Writing

About my mother…

People’s hands are something I’ve always been drawn to. I study their shape and condition. I watch how they move while someone speaks, how they’re used during the most mundane tasks, and how they appear at rest. To me, hands speak a different language than eyes, but can say just as much.

I find my mother’s hands particularly fascinating; they’re the set that created this fixation of mine. I’m one of those people who holds an entire world in my head, revealing feelings and thoughts only when I run out of room to keep them. I get this from her. She can be reserved and silent. Her hands, though, are loud. They shout and howl, but are most imposing when still.

The skin that covers them is heavy, like a quilt. Draped across the back and tucked in around her fingers. There are lines of varying depths etched into the surface and a few cracks that are tender and weak. Rough, calloused palms, often facing outward to ask for distance. Rarely do we get a glimpse of her open hand, palm up. It’s a vulnerable position to be in, only shown when she’s willing to give a part of herself and never shown to request something for herself. She always struggles to receive a kindness, not sure we mean it, not sure she can believe it.

These hardened features on my mother’s hands speak of strength gained through involuntary reactions, not sought out for cultivation. Built by, not for. Still, her strength is magnificent in its efficiency, but saddening that it won’t always allow her to exist unguarded.

Her hands are small and very delicate. Though the skin appears like stone, they float when they move, gliding from one thing to the next. Her handwriting is tiny, each curve created with perfection and so light it’s as if she doesn’t want to hurt the paper or maybe feels her words lack importance.

With this resilience of my mother, always functioning in the safest way, I want there to be an aspect of her that evolves. I want her to learn how to open her hand, reveal her palm, exist for a moment in vulnerability, and accept the kindnesses given to her. I want her to understand how incredibly worthy she is and that love for her is unconditional. I want her to know that this beautiful machine she is and lives in can still run well if she loosens her white-knuckle grip on the controls. I want her to know she’ll be okay.

These are my mother’s hands and these are a few of the things they say about her.

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Art, Life

Whitney, Whitney, Whitney…

First, I should say that I have very little interest in celebrity news, gossip, or general goings-on. I don’t care who shaved their head, flashed their undies (or lack of), cheated on this one with that one, or ate a live zebra (okay, if that happened it might pique my interest…a little). I am, however, interested in who volunteered their time/money here or there, supported this or that cause, made an incredibly nice gesture, and ate a live zebra. My interest in these things isn’t limited to celebrities, though I’m interested in anyone that does this stuff.

Now that I’ve said all that, I decided that it would be appropriate to write an entry about the death of Whitney Houston. I’ve never owned an album of hers, but I remember hearing her music while growing up. I also remember hearing about her issues with drugs and relationships. Since this is an art-related blog and Whitney Houston was a musical artist, I figured it was relevant.

Beyond her music or personal issues, I know nothing of her. I don’t know what/if she did anything to help other people, I don’t know what her interests were, or what causes or issues touched her heart. I know that at one point she was placed on this fantastic pedestal to eventually be yanked off of it once her flaws out shined her voice.

It should be of no surprise that since her death, that negativity continues: Crack-this-that-jokes, She deserved to die, I’m glad she’s dead, etc… that is what I’ve been reading on FB, Twitter, and various other places online. I don’t understand the point.

She was a celebrity, but she was a human one. Just as real as you or I, simply playing on a different stage. Long ago I realized that celebrities are portrayed as cheap products that function poorly, are given horrible reviews, yet people keep buying them. There are expectations set for them that don’t make sense, nor would I wish them upon anyone. I don’t think I could handle feeling relatively secure as a person and, as soon as I make a mistake or do something that is seen as a mistake, everyone tears me apart as if I was less than human. In fact, this did happen to me, and I’m a nobody it was awful to deal with. There are always understanding voices trying to shout over the mob, but they’re drowned out by venomous comments, teasing, and bullying. Whether you’re a celebrity, public figure, or average Joe, this happens. Of course, with people in the public eye, it happens on a vastly larger scale than in a small town. It doesn’t mean it hurts any less, though. Truthfully it seems like cruelty, not love, knows no bounds.

Was I incredibly saddened to hear she died? Honestly, no. I think any death is sad, some more than others. I felt bad for her family, as I would with anyone that lost someone. I don’t think the world lost a hero, I don’t think her death will spark a revolution or a create major shift in anything (with the exception of her family). She was another person that, throughout her life succumbed to various things that affect people, eventually died for whatever reason, and that is sad. Of course, to her massive amount of fans, it’s probably a tragedy, and that’s okay too. Sometimes I think fans create this sort of familial relationship, so when the center of that family dies, they all take it hard. I’m sure that if Steve Martin goes before I do, I will feel very sad. I felt shocked and sad when Michael Jackson died, not because he was a performer, but because of what I knew about his upbringing and every event that followed him throughout his life. I feel deeply sad when I hear of a soldier dying, even though in order to hear about those deaths, you have to sift through a lot of other stuff…

Death is an incredible occurrence that can shake foundations and traumatize anyone. So is cruelty. Combining the two will never lead to anything good. For the ones being unkind to the ones receiving it nothing good, no one benefits. I know I’m not alone in my thinking, but I often feel like I’m trying to shout over the mob.