I’m supposed to pay attention to, label my feelings, pay attention to my movements…going from stopped to moving, from seated to standing. I think too hard about the latter…wait, am I moving now? Am I stopped? When does movement start? Trying. Not breathing right this morning. Irritated. Stressed. Too much to do before I leave for Houston. Work raises its ugly head and demands more attention. Fuck you…you have too much of my life already, you bastard. I’m ignoring you. Hard to do with the sound of hundreds of middle-schoolers outside my door.
I started typing this in the morning, before school. I was trying to get everything set up and my brain was vibrating, it was working so hard to push emotion down and out and away. So I stopped. I typed. I cried. I cried with kids right outside the door. Better than inside, right? It’s OK. It’s under control most of the time. Or is that OK? Would less control be better? I don’t know. I have to function. I have to do my job, pay the bills, take care of my kids.
Tension. Nausea. Tweaked one part of my back. Bloated, tired. Wanted to stay home and read my book. Still want to do that. (got to read at the gym and during dinner…having dinner by yourself? Or having dinner with the characters of your book? Sad either way, but at least I semi-enjoy one version.)
Here’s the core problem to paying attention to your feelings: mine get overwhelming pretty quickly, and that’s not OK at work. I try to draw from positive interactions at work, especially with kids, but they seem more heavily weighted in the morning hours, and then I try to check in with my team at lunch for their collective strength and with my science coteacher between classes, in the space between our doors, but some days I just can’t get enough mental and emotional space from all that crap that swirls around in my head, making soup out of my control and logic and planning. Mr. Meditation doesn’t probably deal with what I deal with…he looks too damn calm. Give him my life for a week or so and see if he changes his tune. I spent all day breathing and paying attention to how I felt (you are about to duct tape a student to a chair…how does that make you FEEL?). Not really. But maybe it worked, I don’t know.
He says, “Experience overtakes the intellectual understanding of your feelings,” like that’s a good thing. OK. I guess it is. It’s just not good in the context of work or the gym or the grocery store or wherever I’m standing that isn’t in my room, a closet, in my car, in a big field in the middle of nowhere (can I be transported there now?). I am very good at experiencing my feelings. I am also good at understanding them. That unfortunately does not help them leave me alone for a while. Or even control them enough to feel like I’m in control.
Speaking of control, tomorrow’s dinner is already prepped and in the fridge for the slow-cooker tomorrow (I’m getting the hang of this. Praise my efficiency, dammit). My sub plans for the two days I’m gone were done this morning. I did extra laundry today for the trip. I’m not packed, but that’s OK…I’m doing that tomorrow night. I have food for the trip. I’ll be running on very little sleep (hey, what’s new?). Expect me to fall into a closet and cry at some point. I have books on the iPad and in real life (just in case), I have a couple of sketchbooks (have to make a decision about those), and I spent time tonight prepping the last two months’ of Sue Spargo’s birds to take with me…
I needed to iron and cut things out…
and sew a few things down with the machine. Tomorrow night I will put the bags together for stitching on the plane. I’m hoping we aren’t in terminals for long…if we are, it’s because we missed a flight. I’m prepared if we do. I have food, books, and stitching…materials for drawing. I hate being bored. Headphones for music. I will need music.
I’d like to say I’m excited, but mostly I’m nervous and apprehensive. I don’t travel well. I have to talk about two quilts, and I don’t really have anything logical to say about one of them, although girlchild approved my rambling explanation from last night. I’m worried about being around people. I know, that’s lame. I’m hoping to hold it together without my routines of exercise, meditation, reading, and drawing in a safe place. There are no safe places in a hotel or on a plane. I have my gym clothes. I have my meditation app. I have headphones.
I had to grade tests tonight, so I didn’t get any time for real art, but I did interact with fabric. During school, I needed to do a cover page for the new unit…
So I even got to draw at school. And color! You wonder why I draw what I draw…or maybe you don’t. I wonder if I were an English or Math teacher, what would I draw instead of body parts? Or was I fated to be a science teacher? Who knows.
I had 17 ideas today for drawing uterine-related stuff, women and their periods, women and menopause, women and their uteri, the pain, the blood, the mess, the annoyance, as you age, having to deal with the vagaries of the female body deciding to ignore routine and just mess with you on a regular basis. Cramps so bad it hurts to stand, it hurts to sit…and yet, there you are, doing both, in front of 35 kids who have no idea what you’re feeling or experiencing. This is your teacher…she is basically hemorrhaging AND suffering from depression. And you think YOU have it bad? Really? Deep breaths. It’s like my inner emotional world is being wrought upon the physical body. I can draw that.
I need to draw more of that…you know, because it will be so accepted in the art or art-quilt worlds. Yeah. Whatever. I obviously don’t pay much attention to acceptance in either. I just do what’s in my head and rail at the world when it causes issues.
I’m going to Houston for the opening of the Art Quilt Portfolio: People and Portraits exhibit that SAQA is sponsoring to go along with Martha Sielman’s book published this year. I was one of 21 featured artists in the book (if I’m smart, I will find my copy and take it with me for signatures). They are exhibiting two quilts from each artist. I got to choose which two out of the book (oh my…what were they thinking, letting me choose?). I chose Fully Medicated and I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket. I’ll post them later this week (although they are on my Current Shows page). My mom will be there too…be nice to her. It must have been hard to raise me to be the crazy-ass artist that I am today. I’m sure it was hard.
When I get back from Houston, it’s race race race to the end of the school trimester and getting two quilts done and the stupid fucking holiday season (hate the holidays) and the high-school soccer season and family stuff and maybe some free time. And maybe some mental space, who knows. Probably some pain and hurt as well. That seems to come with the holidays, whether I like it or not. Lots of have-to’s and shoulds and not a lot of enjoying the moment. I will have to work on that. More exhibits to enter, some to get into, some to reject me (I can handle that…it’s disappointing, but it’s a rejection that I’m used to and can deal with). If I had my choice right this second, I’d be working on a quilt right now, instead of trying to persuade my brain it’s bedtime.
I don’t often have a choice, though. Paying attention. Sigh. I really wish someone had been paying attention. That’s part of my test, now. You need to pay attention. If you can’t? Fuck off. You’re not worth it.