Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The A Word(s)

Having been tagged and given a letter by Julie, I now present... ten topics, truths, themes, or thingamabobs that begin with the letter


Academics, the world of:
Despite years of protests to the contrary, I'm a life learner and it appears I may belong here. I couldn't stand it if I never took a college course again. The university environment thrills me.

As a child, Mother would leave me at Dad's office on campus (he was a professor) while she went to a painting class. While Dad was teaching or meeting with colleagues, I would sit at his desk coloring but imagining I was the teacher. I dreamed of an office adorned with overstuffed oak bookshelves and ancient linoleum tile flooring in an old, musty building with a window looking out onto a tree-lined campus commons through which I could watch the rush of students during class changes. I saw myself surrounded by art, in a painting studio, in a gallery, mentoring others. This image slipped away from me as I became obsessed with the idea of being a rock star in my teen years. Of course, that didn't pan out, but my first thought was NOT "go back to school to become a professor" though I did want to study Fine Art.

Instead, I studied graphic design, a compromise intended to make me "employable" (we know how well that worked out). Now I find myself drawn like a M-TH to the flame toward the academic realm once more. As stated in my resolutions, I am preparing my portfolio so I can apply and, I hope, be accepted into an MFA program in Fiber Arts that upon graduation will lead to a position with a major university teaching in the fiber arts/textile design/apparel design or related department. Or I'll open that yarn store. ;-)

I was born June 29, 1963; I was adopted ten days later. My parents were truthful, so I always knew I was adopted, but they went to great lengths to ensure I also knew I was "theirs" in every possible sense of the word. The only issues I had with being adopted arose from having no idea of my ethnicity, my medical history, or the answer to the Big Question: Why? Though I searched, Ohio's adoption laws prevented me from having access to my records (I just missed the open records deadline).

In 2004, a phone call came out of the blue. My biological family found ME based on my posts on adoption search sites. My b-mom is still alive (b-dad died several years ago) and I have a whopping bunch of siblings. Four of them plus my b-mom drove to Ohio to meet me in 2005. I was able to resolve my issues (for the most part; I still need therapy I'm sure), learn about the unfortunate circumstances of my birth and how difficult my life would have been had I stayed with my b-family, and solve the mystery of my ethnicity—Dutch, Irish, German and Cherokee—confirming my long-held gut instinct that I must be part Native American (I'm 1/8th; my great-grandpa on b-mom's side was 100%).

Although they are very nice people and we keep in touch casually, meeting my b-family confirmed to me that blood does not necessarily make a family; as far as I'm concerned, the people who raised me are my parents, and I was truly blessed to have been adopted and loved by them for 43 years. I'm glad they lived long enough for me to be able to tell them that.

Alice Pieszecki:
My favorite character on Showtime's The L Word Yes, I watch it! I love this show! Yes, it's about the lesbian community in West Hollywood. But sexual preference does not (and should not) dictate enjoyment. Whether you ascribe to being hetero, LGBT, or anything in between, this show simply rocks. The drama, the story lines, and the character development are so scintillating that it is head and shoulders above just about everything else on TV. Season Four starts Sunday, January 7th at 10 PM. Be there. I will.

A.M. ante meridiem (before noon):
Not my favorite time of day. I am so not a morning person. My life is lived on the reverse side of the clock despite all my best efforts to rise at "a decent hour". My circadian rhythms have always been "off". Even as a child, I was wide-eyed until nearly midnight and difficult to wake in the morning. I was not the 6 AM baby. My lucky Mother was able to sleep in even with a newborn around. Mother blamed my night-owl tendencies on their failure to wake me up and put me on a "normal" schedule rather than allowing me to sleep in. I maintain that it had nothing to do with them; endless attempts to retrain myself result in failure. (I can get up when I have to, but it takes a lot of coffee to get me out the door and my brain doesn't kick in until noon.) It is better to accept that I am NOT A MORNING PERSON and find a lifestyle that accommodates that sufficiently.

APHA (American Paint Horse Association):
I love horses of color. Paints, appaloosas, buckskins, bays with black manes/legs/tail. I'm also infatuated with blue-eyed horses (yes, there is such a thing). Both of my horses are APHA Registered Paints and have blue eyes. Cheerios has one blue and one brown; Shaveya has both eyes blue. It's very striking, especially on Shaveya (she's the white one). Cheerios had two Paint parents but came out solid. He's a breeding-stock Paint. (Note: the bottom photo was taken in February, the day I bought Cheerios, hence the goofy five-year-old "lookee I gots a horsie!!!" grin on my face. Also, it's 10 below zero and I'm wearing 20 layers.)

Aran and Fair Isle:
2007 is the Year of the Cable and Color Work. These are two things I want to study in depth this year. My Cable Confidence has grown since learning how to do it without a cable needle; making a full-size Aran would be wonderful (after I finish my Central Park Hoodie).

I was known as The Musician of the Family most of my life, but Artist is what I've always though I was. My ability to express myself visually is just as vital to me as doing so musically—perhaps more so. Everyone in my family is or was visually talented (i.e. I was raised by a bunch of artists both pro and amateur, fine and mechanical) but I'm the only one with an ear or a voice for melody.

So I was labeled The Musician, and encouraged away from Art, I suspect, in order to differentiate me from the rest of the herd. Being a musician was great and everyone was happy with me in this role... until I hit my teens and discovered rock music—in particular, Steve Perry (Journey) and Ann Wilson (Heart). My parents' hearts were broken when I shunned the world of classical, jazz, opera or concert band music in favor of loud, wailing hard rock. They were set on seeing me graduate from college with a music degree and go on to sing opera (*snort*) or be a high school band director (*cough gag*). Nothing wrong with either path, but they truly are not the paths for me.

As luck would have it, I was a rock singer during the amazing 1980's and my coloratura soprano voice, so "perfectly suited" to opera, was also perfectly suited to the glam/arena rock of the day. For years I performed under a stage name. My last band was BonesGarage. Here—listen for yourself. Warning: this MP3 contains very hard rock, but has clean lyrics. There is other stuff on the site—if you feel like nosing around, feel free. I haven't updated the site in two years, though.

But I digress (and I ramble). At 43, in need of a new life, I'm convinced (or am I?) my days of impending rock stardom (ha ha) are long past me yet I struggle with whether to return to music (at age 43??? can I still be a rock star??? dude, wanna join a band?) versus moving into uncharted territory (Fine Arts/Fibers). But... does it really matter what the medium is? It's all art in my book. Creativity is the key.

Absolutely my favorite color (eggplant). It's purple; it's brownish; it's reddish; it's dark, rich, and earthy; it coordinates well with so many odd colors (brick red, teal, chocolate, olive, black, grey, gold, silver, copper); it looks damn good on me with my green-eyed brunette coloring.

Something I feel I've not been for many years—either to myself or the world—hence my biggest resolution of 2007 is to rectify that.

Over the years, I've developed a pretense under which I've operated. This is difficult to admit. I haven't been faking it, so to speak, but more and more I've been stifling my true nature, which is quite eccentric and unconventional, since leaving behind the world of rock and roll and the wonder that was the 80's glam rock scene. Bits and pieces of my true nature occasionally find their way to freedom—one can't help that—but I've been living behind a mask. I allowed Conformity and The Mundane to swallow me whole. I became Middle Aged and Middle of the Road.

I hate it. It's not ME.

Maybe we all do it to some extent, but for me it was extreme. The reasons WHY I've stifled myself for so long are revealing themselves in the wake of my parents' deaths. Whether due to unspoken expectations, fear of rejection, identity issues or all of the above and more, I have yet to know.

Regardless, the masks are coming off. I'm no longer going to be so damned polite all the time ;-). No longer will I try to please everyone else to the detriment of my own happiness. No longer will I desperately try to be what everyone else expects me to be or thinks is right for me or thinks I should be. The only person from whom I need validation is myself. I realize that I might piss off some people, offend others, or intrigue a few by doing this. From today onward, I no longer concern myself with that. My needs, aspirations, and self-expression come first. I'll do my best to be a decent, generous, caring, sensitive human being in public, but not if it gets in the way of being decent, generous, caring, and sensitive to my SELF.

Bonus (this MEME goes to 11)! Austin, Atlanta, Albuquerque (and Nashville, too):
Cities that I am fascinated with and may want to settle in. I've been through Atlanta and Albuquerque (I waved), spent ten days in Nashville, but have never visited Austin. Yet I feel myself drawn to Austin especially and I don't know why. Any ideas? I know very little about the city except that SXSW is hosted there every year.



At 2:37 PM, January 03, 2007, Blogger tiennieknits said...

Thanks for being so revealing! Love this post, are you going through the whole alphabet?

p.s. I love the "L" word too. My hubby likes it too for the obvious reasons, but also, we are live and let live people as long as it doesn't harm someone else.

At 9:59 PM, January 03, 2007, Blogger Jeanne said...

It wasn't too revealing, was it? Sometimes I run off at the mouth. Oh well! ;-)

Nope, only this one letter. If you'd like a letter, go see Julie at FrickKnits. Though... it might be fun to do a letter a month or something. We'll see!

At 2:29 PM, January 04, 2007, Blogger JulieFrick said...

Holy smokes, amazing! You really worked that A. Good job!

At 9:59 PM, January 09, 2007, Blogger Stick said...

Austin ROCKS - it is a COOL city. You'll love it!! if you wanna come to Atlanta, call me, I'll have you hear any time. And I feel the same way about Nashville. Never been there but it calls my name. If you wanna go there, call me, we'll meet in the middle!

Great blog. Good for you! Be honest to yourself, everyone else will love you for it.


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