“You’ve Had the Power All Along, My Dear…”


I am an artist struggling with where I belong in the world. I am an artist like Isabel is a witch in the movie “Bewitched”…like Vianne is a gypsy in Chocolat…like Sally in Practical Magic…it is no use pretending to be anything else. Of course, these are movie characters and I am not. It is much harder to actually try to live outside of your nature on a daily basis.

These movies are hilarious and poignant in their depiction of  women trying to fit into their surroundings – to be something they are not – because the world is afraid of their power. Every mature woman on this planet knows all too well what THAT feels like. This is why movies about witches are so successful…(that’s my working theory…)

I don’t remember drawing as a young child, but my Mother told me I began to draw as soon as I could hold a pencil…long before I started grade school…I entertained myself, my younger siblings…I explained my world.

But these days I struggle with everything: my health, my emotional intensity, my house on the market, my financial stress…I no longer know my place in the world. I don’t seem to know much anymore…(but I know everything you never wanted to know about moving as my house is for sale!) I am displacing my elderly Father who has become increasingly more difficult to live with. What made me think this could work? I couldn’t live with him growing up, and left home at fifteen – albeit to boarding school. That was an ultimatum that I presented my parents with, by the way. I announced one day that I WOULD BE leaving home now – they could help me with that, or I would simply disappear from their lives and make my own way in world (ha!) As it happened, I confided in my friend Laurie Miller about the abuse going on in my home, and asked if I could stay at her house for awhile…her parents took me with their family on vacation, and when we returned home to Trenton, her grandmother had scheduled me to take an entrance exam at Kingswood Cranbrook School for girls.

I started a few weeks later. I went to school twelve hours a day and took every art class I could, including any at the Cranbrook Academy of Art that the instructors would let me audit. It was HEAVEN to me, as close to Hogwarts as you can get in the real world. My parents agreed to send me if I would come home two weekends a month and TRY to get along…you see, I was the problem.

As it turns out, I have always BEEN the problem. But as Glinda informs Dorothy: “You had the power all along, my dear.” Finally – FINALLY – at the age of sixty, I’m done compromising. Pretending to “get along” was killing me. Too bad it seems to have come down to them or me! But so be it…

I’m going back to being an artist. I don’t know where I’ll live or how I’ll eat or pay the bills; apparently I don’t know how to play well with others, heck, maybe I’ll die…or maybe, the life I have left will become worth living. Ich habe genug.

For Anne-Marie.


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