Monthly Archives: April 2013

Getting it Done

Aha! The supplies came in last night. I was so excited that I immediately got down to it. I drew a grid in with a ruler and Tom’s charcoal pencil. It got a teensy bit skewed but I was totally ok with that. Then I took my canvas and Tom’s pencil in the living room and drew in my picture. It turns out that erasers aren’t so awesome on canvas. But I noticed the pencil said “washable” on the side, so I gently wiped the mistakes off with a damp paper towel. There are some smudges on the canvas now, but totally workable. I also got rid of the gridding inside the figures and have an image that I’m pleased to say I’m pretty proud of.

I woke up this morning WAY too early and lay in bed thinking about how to start the painting. I thought about the colors I want to use, how to mix them properly to give details and shadows, and decided to start the painting tomorrow. I want to hole up in our future baby’s room and have Sound of Silence on repeat (til I can’t stand it anymore) and work on it. I’m also going to need a tarp and an endless supply of water. Endless.

This is already the best feeling I’ve ever had about any art project of mine. And I have these visions of myself with paint all over some clothes I never wear anymore and my arms and streaks on my face. Basically, I want to look like Joon from Benny and Joon. And my sweet, goofy husband will come home and look at it and tell me how wonderful it is. Even if it isn’t.

The people in my life who know me best are all about me trying this. Tom, my mom, Marci, (pretty sure my dad, too), and even my little brother. These are the people who know how my attention span to projects is quite limited. My dad always used to make the same joke about my mom. She and I both have 2 or 3 unfinished cross-stitching patterns lying around. I have half-finished scarves tucked away somewhere. It took me a month or so to finish my scrapbook because I lost interest. I think I only finished it because I wanted to get all the crap off of the table. But I have fond memories of trying my hand at things, even if they didn’t get finished, didn’t turn out the way I wanted, and the ones I actually finished.

I’m optimistic! If you can believe it. But it’s true. I’m enjoying all the thoughts and things I hope I’ll learn along the way.


The Art Supplies are Coming

Yesterday I checked my Amazon orders and tracked them. Both were in my county yesterday and somehow magically did not land on my doorstep. Yes I’m mad! But whatever. Shizz happens.

Anywho, I’ve been doing my homework on oil paints. It seems in this day and age that they are used mostly in impressionist art. While I do like that kind of art, especially with all the freakishly bright colors and the recurring themes of autumn or walking in the rain at night, I’m not really interested in that direction. In the Renaissance, artists used oil paints for portraits. In fact, some looked amazingly life-like. Like photographs. The colors weren’t necessarily as amazingly bright because oil paints weren’t made with artificial dyes or mass-produced, but the fact that that kind of realism can be accomplished is encouraging.

I’m not kidding myself. That amazing portrait of some noble woman is NOT within my reach. But I’ve been kicking some ideas around in my head, studying the techniques, and looking at some references for my “subject matter.” (My French teacher/academic advisor/Smarty-pants program coordinator/second mom in high school was also an art teacher. And I’d often skip photography and drop in on her class because I had already finished the 5 projects he gave us to complete in three months. So I gleaned three or four snooty art words. There was also that time in French class where she got frustrated with us and had us do impressionist paintings with dry pastels.) But I digress. It is a special talent of mine.

Back to the subject, I’ve been noticing some techniques that REAL artists use. Mainly, I have learned the power of white paint. It defines shadows, gives the appearance of reflections on water, creates light, and, as in tattoos, causes the images to pop. I would not have thought of that.

As a small preview, seeing as how I doubt this thing will ever see the light of day, I will even tell you what my idea is. For a VERY long time, I’ve wanted to get a tattoo incorporating the first line to the Simon and Garfunkel song “Sound of Silence.” For those of you who have not seen the classic American film “The Graduate,” the lyric is “Hello, Darkness, my old friend.” Perfectly describes those blissfully Bipolar moments of descent into depression. (Wow, check out my alliterations!) I’ve already got a tattoo on my neck which reads “Touched with Fire,” for those magnificent manic moments. (I’m on a roll!) Instead of making a huge back piece, I thought it might be more cathartic to paint it out on canvas. In fact, it could be entirely therapeutic. I’d be embracing my depression, making it a part of me, and also distancing myself from it so I can observe it. I can’t do such a thing with my highs because, well, I think happy art isn’t really my thing. And I’ve already got the tattoo. Aaaaaaand I could never write happy poetry. Back when I was an angsty teenager who wrote poetry.

But, that’s where I am right now.

Remember What This Blog Was Originally About?

Yeah, me neither. BUT in an effort to be more on-topic, I have decided to divulge something I was going to hide from everyone. I have ordered paint supplies. Because I’m going to retry painting. It drives me crazy that I can’t dye my hair unnatural colors, tattoo my arms, paint, write novels, take photos, be a FREE person. I’m SUPER jealous of everyone who can. I’ve said that a million times, I know. But instead of whining about how I can’t do it, I’m going to remind myself why I whine and just put the whole dang thing behind me. And the leftover supplies, you may ask? Well, Tom’s an artist. He doesn’t usually do paints, but I have absolute confidence that he’ll at least find it interesting. Or I’ll donate the supplies somewhere. “Starving artists” might go to the goodwill and find these supplies and they might be exactly what they need.

Pretty sure my “work” is going to accidentally look like a Jackson Pollock, though. Or a blind impressionist. I read the novel “Girl with the Pearl Earring” and was very interested in the fact that Vermeer painted colors things actually weren’t first and layered colors to add depth and realism to his paintings. I thought “well heck, I can do that!” Uh, well, first you need to be able to paint the things before you can paint them the wrong color. And I saw the Queen of the Damned movie and was amazed at Marius’s use of color and the different movements which inspired his paintings. Like, faces with green in them. I thought “I could do that!” Well, you’ve got to be able to paint a face. I still haven’t mastered the smiley face. Or the stick figure. Just ask my husband. When I send him a drawing, he’s like “another stick figure?” And when he sends me one, it’s like “another six-pack man?” Yeah.

So, here’s to facing my insecurities! And hopefully conquering them!

Been Thinking Lately…

I’ve alluded to experiences before. I’m not sure if I have ever actually come out and said it so if this just sounds like a broken record, forgive me. In High School, I was involved in two relationships which were highly abusive. One was 100% emotional abuse. I scoff at people who say that their significant others emotionally abused them pretty much on a daily basis. A lot of the time, it’s definitely applied too liberally. “He called me stupid,” for instance, doesn’t really do it in my book. Maybe I’m being too harsh and judging too quickly. But dear lord, I have not heard of a single unsuccessful relationship where that definition of “emotional abuse” can’t be used. Most of my female friends have thrown the term around when looking for pity. God forgive me, I couldn’t give it. The definition of abuse at a local Victim’s Advocacy service is “a pattern of behavior used by an individual to establish and maintain coercive control over one’s intimate partner.” I don’t think being told you’re stupid occasionally really qualifies. My own “emotional abuse” came in the form of some extremely personal, perverse things that I’m not ready to tell the internet world. He told intimate details to his friends, most of them outright lies, and insulted very intimate parts of me to my face. He used it to control my actions, like who I talked to. He made me distrust my own friends. He convinced me that I had no real friends. I believed everyone was using me for something or that they just tolerated me. I didn’t think I deserved better than what I was getting. Especially since intermittently, he told me he still loved me and wanted me back.

The physical abuse, while sucky, didn’t hurt nearly as bad. All it did was confirm what the emotional abuse had me believing to begin with. Twisted wrists, being pushed against walls, being shaken, those were just little things, really. There were other levels of emotional abuse in this relationship, too. For instance, the guy would drive his car at 100 miles per hour because he was pissed off. He knew it scared me. He wanted to scare me. He blamed me for the evening turning out badly and he wanted to punish me.

Anyway, we wound up parked in the high school parking lot because he wasn’t ready to take me home yet. He was fuming with anger, banging his fists on the steering wheel. I was wearing a dress that came to maybe halfway down my thighs and three inch peep-toe heels that hurt like you wouldn’t believe. He was yelling at me. I don’t remember what he was saying, but I remember hearing my heartbeat in my temples. He got out of the car and paced around it for a little while. When he got back in, I’d removed my seatbelt and, in my club-going outfit, was about to make a break to run the half mile home. I didn’t get a chance to leave the car.

I managed to get the door open a few inches before he grabbed me by my hair, yanked me back in, and closed the door with his other hand. He was screaming in my face now. I began sobbing and telling him that he was scaring me, that he hurt me, that I was sorry I wanted to go out that night. Eventually, I was deposited back home and he peeled away from the house the second the car door shut.

That was the worst of it. After that, I became quiet. Demure. I believed he was cheating on me left and right. I spoke out about it, but the fights that ensued were so terrible, I’d be begging his forgiveness and for him to take me back. I found out later on that he didn’t really want to be in a serious relationship so young. And hey, I don’t fault him for that. We were kids. But I wanted something serious. So when the very next guy came along, you’d better believe I was on the first train out of there.

He got help. He apologized to me. Sincerely. I forgave him for his actions and I believe he forgave me for the things I did back to him. Let’s be honest. I’m not the kind of person who would take that crap lying down. I lashed out sometimes when he wasn’t doing anything abusive in any way. We were both victims of trauma and it caused both of us to act out. The relationship was unhealthy because we were unhealthy. Now we’re both on much better footing and I admire him for getting help. Confessing to him that I was Bipolar was like telling him I liked cheeseburgers. The response was “Yeah, kinda figured” and on to the next subject.

With Tom, I was so messed up that I was too scared to confront him on any issue. Our first fight was like a therapeutic breakthrough. We were watching some kind of report on Rhianna being beat up by Chris Brown. He joked that she had it coming. I insisted that no one deserves to be beaten up. He asked me if I’d heard her song “Disturbia” and I lost it, shaking hysterically, repeating that NO ONE deserves it and it wasn’t funny. Then I didn’t talk. At all. Instead of going into a rage and yelling at him, I was too scared to say or do anything. He felt so bad, immediately apologizing. He didn’t touch me until I told him it was ok. He said he’d forgotten that I’d been through what I had. He never made jokes like that ever again. He supported me in my volunteer work as a victims advocate and was extremely patient with me when I began working through my baggage later on in our relationship. Let’s just say that I was the curl-into-a-fetal-position-and-cry kind of person when we argued.

I still carry around some emotional scars. I feel insecure eating around people, for instance. I have trouble enjoying certain activities without that voice entering in my head telling me that I am disgusting. I still doubt my friends from time to time. I feel isolated and vulnerable when I need to reach out for help. The moral of the story? I’ve just been thinking about it a lot. I wanted to come out and be honest about it because I know there are women out there going through so much worse. People really ought to be aware of how Domestic Violence looks. Whenever someone tries to manipulate you or control you, you need to realize that you are being abused.

Can’t Think of a Title

Haven’t posted in at least a month, right? Oh well. Some of my favorite bloggers post once in a blue moon and I love them anyway.

Anyway, my emotions are running the gamut of inappropriateness lately. Luckily, I managed to teach myself how to reign those bad boys in and not creep people out. I’m sure you understand how relieving it is to know you’re secretly loathing someone and they haven’t got a clue. You may call it fake. I call it diplomacy. Office politics are incredibly important, especially in a small town. People talk.

But inappropriately high levels of rage aren’t the only happenings. Energy abounds, thoughts race, my odd tic of rocking back and forth while I sit/type/read/write/think/whatever has gotten worse (and people have noticed!) and I am feeling a tad impulsive. Impulsive??!?!?!?!?! Oh no-s! Mania, you may ask? No, dear friends. Something else entirely. And when I am on surer (I hate spelling) footing, I will let you in on the dirty secret.

No. I’m not pregnant.

Rage and energy, are those the end of it? Heavens no, child! ’tis merely the beginning! I’ve been swaying between those fits of rage and energy and happiness to what I can best describe as sloth. The funniest of the 7 Deadly Sins, if you ask me. I mean, c’mon. Who isn’t at least a LITTLE lazy? Back on topic (whatever that may be) I have also been having periods of listlessness, bordering on depression. Had any dangerous thoughts or urges? Not unless you consider watching 10 episodes of King of the Hill dangerous. Personally, I don’t. However, I have been very attracted to Hank as of late. Something about his all-American personality, his being a good dad, and his general struggle with love for his family being expressed just hits me as incredibly sexy.

Moving on! In my current mood, you may be able to tell (if you can, good for you! So perceptive!) my mind is racing with all these thoughts. I have been thinking about buying an easel and oil paints. Why? I can’t even paint. Or draw. I can barely knit and I only know one stitch. Anyhow, I just want to be one of those artsy people. Marci is an artsy person and it drives me crazy! (Btw, Marci! I found one of your pens in my couch. You must have left it Sunday before last.) I’m super super super jealous of Marci because she has so much talent. So does Tom. I wish I had half of that. Then my “work” would at least look passable. What good is it to be mentally ill if you have absolutely no talent for anything outside the box? Am I to be cursed to 100 wpm typing as my only talent? Forever? Barghhhh.

If you’re enjoying this article, I’m very glad. If you aren’t enjoying it, chances are you and I wouldn’t make great friends in real life. I’ve been told that this side of me is charming and funny. And at the risk of sounding conceited, I like it, too. So there.

Anyway, I have a great idea for adding to the blog when I have finally accomplished this thing I’m trying to accomplish. (If you know what it is, keep your trap shut.) So excited!

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