The text on the image reads
The 7 year old in me wants to shout, "Holy smokes!" about today. The forty-something year old that is me now is relieved that I started doing these drawings. They are more helpful than I anticipated, and I am grateful for the tools to do this.
So what happened? I have no idea. I just know that today was rough, and I fought back. I'm trying not to dwell.
I got out of bed. I put down my smartphone games. I took a shower and wracked my brain about what to do about my state of mind. And I remembered that I still have my first battle dress.
When I was 18, I moved myself back to San Francisco from the place the Army had plunked my family last. I slept on a friend's futon in their living room while I tried to sort out a future. I bought my very first designer dress, and it gutted me a little. It was so much money, but it was beautiful and made me feel strong.
This might have been the day that I decided that the way I would justify buying spendy things was by whether or not I thought I would get one use of the thing for every dollar I spent. In over 20 years, I have definitely worn this dress 86+ times. It's still in phenomenal shape. All 86 of those dollars were well spent at the time. Thank you, Betsey Johnson of the '90s! Thank you for your quality, for your fitted slip, and your flowery burnt-out velvet! Thank you for making me feel like a pretty-pretty-bad-ass!
There were years when I almost let my battle dress go. My weight fluctuates—a lot at times. Between endometriosis and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, it's been an interesting task trying to keep myself clothed over the years. The dress fits now, and that's what matters today. The rest of that are stories for another time.
Today needed the voracious courage of an 18 year old who set out to tackle her life on her own terms, pretty close to alone, and without a safety net. Back then, I was too angry to be scared. I'd throw on this dress, my 20-holes, my spiked bracelet, a black choker, and go out into the night with all 2 and a half feet of my hair flying.
There's no lamenting where that girl went or what happened to her. I know all those things. It's been an interesting life so far, and I'm not expecting that to stop. This pandemic thing is a case in point. In the midst of all this global change and the upending of everyone's everything, I'm balancing myself on a not-so-tight rope, trying to keep a smile on my face. The rhinos help. They always help.
The hair has been short for almost 2 decades now, thanks to a road-rager and overconfidence in my physical strength a couple days later. (I learned the hard way that if a piece of furniture is bigger than me and heavier than me, I should ask for help carrying it. It doesn't matter if I can lift it and carry it across a street and up two flights of stairs by myself. I shouldn't.)
The very '90s choker is now substituted by my favorite snake necklace. It's made of many, many snakes coiled around each other, pleasantly. In the middle is a decently sized peridot stone. That shade of green generally makes me smile. It looks like life.
The spiked bracelet did not fair well in the sulfur and humidity of Hawaii and will probably never be worn again. In its place on the other wrist are the Apple watch my husband reminds me to wear and my quaint little medical alert bracelet because age does things to people.
My stompy-stompy 20 holes that I got when I was 15 years old and spending too much time on Haight Street are long since stomped through. They taught me the value of well made shoes, though. So today's boots are Fluevogs that I'm hoping last at least 10 more years. They make me nearly 6 feet tall without discomfort, and I like that. Peeking through the side laces are skull socks. Because skull socks.
It feels like if I keep on typing that I'm still fighting. I can tell that today's battle isn't over yet, whether the drawing is done or not. I'm still on the rope. I ate all the chocolate. I cleaned all I could manage today to make room for creating physical (in addition to digital) art this coming week. Tomorrow, I'll clean more. Take that, oubliette! I have plans for a future.