Thank you for feeding my mind and soul. Thank you for your beautiful vignettes and cinematography. Thank you for valuing the story of humanity and making me remember that I started my journey to do the same. Thank you for inspiring me, making me weep, making me smile, making me think, making me remember. Thank you for reminding me that messages always come when we need them most...messages that are/were always there, but pop up at those delicate moments that will impact you the most.
Over the last two days I have watched all of Season 2 of the show (thank you Netflix and Spring Break!) What started as finding some background brain food to accompany my crocheting on a rainy, sinus-headache kind of evening became the obsession of the moment and that final epiphany that had been brewing for so so long. Personal epiphanies are always so hard to explain and end up becoming far too wordy for something that is just 'experienced'. So I will spare the twisted road that led me here to tell a short prelude to a yet unfinished story.
My entire life I only thought of becoming an 'artist'. In ways I was bred to do that. There weren't many other options though my parents would tell me I was capable of doing anything I wanted. Part of me never believed them. In the meantime I was made to sit home and draw, draw, draw. So, in the midst of teenage confusion I did the only thing I knew, I applied only to art schools. My dream school was Pratt, and I got accepted immediately. I will never forget the phone call to my dad and then sharp reality, how was I going to pay for it? So I went for my FIT interview/portfolio test thinking at a SUNY I could at least get financial aid. I got accepted immediately and began the enrollment process. And then I went home and didn't tell anyone that I wasn't really happy about the reality of being a 'fashion illustrator' just because a school wanted me. So I avoided picking classes. I let them call me and ignored them. My best friend starting grinding me about making a decision. I broke down and secretly went with her to enroll at the College of Staten Island. I had an epiphany. I wanted to be a writer. My 'private' art in a world saturated by art.
After I finished the enrollment process I went home with said best friend to tell my mother the news. I knew the result would be ugly--and much of the reason I wanted to write in the first place. Little did I know my mother was aware that I had been evading the prestigious FIT. Thus my big news became more reactionary than I had intended. I'll never forget her charging towards me screaming and asking why I hadn't scheduled my classes. I retorted, I did, just not at FIT. I finally sputtered out that I enrolled at CSI and that I wanted to write. I distinctly remember flinching, awaiting the barrage of screaming and hitting I had come to expect. But I actually ended up laughing at her reaction. She screamed, "Writer? Who reads books?" and then continued with, "Now my daughter's name won't be on the ass of my pants!" The reality was I read. Voraciously. I secretly stole books and lived with stacks around my bed--makeshift tables to hold more books and journals. I never planned on designing clothes at all, I was accepted as an illustrator...but her reactions were all typical of many parents, she was projecting her dreams for me onto me, despite their truth.
The irony? My dream was a projection of her. I wanted to write to tell her story. I wanted to write because she doesn't read. I wanted to write because no one else did. And somewhere I lost that spark. I became as insecure about reaching out as I did with my art. I graduated college with Professors ready to hand me phone numbers for editors at the New Yorker and agents in LA. And like that moment with my mother years before, I turned my back and went in another direction. The truth, I wasn't ready to tell the story I needed to tell.
You may be wondering what any of this has to do with a show. And I will tell you: Big or small, every story is significant. Every human being, every experience, every ounce of expression important. Every day we live stories, and our existence is part of a much larger story than we can imagine. Over time my blog has become more about art and craft, partially to escape from telling stories or being judged or losing readers. Whatever any of that really means. So, I encourage everyone to remember, everything we share is part of our story, and if anyone or no one reads this, it is still being put forth and that is what matters ultimately. I am listening. I am reading.