Grumble. Growl. Grunt.
. Swear. Sweat. Stomp.
. Punch. Pound. Pant.
. Breathe. Binge. Boss.
. Shout. Scream, Smear.
. Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.
. There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.
. There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.
This is where every. breath. matters.
. DO YOU HEAR ME?
EVERY BREATH MATTERS.
Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.
. I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.
. I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.
Written after Fighting With Myself All Night
. Jehovah knows my suffering, hears my pleas each day
. He knows the pain this madness brings, knows I’m made of clay
. I thought I’d be forsaken, and all my hope was lost
. I struggled to awaken, eternal darkness was the cost
. But my God cares for me, He hears my cries and screams
. He pulls me out of raging seas, makes pleasant peaceful dreams
. How can I show my thankfulness, show Him my endless love?
. I’ll walk with Him in faithfulness, Praise God in Heights above!
. I will love my God whole-souled, pray, meditate and preach
. No matter how lame, tired, sick or old, new sheep I will love and teach!
Righty O! How about that Picture, huh? Oh, my…
. That’s my “I’m so tired I can fall down right in this spot and sleep for a month” face. And it’s none too pretty. It’s also the most unflattering view of my nose…I was never unhappy with my nose until my Ex broke it . We were pretty high, and the cops had a roadblock we were going to drive past, and in my nervousness I didn’t realize he was just waving us around a broken down car. So I was going to stop and roll down my window, but that psycho husband of mine hit me with a right hook that I knew had broken my nose the minute it landed. Now with my nose smashed and bleeding and my lover screaming, “Just Go! JUST GO YOU STUPID @#$!%&!!” I rolled right thru the zone just praying that the cop would see my pain and lock my old man up forever.
. Unfortunately, I had a long way to go with him, not only in miles on that specific trip, but years in marriage as a hostage to this monster. I cried and whimpered while he continued to berate me all the way to our friend’s house, at which time I ran into the house to pry my broken contacts out of my eyes, and ask for an ice pack. And a stiff drink.
. The woman who lived there with her common law husband was no stranger to domestic violence, I had seen Jim go at her plenty of times when he was drunk. They had a 2 year old little tow-head named Gregory who I loved dearly, he came over with his blue eyes big with compassion, and said, “Bwoke?”while pointing his tiny finger at my face.
. Lori took me aside while I was lameenting, “He broke my nose. HE BROKE MY @#$!&%!! NOSE!” and told me I should be taking pictures of all the injuries my husband had been inflicting on my person almost daily, I was too mad to listen, but years later I now wish I had. I guess the scars, PTSD and crooked nose will have to do.
. Anyway, I was still ticked off and full of the kind of courage that comes from straight whiskey, so I sat on the couch loudly lamenting my poor nose. That’s when Lori’s husband Jim looked at me laughing and said, “What’s the difference? You already had a big shnoz !!!” My husband thought this was a riot also.
. That was the day I began to hate my nose.
. About 5 years after this incident, Lori and Jim were fighting again, and she came to us (well, to my husband ) asking for help to buy a gun. She claimed she feared for her and her son’s life, Jim was “wild”and “dead set” on killing her. In our cocaine induced insanity, we went to a guy my hubby knew , and purchased a gun for Lori. Later that night, we met up with Lori in a Grocery Store parking lot. My Ex showed it too her, she had many questions. She purchased it. (By this time , after years of this woman’s unusual interest in my husband, I had learned to hate her. It turned out I had good reason to do so.)
Approximately six months after the “transaction” my husband was working with a crew of guys subcontracting welding for the Charleston Naval Shipyard , and the ATF and FBI threw down on them all in our van while they were at the Shipyard . Lo and behold, little Lori, our “best friend”, had been wearing a wire during, not only the gun transaction, but in ALL the “meetings” she had with my husband. He had been sleeping with her for years, as I learned at his trial.
. Well, he got 15 to life as a habitual offender, I sold my hot rod 71 Mach One and his Harley to hire his attorney. After that I eventually made it to my parents home in Florida, got clean and sober and divorced jerk face. That was in ’02. He got out in 2011, remarried another womedan he had been cheating on me with. He died on February 7th alone at their home of a major coronary. And so ends that chapter of my incredible life.
. Crazy, man. Just crazy…
It has been AGES since I have been here, it seems that when I am on fire with my visual art , my written art suffers. Time is a factor, when I have 5 projects going at once, the voices in my head are rather subdued, because all the poetry is oozing out of my fingertips onto canvas, paper, metal, wood and wall. As has been the way this past year, with some success…
I had hoped top be able to exist on my earnings from my visual art, and while I am not there yet, I am making a dent. I have had one of my paintings put in a permanent collection, I have been highlighted with my artwork in a video for the nearby Mental Health Facility! Woohoo! I find that very satisfying and amusing all at the same time! I should have demanded money, but they didn’t offer, so I used it as a photo op. I gifted them the painting you see here, although I still have it here at the house , because I wasn’t satisfied with it… (never am, you know). I will have to take it in soon, to keep my word… and I need to see my wonderful therapist because memories are pushing their nasty little heads into my reality…
It’s the “holidays”… The time of memories… poo poo, bluck, bluck…. memories have too much power over me, so I guess I just stuff them. Me, the one always saying that “you have to let it out!” I let it out too much, which gave too many people too much power over me, too many ways to rattle my chain. I have been solitary, and sequestered here, and while it may be a little too much solitude I am glad to have my space. True, my sleeping habits could use improvement, but then I am a work in progress…
Just for today I don’t have to mourn. I can just be ok.
I am here again, on lock down of my own making. Wanting the isolation while longing for company. I feel unsure, unsteady, and oh, so tired. The dialogue inside my head has slowed, and the gist of it is dire, down and miserable. I hate myself like this, and that adds to my misery because I know self loathing feeds the beast.
I was SO high, So amped up about the Chicago show, the heady whirlwind of celebrities and dazzling attention. I counselled myself about letting my ego run wild, but that didn’t stop my stream of self promotion, so now I feel the embarrassment of mediocrity . It is just so tiring, this circle of negative emotions, this seemingly endless stream of feeling worthless.
I had a feeling that I was riding too high, and that my joyful blasting energy stream was going to fizzle into a mega-void. And my therapist at SunCoast had cut me down to not seeing her every couple weeks, rather to just making appointments if I need to…So this has translated into feelings of rejection, and is keeping me immobolized from calling her for an appointment. I must hold on to the fact that this will pass… this darkness is only temporary… I have to believe this fact and own this fact, and believe that all my efforts to push thru this depression will, in the end, succeed!
This is the emotional space that can kill, when we Bipolar’s can give up and feel so powerless and alone that we embrace the darkness , in the futile hope that the fall into non existence will stop the pain. I must not go that far down the rabbit hole, because that reasoning is from the Father of the Lie, Satan. While suicide may stop the mental anguish that we ourselves are feeling, the unimaginable pain and suffering that our loved ones will feel must stay our hands. I must never believe the lie that I am worthless.
God does not think we are worthless. He loves me, and cherishes me. I have to hold that thought, and believe in God’s love with every fiber of my being. Hold on to Him with both hands and with all my strength. He won’t let us suffer endlessly. He knows our pain, and soon the relief will come.
I wish I looked like this right now, because it looks like I feel pretty good about myself in this photo! And I did! I think it lasted a couple weeks, it was after I was alost finished moving in, and I was enjoying exploring my new home town.
I had gone into ma cute little salon for a haircut, a new look for my new beginning, and the young man who did it was a true artist!
Then I saw the prices! Forty bucks, just for a wash and cut! Ahhhhh!!! I never paid more than 20 bucks for a cut, and most of the time that included a five dollar tip! As I paid my bill and thanked him, I still felt on top of the world! This was my new, fresh start!
I was full of hope about my financial situation, I still had money after buying my new (1970) mobile home and land. And I had also purchased a car, cash, so I would not have alot of expenses and bills! OOh , I was SO smart!
After all, in a month or so, I would be selling my art in a new gallery, and be in new shows, and my fame would spread like wildfire! I had a big opportunity to be in ” a really big show”, as Ed Sullivan used to say, and I worked so hard-sure that I was a shoo in.
Months passed, money dwindled, but my hopes were steadily pinned on my huge success in this upcoming event. I spent more money, remodeling, new furnishings, paint, welding class, tons of art supplies.
I worked round the clock, taking photos of my work, even going to a free class to learn to present my work just right. I bought black sheets as backdrops, spent hours setting things up, months agonizing over artist statements, resume, biographies.
I wanted to really knock ’em dead, so I got a little dramatic with my entry, really emphasizing my struggles with trauma and mental illness.
I sent my entry in at 11:30 pm on the last day they accepted entries, and the cut off was 12 midnight. I even thought this was brilliant, to make me shine even brighter.
Even thinking about it makes me feel a little queasy, I put so much worry and sweat into the process. I told friends about the show, and I said that I was not pinning all my hopes on it.
That was a BIG Fat Lie. I had pinned EVERYTHING on that show. I even planned how humble and gracious I would be.
Then the e-mail came. The same e-mail I got last year:
“We thank you for your entry, but……”
…but…but…but…but…but, but, but,but,but,butbutbutbutbut….BUTTHEAD!!!
so here is my inner rotten, little Susie-In-A-Red-Devil-Suit-On-My-Shoulder, whispering in my ear: ” You stupid, stupid girl, You should have known you aren’t good enough, they are all laughing at you, you LOSER!!” The little Susie-On-My-Shoulder even has the audacity to make an L with her hand and hold it to her (my) forehead.
She has not stopped this horrible dialogue yet, but she will. VERY SOON. VERY, VERY SOON!
“Ha, I DARE you, you loser, nya!nya! You don’t have the guuut, HEY!, What are you DOING! PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN! AHHHHHHHHH!….”
“bloop!” Oh, my, what did I do? She slipped out of my fingers and into the huge pot of scalding Turkey soup I have boiling on the stove! Oh, my!”
Her tiny little mouse-sized red suit boils to the surface, I scoop it out and toss it in the trash. There is no trace of that rotten little monster!
I will brush the dust off of me, off of my canvasses, off of my paints, and do what I love best: Create Fresh and Relevant ART! YAY!!!
I am fighting right now, and you already know what is after me…negativity. Depression. Self Pity. Pain. Sadness…boo, boo, bad, hiss, grrr, mumble, mumble…SIGH…
I have been feeling worse than usual in my physical self, heavy, cumbersome(love that word), out of breath, and oh! SO SLEEPY.
Mentally? Running With Scissors!!!! WHEEEEE!!! Paint, Paint, draw, sculpt, glue, spray…UH, WAIT.
Did you say SPRAY? As in SPRAY PAINT?!?
Yea, I did. What about it?
And you said GLUE? AS IN SUPER GLUE? AND CONSTRUCTION GLUE?
Uh, yea. What’s the big deal? I use my mask all the ti…oh. OH…OH, now I understand. I got up sicker today, and wheezing, and groggy, with a blazing headache… And I didn’t put my respirator on when I sprayed that wall hanging last night… it was just going to be a couple seconds…the mask was inside…just a couple steps away,, but I was LAZY. AND FOOLISH. AND NOW MY LUNGS ARE SCREAMING. only I can’t hear them cause I CANT BREATHE!!!!
I made it to my standing Doc Appointment 5 minutes after I got out of bed. I mean, my hair already sticks up, but I seriously looked like Einstein.
I told her I thought maybe I had Pneumonia, pressure in my head, chest, headache, weary etc… And being the Real Physician she is (i don’t know why I said “Real”, too much news) she listened to my lungs.
Wow. I did not need a stethescope…The Rice Krispie Trio was playing a tune in my lungs. Holy smoker, who quit 20 years ago! No, I thought, not me!
Which is a rediculous thought, I have known for a couple years now that my lungs are failing. How did I know this? Well, it seems that I used CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVES to build an assemblage a few years ago… The year I had a Pulmonary Embolism from laying around too much after the 3 surgeries I had, the year I fell 4 times due to vertigo..etc etc… Oh . here is te health litany.. STOP.
The point is that I ALREADY have the knowledge of what NOT TO DO if I want to stay healthy. I already have KNOWLEDGE that I damaged my lungs and body severely with my lifestyle in the past, and I KNOW what to do to help myself.
The REALLY SAD THING is that I lost my Burning Desire to be my best me, my healthy me, the BEST Version of myself that I can give to my Creator in Thanks.
I lost my FOCUS, and I let the bad ways back in for a minute, the way of shortcuts, laziness, seeking material weaBEAUTIFULlth, and I cheated myself of some breaths of life again. And I didn’t even light a match…
When the Doc said she would let me try to change some of my test numbers without meds, I really let myself down, because I opted for the meds. I told her I just DID NOT HAVE IT IN ME TO MAKE THAT MUCH OF AN EFFORT RIGHT NOW.
I even felt sick as it was coming out of my head into my voice box…DONT HAVE IT IN ME…TOO MUCH EFFORT…why dont you just puke and fall over in it?
I felt shame, burning shame, not burning desire. That I did not feel I am worth the effort. That Jehovah created this wonderful human being of ME, and I “don’t have it in me to make that much effort right now? What an insult to my loving God, who sent His Beautiful, PERFECT and BELOVED SON, Jesus Christ to die for me. This same me that I couldn’t muster the will to TRY to save. Oh, for shame, susan.
I tried to backtrack as soon as it was uttered, claiming that I just feel so sick that everything is extra hard right now…I haven’t slept, you know…
NO! I WILL NOT LET MYSELF DOWN LIKE THIS.
Nor will I INSULT my GRAND CREATOR, SOVEREIGN of the UNIVERSE, JAH!!
I WILL BE ON FIRE WITH DESIRE starting THIS VERY MOMENT!!!
BREATHE, GIRL, BREATHE!!!
RUN WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT! WE MUST FINISH THIS RACE!!!! YEEHAW!
Stay tuned, big things to come! I am merging my 2 journal blogs into one, here under THE WIND, and yes, this is Susan T. from Out Of The Gutter Art! If you were enjoying my journey on my sister blog, you may enjoy some of my earlier posts, as this is my FIRST blog ever!
I am moving upward and onward in my artistic life, as in my spiritual life, so to keep my work apart where potential patrons and clients can view it without my personal life intervening, I am revamping “Out of the Gutter Art” . The Artist Portfolio is entitled Susan*T*Martin, The Artfull Mind.
I am glad to have you as a visitor to either site, and I hope I can impart a spot of sunlight into your life!
Thank You for Following!
(See you in the Funny Papers!)
Susan T. Martin
Not too many days feel good,
to this body.
Each and every day feels good,
to my heart.
The love I carry for all the world is a song
that no one has heard.
not a word.
I say it loudly, clearly,
in my art!