Sunday, February 24, 2008

clementines and milk chocolate bunny parts

The food of choice when strapped into my desk working on a very tight deadline. I had a terribly day yesterday. Terrible crazy panicky sadness just snuck up on me, out of the blue when I thought I had been feeling pretty OK. A giant front of bleakness swept in and try as I might I couldn't seem to outrun it. A combination of sad and lonely and of feeling generally overwhelmed by everything, by my life. My messy, cluttery house, money worries, my gigantic yard, my scary basement, and the totally unreasonable amount of work client No.Uno had asked me to do in a blinding flash length if time. A super tight deadline to complete 8 gouache paintings that will be made into 5x7 children's photo frames. So much work in so few days that I’m not able to really stop and ponder what I’m doing, to think about my art and craft. I have to rush and rushing is never good.

I don't have the time to stop and look at my work and think Hmmm should the cute racing cars be all cool shades of blue and purples or should they be primary colours. There's no time to work a design out in my head, or God forbid on paper before I rush to the FINAL. I don’t like working this fast. And I’m a pretty efficient designer/artist (what ever you want to call me). But when you don’t have time to think about what your doing ... well that just sucks and I fret about not doing a good job ... I hate not being happy with the results of my endeavours. I love feeling proud and satisfied with the job I've done. I have 2 more days of this breakneck speed design/draw/paint schedule. Clementines and solid milk chocolate bunny ears have kept me fortified.

The other thing that really hit me yesterday is that I’m lonely. I'm very lonely. I feel all alone. I've never really been lonely before. It’s a new and strange feeling for me. Even though I've been checking off the single box for years now and most people would say "Oh yeah she lives alone, by herself" True, I suppose technically ... by myself in a home filled with canine love and purpose and care. It feels like my life suddenly has become someone else's, a life I don't recognize and a life I don't want. I meant it when I said Jake was my comfort and security, my everything, he was my reason for never ever feeling lonely. He gave my life so much purpose. With his stick fetching training and trials all spring, summer and early fall. Big long walks twice a day in winter because he needed lots of exercise. Nursing all his itchy parts with lotions and potions (he had ongoing chronic skin issues), blow drying his fur after each trip to the beach, having him there always to help me cook, clean or do any chore around this house. His lovely faded red snout in the midst of everything Hey what's happening ? Hey what's going on ? Is that for me? He was a very high maintenance dog, a huge multi layered personality, mostly all silly & goof but also a sweet chunk of tender and gentle and he kept me busy, kept my days full and in return he gave me nothing but constant super love and only the best companionship. I felt strong with him ... for 12 years.

Winnie, sweet Winn loves me too, but she's just a quiet well behaved little dog that demands nothing from me. I'm SO glad that she's here. I don't know, especially now, what I would do without her and I do love her lots. But sadly, she only fills part of the gaping hole that's left around here. At this point I know that another dog is not the answer because I only want Jake. I don't want this new life, I don't know how to live this new life. I want my old life back. I'm lost.


  1. Susan, your post makes me think, but the thinking goes around in circles. One side says your work deadlines are not allowing you time to mourn. The other side says immersing yourself in your work or craft should help you heal.
    But, it sounds like the deadlines are preventing you from enjoying your work. No wonder you feel stuck.
    It's a shame to have your talent turned around on you to become a source of stress. Of course I know nothing about your work, but are these deadlines arbitrary to those who set them? Can they be negotiated? (Sorry, I know the last thing I feel like doing when I am depressed is summoning the strength to negotiate with anyone.)
    Sometimes you mention friends that are nearby. Can they ease your sense of loneliness? Just a quiet walk, drinking coffee, talking?
    It's going to take time but it sounds like all your time is being eaten up by deadlines. Ugh.

  2. Susan, I'm sorry I said "ugh" before. I didn't mean to sound that negative. It just started me thinking about loneliness, I moved from a vibrant, intellectual community near Philadelphia to a quiet, rural, small town in the midwest. I grew up in the midwest so I thought I would fit in. But everything here revolves around school and kids and sports, and since I don't have any kids I have yet to find my niche. So, I guess I'm relating to your situation in a way, mourning my "old life" among kindred spirits.

  3. You keep moving forward darn it!! You can do this Susan. Yes, it is a shitty damn thing, but it happens.... and somehow.... you do have to keep stumbling along the best you know how right now. Life is not over.... there is just a huge, ugly glitch in it.

    Maybe your sis would come for a day or two..? Throw yourself into cleaning a corner of something for a whirlwind hour? Walk faster and further then ever today? Get some physical energy working for you... make yourself really sweat Susan! Concentrate on some little physical task to the nth degree..so your mind and your eyes too(especially if you are staring at the computer all day) can get a bit of rest from constant whirling thoughts.

    ... and.... my suggestion.. for the colours... Use the primary colours if the frame is for kids... they love colours... not that I have any either...but I have nephews and nieces and I worked with other people's kids for too many years to count...

    and, now...I am going to scour the kitchen, bathrooms and under the stairs where I don't usually go in case there might be spiders in liew of planting a bomb to blow up the office at which my husband works. He is at work today again... for at least a 12 hour day. Yes, on Sunday... where he has been for 7 days a week for weeks now. Nobody else at that office produces anything worthwhile and for some unknown reason, he feels it is his responsibility to keep up the good name of the company. NOT his...but he worked there before it changed hands and he is trying single handedly to keep it afloat. I doubt I will have him much longer if her doesn't stop this...but I cannot get through to him .... I am waiting for him to have a stroke or heart attack........ let's both have a shitty busy day and stomp forth yet again tomorrow.

  4. I know how you feel Susan. I've felt adrift in my life for a while now. When big changes happen, particularly bad ones, and even if you're prepared or feel you can adapt, they still knock the stuffing out of you. Staying busy helps, but not when it's work stressing you out. I remind myself to keep breathing, because sometimes that's all I feel like I can do. Just maintain until things get better. Much love and warm thoughts.

  5. Hi, and thank you once again for all of your love , hugs, thoughts and personal experiences. I just was having one of those true melt down moments. Sometimes you do need to totally crack before you can put yourself back together again. I'm a person who thrives on feeling things, intensely feeling them most of the time. I've always been that way. I think I also was painted with a big swoosh of "all or nothing thinking" - which of course can make everything good and bad seem very extreme at times.

    I loved J.s comment about just maintaining. Woah! what a concept to think I could just idle those thoughts and feelings, tread water for a bit until I decide where it is I need to go or what I want to do ... and in the meantime just breathe. Big deep energy building, soul fueling breaths. Thanks J. I must begin to meditate even for 5 mins. to start. See if I can't get my mind to shut the *#&@ up! That is ultimately the crux of the problem.

    Thanks, Judy, Mary & Vee. I am a lot stronger than I sound sometimes, I hope you do realize that.

  6. Susan, I don't think you're lost. You're floundering. Rather badly just at the moment and you feel so LOW and overwhelmed by life. My god, when you describe your life with Jake, I see that this is equally as devastating as if you had lost a mate. I've found that when I feel sad and overwhelmed, and I am overwhelmed quite a bit just now, getting all PRACTICAL really helps. (these caps aren't the equivalent of yelling, they are replacing italics which I can't use when writing a comment). Like your messy house. Well that's something you actually have control over. Your heart may say you don't and and tell you that you can't help the messy clutter, but your head, the PRACTICAL thinker knows you do have control.You began de-cluttering projects recently, so you could continue in little spurts that you can handle. The thing about that clutter though is you have to be absolutely ruthless. I am doing this now because I will move soon. I actually chant to myself, aloud, I'm RUTHLESS! It makes me feel free to just toss items and as a ruthless woman on a mission, there seems to be much less emotion about the "stuff". As for that oversized yard, put on some pre emergence weed killer this spring and give the good stuff room to grow, have it mown high twice a month by some neighborhood kid and admire your "natural" look.
    I know this last job just about killed you, but you are so good, Susan, that you rushed, didn't personally feel you put your all into the project and customer uno STILL liked your work. You should feel so accomplished and talented that when you have to, you can knock something out sort of on remote control and have it be that good. And earn good money which ultimately makes you feel better.

    I would like to send you a fun book that I love. Could you give me your full address so I can have it mailed from Amazon? There are wonderful and creative ideas in this book, some frivolous and some PRACTICAL and it is especially for women living alone, though all can enjoy it. It's about romancing the everyday, which is actually the title of the book. Perhaps you can't manufacture a brand new life overnight but a new attitude can make you FEEL LIKE you are in a new life. My last idea comes from a book I just read called "100 Things To Do After Your Divorce"......


    You may have pegged yourself as a loner to your aquaintances there and perhaps they keep you at a respectful distance thinking that is what you want but just a little sign of engagement from you might bring you pleasant rewards. Make your life happen on purpose. (hope you don't mind this passing along of my advice to myself)

    sweet dreams and a hug


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