Jerald trained formally as a painter at the Alberta College of Art and Design from 1992 to graduation in 1996 having three times achieved the President’s Honour Roll. He earned his BFA in 1998 from Alberta University of the Arts with a focus on digital art studies and a minor in creative writing. He holds a certificate in Adult Education from Mount Royal University. He taught for 10 years at AUArts, MRU, and long term care homes doing recreational therapy through art making. Previously he studied drawing and painting privately under Gary Ripley at Grip Studios in Calgary, Alberta from 1972 till 1980 with a focus on the materials and techniques of the old masters. His first career was as an addictions counsellor for Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commision where he was trained in REBT, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, developed by Dr. Albert Ellis the foremost psychologist of the last century. Jerald’s publications draw heavily from the history and traditions of Western European fine art, street photo, digital fuckery and psychotherapy. He currently lives in Calgary making art with his camera and computer, publishing his books under Blackstock Art&Design for The Duchy of Jerald.
My father, a coal miner in Alberta, Canada, died of lung cancer when I was 2, at age 40 in 1955. My mother raised 4 kids on welfare. Working class Albertans stood outside our house and yelled that we were living off them, living off the government hand out. I once told Preston Manning that I was grateful to his hardhearted father Alberta Premier Ernest Manning, who preached Christianity every Sunday on the radio, for 20 something years in office, and his less than subsistence welfare policies for giving me deformed feet from a lack of proper footwear as I grew, and for making me a lifelong Liberal, who has long advocated for UBI. Typical of folks with a less than secure income I learned to self medicate the corresponding anxiety with cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. By the time I was 40 I was a cab driver/contractor with a criminal record for drug possession, and lifelong anxiety and depression and a yoga cult survivor. I overcame these dependencies with free medical help from Healthcare, got a student loan and a couple of degrees and began teaching art on the contract model as well as practicing art therapy at long term care as a contractor. This eventually led me into bankruptcy since being a consultant contractor is designed to benefit only the employer. When my wife died the income was reduced to my contractor income, I lost my house and my home based art studio and was left with only an old car. I used it to go driving courier, again as a contractor, and a second bankruptcy. A few years later, owing 40,000 to predatory lenders and mechanics, for less than dependable vehicles to drive courier with I suffered a stroke was in hospital for almost a year and lost my home and car and cat, now considered a homeless single man with no income. I turned 65 and qualified for essentially seniors UBI got myself a place and a vehicle and food every month to continue to do stroke recovery and practise my art, publishing 5 books since my release from hospital. Would UBI have saved me from the underlying depression, anxiety, rage, embarrassment, shame, hurt, and jealousy from being at the mercy of religious conservative social policy when life throws its slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as it does to everyone? Of course not, it’s not psychotherapy. It would allow me the security of living in a gig economy with guaranteed food and shelter, the ability to take time off to further education and perhaps get much needed psychotherapy. Alberta’s suicide rate is one of the highest in the country. I have never had a vacation, or taken a trip, neither has any contract worker I know. I have never been able to afford to give a child the secure life I never had, so I didn’t have kids. Perhaps UBI might allow for that too…
Connection. Just assume it. Whether it is with your cat, a friend or a dead lover. Some people use an imaginary god. That’s why predatory religions (all) and cults seek vulnerable folks in transition and loss, to offer a sense of missing connection, for profit. The priests have to get paid somehow. Some people use drugs to recreate the hormonal feel good response of a sense of connection. Death is therefore like a drug withdrawal. If you are an orphan without connection resources, you have to create it for yourself. Then you are free of any dependance. This is deprogramming that churches hate. Independance that comes with freedom of choice. Just assume a connection, especially with yourself and bypass the woo woo ripoff, dependency and programming and keep your cash.
I met a woman at a coffee shop, lovely chat, then a series of impromptu meeting chats, a trade of contact details, sent a request to get together for a future coffee-rant, then… nothing. No answer is an answer.
That woman appearing to be honest, open, unconditionally accepting didn’t exist. I know that anyone I have met who has done a lot of yoga doesn’t unconditionally accept anything, particularly physically, they must, should, absolutely have to, be liked and accepted physically, or they see themselves as pieces of garbage. So what are the chances that they will have unconditional acceptance, without pity, of a guy recovering from a stroke? What are the chance they will unconditionally accept themselves?
What existed was someone who claimed to want to get together but really didn’t know how to say it wasn’t her cup of tea, or coffee as the case may be. Physical ‘perfection’ being a condition of the relationship deepening exercise, I imagine.
A woman recently said to me, Jerald, I don’t see you as handicapped at all, but she want to sell me new age woo woo products, seeking victims at the gym.
Some like to see themselves as good people, so they will condescend to chat with the handicapped, but really it is fascism, like a Hitlerian religion, good works must be done under strict conditions. I once joined a church and at Xmas time I asked several members if I could join them Xmas day, being a recent widower and a lifelong orphan, feeling vulnerable. Talk to strangers, asking for what you want being the assertive pillars of taking responsibility for getting needs met. All refused, including the minister. Travelling, was the usual put off of statistical improbability.
I absolutely must perform well and win the love or approval of significant others or else I am an inadequate and worthless person.
Is there any evidence that I am inadequate and worthless?
No, there is no evidence at all. Other peoples likes and dislikes only describe them.
I feel disappointed sad and annoyed, the consequences of being lied to. I will continue to talk to strangers and ask for what I want, rejection is part of life and becomes less painful the more I face it.
Arrived: my first print copy of my first book. When I had a stroke and ‘lost everything’ therapists said I needed recreational help, enrolled me at the seniors place to play shuffle board. There they asked me what I enjoyed and didn’t like my answer: lesbian porn. well, affection really, but I was kinda bitchy for a few years and I view seniors recreation programs as babysitting waiting for slow demise.
Anyway, I digress, again, I enrolled myself at the gym, hired a kinesiologist, took driving lessons, learned to drive with my left hand and foot, bought a car, learned left handed typing and photo, and adobe creative suite. 3 years and 5 books later, what good can I make of this has become the focus of my creative juices.
It is I believe the central question of all creative activity, all therapy, all life, since life is random as fuck and there is no predicting. joy/tragedy, hope/loss are the same goddamn thing, they come when they come but for sure they are coming, and we deal with both sides of the coin with great skill.
There is no purpose to life so I had better get off my ass and create some satisfaction. deal with my losses as best I can, then ignore them, forget my goddamn awful past as well, and focus on something more satisfying. If it is to be it is up to me.
Anyway my first printed copy of my first book arrived! here is how it all works REBT