - and all of a sudden remembered parts of my own story. Maybe that's part of connecting with others - it brings out different aspects of ourselves.

I have a really, really bad memory. I'm not sure why. But because of that, I really, really live in the moment. I know that's what "others" say we should be doing - but it seems to me that all those experiences that brought us to this moment is what makes this moment what it is. I think it's important to remember that... not dwell on it... but honour it. However, it's hard to do that when you don't remember those previous moments. Maybe that was why I was so touched reading about another's journey - it connected to mine and helped me remember a different time of my life. While my conscious mind does not seem to hold onto memories - I think my heart does. I sometimes feel an overwhelming sense of connectedness to the universe... and that has to be because my heart holds my memories.

When I create - I just sit and respond to whatever I'm feeling at the moment. Some people have images in their minds eye - I don't. Anything I create is a direct response to what I'm feeling at that moment. And what one feels at any moment is the culmination of all the moments before it so I think creating (for me) is an expression of my memories through my feelings.

This feels like a contemplative moment - maybe even a creative one! Let's see what it brings.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thoughts on a Life's Passions

It's an interesting life from my perspective. I am so excited to be putting my first blog out in the blogosphere! I didn't see this coming even as little as a few months ago - a year ago it would never have even been part of my conscious thinking. I'm approaching 60 - going on 35 and feel more alive than ever before. That's a suprise to say the least. I didn't think I would be seeing life as having MORE to offer as I go forth in this journey - but hey, that's what is making it so interesting. The more I learn (techniques included) the more I want to learn. And the more I learn the more I realize what I don't know (I know that sounds very trite - but it is sooo true!) What this blog will bring about is hard to imagine, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

My very first passion and love will always be my two daughters, Rebecca and Rainey. Right after that ranks my passion for making jewelry. Picking through beads in at a shop or show is a passion. (One of my earliest memories is of sitting in a sandbox and picking out shiny, sparkly stones.) Designing jewelry is a passion. Reading magazines and books about jewelry designing is a passion. I even choose my clothes based on how well they show off jewelry!

I've tried to walk away from beads and jewelry designing several times since that first time I walked into a bead shop back in Colorado Springs in the early 1980's. I started a wholesale bead business by trying to get rid of beads. I started a retail bead shop because I wanted the beads out of my house - they were taking over! After closing the bead shop - I took a "beading" time out for over a year.

But my passion seems to follow me no matter how much I try to flee. And why would one want to flee from their passion (?) one might ask. Well, for me, this passion is consuming - and there have been times that I don't feel balanced - that I question whether it's directing me or I'm directing it - and I wonder when it will burn itself out and I won't have any new ideas! But I've come to realize it doesn't much matter. My passion and I are on this journey together and this is my attempt to hold onto the reigns.

Pamela Tarpy
(aka) The Tattered Gypsy