Mood Board: The Golden Girls: the Original SATC

Thank you for being a friend….

   The Golden Girls, a television sitcom, aired from the mid 1980s to early 1990s.  The wildly successful, feel good comedy gave us a peak inside the lives of four senior women living vibrantly and without apology.  But what I love the most of the beloved sitcom is the costume (FASHION)!  Strictly 80s, done with flair and style that ruled the decade.  As I watched a vintage episode one night with scene stealing vixen Blanche (Rue McClanahan), I wondered if the sitcom had inspired women of the 80s to live fearlessly and fashionably the way Sex and The City had done for my generation.  After all, the Girls are the original SATC. Yes, I know it sounds strange but let’s take an investigative look.

Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur): Miranda Hobbs, Esq.

Dorothy was known for her serious no nonsense practical personality, quick dry wit, and an over all brainiac.  And like her personality, her clothing reflected power: shoulder pads and pantsuits, scarves and layers, menswear feminized was the staple wardrobe of Dorothy.  Definitely a vintage Miranda Hobbs.

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Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan): Samantha Jones

Blanche was a widower liberated in her golden years.  Unabashedly in her sexual prowess, Blanche dated and disposed of men as she pleased.  All while looking fabulous: vibrant colors, seductively clinging dresses, on trend attire, costumes for any and every occasion are what composed her closet.  Samantha Jones is Blanche reincarnated.

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Rose Nylund (Betty White): Charlotte York

Rose Nylund was the classic romantic of the group, she was feminine, lady like and always dreaming of goodness. Pure with a untainted soul, Rose’s fashions reflected her farm upbringing with an Elizabeth Taylor twist.  Monochromatic suits, classic cuts and hues with defined a waistline, perfectly coiffed hair and manicured, Rose is the Charlotte York of the group.

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Now I know what should come next, where’s the Carrie Bradshaw of the group? She was the main character, the fashion muse, the focus of SATC.  Certainly it could not be the last remaining character Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by Estelle Getty?? No. I would like to propose each character from the Golden Girls had Carrie like characteristics. Dorothy’s dry wit, Blanche’s risk taking behavior, Rose’s dreamy goodness and Sophia’s adaptation for survival were all possessed by our main heroine Carrie Bradshaw.  I’d like to think the gorgeous ladies of the 80s found strength, courage and a zest for life in the Golden Girls like we found in the gals of SATC.  And the fashion, of course.  Don’t forget the fashion!

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The Beauty of Retreat

Often times, retreat signifies defeat in battle or the act of moving back or withdrawing.  How can that be good? Where is the beauty in it? It’s admitting failure and running away with your tail tucked between your legs, well by my understanding.  But during my recovery from oral surgery (which was quite traumatic) these last few weeks, I struggled immensely to pick back my routine up of writing every day, posting a few times a week.  An internal battle raged within me, my inner critical voice loudly proclaiming victory as I preferred to recuperate rather than half *** some writing just for the sake of writing.  Admittedly the times I tried, I didn’t feel the familiar rush of sensation normally felt when I sat to write.  Dry spell? Lack of inspiration? A trip to the dreaded land of writer’s block? For days, I had not a one inkling of an answer.  For weeks, I’ve gotten back into full swing at my day job yet unable to find the courage to clock into my real passions after hours.  My inner critic continued to scold and mock me, whispering how worthless and phony of a creative being I am.  My dreams, colorless, haunted me because they provided no inspirational outlet.  My thoughts, empty and focused mostly on the pain in my mouth and on the right side of my face, frightened and confused me.  I threw many questions before God (and myself) at odd hours when pain would jolt and awaken me.  Was what I labeled as passion really just a need to perform, to please? I obsessed over every single detail.  As a writer, obsessing over minor details can be beneficial but in real life, this can be downright detrimental.  Obsession of every single detail can led to compulsion which can in turn lead to a torturous thought life.  Again, all which kinda sorta assist me when I’m creating stories and characters (maybe those are my real muses) but can lead to a life of pure insanity.  One night, I realized my need to control was in cahoots with detail obsession AND that I was unnecessarily carrying this ginormous load on my tiny little shoulders.  It was in that moment, I made the decision to retreat.  Not in the way of the more common meaning but to surrender my obsession and control issues about my writing career to God. To trust the process, this beautiful, confusing-at-times, wonderful, satisfying path I am currently walking on.  That I will reach my destination as long as I continue to do my part and leave the detail obsession and need to control in the hands of the Creator (higher power, Universe, etc). Exhale. Let go. And that is where I found the beauty in retreat.

Monday Inspiration: Diana Vreeland

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“Vogue always did stand for people’s lives. I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”—Diana Vreeland

 

Anna Wintour’s predecessor knew a thing or two about life, fashion and living.  Responsible for taking Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue into mainstream publication and popularizing the circulation of the fashion magazine across the globe, Vreeland was known for fearlessly speaking her unedited thoughts aloud.  What I really admire about her, though, is her zest for living.  Instead of complaining about the wrongs in life, she set out to create the life she wanted to live.  Vreeland spent every moment of the day living, not over analyzing or allowing fear to keep her from taking in each moment with a fresh perspective.  She saw the challenges of life and business as opportunities to express her best and most highest self.  At times, her solutions were received well and highly praised and at other times she fell flat on her face.  But she wasn’t afraid of the fall nor did she allow the possibility of falling keep her from trying.  This is true inspiration to me.  To live life in such a way that you are fully present and grateful in each moment.  Allowing these to open the door to your passions and creativity.  Then maybe we won’t despise Mondays so much but instead see the day as a new possibility for a new beginning to a new creative moment.  Mondays? Yes, I’m starting to look forward to it just a wee bit more…

 

Happy Monday Everyone!

P.S. If you are a fan of fashion and Vreeland, check out the documentary, The Eye has to Travel!

Some Right Now Inspiration

pic3Thank you Dame Elizabeth Taylor.  I needed this reminder! After a short hiatus (due to oral surgery and a slower-than-expected recovery), I have been silently battling a serious case of what I call the “don’twannas.” You know, I don’t wanna do anything because I’m not feeling 100% yet.  Yet, creativity pauses for no one, if I don’t entertain the muse she will surely find some other lucky individual to visit.  Then I’ll be dealing with the don’twannas cousin, regret and she is even harder to kick out.

Dame Taylor had it right, so I’m sitting here in my MAC Ruby Woo, a glass of red wine and I’m pulling myself together.

 

New post in the am! Have a lovely restful night Beauties! Xo

 

Are we being fair to Kim Kardashian?

Wedding of the century.  Whore. Slut. Sex tape.  These and other headlines followed the news of the wedding between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.  The secret lavish ceremony was covered on social media and online publications alike. Sneak peek pictures and whatever minuscule detail that could be mustered, commentary became amusing and down right cruel.  Fan or not of the Kardashian clan, one cannot deny the polarizing effort the family has on popular culture.  Everything they touch, thanks to their loyal fans and viewers, seems to have a Midas affect.  After reading some of the harsher comments about KK the thought occurred…are we being fair to her?  Kim’s rise from mediocrity began when she was a sidekick to the obnoxious spoiled Paris Hilton but her real stardom was managed (quite crafty with her momanger Kris Jenner) through a private leaked sex tape.  Popularity and curiosity created the platform for paid appearances and a television show.  From there, KK has managed, very successfully, to keep the family name in the spotlight thus landing the role of companion to one of music’s brightest but most narcissistic rappers.  She lives a life most of us ordinary folk cannot began to fathom.  Her every move is critiqued microscopically, whether it is on the red carpet or gym run.  KK has tried, unsuccessfully to distance her current life from the raunchy tape that has afforded its celebrity status. But she will never escape the sex tape because people will never allow it.  Do I agree with her motives? Her way of life? I don’t personally know her so it doesn’t give me the right to speak about it. What I have is an opinion of the snippets she allows the rest of the world to see.  Yes I have played judge and jury previously concerning the overexposure of the Kardashian clan.  But it amazes me how society can hand out redemption cards to male counterparts (Tiger Woods, Robert Downey, Jr, Magic Johnson) but none can be found for KK.  Has she paid her dues as of yet? If not, when will she reach the point of stepping out of the shadow of the sex tape? Are we that cynical?  The comparison to Elizabeth Taylor isn’t that far reached because she had eight marriages and countless flings under her belt.  She was no angel and perhaps, just perhaps there is a vintage sex tape of Dame Taylor out in the universe.  But no one dared called Taylor a whore or slut, or at least not blatantly to her face.  There was a level of respect given to Taylor because she was superb actress.  And I know there are many out there who would point out KK has no viable talent therefore she shouldn’t be compared to Taylor.  But when we strip away the fame, money, men, wardrobe from both women we are left with just two women.  Who perhaps made some not so wise choices for men that they loved.  Who are we to judge that?  KK isn’t my favorite celebrity and this isn’t about a KUWTK campaign.  As a matter of fact I usually avoid watching or reading news about her.  I’m just asking the question: Are we being fair to Kim Kardashian by continuing to bring up the sex tape?

 

 

The Prison of Perfection

Looking into the mirror has challenged many a women throughout history.  Even the strongest of feminists will admit, they too, sometimes cringe at the reflection staring back at them.  Women are programmed, from a very young age, to sacrifice all for beauty, that it is everything. The standard of beauty in our country creates an illusion of perfection.  Perfect hair.  Perfect Makeup.  Perfect Life.  The constant influx of perfection is plastered on magazines, billboards, and social media every single day creating an unconscious desire to be perfect.  There are thousands of step-by-step instructional tutorials across the world wide web illustrating, in real time, the hows, the whys, and ways to achieve such a staggering faux persona.  Women spend billions each year on cosmetic surgery and expensive clothing with the hope of reaching that unreachable end of the rainbow called perfection.  Celebrities are idolized and reality “stars” given an audience and platform that impacts and influences the ideal of perfection. We look at ourselves in the mirror and instead of just loving and accepting what is seen, we judge. Harshly.  Pick apart each detail that doesn’t quite measure up to the standard of beauty smeared across phone and computer screens every second of every day.  We nip, tuck, pull, push, stuff, slither our way into uncomfortable clothing.  We purchase shoes with red bottoms and brag about it on social media.  We beat our faces “for the gawds” and insert Rapunzel length hair onto our heads. Thus creating the perception of perfection.  And we are never satisfied.  If we get a compliment tossed in our direction, instead of graciously accepting it,  we secretly want more because our desire is for great.  If great becomes the word, we still want more, we want fabulous.  If we get fabulous, we want fierce.  Attempting to pacify a longing, a hunger within, we dress the outside package up and tie a pretty ribbon around it.  Ignoring the constant barrage of inaquadecy and self -hatred that burns through the tissue of the soul.  Leading to a slow and painful annulation of that which is precious and pure.  This is what happens when another’s perception or definition of yourself is allowed to trump what you know to be true.  Flawless on the outside but broken on the inside.  I have a natural inclination towards French culture, particularly Parisian women.  J’adore the rhythm of life in the “City of Light”, the innovative fashion and style, the ancient architecture.  But my real obsession is with Parisian women.  Why? Because they’ve managed, in the times we live in, to remain unmoved by the idea of perfectionism, the standard of beauty.  Parisian women have mastered the art of acceptance.  A crooked nose, bad skin, a mouth slightly askew, all of it is beautiful! Acceptance is the standard of beauty. Effortlessly chic is the wardrobe of choice because Parisian women understand it matters not who you are wearing or even what you choose to adorn yourself in.  There is no external standard of beauty to a Parisian woman because she is the standard of beauty.  Herself.  Her life.  Not some 5’10 ultra slim photo enhanced beauty on the latest cover of a magazine.  Her perception is based on what she knows to be true about herself and how she’s grown to love herself.  She has that extra unspoken something, the illusive je ne sais quoi that is non threatening to other women and is a radiant life force.  She isn’t self centered or approval seeking.  She is simply herself, imperfectly perfect in her own skin.

Are you ready? To be no longer a prisoner of perfection but a free being? Yes? The key isn’t tucked away, hidden from you, it is right where its been the entire time…in your hand.

 

Darkly Glasses, a Short Story

provocativeeye:

Short Story Madness…

Originally posted on The Provocative Eye:

It’s midnight. The orange glow on my clock perched atop the wobbly nightstand says so. My clothes are soaked and the imaginary but real King Kong sized hole in my chest starts to ache as the cloudiness of restless sleep fades and consciousness prevails. I try to remember what day and year it is…I’m not crazy, not by a long shot but I am…heartbroken. Yes, heartbroken is the politically polite way to describe the indescribable wretched physical pain that daily, hour by hour, second by second, renders me weak and helpless and pathetic. I’m not a natural born masochist; I don’t get some quirky thrill of feeling such intense pain. But a lifetime of pain and childhood trauma sort of trains you for the superbowl, the greatest height of pain that is humanly possibly…a broken heart. By someone you love, you trust, someone you allowed to see every piece of…

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Darkly Glasses, a Short Story

It’s midnight. The orange glow on my clock perched atop the wobbly nightstand says so. My clothes are soaked and the imaginary but real King Kong sized hole in my chest starts to ache as the cloudiness of restless sleep fades and consciousness prevails. I try to remember what day and year it is…I’m not crazy, not by a long shot but I am…heartbroken. Yes, heartbroken is the politically polite way to describe the indescribable wretched physical pain that daily, hour by hour, second by second, renders me weak and helpless and pathetic. I’m not a natural born masochist; I don’t get some quirky thrill of feeling such intense pain. But a lifetime of pain and childhood trauma sort of trains you for the superbowl, the greatest height of pain that is humanly possibly…a broken heart. By someone you love, you trust, someone you allowed to see every piece of you, beautiful and destructive…and that said person chose to disappear, walk away right out of your life as if they never existed. As I feel my breathing become shallow and difficult, I make myself sit up in the darkness, eyes closed and force my lungs to take slow but steady air in, I don’t recall where I last sat my inhaler down and I don’t want to move for fearing of the noise decimal rising, awaking the others. When I hear the inner workings of my lungs doing their job, I lie back down and listen for movement around the house. You see, I’m not exactly alone, I mean there are people who live and dwell in the same sphere as I do but I am alone in the sense it feels like no one on this planet remotely understands the darkness that corrodes my insides, forcing me to breathe in the very essence of despair. I call the darkness “the abyss,” and a smile creeps up on my face as I savor in my deepest secret. Am I being a tad bit dramatic? I think. Nah, maybe I am a bit of a masochist but I was never one to be labeled a drama queen. Listening to the soft rhythmic tone of my ceiling fan, I force my eyelids to stay shut like there’s invisible superglue binding them together. If I open my eyes, then I will be conscious which will lead to a swim in the abyss. Not now, I think. I’m too exhausted physically from the day of chasing around my dementia ridden grandmother, Ina or Grammy as I affectionately called her as a child. I have neither the strength nor courage needed to be in any state of awareness. Yet in my silent fight, I feel the familiar illusion net slowly spread over my face like a large spider. Breathe, I command myself, just breathe. Thoughts began swirling around my head at the speed of light and the invisible yet visible lid of the abyss is closing in on me. I fling my pretty brown eyes and wait for the tears. Tears I know are never coming. Cry, I demand. Cry, you will feel better, you’ll… feel. And you want more than anything to feel like a person once again. I wait. The sound of the fan and my heartbeat appear to have joined together to form some sort of eerie musical death key. But alas, there are no tears allowed to flow in the abyss. Wait, I think, I’m already in the abyss? I wait. I feel absolutely nothing. I let out a long sigh. Of course I am, I silently say, after all I am its prisoner AND guard. I shift my thoughts back to the healing flow of tears…such a beautiful human emotion for an incorrigible soul. I feel nothing, as the abyss is in its perfect working order shielding me from feeling. Concentrating, I try to remember when it all fell apart for me. I want no need to feel the stabbing pains in my chest. Ahhhh, yes…there it is. 15,552,000 seconds. 259,200 minutes. 4,320 hours. 180 days. 6 months ago. It was the last time I felt…alive, vibrant, like a person with purpose and a life to live. I refer to that time as “pre-extinction,” an idealistic time, when I was free to be the young, artistic soul of 27 years of age. A bit of an optimist even. “Pre-extinction” consists of endless possibilities and most importantly, the ever delightful happy ending. I allow the weight of the darkness close my eyes. And laminate on who I used to be, not the faux representative of a successful woman I see when I look into the mirror. When I was, if I had to describe in one word, satisfied. Before I lost almost every worldly possession owned. Before being forced to move back in with my aging parents to help care for Grammy. Before the depression, the job loss, the suicidal Sylvia Plath destructive mood swings. Before the blues became the soundtrack to my every move. Am I overly dramatizing some events that appear to have changed the structure of my DNA? Maybe. But being that I have become a stranger to my own self renders me unable to answer that burning question.
# “Help me! Help me! Help me!” Screams awaken me. Startled at first, I recognize the voice, and immediately swing out of bed in one swift motion. “She’s trying to kill me! She’s trying to kill me! She’s trying to kill me!” A croak of a voice is repeatedly yelling. Standing in my Gram’s doorway, I catch a glimpse of her naked sagging flesh in the corner near the bed, where she has taken refuge, in the fetal position. My mother, not even a foot away from her, is speaking in a hushed reassuring tone. “Ina, please. It’s so cold in here; please put your clothes back on. Please.” The weariness in my mother’s voice is palpable and until a few months ago, I never understood it or even gave it a second thought. A tidal wave of sadness floods my body. “Get away from me!” Gram screams. She attempts to disappear further into the wall. “I hate you, you evil woman, you’re trying to poison me!” My mother opens her mouth to speak but judging by her surrendering posture, retreating is what she is thinking, plus I assume she has heard me come to the rescue. I step in quickly next to her. Fixing my gaze on my diseased minded grandmother, I say nothing until her breathing becomes normalized and she looks directly back at me. Lightness touches the corner of her eyes. I smile. Good, I think, she recognizes my face. “Emmy,” Gram says, “what are you doing here?” “Hi Grammy!” I say as I consciously raise my voice a few octaves. “Aren’t you cold? It’s freezing in here!” I exclaim as playful and lightly as possible. My mother starts to back away, leaving us alone. For the last few weeks, Gram has only recognized me, except not my grown woman self but rather my precocious ten year old self, hence her calling out my childhood nickname she bestowed upon me. Gram shivers a bit when she understands there is nothing between her and the cold wooden floor. I sit on the bed, patting it lightly to motion Gram over. After a few seconds of indecisiveness, she obliges and crawls on all fours towards me and hops on the bed. I start to dress her. She curls up against me laughing playfully. “Emmy, do you want to go pick blueberries today?” Gram asks. I stare into her eyes, searching for something. Something comforting. I want to scream selfishly I need you! but I bite down hard on my tongue and keep my mouth shut. Gram stares back at me, she won’t move or let me finish dressing her until I look back at her. Our eyes meet and for a second, just an iota of a second, I feel warmth between us. But I see nothing else but emptiness in her violet blue eyes. I force myself to smile and continue dressing her as she rambles on about blueberries, summertime, and homemade ice cream in the backyard. She clearly is having an entertaining conversation all by her lonesome self, and is thoroughly enjoying it. After I finish dressing her, I try to study her mood. Gram’s mood will determine the entire day for us. It will determine if I can leave the house, if my mother, who she goes between the boundaries of love and loathing, will be able to come near her. Gram’s mood is the temperament at which everything in our little world is measured, so it’s important that I know what we are dealing with today. Judging by the just had conversation, she may not be too difficult today. Good, I think, I am exhausted. And it’s not just a physical tiredness. I have been emotionally, mentally, spiritually raped for the last six months. Sleep deprived. A walking zombie. I don’t know how much more I can take. Yet I am unable to shake the responsibility, the obligation to my parents and grandmother. A depleted robot trying her best to care about and for loved ones all while running on fumes. While being consumed completely in the saga that is my life, Gram decided to lie down and promptly fell back asleep. Ding, ding, ding! Jackpot! I lift myself quietly off the bed, cover her with a heavy wool blanket, kiss her forehead and creep out of den of craziness.
#Alone in our shared bathroom upstairs, I start the tedious routine of my day purposely avoiding my reflection in the mirror. I wonder, I contemplate, how long has it been since I’ve looked at myself? At that moment an ache so deep escapes out of its confinement. Shaking uncontrollably, lips quivering, I brace myself against the sink in the bathroom praying this doesn’t last long. Don’t think his name…don’t think his name…don’t think his name. The image of a beautiful boy looking man is right in front of me. The soft brown eyes. Curly, always untidy hair. Dimples set so deep I would often dig my fingers in them. A smile so dazzling, my world was set ablaze by it. Stop it Emerald! You can’t afford to remember! Stop it now! My brain is commanding, in charge, strong and trying its best to regain control of the situation. But my heart…it has a different agenda, it wants to remember, it yearns to remember…his scent, his touch, his arms. Oh boy, I think as I slide down to the floor. The imaginary King Kong sized hole in my chest is gaping and hemorrhaging profusely as I am powerless to stop it. There is nothing I can do at this point but let the intense throbbing subside on its own. That could be minutes…or hours…or days. I’m praying it’s the first because I hear heavy footsteps approaching. I already know who said steps belong to and judging by its speed, he isn’t feeling well and he needs me. Get it together girl! You can’t let him come in here and see you like this! My parents, like most parents, have no clue about the extent of my sorrow. And like most parents and elders they believe the old adage of ‘Time heals all wounds’ has applied to my situation. But at the ripe old young age of 27, I’ve come to understand older folks’ wisdom doesn’t always apply and just because someone has more life experience doesn’t mean they are always right. Give it time, they said, you’ll see. You’ll start to feel like yourself again. You’ll forget all about him and then you’ll meet someone new. Just pray about it and leave everything in God’s hands. When all of this nonsensical advice was being involuntarily thrown at me, I wanted so desperately to revert back to my two year self and have my very own temper tantrum. But like always, I was a “good girl,” nodded my head, went to church, forced myself to smile and function, reassuring my parents I was going to be ok. And then at night, when I was alone, I allowed the darkness and despair to swallow me whole. Tap, tap, tap. Three rapid knocks on the bathroom door. “Emmy bear?” My name sake called. “That you in there?” Silence. His concern is seeping through the door. Answer him. “Yes daddy, it’s me.” I call out. “You ok?” he says. Curses. The first love of my life knows me too well, I’m betting he can hear the hollow tone in my voice. Besides, it’s past breakfast time and I need to prepare food so both parents can take their daily doses of medicine. I quickly fill my mouth with toothpaste and began meticulously brushing my teeth. “I’m fine, I’ll be down in a minute,” I spit out with a mouth full. “Ok,” he says but doesn’t budge an inch. I know what he’s doing, he’s waiting to see my eyes. My father and I share a special bond, we can always tell exactly what was going on with each other just by gazing into the windows of our souls. I catch a glimpse of only my eyes before I open the door. Good. Lifeless as always.
#Angered, I hurl the paintbrushes out of my hands into the wall. I’ve been sitting here for two hours staring a blank canvas. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Opportunities like this one do not come along often. I’m angry because I cannot seem to take advantage of some good ol’fashioned me time. What’s wrong with me? Why am I staring off into space? But the truth is…I know the truth, I know the reason why my paintbrush hasn’t touched paint or a canvas in almost 7 months. When he disappeared, I feel like every single ounce of my creativity, a craft I had been honing since the age of three, disappeared with him. I hate him. Hate him. Hate what I’ve allowed myself to become because of him. I try to remember what it feels like when I’m painting, creating, opening my imagination. I used to love this so much, the smell of paint, the endless possibility of a fresh new canvas. The excitement I felt mixing colors; sometimes I would mix and mix for days before I achieved the right color! The freedom I felt when I allowed myself to create from a place of authenticity. The hunger, the restlessness that would overtake me if I hadn’t done anything in a few days. Creating was the essence of my soul. I was incredibly proud to sign my name to every piece of work and even more elated when my creations starting selling. How alive I was! Now look at me, nothingness has seeped into every cell of my body and rendered me utterly unproductive. I hate him! I look around at my settings; the stuffy ancient garage…old…rusted…with its useless piles of junk no longer thought about, missed or loved. It is the perfect metaphor to represent who I am. Once beloved paintings now crammed into tight spaces, torn and ripped and has lost value. Yes, yes that is definitely me. I am the aftermath of a hurricane on the inside just like this stinky garage. Flashes of anger color my pale skin. This isn’t supposed to be how my story ends, in some catatonic existence, no, I’m supposed to have a happy ending! I did everything right, everything! I’m no longer seated as I’ve began to circle around the tiny garage. I pick up a pair of my father’s large yard cutters. Just the thought of losing forever my creativity brings the flashes of anger to a low grade simmer. I’m starting to feel…intoxicated? Yes, intoxication is coursing through my body and it feels right. Because I was never allowed to get or be angry as a child which spilled over inexplicitly into adulthood and now I live with the consequences. That low grade simmer? It is becoming a slow raging boil. I began destroying my work, my paintings, those distinct representations of myself. The more I cut and rip and tear, the more the rage boils, the more intoxicating the freedom becomes. All 5’4 of me is roaring through the garage like a tornado, unhinging every piece of work ever created by me into tiny shreds of nothing. As though I ever existed. Hot burning sweat is drenching down my face causing my vision to blur but I no longer care. This goes on for minutes, I only pause because I’m covered in paint and bits of canvas and there is a strange sound in here. I’m not alone. A low moaning is echoing, bouncing off of the walls in here. It sounds like…a wounded animal? I frantically search the garage except I can’t see well because I’ve worked myself up into some unnatural frenzy. Why is my sweat burning me? I think. The sound is close to me and I start to fearfully turn in circles searching, depending on my other senses to find the culprit…what is going on? Is this what is feels like to go completely insane? Unable to stand the suspense any longer, I yell out, “Who’s there?!” And at that precise moment the moaning wounded animal noise escapes my lips. Stunned, I fall onto the wet cold floor. Oh, it’s me, I’m the wounded animal. Sanity sets in. I then realize it isn’t sweat burning my face, but a torrential tidal wave of real human tears spilling uncontrollably from my eyes. I sob and sob and sob, sprawled and limp on the floor of my parents’ garage. Covered in paint, I cry for the little lost girl trapped inside of the grown woman who can’t seem to understanding the disappearing act of Jacques Ellison Hayes. I cry for love lost, never gained, never quite grasped or held on to for any length of time. I cry for false promises, child-like naivety and fake fairy tale endings. I cry for the artist in me, no longer able to tap into the magical realm of creativity, fearing I’ll never again be admitted to the land of inspiration. I sob for the days and nights filled with the darkness, the abyss, despair and emptiness. I sob for the King Kong sized hole in my chest, terrified of the notion that it is irreparable. I cry for all of the negative, death producing thoughts, emotions and feelings that seems to have disintegrated my soul to ashes plunging me down the road to hell, feeling powerless to stop it. I cry for my parents, aging, sickly and withering away like day old flowers knowing eventually I will have to sadly discard. I cry for my Grammy, once so beautiful and full of joy, now full of anguish and confusion all of the time. I sob for the goodbyes I’m not ready to acknowledge, prepared for or desire to give. I lie and let the human woman, once thought of as eternally dead and buried, slowly emerge from the ashes of what once was nothing more than a shell. Somewhere between the gates of hell and earthly dwellence I fall into a deep coma-like sleep. Unsure of how many hours have passed, I am awakened by deep breathing and heavy sighing from a figure next to me. This time I know someone else is present. I open my eyes and let them adjust to total darkness. My throat is parched, eyelids are heavy and my body is weak from the physical and emotionally purge. “Emmy Bear?” A smidge of a smile runs across my lips. Daddy. He always knows. Judging by how close his voice is, he is sitting with me on the floor which is certainly no small feat on his part. The disease of MS has invaded his body the last four years has made even the most menial of tasks extremely difficult for him. “Hi Daddy,” I manage to croak out. “I got a little worried about you,” he says. “You ok?” I cannot contain the smile now, it has made its way across my lips and my face. I pause before answering him because I don’t want to dish out the normal pretenses. “I’m…ok, I mean I think, for the first time in a long time, I’m going to be…ok.” I allow my words to sink into my soul. Do you hear that wicked darkness? I am going to be ok. I survived your best shot, the most heinous array of bullets fired at me. I’m going to be ok! Silence. Beautiful colored silence between my first love and I. My father clears his throat. “Good, Emmy Bear, I’ve been worried for awhile now. I’m going back into the house, will you stop by room before you go upstairs?” I stand up to help my father rise off of the floor. He tenderly kisses my forehead. “Sure Daddy, anything else you need?” I ask. He shakes his head, gives me a squeeze and his famous crooked smile and wobbles out of the garage.
#Standing alone in my parents’ bathroom in front of the mirror, I repeat my new found mantra…I am fine, I will be fine before attempting to stare at my reflection full on. What I see just tickles me pink! I am a walking canvas as paint has dried and covered my entire body. I feel like an Amazon woman warrior, ready to take on any enemy. I hear the sweet sound of my own laughter and I cherish it knowing it didn’t get swallowed up whole by the abyss. After trying out several warrior poses in the mirror, I shower and change. I’m starving. When I step out of the bathroom, clean and presentable, my father, sitting in his chair, looks up at me and smiles again. I love that smile. “Sit for a minute, honey?” my father asks. “Sure Daddy,” I answer. I scoot next to him and rest my weary head on his shoulder. We stay in that position for twenty minutes watching Wheel of Fortune. It is the most peaceful and relaxed I have felt in almost a year. I savor the moment, feeling everything, tucking it all away in my memory bank. My father interrupts the sweet silence. “Emmy Bear, I have something for you but I don’t know if I should give it to you.” Fear laced his words. I get nervous. “Daddy, whatever it is, I will handle it, I can handle,” I say in my best reassured voice. My father lets out a heavy sigh and pulls an envelope from behind him. “It’s been here for awhile but I was afraid to give it to you but when I heard you crying earlier and then laughing I felt it was time.” My father bore his dark eyes into mine. “I love you Emmy Bear, you are my heart and I wish I could have protected you from all of the bad things but life is made up of good and bad. Sometimes it seems it’s more bad than good but you’re tough like me, you can handle it.” Shaking I take the mystery envelope out of his hand. “Good night, Daddy. I love you too and I’ll see you in the morning.” My heart is racing but I don’t look down at the envelope until I am upstairs alone. Behind the closed door, I toss the letter onto the bed and pace nervously for a few minutes. Stop being dramatic Emerson and just open it. Whatever it is, it certainly can’t be as bad as heartbreak. I sit on the bed and for the first time look at what my father had been keeping from me. It’s a letter addressed to me except I don’t recognize the handwriting. That’s strange, I think. No one really knows I’ve moved back home, who would be sending me mail here? I flip to the backside of the thick letter and see the gold stamped emblem I know all too well. His initials, JEH. The letter slips out of my hand, falls to the floor as I scurry into the corner of the room. Curled up against the wall in the fetal position, I feel the lid of the abyss slowly swallowing me whole again.

Mood Board Inspiration: the Baroque Era

Grandeur. Lush. Exquisite. Go big or go home. Fashion and style in this period was represented by these sentiments and more. It was the idea that grandiose was the way to live, eat and breathe. Splendor and excessive was the norm. Influence from the later part of the era (1660-1775) can be seen across the runway today, my absolute favorite is Dolce & Gabbana RTW Fall 2013 at Milan Fashion Week (read about the creative directors recent conviction of tax evasion). Check it out here at style.com!

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To incorporate this style into your wardrobe, look for heavily ornate pieces, dramatic circular or curving patterns and elaborate embellishments.

Here are a few pictures for inspiration! Happy findings!

 

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