Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Wrap-up

It's easy for me to write rather than feel. I realize that

I have been taking stock of the last year and what ha

2010: WHAT A YEAR! 

I have no idea how to start this post really. I am all about reflection. That is all I do, reflect. When you cease action, you become the equal and opposite reaction of inaction, which is not action. Is that reflection? I don't know. I ponder my navel daily. On a bunch of blogs. In art. In writing. In status updates. Ironic really. I remember a time when I was younger when I just didn't really say no to an experience. I chalked it up to experience/writing fodder. I thought I would write when I get old and could no longer do.


Yeah. Then my daughter died. And I sat and wrote it. I sat and reflected it. I wrote the same thing again and again. I aged thirty years in the moment when I found out she was dead. I became an adult. A woman. A mother. The old crone. La Llorona. A writer. In the truest sense of the word, it was not part of me. The me that thinks. It was not conscious. I had a secondary birth of this writer.

I feel compelled to write now about this past year.  Last year at this same exact time, my last two friends were in the process of leaving our friendship. I mean the last two friends I wrote to, or had mostly regular contact with. I have friends from before Lucy's death. Well, two. Lots of Facebook friends, which is different, but no less important. When the last two friends left, I had to say. " I can no longer think that everyone abandoning me is about them--their personality defects. This is definitely about my personality defects." I guess me point is that at this exact point last year, I was at my grief bottom. No before-daughter-death friends left. Full of fear and anxiety. I vowed to focus on doing art and writing and surrounding myself with light and love.

My dear friend Jess tolerates my rants quite brilliantly. She reflects back. She listens. I was so upset in November about receiving a rather unpleasant email from a still life 365 person, making me feel unappreciated. I could go on and on about it, especially as the same person ended this year with rather unpleasant unpleasantness, but I won't. Anyway, Jess was wonderful about listening and wrote this:

I wonder if I can ask you to do something as a little experiment? If you're up for it, write a school report for yourself about this past year. What you've achieved, how you've behaved, what you did well and what you struggled with. Write it in the 3rd person, as in 'We are delighted with Angie's progress this year...' And after that give yourself some grades in whatever you like, but I would include a grade for effort somewhere in there.

I wrote the darkest, deepest, musty caves of my brain, the ones that say I fail at things, and I am not doing enough for anyone, and that I have failed everyone, including myself. But the truth is that is a fucking lie. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: Grief, Depression and Anger are fucking liars. They are like the Triumvirate of Liars.  Or the Axis of Lying Evils. And so, I think for my own sake, I need to make a list of the goals I set and accomplished for the year. Not in third person, or with grades, but it is a great idea. I'm so sad and down. This seems important.

Lose weight after the baby was born.
I lost 45 pounds. YES THE SAME 45 POUNDS AS BEFORE, but still, we are counting accomplishments. I am stymied on weight loss and frustrated beyond frustration, but whatever, maybe today I can just bask in the forty five pounds lost rather than the forty five pounds to go.

Publish a piece of art or poetry, craft or music, by a grieving parent or loved one, every day of the year.
I actually did that. On the blog still life 365. I actually worked every day come surgery, hell, new baby or high water. And I did it, mostly, while smiling. Hundreds of hours surrounded by art.

Get published.
Why, an essay I wrote came out in a book called They Were Still Born. You can order it and write a review if you are so inclined.

Be Creative Every Day.
I did something arty or writey every fucking day, son. Here is the blog that shows a pathetically small piece of that year.

Write a Novel in a Month.
What?! A novel in a month. Call me crazy. Crazy like a fox. I will post a snippet, I promise.Maybe on my birthday?

Make a painting every day for November for Art Every Day Month.
I even made a book and movie out of that project.

Be a good mother and wife.
I did my best, but I have pretty amazing children who laugh more than cry. Here is a picture of them wrestling on my bed with a cell phone (don't judge.)

Participate and complete the Sketchbook Project.
I also made a movie of that too.

Be kind and sometimes extraordinary.

I kind of feel like I am forgetting something...oh, right, I had a baby. My husband had surgery. My daughter somehow learned how to say please and thank you and write her name and remember the words to the Earth is Our Mother. I also read about a gazillion books, dressed up like Frida Kahlo, read out loud in front of people, cook a meal everyday and cried buckets of tears. Next year, my only goal is to be more loving towards myself and forgive my body.

Happy New Year, my dear beloved friends. You have made me a better person. Thank you.


  1. So kind, and so extraordinary, Angie. And the rest of that list is pretty damn impressive as well.

    I am so lucky to call you friend. I am so grateful you are in my world. I hate that my world had to collide into yours with the events of My Suckiest Year Ever but, man, oh man, am I lucky that you were there, seemingly light years ahead of me, holding a flashlight, a machete, and a hand out to me as I wind my way through the sewers of grief.


  2. That's an impressive year. Wishing you wonderful things for 2011.


  3. Angie, you did great, really bloody great. I hope this coming year is what you deserve. Thank you for being there, and for sharing, and especially for Still Life 365, you should be very very proud of that. x

  4. Wow... what a creative year. I am thankful you decided on creating sl365 and share it with all of us. Your presence, your work has given me a lot of good, positive, healing moments this year. Thanks for that.
    I love your paintings, your books.... and it was soothing to hear your voice.

    May 2011 bring all the good things. And then some.

  5. Woo-hooooo! I think that's a pretty extraordinary year. Thank you for all that you do for the rest of us staggering around the world of loss and grief. Best for you, Sam, and those precious kiddos in 2011.

  6. That is a damned impressive list of accomplishments. And those two kids are pretty darned cute too. ; ) All the best in the new year!

  7. I am quite impressed with all you have done this year.

    And I love that picture of Bea and Thor and the cell phone. :)

  8. Dear Angie, I love what Sarah wrote here:

    ...holding a flashlight, a machete, and a hand out to me as I wind my way through the sewers of grief.

    Look at all that you've created this year! Still Life 365 - what an amazing effort, and look at the beauty you've pulled together.

    Angie, I am so honored to call you a friend. So thankful to have had the chance to spend time with you. Among my goals for 2011 will be to find a space to drink martinis together, and laugh, and maybe listen to some mogwai. C'mon 2011. Bring it.

  9. Angie, reading about your year these past 12 months has made my hellish year so much more bearable. Thank you for sharing the good, bad and sad of it all, and showing those of us coming up behind you a way forward.

    Happy New Year to your and the famz.

  10. WOW! Angie- what an awesome post-the movies are spectacular and your adventures for the last year- I sit in awe of. I have been behind in -oh...everything- and have looked forward to catching up and especially visiting your inspiring space. This space and your posts are such a gift to so many for so many different reasons- I would add to your list for the year the actions of giving, with such a huge, open heart. Thank you babe- you help me see the light and love.
    I wish you, Sam, Bea and Thor the very best in 2011.
    Much love and peace,

  11. Perhaps I should make a list for myself.... I'd like to remember the good things of this year and let go of the bad.

    And do be kind to yourself next year ~ you deserve it. I hope to move more - it sure feels good!

    Are you still on the elimination diet?

  12. You are an amazing person, Angie. I am honored to know you. Happy New Year my friend. (((hugs)))

  13. Thats a wrap. Your achievements beautifully reflect your love and your commitment and I say that you have lived 2010 with courage, thanks for sharing life with us.

    I am glad you have someone to share water with in 2011.

  14. I think you did great. Bloody great. I'd give you an A+ for sure.


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