yoga with quixotic mama

camera focus
on me
lumpy bumpy mama body
well-worn
yoga clothes
(or, you know
clothes that are being worn
during yoga)
mystery stain on the yoga mat
camera pans out
to “lived in” room
walls covered
in taped up kids’ art
watch as i do yoga
while four children
scream
in the background
watch
as i am knocked down
from tree pose
by a squealing seven year old
crawled under
while in warrior one
while in downward dog
i am a fort
for a five year old
watch
as i try to stay calm
keep my zen
as a ten year old
talks over the yoga video
to tattle
on his big brother
watch
my imperfect poses
my fighting back
against a mental
breakdown
watch
my “lived-in” life
on a you-tube channel
that will either inspire you
or be a comic success
watch
as i leave my yoga mat
for a snort of whiskey.

my art journal is taking an interesting turn. it is expressing stuff found in my every day lately, things that happen outside of me–rather than living solely in my festering thoughts.
you know, still got the festering thoughts, but a bit of the reality in which they wander their every day.

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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 eleventh

have i always
been a
mess
have i never
been not
falling apart?
a puzzle
missing vital pieces
a pot
boiled over
gnashing teeth
weeping eyes
disconnected
frustrated
losing my mind
just
wanting to
scream
scream
scream until
my throat
is raw
that is how i
measure
my
failure
my every day
fall
from
grace.

 

INKtober fifth

what do you do
if you realize
you are still in love
with the person
you hate?
hey–
remember when you
were friends?
remember
when he was your best
friend?
wait–
why are you doing this?
why are you torturing
yourself?
is this just another
“i’m lonely & looking
to fill in the blanks?”
is this just your way
of never
healing?
what is it with you
anyway?
shouldn’t you have
gotten
over
him
already?
or…things like this
the lost forever
is it even
possible
to heal
that
wound?

so, okay, i’m already hell-bound, but i so love catholic art. and, you know, i noticed yesterday that the inktober prompt was “spell” and i did a picture based on swan lake–a fairy tale where people are under a spell.
and today, the prompt is “chicken” and i did a picture based on saint peter–that jesus-denying motherfucker.

blasphemy.
such a fun word.

anyhoo! my art journal inktober fest continues as i delve into that conundrum of feelings i have for my ex-husband. i love him…i hate him…i love him…i hate him. my roller coaster relationship.

do i want to try again? or am i just horny?
more at ten….

(is it me or do my boobs & mommy tummy look better when i’m hung upside down until dead?)

cat battle

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.
so
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.

dare me?

i am thinking
of venturing out of my house
and down the road
and into the horizon
to find a venue
a cafe or a gallery
who thinks my art
just might
hang
on
a
wall.
maybe make me
a buck or two
get the name
emje
out there
and into ears
&
onto lips
or
at least
get me
adventuring
out of my house
& down the road.

so i have some art i think i could display…like in a public place. i have my series of “whimsical inkings
and i also have the starts of a self-portrait series on water color paper (does anyone know the world’s record for self-portraits?)

 

plus the ink on canvas self-portraits i have been accumulating…i think i have a show-ish.

so that’s my plans for the beginning of the month. maybe hit first friday…maybe rub elbows with some art lovers. maybe make some connections/set up a showing?

in other news…
my terrible funk seems to be lifting and i am no longer imaging my life as anna karenina vs. the train.
so that’s nice.
my house is infested with fleas & i lost a beehive to a massive wax moth infestation…but i am squinting and maybe? maybe see a light at the end of the tunnel?
my mindset is slowly shifting back from “holy fuck why is my life so weird?” to “i love my weird-ass life.”

i am deciding what extra weight needs to be thrown to keep the ship from sinking…but i think i may have successfully deterred any upcoming visits from diabolical parents…so i might not have to pack up so soon?

everything is in flux right now.
everything.
but i am slowly transitioning back from severe motion sickness to enjoying the ride…so…hold on y’all.

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.

random thoughts…my daughter

when i became pregnant for the first time,
i was dismayed to learn it was a boy.
“i don’t know anything about boys!” i thought.
then i had another boy.
and finally i was pregnant with my girl
realizing
“i don’t know anything about girls either!”
i used to call myself–gender confused.
this was in the early 90s before gender
was much discussed.
but i knew from the time i was five
i had both in me–boy & girl.
yet
somehow
i also had neither…
only to realize this when i became a mother
to boys & a girl.
so like everything else, i winged it
i just raised them as people
people i respected & loved
people free to develop into whomever
they were born to be.
i remember when fidgit started playing with
trucks & guns
“i guess he is a boy,” i said,
maybe stereotyping a bit
but later, he grew his hair long
got his ears pierced
and started studying art.
still a boy, i could think.
but my girl…
my girl…
she is a girl like i was never a girl
and i want to celebrate that.
i do.
but i cried today as i shopped for her
seventh birthday present
a children’s play make-up kit
really?
but i know it will make her happy
just like every time i bought a play sword for my crazy boys
& their dad looked at me like, “really?”
here’s the thing
i want my kids to be happy
i want them to be who they are
even if it is not who i am….
that’s the tricky part about being a parent, i guess…
one of the tricky parts anyway.

the photo is me in my early 20’s. fighting gender norms has always been very important to me–especially since as a teenager i found i was more comfortable in my dad’s clothes than i was in mine. i have never worn make-up (except on halloween) & i do not own a pair of heels. but now i have a daughter who drools over thrift-store pumps & uses an art marker to apply lipstick…which some people do. some people like pumps & make-up…i’ve just never been one of them. so maybe it stings a little that my little apple is falling rolling away from the tree? but if it is who she is & will make her happy….

sigh.

heaven help me if she decides to start shaving her legs.

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?

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