Tag Archives: Art

Mama…

“Mama look at my creation!” holding it on a tray so it does not break.

A tired but still beautiful woman wanders around the corner and stoops dead in her tracks.  Her eyes trained on me. “What did you do?”

“I made it for you. I couldn’t find correct supplies so I just used anything I could find.” Like the toaster, electric wires from my lamp, my eyes glasses, lots of duct tape and paperclips, a bicycle wheel, and other things.

No words or even a noise comes out of my mom. She just stands there stilled and speechless. Her left hand travels to her mouth to keep whatever she was about to say inside.

“Do you like it mama? I made it especially for you.” I am guessing my smile would say it all, I could feel it spread from one ear to the next.

“……..” something came out of my mother’s covered mouth but I couldn’t quite catch it.

“What, Mama?……”

“GO TO YOUR ROOM!” She screamed at me.

She screamed at me…I ran. I didn’t stop until I reached my room. It was filled with the remainder parts and scrapes. All my failed attempts and miscalculations. There were scorch marks on the carpet where it had exploded when I turned it on.

“I don’t understand Mama.” I whisper to myself, because there was no one left to hear me. “I just wanted to help her remember.” I curl up onto my bed, hiding myself in the corner, squeezing a pillow as if it would explode. I slept with tears pouring from my eyes, and my heart slowly breaking into smaller pieces.

Headache is the first thing I notice. It is burning my brain and squeezing every last drop of energy out of me. “Mama…” is my second thought.

It must be nighttime or early morning, because darkness is waiting outside. I float out of my blankets and sit on the edge of my bed listening to the sounds around me. “Can I go get some water? Or do I stay here?” The kitchen is on the opposite side of the house. I would have to walk past my mama’s room, and our floors reveal everything and everyone. “I’ll take my chances,” standing up tall and determined.

As I open my door it squeaks just a moment. But I know I can open it all the way because I fixed that last year with dish soap. The floor boards outside my room are now covered with a small layer of rocks, which I did because it stops them from squeaking.

As I walk down the hallway I see all the small inventions I have made to make our lives easier. All of the objects are just of old appliances wired together to help my mom with chores. An electric broom and mop, a window washer, a clothes folder, a tiny robot to do the yard work… mental note…” make robot slightly bigger to push lawn mower.”

My mama’s door is next. I was shut, but not slammed. When Mama slams it new cracks show over the doorframe. I recently made the tiny robot paint the door. It is now a beautiful yellow with small flowers covering it. I wanted Mama to feel happy to enter this room.

I put my ear gently to the door to listen for any noise of crying…nothing…she must be sleeping.  I hate hearing my mother cry herself to sleep. That’s why I made what I did. I wanted her to be happy again.

Now just past te living room and onto the kitchen. I round the corner and….

“Mama…” I whisper so softly that she must not have heard me.

There was my beautiful mama. Perched on the couch, hunched over watching something. I wandered around slowly not to disturb her of frighten her…to see what she was seeing…that’s…

“Mama…” I say louder so she can hear me this time.

Her body snaps up, and instantly her hand moves to brush away her tears. “Yes, baby?”

“Why are you crying? Do you hate it?” tears welling up inside me. Trying to break past the barricade in my eyes.

She opens her arms to me, asking me to climb into her embrace.

I do. I fit my body in the space for me. I nuzzled down into her arm and squeeze it ever so slightly to know she is still there.

“No, honey. I love it. I am sorry for yelling at you before. Before today, it just seemed like you were trying to push me to move on and forget. I didn’t really see what you gave me this time. I just saw another invention to help me forget, so I released all my anger and frustration onto you. After you ran I broke down and cried myself into a sadden sleep right there outside on the cobblestone path. I woke to darkness engulfing me and the small device still spinning and singing that happy tune.” She began petting me and humming the tune which I gave her.

“Mama, can I play it again?” sitting up into her lap, staring into her eyes. “Can I watch it with you?”

My beautiful mama stared back into my eyes, “Yes, baby. I want to remember with you.”

For a second I scramble around the room for an extension cord. I pull the thing in and center it onto the small coffee table. I move back to my mama, climb back into her embrace, then I lean back to the table and flip the switch.

I light bulb comes to life. I painted it yellow to make everything shimmer. The toaster pops and the bicycle wheel stands into existence. The music starts to play and the wheel turns moving the pictures around. Just like a Ferris wheel my invention turn exposing our past. The first picture holds our family: Mama, Dad, Sister, Brother…Me. We are all sitting and laughing.  The next, brother’s 18th birthday; following, Mama and Daddy’s wedding; then our water fight… Mama was taking the picture; after that one, I made a collage of our baby photos: Katie, Josiah, and Me; next our first camping trip…

I hung as many photos as I could on that bicycle wheel, but I ran out of duct tape and paperclips. I programmed it so that it would continue to spin until the song ended. The song I chose was mama’s favorite song. It was her wedding song, and in the past, our go to song to serenade her into sweet embarrassment.

I never wanted mama to forget them. I just wanted to be enough for her to keep living. I wanted to fill the gaps of her life that she hadn’t had enough energy for. I wanted to make her life simpler so she would smile again. I wanted her to see me and not look at me like I was the only one to survive the accident. I wanted my mama back…

“Mama, is this okay? Is this invention allowed…” I say into her arm.

“Yes, baby. This invention is the best one ever!” she sighs into my hair and pulls me closer. “Honey, you need to know…” as she pulls me back and stares into my eyes. Her tears are falling and spilling off of her face. “Part if the reason I never appreciated your other inventions was because they reminded me of your father. He would always discuss wacky or ridiculous ideas and always say he would someday create them. When I look at you I see all of them. Your father’s talent. Your sister’s beauty. Your brother’s wit. And your creative imagination. I am proud of you.”

I scramble out of her embrace and dash to my room.

“Honey…?”

I come back holding a tattered notebook. I produce it from my embrace. This is the secret I never wanted to reveal. “This was Daddy’s. I took it when he…when he…I took it…” head lowering, not wanting to see her reaction.

I look up and tears are spilling down her face. But a smile is creeping across it too. Her eyes come alive and her arms embrace the book into a hug. Her beautiful body shakes from the tears, but this time they are happy ones. She looks up at me and…

“Thank you, my baby girl. You have given me the best part of him back. I never knew he was remembering every one of these inventions. Some were jokes, some were love, so were fights, some were arguments, some were special, some were secret…I have all my memories done in this journal, and in this Ferris wheel of memories.

She pulls me again into an embrace. She leaves the journal and wheel on that small coffee table. We cry together and stay there until light comes through. My mama is back. She came back to me.

Twenty years have passed, and I am thirty-two years old today. Our house seems so empty. I am there to pack up anything I want and take it with me to my home. The house seems so bare without her here.

Mama is gone, she is with Daddy and Katie and Josiah. I love this place, but I couldn’t be here without them too. Wandering through the house I see all the inventions I made and how they sparkle even with the layers of dust on them. The rocks outside my room and scattered across the floor. Mama’ door is a darker shade of yellow, but the flowers seem just as bright. The tiny robot is at the kitchen sink; frozen in time, probably because the batteries wore off.

The living room…The couch still sits there. Just a small layer of dust covers it. The coffee table still stands firm. I will take this with me. But what I was searching for was…that…there off in a glass case sits the little Ferris wheel. However, this time there are more pictures. Half of the wheel is the past and the other half is me and Mama. Those eighteen years were the best days of my life with her. Next to that glass case is the journal of my parent’s love. I looks the same as the day I gave it to her. Tattered and worn, but loved. And the title still shows on the leather cover.

When I discovered this journal in my Dad’s workplace after the accident I assumed it was for me. He always discussed leaving a journal for his girl, so that she could create or just remember the memories. Thinking back, I realize it was for her. But the lettering was still clear and crisp on that leather cover, as the day I found it in his desk.  It read, “Ellie” which is me, but also Mama.

World’s Best Widget

Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day I decided to buy all of my siblings and mother flowers. I didn’t just want to get the girls flowers , but also my brothers. They deserve some love too. I actually walked from church all the way to the store to purchase flowers for everyone sneakily.

After about a 30 min walk I reached the store and began to ponder what I wanted to give them.  I knew tulips for my mother. Tulips have a calming humor about them. They seem to be content with themselves and their petals embrace themselves for a warming hug. Which is what you receive always when you hug my mother. She loves tulips! So this year I bought her a potted plant, so that afterwards she could plant them and have them every year after. (However, I will most likely be planting them though. The yard work is now my domain. Mwahahaha!)

Next was my younger brother. He is an orchid type of person. I chose a white and purple striped one. It gives off a hyper active vibe, but also a classic grace. My brother is one who is always moving and never likes to be still to long, but he sometimes will pause and take in the beauty and stillness around him.  I do see him like this orchid, because he appreciates beautiful things.

After younger bro was older bro. It was more difficult to pick out a flower to represent him, because I don’t know what he would like. However, I saw an orchid that was different and one of a kind (to me at least) and I see my brother like that. Proud of who he is and doesn’t really care what others think. He will be what he wants, when he wants to be. So I choose this soft yellow one with splotches of purple within each center. It was beautiful in its own way.

Next was oldest sister. I knew what I wanted to get her, but I had to find it. Finally found it, it was lilies. But these lilies had a pink hue to them. They almost seemed to be smiling back at your own smile. My sister has a pink hue in he cheeks when she smiles while laughing. Pink lilies are beautiful and sweet, and they bring a lighter side to life. Showing beauty in all things, even if they are simple.

Next is other older sister. I also had trouble deciding what flower she was. She loves roses, but also daisies. She loves interesting plants, but then also the traditional ones. She likes a little bit of everything all at once, but in a contained way. So I decided on a bouquet of flowers of different types, but since it is a bouquet it is complete. She is like a motionless chaos. She is the opposite of my younger brother.  She likes to be still, but she can do many things at once. The bouquet had purple daisies, Gerber daisies,  a red rose, a snap dragon, and lilies. A little bit of everything, creating a beautiful arrangement, just like my sister.

I did not purchase myself flowers, because I enjoy giving them. That was part of my present to myself. Seeing their smiles grow on their faces, because I love them unconditionally and wholeheartedly. However, I decided to today that I would continue to work in the yard. So in a way my mother gave me flowers as well. Because when I went to Home Depot to get rocks I got flowers to plant in the side yard I have been working in.  The gift that my mom gave me was exactly what I wanted. A way to bring color and beauty into the place I have been working.

Vday

And in a way these flowers will grow over time and become more and more beautiful. Just like my family. Planting these flowers on Valentine’s Day was a beautiful gift all in itself. Thank you mom for this great gift. When I see these flowers I will think of you and my siblings. And how I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Vday 4

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Why Me?

“Hey Mama!” I yell from my chair knowing that, that was the stupidest thing you can do to a hard working mom.

“What Honey? I am busy at the moment.” An exhausted voice exits the hallway to my left. “If you come to me I can help you.”

“Nevermind!” I yell back, because I can hear the strain in her voice. She must be really busy with her task that I don’t want to burden her any more.

Looking back down at my page of homework I ponder how I am going to complete this assignment. Our teacher wants us to explore our names. She wants us to discover why we are the way we are. But why did it have to be six pages long…that just seems ridiculous. You know how when you stare at a pot waiting for it to boil; I feel like that as I stare at this paper. Maybe magically it will be finished.

“Okay Honey, what’s the problem,” mom sits right down next to me. Her eyes are tired and her body hunches over itself, collapsing but still sitting tall. “You’ve been staring at this paper for 15 minutes with a very ugly face.”

I jokingly glare at her.

“I am sorry, but it is true,” she says with a small smirk across her mouth. “I needed a break from the laundry. Maybe your assignment is more interesting.”

“We have to write about ‘Why we are the way we are’.”

“Hmmm…. well you are tall because of your father. You have brown hair because of me. You have hazel eyes because of your grandfather. You have graceful hands because of your grandmother. And you are loud and annoying because of your siblings. Does this help?” Her smile growing with every statement.

“Mom…” jokingly I throw my pencil at her, but she avoids it and is clashes onto the floor. I am not loud or annoying…not really… “But yes, things like that help. But I think another part is towards my qualities.”

“Hmm…well one is… you are extremely competitive. I believe this is because this family likes to be the best of the best. However, for you I think, you truly believe you must earn everything you want in life. You don’t let people win, because they must want it for themselves. You don’t give up too easily, you try until you can’t physically move. I think you might get this from my side of the family. All of my brothers were extremely competitive and still are to this day.” Her eyes mist as her mind wanders back into her childhood…or somewhere which I was never a part of.

“This is great stuff mom. I do see myself as you describe me, but I always saw my competitive side as a weakness…in a way. People don’t like to lose. They tend to not like getting beat or pushed to their limits.  To me I am too competitive sometimes…” I do feel this way a lot. Sometimes friends leave me because I want to do something to the fullest and they just want to breeze through it.

“It is a strength Honey.  And don’t you ever forget it or change for someone. People who understand you know you have them ahead of yourself. You want them to succeed and accomplish it alone so they can be more confident within themselves.  You do what you do because you care.”

Tears are coming…but I can’t cry now. I kiss her on the cheek and then ask the next question. “A big thing is our names. Some people believe that our history behind our names will give a reason to why we are the way we are. Why did you give me my name?”

“Hmmm…. well Jane was for a past relative. Also I have grown to love the name Jane. It flows off your tongue as people call you. You should add in your paper the meanings of your names. Jane means: God is Gracious. Which is true to me, because I have you. Your last name is, of course your father’s name. It means: Peace Ruler.”

“And my other name?”

“Well Emily means: To strive, to excel, or rival. Which fits you perfectly.” She embraces me into a loving hug.

“Thank you, Mama. But why did you choose Emily?” squeezing her right back.

“Actually…I chose Emily because I liked the name. It has no family ties or relations to our ancestors. I guess God knew that the child inside me was an Emily, and he might have guided me to give you this name. You are forever my darling Emily.”

One last squeeze, and then the words flowed from my mind, to the pen, to the paper. A watched paper will not complete itself. Sometimes words from another can help you succeed, but from the beginning you must want it too.

Say Your Name

A Story: Part 7

A Story: Part 6

“Janey….Janey” snickering sound travels to the foreground of my head.

My eyes flutter open. I am sitting once again on the soft smooth material, but this time it is Danny’s blanket. The wind around me is chilled and biting at my skin.  Nothing about this beach scene is like before. My muscles all ache and my legs and arms feel like sandpaper against gravel.  The material is only helping keep the wind off my bare flesh.

There is no beautiful sunset; there is a musky dark hue of clouds engulfing the beach. The ocean looks like it might purposefully cascade along the coast in hopes of drowning me in its current. I feel afraid to be here; every time before, I felt peaceful and calm, but this time I am on edge and terrified.

I can’t remember anything that happened or didn’t happen. Always when I dream of this place I wake up back in my prison room. It now is a prison room, because it seems like I will never be able to leave.  Or that I am forever doomed to dreamless nightmares.

“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” a low voice mixes into the crashing waves.

“Who is that? Show yourself?” I have no knowledge of where the voice is coming from. No idea if it is even true.

“Yes, Janey. I am real, and for some glorious reason I am here with you.” And David materializes out of the smog and into view.

“Dav..id?” words escape me. How is he here. I…I…ended him…

“Yes, Janey, you did end me. But I believe I have been given a great chance. Every sleepless nights I have been trapped in your head I have wished to be given a chance to express my feelings in person to you…” his last word lingers in stillness.

“But…how? And huh?” I speak these pitiful words to him, but then in my head questions keep swirling. “How can he hear my thoughts? How is he here? Is he a figment of my imagination?” Unconcerned about my surroundings I do not notice his quick action, as he wraps his long real fingers around my neck and squeezes for his heart’s desires.

“I am real! I am here with you! And now I can end you just like you ended me!” His hands tighten with every sentence.

His hands are strong. He is here in my dream world. I am no longer safe anywhere. His hands tighten more and I have no energy to fight back. My subconscious wounds have constricted me to just accept this fate and be ended.

He feels my body go limp and he shoves me to the ground.  His small body towers over mine digging my back into the blanket deeper into the sand. His face is all contorted, into a wicked, wicked smile.

“How can he hate me so much…How…c..o…” no more thoughts come to mind as I leave this world staring at the stars. At least I was able to die under stars even if they are truly fake. My last thought…”goodbye…”

“Hello? Hey wake up!”

Why can’t I die in peace. Why must there be always someone trying to pull me back into this pointless world…I just want to die.

“HEY! Snap out of it! Wake up!”

A slicing pain develops across my cheek. It burns! My eyes jolt open…

I only see black. Everything is black, but it seems lighter.

“Good…you are alive…” a low mumble twists into the darkness. “Hey, she is awake.”

What? The air around me turns to the color of a dark brown. The same as Danny’s blanket…Danny… Danny’s face comes to my mind and I know he is gone. Tears well-up in my eyes but do not escape because I have no energy to cry. “Why can’t this just be over,” maybe my thought will come true…

Still all I see is a dark brown color. I can now smell and hint of blood and smoke…am I to be eaten…is that my fate…

“Look at her neck. How did she get those bruises…? She didn’t have them earlier…” voices keep pouring into my mind.

What is real…what is fake…what..is…r..e..a..l…

And then I’m gone.

Let’s Not…

“You knew you had to do this. It was listed in your job description,” she said plainly and actually quite harshly.

“Shut up. I know it was, but I was hoping I could take myself out of having to in the end. I was hoping I could dump all of my part onto my assistant. That’s what he is for!…to do the things I don’t want to, without hesitation,” than with an afterthought I knew that is ridiculous and untrue…

“You know that’s not what…”

“I know, I just thought the same thing. But I was just speaking it hoping it would magically come true.”

“So, have you planned out what you are gonna do? Or are you just going to wing it?” she said with a hint of humor. Probably because she knows me so well.

“Are you kidding me. I have prepared several different things to say, and I have many flash cards with reminders so I don’t look like an idiot up there. I am jealous though that my assistant will be sitting in the audience just smiling up at me making me feel more uncomfortable. I know he does that just because I hate it.”

“Oh, I know he does. He tells me he sits front a center just to humiliate you.  He also says that when you are extremely nervous you turn the color of a ripe tomato. I wish I could see it, because that is actually my favorite color!” She says with a loud chuckle.

“Well, you are not allowed to come. I already am nervous enough. You could just have drinks with me afterwards to drink away my misery and shame.”

“I am all for that job, and the first round is on me!”

“Thank you.” Gathering up my belongings, bracing myself to stand up. “Well, here I go to make a complete fool out of myself. It wouldn’t be so bad, except their parents will also be in the audience. So they will be staring at me, with their judgement filled eyes, and will be debating if I am suited to coach their children.”

“You made your athletes way faster than the year before. They should only be proud of you, because some of those kids might swim in college. Just be brave, and believe in yourself.”

“Thanks Sis. See ya in about two hours for that drink.” I stand up and exit.

“And Cut!” the director calls.

 

Naked with Black Socks

 

Whom Do You Hear?

Can’t Stand Me

The lights are blaring into my mind, and the chattering of people engulfs my essence.  There is just an audience of strangers ready to judge and comment on my performance. “Why am I doing this?” I question my reasoning’s as I stand behind this curtain about to take the stage. The curtain hides my figure and my fears. I have never wanted to be a singer; I have always been the girl who just quietly hums to herself. In my head I sound like this musical angel and there are no cracks or squeaks in my voice; I just hear soft, smooth, lyrics pour from my mouth without much thought.

The curtain is a stiff material and smells of alcohol, grease, and an unmentionable. I step away from the curtain, but then I feel revealed and less safe.  Because if the moment came that the curtain would rise I could clutch onto it and disappear into the darkness above. But I stand there, cowering behind the curtain, almost center stage, waiting for…

“Next up we have, Emily2Jane! Clap for her it is her first time here!” Thunderous applause erupts after his last syllable.

My hands are sweating and I drop the mike. The echoing sound causes my head to pound and ache. I snatch it up and the assistant off to the right gives me questioning look of, “Are you okay? You can give this up now if you still want to.”

I ponder this choice. Give up…that is not in my vocabulary. New Year’s resolution was to try and be courageous no matter the result. Although, if I leave now I could still keep this as a daydream…No do this for yourself. I answer with a firm shake of my head and the assistant cues the curtain to be raised.

Again I am flooded with light. I can see no faces. That makes this bearable, until the light dances off to my side and I see every face staring at me. The machine to my left brightens and the music begins to play.  My chance is here and everyone is waiting. I pull the microphone to my mouth and…squeak! I stop dead not wanting to continue. “I already accomplished my fear. I stood in front of an audience and put myself on the chopping block.  Can this be enough?” Looking back to the assistant. He is bright red but he circles his hand, telling me to continue.

I continue, but it is awful the whole way. I cannot hear my own voice, but I imagine it is what everyone usually experiences.  My throat is dry and weak with nerves as I continue; I imagine I must sound like I am just mumbling the words off as they appear on the screen. Nerves are not a fun thing to have; they make everything twice or three times as bad.

The song ends and I hear nothing. I want to run off the stage and through the door into my quiet life. But of course, I freeze with fear and my feet are glued to the center part of the stage.

“Well that was great, wasn’t it?” the announcer tries to diffuse the silence. If we were outside you would hear crickets. Nothing. Silence. And every eyes still trained on me. Mouths gaping open with wide eyes. My hands are sweating again. I feel the microphone slipping and I clench its handle tightly spraying sweat over my knuckles. I can hear a mumbled voice speaking, must be the announcer, only my heart beat is penetrating the silence. A hand opens, pointing off stage, trying to lead me out the right side back behind the curtain. Still there is silence. I reach the curtain and there is a small clap. It is slow and steady; then another clap joins in. Until the audience is clapping in unison. I stand halfway behind the curtain and half on stage. I thank them with tearful eyes and a small reassuring nod and exit to my right.

I have no idea if they clapped because they liked me or because I was brave. I have no recollection of my performance and I couldn’t describe it to you now. I only slightly remember the squeaking and this could have been my imagination. I am drenched in sweat and smell terrible. I need a bath and a large bowl of chocolate ice cream to help me recover. I move towards the exit and many hands congratulate me with a small pat on my back. I wish they wouldn’t because I can feel the sweat dripping off of me. I reach the coat rack and move towards the exit. The announcer calls back, “Come again, Emily2Jane!” and I leave.

My Decision

shadow runner

“Shadow Runner” photographed by Emily Jane (Taken 12/27/15)

I have discovered that my personality of being super competitive is a great addition to my essence. The fact that my athletics has given me the output to express and act on my instincts and skills have helped me develop who I am. Athletics has always been there for me to participate and achieve the goals I set for myself. And that mindset has helped me in my future. When I swam competitively I would pressure myself and I would put all of myself in a practice and push past my breaking point. I would strain my body to accomplish the believed impossible and succeed in anything I wished to attempt, but I would leave that pool with the knowledge that I completed what I set out to do. Even in the now I venture towards every athletic encounter and I drive myself to be better than the last time I tried. (Even if like today, the last time was 6 months ago.) I never back down and I fight through the pain to my goal I set for myself beforehand. I don’t regret the sore muscles, the loss of breath, or the weakness of my legs. I see this pain as accomplishment. It is not in my nature to start off easy. I am someone who pushes through the grief and suffering in search of the light.

At this point in my life I have been wandering through without a clear path of what I want to accomplish. I have not swam competitively in 3 years due to an injury and I feel lost. However, my competitive edge has pushed me through my endless days in search of a dream that most people attempt to reach and end up only gaining it after death. Every day for the past year I have told people that I am undecided in what and who I am. However, this was just a lie to them and myself. I know who I want to be and what I want to do. I want and am an artist.

All of my siblings have set goals and paths that will deem them successful futures. Of course I feel inadequate and I have labeled myself as the lesser of my siblings. I feel less professional in my field of which I want to pursue, but I am not my siblings.  I could probably drop all I want and pursue a career that would deem me wealth in years to come, but I would never be happy. And to me that is the easy way out. To drop your own dream and pursue someone else’s in the knowing you will be successful but never content, leads me to believe I would never be satisfied. My competitive edge has driven me to the breaking point and I can no longer lie to myself and others around me. I am an artist and I will pursue my dream and skill to my breaking point. I am not meaning I will end my life as a successful person, but I will have accomplished my dream to its fullest and I will live life proud of who I am and what I will be. An artist.

Christmas Cards


Christmas is the time where I get to give out my cards to family and friends. And again I forgot to take pictures of all the cards; I have already sealed them up in envelops. However, this is the last one I have made and it is a happy an sad moment. This year I made 24 original hand drawn cards…I feel accomplished.

Have a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Years!