i have never been
the beautiful one
it has always been
i’m the other one
“the smart one,”
as one barfly told me
i am the smart one
the beautiful one but
the weird one
the quirky one
the creative one
the gal pal
the one night stand
not not not
the forever girl
the beautiful one
i’m the girl next door
i am not
helen of troy.
i dunno. maybe on some level we all feel this way? i know my sister (“the pretty one,” per that same barfly) was recently lamenting that i was the one everyone thought was prettiest. of course, her only reference was my aunt marilyn…though my other sister’s mother-in-law also said it. but, you know what? that’s a fucking crappy thing to say to any sister. “you’re the pretty one.” fuck that bullshit.
i know i’m not beautiful.
but i have so much more. so much more!
now if i could just stop binge-watching high school romances i might be able to function again.
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.
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.
i am a three-legged chair
it’s not his fault
i was damaged when i met him
i told him
it’s not his fault
but holy fuck
did he have to break me
here i am
a pile of tinder
good for what?
if i’m optimistic
if i’m romantic
maybe i could light someone’s way
maybe i could keep someone warm
maybe i could find
a carpenter’s heart
to build me
sure, i could do this alone
light me, warm me, build me
& i have done it
but i keep thinking
wouldn’t it be more fun
egon schiele’s “mother & child” is my inspiration for this self-portrait (oh! it’s a mother & child…knowing egon schiele’s work, i thought it was something more pervy.)
i used the painting for two pieces i did last night. this one turned out all come-hither. you will see the other one later today in my next post. it turned out way more sinister looking. perhaps the difference of ink pen on paper vs. ink brush on canvas? or perhaps the spirit of the two different pieces i was working on?
i know i am supposed to do all this work on who i am & heal my own damage rather than to lose myself in yet another relationship. and goddammit, i have been working on it…forever, it seems. so don’t judge me for fantasizing about healing with someone else rather than continuing to heal alone.
wouldn’t it be nice if i weren’t the only one trying to piece together my bits? if i could find a kind soul(mate) to soothe my tinder-heart?
maybe i should wonder why i have so much conflict about this. both longing for & judging myself for longing for a romantic relationship (hold the narcissistic asshole.) ack! more journal pages coming up….
local critiques on my artwork:
fidgit: you’re drawing your butt again?
misha: is that a spider in your butt?
my grizzy heart
does not want to be
a dancing bear
in your circus
…i’m not proud…nor am i ashamed
…of how many men…i’ve made cry
i come to you
not asking you
…to tame me
…to cage me
i come to you
not wanting you
…to curl up in a ball
…or run away
i come to you wild
it is who i am
walk with me
wrestle with me
adventure with me
i am no longer apologizing for who i am. i am embracing myself. i used to have a reoccurring dream about being hunted by a grizzly bear who never actually hurt me. one day i realized that the grizzly bear represented a part of me that i was afraid of. after i realized that, i stopped having the dream.
i have continued to struggle with the grizzly bear inside of me. with little voices telling me how i am supposed to be. what the world expects of me. and when i try to meet those invisible expectations…part of me always dies.
in relationships i often find myself with either people who want to conquer my inner grizzly, or people who see the grizzly and just get the fuck out of there.
part of my healing is my embracing my grizzly.
bear hugs might be scary…but they are so totally worth it.
all of a sudden
(after 30 years of work)
i have found my way
to the present
i’m not waiting
for today to end
so tomorrow can be
a better day
i’m not tormenting myself
with the past
i have spent so much
of my life
but my ghosts are leaving me now
i am no longer
a good habitat
for bad memories.
it is a release
who knew how heavy
holding him in
my sisyphean love
of the cage
i’ve always loved the broken people
i am drawn to them
but not like a moth
to a flame
because i am also the fire
at least as deep
i love them because i think
they will understand
they will know me &
they will love me
because i am like them…
when both of you
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.