always for now

always & forever
did not last
as long
as i thought it would
always
became sometimes
& then
seldom
before falling off the world & into
never….
forever started to
sputter out
after
what?
just a couple of years?
a brief
forever
waxing & waning
away to
nothing.
never mind.

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phoenix rising

i realized something today
i am pretty fucking awesome
whether i’ve had
a beer…or two
or
am stone cold sober
whether my bathroom is clean
or the scene
of a toxic event
i am pretty fucking awesome
warts & all
literal & figurative
losing my mind
or all fucking zen
i am incredible
fantastic
amazing
think what you will
of me
but i am the only
one
who
knows for sure
i am
totally
fucking awesome.

after 250 self-portrait art journal pages (this is #251) in the past eleven months…it was bound to happen.
i felt good writing this…it was a bit harder to post as i am all, “what if i’m wrong? what if i suck?” but i totally felt it as i was writing it.
confidence.
belief in myself.
and it felt good.

navel gazing

you look so hard
into
your own heart
using
other people’s eyes
are you lovable?
are you beautiful?
are you special?
are you good?
are you a good person?
do you deserve happiness?
so much time
energy
so much of your own
heart
but you never
stop
you never
look up
& out
to see what is in their
hearts
& to wonder
are they lovable?
special, beautiful, & good?
do they
deserve
your happiness?

cat battle

so i re-did this page. it’s from december of last year when i was in a very dark place and realized that no matter how much i wanted to throw fidgit’s cat out the door for being a jerk…i could not risk breaking my son’s heart.
it seemed relevant to right now.
i am not a cat person.
much of the emotional abuse i suffered as a child was animal-related. pet-related. i wrote about it while my parents were visiting last winter.
it is something i still struggle with.
so
we had one cat–pepper–who we adopted from a humane society when fidgit just had to had to had to have a dog & all that was allowed on our lease was a cat.
i will admit that pepper is good–for a cat. he tolerates my minions & never* poops outside the litter box. he is also an asshole who likes to knock over water glasses & bounce on my bed when i am sleeping, but fidgit loves him.
pepper moved to rural illinois with us.
so then all the kittens started showing up. when i was a kid, that’s how we got new pets, they just showed up.
however, i did not keep the kittens; i took them all to the humane society knowing i cannot deal with cats in a healthy & mature way.
then roscoe happened. he was just hanging out on the side of the road. you know, a country road where seeing a cat corpse is not that uncommon. so there is roscoe, about 8 weeks old, clearly some barn kitten out for a stroll.
i stopped the car & picked him up.
i have a quick bond with certain cats. almost always brown tabbies. almost always rude & lovable all at the same time. usually a little bit wild (i will have to tell you about moose sometime–actually she is probably on my post about my cat curse….)
roscoe was one of those cats.
i resigned that we would have two cats.
unfortunately, roscoe had fleas…which i’m pretty sure is where my current fleaocalypse started. also, he did  not know what a litter box was (being a barn cat) and had to be trained over a few weeks to use a litter box.

then, not even a month later, shortly after i had successfully litter box trained roscoe, an orange classic tabby kitten popped out of the cattails by the pond when i went to hang up clothes. i’m pretty sure she was dumped off as cats often are in the country. there are the barn cats & then there are the dumped city cats. ginger seemed to be the latter. and, iggy wanted her. and i was stupid & tired & too easily worn down by iggy’s ability to work his angle…. i agreed to it against my better judgement and knowing i do not get along with orange tabbies.
and i never was able to bond with ginger.
on tuesday, after much grief & heartache and talking to iggy & the other kids about it, i took ginger to the humane society.
i was right.
i cannot handle having that many cats.
i thought about taking all three in. part of me really wanted to take all three in. end the cat chaos. the cat battles. end my seemingly constant hating of myself for not being able to deal with cats. i mean, taking the cats to the humane society, that’s at least better than shooting them in front of my kids (right, dad???)
while ginger was with us, litter box issues became common–when she would get stressed out, she would stop using the box…and then roscoe would stop as well. i had it fixed though…i had it under control & then my uninvited house guest from hell messed with the litter boxes. she actually put one box outside & shut the door to the others, leaving my cats with no boxes. i fixed the situation as soon as i became aware of it…but it was too late.
ginger started not using the box.
and roscoe stopped using the box.
and i started losing my mind.
i was hoping that with ginger gone, everything would go back to normal.
i don’t know if it was the flea spray…or if the situation is out of my control…or if my cats just hate me, but yesterday, roscoe & pepper (*first time ever) both stopped using the litter box.
and i fell apart.
i spent so long talking myself out of just getting rid of them…all they had to do was use the litter box….
i tried to talk myself back into getting rid of them. this is a big house. a carpeted house. it is not my house. there are too many unfinished areas–dead zones–in the house for a cat to have an accident without my realizing it.
i wanted to give up.
and then i started wondering what kind of example i am setting for my kids. i mean, it’s bad enough when i throw a fit because the cats are cats (yesterday morning i went into the kitchen around sunrise. there is not much natural light in the kitchen & it was rainy out. i did not turn on the lights. at one point i kicked something on the floor–so i turned on the lights to see the jagged bottom of a broken glass jar just next to my bare foot…and broken glass all around me–thanks, cats.)
but what does it say about me if i don’t even try (again) to solve this problem? i have to try again.
so i am cleaning & organizing a room where the cats can be quarantined and re-trained again to use their litter boxes.
i am trying not to ask myself what happens if they keep having accidents?
i’m trying to believe i can do this.
i have to do this.
i have to win a cat battle. i have to show my kids i can be a good cat mom. i have to show my children that problems can be solved…that taking time & having patience are good things.
i have to.

curtains

this same window
i spend my day
creating
art
from the light
shining through
this same window
i used to sit
as a child
staring at the dark
reflected
back
at me
waiting
for my father
to come home
wishing
for my father
to never
come
home
it’s a different window
though it is
the same
only light comes through
now
no
more
dark.

i scribbled this thought down a few days ago, and remembered it today while reading JGomez’s beautiful & powerful piece “Disintegrate Elsewhere.”
my father always came home…and his homecomings were generally stressful…if not terrifying. a family walking on eggshells while a father waits, determined to take his temper out on someone. i learned to be quiet. i learned to be invisible. i learned to not draw the disturbed glare of his blue eyes.
i watched as others took the brunt of his temper. wishing him away. wishing to feel safe.

i live in the same house…but it is a different house now that he is gone. i wish little me had gotten to feel the peace that i am now, finally, able to feel.

burnt fingers

why have i let them
why have i let men
have the best parts
of me
giving my everything
to them
apologizing
for it not being
enough
holding torches
that just
burn my fingers.

a short poem…a simple drawing. liberally using my white space.

i borrowed from my figure drawing book (expressive figure drawing) for this one.

broken people

i’ve always loved the broken people
always always
i am drawn to them
but not like a moth
to a flame
because i am also the fire
my damage
at least as deep
as theirs
i love them because i think
they will understand
they will know me &
they will love me
because i am like them…
thing is
when both of you
are broken
who is picking up the pieces?

*this post was inspired by all the feelings i have when i hear lovely the band’s song, “broken.” which, coincidentally, played on the radio as i was illustrating this page.

i think a lot about this, especially since the song came out. i mean, dusty always said he was attracted to me because he could tell i was damaged. and even when i look for a healthy relationship i always find myself oogling those obviously broken men, trying to cover up their damage with cynicism & dark humor.

seymour was not broken. while i was with him, every broken man i saw turned my head. i never had that problem when i was dating damaged guys. i focused on them & obsessed over fixing them. but seymour had nothing for me to fix. so i wandered away. stupid girl. stupid stupid girl.

turns out, those of us who are broken, we need someone who isn’t broken. if we the broken choose other broken people to love, all we do is keep on breaking each other.