Being mumma

unnamed-lily-mae-martin

I’m meant to be packing and I am meant to be cleaning and making sense of things – order. I am meant to be organised and efficient with my time. I am meant to be accountable and in control.
I am not however, in control. I am not organised, I am probably at the other end of efficient. I don’t think being an adult equals these things, I’m pretty sure being an adult means that you are further from these things than you ever have been.
By you, I mean me.
I don’t know about you.

I’ve taken to listening to Florence and The Machine at deafening levels. When I get stuck and panicked – I put her on and my head becomes all harp rolls and big voices.

Of course when I am stuck between packing and work and looking after a small child – this isn’t always a valid option. So I often day dream about just being able to listen to music. How different my life is from just six years ago.

Last night, the music and the bad television didn’t help enough and it all became too much. I left, I sat on the steps of a dark and empty church and thought about crying. I don’t think I did though. I often just head to these places of faith when I don’t know what else to do. I don’t have any faith though. It’s more about a place to just be and be able to think, reflect – take time out for a breather. Be strong enough to go back home.

I can’t tell if I’m on that brink again – the one I was on for so long back in Berlin. I think of a tiger walking back and forth in her cage at the Royal Melbourne Zoo – slinking one way and then the other just waiting to see if something will happen. If something will give. I’m trapped but I’m uncertain what has got me here and don’t know how to get away – pacing.

Being like that isn’t an option – but it never was a choice.

When I am home and child is asleep, I curl up next to her on her bed. I hold her and breathe her in – she always smells like she’s been eating cotton candy though I am pretty sure she’s never had any in her short life. Then I cry. I am sorry that I’m not doing a good job, I am sorry that I have breaking points. I am meant to be the adult – and that is meant to mean things. I am meant to be the reliable one.

I think I need my drawing table back now please.

Life stuff

There’s so much going on at the moment I have discovered that watching kids films with my kid – is pretty great escapism. I’m not a film/ TV kind of girl. I’m not a girl. But you know, film/ TV – doesn’t interest me. I’ve tried. I grew up around film buffs, I dated them. I was triggered by all the violence against women and violence and rape, rape, violence and more rape.

Ahem.

Anyhow – it’s a medium I cannot deal with. However kids films, are great. They are silly, I like the side kicks and the references that are thrown in there for the adults. Sure, there’s bunch of stereotypical crap thrown in their that I don’t appreciate, but it’s not a nine ( or was it 11, who cares!) minute rapes scene so, I can deal. We’ve been going through Alice In Wonderland, The Secret of Nimh, Spirited Away, a few others I cannot recall the name of, oh yeah and Frozen.
We’ve watched some over and over again. I know the words to some of the songs, which surprises me because I never remember song lyrics ever. Unless it’s Back Street Boys, Spice Girls or Britney Spears.

Yeah, I am completely uncool. I’m OK with that.

Anyway, life stuff. The stuff that makes life and is so enormous and holy crap how do we deal with this stuff. We deal with it in good meals, good sleep. Updating each other, reminding everyone that we love them. A pat on the back, a cup of tea, an apology, an explanation. All the things.

All the things, all the time.

I don’t know what will become of us, I don’t know what next year will bring. I do feel that this is The Goodbye to Melbourne. I felt like I tried – we tried – and I am resolved.

Now, I better get back to the packing. Then start work that will take me well into the evening. Then sleep and do it all again tomorrow. While doing those things I will feed my little family, remind my kid to go to the toilet – remind myself to go to the toilet – than we will make some artwork together in the afternoon and then bath and bed.

I wish we had the energy to see everyone and say goodbye properly – but we can’t.

xox

Details

detail_wom3_lilymaemartin

I keep looking at the detail in the sheets of my last drawing and I’m finding a lot of satisfaction from it.
I’ve always been someone who thinks a drawing is incomplete without the figure in it – however in regard to the work I have made over the last two years – I’m usually drawn to the parts on my artwork that is not the figure. I would like to push this a little bit further.

However I am smack bang in the middle of a very long drawn out move. I could tell you how frustrating this is but that would be boring.

On the positive side, I have had time to purchase and stock up on materials that I would like to put to good use once the move is complete. I have a large bottle of thick, black ink. A collection of nibs – but I can’t find my quill! A collection of pens, one large roll of paper and a almost full packet of Arches cold pressed paper – 57 x 77cm.

I know that my little family and I will be faced with a difficult second half of the year, but I am ready to stick it out and charge on through. We will be very far away from distractions and we will be together.

Book

I dreamt that I found your book in a second hand shop. It was on the top shelf, jammed between other, thicker books. The spine had cracked and had bits of glue and paper falling away – it made me think of cracked paint off of walls.
The back cover had been torn off and placed between the front cover and the first page. The last page had looked as though it had a water colour on it. Which I thought strange – you were more the etching, hard lines lines type.
You were black and you were white.
When I looked closer I saw that it wasn’t a watercolour but rather water damage, all the pages had crinkled and browned but the back was all messy with colour – print bleed.
I looked to the first page for a price and was surprised to see thirty five pounds written in faded peacock blue ink. See, this book of yours is not yet a year old and published in a country where the currency is not pounds, it is dollars – but I buy it anyway.
I feel as though I should feel when handing over your book to purchase, but I don’t recognise anyone here, I don’t even know the store that I am in – I am now used to writing my self as I go.
This is just like any other purchase.
I am pleased to be asked for eighteen dollars rather than thirty five because even though it is still high for the asking, given the current state of it, I was already prepared for the asking price so now I felt it a bargain.
I don’t remember the rest of the dream. But I imagine that if I did have that book, I would have carefully gone through it’s pages before settling it in between my other old books, in a safe and dry place.

View

window-lily-mae-martin

After my melt down yesterday I stepped away from it and had a cry. I cried about a lot of things, but the painting started it.

I recognize that sometimes with work, you have to push through even when it gets hard, and that will pay off. But sometimes, you push through and it just gets worse.

This is one of those times.

So I have accepted that I cannot enter all the competitions and prizes that I intended on – this year. That I will just have to wait for next year. Which is something I have been telling myself for a number of years now, just this time – I believe it.

I recognize also that I often compare my achievements to those who do not have young children. Or if they do, they have a lot more support than I have had. I felt that these circumstance have been greatly minimized because people do not understand what any of that means – but I do.

So while people loose their cool because I don’t go to parties, don’t understand why I don’t take my child to protests, don’t understand that kids are not flexible with time and in turn, nor are their parents. Why I don’t want my child exposed to certain things and why, when I do get time, I allocate it to work rather than social duties, get upset over things I write on facebook I think PFFT – and I practice self care rather than giving into pressure.
Which isn’t always easy because that stuff hurts but when I get kid into bed on time and we all get a good nights sleep and we all function blissfully. Or I get paid for an artwork I made or an illustration job and that allows me to take my kidlet out to get her her first my little ponies – I know I am doing the right thing.

So, I need to apply it to all things – including my painting. If it is not working and it’s ruining me, it’s time to stop. It’s OK I didn’t make it into everything. It’s not OK if I hate life and I hate myself and I’m crying so hard and curled up so tight into my own self pity that I can’t play a game of connect four with my bright eyed four year old.

So I breathe in and breathe out and feel good about this. When you stop doing something that is all consuming, that gives room to let something different in.

Also – I think when I have calmed down and we have moved – I am going to read more about the art of painting – and conquer that fucker slowly but masterfully.

x

Missing all the goals

I tried to paint today, and I knew it wasn’t going to go good as soon as I walked in there. I felt it. I looked at the painting and saw the struggle I’ve been having with it. It’s muddy, the back ground is flat – parts of it are overworked.
I had high hopes for this one, it started out brilliantly. But no matter how much I try to improve – I am still shit at painting.
And so I pull out the turps and I wipe it back – to see if I can get it back somewhere near that brilliant beginning. But I’ve made it worse and I just start crying.
Really angry crying, the kind that hurts.
I hear the neighbours come to say hi so I go into my bedroom and hide and cry more.

When it is like this, when it is shit and hard and I hate everything – I hate myself – I know it is time to stop.

By knowing I have to stop it, doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m so upset that no matter how much I work, my painting is simply shit. I mean, I can watercolour OK – but it doesn’t hold like oils do. Most of the competitions and art prizes are for oil paintings. What to do if you suck at it?!

It is not the first time this year that I have had this, I feel so bad and angry and like a big fat failure. It is not the first time I’ve had to suck it up and just go – stop. Stop now.

But it still hurts. It still makes me cry.

Four

happy-birthday-lily-mae-martin

I was going to open this entry with “By the time my child turned four, I thought that..” But that would have been a bad start, a false start, as I didn’t think about when my daughter would turn four.

When we were talking of a baby, we talked about a baby. The thought of a small child was distant and hazy idea, like a dream. And when baby was actually here I didn’t have time to reflect. Nothing has forced me more to be ‘living in the moment’ than a baby. The needs are constant, they are basic but of the utmost importance. I was too tired to think of the future, to plan. I was too tired to think much about the past, other than lamenting all that time I had wasted. And then I also had three gruelling years of post natal depression – I couldn’t imagine that things would ever get better. Which of course, isn’t much to do with the baby ( small, beautiful being ) but is as well ( birth and motherhood).

But the child is four, today. She is no longer a baby, or a toddler. She is no longer wordless. She has a personality and habits and a wicked sense of humour. She’s social, but discerning. She’s brave.

I thought that I would never forget the baby years but when I do see babies, and when I hold them, I am surprised to realise that I have indeed forgotten. I have forgotten a lot. Sometimes I think I long for the baby again. But when I draw or paint or go on adventures with my child – I realise it is just her company that I miss. I get confused that comfort can only come from cuddling and nurturing. Where comfort and nurture can be found in laughing together, eating together, trying and not liking new things together. Discovering ( and rediscovering ) Alice in Wonderland. And sometimes, I sneak a whiff of her hair – because parents can be creeps like that. There’s nothing better than the smell of your own child and nothing worse than their cries. And their tantrums.

I’m one of those parents who has arrived unannounced to get my child out of daycare early. I am one of those parents who shook with anger when one of the daycare centres we visited for possible enrolment was so horrible – I felt like I had been bad by even considering the place. I have cried when she is hurt.. Of course, this is after I have stopping the bleeding or cleaned up the vomit. I feel guilty whenever I am not with her. But it’s so overwhelming, all these strong feelings, that I often drown in them and wear myself out. I just have to get away. Float around the CBD like an husk. It’s too hard to be social.

The love that I feel is wordless and crushing. The despair I feel is just as significant. As someone who has always been relatively physically healthy, I now understand – and am onto my way to accepting – my own mortality. I value my time. Sometimes when I think I have got the hang of it, everything changes again.

Having a child has changed everything. It’s only very recently that I have sometimes let myself think of what my life would have been like if I had just waited a few more years. Would I still be in Berlin or somewhere in the UK? Would I even have gone to L.A? I thought that I could be one of those traveling parents. But after a few years of doing it – I realised I couldn’t. I didn’t care about the things I once cared about – different things matter with a child. Sure sometimes, when I compare myself to my peers, I feel very behind. But then sometimes, I just feel very over there someplace else.

Because I am – we are.

Happy Birthday monkey – thank you for you.
x

toddler_lmmartin