I don’t know, but when I need to feel sort of “at peace” with where I am in life, vintage illustrations really do it for me. They calm me down. I like to ponder them.
They instantly propel me into thoughts of: Wow, remember when life in America was like this? So much simpler…everyone was happy
I know. Life was never like this. I mean, look at the size of that trailer, for one thing. The only way that many Americans, from 3 generations no less, would be happy living in a trailer that size would be if all of them were on prescription medication, 24/7.
But it’s fun to dream, right?
I mean, I’m really happy with my house — I love my house. It’s the first real home, emotionally, that I’ve ever had. And I love this town. I love being in the middle of peaceful nowhere.
However, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you can readily see that a really long line of fucked-up-ness is trailing after me. And through relentless trial & error (i.e., living my life), it became apparent that things go better for me when I’m left alone.
And, of course, being left alone is often really lonely. But at the same time, when I’m hanging out alone not attempting suicide, I get a lot more done.
But, man. What a lot of fucked-up adults in that apartment complex, right? And nobody leaving me alone for a minute. The only people leaving me alone were my parents. They had no clue what was happening to me in that apartment complex. My mom would put in appearances in order to be really abusive and frightening, but otherwise, she was off in the world, finding herself. Like every other divorced woman of that era, it seems. And by then, my dad didn’t live in the same town as us anymore.
But I don’t think he would have given a shit anyway. Nothing really registered with him when it came to me. His whole life was consumed with hating my mother. That’s all he could see back then.
He would come to town once a month to take me out, and in order to piss off my mother, he would take me to these really violent, inappropriate movies for a young girl to see. Things like Walking Tall and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. It wasn’t just that these movies were extremely violent, they had violence against women in them that was horrifying to me. I was traumatized by those movies because I absolutely did not know how to process that type of violence against women. It was all new to me and just terrifying. I would come home from those movies, and just hide in my room for hours.
But all my dad cared about was how pissed off my mom would be when she’d find out which movie he’d taken me to this time. And when the sexual assaults started to actually happen to me (in that same horrible apartment complex) my dad was the last person it would have occurred to me to go to for help. I didn’t go to anybody, actually. I couldn’t figure out who on Earth would care.
After Greg died and the actual rapes began happening — I was just a dead girl walking, really.
Yesterday, after I posted about the sleeping pill problem and the mental hospital, I remembered how, once I was finally released several months later, I went back to my room at home and everything in there was exactly as I had left it when they’d scurried me away. Nothing had been touched. Flushing all those pills down the toilet was completely unnecessary (although it was a good thing that I’d done it, because I didn’t have them waiting for me when I got out).
But yesterday, that just seemed so sad to me. If it had been my kid — or anyone at all that I loved or cared about — I would have gone through every single thing in that room; trying to figure out who that person really was, what had gone so wrong that she would try to kill herself.
I had journals in there, too. Things were written down. Nobody bothered to look. For my mother, it was like: close the door; she’s someone else’s problem now.
The thing that would just enrage me, even at that young age, was that I had been taken away from my “real” mother only to be put into all of that. Even though, at that time, I didn’t know my mother had only been 13 when I was born, what I was told was that she “loved me but wasn’t able to take care of me” so she had to give me up.
I guarantee you, all I heard in that explanation was that my real mother loved me…
(And many years later, when I finally found her, it was the very first thing that I discovered that was absolutely true: She loved me more than life itself, really.)
Yesterday also yielded some really cool new pages in the play. It took several hours for them to finally come out of me. It was one of those days where I would sit at the desk, agonize, clutch my hair a bit. Get up, walk around the room. Sit back down at the desk.
I fumbled with that unlit Pall Mall I always have at my desk now. And I kept looking at it, wondering: if I lit it and smoked it, would the words finally come? (I didn’t light it. I never do.)
And then, all of the sudden, around 3pm, it all began tumbling out. Some of it, I’d had no clue I was getting ready to write! Some of it was disturbing, yet I still knew it was good. And I wondered, where the heck did that come from?
The process of writing can just be so strange. You wait for it and wait for it, and when it comes out, you look at it and go: wow, who the heck are you?
The main segment I wrote yesterday (something I knew I was going to write, it just took me forever to find my way into it) involves Helen going back 10 years or so in her mind and spending time with her adult grandson before he dies, and then she goes back another 25 years and goes fishing with that same grandson as a little boy but her adult grandson, now dead, comes back as a ghost and is fishing with them and they’re all having a great time fishing at the river even though Helen and the young grandson can’t see the ghost, and then the entire cast of characters — because we’re still in Helen’s dream, where she’s alive inside one of her own paintings and all the people she loves who have died are alive again in the painting — all those characters sing a really jubilant & rambunctious version of the old slave spiritual, “Down By the Riverside.”
Are you following that? Do you see why maybe a lit cigarette could help?
But I got through it!! And I was really happy with the results. (And the director texted this morning that he “loved, loved, loved it.”)
So! Onward, right, gang??
Another bright spot I want to mention before I close this today. For 2 mornings in a row, 2 of my rescued feral cats — Huckleberry and Doris — have let me (very briefly) pet them!
This is the first time I’ve been able to touch them since Daddycakes died. It made me really happy.
Okay. I’ll leave you with this. For some reason, I just love listening to all these little kids singing the old slave songs. I like it much better than the adult choirs, because the adults just get complicated and fussy. All right. I love you guys. Thanks for visiting. See ya!