goodbye

it was as if the island did not want me to be there.
every sign an exit sign.
rain filling the tent
a sky clouding over as soon as we got to the beach
for a swim
crows crying out a warning every morning
relentless flies & pissy park rangers…
i wondered if it was an omen of bad things to come…
only to realize it was a letting go
like the end of the movie
when you have to set free the thing you love
have to chase off the thing you love.
the island was telling me to leave
to run free
& to not look back.

this has everything to do with dusty. i planned this vacation to madeline island with him. kind of a co-parent thing. i thought it would work out okay because things had been going more friendly between us.
but i really do not like being around him.
especially not for an entire camping trip.
we are so different in the ways we live our lives. the ways we see the world. the ways we parent….
it hurts me to be around him. i wish it did not…but it does. i am damaged a little every time i tolerate his bullshit. and i feel like i have to tolerate his bullshit in order to keep the peace.
…and i really really do not like tolerating bullshit.

it was totally his fault the tent flooded. i kept trying to nicely tell him the flaw in his thinking. the flaw that was causing the tent to turn into a leaky water bed…but he kept telling me how it was going to work. i had to wait it out, bailing out the tent more than once, before he would “let” me fix the problem (without any help from him.)

i once surmised of our relationship that if we were ever in a situation where we had to work together to survive–we just wouldn’t. we would be dead.

but i survived.
& the island made it clear to me that i need to let go & stop the nonsense.

mate for life

i will never forget
his telling me
(his clear blue eyes
dimples so deep that
women gave him whatever
he asked)
“doves mate for life”
he told me
to explain why
when he shot one dove
he would make sure
to shoot the mate
as well
so it would not be heartbroken…
his one small
kindness.

ah yes, my kentucky redneck. a preview of my relationship with dusty. he was a breed of his own–just like dusty. a special kind of damaged brilliance.
i think of him every time i see a lonely dove perched on a telephone wire. not because he was my mate for life–but because of his telling me about making sure to end the suffering of any dove left without a mate. i never really knew how to feel about it.


i wrote this because there is a mourning dove that likes to perch on the telephone wire outside my office window. i often wonder if that dove is my one true love come to wait for me.

broken spell

i don’t feel it
anymore
when he is near
the spell is broken
the electricity gone
i feel
affection
fondness
thinking only of him
as a friend
someone
to talk to
i don’t feel it anymore
that need
to be inside his skin
to have him touch me
in every
possible
way
…now
i feel whole
without him
the spell is broken.

my ex-husband lost his job recently due to covid politics. i offered him a place to stay since he won’t have the income to pay his rent & will most likely be looking for a job closer to me & the kids.
i worried that this proximity might spark something as it has been a little over a year since our last (final final final) breakup.
i mean, i am trying to be realistic. obviously, after 12 years of an on-again/off-again relationship, how can i be sure that there will not be another on-again?
but i feel no attraction to him. yay! even after he brought me whiskey & has been all sweet.

and just the other day i read through my pages for my future book (the invisible exhibitionist) as i put it on a thumb drive to mail to my publisher (are you ready for that, tara?)
so many writings of my torrid relationship with the dad…so so many.
which inspired me to draw this page in the style of my self-portrait period.

rubble

how many times
will i be deeply
wounded
how many times
can i
be deeply wounded
before i
turn into a pile
of rubble
or maybe i will
become
that meme worthy vase
that grows stronger
with each break
& each
repair.

i do not have internet at my house & was unable to google what that vase is called.
now, upon googling it, i find it is actually a bowl & is called the art of precious scars: kintsugi
the art of precious scars
my scars are precious…to me…& apparently i like to show them off to you….

okay. so speaking of my precious scars scars & how i express my wounds through art & writing….
i need to figure out how to make money or how to attract patrons to my work aka promote myself (i’m sure i’m not the only one)
ack!
i am running out of savings. my house still needs a heating system. & i loathe the idea of just getting a “job.” i tend to wither away working in most environments (i am a fucking delicate flower, y’all)
i do not need luxuries–i do not own a tv. internet. smart phone. lawn mower. refrigerator. washer. dryer. or a number of other “luxuries.”
i am totally okay with not making a lot of money…but i do need some income. you know, for like heat & food?
so how do i make money without compromising myself…&/or how do i become more (shudder) marketable?

feel free to talk amongst yourselves….

(if you read yesterday’s post, i referenced my spilling of blue ink…this is the one i was working on while holding an open jar of blue ink…oops)

fuck

i feel like
there is
nothing
left of me
most of my past
15 years
spent with creatures
who only want
to know
what i can do for
them
what can i give
them
there is no one
it seems
willing to do
for me
willing to give
to me
&
i am a husk
nothing
left.

motherhood…sigh…definitely the hardest job i have ever done. made harder still by my lack of a support system or a nurturing husband-figure. in fact, i was dealt a very needy now ex-husband-figure…. my own fault surely. wanting to feel needed….
but now, i wonder, what about my needs?
crap.

i’ve already cried over you

so my mom died in january
& i didn’t find out until march
& now her funeral is scheduled for next week.
though i vowed not to go to her funeral should she die, i am going. me, the minions, & the dad are trekking down to texas.

this “poem” is a string of things said between my mom & me. not really a conversation. i’m not sure we ever actually had a conversation.

what for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?

that would be my message in a bottle
assuming a rejection
because it feels like rejection
all of it
my entire life
feels like rejection….
what for
you bury me
in the cold…cold
ground?
a quote from a saturday morning memory
back when life seemed like
something i was waiting for
surely something good
would happen
for all the bad
i had endured
but it doesn’t work
like that
does it?
people from bad childhoods
grow into adults
who only know what hurting feels like
who only recognize pain
as a feeling
who run away
honestly terrified
of anything that doesn’t fit
the fucked up pattern
their childhood
mottled onto
them.

 

the drawing is inspired by egon schiele
the quote is from looney tunes

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.

i love my kids…but i hate being a mom….

i hate being the one in charge
i hate being the bad guy
i hate having to be the one who makes sure we don’t run out of
toilet paper
clean clothes
toothpaste
shoes that fit
food
i hate being the one that has to make impossible ends
meet
i have to
no one else is going to do it
i have to find ways to fix
messes that seem impossible to fix
i have to referee fights
that seem to have no end
i hate being referee
i hate being mom
i want to not have to worry about everything
to not be the one who is supposed to have all of the answers
i want to find room in my heart
for me
to not feel overwhelmed by them
i want to be able to breathe

it’s not them though
is it?
it’s not being a mom so much
as my being damaged
damaged by life
damaged by parents, damaged by exes
never taught to love myself
in the way a person needs to be able to
so that person can be a good mom
neglected by my own mom
leaving me unable to cope
abandoned
abused
by the man who was supposed
to do this with me
be there for me
now
i just want to hide, heal, and lick my wounds
but as a mom
i just can’t seem to
there are just too many other things
that need to be
done….

page11

yesterday i collapsed in a heap and all i could think was, “i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom.” it was both a relief to think it…and horrifying.

i didn’t always hate being a mom…if you read my wordpress profile thing-y here, it sounds like i used to really think i was a good mom….
(i wish i could remember that feeling.)

though it was a cruel awakening when i became a mom and realized i was working harder than i ever had before–but i wasn’t getting any pay or benefits. after a lifetime of supporting myself, i was now dependent on a partner who was–well–crappy. he would tell me my position as a mom was pointless and why was he the only one earning money? he would tell me to get a job. i was exhausted to my bones–and he was telling me i wasn’t earning anything therefore i was lazy…useless? and he wasn’t the only one. our society echoed him. subtle or blatant, i got the message loud and clear.

i was a mom now–and now i did not matter.

page12

gone was my independence. my ability to just pack up everything i own and go somewhere new. just go. whenever i wanted. be free whenever i felt caged. now i was anchored. by one..then two..then three..and finally four little anchors.

gone was time to myself. my crappy partner put that last nail in my coffin. no art. no writing. (right now i have a five year old begging me to color & i really really don’t want to color–i want to exorcise this demon–i want to write.) no exercise even because no one would let me. seriously. i was not allowed to do the walks i used to do daily to clear my head & keep my weight down. if i wanted to go–everyone wanted to go with me–and it became an unbearable circus…

page13

i know there are people out there devastated because they can’t have children. i used to be one of those people. i wanted to cry every time a friend or a sister got pregnant. i tried for 10 years before i got pregnant. i dreamed of being a mom. i dreamed of having that love in my life. of course, i thought, being a mom will fix what is wrong with me.

but i wasn’t careful about with whom i had my kids. that was my mistake. my biggest mistake. i didn’t realize how much that would change things…taint things. that partner who doesn’t value you–or your role as the mother of his children.

it’s devastating…at least for me…it has damaged me so deeply sometimes i feel like i am unable to love at all.

but i love my minions. i do. as much as i hate being a mom sometimes–i never stop loving them.
so that’s something, right?

something salvageable?

page15

(these illustrations are more  from the project i am working on “the mistress of mud” with a friend of mine. yesterday i posted that i hadn’t gotten any work done, but i realized i actually had…and i did the one at the top of the post last night as i played around trying to emulate david mack’s style.)

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