Just a Piece of Paper

Recent surgery to remove pre-cancerous growths from my cervix is the perfect metaphor for my life of the last two years. I screamed and cried the entire procedure helpless to make it stop. Though I knew the end was in sight, the immediate moment of pain felt like torture. I was held prisoner on the operating table. I could not afford the more expensive version of this surgery which included anesthesia and a wiped memory. Even though my medical history told the story of pain meds falling short of their intended potency, I risked the chance of feeling yet another procedure.  While not immune to the pain of being held a virtual captive during the summer of 2015, I knew it would be over. I didn’t know it would take another two years. With a trial date set for Mid-October, I have three more months of captivity. I didn’t blog last month as the monetary strain renders me unable to buy linen to continue painting. The facts of my divorce can only be labeled as stranger than fiction. My wide-eyed listeners, mouths agape in a dumbfounded expression, cannot believe what has transpired. If it wasn’t all true, I would be talked down from a literary edge.

So life and health and surviving have pre-empted art. Not being able to paint forces me to think about what I really want to create next. A new painting series, more sculpture, and starting a new business have been processing. I’m focused on healing my mind and body and figuring out how this will translate into a new series of work. Spending so many years suppressing my true self, I was unable to help family and forced to cut off ties of long-standing friendships. But now I know and can refuse the company of men who are mean to me. I can recognize the signs and reject the perfect package hidden behind a scrim. I am able to see the signs and be aware of the red flags. This gift was hard earned.

Reading other blogs about how parents couldn’t drag their kids out of bed in the morning or others making decisions about what grad school to attend make me wonder about how I arrived to this point in my life. I don’t have these “normal” problems. I worry if my ex is in Spain right now, breaking into the apartment, changing the locks and kicking out my tenants. I worry about that the remaining painting he spared last summer from the trash:

Distortion 1, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 72 1/2″ x 60″

The one too big to drag outside unnoticed, too big to put in the dumpster, too beautiful to destroy. These people married the “right” person, a person who has a job and friends, a person who doesn’t bully or control. These people have a nice home, are buying vacation homes, taking their kids out of school to travel the world for a year. This picture of harmony, however imperfect, in reality is my greatest envy. My daily worries include how am I going to get by if I lose that rental income my ex has threatened is taken away? How am I going to pay my legal bills so my law firm won’t drop me before trial? How am I going to work more hours in spite of being a full-time single mom with two jobs already? I certainly don’t want to minimize the stress and anxiety that sleepy child brings to his or her parents but I long for the day when those are my problems. I long for the normal, the boring, the mundane. Until then my biggest worry is how my ex treats a court order. It’s just a piece of paper after all.

This Month’s Music: Sylvan Esso

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