Painting is Life

Painting is life.

I have known this since I was a child, digging my fingers into mud to smear out pictures across the hot asphalt on summer days. That was the mere beginning. Crayons on the walls, scribbles in the numerous books I could place my hands on, anything that would allow me to wallow in my passion … I craved it. I craved to create life as my fingers deftly smeared my mother’s found makeup across the cabinets.

The colors always astounded me. How they would merge together to create new shades that, at the time, I had little description for. Or how they would overlap, give the picture depth. Become … alive.

Of course, my parents didn’t share my passion, so it was often I suffered for my art. At first, it was no more than sharp words and rebukes. When that didn’t work, I was imprisoned in my room. And still I found ways to create. There were often times I would see those dazzling colors swimming across my room, and I would run my finger through the air, pretending I was blending them above me to paint the ceiling. Or I would catch hold of one of the cats and make use of it. Poor animals. They really did hate me.

I believe that was around the age that my parents grew concerned. They couldn’t stop me from my pictures, and they found me to be … disturbing. I couldn’t understand what was so wrong with any of it. There was talk of getting rid of the animals, for fear of what I would do to them. Instead, it was I who was packed away, hauled off to a mental institution in an attempt to push the urges to paint out of my mind. If anything, being around those neurotic, insane individuals seemed to awaken my zest all the further.

It so happened that there was another painter, a young woman who often scratched at the walls until her nails broke and her fingers bled. Then she would leave such interesting murals across the wall with her blood. Little pictures, nonsensical for the most part. But in those scribblings I saw a whole new world. One that I rejoiced in. Red soon became my favorite color.

However, I found that I cared little to use my own blood. As much as I cared for my art, I couldn’t endure the pain of destroying my own fingers for my passion. Instead, I found friends. Those who would hurt themselves on a constant, and didn’t mind sharing their veins so I could immerse myself in my drawings. Of course, when we were found out, I was locked away in solitaire for quite some time. I can’t begin to say what it did to my mind, having little to no color, thirsting for my passion and being restricted from it. I learned my lesson during that lengthy stay – if I wanted to paint, I would have to do so in secret.

It was hardly difficult to find useful individuals. Each person brought a new nuance to each painting I created. And each painting would become so alive the more that I added from others. Of course, there were complications. Some problems. It seemed one of my paintings was found, but in such an odd way that they couldn’t say whether it was my doing or another’s. It was at this time they felt there was nothing they could do for me, not anymore. I was a helpless case, and an adult now. So, I was allowed to leave. I had spent eight years in that torturous institute, but now I was free.

I fell into my art with unfaltering glee. Such artistic delights I created, once I’d found my subjects. I had always been a charming boy when young, and that charm had not faltered even now. I would lure my subjects to my home, and then I would make use of them. And how they would come alive! I truly loved to see them this way, my passion for them piqued and held for some time. Of course, it would ebb. It always would ebb. It was a fire within them that would tamper down, then go out. Every time, I would feel so utterly incomplete, because my work was clearly not done. And so I would have to find another … then another.

But this time, I think I have learned how to keep the flames going. I have had in my company four lovely women, each of who give to my art in their own way. When their blood mingles together, I can hear them singing … or screaming, really. They often scream when I slice into their skin, usually at the veins. You get such a rich amount of blood at the veins. They always scream when I go near them, but even that is music to my ears. It almost sounds like the cats’ screaming when I would use scissors on them and use their insides to make such pretty pictures. It’s a shame that my art could never be understood, even then.

It seems that my dear Fiona, however, is losing that fire. Her screams are low, and her eyes are glassy. Her bleeding has turned sluggish. I fear she won’t be with us much longer, which is a shame, because she has become her own beautiful piece of art. And that has always been my favorite, to smear the red over her pale skin and make her come alive again. But it’s gone an ugly brown now. There’s no more work to be done for her. And I was almost done with my masterpiece. Such a shame. I cheer myself up with the reminder that I can always bring another young lady home and clasp her in chains. After all, we can’t let the women leave without letting them see my work.

Painting is life … my life … how I do enjoy it.

Sweet Little Annie

Daughters should be a blessing. Daughters should be little wonders, little miracles, sweet and gentle delights to their fathers. How had mine turned out so wrong? What ill star had I been born under to be damned with the beast child who had merged from my once charming ten-year-old daughter? She wasn’t always this way, no, and I’ve become more convinced that she’s possessed by the demons. Something is beneath her skin, twisted, warped, and I’m the only one who sees it. Why is it no one else can?

The King’s Wives (part 3)

Once again, I was swept into the grandeur of the magnificent palace. Perhaps it was my naivete which dazzled me, but I had drawn the interest of the prince. I was the one to dance the waltz with him. Perhaps it was surprise that he had seen me before my sister, who drew the crowds with nothing further than a flutter of lashes. I had hope renewed blooming inside of me as I took those opulent marble steps, the satin slippers on my feet silent. My fingers were hooked into the fabric of my skirts to raise them from my ankles, enough to allow me to walk into the throngs again to join the prince for the waltz.

The music began. The strings of the instruments wept and the flutes danced. And there, upon the floor, stood my sister across from the prince. Her smug grin was aimed at him as he swept her about the floor. What a pair they made, so haunting in their unearthly beauty. They gazed at each other as lovers would, already lost in their intimacy with each other, that the remainder of the world could have faded by without care.

Again, I knew, she had won. My sister, my twin, the brilliant flame.

Once the waltz had ended, the prince requested an audience with my mother and myself, along with my twin. There was some astonishment as he realized that there were two of us. I could read it in the jerk of his head, the rounding of those fierce blue eyes. “You are mirror images,” he stated with wonder. He circled each of us, his steps echoing in the large, otherwise empty room. My mother was proud to explain, “They are perfect, save for a mark on Ophelia’s left knee.”

His intrigue grew. “Olivia and Ophelia.” The name was a silken murmur on his lips. I loathed him for that, along with the thoughts openly churning in his head. Two women, so alike in appearances. “Tell me of yourselves,” he demanded as he took his father’s seat. We both knew what he was asking, however. Which of us should he marry? He crossed his leg over his knee as he bent forward to survey us. My sister proudly stepped forward to proclaim herself the gem of the south, a title of her own making. She loved to dance, she adored silks and ribbons. She was a lady through and through, she would do well on his arm, his dazzling adornment that he could proudly show to his subjects. She would not shame him. She was adept with language, skillful and cunning with flattery, and knew how to winkle out a secret with ease. She would be his wife, his artist, and his most honest friend.

Those brilliant blue eyes then turned to me. Shame caused sweat to trickle along my neck as I stepped forward. I fixed him with a discerning look in return. “Why should I barter with my sister over who I am? I know who I am. I cook, I clean, I love to read and sing. I prefer a quiet, happy life. I am not what you seek.” With that, I stepped away. My mother’s hand gripped hard at my wrist, so hard that her nails sank into my flesh to cause furious crescents.

“What Ophelia means is that she has always led the calmer life, your majesty. She knows nothing of flirtations with men. She has always kept a life of joyful solitude. That doesn’t make her less of a woman, only a different one.”

“I know exactly what she means,” the king answered from behind us. He had swept in while we spoke with his son, none of us hearing his approach. The prince merely gave his father a smug look while the three of us curtsied to our liege. “You have an interesting conundrum on your hands, my son, ” said his majesty. “Two becoming daughters, one quite like the other in form, but not in mind. If I were you, I would want one for public and the other for my bed.”

Such dreadful talk. I wanted to clap my hands over my ears in horror. But the king’s idea had a different effect on the prince. Something sparked. Now he studied us in earnest. “Yes, I quite like the idea of that. Who would know but us, after all? You are of the south, hardly known about the northern lands.” He came down the landing to take each of us by the hand and draw us up toward the steps. “I will have them,” he stated.

“No,” I answered, but no one cared to listen to me. There was a flurry of activity from the prince, the king, and even my horrid mother. She crowed with delight, clapping her hands. My sister beamed with great pride. I… I saw doom spread before my feet. Again, cast in my sister’s shadow, it seemed. I would never be free of her.

Marriage is a blink

I fell out of love with my husband. I’m not sure when, or how, or where. I can guess. And even in guessing, I could be wrong, because I don’t want to believe it’s possible.

I fell out of love with my husband. I can’t say it’s any more his fault than my own. We both have hurt each other in through the years we’ve been together, so it’s hard to remember the good, the right, the beautiful.

I fell out of love with my husband, and now something feels off between us. Maybe it’s because I have a difficult time seeing him as a husband now. I tend to see him more as a stranger, some roommate who has taken a shelf in my life, but doesn’t really exist there. No matter that we spend copious amounts of time together, because it doesn’t feel … there.

I fell out of love with my husband, and I can’t feel sorry for it. But that’s okay, because he said he isn’t in love with me either. Hasn’t been in love with me for years. Maybe that’s why he feels okay about wanting another relationship. Maybe that’s why he’s okay with inviting strangers into his personal life, but he has a difficult time doing it with the woman who was supposed to share his life with him. Maybe that’s why he has sought out the risque, the dark, gone places that I can’t go with him. Maybe that’s why he holds onto the people who aren’t good for him, but really has no problem with letting me go. And maybe now I have no problem with letting him go, because we aren’t good for each other anymore.

I fell out of love with my husband. I no longer feel like I have a husband. So, I guess that means I have me. And only me. Maybe it’s not a bad thing. Maybe it’s going to destroy me in the end. Maybe it’ll be the best thing to ever happen. I can’t see where everything will finish.

I really miss when I was in love with my husband, though.

The King’s Wives (part 2)

To say the castle grounds were opulent could not give it justice. The sweet waft of flowers in the evening breeze could romance even the hardest soul. Rose petals had been scattered at the top step of the marble steps that led within the palace. Sweet violins wept a gentle song for those below to dance to. The blend of those twirling skirts fascinated me. So many lovely shades and hues all spinning about … It was enough to make me dizzy. As often as I had read of such fascinating sights, it was my first ball and seeing with my very own eyes was far different from imagining the elegance of the people within.

Just as swift, that bright bubble of fascination was destroyed. My sister’s laughter broke into my dazzled thoughts, her harsh and withering look enough to shame me. “Really, Ophelia, you would think you had not seen such grandeur before. What a naive child you are.” I might have reminded her that she had never seen such sights before, but she would have brushed the truth away. I could see well enough that in her mind this was a common occasion. She had been to countless balls, had been present on many of the handsome arms of the gentlemen within the room, and had become the beauty of the ball. All of this had been conjured up with the assistance of her vanity within minutes. I envied and pitied her.

And then I loathed her as I watched lordling after knight after gentleman spin her about along the floor. I had a fair few ask for my hand as well, though those who offered their hands soon retracted their interest once they’d learned my sister was the blazing candle they sought. I withdrew from the bodies that had pressed in far too close, all the concerned mamas and proud papas watching their beautiful young girls, hoping that their child would catch the attention of the prince. Did they not realize my twin, Isabella, would be the only one the prince would notice? She had won and they had yet to understand that. Such a cold, lonesome thought.

The noises within the palace rose to such a rate I found myself desperate to escape. The fear of fainting was all too real. And so, I took myself into the garden to hide inside the labyrinth until the ball had come to its finish. The sweetness of the blooms overtook me again. I drew my wrap close around my chilled shoulders as I gazed into the inkiness of the sky above, and sang. It was my only true gift, singing. It was one that Isabella had never been granted as well, and one she never aspired to change. I’m certain she resented my vocal talents as much as I did her vanity.

My song was low, not meant for others’ ears, and still it drew someone. One might think this would be the part where the prince surprised me, joining his voice to mine in beautiful harmony. The prince did surprise me, quite true. If anything, there was amusement in those shrewd amber eyes. Amusement and interest in finding a lone maiden out in his gardens, wandering about, singing to herself. “I seem to have found a nightingale stuck in the night blossoms,” he quipped as he drew my hand to his lips. I had gone still in horror, and might have fled had he not kept a firm hold on my fingers. “Does the little bird have a name?”

“Ophelia,” I whispered. It came to me that I should curtsey to him. “Forgive me, your highness. I hadn’t realized anyone else was within the labyrinth. Had I known-”

“You would have let me be? I’m far more glad you didn’t know. I’m glad for the distraction.” His attention turned away to the blazing windows of his castle, disquiet making itself known. I could see the hints of tawny gold within his hair as he drew me toward the light and toward safety. “I would prefer not to be at this ridiculous thing, but a prince must do as he’s expected. I would dance with you. The last waltz.” Again, his lips touched at my knuckles. As he adjourned into the party, I remained outside with a heart tripping madly about.

The King’s Two Wives (pt. 1)

Tags

, , , ,

For as long as I could remember, my twin and I shared everything. From our dresses to our shoes, we often looked alike. We had deep gold curls that our mother was proud of. We shared the same deep blue eyes, the same thin face and full lips that gave us a regal air. We could have been the same girl, so similar were we. There was only one difference between us and that was the birthmark that stained the crook of my right knee.

As we grew older, there were more tell-tale signs of how different we truly were. Though we’d both been taught from a precocious age that children should be seen and not heard, it was my sister who had no qualms in disrupting this rule. She became vain of her beauty, and would spend intricate hours in front of the cheval glass to study her slight form fitted into one of the few satin dresses we were fortunate to have. It was mother’s desire we should be moved into higher society. My mother had once been the daughter of a lord, but had married beneath herself, and regretted this through most of her married life. But in us she saw a chance at redemption. She would not have the same life for us as she had chosen.

It happened that his majesty was to throw a ball. Yes, I know. So many fairy tales have begun with a royal ball where the lowly girl finds her true love. I had no delusional beliefs I would be noticed in the least by anyone. After all, I had become the quiet sister and she had become the vain one who craved any attention from any individual, as she saw that it was richly deserved. She had been raised to believe my mother’s word that she was far too beautiful for the lowly life of a stable man’s daughter. She deserved to have the pearls woven in her hair to be real, the gems at her throat to be of the highest quality, and a lord’s rings on her fingers.

It was my mother’s insistence we wear the same silk damask gowns with their full skirts, tightly bound bodices, and frothy cream lace to offset the cornflower blue of the garments. Even our hair was the same. Those rich golden curls of ours had been gathered to the crown of our heads with flowers interwoven through them. My sister had chosen to wear my mother’s sapphire and diamond necklace bound close enough that the fat gem settled in the hollow of her throat becomingly. I chose the simple silk fan to wave off the stench of those bloated people who would press against each other and overwhelm with their bodily scents.

We were fortunate to have a coach that evening, a gift to my sister’s untamed beauty from a love-struck fool. She had done nothing more than smile at the man, and a few days after we had received the present. It was in that carriage that we arrived at the steps of the castle with candles blazing along the stairs that led to the massive oak doors. They had been swung open to receive guests from even the lowest of the lands. It was the king’s desire that everyone celebrate the return of his only son, the conqueror of the kingdom. The particulars of the story often eluded me, but I had little care in the fights of our kingdom against those of our neighbors. After all, it was pithy arguments over the most base of things. And so I followed my regal sister into the grand ball with no more desire than to find a quiet corner for the rest of the evening.

What are you waiting for?

Tags

, , ,

Those first few steps. The music slowly builds up and the voice of an angel flows through your system. Light on your feet, you sway, you spin, and you give into the emotional surge that rises up. Your fingers skim along your own flesh to allow that sensation to build. You can’t stop moving with the need that is within you. You long so deeply for that partner to come, to stretch his arms out to you. He’ll take you close, turning as you do, in perfect harmony as the drumming of your hearts fall in sync. With each other. With the music. With love. It’s his hand that skims over your skin. You can feel the cooling glance of his breath across your neck, and then you turn to face him. See his eyes. So rich with the same longing that has been tight around your own heart for such a long time. He presses you close as you both take to your feet, spinning, twirling, moving in emotional delight. You never want it to stop, this wild dance that you both have begun. Hands grasped together. Brush of leg against leg. His arm curves at your waist to lift you above him only to draw you in closer to his body. That age old thrum of need is there. You both curve in, out, around. Heat rises from you both and you both quake with it. More. Your soul thirsts for even more from him, and he needs the same from you. It rolls over you both until you both cling, shaken from the experience. And then it ends.  The music drifts away into a sweet, blissful silence … and you are alone, dancing with yourself and left with that distraught longing again. The dance is ever going within your heart, it will never stop. With each and every song that touches you and draws your emotions to an overwhelming churn, you will find yourself dancing in and out of the shadows as you seek him.

What are you waiting for?

Dance on, love on, live, and long for that one who will answer the call of your shaken heart.

Society, I know you hate this!

There is a war, and I’m the first to agree to that. However, it’s not a war that most people would presume. Yes, there is a massive one between ISIS and purging humanity of the infidels. There is one between countries over oil, over religion, over territory, and so many more intricate reasons we couldn’t begin to understand. There’s one on police who are caught in this furl of hatred against bigotry and hunger for power. On that same side, there’s one on black Americans who are caught in that same furl. But if we break down the basics of these wars, it’s going to come to the same culminating point – we, as humans, suck!

We are blatantly destructive of our own world. We mass produce weapons to threaten anyone who dares to disagree with us. We want power! Always power! Power only lasts so long as you can maintain it, and then someone is going to come up to grab it from you. We’re children all playing tag, wanting to be IT. Sorry, folks, but IT is an asshole and we’re forming up to be assholes. So, where does the problem lie?

Well, us. Humanity. We’ve fought so long, so hard, to attempt to come out on top that we’ve surpassed our dreams and now flounder with each other to breathe. We want to do as we wish, believe as we believe, and be respected. Except …

We don’t respect humanity, and it’s been a long, dangerous slope that we’ve created for ourselves. While we should feel ashamed, we don’t. We simply complain of oppression in an attempt to guilt anyone who dares to disagree with who and how we are. We fail to stand up for true human rights – slavery, rape, murder, coercion, abuse – things that shouldn’t exist in our world, and yet do. When a rape victim is made into the foe, when a child is sent back to a home that should be loving and instead is full of mutilation, when a woman uses her religion as a means to destroy another person, then we have failed.

So, what do we as humans do? Ignore it? Mostly, yes, that is what we do. Because standing up for something means taking time out of our precious lives, and it’s far easier to let someone else do it. How self-centered we are. It’ll be a wonder if we last another thousand to ten thousand years. Mother Earth is going to shed us, her annoying little fleas who took over and nearly sucked her dry, and she’s going to survive with the lesser creatures who can maintain her without leaving massive dents in their wake.

So, let’s take a step back into reality to focus on how we, as humans, can actually start making progressive steps toward a better civilization? Mind you, this will never 100% work, but it’s an effort in the right way. We need that respect first and foremost. Someone doesn’t believe the same as you do? That’s fine, because it takes all sorts of people to make up the world. One of the best beliefs ever created was the golden rule, which is present in almost every religion – “Treat others as you’d want them to treat you”, which is another way of saying harm none lest ye be harmed, or be careful what you wish for. However it is you’d like to say it, it’s still a good motive to go by. If you want others to respect you, then you have to allow that same respect to go forward.

Stop making a battle out of everything. All I heard this past month was “War on Christianity” or “War on Christmas”. It should have been “War on Humanity”. Christians have long held a claim over the United States. That’s not a bad thing, either. Once upon a time, there were Christians who were actual loving individuals who wanted peace on earth and good will toward man. And then something happened. Power, maybe, or the expectation that everyone should believe as they do. I can’t say. It started this feverish heat between Christians and the rest of the world, where anyone who wasn’t as they are suddenly became lesser. Again, a lack of respect, because anyone who isn’t Christian surely deserves to die. Right?

You would think I was kidding, but I can’t begin to count how many times I have seen these same “Christian” individuals state that someone should die, that they should be raped, that they’re a monster who deserves to go to jail … all due to having an opinion different from them. The basis of Christian society is more demoralizing than helpful, it’s no wonder that people are turning against it. There is no war on Christianity, none except which they make for themselves, and that battle needs to stop. If you truly want to honor your religion, then follow the rules of said religion – but stop expecting people to respect you and your religion when you stomp all over them. That goes for every other religion, too.

Now we turn to our dear leaders, who manhandle and infiltrate, who have no concerns for their fellow man. They truly want us to believe they do, but let’s face it – it’s power they’re after. Power, greed, corruption … another loss of respect for their fellow man. This needs to stop. It needs to be destroyed. Bribes shouldn’t be allowed. Ever. It leads to extortion and more corruption, and then we have this amazingly disgusting, festering hole that is our congress. If all you can do is accept money to pass on someone else’s desires, then you don’t deserve your chair. You deserve a sound whipping in public as a warning to others that you have not only humiliated yourself, but your job as a public serviceman. You’re making rules for others to live by, and yet you have no qualms with breaking those very same rules.

Humanity deserves to be treated with, well, humanity. Human kindness. Logic. Concern. Care. Not money, not ridiculous rules over something you have no clue about. Not religion to fix things. Respect! If you can’t work up the effort to respect your fellow man, then maybe your place is some remote area. Somewhere you can be alone to focus on yourself. Not making rules for others.

This diatribe could go on relentlessly. It shouldn’t need to, however. This is a mere brush of what’s wrong with society in this day and time, and it can’t all be addressed. More’s the pity. There’s still murder, carnage, destruction that we can never escape. Someday, though, there’s a chance we might. It all just takes a single step, and it’s going to need the effort of all humanity to take it. So, why not take this one and start there?

Measures of life

Tags

It’s often said that time can’t be measured easily. The ability to grasp onto a moment of time isn’t one we can do physically, and it’s difficult for us to feel the actual seconds ebbing on through our life. In fact, we never think of the elements of time until we’ve struck the next year of our birth date. It’s an elusive thing, time, and as soon as we’re born we are doomed to die. Every second, we are sliding closer to our deaths.

This may be considered a morbid thought, and yet … Death is an ugly truth, while life is a beautiful memory. We have only so much time in which we can leave our intended mark on the world around us. Some do so with words, others with physical action, and we have those who are remembered for one strong deed whereas others are forgotten for their crueler actions. But still, we strive to make that mark.

So who can say when someone dies that they’ve died young? How do we know? Does age really matter when it comes to leaving that mark? No one truly wants to die, not when there’s so much in life to experience. It’s always a last desire, a final wish when things feel so bleak, so horrific, we feel there is no other way out. And sometimes, even then, we don’t desire it. Not really. Each person strives in what time they have to live a fulfilled, happy existence. They yearn for love, for respect, for comfort. They yearn for protection from the elements, be they man-made or nature. And all this comes with life, growing older and seeking to fulfill.

Those who never have that chance become tragic figures. We bemoan the life they might have lived. They are “stars who burned too bright” and “were too good for this world”. Their life is measured by the ruler stick of another. Why? Perhaps that person lived a brief time, but they may have made the strongest mark in the world in that moment of time than they could have by living half a century. Another morbid thought, true, and no one’s death should be taken by a grain of salt. When death occurs, it will always be a tragedy. They were loved. They will be missed.

Leelah, your life was short compared to that ruling stick. You weren’t allowed to experience all you had intended or wanted. You had aspirations that never came to fruition. Your death is a tragedy. You may have realized it would be, and the inspiration you’ve created with this action will hopefully help others in your situation. Still, it’s a steep price to pay for your life. Your life was brief, but you have created a movement. I hope you would be proud of that, knowing you are making a difference. You would have made a beautiful woman, facial hair or not, deep voice or not. It’s not the physical characteristics that make the person, but whats inside. And you were a young woman on the bloom inside that heart of yours. I’m sorry that you were never given the chance to let her shine.

I hope that the next measurement they take on your life will be to say your life was worth it. Not your death. Your life. You made an impact.