Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Keeper

About two months ago, I learned my mother has terminal cancer. I have not spoken to her in several years and do not plan to talk to her now. I have come under a lot of heat from a couple of family members due to my stubbornness, but I am standing my ground, for the sake of my own sanity.

I want to be very clear about this. I do not hate my mother. I am sorry that she has to go through so much pain and suffering. I don't want to know that anyone is going through such a horrific ordeal. I am sorry that she chose to spend her life in a constant state of disapproval, bigotry, and hate.  The term "energy vampire" describes my mother perfectly. I lived with it because I had to and  tried to overcome it many times, but after the way she treated my two sons, I just could not face it anymore.  I am not going to go over that history, as it is best left buried, but I need to deal with the emotional upheaval that my "loving" family is trying to foist on me.

I hated her for years. I wished her dead.  I had elaborate fantasies of making her suffer. But I got over it. I realized one day that I just didn't have the energy to hate anyone. It's too much work! I forgave her but I cannot forget, which is why I cut her out of my life. My adult children have also moved out of her sphere of influence, which I am blamed for. I taught my children to think and observe for themselves and they make their own decisions. I have tried to be as unlike my mother as humanly possible. Since we all decided at separate times and for different reasons to just amputate her, we have been happier and freer.

So when my niece called my daughter to say that we needed to get in contact with my mother because she is dying, I balked. As did all my children, with no input from me. I don't think I need to get in touch with her. At this point, it shouldn't matter. She is not part of my life, so why would I want to see her? I would feel like a hypocrite if I allowed her to guilt trip me one more time before she dies. And I refuse to put myself through it.

So there it stands. I have three sisters and three brothers. One brother (the other black sheep) has disappeared and no one knows where he is. The other two brothers are also not part of my life (not for 15 years)because they are vicious predators who operate within law but not morals. My three sisters I love. Only one is speaking to me now, and then very little, as she has her own issues to deal with. So I have felt isolated and shunned for the past month. And I feel like I lost my entire family, other than my children.

This has created a certain amount of sadness. I grew up in a large family. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter meant a huge crowd and a lot of children. I was always responsible for organizing the meal and the name drawing for gifts. I miss that. I have missed it for years. It leaves a hole in me, as the keeper of family gatherings. A niece told me that since I left the family, the gatherings are not as much fun. Flattering, but also saddening. But in the end, it is for the better.

She is the one who inspired The Keeper, as she called me that.

The Keeper is papier mache over prescription antidepressant/anti-anxiety bottles. I thought it was appropriate, as I started taking pills when I was 16 and my mother kicked me out of the house because I was preganant.  (Looking for love in all the wrong places....)The papier mache is seemingly fragile, yet sturdy... a description that several people have applied to me.

I used several layers of paint on her. One layer is a glittery silver, with the dark midnight blue over her. I used a crackle treatment so the silver shows just a tiny bit, a hint of an inner sparkle despite the grim exterior.  Her skin is tinged in green, which to me is a healing color.

She has dark circles around her eyes, showing the insomnia and worry suffered for so many years. To me, she looks resigned to her fate. The red lipstick is another hint of a more fun side, but her mouth is solemn and unsmiling because she is still deciding if she can trust anyone with an open smile.

She wears a kerchief holding her hair back, a symbol of her place as a worker. A wool shawl is draped over her, giving warmth and comfort.  She holds a key and lock and her heart is held in place by lace (fragile yet sturdy) wrapped around her body.  The raven is a glimpse of a nature loving poet inside.

Working on The Keeper was cathartic. (I also learned to work with papier mache!) I worked on her in odd moments over the course of a month and once finished, I knew that I felt cleansed and oddly lighter. I kept her on my desk for a week and felt that she needed a new home, as I did not want to keep her.

I am sending her to a friend on swap-bot as part of a swap. Even though she means a lot to me personally, I feel that she will be loved for her own sake in her new home. And she deserves that.

The Keeper art doll

After she was completed, I needed some fun, so I turned to a Zetti doll challenge on swap-bot. It is not a style I normally work in and a challenge to come up with the right theme, but I think I offset the grimness of The Keeper quite nicely. I look forward to challenging a more lighthearted side of myself in the future with this style.

She is called Blossom!

Zetti art doll

Thanks for spending time with me today. It's always a pleasure to have you as a guest! Love to you and yours, Angie

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1 comment:

  1. Making an art doll out of box of anti-depressant pills is a fabulous idea ! I send you hugs xxxx


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