I painted this portrait of my husband several days ago.
16x36 inches (approximately)
Acrylic on canvas
Now, I bleed. It will go like this for several days. It will taper off sometime near the end of the week. My incessant insomnia will subside and I will feel basically human again. Once things level out again, I will feel kind of bored, to be honest. I have enjoyed feeling the heightening of things all around me these last 24 hours or so. Everything is electric and on fire. My body releases things. Building blocks of life. Loamy soil that may have held the seeds of our third, or fourth child by now. All this empty sex... I know what you are thinking. But, oh my darling, it is not empty at all. It is unabashed and passionate and right and free. Nothing attached but pleasure. Pregnancy complicates all of that. It just does. Uncomplicated sex is delicious, that I can say for sure.
You have to look for other things to grow in a marriage, when the child bearing time has come and gone. I've allowed myself room to explore my feelings on this level. Ian and I got in one almighty fight last weekend and when we were seething, raging, brimming over with passion, I put myself directly in front of him and I looked him directly in the eyes. I could feel his breath on my skin. I could see right into his soul. I looked for all kinds of evil, but there was no evil. I looked for deceit. There was none. I looked for betrayal and I looked for boredom. None to be found. I looked for all the wrong that has ever been done to me, and there was none. Instead, I saw confusion and pure love. And that was all. This is the foundation by which I spring myself forward into the next moment, the next day, the next week. All of this happened a week before the blood started to flow and I remembered someone somewhere said that the older we women get, the angrier our uteruses also seems to get when all her hard work is wasted. I imagine it goes something like this: What? No baby? What? No fucking baby? But I made this egg for YOU. And she throws a cast-iron frying pan at my head and I dodge it (barely) and it hits the walls of my emotions and shatters me. I fall apart. Still. I am 38 and I shatter like glass. Maybe more so now that I am older and I can see a little more clearly all the things that are behind me and even some of the things that are ahead of me. Wisdom and ignorance are as easy to digest at the same time as alcohol and caffeine. It just plain and simply fucks you up.
My grandmother is almost 90 years old. She is ailing. She is in the hospital. My mum has been caring for her and when she went to see her this morning, I am told that they both cried. Here I am, 2.5 hours away and I can't decide if I am staying away on purpose or not. Ian works at night. He has the car. I am without freedom and there are some freedoms I don't care to push too hard to have. I am afraid of the pain and the grief. I don't feel like I could take much more of either. But life is ebbing and flowing at this very moment and my love for both of these tragic and beautiful women rages on into eternity. Things will never be what they used to be. So much has changed.
This dream of the renewal that a child brings was an idea I clung to very recently. I felt that was the answer I needed to ease all this uncertainty and sadness and pain. But, as time goes on, and months pass me by, and I am doing more things, experiencing more personal autonomy, I can't say I'd even really consider more children now. I look at the people around me who are my age, just starting their families, and I feel like I somehow dodged a rare bullet. Raising small children in my poverty-stricken 20s was tough. I mean it was hard. Yet, I am glad I am now (only) 38 and my children are teenaged now (almost). I am very glad about that. I don't know what I plan to do with this next phase of my life, but I will concede that I no longer fear that my actions will completely fuck up my children anymore. They are old enough to basically ignore me and that's the damned truth. The ripple-effect of my decision making processes wouldn't effect them like I once feared they would. But I know enough to know that it would be a grave mistake to allow enough metaphorical rope to metaphorically hang myself from. I am still mindful of things. What I am afraid I might do, exactly, is a mystery, but I still don't trust myself all that much.
This brings me to that husband of mine. He is morphing into something beyond what he was. The nervousness of parenting small children took the punk-rock right out of him, I will be the first admit that. But, as he gets older, I see the guy I used to know emerging once more. This intrigues me greatly. When we first got together, his friends gave him such a hard time. I think they thought that he was taking pity on me, or I was him. Or something (who the hell knows?). Looking back now, I can see things for what they really were. The truth of it is, he chose this life with me, jumped at it, actually. He chose to be with me in the face of all rejection from his friends. He chose to be with me even though his mother needed him too at that time. He chose to be with me even though he had no idea of what it meant to be a father, to pay a mortgage, to hold down a job. He didn't have experience with much of any of that before I came along, but when I actually did come along, he gladly and wholeheartedly walked beside me. He has ever since. His friends would never have guessed any of that at the time and I really didn't comprehend it myself. But, looking back. I see a man who very willingly took my hand, and walked beside me, through everything.
This is a new horizon for us. This is brand-new territory. All baggage has been dropped. I can't even pinpoint when or where, I just know that it's gone. There's nothing like that to hold onto anymore. The doubts, the fears, the failures, the misgivings, all of it... behind us.
So, tonight, as last night, on a full-moon-summer-solstice, I bleed. I bleed and I bleed and it's a good thing and it's an earthy thing and I feel like a guitar. I feel like I have new strings and a new tune.
Work is going extremely well for us both. He got a promotion and a raise, I got moved into a new department and I am learning how to professionally frame art. It's not very glamorous but it's putting money in my pocket and I've met so many amazing artists at this point, that I feel more than blessed.
I went to church a long time ago (I have mentioned this before) and on one particular occasion, while I was at church basically minding my own business, a woman who had long, curly, out-of-control black hair grabbed me and held onto me very tightly and began whispering a kind of prophecy in my ear. She said many many things, but one thing she said that I have clung to like oxygen since that night was that I was meant to have joy in my life. More joy than I have ever known. This was a significant thing to hear at the time. I was 19 years old when this happened and joy was not even on the radar for me, let alone within my postal-code, so I wondered at this. My mother always taught me to just wait when someone speaks a prophetic word. You have to wait and see if it comes to pass. If it does, then their gift was real. If not, then forget it and them. Well, I waited. I waited a long long time. I wondered if I would ever feel the kind of joy she mentioned. It seemed like I would not. Yet, as I get older, even through crushing events like the death of my sister, and all that grief that has washed over me again and again, a strand of joy has found me. It's saved me. A little here. A little there. I've clung to this thread. I've climbed it. I've just held on. And I feel joy. I feel joy to know my body and my cycle has lined up with the (arguably) most interesting and beautiful event of the year. These celestial and planetary alignments will not occur again for a very long time, but here I am. It's significant and magnificent. And my entire body is feeling the entire thing. I feel very much alive to it all. This makes me feel a thing that could only be described as joy. Pure joy. Prophecy confirmed, I do declare.
What else can I say except that I am glad I have this platform and these words that eat up time and help me relax so that it doesn't seem so long that I have to wait for Ian to get home from work. This is a good thing. And with that, I ask you to formulate some kind of conclusion to this blog post that suits you best and let me wish you a very fond goodnight.