Thursday, May 1, 2008

Time Line

Oh, the many masks we wear, the many roles we play. At the very start of my memoir class at MECA we were told to make a visual timeline of our lives. I made a scroll of black and white collaged photocopies that was about 12 feet long! (I'm such an image junkie, in case you haven't noticed...) Never took a picture of it, though, and have since turned it into more collage material. It was tremendous fun to do - I highly recommend it! Another assigned exercise (which I also recommend!) was this 15 minute free write:

How do people see me?

How do people see me? It depends on who's looking. My sister Susan who is one year younger than me, saw nearly everything that I saw. We were always together and experienced everything together. She sees me as a grown woman, a teenager and a little girl. People here at school see me as a 50 year old woman. They see my art and that is what defines me. Some are surprised to learn that I have 5 children and 3 grandchildren - they don't picture my life beyond this place.
When my husband looks at me he sees with memory - he remembers my body young and unscarred by five pregnancies - he remembers my face unlined by the thirty years that have passed since I met him. He sees me now, blended together with the me then, and he still desires me.
Some see me as strong. I'm surprised when people say, "You seem so calm!" They see me take care of my daughter who rages and has violent seizures. They see me handle that. They don't know that I've had panic so severe that I've not been able to walk across my own yard. They don't know that I was agoraphobic, that I needed years of therapy, and that I still have panic attacks when I walk across a wide open space.
When I walk my daily two miles up and down the Middle Road where I live in Woolwich, I'm seen as The Lady Who Walks Every Day.
My children see me as Mom. To my grandchildren, I'm Gramma. My grandson Brey adores me (a huge honor - a grandchild's love is so unconditional...).
Brey's mother, my daughter-in-law, Oceanna, told Brey that I am his Daddy's Mommy. Brey looked puzzled and said, "Daddy was borned out of Gramma?"
"Yes," said Ocea. She could see that Brey was picturing a full grown Daddy being born from Gramma, so she added, "But he was a little baby when he was born."
"Oh!" said Brey. "I want to be borned out of Gramma!"

Silver Threads Among the Gold/Self, 2004
mixed media assemblage/collage on luan panel, 36" x 48"


Rob S. said...

I only know you peripherally through this medium, and through your work (which I've seen in person!), so I see you as an artist. But, you have so wonderfully opened up the depth of your life here (which is generous and brave), I see all the things you are. But, perhaps because I am an artist myself, I still see you as an artist first.

This is not to say that I'm relegating your motherhood or role as a spouse to a lesser level. Not at all. But, I think a person's true self lies in how they need to see the world in order to truly live. I know that in order for me to truly feel alive, I need to paint and draw my visions, my interpretations of the things that move me most. You are so obviously coming from the same place. So, Hail, fellow Artist!

Sorry that I've been out of touch for a bit. I need to quick catch up on your posts, but will not have time to comment, sadly. Read my latest entry to find out why! It's a good thing! I'll be in touch upon my return.


Martha Miller said...

Hi Rob

I beat you to it! Saw your latest post this morning - how exciting! Have a grand time and paint up a storm!

Eckhart Tohl describes all this as our Life Situation (always in flux!) and it is not who we are. Perhaps the job of the artist is to observe, respond and document the Life Situation and in so doing get down to and connect with who we really are...

Bon Voyage!

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