happy valentine’s day from an ice monkey

confusion is nothing new

teeth & gums & nakedness
nothing new
a series of dreams
that never come true
but can i really say
i never get what
i want
when wants change
& needs are undecipherable?
needs
i would like to get
what i need
teeth & gums & nakedness
men following men
through my room
moonlight
sunlight
lamplight
condom wrappers
& nothing fulfilled
but i got
what i wanted
for 30 seconds
teeth & gums & nakedness

yes. my name is “mary jo” & yes. i was a pretty promiscuous 24 year old once.
this is my favorite poem that i have ever written.
it was written after a busy summer in ’94 that began with my breaking up with the love of my life and ended with my reuniting with the love of my life after a bunch of indiscretions.
then i went away (with him) to an all girl school in roanoke, va (hollins university) where i workshopped my poem as well as classics such as “bukowski’s undertow” & “tiny tortures in this hyperactive ghost town” which can be seen in comic form in my newly published book confusion perfume & other neurotic comics.

in other news–i made so many valentine’s this year, y’all! i like to reclaim valentine’s day as a day of love & not necessarily romance. and i am so full of love. ink covered love.

ps. happy year of the (big blue) ox!

pps. my scanner finally gave up it’s ghost, hence the buttload of blurry photos. i did invest in a new scanner that should be here soon. buy a copy of my book to help me pay for that!!

blast from the past

i don’t know why
men treat me this way
i don’t know what i’ve done
to deserve such cruelty
& apathy
i struggle to believe
i’m lovable
i struggle to believe
i’m a good person
yet somehow
i only get used
& tossed aside
i see these people
other people
happy & loving relationships
& i wonder
what’s wrong with me?
so i say to you
pretty boy
don’t worry
everyone kicks me
when i’m down…
it was probably
just your
turn.

another snippet from a 20 year old journal. it was written in prose form, but if i had written it today, i would have written it like this.
it reminds me of one or two of my pages of my the invisible exhibitionist. that last bit.

i’m hoping i have evolved past this lovelorn puddle of me…but if i happen into another relationship…will she return?

flower ninja evolution

original ninja

i drew this picture sitting at my kitchen table, while still in high school, apparently before i developed my aversion to pencils. there was a vase of dying flowers on the table. and i was a bit into creating whimsical characters (shocking, right?) so this happened.

then, in my late 30s, living in a cooperative, getting ready to go back to school to study art & writing, i did another version of her in ink & art marker, titling it “flower ninja.”

flower ninja yellow

i have her posted on a page…probably the ancient art by me page…where she was admired & then requested only for me to realize i am pretty sure i gave her to dusty who also admired her. god only knows where she is now.
hence the latest version where i went bigger & updated her per my own evolution as an artist.

i think high school me would be delighted that something she drew at the kitchen table would one day evolve into a work that someone would actually pay for.
of course, high school me would also be utterly pissed off to find out that she is not a world-famous author by now.
“and what’s up with the ex-husband collection–why all the jerks?” she might wonder–albeit somewhat relieved that we did manage to get laid….

hmmm. i think maybe it is for the best if we do not tell high school me very much of what we know of current me.
it’ll just be our little secret.

my first comic

okay. my very first comic was a soap opera based on the nursery rhyme “hey diddle diddle.” i would draw it on a chalkboard in the basement of the house i grew up in. there are not actual pages. i erased before doing the next page. but i assure you–it was amazing and proof of my undiscovered status as a child prodigy.

my first comic that i can actually share with y’all was a neurotic comic based on my own experiences in love & relationships. i started writing it in the late ’90s. i was living in a one bedroom apartment with my dog norman. we were right near the bar i waited tables at by day and would go to at night to drink & watch bands. i moved into this apartment about a month after i married my ex-husband.
i met him.
we eloped in tennessee.
i moved in with him.
he told me he didn’t think he loved me after all.
i threw up.
i moved out.
i started this comic.
confusion perfume
it starts out pretty goofy & light…or lightly dark…um…sepia? but then morphs into an experiment where i see what stories of mine i can turn into comics (testing my theory that anything can be a comic)

i have made a page for it on my website here: confusion perfume. i am afraid the print might be kind of small. having had “serious” comic book man friends who told me the “right” way to do comics, i did the originals on large board & then had them shrunk down at a professional printer. these days you’re lucky if my art is on real paper & scanned rather than half-assedly photographed before i share it with you.

so! if y’all are like, “we can’t get enough of the inner workings of quixotic mama’s neurosis and relationship history…”

but is is kinda cool to note, for future biographical historians of mine, that this was when i first started seriously drawing again after having given up drawing in favor of fiction writing when i was 13.

note–confusion perfume is fiction based on me & my experiences. it is not straight-up memoir. some of this stuff is made up…some is true…i won’t tell you which is which…. okay, i probably would if you asked. i am terrible at keeping secrets.

(i think i have it so the print can be read now–let me know if there is a problem.)

ancient history

before i met & married dusty and had an on-again/off-again dysfunctional relationship from hell with him…i had a practice run for two years with his kentucky twin.
in 1996 just after i lost the best boy i’d ever known, i fell in with this narcissistic, emotionally abusive asshole.
it should have just been a rebound…but he was so good at manipulating me that it lasted for two awful years. he conned me out of thousands of dollars, put my ego in the crapper, and cheated on me like crazy.
this poem was written about six months in.

holy crap.
i should have read these journals back when stuff started going funny with dusty. i had no idea what a narcissist was–not really. nor that they preyed on people like me…people with too much empathy.
i had no idea.
i thought it was love.
just like i thought it was love that kept me with dusty no matter how much of a fuck he was to me.
i should publish these journals as a warning.

in case you didn’t notice…page 2

this is page two of my experimental tell-all art journal memoir.
i can’t tell if i like it or not.
it’s a good story. i would like to explore telling this story.
i’m just not sure that this is the way i want to tell it.

(here’s page one)

in case you didn't notice2

so keep on playing around with it…see what happens.

i have gotten an underwhelming amount of stuff done while my minions are gone. unless you are impressed by how many netflix shows i have binge-watched?

last night i spent between 4 and 5 hours cutting up my lambs and getting them into the freezer. i am not good at cutting meat. poor things have been butchered twice now. but it’s done!
now i need to see if i can figure out how to clean & tan a hide.
another thing i am procrastinating.
and
perfect weather…but i have not tapped my trees.

ugg.

i’m feeling a bit useless.
so much art to do. so much homesteading.
and i just want to have a beer & watch jessica jones and mope about unrequited love while ogling david tennant.

sigh.

on the look-out for the next ex

relationships…

all i think about is relationships i don’t want to think about relationships why do i think about relationships so much?

bleah.

i recognize that part of me longs for the balance of a relationship.
i recognize that part of me loathes the idea of needing someone else.
i recognize that part of me is so injured that the idea of letting someone else in is terrifying.
i recognize that part of me is so damaged that i do not trust myself to choose a healthy partner.

ack!

this post is my letting go of obsessing about relationships.
sort of.
last night i dreamed about two exes.
back up…
recently i sent a series of “crazy” messages to my ex–the one i have trouble letting go of even though we broke up 21 years ago. i was angry because i keep asking him for help, and he ignores me. okay, sure 21 years, but he is always happy to respond when i am flirty & fawning…but not when i sincerely ask for help. when i sincerely ask for a friend.
i have spent 21 years apologizing to him.
for every fucking thing i did wrong when we were together.
and recently i realized something.
he has never once acknowledged that he did anything wrong in our relationship.
maybe he just doesn’t give a fuck.
maybe he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.
maybe i am wrong to expect we could be friends after everything we went through. maybe our strong connection was just imagined, and i need to let it go already.

let it go already.

last night in my dream he wanted to talk to me about my “crazy” messages to him. first he wanted to do it in a crowded room–so i asked for a private conversation.
once we were alone, i felt the need to hide, covering my face with a scarf and–literally–sinking into a wall.
he started talking to me, but then was distracted by a celebrity entering the scene, and steered off to talk to that person instead, weaving tales to entertain this new person and completely ignoring me.
and then i got up & left to go make green bean casserole for my kids. i didn’t care. it was status quo for us and i was done with it.

i guess i’m ready to let it go.

other thoughts on relationships were addressed by chani and his weekly horoscopes where i was told (as a cancer):

Being thoughtful about who you partner with will help you to create more thoughtfully. Being deliberate about your collaborations will make them more effective. Being conscious of how your insecurities and your need to please can get in the way of protecting your energy is a game-changer.

You can’t take every partnership up on its offer. You can’t pour your energy into every vessel that has room for you. You can’t make good on your promises when you over-extend yourself. 

almost every relationship i have had i have actively sought out empty & cracked vessels that could not possibly accept my love…or i have found them on my doorstep and been like, “okay, i guess this is my boyfriend.”

hence my fear of even stepping towards a new relationship. if i like a person, they are probably damaged…& if they choose me, they are probably damaged.

sigh.

so i read up on the red flags. i read up on the narcissistic tendencies that i seem to attract. i read things about nice guys vs. good men and i try to keep these things up front in my mind…just in case i ever actually meet anyone.

meanwhile, however, you know…four minions and a homestead full of livestock. plus art to complete and vegetables to harvest….

but for those of you that think i should just forget about relationships and focus on kids & homestead & art, i have this to say:  i feel like that would be denying a part of me that deserves to be taken seriously AND i need to do the work. whether i am in a relationship or not, i need to do this work to heal the damage i have in the area of relationships or i am going to wake up one day & realize i am in another fucked up relationship.

speaking of which, i am letting dusty visit this week for misha’s sixth birthday, so–right there–reason to keep fresh what i want & do not want from a relationship.

goddess

when i was just 19
i pulled a knife on a guy
well
i guess
actually
he was my boss
i pulled a knife on my boss
because he kept
grabbing my ass
not just grabbing
but fondling
stroking
caressing
my ass
i really don’t know
if i ever said “no”
i was a good girl
taught to
smile!
to be pleasant
to say “yes” to men
especially those with authority
smile!
be pleasant
so he would molest me
as i tried to do my job
working in this kitchen
in this college town
just 19 years old
and i probably
nicely moved away
nicely tried to keep my distance
nicely smiled
until
one day
i grabbed a kitchen knife after he touched me
not a sharp one
a notorious dull one in fact
but i grabbed a knife
and held it out
as a threat
as i smiled.
he smiled too
and walked into the knife
to show he wasn’t afraid of me
it barely scratched him
if at all…
but!
he never touched me again

goddess2.JPG

i have been embarrassed about this for years. i can’t believe i pulled a knife on someone. not just someone, but my boss. i don’t talk about this story because i felt like i was in the wrong. all these years, i have felt like i was in the wrong for doing it. i beat myself up and tear myself down for not having better coping mechanisms.

but i really didn’t. i was never taught to stand up for myself. quite the opposite.

so i snapped and went into fight or flight. flight hadn’t been working out for me. so i fought. and i won.

so why do i look back at this memory & cringe?

fuck that bullshit.

today i am cheering for that poor little girl. today i’m ready to tell him where the fuck to get the fuck off. fuck intimidation. fuck molestation. fuck all that. i am proud of myself for finally standing up for myself…even if it was in a pretty drastic way.

goddess1

don’t look at my little heart

you haunt me.
21 years after i lost you
you still haunt me.
am i ridiculous?
why can’t i let go?
you did.
you left me.
even though i was the one
who got on the greyhound bus.
…every time i left you
i left you for someone
who wasn’t even half of who you are.
that should have said something
about how fucked up
i was.
and how much i wanted to destroy
myself.
when you left me
it was for a wife,
and some would say
you gave me too many chances
before leaving.
but in the end,
you did leave
and leave me
haunted.
if i ever had a heart
i lost it
when i lost you.
if i ever was
able to love,
it was only to fail
at loving you.
the universe’s way of kicking me down
when i boasted
that i didn’t believe in regrets
living my life without regrets
until i realized that my life is one big
regret.
regret…
i burned every picture
i ever had of you.
every
single
one.
cutting you out
and leaving myself alone
in an attempt
to get over you
but only making my regret
that much bigger
and myself
that much more alone.
haunted.

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