day ten at madness manor temperatures in the 90’s & internal conflict afoot who am i? & why does that little voice whisper “fat…ugly…old irrelevant” no! i chose this i did i took this path because i am not like them my bohemian spirit enjoys doing dishes in a clawfoot tub digging through a cooler for food hanging laundry amid the trees to dry… this is who i am i chose this.
after a couple of days of spinning out. i came to this conclusion. i did this. i want this. i made this my life. there is method to my madness at the manor.
i have moved into my new house which, like me & the rest of my life, is a work in progress. i have had no time or energy or mental focus for any other creative endeavors. mostly i have been spending my time cleaning, moving, or having clusters of panic attacks…sometimes all three at the same time. this is a big fucking change. it’s my house. again, like me, it needs lots of love. lots & lots of love.
it is really tricky feeding four children with only an electric griddle, toaster oven, and outdoor grill. i keep going back and forth between getting an electric stove or a wood stove. i really want a wood stove, but i am having trouble wrapping my brain around it–especially during panic attacks. i also haven’t committed to having a fridge…but i do have a freezer. i want to put in shelves…but i suppose i have to put up walls first, huh. thank god it’s summer.
everything is in piles which wreaks havoc on my ocd. i want to organize everything…but of course, eventually i will have to unorganize it again to work on the walls & floor. i want to do everything sustainably & for as little money as possible. i have started frequenting the “amish walmart” in this area & am planning a trip to check out a nearby habitat for humanity restore as well. i want to be creative and unconventional. any ideas?
here is what i see from my front porch as well as from my office. last night i was able to hear the frogs in the nearby creek…of course, i can also hear the traffic from a nearby highway…but that’s what happens when you can’t decide between rural & urban. so far the town is nice. it’s just 700 and a handful of people. my kids aren’t yet convinced it’s the place for us…but i love it.
i keep catching myself trying to smother me in worries in things that have to be done now! or else! or else what? i sometimes think to ask & the voices sputter out take a step back to plan a new attack.
slow & steady wins the race, right? i am making myself purposely move slowly. trying to think more slowly. i was freaking out about the lawn at my new house. i use a reel mower (or as i call it, an amish mower) & the lawn was getting longer & longer. so i asked my friend to borrow her mower. and for some reason i had to do it that day. even though if i had stopped to think, i did not have time to mow. plus i was running late for an appointment. but i ignored the voices telling me not to worry about the mower & went to get the mower anyway. and i threw out my back lifting the mower. and then decided i shouldn’t use it anyway. so i took my reel mower out to amish land to have the blades sharpened. as well as getting my scythe & other lawn tools sharpened. then, a week later, i told my boys i would pay them to mow the lawn. sure the lawn looks like it was a victim of a slasher movie…but i am honoring my desire to live a low-impact life, giving my boys work experience as well as life experience, and taking my time instead of getting it all done now!now!now! and my back feels much better.
(i borrowed from gustave dore again for inspiration for the inking)
i live outside the box yet still find myself listening to the voices shouting out at me from that fucking box still find myself projecting that box shape onto my own life only to berate myself for coloring outside the lines scribbling outside the lines creating whole worlds outside the lines i could cut off my arms cut off my legs remove my head & i still wouldn’t fit inside the box & why why why why would i want to stuff myself inside knowing i would die kept in a box i live outside the box & that is the perfect fit for me.
every day of my life tends to be a reminder to me that i don’t fit in. most days i am totally fine with that–some days anyway. even as a kid i wasn’t all that interested in fitting in. and the older i get, the more i realize just how non-non-conforming i am. how unconventional i am. never doing what everyone else is doing. with my flip phone, no internet, unschooling, buy-nothing-new, free store mentality…. people assume i am going to do what everyone does when they are fixing up a house. but i’m not. i’m going to be me…& that house will be an extension of me. of me & my minions. it will be complete madness in the best way possible.
(speaking of which, i am looking for foraged/salvaged materials & ideas for sustainable renovations. so if you have experience with this or know any good sources–let me know! also! who wants to come over & help me build walls & floors & maybe a rocket mass heater from whatever we can find to do that with?)
(i probably already am a cautionary tale…) on a related note…i was trying to think of a name for my house. i am thinking of naming it “madness” after the band who wrote “our house” as well as a wink to the state of mind in buying a house that needs as much love as mine does on top of my four children & myself all being a bit mad….
he woke up suddenly. wondering. trying to remember the last time he had seen a honey bee. he can remember summers as a boy when it seemed every clover crawled with them & running barefoot would surely result in a stinger in the arch… between the toes. calling out in pain to bring mother running so she could soothe you with an ice cube and soft whispers of how you got hurt…but the bee died. he wanted to be a farmer all his life. he lived for tractor rides. hide & seek in the cornfields. the smell of fresh cut hay.
lately my stories begin with scribbled thoughts inked over with drawings. i am not sure ever if i will continue the story or if it will live out it’s life as a post on my blog…. maybe one day i will come back through my journals & collect them all.
i have two rooms now, well, two & a half…. one for household items & shoes (so many shoes!) & one for clothes & toys. i figure put the toys in with the clothes so moms can look for clothes while kids make a mess with the toys.
speaking of messes…i almost closed up the shop…turned the bus around…i was so frustrated with how people don’t pick up after themselves. i mean, nothing major, but with enough people not putting things away…. i already have four kids to pick up after….
but i am trying to keep the faith. the free store doors remain open (two doors now!)
ps. if i have to deal with another bag of single socks, i might just freak the fuck out…so pair up your socks, people. no singletons or i will hunt you down.
i’m a little behind on my free store updates. it is still going strong. the ebb & flow is a bit off however, more coming in than going out. so! i’m working on expanding it into the next room over. the building i am in is an old church that was reclaimed as an art & community space. the next room over was an abandoned workshop. i have been clearing it out & trying to clean it up & hopefully not inhaling too much lead paint dust…. one wall was crumbling paint, so i painted over it, but that didn’t seem to be enough, so i took the opportunity to make some life sized sheep fingers. i don’t know about you, but something about sheep fingers just makes me so happy. soon this room will be finished & set up & the free store at the commons will be much easier to navigate…& my ocd can calm down a bit.
the free store i started is a month old now. it is packed full of goodies. so many awesome people donating.
i have only noticed one problem. all the accolades i have been receiving have triggered my impostor syndrome & sent me into some serious dark & downward spirals. weird, right? like when people tell me i’m doing a good thing, i feel like i am somehow fooling them. when one woman said, “way to pay it forward,” i flinched. of course, for me it is not about karma. it is about giving the people what they need; keeping crap out of landfills; putting one over on the man…. but am i a good person for doing it? i don’t feel like a good person… then i start to wonder…if my art took off, would i suffer in a similar way? spin out to a dark & devastated place where i fear everyone will realize i am actually a fuck up in sheep’s clothing?
however, i can’t help hoping all the spinning i have been doing will leave me standing still
so far so good with the free store…though more is coming in than going out. which is awesome that people are so generous–& hopefully it will find it’s own ebb & flow eventually.
i have discovered that i really enjoy sneak peeks into the lives of strangers via donations…must be the fiction writer in me. i also enjoy making sense of chaos. so it’s all good. though my folding skills leave something to be desired.
maybe i’ll get a trend going here on free stores for sustainability & community. start your free store today!