Springtime in Brooklyn

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Springtime in Brooklyn ~ 13th April 2013

It seems that Springtime has arrived.
I hold my breath as I type this, for whenever that declaration is made one can be sure an immense snow storm is imminent. Or a wretched cold-front. Anything to dash our collective hopes.

It’s been a long winter.
Longer than most.
And though I have spent most of my life in the climate of the Northeast, it was beginning to get to me.
I put in a few too many days in my pajamas, with good excuses as to why I needn’t go anywhere.
Forgetting, or not caring, to wash my face.
This is not like me.

I spend a great deal of time, for reasons beyond my control, upstate in the small, bafflingly declared ‘chic’ town of Woodstock. I married into a house there. A house my husband seems too attached to and so small sacrifices are made.
I’m a city girl. I stay on the move. I make an effort.
And honestly, I do try and keep this up, upstate.

More so upstate, where sliding into a state of not-caring is all too prevalent.
The rumpled clothes. The natty hair. The disheveled looks I observe in the local stores.
I won’t allow this to happen. Not completely. So when I do appear in public this is not the image you will see.

However, god-forbid you just swing by one day. Just waltz in our front door as seems to be the standard policy. Open door. I don’t know who implemented that, but I pine for my inaccessible apartment.
Where I can be left alone.
Where I can check out.
The buzzer downstairs that I can freely ignore. The three locked doors between the visitor and myself.
Where I can pretend I am not at home.

Yet, this winter you have often found me, sans makeup in too-large comfortable clothes, cradling a cup of tea while staring mindlessly at my computer screen. The bleak mountain view looming outside the large windows, keeping me in.

I hate this image of myself. So it stands to reason that I hate having it seen by others.
One does their best not to be too hard on oneself. Something I have learned from a few years of therapy and many more in recovery.

But…
It can’t be helped.

I’m am always left feeling guilty after being caught like this. Off-guard. Unprepared.

Like a small child found finger-painting the walls. It’s not like there wasn’t real effort put in. Real work being done. Creative vision and all that.
But really, the walls? It’s a mess.
I’m a mess.

Or so I feel, after my privacy is disturbed.
And it makes me ornery. To have my life so carelessly disrupted. Unsuspecting.
These friends mean well. They are just passing through. But they act as mirrors – mirroring what I consider to be my slovenly appearance back on myself. And I don’t like the image.

Yes, I’m pregnant.
Yes, I’m lacking more energy than is usual and that’s more than understandable.
Yes, it’s two degrees outside and my husband has taken the car to work and there is no way off this damn mountain.
But…

I really should be doing better.

It doesn’t help that when I try to explain my work, the things I am doing, I see the eyes of others glaze over.
Interest lost or never there.
So I stop explaining.
And then I convince myself that because they must see me doing “nothing,” that is what I must be doing.

I have been working on a series of three books for over a year.
Ever since I finished Graduate School; well, a bit before.
One book that has spiraled into three and the outlined concept of a fourth.
Typical.
I have put them aside in disgust.
Hours and hours of work.
Of reading and research and writing and transcribing.
I can’t face them right now. They loom too large.
So I start another project.
I play with other forms.
And all the while I keep thinking that I truly should get dressed and make something of my life.
Something more visibly “successful.” Something a bit classier.

The dreaded question: “What do you do?”
What don’t I do? But that’s not an answer. Not the one people are looking for anyway.

How have other artists handled this?
Do they care as much about the image they present to the outside world?
Do they build elaborate facades when no one seems to quite understand the work they are doing?
Do they make up their answers depending on the day, like I do?

So it’s Springtime in Brooklyn.
I am going to make a change. To line my eyes and slip on my boots. Or at least wash my face.
I’m going to construct a better picture of myself.
The birds are singing and that might be enough to get me away from the screen and on with the semblance of an active busy life.
Regardless that the work I do requires long, patient hours spent in front of a computer.
Writing. Rewriting. Sobbing and daydreaming.
Sacrifices for image must be made.
The means to an end.

I suppose it should be noted that I do better in the city. I would not have written this were I always here. But the fact remains that I am not and so…
It’s springtime in Brooklyn. I have decided that life must look different.

And the beauty of living amongst millions of people? No one can see me.

© StephiaMadelyne

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