on dreams, demons, & being haunted

in the dream
it was a lonely house
on a hill
shrouded in darkness
foreboding
terrifying
until i was forced to enter
to save us all
from a greater
danger…
the house was
beautiful
on the inside
…but haunted…
a specter
rose up
threateningly
behind my companion
i wrestled it to the ground
only to realize
it was just
a child
“tell me why
you have so much
anger?”
i asked the child
&
the pain
was
released.

so this is a dream i had. it was pretty profound & felt really meaningful. i laid in bed pondering it. what do i do with this?
am i supposed to help other people exorcise their demons? or is it just another pat on the back from the universe for doing all the work to wrestle my own?
of course, i am still wrestling my demons.
case in point, my inking today is heavily borrowed from the artist david mack because i am going through a thing where i think my own work sucks & what is the point?
today, while on a walk, i started asking my frowning face–“why so stressed? what is there really to be stressed about?” and for a moment i let myself smile again.
but i can find reasons to be sad & even woke up this morning to a dream of my telling someone that sometimes i just don’t have a smile inside me….

so, yeah, still wrestling some demons….

wild thing

please don’t go
i’ll eat you up
i love you so

(from where the wild things are)

i was doodling the other day, worried that i will go a bit mad just writing & not drawing. so this is what i drew.
my feral self?
i was writing in my novel-in-progress for nanowrimo about feeling like a coyote. dingo. even hyena…
but definitely not foxy.
i’m thankful i have art & writing to exorcise my neurotic demons!

(i’m worried about my inkings…they all have such vacant stares…. maybe i need some focus)

tea party with demons

the voices come
& the voices whisper
“you’re fucked.”
it’s my nightly meeting
with my demons
they’ve come for a tea party
butter on toast
(monsters love toast)
it’s a thing
every night
the whispers
& epic songs
telling of my ultimate
& fanatastic
failures
i love my demons
i do
i might even miss them
if they were
gone
miss their nasty
little
whispers
& predictions
of doom…
but no worries
they are always
close by
to keep me
company.

a few beers & witchery with a friend had me singing this out about my demons. what is light without dark? what is good without mischief? i do love my demons. they keep me on my toes.

mother grim

open a beer
or open a vein
whiskey shot to the head
or gunshot
you don’t know
you don’t know me
& how it feels
sometimes
to try
every day
to be a mother
to these ones
every day
every day
every
day
i make this decision
bag of wine
or bag over the head?
relish these years
when they are little
they say
kids grow up so fast
you don’t want to miss it
they say
miss it?
i am deep as fuck in it
living it
despite myself
every day

have you ever heard of “highly spirited children?” yeah. i have four of those.
they are wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, funny, explosive, screamy, dramatic little things. i love them dearly, but sometimes i find my thoughts wandering over to the dark side.
right now they are with their dad–who again–challenged our placement agreement.
whenever he does, i examine my determination to keep being their primary caretaker–to make sure i am not doing it for selfish or controlling reasons.
i discovered that even though i sometimes think i am a crap-ass mom…i completely believe it is best for our children to have me as a primary caretaker. even though i sometimes feel i am going insane with the stress of being a single mom & of raising four strong-willed children, i think i owe them that little bit of stability that being with me gives them.
i have been there for them since day one. i have a commitment to them. so, sure, sometimes i think dark thoughts, but hopefully–expressing those dark thoughts will help me work out those demons so i can be a better mom.
that’s important to me, being a good mom.
not a traditional or conventional mom, but the mom they need me to be. a crazy-ass mom who (most the time) can roll with the punches.

ps. i don’t drink box wine or else i would have known to call it box wine not bag of wine. oh well….

especially me

today
i hate
everybody
& wonder
if i should just
drink beer
for breakfast
because
what
the
fuck
i am stuck
in a world
full of
bullshit
& it’s all just
bullshit
&
yes
i know tomorrow
or later today
(after that beer probably)
i will feel
differently
& even might
find myself
aglow
with brotherly love
but
right now
i especially hate
that person.

another one still from this angsty week of mine. i’m a big old snarky mess sometimes. but, rest assured, the person i hate most of all is often myself.

ink & bamboo pens are wonderful for expressing messy feelings.

ps. if you are looking for some good stuff on netflix to have an angsty binge…i recommend happy and russian doll.

i don’t want to be a racist

i grow
but it is not
enough
i evolve
but i still have
a million years
to go
i check my thoughts
my actions
my reactions
who am i
i am not
who i am
i do not embrace
change
for the popular
or the political
i embrace change
because
it is
the right
thing to do
to grow
to evolve
to be ready
to work
a million more years
if i need to.

i grew up in an extremely racist area of illinois. a sundown county. my parents were rarely blatantly racist, but it was there. subtle racism right alongside the subtle sexism & homophobia.
my town was white white white. in high school i had a biracial classmate, and we all thought he was very exotic.
i am grateful for things like sesame street and fat albert for showing me worlds other than my small town at a young age.
but it wasn’t enough to stop the programming. the racist thoughts from rooting in my brain.
because, even though i abhor racism, i still have racist thoughts.
i used to use it as proof that i was a bad person, but then i read that what one is programmed through upbringing, culture, & society to think is one’s initial thought in a situation. the thoughts that come after, is that person’s efforts to rewire the programming.
and those little voices are loud & persistent. they don’t tolerate my racist programming at all.
yay for that.
but, holy crap, when will the programming go away? will it ever go away?

the programming also pops up with sexist and homophobic opinions, which i find especially weird since i identify as a bisexual feminist. i guess i shouldn’t be surprised that i was programmed to also hate & judge myself.

i mean, after all, hasn’t this art journal project been all about exorcising those demons?
but i am so incredibly uncomfortable writing about this and sharing it with whomever reads it. i feel like such a bad person.
but i will continue.
it is one thing i can do.
i can change.

ruin me

creeping
uninvited
unwanted
my self-conscious with a cruel
twist
brings him to life
in my dreams
again
i push him out
turn off the radio
when
our song plays
write one thousand poems
to exorcise
his haunting of me
yet!
he creeps
uninvited…unwanted
back
into my dreams
where i am
defenseless
back
into my heart
where i am
ruined
all
over
again.

stuck like this

i can feel
the broken parts
inside me
clenching into a
fist
determined
not to be
removed
not to be
healed
staking their claim
to my ego
to my
self
a vice-like grasp
on every
thought
that dares to
venture
out
testing the waters
of my personality
today
“you are a useless
&
awful
person,”
they whisper…but
to me
it sounds like
a scream.

okay. so i write these pages as the thoughts tumble through my brain. so the date on the page is the date i wrote it. i illustrate them in the order i write them.
some days i have several thoughts screaming to be heard.
some days my brain is nice & quiet.
it often happens that i have several pages of script before i get an idea for what image should be with each page. usually i am a day or two or even more behind on illustrating my thoughts.
so! it often happens that by the time i illustrate a thought, i have recovered from it. if that makes sense. i mean, this whole ordeal is just a long, drawn-out exorcism.

ta-da.
(in other words–i feel much better now…but this thought is a valid one…the battle inside me. parts of me wanting to heal–other parts fighting it tooth & nail.)

the scars we wear

this is a poem i wrote some time back. i found it in a file i had titled “one up on sylvia plath; i have an electric oven.” the image is another ink brush on canvas.

being present

it’s like
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’m here
noticing
letting go
living
i have spent so much
of my life
haunted
but my ghosts are leaving me now
i am no longer
a good habitat
for bad memories.

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