Escape

We swirl and spin, dance together, play off each other, learn, grow. Together, we develop into more than we ever were, more than we ever could have been. The community makes us more.

Until it doesn’t.

A few members start missing steps- subtle, barely noticed. Someone begins to improvise. A handful of people start playing their own song, and several dancers switch to their rhythm. Two songs, five rhythms, three- no four melodies now, movement, noise, lights.

Sounds swirling together and breaking apart- a storm at sea. Bodies jumping, striding, flailing, floating- waves, surf, splash, whirlpools. My raft cannot withstand the storm and it breaks.

Clinging to driftwood, torn to shreds. Stay with the others and risk the storm? Or drift away and hope for a harbor? Exhausted, I collapse.

Wake up on the shore, trusty driftwood raft remnant with me. Silence, but not- birds, tiny waves, wind in the leaves. Isolation, but not total- animals on the island and whispers of voices drifting in on the surf. Peace. Sanity.

Memories of the dance, of when I belonged, of when I sank in the chaos. Memories of friends and community, of truth and truths, of agreement and dissonance, of understanding and illusion. 

Hard to contain the universe in a thimble.  Trying anyway, but spilling drops on my fingers, losing fragments to my clumsiness.

Fight the hopeless fight. Ignore the inevitable. Believe in the army coming at first light on the third day. Drop my watch so I won’t know how many days it’s been. Press on until I collapse in the sand.

Then rest. Breathe. Let the sea water lap against my hair. Breathe. Feel the sun on my skin. Breathe. Breathe.

Potter’s Medley 4

After a bit of wheel work, we made a slab project. You wedge your clay (work all the air bubbles out) like normal, then put your clay on a slab roller, which just rolls the clay out evenly for you. It’s so nice. Yay for slab rollers.

We made bowls or platters (free choice) that day, using a complex-looking, but very simple technique. You take lace (an old doily, for example) and use a rolling pin to press it into the clay. Keep rolling until it’s level with the clay surface. If you still feel fabric bumps when you touch it, keep rolling.

Then, you get a stand, place a bowl upside down over the stand, cover that with a this piece of plastic, and flip your clay slab onto it. (I cut mine into a shape before this step.) Gently smooth/pat/form the slab over the bowl until it take the shape you want. Be gentle.

  
The coloring is a green stain, applied into the lace crevices using a makeup brush and washed off of the raised surface using a sponge. On top of this, there is a clear glaze.

Potter’s Medley 3

Sadly, I’ve spent enough time dragging my feet that into longer remember distinct occurrences from this class. I was stressed and busy while it was happening, and I mostly just crumpled to a ball when I got home. I needed rest, so I rested.

  
This bowl is COMPLETELY mine. I made it, trimmed it, glazed it. I love it, because the inner rings and the center for make me think of a droplet falling into water. It’s like a snapshot of ripples slipping through a little puddle. I love motion in art, so I really am happy with this.

  

It just turned out so nicely. It is even. It is a good weight. It just looks good. So I am pleased with this piece at least. 🙂

This is thrown on an electric wheel, glazed 1/2 in translucent green and 1/2 in cobalt blue, with a slight overlap in the center.

Kuno’s Distress Tolerance

It’s finally warm enough for the lawn mower today, and Kuno is terrified of it. Of course. Because it’s a vacuum cleaner with a car motor- two horrors in one!

I’m softening this experience by including positive elements for her. There is wet food available (she usually eats dry food, so it’s special), but she needs to sit by an open window to eat it.

  
She did well at first, but my husband hit some rocks or sticks, so the noise spiked and she ran away. Not too far, though, and she still interacted with me, so I know she wasn’t panicking. (The light on the floor is from the window in the first picture.)

  
The mower has now moved around the back of our home, so she has decided to make a run for it. Her fur isn’t too puffy, and she seems very sure of her movements. This is really great. 

  
I know how easy it is to run away when things are scary and how hard it is to be open to new experiences. Kuno did really well today. Hopefully, she will just keep getting better.

Potter’s Medley- Week 2

 This bowl was the product of my second week of class. We were supposed to learn trimming- the process of removing extra clay from the bottom of a bowl to make it lighter. A bowl (vase, pot, jug, etc.) must sit for a while to dry out before you trim it. Not too long, or you won’t be able to work it. Not too little or your hands will end up reshaping the bowl as you work.

  
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t make a bowl during my first week, so I had nothing to trim. The teacher threw a few extra bowls before class, and I got to trim one. It may have been softer than preferred, but I was still grateful for the inclusion.

 Sadly, as you can see, the glaze I used was HORRIBLE. It bubbled. It ran down onto the shelf. It separated, leaving a white layer on the bowl and sending all the pigment down to the kiln shelf. Part of my bowl stuck to the kiln shelf. Part of the kiln shelf stick to my bowl (it’s the white stuff).
This bowl is a failure, but only because of the bad glaze. If I had picked one of the better ones, this wouldn’t have been ruined.

Committing to the Choice

I mentioned last time about choosing not to go spend time in an environment where I would be uncomfortable, but still worrying about my choice. Right after I posted, I got annoyed because I didn’t want to feel so scared and small. So I did the only thing I could do:

I made my soup anyway.

I threw it in the crockpot and committed to being home for another 5 hours. And then I made iced tea. And muffins. Well, my husband helped make muffins a few hours later when he got home, but it seems right to include them here.

Things were pretty good. For a while. I heard car doors slam around 5:00 and I hid in my closet. I wish I could say it wasn’t the case, but when I get overwhelmed, I still hide in small, dark places, like a child. At my grad school, I used to hide under the counter in the bathroom, at least, when I didn’t think there would be many women in there.

It feels safer to be in a small space. Like no one can see me, so I can be alone. Sometimes, I need to feel alone.

So I hid, but the car wasn’t for me. I got a text later, just checking to be sure I didn’t want to come, and I replied, and then things were calm. Fine. No one got mad. No one pressured me. It’s just fine.

I need to get used to this. I am allowed to make choices, even if they defy expectations, and when I do, things are fine. I can relax.

Saying “No”

I was invited to dinner with some people tonight- the invitation came yesterday, and the dinner is tonight. My immediate thought was to say “yes,” but I decided to wait instead of answering immediately.

This morning, I got up and thought I would go- that I should send a text before lunch and say “yes.” But lunch drew closer, and I started to feel sick. Lunch passed, and I was still keeping busy so I didn’t have to think about it.

At 2:00, I forced myself to sit still and think about it. I discovered that I don’t want to go. That I feel like an outsider. That I don’t want to answer even more questions about my marriage- the huge rush of people asking about my relationship during my engagement/shortly after my wedding was really hard for me. Most of these people weren’t usually involved in my life, so why did they expect me to talk about an intensely personal subject with them all of a sudden?! My hesitance and refusal to discuss it was met with anything from confusion to anger.

I don’t want to face that again, just because I haven’t seen these people since… Since before I was engaged, I guess. If I knew that they wouldn’t take this chance to “catch up” or whatever phrase is appropriate to describe “asking questions to give the impression that one is involved in someone else’s life when the people who actually are involved in that person’s life already know this information.”

*sigh* In case it’s unclear, I have difficulty with social situations. Well, certain ones anyway. I just think I have the right to be private if I want to be. Others disagree with me, but that only reinforces my position, so…

Anyway, back to today. It wasn’t until 3:30 that I managed to send a text declining the invitation. I still feel sick. Because I’m not doing what was expected of me. Because I can’t come up with a good excuse for why I said “no,” and an honest explanation is… More than I am ready for.

It’s almost 4, and I’m scared that someone will still try to pick me up even though I said “no.” That I am not allowed to choose. That my desires aren’t important.

I was going to make soup today, but it’s taken me so long to decide this dumb issue that now I don’t have time any more. Stupid… Emotional scarring… And fear… And… And everything.

I wish I was stronger.

I wish I didn’t hurt so much.