Mental.

It’s been exactly (ok, over) 4 years since I began to medicate with pharmaceuticals. My mental state prior was comparable to a shelf of my grandmother’s fine china, on the San Andreas fault. Trembling and unable to compose myself enough to do what needed to be done, I quietly sulked at home, avoiding reality at any cost.

You’re probably curious at this point; why is a blog about mental illness on a LA culture blog? Especially when it hasn’t been updated in a minute.

To most, I appear as in control woman who travels constantly  (while not blogging) without issue as I post photo after photo of bucket list destinations (not on my blog). When others mention their anxiety of planes and air travel, I commiserate along beside them. Three side eyes and an eye roll later, my story is being demanded by my grounded company.

Being a high functioning (read: heavily medicated) anxious person makes others naysay your affliction. I confess, I had an EXCELLENT therapist who was a total hardass that made me take responsibility for my emotions, and taught me to be more introspective when I’m in the trenches. I gotta say, it makes all the difference. That, and being on a low dose of Lexapro with a dash of Xanax improved my standard of living. Instead of rattling dishes, I could finally relate to my spirit animal: a goat.

Seriously?

A goat doesn’t give a single fuck about anything except eating. And scratching it’s itchy spots. And spawning. But mostly eating.

I visualize that when I am seated at a gate, or on a plane, when I’m feeling like the fault line is going to crack, and send all the saucers and tea cups to their fiery death. Or, I yell at myself in the toliet closet to “snap out of it” while dancing and singing like a goat would do if she could.

Sometimes I think I should have went with Cheetah, but they’re just as anxious as me.

The mind is a powerful, pissed off demon at times. I refuse to let it hold me back from doing the things I love the most.

So, if the idea of being a goat can get me through a trans-pacific, or Atlantic flight, I think I’ll take it.

With a side of Xanax, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

Hoppin’ around downtown LA

They ate everything.

They ate everything.

Rabbits are often referred to as pests, generally to our seasonal produce. Australian artist, Amanda Parer created a public installation that examines the vermin that are responsible for eradicating wildlife, while escaping annihilation by humans. Intrude was created from sewn white nylon, inflated and illuminated from the inside. Introduced to Australia by European settlers in 1788, rabbits are responsible for creating an imbalance to the country’s endemic species. Yet, our feelings for these fluffy, adorable creatures are fairly complex. Her work examines the cocktail of emotions we have for these furry nuisances.

They represent the fairytale animals from our childhood – a furry innocence, frolicking through idyllic fields. Intrude deliberately evokes this cutesy image, and a strong visual humour, to lure you into the artwork only to reveal the more serious environmental messages in the work. They are huge, the size referencing “the elephant in the room”, the problem, like our environmental impact, big but easily ignored.

Amanda Parer

 

For a very limited run, Los Angeles will be welcoming in the nylon scourge. You can view them downtown starting June 5th, through June 11th at these locations: Bank of America Plaza, Wells Fargo Center and FIGat7th. They will be available for photo shoots from noon to 9 p.m. each day.

After their take over of the West, they will complete their North American tour to New York, Denver, and Houston. For more information about Intrude, you can keep going down the rabbit hole here.

More about the artist: http://amandaparer.com.au/

 

Author.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 11.22.10 PMIn the middle of my daily drudgery at the office, a text popped in with what I hoped to be my future. Travel Channel created a reality show that needed contestants, and was holding auditions TODAY. The hope was to find the luckiest of all ducks: he/she would be the host of their own travel web series. Upon reading (skimming) the guidelines, I hustled my big blue eyes over to my boss, hoping that that extra swish of mascara would allow my early retreat from work. Without mentioning much, he signed off on my early departure, gave me a spank, and wished me the best of luck.

Rushing off towards the Tastemade Studios, with my newly acquired bruise, I started gathering bits and pieces of odd travel tales. Not really knowing the rules, because I, uh, read it so closely, I closed my eyes to see what I could conjure up.

Hmmm….monkeys? Sure. Anxiety problems? YES. Mild mention of extreme poverty of India, which shows my adventurous side? Well, yeah.

While my half-assed meditation was in motion, I felt a nudge and an almost paper cut on my arm. “Hey, you might want this.” I bypassed lunch, so I was sort of anticipating a pack of fruit snacks. Instead, he handed me a paper with all the rules and guidelines that we should probably know.

After a quick read over, my meditations were fairly useless. “2 minutes to describe where you’re from, why and what made you love travel, and how you like to travel”. Whaaa? Ok. While scrambling my shit together to form cohesive sentences, a camera with a lovely female voice asked me what part of the process I was in. Clearly, I do not audition often (read: at all) so I was fairly dumbfounded when I faced with this question, and in front of a looming camera.

Welp.

Here we go.

Everyone loves illicit drugs and personality disorders, so of course I am going to take that road.

“Well, I made sure to take my Xann-I mean Xanax (leave street slang at home) today, so I am feeling great. (illicit drug reference – good!) I’m not gonna hide like I want to, because I am so anxious right now” (mention of panic disorder – I’m totally in.)

Lucky for me, I did indeed make the highlights of the L.A. auditions – which the above picture is from. Unpleasantly, I did not make the final 15. A blessing in disguise really, because yours truly does not advertise herself well – unless I can wear a sandwich board.

Also…I was sort of not thrilled with the idea of being known as “the lady with monkey problems”.

The Gentle Barn

Sundays are often reserved for sleeping through all of your meager time away from the office. Yawning, you consider an indulgent beach day, so you could even out that driver’s tan. But on second thought, slathering on SPF 1000 has inspired a change of plan. There’s a place above in the canyons that is home to abused/neglected farm animals that are rehabilitated, is open for pettings to the public only on Sundays.

Sassy prefers a massage while she sunbathes.

Sassy prefers a massage while she sunbathes.

The Gentle Barn was started by Ellie Laks, in 1999, in Tarzana, CA. It was a dream of hers since the tender age of 7. Animals were a constant source of comfort to her throughout her childhood. Jay Weiner, who felt similarly, decided to volunteer, then joined forces with Ellie. Together, they relocated the Gentle Barn from a half-acre property, to a sprawling six acres, in Santa Clarita, CA. Their ultimate dream is to open Gentle Barns across the nation, to provide healing and safety to all animals and children. The animals are often paired up with children who’s stories mirrors theirs: abuse, neglect, ect. The children find in the animals a source of hope, a future of healing, and a new friend.

Snuggle Claire as she gobbles sweetly in your ear.

Snuggle Claire as she gobbles sweetly in your ear.

Luckily, the Gentle Barn is opened on Sundays to the public, so you can cuddle Claire, scratch Sassy the Goat, or even get a hug from a cow.

Hug, brush, or snuggle, will bring an approving nuzzle.

Hug, brush, or snuggle, will bring an approving nuzzle.

If you want to begin to frequent this barnyard snuggle fest, you can buy a season pass for $50.00. It will buy you admission, a popcorn, and a bottle of water. You can walk right in after you sign in. No waiting in line, so you don’t have to arrive to a bunch of cranky carrot craving horses. What I also enjoy is that they offer vegan hot dogs, and other nice nibbles for purchase. There is also an option of bringing your own picnic lunch, but please note: they request that you do not bring meat or dairy onto the premises in respect of the animals. Parking is also free, and it is on a gravel lot, so leave your Sunday’s finest at home.

 

 

The Gentle Barn

15825 Sierra Highway

Santa Clarita, CA 91390

Open on Sundays to the Public: 10am – 2pm

Admission: $10.00

Phone: 661-252-2440