What it’s like (art journal page)

what-its-like

A meditation on being estranged from my brother. I have only one sibling, and our parents are dead. I do not talk to him by choice because he is abusive. Even his apologies are abusive. He somehow is able to make it sound like it is my fault that he is abusive to me.  Then, after that, he starts doing the same abusive behavior all over again.  I have given him multiple chances.

I had not planned on working on this topic again – I’ve written about it a lot. But then I was cutting out some pictures and words from magazines for a project at work and came across the one at the top – about how awkward it is to have a sibling you don’t talk to. It isn’t normal or expected. I was initially upset about these words (I felt it in my gut) and thought it too personal to make an art journal page about. But then I realised that is exactly why I needed to do it.

Sometimes it takes a long time for wounds to heal. Sometimes it takes a lot of different ways to do it, too.  Sometimes it doesn’t ever heal, and that is OK too – to sit with the wound and let it be filled with something else, something better.  But first you have to see it, and clean it out all the way.

detail
what-its-like2

I have dashes under the “all of the fun, none of the” collage piece for “fill in the blank”. I’ve written a list of words – good and bad, about what it means to divorce your sibling. I’ve used washi tape to affix it to the back of the page. I use only one side of each page in this journal so that I can cut out and frame / sell / give away a page and so that the ink / watercolor / Sharpie doesn’t bleed through or smear and mess up the other page.

Words that are there  –

(things I’ve lost because I don’t have a sibling I can trust)

Friendship trust history promises future reliability cooperation resource dependability traditions insights help failsafe backup hope

(things I have lost because I’ve gotten rid of an abusive person in my life)

narcissism psychopath being used arrogance delusions subterfuge bullshit megalomania psychological abuse hidden harm manipulation gaslighting lies hypocrisy

———

The craziest thing is that a relative wrote me after a blog post I wrote once about how abusive my brother is.  The relative begged me to make peace with my brother because we were the last relatives that he had on this side.  As if it is my fault that the damage is there.  As if it is up to me to apologize and make amends.  That too is abuse – to expect the victim to “make things right”.

People say “But do you forgive him in your heart?” They are usually Christian.  They think there is some magic formula.  If I “forgive him in my heart” then I’m off the hook.  This is crazy-making.  Sure, I forgive him in the way that I understand a shark can’t help being a shark.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go back in the water and let that shark bite me again.

———-

Created around 1/2/17 – Strathmore art journal, magazine clippings (many from Cosmo), gesso, Distress ink, colored pencil

“In my mind” art journal page

“In my mind” completed 1/2/17.   Asian ephemera – printed calligraphy and map, “Hell money” pieces.  Gesso tinted with Distress ink.  “in my mind there are mountains”  – letters printed with “rusty hinge” Distress ink pad.  Stamped images – deer and Celtic. Gel pen. Includes art from Lilian deMello called “Ghost Dance” in bottom left corner.

in-my-mind

Detail –

in-my-mind2

When do lines mean words, and when do they mean places?  What if they are the same? Can words be maps? Can maps be words? Are wrinkles small mountains? Hide and reveal.

December 2016 art journal pages

While cleaning out my craft room I rediscovered my list of intentions for 2016.  I’d not done many of them – perhaps because I lost the intention list.  Can’t get anywhere without a map. Some I had done, and was glad.  Some I’d forgotten about, and have refocused my commitment.  One thing on it was to make an art journal page at least once a week.  I had some time off from work so I decided to catch up a bit.

 

“Fragile” – 12/12/16 – 12/15/16       Distress Ink, ephemera, gel pen

fragile

(detail of “Fragile”)

fragile2

“Doppelganger” – 12/15/16  Distress ink, ephemera, colored pencil, gel pen, water

doppleganger

(detail for “Doppelganger”)

doppleganger2

“To be a queen” – 12/16/16   Distress ink, stamps, gel pen, colored pencil

to-be-a-queen

(Detail – “To be a queen”)

to-be-a-queen2

“Paramecium” made around 12/22/16   copied images from 100 year old Biology textbook, Distress ink, broken glass glitter, gel pen, matte medium, Sharpie, white gel pen

paramecium

(detail, Paramecium)

paramecium2

“Shamash” – 12/28 and 29th, 2016   5th and 6th nights of Chanukah.  Distress ink, stamps, gel pen, Sharpie

shamash

(Detail, “Shamash”)

shamash2

 

Little Red Riding Hood

red-riding2

This is not a simple fairy tale. This is a story designed to control young girls. The moral – stay on the path, or else you will get hurt. This is victim blaming at the core. It teaches that it is Little Red Riding Hood’s fault that she and her grandmother got eaten by the wolf.

The wolf is every single male she ever encounters in her life. The “being eaten” is everything from getting a lesser job to getting raped or killed. This story teaches girls – and only girls – that if we don’t stay in our defined roles then we deserve everything bad that happens to us.

Notice she isn’t even named. Her “name” is what she wears – exterior only. She isn’t even real, just a placeholder. She isn’t a person, but a thing. People look at her outside only.

Notice that it is a strong male who saves her – the hunter comes by and hears the grandmother snoring and decides to investigate. Why is snoring loudly seen as a sign that something is wrong? Do women not snore? Are we expected to maintain control over ourselves at all times – even while unconscious?

Notice that the townspeople don’t send the hunters into the forest to clear it of dangerous animals. They don’t make it safe for her or others.

red-riding

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Art made on a Strathmore art journal – mixed media paper, using various pens and painted using Distress Ink. Words are photocopied from a book about Little Red Riding Hood and then dyed/stamped/inked.

Re Vision (art/poem)

re-vision

How is it possible
to see between,
to know Truth as it is
rather than
as others suppose,
as others propose

It is when one chooses
alone, a nation of one
to see alone, as one,
to look, personally, as if
an explorer, discovering
for the first time
a Land, previously unseen.

———
Small art journal page – cardstock, Distress Inks, gravity, rubber stamp, red gel pen.

Color lines

I think the problem a lot of white people have with immigrants in the US is that deep down, unconsciously, they are terrified that the immigrants will behave exactly as the white’s ancestors did and displace them. That it won’t be a melting pot of peaceful coexistence but a radical and forced overturning of power.

The whites moved to America for a better life, free from religious oppression, and ended up using their religion to oppress those people who were already living here. Deep down, those who are opposed to immigration are afraid that they will become the new Native Americans and will be force marched on a new Trail of Tears to new reservations. They know karma is a bitch.

This doesn’t have to be. We can live together and work well together, but it takes a lot of work.

together

(“Together” art journal piece I made 11/16/16 – cardstock, Distress inks and stains, stamp, gold pastel, scissors, weaving) I like making art that shows how different colors work against each other to show each other off to make each other be their brightest.

None of the above.

Art journal page made 11/12/16.  It is time for each and every one of us to wake up.

none-of-the-above

Our “leaders” aren’t our leaders.  They don’t care about us.  They don’t work for us.

This is a game to them.  This is a puppet show, and we are the puppets.

none-of-the-above6

Turn the TV off. Put down the smartphone.  Don’t look at the news.

Take care of yourself – go for a walk, eat healthy food, read a book to learn something – not to escape.   Now is the time to awaken, not to escape.

none-of-the-above2

We are waking up to the game that we are in.  we vote, but “they” pick the winner.

How about we all vote, but leave every slot on the ballot blank?  This way “they” can’t say it is voter apathy.  We didn’t forget to vote.  We didn’t just stay home.  We showed up, and we said NO.  No more of this.  We are tired of the game because “We the People” always lose.

none-of-the-above3

God is in charge, not any man or woman.  Not any elected official.  God was upset with Israel when they insisted on having a king over them.  God allows us free choice, and watches, hands tied, when we make bad choices.

We will always lose when we put people over us to rule us – when we forget that God is the supreme authority – not any person.  Time to look for other ways to support ourselves, rather than relying on “The Man”.

none-of-the-above4

Time to break up with government.

Time to say “It’s not me – it’s you, government.  It just isn’t working out.”

none-of-the-above5

Background and construction –

Base – the back of a sample ballot – the back was printed with “Page Left Intentionally Blank”.  When I first saw this (this is from a ballot from the Spring of 2016) I thought it was funny to make the page not blank by writing that it was blank.  But now I see something different.  I turned it so “Blank” – nothing  – is up.  You can see the printing of the sample ballot through the page, so it shows that this is about an election.

I included stamps related to America – personal freedom.  Native American.  Statue of Liberty that is Blue and Red and White – not divided, but all three – so not Blue (democratic) States or Red (republican) states, but all of the Union, together. There is even Green, for Independent.  Stamps about war and liberty, about “A common Determination”, about “Industry and agriculture for defense”, about “Security, education , conservation, health for defense.”   Dog tags saying “never forgotten” and a military medal saying “Honoring those who served”.

Ephemera about quality, creativity, unique expressions of each person, of the various and unique cultural and religious traditions that make this country so great.

This is OUR country.  It is time to reclaim it as the great country of individuals who choose to live in freedom – as wide and varied as that term means.