languidly waking this morning next to Brian, i rolled over and looked at his sleeping face and thought, "my mom would've really liked you." i smiled and rubbed his head and closed my eyes. it wasn't until another several hours had passed that i realized what day it is. it is the fourth anniversary of my mother's death.
i was shocked that it wasn't the first thing i thought of today. perhaps it's a sign that my life is no longer dominated by her death. i think she'd be happy about that. i think she'd be relieved that i am not walking around crying behind my sunglasses the way i used to, a calm demeanor presented to the world but wanting to be just as dead as she is in the aftermath of her loss. my entire physicality felt like one big gaping wound. sometimes, it still does. i don't think i'll ever reach a day when her death doesn't cause pain. i miss her incredibly and the world is a drastically different place without her in it. her absence is so palpable some days, so pronounced... how unfair it all is, how awful. there's no way around it. it directly effects the decisions i make. her early death brought me face to face with the reality of my own mortality and it's impossible for me to take it lightly.
i wrote in my diary like i do every morning then went for a run. i wanted to feel my body move. i wanted to breathe heavy and feel blood coursing fast throughout my body. i wanted to feel my legs getting tired and yet push myself to meet the challenge i'd set for myself. i wanted to feel young and alive and beautiful. i wanted to appreciate being in the world.
afterward, i bought myself a new tube of lipstick. hot pink. a celebration of life and vitality; an honoring of our shared brevity and a recognition of the fact that life is too short to not live boldly. that's what lipstick symbolizes for me. when my mother was feeling sad, she'd go to the drugstore and buy herself a new tube of lipstick.
i wish she were here.
i wish she could see me.
i wish she could see what i've accomplished in the last four years and how far i've come.
i wish she could see the portrait i drew of her.
i wish she could meet Brian and hear him sing.
i wish i could talk to her.
i wish i could just talk to her.
i feel very alone in this big world sometimes. it makes me want to run from people i love because i'm afraid of losing them too. i didn't realize that i have this fear until recently... that i would rather push people away and keep them at a distance than get close and deal with losing them. there is a part of me that somehow believes that everyone i love is going to go away. i know that isn't true but it's my little girl voice speaking. it's the little girl in me that still believes i'll never be good enough... that somehow i'm unlovable and i'll never belong anywhere... and i don't have a mama to run to to scratch my back and tell me otherwise.
but i have a lover who loves me.
i have friends that love me.
i have a brother and a sister who love me and know exactly what i'm talking about when i say the things that make other people too sad or too scared or too uncomfortable to keep listening. brian too. he has cried with me and it is such a comfort to me. it means i wasn't wrong or crazy for wanting to cry about the bad things that have happened. it means things really were that bad and i perceived it all correctly. it means i should've never been made to feel ashamed in the moments when i did cry.
and i have Vermont and the awakening that happened there:
my sister pointed out to me how pronounced it was that i quit drawing after our mother's death. instantly. i dove headlong into my crochet practice. it was such a powerful thing to stand alone in my huge studio that night in Johnson, VT and draw her portrait. our portrait. it unlocked the floodgates and drawing after drawing spilled out of me after that. a big part of myself healed.
today, i made a small linocut of an iceberg. i stamped it out 20 times. the iceberg is a strange sort of metaphor for me, a self-portrait of mine. the iceberg is the middle child.
there are still so many secrets
but i am finding ways to tell them.
i am finding roads out of silence.
i am finding roads toward courage.
i am more myself than i have ever been and, despite the brutality of her loss, my mother's death worked to teach me how absolutely imperative it is that i BE MYSELF, that i live honestly and bravely, that i keep putting one foot in front of the other, that i must will myself to be undaunted and to build the life i want for myself. her death taught me that there isn't always going to be another Tomorrow. if there is something one NEEDS to do, it's best to do it now.
my mother used to wear a lipstick named Yummy Plummy. i stole it from the bathroom the day she died. it's in my makeup bag. i never wore lipstick before she died. now, i twist the hot pink bar of my new lipstick and paint my mouth and allow myself to languish for a moment in the pleasure of being alive.
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.