Tangled Webs

I’ve tried to write this post many times. There is something significant for me in my inability to satisfactorily frame my thoughts. In previous posts I’ve alluded to struggles I’ve had as I sought my truth. Occasional struggles caused by people who were clinging to decades-old lies and shame. I have specifically omitted commenting about my adoptive brother’s path in these essays since that is his truth to tell if he chooses, but I have been actively helping him (Or perhaps pushing him? I worry over that.) in his searching and uncovered somewhat more instances of this in that effort, because his story turns out to be far more complicated than mine. When I hit these roadblocks in my efforts for him my feelings of guilt and shame are magnified greatly, and I fear I am hurting him and hurting his chances for success as much or more than I am concerned for the person clinging to their lies. But with those people I find I am doubly ashamed to have crossed a boundary, exposed unhealed wounds, created awkward situations for people who are not only complete strangers to me but to whom I have essentially no relationship. And then I feel indignant that their lies are impeding our understanding of the truth, angry that there are more lies for us to accept in addition to the lie we have been told our whole lives. And then I feel pity and shame again – what right do I have to stomp in like the truth police and demand they face it, ready or not. But we just want to know the truth about our own origins and the lives of our families…. and so round and round I go.


One of the things that has been delightful for me is the artistic similarity between myself and my mother. My adoptive mother was creative but in a crafty sort of way rather than an impulse to create something for the purpose of expression.  I do not mean to denigrate that, only to point out that they are two separate things. My b-mom is a sculptor and potter, a painter and a sketch artist. Her artistic ramblings and mine are almost identical in terms of medium, albeit our subject matter is colored by our own personal drives and views that give fuel to the artistic impulses. The other day she and I were discussing the mechanics of laying out a particular type of design and the pros and cons of different layout software packages, and even while I was engaged in the conversation part of me stood aside and did a gleeful little jig. I always feel a level of anxiety when I show her my artwork. I want her to think it is well executed, of course, but more than that I want her to understand what is being communicated. In a way I am hoping that she understands better than I do myself, and can help me decipher what my subconscious sometimes keeps from my conscious mind.

I made a series of digital paintings in the early 2000s. It was a time of great emotional upheaval for me. I had failed in my marriage and was struggling to re-invent myself and support our two daughters. Many of these paintings made sense to me even as I was creating them, but some of them only became clear (to various extents) after the image was finished and I had some distance. Most of these paintings I have put on my Facebook page or otherwise published, but a few of them I kept to myself. They make me uncomfortable, even now. I hadn’t thought about these in years but for some reason they floated into my consciousness a few days ago. Submitted without further commentary:


5 women