Painted Ladies

I know I seem to be obsessed with Mermaids, but I also have another favorite theme: the Circus Performer. I don’t know why, maybe I am just being trendy and am subliminally inspired by Steampunk (honestly, I would dress in Steampunk daily if it was OK). Maybe I love make-up and playing pretend (definitely true!) Even as a Nurse, I painstakingly apply my makeup each and every morning. I enjoy it – and find it to be an artistic endeavor. I love blending eyeshadow, and layering on mascara. I have worn lipstick under my mask for the entire pandemic. I also enjoy washing every last part of it off at the end of the day…. black flecks of lash thickener speckling the sink and my white washcloth – another work of art completed, and a clean canvas for the next day.

Circus performers — actually, all performers —– apply makeup and embellishments to create the illusion of something otherworldly. That is what we all do – especially women – on a daily basis. We put on our facade. We apply makeup to hide our flaws and emphasize our attributes. It is our costume.

These paintings were true sources of joy to paint. It was like getting to play with my Barbies as a grown up. The stippled stars are meditative to create, and I recommend drawing with dots as a way to relieve stress. My brother Kent taught me about stippling years ago — and I have always enjoyed it. Dots creates perfection. Lines sometimes come out wrong, and they can be so final, but small dots will never fail. They are the best art for the perfectionist…life broken down into pixels….so satisfying.

The Pressure to be a Mother

I changed majors often in college, and after finally selecting Interior Design, I still contemplated what I would be when I grew up. At the ripe old age of 38, I became a nurse, and today, I continue to daydream about different career paths and life choices. One area in which I never faltered, though, was my desire to become a Mom. I guess it is ingrained into our psyche and genetic code at an early age. No matter how successful I was in my career, I felt ‘less than’ because I had a difficult time with maintaining relationships, and was fearful I wouldn’t find the perfect partner. The anxiety definitely shaped my choices, and limited my career and financial successes. I wanted to be like everyone else, and it was out of my control to get what I wanted.

If I could go back in time and take away the anxiety about ‘partnering -up’, I would have pursued a Masters in Architecture. I would have traveled the world, and done things on my own schedule. I wish I could have met my husband with that background, but instead I was an insecure young girl with a cute face, expensive clothes, and loads of debt. We need to do better for girls. They are more than their looks and more than their womb-status.

Once I fell in line with the status quo, found a husband, and had 2 kids, I finally felt the weight of that pressure lifted. It has been 17 years since I became a Mom, and I have grown into the person I wanted to be. Sometimes my husband says I am not near as nice as I used to be, and I have to agree. That person was never real to begin with. That girl wasn’t me. I have three older brothers and two sons. I know how to climb trees, and I know how to wrestle. It took me a while to re-connect with my chubby, self-assured child-self, the one that ate butter because it tasted good, and wondered about infinity. We’re back together, now that my frown crease is permanent and my abdomen is less than perfect.