I’ve been commissioned to do a piece as a gift from someone who likes my work to someone else who may or may not like it. The theme is simple. Love, marriage, the melding of 2 families. Easy. I can knock this out in no time! I have this great idea of twisting the “bodies” of 2 people facing each other with the female trailing a bouquet behind her. I decide to do a small domed bead, silver front, copper back. It’s a little more delicate than my usual style and I think it will suit the wearer better. So I saw and dap and fire and add a bail for a chain and it’s pretty. Except I was a little heavy handed with the solder when putting the 2 pieces together and it’s all over the copper back. So I file and file and file and sand and file some more and the solder doesn’t budge. The copper underneath will file away before that %#^*ing solder. So I put a low flame to the back. Maybe I can fire it away, or spread it around so it looks like I did it on purpose. It almost works. Until I turn it over. And get this:
Oops. I shall now start over. I try something a little different. I pierce a vine and leaves with a saw for the bouquet. Very pretty. Until I dap it into a dome and everything spreads until the delicate vine and leaves look like a bloated swan. Add leaves! More copper leaves! Now we have a swan who was raised by Indians about to devour our unsuspecting young lovers.
Oops. I shall now start over. Screw the damn bead. I’ll stick with what I know best. Twist, fire, pierce a heart. Looking good…until…
Oops. Melted her head off. The bride has been decapitated. I shall now start over. Funny how something so simple is so complicated. I get my best stuff from pain and suffering, controversy and crazy, tension and tsunamis, bad dreams and goodbyes. Those are easy. Love, joy, simple…that’s hard.
As my very wise cousin said to me recently, “if you keep one foot in the past and one in the future, you’ll pee on today.” This was profound. I’d be hard-pressed to say whether I spend more time regretting the past or fearing the future. Exhausting! And then I wonder why I don’t remember huge chunks of my past. I wasn’t there!!! I was too busy either beating myself up about what I said or did or holding imaginary conversations about what I was gonna say or do that I didn’t really say or do anything! Well, maybe I did, but I don’t remember…..and I really regret that. Yep. Its a vicious cycle. And it’s a heavy burden. I know we can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future. And quite frankly sometimes the present stinks. But it’s all we’ve got. And if we keep one foot in the past, we get depressed, and one foot in the future, we’re anxious, and either way, we can’t see today under all that pee.
I had a mammogram this morning and my radiologist was this very nice woman I’ve had before. She is very chatty and somehow we got to talking about the impending LIRR strike. So she says to me, “these people make almost as much as I do and I have a bachelor’s degree! They make, like, $80,000 a year!” It’s not bad enough she’s squeezing my boobs within an inch of their lives, she has to remind me she makes a hell of a lot more money than I do while she’s doing it! Now, I don’t want to appear, oh I don’t know, devastated, or anything, so I har-har a little and reply, “they make twice what I do, and I have an MFA!” She says, “are you a teacher?” And I say, “no, I work in the billing department of a taxi and limousine service. ” and she laughs. She thinks this is hysterical. So then I have to qualify…”well, I changed careers completely, and I’m actually a jewelry designer…” See, now she’s impressed! “Ooh. Aahh. I love jewelry. Do you have a card? ” Whew! Thank Goodness, I just narrowly escaped feeling inferior to someone! The truth is, we don’t walk in someone else’s shoes. We live the life we choose, as much as we’d like to blame everyone and everything else. There is always someone who has it better, and there are those that have it worse. Some will be lucky enough to live their dreams and some will find it hard to remember what their dreams were. Some will strive and sweat, and others will get out of breath reaching for the bag of M & M’s we know are hidden at the top of the pantry. Why is it so hard to not be defined by what we do? To look at ourselves and like who we are just because we are, and to not resent ourselves just because we do or don’t do. Just writing these words feels like marbles in my mouth. Foreign, unfamiliar, and a little stupid. The trick is to spit out the marbles and not replace them with the M & M’s.
Life, interrupted carynjune
Hi. My name is Caryn and I am an addict. Drugs? Not interested. Alcohol? I do love me some tequila, but no. Smoking, sex, gambling? Done that, like it as much as the next guy, does Candy crush count? No, I find myself caught up in a weird whirlwind of vacation planning. It usually starts about a year ahead of time and consists of hours on travel websites figuring out when we’re going, where we’ll stay, how many cities we can fit into the time we’ve got and how much time will be spent on the bus getting around. I love this. I will book and rebook hotels endlessly. It’s almost as good as the vacation itself. And of course, while I’m on vacation, I’m allowed not to worry about money or how fattening anything is. I’m in this world of suspended reality, where I can do whatever I want and deal with the consequences later. While I plan and travel and eat and spend, I feel like I’m having this big, full life! But later never actually comes. At 56, I should never be woken by the ding of an incoming text from Chase telling me my account is overdrawn. This feels bad. So I move money from my credit cards to my bank account and feel ashamed and scared. This feels bad. And I sit and plan the next vacation while I work my way through a box of Weight Watchers ice cream bars. This feels…surprisingly great! Until it doesn’t. What’s the investment? What’s the allure of the perpetual shame and fear? Maybe it’s the someday. As long as I have plans to get my shit together someday, I can’t die. I’ll live forever! But my somedays grow smaller and my debts grow bigger. My waistline expands. And I mutter “someday…someday!” like a talisman to ward off the monsters, while I keep running. Not letting the monsters get me.
The Monster Under the Bed carynjune