And so I did.
I must admit my pages are pretty dark (in color and in subject matter) this month. Partly because I was experimenting with darker pigments, and white writing over dark backgrounds. It was difficult to get the photos quite right, but I did my best
First, I tackled the most difficult subject, my father.
Everyone loved my dad. I loved my dad. However, I spent most of my life wondering if he really loved me, or more specifically, if he ever liked me, or even wanted to know the “real me.” Of course, he loved me. He was my dad, and he “had” to. And he showed me that love in a lot of little ways. However, he also showed me disdain and rejection with a thousand little cuts over the years. They wounded me and left me deeply scarred. When I tell people that he and I have a better relationship now (that he is gone), I am not kidding. I believe to my deepest soul that if his consciousness still exists (and I believe it does) he can finally see things without filters, and he can truly love me, and feel my love for him. This page I am working on now is only one of many to come (as was the one for my mother.) I could do a whole art journal just based on our relationship.Yes, it brings up pain, it brings up sorrow. I need these tears to fall, so my soul can heal, and so, when we meet again in another life, we can meet with open hearts.
When I watched the movie “Knocked Up,” it was for laughs, but the closing song, “Daughter”, as sung by Loudon Wainwright III, made me choke up. It made me think of my Dad, our relationship when I was little. How he took me to the ocean, and at least once, saved me from drowning. It also reminded me that he did love me. However, the hubris of the song (as admitted by the writer, Peter Blegvad, who said, “As everyone knows, a parent’s love for their child is partly narcissism.”) made me think about how fathers can react when they feel they are losing control of their daughters. As I grew a mind of my own, we fell apart. We were a lot alike, and I’m sure that was the crux of it.
You can listen to the song “Daughter” here
Here’s a close-up of the “daughter.” I was about nine in this picture. It was taken at the Oregon coast.
The second topic that I was given (actually topic #2) was movement of the body. I actually have an spondylolisthesis in my lumbar spine, which has led to disc disintegration and arthritis. While I can still move (and exercise), and, in fact, I should, I often feel pain. I have also been told I can never hyperextend my back again, which definitely puts a crimp in my yoga practice, and other things I used to really enjoy. I was thinking a lot about my tendency to “bend over backwards” for people so that they won’t ignore or reject me, and this came out.
The picture is a series of stick figures in various poses, all of which include spinal hyperextension, with the words “never again” next to them.
On the left side, the words, “If I can never again literally bend backwards for my own pleasure, why should I figuratively for yours?”
It sounds aggressive, but the feeling of “having to” can be so frustrating, and feel demeaning at times. I like to be kind, but it is draining. I want to be loved, but I need to love me, too, and that sometimes means setting limits. (Easier said than done.)
This week, the hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court is everywhere in the news. The woman he was accused of sexually assaulting in high school, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, stood up and spoke beautifully and bravely about her experience. Kavanaugh spluttered, ranted, raved, and cried. Guess who the Republican Congressmen “believed”? (I believe most knew he was guilty, but didn’t give a fuck.)
As a survivor of sexual harassment and assault, I have felt physically sick for the last several days. I am angry, I am horrified, I am disappointed and depressed. Keane’s tweet resonated, and this happened:
I tried to depict women of several nationalities. However the one below? She’s my favorite.
The last suggested topic was to go on a nature walk and write about it. That might be easy for some, but in San Jose, not as much. Of course, that is an excuse, but in this busy month, to drive somewhere green (other than a city park) is too time consuming and takes too much energy. So much of California is dry and brown right now. I just miss my Northwest. However, I know my pages are dark this month, so I took the time to make something a little lighter.
I was thinking about my former (4th grade) teacher and friend, Patrick Salsich, who passed away nearly a year ago. We reconnected as adults, and he ended up putting one of my poems to music; one of the loveliest gifts ever given to me. (I really should make a video for it, and post it to YouTube.) Anyway, I made this:
The poem is called “Mystery” and you can read it here.
Thanks for checking out the pages. If you haven’t viewed my other Art Journal pages and you’d like to, you can check them out below.