Who am I to argue with numbers like that?
So I've decided to start posting here again, because nothing else in my artistic life is anywhere near as popular. It seems idiotic to fight fate, and let's face it: we artists like attention. A lot has changed in the past year. I've become a mother, taken a long break from modeling and acting, and I'm happier than ever. I'm living in the country outside New York, in a little yellow farmhouse, and while I miss the city (a lot), for now I'm actually, surprisingly enjoying the change in pace (a lot). For now, besides mommying, I'm mostly writing, and in my writing, I'm mostly working on crafting characters in stories or poems, although I'm still writing the occasional article for various journals.
But I've realized one of the things most missing from my life is having fun with clothes. So why can't a woman who likes to think also like to wear pretty things? Men who like to think tinker with their cars or stereos or women, and no one thinks less of them for it.
Anyway, that totally brilliant babe Chimamanda Ngozi Aidiche already wrote a totally brilliant article on it, so who am I to try to repaint the Mona Lisa? You can read what she has to say on the subject here .
Today, I'm going to write about something else. Something more personal.
Today my aunt died. I loved my aunt a lot. We were close for a brief period of time just after I graduated college, and she was one of the first people to take my writing seriously. My flippant tone above is masking a great deal of pain.
My pain isn't entirely for myself. It's also for my aunt. Because it's so unfair. Because she shouldn't be dead. Not yet. Because, unfortunately, my aunt lacked the ability to enjoy life, and I wish that wasn't true. Hadn't been true. That she would have had a chance to change that like a Disney film. That I could have saved her. I tried to once.
Oh, she could let loose from time to time and really enjoy herself. She could laugh and crack jokes that could make YOU laugh so hard, you'd be afraid you were about to embarrass yourself. But overall, she was held back by demons from her past. They'd cloud over her eyes, invade her thoughts. Her laughter would turn to bitter complaints-- justifiable complaints, but still it was sad to see her go from the heights to hell so quickly and all voluntarily. When I heard she was sick again, I planned to go see her. My mother was going to drive up from Virginia and drive with me and the baby. I didn't think she would fail so fast, but she did. She got sick, and she died three weeks later-- not three-six months as the doctor had promised her. Promised us.
I'm still in shock. It's hard to process that she's gone. She's always been there. Or not there for me specifically. But always there. Always around. Sometimes she was there for me though, and I loved her for that. Sometimes, she would just withdraw into herself, and there was no drawing her out. She had a lot of problems, a lot of pain. She was a brilliant woman, a kind of a genius (computers, science), back when women had to get married and that was it. No other options. No avenues. I can't imagine how stifling, insanely stifling, that must have been for a woman like her.
The dominant emotion I'm experiencing, beyond the pain I'm feeling, is a desire to live extra hard, to live for her. I know that's stupid. I know nothing I can do can make up for the things she didn't do for whatever reason. Nothing can make up for the questions I didn't ask or know how to ask her. Nothing can make up for the memories that go with her-- she had a sharp, brilliant mind for facts, would regularly trounce everyone at Trivial Pursuit and could remember the name of every street she lived on throughout a long life. There are so many details about our family that I wished I'd recorded for my daughter but also for her, to honor her memory. And I didn't. I always thought there would be time. Until there wasn't.
Maybe this is just my way of dealing with the grief, but I feel like in some way it does honor my aunt to live as happily and fearlessly as I can manage to live. So today, I cry and I'm happy, too, and both of them, both those emotions, are for her. Because I loved her. I love you, Aunt Renee. I'll miss you.
And every time I try something new and fail and try again and never give up, I'll think of you. And I'll hope it makes you happy, just simply, deliriously happy, wherever you are.