My Gorgeous is just different than me. In all the right ways. Left to her own devices, she will highjack any unclaimed space and turn it into her creative space for drawing or painting. And forget about rushing her creativity when she is drawing, The Artist will get it done when She gets it done. I’ve lost my dining room many times. The downstairs den in the basement is disputed territory; it’s technically community property, but since it’s the bonus room right next to Grace’s room, it’s understandable why it becomes overflow for the Grace-cave. And oh the Grace-cave. There. Are. No. Words. So many piles of clothes and makeup and shoes and knick knacks and I just don’t even know what. Meanwhile, Mommie fusses “Grace clean your room!”
Her brain is wired differently than mine. The mess doesn’t bother her like it does me. And I could never be creative amongst so much stuff. In fact, I wasn’t able to write this until after I vacuumed.
With Grace’s struggles with cutting and Trichotillomania, fussing about her messy room doesn’t seem as pressing. Not that she gets a pass on cleaning, but there’s more of an understanding that she needs her space that feels comfortable to her. Her nest. The Grace-cave.
I’ve watched her sketching before and she is so meticulous. She does so many portraits and she measures the proportions and spends so much time being precise. She goes deep into herself, into her mind when she draws, and despite the precision, she makes it look effortless. Art is her outlet and it seems natural that she would be drawn to creative people.
Our neighbors, the Schlabachs, invited us, specifically Grace, to an art showing and conference at their church. It was all weekend and Grace said she might be interested in just going to view the gallery on Saturday evening for maybe an hour, but not interested in staying for any of the conference. She’d like to go out for a nice dinner with me instead. Fine. I was willing to take in as much or as little of it as she would like. I thought we would just go dressy casual, then she appeared in full-on glam. And there’s that moment on a regular Saturday when the One Caught Between Here and There just wants to dress up and go to an art gallery and conference. So yeh, you put on your sequin dress and blue wig and you go. Well, she does sequin and blue, but yeh, I go! I asked Paul to take our pic, and I threw my arms around My Gorgeous and hugged her tight. She let me schmush my face right against hers and I smiled like an idiot and she didn’t even stop me. Paul tried to discourage my obnoxious pose. “NO SANDIE!” And the model argued with the photographer. “YES! YES! Take the pic. Take THIS pic!”
And we did the gallery thing. The thing where you stand back a few feet, look at the painting, cock your head to the side, “I like the movement in this. But the color here distracts me. It feels…forced.” As though I know what I’m talking about. But Grace does know what she is talking about. “It’s reverse perspective, Mom.” Right. Right. That. And there were sculptures and metal works and photography and jewelry and beautiful handcrafted leather journals. I picked one up and felt the smooth leather and smelled it and thumbed through the blank pages. And I wanted one of those journals.
Change plans. Grace wanted to stay for the conference talks. And just like any introvert would do, we took our seats on the back row. But then we saw the artist. To the right and the left of the main speaker’s stage, easels were set up for artists to paint during the conference talks. From the back row, Grace could see enough to know she wanted to see more. So that blue haired chic and her mom slid into the 2nd row. There were 2 easels set up just 12 feet from our seats and one artist doing something amazing with black paint and some kind of spade shaped trowel. While the conference speakers were speaking, Grace just stared. Then the guy seated right in front of us, the only person on the front row, jumped up and started painting on the 2nd easel. And watching both artists made me realize my mind doesn’t work like them. They ended up with paintings that looked like a landscape and an eagle, but I never saw them deliberately put a landscape or an eagle on the canvas. They just moved their trowel and brush around and somehow their art appeared right in front of me and Grace. None of their paint strokes seemed like they would yield any particular outcome, but I could see the finished product take shape. I think they were more fearless with their art than I could ever be.
Fearless. The speaker asked for all the writers to raise their hands. So as any introvert would do, I kept my hand down. Grace snapped her head around and said “you’re a writer!” But I sure didn’t want him to call on me! And one fearless writer walked away with a door prize of a beautiful handcrafted leather journal!
So staying for the conference, as Grace wanted, we missed out on having dinner. But we had art. And it confirmed that Grace is an artist. It moves her. Art speaks to her. She gets it. It felt like Grace was where she needed to be. In her tribe. Yeh, her pack will be the artists maybe in a colony somewhere far off. Maybe in the Pfafftown, but reaching people with her art. Painting. Sketching. Hair. Makeup. The beauty brought out on canvases and faces. She’d be wasted in a cubicle answering phones and shuffling papers. That’s not her. She’s gonna call beauty out. Enhance beauty. Speak to beauty. Make it take shape right in front of us all. With brushes and scissors and pigments and dyes.
And in the meantime, I’ll fuss “Grace, clean your room!”