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Lisa's Painting on my Good Framed Art Wall

Actually I have good framed art on all but one of my walls now, the Sketch Wall is the one I face sitting at my table. But in this photo to the right of "The Kill" -- graphite sabertooth by John Houly -- is "Cave of the Mothers," the painting Lisa did for me and borrowed for a show back in December. Along with everything else in her house, it survived the fire handily. She has not lost her art supplies either.

I was prepared to gut my order to at least get a few things for her like a replacement 18" x 24" Strathmore sketchbook, some pastels and oil pastels and Col-Erase pencils. But that's not needed, her supplies bags were not out on the porch where they'd have been burnt. They were safely in the house and didn't get damaged at all.

I haven't done today's art yet, but I have written two articles and a bloglet for http://www.explore-oil-pastels-with-robert-sloan.com at last. I hadn't done any new pages since the 11th. It gets annoying to have such big gaps in my posting when I get sick days. The spring cleaning took over every single other thing in my life and it still isn't done.

Today is a resting-up day physically. I'm pretty wiped out. It's beautiful -- it's bright and must be warm outside and nice, but I feel as if I haven't slept in a week and my back has all this warning tightness -- it's not extreme pain when it has that sensation. More a dull pain and a tightness that says "Don't push it or you will pay and pay and pay."

I learned to pay attention to that subtle thing and blow right past much worse pains if I knew what they were. I don't always stop in a fibro flare for example, because if what I'd be doing would reduce stress or kick off some endorphins I may have better luck trying to draw or write or something. But when my back does this thing, it's one short step away from bending over for something and not being able to get back up again for half an hour with the spasms.

I got so embarrassed at that symptom in high school. It was routine to me by then -- but all through grade school and the youth center there was this BS that I was faking it. So I'd actually doubt myself and wonder if I was giving in to it too soon and everyone was right that it wasn't a big deal. That did me more harm than I can count.

It also brings back the memories. I don't get that without remembering the day in high school when it had witnesses. It had happened dozens of times with only the gym teacher or other kids around because it usually happened during gym. But it was in the halls and my history teacher, who liked me, happened to be near by and see me fall over. He came over and asked if I was all right. I told him no.

I was grunting and sort of toughing it out. I tried to explain that I couldn't move but would be all right if I just laid there long enough for it to go away. He got all intense about it and got me down to the nurse. He stayed with me till I was able to move again and helped me up. It was bizarre.

He didn't scream at me once or think I was faking. I even asked him. "Aren't you going to just yell at me that I'm faking?"

"No. I can see that you're not. You'd never do this just to clown around, you're too good of a joker for that. You don't have a punch line this time."

He could see that I wasn't faking.

I got sent home from school. They didn't want me back till I had been to a doctor and the doctor recommended a chiropractor. The chiropractor brought an incredible relief -- the back pain went away completely with that first treatment. Not for long, it was back the day after it but I had one afternoon completely free of it to know what it was like for people who didn't have to force themselves to everything. I was still in pain from other things but didn't care, the relief of that constant pain was so incredible that I felt new.

I had chiropracty treatments once a month after that all through high school. They stopped after high school. "You don't really need them now."

No, I needed them just as much but the cloud of denial came down again on my grandparents. I think that teacher may have done more than just get me to the nurse that day. I had been complaining about it for a long time and been told at home it was all just in my head and nothing to whine about, everyone gets little aches and pains.

There is a real bizarre state of mind when someone pushes so hard that you do believe something like that against your senses. When thoughts like "but other people's aches and pains don't leave them paralyzed for half an hour with spasms to where they can't stand up again till it's over" wind up feeling like you're going insane. Must be. It couldn't be that bad, they'd know, these people who say they love you and do give you a lot of expensive junk that you don't care about and a few crafts things that you do.

They knew what they wanted. They knew what they didn't -- anyone to know there was anything physically wrong with me, least of all from childhood. Those were the times. It was shameful to a family to have a disabled kid. It was horrifying. They got blamed for it fast, the blaming thing was very heavy in those days.

The kid next door was not let out of the house because he had epilepsy -- just manageable petit mal epilepsy -- that was it. Something that I don't know how many people I've known just live with and get around and deal with, take their medication, warn people about in the same tone you would warn someone about an allergy. Caesars had full grand mal seizures without losing their status and this Midwestern kid was a prisoner of his family not allowed to go to school or go out for anything because they were being kind keeping him at home instead of institutionalizing him.

I think that's been at the root of a lot of the fears I had growing up. This dread that if people did really know what bad shape I was in, I would be locked up for life without parole and without crime just for being sick. And everyone would nod and say it was all for my own good and I was better off that way.

This is why freedom was always so much of a bigger idea than security. Why I could not even believe such a thing as security existed. Why it's so strange to be living in a safe place now without having had to give up that freedom to get it -- what I do now is up to me.

I could bother to change my spending habits, hold back on the monthly big shopping order and go out that month instead, enjoy things like going to dinner alone or to a movie, or shopping in person by cab. I probably won't because I like doing the big online orders. I know this is a priority decision though. It is priceless to know though that if I wanted to just go downtown and find a bar, I could do that and have a drink with strangers if I felt like going to all the inconvenience to do it.

It's also a joy to stroke my cat's shining, silky, kitten-soft fur and feel his healthy solid muscled bulk leaning against me at night. He's so much healthier here than we've ever been in his life. He's so happy now that we have Gemini too, they were playing last night and doing the high-speed bap-bap-bap paw fencing and chasing each other around. He purrs more often and his ears are up all the time, he swanks around like Big Cat of the Walk with leonine pride.

We're doing well and I live in a good place, in the best place I have ever lived in my life. Many thanks to Kitten and Karl for making it so.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!


2013 Nano Winner
Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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