The Face that Looks Back at You

eye

Do you ever look in the mirror and the face that looks back at you just seems strange?  That the face you see is you?  And where are you, really?  Within those eyes (even though you know it’s just vitreous humor in your eyes)?

And somehow, people see that face and associate it with you?  Except that your face is horizontally flipped from what other people see, so actually they see a different face than the one you see.  Just like your voice, which only sounds like you in your head, and everyone else outside of you hears something different.

Then you realize it’s time to go to bed, and in the morning, your face will be familiar again.  Hopefully.

This is my cat, telling you to vote.

kinoko

This is my cat, telling you to vote.

So these days, I only have the one cat.  When my co-parent and I divorced, we split the cats.  I wanted the whiny, middle one – Kinoko – and my ex was only too happy to part with her.  He’s a light sleeper, and she likes to caterwaul in the night.  For some reason, I never noticed, I slept through it all.  She is black, with these beautiful variegated chartreuse eyes.  (the green kind of Chartreuse, not the yellow kind).  I want to capture her eyes, and her ears.  Her ears have this weird squiggle at the base – the ear edge doesn’t just end at the base, at her skull.  It goes down, then goes up and follows a subtle flap, then up again, and then finally connects to the skull.

The thing about drawing is that when you start out, you realize how little you actually observe.  Humans are very, very good at filling in the blanks.  We see patterns – we see faces! – in random noise.  Some of the studies I’ve read suggest that this is because we take in so much information through all our senses that we have to throw away what we believe to be insignificant.  Otherwise, we would drown in information and it would all become meaningless.

Because we are cutting to the chase and looking for significance, we tend to zero out sameness, looking for change and anomalies.  Then we pay attention.  So cartoons, even ones like xkcd, can be minimalist and yet we still understand.

When I pick up a pencil and sketch something, I realize how little I actually see the world around me.  Want to know your lover?  Your child?  Draw them.  The difficulty and the frustration will lead to the realization that we fill in the patterns and story with only a few data points.  We don’t actually see.  When drawing and taking in the details, it looks wrong when in process.  You have to have faith that it will make sense in the end.  That the drawing will have a semblance of familiarity – but only at the end.  Likes threads in the back of a tapestry, it appears to be chaos at first.  Patience reveals the beauty and order that was always there.

Ah, November.

moon

I’ve been depressed.  Not super depressed, not to the part where I’m totally non-functional, just generally irritable and not wanting to out of bed.  I have been on the uncomfortable precipice where I just want to barf.  But here’s my problem – my emotions can fool me, and I know this.  So is the uncomfortableness here because I am trying to push past my boundaries – a good thing – or because something is genuinely wrong?  I don’t think anything is genuinely wrong.  Sometimes, my nature is lazy, and therefore an impedance.

It’s just that I want meaning in my life.  I want to add something positive to this world.  I love and enjoy my kids, but I hardly think that’s special.  They may be special to me, but that’s a personal thing.  I don’t feel special that yay, my uterus worked.  I want to feel like there’s something good I can do.  I know I owe my life and my happiness to people that cared about me.  I feel a need to pay that back.  I would give what I can, I’m just not sure that I have something valuable to give.  That’s not meant to be fake or looking for compliments.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one looking at my own mortality, my own small life and hoping I can add to something bigger than myself.  I think humanity is beautiful.  I love us.  Yes, we are weak and petty and there can be smallness and cruelty within, but I think good wins out.  I think love and compassion have more power.

So I write.  Some aspects to who I am may look unique, but I know I am just like anyone else.  Wanting to love and be loved.  Wanting to make a difference and be mourned when I am gone.  I don’t always know how to find people like me, but I write so others can find me.  Not knowing my full path, but knowing enough that I’m on it.  Wanting to open my heart and my eyes, and not sure if what I feel and see is real.

Sunday

Rowancartoon Novacartoon

I’ve been practicing my hand at cartooning, specifically for the girls.  No real reason, just that I like exercising the opposite side of my brain.  I feel like I haven’t been creative enough.

I’ve been kind of worn out.  This weekend I just didn’t want to do anything.  And the amount of times Nova calls for me sometimes sets my teeth on edge.  “Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  MOM.  Mom.  Mom.”  Seriously, I cannot count how many times she wants my attention and it gets tiresome.  Sometimes I wonder about me.  I like my silence and peace.  I don’t recommend divorce, unless you have to – but I am glad for my days off, not caring for children.  I am glad I get to work and people call me by my actual name.  Love is not telling your kids how much they annoy you.

We went to Michaels today.  Nova had found a fabric painting kit and we had no shirts, so we went and got some basic white t-shirts.  When it comes to anything artsy, as much as I may not want to put in the effort, I will.  I think it’s good for kids to practice art in all forms.  It’s one thing I’m proud of in my parenting, I always encourage the painting and the making of things.  We got more drawing paper and some more paints for me.  But alas, if I paint, they want to paint, and sometimes I want to paint alone.  Maybe tomorrow.

Halloween

rowanpirate rowanathena2 rowanathena novaevilqueen2 novaevilqueenathenahelmet

Ah, Halloween.  Rowan wanted to be Athena this year and Nova, an evil queen.  I’m pretty proud of the duct tape/cardboard helmet I made for Rowan.  I dropped off Rowan at her friend’s house and Nova and I went to the other side of town.  There was a biting wind and Nova and I did speed trick-or-treating, running from house to house.  We hung out my friend’s house for a bit, then picked up Rowan and her girlfriend for a sleepover.  Man, I’m beat.  I love my kids, but I also look forward to the day when I can do something fun myself instead of just making sure the kids have fun.  I’m okay with my my own selfish feelings.