I'm a 40-year-old mom addicted to reflecting on life and my role in this crazy world we live in. Through writing, art, photography I try to make sense of where I am, and through genealogy I try to know from where I came, and gardening, well, it simply connects me with mother nature and her connection to god.
With all of the changes taking shape in my life, I decided my new journal would be one called "Changes" and my reflections will focus on how I'm coping with them. Last night, I began a drawing what I thought would be a study of "beauty". As 40 inches closer (June 21, the first day of summer, the summer solstice, whoohoo!), I'm noticing my laugh lines creasing more deeply, which I do not mind at all, but it's the crepe-like quality of the skin below my eyes, the appearance of a sag around my jowls that seems to grab at my gut when I look at myself in the mirror each morning. That being said, I'm not willing to go under the knife for a face lift (well, not at this point in my life, but maybe....); rather, I'd like to find a way to come to terms with the exterior changes of my body. The internal thoughts as I near 40 are fantabulous! I've never felt more confident or at ease with my self as I do now. That is as long as I don't see a mirror. When I see myself in the mirror, I feel a twinge in my stomach, a "dear god, how do I fix this?" Years ago, when I was in college, I wrote about beauty and how it was society's vision of how women should look that perpetuated all sorts of unhealthy habits. Of course, I was 30 pounds lighter, then, less wrinkled and.... It was easier then, I suppose to feel unthreatened by "beauty". Now, it's different, I think.
As I was drawing, though, things changed for me. Those of you who create art know that the process of creation is sometimes its own animal. My friend Karen, who is a plastic surgeon, introduced me to process art a few years ago. The focus was not to be on the finished product but on the process, how the art developed, changed, evolved, and how the "artist" developed, changed, evolved as well. For me, this drawing was about an evolution of sorts. You'll notice that it looks cut off at the bottom. That's because it is. After drawing this, I decided it needed an embellishment. I had some ribbon that came in my scrap pack from Hobby Lobby, and I thought this little piece of black velvety ribbon might make a nice embellishment around her neck. But as I cut it, it dropped on her mouth. It was one of those "mistakes" that proved too important to ignore. Rather than keep the "What is the secret to beauty" I had written at the bottom of the page, I decided it needed to be chopped, and this drawing needed to stand on its own--she needs to stand on her own.
I've not decided what she is standing for or against, though, and I'm not sure what part of the changes I'm undergoing she fits into, but there is no doubt she fits. I don't think her meaning, now, is beauty. I think there is something more meaningful embedded in her. Beauty, is well, surface, and maybe that's what she's suppose to be teaching me. Maybe her purpose is that and not silence as when first looking at her one might think. Interestingly, I've not felt silent for years, and yet, something transpired while I was creating her that made her "work" better as a silent woman--or a woman keeping a secret--or a woman who chooses to keep her lips sealed. I don't know. I'm intrigued by her, though, and how she has taken on her own personality in my new journal.
By the way, I went to Hobby Lobby (walked there as my car was getting a "checkup"--if you haven't walked to a store in a while, you should. Here in the midwest we drive everywhere. Without my car I was forced to walk, and let me tell you I wish I lived in a town where you could walk to the stores. I would be a very happy person!). They had one lone remnant bag today, and I snatched that baby right up. Five bucks bought me the images you see here. Perfect sizes for all kinds of art projects. My sister in law called earlier and asked if I would be interested in using her digi-scrapbooking stuff. I told her no way. Although I appreciate my friends who do it and although I love visual stimulation of all kinds, I MUST have the tactile. There is nothing better than opening this bag full of scraps (which was only $5, I tell ya!), running my fingers through it, organizing it, messing it up, using it in a project. Oooo the way it feels on my skin!