five years later…

excerpt from my short story “jesus fingers”

You feel like you are inviting badness into your life every time you mutter “the little fucker” to yourself and every time you regret not killing it when you had the chance—every time you think about it just disappearing from your life and how easy that would make everything. You can’t help fantasizing though because everything just seems so hard now. So fucking monumentally stressful.

And your body that you were anxious to have as your own again—where is it now? And the days you were anxious to have as your own again? How many more years before that happens now? Five? More? With number three you kept thinking, “Just get through the toddler years this one last time and there won’t be any more toddler years to deal with. Just get through the breastfeeding one last time. Then I won’t have to worry about what I do to my own body—it will be mine again.” But now you sink into despair, realizing it will be even longer. Another baby to soothe to sleep. Another toddler to watch with an eagle eye. Another toilet training. Another kid’s meal to buy if you can actually afford to go out ever again.

five years later

i am defeated
by a five year old
he crushes me
so easily
maybe because
not much of me is
left
he destroys me
so easily
screaming & screaming & screaming
until i am
lying
on the floor
sobbing
i am nothing
as i wish
silently
reverently
that i had never
become
a
mother.

ps.
writing both of these pieces, my short story and this free verse, it helped me to deal with the overwhelming anguish around my conflicted feelings about motherhood.
i wouldn’t trade poppy for the world, but that doesn’t mean sometimes i just don’t want to be a mom.

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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. 

panic attack

i am 
literally
having a panic
attack
looking through 
google docs
& files files files
on my hard drive
& months months months
of writings
here & in the physical journals
from whence
they sprung
…it’s
too 
much
too fucking much
how many words 
can there be?
how many 
emotions
vomited
all over my laptop?
now
fuck it
there is one more.

i am serious about getting together a collection to try to publish…but holy fucking crap. there is so much–crap–to wade through. 
do i keep it to the actual art journal project?
do i add in some older stuff?
some sideways stuff?
some stuff i don’t even remember writing? 

i need a personal assistant/editor stat!

this is going to be one of those “kill your darlings” moments i always heard about in writing workshops, isn’t it?

get me a bottle of whiskey & a blowtorch, y’all, i’m going in!

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 twelfth (beached)

i am paralyzed
no matter which way i go
i am certain
i will fuck
it
up
i am trapped
my life
a torture chamber of indecision
i want to go
i just want to take off
run away
say “fuck it”
& start all over…
but if i do
will i soon regret it?
will i always
always regret it?
i don’t want to be
alone
anymore
but i will
surely
choose
the wrong company
the wrong companion
&
i will
find
myself
missing my solitude…
there is nothing
nothing
i can do
right
i am frozen
frozen
in fear
of
being
me.

so the official inktober prompt of the day (which i am by no means required to use in order to participate in inktober) is “whale.”
while i love drawing whales & am especially fond of humpback whales…it seemed more suitable for me to beach myself.
so this is me
beached.

on a similar note–i realized today that i have no idea how to spell “12th” as a word…good thing my 12 year old knew…(wait–i think i see a pattern)

& i am going through a rough patch. i find myself thinking i should quit the homestead adventure…or, at least, curtail it…. i also want to quit illinois & head back north/northwest (not in a hitchcock way.)
but all this is waaaaaaaaaaay easier said than done when one is broke but with a yard full of livestock living rent-free.
also
i want to be closer to my ex-husband…in more ways than one…& history shows that to be a bad idea…but i am notoriously bad about history.
both of these things are weighing heavily on me. resulting in mental exhaustion & severe bouts of crying as i question every motive i have and every bad decision i have ever made.
it super sucks.
i’m not sure i want to be me right now. i feel like i’m just a complete fuck up waiting for my next fuck up.

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

heavy heart

one of those lives
where it feels like
you can’t do anything right
grand ideas
living by example
trying to change the world
but your bees die
your garden grows
away from you
and no one can find
the duck eggs
you’re ready to throw in the trowel
on this homesteading gig
go back to town
have neighbors who don’t poison
the fields around you
kids for your kids
to play with
long walks to parks & libraries.
sure you have to give up
big clear skies of endless stars
& listening to the coyotes & bullfrogs
sing at night…
bury away a couple dreams…
but
you’ll dig up new ones.

i am sucking hard at homesteading right now. and this will be the third time i have used the joke “throw in the trowel” without one single chuckle.

my ophelia fantasies

why do i find
thoughts of death
my own death
by my own hand
so comforting?
when i am
weeping & wailing
& life seems so
so fucking unbearable
i just think of laying down
in the stinky
green
pond
back yonder
the one
the ducks
won’t even swim in…
just a short nap
y’all
then i’m sure
i will be as right as rain.

this is a comic i did. one page of confusion perfume. i wrote it a long long time ago…before i was a mom.
time has passed. things have changed. but i still have my olphelia fantasies.

badgers

i feel…
isolated
depressed
overwhelmed
hopeless
like life is too much
like my little problems
are just too fucking
much
i try to remind myself
other people
have more to deal with
than
my stupid life
but
i’m just so tired
tired of struggling
tired of being
alone
tired of believing
every decision i make
is just going to make things
worse
because
every decision i have made
has just made
everything
worse.

(but i made this badger inking.
i did do that.)

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