who i am : abandon all else

To the fear, the anger, the beast that lives in me.
     A repetitive looping film of his hand up against my neck, pushing against my veins.
           His words of who I am, what I'm worth, what I will never amount too yelling, echoing,
                 whispering.... You Are Worth Nothing To Me Till Your Dead ...

But then...

But then I picked up a paint brush, even while his bruises were still faded from my flesh long after I walked away...I picked up a pen...I began to write, began to create, make...
     and I began to feel free...
                I began to understand that he was only afraid of me....of my

strength.

Now he has found the last way to control me...legality with our daughter.
     My sweet little daughter who's first kick, first breath, first laugh, first tooth, nightmare and
     dream he was not present for.
         And the courts started telling me all of a sudden what I could and couldn't do.  What jobs to
         have, what state to live in, what to do, where to go, when to be there...and I couldn't help
         but feel like everything I was working for, every dream that had reinvented itself after my
         awakening, my survival, was once again being torn, pulled, controlled by my abuser.

So I started making work.  I started screaming, yelling I WAS RAPED - I GOT PREGNANT - AND YET STILL I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER MY LIFE OR OVER MY OWN CHILDS LIFE.

and people heard, and people saw my work, and people gave their sympathy, and then there was nothing...
       a void.
              what else could they do?

But then my foot laced up into boots hit a trail.  I climbed, I sweated my heart out, and at the top all I saw was...

I am more then nothing.

...if something like this existed in the world, then though I am small, every substance that makes
       up my body, makes up the earths body.

For weeks, months, years I've been furiously making work, writing pieces, screaming, yelling, praying someone would hear me...help me change the current...but up on that mountain I learned:
 

I AM MORE THEN NOTHING.
I AM ME.
I AM A CHILD OF THIS EARTH.
OF THE SKY.
I HAVE A SOUL THAT STRETCHES THE VALLY PLAINES.
WANDERLUSTING IS WHAT RUNS THROUGH MY VEINS.
I AM MORE THEN NOTHING.
I AM ME.

Photo 1-11.jpg

I am ALIVE.
 

how can I not be with so much in this world?

So I will never stop screaming, pounding a drum for women, for victims, for children who have been wronged, who have been let down by our judicial system...it is a fire...a fuel that was ignited,
       ignited when he shoved me off the bed, when he never came home, when he told me to
       go back to the kitchen, when he locked our child outside, when he raped me of more then
       just 30-seconds of life.
             IT IS THE FIRE THAT BURNS SO DEEP INSIDE OF ME.
             IT IS THE FIRE THAT BURNS, but also has found respit against the whipping winds
                                                              with pen stained fingers, with late nights in the studio,
                                                              with every step out in this world I've spent soaking it up.

But I will also celebrate the fact that I am

ALIVE.

I have no idea what's next.  What I'll make.  How I'll celebrate first. 
And that's okay.
The robin doesn't know when it's next meal will come but it doesn't fret.
It finds respite in where it lives, where it flies, where it is free.
...this...this is enough for me.

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after a thoughtful critique, after a day of contemplating, writing, running in the sun...
in honor of John Muir's birthday,
in every inch of my body flinging off of a cliff...I celebrate this place I call home...

The Pacific Northwest.

I am pacing myself, putting any + all work about my past up on the shelf,
and I am lacing up my hiking boots.

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remembering "we are in the mountains...and THEY ARE IN US"

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I Survived. I'm a Woman. It's not changing.

For the most part, when anyone asks me about my daughter's custody case, I put on a smile and I tell them we're trooping through, that my daughter is a firecracker...because we are and she it. But no one knows the heartache, the monster's that still cloud my mind, the fear that I feel.

I'm told to keep my head up and to stay strong for my daughter.  Well I am, I'm giving up my life for my daughter and the courts requests.  I'm only a puppet of the court, and even though I was abused, hurt, broken, I'm supposed to suppress it all so my daughter doesn't fear the man who raped her mother and wanted her to be aborted.  I constantly feel like I'm lying + deceiving my daughter.

For the most part, when anyone asks me about my ambitions in the creative world, I smile and tell them I'm thinking about teaching...because that's stable right?  That's not bread winner, that's a good "mom job".  But in reality I have every ambition to travel the world.  I have every desire to learn so many languages.  To smash paint against a canvas when I'm pissed, and to finally sit down and write my memoir on being a young survivor of domestic abuse + mother.  I have every goal to still open my youth gallery + studio; Trailhead.  Every goal to support my husband in every job he aspires to and to be cheering my daughter at every dance competition and to snuggle the stuffings out of my son while he's little enough to.  I'm so exhausted of having to have to conversation of what it means to be a woman + mother + maker + working.  I never have caged my heart behind a white picket fence, so stop asking me to contemplate it.

I recently listened to Cheryl Strayed Dear Sugar new Podcast and I was in love.  While I sanded wood down for some frames, I listened intently, and it was something I think every single man + woman who works should give a listen to...even if their not in a relationship right now.

The bottom line is; I'm a surviver, I'm a strong mother fucker, one bad ass mother, a maker, photographer, adventure + thrill seeker.  I may be married, but I carry my own.  I love who I am. Even though I hurt every day because of past I didn't chose nor had a choice in.  It's made me the fighter who won't take shit from anyone that I am every single day I wake up.  From the moment I take that first sip of coffee to the moment my head hits the pillow...and even through nightmares...I'm fighting against the abusers and for those affected by them.

I found this post to be necessary with how many comments I've gotten on how great I'm doing considering.  Well the point is, you don't know, and you won't until it happens to you, and I pray it doesn't.