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.”
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.
i know another reason why i’m feeling warm & fuzzy towards dusty right now. when we were married, i surmised that if we were ever trapped somewhere, dependent on working together to get to safety, we would die.
my observation was true of every time i needed him to be there for me.
except one…misha’s birth.
misha is my third child. my first two were c-sectioned because my body likes to take more than 42 weeks to perfect a baby–& doctors do not like to let a woman go much past 40.
so, twice, i let them cut the baby out of me because they said that it was for the best.
when i got pregnant with misha, i could not bear the thought of another c-section.
so i fired all the doctors.
problem was, none of the midwives in madison would support my birth because i had been deemed too risky.
i had never had a vaginal birth. i was 40 years old & prone to long pregnancies. these were my crimes.
misha is the one who suffered for them.
i found an outlaw midwife who lived one state over & would travel to me when i went into labor.
second problem…i didn’t know what labor looked like because doctors had never let me get that far.
by the time i was certain i was in labor–& not wasting the midwife’s time–misha was on her way out.
she came out fast. relentlessly fast. none of the stages of labor i had read up on were observed by misha as she rocketed out of me.
there was one doula present and dusty.
we were in a kiddie tub on the fourth floor of a 30 person cooperative.
when misha was born, she was having trouble breathing. she probably just needed a few puffs of air to get her going, but none of us knew what to do. by the time the mom down the hall called her midwife to come help, misha was showing signs of seizure.
the paramedics took her away.
the NICU kept her for 12 days.
they told dusty & me, best case scenario: misha has coordination issues & learning disabilities.
worst case scenario: cerebral palsy or epilepsy
i cried so hard as they said that. my heart broke. it was all my fault. if i had just been unselfish enough to get the fucking surgery…to have another fucking c-section…misha would have been fine.
i waited for dusty to blame me. he blamed me for everything. it was always my fault.
this time he would be right.
he didn’t blame me. he told me it wasn’t my fault. he zoomed me around the hospital in my wheeled chair–being silly & sweet–as i was still too wrecked to walk much after the birth. he watched the boys while i kept vigil at her side. he came to be with her when i was forced to go home & sleep.
he took care of us.
he was there for me.
seven years later, just as i would remember & be traumatized by a bad event, the good things that happened feel as fresh as yesterday.
and i miss that version of dusty.
(in the NICU…& one year later when the neurologist said, “oh…nevermind.”)
have i finally exorcised this fucking ghost?
i hope so. i am tired of holding a torch that just burns the fuck out of my fingers. i want to move on and stop wondering which thing that i did wrong was the thing that drove him away.
it needs editing & more substance, etc. but the rough draft is available entirely for reading over at medium.
let me know if you have any suggestions for work that needs to be done on it. i am still pretty close to the story–i was crying as i wrote this last page. but i think in writing it, i am working out a lot of the bullshit that i was holding onto and calling love.
the journal page is from 1995 when seymour & i lived in austin, tx with peacocks on our front lawn .
emails from ex-cheerleaders
high school reunion
for this small town freak
i was going to be famous
i was going to be
bigger than the beatles
life got in the way
now i am a single mom
just another cog
turning circles around
but going nowhere
so if anyone is looking for a good time, i have an invite to my 30 year high school reunion….
i wasn’t invited to my 20 year…the only time i actually was in a relationship. granted it was with dusty…but he’s charming & easy on the eyes. he might have been a good date….
my 10 year i was invited to…and i found a date…but then i ended up deciding it would be more fun just to get laid & skip the reunion.
that was pretty much how a lot of my decision making was done when i was in my 20s.
i have been depressed ever since i got the invite.
plus i had to see dusty to pick up the kids yesterday.
plus every song is still reminding me of seymour as he continues to ignore me….
in other news!
i was invited to join the literati mafia!!! so my imposter’s syndrome and anxiety about anyone noticing me is on full blast.
full blast, y’all.
and i am working on a post for them. which, of course, i am worried will not be good enough…but in my head it is an awesome response to the invite to my high school reunion/another obsessive piece about seymour.
so stay tuned!
(the illustration today is my practicing my figure drawing. lots of nipples & cooch in figure drawing, as it turns out.)
ps. i posted my memoir, in full without illustrations over on medium.
i wrote a little bit more on my memoir.
there is now a page eight and a page nine.
i wrote page nine (i had started but not finished page eight at the time) after waking up from a dream about him. the whole thing felt so delicious. you know those dreams.
and i looked in the mirror–and my hair (at least in my mind) was all like super sexy super model hair.
being one of those people who have few & far between “good hair days,” of course i took a picture.
my dream was so awesome, it gave me good hair.
that says something, right?
a quick doodle as i brainstorm illustration & character representation in my hot & trashy memoir (without the hot & trashy part)