Thursday, September 27, 2012

Please don't call Hoarders...

This is my craft table right now.

And I'm using all of that stuff.

(Except the sippy cup. I've mostly outgrown those)

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I've remembered something in the past week and a half, something that I forgot was critical to my happiness and mental health: creating brings me inner peace and focus. Creating anything, really. I remembered that the times I am not making something are the times I am the lowest.

Writing proved to be a little tricky, so throughout the last week, I've thrown myself into creating. I wasn't even that intent on the product, but the process. Sitting at the table my grandmother just gave me, I made things, immersing myself for hours in a blissed-out world of creation.

First I made flowers. And then I put those flowers in my daughter's hair.

And speaking of my daughter's hair, she finally has enough to do this:

I also made French bread. 

And then I ate French bread. I will say, making bread for two hours and eating said bread in mere minutes was one of the most satisfying pastimes I have indulged in. 

And I made preschool games for the class I'm teaching this term. 

(By the way, why in the world did I sign up to teach preschool this term? As I struggle with healing and muscle weakness and chronic fatigue, teaching 2, 3, and 4 year olds is a bewildering task for me to take on. They are most exuberant little people.)

While the finished products might not seem impressive to the casual passerby, the process of making and putting aside all the physical and emotional struggles in favor of creation has been more healing to me than medicine. 

The laundry pile can fall down around me, the kids can climb the walls, the dishes can stack on top of each other. I'm busy re-making myself during one of the most challenging times in my life. And doing random interpretive dancing in the woods, just for giggles. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Self Image

My mind is going in many directions lately. Mostly crazy directions. And fragmented like reflections off a broken mirror.

I suddenly have much more interest in my appearance. Before, make up never held my attention for long. I was ambivalent in my resignation that my hair would never be coiffed in anything resembling the latest fashions. I silently judged women who obsessed over their looks; surely they were superficial or insecure. Surely I was above all that.

And then I had my neck sliced open twice in ten days. Surgery left its mark.

I'm superficial enough to be bothered by the red raised scar at the base of my throat, insecure enough to want to compensate for its rawness in other ways. Concealer masking. Eye liner drawing attention up, away. Bronzer highlighting. Shimmers reflecting, lip gloss wet and inviting. I braid, twist, coil and curl my hair, accessorizing with flowers and ribbons and scarves.

To be honest, I'm not caring about impressing others. It is myself I am trying to distract. I don't want to look in the mirror and see the sad, scarred woman I am slowly morphing into. If I highlight the right areas, maybe the ones that shame me will be muted.

Maybe I can recreate my own self portrait. Perhaps I can twist and coil and curl the struggles with my health into something worthwhile. "Cancer survivor" sounds heroic and so much braver than I feel, but I can apply it to my list of attributes like a coat of mascara. "Survivor" is a liner I can draw all over myself, really -- depression survivor, sexual abuse survivor, drug abuse survivor. Natural, unassisted childbirth survivor. Fingernail biter survivor. Multiple body piercings survivor. Counting experiences I have come through or encountered that haven't killed me yet is almost exhilarating. Difficult situations somehow sparkle under the word "survivor."

My fragments of broken mirror can be pieced together in a Picasso-like mosaic, a girl before a looking-glass. A girl looking at all the different pieces: lines, marks, colors. I'm reading my reflection to understand who I am now.

Like make up, Picasso never held my attention before. Yet now, like bottles of powder and color and shimmer, he is relevant to my life changes.  My changes in self perception.