I recently accepted an offer to exhibit Hypnopompic Salutations along with some other selected works from my private collection of “doodles” at the Elizabeth Tabor Library, here in Marion Massachusetts.
For many of these pieces, it was the first time they have ever seen daylight. There was a sense of vulnerability, I promised myself I would suspend all fears, observe, be with them, but only for a moment before I would lean in and step through, in trust.
I walked around my home, one by one taking each time capsule of moments surrendered in translating bits and pieces of my imagination into physical form. I was about to set them free, allowing the corners of my inner imagination to take up residence in the imagination of others.
The vuerability was present due to emotions felt when I moved here three years ago. It was apparent, the shift from my quaint little cliff face cottage perch that overlooked Cayuga Lake, Dorothy was not in Kansas anymore. Truth be told, I stuck out like a sore thumb here. Visually, I was unusual, energetically colorful and the word was out that ” the new mom in town”, the soon to be new Mrs. Moore, had missed their daughter’s first day of school because she was “working” at (That thing in the desert). Ohe Vey, shall we begin this fresh chapter with a more difficult preface?
Within all the lives I have lived, there has yet to be a dull moment or curious happenstance to navigate. My soul contract, must have been to keep things interesting at all cost or else this saucy spirit risks a slow decomposition into nothingness…
My therapist throughout the years have kindly encouraged me to “Write a Memior”. My last therapist once said, “ You know you dont have to pay me to be your friend, nothings wrong with you, your’e actually someone I wouldnt mind having a cocktail with.” In a letter I later recieved, she joked I had inspired her to quit her job and follow her dreams…At least I got a nice goodbye letter “Thank you for the inspiration! I am going to miss our time together and hearing all your amazing stories. You have so much to offer. Now we can grab that cocktail sometime? Please write that Memior!”
The little precious, postcard perfect town I was now a resident of, was not impressed. There was a whispery curiosity among the well pressed mothers, whom I secretly admired for their impeccable momminess. They had it nailed down so well. It was something I could never conform to naturally- so like many things that are best kept out of my reach, I respected it from a distance...Much like one would respect a nest of white faced hornets.
I could feel, while walking down the halls of my daughter’s elementary school that same resistance I felt in 6th grade when I had returned from a week long suspension because I got caught organizing a “Witch Cult.” A girl was taunting me one day and I told her I’d curse her if she didn’t stop. Well, she fell down the stairs a couple days later and broke both of her legs. She told her mom I cursed her, mom called the school and so went the witch hunt. In my defense, it was not a cult I had organised. I was attending a military school in Germany, which fostered many Catholic faith based after school programs. I was only, innocently, trying to hold space for my peers who had been excluded from these clubs and seemed to have deeper questions about faith, religion, nature and the order of the world...I may have used the school library to print pamphlets- There may have been some penticles..or two. I remember the principal saying to me in her office,” If you are capable of organising this many students in 6th grade, I am afraid of what you could do as an adult.”
I wish she knew I grew up to paint monkeys and be an event producer and director- hahaha
My arrival had peeked some curiosity. I feared deep inside, the others visualized me in pleather bondage gear, savagely galloping across the playa, half naked, ready to take on the next orgy….
Which couldn’t have been farther from the truth…I was indeed building big art in the desert and was on the production team for TedxBlackRockCity.
I didn’t fight it, news travels fast and I understand the innocence that a small town breeds. Let them think I was a wild woman, I am. But not in the ways they might conclude…
Before I left Ithaca, my best sister friend said, “I was on my way to living the real life version of our favorite movie “Practicle Magic”. “Don’t worry.” she said, “You’ll be the witch living by the sea and when the coast is clear and you are settled in, they will be begging for wine night and naked full moon gatherings on the island.”
The thought warms my heart…I can still feel that the need to explore the wild woman within is deeply wanted. And, there is still a bit too much carefulness and fear…” Whatever would one do, with so much freedom?”
Throughout the last few weeks my work has been on display. I have had little girls run up to me and say, “ MRS. MOORE! I LOVE YOUR ART SO MUCH!” Then scurry away, cheeks flushed from excitement. At the gas station, at the post office, at school functions, strangers whom I have never met formally approached me to offer how the work made them”feel” and how they had no idea I was an artist. One by one, the connections over the weeks have filled that space of uncertainty that reflected the vulnerable pieces of me, instead with gratitude and courage to continue.
Though I know I had nothing to prove to begin with, It took two and a half years to stop caring if I had made new friends or not. It took two and a half years to stop mourning the loss of my cliff face perch of solace, where my open door policy invited friends near and far to come stay. My fortress of safety, where my loves came to process and seek shelter, advice and comfort. It took two and a half years to stop asking “What was wrong with me? Why doesn't anyone feel safe enough to genuinely connect with me here?”
It took only six months, my daughter’s broken leg, caring for a loved one contending substance abuse and two occurrences of anaphylactic shock to whip my “ why me?” into a solid, “ this is FOR me.”
So, as it were, I have discovered that it was not all for not, The solitude was indeed a gift. Something I later realized I hadn’t yet experienced in my 34 years of exisiting. I have always been to wrapped up helping others, being the strong one, being present so others could feel safe, witnessed and loved. Something I had been asking for and didn’t know I needed.
Hypnopompic Salutations is a result of that solitude. It was the product of being gifted the time and space to focus inward and begin to know and understand what it meant to be in my own company.
One day, I ran into Marion mom, whom I have always admired from afar for her gentle presence and deeply kind eyes. She worked at the library. Amidst our conversation, she mentioned that stayed with me was that so many people who seen the paintings had so many questions about who I am.
She went on to share, “ We have never, in the five years of having art exhibits, seen such an emotional response to someone’s work. They stop dead in their tracks, I get lost in the eyes of the animals just sitting across from them at the desk. They are simply captivating.”
It meant a lot to connect with her. Her words meant even more because I know how awkward it may be to speak honest words from the heart. It’s hard to approach a stranger and tell them anything sentimental.
After the fact, I remembered flashes of a moment shared with another dear friend telling me about how to receive a compliment. “Take the love that is being offered and rub it in.” as she knuckled my heart, ”Yeah love, right there, it’s for you girl. Allow yourself to receive the love that is being offered to you. You are worth it.”
That is where I am, That is where I have been...It is the space that I am present in right in this very moment. I am navigating those questions and I am asking myself, the very thing you are-