Ministry of Mommy

GIRL, 22x5x5″,ceramic

 

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I collect mothers.  And mothering.

Our very first relationship is with our mother and in my case she was was ill-equipped with her first born which has left me trying to fill in the gaps.

What is it that we get from an adept mother?

I think of a big tangle of newborn puppies and see the mothers’ attention to feeding, licking them clean, nipping a neck tenderly to guide one back to the fold;  allowing a certain amount of exploration on their own before she sets a boundary, pressing close and warm.

We learn about yes and no.  Containment, patience,   impulse adjustment.

Most importantly we steep inside the relationship of nurture and learn to trust we are loved and loveable.

I had to teach myself these things and I did it and still do it by collecting mothers and mothering.

My sister filled in for moms’ shortcomings and kept my brothers and me fed and comforted by the presence of a soft, strong, non-depressed, extraordinarily capable caretaker we counted on.  She was brilliant and yet I know it cost her big time.

In my teens I recognized my general dislike and trust of women  and did the work to fall in love with them instead of nixing 50% of the population.

Suddenly, I had female friendships!

My friend Jann is the one who sat beside me for 5 days at the trial of the man/boy who raped me many years ago  (he got 27 years in prison) . My birth mother remained in unnerved and stoic silence.  I didn’t ask Jann to be there with me and frankly barely noticed she was there but the girl just knew it was important and sat her butt down next to me.  She always tells me the truth, showers me with the very best presents sometimes for no reason at all. She supplies accolades for creative risks I take, guides me in the vital realm of lipstick color and crucial style decisions and continually lets me know she is there for me no matter what.  

I have extraordinary people of substance around me who continually reflect me back to myself which keeps me from entering the too familiar downward spiral of doubt planted at birth.

Nature has mothered me all these years with her secret places and pushing up so miraculously into Spring with a bit of light and moisture.

Good men have mothered me extending the safety of their protective arms and efforts.

Emma, my dog just has to look at me and some ancient crack in me is healed.

The sun feels like mother.

After all the collecting I’ve done over a lifetime I have assumed the role of mother-to-self.  All the colors I need are in my paintbox now.

I know exactly how to pick myself up by the scruff of the neck and return to my chosen family fold when I stray.

Licking my wounds is second nature and because of all the extraordinary mothering I’ve created and allowed.

There is enough, no- PLENTY here to extend to others as need be.

I bow to all of you mothers out there doing the most vital job of them all.

 

Bad Ass Branding

 

 

ceramic, approx. 6″h.

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The Georgia O’Keeffe museum here in Santa Fe is our most visited tourist attraction.

Now, why is that?

I often see women with salt and pepper hair standing still on the sidewalk with neck crooked to their smartypants phone searching out the museum.

Often, they are on a pilgrimage to visit an homage to my generation’s heroine in the “got my own life happenin’ and there will be no apologies to nobody” department.

Currently, at the Brooklyn Museum in NY there is an exhibition of Georgia’s clothes (watch short film) juxtaposed against photographs of her wearing the garments.

This woman lived alone in the deep, high desert landscape of New Mexico; no husband, kids, family, even neighbor within sight.

She painted with high attention and knowledge of eroticism-as-a-daily-way-of-being

Yet spent her life denying this was her.

Self-care for her looked like protecting her privacy with the fierceness of a wet-mouthed lioness giving fang.

The lecture I attended yesterday at our museum was a slide presentation of her clothing.  We saw garments hand-sewn (by HAND and not machine) by Georgia herself.

Black was her color and in photographs  she struck poses with full knowledge of what the negative space was doing as well as each perfectly positioned limb, cheekbone and hand.

Underneath the ever-present black dress, suit or trousers were fantastically delicate little off-white blouses with feminine ties, bows and buttons, ruffles.

The woman she wanted you and me to see was quite severe

And yet there, underneath, in the privacy of a lining or slip or underwear

Were rips that had been lovingly mended in the tenderest of ways.

Beloved dresses torn on some desert branch

Were patched like a prayer. (this little blouse became worn at the back closure and you can see Georgia’s delicate reinforcement of two tint rectangles as she extended the life of the  blouse)

I understand now that she lived her life as art; controlled how she was perceived, tending to her deep femininity by secretly keeping finely crafted intimates next to her skin.

As I continue to learn about her I realize no corner of her life existed without the benefit of attention and intention.

She was conscious enough to understand the appeal of the shroud of mystery she concocted. 

Pretty much the polar opposite of a Kardashian.

The thing is that each of these women created extremely effective “stories” about themselves through acute attention to exactly what information and how much the public were privileged to see and kept the rest for themselves.

Through curatorial consistency they both give us interesting stories to walk around inside.

We get just enough to judge, wonder, be inspired or repulsed.

I think their genius has been to leave our interest always  somehow piqued.

 

 

When No One Is Looking

 

 

I feel as though I have a permanent clench in my jaw.

It is unbearably fatiguing to protect myself from the  collective wave of adrenaline and escalating heartbeats

As military might and might not

Crowds out the birdsong of Spring.

A good number of years ago a girlfriend I taught workshops with 

Was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Her wish nearing death was for her caretaker to tie a scarf around her head and under her jaw

In order that (in her glorious vanity) after her demise she not be viewed with a gaping mouth when her jaw muscles had finally relaxed.

I smile at this attempt of hers to have a lovely visage even after death.

The point here is that we all hold A LOT in our jaws.

The other morning I sat in my favorite chair, closed my eyes

And allowed my lower jaw to drop down away from my upper.

An immediate space of about 1/2 an inch was created.  My lips were still touching.

Was that the end?  Could I drop more?

Yes!  Lips still touching I got another 1/2 inch.

My tongue pressed lightly behind my front teeth and my eyes softened too.

Any more?

This time my jaw moved down a whole inch and my tongue inadvertently pooled in my lower mouth.

Bones shifted into unfamiliar patterns

And I understood why my friend wished for the scarf at the end.

How very much we all carry without realizing how hard we are working to do it.

It felt soooo good to abandon all trying and surrender while still very much alive. 

Investment

detail of painting

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Fairly soon following my diagnosis of MS a very good friend divorced me.

She said my burgeoning needs were “..pulling on her” (this after I asked if she might go to the hardware store for me).

The break-up email said she still wanted all my fun stories we shared but not the other “stuff”.

I really was devastated by this and responded that I felt she was way more invested in my health situation than I was.

She agreed.

Our friendship was irreparable.

Sometimes we don’t even realize what we are invested in.

We are invested in where we put our attention most.

I used to be heavily invested in a poor sense of self esteem.

Deeply confusing anger and disappointment were my bedfellows.

I was too fucked up to know how to love and care for animals or even be with young children then.  They always knew.

My art career, freedom, being nice, attractive, connected to Spirit,  fairly ‘normal’, safe(having a back door at all times), avoiding conflict are some places I put an inordinate amount  of energy in the past.

I now give energy quite differently.

My attention goes toward Emma, creativity, fostering peace, keeping my body running best I can, curiosity about human nature, space, stellar friends, remaining authentic, gratitude and remaining in the present.

We are invested in where we put our attention most.

When I remember how many years I have put into knowing my own neuroses well enough to have the power to let them be more in the back round (never do they go away altogether) and not the drivers of my life

I heave a weary sigh.

I have put so damn much of myself in the bank account called “get healthy”.

But I did.

And I am.

Truly a life’s achievement.

A very fine investment.

Investing in worry over my state of being;  things I can’t do anymore, all the ways my life has changed in soul-searing ways is not a good investment.

What’t the return on that?

Black moods and being a magnet for dark energies of  all sorts.

Emma is snoring here on my lap.

I put my attention further on her and feel her warmth on my thigh, the mini tail wag of  a dream, her trust in me to choose my company to digest her dinner, her sleek white softness. 

Feeling my attention she wakes to lift her head and check to see if I am still here.

Some dividend.

Pink

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drawing,22×36

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I saw a pink river

Yesterday.

It wound it’s way from Moscow

To Alabama

And Antarctica too.

That river was wet

With nastiness;

Yet

To sink teeth

Into the neck

Of it’s prey.

But yesterday..

I sweated pink.

I cried pink.

A new voice

Arose in me;

Sounding primal and pale pink

From disuse.

My thread of pink

Was woven together

With wrinkled and weary elders

Having given so much

And now

Urged to do it

Again.

If the god of pink

Asked what yesterday was about

I’d say: “Everyone matters.”

Trying to pray

For divisive dictators

And coming up short

I turn once again to 

The pink river

Running a brand new marathon

With no end

In sight

And my sister beside me

Shoots me a nasty glance

And I laugh

And dip my head

Into the oncoming storm;

Grinning still.

Giving

moon

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The very act of giving acknowledges we, as individuals are not and never will be the center of the universe.

We exist as a result of union.

All my siblings were here for a visit this week sans spouses.

We had not been in the same room as a family for too many years and through efforts on all our parts

It happened.

The greatest gift we gave one another was our individual beingness well dressed in authenticity.

As adults a great reverse tsunami carrying pretense, regret, shame, guilt, awkwardness, timidity, defense and fear

Rolled away from each one leaving the four of us standing together in Love.

It felt fun, fascinating, tender, curious, non-judgemental, easy, wide, accepting and inspiring.

I was easily able to keep my stamina intact for 6-7 hours two days in a row during their visit as opposed to my normal hour and a half!

It has been a long, long road to this picnic.

Yet we all walked that pathway; the one that turns this way and that yet got us all back together, in Love.

What greater gift?

What greater gift than dropping all armor and weaponry

In order to stand undefended with one another in Love?

I am giving thanks for each and every one of our efforts toward an undefended heart…all of us.

There is always something we have left to lay down in service of communion with “other”.

I promise to continue to hone my awareness and keep revealing more of my patina

As my gift to myself and each of you; extended family all….

Because of course, it has to begin with me.

Blessed Thanksgiving ….

A Name

chair1
hand-painted wool flannel upholstery fabric
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Today I have been thinking a lot about how challenging it is to sit all day long. I miss my old body so much sometimes.
The following is a chapter from the book I am working on:

A NAME

I never really could get behind my given name, Cathy. The vibe doesn’t fit; too suburban, innocent, not enough gravity. Don’t like the sound or shape of it. My parents told me the choice was between Cathy and Sandy. We’re talkin’ pretty white bread here. I am not white bread. More a complicated mix of unusual but healthy flours mixed with dates and pecans..dark and weighty in that yummy way and satisfying in the mix of ingredients unafraid to have their say is how I’d describe myself if I were a bread.

I host a vague but persistent recognition that my preference was to have been born black. My positive associations with black – skinned people began in early childhood as I was enveloped lovingly in the safety zone of pendulous folds of fat and bosom belonging to the housekeepers who tended my grandmother. The tall and dignified gardener, Tom treated me as real. We talked dirt, bugs, compost and birds sometimes.

I knew I was loved. We laughed so often and sang and got down low and really talked and listened. I was given time. I felt precious. They made me greasy hamburgers in the back kitchen; so good that all the world’s problems seemed fixed and life was very fine.

Later in life I noticed the blacks’ center of gravity was lower than most white folk. They seemed closer to the ground. We white folks are too often firmly ensconced in our heads. They strut or saunter. We stalk.

I suppose I also relate to their lives of “performance.” Give the white folk what they want, how they want, when they want and only then get paid. Get up at 5 and feed the kids then get thyself to the bus, travel over an hour, serve the white man/woman and do it all again the next day. With a smile.

During our days together it was these kind and emotionally adept people who did the connecting, the relating I desperately craved. I owe them so much. I really did feel my life depended on my performances within the family. Be good or be gone.

My dancing skills are very wooden except for my hips. On a vacation to the island of St. Lucia in college my girlfriend and I rented a jeep and adventured to a restaurant high in the damp, jungle-y hills outside of town. The patio looked out over the sparkling sea.

Following dinner a reggae band appeared. They were sort of scary with outrageously long dreads and a dour countenance as they went about setting up. We girls crossed our legs and pressed down chastely on our cotton summer dresses. The evening sky turned very black.

Dinner ended. The two of us sat nursing a drink as the music began. Many of the staff began to dance. All the white patrons sat very still and uncomfortable in their exposed frozen physicality meted unto each through eons of repression.

Two native islander waitresses I recognized from the evening came over to us, suddenly grabbed our hands and pulled two acutely reluctant white girls onto the dance floor.

What else could we do but move? After awhile I noticed other staff coming out from the kitchen to watch. I had dipped so deeply into the reggae-zone that it took me awhile to see their attention was directed towards me and how my white hips instinctively knew the down-low language of their native music. We all danced long and hard. After the fact this was thrilling to me; movement as bridge to “other”. But it wasn’t really so “other” as it was in ME. It’s surfacing surprised me..shocked me even.. I held myself as a very bad dancer up until this point.

Many folks choose to change their name at some point if their given one proves unsatisfactory. A wise person or guru sometimes does the choosing and surrendering into that name is part of the spiritual journey… “Durga” (unattainable), “Chandra” (moon) “Ravi” (sun) are some Santa Fe names I’ve heard.

I’ve always respected the Native American naming way. It is a very complicated process so I’ve read but I am drawn to the thought only one person within the tribe may use a name at one time and as life goes on two or three name changes often occur; “Starblanket”, “He Who Combs”, “Panther Passing Across”; all real and enchanting Native American names.

I would like my name to be: “Fly Girl”.

Not like the act of flying around with wings or motor.

“She be fly.”

More like that.

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Thoughts On Autoimmunity

creation
“THIN LINE”, 11x11x4″,m/m
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It is a sure bet this post will meet with numerous nay sayers

However, I am an authority on my own body, mind and spirit

So I can speak freely about how I hold this health challenge of Multiple Sclerosis for myself.

Every moment of my life I’m not lazy I use for fodder to BECOME;

Become more than I was yesterday.

By ‘more’ I mean closer to God, I suppose.

I want more of that glowey thing I noticed behind the eyes of Christopher Reeve, actor and Roger Ebert, the film critic.

They both are mentioned here because I was pretty familiar with both of them before they faced the monumental health challenges they did.

Before their deaths the presence of light made itself known behind their eyes and in their being.

How did that happen?

I believe I know something about this phenomenon.

Three times as many women as men are diagnosed with autoimmune related illnesses.

Essentially, autoimmunity signifies our own body attacking its’ self; working without the ability to distinguish ‘safe’ from ‘enemy’.

In my case my body does not recognize the insulating covering of my nerves as ‘me’ and attacks it.

Self attacking self.

Genetic disposition aside I am very interested in this physical ‘self vs. self’ idea manifesting in me.

If you haven’t noticed..we women are pretty hard on ourselves in our culture. It is an ancestral wheel of being seen as ‘less than’, paid as ‘less than, spoken to as ‘less than for so long that we now are so sure of that fact that our bodies no longer recognize us as US. We aren’t a safety zone even for ourselves.

If I was God and wanted to give Cathy Aten some way of healing her propensity to beat up on herself, self-flagellate till blood drips down her back (metaphorically) live in shame most of her life because she had this fucking old mother tape running which said she was not quite good enough the way she was

I would visit MS on her!

If I were God, I’d give Cathy this gift because it would be such a big wallop she couldn’t NOT deal with it. (Or she could succumb but how interesting is that?)

And by dealing with it she would have the chance to see who she really is away from her mother’s ideas of her.

Cathy would know her courage under pressure, creativity against all odds, humility in the face of one ego death after the next.

She would watch her compassionate self replace a frustrated and armored soul.

She would see what’s left after having to give up most of what she thought made her HER….and like what was left.

Her leadership capacities and authentic voice could be heard, sacred connections to the natural world uncovered.

A new devotion to kindness and recognition of forgotten souls opened her.

Through her relationship with this ‘self attacking self’ Cathy would burn all the parts of her that kept her separate from people and instead take the chance when it felt safe to show her ‘real’ self which feels very vulnerable but is her best chance at LIFE with a capitol ‘L’.

I have lived with this ‘teaching challenge’ 16 years now.

I love myself.

I didn’t before.

I am grateful…

Really, really tired but grateful.

Guilt And Shame Are Different

matches2
matches,earth,24×24
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I was in the company of a really good old friend recently whom I had not seen in years.

Our dinner conversation turned to bucket lists and I heard myself say:” My prayer is essentially to have the experience of living in this magnificent body for a time withOUT the experience of shame.”

Long pause at the table as we watch the leggy lines of a good wine creep down the insides of the glass.

She says: “Cathy.. have you ever done anything that would merit being ashamed of yourself?”

“A few times maybe. Youthful shoplifting and stuff like that.”

She looked at me with piercingly intelligent and loving eyes.

This, combined with the good Jew in her came back to me with a “Sooooooooo?”

We talked about Jews and guilt as their go-to weapon and safe-place.

I have shame.

Shame and guilt are different:

Guilt:

a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

Shame:

the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.

My friend didn’t seem to understand why I carried shame if I had none nothing to invite it. She wasn’t that familiar with shame. Only guilt.

We sip our wine happily loving each other, our differences and easy banter always seemingly interesting to one another.

If someone begins to let a little girl know that who she intrinsically IS is inconvenient, wrong, decidedly too different, fits some unfamiliar mold making parenting hard or impossible, NOT PERFECT

Her little cells begin to tremble in the non-safety of it all.

I have that leftover cellular tremble which has my tired mind continually dissecting stuff to dismantle the fucked-up-ness.

Low level anxiety haunts me.

After a lifetime of therapy I consider myself an extremely healthy gal.

Yet my cells still shake a little.

I’d love a rest.

Creating A Life

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Hunger

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Emma survived on the streets of L.A. before we found one another. She was due to be euthanized the next day as she suffered allergies, little hair, no teeth and looked pretty bad. I saw her straight, clear, open and willing eyes. Miraculously undefended. They reminded me of my own. We are rescuing each other. Every day. Every minute.
** Photo credit: my beloved friend Jann Tennenbaum www.jannlovesdogs.com

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HUNGER

In the early morning
A ruckus of younguns’
Disturbed the peace.
Wanting.
Needing.
Violent
And guttural.
Slightly alarming
Was their wail.
“The mother should come.”
Where were the caretakers
Supposedly taking care
Of these wee wanton ones?
I felt my stomach muscles
Grip imaginary hunger
Quite sure
The seeming vacuum
Would not be sated.
Soon.
Or ever.
The recalcitrant
Screamers
Screamed on.
They were too new.
Too raw
And helpless
Except
For the natural pitch
Of alarm
They cast to the dawn
In case the airs
Beyond the heat of their own
Held a savior.
Screaming.
They annihilated the atmosphere
Out there
Beyond my control.
I was un- nerved
And slightly sickened
By the refusal
Of parental valium delivery
In the form of food.
Can’t you fucking shut them up?
I needed to nod off
Luxuriantly.
Not feel responsible
To insure
The nourishment
Of others.
In my disturbed mind
I saw their yellowed beaks
Squirming
In the taught nest
Built with adoration
By parents feathered
Yet slightly disheveled
From the chronic need
Of a brood
Full of need.

I was born in the 50’s
When leaving
A babe
In the crib while wailing
Was the accepted method
To teach
Self-soothing.
My stomach
And heart
Remember
Endless alarm.
Waiting..

This is why
I am a very poor
Alpha dog mom.

–Cathy Aten May 2016

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Coffee With Cathy And Emma- first video!

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note: This is longer than videos will be in the future as I keep working the kinks out please have mercy.. xxx

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Legacy and the Good Life

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my new hat
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My grandmother had a hat with a big, sweeping pheasant feather swooping up from the pillbox atop her grey head. I only remember seeing her wear it once but clearly the sight was unforgettable.

Under her bedroom vanity there sat an automatic foot massager.

Next to her bathtub was an electric towel warmer.

She wore JOY perfume.

I don’t believe she had any really good girlfriends she could let down with.

She seemed so utterly lonely to me

But she loved the natural world

And it loved her back.

In the pond her home bordered swam 4 black swans with bright red beaks the two of us would go feed following a lunch together. The swans were a gift to the city from her.

That pheasant-feathered woman morphed into a soft and wonder-eyed human humbled by the beauty of those swans gracefully accepting her offerings.

Our relationship was mostly silent. We just knew one another on a very intimate level.

Her legacy to me is broad and treasured; the deepest love and appreciation of the earth and all that is connected to it, the value of good manners, enjoyment of the finer things in life but without the sense of entitlement, liquor (hers in sauces..mine in a glass), adventure, curiosity and a love of hats.

I miss her very much.

I Almost Missed It

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“GIRL”, 24×4,ceramic,steel
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A sunny and 40 degree morning found Emma and I parked on the plaza early enough to skirt the wandering-in-the-desert tourists.

This is my precious Santa Fe at it’s best;

Stoic Native Americans unloading trucks have driven hundreds of miles to show their jewelry and art under the famed portal

While tiny humans try to outwit gleaming pigeons.

A stogie brandishing fat man hides from his wife on a lonely bench in a far corner.

I didn’t feel like hiding today and pulled close by to a barefooted woman playing violin.

She is a busker; some legitimate street performing licensing having occurred down a linoleum-clad city clerk’s hallway.

Barefoot, she stood lanky and proud in a burgundy floppy hat, layered lace skirts and too few clothes in general.

Her case laid at her feet; open with a clumsy sign hoping we “liked her tunes”.

Always an aura of aloneness coats her

Yet her work ethic is that of a Fortune 500 member; rain or shine, count-on-able.

I have passed her by with the surface enjoyment from a place like the reptile exhibit at the zoo; engaged but not retaining too much and just slightly reproachful for her general oddness preventing any chance of true communion.

Today was different.

Em and I sat there in the sun and my heart slowed way down to meet her music.

There- in bare feet on an early Spring morning a violin master gave me her gift.

No one plays that soulfully and heart-massagingly without intense training.

Yet here she was..oblivious to any threat to her heavenly bubble of divine offering..

I sat there, my lap warmed by a resting dog

And cried from the Grace of the chance de-densifying I somehow achieved

Allowing my being to be washed squeaky clean and made easy.

Twenty minutes later I rolled toward her and dropped some money in the opened case.

There were real flowers and crystals and other shamanic tools of her trade.

I mouthed “Thank you” and bowed my head as we moved on.

Deep sighs of relief and utter contentment mixed with awe at how close I came to missing God.

Success

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“SUCCESS IS LIKING YOURSELF, LIKING WHAT YOU DO AND LIKING HOW YOU DO IT”

– Maya Angelou

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photo credit: Bobbi Lucchino

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Swoop

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My good friends dropped altitude just to come see me the other day.

I trust them with the entirety of my heart topography.

Intrepid travelers they are..roaming the skies in their plane.

On their way home to Boston from California they swooped into Santa Fe airport and tooled over to see me.

It had been years since we last met.

On seeing and holding Jann my tired heart burst from the constant molding of it into “OKness”.

We seem to have lost all protectorate guise and surrendered after all is said and done into Love.

It was there since day one 30 odd years ago

Though it was young and untested.

Both Jann and David have stellar histories as professional photographers.

Jannie now photographs the essence of what captures her attention which generally is canine.

Dogs rival humans and pretty much everything else in her hierarchy of import.

All the while we communed she clicked away at my beloved Emma.

Here is her gift to me.. how acutely tuned her soul is to Life!:

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www.jannlovesdogs.com is her website

The three of us sat there fooling around with Emma and muttering appreciations of one another, sharing lipstick and sunglasses and hair epiphanies (David was very patient).

The hour was short but we all did a good job of weaving tapestries we’d unfurl at later dates

When distance felt to heavy and the world too coarse and stupid.

My heart friends returned to cruising altitude that night

But I stored their substance in my heart

And all the next day it kept overflowing and pressing out of me in sweet tears.

Soft Skin

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detail of ceramic sculpture
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In my lifetime as a painter, sculptor and textile designer I learned how to trust what I call “the gathering time.”

For so many years I freaked out if I was not feeling the urge to create.

We creatives are often counseled to “JUST PAINT!” “WRITE EVERY DAY!!”

And I know this is probably such a great idea.

But I never did my life that way.

I gather. I muse. I watch. I listen. I touch. I converse with myself out loud

And when I find myself interesting enough…I act.

This leaves swaths of emptiness and I worry about that; I’m disappointing my readers..I am a dry desert bed and I FREAKIN’ HAVE NOTHING TO SAY!

One of the great take-aways of a non-out-in-the-world-work-life

Is keeping my skin soft.

By that I mean the antithesis of “TOUGHENING UP” or “Cath..you gotta get a thicker skin on ya.”

A soft skin allows me to be moved.

If I keep my skin porous I can feel life, myself, others and have a chance at responding authentically whatever that might be; pretty or ugly.

When I gather (if I’m not worrying about whether I’m performing well enough to be considered a valuable citizen of the world)

Something intriguing slips in and starts laying down bread crumbs for me to follow.

And I’ve got the time to do just that

So I follow those crumbs and eat some along the way and there comes a time when I’m full

And then I WRITE!

So won’t you forgive my dry spells?

Most times there is no need for worry.

I think this part of me is irritating and perhaps irresponsible.

I have the supreme luxury of responding to those bread crumbs when they appear and sometimes they just don’t

And we all go hungry.

Which might just be good for all of us.

Moth Holes

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detail
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I love to watch crime TV.

Also deep hospital drama like GREY’S ANATOMY.

Something about human nature inside core vulnerability locks my attention in.

Closer to pure, I guess.

Yesterday I was taken to the hospital for the first time in my life.

For Real.

Sitting up and petting Emma one moment then my whole body began to go numb.

Top to bottom numb.

Total body asleep while awake.

Thankfully I have a MEDICAL ALERT button which I slowly witnessed myself activating.

I’ve always imagined the cute young uns’ (EMT guys) entering my bedroom and seeing a languid slice of loveliness waiting to be rescued.

As it stood last nite I had few clothes on and languidity was in very short supply.

“Would one of you please find my phone?”

Cutest guy comes back with weird look on his face: “THIS is your phone?” he says incredulously holding up my backless flip phone.

I can not move. Or even enjoy the moment with a smile.

Could have been a cute flirty moment.

My wrists are crossed nicely across my chest in the ambulance.

THERE ARE MOTH HOLES IN THIS CASHMERE SWEATER I just today excitedly pulled out of stored winter clothing to wear.

I AM SO UNCOOL!! MOTH HOLES!!! OMG Cathy, I cant believe you are thinking these stupid things.

There is a HOLE IN MY SOCK TOO!!!!!!

None of the cutiepies are paying any attention to me as I lay over here catatonic in the ambulance..

Even after hours lying alone (sent my good friends home..bless their compassionate hides) in the hospital room

No one looks at all worried about me except me. No one know what is going on. They are more interested in everything but me. I guess that is good. Perhaps I won’t die tonight.

Mucho hours later I was sent home still feeling acute rigor-mortis in my limbs.

Today, my body is slightly behaving.

I found a little brown box on my desk saying: RASPBERRY MACAROONS.

I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME! I ATE THREE of these!

My friend sent me a care package and I just saw RASPBERRY MACAROONS in the dim light and proceed to stuff them in.

Those yummy cookies were cannabis edibles!!

For the past two days I have been TRIPPING on macaroons.

Ok..laugh your heart out people…

I give thanks for re-claiming my beloved, unadulterated consciousness.

I bow to you, O increasingly drug free Cath.

xx and gratitude to you all on Thanksgiving…your moth-holey, uncool friend

Black and White

fine line

I have a penchant for black skin.

Really, maintenance people of all types…

Spending so much time at my Grandmother’s home growing up

I took to hanging out in the company of “the help”

Which meant gardeners, cooks and housekeepers.

Sylvia took up a lot of space in the kitchen.

The smallish greasy room in the back-40 part of the house was my idea of heaven.

She, in her comforting enormity sat me down at the yellow striated formica table and cooked me up the best dang hamburger.

I loved Sylvia. And Bessie. Tom and others through the years..

I remember their soft, poufy blackness. So inviting to me. Safe. Warm. Comforting how their skin curled around me in a non-claustrophobic hug. A real hug. True. Unafraid.

My Grandmother rung a bell to announce readiness in her dining room to be served.

I hung my head. In shame.

These people I loved were reduced by a soul-sucking tinkle of a glass bell.

We all withdrew deep into our chests in order to brave the fucked-up-ness.

All I could do was lift my small head to them in a squeaky thank you as they, in their invisible cloak served me.

All I could do was look them directly in the eye so they’d feel known.

Tom, the gardener and the others travelled over an hour by bus each morning to arrive in time to tend the grounds.

I saw my Grandmother count more on him than my ineffectual grandfather.

The very skin of these fine friends meant safety to me.

They were IN their skin; honest, hard working and full of extra love for some rich folks pasty white lonely kid.

To my Grandmother’s credit she cared for their families, supported them financially and outside the dining room valued them almost as family.

I sensed something contained..lovingly held private..never indiscriminately shared about these fine black souls.

Now that I know better how to love myself some of these same qualities are mine.

I’ll never have the depth of their skin though…

But I can remember..

And let you know just how it was.

It was complicated.

But I must honor them.

I Met You With Space

winter
untitled, 40×32, m/m
_______________

.

It has been a few years since I have seen my brother who came to visit this past weekend from Maine.

He is the youngest and I the eldest.

I felt a bit anxious before his arrival because neither of us is the best communicator with one another and there was so very much I didn’t know.

We also had survived a very challenging few years forced to deal with financial decisions tumbling us both like a lapidary machine.

Inward we both retreated to lick our wounds for years.

Befriending my mortality as I have chosen to do brought to my awareness I missed how my brother and I laughed once upon a time.

Would I ever get to do that with him again?

Had he lost all respect for me because my choices have been different than his?

Would I die without knowing that HE KNOWS how much I love him?

I made a conscious decision to empty our playing field before he arrived; swept myself clean of attitude, opinion, doubt and fear.

Space in my heart is what I would and could offer him as my love present.

He walked through the door..looking so very handsome and light!

He had not experienced me in a wheelchair and I asked him if he felt weird.

“Well…it’s different. I was expecting it though.” I loved his truth-telling which he did the whole time he was here.

We rolled around as I introduced him to my coffee spot, favorite people.

He gamely took Emma’s leash as she was dressed in a leopard winter coat. Now THAT takes some testosterone don’tcha know?

We vowed to not participate in family secrets when possible..he bought me dinners and delivered coffee and wanted only to support me in any way he could.

During our visit my heart and body melted any armoring I had taken on due to inaccurate realities I had concocted

And what was left was pure love.

Pure Love..blood Love..genetic sharing recognition love…Love period.

Just Space and Love.

Space.

The freedom of Space.

The gift of Space to Be.

Space to Be Love.

I love you.

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