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Raw Wounds

I’ve talked a little bit about my childhood here before, in my real life I don’t as much.  I stay quiet when people are sharing their sad memories.  I don’t like to talk about the hurts.  I stick mostly to the easy stuff.  But sometimes I just can’t and it comes pouring out of me in waves and waves of sobbing and tears and gagging.

I haven’t written here in a long time.  Blogging used to be my THING.  Once upon a time I had lots of hits and comments and that MATTERED SO MUCH.  I wrote because I have had a burning need to CREATE for my whole life, and my artwork was wrapped up in all sorts of pent up feelings I couldn’t deal with.  But writing?  Writing was cathartic.  I could write out the thoughts I could never let past my lips.  And when I finally felt brave enough to draw and paint that urge fell away and this space went dark.

This week though…

This week has been bad.  Probably the worst week I’ve had in years.  I am overworked and overwrought.  My grandfather was sick.  It didn’t look good.  I am not on speaking terms with that part of my family, and I felt torn between what I knew was expected of me (to always be the good girl) and my absolute conviction that I couldn’t put myself into that again.  I’ve been having memories and dreams and all sorts of things have been stirred up that I’ve had to struggle with while I’ve been working non stop all month on a huge project. And while I loved the work- I of course looked forward to the end- when I would wave my thick stack of illustrations triumphantly in the air and shout LET’S HAVE A PARTY!  And there would be cake.  And probably wine.  But instead, I had a fight with my husband.  So the end of my project was weighted down in not talking.  It was a major bummer.  Before I could recover from that…  My brother called to tell me that my grandfather had died.

I cried.  All afternoon.  I talked to my aunt that I haven’t spoken to in a year.  I was so anxious but I couldn’t disrespect her on the day her father died…  so instead of her going to voicemail I answered the phone.  Our conversation was short and sad and after it was over I cried my eyes out and went home to bed to curl in a ball and remember.

I did not have a good relationship with my grandfather.  I won’t go into details here because my family is in mourning and hurting and I’m not going to drag all that out into the light.

I have many bad memories, and all of those have been running through my mind over and over.  But mixed in there are bright spots.  Riding in the car between my grandparents to the cider mill and him buying me maple sugar candy.  Helping him in the garden and painting the deck.  He showed me how to make compost.  He showed me what spearmint leaves look like, how to shoot, and how to find periwinkles in the cove.  We’d boil them and pick them out of the shell with pins.  He taught me how to fish and let me have free reign over his old tackle box and once gently removed a fishhook from my thumb.  He would sneak me sips of beer and he taught me to drive and he taught me how to draw.  He used to draw me little outlines of women and I would carefully trace them and dress them in clothes I invented.  My first paper dolls.

So I’m this big ball of conflicting emotions.  I HURT.

And every time someone texts me and tells me that I’m the only one not there, or to call my grandma who I haven’t spoken to since the day Henry was born, (Henry is named after my grandfather….  see how conflicted I feel about him?) or to tell me when the wake and the funeral is (that I will never be able to afford to attend) I hurt more.  I am so overwhelmed with emotion I can’t stand it.

And then….  today…

I have been asking my mother for six months if she could please find me SOMETHING with my father’s name in his own hand.  I want to get a tattoo with his name and hers.  This is a big request.  My father died when I was two.  In the vast stretch of years since his death (34 this year) there is hardly anything tangible left of his existence, beyond my brother and me and a few pieces of jewelry.  He was an artist, but his art doesn’t exist.  He destroyed it all before his death.  He was a poet. I have seen one poem, that was part of his funeral.  There is almost nothing I can hold and say…. this was my father’s.

Today was a snow day where my mother lives.  She went through the boxes in her basement.

I was driving when she texted me…  she found both a poem with his name signed at the bottom……….  and a drawing he did of me.

I started sobbing.  Right there in the car, with my kids in the backseat.  It hurt so bad I felt as if my skin had been flayed from my bones.  A drawing.  Something I always wanted to see.  And it was of ME.  Proof that my dad had loved me enough to capture me on a scrap of notebook.  A time capsule.   Those are my eyebrows and my lips.  I recognize myself.  This little throwaway doodle has me sobbing like a baby.  It’s a huge deal to me.

I can’t handle anything right now.  I’m trying to mourn and feeling guilty for mourning because how can I feel sad when I never had a close relationship with my grandfather like the rest of the family?  And I feel guilty for feeling happy about my mother’s find during such a sad time.  And I keep having tiny and terrible realizations like that while my cousins post pictures with my grandpa there are none of me with him past childhood.  And that my dad would be so sad to know I don’t talk to most of his family.  That is one tight knit group and I’m the odd one out.  I’m the weirdo who can’t get over her shitty memories and knit myself back into the group.

And then my mother finding these things now, no matter how precious, when I am under such tremendous pressure, just broke me.  I can’t get it together.  I’m wandering around in a daze, staring off into space, unable to think beyond this shit. Asking everyone to PLEASE GIVE ME SPACE because I don’t understand myself.

I forgot to buy groceries today.  So I went out tonight, got to the store and couldn’t go in.  I turned around and drove home and sat in the driveway for an hour while the car grew cold.    I couldn’t go in there either.  I talked myself into it so I could write this post.  I don’t care if no one reads this.  I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense.  I needed to write it all out so I could stop vaguebooking all over facebook.

And maybe someone will understand….  I hurt.

Filed Under: Me

Recipe: Savory Veggie Cobbler

Savory CobblerNot the most artful photo (in spite of the art pencils har-har!)


Ingredients for filling:

4 cups of chicken broth or stock (I used my bone broth)

12 oz bag of mixed vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower) or equivalent fresh

2 tbsp coarse ground mustard (I used spicy brown)

4 potatoes, skin on, scrubbed and cubed

1 onion diced

1/2 c of flour

1/2 c of milk or cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put all the vegetables into a deep sided baking dish, sprinkle with salt and bake for 30 minutes.

Heat the broth on a medium high heat, adding the flour and whisking out any lumps.  I used to do this carefully, by first whisking the flour and a little broth in a separate bowl until smooth and then stirring into the larger pot of broth…  but now I have an immersion stick blender, so I just dump everything into the pot and whiz it until smooth.  Let it bubble and thicken for two minutes, then turn the heat down to medium and add the mustard and milk.  Whisk it (or stick blend) it again.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

When the timer for the veg goes, dump the sauce into the baking dish and stir everything up.  Then top it with drop biscuit dough.

Easy drop biscuits: 

2 c flour

1 tbsp baking powder

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c melted butter

1 c milk

Mix it all up and drop by big spoonfuls onto the veg and sauce.  Continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes until biscuit dough is browning and the potatoes are cooked through.

Also, I use this biscuit recipe for quick drop biscuits:  Mix it up and drop by big spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined or greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes in a 450 degree preheated oven.  (These biscuits are fantastic with a handful of cheddar cheese thrown in the dough!) 

Autumn Coloring Book Contest!

I’m excited to tell you about this!  Kirsty from Shiny New and I have come up with a fun way to promote my coloring books!  Did you know I have coloring books?  I have nifty stuff listed here on my blog and over on etsy as well!  You should check them out!  (I also sell pretty art prints, if you like mermaids, breastfeeding, Doctor Who, and birthy art I’m your girl!)

Mabon Competition PageDownload the competition pageDownload this free coloring page from my newest coloring book and let your kids (OR YOU) color it in.   Share the finished picture with me on my page, via email (jlraewrites@gmail.com), or on my website, and the winner will receive one of my pdf coloring books (winner’s choice!).

There are a few categories, with a winner for each:

  • Littles: 12 years and under
  • Grownups: 13 years and over
  • Collaboration: any 2 or more colorers of any ages
  • Peoples’ Choice: any age, most popular entry on my Facebook page

Yes, this post is about you.

Newsflash: Yeah… I’m really flaky. I own that. However, I’d like to see the people who get snarky about that try to do what I do. Let’s see how well you keep your shit together when you are all by yourself with FIVE KIDS every damn day while juggling various projects to try to bring…Continue Reading

Filed Under: Me

Another Fresh Start…

Here we go again, another fresh start! The wonderful Kirsty is helping me perk up this space, but we aren’t done so consider this a work in progress. I feel like I am wasting potential to just leave this space sitting here, so I’m going to start finding ways to use it. You should check…Continue Reading

Filed Under: Me

New Print: Ceciley’s Mermaid

I love this drawing. It came out so gorgeous! I am offering this as a print. This is an exclusive, limited 1st run print (100) with inkjet archival quality ink and paper. Each print will be hand numbered and signed by me.Continue Reading

Filed Under: Art

Trigger Warning: Fat Shaming

Triggers trigger triggering…. The word makes me wince.  These days the internet is full of trigger warnings.  It’s a great idea, there are some issues where a head’s up makes sense.  I’ve been upset by things that I’ve read before, but I have never experienced how bad it can be when something “triggers” a reaction…Continue Reading

Filed Under: Me