choosing to survive

except
i chose to be alone
i did
i did not
i did not choose
for my ex-husband to be an 
asshole
but i did choose
to live without an asshole
in my life
which meant
i was left all alone
& lonely
i accept that i have ultimately
made that choice
& am also
choosing
not to simply let anyone
any warm body
be
the company
i so desire
so
yes
i choose
to be alone
even if
i would rather not
be
lonely.

i felt that it was important for me to acknowledge this to myself. to know that i am not just a victim of my life. i make choices to try to be stronger & to try to heal the pain and damage i have suffered. though i believe my decisions of late will help me in the long run, that doesn’t mean i enjoy the immediate effects of them. 

meanwhile, i went to iowa city to check out their developing eco-village. it was beautiful & the people were really cool…but i do not have anywhere near to the money i would need as it requires actually buying a flat or duplex. 
i will talk to them to see if there are any options for a broke-ass mama like me…but i don’t think it is someplace i can move to anytime soon. so i am still trying to figure out my next move, a move back to community and away from the isolation of my homestead.
but i was happy to–briefly–be back in iowa city. i wish i had never left. 
i wonder what that parallel universe looks like….

on the topic of money. i have decided that i have to actually demand child support from my ex-fucker. i mean, dur. or rather, i shouldn’t even have to demand it–he should just be paying it. but that is not ever going to happen. he is paying just a token amount because i let him get away with that & now he actually has a job where he could afford to pay more…but he is not. he is not supporting his children because he doesn’t think he should have to. 
this makes me so sad. 
and i really do hate being the heavy.
and he is so good at making me feel like shit whenever he puts me in the position where i have to ask him for anything. 
oh! 
and i did tell him, when we did the minion swap, that if i were using him as a punching bag (as he likes to accuse me) that would mean i was angry about something else & taking it out on him. 
i let him know that he is not my punching bag because the anger i am directing at him is anger that i have at him–my frustration with him…appropriately directed at him.
fucking manipulative motherfucker. 

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i am…alone

i am
sylvia plath
i am
vincent van gogh
i am
the bronte sisters
yes
all three
trapped on the moors
watching 
the moon
blow across
a sky full of stars
blown
by a relentless
wind
worlds exploding
within our imaginations
while loneliness
feasts
on our souls.

you are due a little break after this one. an optimistic-ish upturn as it were. i mean, it’s not hearts & flowers…but less doom & gloom. i am the moon after all. i wax & wane most gloriously.

i have not yet tackled the task of going through my journals for “poems” & art work to be put together in a collection.
i have been a bit down on myself (no! me??) and prone to comparing myself to others to whom success seems an easier venture…and hating them most enthusiastically….
but i am going to do it. i’m going to put together a collection. i’m going to publish it. and i will have my own group of people who enthusiastically hate me for it.
also, i need to start the cards i was commissioned to do.
and i am waiting to hear back from the one who commissioned this

as they have told me they want eleven more illustrations. 

plus, you know, searching for a new home…raising four minions…preparing for winter…training a puppy…deciding what to do with livestock who won’t stop being naughty…oh! & apparently bartering with the father of my children to see if he is “willing” to pay more than $200 a month child support so i can take proper care of his four children…just the normal to do. 

INKtober twenty-fourth

when i have first
swept him out of my life
my heart
every first time
i vow not to be his
every time
i feel
lighter…clearer…relieved
but
he is able to stick
in my heart
in my head
in my life
due to our children
together
the life that is woven
together
&
i do love him
i do
& it isn’t easy
to keep that love buried
it crawls back
out of the grave
& he keeps ready
waiting
for another chance…
one day
i will figure out how
to have love
without
confusion
one day
but i am
over-the-top
filled-to-the-brim
with my feelings
they spill out of me
they spill out
all over
the place
causing chaos
creating confusion…
one day
one day
i will learn
how to have my feelings
without my feelings
having
me.

it’s a bit clunky as verse, this thought. but i was writing it to a friend & thought it deserved to be fleshed out a bit.

i always think i don’t get more done, art-wise, because i am not trying hard enough, but–holy crap–my days are long & hard.
between cooking for & cleaning up after four kids, training a puppy, figuring out a budget on almost no income, doing the bare minimum (sometimes more!) to look after a large crumbling  3 bedroom on five acres with livestock & gardens….
i don’t really have much time for art.
but art keeps me sane.
so i find time.

i’m working on illustrating a story for someone.
also, i just got an order for a set of ten thank you cards (my underwater collection) from my librarian.
plus i am determined to finish inktober.
and need to do new moses jones.
art keeps me busy…er.

on a different note, i would like to brag that my 11 week old puppy knows “sit” & “down” & is in the process of learning “stay” “come” “shake” & “sit pretty.”
she is a quick study.
house training is still difficult, but she is way ahead on her vocabulary skills.

IMG_1737

plus she is super cute even though it turns out that she is part velociraptor.

donovan’s critiques of this page:
“you never wear yellow.”
“you don’t have freckles.”
“you don’t have a hat like that.”
“your neck is too long.”

in fairness, my freckles may be fading with autumn, but he also denied that he had freckles…which he totally does. while all of my children have developed freckles throughout their lives, donovan was born with freckles. kisses from the sun, my mom used to tell me.
freckles are cool.

inktober starts tomorrow….

i did it in 2016 and it inspired my whimsical ink series which was just me spilling ink & finding images in it.
i started to do it last year, but then petered out. except it did start my self-portrait series….
so, i totally should do it–if for no other reason–to discover/uncover another layer of my art. right?
right.

i have been a bit awol this past week. i am still writing…but i have not done any ink (another reason i should do inktober–to get my pen moving again!)

IMG_1693
i got a new goat (vincent van goat)

IMG_1611
and a new puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (bluejean boogie) who i am just a little excited about & preoccupied with training & socializing…& staring at dreamily…who needs a relationship or a new baby…i got a puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_1692

status update: overwhelmed

the minions returned on tuesday–i drive & meet dusty half-way to wisconsin. usually we do the swap at a rest area, but dusty volunteered to meet at culver’s & have a birthday dinner for misha (for anyone not in the midwest of the u.s., culver’s is a wisconsin based hamburger chain–the only chain restaurant i willingly eat at.)
so i spent too much time with dusty for my own good–upcoming pages on that!
and i got my four wild children back for the rest of the month.
add on to that an explosion of ducklings. my muscovies enjoy hatching eggs, but then they abandon the babies leaving me to find duckling bits around the yard. if i am lucky, i find them before they are dead, but it’s about 50/50 at this point.
additionally,
my brain is not able to completely come to terms with life & death on the farm & instead of staying up nights stressing about having to butcher lambs, i decided to get rid of my ram (so no more pregnant ewes) & to just have some fat, happy ewes eating grass. someone offered to buy my ram–luke (pictured above after a horn injury.) luke is a sweet ram & iggy (my child who is convinced i don’t love him–or so he says) is very attached to him. so there is a lot of drama over his leaving. we are all very sad. plus, the couple buying him wanted a ewe to go with him so they could start breeding. so we had to send our beautiful buttercup with him. which is also sad. plus buttercup left behind the other ewe & buttercup’s six month old lamb. so everyone, me–iggy–& all the sheep–have been crying since yesterday when luke & buttercup left.
good news. they are going to live on pasture of a small farm & get to have babies. the other options for sheep aren’t as nice. so i am happy they are going somewhere nice…but feel like a penniless jerk because i am unable to give them a home–forcing them into the scary move & causing all the other sheep (& iggy) to be sad.
but i keep thinking of winter & all the hay i need to buy…plus not wanting to “deal” with lambs when they get to a certain age & i can no longer put off the inevitable….
i’m just in over my head.
seriously.
with four very demanding minions & a yard full of animals to take care of….
it’s overwhelming.
i’m exhausted.

i have pages written & two more canvas ideas…plus! one night while unable to sleep–i started writing more moses jones!! i have been stalled on that since, what, april?
so i’m taking my journal with me to a car maintenance appointment & will try to get pages done/mojo plot written.

mystery duckling

when i’m not writing through my layers of issues
creating art
or cooking & chasing my minions around
i am tromping around in work boots
or barefoot
on an unmowed lawn
in rural illinois
i grew up here
i used to look to the horizon as i dreamed of running away
and i did leave
i was gone for almost thirty years
but now i’m back
with the prairie wind & the perfect sky
and my wild lawn full of farm creatures

i found this duckling this morning. she was somewhere she shouldn’t have been…and i cannot figure out how she got there. she was barely alive. i did my morning chores with one hand so i could hold her & warm her up in the other.

then i took this picture to show someone my mystery duckling.

looking at the picture…i realized just how much of the story of my life i had captured in one photograph. i am terrible at photography. i was just trying to get the duckling’s good side. it’s funny. there are so many stories here.

this photograph made me happy.

status: sort of coping…how are you?

i am trying not to spin out. i’m at one of those–“no wait, this is the first day of the rest of my life” moments.
again…right?
everything i have read today on wordpress has me thinking:

1.) well, i’m not alone
2.) wow, they wrote it so much better

so i’m waffling between it being pointless for me to contribute to an already strong tide of writing…and wanting to jump in & share my uniquely similar thoughts & experiences.

so i wrote a few pages.
but i also have a sink full of dirty dishes.
a carpet that has forgotten what the vacuum sounds like.
a pile of cucumbers on the table demanding i do–what–pickles? why do i have so many cucumbers?
laundry laundry laundry!
a 12 year old glaring at me because i used my sense of humor for parenting & did it wrong.
a 10 year old who wants me to go outside & bounce a tennis ball with him or it is further proof that i do not love him.
a four year old who desperately requires routine so it is imperative that after he poops i must not only wipe his bottom but also foot-race him down the hallway after he flushes.
and a six year old…wait…where’s my six year old? i should probably know where my six year old is….

so
i re-posted a couple of poems that i wish i had written (coming soon–my book, a collection of poems i wish i had written)
and maybe later i will get around to drawing some journal pages?
maybe?

hey, who left my heart open?

my heart is wide open
maybe too
open?
i can feel love everywhere
blowing in the
wind
i sniff around
smelling the heat of it
in the air around me
my heart
is wide open
an uncomfortable
but not
unwelcome
sensation
i wonder if i should
lock it away
again
i wonder if i even
remember
how to.

so this has been going on for awhile. each new connection with a person excites me. like falling in love. like my heart is that thing they have in submarines checking around for shapes in the water & going “blip” when it hits something.

that’s poetic, right?

blip goes my heart screen when it senses someone…a kindred spirit.
blip.

i’m not sure what to do about it. do i let it keep searching? should i keep getting excited with each possible spotting? with each blip of my heart?

i’m having no luck on the internet dating. i know it’s been all of–what? three days? i am just going to think of it as setting out the bait & checking back if i hear something go snap.

or blip

instead of obsessively checking it & reading profiles and answering 10,000 personality questions in hopes of finding that perfect match.
my profile is up.
i will either get a bite or i won’t.
plus, i think i have either terrible luck or choose the wrong guys. so i am trying to see who chooses me. i have messaged a couple…no reply.
i know i’m pretty. i know i’m smart…i also know i am irretrievably strange. so maybe there will be no takers?

blip

in other news:

1.)  agatha…& maybe quixote, have figured out how to get over/past/around the new fence if they feel compelled to do so.
goats are a pain in the ass…but, like my minions, i would not trade them. i love my goats as much as they piss me off sometimes.
i am going to put a permanent pasture up where i have the temporary fence as i have the woven fence in a place where i cannot properly electrify it.
do i ask dusty for help? or do we learn how to do these things without him?

2.)  i spend an extraordinary amount of time & energy every day getting my four year old into costume. he wakes up before the sun with a costume in his hand demanding my assistance. lately it is a full body ninja outfit which means he then needs my help to take it off when he has to pee. then back on again. then off when he decides he is no longer a ninja. then back on again.
seriously. i am going to lose my fucking mind.
again. i love my minions…but this one won’t take “no” for an answer, and i can only tolerate about an hour of shrieking before i give in.

3.)  so what’s the deal with freckle haters? (speaking of answering 10,000 personality questions) what do people have against freckles? i have answered at least two questions about whether or not i like freckles & how my potential partner should feel about freckles. what the fuck, y’all? what is not to like about freckles?
to quote my mother, “freckles are kisses from the sun.”
y’all should be so lucky to date a freckled goddess.

4.)  and i had to break down & buy some beer. hops. hops calm me down.
i had to fucking calm down.

5.)  i totally drew a picture to go with this journal entry…but i am still out of sorts & it is totally affecting my art. so i am not posting the picture because it super sucks enough that i am unwilling to share it. is that a first? that might be a first. i think i am going to watch lovesick on netflix & try to doodle out of my funk.

talk to me

yesterday
while i was cursing & fighting ice
to give water to my livestock
i stepped on a frozen chicken egg
you know what?
it looked almost exactly like a squashed
cadbury egg…except no chocolate.

i should have taken a picture
but i am one of the only people
without a smart phone
so my life goes largely
undocumented.

i quit facebook
again
so now y’all are going to have to hear
random thoughts from me.
or not
but would a conversation kill you?

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