The Corner of Fifteen

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It’s hard to imagine now just how small the world was to me then. He lived next door and worked for his dad’s contractor business. He fixed stuff. At least that’s what I thought. He broke stuff, too. My illusions of love, for example. My innocence of how lovers worked, and what power imbalance was. The belief that if you became pregnant, he would stay, because that’s what men are supposed to do. The reality that in the end, I might not want him to stay. And that people don’t always do what they are “supposed” to do.

I lost a lot of things that year, but I gained some things I would never trade. To say I am happy to have had a beautiful child come from that union may sound cliche, but I wouldn’t change it if I could. It set me on a path to self-improvement and an unfortunate spate of cynicism about men, I’m glad I’ve left behind (for the most part), but made me see feminism in a different light. Those bad experiences with a bad person set the cornerstone of the person I am today.

That house–my family’s, and his next door, are so foreign to me now. It’s like looking at a photo album from some movie I watched. I can conjure up the memories like they were last month, but I feel as though I am viewing them through a sheet of plastic.

I can’t remember the taste of him, or how he kissed. I can remember some of his cheesy lines and hurtful comments. I can remember him throwing pennies at me from his bedroom window. I can remember he smoked Marlboro reds and wore Stetson cologne. I would smell that combination into the mid-1990s sometimes, but thankfully Stetson has lost its appeal. Whichever men who might have stockpiled it, stuck in the 1980s, have probably run out by now.

My heart was broken. It was two years before I would date again. I wasn’t done making mistakes I wouldn’t fix, though. But that’s a story for another time.

 

Summer 1981

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I miss waiting for “The Wizard of Oz” to come on once or twice a year. I miss the lead up to the end of the school year and the phenomenon of the summer blockbuster. I miss not understanding about bills and politics. I miss jump-rope and jacks and creeks with smooth stones. I miss that first kiss feeling, when you weren’t even sure how kissing worked. I miss grape soda and skinned knees, tire swings and climbing trees. I miss swimming all day for weeks in a row. I miss the coolness of a desert night, sitting in a concrete pipe with a friend talking about everything, after the rest of the neighborhood had gone to sleep.

The Heart Tapestry

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I don’t know what motivates other people to do things–or not to do them. Nor do I pretend to believe that all hearts work the same way. I’m not here to judge why or how somebody does or doesn’t respond to me. How somebody does or doesn’t connect to me. I put it out into the universe, and if a thread comes back and weaves into the tapestry of my life, it will be all the more rich and colorful. All the more complex and beautiful.

What I don’t really have time for at this point in my life are those who can’t be bothered to connect, or worse, pick at the tapestry, snagging, leaving tears and frayed ends. My life is full of wonderful, beautiful, talented, insightful, caring people. If I never made another friend for the rest of my life, many beautiful connections would remain and sustain me.

Why am I writing about this? I saw a Timehop that reminded me of this topic. I had had a couple of really big hurts in my life, starting with a teen pregnancy, but 2009-2011 were the worst by far. I was reminded of how hard it was to recover from that kind of damage. It reminded me how much I had turned in on myself – for almost three years. I decided I didn’t want or need any new friends. It felt to vulnerable to open up to that. I closed up. Put up a wall. That is something I had never done before. Sure, I had some short-term hurts that made me withdraw for a bit, but being an optimist at heart, I always bounced back pretty quickly. I felt the risk was worth the payoff of a connection and a friend – before.

For the new friendships I’ve formed–I’m glad I dismantled the wall a bit – brick by brick, leaving a small space for people who really wanted to squeeze through. For those who chose the other side of the wall, or who I walled out, our time has passed, I guess. For my part, I’ve always been as authentic as I could. And I trusted–until I couldn’t–for reasons.

I didn’t always respond or behave the way I wish I would have–but I’m human. I’ve hopefully learned and evolved over the time with each bump and boulder in my path. Whatever mistakes I made, you got me honestly, and my honesty, and the sincerest bits of my heart.

The Dark Side of Light

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I don’t know anymore what it means to not worry. I worry about everything. I think this is supposed to be one of the downsides of being a sensitive person. The way I figure it, sensitive people go through life like an open wound, raw, gaping. Sometimes we manage to sew ourselves up enough to keep it together.

The gift of being sensitive is in feeling good when you help somebody. Or loving so hard and so much that you know that no person has loved as hard and much as you are “right now.” And the sensual side of sensitivity certainly has its advantages when it comes to touch and taste.

But the downsides are so hard, y’all. I try to live in this worry. It’s more like carrying a load than living inside of something. If you live inside of something, then you at least get to rest sometimes. You at least get to eat and sleep. This is more like carrying something. When you carry something, even if it’s small, if you carry it long enough, or in the wrong way, it can become heavy.

It can make you doubt yourself and question your worth. It can make you feel like everybody you care about will be snatched away because you don’t deserve them.

There is a dark side to the light of looking into the world with sensitive eyes. Each thing is either brilliant and blinding, or it is devoid of even a tiny flame. And flames cast shadows.

There’s good news though. I used to wait for a rope to be dropped down to me. These days, I find the damned rope or holler up to somebody to toss one down.

I’m still journaling. Or I should say, I’m back to journaling. As you can see, I’m back to blogging, too.

I hope to catch up in here. My sensual side needs some stroking. My brain has been focused on the daily struggles of just getting through life. I want to come back here and say hello. I missed you.

How are you today?

 

Happy Valentine’s Day – A Racing Brain At 4am

wchbwLaying there, one fleshy pale leg resting on top of yours. Layers of blankets hugging us to the bed, I pretzel and twist – one of my arms over my head, one of yours, over yours. I find your fingers with my left hand and you squeeze them, even though you are mostly asleep. I try to touch as much of my skin to yours as I can, curved like a bean next to you. I lay my head in the sweet spot that your body has made for it. Was made for it, long before I met you. When you were born, maybe. I put my right arm across your chest. I know you love this – a woman resting on your chest. “There is something so…satisfying…beautiful, about it,” you once said. Or something like it.  And even years later there is an impression there, and an image in my head. It’s faded like a washed-out photograph. You know the one. And it doesn’t hurt anymore, but it’s there. Maybe it always will be. I decide it doesn’t matter and I start a poem in my head. God, it’s almost 4 a.m. and I am composing words as I feel you breathe. None of the words are good enough. Some of them don’t even make sense. I will never be good enough, my brain says. But you already are, I counter. Your thigh is twice the circumference as his. And it feels good for that not to be something I hate. It’s a non-issue. I take that back. It’s a celebration. Continue reading

Raven Heights Guest – June Episode

ravenheightsradio2CLICK HERE TO VISIT RAVEN HEIGHTS AND LISTEN TO THE EPISODE

Earlier in June my friend Erica came over and brought her portable podcasting studio with her.  We recorded a couple of podcasts – one about my book, which is being released in August, and one about body-positivity and some of my artwork.  The one linked above is the latter, where we discuss Legoginas, Amanda Palmer, Tess Holliday, Body Politics, body-positivity, and Caitlyn Jenner, among other things.

Here are some links and thoughts that are a companion to this podcast:

Johanna Basford Coloring Book

Georgia O’keeffe

Tess Holliday – I refer to her as “Tess Munster” which is what she went by for a while.

Amanda Palmer – Since the recording of this podcast Amanda lost a dear friend and I want to offer my sincerest condolences.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~Khalil Gibran

I mentioned a story she told on a podcast (which I cannot find) about being told to lose weight by the label she was with.  Rebellyon is what followed.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and a quote about the Fraud Police.

Imposter Syndrome

Caitlyn Jenner

GLAAD gender guide – Trans?  Cis?  What?  Here is a guide to help you out.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

I wish I had been clearer in my explanation about the photographers.  The point I was trying to make was that I know a number of photographers and I don’t know their specific policies, but I’m guessing they would never use a photo that somebody was unhappy with.  But these are folks I know.  There are many photographers out there these days.  I’d even wager that there are more than ever.  Some are legit, talented and ethical.  Some aren’t.  Before you sign a paper allowing a person to use whatever image they take of you wherever and however they want, make darn sure you trust them.

— ❤ —

I mention that I am using a Lego base that is in a “flesh” tone, in this case, the one flesh-like tone available I could find thus far, called “sand.”  The large base pieces I build the vulvas on come in only three colors online at this time – grey, sand, green, if I’m lucky I can find a bright blue at the Lego store.  I’m not being super realistic with the Lego vulvas – I mean, I’m using bright pink and purple!  But it would be nice to have some other tans and browns available.  I’m glad to see things like Louboutin making a wider line of “nude” tones available now and NubianSkin.com, an undergarment line in darker flesh tones, so yay!

Below is my sweetheart, best friend, partner in art, writing, and love-making, in his glorious Lego crown.  (If I leave out that last comma, it might be a party!  Now I gotta cross my fingers the rest of my grammar is correct.)

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LegoGinasmLegoginas – or Legovulvas.  They aren’t available yet because Will has to mount them.  (Yup.)
Vcoloringbooksm Drawings that will be available in my vulva coloring book, which isn’t done yet.
vulvadecorationsThese are examples of some of the vulva pride accessories I sell at my online store.

You can find my vulva art, as well as other types of jewelry, altered clothing and some perfume I make at GypsySiren.com

Artomatic – Body Politics

Goddess Next Door

Articles About Confidence Gap Between Men and Women
Phycholgy Today
The Atlantic

Please stop by the Southern Maryland Arts website.  It’s a great place for artists to register and post events.  You can also find Charles County art information HERE.

One of my biggest art influences and mentor is Tammy Vitale, also a Southern Maryland artist.

I made a goof trying to say, “I want to take my life’s lemons and make lemonade.”  I just have the one lemon apparently.  Baby wants one lemon.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to listen to the podcast and read this post.  I know how precious and short time can be.

Peace!