Elephants don’t wear stripes

I need to brag a bit here in the beginning of this essay.  Sold two prints at the gallery on Sunday afternoon – yes I did!!!….I was over the moon!  The Big Ass Red Car has been all over the county, hanging in different venues, steak houses, government centers, and another art center without any interest.  I couldn’t even give it away – well it is  pretty big –  24×45 inches.  The couple that bought it didn’t know the other one wanted it.  It almost ended in a price war with a husband and wife unknowingly biding against each other.  All that for a print I couldn’t give away in 2016!  My husband was thrilled as much as I was.  He will no longer need to lug this behemoth around anymore.  The other print was one of the very first drawings I did on my ipad – well before the apple pen and the ipad pro.  It was one of my favorites.

How is it that all  bloggers look like they have so much to say.  I don’t mean this to be insulting.  Its just so hard for me to find something important enough to find time for to write about.  Then again, I don’t do whole lot compared to some of the folks here that blog.

Here’s the thing.  When I blog…no let me change that…when I read the blogs, I sometimes feel reduced to the child looking into windows of household with perfect homes, furniture, beautiful drapes, and well placed paintings on the walls.  Of course, the other personality I live with knows that is childish – every person is unhappy about something.  Unhappy may be too strong a word.  Maybe not particularly pleased with the moment they are in.  The Troubles and the troubles and they will always be with us.   But who ever this other personality is still feels childish and left out – like someone would feel if they were plopped down on a strange street in a strange country – no language, no friends, no place to go.

I am too old not to have arrived at some sort of negotiable status with self, and that in it’s self is very disappointing.  I was hoping that writing would help me discover the secret of negotiating with ones self, but so far, it hasn’t materialized. This blog began with a focus on art, but it hasn’t be about that at all.  Its been about me, and how uncomfortable I am in my skin.

Is it normal to look in the mirror and see yourself, but not really see yourself?  There are days when I don’t even look in the mirror.  This is hard to explain.  I suppose everyone knows what they look like, and I suppose everyone hates to have their picture taken.  But when I have my picture taken, and then see it, it will take me a few seconds to recognize myself.  It’s a very brief pause, but it is there.  I never really thought about it until recently when I started becoming more aware of a disconnect between me and the mirror.  

I am not a pretty woman.  Passable.  No one would run screaming from the parking lot if they saw me get out of a car.  No, no one would even look at me much.  Even less now that I am older and have become invisible.  

Now don’t get me wrong.  Being invisible isn’t all bad.  I don’t bother with make up anymore (which saves me a lot of money), but I do brush my teeth and comb my hair.  I have a poor complexion. It is scarred from severe cystic acne when I was a kid.  I suppose I could have had that taken care of, but never had the money or the health insurance to cover the cost.  So I lived with it. 

I was at a neighborhood party once, oh, I must have been in my 40s at the time.  The hostess, an older woman, called me aside into her bedroom, with another female guest.  The hostess proceeded to explain to me that this woman’s face was “ravaged” like mine, but she had it taken care of , and I should do that too.  Wasn’t her complexion beautiful?  At that moment I was speechless.  What washed over me were the childhood memories of my mother and I sitting in the chair at the doctors office.  The doctor looking at my greasy face full of sores, saying its a shame, she is going to grow up with this and be jealous of other women’s complexions. And there it was.  Like being hit with ice cold water on a freezing winter day.  I’m sure that the hostess meant well.  She was never unkind, but I don’t think she ever thought it might not be the best intervention for this person.  And so I thanked her, complimented her guest on her beautiful complexion, and cheerfully left the room, and the party.

Once again, I am outside looking in.

Been like this my whole life.  And yes, I will admit, I am a bit sensitive, okay, maybe too sensitive about my appearance.  I am hard on myself, and I recognize that I push myself to ignore my issues and move on in spite of them.  

Its times like this that I wish I had a sibling when I was growing up.  Being an only child, I was isolated with my mother, who suffered for her sanity on a good day.  It wasn’t much better when my pop came home.  He was in no shape to deal with her or with me.  So if there were any problems they were pushed down and under.  Still waters run deep.

I can remember my aunts buying me books to read to help me understand grooming, how to dress (“you don’t see the elephant dressed in stripes do you?”), how to hold a conversation, etc, etc, etc.  Looking back, I wonder what those women saw and thought when they looked at me.  

I hope, dear reader, you don’t think I am a hopeless hot mess of a person.  I have been married for 45 years, one child, a registered nurse, and have worked most of my adult life in spite of my issues.  There are times when I am at my weakest, when all of this crap comes surfacing again.  I try to remember that the people that matter to me don’t care, and those that do don’t matter.  It’s a clever little saying that gives me another door to leave by.

It’s almost 2:30 am.  I should be in bed.  Shopping tomorrow – big day!  Thursday is 10% off day for folks over 65.  It’s the little things that make getting up in the morning OH SO WORTH IT!

Love to all and to all a good night.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

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