Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Dead Woman's Scales

Back in the fall, Bea got an invite to a party that she didn't want to accept, but in true Bea-fashion, she was conflicted. And guilty. And waffling. In the end she decided to go, and she wound up having a great time and met some new people. The following week, she got a call from a guy who had been at the party - she never actually met the guy, because he was leaving as she got there, but he heard her laugh and wanted to meet her. (I know - how damn romantic is that?!) Of course, being Bea, she waffled and conflicted with herself, before acquiescing and going to meet him at - was it a Golden Corral? I can't remember, though I know the GC comes into it and figures prominently for me, seeing as how it gets my vote as Most Likely Place To Contract Anthrax or The Latest Flu. But that's my story, and this is Bea's. Anyway, she went, she met him, she really, REALLY liked him, and they started to date.

He was from Iowa, or one of those states that start with an I and is way the hell up near Canadia, and he was here, tending to his long-time friend, who used to be his girlfriend but not anymore, who was dying from cancer, and he had promised to be there for her. Again, points in his favor, for being the kind of guy who sticks it out with you, though that was their story, his and the Dead Woman's, and only a side note to this, Bea's story. He had planned on coming and staying with his friend, to help her out in the final days, and he did, but he hadn't any point of reference to prepare him for the horror of the final days of cancer, and try as he might to be a stoic tough guy, it was getting to him. I think he turned to Bea for companionship during those days; someone who wasn't hip-deep in death to help him maintain his perspective through it all.

Long story short, it was maybe a month that Bea had known him before his friend passed away. He began to dis-assemble her household, and in that great shuffling of stuff he passed some things on to Bea, one of which was The Dead Woman's Scales.

It's not like Bea has ever had a cordial relationship with a set of scales - seriously, who does? But she began to imagine that the scales were imbued with the spirit of the dead woman, who maybe wasn't so happy to find even a piece of herself in the home of the New Interest In His Life. She could feel the weight of Her presence residing in the scales, when she was standing on them, when she was looking at them, and especially when she was lying in bed next to the Man. When she weighed herself, the scales always read a higher number than any other scale Bea used, even the dreaded gym scales, which were notoriously biased and judgmental. She debated on getting rid of the scales, but decided against it - they were a gift, albeit second-hand, and she didn't want the Man to be offended. They also served their purpose of weighing in, which sent Bea to the gym to work out in a fever of productivity, in hopes of appeasing the scales. Some days the scales were more inclined towards encouragement, and would register several pounds lost, and Bea would soften towards the scales and their intentions, but on other days, the scales were spiteful, snarky even, and she would know that the spirit of the Dead Woman inhabited them still. Earlier this week, when Bea was sick and moping about, pining a bit for the Man, who had to go back to the place that begins with an I, the scales bitchily reminded her that she was more than a few pounds up. Bea again questioned the wisdom of listening to the advice of The Dead Woman's Scales, and secretly plotted their demise.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Serial Painter

February has been a dark month. That the dark twisty whirlpool held off until February, rather than kicking in straight after the holidays is pretty great, and partially due to the wonderful trip I took up to Asheville, NC with Bea and Ms. Q. We looked at a lot of art in a lot of galleries while we were there, and I found myself asking what was holding me back. I decided that I tend to take on a painting often for the challenge of it, which often leads to unfinished pieces and a sense of frustration. My sister, who makes dolls, has told me that the first doll of any type is always the hardest and most time consuming, because she's working through the process for that particular type of doll. The subsequent ones tended to go faster, even with slight variations from doll to doll. This got me to thinking that maybe I should try to do a series of paintings. I have been photographing trees a lot lately, and I've always been obsessed with clouds, but the sunsets we saw up in Asheville were the final inspiration for this series of paintings.

Forgive the glare: my camera doesn't like low light.But hey, no razor blades or dark twisty thoughts were used in the painting of these canvases, so that's something, right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Note to Myself

The dark clouds have descended again, obscuring my ability to navigate the chummy waters of my life. I try to keep my despair at bay, thinking of how my depression impacts my children, trying to maintain an atmosphere of normalcy for their sake, but today, I find I cannot care enough about anyone or anything to resist the allure of the darkness. I considered calling my husband at work, to tell him I'm slipping into the dark water, to ask for help, but I didn't make the call, because I know he won't really be able to help me, much less even hear me, surrounded by the stress and pressures of his job. My friends are too busy as well, and my family is non-existent. I tried to paint, hoping it would bring a little pleasure to counter balance this tidal wave of morbid longing, but even that felt distant and trite, and not worth the effort.

It is always the way with depression, that once it rolls over you, encircles you, encompasses you, there is no real way out, only trying to hang on and ride the tide back to the shore of rational thought. There are no life boats to rescue you from the deep, because they never heard the cry for help. There is only yourself, treading water in the icy deep, thinking how peaceful it would be, to just stop fighting, to succumb to the darkness and float down into it's peaceful depths. I cannot decide which is more courageous: to continue the daily plodding or to acquiesce to the finality of the dark.