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.
Sometimes the bottom just drops out, and I find myself sad, anxiety ridden, questioning everything in my life, and over the last few days, I've been falling down that slippery slope trying desperately to catch myself. I liken my life to this: on one end there is a large metal pole stuck firmly into the ground; wrapped around it is a large rubber band; the other end of the rubber band is around my waist, and I spend my time running, running, running, and all of a sudden the rubber band snaps me back and boom--head against that metal pole, and there I am slumped in a ball on the ground. I really do try to fight this. I am completely conscious of what happens to me, but I'm not always conscious while it's happening--if that at all makes sense. I'm not depresses so to speak, but I'm in this place that causes me to question my life and the direction it's going. I believe 100% in Socrates' comment that a life unexamined is not worth living, but I also know that I tend to go overboard. I have a tendency to cut and run. This is an easy thing for me to do, which frightens a lot of people in my life. I think they all know that at any minute I could simply say, enough is enough, I'm outa here. That's not what I'm about to do. I just need to figure out what's wrong. I think a major part of this has to do with all the changes that are taking shape this summer. I've been way too "I'll work through this!" and not enough feeling the anxiety these changes are creating in my life. Too, I'm finding that I don't recognize myself in the mirror. I awoke this morning and stared at myself, not sure who I was. That's not good. Again, I've done this before and my cures in the past have been the "cut and run" philosophy. I've been joking a lot about the age and weight thing, but it's really gotten to me. The laughing and joking about it has been a cover-up, I think. I really am freaking out over the changes in my life. So, today, I drew a screaming person. I received in the mail two great books, True Vision: Authentic Art Journals and Art Journals and Creative Healing. In one of the books there is a screaming three year old. I really feel like that screaming three year old today! I'm desperately shouting, but nothing is coming out. Perhaps that is why earlier this month I said I had nothing to say. I think I do have something to say, it's just not rising to the surface. The screaming woman is going to become the start of today's journal. I think it will be helpful to really delve into the problem that I'm having today. Maybe, then, I can pick myself up, put some ice on that bruise caused by the smashing of my body into that very stable, well grounded metal pole, and finally take off the rubber band that keeps yanking me back to this place.
If money wasn't a necessity of life, I'd be happy. I know, I know, most people think that, but really, if I didn't have to work, could just stay home and create, using products that I could get for free, I would. What would I do with my time, you might ask? Ha! What wouldn't I do! First, there isn't enough wall space to hold what I'd want to do. It's funny, my mom is obsessed with wallpaper. I hate wallpaper, and, yet, I could see my walls inundated with photographs of every little thing I see. Isn't that the same as wallpaper? No! Each inch of the wall would hold a different glance of the world--not the sequential, predictable patterns of Victorian flowers lacing themselves across the walls. Each photo would not only be different, but it would hold a meaningful moment in time. Think about every photo on your walls right now. Either in the photo itself, behind the camera or off to the side just a bit, there is a story to be told. Even the photos taken in a studio have a story to tell--the little girl screaming through her photo shoot in front of you and you were afraid that's what your child would do, etc. Think of the smells, the weather, the conversations, all the hopes and dreams and feelings that were taking shape when that single photo was snapped. There is so much more to a photo than what is seen on the surface.
On the little jaunt to pick up Jake, I took photos of some cool things. Now, I'm in love with them, and I want to enlarge them and hang them on my walls, but there is that little thing called money that gets in the way. How much is too much to pay for a frame? What about the selling price of my house--will too many holes in the wall affect that? Will people even notice the house when it's covered in photos that have absolutely no relevance to them? That being said, the other day, I had a 30 minute conversation with a woman who after walking into my house with her realtor saw my photo of the whale on the wall and wanted to know all about how I had taken it. Her dream was to go whale watching. Mine was to have her buy my house!
So, what do I do with all of these photos? I can't realistically wallpaper my walls with each photo I take that I really like. I like each for different reasons--there is the literal photo and then all the layers that cannot be seen. I'll post a couple here. But I really, really, really want to hang them on my walls.
So, my last post was about photography, and wanting to "snake" my way through jungles, etc. Well, I might want to change the term "snake". I drove to Bennett Springs to pick up Jake, who'd spent a few days with my dad at his cabin. After the four hour drive, I decided we (actually MY hind end) needed to take a nature hike. Jake led the way, and before long, I reached out and grabbed him, keeping his gigantic size 14 shoe from stomping on a snake. Now, not that I am opposed to killing snakes. He could have stomped it to death, and I may well have joined in after it was done flopping. After all, having lived in the country, I grew up with snakes and had no problem standing in the yard screaming until my dad got a gun. BUT, next to water, you never know what kind of snake it is, and since I didn't have my "Poisonous Missouri Snake Guide" with me (yes, I have one of them, too. I cannot stress to you how much I hate snakes, but...), I wasn't sure if it was poisonous. We stood perfectly still until, after "jumping" into the water, it eased itself up on a rock and some kind of algae. Like I said, I hate snakes, but I also have a horrid fascination with them when I'm near enough. Instead of running, then, or screaming for my dad to grab a gun (he was at the cabin, but knowing how well I can scream, he would have probably heard me, and at this point, he'd likely just roll his eyes and shake his head), I started taking photos of it. Totally creeped out, I must say, I kept snapping away. Disgusting! It's eyes were round and not vertical slits, so I think it was non-poisonous; I couldn't quite tell the shape of its nose, either--the sun was shining and causing a glare, so...
Needless to say, I was thinking hard about the use of "snake" so many times in my last post and talking about that post with a few others. I see snakes, though, all of the time. It's because I'm hyper sensitive to my surroundings and scan the land as though I'm searching for land mines or something! If I'd not been with Jake, he wouldn't have seen the snake. He had no idea it was there in front of him, which made him stop and think about how many he'd been near the last few days and had no clue. Then, he got to thinking about what if a snake would "snake" by and somehow get into his waders as he was fishing in the water. I shudder to think! Good grief.
Well, back at camp, with photos loaded, we ate dinner with my dad, who is obsessed with this living like a cowboy. I don't get it, but, hey, whatever trips your trigger, I guess. He cooks using a dutch oven, which I must say made a really nice looking roast, but there is something about living in a one-room cabin, with no running water--thank god he has electricity (despite wanting to be a cowboy, he hates the heat and likes air conditioning. Of course, as a kid, when the front room had the only air conditioner in the house and my room in the attic was baking, he'd tell me to "buck up". Yes, but that air conditioner was only feet away from his room--something seems odd about that, don't you think?). Personally, I like the modern amenities of the 21st Century. Conserve, recycle, reuse, reduce, etc, for sure, but to give up running water for an extended period of time is crazy--especially when your living near a water source with snakes-good lord, there are snakes in them thar hills, fella!
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a photographer. It was my dream. I had a little studio set up in my parents' basement, and I spent hours and hours taking photos of all sorts of things. I hoped to work in advertising. Then, I went while in DC my first year at college for a journalism convention, I toured National Geographic. I thought nothing better than to slump through jungles and snake my way through foreign countries snapping hundreds of rolls of film. Well, life got in the way, and that didn't happen. Although I dabbled here and there with weddings and portraits, it didn't work out. We were poor, I had a baby, and I got sucked in another direction. That being said, I always dabbled. I never let it go completely. The fruit of that was given to me today. My ex-husband's niece (I still consider her my niece, but the divorce separated us and I hadn't talked to her in over 10 years) sent me a postcard. I saw her a week or so ago at a local restaurant while she was home visiting. She sent me that postcard from Ohio while she's touring the country taking photos. She said that it was because of me that she' s out there, right this moment, snapping photos, snaking her way across the country. She also added, "You remember when we covered those old check boxes with wallpaper?" Yes, I do, and she added these were things that she'd do someday with her own nieces. The postcard brought be to tears. I sat in the car and cried. All those years ago, I had no idea that something I might say or do would inspire this beautiful little girl to live out her dream. I'm so proud of her. She's starting her doctorate in psychology, and she mentioned she'd like to do something with art. If I had to do it all again, knowing what I do today, I'd be an art therapist. 100%.
So, Ms. Rachael, as you tour around the next few days, know that I'm living vicariously. I love you to pieces and you made my day today. It just reminded me how powerful just a little bit of time can be when offered to a child, and it reminded me that dreams live on in other people sometimes, and that, my dear, makes me so incredibly happy!
Let me tell you, yesterday, I was on fire! I created all day long, and I had so much fun. I found myself totally lost in each creation and by the end of the day, I was relaxed, re-energized and refreshed. Wow! I started one page in my journal--it's about growing old, and I found a quote about age and rather than describing it as growing old, it said we "ripen". I love that. Like a good wine, or a grape on the vine. Yummy. What a better way to look at aging. Of course, I'm not obsessing on the whole aging thing. I'm only 40, but some of my friends who are 40 are freaking out. I'm so happy, I can hardly stand it! True, there are days I miss that 20 something body, but hey, I'm better in every other way than in my hind end! I also played a bit with the drawing I posted yesterday. I "antiqued" it in I-photo, and decided to go with her as a mother nature like figure. The other two I've titled "What grows in your heart?" and "When your back is against the wall." Pretty obvious, I think. I'm just having a ball doing this. I'm not very good, but I don't care. There is nothing better than getting what's inside of you out on the page, and I really do believe that if you just let the process of creating overtake you, you'll find your subconscious rising to speak to you. I completely believe that God resides in our subconscious and speaks to us in whispers, guiding and supporting us. For me, creating helps me get in contact with God, and makes me feel ever so peaceful, centered, and like I said earlier, rejuvinated, re-energized, etc. So I'm off to see what else I can muster up with my new watercolor pencils that I absolutely LOVE!!! Have I mentioned that yet?
My dad has been here visiting, so not a lot of art going on. He just left, taking Jake with him for a little Papa and grandson time together in the Ozarks. I knew I'd have some quiet time to work at home on my journal this week, so I decided to try something new. I bought some watercolor pencils (had that wonderful 40% coupon from Michael's!), so I played a bit last night. I absolutely love the watercolor pencils because you can never be sure what you are going to get, and even though I'm not at all good at this drawing thing, I still love the process. It's like meditation! Now, I'm wondering what do to with this one. I like her as a Medusa-like character, and I like her as Mother Nature, and I also like her as a woman caught in the whirlwind of life. I might try several things with her today. I also want to work on some background papers. I so love paper. I love buying it--and of course touching each sheet before I decide on which one I want, BUT I also love to make my own backgrounds. This time when I made my vacation scrapbooks, I used only scenic photos I had taken as background paper. It added so much to each page to see the scenic views we had seen while driving through Colorado. Eric made fun of me as I snapped close-ups of trees, wooden tables, rocks, etc., but after he saw the scrapbook he totally appreciated my stopping to get as close to possible to "weird" objects on our various and sundry treks. So what shall I do with her?