Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas Present to You

Merry Christmas! OK so there is no picture. Mr. Cardinal is tired from way too much eggnog. I am working on a special piece I can't share because it is for the Reflection show at VAM and it will not open until January 12th. I would share a YouTube video but being a woman of the seventies I don't know how to do that and my son is sleeping.

So first off, whatever your current atmosphere is I hope you can find some peace and tranquility and love with your family and friends. Your family and friends are really the gift you give yourself if you are able to give and receive.

I guess if you read my blog you've realized I'm just a wee bit eccentric(to say the least). You probably also know that most of my adult life the holidays were a struggle(to say the least). Both my parents died in the first week of January. My mother who was the most wonderful person I will ever know, a beautiful artistic loving soul who never quite recovered from the death of my brother when I was little, died on January 3,1983 when I was 24. My dad, who was a carpenters apprentice in Bermuda, before moving as a teen to Brooklyn NY died a few hours into January 1,1997 when my son was 6. I never really talk about it in those stark terms but rather oozed it from Thanksgiving to the first week in January every single year from 1983 until this year. The other important thing about the both of them was that they were frustrated artists. My mother painted, my dad made cabinets and other wonderful things. And they were both really talented. But my mother put her dreams on hold to be a mother to my brother and me and my father's apprenticeship was ended by circumstances.

Even as a child Christmas was an issue. Now as an adult I look back and realize that Christmas involves the dead as much as the living and perhaps it was just too much for their broken hearts to bear. I did have wonderful, wonderful Christmas memories with my wonderful big Italian family with hearts and love big enough for the world. Cousins, second cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, kids food love. Great memories. As a kid though you don't really realize the complications of life.

And then we reach the true gift of this post. This year was the year I healed all those scars. I became an artist. Perhaps I was one before this year but I personally in my head, and my heart and my soul became an artist. I learned to appreciate the sacrifices and work it requires to be an artist. I also learned to appreciate art in many different forms, with the word, with the clay with the rhythm.

I also learned that being super busy during the holidays is a great way not to wallow in the past. Wallowing is not good and it really doesn't do justice to all the wonderful people missing from your holiday table. But that being said if wallowing makes you happy, wallow away.

Around my birthday I discovered the Black Keys. I thought Brothers was their first CD and it made me smile and put a little pep in my step and was great to embroider to. A great birthday present for myself although I didn't really know it at the time. Then I found the Lonely Boy video, that man dancing reminded me of a time when I was a carefree girl that loved to dance and didn't really give a darn whether people liked it or not. I had a great time during my late teens and early twenties before 1983. Ok so I'll move along, it turns out the Black Keys are 2 guys who made their first 6 albums in their basement. Made them, produced them and toured all over the country promoting themselves before being breakthrough since 2001. They did it all themselves because they wanted to make a certain kind of music that really wasn't in vogue. They sing, they play their own instruments and they sound exactly the same way whether you are seeing them sing live on Youtube or listening to a CD(although the early CD's are a little raw as they produced them themselves in their basement). Now what the heck does this have to do with my Christmas. Their music reminds me of a time before. I can't sit still when I listen to them. I want to dance, I want to sing and I don't really care what anybody thinks about it(I am from NJ after all). They bring me joy. Joy is the gift you have to give yourself. They give me an inspirational story. They give me the ability to tune everyone else out. They make me move. They made me remember myself. They are the soundtrack for my life, love, loss and a great beat behind it.

OK I'm getting to the point. When Aunt Sally drinks a little too much eggnog because she misses Uncle Louie, love her. When Debbie cries while listening to Have Yourself a Merry Christmas give her a hug. When you burn your ham or forget the beer relax, there are worse things in the world, you can write me an email if you want proof. Life is ugly but it's the love that we share and we give and the soundtracks of our lives. Find your Black Keys, love your family in their imperfect way and embroider your own peace. There is light at the end of the tunnel, If you are sad remember the good things, if you are more than sad get as much help as you need. Your ghosts want you to be happy even if it means ignoring the world by putting your headphones on. Enjoy your dinners! Enjoy your gifts especially the ones made by an artist. Love the tortured souls. I will make lasagna which doesn't compare to my grandmother's. I will sit with my wonderful son and husband and listen to the dog bark about her wonderful new toys. I will spend a lot of my day embroidering and listening to the Black Keys. And if you happen to be a woman about 52 say and you remember the bar scene fondly go buy yourself Rubber Factory. It's great, better than Brothers and El Camino which are great too.

And finally if you read this book from beginning to end, you are a kind soul who deserves a nice holiday hug. Smooches and love.


Linda said...

What a lovely gift. You never know how words shared will affect someone else, but your words meant something to me and helped fill a space. I loved what you said about the ghosts wanting you to be happy. :) Thank you for sharing your story.

tangled stitch said...

Linda, You have no idea what your words meant to me also. I was exhausted when I wrote it as I slept very little due to good music and cookies after midnight. After a good night's sleep I wondered if it was the wrong thing to write on such a family oriented holiday. But then I thought if one person feels a little better after reading it, it would be worth it. For me the holidays have always been a landmine, glad I'm not alone! Blessings and my email is on my profile, I'm always here to listen and understand. Deb