135journals Art Corner: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Decorate Wine Bottles Like . . . This?

13 Mar
Sometimes, doing something, like making whatever the hell this decorated wine bottle thingy is thing is I made tonight, is all you've got left.

Sometimes, doing something, like making whatever the hell this decorated wine bottle thingy is thing is I made tonight, is all you’ve got left.

Sometimes, doing something, like making whatever the hell this decorated wine bottle thingy is thing is I made tonight, is all you’ve got left. Yeah. It’s 1:30 a.m. I know. I have a table splattered with tiny tiny beads, yarn , scissors, ice cream that melted over twice before I remembered to eat it, (had to stick it back in the freezer), decaf chai that I had to warm up twice, and I’ve been humming “Oh Susannah” under my breath for the last three hours while I do fussy little things with yarn and ribbon and think of all the magical things I can do in the future, like wrapping literally EVERYTHING with different kinds of fabric. Cars, trees, sugar bowls, chairs. Dumdedumdedum. I think about weaving. What is the best way to weave things together if you don’t ahve a good loom? Could I use cardboard and T-shirt fabric and bleach dye the fabric so it has an old, soft look, and cut it into thin strips and twist it into yarn or maybe braid it and weave book covers for a journal or something? Or make some very special kind of wall hanging? What about dying with turmeric? Do I have all the ingredients for that? Could I do gel medium transfers on bottles? What about, um, collaging with fabric? How about dying pieces of wood in vinegar and copper scouring pads? What color would that come out? Why would people want wrapped wine bottles anyway? Weddings? Maybe weddings. That could be nice. SOme people just like centerpieces. My mother always has the right centerpiece for the season on her dining room table. I have my own kind of centerpiece on my dining table all four seasons. It’s what my husband calls “A Mess.” I call it useful stuff all stored in one place. Like papers that have an important word on them. And a sock. What could possibly not be decorative about that?

It’s a little hard to sleep when it’s been one day since I got diagnosed with Axial Spondyloarthropathy, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints (and other problems). I knew I had something like that. All my doctors knew it. But they were calling it more cautious things like “Undetermined collagen disorder.” (or was it undifferentiated?) Or osteoarthritis. All I knew for sure was: My bones hurt. Going up and down stairs is not supposed to make you cry when you’re in your fifties. You’re supposed to be able to walk up and down hills. You’re supposed to be able to walk into the ocean without being smacked over the smallest waves and sandpapered because your knees can’t support you. Something was so wrong. Now I’m taking a medicine I have to inject into myself every week. I used to find that idea so scary. After five years of doctor visits and nobody making a decision, I do not give one damn. The doctor said, “I can give you the pills or I can teach you to inject yourself. Injecting is better. Are you up for it?” “Bring it on.” I said. I had no trouble pinching my thigh and jabbing the needle in. Let a new chapter begin. No more tests. No more visits without answers. I’ll give myself my own damn shots. Let’s go.

In a way, I feel so tough. On the other hand, I can’t sleep. I just can’t sleep. I keep losing things and forgetting things. Instead, I make little pieces. And I think about crafts. What if I take this dollar store necklace apart and kind of put it together so it could be a strand  of some sort of hippie-ish wall hanging? What would this ribbon look like if I put it together with the thin shiny wool? I wrap it around the wine bottle just to see what I made. I spend about an hour arranging it and rearranging it. It gets later and later. I’m still humming. What else am I supposed to do? Lie in bed and toss sleeplessly in the dark thinking about how the real pain that I knew was real all along is actually real? At least if I make little pieces I’ll have little pieces. Real things. Even if I’ve just made perhaps the ugliest, weirdest looking decorated wine bottle in the world. I haven’t just made little pieces. I’ve made less feeling. I get that I was brave to keep going back and back and back again to doctors, and submitting myself to the painful,  humiliating tests. That was very character building. Yea me. I learned what a good man my husband was, and what good friends I have, and how much my mother loves me, and my kids. I learned a lot of lessons. I’m grateful, really. I know it’s good to know the name of the disease. But–there are things I can’t think about yet.  I still need to hum, and weave little pieces of yarn together, and make decorations, even if they’re the ugliest things in the world.

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