online shopping for people

i don’t have a picture for today. i might draw after i post this, but no picture yet today. or yesterday or the day before.

i totally meant to do one yesterday. i was going to take an element from one of my random drawings and elaborate on it…or give it another–a different life of it’s own?

i even exercised and ate lunch and did without coffee (i am trying to take better care of myself) but then i was goofing off on facebook. (why why why?) and fb stalked a skateboard punk i had a fling with before i moved from kentucky to wisconsin in 2002. it wasn’t even a full-fledged fling. just messing around. he actually refused to have sex with me.
for some reason or another, i looked him up.
and he’s all married to a beautiful woman and expecting his first kid. they’re being all cuddly and posing by their pool in their beautiful backyard.

and i collapsed.

i felt like a fucking failure. what is wrong with me? have i fucked up my entire life?
i totally spiraled.

and then i went on okcupid.

i don’t really believe in internet dating–or, online shopping for people as i prefer to call it. i think you should meet in person and have all the sparks & fireworks…but desperate times, people. desperate times.

whenever i feel desperate enough to do this, i fill out my profile as honestly and openly as possible to scare off the guys looking for a woman who shaves her armpits and does the make-up & heels thing. it’s not me, babe. i let them know i’m just looking for conversation…but i still get the creepers saying, “hey pretty” and “you’re so sexy.”

really??

anyhoo. usually i delete my profile as soon as men start messaging me, but i stuck with it. it occurs to me that–if nothing else–it might be good for my art & writing. i do better with distractions. and, seriously, good stories here, y’all. good stories.

so i spent all last night answering profile questions and alienating the “hey pretty” men.

tonight i am actually going out of my house…to a party…with people.
what?
yes. i am.

but tomorrow is a new year & i will have new stories & new art.

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split-apart

it was new year’s eve 1992. i was 22 and running away from my life, en route to washington dc from iowa city, ia. i went to my parent’s house in illinois for christmas. my younger–very straight & conservative–sister suggested we go out to a bar in the nearby college town of normal. i think she was trying to impress us that she could be cool. it was a grunge bar (before grunge was really even a thing) with a purple mohawked & tattooed bartender and all the hip college kids as clientele.

i woke up the morning before we went there with one thought in my head, “today you are going to meet the man you are going to marry.”

it was a strong thought. this had happened to me before–and come true. the strong waking premonition. so i did not doubt it.

at the bar, the gallery, i was amazed at the number of hot guys. i had bad luck dating in iowa city, everyone thought i was a lesbian–and i had plenty of those opportunities…but very few straight ones. and all terrible in their own ways. so i felt i had stumbled upon an oasis in my romantic desert.

of the sea of hot guys, i was informed by one of the bartenders that her good friend thought i was cute. he was–sadly–the least attractive of the boys there…not at all my type. large & hairy. but due to my premonition, i thought, what the hell. let’s see what happens. so i started dating him. started having feelings for him. scrapped my plans to move to dc & (with the help of the tattooed bartender) found a job & a place to live in normal.

then the mountain man dumped me.

in retrospect, i think i was just the person he needed to feel confident enough to go after the woman he really wanted to be with. and, his having me doting on him, gave him that attractiveness credit with the would-be girlfriend. all of a sudden, because he was my boyfriend, he was a guy worth looking twice at.  i was a tool. they are happily married now. i never got a thank you card for that…oh well.

i spiraled as someone with low self-esteem is bound to do once rejected. i dated & flirted & messed around…a lot. seriously, so many cute guys! there were parties where all these hot people would sit around & play “spin the bottle.” i had so much fun that i can never tell my kids about.

anyhoo!

there was this one bouncer at the gallery. okay. stop. erase your mental image of “bouncer.” at this bar, the biggest & most threatening bouncer employed there was a woman. none of the bouncers could have probably bounced. mostly they just checked id. and in the case of the 6 foot woman bouncer–deep throat kissed everyone who came through the door. ah…the early nineties….

so there was a bouncer who when i first saw him he was cleaning his brand new belly button piercing behind the bar. (it later got infected and was impressively pus-filled enough that the piecing was abandoned.) i had also just gotten my belly button pierced–so i was like, “hey, me too.”

here’s the thing though. this boy was so incredibly good-looking that my mind literally did not entertain thoughts of him for even a second. he was quickly filed in the “out of my league” category. also. he was in one of those epic romances that everyone references when they are talking about perfect couples. it was always him “&amy.” they were a fixed point in time.

and i was a paradox.

but we became fast friends. fun friends. he was great to goof off with. funny. so funny. i can remember my face hurting from laughing when i was with him. and so laid back. i would find him at parties (there was always a party. seriously. weekend parties. after-hour parties. so many parties!) and we would have long conversations about everything & nothing.

then one day i was at his going away party. he was moving to montana. and he was gone. my life went on. i continued living a strange life full of drama & dating.

then one day he was back.

i was walking down the street, and there he was. he told me that he just got back into town, and from that point we were inseparable.
he later told me that he moved to montana to get away from his girlfriend–it didn’t work.
he also told me
that he came back
because he had a dream about me.
i continued to resist it as a romance…especially since he seemed unable to break up with his girlfriend. but we were the best of friends. we plotted ways to make money. we went on crazy road trips. we even became roommates.

i would lay in his arms every night…you know, as his roommate, and feel like i was home. he made everything okay.

we eventually did date.
and break up.
and get back together.
and get engaged (with tattoos!)
and move to an all girl college together.
and move to austin, texas together.

and…

i fucked it up. as hard and terribly as i could. i mean, it’s like i put effort  into fucking it up. i destroyed our relationship. i destroyed everything.

and i have spent the past 20 years trying to forget him and get past him (when i’m not missing him & imagining what would have been).

but i can’t forget him. i remember him better than i remember what i ate yesterday. he is etched in my brain…my heart…scattered across my soul.
i no longer believe i am able to forget him. or that i am meant to forget him.
back then & still today, i believe he is my split-apart.
the other half of me.

bruised

when i was a little girl, i loved to draw and i loved to write. i won (or at least came in second) in different competitions for both of them. i was good. at some point, i decided i had to choose between the two. i don’t remember why i decided this…but it seemed like the thing to do.

i chose to be a writer.

effectively, i stopped drawing and put all my energy into writing. i wrote my first two books while i was in jr. high school. i wrote another in high school. i wrote another directly after high school. i would spend many hours a day writing. in notebooks. on typewriters. on napkins. on word processors (it was the 80’s & 90’s). i wanted nothing more than to be a writer.

i moved to iowa city directly after high school to attend the university of iowa and it’s famous writer’s workshop.
but life got in the way, and i decided, “who needs to go to school to be a writer? live life & write to be a writer!”
so i did that. while living life, aka working in a bar, a girl (colleen coover) told me i reminded her of a character in the graphic novel love & rockets. and that began my love affair with comic books.

maybe it was with my fourth book that i started thinking maybe i could turn it into a graphic novel. so i sought out the local iowa city comic guy (paul tobin) and asked his advice. like most men comic bookers, he was just excited to see a chick interested in comics. he was trying to break into writing serious stuff and turned it around so i was helping him. and he tried to get into my pants. it all ended up with our becoming good friends, but he never took my becoming a comic booker seriously–so i never did either.

(coincidentally, i eventually introduced colleen & paul and they later became a comic booking team and romantically involved…or vice versa)

(also, coincidentally, i later dated tim bradstreet–another comic artist–who also declined to take my aspirations seriously.)

anyhoo!

i focused on writing for many many years, ignoring my love of drawing.

but i love them both. words & images. i love them. you can do so much with either medium.

(sigh)

so one of the projects i am playing around with is taking all of my random stories & thoughts and putting them in a visual context. i know i have already talked about this…but not with such a fascinating backstory!

so this one is the start of a short story that i never finished. bruised. about a woman who has a seizure and comes loose in time…ish. like i said, i never finished it…so who knows what happened next.

but i had fun doing this. the first attempt went into the fireplace…but i am pretty happy with this one.

my first beluga whale

so there was this open space in the upper right hand corner that kept me perplexed through quite a few episodes of offspring today.

(now i feel defensive about the fact that i am sitting in a chair zoning out to dramadies when maybe i should be doing something productive…or at least cleaning the fucking living room or scrubbing out the toilet that has some mystery staining going on…earning money towards my building debt? fuck. this all started when i became a stay at home mom…the feeling defensive if i’m not doing ten things at once. thinking someone is going to say something snide…well, okay, because the ex always did.
so now i am sitting on my ass crying over a tv show because they pointlessly killed off my favorite character.
fuck.)

beluga1

so anyway. this blank spot. i found so many things on the left side of the paper and it was getting so lopsided. but all i  could see were more dragons and i just could not do another dragon inking. so i looked & looked & looked and then realized there could be something getting ready to dive into that pond there.

and that’s when i found my happy beluga whale.

tada.

i like this picture. it seems…happy-ish.

my dogs should come home tomorrow. from the vet. they are almost fully de-toxed. i don’t know how much it will cost, but i did manage to sell eleven prints in my first attempt to make money with my art. so that’s exciting.

and terrifying.

and i am terrified.

i might have a deep fear of happiness & success & being loved & being able to love…. i don’t feel worthy, i guess. like i’m too badly damaged to do the stuff that normal people do.

fuck.

but i did this inking today. and started getting an order ready for printing….
wait.
maybe i should dress up & pretend i am someone else when i try to sell my art. that always worked when i used to wait tables…hmm. maybe i am on to something.

green man

oh.
i did manage to finish an inking.
sure,
it took me like 3 days when normally i do one a day…
but you must understand
i have been binge watching the australian tv show
offspring
for four days straight.

fuck me.

last time my kids when to the ex’s
i was all like
“whoo hoo! look at me go!”

this time i just want to crawl in a hole
and wait for them to come home.
i tried to clean the living room today
and failed.
and, of course, i poisoned iggy’s dog

iggy is the one most attached to me
of my four attached children.
i was 43 weeks when the doctors insisted on
cutting him out of me.
sometimes i think
he would have stayed if it were left up to him.

he is the one calling me on the phone
telling me how much he misses me.
and i wonder.
is he missing me so much because i am missing him?
or vice versa?
do we have a link that is making both of us sad
somehow
this time?

but

despite my sad lonely lonliness
and lonely alone sadness
i did finish an inking.

so there is that.

greenman1

and now back to binge watching
aussie tv
on netflix.

the saga of stella & squiggles

i avoided having pets for years & years
i was very nomadic
and had a history of having severe personality disorders in reaction to owning pets.
(my dad murdered & abused many of my pets, & i kind of shut down emotionally as a result)

then in 1996 a redneck boyfriend found a puppy in the woods
and forced the thing upon me.
i hated & hated that puppy, otis.
and then i fell in love with him.
and then he got hit by a car & killed before he was even a year old
when he ran away
after i sent him to live with a friend
because i felt i could not be who he needed me to be.
my heart broke into a million pieces.
and a little bit more of me died.

i got a rebound puppy.
and then another dog.
and then another.
and then i got rid of a dog
and then another.
i managed to keep one until he was 14 and falling apart and i buried him in the garden.
but i never fell in love with him.
we tolerated each other…for fourteen years
(same number of years i was with my ex)

then fidgit & iggy both insisted they had to have a dog
for years this went on
until i was finally at a place where i could have a dog.
but i had to get two because i had four kids each saying
they wanted a dog.
so i adopted two six month old cattle dog/border collie mixes
(herd dogs are my favorite)
and then things fell apart.

fidgit decided he was a cat person.
the ex complained constantly about the dogs.
i started to love them…but then my heart froze.
they terrorize the cat…the chickens…the lambs.
and with two of them and four minions,
i can’t get them trained the way they need to be trained.

and i find myself hating them
for the one more thing in my life
that i cannot manage
and that makes me feel like a failure as a human being.

i decided to find stella a new home
and to keep squiggles (who became iggy’s dog)
squiggles fits in
stella tolerates us but would be happier somewhere else…
i have been trying to find her a home with no luck.

img_2933

meanwhile,
i keep losing more & more of my mind
and feeling like less & less of a person.

then yesterday
they ate some bread dough i left to rise in a stupid place.
and i hated them so much for it.
and i had a screaming meltdown.
i put them in their crate and hid from the world.

i thought they would be okay
but this morning they were so so sick
vomiting & wobbling.
turns out
dogs get alcohol poisoning from bread dough.

i didn’t know.
i feel like such a dumb fuck.
i feel like it is my fault for hating them
that i brought this on with my own
bad behavior.

now they are at the vet
$400 or more per dog
for them to detox.

so…long story short
there is no hope for my frozen heart
and the demons that tell me i am an awful
dogmother
& that i will probably never be a proper dog person
because there is that gaping hole where my heart should be….

but if you want to buy some art
i can sell you prints or originals
to pay the vet bill for which i have exactly
$0.00

if you do want to buy art
leave me a message
and we can work it out.
i still need to figure out how to build a store here…

 

swan princess

to say i loved fairy tales as a little girl would be a gross understatement.
i lived in my own private fairy tale.
a changeling waiting to be discovered and rescued from the trolls who were trying to raise me as one of their own.
rescue me from the evil stepmother who murdered my real & devoted mother…
fairy tales were my escape from a frightening real life.

of course, i blame my fairy tale escape route for my love of kissing frogs and marrying beasts in hopes that i can release the prince that is surely trapped inside.
oh what a horrible thing to do to our daughters, right? teaching them that that awful asshole is probably just under a curse but will one day realize what a treasure she is and love her like no one ever has.

still, i loved my fairy tale escape. and maybe it helped part of me to flower despite its setting me up for disastrous relationships….

swan1

ah fuck.

i am a fairy changeling in a troll’s world.
i am an abandoned witchling among misunderstanding mortals.
i am a princess trapped inside a snarky, nippy swan.

swan2

ha!

so i sit alone in my castle as my children have been taken to the mortal world of wisconsin to live for 10 days with a family of trolls.
but they will return to me, my magic children. and we will continue our real fairy tale of homesteading in rural illinois free from tormented princes.

10 days.
i hold my breath and wish on every star in the sky for their safe return.