Thursday, December 3, 2015

50 Shades of Epilepsy

     Nobody "gets" my art even though the message is pathetically obvious. It's weird, like most things I come up with on my own, so I keep my finished works upstairs in a room where no one can see and make fun of them.
     I'm fascinated with words, the way they look and sound and combine to start wars and love affairs and political scandals.
     They are beautiful and powerful, even the small ones, and I like to play with them all. I rhyme by accident sometimes and could probably talk in rhymes, like Dr. Seuss, if I really tried, especially if I made up my own words.
      That's something else I like to do, so much in fact that my sons now do it, too. Yesterday, Tommy created the word "trafficky" while driving me to the grocery store.
      Springfield is a very trafficky place to call home;-)
 Rebel Speducator is a nickname I gave myself in 2011, when I wanted to write about education without getting canned as a special education teacher.
     The Speducator part was easy. Then, I added Rebel as an inside joke. I'm from North Carolina and wanted to toy with the Confederate Rebel image, the idea that people from southern states are racist. Part of my rebellion is against institutional racism, so there's the punchline.
    The first mannequin I decorated is in a neurologist's office in D.C. He treated me during the time I created my pen name and definitely "got" what I was trying to say.
     I will write more about him later because he deserves an entire blog post, maybe two.  Dr. B gave me a new label that made me feel strong, almost invincible.
50 Shades of Cat
     He called me a survivor.
    The mannequin I gave Dr. B is covered with print-outs of prescription drug information. I copied the idea from an art studio with painted mannequins in the window.
     I looked at all the stacks of paper describing things drugs could be doing to my body and decided to strip them of their power.
     Liver damage, hair loss, weight gain, indigestion, insomnia, loss of appetite, severe rash that makes your skin fall off, diarrhea, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, sensitivity to sunlight, dizziness, ulcers, double vision...All of it ripped up and redistributed on new, perfect bodies, the way I say.
     It matters how I tear the words and where I place them. Some words/phrases belong near the heart; others belong on the bottom. I rip up books and notes, too.
     There are plenty of the latter to choose from because I write all the time. (It's a trait that goes well with being a reporter but not so well with teaching. More to come on that subject, too.)
     50 Shades of Cat was the easiest project because I didn't need to look at the words very much. They were sex words and phrases that look comical out of context. Not paying attention to the words allowed me to relax more and feel the paste and paper on my fingers.
     Could my desire to rip up words and glue them to dolls be connected to my damaged brain?
     Maybe. There's no way to know for sure but, yes, I think it is.