Thursday, May 21, 2009

To making an ass out of oneself

Lucy's death didn't simply cause a change in me. It can be classified as more of a seismic shift. Whole continents in me are no longer flat.

But to say I am completely different is wrong. I am perhaps more me than I have ever been in my life. More vulnerable. More genuine. More honest. More appreciative. More flaky. More compassionate. More selfish. More. More. More.

Today, I began writing about this feeling of liberation in my soul. This creative freedom I feel. I feel so guilt-ridden even saying the word liberated. It's not that I feel at all liberated by Lucy's death. I feel absolutely fettered to this grief. It is the ACME 800 lb. Roadrunner anvil around my ankle. But inside me, creatively, I just feel a freedom from dignity and self-doubt. Like Lucy's death somehow gave me the permission to make an ass out of myself. And here I am, writing my every thought down, putting it up on the internet. An invitation to the world that says, "Here, welcome to the fucked up brain of a babylost mama. It's messy in here. Leave your shoes at the door. Bourbon is in the cerebellum." I, Angie, posted a ridiculous haiku for the world to read about coffee and weeping. I made an album of my silly paintings on Facebook. I just sent out another manuscript of my poetry for publication. Dignity, be damned.

I feel guilty because I should have been living my life more honestly before. I also feel wracked with guilt to say that anything positive came from my daughter's death. Because, no. NO. NO. NO. NO. No. There is no larger meaning from her death. There was nothing to learn from it. Even though for the last 35 years of my life I have met every hardship with the question, "What am I supposed to learn from this?" I refuse to do that with Lucy's death. Not this one, no. No. It is not a lesson learned. Fuck that. It is a tragedy. A senseless, fucked up, chaotic random occurrence in my belly.

But maybe this feeling of freedom is a gift from Lucy. Lucy gave me freedom of expression. She gave me a confidence in the authenticity of my feelings. Lucy gave me courage, not to go on without her, but she gave me courage to make a fool out of myself. It's not that I am more secure. It's not that I am more confident, but I just don't give a shit about being the best anymore, or even being mediocre. I don't care if the end result sucks, it has become the process. The hours of focusing on something other than "Lucy is dead."

It is also about that hypothetical question we all say to ourselves during random decisions, "What is the worst that can happen?" Right. That happened. Sending some poetry out, and getting rejected. A drop in the fucking bucket of heartbreak. Having someone say, "The heads on your paintings are not in scale." No shit. My daughter died, jackass, we aren't painting realism over here. We are just painting.

I once said to my friend Ken when he asked me if I wanted to go cliff diving. "No, I will make an ass out of myself bouncing off those rocks." And he said, "I guarantee that every person that spends their life doing something cool made an ass out of himself the first time he tried it." And I believe that.

I wish this was a prelude to saying, "Here I am, World. Kiss my ass." It just is the random thoughts of today, as I embark of Girl's Craft Night with my friend Betsy. I will be in a social situation with strangers, which is terrifying. I will driving at night, also not anything remotely close to what I like to do. I will be bringing my little weird idiosyncratic arts and crafts and doing them in front of normal women, some of whom are pregnant. I have a feeling some of you are reading this last paragraph and thinking I have completely lost my mind now. Uh, cuckoo.


  1. Oh, crap. That last part stopped me in my tracks. I couldn't do it. I couldn't expose myself to the naive-keeping-up-with-the-Jones's world of 'Girls Night Out', even if it involves crafts and not downing martinis.
    I hope, hope, hope that the evening went well for you, as I believe you will read this after you return home. My first night back into the trenches went horribly. I went to dinner with a group of women, many of them strangers or mere acquaintances - friends of friends. The trivial bullshit and sheer stupidity of conversation killed me.
    As far as the creative expression goes, keep going for it. You are brilliant. Didn't the very best artists do much of their best work during times of grief? Have you ever read C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed? I browsed it frequently shortly after I lost E. I know it spoke a lot of truth.
    Peace, friend.

  2. you capture so many of my own feelings and thoughts, just in a way that is so eloquent, i feel you put me to shame.
    love you angie. love this space.
    and always missing lucy with you.

  3. "A drop in the fucking bucket of heartbreak."
    yeah, that.
    I hope you rock the evening, because the world needs to know of your brilliance, you kick-ass mama of Lucy. xoxo

  4. i hope the night went well....i have too felt that creative "fuck-if-i-know-what-i'm-doing-but-i'm-gonna-do-it-anyway" feeling since lucy's death. you have put what i feel so perfectly. it's like we're twins...hehe.

  5. I had so very much fun last night doing crafts, having a glass of wine. Everyone was so super nice, even if I did get labeled the "Nerd" of craft girls. I blame the gnome project.

  6. "But maybe this feeling of freedom is a gift from Lucy. Lucy gave me freedom of expression."

    I like the idea of a gift, that makes sense to me.

    The paintings are great (of course, anyone else's approval should not matter). They are real and honest.

    Yea for you going out! It sounds like it went well. Those outing can be anxiety-ridden at the beginning, but the often turn out well. You are on your way to becoming the next Crafty Chica.

  7. You are so very lovable, and just plain awesome. But not flaky. Really. I think my favorite line in here was the one that included the word no one can wield as skillfully as thyself: jackass.

  8. "The hours of focusing on something other than "Lucy's dead"."

    I could have written that myself. Your words have so much raw truth, and is exactly how I feel now. I don't need anyones approval to do anything in my life anymore. All I need to know is that its right FOR ME. Missing Lucy, Baby Johnny, and all our angels today~~~

  9. I hope your arts and crafts night was tolerable.
    I am not nearly as creative as you, but I have felt similarly since Hannah's death. I just FEEL everything so much more, and despite how much some of the emotions hurt, it also makes me feel good, as if I am really living. HArd to put into words, but you did a hell of a job doing so.

  10. Do we get to see the gnome project!?I hope so.

    If "making an ass of oneself" is what you're up to on this blog then I wish to toast it with a glass of something crisp & white please ... because I love this space and you.

  11. I get it, I refuse to give people the "on the bright side-what I learned out of this tragedy momemts" but there are some very private things I am thankful the little guy gave me. Sounds like Lucy gave you a beautiful gift too. Much love.

  12. I have had similar feelings and I like the way you expressed them. For me, I feel that I've gained a new clarity and focus on what is important in life and what doesn't matter. I am more direct in my interactions with others and my marriage is strong--I view those as gifts from Baker. I simply can't let his existence be all about pain.


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