I'm a natural redhead.
My friend Kelly has been dyeing my hair since just before Halloween. She had been licensed in Tennessee but just finished getting her Oregon license so she asked me for a few pictures for her portfolio. It occurred to me that I had yet to document this hair color, so I asked my friend Micah to come over and do some pictures for fun. Although my hair is over my eye a little bit, this is my favorite picture of the bunch. Mostly natural light, and completely unretouched. All it needs is a little smoothing where my makeup was a little smudgy and touching up the armpit wrinkles... I guess I have gotten to the age where I have armpit wrinkles... On a more serious note, it's been a rough month for many of the people I know. There have been unexpected deaths, suicides, and simultaneously, births. I've spent a great deal of time food bombing survivors(and moms), making elaborate food and showing up on people's doorsteps when they are too distraught or overwhelmed to answer the phone, knowing that if I show up with food, they'll let me in. Once they let me in, the floodgates open... I generally keep it separate from my music persona, but I work part-time as a professional cuddler. A client recently asked me, "Has anyone ever cried while you were holding them?" I realized that many people think that cuddling is a silly, easy job. I smiled ruefully, and said, "Yes! I've held people while they are crying and taught them breathing exercises while they are having panic attacks. People come to me because of grief, PTSD, severe insomnia, and stress. By the time someone is ready to ask for help, they need it very badly." I am a therapist, performing emotional chiropractic work. What I do is important and intense. When I was younger, I had a severe anxiety disorder. My experience allows me to quickly recognize symptoms and behaviors in others and to react compassionately. I don't think I could help people as well if I didn't know exactly where they were coming from. I played violin at the Portland Art Museum for a huge benefit two years ago. I was extremely nervous about performing amplified violin in front of such an important crowd, having quickly gotten into playing condition after not playing for awhile. When I play with bands, I usually have a shot of tequila before I jump onstage. We were stone cold sober and I was starting to freak out. I didn't know the flutist very well, but I asked her if I could hold onto her arm for a minute while we waited, holding our instruments, in the wings of the stage. Not just her calmness, but the feel of her warmth and the life force beneath her skin calmed me. I began to breathe properly and our performance was electric. I know the things that have happened were not my fault and I could not have prevented them. If you need help, please talk to someone. Talk to me if you have to. If you can't talk to a person, find somewhere you can pet a kitten or go to the cat cafe. I'm making another batch of tamales today. More pictures soon. I think we finish mixing the album this week. You Patreon money will be going straight to paying Nick to professionally master it. I'm still getting the promotional plan together so although it may not be public for a few months, you will hear it as soon as it is done. Love, Ilima