This overshare of misfortune from this past year is at the urging of several customers who do know more about my life & feel that sometimes revealing how human you are isn’t so tacky. Hope it doesn’t come across that way. Please cease to read right here if you only want something light. This is going to be disturbingly honest.
Folks always say I’m “mysterious” or something and this honestly baffles me! :) I feel so ‘heart-on-the-sleeve’ exposed (albeit boring!) but a person who is totally out in the open generally. I even don’t think I get evasive if someone asks me direct questions.. well unless I just don’t know how I feel per say about something? I do know that, for whatever reason, people sometimes think I’m unapproachable. That makes me sad so I’ll try this overshare of who I am so that I seem a bit less standoffish - more human. Believe me, I'm very human and on some level every bit the "emotional" artist too - even if I can't seem to express that through words so easily.
Anyhow, I bring this up today for a few reasons. One is that I slowly developed a bit of fear of public speaking in my 20’s after having a job that required me to lecture about proper use of the corporate logo and how to use the company intranet. Highly captivating topics (not!). I actually lost my voice in one where I was so nervous about boring another perfectly nice group of people I knew with a bunch of pita rules explained in minutia.
But at least the Ben Stien approach would work for me if I had to hold court & tell you something about Deputed Duke’s sculpture... Artists are expected to be the polar opposite however – dynamic and interesting! I feel totally uninteresting right now. Ha! :D
Tomorrow night is a big night for me, I’ve never done a show as a professional artist. As a college and high school student, yes, but not as a person saying “I think I’m good enough to do this for a living”. Let alone then coming up with interesting witty tidbits to tell people about the works themselves. Being dynamic and interesting. I’m so pragmatic and boring this way you see. I enjoy it. I don’t think about the artistic aspects other than to be delighted when they seem to come out & work in a piece.
I actually asked my younger cousin who went to art school if this was ever covered in any type of curriculum topic – she talks about her art to customers all the time so she gave me some ideas of what people might want to know. I've asked a lot of artists how they find the fun words to describe their inspirations ... something at least better than "I wanted to make it so I did". Really I'm the verbal equivalent of oatmeal sometimes.
No sincerely!!! It vexes me to no end because I truly don’t know how to really expand on “I was pleased when the part of the pony’s mane worked out into hair sections that were more interesting & varied”, or “I was happy that this stretching leg gave me an area to add a little more definition around”. That’s not exactly what you see artists saying at openings if asked to speak. I’m told I won’t be asked to – but I’ve been told that before and found myself standing without a thought in my lil head to spit out. Once in front a convention of gynecologists at Vanderbilt University who thought I was the murderer in their murder mystery dinner (I was my sister’s side-kick non-speaking part assistant/extra). Faced with them & the mic, I had nothing but a “thank you” (hardly appropriate to the accusation). So you see, this fear was come by quite honestly! ;)
But here’s “me” and how things go for me. This past month.. scratch that, this past YEAR has been just something else. Very big lows and very big highs.
Most know that I lost my mom quite suddenly in January. I’d spoken to her hours before and she said she didn’t feel great – she said that in every conversation I’d ever had with her .. still, I am very grateful to say that I actually remembered to tell her to take care of herself and that I loved her & needed her. Her cat yowling in the background should’ve tipped me off. He sounded frantic (I thought he wanted food and she was in a hurry to go so that made sense that she’d have been in the process of feeding him) so this must’ve registered with me on some level. Still, so sudden.
I postponed periodontal surgery for a month after this – I was her only child so there was a lot of work to do keeping me up north staying with friends and family. It was financially scary at first of course (parents final expenses and surgery out of pocket), at first not even knowing if I had enough to spare to get home! Never mind thousands for her final costs. Yet, somehow it all somehow works out. Ironically I chuckle to think of Harry Potter “bone regrow” spell because (they no longer do cadaver bone implants), I really did regrow a few millimeters of bone I’m at least happy to say. The irony is that I say all that time how freaking tired of all this work to keep them (brush and floss after EVERY meal.. no exceptions.. on the road? Stop at a gas station and jump through hoops to keep hands clean while doing so.. people at events have found me in the bathroom with my hygene too. Honestly? Tiresome. I can see why there is a mental disorder where people rip out their own teeth. I can totally GET that! Ha!). I can’t say I’m mind having dentures at under 40 – so what. My teeth have always been yellow and sensitive to whitening so I’m hardly vain about them. Anyhow, I’ve been there every other month & then some. I’m not supposed to see them again until March now & that’s just a weird feeling! Bottom line though is that I came by this issue honestly between the TMJ inducing grinding at times & smoking. Smoking is out of my life now but the effects aren’t.
But these things I fear, losing people, public speaking (no I didn’t manage it well at my mom’s services either –sighs-), needles and pain.. all costing money I don’t have. What can you do? This is my mode of thinking. Nose to the grindstone & somehow it’ll all work out.
My temporary residence here (I still haven’t unpacked the books & things because we WILL be moving sooner or later here!) gets very weak cell phone reception. If I want to talk on the phone I have to set up somewhere and put the phone in the sill of the window. This has been fine because most of the news I’ve gotten from home has been unhappy. And honestly I just haven’t had the emotional strength to talk to people after that.
It’s not healthy to be so isolated but at the same time, I have to push away some of the negativity coming at me so I can process my own losses.
Like, yes, (corny and sappy sounding I know), but I still haven’t totally gotten over having to put my horse down. We just don’t get over certain things like this I’m learning – it’s different for different people and I’m not ashamed to say this. I have however pushed away the memories of how skinny he got suddenly & his erratic manic wall-attacking type violent or vacant catatonic behaviors. In overcoming the emotional angst of seeing that sudden decline I created a sculpture of him in utter bliss. He was always so mellow and blissful until those last 3 months.
On that vein I have 2 dogs now that are comfort bunnies too so this is helping me to refind that type of joy – the simple “life is good right now” bliss. And they are forcing me to get up and move about regularly. That was actually a challenge this summer. I tried to get out & walk (in shady areas but still), before the temps got to hot. Still, I wound up getting dehydrated. That’s really something for me – I’ve worked outdoors my whole life at times. I got heat sickness once when I was 15 and have been pretty aware of taking precautions ever since. That knocked me out with a fever and everything a week before breyerfest.
My fiance’s job has had some bureaucratic hiccups in paying – he’s contract so he submits invoices – it’s not salary so it involves a lot more work sometimes. That’s stressed me too more than you could imagine. His cost to get to and from work & our basic bills are more than I’ve had in backup (see above reasons – lol!). So just not knowing if things will work out.
My hair has been falling out. No kidding. No surprise eh? Lol! My widow’s peak went & got all crooked (although it’s nice having hairl that’s little bit lighter – it was always so thick that I couldn’t even use some type of barrets!). I know it’s just stress too but seeing that start to happen was this horrible vicious circle adding to the stress as this was how my dental issues started 2 years back. My teeth just suddenly got a LOT more crooked within a month or two. NOW I know that I was grinding to beat the band & making something bad happen down below the gums. Back then though I was having this dentist say “all was fine”. So now with hair falling out… well… lets just say I played it on the safe side & had my thyroid done at my annual last week.
I’m SO tired of doctors though. So I’m embracing hiking and good diet – these are easy things I CAN do that make me feel better immediately.
Things in Sept started to seem to be getting better. Fiance’s job started coming through, dental things were coming back positive for me. Sales had happened for me, even in this terrifying economy. I had just diversified (an economic strategy), to put some pieces in a gallery and had this coming show and other exciting things lined up.
Then I learned that my dad went into the hospital for the 4th time this year. His refusal of certain treatments makes it emotionally painful too for me.
So I guess I bottled up all my angst and started this marvelous tongue to teeth pressing thing I wasn’t even aware of. Until I had this haematoma type blister and pain & apparently a loose front tooth. So within 2 weeks suddenly instead of all good oral news finally I’ve had this major set back & am getting put on antibiotics and now I wear my grinding guard night and day except when I expect to speak to people. Sometimes I even wear it on the phone now & just deal with the lisp. See I don’t even know I’m doing it but I keep running my tongue over the sore area in a mental “does that still hurt” which is just tugging & hurting it more.
ANYHOW, so FINALLY after 3 weeks in Oct of starting to get rather scared about that (bone infection) I think things are ok.
BUT.. I tell everyone all this exceptionally personal information because à lol -> YES.. I’m not very witty these days. It’s not that I’m feeling full of myself and elitist. Or that I’m being deliberately obtuse. Quite literally I’m just, trying to focus on the positive things and generally I do that offline. (Or by reading copious LOL cat type websites). But witty? Psshaa…
I laugh easily though?! :) But man, words haven’t come easy to me this year. The life-goals I've managed this year, like scraping together enough to pay for my first bronze casting and this art show.. they feel like they've come at some expense. Even though I'm quite happy about them, the things I smile most and laugh about are increasingly simpler things - the folly of a bird or the expression on one of my dogs for example. It's bittersweet but overall I feel like life is a lot more real.
I once had an HR guy at (7 years ago) ask me how I was with a truly concerned look in his eye. I responded by bursting out in tears (I was very worried about something and hadn’t slept all night). There are times when I suppose my brusk or callous exterior is just toughly holding together a quite vulnerable person. It’s not as polished and refined. & There are times when it’s quite thin – especially lately. In June I was at a hobby show and a good friend also asked how I was, insightfully, and similarly I began to cry on her shoulder. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the grace to not have such a thin and transparent veneer. Honestly I’m not sure I’d ever want to be. It’s my way of keeping it real and honest. Not everything is pretty and I don’t like to be too superficial.
There’s lots more gut wrenching dilemmas I could go into but I feel like this sounds pathetic enough, no? Chuckles. Anyhow, we all have problems. I find that, despite my loathing of falling into this stereotype, that this year my inspirations in art have come in direct proportion to coping with things that I can’t do much about. So truly, art is a healing tool for me that brings me all kinds of happiness.
And I thank my customers from the bottom of my heart for their support in this which has let me pursue my art. Aside from the obvious cost of life support it’s given me lots of productive things to do – something I’ve needed quite often this year.
Lastly, I’m not going to talk about faith but I can assure you that more than anything – these past few years have taught me that we are given what we can handle. Sometimes this year I’ve really questioned that, but then I return to clinging to this belief and slowly find it’s true after all. My gratitude for those who’ve supported me and helped me here cannot be stated enough. I wish I was more eloquent about it but that doesn’t make it any less heartfelt. Thank you guys!