I dreamed about Cheo last night. I just remembered.

It was good. It was… comforting. It was friendly, and warm, and loving.
In the dream, he was still gone. But I got to say some things that I wish I could’ve said.

Dream A Dream

D-Rex has a hard time turning his brain off to go to sleep (he’s my kid!) So when he was little I used to tell him to lie down and imagine what he wanted to dream about. And I would give him suggestions involving animals doing silly things, and he always said “No!” to every suggestion.
But I still do it from time to time.

So tonight I told him to go to bed…

Me: …and dream about goats jumping on a trampoline.

D: NO!

Me: How about camels drinking root beer?

D: NO!

Me: Flamingos with hula hoops?

D: NO!!!

My husband: Would you stop? Now my dreams are gonna be all messed up!

Choose

Thirteen years ago, I made a choice. I chose the man who is now my husband. I do not regret that choice… but for thirteen years, I have not stopped resenting the fact that I thought I had to choose.

Skin

This piece grew out of my lifelong adversarial relationship with my own skin. I’ve picked at my skin since I was a kid – I still do – I can’t stop. As a result, my arms and legs and hands are covered with scabs and scars, and I’ve never been comfortable showing my skin.

I was well into adulthood before I discovered that there is a name for it, and it is one of the many symptoms of an anxiety disorder. I am so uncomfortable in my own skin that I have literally spent my life trying to claw my way out of it.

I started reading about tattoo artists who cover self-harm scars, and was inspired. That, combined with my love of doodling and my tendency to turn any surface into a canvas, gave me the idea. The spark came when my friend Amanda announced the opening of Nether Lands waxing salon – a joint venture with two of her friends and coworkers. I wanted to help them celebrate, and it seemed like the perfect occasion to bring my idea to life. A woman’s body, naked but covered with intricately swirling lines. Since it was for a waxing shop, I focused on the lower body. I used my own body as a rough model for the canvas.

I drew the body in and painted it very roughly, then I spent forever drawing the tattoo patterns. I would photograph the piece in its current state, print the photo in black and white, then take it with me to my overnight job and draw more designs.

Once I got a design I liked on paper, I transferred it to the canvas in pencil, then painted each line twice – once in burnt umber, and once more with metallic copper.

This was my first NSFW piece, and my first piece to make any kind of a statement. This is about body positivity, and about learning to love the skin you’re in, and about creating art in unexpected places and on unexpected surfaces.

Someday I hope to learn to tattoo in this style, so that I can help other people make their skin amazing, even if it has scars.

“All right then, I’ll GO to hell!”

— Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

When I was alive, I believed — as you do — that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said ‘one o’clock’ as though I could see it, and ‘Monday’ as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year’s Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls. 

– Peter S. Beagle
The Last Unicorn

Bang

 

We exist to bear witness
We had to be
The infinite needs us to see it
Without the perceiver
The perceived does not exist
That gives us leverage
Don’t look until you get what you want.

– Chuck Lorre

Once Upon A Midnight Dreary

That damned rosebush is tap-tap-tapping at the bedroom window.

Mamaw says you’re supposed to prune your rosebushes by Valentine’s Day.
I didn’t. Now I remember why I got out there and trimmed it last year, in the first place. First thing tomorrow – well, not first thing – but tomorrow, I’ll have to find those clippers and get out there and cut the thing’s stupid fingers off.

Tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap…then there’s the roar of the fans, and the singing of the crickets – who can sleep through all this?

I used to cut roses with a pair of hand-held clippers.
Once upon a time, far far away.

The hours are counting down. The strangers are coming – a hundred of them and more, with their cold hands. I can’t keep them away; my hands are small, and my voice isn’t loud enough.

I used to cut roses, and put them in vases, in every room of the house.
But the vases are gone, and soon everything else will be gone too.

That rosebush is still there, though, right outside my bedroom window,
and tonight it will suffer for the wrongs done today.