show details 8:14 AM (51 minutes ago)
I am not entirely sure where to start this day. Oh, Wednesday.
At least the garbage will be picked up.
I am good at putting on a brave face.
But, I don’t know what to do.
Write a story?
I don’t know how a story begins.
Crochet an elephant’s leg?
My fingers feel like sausages. They hold no beauty.
Clean the house.
It seems as if I have been cleaning the house.
Still, it is dirty. I need to do far more that just wipe the beaten paint of it’s smudges and prints. It needs to be scraped. A new finish brushed on.
I need my life to feel different by this evening. I need something to happen today that makes it all make sense. I need to believe that somehow this is the way that is right for me…because if it is not…well, I’m going to have a hard time pretending.
I think that is the crux of the problem at hand: I can’t seem to pretend anymore.
The world is full of people who are pretenders and some people are better at pretending than others. I have gone through chunks of time during which I could pretend quite well.
Get up and go through the motions and smile and laugh and drive and speak and for a good long while, it almost makes sense. I can almost believe that it is believable and that, at last, I can take my life for granted as being legitimate.
Really, that is all a person wants: to not question the legitimacy of their life and to feel that those outside of themselves are not estimating their time spent as being something other than it is.
“I thought you were taking on unemployment so you could spend more time with the kids.”
Yesterday, we went to the Arboretum and the girl fussed – pushing lines this way and that, feeling hot and tired and not sure how to relax. We pushed on, the boy commenting that this is just like Charlestowne Landing. (Search: Charlestowne Landing)
And it was…
The other people on the wide bench-lined paths wondering why this tall girl with the baby face was crying so. My daughter, not me. It’s been years since I cried in public. Years.
We got confused by the dotted line of The Natural Garden Trail and started off going the the wrong way. Had to turn around. And the girl, previously agreeable, fell apart.
“No! I don’t want to go back! I want to go home! This is boring. I’m tired. I won’t turn around. I will stay right here.
The boy was patient, somehow having learned that if he reacts at all to his sister’s tantrums, they will get worse…the wrath turned upon him. He seemed to know that if he fell apart…well, the whole outing would end in screaming children being dragged back to the car by a mother who appears weary and resigned and blank-faced in grace.
I have had strangers in parking lots compliment me on my patience. And it’s funny how the behavior of children can write a mother.
It’s not hard to stay calm. I could say that I have been learning the fine art of resignation. And it is true: I try to be mindful in my illusions of control.
However, the truth of the matter is that non-sensical fussing simply shuts me down, puts me on auto-pilot. I can remember, quite clearly, being in the throws of some phantom tantrum (the feeling of sun and glare and my mouth dry from screaming and my face wet with tears because I was tired and crying and I didn’t want to be tired and crying and, oh…it just falls apart.) (Bless her heart.)
Nope, I didn’t yell. I tried walking away a few feet, to show I meant business. We are going to see the Bonsai Garden! It’s this way! – going over to whisper to the boy, who is looking a little blank over by the side of the wide pathway. “Bud, we ARE going to see the Bonsai Garden. We will, don’t worry.”
The boy had been on a field trip here the year before, my mom had been a chaperone because I was working that day, M-F – all day long. He loves the small trees. I do, too.
Even if I had to pick the girl up (pleasepleaseplease don’t make me have to pick you up: I was trying to telepathically send this to girl. Saying, “I can’t carry you. You’re too heavy.”)
mustering the strength of ten mothers to carry the girl and her dolls and the stroller the dolls were riding in…
No. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. The path to the bonsai was uphill. People were starting to stare. And why not? I am heavily tattooed, I am wearing bright green shoes, I am standing between two children…a boy looking at a map and a girl standing behind a stroller filled with dolls, crying to go home. It is a beautiful day.
In the end, it was orange-y crackers and a large five-lined skink darting into the five-leaved akebia that provided the distraction that un-jammed our forward momentum. We saw the bonsai. We looked at them for a few minutes. The boy said his head hurt, his stomach hurt. It was hot. We went home.
We will get better at it, the kids and I.
It is Wednesday, almost eight am and the world is waking up here, getting ready for work and a whole ‘nother day.
Going to try to keep the ghost hand off my heart today.
It held on tight all yesterday.
I have sent out a few introductory, re-introductory emails. Including a request to a person I wrote letters to almost everyday for a year and a half (1998-2000) – the recipient of the perfect cocoon. I hardly knew this person, he only wrote back sometimes. A letter here or there.
(Search: journal 2000)
(It was during this time, when I had – somehow – no one else.)
(I had started writing him during my excited applying to graduate school, graduating from college, moving back to Georgia time.)
(And then it all seemed like a joke.)
(It seems I rely on the kindness of strangers an awful lot.)
So, yeah – fb’ed who I think might be that very same guy – a sort of Outsider Skateboarder, if you could imagine such a thing…it wasn’t random, my writing him. He seemed to have the same rogue bravery that I have and he looked me in the eye and didn’t flinch.
So, with ghost hand on my heart – knowing I had to reach out, but unable to call to the people I actually NEED – well, I sent this guy a fb friend request (hahahahahaha!) (I am able to laugh at this now:) and asked him if I could “maybe write to him again?”
Hahahahahaha! Oh man, I crack myself up. And thank goodness I do – ’cause there has been little laughter around here.
It must be hard to have, as a mother, a maker who the world makes out as crazy.
This rainbow showed up in spite of the ghost hand.
It’s a double. Stupid rainbow. Trick of light.
The other night, watching Curious George – I was crocheting with pink yarn, a portion of elephant. The girl says, “Is an artist’s life really filled with hard knocks?”
“What?” I started paying attention, what was she talking about?
“An artist’s life is filled with hard knocks.”
“Who said that?” Instant imagining of my primary doubters doubting me. Sad, that the primary doubter of the girl’s mother is _______. Throat closes with the power of doubt.
“The man with the yellow hat! He said: ‘Well, George, an artist’s life is filled with hard knocks.”
“Oh, sweetie…” And I realized that she worries about me a little in my ‘artistness’ – but, she does love to use the sewing machine. I love when she asks, “Did you make that? oooooooh, Mommy!”
It would actually be awesome if the rogue skateboarder would be my penpal. He would probably have good advice re: the boy and his remarkable grace on four wheels. Sometimes people who are so at home on wheels have a hard time with the walking and talkingness of the ordinary world.
Oh well. I know – by the way, that I have Shipman to write to, but – and sorry for this Shipman – to have only a ghost from my parent’s past to write to…well, it’s just too dang sad right now:)
I will keep up with The Shipman, but he can’t be – like, the only person I talk to on the whole frickin’ planet. That’s just too weird.
I’m sure you understand.
I don’t know what I am doing. But, I know that the balance of doubt and belief has been dealt a bad blow…
I see now that I do not fear rejection, and that the thought of strangers in rooms in front of screens laughing at me…
Well, it doesn’t hurt so much…in comparison.
Because maybe there is a chance that some kindness will come from a straightforward request for it. Some fleeting belief in me as someone deserving of…belief…
Um, hi…could you just like, you know…be nice to me
for a while?
i will be worth the time one day
The nice thing about having so little to lose is that…well, I won’t be any worse off than I was before and even if people laugh at me, at least I gave them something to laugh at.
At least I was not afraid to say: ‘I really need a penpal’
Got an acquaintance – a frienemy (haha.) – from whom I feel doubt and skepticism re: me as a non-loser…but, she works with Prison Books and I should probably get up with them soon anyway – the work they do is VITAL.
Okay – good. I have made disclosure and disclaimer and disregard…
I have claimed myself in the face of doubt. I have made a plan. I will get myself a penpal in prison. When the kids ask me about good people and bad people, I tell them that there are not really any bad, truly bad people in the world – (which I do not think is true, I think there are a number of truly bad people in the world…I try not to know them)
But that even good people can make bad decisions and that bad decisions sometimes have bad consequences and people just get lost.
I may be alone, but I am not lost.
show details 6:31 AM (2 hours ago)
I don’t know what to do.
Really. I do not know what to do.
show details 6:24 PM (14 hours ago)
What I am overwhelmed by is the need to get my frickin’ shit in order. Seriously: it makes me wanna frickin’ CRY – my stuff is so out of order.
It’s not just that…it’s the thunder and the lightning and the early evening rain and birds are singing and it’s dark but light and…well, I just feel weird. Even when I was a little kid I’d feel this strange sense of un-ease and it would just be huge and awful and somehow my mom and I called it the Clown-y Feeling.
I worry too much. I need to get out more.
I don’t care much for dread feelings of unknown origin.
Nope. Don’t like this one bit. Either I’m crazy or there’s a bad moon risin’ somewhere.
Maybe a combination of the two. A spurious connection after all.
Subject: Re: IMG00360-20100615-0705.jpg
Sent: Jun 15, 2010 6:02 PM
I am seriously overwhelmed right this very minute. Seriously. First of all, I have a sneaking sensation that my life of few enemies has ceased and been supplanted with a life of several enemies. That’s okay. Really. I am feeling quite cut throat right now and – well, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Funny socio-cultural experiment: Faith becomes vehement and disdainful and aloof, she may or she may not…
The experiment part is whether or not my popularity would increase, from it’s current hovering around zer0rez to something like…I don’t know, more than zero.
I was reading through a blog that I half started to follow Self vs Self by Australian artist Hazel Dooney. Apparently, in Australia and all that ‘over there’ she is quite well known and controversial. Like most people, I had never heard of her. (Syntactic Double Entendre)
Anyway, on this one post Ms. Dooney plainly states her many flaws of personality. She sounds a bit of a bitch actually – but, at least honest.
I am plagued by notions of virtue. I fuckin’ cannot stand to be nice for one more goddam second. To children, the elderly, and those who deserve it, I will be nice…to everyone else I am going to be as quiet and imposingly assured as possible. I will stand my full height…maybe. I really don’t like it when people look at me. Really not so much. 1/2 the time I don’t even notice, but sometimes I do and I can’t stand it.
“What, baby, why you got tattoos if you don’t want noone lookin’ at them?” Drunk guy at convenience store, who has my arm in his hand and is twisting it around a little to see all those awful blue roses, that wide pale scar.
Take my arm back: “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t touch me.”
I should have punched him. The only problem with that would be that I would have to touch his filthy slack drunk face.
show details Jun 14 (1 day ago)
Appt. w/ ESC was O.K. Totally weird system. Totally. It’s funny – but, there is this MAJOR stigma re: unemployment…even among so called progressive liberals or whatever…who ooh and ahh over European health and welfare benefits.
Well, while it is true that I am looking for a job – I am not going to succumb to the desperate mindf* that is the Protestant Work Ethic. I worked. Right now I am ‘not working’ (other than the childcare, the house care, writing and drawing and crocheting everyday and also trying to generally keep myself on a functional keel) – yup, not working at all over here. Not one little bit.
People will pick and chew whatever facets they can from other lives, won’t they? Anything to distract from the business of themselves.
This – even the past decade – has been a relatively small chunk of my life. I recall that by the time I was in middle school, my mother and father were barely recognizable as the people I remembered from when I was little. They had changed so much.
My brother and I would talk about this sometimes: “Dad’s changed…”
“Yeah, Mom and Dad are weird, huh?”
“We alllllll got our stuff…”
Not elucidating in the slightest.
I really need to live in a way that leaves me the headspace to make things…to wake up with an idea in the middle of the night and to sit with it awhile, instead of laying in the dark wishing sleep because the day will feel brittle and exhausting enough.
I need a total re-structure of means and ways, of goals and expenditures, of time spent well or not at all. I like the little crochets I’ve been doing…I can carry them in my pocket and work my way through a nest during the ESC Unemployment Claims Orientation. Better go apply for at least two jobs.
Sent: Jun 14, 2010 1:28 PM
Hot. Yup. Pretty darn hot. Perfect day to go the ESC. Yup. Air conditioning. Yup.
Finish backing up photos and blog, start new crochet pink elephant, continue work on crochet heart of gold, try to draw dandelion gone to seed…
Fold laundry. Weed Garden. Sweep stairs. Clean bathrooms. Pack Self in ice cold ice and prop in front of fan.
Select drawings to be sewn onto cardstock.
Keep figurin’ out ways…
(Read that as you’d like.)
…to be painted on the front porch. The directions are indicated to be accurate if one is standing on the porch and watching the sun rise. Needs work. I don’t want it to look too ornate. Perhaps I will just draw a cross of arrows. Yeah, that’s probably what I’ll do. The goal is so that my kids will begin to develop a sense of direction of orientation. It is not to make some fancy crap that will take forever and won’t turn out right anyway.
show details Jun 14 (1 day ago)
The Pumpkin Farmer’s Daughter
…was loved by all the ghosts that lived ’round the old sugar house. She knew that there were ghosts – because early in the summer she’d been up looking for blackberries and she, well – see it was hot and so she sat down against the wall of the sugar house just for a second to loosen up her bonnet and when that cool old brick wall pressed up against her back…well, she just fell plumb asleep. It was late afternoon ’round about time she woke up and – goodness – she’d had some of the strangest dreams. She shook her head and tightened her bonnet and reached for her berry basket – – – Where was her berry basket? She jumped up and – my goodness – where were her shoes? The Pumpkin Farmer’s Daughter, why – she put her hands up to her mouth and her eyes got real wide. My goodness! Now all those dreams made sense! The footsteps and whispering and the creak of the woven basket’s handle as it was lifted and – oh! – how she had dreamed she was being dragged, yes dragged by foot and ankle.
Why she’d been too scared to wake up! Now, she reckoned herself lucky to have not woken when the ghosts were about her like that. She looked around quickly and suddenly the woods around the old sugar house seemed slanty and still and the shadows were sharpened like teeth. She picked up her skirts and ran all the way home. Back across the fields of pumpkins and past the chicken yard and -stomp-stomp-stomp- up to the porch and she just went right straight to bed. She did. She heard The Pumpkin Farmer come in and take off his pumpkin farming boots. The Pumpkin Farmer’s Wife said something about dinner and The Daughter feeling peculiar.
Either feeling peculiar or seeming peculiar, it was hard for The Pumpkin Farmer’s Daughter to hear, her head filled with the sounds of footsteps on leaves and crackling cane baskets and heels scraping dirt.