In the first episode of the new Art & Self Podcast, I welcome Bryna Talamantez to discuss an artwork about grief. Bryna is a therapist who works with children who are dealing with grief.
In this conversation, we talk about Bryna’s personal experience with death and grief, the patriarchy, and the value of doing something just because you want to.
Click here to see the artwork discussed on this episode, There’s a Thread You Follow by Linda McCabe.
0:05– Bryna’s introduction
2:03 – Bryna’s experience with grief
7:24 – There’s a Thread by Linda McCabe
12:12 – The painting
15:13 – The flowers
22:15 – Why we do what we do
28:12 – Just wanting to is reason enough
31:57 – Constantly explaining ourselves
37:00 – College
44:29 – Finding Bryna’s grief in the artwork
50:47 – The face
57:31 – Talking about a loved one’s past
- What the Feels Podcast
- What the Feels Podcast on Instagram
- Bryna’s Office Instagram
- Bryna Talamantez on Facebook
- Linda McCabe @griefandart Instagram
This transcript was auto-generated, so please excuse any typos or misspellings.
Cindy Ingram 0:05
All right, I am so excited to welcome to the Art & Self podcast Bryna Talamantez. Hello Bryna.
Bryna Talamantez 0:11
Cindy Ingram 0:13
I am this is art my very first interview for our brand new format, which I have already introduced in another episode. But what we’re going to do is pick a work of art related to Bryna’s work in her life and have a conversation about it. So before we get started on that, Bryna, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Bryna Talamantez 0:32
Yeah, my name is Bryna and I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Plano, Texas. I specialize in working with kids specifically who are navigating grief whether that’s traditional death loss or divorce, life transitions, moving changing of schools, change of friendship groups, things like that. Anxiety, ADHD depressive symptoms, I do a lot of play therapy. I’m on the floor of my office more often than I’m in my chair. Just enjoying working with kids and teens and within the adults and adults too.
Cindy Ingram 1:09
Awesome. And what made you want to specialize in this type of therapy?
Bryna Talamantez 1:14
Yeah, so I always knew I wanted to help people. My mom really instilled helping, as that’s just what we do, we help others. And I went into college as a psychology major. Knowing I wanted to help people I didn’t quite knowing what capacity yet. I danced most of my life until I had hip surgery a couple years ago, and thought I would go that route of dance therapy and working with others through dance and expression. Then my mom died when I was in college. So my dad died when I was nine, my mom, my grandmother died when I was 14. And then my mom died unexpectedly when I was a sophomore at SMU. And it was after that, that I realized I have been given this journey so that I can help people specifically who are grieving. And not because that makes me an expert on grief. Because I will never say I’m an expert on anything. We’re always learning and changing. And theories adapt and change in ways that we understand things and interpret things always change. But I take a lot of time, to read about grief and to know about grief, through books, but also sitting with others in their experience. So I have the experience going in. I’m never going to tell a kid or a person sitting across from me, I know exactly how you feel, because that is one of the most unhelpful things you can ever say. But I will look at some of my teens especially and go, Okay, I get it, I understand where you’re coming from. Tell me more about your experience. I want to know about you. And kids and teens, especially now are very aware of who they trust and who they don’t. And the people who get it and the people who don’t. And if I can authentically look at them and go, yeah, that really stinks. I’m really sorry. That’s a That’s a tough day. I’ve had days that feels similar to that. But tell me more about yours. So it’s important for them to know who’s sitting across from them. And that’s why I do what I do. I worked at a nonprofit for a while that provides free grief support groups for kids, teens and their families after someone has died. My mom and I actually went to that group for five years after my dad died. So this just just I talked about death hold. And some people look at me, they’re like, how do you do that? Like, because it’s not all it’s not all bad. We talk about feelings. And we talked about coping skills and how to navigate tough days. And some days are light. And they’re like, Man, I had a good day we celebrate in those good days. Okay, but made today. Great. Tell me more about that. So that’s why I chose to do what I do now.
Cindy Ingram 3:51
Awesome. And you also before we get started on the art, you also have a new podcast coming out. And so I want to make sure we talked about that a little bit too so people can have that in their head while we’re while we’re talking. What’s your pot? Yeah.
Bryna Talamantez 4:05
Absolutely. It’s called what the feels it launched on October fifth or sixth. And we are going to talk about kind of similar to your podcasts, but we’re going to talk about movies, books, tv shows how they relate to mental health things, health things that they maybe do well, when it comes to mental health, maybe things that they could do a little bit better, different ways that society perceives things like grief and anxiety, depression, things like that. The first episode was inside out so we all got a baseline of some feelings. So what are feelings and how are they living in our brain and how do they affect us on a daily basis? And then the cocoa episode will release on October 19. And then we’ll, for November we’re going to specifically be talking about grief movies for National Child grief Awareness Month.
Cindy Ingram 4:58
Excellent. So I I will put links to all of this stuff into our show notes. And okay, so what we’re gonna do is I, for each guest, I am going to either pick a work of art, if I know for sure that’s the work of art, Beckett, but for Brynna she actually has a background in art history, your history degree or minor.
Bryna Talamantez 5:21
I have a minor. Yeah, it was my it was my fallback plan.
Cindy Ingram 5:26
I just get it cracks me up that art history is the fallback pant plan. I think it’s usually people have a plan from the art history. But I love that. So and Bryna was actually the first one in my line of sight after I had the idea for this podcast. So I literally had the idea, like the night before. And then I met her for the first time in the morning at a networking event here in Dallas area. And I was like, Oh, she’s perfect. So it was it was great. Like, let’s do it. Yes. And then she said she had an art history background. I was like, Oh, good. So you’re experienced in this. Okay, so I work for Bryna, I picked four works of art. And I am going to show them to her live here. And she is going to pick one. And I go through in my head a I have this this procedure that if you’re a longtime listener, you know, you might know this already from my work with our class curator. Is the four C’s, is the artwork connected? Is it complex? Is it communicative? And is it captivating, so I’ve made sure it meets those first three sees all four of these options are captivating to me, but we want to find out what’s captivating to Bryna. So I want you to I’m going to put them up on the screen one at a time. And I want you to not like intellectually look at them, but I want you to just feel into them and see which one like really makes you gives you that little spark of energy that makes you want to keep looking. So that’s what we’re looking at. And then I’ve made sure that there are stuff we can talk about with each one. Now, you know, I’ve checked, I have my favorite but I want I want to see what yours is. Alright, so let’s share my screen. So excuse me podcast listeners, but I probably won’t edit this out because I’m trying to work on my perfectionism. And y’all can handle listening to me share my screen okay. All right, can you see these Bryna?
Bryna Talamantez 7:16
Cindy Ingram 7:17
I will put these I’ll probably link all four of them in the show notes if you’re curious what what we’re looking at. Alright, so this is our first option. This is called there’s a thread you follow by mint Linda McCabe. And then we have our second option here. I don’t know the title for this one. But it’s by Kelsey Loomer. And then we have melancholy by Albert Gorgui Oh wow. I do not know if I’m saying that last name right but it’s probably close enough. And then we have separation by Eduardo Oh, which one spoke to you.
Bryna Talamantez 7:58
Goodness. It’s between the first one and this one. Okay.
Cindy Ingram 8:05
I’ll show you both again.
Bryna Talamantez 8:26
I think there’s so much that we could talk about for either one but the I’ve been doing so much I don’t know bright colors have been my thing recently so although I love much and I love this piece and there’s so much we can talk about that separation but there’s something about the first one awesome that’s making me go I wanted.
Cindy Ingram 8:48
This is the one I wanted you to choose. Oh so when when that’s why it’s first I was like wanting to be the first one is okay, I won’t always do that now. I’m like future guests might be beautiful. And this it I threw in the last one because I know you you said you liked impression and MOOCs non impressionists. But you know, I was like all this bit, a little older one in there, too. But let’s see. I’m gonna make this bigger so we can see it bigger. All right. All right. So we’re going to start our discussion. So Burnett, I would love you to just tell us what drew you to at first. You mentioned the colors but what else are you noticing?
Bryna Talamantez 9:33
Yeah, obviously the colors there’s so many different elements to this. There’s the colors there’s the woman being vulnerable. Some butterflies, the bright flowers. I see there’s text. And I think one thing that kind of drew me to this one, there is a really great children’s book called The invisible string by Patrice calm. arced. And she’s written a couple of them. Now it started with the invisible string. Then during COVID, she wrote the book called The invisible web. And it talks about how even when we’re not with our people, whether our people are alive or whether they have died, where we have these invisible strings that connect them, so them to us. And so I use that a lot with kids that are having some separation anxiety at school, whether we’re talking about our person who has died. And so there was just something about the theme of a thread that was like, wow, and that we’re all interconnected in that way. And I think that that’s so cool.
Cindy Ingram 10:39
Let’s describe it for our listeners. So we’re gonna put the image on the show notes, obviously, but if you’re driving, don’t, don’t try to look at it. Try safe. Yeah. You know, wait till you’re home. But so let’s, let’s describe it. So we have a woman in the center, she’s kind of, it’s more like a bulbous shape of her vote, not a vase. She’s almost as a face shape to her body. There’s no like distinct arms or legs. And she’s red and orange and yellow. And there’s sort of flames kind of coming up from the bottom, almost like her legs, whether they’re flames or not, that’s just a little flame looking things. On her chest, it’s it’s like a darker shade of red, whether it’s a hole, whether it’s her heart, we can talk about what that what that might mean. On her, she has like a swirl on her head, and she has it like a flower looking thing on her neck. You want to keep going with the description.
Bryna Talamantez 11:36
Yeah, so then we, we have this beautiful kind of pinkish purple flower, kind of blocking our view of her like belly abdomen area, we have their blue background with some stars behind her. There’s some, I think you mentioned already, the green and yellow kind of swirls around her. There are several different butterflies. And what I kind of like is that each one of them is kind of drawn differently. Some have more detail. Some are more simple, like as as if a kid drew them, which I think is really cool. And then we’ve got some things at the bottom that look like plants. Those long kind of tall, brown top things you find like near water.
Cindy Ingram 12:22
Oh, cat tail.
Bryna Talamantez 12:23
Thank you. Yeah, kind of the cat tails at the bottom, there’s some other shapes and kind of a moon at the bottom. So it’s very, it feels very, like universal like that the word is maybe not the right word. But like it’s of another world kind of ethereal, this vague Thank you, like this. Dark, contrast it with the lightness of her body, and it’s really cool. It makes her really stand out.
Cindy Ingram 12:54
A lot. Yeah, it really does. And then the thread that Bryna mentioned is there’s an actual thread on their glute, not glued, but it’s kind of hanging down. But then there’s this yellow, curvy, not zigzag, it’s not sharp, but like, you know, that zigzaggy shape all the way through and it kind of starts up in the sky goes behind her head. And then it goes behind her neck, and then it kind of loops around her neck and then goes through the front of her body all the way down. And then kind of loops around that flower that Bryna mentioned as well. And along that thread is that text, and I’m going to read that text for y’all so you can hear it. It’s hard to see on the picture. It says there is a thread you follow. It goes among things that change but it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you’re pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see while you hold it. You can’t get lost. tragedies happen people get hurt or die. And you’re and well I messed up. And you suffer Sorry, that was my own typo, not the painting SIBO and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread. And so and then there’s also Yeah, like a lot of little dots and patterns and things throughout. Very bold. Oh, and then that she has a flower on her chest as well. Like, what are those lotus flowers are not maybe now. They look like that kind of yeah, they’re kind of Lotus Lowry. Yeah, and there’s some galaxy looking things in the in the sky. I think we got it all. Yeah, yeah. Okay. So what what’s, what part of the painting is really drawing you in? Right now.
Bryna Talamantez 14:43
There’s something about the middle. There’s something about that white lotus flower. There’s something about that purple. And probably the way it’s positioned. That’s where the artist wants us to go with it. But just focusing on her kind of as a whole and these things that are I’m standing out that are in front of her, like I kind of lose the background a little bit. But it’s just it’s her. And it’s these two flowers and like one being kind of placed towards her heart. That’s just very intriguing to me.
Cindy Ingram 15:16
So what do you think the artist is, could be trying to say there with that? Flower?
Bryna Talamantez 15:25
I think one of the I mean, I think with her heart, it’s just like, here’s this beautiful thing that’s growing inside of her. And I think that, like, if you put that kind of with the text of like, it’s just, this is where her passion is. And so she has this thread that she’s following. But this flower represents this passion in this growing passionate, the white one isn’t quite as big as the purple, the pink one. And so it’s like, this passion is growing. It’s getting bigger. And it’s it’s not as big, but I’m sure it will be in it’s, I mean, I don’t think the purple flower is attached to her. I think that’s maybe this is an idea, or this is something that’s growing, but that the white flower is a part of her. Yeah, it’s—
Cindy Ingram 16:12
It’s interesting to me, like, it looks like that white flower is coming. You know that the center part of her is more, it’s darker. And it looks almost like avoid it almost like she her, the red and yellow and orange of her whole body looks like you know, could be her skin. But in that central part of her body, it looks almost hollow, or it’s darker on the inside. And it’s like, there might be a void there, but then there’s life growing out from it. Right. And I might be being influenced by the other artwork that I show. Which, right melancholy, because it’s that it’s that it’s a sculpture that has like the bronze figure, but then the whole torso is hollow. And you can see through it so I’m probably being influenced by that as well. But—
Bryna Talamantez 17:04
Yeah, I think definitely, like wrote something filling her up. Something that’s bringing her joy and passion in some way.
Cindy Ingram 17:17
And that to you feels very precious, like and protected in that space like it that that hollow area could be like, it’s like little incubator. Yeah, when I’m coming up with a new idea, like this podcast, for example, like it. I just had the idea a few weeks ago, like how to do it. But this has been in my head for a good year and a half of like, how do I I know what I want this to be. But I don’t know, I don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. And so I was just kind of like nurturing this little thing. I’m protecting it and making sure it’s, it’s safe and that you know, letting it grow on its own and until it’s ready to like fully go out into the world. So I almost feel like that space is keeping it protect while it starts to grow.
Bryna Talamantez 18:06
Yeah, and it’s maybe this is my own bias coming out a little bit, but it’s almost as if like, she wants to hold it to herself for just a little longer. Because it is precious and keeping it protected from criticism, keeping it protected from anybody else’s opinions. Like this is hers. It’s her beautiful thought, or idea or thing that she wants to keep precious to her. Yeah. And so it’s in that in that hollowed space or incubator like space or protected area. So that it’s it’s hers and she reminds herself daily. Like this is this is my this is what I want to do. Yeah.
Cindy Ingram 18:54
I really resonate with that so what do you think about the big flower?
Bryna Talamantez 19:03
I don’t know what exactly to think about the big flower just yet. I think it’s, I mean, it’s put in the center along with this white woman for a reason. I don’t think it’s a part of her I think it’s it’s, it’s in front of her. And so is it a previous idea or something that she did? Is it a previous protected flower that she had that she’s now planted and seen grown? Because these two flowers are similar? They may not be the same color but the shape they look the same. And so maybe it’s something along those lines of maybe it’s something previous that she’s watched grow and now she has this new thought. Yeah.
Cindy Ingram 19:54
I’m also agreeing like I can’t quite place what that flowers about you stet like, is it the same? Is it different? You know, what, what is its purpose? I feel like I might. We might eventually, like have some other ideas on that as we.
Bryna Talamantez 20:11
But I think it’s interesting that the yellow wavy line that has the text goes through that white flower, and then kind of wraps maybe not around, but like it wraps through. Yeah, that purple flower. So like it, they’re connected, but it’s not like here’s this straight line. It’s like we they’re woven kind of together in this way.
Cindy Ingram 20:39
Right? Yeah, I didn’t notice that, that the yellow thread doesn’t go around it. It goes like almost under the flower between the flower and the leaf maybe? And then it made me think, Oh, is it? Is it going through her ever and then add her neck? It might. I’m wondering if it’s actually going through her instead of behind her like I originally said. It’s kind of hard to tell.
Bryna Talamantez 21:07
Right? And that’s where it changes. It becomes less solid, less ethereal Yeah. Excuse me as it like, either passes through or goes behind her. It’s like it. It’s coming from the sky. So it’s like, huh, and it’s solid. Once it hits her. It’s more open. Yeah. has less color. And then it goes to the ground? What we assume is the ground? Yeah.
Cindy Ingram 21:42
Yeah, definitely assume because that there’s, you know, that plant life? Hmm. Okay, the flower, but we will continue to think I like the idea that it could be something that she has already planted in seeing grown. And then I my art, you know, my like art analysis, or history brain or like artists brain is like, Oh, well, obviously the purple flowers mimicking the purple that’s in the butterflies in the background? That’s great. And cohesion, which is really perhaps just not right.
Bryna Talamantez 22:13
It’s not that’s not wrong.
Cindy Ingram 22:15
Like it could be just, that’s what she was doing. And the same thing with the the solid to opaque it’s like, well, yeah, because we wanted to see the person. But I love that, you know, what could have been an act, it could have been just a choice from the artists to make, like, more pleasing composition, or you know, to make it look more whole and done, we can still find meaning in it, even if there might not have originally been any meaning in it. And that’s what’s so powerful to me about looking at artists, you know, whatever happens once the once it leaves that artist hands like it’s, we can we can take with it with right that it can mean different things to different people.
So I want to talk about the text and how it fits in with the image. So tell me about what you’re what you’re feeling about the text on the painting.
Bryna Talamantez 23:09
Lots of feelings about the text, okay, I’m trying to figure out where to where the words are. I think that it’s sometimes hard for us to explain to others, why we do what we do. And what draws us to do what we do. I think that I mean, like I mentioned earlier, there’s something I mean, I talk about death jority of the day, and most people may look at me and go, Well, why do you do that? And part of me is like, well, because there’s one in 16 kids that and that’s the before COVID number that either lose a parent or sibling before the age of 18. They they die before they turn 18. And so that’s, that’s the why it. It’s like we do these things because somebody needs to. And we want to do these things without judgment. We want to do these things without constantly explaining why we do what we do. We do what we do, because we want to because we’d love it. And I think even when I was 10 and wanted to dance either on Broadway or with the Rockettes you know, you get a lie and you’re like because I want that’s why and I think that we I think our societies maybe getting a little less so. But I remember when I was a kid, I was like you need something that’s stable. You need something that you’re gonna go to work nine to five and you’re gonna get your paycheck and you know how much that paycheck is and that can be so limiting. Once I was able to kind of break out of that mindset of I mean, because being a therapist, sometimes it’s not like the most stable thing, either, especially if you don’t take insurance, which I don’t. But if there’s some, I got sick this summer, and I had to take a week off. And it took a little bit to recover like financially from that. But it’s, I’m not going to change jobs, because there was a couple of hard weeks that, you know, we couldn’t go to Chipotle all the time. But we do what we do, because we love it. And I think that that makes us better at what we do is because we love it. And when we get out of this mindset, that work has to be this nine to 540 hour a week paycheck with benefits, life, it opens us up to so many opportunities, it opens us up to I think being able to do things that you that could be harder, like working, we’re working moms, okay, we may not work nine to five, but we have the ability to do something we love while also being with kids. And it doesn’t matter what we choose to do. It’s the way that feels good to us. And so I think I don’t know, that’s a bit of an ongoing conversation in my own brain I think of I like I didn’t share my own podcast to deal with a lot of people because it was like, Is this silly? Is this a weird idea is something I’m going to receive judgment for people having to explain why and why I do these things. But then, once I did it, it was like, well, here’s this thing I did, because I wanted to, and because I think we need to have conversations around mental health and how it’s portrayed in the media that we consume. And grief, especially because again, I talk about death all day. But yeah, I think that I’m getting a lot of those themes, kind of from, from the text. And I think once it hits that tragedies happen, people get hurt or die. You suffer and get old, nothing you do, can stop times unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the universal or the of the thread. And I think that there are things a lot of things that come up there, there are deaths that happened there are more tragedies that happen, we might revamp what we do. I think that I mean I every once in a while I’m like, Okay, well, if one more tragedy happens, will I still be able to do this? I think at the end of the day with enough help. Sure. We have to take care of ourselves too. Because this is still why we do what we do is because we can sit in this space and we can create art into things that we love. We don’t let go of that universal thread of for me is helping others. So maybe helping others if, if more things happen and get to be too much. Maybe that shifts. But the overall theme is that I’m helping others. Yeah. So wow, things. Yeah.
Cindy Ingram 28:13
Oh my gosh, there’s so many things out there. What part of what you just said I want to comment. The answer is all the parts. So I love what you said about just wanting to I don’t think I got that message until they’re actually very recently I remember exactly where I was. I was in a it’s like a Business Mastermind meeting. And someone was just maybe, I mean, I was in that group, like two years ago. And someone in the group was like, I’m doing this because I want to and I forget her quote, I wrote it down somewhere. I’m sure it’s on a scrap of paper somewhere in my life, but it’s like, wanting to is reason enough. And and add that for some reason that felt revolutionary.
Bryna Talamantez 28:58
I’m writing that down.
Cindy Ingram 29:00
Yeah. It’s just, it’s fine. And like, ever since that moment, I like when my children are doing something and like one of them was like, What are you doing that to the other one I’m like, she doesn’t have to explain herself. She just wants to, and just wanting to is fine. Like that is enough for you don’t have to have you doesn’t have to have a monetary value. It doesn’t have to. It doesn’t have as long as not hurting anybody else. Like write you what you want. You know, watch your reality TV watch, you know, do your like, whatever brings you joy, like just wanting to is is good. And somehow we were disconnected from that. Probably the patriarchy. I always I mean, I blame a lot of it as well.
Bryna Talamantez 29:48
Yeah. Especially because as we get older as I don’t know, there’s so many I get I get a lot of comments of like your This age, what are you doing next? In most of the time, it’s reference to when are you having kids? I’m like, when I hold, please. We’re living our life. We’re over here, we’re doing things and you don’t know what else was going on. And I don’t have to explain that to you. That’s not my job to explain that to you. You do you all do me. And that that’s okay. And we can, we’re not hurting anybody. And the other spring up a lot of smash the patriarchy vibes.
Cindy Ingram 30:32
Now, yeah, I always have to bring it up at least once. And I’m like, Wait, am I opening that rabbit hole now? If we just like, look at all of my podcast episodes and see how many times a lot? Well, okay, but I think that there’s a reason why this images of a woman, right. And I think that, that I don’t know, when this painting was created, this art was created. But I think that there’s something to be said that it’s a woman. It’s not an animal, it’s not a man.
Yeah. And what she is, she’s very, like, round and like her very like, like, pleasing shape. But then I was looking at it too. And it’s like, we’ve got all of the elements represented there sky, there’s fire, there’s Earth, there’s air. There’s, you know, like plant life, and the cosmos and you know, animal life. Like it’s all even like, like, yeah, even like the symbols on her neck and on her head could represent. And even the Lotus could represent like a, like spiritual component in her spiritual connection. So it’s like, it’s all in here, her being a woman in in all of those elements.
Bryna Talamantez 31:57
Right. And I think that oftentimes, it’s women that are more explaining why we do what we do, and the choices that we make, and whether we choose to have kids not have kids, whether we choose to stay home or work part time, or work full time with kids. We’re constantly having to explain ourselves. Yeah, for no reason at all, for no reason that we’re choosing to do things that previous generations have chosen not to. We’ll leave it there. Yeah. Well, we’ll leave it at that nicely. But I think that, especially, you know, millennials, Gen Z ers. I mean, my friends, we are all questioned for why we do what we do for questions when we hit 30. And we don’t have kids, yet. We’re and it’s, why are we constantly getting questioned versus other people getting questioned? And receiving that judgment? Yeah. And so I think sometimes that makes us go stray of the things that we’re passionate about. And the things that we actually want to do. Because we feel like our is practical brain has to take over and go, Well, this is going to yield me X amount of money. This job, I have benefits, and this job I don’t and or this jobs, the benefits better. And so it’s we end up doing things we don’t love. Because we are questioned and have to explain, and then we squash our passions. Because we feel like we have to live with this expectation of somebody or something else. And that’s not as fun. Yeah. I found it very freeing when I just started living for me. Obviously, I consult with my husband, I’m like, hey, I want to do this thing. What do you think about that? And I very much love and that’s why he’s my husband of like, well, do you have a plan for that? And like, Yeah, this is kind of my thought process behind and, you know, so researching this, can you help me? Can you help me with this part? He’s like, Alright, sure. Like, let’s do it. Let’s, let’s go for it. When I opened my own office, he’s like, Okay, go for it. Do you have a plan? Yeah. How much? Is it gonna cost? Like, how much is it gonna cost? What are the like, what are you do you know what you need? Yes. Okay, great. What do you need my help with? And so once I kind of hit that point of like, Wow, that’s so freeing. Yeah, it’s so freeing, and that they’re hard days may still come up. We may need to have emotional support chocolate or something. And, but that overall, it’s like, wow, this is a good life. Yeah.
Cindy Ingram 34:56
I was in Santa Fe last week and—
Bryna Talamantez 35:00
Cindy Ingram 35:03
Oh so beautiful. They’re like well, I yeah, I love to go to like, artists painting on the street or, you know, artists selling their art on the street or in booze or whatever. And they’re out there with their art. And I love to buy art from those people because then they, you know, I got this art with a story. And I met this woman, she I don’t know how old she was, she was surely in her 80s Maybe her 90s Like she was, she was delightful. And she was in a booth with her with the main of the booth was her daughter selling her fashion designs and her clothes. But there was on this pillar, it said, it said my mom’s art and an arrow. And then so there’s some paintings there. And I was like, Oh, this is my chance. I just beeline to it. And, and she was the mom was there. And she was wearing the daughter’s fashions was so cute. But, but I was talking to her. I was like, Well, how did you start getting into painting and she just was telling me all our stories, and she’s from Austria, and then her her mother wouldn’t let her go into something creative when she was younger, because she needed to have a real profession so that she wouldn’t be reliant on a man. And I completely get that because to have her generation. Yes, yeah. Yeah, didn’t have the options. And so she just kind of squashed that she became a medical doctor. I think she was said she was a psychologist. But I think she was an MD. And then when she retired, she started painting, and now she just paints and she uses a temper, and then she sells her paintings in her daughter’s booth. But I was like, yeah, and and I was like, Oh, that is amazing. But I’m like wondering how much of her life was spent wishing she was painting? And absolutely, it made me think of what you were what something you said made me it made me think of that. And now I’ve lost that thread.
Bryna Talamantez 36:55
That makes me honestly, that makes me think of my mom. So my mom was born in 1950. And so she was a, she was a boomer. And I remember her telling me like when she was applying for college, I did not apply to SMU myself, my brother sent in my application, I wanted to get the heck out of Texas. That did not happen. There were some things I ended up at 20 minutes from home. And it honestly ended up being the best choice. And I chose to stay chose not to transfer. But she wanted to go to SMU. That was what she wanted. But she felt so she graduated from high school in 1968. And she I remember her telling me she goes, I could be a teacher, I could be a nurse, or it could be a secretary. And those options were the only options given to me. And I felt that it was impractical to go to SMU for music. When those were my three options of things that were practical. And so she stayed in Missouri and went to a school that she strongly disliked at first and then ended up transferring back to the city. We’re not middle of the nowhere country girls, that’s not our thing. That’s not our five we enjoy cities. We like Target being close. But she did her student teaching and never taught another day until she became a substitute when I was in high school. So you know 2005 That was the end. They kept trying to get her to like, come on staff come on staff. She’s like, Absolutely not. I will help you I will be a sub. I will walk in, I will do things I will leave. But she that wasn’t I mean, she was a great teacher. She Well, she tried to teach me we were too similar. And so we would just sit there and fight. But she I mean, her passion was music. She played piano, she taught piano. That’s how she supported herself through college. And if she had could, she had could just if she would have been able to do music. Like I just it it it’s a little painful sometimes that she didn’t get this like retirement year, she died a month shy of 60. And so she didn’t get that kind of time in which this painter that you’ve met last week got of she, I mean, she was hustling literally till the day she died. And she she decorated people’s houses for Christmas. And she did get a lot of joy out of that. But I was I just always kind of think of like if you had just been able to do this, how would your life had been different? And I think that’s why I kind of take in my well what do I want to do? What do I want to do? What are the things I’m passionate about? And I think that’s a lesson I got from her. Like I’m gonna do it. It’s not hurting anybody. It’s actually helping people so I’m gonna do it.
Cindy Ingram 39:54
Yeah. Oh, I love that. It made me think to your story. and I. So there’s all these stats, and this podcast does have a lot of teacher listeners, because it has been for teachers up until today. Until you’re listening to this podcast, it’s still right now, until this very second, it’s for everybody. It’s not for everybody, but teachers also will love this art teachers will also still love this. But there’s there’s a dramatic thing happening education even before COVID, where the stats of people entering teacher training programs is going down like crazy. And then. And then COVID, of course, has caught caused a lot of drama in the schools. And so there’s the addition of the, the environments being more toxic, the students being behind behaviorally and emotionally, and they’re dealing with all of that. And so teachers are really stressed out. And a lot of teachers, especially the ones that have been teaching for a really long time are like, I need to do something else. I can’t do this anymore. So there’s all these teachers leaving the classroom, lead teachers coming in, and I always blamed it about like the education system is, is harder to get is so I want to say it’s, there’s so much toxicity in it. I don’t want to call it toxic. But I always blame that. But as I started to think as you were talking, I’m like, oh, it’s also women have more options. Now women are the men and women, women or teachers are mostly women, as well. And they’re like doing other things. They’re not.
Bryna Talamantez 41:30
Right, and they’re going to professions in which they’re valued. Yeah, or perceived to be more valued. Because traditionally, my husband’s a teacher, but so he’s been, he’s in the minority of being a male teacher. But I think that because being a teacher has been a mostly female dominated field, it’s been less respected. And women are choosing to go into things that hopefully they’re following passions that they have, but that they they’re being respected more for what they do. And I also know of teachers that have left the classroom, that miss it terribly. They wish they could be with the students because they were on this meant to be on this earth to be with students and with kids. And it’s painful for them to not be in that classroom anymore. But they had to step off the wheel. Yeah. Because of their own mental health.
Cindy Ingram 42:32
Yeah, yeah. I just had a conversation with a woman last week. And she’s like, I’ve been teaching for 20 something years. And if I could actually, if I could teach the way I used to, if I could, you know, and she’s like, I hate to do that anymore. I don’t I don’t have the choice. I don’t you know, it’s just all the other things.
Bryna Talamantez 42:48
On if they weren’t, they work so hard. We love teachers, they work so hard. I’ve been I see my, I see my husband during COVID. And he was the virtual teacher, he would be at school all day, because he taught virtually from his classroom. And then he would come home, and he would be doing lessons for the next day till 1am. And he would get up and go do it again. With minimal complaint. There were days that he was like, ah, but honestly, like for his kids, he’s like, I will do this. He’s like, they want to be in the classroom. They want to be with kids, and to help them and to watch them grow. And it’s, it’s been so sad. Yeah, to watch.
Cindy Ingram 43:32
Indeed. Okay, so let’s pull it back to the painting. Because we are amazing. No, like, yeah, that is what I absolutely love about looking at a work of art and talking about it is it just opens us up to so many thoughts and ideas. And it also made me think this is another tangent, which I don’t want to go on, I want to bring it back to painting. But this artists like, you know, she has, this is a contemporary artist. And she I this I didn’t look at the date. This was from Instagram. So it was probably in the last couple years. But she has a business about grief and art and she uses art to help people grow. So like she gets, you know, women get to do these things that really bring them up, she gets to paint, she gets help people, you know, she gets to combine all of her self into into her work. Okay, so let’s pull it back into the painting, I think. Now looking at your life and your work about grief. What connections can you find in this artwork that will remind you of that?
Bryna Talamantez 44:33
Oh, well the first thing I mentioned earlier, like the thread the string that you follow, that was my first kind of connection with that book and themes that I talked about with my kids a lot. The second was the butterflies. Head I like that each of these butterflies are different. So the symbol for the symbol for National Child grief Awareness Month, that is the month of November and that National Child grief For this day, is on the third Thursday of November. So it’s just the week before Thanksgiving. The symbol is a butterfly. And an activity that we do often with kids during that month that many grief therapists and those that work with children who are grieving do is like, let’s decorate this butterfly and decorate it however you want to. You can choose to have it be indicative of your grief and your grief journey, you can do it with things that remind you of your person who died. However, you want to decorate this butterfly. So I love that each of these butterflies are different. Because for me, it’s like hear all these different stories. The shape is that like it’s all a butterfly, it’s all grief. All the stories are different, the colors are different, the details are different. And so that was, for me, that’s a big tie into grief. I also my mom’s and my thing. So again, I did Stan was on in a dance company for a while and then moved to draw team for a little bit. And one thing my mom always wrote in that, you know, you had to buy ads for all the programs and things like that. It’s all of that. And so my mom, in all of the ads she would write, your stars are watching you tonight. And that was kind of our thing of like, Oh, Dad is here. And then when my grandmother died was like, Dad, that’s dad and Grammy and so that’s actually why my logo for my office helped me to therapy has a star. Because for me, like butterflies are grief for a lot of people. But for me, it’s more of the stars. And many can choose to think that the stars I mean, the Lion King, the stars are all the kings that have come before us and have died. But for so for me grief is stars, I look at the stars to feel connected to my people. Many if you believe in heaven and the concept of heaven, you look up to the heavens, and that connects you to your people. And so actually the painting that I did in my office of I want to make it bigger to like put above my couch, but I cannot above my couch. And I love that more. So I have this little painting over in the corner of my room that has like clouds, and there’s three stars in the clouds. And so it’s very etheral all blues and whites. And so stars are really big for me and grief. And so those are the couple things that I was drawn to specifically when it comes to this piece and grief for me whether it’s working with my kids or myself. But then it’s also for a long time. And sometimes even still, I feel like isolated like this woman is Yeah, after my mom died, it was just me. I wasn’t married, I was dating my husband and he and his family have always been very supportive. But it was I had no parents, I had no grandparents, I have no siblings. I have extended family. I have family or friends that have become my family. But there are times when I’m feeling in the depths of life that I’m like I am by myself. I am isolated so this woman in this piece kind of standing alone shall I mean she don’t look unhappy but she I’m like happy she’s standing there with a smile on her face she I mean you can kind of tell in her eyes that she’s seen some stuff. And so sometimes it’s hard to not feel like this isolated person dealing with all this around us so she’s got the butterflies around her that for me represent grief the stars wrapped around her and that for me represent grief. And it’s just this single person with this passion and idea and it’s hard for me to like not see myself in her. Yeah. Which is not a bad thing. But some I I really have to work hard at times that are hard. November like the start of November through the end of the year is like a grief roller coaster for me my diet. My mom died November 14 Thanksgivings. The next week, my dad’s birthday is December 5. Then we have Christmas my mom’s birthday is December 8 28th. So like the end of the year, and be very up and down. And I never with grief. You never quite know how you’re going to feel it. This will be the 12th year anniversary of my mom died. My dad died 22 years ago. It’s you never know how it’s going to hit you. I had a panic attack in the middle of North Park, buying Christmas gifts on December 6, like four years ago, and he had been dead at that point 16 or 1718 years. But there were all the circumstances stars aligned for me to like have this grief burst through this panic attack in the middle of North Park. And you just never know how it’s going to hit you and it’s hard. Something I have been working on with my own therapist is I have to reach out and not Don’t be this isolated person, when things are hard. And we’re, it’s good to sit in our own stuff and to feel it and to feel our feelings. But at some point, we need other people that we trust, to bring us back, to bring us back to the group to not have us be isolated. I am very lucky that my inner circle of humans knows at the end of the year is kind of rough. It has ups and downs. And so they’ll check in and be like, how are we doing today? What’s going on? Do I need to bring you back? Like, what’s, what’s going on. And so I My hope for her in this painting is that she finds those people that helped bring her back and help her feel less isolated.
Cindy Ingram 50:47
That’s beautiful. I have a question about that. But I have a comment that I want to bring it back to the painting real quick, before I get to the question. And I’m telling you this. So you’ll remind me that I do have, because I don’t want to forget. But I noticed as you were talking, I was kind of looking at the painting as you were talking. And I noticed this entire time I have not been looking at her face. And then you brought up her training. And then now I’m like forcing mice, I was forcing myself to look at her face, and it doesn’t feel good. In my body to look at her face, like it feels like she she does definitely does not look happy. Like you can see like this sort of vacant mess to her. This sort of like trapped in her own pain type of look. And you know, if you’re just looking at the rash, like, Oh, she’s a part of the universe and the flood of plants are coming up and being part of her she’s connected and a threat. But then you look at her face, and it’s like, so it’s a completely different vibe. And it’s interesting that I have been doing everything in my power to avoid looking at her face, when usually the face is the first thing you’re looking at, you know, right, focus on, but I have been like, avoiding it.
Bryna Talamantez 52:00
Right. And I think that I mean, artists, I think do that for a reason. Like there are ways that I don’t do a whole lot of like modern art study. Most of my art study has been like classical, Baroque, Renaissance, impressionists, things like that. And oftentimes, they’re very, like, look at this thing I have, the sky is open right here. And I want you to look at this thing. And for us in this, in this work of art, I think it’s the look at this thing is the white flower at her chest and the pink one in front of her. And, but the face is in line with those. And so we have this really big flower, like in the middle, but a little lower than the middle. But we have this white flower, then we have this half lotus situation going on at her throat. And then it’s her face.
Cindy Ingram 52:56
And then there’s the thing on her forehead, and there’s a thing right above that there’s the galaxy, right? So there’s like a whole long, there’s like a vertical line going through. And it’s like, it’s like our eyes going up through that line. And then it goes back through this world. It’s like all these curvy lines are bringing her eye all the way around. It’s like it’s just like, a fleeting passing thing to her face that right? Oh, that’s interesting. Okay. Anyway, I noticed that while you were talking about my question, and I remembered it, I’m proud of myself for doing that. It’s a problem. So the question was, you were talking about your isolation. And I have a, I have a friend whose mother died when she was 12. And she talks about that, to that, you know, even though she had siblings, even though her father was still alive, like she felt like just completely alone. And yet, like her, you know, her dad had, like, didn’t parent her because he was, you know, in his own grief, too. And so, how, how can we people that are supporting loved ones going through such a thing? How, how can we help, like, what can we do for our loved ones who are?
Bryna Talamantez 54:10
Absolutely so I think it’s the first thing that’s most important to kind of keep in mind when you’re when you’re helping people who are grieving is that not every person, person in that family system is going to grieve the same? Yeah, they are all going to grieve differently. I don’t care if it’s twins that are have have had someone die, everyone is going to grieve differently in their own way. They all have their own personalities, they all had their own relationship with the person who died. They all have different developmental stages, they they all have their own stuff. And so that’s the first thing to kind of keep in mind. The second thing is I like specific help. Sometimes it’s I need some chocolate. I may or may not. Chocolate my feelings a lot, but that’s okay. I honor it and I recognize it as something that’s helped For me, and we love a good dopamine hit. But specific help is really helpful. Hey, I’m on my way to your house, would you like to leave your laundry at the front door for me to wash and bring back to you? Would you like me to hang out for a bit? I can do your dishes while you go relax, would you like to talk? But I have time today between two and four? How can I be a best help to you? So I think specific help is really important. It’s really also, I like having different friends that do different things. I know I the person that I talked to, when I’m like, woof, these are the big feelings. And I just need to tell you about the big feelings because I can handle the big feelings. I do ask permission of like, are you in a headspace in which I can have the feelings? And if not, then I honor that for that person and then divert. But we have the people that we can talk to about the tough stuff that we also have the people that are like, we’re going out, I’m picking you up at seven. We can go to whatever restaurant you want, but put on some pants, brush your hair, and get my car. It’s seven. And so having friends that and people who support you that are like let’s go have some fun. Let’s distract you for a bit. The people who help with care tasks, dishes, laundry, cooking, do things other than lasagna people I’ve literally after my dad I couldn’t eat lasagna again till High School. There are more options. But I also know that it’s really easy. And then there are the people that help you lean into your feelings. I had look at them and I have a lot of please don’t say this phrases. Please don’t say no how you feel? Yeah, please don’t say this happened for a reason I will literally I as an adult will literally cuss you out if you look at me and say that I don’t like they’re in a better place can go either way. Some people find comfort in that. Some people especially kids are going to look at Ingo isn’t a better place here with me. So just be that’s a more cautionary one. I typically don’t use that I steer steer clear of that one. But there are people that do find comfort in that one. So I have I have a lot of don’t phrases, but I I love when people bring my parents up in conversation. My husband and I, my husband got to meet my mom. And so I’ll look him and be like, I being a very Debbie person today. He’s like, Yeah, you’re like, See, she was all over the place and like come in and like via kind of hurricane do all the things and like leave. So I like that he and I can talk about her. I like I appreciate it when my cousin’s talk about my parents. Because there are so many stories because they’re eight and six years older than me. And I was nine when my dad died. He was sick my whole life. I was eight when he went in the hospital. And so there are so many things that I didn’t know about him before he got sick. So I love it when my when my family talks about them that in so don’t be afraid to talk about the person. If tears come up for the person who’s grieving. Maybe those tears just needed to come out. Yeah. And there’s nothing wrong with tears coming out. That’s better than them staying in. And so, sitting with them in that moment, ask about their person. Hey, how’s your grief feel today? What’s this like for you? And they may it’s okay for them to be okay. Like I was running down to feelings with a kid yesterday. And they were like, Okay, well, I’ve been had mad sad, happy, bored and Okay. Like, alright, cool. Tell me more about that. Like, don’t judge them for like, you shouldn’t feel happy. I mean, yes, you’re allowed to feel happy. It’s fine. So great. You feel okay, today? What do you want to do? What do you wanna talk about?
Cindy Ingram 59:03
Oh, gosh, so many light tips in there. That was so good. I I think what you were saying about, you know, not being afraid to talk about the loved one whose past like that. I think a lot of people feel like you don’t want they don’t want to bring it up because they don’t want to bring up the sad emotions or whatever. But then, you know, everyone I’ve talked to is usually like, No, I want to talk about them and keeps them you know, it keeps them here with me.
Bryna Talamantez 59:31
Absolutely. I want to tell you about my mom’s Lucy and Ethel escapades and the trouble in and it’s just very funny, because it’s very funny. Because at some point with all the things that she and I went through together, we just had to start laughing at some of it and we’re just like, here we are, and navigate this.
Cindy Ingram 59:53
Beautiful. Okay, so I think I think we’re probably at a good Have a good time thing so but I want to see if there anything left in this painting that you feel is is unsaid and something that you are continuing to notice that you have that you really want to talk about.
Bryna Talamantez 1:00:19
I think we’ve kind of talked through I’m glad we ended up talking about her face. Yeah, because it did take me awhile to get to her face, but we got there. I just think this is a beautiful piece. And so I’m super glad that you you found this one and brought it to my attention and I’m gonna go research this person.
Cindy Ingram 1:00:38
Yeah. Yeah, she’s got a lot of good grief art on her. Yeah, her Instagram and her for you and everyone listening. The Instagram is grief and art. Just no, no dots or lines or just those words pitch together. And the artist name is Linda McCabe. And then this painting I believe is called there’s a thread you follow? And but she has one about the stages of grief that has the butterfly going through the cocoon. Once you mentioned the butterfly, oh, yeah, there are butterflies all over. Hummingbirds are also in her art a lot as well. But some really great work on there. And we will also let her know that we talked about her painting on the podcast so she could be aware that we really enjoyed her artwork today. Yeah. Awesome. So let’s see. I think we can get we’re good. So thank you so much for talking about artwork with me today.
Bryna Talamantez 1:01:35
Thanks for picking a great piece and for allowing me to come spend some time talking about art. i It’s not something I get to do very much anymore. And so that was really fun. Wonderful. I need to go to the museum. Yes. Go wander.
Cindy Ingram 1:01:50
And remind people again, just in case, they forgot. What’s the name of your podcast? And how can listeners connect with you?
Bryna Talamantez 1:01:56
Yeah, so the name of the podcast is What the Feels and you can follow us on Instagram @whatthefeelspodcast, no punctuation, just straight through. The podcast is on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. There we go. You can also follow my office Instagram, @talamanteztherapy. Again, no punctuation district through and that’s Talamantez therapy. And you can connect with me on there. I think I have a Facebook page for my office as well. So I’m, I’m on the line. Awesome, different places.
Cindy Ingram 1:02:32
Perfect. And we will link all of those in our show notes. And beautiful. Thank you so much.
Bryna Talamantez 1:02:39
Thank you so much.
Cindy Ingram 1:02:43
Figure out where to stop recording should be at the top left. Yeah, I’m just a problem. Okay. Okay, that was our first episode of the new Art & Self Podcast. And I loved it. I love talking about art. I love what it brings up in us and connections we can find. And it’s a beautiful process. So if you are interested in being on the podcast, if you have something you’re passionate about and you want to talk talk it through, I would love to pick an artwork for us to discuss together. Also, if you know of someone who might be interested in this podcast, share it with them. And then also have them contact me or you tell me to contact them because if they have a story to tell, I would love to talk to them as well. So my email is Cindy at art class curator.com. and would love to hear from you and what this podcast meant to you as well. You can find me on Cindy needs art on Instagram and on Facebook. And thank you again for listening to the first episode of the brand new Art & Self Podcast. I will see you again next time.
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