Penny Rene: December 2009 Archives

Louder Than Bombs

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So, I have one hour to type this. To unload from the depth of my soul. It makes me want to throw something.

Yesterday I had to submit a video about myself and my photography to Me Rah Ko in hopes of winning one of the three amazing SOAR Scholarships. I'm a little ashamed that I haven't mentioned this contest before now. I think I was trying to protect myself from whatever negative thoughts might run through my mind about my photography skills or my worthiness of being granted a scholarship. In the negativity department, we are quite busy  these days.

My sister, Alice, is the one who told me about the scholarship and I nearly did not apply because I kept thinking about how much she deserves it more than I. Her story is so much more compelling and frankly, she is more of an amazing person in general having a total of four kids, graduated from college, and spent countless months as a single mom while her husband serves in the military. Presently, he is in Afghanistan. She is the one who always sent out holiday cards, told me what a jerk I was being to our mother when we were teenagers and became the kind of mother who bakes muffins for her Sunday school class. She's also a mentor to teenage girls. Did I mention her youngest child is a toddler? As I said - amazing. Can I say that I am more deserving of the prizes and education that SOAR is offering? No. 

When I started making the video, I hated it. Just to look at myself on screen was humbling. Thus my post about needing a new hair style. Then there was the fact that the video could only be two minutes. Sell myself in two minutes? Dude, I'm not even sure any blog I've written could be read aloud in two minutes, let alone show photos and give a brief summary of who I am. 

Interestingly enough, after the 30th take, I started to feel pretty annoyed. Imagine that. I wanted to look at the camera and say, "I'm just like everybody else. I'm a stay at home mom who walks the tightrope between sainthood and institutionalization. Some days, I am very witty. Other days, not so much. These are my photos. I see potential for greatness there, but I need help. I hope this is the time and the way that I finally get to be my creative self and earn enough money doing it. Because, the fact is, unless I make some money doing this, it will be hard to convince everyone around me that it's worth them helping me out with my kids so I can pursue it. Thank you."

That's just sad. I truly feel that the only way I will ever be taken seriously in my creative efforts is if someone pays me to do it. I'm not sure that's how I feel art should be. And that is what I consider myself to be. That was another surprise I saw while entering this contest. I AM an artist. It's all there in me and it always has been. But I have been so afraid of walking that path because it is not practical. When you are sensitive to instability like I am and you surround yourself with creative people your whole life, it can be automatic to play the supportive role. How many artists did I date? How many live shows? How much energy was spent being "level" in my world of movers and shakers?

When my husband, Nick and I divorced in 1999, he started painting. He was already a very creative person. A world traveler who loved music with every cell of his being, he had only done notebook drawings before as far as I know. But I visited him at his new place and saw it littered with paints and canvases. Even his very first pieces moved me. After the divorce was final he continued painting. Years later when I attended a showing of his work, I remember thinking; If nothing else, one good thing came of our heartbreak - this. It propelled him into his art. In truth, I envied him. From then on, I wondered what would force me to come out of my shell?

I have a mile long list of reasons I do not fully pursue my art. If I thought it was hard ten years ago, it seems nearly impossible now. But I know that I am not alone in this feeling. This feeling of having "everything", yet nothing. 
It's totally shitty the situation most mothers are placed in these days. In my opinion, we really screwed ourselves when everyone moved to the suburbs and the village effort toward raising a family became a thing of the past. Older generations want their fun time and we want our houses to ourselves. I can't understand why we couldn't have both. I don't want to send my kids to daycare. I have trust issues! I want my mom or my mother-in-law or my sister to be the one who has the honor of being with my kids during my sanity breaks.  I want family dinner around the table. I want to spend time with my husband without feeling like someone is doing me a huge favor by hanging out with my children. I want to stop thinking of an uninterrupted meal/shower/minute as a luxury. I want to stop feeling guilty that I cannot handle 12 hours a day, five days a week with no breaks of my job as a stay at home mom. 

Can you imagine if you worked 12 hours each day Monday thru Friday for, say Target, and every other week someone said, "Maybe I can give you a couple hours on Sunday to have some time alone." And during that time alone you cleaned your work area and tried to feed your creative spirit by listening to music while you took a much needed shower?

It doesn't matter how we got here moms and dads. What matters is how we are going to fix this problem. We equip the breadwinner of the family - usually the husband- with all he needs to do his job. Money for commuting, lunch out, good clothes, coffee breaks, time to surf the net for inspiration or research, dinner when he gets home. But the person who is doing this all confessed "Most important job of raising the kids" barely has time to get dressed in the morning.  It's not right.

I know that some people reading this might think that I am trashing my husband here. But I'm not. I'm trashing us both for not planning this out better. I'm trashing anyone that knows us who thinks that we are okay with this situation and anyone who thinks I'm "lucky" when I hire a babysitter to come to my house next week for three hours.

I deserve something like the SOAR scholarship if only for the simple fact that I want to use my skills and the money I earn to make life a little easier for the women around me who are in the same boat. Our children deserve whole, calm, happy people around them so we can teach them to break this cycle in their generation. 

Right on cue, Asher has woke from his nap. I'll post the video submission and out-takes as soon as I can.

xoxoo




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A very long time ago I interviewed Ian Moore for LiveNashvilleMusic.com. That night he performed live at the Blue Door in Oklahoma City and dedicated a song to me that he said was about his mother who had passed away. He said I reminded him of her. I was so taken back by the compliment that I have since struggled to
remember what the song was, but cannot. After seeing this video, I am wondering if this might be it.

Fug Gah

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So, remember that time I was talking about how old I feel and hating the matching baggage under my eyes? I'm feeling better now. And it's not because of the drugs.

I realized I cannot give all the credit for my boundless optimism to Zoloft. I really owe Brad Pitt, Tara Reid and Mischa Barton some appreciation as well. Viewing photos of them on the internets made me feel loads better about myself. 
Here it is, y'all. My GUILTIEST PLEASURE. GO FUG YOURSELF.

I don't want you to think that I am one of those people who gets joy from other people's mistakes. I mean, I haven't even said anything about Tiger Woods- ever. And I do genuinely feel compassion regarding personal struggles that are made public. However....
Fashion is a whole different kind of joy/pain. Fashion is meant to be public. You got up this morning and put that on? Knowing there would be people photographing the ensemble? Oh yes, I am going to have an opinion. You see, I have an excuse for my wardrobe. I can't afford the amazing-ness of amazing-eth designers. You, Daniel Day Lewis, have some explaining to do.

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If I'm having a really bad week, I look up Mischa Barton, Kate Moss or Tara Reid.

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Looking at them, I contemplate all the drawbacks of fame.

Looking at Lady Gaga and The Queen, I contemplate late night conversations at the palace. Does the Queen, for example, overuse the "WTF?" slang?

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But best, of all the Fugly content, are the fashion statements of the truly famous and over-hyped.

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"MADDOX: I am a bad-ass.


BRAD: I am homeless.


ANGIE: I sell Ouija Boards and cigarette holders at a kiosk in the mall. "


Thanks to Heather & Jessica in Fugland, I feel very good indeed.


My Big Brother

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56187274_512f2b3984.jpgToday is my big brother's birthday. He's 44, but he sure doesn't act like it. That means that he has accomplished one of his goals - to always be a kid. I salute you, Jim! Swingin' single with a motorcycle and still skinny!

So, this is the post where I tell you how much I love my brother. I challenge you to deny he is the best after reading this.

He makes a great breakfast. Best omelets. The first one who could get me to eat pancakes.
He is SO laid back. No matter what have done or what happens, he's all smiles and shrugs. Life goes on. Relax. 
He was that brother who would kick your ass if you messed with his sisters. He still is.
He's generous. Would give me his last dime. 
His ex-in-laws STILL love him. Not many people can say that.
His children are all compassionate, funny & smart. I hope I can say that when my kids are grown.
Kids LOVE him. He's just got that touch.
He took care of, not one, but TWO of my cats when I was overseas.
He forgave my mom for dressing him in ridiculous outfits when we were kids. (See below)
He's sensitive. He cries. Real men cry. 
He's a car wizard. Never owned an automobile he didn't improve.
He's a great boyfriend. Falls in love, gets hurt, hasn't stopped trying. He gets that from our Grandpa GE.
He provided me with some of my BEST childhood stories. Stealing the Family Nova, Running From the Cops, The BB Gun & Jack, Pizza on the Floor, and many others.
He thinks my sister and I can do no wrong. Don't correct him on that.
I've always looked up to him and I always will. 

I love you, Jim.

Be good.

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