Ducts Are for Milk Not Cancer

Saturn Returns by Katariina Fagering

It’s a crazy thing to become one of the 10 percent that actually get breast cancer. The one friend in ten who is diagnosed. When I got the call from the radiology office to come back in for further pictures of my right breast, I didn’t give it a lot of energy or thought.

Whale Story by Katariina Fagering

Today three weeks later after three biopsies all testing positive for cancer, I am pondering what life will be like without my breasts. Of course, there will be new ones where mine once were and it will be my skin but they won’t be mine. They won’t have the feel of natural tissue; there will be scars and my nipples won’t respond to different temperatures or sensations. My nipples will be stuck in whatever permanent position I decide to reconstruct them into. That’s hard for me to wrap my head around.

Creature Within  by Katariina Fagering

Loosing my breasts sounds so extreme but I’m actually getting off pretty easy as far as cancer goes. Mine is noninvasive and I caught it early enough that it’s treatable without chemo or radiation. It’s called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). There are these tiny calcifications within my milk ducts that haven’t found their way out. I could hold off and see what the calcifications do; but once the cancer finds its way to my lymph nodes then it’s not so simple as just removing my breasts.

breast cancer by Katariina Fagering

Some days I wake up enlivened with lists of actions I can take to get healthier, stay grounded and find healing. Other days I feel the pull to dive deeper by asking the questions, “What is wanting to be loved? What is wanting to be heard? What is wanting to be seen?” These queries take me below the surface into a place that cracks me open to parts of myself I haven’t visited or explored ever!!

Emerging from the Womb  by Katariina Fagering

 

My creativity has opened up in a way I can’t explain. I am not sure where these paintings came from, I’m just listening and asking over and over again, “What wants to be heard? What wants to be seen?”

Woman within offering by Katariina FageringThese paintings and who shows up within them comforts me. I truly know that this diagnosis and this journey is an opportunity to widen and awaken my awareness of who I am and to ground my entire being into truly seeing my authentic purpose for showing up for this life.

Discovering I have cancer has proven to be a wild ride and I wonder why it is that it takes death to bring us closer to truly living our life?

 

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the necessity of creativity . . .

This morning I had an easy stroll through a part of the Heights yet explored by me. It’s hard to keep a good pace when I see so much that needs to be captured. My creativity has reached a point of flowing so loudly, I cannot silence it, even if I wanted to.

 

like liquid fire

Creative expression is not a luxury for any of us, it is a necessity much like air, water, food, sleep, etc. It’s just that when we are out of practice of unleashing that need to express, it gets quiet & slowly dries up, yet it is still there, always there waiting for us to start noticing & then coaxing it back into a full flow again. That is where I am today.

But I know what it is like to have life, work & family take over where it feels as if there is no time or energy to express my creativity. I may have been busy, but part of me was dead, lifeless & I ultimately didn’t feel fulfilled or complete.

why just fence between these two trees?

I love my new iPhone for this purpose. I have a lot of cameras, from simple to complicated ones, but today my favorite is still the instagram app on my iPhone. It makes creating interesting, soul-full images easy, less time-consuming, with an instant result.

teal & grass green

I believe the best first step in recovering your creativity, is to start paying attention to what catches your eye. If it is a color, or a building, a contrast of two colors, a person, a crack in the sidewalk, the roots of trees, it hardly matters, but notice it, ponder on it, notice everything that draws your attention. Take photos of them.

Slowly that aspect of your inner being will start trickling a long with your interest in it, then it will give you more, open up further, wider until you won’t be able to stop it. You will need to write a story, a poem, take more photos, rip up paper, get out your pencil & doodle, sketch, paint, sculpt & dance. You will be filled with so much energy you can’t stop or slow down & there will never be a lack of ideas of what to create or express next.

three faces of red

love this polaroid app ~ shake it!

my book of scraps . . .

book made from scraps

I made this book for collage class. I love the layered edges where all the different papers & cardboard show. The cover was a failed collage that I cut up, see so it really is made from scraps. I love this idea. It sort of feels like all my art is made from scraps of my memories. I can’t say it was my life, not the reality of my life, who knows really what that was, all I have are my memories & the meanings I gave to these events.

So within the pages I wrote snippets of thoughts like scraps of memories, songs, words, inspirations, they may make no sense but it would be incredible if anyone who read them just pieced the scraps of words together between the flipping of textured paper & scribbles & allowed these words to make a personal meaning of their own.

last page

For years, I have dreamed of piecing together a book of images, words, etc from my experience in Iraq in this sort of way, that wasn’t linear or even very clear, more like sifting through scraps of images, poems, memories, bits of stories perhaps unfinished. The reader/viewer would be a bit of a voyeur who found a box of scraps & pieced them together to give them meaning, personal meaning.

Let me know if you think this would be interesting. I think it is organically coming together as I progress in my creativity.

The image above is one of my photos from Iraq transferred onto a brown paper bag using matte medium, letting it dry and then rubbing off the paper with water & my fingers. The bottom one is on cardboard that I gessoed first. I love the gritty feel it creates. It’s as if a photo has been found from a century ago, hidden in a dusty, damp attic. I love imperfection.

peony transfer with added tissue

Etcetera, etc. inspired styling . . .

how about those lemons

I had one of those moments last week that shook me to my bones in realization that I was pretty much standing still in relation to what I could be being. I don’t mean accomplishing, or achieving, but more just being the fullest expression of me. I think it was one of those moments where my outer limits of possibility suddenly expanded 100 yards further.

This shift happened while reading bits of Sibella Court’s book Etcetera Etc. creating beautiful interiors with the things you love.

I realized that here is a woman who seems to have the privilege of choosing precisely what it is she wants to do with her time. From where I’m sitting (may not be reality), it looks like she chooses to travel to exotic places, collects objects of beauty (which could be rope, beads, rocks, colors, & textiles (like her mother did)). Then she creates these incredible pallets, names them & puts them into books which expands & blesses the entire design & stylist world with her gift. But the gift is not only in her talent for seeing, finding, & capturing her vision but in the fact that she puts it all in these delicious books for all to savor. What a gift!!!

In this light of her vision, I suddenly realize that ANYTHING is possible for me. Anything! So what is my anything? Is it the creativity I’ve been exploring? Is it sharing stories? Is it film, photography, screenplays? Is it books involving travel? Who knows? Perhaps it is something that will bring me so much joy I don’t even have the space to imagine it at this time. Regardless, I love taking off the lid of everything I thought was possible and truly experiencing possibility. This is exciting.

I’m in a position in my life to do whatever I want to do, really! I have a supportive husband who would be thrilled to support me in anything I desired to explore. What would you do, in my shoes? Where would you travel & what would you create for the pure joy of creating? What would you share with the world for the pure joy of sharing?

In that light, I made these on Friday night while watching Rum Diaries with Larry. These were actually inspired by Sibella Court. If you have ever perused this book you will see some resemblance, but beyond the brown paper bags I’m not sure if there is much more connection. Really, I’m just trying to learn more about color & how to make my creations feel great with color. Thanks to Sibella for inspiring us so.

the library

meloncholy

 

little vignettes of beauty around my house . . .

sage, shell, peeled paint

I have been creating these little vignettes of color & texture around my house lately, all inspired design books like Hand Made Home & Sibella Court’s books, Nomad & Etc. I am just beginning to play with this sort of thing but it is fun. It takes interior design to the level of  art to me, more of an installation art, but one that is temporary, non-permanent, easy changed up – not so precious! It feels good to be surrounded by art.

This wood above & the ones on the mantle were gifts that Larry brought back from Nicaragua that he found on the beach. Those are the best presents ever.

I saved the best vignette for the last. I’m sure you will agree!

steel blue, porcelain, sage

mythical grey, acorn, number 2

prince albert red, drift wood, pale blue

Porcelain, sage, crystal

cigar box gold, blurry red, stacks (a mistake I love)

potty lime, pajama red, barcelona tour book

pregnant with possibilities

Pregnant with Possibilities

Last night I started a 7-week telecourse  called The Keys to Feminine Power,  Awakening the Three Power Bases of the New Co-creative Feminine.  My good friend, Anna in Santa Fe took it & loved it enough to take the next & the next. I can see there has been a huge shift in her presence over the past year, so I decided to take it as well.

In this first lesson they kept saying that we were all pregnant with possibilities ready to be midwifed. It reminded me of this photo I took of Tawny back in 2003 or so. The fires had just burned around the outskirts of Temecula, CA & I had this vision of a pregnant woman amidst the burned trees. Luckily, I knew a pregnant woman at the time & she was more than happy to climb down embankments & waddle into the charred remains to creat this image.

It reminds me of the concept that even from the charred remains parts of my life have become I am still pregnant with possibilities – ready to birth.

 

updated version . . .

i birthed a beautiful being (finished . . i think)

So I think I’m done with her for now. I lightened her face a bit, added more details & it feels good. One of the ideas i was playing with was using different tones of white. I had some warm whites & a cooler white-painted around her to make it a little more dynamic. I actually learned about that idea from an article in a magazine about Flea Market Decorating where this woman had a house of different shades of white. It doesn’t exactly show up in this photo but the actual painting is distinctly different. I also like the contrast of the paint against the charcoal. It gives it a gritty sort of dirty imperfect feel.

Now to move onto the next painting.

Thanks for witnessing this journey with me. Blogging makes me feel not so much a lone on this path.

Big Love,

Katariina