Posted by: jeanne | October 5, 2008

being too busy to write makes me tired

so i haven’t kept up with any of my blogs, really. i’ve been too tired. since march i’ve been chronically fatigued, and now i’ve been finding myself depressed, and things just haven’t been getting done.

it’s partly a seasonal course-change thing, and it’s partly that i just don’t have the energy to get thru the list of things i do to be me, and don’t care at the moment. i’m relieved to be able to do anything at all of my work, but there’s not much energy in this kind of relief.

the days speed by, and i often find myself asking jim if we didn’t just get out of bed a few minutes ago. and then i’ll find both of us awake at 3:27 am. so we’ll sit and read, or some other amusement.

but i’ve been turned down for disability, and now i have to appeal, and so now i have to face, describe, witness to and generally act the opposite of how i grew up, which is to shoulder the burden you were dealt, buck up, take it, make the best of it, don’t complain, and don’t quit.

this is depressing.

to get disability, i’m going to have to turn into the whiny victim and admit that yes i’m in constant pain and no i amn’t the happy-go-lucky person you see blabbering away in front of you, but the shy reclusive shutin that doesn’t have the energy to do any productive work at all.

i don’t call sitting staring at some webpage to be productive. sleeping isn’t generally viewed as productive. tho god knows i can’t stand to sleep all day when there’s so much of my work still to be done before i lay down and die, and by god i’m still coming up with new and interesting things to work on.

but it wears me out.

i hate to complain. i hate to ask for things. i hate whining and wanting people to feel sorry for me. i’m not reluctant, however, to claim special privelege at every turn. i’ve always been that way. i’ve always been katherine helpburn in the face of adversity – exit stage left crying, but make sure everyone’s watching you sashay.

it’s a beautiful day. it’s been a glorious summer in atlanta, but i’d be just as happy if it were roasing and drought- fried. because it’s a day when i’m alive to walk the dogs and enjoy doing exactly and only what i want to. and what i want to do is love, and create, and care for, and share, and excite, and eat. i love to eat. food.

on my home planet, it’s a well known fact that you choose your parents. you choose the events and circumstances of your life, and you do this wth the expert advice of both god and your team of guardian angels.

but that’s not my point.

i used to think that i was dragged kicking and screaming into my current life. i hated my life. i hated the things i was wasting my life on, i hated the fact that everything i did was done because, and there was no real because, just a string of excuses (lack of opportunity, debt, education, circumstance, right-wing conspiracies, debt). and none of the excuses were things i could believe in anymore. getting rich wasn’t a good reason to have a job, because you didn’t get rich, you got into debt. doing the highest status job you could get wasn’t cracked for making soup because you had to work too long and hard and never had time to enjoy the money. doing what you love usually resulted in less money, so the common wisdom was to abandon making yourself happy and go for the big illusory bucks and an early stroke.

and my little voice would be screaming.

so i didn’t appreciate being alive, being sent to this backwards, contentious planet, to live with a bunch of barely out of the trees tribes that were still lobbing missiles at one another, i hated being human.

for awhile i came to full consciousness as an alien. that’s another story.

but then i started going to a therapist who used hypnotism, past life regression, timeline therapy, and all sort of other neat tricks to let me get inside and figure things out for myself.

and i learned, when i visited myself before i came into this current life, that i wasn’t at all reluctant. they called for volunteers for this life, and i was jumping up and down and screaming, my hands in the air. take me, i want a body, i want a life, please, eating, and walking in the breeze, and coming out of sleep, ooh pick me.

lately, never mind that i’m dying, i seem to be changing inside. i’ve noticed, without any conscious decision being made, that i’ve stopped wearing so much black. i’m no longer very conscious of my missing breast at all in public, and when i am i just shrug it off (it used to make me achingly embarrassed to be seen in public with my monster disfigurement). i’ve been making my own clothes, and dyeing them strong colors, and i’ve even gotten inspired to start making waist cinchers, basic corsets. this from an earth mother who hasn’t worn a bra in over 30 years and wouldn’t be caught dead in makeup. a girdle? no, a dark blue silk wide lace-up belt to wear so everyone can see your beautiful waist.

if you know me, this isn’t something you’d expect. other things are changed, also, and as long as i can devote most of my available time to creating things, then i won’t be wasting it.

other changes include a friend who wants to shop my prints and fabric creations around for me so i don’t have to visit stores, a retail destination for my corsets and scarves.

and maybe the most important change of all – the houseguest who wouldn’t leave has left. he foolishly decided that he could save on the daily gasoline bill and be able to sleep 1.5 hours longer if he moved in with his baby mama out in marietta who doesn’t want to give up the drug addict boyfriend but is more than willing to let our houseguest pay her rent because she got fired from her pest-control job.

as short a time as it might work out with her, he’s gone from us. he moved in with her, okay he stayed the night a few nights just to see if it would work, and then he came back here to do laundry and went back out for a nother few nights, and when he came by to pick up his paycheck yesterday and i asked him when he was going to take his things so i could have my studio back, he replied that he thought he’d be ready to leave for good in another couple of weeks. i told him that i would maybe put some of things in bags.

this morning i went down there and put all his things in bags, including the trash, and put everything into the tub in the bathroom. then i swept all traces of him out of the studio and burned my good incense and shooed his negative vibes out.

and i’m totally exhausted, especially after having tried to move the futon cushion onto the rocking chair. i’m finding that i can’t lift anything heavy anymore, my strength just fails me and i’m standing there tugging like an old woman, my fingers slipping off. but i staggered it to the chair and swept, and only kept the matchbooks and the coins on the floor.

he will be chagrinned indeed when he stops back by next friday. he might even complain. but he has no rights here, and he’s abused jim’s kindness and my patience by staying for half a year. by then i will have everything washed, the tobacco film gone, the studio rearranged completely (i discovered that i don’t want to put the couch anywhere near where the houseguest’s residual vibes lurk, so it’s going against the wall or the window, and the space in front of the hearth will be clear of grummies for a season.

because he stayed for six months, i came naturally around to the end of my artist’s block. i haven’t painted a painting except for on demand for over two years, since i got really heavily into the fabric work.

but now, and this is a change, i want to do some sort of painting that will actually sell, and without me having to do any of the work to sell it. a gallery. jim has a gallery, they take a certain kind of work. they like super-sharp realism or super casual figures with the heads cut off. i’ve way given up super detailed anything, and instead love the play of color, so i want to concentrate on some series of still lives or interiors with an iconography of objects.

in this case, the iconography is monotonous. i’m going to be painting rocking chairs.

and i’m going to start with the one in my studio. it’ll be the first painting i do after i’ve got my pallette scraped and everything shining and dust-free.

how exciting.

my health, what can i say? something’s wrong, and in my depression i know i’ve got cancer growing somewhere in my body even as i type these words. but test after test extensively all over my body five different ways shows nothing at all. an aorta at the upper limits of normal, gastritis and diverticulosis. not what anybody would consider disabled.

so round two. if it’s something, i will find it. mental evaluation is next, and i get to go to a bone doctor to discuss why my back always hurts. now that i’ve been denied for social security, i’m more depressed than ever. a negative feedback loop. it makes me quite disabled.


anyway, stay tuned, because i’m likely to keep documenting my fabric work, even if i can’t get it together enough to rant, or even transcribe essays from a mostly-already-written book. i am going to participate in 50,000 words of nanowrimo this november. i’m going to finish my story about a mom and her pregnant daughter. if that concentration of writing doesn’t put me in a coma, i might survive.

and then everyone and their relatives will be coming to the house for xgiving, and i’ll cook for 3 days and use the dishwasher for the first time since the dinner party for 9 i had last night.

and then i’ll sleep for a week. unless i get inspired with something to make.


  1. I am sorry you have cancer. It is hard to have any chronic illness or cancer. I hope that things get better for you; that you paint more often, and that you are inspired by new things around you.

    Creativity Coach for artists, wrtiers, and disabled people.

  2. Hey Jeanne:

    I looked every day and hoped that I would hear from you again. Glad to see you back.

    It is so hard to be sick and not know what it is. I am glad about the tests and that they show that you are okay, on the otherhand this damn cancer is well known to play hide and seek.

    Loved the story of the houseguest. Glad that he is gone, be careful that at thanksgiving he doesn’t try to get back in permanently.

    Take care Jeanne and just remember to breathe. You are going to make it and your art and colourful clothes sound exciting.

    Renee Khan

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