Archive for April, 2015
This post was locked away in drafts for years. Sharing the updated version now since its all still quite true. And since I’ve grown to be braver today than I was then…and because although I am slightly hesitant to share this post (its graphic and personal) I’m doing it anyway (obviously…) in hopes of inspiring something good. Whatever that may be. LOVE and LIGHT ALWAYS.
(sketch book drawings circa 2002- 2007)
I’m living in the house, built by my dad and maternal grandfather, that I grew up in. I lived here until I was 8, then moved with my parents, brother and sister next door to the other house my dad built. Our family called this house “the other house” for a while, and used it for storage. It is quite the time capsule. When I was in high school the house was something of a clubhouse for my friends and I. There was an old stereo system with a record player and 8-track player, lots of records and 8-tracks from the 70’s, a cabinet with liquor from my parent’s wedding, and later, a pool table… I moved in here “on my own” when I was 18, then moved out when I was 23 and back in and out again several times from when I was 26 until now.
I’m here constantly surrounded by physical reminders of my past, some joyful, some creepy and sad. Among the old books, toys and random leftover stuff from the 1980’s in the attics/closets/cabinets are boxes upon boxes of my journals and sketchbooks. I once was a person who sketched/doodled/drew and wrote all the time. All. The. Time. In lieu of speaking to people, I drew and I wrote. It started when I was around 11 or 12 with typical stuff in my kitty cat journal. Then more typical tween stuff in my little blue diary with the little gold key. Then when I was 13/14 some things happened and the books multiplied. My brain chemistry changed and I put myself in dangerous situations with other unsupervised kids and I was taken advantage of most likely because I was a dumb, overly-trusting, insecure, pretty young girl. My first ” boyfriend” literally kicked me after I confronted him about his physically and emotionally pressuring me to be intimate with him. I didn’t tell anyone about this at the time, except for one trusted girlfriend and my books. I buried the memory until about 10 years later, when it exploded out of me with terrible consequence. It was’t until several years after that first decade-overdue reveal that I was able to talk about it and then really start the process of forgiving myself for being so angry at myself for all those years.
So, back to the books. The writing evolved to darker pondering over that particular experience, as well as thoughts on Catholicism, trustworthiness of friends and various other existential crisis (probably typical of most teenagers). In my senior year of high school, when I started considering going to college to major in fine art, I began to draw more. I was half drawing to try to figure out the proper way to draw “life”, and half drawing to escape life. The Surrealists call the practice automatic drawing, and some consider it to be a sort of yoga for artists. I know that the drawing and stream-of-consciousness writing helped me to work through many dark days…but never really turned into something I felt comfortable with selling to people as an art object…which is one of the reasons why I probably should just burn most of these books and finally release the darkness.(…but first I’ll blast some of the drawings to the internets!)
My point is that writing and drawing and sharing is beneficial. It is somewhat unfortunate, that many of the things I’ve felt compelled to share are negative and unpleasant. But it is very fortunate, for some, that these same things are useful for learning or connecting, especially for young people who have had similarly unpleasant experiences. This year I plan to return to teaching art and mentoring youth. After doing that work for almost 7 years I needed to recharge and regroup (and finish figuring myself out). I’m now ready to rock, as it were. Anyway. There are drawings about conflicts attached to this post.
Vanishing Points is a website that enables community members in South Louisiana to identify points of cultural significance that are threatened due to land subsidence, sea level rise and coastal erosion. The purpose of this project is to preserve this information for future generations of bayou residents while sharing noteworthy information of a people threatened by coastal land loss with the rest of the world. As part of an effort to document their threatened culture, community members log memories, interviews, and photos of places that have defined their community for generations, but are now disappearing.
This multi-faceted project continues to grow and evolve. We recently re-made the website and are currently working to create a short documentary about La Trouvaille in Chauvin, LA. Every time I think about this project I think about how fragile our unique culture is. Some think that our culture is lost- but this project enables me to see (and I hope enables you to see) that our South Louisiana culture is very much alive. Threatened, yes. But alive. Hopefully the threat of complete loss will empower us all to think more about what we can do to ensure it isn’t lost.