I was a child, maybe 12, when Cabbage Patch kids were popular. My friends had them. I didn’t. This is not a sob story. I don’t remember ever particularly wanting one so I doubt I asked for one. What I do distinctly remember is informing my mother that I was going to make one.
“Do you know how?”
I probably gave her a look like she was an idiot. Why would a detail like that stop me?
I used light blue scrap material, pillow stuffing, and an old pair of panty hose for the face and hands. The resulting doll looked more like a cute old lady than a child. She was about a foot tall and her arms stuck straight out to her sides. I made an apron for her out of white fabric onto which I “embroidered” the phrase “Kiss My Grits.” She was pretty cute. She didn't look like a Cabbage Patch Kid. She was her own thing and I was happy with her. She had a place of honor on my bed for many years.
A few years earlier, after watching a TV special on the plight of the baby harp seals in Canada (you know, the ones who were clubbed for their soft, white fur?) I made a petition and went door to door. I ended up with nearly a thousand signatures. I sent it in to The Fund for Animals and received a hand-written note from Cleveland Amory.
In my professional life, in experimental theater, I once promised to write a full-length musical. I didn’t know how to write a musical. I don’t write music. But I figured it out and I pieced it together and I by god won a couple awards for it.
And one time I decided I was gonna create a theatrical event that took place over an entire city block simultaneously. Cause I could see it in my mind so I knew it would work. And I did it. And it sold out every show, damnit.
That is who I was for the majority of my life. I have always had a very clear vision of right and wrong. I have always had a very clear vision of what I wanted. I have never read an instruction booklet or a How-To manual. I have always just assumed that if I could see it in my mind, I could make it happen regardless of whether or not I knew how. I have always just assumed that if I was doing what I knew was right, it would work out. And then I would do it. That's who I was.
To a fault.
The people who love me find this aspect of my personality more endearing than annoying. The people who don’t like me very much, and there are some, probably find it infuriating. I probably seem self-righteous and like I'm a know-it-all in some circumstances and people might not embrace that. I don’t know. They don’t speak to me. It’s just a guess.
Anyway, I’m not sure when it happened, but a lot of those characteristics went away for a while. Or maybe that energy was just being utilized to stay afloat during a series of really hard knocks that came in rapid succession. I’m not sure why but I became a little meek. I became a little scared.
It doesn’t matter now.
I’m back in some big ways and I’m back in some little ways that involve little things.
Like curtains, for instance. Were you with me when I wrote this? It was back in November of last year so maybe you weren’t. No matter. I just wanted to let you know that two of the 3 sets of curtains that needed to be hung have been hung and I am embarking on the final set after lunch (though I may have to run to the store cause I don’t really like the curtains any more.)
Now, it’s important for me to admit that these curtains, like almost every project I have ever embarked upon, are wildly MacGyvered. I have no idea how to properly hang curtains.
I had been afraid to hang them – afraid of messing up – afraid I’d do it wrong so I didn’t try. What was that about, ya’ll? That’s not who I am.
But today I just dove in. I didn’t measure. I eyeballed it. And I was gonna use the new little drill I bought for myself, but I couldn’t figure out how to work it. So I just made little holes in the wall with a nail and screwed the screws in by hand…using a flat head screw driver on Phillips head screws (hey, at least I know what they’re called.) And I only put one screw in each bracket instead of two because two seemed excessive. I rigged the rest with bubble gum and a shoestring and a paperclip and extra chicken wire from the henhouse. Cause that is always how I've rolled.
And I hung those damn curtains.
And, yeah, it’s not very pretty if you look closely – but who looks closely? It’s like a Monet, ya’ll. You’re supposed to stand back and take it all in. I'm a big-picture gal.
And, yeah, I only bought four curtain panels and it turns out this particular enormous sliding glass door would look better with six. But the reason that doesn’t matter is that immediately after the curtains were hung, the cat pounced on them and hung from them and attempted to rip them to shreds and I was reminded why the old ones fell down in the first place.
So I scooped them up and tucked them into the curtain rod out of her reach and they are now more like a valance than curtains. Which is great, actually, because my balcony garden is very pretty and we wouldn’t want to miss seeing the tomatoes ripen.
Two summers ago, I would’ve asked my husband to hang the curtains. Not out of laziness – out of fear that my techniques would be called into question. And maybe also laziness.
Last summer, I would periodically get out some tools, measure and examine, and then put everything away again. Afraid of doing it wrong. Afraid of building something that would fall.
Today I said, “Fuck it. You don’t scare me!” and I used spit and muscles and a hammer and the incorrect screw driver and some luck and a wobbly chair and some nails and some $3 rods from Walmart and I hung some damn curtains.
The curtains are just a metaphor, you know.
I mean, I really DID hang them in a literal type way. But they’re also a metaphor.
You knew that, right?
Anyhow, I’m back.
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