Mother Blue

I photo. I take day trips. I lightsaber battle. I analyze the stuffing out of myself.

Category: Celebrate

Happy Birthday, I Know You Are Not Special

 

Happy birth.

Happy birth.

A letter to my son on his 9th birthday. 

You are nine today. Mazel Tov!

The last of the single digits; one number shy of double digits, forever.

So, I gotta be straight with you.

Look, as much as I love you, you are not special; not as much as you would like to think you are; certainly not as much as the myth that your dad and I have perpetrated to you and to the world.

The truth is that the outside world is a son of a bitch and you are a number.

YOU

ARE

A

NUMBER.

The truth is you will be nothing more than a series of numbers throughout your lifetime:

A student ID number

An employee number

A social security number

A paycheck

No matter how much I try to enhance your childhood and/or helicopter you and/or let you fail and/or fall on your face and/or get frustrated with you, you will still grow up to be an adult. You will venture out among your generation whilst trying to find your way. You will be lost. You will be off searching for meaning. You will be narcissistic and you won’t understand why the world can’t see you as the unique and beautiful snowflake that your mom and dad see in you in your daily funny faces and your very bizarre jokes.

I am a nihilist by nature. I often joke with your dad about which of the things we have done that will eventually land you in therapy. I watched “The Breakfast Club” the other day and it reminded me that we may already be on the path to becoming the parents that John Hughes once prophecized in my ear through the Brat Pack’s lips.

Pretty bleak birthday card, right? Well you should be used to this by now. I am always warning you of life’s dangers at the happiest of moments and at the most inopportune of times. It is my life’s preparatory course. But bear with me — you only have another 40 years of this.

The truth is you are a number to everyone.

To me you are 6:10 am, 4lbs 13oz, 4/3/05, 9 years

The truth is, as unfair as it is and as much as you would like to be, you won’t be special to everyone. You will simply be ANYONE. But hopefully throughout your life, you will find your tribes. The ones that tell you the truth, the ones that will have your back, the ones that will get you into epic trouble, and the ones that will make you laugh. And hopefully you will find the significant others that get you and your need for classic rock, TV commercial reciting, and varying other things. These are the people who will know you as SOMEONE. And vice versa. They will be your respite when the EVERYONE ELSES make life unbearable.

I have already seen the inklings of the grown up you. The one that sits next to a girl at the school dance until her friends arrive, just so she doesn’t have to sit alone.

The one that screams at the kid to apologize for pushing the other kid.

I have been pushing you since the day I met you. Your dad and I push you to do the things that suck. You didn’t want to go to the head table alone but I made you. You wanted a cookie but you were too embarrassed to ask. “No one is gonna give you anything unless you ask for it. So you can sit here with regret or you can make something happen. I am not always gonna be there to help you through the tough stuff.”

You whimpered all the way to the table, asked for a cookie, and wouldn’t look at me for the rest of the event. You were pissed and shot me eyeball daggers. I will deal with the fleeting hatred if it shows you what you are capable of.

• • •

I promised I would never lie to you about important things. So I am writing down these truths for you to read when you are ready.

The truth is, you know more about being a kid than I know about being an adult parent. Truthfully, I don’t know what the fuck I am doing.

The truth is that I sometimes paint the world as far too bleak when I should be reveling in the moment. Your dad already knows this about me. I am desperately trying to learn how to find the balance.

The truth is that you don’t need to be special to everyone. Just your tribe. All you need to be is authentically you. Don’t lie to yourself.

The truth is that you will need to work hard. Anything worth doing takes work.

The truth is that you will need to be strong. There are a series of head tables and cookies for the taking in this life. You have to be strong enough to ask for them or figure out a way to earn them.

The truth is that you will need to be independent or you won’t survive in this life for every long.

The truth is that you will need to pay your dues. Everyone does.

The truth is that we love you. No matter what. I say it now and I mean it always. That being said, you will never be too old for hugs and kisses. Deal with it.

• • •

I drove you to school today. Your little voice sang “Home Sweet Home” by Mötley Crüe along with me and the radio. You were belting out that tune as strongly as any person should sing on their birthday. The drive and the song made me think about you in kindergarten. One of the first things they have you memorize is your phone number and your house number.

Home.

The number you are always welcome to return to.

Happy 9th, Buddy.

 

Goofy face. First photo of 9.

Goofy face. First photo of 9.

 

Advertisements

For all I know: A love letter to my friends who are turning 40

My 1990s Journals

My 1990s Journals

A few days ago, I read through a few of my old journals… until I just could not read them anymore. There is nothing more humbling, more grounding, and more “kick-you-in-the-ass, you-so-thought-you-were-Sylvia-Plath-but-you-really-were-just-a-person-who-used-too-many-lame-metaphors-for-the-emptiness-that-only-YOU-could-understand” than reading your old journals.

In truth, I was just a regular old pathetic girl searching for love in a dysfunctional life who was probably just like every other pathetic 17-year-old person in the same circumstance. I did not understand my family, my friends, myself, and I thought I knew the depths of everything and everyone. Even when freely admitting (even back then) that I knew nothing. If only everyone could be like me, this life would be soooo much easier. I still love that naive girl. But in a disembodied, motherly kind of way.

Case in point. This was the cover of my journal as I entered college, I kid you not.

My Beauty and The Beast Journal. Yes. I loved this show.

My Beauty and The Beast Journal. Yes. I loved this show. Don’t Judge.

• March 4, 1992: “I know I shouldn’t be complaining, especially on Ash Wednesday…”

• August 27, 1990: “Today was my first day as a junior in high school. I thought it was going to be fun, but it wasn’t…”

• September 2, 1990: ” He said he came back to the dance early so he could dance the last dance with me. I think I like him, but I would never say anything.”

• 1990-1992: Some version of: “I am so pissed off/confused/angry at/jealous of/insert life sucks analogy here.”

Oh and there are many, many, MANY versions of the last sentence in my early journals.

Maaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyy.

Like Twillight Saga level, metaphorically speaking, many.

CAM00276~2

Song lyrics usually highlighted most pages. Or at least the back covers.

• • •

I finally found what I was searching for, weeding through all those angsty lines.

• September 1, 1992: “Well, I ‘m sitting here in my dorm room. This whole experience has been a lot different from what I expected it to be. It’s not like high school, but I still feel lost. This feels so weird. I can start over in a sense and just be myself. No prejudging. I can finally start working towards being who I was meant to be. I hope I like it here. I’m kind of scared. I don’t know if I will be doing this (my Journalism major) for the rest of my life. I honestly don’t know if I would want to do this forever… I would really like to try acting… I hope I like it here… I feel like I have changed… I think I am ready.”

This past New Year’s Eve, I started thinking which in turn prompted me to read the journals. As I approach my 40th year, I want to think back on all that has happened and all I have become before moving to the next part.

So I have.

I have started thinking about all the people who have brought me here.

Who grew up with me.

Who sang/lip synched/or otherwise randomly danced in inappropriately venues with me.

Who have laughed/cried with me on stairwells, in movie theaters, and in other inappropriate venues.

Who gave me my first jobs. My first internships.

Who loved me.

Who broke my heart.

Who took road trips and Greyhound bus rides with me to new destinations and  life changing trips.

Who have told me the truth in the kindest and cruelest of ways.

Who have argued with me.

Who challenged me to be better.

I am in awe of you. All of you.

I see how far my almost 40-year-old friends have come. Girls who have become fierce women who I respect and admire, doing things that make me proud to have once shared the same space with them. Starting businesses and starting over. Becoming fantastic parents, partners, spouses, and/or fantastic independent women.

People who taught me lifelong friendship, kindness, and have become my family.

Creative people who have inspired me to try something new. Who make me want to create. To put myself out there. To make art.

To those who have inspired me to be more honest and more authentic.

To the men and women who are role models for my family and for my son.

Even to those who I have lost touch with, grew apart from, who had to be left behind, I thank you for the lessons that I desperately needed to learn. I finally understand the importance of these things. The bad things. The mean things. The other things.

Yesterday, the radio reminded me of you. So here is my gift to you. (I have been singing this all darn day.) You will never know how much you mean to me. I have nine months left of 39. Happy Birthday year to us all. Here is to an even greater rest of our lives.

never-tear-us-apart2

Yes, I made fan art for you people. No, I do not own these lyrics, nor do I have INXS kind of money. Just a simple love letter to all of you that only Michael Hutchence could express adequately.

never-tear-us-apart-1

Yes, I made fan art for you people. No, I do not own these lyrics, nor do I have INXS kind of money. Just a simple love letter to all of you that only Michael Hutchence could express adequately.

• • •

• February 2, 1996: “All this time I thought I was a grown up, but he hit the nail on the head. ‘You are going to be a very strong woman someday — you’re almost there.’ It never really hit me until he said it — I’m not a grown up. I’m not going to be a grown up until I get into that one thing that will make me strong.”

CAM00284

Excerpt

CAM00278~2

Kim Grows Up.

Birthday Art, part 2

I woke up with the words of a poem in my head.

It was spoken to me in my dreams by a silhouetted traveler adorning a fedora and trench coat. His outline looked like the love child of William Burroughs and Leonard Cohen. He smelled of lucky strikes. They weren’t my words (although my brain dreamt them up). I will share the poem in its entirety next time, but here is the ending:

are we always all born restless?
or is it only me…

i spent 10,000 days alone
spend 10 years getting famous
10 years getting rich
then 10 years getting forgotten (by the time i’m 66)
will i get what i need by the time i’m 66?

_____________

The words made me think. They made me make promises to myself:

• I was going to enjoy this birthday. I was going to recognize through my lens the little moments.

• I was going to wear a dress everydayof this birthday weekend. I was going to accept that side of my femininity that isn’t related to motherhood, combine it with my other selves and make it more apparent.

In the spirit of the Birthday Art Project, and as a present to myself, I was going to attempt to make some sort of statement about who I am. (However narcissistic that may or may not seem). So within the tiny quiet moments of my solace and reflection, and within my (sometimes) loud, boisterous, self-imposed attention grabbing, antics, I let myself experience moments this year, moments through myself and through others. I captured them. I documented them. Each photo took a nanosecond to take, but it painted the story I wanted to tell. This weekend was my art. It was the first birthday over I decade where I took time and experienced the moments. So here is my birthday, my weekend, my moments, my art, my dresses, party feet, other people’s feet, my feet and my birthday dancing, my laughter, my images without words.

_______

EXCERPTS: MY FRIDAY

_______

EXCERPTS: MY SATURDAY

_______

 EXCERPTS: MY SUNDAY BIRTHDAY

Birthday Art, part 1

Birthday Terrarium Chairs, by Sarah Wojdylak

I like the wisdom that comes with getting older, but not the aging process itself. Both my parents died way before their due, so I feel like I am constantly traversing through time and space on moments that are borrowed. September 4th brings me both reflection and melancholy in a way the rest of the 364 don’t. So last year on my birthday I decided to make an event (albeit a small one) on my “special” day. Using social media to connect to others, I made a public declaration (in my Facebook status) for whomever was online, right at that moment, to make homemade art by the stroke of midnight on September 4th. I was half kidding and I was not sure if anyone was awake or even around, but I put my words out there. I thought that it might be neat to see what people came up with on a moments notice and who might actually respond. I love art and have a lot of talented and creative friends and colleagues. I gave the participants little parameters, the only stipulation was a 4 minute time frame to complete the work. The person didn’t have to be an artist by trade or hobby, just passionate about absolutely anything. I wanted to see something; a simple statement on the day; a nice love letter to September 4th: A very ordinary day. I closed by asking them to post a pic of their homemade art on their FB walls (before midnight) and tag me in the post.

Last year’s experiment heeded some brilliant results — FB BIRTHDAY ART, 2010 — so I decided that this year I would make homemade, spontaneous art an annual event. I cheated a bit and made my declaration a few days prior. I wanted to make a few more folks aware of the impromptu art gallery. In doing that, I don’t think many stayed within the 4 minute parameter but some brilliant art was to be had.

Here are this year’s results — FB BIRTHDAY ART, 2011.

For your Birthday Art Installment, from Dom and me. 🙂 Dom and Mom just fooling around. 🙂 by Melissa Zezza

Poppies in the garden! by MaryAnn Ward Carosi

Done this past week: screen printing fast and cheap with an embroidery hoop and mod podge to create a screen... art for fun and fashion! by Pannay Burt Guigley

Thug in a hoodie (Puppy collage 🙂 by Jennifer Obrosky McCalla

This is your homemade "virtual" birthday card. I did all the "drawer-ings" myself! Happy birthday! by Gab Bonesso

A lovely rhyming poem by Joel Cunningham.

Happy birthday Kim! This Picture is not original Brenna art but I thought expressive for birthday art. Hope you had a great day! by Brenna Connolly

Happy Birthday Kim! This is from Lucy. by Amy Mortensen's beautiful daughter Lucy.

Maggie's "fish bowl".... for her Aunt Kimmy... happy birthday!

Birthday Scribble Love, by Jackie.

Moving picture postcard, by Kate Hansen

eflections of Montreal -- One of three in a series, by Ken Selig

Reflections of Montreal -- Two of three in a series, by Ken Selig

Reflections of Montreal -- Three of three in a series, by Ken Selig

Birthday cupcake lollipops, by Jill Garon Harvey

Birthday Terrarium, by Sarah Wojdylak

Happy Birthday Kim! Here is my art. I call it Drunken Blur. by Jennifer Anders Reeger

photo of ceramic bert doll, taken at my pal al's house, words added with wordfoto iphone app. by Lisa Cunningham

This was the only artistic thing that happened at our place today. Che filled our mailbox with petals and leaves from our front yard. So I guess this is his Happy Birthday art to you. Happy Birthday Kim! by Christine Brocco

by Kristen Lauth Shaeffer

Shadow & light wishing you a happy birthday & many more fantastic years on this planet. by Stephanie Dennis Cooley

I tested my PX600 film in my Pronto B, and the photo was so blown out you could barely see the creepy statue. I upped the contrast in photoshop a bit so you could at least see her eyes staring back at you (he he). I hope you have a lovely birthday! xo by Lisa Toboz

I will get you a better picture of this picture. Happy birthday Kim!! Filled with real dried 4 leaf clovers. Next time the chair may fit into the room better. by Cara McDougal

Birthday art in two parts. This was made by our friend Sam Panico that's based on one of the photos from Christina McGinnis Krasman and my wedding. by Christina McGinnis Krasman and Brian Krasman

Part 2. My mother Pam Krasman made this stained glass that's based on the wedding invitation from Christina McGinnis Krasman and my wedding invitation. Sorry my photog skills aren't so good. That's not art. :--( by Christina McGinnis Krasman and Brian Krasman

Happy belated... I hope this year is filled with all the love in the world! by Avi Bonime

About this image: taken with a 60s era Canon Rangefinder lens (50 f1.2) on a NIkon D90. Flowers from the spring. by Manfred Woodall

And here are the two songs that were written in my honor:

My Birthday Song: xtmprns from George Anthony Harvey 

Silver Dollar Lady by David Rullo and Sergeant Peppermolasses

_________________________________________________________

Tomorrow I will reveal the art I created for this project. Stay tuned!!!!!!!

PREVIEW:

I danced a birthday dance.

feet were most definitely present.