It was late 1960's early 1970's. There is a picture of me with peasant top, bellbottom jeans and "frizzed hair" the style of the times, I would braid my hair in as many braids as i could and then let it dry and unbraid it for effect. Yeah, I was cool. Artist in training. I stood in the picture amongst my best friend and siblings, all who looked quite "normal". My Nanny cringed at my independence and free thinking. She would tap me on my bare belly when I wore short shirts and very low bell bottoms and lecture me about how I looked. It didn't matter. I knew who I was then and it didn't matter to me what anyone thought. Boy those were the days!
In junior high we had all the required classes to take in a specific order, the usual curriculum, plus the girls had home economics (sewing and cooking) and the boys had woodshop. I loved home ec. we all had to sew an apron, mine was a purple calico with a heart shaped pocket with the word love embroidered on it. It was one of several chosen to be on display during a PTA luncheon for all the Mom's. ( my apron round robin friends will enjoy this) Invaluable lessons were learned in those classes and I feel sorry for today's students who because of budget cuts and other reckless decisions don't get to experience this.
Then came freedom. We could choose what we wanted to pursue further. well, I wanted woodshop. The times were just starting to change and it was a whole new experience to let a girl into woodshop. The first day of the new semester, I was on my way excitedly to class when I was met at the door by the teacher, my guidance counselor and another student, a boy. well it seems they overbooked the class and a choice had to be made. I knew as they all stared at me as they told me of the dilemma that they expected me to bow out gracefully. Sorry fellas, not happenin. So it was decided to flip a coin, i won and promptly excused myself and went in to take a seat in class.
My mother loves to tell the story of how at Christmas break, all the boys got off the bus with a jewelry box they had proudly made for their Mom's for Christmas. Me? I got off the bus with an end table! I loved woodshop and continued to take it until I went to high school where it was no longer offered. In addition to the end table, I made a coffee table, 3 legged stool, a reproduction of the art stools in our art class, a baseball bat on the lathe for my brother, bowls and mini woodturned vases. I spent every available minute in that shop, even skipping lunch to work there.
At home I was embroidering on my jeans, making candles and in general probably driving my family crazy with my next "project"
My muse was loud and strong and I followed her with conviction.
In high school things changed though. The art teacher was intimidating, you could hear him yelling all the way down the hallway. It was a known fact that he only liked students with "real" talent, so i never signed up for any art classes. I would walk down the art hall, with the metalsmithing studio and the art studio and wish i was in there. I envied all those students who were. But I didn't feel "good enough" for the class.
OK, so i'll pursue that nursing thing instead. I got on the college prep track, became a candy striper in my free time and set my sights on my future.
In my first year of high school I was grounded for 2 weeks for spending the night at a friends' house so that i could go see the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was told i couldn't go and I went anyway.
So I spent my prison time painting the ceiling in my room. My bedroom had a dormered ceiling and i painted a scene of the Emerald city with the yellow brick road on one side and the hookah smoking caterpillar on the toadstool with Alice and all the beautiful flowers on the other all with my acrylics.
I still wore my independence proudly, making clothes that were my own style, wearing my hair the way I wanted but my muse was being silenced. Little by little her voice was growing more faint. I started to conform. I was growing up right?
So here I am, all grown up, desperately trying to find my muse again, needing to follow her on MY path. I know I am heading in the right direction. This blog is my connection to her. There are moments now when i can hear her screaming in my ears but the words are still undecipherable. I have faith though. I am just so grateful to know she hasn't left me completely.