Welcome to Halaylah Studios!

Currently located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Halaylah Studios specializes in painting and textiles.

Right now space is tight, so the focus is almost exclusively on paintings, specifically acrylics because they dry quickly and I can move them. I’ve just finished up a couple of pieces and will be listing the latest one in my shop this week.

As my midgees finish up the school year, I am making plans to convert to a kid-friendly art studio for the summer, so that we can all work together to create artwork for the New Mexico State Fair in August

 

In The Studio

Gallery

Sketchbook

What Was I Thinking? (blog)

I’m Ready To Talk About Cassie

Hi. My name is Stephanie and I am bisexual.

I’m a lot of things; this just happens to be one of them.

One reason I’m sharing this now is because it’s #BiVisibilityWeek. A lot of my friends have already shared their own stories, and I am adding my voice to theirs.

The other reason is that there is a story I need to tell.

(Most of this is taken from random written entries in various sketchbook/journals from over the years. It is edited for clarity, but I have kept the stream-of-consciousness style of writing.)

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*Breathe*

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So this one time I went to this house for a meeting, and a woman answered the door…

green eyes
long grey hair
round face

Her face… is thoughtful and compassionate and makes my breath catch a little.

Her voice is deep & quiet

Her words are slow & measured. They are ALWAYS worth listening to.

We became housemates, then roommates.

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She waited tables at IHOP when I knew her.
She had studied library science
She wanted to go back and do the LPC program, to become an addiction counselor.

She worked on computers. She would take them apart – at one point her room had computer parts strewn all over it. She would put them back together, then strip the OS down to the code and rebuilt that as well.

She introduced me to Pogo. She would be playing a game and would leave the computer, and I would sit down and finish her badge for her. I thought I was helping, bless me! I know now how annoying that must have been, but she never said anything, bless her. Eventually, she let me play alongside her; we kicked ass together in Word Whomp Whackdown!
(@joycean78)

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Her voice was soft and low and deep, and her words had a particular shape to them – not an accent, it never belonged to a place or nationality, it was simply how Cassie spoke.

We talked about books and music and art and film and history and philosophy.

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She was SO SMART.
She read James Joyce
and John Kennedy Toole*
and Gabriel Garcia Marquez

(*I hated that book. But I still have a copy of it.)
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I wish I could stop speaking about her in past tense. I haven’t seen her in thirteen years, haven’t heard from her in almost twelve. I don’t know what happened to her.

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I didn’t know
and I blame myself for not knowing.

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How could I not know???

I had known, at that point, for a while

This was after Beaver Run
after all the catastrophes
after Jessica.

I may have dismissed it as a quirk
but it was not unfamiliar territory

It was after Amy
after Planet Hollywood
after Geoffrey & Kim

I should have known.
I WATCHED WILLOW & TARA, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!

Why didn’t I know that I was in love with Cassie?

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…oh god

Because I was already attached to Ken when I met her.
Because being in love with Cassie would’ve required me to give up Ken

which I couldn’t do.

Because it had to be a choice
…and I had already chosen.

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I knew I loved her the minute I realised she was gone.

of course.

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AND THE GODDAMN SYSTEM MADE ME FEEL GUILTY.
FOR LOVING MORE THAN ONE PERSON AT A TIME.
FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO CHOOSE ONE AND CAST THE OTHER ASIDE.

For 13 years I have beaten myself up for seeming to regret my choice
. . .
Instead of raging against the machine that made me choose.

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I’ve started to forget a lot of the details.
Some of the things I’m forgetting are more than details. I’m starting to forget her face.

I’ve forgotten her birthday.
I’m good at birthdays.
I remember people’s birthdays that I hated in 10th grade.

I can remember every square inch of that house.
WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER HER BIRTHDAY???

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She just disappeared.

I had moved from Dallas to New Mexico to Lubbock, and we kept in touch all that time. We still played Pogo together. I wanted her to be my maid of honor, but she wasn’t sure about making the trip. Right before the wedding, I lost touch with her.

She stopped responding, and I couldn’t get hold of her. At that point, I didn’t have her phone number – again, I don’t know why. None of our mutual friends had heard from her or knew where she was. She was just gone.

I still don’t know what happened. I don’t know if she ghosted me, or if she ghosted everyone, or if something happened to her.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to stop looking for her.

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I’ve become Mad Mr. Morrison, spending my life looking for Annie.

“Have you seen Annie?”
“How’s Annie?”
“Annie are you okay?”

Cassie is my Annie.

Like Mr. Morrison,
I have to believe that someday I will find her.
You have to believe that because the alternative is unthinkable.

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The steady rom-com diet of my formative years has left me with unrealistic expectations.

Like, if I keep searching, someday I will find her
and it’ll be Serendipity, and we’ll be Willow & Tara.

Without Warren.
(But maybe with Oz.)

It’s never gonna happen.

But… the last time someone looked right into my eyes and said that to me,

she was wrong.

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I will find her again, someday.

In my heaven, I will sit at her feet for aeons,
listening and learning, and praising the God who made this amazing woman.

#Cassie