Archive for March, 2015

Super thoughtful (and clever) friend left this in my mailbox. Gave me laughter through tears. @heather_andignac

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Super thoughtful (and clever) friend left this in my mailbox. Gave me laughter through tears. @heather_andignac

Bathroom at work. See that hook? Been here 2.5 years. Nothing has ever hung on it. Drives me nuts. Thinking about bringing something in. Maybe a large portrait of myself. Suggestions?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Bathroom at work. See that hook? Been here 2.5 years. Nothing has ever hung on it. Drives me nuts. Thinking about bringing something in. Maybe a large portrait of myself. Suggestions?

Eastertide

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Easter, '76

Eastertide
We wake, search in Holly Hobby nightgowns.
Daddy says, “I’m gonna bite his head right off.”
Chocolate bunnies are hollow.

Real chicks, pink, purple, green.
“Your sister is allergic to rabbits.”
Green plastic grass sticks to feet
As the dog sits in pastel tinfoil pieces.

Azalea, Forsythia, Dogwood
Lenten Rose and Daffodils.
“Jonquils,” Mama says.

Yellow Easter dresses, white tights.
No white before Memorial Day.
Scrape those black patent-leather soles.
White plastic straw hat, elastic itches

Dorothy Hamill shags
and gap-toothed grins
Smiling for the picture
Sisters side by side

Here is the church and the steeple.
Voices rise together.
“Raise your joys and triumphs high.
Sing ye heavens, and earth reply.”

Gaze, girl, up at sanctuary lights
like wrought iron gazebos.
One day you’ll be sixteen.
One day a mother and take home a lily.

Out into the light
Squint in the sun
Prismatic technicolor Spring
Too brilliant to last.

Self-portrait: "That Way Madness Lies" – Blogged at http://www.dogwoodgirl.net/that-way-madness-lies/

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Self-portrait: "That Way Madness Lies" - Blogged at http://www.dogwoodgirl.net/that-way-madness-lies/

That Way Madness Lies

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

No, I will weep no more. In such a night

To shut me out? Pour on; I will endure.

– William Shakespeare

Hello, My name is Anne.

If you asked me who I was a year ago, I would have said, Granddaughter, Daughter, Sister, Cousin, Mother, Friend. I would have said that I am sure of myself, of my place in the world, of who I am, what I want, where I want to go. I would have said that I was comfortable with myself and all around me, and that the things I were uncomfortable with I dealt with or cut out of my life with ease. Above all, I would have said I am a Loyal, Honest, and Truthful person, in all of my dealings with myself and with those I care about, and that my life was easy and mostly satisfying.

I am not the same person I was a year ago.

I am still many of those things I listed above, but I am more than that, less than that, and I am changed. I am no longer so sure of my place in the world, or what my name means. What am I now?  Yes, I am definitely still a Daughter, Wife, Sister, Mother.  I am still a writer, a gardener, and a piss poor runner. I am still competitive. I still have brains. I still believe in right and wrong. I still love tomatoes, dogs, music, beer, days floating on the lake, and nights gazing up at the expansive starry sky. I still have my sense of humor. It is darker than it was.

I am more than I was, though. I am a learner. I am a questioner. I am a thinker and an over-thinker. Yes, I was these things before. Yes, I do these things too much. I always have. I am learning that I am both weaker and stronger than I thought I was, that there are things I cannot say aloud, and things I cannot say to others. In my arrogance, I never thought that was the case before, but I just hadn’t run into the things in my mind that were too dark and shameful to speak aloud.

I am a person often bored, sometimes sad, and occasionally in pain. I am learning to recognize these feelings for what they are and to embrace them as such, to let them come sit with me instead of pushing them away, but learning to not let them sit inside me and consume me. I name them and tell them they can be here with me, or they can go, but that they cannot control me.

I am learning to be more present. I have, in the past, been very good at being in the present. You see, the present is very easy to be in when the present is pleasant. It is much more difficult to be in the present when the present is painful or when there feels like no way out of the present. My present has been uncomfortable, and even painful, this past year, and I have slipped into questions of whether or not I made the right choices in the past and even more into paralyzing anxiety about the future. I have been unable to make myself mindful and in the present, because the present sometimes hurts or makes me feel guilty or simply seems insurmountable or hopeless. In the past year, I actually felt the biological imperative of Fight or Flight. I felt it in my mind, my bones, and my heart.

I made a conscious decision to stay and fight.

I took this self-portrait last night. It isn’t technically good. It looks awful. But this is the one that most captured who I am and what I feel, right here, right now, in March 2015. Light and dark and all.

I think one day I will look back at her and I will know who she was, what she went through, and I will know who she becomes, and I will be proud of her for sticking it out when the going got tougher than she ever thought it would.

me2015

“Self-Portrait: That Way Madness Lies”, March 18, 2015

 

 

My Couch Buddy.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

My Couch Buddy.

Saying the Ghosts Out Loud

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

One of the good things about therapy is that I am forced to speak my thoughts and feelings. They are no longer floating around in my head like ghosts that materialize when I open a closet door in my mind. So many doors. Left unsaid, I just slam the door shut on the ghosts, and they are stuck inside, while I rest my weight on the door, and wonder why I can’t stop opening and closing it. Once spoken, I can’t shut the door on them again. They’re out, and someone else sees and hears them too.

The same goes for speaking things in real life, off the therapist’s couch. I’m at the point in my therapy where things are starting to get. . . interesting. I knew I had issues that were affecting me in negative ways, obviously, or I would have never gone to therapy in the first place. But now, we are getting past the issues: The things that cause me pain, scare me, make me feel sad, or guilty, or angry. Now we are getting to the Whys.

Why does this cause me pain? Why did I do this thing, or not do this other thing? Why am I scared to say this or that to my husband or to myself?

It’s easy enough to say

I’m bored. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. I’m resentful.

And so on. The real dirt of the matter, though, is

Why am I these things? What things in my life are making me feel this way?

Or

What things in my life are missing that make me feel this way?

This is all very vague and non-specific for a person as honest and forthcoming as myself, probably boring to read because you want to know the What emotions? and the Why? of it. I will say that one of the things making me miserably unhappy of late is my inability to put into words to myself and those around me what exactly I was feeling, and the things that were making me feel [insert a bajillion emotions]. Voicing those things, to myself, my therapist, and to the people affected by and affecting me has improved my outlook a lot. The hardest part is taking what I see clearly on the therapist’s couch, and bringing it home with me to work on outside of that safe, non-judgmental cocoon of a room. It is one thing to say something difficult to a therapist whom you are paying to listen, and who is not going to be hurt or angered by it. It is a whole other ball of wax to sit in front of the people you love most in the world and know that, in order for things to be better, in order for you to get better, you are going to have to say the difficult ghost words. The ones that may be difficult to hear, or cause pain or anger or defensiveness in someone you care about. And if you are lucky, like I am, they will listen, and they will offer their thoughts, and you will not regret having brought it up. And really, I think even if you don’t get the calm reaction you hoped for, you still might feel better, and voicing things still gives you and your people room to grow, and things to work toward.

I still have a ton to work on. Self-exploration and self-improvement are long and hard and slow-going, and they are never quite finished. Being unable to voice the feelings and the whys is where I found myself paralyzed; It feels good to start working past that, one step, one word, one ghost at a time.

I call this one, "Come on Hibachi, You Take Too Long."

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

I call this one, "Come on Hibachi, You Take Too Long."

The Perks of Depression

Monday, March 9th, 2015

One positive thing to come out of my recent bout with depression is the outpouring of love and support I’ve received from friends and family. Phone calls, texts, emails, cards, and the occasional gift here and there. (The wine was delicious. Thank you, @MelisPR.) I received a package in the mail yesterday from my cousin, Laura. Laura’s mother, my Aunt Joanie, married my Mom’s brother, Uncle Charlie.

(left to right) Laura, Uncle Charlie, Me, and Stacey

(left to right) Laura, Uncle Charlie, Me, and Stacey

Laura and Stacey (her sister) are a little bit older than I am (not that you could tell by looking at them – they are both disgustingly ageless) and I always looked up to them growing up. They both still live in Chattanooga, where my Mom is from. Laura, until just recently, was a photographer at the Chattanooga Times. She’s really talented, and I have long admired a series of photographs she did years ago. I think that the series was her “Masks” series. A series of women in black and white, some wearing masks, and speaking to the ways in which women mask things every day. I’m sure there was some kind of artist’s statement Laura put together that would explain it better than I can, but let’s just say I loved them the first time I saw them.

I was working from home on Friday and the mailman knocked on the door. It was a package. I took it inside and opened it up. What I found made me cry.

 

"Ten Cents a Dance"

“Ten Cents a Dance”

 

"Hiding in Plain Sight"

“Hiding in Plain Sight”

 

"Losing My Marbles"

“Losing My Marbles”

 

"The Domestic"

“The Domestic”

 

How thoughtful it was of her to take the time to send them to me, and to send me not just one, but four of them. One of the best gifts I have ever been given. They speak to me now more than ever. And yes, Laura has quite the sense of humor. Losing my Marbles. Good one. She also has a blog, Photos and Migraines, with some great recipes on it. Yep, she’s one of those super talented people that you want to hate, but you can’t, because she’s so sweet and immediately likable.

Girl in a Band: A Memoir

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band: A Memoir came out last week, and I snatched it up as my next read. Actually, Gordon read it to me. I debated buying the hardcover or the audiobook. I chose the Audible version, because a) I can listen in the car and office and b) Kim Gordon talking to me. No-brainer, really.

I liked listening to her voice. I’ve heard her talk before, but when I think of Kim Gordon’s voice, I think of her voice on stage:

I just want to know, what are you gonna do for me? I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls from male white corporate oppression?

Or her playful voice joking around with J. Mascis in the documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke. Instead, I am immediately struck by the quiet, introspective, sweet voice reading her own story.

Gordon opens her memoir by telling the story of the last show Sonic Youth played. It’s intense. You feel the tension and pain she experiences during the momentous show. It is a compelling moment, and her vulnerability comes through immediately. I expected bombast or effortless cool (and we do get effortless cool later in the book), but what you get right out of the gate is a sad, overwhelmed, angry, heartbroken girl. A number of reviews of Girl in a Band mention that her discussion of her divorce with fellow Sonic Youth member Thurston Moore and her feelings about the affair that caused it seem petty or small. I didn’t feel that way. I felt she told her story and that was a small, but important, part of it.

As she delves into her childhood, I am repeatedly surprised by her shyness and sensitivity. I’m also surprised by her intelligence. I think of her as cool, yes, but I never took her as being super cerebral. I also didn’t realize until reading her story that she is very much an artist first and a musician second. Sonic Youth was just a side project to Gordon’s life as an artist.

I won’t spoil the book by revealing all the interesting little tidbits, but I loved hearing where she was born, where she grew up, the music she listened to as a kid, and the people and things that influenced her. I find her relationship with her brother and its influence on her fascinating. She discusses fashion, music, and art in a smart, accessible way. She met or worked with a number of interesting and influential musicians, artists, designers, and writers over the years, and I love hearing those stories, particularly mentions of meetings or friendships with bands and authors whom I admire. At times, it feels a bit like reading UsWeekly for cool people. (“They’re just like us!”)

Honestly, though, the book is lacking in some ways. I came away slightly dissatisfied, as if she’s not quite telling the whole story. She is definitely a person with a very private side. That shines through in the book, and what she omits feels almost as if it is it’s own character in the story. Maybe that is due to writing in the ruins of her marriage; Perhaps with some distance, the book would not feel quite so overshadowed by her heartbreak.

All of that being said, I loved her story. It meets me at the perfect intersection of my life: I’m going through some depression, a bit of an identity crisis, and a disillusionment with middle age and all that comes with it. Who am I? Is my life what I thought it would be 15 or 20 years ago? Am I living the American Dream? Why do I feel so lost, frustrated, and bored?

In other words, If Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore have fallen apart, what hope is left for the rest of us.

Here is a female rock icon, one whom I love, admire, and put on a pedestal as one of the coolest of The Cool Girls, and yet the voice speaking to me is sad. Vulnerable. Sensitive. Disillusioned. Resigned. She writes her story down and tells it to the world. This venerable Indie Rock Goddess is a hell of a lot like me.

I think what I love most about this book is not all the punk rock insider information and not what it’s like to be a Girl in a Band. No, what I love is hearing Kim Gordon tell me what it’s like to be a girl. It’s validating to hear she experiences the same struggles: Self-doubt. Sensitivity. Being informed by place of origin. Finding outlets for emotion. Figuring out who she is in her teens and 20s. Family dynamics. The ups and downs of marriage and friendship. Job stresses. The I-Just-Got-Hit-By-The-Mack-Truck-That-Is-Motherhood experience. Family scheduling. Deciding where to settle one’s family. Guilt. Being let down by the ones we love. Heartbreak. Parental pride. Aging parents. Mental illness. Figuring out that everything is not black and white, and that there is a whole lot of gray, and we have to figure out how to survive there, and how to pick up the pieces when things change or if we lose everything and have to start over again.

The real reason I love this book? Moving forward, I can always think to myself, “Even 62-year-old Kim Gordon of Sonic fucking Youth struggles with this shit.”

Recommended for: Gordon Lovers, Sonic Youth fans, Music Junkies, Biography-Readers, Artists, Life-Examiners, Searchers.