While rooting around on my computer I happened across some old pictures of me.
I also happened across this beauty. I can’t wait to get behind the lens again, I miss exploring the world with a camera.
In November or December (oh, that memory of mine), in order to reduce distractions and better focus on untangling my life, I quit Facebook. I deactivated it indefinitely. I log on for an hour or so every couple of weeks, mostly to satiate nostalgia and curiosity, then deactivate it again. I receive no notifications, no e-mails, no tags, no friend requests or strangers trying to follow me. I find Facebook uncomfortable; the longer I go without, the less I like using it. It’s an elevator in which everyone is laden head-to-foot with buttons and bracelets celebrating their favorite causes and they all have deathly gas. Horrid, roadkill gas. Inescapable and omnipresent: it pervades everything.
As soon as I log in I am bombarded with details of other people’s lives: deaths, births, joys, sorrows, and the inane all rolled into one endless train of updates. I don’t feel connected when I’m on there; I feel equal parts voyeur and exhibitionist. Yes, on rare occasions Facebook has reconnected me with old friends, but for the most part it feels like an emotional bog through which one cannot walk without accumulating a 50 pound layer of clinging mud.
What makes me feel connected is sharing: talking to people, sitting together over tea, or food, or booze and allowing all of our nonverbal exchanges to devour what words we may emit. Looking at someone and knowing that although they’re carrying on about their new haircut or shoes they’re really desperate to talk about how lonely they are, how their faults, their humanity, their mortality scare the shit out of them, how alive they feel when things change, are terrifying, and then end up ok.
I feel connected when I write letters to friends, when I receive letters from friends, when we take the time to put our thoughts on paper, in detail, then setting it loose to land in a friend’s lap.
The longer I go without the false sense of connection and familiarity Facebook offers, the more readily I sense my missing people and the more active I am in seeing them.
Is my opinion unique? Facebook seems to be as popular as ever, but I’m not one to actually research it.
When in the small steps backwards to catch my balance I see the world yawning open and bright before me, I know the stresses of the day-in-day-out are naught but distractions. I know each pain births a greater appreciation for each joy, and even in the pain there is a beauty because it is vivid and alive.
If things feel like a game, they likely are, and I might be taking it all too seriously.
In spite of what light my moody writings may cast, life has been incredibly good for me; many changes are afoot and they all seem to be quite good. Some very exciting developments for me on a lot of fronts are coming to fruition.
In the meanwhile, while I dally here and there, life has carried on about me. Monday marks my entry into a new company, a new position, a new schedule. I am eager to undertake it, and I think it will be a good change.
As an aside, a bit of creative license:
Neither here nor there, I find myself caught in an imbalance too hot to touch and, seconds later, too cold to grasp. It feels like a game and, even though I’ve sworn off these kinds of bets, I find myself engaged in hoping for a pleasant outcome. Hoping in a fingers-crossed, knit-breath kind of way that good will come of things.
I’ve never vested much faith in karma, so the idea of deserving/undeserving strikes me as a particularly odd one.
11 more faces brings my February face total to 37! I planned on finishing out the page, but that will have to wait until after I’ve had a jog and a glass of wine. Happy Monday, all!
So, I want to get a bachelor’s in drawing.
Art has always existed in me. I’m not sure from where it sprang: looking at it from a genetic perspective, none of my family has displayed an artistic predisposition. Even upon looking at it from an environmental viewpoint it can be noted that there wasn’t much to encourage me to do art in my home, but I did it nonetheless.
I began with what I could grasp: crayons on walls. I think a lot of people start there. Somewhere in the rampant scribblings of childhood, my interest changed from destruction to observation and creation. As a young child I began to use art to express my experience as a person.
My family, though they don’t “get” art and don’t do it themselves, was very encouraging. Once they became aware of my love of creating, they did their best to offer an environment where that passion was nutured. They provided me, early on, with paper and pencils, encouraged me to take as many art classes as I desired, and, as my skill level grew, provided nicer media with which I could create.
Upon completing high school, I was under incredible pressure to choose a school and a “viable” career path. Not wanting to abandon art, I decided to do graphic design, enrolled in and was accepted into the design program at UNT. As a 17 year old, I was wholly unprepared for such a competitive program and for the social climate pervasive in and around UNT. I ended up dropping out, even though I was meeting with some success in (progressing through) the design core.
I took a break and lived with a friend for a while in a small house in Denton. It was an ill-kept house, and a January storm sent the sopping ceiling down on all of my possessions. The accumlated mold and rat carcasses made the house unliveable, and I ended up moving in with my parents. At that time I decided to pursue an associate’s degree in visual communication at Brookhaven. I adored my professors, classmates and the school. My experience there was an idyllic one and I graduated without issue.
I decided to attempt to find a job and work to save money before returning for my bachelor’s degree. I applied wherever I could, but could not land a design position. I found a barista position with Starbucks, and thus began my long tenure there. I made attempts to find design jobs during my time slinging coffee, but didn’t meet with any luck. I had a go at doing freelance design work, but found it wasn’t what I enjoyed.
In the midst of my years spent working for Starbucks, my mother lost her battle with cancer. For a decade she fought it, and, even as she grew small and weak, we had hope until the very end that one of the treatments would work. Hers was the first loss I ever experienced, and my grief was a maelstrom. For years afterward I lived in a sort of attempted “normal,” but never felt myself. I attended therapy, which helped, but grief cannot be assauged by anything but time and good company.
Shortly before my mother’s passing, I met a young man and began a relationship with him. We spoke of my returning to school, but it was put aside to make room for other things. He wasn’t a bad man, but we were a terrible match, and it took my emergence from my grief to realize it. In late 2015 I left him, and have been on the warpath to acheiving my goals. Where I once waffled over choosing a degree which might assist me in landing a “normal” career, I have grown a determination and passion to instead invest my time and money in doing what I love. I love drawing. I love drawing more than I love painting or graphic design. I love it a whole lot more than the idea of spending my time learning to be an accountant, executive, or anything of that nature. Part of my recent determination to live as I want is in no small part influenced by the position I’ve recently held: the past year I have worked as a graphic designer creating funeral programs. Editing obituaries every day certainly helps keep things in perspective: life is brief, do what you love, do what you want and do it while you have the chance to. I want to draw.
My home town is a suburb of a bustling metropolis located in the hot heat and icy winters of central Texas. When young, my house stood one street away from a field of cattle. My parents would often take my sister and I to the barbed wire fence running the length of the field to feed carrots and apples to the gentle beasts. When the field was sold, and the city moved in to build houses and a middle school, all sorts of small denizens of the earth came creeping into the neighborhood. I witnessed, in the exaggerated vision of my youth, a snake, ten feet long and white as alabaster, creeping its way through the dry, caked dirt and rustling, yellow grass. I saw, to my bewilderment and excitement, a tarantula which easily measured five inches in height, parade down the alleyway as if he were mayor. I passed the afternoons counting scorpions in their rush to relocate, scorned from their homes by bulldozers and cement trucks.
The change was drastic: in a matter of years the quiet neighborhood grew to thrice its original size, and boasted an elementary and middle school. I had no problem finding friends, for it was a popular group of homes for young parents. I ran wild in the dusk, yowling with my friends like a feral thing in the setting sunlight. There was no greater joy for me than watching a great thunderstorm roll across the sky, counting with bated breath the time between flash and boom to see how fast the wind pushed the tempest, and hiding in the open garage when the sky let down its fury. Time passed and I aged, my friends aged, their families aged, and their homes aged. The neighborhood is less polished than it once was. Each street is host to at least one neglectful homeowner who lets their shrubs devour their house and leaves their grass to grow as high as their knees. Some crime has crept in: an assault here, a theft there, but for the most part the neighborhood remains safe.
The suburb outside the neighborhood is made of other neighborhoods, each essentially the same, and is pockmarked with grocers, pharmacies, fast food restaurants and churches. One shining exception to the demographics sprang up, on unsteady ground, in one corner of the suburb. People spent more than their life’s savings would ever amount to on palatial houses. Much to their chagrin, the houses were built cheaply and on unsteady land, and many of those glimmering trophies of false wealth cracked as the earth shifted below them.
Small snippet about my childhood home.
Peering through the rusted door’s window, Grace mouthed the words, “Do as I say,” and pointed to the corner behind Opal where Eli had just pushed his way through another door. Coalescing in the shadowed corner behind him stood a specter, dark and ominous. Opal rushed, her limbs suddenly weighted as though full of sand, to intercept the ghoul, but her vision went dark as she crashed to the floor. She knew her failure by the taste of blood issuing from her split lip.
I’ve finished cleaning up the novella I wrote. Come to find out, the novella wasn’t complete. I still have another chapter or two, maybe even three or four, to go. At the end of the document I found this snippet, which has nothing to do with the story, but might have, had I decided to integrate it. I thought it was a fun glimpse into the type of writing I’ve done for this project. Maybe I’ll find a way to work it into the story, but at the moment I feel that’s unlikely. I’m hoping to have this novella wrapped up in the next week or two; I’ve been working on it before and after work where time allows. I’m eager to get it ready to present to publishers. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get lucky and get published.
I’m off to cross my fingers, hash out a chapter, and down a hot toddy against this chilly February weather. What’s your favorite cold weather drink?
A quiet night, my head full of smoke, the whiskey warmed my throat as I sat slowly sipping. Fingerlings of cold air attempting to worm their way into the bleached white sheets encouraged me to burrow deeper. A brief sweetness, a small oasis hidden amid hectic schedules and miles of highway, placed for safekeeping in memories and words, lest I forget.
A dalliance which set my head to reeling all while anchoring me in something gentle.
The remnants of this brief respite are just the sighs in my lungs and the smile at the corners of my mouth.
The sting is gone and all that’s left is a wistfulness.
11 Fictional Faces
I managed to eke out 11 more faces today, bringing my total to 26! I’m going to scribble out a few more before bed. I’m aiming for ten, but have had a glass of wine and may well fall asleep or opt to read instead.