Monday, May 08, 2006

"you know I love you so"

Big smiles, big heart tonight. I will try very hard not to say anything bad in this post. First, I got an email yesterday or the day before from Ernie, who was putting together a slide show for his upcoming wedding. He found these old photos from one of Githa's bday parties before she was diagnosed w/leukemia, and sent them to me. Now, I don't know much about etiquette and superstition around the dead (I know about how to deal w/it in the immediacy of the actual death, but not years afterward), but I wanted to post this anyhow. I was amazed to see how I've changed (I don't own any of this clothing anymore, hopefully don't have such unkempt hair anymore [well, at least it's shorter so it's harder to tell], wear different glasses, etcetc.), and to feel like it was so long ago! I remember this party, too. Githa's holding a painting I did for her, a copy of an Egon Schiele drawing. She still had it up in her SF apt when I visited her a few months before her death. Love. I think a lot about how witnessing her death, not just the actual moment, but the whole process, affected my artwork so subtly but so profoundly.

Second, I got an AMAZING tag team conference call tonight from Ellen and Paulette. After rambling about them having a child together, and breeding/cloning puppies from their dogs, and me getting really worried that they were about to do something very dangerous and foolish, they told me in a slow Beastie Boys version (alternating a word between them) that they are coming to see my thesis next weekend!!!!!!!! AAAAHAHHHHHHHH!!!! Love. I was floored. They've been secretly planning it, and Paulette even tried to contact a friend of mine thru my blog to try and make sure I didn't have plans for Saturday. I can't believe it. Ellen was talking about how she wants to see this final product after seeing all of my work up until now - starting from my E&Z story back a couple years ago. Which all came out of losing Githa.

Today was a big phone day: Joy, Julie, Ellie, Ellen/Pauly, my sister, Terttu...I worked hard even though I'm super tired, in front of the computer. I wanted to fix my wall - some velcro came loose and w/the whole swelling thing, there's some tension that needs to be relieved on the sides - but I was too tired to get up on a ladder. So I got chocolate tofutti cuties instead, ate four of them, and lay in bed for a couple hours w/an eye pillow on the phone before cooking up two eggs. I was talking to Terttu about my wall and criticizing it for pulling on itself and shifting and moving and not behaving the way I wanted it to, and she said, "it IS a self-portrait!! You are hard on yourself, and you are hard on your wall!" I am constantly blown away by how insightful she is; she's always setting me straight. Makes me remember that chronological age means nothing.

Love. Tomorrow's big plan: yoga, fixing my wall, cleaning the floor inside, therapy, bookmaking (now that I'm allowed to make books since the thesis is up).

p.s. - I did NOT skip yoga on Friday, and thankfully so: no one else came, so I had an incredible private w/Ann Marie!!! We did lots of stuff for my sciatica, I did great handstands, and went into king pigeon. Gorgeous.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Epiphany. Crying.

OMG. Things are quickly becoming clear about my thesis opening. My mom said to my sister that my structure reminded her of this ancient Korean observatory. When they asked if I did that on purpose, I was like, not consciously. But it IS a structure I used before, in a book I made when I was 21 about my parents - one image of my dad and his school buddies, one of my mom alone in school uniform, and one of our family when I was 13 or so. The first two are before my parents ever met, since they met in the States after leaving Korea.

I just looked up the images online, and started to cry. This is the caption: "Cheomseongdae is one of the oldest structures in Korea. This unique bottle-shaped building was built in 647 during the reign of Queen Seondeok of the Old Silla kingdom and was used as an astronomical observatory. The base is 5.7 meters wide (17 ft) and stands 9.4 meters (31 ft) tall. Twenty-seven layers of granite cut like brick support the upper bars of stone that form the top platform. The granite-brick construction is similar to the method used at Bunhwangsa temple, which developed from contact with Tang dynasty China. Cheomseongdae is one of the oldest scientific installations on earth."

This is what I realized: Joan was right. I didn't need to be inside of my installation. I didn't need to perform, and if I did, I certainly did NOT need to draw comics for other people, or do anything for other people. I had felt such relief after that meeting, but after getting so much pressure over installation week about how I "had to" perform (as the resident performer) and being such a people pleaser, I caved and went back to the old idea. Even though my heart wasn't in it. I just knew I had to perform but couldn't come up w/something different in the time I had left.

The opening made me feel awful, and after therapy today, I understand why: b/c I took all the mistreatment of my piece as mistreatment of myself. And b/c I wasn't taking care of myself at all, and letting my space be disrespected. Yet I was still so desperate to render a service, to make people happy and comfortable, to be a good smiling hostess. Meanwhile, my family was stranded, ignored, and then left. I have gotten the most pathetic excuses about why no one approached them, and have been so angry about it. I used to always want to hide my family, so I was surprised by how devastated I was that no one met them. But after talking to Ellie tonight, it all came together. She said that where I needed to be that night was with my mother. But I wasn't. And that failure to be true to my deeper self, to really listen to what I needed, is extremely painful and hard to live with.

I talked w/my sister tonight, too, and she mentioned how lonely and sad I looked in the beginning, before anyone came inside. She has images of it, which she'll send to me after getting them off her camera. She said it's funny how I have to exist in only these extremes: totally alone, or inundated by people. It's definitely solid now: I'm not doing that "performance" anymore. I'm ripping down my sign about getting free comics, and just leaving the installation as is unless I come up with something in the next three weeks that is true. Otherwise, that is that. I've done more than enough.