Drawings and Writer’s Block

 

I want to write every day – but today is a day when my head and body are tired.  I want to climb into bed… but I am finding that pushing through is sometimes a better feeling.  Keeping this commitment to myself is important.  So, with writer’s block, I am sharing some things I have drawn recently.  I still have so much to learn, but these simple-line drawings don’t make me sad.  They show a basic competency I never thought I would get to.

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This is a picture of my stepson as a little one.  He is a very serious pirate.  He is so adorable in this picture.  I regret all the angst I had  wondering if I would fit into their lives.  I knew this was my one shot at any sort of motherhood so I kept impatiently waiting for it to click, to know their love.  It came, obviously.  But I was impatient.  img_3516

This is a picture of my stepdaughter.  She is bad ass.  She is so funny, generous, kind, and tough that I feel my heart expanding.  This was in response to some teasing from her brother.  She didn’t actually stab him.img_0010

This is Toby the kitten cat.  He is the sweetest little soul.  He gives me all of his love and takes years off my life with his cuteness.  He treats my like a mom who will totally spoil him rotten – and I will.  My mom and I were talking about the animals in our lives – the old souls and the new souls.  Annie was my old soul – Toby is a brand new fresh soul – and it is sweet to be so relied on to give him what he needs.  He is my baby. He is the antidote to losing my Annie – when I think of the hole she left, he will jump up to the surface I am nearest and demand attention and love.  And that is perfect.img_0012

This is my sweet stepdaughter getting int the basket that Toby the kitten cat had just vacated.  She is so beautiful – and in this drawing I come close to showing her sweet spirit.

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Self portrait.  Hard to draw – mentally.  Looking at my face that long was hard – so probably a good thing for me to do.  I drew this soon after I had fake eyelashes installed.  And my eyes aren’t really that green.  And my nose doesn’t exactly look like that.  But my lips are that big.

Trigger (Radio Edit)

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[10/15/2016 – I got mixed feedback on this post.  I used a lot of crass language originally that I felt drove home the point I was trying to make – the pain, the shame, the visceral.  I think that language lost some readers.  And so I repost with compromise.  And since I originally posted this, Donald Trump has reiterated my message – nothing that his accusers are too ugly to predate upon.]

And god help you if you are an ugly girl

I am entirely ugly.  Feel free to stop reading, but do not give me your objections.  I have more experiences in my life than pounds of extra flesh that let me know I am ugly.  Boys at spring break, teachers, friends, family members, and total random fucking strangers have reiterated to me (unbidden) how entirely ugly I am.

I would love to tell the stories over and over again… “Who invited the fat girl?”, “Why would he grab your ass?”, “We need to walk Kate across campus so she doesn’t get raped.  See you tomorrow, Ginger”, male friends and family dissecting the hotness of a woman while I am right there, the high school calc teacher who ogled a girls’ bottom with the boys in the class and then shrugged when he saw I saw him, getting punched in the boob…  I can pull up the choking pain and embarrassment in an instant.  I can beg for you to imagine 10 steps in my extra wide shoes.  But there is no point to that. Let me just say, I am ugly.  There are not enough words or breaths in your body to convince me otherwise.

In my lifetime I have built a life –  husband, career, house, flesh –  to protect me from the pain of not being pretty.  I can completely, entirely, honestly say I don’t give a shit if you think I am ugly.

And so when I heard that video released with Donald Trump talking about grabbing pussy.  I inexplicably felt all of my ugly-girl pain triggered.  Why???  He was talking about irresistible women – I live in a different universe.

Course too pretty is also your doom
‘Cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
For the prettiest girl in the room

I have always had a complicated relationship with pretty girls.  They have this superpower they can wield with men – to be protected, to be adored, to be listened to, to have things purchased for them.  Jealousy – dark, slimy green jealousy overcomes me.  A few years ago in therapy I said, “I just wish I was pretty enough to deserve to be taken care of.”

My therapist looked at me and said that sounded like absolute bullshit.  And she was right.  Being ugly, unadored, invisible gave me space and tools to be who I am.  And I am great – I stealthily reveal my humor, my intelligence, my worth.  And I can always recognize that moment when somebody realizes I am pretty fly for a fat girl.  And I can take care of myself.

I’m not trying to give my life meaning
By demeaning you

Being invisible and being gorgeous have one thing in common.  They don’t expect much.  And at least I was mostly left alone.  That seems easier than being valued only for your looks – all other attributes ignored.

In short, it is complicated.  As we focus on getting rid of rape culture in our schools and society, there is progress in that male authority figures are no longer allowed to talk or act like sexual predators.  Definitely not the case when I was growing up.  Donald Trump’s comments have been seen as totally outside of acceptability – not just boys being boys.  Except by Rudy Giuliani, who (if you ask me) is entirely ugly  Watching male Republican leaders have to disavow gross comments from their presidential candidate cracks my flat fat ass up !!

And god help you if you are a phoenix
And you dare to rise up from the ash
A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
While you are just flying past

All of this is self-indulgent navel gazing, because if I was a minority, Mexican, disabled, or a muslim, I would be pissed that all of a sudden we find Trump’s words too much.  As a fat and ugly girl, I can only begin to empathize with how people in those groups must feel invisible and unprotected – not worthy of outrage.

Let’s end this national nightmare.

p.s. all song lyrics from the song 32 flavors by the totally fuckable Ani Difranco

p.p.s  don’t worry, my marriage is happy and healthy.  But one of the reasons I love my husband so hard is that he absolutely judges everybody by their intelligence – men, women, newts… not a perfect system, but refreshing.

Cups of stuff

cups_penspencilsI still want to learn to draw.  It has been challenging for me, because my brain doesn’t communicate to my hands in that way.  Which is just practicing enough in order to build the connection for communication.  But when I want to practice drawing, I don’t know where to start, what to do.

This week I drew my cup of pens and pencils on my desk.  It is so far from good.  But it is progress.  Practice Practice Practice.

This is the first in a series of cups of stuff.  Weirdly awesomely fun to draw.

Finding Quiet

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The longer you work, I think the more possibilities you have of creating something.  At least in my case, it doesn’t come through divine touch, it just comes through just work.

– Arturo Herrera

For a lot of my life, work was home base.  Homework and then working for a living.  And then there was the work of making.  I have always felt most myself and safest when I retreat to work.

But I have lost some of that.  I work enough – and people are always telling me how surprised they are how much quilting I get done.  And I am busy at work.

Work is not home base anymore though.  I feel my brain is distracted.  It is hard for me to accomplish.  Part of that is the unavoidable complexity of life.  But part of that is the noise I create with dumb TV and dumb smartphone.

My husband has the beautiful little reading nook upstairs.  It is quiet.  It is peaceful.  It reminds me of my great grandmother’s apartment.  Bright, quiet, and invitation to play or think or read.  I want to create that same space for quiet in my brain and in my home.

I seem to need to recommit to this daily.  It no longer comes naturally or easily.  It may be too late for me to rewire.  All I can do is try.  I know, dear reader, you can’t stomach me committing one more time to work and focus.  Yet, it helps me.  It really does.

This evening I stated to my family that I was never going to play a video game or watch a dumb television show again.  The kids witnessed this and looked back down at their phones.  The role modeling can’t start soon enough.

Cal Newport has a lot of excellent things to say about focus – and how it can lead to achievement:  http://calnewport.com/blog/

 

 

 

ISO: 29-year friendship

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Last Saturday, a friend of mine passed away.  She was 42.  We became friends when we were 13.  I still haven’t been able to fully comprehend.

We double-dated to Homecoming, Courtwarming, Prom.  I went to Worlds of Fun her inaugural weekend of being a dancing panda.  We rode together in her red escort.  Windows down, music up.  She helped me pull off all four of my 30th birthday parties.  I hosted the shower for her first baby.  We took a long trip to San Diego and LA together when we were 29.  Windows down, music up.  We attended each others’ weddings.  We knitted together and scrapbooked together.  We laughed so much.  Our lives intertwined together.

Because of my introversion and generally unrelenting awkwardness, I don’t have a lot of connection to my past.  I don’t have friends from college, I had maintained just one friendship from high school.  She was this beautiful thread through my life, tethering me to a place and a time as we both created families and worked.

And now she is dead.  We had been out of touch the last few years, but not out of each others’ hearts.  We e-mailed every couple of months, just to remind each other that although we weren’t in touch, we still thought of each other.  A few months ago, the company she worked for folded, so she was looking for a new job.  We were strategizing to bring her to the company where I work.  The possibility of that always made me smile.  Now it makes me so sad.

I really, really don’t want her to be dead.  I feel lost.  She was one of the best people I have ever known.

When things like this happen, I guess it is natural to reevaluate.  I have to strengthen existing friendships or make a new one.  Because there is this giant, painful hole.  Both mental and palpable.  I am not sure where to start – how to move past this constant desire to not have her be dead.  I have rejoined facebook.  It drives me crazy because I hate conflict and that tenuous line between bragging and sharing, but if I had been on facebook, Laurie and I would have been more connected.  I don’t know if that is the right place to start.  But I am lost.  I am in search of something I will never find.

 

Estes Park + Art in Denver

Oh, so much to blog about !!  I just finished posting about our trip many weeks ago to Bentonville, so probably just time to share some pictures from our trip to Estes Park.  More is forthcoming – the joy of miniature golf, the awesomeness that is Rocky Mountain National Park, and the treasures in the Denver Art Museum.  For right now, I humbly offer some pictures of our trip, with a commitment to the boring details at a later date.

 

 

You don’t have to be cool

I hate cliches. I hate bandwagons.  I hate soporific memes.

Yet I found myself listening to Kiss in the driveway last night and crying like a baby.  I have deep pockets of precious memories linked to Prince’s music.

My friend Heather and I used to share a walkman and headphones listening over and over and over and over again to the Sign O’ The Times cassette as we rode the bus to the hell that is junior high.  A lifeline for two chubby white girls, bracketing the misery of being 13 in a public institution.

In college, Prince was my secret joy.  Hopelessly nerdy and high-strung and often alone, I listened to Diamonds and Pearls. I might look like a white bread sandwich, but I knew I was funky.  I knew that my depths were more than people saw, and part of that persona was loving Prince.

In my 20s I had a friend who would quote lines from Purple Rain to me.  It was his Star Wars, his cultural touchstone.

That friend and I don’t speak anymore.  Prince is dead.  I am a blubbering white woman cliche.  But I know I am funky.

You don’t have to be beautiful
To turn me on
I just need your body baby
From dusk till dawn
You don’t need experience
To turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I’m gonna show you what it’s all about