Author Archives: Mind On Fire

Me? obsessed with polymer clay because it feels like I am being productive instead of just procrastinating… Nooo

I should have posted this about a month ago when I was totally in the midst of an anxiety induced coma/paralysis and all I could do was art. Now I have a small business (insert comical manic laughter).

It all started because I could not get myself to study and so I turned to dear old Amazon and ordered one of those starter kits for polymer clay. I thought it would be a fun activity to do while I was trying to get my life back on track for the X (I lost count) time. And it made me feel amazing creating something with my hands that could also be worn. I started making these cute octopus monster earrings and I could not stop. I went into a full month of hyperfixiation on polymer clay. I made batch after batch after batch. And I bought so much clay and tools that my wallet was definitely suffering big time. My mom kept asking me what the hell was going on with Uni work and I keep lying and saying everything was fine when it wasn’t. 262 pairs of earrings later, I realized that… I love making polymer clay earrings and that I still didn’t have my life together. At least I now have another source of income because I need to sell those suckers.

It has been almost 2 months since I started making the earrings and I have not stopped. I have a lot of them and I keep getting better and better. But now it is a little more balanced. I have time for art and time for studying, which is good considering the state of my grades and pending uni work.

In the end my mom did not understand where the hyperfixiation came from because she does not understand my anxiety but I feel really proud because I did not let the parental disapproval contaminate the joy that making earrings gives me. And sure, it all started because I needed to forget about the world but now it’s just something more that I love, something that is just mine and I will not let the judgement of my parents deter me from making these beautiful earrings that I love so much.

My first market is happening April 22 at Slice of Life in Vancouver and I am absolutely elated. My friends are coming and I have no idea if the earrings will actually sell or if I will manage to make back all the money I spent but the joy I get from this craft is worth it all.

This is not to say that I have my shit together now. I have so so so so so much to do now because of that month I spent hyperfixiating on making earrings, I have essays and final papers and exams and oh am I dying. Half the time I just want the world to shut up and leave me alone but I am running out of time and international tuition fees are a pain so I can’t fail any more classes. If you are wondering how the hell I am going to manage to finish all the stuff I have to do… I have no idea. I guess I just need to take it one day at the time and try not to die in the process. At least I have profs that are very understanding, roommates that are supporting me at home, friends that love me and a family that supports me even though they don’t always understand.

Copyright Statement

This will be a shorter post but I wanted to say:

Because I will be posting a lot of my own art in this site, I want to request people not to copy and pass it as their own. You can repost and tag me or share my content but I work hard on my pieces and I am happy to share them but please don’t copy them without my consent.

Thank you

-Sara A

My Favourite Reminders

Sometimes I need mantras to help me get through hard times. I have compiled a list of my favourite ones and I share them with you now in the hope they will help you if you need them. Even if you do not yet believe some of them (yet), say them because fake it til you make it right?

  • It’s okay not to be okay.
  • We try our best, that is all we can do.
  • You are strong. It is not an opinion. It is a reality.
  • We learn, we grow
  • It is okay to rest.
  • Don’t gaslight yourself.
  • Whatever you are feeling is valid.
  • It is okay to take up space.
  • Your needs are not special
  • Just because you re struggling does not mean you are failing.
  • Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase.
  • The fact that you are trying is proof that you are strong.
  • It is okay to give up sometimes.
  • Fuck this shit.
  • Fuck off. This is what I want. I will not let others hold me back.

Lost in Translation

This is a poem I wrote a couple of months ago when I was really really struggling. It is inspired by all my struggles in Canada after I moved here, I felt like I was lost in translation. I was trying to have hope as I was crumbling to pieces. I did not have my diagnosis or my meds yet and I was drowning. But I was still trying.

I hope you like it

Poem by Sara Aristizabal C.

Smut Is In The House

Am I allowed to post about my love for smut? I don’t know. Will I still do it? You bet your ass I will.

So hear me out, reading smut/spice (there is a difference but we are not going into that now because if I start I will not stop) is like drinking a cocktail made of love, happiness, magic (and a lot of sex). It is like the perfect cure for my anxiety and if you think I will not take it and run like hell, you are sadly mistaken. I spend half my days reading “literature” and then the rest of the time I am reading reverse harems and monster romances and alien romances and mafia romances and biker romances and a very wide and long and deep arrange of spicy romance books with blush inducing panty melting main characters (men, women and everything in between because we are queer over here). They fill the void inside me, they feed my helpless romantic, they make my expectations exceedingly high, they make me happy, they make me dream and they allow me not to go batshit crazy while trying to live in this world. I say it is a win win for everyone.

So in the spirit of all that is smutty and slutty and happy, here are some of my current and past reads that just give me life. No judging will be allowed and please don’t expect these to be high end books otherwise you will not enjoy them. I get that they are not for everyone either, but for those out there like me obsessed with smut and spice, welcome to the madhouse.

Please check trigger warnings for the books before starting.

Take care and have fun 😉

(Maybe I should do an individual review to really convince people to read these because some of the covers do not inspire confidence but they are good books, at least for my standards which may or may not be low)

CAL (Center for Accessible Learning) vs My Dad

I was talking to my parents the other day about getting enrolled with CAL and how that extra support will be really helpful for my university journey, it will help me (try) to function as a human and a student without going into a depressive episode because of my anxiety. And today, I was talking to my mom and she mentioned how my dad was concerned about this being bad for me because it would highlight my issues and somehow reinforce them and make them worse … dramatic pause for effect … And okay, I get it but no.

I had to really laugh about it because it was a little too clear to me how my parents did not understand what I was going through even if they tried to understand. And I love my parents but their concerns are misplaced. Highlighting my problem will make it worse? I do not need a reminder of “my problem”, I live with it every day. And I have been working on not phrasing it as “my problem” or “a problem” or even “it”. This is part of me now, so it is me now and trust me, I do not need a reminder at all.

Having help will not make it worse, it will make it better (hopefully) and if I ever do need a reminder, well, at night when I close my eyes to sleep and I suddenly feel like my eyes are moving and twitching without my control it reminds me that my anxiety is doing things in my brain; and when I need at least 3 days to recover from my anxiety flair up because I miss a deadline I think that is reminder enough; or when I suddenly need 14 hours of sleep, in a day, to have enough energy for the next day I think I will remember that my brain is not “normal”; or when I can’t go to sleep for hours because my brain just won’t shut up. The point is, I know what I have to deal with and I am learning to deal with it, but I need the extra help sometimes and that is okay, it will not re-enforce my anxiety disorder, it will just help me deal with life a little better. And I actually sometimes do need the reminder that getting extra help is okay, that this new normal is okay, that I have the support of the people that love me even if they don’t always understand what I am going through, those are the reminders I need.

So, I appreciate the concern dad, but help will HELP and I need help sometimes. I got the reminders covered.

With love,

Your princesa

Deadlines Will Be The Death Of Me

The other day I had to hand in a big assignment and I was so happy because I loved the topic and I was doing incredibly well. I was writing at a good pace, I did not feel like the world was on my shoulders, I actually thought I could finish it on time, oh how naive of me (I really should be kinder to myself but I am mad and hurt and disappointed so kindness will have to wait a little longer). I could not finish the assignment on time because I was not strong enough yet to put boundaries and stick to them. My friend pressured me to hang out and I found myself agreeing when I did not want to. It messed up my whole momentum and I tripped and slipped and badabum I was late. And because I was mad at myself for not saying no and putting other people before me; disappointed that I could not just push myself further and finish on time; and deadlines are always anxiety traps, I just kept going down the rabbit-habit hole and long behold 3 days had gone by and I still was barely able to get out of bed.

Fortunately, my prof was really nice and let me hand in the assignment late, but the disappointment is something I am getting used to by now and I do not like it. Sometimes it feels like I have become this completely new person that cannot handle life and it makes me crazy. My meds are working and I was making progress but then it was deadline time and I was suddenly dead with half an essay done. And of course, instead of being able to crank it, I just shut down. For four days.

Bottom line is, I still don’t know how to be a student and a functioning human being. But I am working on it. My official Moto is “We learn. We grow”. And I do not want to be falsely optimistic, but sometimes I just have to cling to that hope like it’s my lifeline otherwise I would not have the energy to keep trying and I need to keep trying, I want to keep trying.

What really helped me start to move on from that little blip was art, I bought a ton of polymer clay (which of course made my wallet mad and made me feel slightly guilty) and got together with a friend to make some earrings. That was pure happiness, exactly what I needed. My roommate’s cat was also really helpful when he wasn’t trying to poop on my bed or step on my clay (and I say that with my heart filled with love because I love that cat).

Process Post 2: Personal Cyberinfrastructures

What is a personal cyberinfrastructure, and why should you care? What is your current cyberinfrastructure, how do you use it, and how does it use you? What do we take for granted in how the Internet works? What can we imagine differently? We will work on vision boards. By now, you will have completed your vision board. How did you work through the process? Did you use Venn diagrams? Were you able to narrow down your focus? Please post about the process.

Process Post Prompt*: Write a blog post about the installation and setup work you did this week: your decisions, your rationales; make sure you link out to at least a couple of other resources. How does what you’ve created so far relate to the vision board you made last week?

I had a lot of trouble setting up my blog. For some reason people could never access the blog and it was a slow process of fixing the issue. On top of that I messed up along the way and had to start all over again which had me falling behind. But, even if this seemed annoying at the moment, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Initially the idea I had for my blog was to talk about my mental health journey and hopefully create a platform where people could relate to me and I could relate to others. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I was missing something. And because I had to create my blog, delete it and create it again, that allowed me the space to really think about what I wanted from this space and what I wanted others to take from it. In the end I though why not connect art and mental health? they go great together and I am really passionate about art, this way I not only reach people who want to read about mental health but also people who are interested in art.

Once I had the idea to combine mental health with art I figured the tagline “For those out there struggling, let this be a place where art heals us” would be perfect. It suddenly came to me and it was just what I was looking for because it encompassed what I wanted this space to be. I wanted to create a place that would function as a sort of journal about my life and my struggles but also have people interact if they wanted to. And I wanted to include art because as my struggles with mental heath grow, my passion for art grows too and sometimes I feel like I cannot separate the two.

Because mental health can be triggering to talk about, I knew I had to include a resources page in case someone found themselves in need of more help than the one peers could provide. And I also wanted to have a community space where we had some ground rules about respect and kindness but where we could still connect with each other. I have never managed a space before, never managed comments and I am very nervous about people going crazy and being disrespectful and how to deal with those situations that arise on the internet because of the anonymity it allows. I guess I will face that as I go because I don’t really expect a lot of people to visit my page anyways.

I though really hard about whether I wanted to make this page anonymous or not. It felt almost too uncomfortable to be so transparent about my struggles and be open about my identity. I was not sure where to put the boundaries so that I would not feel like I did myself a disservice later on. I am still a little on the fence about anonymity. I think I could be more transparent if I did not have my face and name on the page but other times I think having that restriction on myself is good because I do not what to share too much. In class we thought about the question: Are we able to present ourselves however we want, or are we being controlled by who we think my be watching our personal cyberinfrastructures? And I as I think about the kind of platform I am creating and the kind of audience it might have I definitely find myself constantly thinking about the audience. They dictate half of my decisions about what to post when it comes to posting something personal. I have to be really mindful of whether this is something I want to share to the world or if I will regret that decision later. I especially focus on questioning whether I would have issues with my family or friends reading my posts and if the answer is yes then maybe I should not share what I want to. I would not say my audience controls my decisions on what I post but they definitely come into play when I am filtering topics for my posts, but in the end, because this blog is very personal, I am the one who decides what I want to put out there.

Find the Strength Within

You are Strong. It is not an opinion. It is a reality.

my lovely therapist

I absolutely loved this phrase my therapist told me once. We were talking about how everything was for me lately. I felt like I had become someone completely different to who I used to be. I felt like I could never keep up with everything going on around me, I felt like I was drowning. She insisted that I was strong though, that no matter how weak and beat down and tired I felt, I was strong.

This was an incredibly nice reminder, I always have trouble seeing my strength and recognizing my progress, especially when I am struggling, so to have someone say that to me was awesome (even if it took me a while to actually believe it… okay maybe I still have trouble believing it). In any case, I though it would be nice to share this because I am pretty sure I am not the only one out there that doubts themselves constantly. So that quote is for you as much as it was for me and I hope you really try to believe it because even when we are struggling, we are strong.