#metoo

Tags

, , , , , ,

Have ya’all seen this hashtag #metoo? It was started to shed light on the widespread incidents of sexual abuse, and although I rarely repost on trending topics I feel this one is important for obvious and personal reasons. 

Sexual abuse and harassment is never ok, the fact that the majority of my friends, male and female alike have reposted these words is overwhelming.

Did I think I was the only one? No, of course not, did I still carry some shame and self blame for the things that happened to me? I think I did/do.

I have been, like most women, sexually harassed more times than I can count. Cat called, touched, propositioned, I have been the recipient of many over the line advancements and speech.

I think it’s important to share our stories, and although I’ve touched on this subject before, I’m sharing my story again now. I refuse to take blame any longer, and in being vocal I hope to help in some way with the stigma others and myself have carried.

Twice in my life I have been raped. Both happened in my teenage years, and I never told anyone. I never went to the hospital, I never spoke about it at all until last year, I am 48 years old, and have always somehow blamed myself. I was terrified of what my family would think as well.

At a party with a group of friends at the age of 15 I was raped by a friend. I had had too much to drink and decided to go to sleep on a couch in the basement of the house we were at. I passed out under some blankets, to sleep it off. I woke up with someone on top of me, he was shoving my pants down while holding one of his hands around my throat, someone else entered the basement looking for me, he had pulled the covers up over both of us and put his hand over my mouth, telling them he was the only one down there. I was told to shut my mouth and enjoy it. I was raped and strangled for nearly an hour, he was simply stronger  than me. I couldn’t win. Iwas crying and told it wasn’t that bad and that he’d always liked me. When he fell asleep on top of me I wiggled my way out and walked home, I showered and spent the next 30 years asking myself why I didn’t scream(fear) why I got so drunk, why was I alone in the basement, why I didn’t fight, why did I wear that outfit, and a thousand other questions that placed the blame squarely in my lap. 

When this person died I felt secretly happy, and then felt guilty for that. I’ve been telling myself for years what an awful person I am for not feeling sad. I have a lot of the same friends from that time and still can not bring myself to name him for fear of being called a liar, after all he’s not here to defend himself….

The second time I was raped I was slipped something in a drink. I remember nothing of the incident, except waking up naked in this person’s house and being completely disoriented. I asked for a ride home, and later got a call from him asking me out, and telling me what a good time he’d had the night before. I had bruising down the inside of both legs, and on one of my breasts. I again told no one. Why was I drinking? Did I consent while I was out of my mind? I don’t know. I had only had one beer..why can’t I remember anything..I later concluded that I had to have been drugged, it took me several days to even think straight. Being drugged is not consent. 

I regret a lot of things I did when young, I was a mess. I did drugs, I drank, I put myself in a lot of sketchy situations, however, none of that matters..there is no legitimate reason to sexually assault someone. No excuses that hold water.

I hope that in telling this I inspire others to tell their stories, to speak up, to quit any self blame you might carry, in turn I will do the same and continue healing.

Advertisements

How Art Saved My Soul.

Tags

, , , , ,

I am an artist. I don’t know why that is hard to say.  How long do you have to paint, or create art of any kind until you earn that label?

I am self taught. I have had zero art training, in fact the only education I have ended around tenth grade. 

A couple years ago I became despondent and depressed, it was around the time my kids all left, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  My husband in his infinite wisdom showed up one day with some paints and canvases: ” You’re a creative person, and you’re not being creative, maybe you could paint something….”. 

My first painting consisted in just spreading paint around and getting the feel of the brush, the canvas, and letting my mind go blank, it is the one at the top of this page.

I love art, I always have, but a lot of the time I always thought, especially with abstracts, hell, I could do that! 

When I started I kind of looked at it like a joke. All these famous artists and it just looked like they dumped a bunch of paint on, smeared it around, and called it a masterpiece. Also this “art” sold for a gazillion bucks. I kept experimenting and found a couple things out.

1. It’s harder than it looks.

2. It felt really good. I was empty, I was profoundly happier when Painting.

3. To my utter amazement, people started buying my stuff.

I spent six months just figuring out how the damn paint works, I was terrified to try to paint people or objects, but really didn’t want to be the girl who painted abstracts because I didn’t take the chance on anything else.

My first self portrait:

Art has saved me in so many ways, I am happier and more content than I’ve ever been in my life. I have created a job that I love. I highly suggest art as an alternative to depression.

A year after I started painting I happened to deliver flowers(my little part time gig for a small shop in town), as unprofessional as I thought it was I asked if the minded if I looked around. The owner asked me if I was an artist… “Uhhh kinda”. I pulled out my phone, pulled up my IG account and handed it to him. I was stunned when he said they were good and that he’d love to represent me. A week later my art was in a gallery. How amazing is that?

I sold my first large Painting exactly a year after I’d started painting, I couldn’t believe what the gallery asked for my art. 

My first sold Painting (the largest one):

I continue to learn, I have made a decent living, dog portraits have been pretty popular lately, I recently submitted several paintings to the gallery that I painted from my photos of Ireland, and will be the featured artist this month at gallery stroll. 

Life is full of unexpected blessings. Most of all I’m happy to not be in my pit of despair any longer. Art is the only therapy that has ever worked for me. I am whole by having this amazing creative outlet. 

Dog portrait:

My most recent works:

What the Frick.

Tags

, , ,

See this awesomeness? Who wouldn’t wanna hang out with this bastion of style, grace, and humor?

Making friends as an adult (pertaining to me, I use this word loosely) is hard ya’all.

I have a couple really good friends, but they actually have lives and are busy. Maybe I should leave my house more…so, what the frick?

I’ve committed myself to not working really hard to keep in touch with people who don’t make an effort to be in my life, the drawback in that is that they may be thinking the same thing.

I think I’m likable..I think I get along with most people..and I’m pretty sure there is no one out there who wishes me death, but I’m kind of a middle person.

A middle person is someone who is generally liked but not quite enough to miss or want to hang out with. There’s no one out there thinking: “ya know what this party needs? Irish! Let’s call her!”.

I’m not complaining, I have an amazing life, I’m busy, and it’s like my pops used to say ” when you like yourself, you’re always in good company”, but once in awhile I wonder if it’s unhealthy to be this isolated.

People need friends right? Or maybe a better question is, why do people need friends? I’m sure there’s some Harvard study telling everyone that people with a close knit group of friends live longer.

I have amazing people in my life who have supported my art, pitched in when things are hard, and tell me they love me, but we never really get to the doing activities together part.

Before you get all thinky and say “maybe you’re just an asshole!”. I already thought of that, and it’s true, I’m kind of a cynical asshole..but isn’t that part of my charm?

So I’m left asking myself periodically if I shouldn’t have more friends. I don’t know. I’m pretty happy, I’m pretty content. I just occasionally wonder if it’s emotionally healthy to be alone as much as I am. I don’t know. I’m not lonely. I care about a handful of people who make me a better person by knowing them, maybe introverts just attract introverts.

I had lunch with a friend I’m trying to make this week, so progress. 

Today I have the house to myself, so I’m painting, all this thought came from stupid Facebook..people out doing stuff..what a bunch of wierdos.

My Escape.

Tags

, , , , , , ,

 Do you remember that Sleepless in Seattle quote?

Sam Baldwin: Well, how long is your program? Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.

Music is like this for me. Music is always magic. The first time I hear a song, the moment a tune hits my eardrum, even the familiar is magic every time.

I feel this way about good stories as well, music, books, and art make me disappear, if there is a god, music more than anything brings me closer to the heavens.

I am whole because of music, I am built and broken down by music, and rebuilt again. Every note of music that I love vibrates and creates my blood cells. There is no finer thing. There is no purer thing.

I was beyond lucky to grow up with musicians as parents. My father was a genius guitar player, my mother could play, but her main instrument was her voice. Blues was my father’s genre, and I’ve grown to love those twangy raw lyrics, the guitar that just talks.

I love most all music, I’m not a big fan of rap, except maybe old school Run DMC, Sugar Hill, and few others. I like metal, I like old punk rock..the political messages, the bare bones angst, the happiness in screaming, the connection to my heart beat and the bass. I love rock and roll, 1970’s full on jam sessions, Dream Weaver, the dance I feel in my soul when Lynyrd Skynyrd pounds out their exaltation to Alabama. I like old timey banjo tunes, I connect with music from the hills, music from the mountains, but also find myself floating over the deep roots of New York punk, CBGB, the woman who stood her ground to rock with the boys, and showed them a thing or two. I love the stories in an Iron Maiden song, the heartbreak in a love song, the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll in a Poison song.  

I cry when my hero’s die. I miss Bowie every day. Lemmy, Wendy O. WilliamsRandy Rhodes, Johnny Cash, Scott Weiland, Freddie Mercury, Cliff Burton. I know my world is less because I was born too late to see Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison. I can’t listen to a Prince song without curling into a phetal position. I could name hundreds that are gone that built who I am at my core. It’s inevitable, but goddamn it, you should be given some bonus years if you make music.

Music makes my life worth living, it is my escape, my lover, my affair, my best friend, my psychiatrist, my heart. 

Today I am grieving for Tom Petty who’s songs fit anything I was going through. He reminded me to fly, to not back down, that sometimes relationships end, to fall down but get up again, and to dance. He was humble and a genius lyricist. 

I thank the universe for the songs that fill my soul.







Broken Tear Ducts.

Tags

, , ,

I can’t cry anymore. I’m becoming colder and harder and numb. I am broken. I am am depressed. I am a statue. I can’t cry.

I don’t think that it is normalization. I will never get used to the violence, the hurt, the hatred that has been exposed more and more over the last several months. The fact that I ever thought it was any different now shames me.

I am ashamed of my clear cognitive dissonance of the past. Washing dishes, paying bills, tickle fights with my partner, walking through life as if my own persuit of happiness was moving along nicely, as the world crumbles, and people divide over invisible lines.

It is unbearable the lengths human beings will stoop to to simply feel superior to others. The rich feel superior because money, over paper, over an inanimate object. The most privileged, deny privilege, but trip themselves up with their own words. Human rights are trampled by people who don’t realize it’s effecting them as well. Wars against others for all eternity in a perpetual bigger dick contest are never ending. Its all so sickening and sad. 

I feel a sense of doom for the human race.

This morning I wake up to news that some terrorist in Las Vegas shot and killed a bunch of people attending a concert. What the fuck is the matter with humans. 

Every day it is a another disaster, hurricanes, earthquakes, shootings, war, pain, and a man at the top who’s cruelty knows no bounds.

It’s hard to not be depressed to the bone marrow. I want to escape. I want to find a small, kind, peaceful place on this planet where people are just people, where love and kindness is the rule, not the exception. I am sinking. I am heartbroken.

I can’t cry. Why can’t I cry? Is there a crescendo of pain and numbness when you simply short circuit and become a frozen nothing?

My eyes are like the backs of thumb tacks, my heart is in a dumpster. I feel helpless.

Prayers aren’t fixing anything. 

I’m making calls, I’m sending letters into the won’t make a difference void. My attitude stinks.

My ability to say “tomorrow will be a better day”, is wavering…every day is a fresh new hell right now.

Today I sleep. I knock myself down with over the counters, and yes, I realize how privileged that is. The ability to escape is always just that. 

Tomorrow I’ll throw my leg over a new horse and fight the good fight. Today…not so much.

The Silence That Isn’t Golden.

Tags

, , , ,

I talk to my kids. I talk to them about everything. They had no fear in telling me they wanted birth control, all three of them came to me to discuss sex, relationships, drugs, politics, and even the most embarrassing body problems. An open dialogue has always been the rule in my home.

They still come to me to discuss problems, hurts I’ve caused them, life, struggles with adulthood, and sometimes I’m just a shoulder to cry on.

I am fully aware of my failings as a mother, there are things I probably will never forgive myself for. Doing drugs when they were little is at the top of that list, my only reprive is the knowledge that I got my shit together before they could recall the monster that was their mother.

I come from a family that doesn’t want to discuss root issues, I come from a family that always pretends everything is ok, personal hurts don’t matter, fixing problems doesn’t matter, the hard stuff is kept at a distance, and being emotional or broken is seen as weakness, if you’re blurting out truths, you’re avoided, and in that way no one can really know each other. People are complex, things aren’t always peachy.

No one says “we don’t want to talk about that”, it’s an unspoken rule, you suddenly find yourself alone in whatever turmoil is going on in your life. If things aren’t good, they simply aren’t there. No one listens. 

We talk about nothing things that mean nothing. Intimacy is extinct and buried. The weather, and good news is encouraged. When talking about anything hard it’s kept short and sweet, and has always been a time honored tradition to insert humor into every situation.

I know my family knows about my past struggles with addiction, but no one is interested in how I came out the other side, they know I was raped by one of my peers as teenager, I’ve never been asked about it, I’ve never had a soft place to fall, a shoulder to cry on. I suppose it’s made me strong in some ways, if I’m not kicking ass and taking names the shock is almost humorous.

I admire my mother so much. She is, was, and always has been a bundle of raw, bleeding emotion. She expresses it all, she tosses it into the world like an old french fry box, she is brave and unfiltered. I am in awe of her ability to be weak, to be vulnerable, to look fear of judgement in the eye and tell it to piss off. She is lonely though, she is to be avoided. I sometimes think it’s worth it, baring the times she is shattered in her isolation.

I am starting to think that vulnerability is a person’s greatest strength, it takes a lot of nerve to lay yourself bare in front of people who’s opinions you value. You do however risk, in my world anyway, becoming a pariah, and viewed as someone who’s just to much work to deal with.

News flash: relationships are always work, at least relationships worth their salt.

My goal is to be more open, to give my family a chance to really know who I am, good and bad. I will be judged. I may be shunned. But I’ll be goddamed if I’m going to leave this world without being me to the people whom I love the most. Let the chips fall as they may…..

How to Lose Followers in 3 Easy Steps.

Tags

, , , , ,

1. Stick by your convictions.

Start by believing in Equality, being liberal, believing that all people deserve equal rights, say so over their own bodies, and the freedom to protest, also make sure to express your certainty that racism is alive and well, don’t forget to defend your gay daughter.

If you really want to cull the herd come up with a witty hashtag that pisses everyone off..say.. something like #admityourprivelege

Self reflection will make people drop like flies. Admitting that you have white privilege is sure to start an argument!

Tell a story about how you’re a white woman who 20 years ago drove a stolen car with expired plates around at three in the morning with a trunk full of meth, passed 10 cops, while freebasing coke, at 82 lbs. Did a drug deal in front of the police station, but we’re somehow not deemed “suspicious” enough to get pulled over.

#2. Admit you’re a tad less privileged by being a female.

Pop off as often as possible about unequal pay, Viagra vs birth control, and the fear you feel on a daily basis.

Complain about rape culture, and how you’re sick of being told to smile.

Better yet tell a story about how sitting at the Trax stop with headphones on reading a book, was somehow an affront to the guy who touched your body without permission to ask what your reading, then called you a cunt because you didn’t want to go down on him before the train arrived.

#3. Call your president a piece of shit.

This is pretty self explanatory.  Show repeatedly how depressed and discouraged you are by the state of your country. People will flee! On the plus side you don’t have to hear their bullshit any more.

There are thousands of other ways to minimize a following on social media, these however I’ve found very effective.

Basically when you’re trying to be a decent person by believing all people genuinely are created equal, that others aren’t being treated as such, that politicians are scum, and voicing your frustrations and convictions, you’re sure to lose friends and alienate others.

This public service announcement brought to you by #admityourprivelege and #imsosickofthisshiticouldpuke

The Love that is Shattering My Soul.

Tags

, , , ,

My 14 year old nephew has been with me for about a month.

Today I dropped him off for school and as I watched him walk in, hoodie pulled up, small, less confident than then the kids around him, beautiful, and with so much of his story in his walk, I was overcome with love. I cried all the way home.

I am angry. My sister who hasn’t seen her son in over five years is an addict, he is protected from her, it hurts him.

He pretends it is no big deal, but I know that children have an uncanny ability to blame themselves. Does he blame himself? Does he think she chose drugs over him? Does he tell himself if only? If only I’d been better..if only I’d been quieter..if only I’d been cuter..if only I’d been smarter…? I told myself these things as a child when my parents divorced, I carried blame. I think most kids do.

I want everything for him. I want him to live in a cocoon of joy, love, and peace. I want him to feel powerful, unbreakable, invincible. I want him to live as if his story  didn’t start out so shitty.

He has some healing to do in this life, I see his scars. He tries to hide them but they are blaringly present.

The family he has loves him so much, is it enough to offset the abandonment he has delt with?

I loathe drugs. I despise addiction. I am disgusted at their presence in this world, yet, I still love my sister, I still have hope, I still beg the universe to take away her sickness. I think though, her son will never forgive her. He has stated as much.

I am conflicted. I am angry she is an addict. I am angry she walked away from her only child, a child that is beautiful and sweet, and is my world right now. However, I’m glad she walked away, her addiction is poison. I wish I didn’t know who she really is inside.. she’s sweet, and kind, funny, and so so bright. I miss her. I hate her.

My only choice is to keep loving him through whatever hurt she’s caused. I am, after all the only one who can tell him the good parts of her, and how I see those good things in him. Someday he might want to know. Until then my cup runneth over, I am filled with love for this little amazing human.

…And all the Sudden I’m Over it….

Tags

, , ,

It has been a crazy summer. Everything has come in tens. My roof falling in, my husband getting sick, debt up to my eyeballs, family stress…

A bright light in all of this is that my nephew has moved in with us for a while. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a 14 year old in the house. I am trying to help his father out, and get him back on track.

…and all of a sudden I’m over everything else…

I’m human, so my sense of self importance takes over a lot of the time. Social media spurns this on more often than not.

I post my little thoughts here..but really, is it important? Am I changing anyone’s life? Or is it all about me and my need to vent?

I post random shit on Facebook..but really does anyone care about my day? Or is it boredom and narcissism?

I post my paintings on IG…but really, how much am I really selling? Am I showing off to no one?

I’m over it. And honestly besides my love for reading on this platform, your words..I don’t pay much attention to others posts..I’m simply too busy, and lately the negativity is rampant.

Family tends to put what is valuable into perspective. This perfect, smart, articulate, funny, damaged little human in my home puts it all into perspective. 

I haven’t had much motivation for the last couple years. Some of that stems from depression over my empty nest, I don’t know what to do with myself, so I tend to waste a lot of time on my phone as a distraction. 

I am starting to think about how self important, how absolutely self involved, how egotistical it all is. It’s exhaustive. No one cares about my self serving bs…

The busier I get caring for and loving the people surrounding me, the less important my online persona becomes.

I like writing, I’m not sure how good at it I am, and if I’m being honest I like ya’all reading it, I like the feedback, and I’m going to continue because I feel like it’s healing, cathartic, but everything else is washing away as I become more focused on reality. It will be less frequent, but I’m going to try to keep this blog active.

Teenagers as everyone knows are a full time job, I have no clue how I did this with 3. I was younger I suppose.

One thing is for certain though, I’ll end up getting more out of this than he will. I feel blessed.

Alopecia and Gratitude.

Tags

, , , ,

I am not traditionally beautiful, whatever that means.

At 25 my hair fell out. I have Alopecia Universalis, which is a fancy way of saying I have no hair on my body. I have blogged about this before, but lately I’ve been thinking about beauty in general, and the notion that a certain set of features and checked boxes define beauty.

I am also getting older, so things are happening to my face that are perfectly normal, but society seems to think aging somehow diminishes beauty.

I am ok with being hairless, I am ok with ageing. There was a post a friend put up on FB a while back that I quite liked (thanks Noelle).

I like it because it’s true. I have never felt like the ripest juiciest peach, but just lately I feel blessed and grateful for my alopecia, I feel uniquely beautiful, I don’t know anyone else that looks like me. 

When I was younger, before my hair skipped town I was always considered pretty, not a super model, but pretty enough, after I lost my hair I was considered odd, strange looking, the comments I received were filled with condescension, pitty, and hurtful words in the guise of kindness… ” You used to be so pretty, I’m sooooo sorry”. ” You’re so lucky your husband stays with you”. ” You have so many other things going for you, beauty is overrated”. And my personal favorite: ” when your hair started falling out weren’t you worried you had cancer?”.  I am guilty myself in stating ” my husband thinks I’m beautiful”. I was never beautiful for him, my job in this world, my value on this planet, isn’t marked with a tag ugly or pretty. I like that he thinks I’m beautiful, but it has no effect on how I perceive myself.

I’m not even sure what beautiful is. I know a couple things about me though. When I wake up and look in the mirror, I have nothing to hide behind, I see my whole face, and I like me. I like how I look, no amount of hair can take away the eyes that look like my mother’s, the cheek bones that were built through Scotland and Ireland, the smile that reminds me that through all of this stressful life I remain happy.

What is beautiful? As cliche as it is it’s who you are on the inside, which radiates outward.

Liking yourself is a hard job. Insecurities run rampant, for both men and women. If you’re secure in how you look, you’re conceited, if you hate your looks you have low self esteem. I think it’s important to not give two fucks about what others think or how others perceive you.

Today I choose not to pick myself apart. Today I choose to love the skin I’m in. Today I am beautiful by my own definition. Today is all we have after all.