Once babies start moving... and biting and screeching, I think that's when they become toddlers. I've been kind of dormant on here because I'm chasing this fucking adorable rugrat around. As she is running around more she's tuckering out more and naps more... which means Mom gets to paint.
Here's a little sneak peak of what I'm working on.
They're not finished.
I'm fortunate to be part of a group showing this July at The Morris Burner Hostel. Alongside many other talented artists I will be painting my version? rendition? feeling baby centering around the theme of Medusa. I had forgotten about the show completely until a month ago when Jackie Dilworth reminded me of it--thank goodness.
Thank goodness for this show.
Just.... thank thank thank goodness.
Because of this show I am painting through some emotional baggage I've left bottled up for way too long.
Our stories, Medusa and mine, much like this painting, entwine.
You see, Medusa wasn't born vile. She was normal. Just a mortal Gorgon chillin. She was capable of death, capable of pain, and susceptible to life. She was a beautiful maiden. Medusa used to be a babe. She was so beautiful that Poseidon desired her... desired her so much that he raped her in the temple of Athena. Athena, pissed that her temple had been desecrated, cursed Medusa into being a hideous, snake hair'd monster who turned men to stone with her gaze. Athena cursed her and the world hunted her down for it.
I had no idea of Medusa's lineage, her narrative, or her rape.
I, too, have been assaulted in the temple of a goddess.
I, too, have been punished for this assault by banishment and emotional scarlet letterhood.
I, too, have paid a great price and have been contorted by the weight of action and repercussion.
I, too, have an assaulter who roams free as the sea.
I, too, have worn this face, this hair, this weight.
I, too, have looked into the mirror of myself and seen it's hideousness as well as it's mortality.
So I'm painting it. Well, I'm attempting to... Medusa and I are one in this freeing moment of self-realization. Caravaggio's Medusa has always been my favorite--androgynous, reactionary, revolted, and emptying. Her mouth agape, jaw locked in sound and rage and darkness. Caravaggio captured the exact moment where Medusa catches her own reflection, catches her own gaze, catches her own death.
Through the creation of this painting, I'm allowing this incident to die.
Through the three eyes of us, we see and recognize, we give in and succumb, and we will be reborn.
So.... folks, I haven't been doodling. I haven't been lollygagging, futzing, or forgetting.
I've been digging and digging and digging.
I've been dreaming and letting go and rebuilding.
I've been making something beautiful out of the present from the past.
I've been recreating myself every time I lift a paint brush.
I'll post a finished image when I'm through.
It's hard not to feel dissolved.
The identity of funny girl, artist chick watered down to a clear liquid and brought back to a boil to first time mom and all that carries. Struggling to thicken, wondering if I ever will again.
It's hard not to feel trapped.
Home for seasons on end-- depression to bed rest to baby to baby to winter to now. Identity in a cave, mortality around the corner, and life right in front of you... delicate... with ten little fingers and ten little toes.
It's hard not to feel invisible.
Spending all this time looking down and lifting up the tiny human mirror that I've created leaves little time to worry about eyebrow hairs, fashion, attraction, health, and I end up looking like a neglected juniper bush, akimbo in the shocking sun and wind.
It's hard not to feel unattractive.
Two plus years without riding a bicycle, without hiking, without swimming, without movement and sweat and consistency and muscle and aches. Pale skin with new textures, new colors, bruises and veins. Avoiding your reflection cuz you rather like the way the little one sees you over the way you see yourself. Plus, looking down at your body just means more looking down at your body.
It's hard not to be jealous.
Jealous of the love that can be given so freely to her and the effort that has to go into loving me, who created her. Jealous that she's gotten all the best of me and I'll never really know what that feels like. Jealous that other Moms get love while giving love and aren't diminishing their wells. Jealous that these feels don't exist for other people.
And you stop and think about how foolish you were to think that the Upgrade to Motherhood was a linear thing and silly to think it had a beginning, middle, and end. I know full well that time is relative. Time doesn't end and Upgrades don't end when you have a one year old. It doesn't end when I turn 36.
It doesn't end.
It's hard not to be lonely.
Guess I'm supposed to be the leader of this little family--the head of household. A Mom is shielding, strong, full of answers, and lugs a purse full of snacks. I really want to take care of someone who doesn't need me, but who wants me. I feel way too fucking cool to being doing this alone and it's hard not to let that mentality? thought? hope? strength? crumble when each day it's brightness fades... kind of like a gemstone that dulls from over wear or a piece of glass that curves over time from the grinding of the tide on the beach.
All of it.
I love the little sounds of huff and puff that come out of her mouth breathing little face. She's working so hard to get things where she wants them and... I just disappear. I fade into the background.
She's hard at work, deep in play, safe at home, with Mom (that's me.)
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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