Sleepy Sundays: Quieter

That first image was designed with your fears in mind and is a stark contrast from the ideas behind the second design. If you were to tilt your head to the side and imagine yourself underneath a row of trees this would likely be your perspective, should you happen to be in some woodsy area in the fall. The parallel set of trees are stretched and blurred just slightly out of your view. As if your vision is hazy and foggy for some reason. Skewed is an early concept for a set design.

 

The second is much simpler. This weekend I longed for quieter moments while dealing with a chaotic week. My niece has been heavy on my mind since both she and my sister are in Irma’s path. (I’m way further north, so I worry for them since I’m so far.) Yesterday morning she insisted she’s safe. Quieter was made for and inspired by my niece and will be used for greeting cards and other prints.

What are your quiet places? Do you have any? How do you stay calm during a storm?

Have a peaceful Sunday!

Sleepy Sundays: Strangeland

Strangeland © 2017 Snapping Turtle Arts & Publishing | cardcastlesinthesky.com

This week ended with something that completely stopped time for me for a short while.

My phone rang out as I was getting out of the shower in a rush and it one of those phone calls that kind of makes you go deaf for a second when you first receive the news.

It was my sister on the other end. There had been problems in her relationship for a while now.

The phone call itself was no surprise to me but it’s results somehow still were despite their similarities to times passed. This rang especially true since this all involves my niece who is a product of this rocky relationship, and my blood nonetheless, despite difficult circumstances both my sister and I are now facing as a direct result of said rockiness.

She managed to find herself an attorney in all this mess. Just like my mother would have. This greeting card/wall art design was inspired by an early concept of characters I’m designing for my sister’s daughter, my niece. & They will later go on to be used as prints for others nieces and daughters and sisters, and mothers.

If you our anyone close to you is thinking

about suicide please reach out to someone you can trust

or to any of the resources linked below:

[STMND Community Resources | Suicide Prevention and more]


It’s been a while since we shared some music here.

Why not the perfect time. Sunday morning.


Have a peaceful Sunday. Take care of each other.

Our apologies for the recent closings.

We are still Clearing Out the Clouds to make space for Snapping Turtle.

The shift is nearing completion. I look forward to much more with you all this fall. Stay tuned!

Blood in the Streets: Part II, The Women

Why

In Part I we touched on the men whose lives were violently taken. 

Today we’re going to explore the women who have also been abused, mistreated, and in some cases, much worse. 


The Women

TheWoman

By now many of you know the name and story of Sandra Bland.

What we aren’t hearing so much of, is how her story seems to be repeating itself in prisons, and other institutional facilities across the country.

These are the lesser known stories, and why are we not hearing about them? Well, picking apart that question can create many theories. One may find those theories all lead back to a single assumption.

The black woman is one of the most disrespected women in our country.

This is a phrase I’ve heard kicked around lately. Some of you may beg to differ. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments, so long as you keep things respectful both to the site and to each other.

What I’d like to delve more into is the why and how do we fix this as a nation?

Vines

In kindergarden, I was not a sociable child. I was very damaged, having just lost my father. I wasn’t friendly and everyone was unspeakably cruel to me for it. The only person that was kind and brave enough to approach me was a beautiful little girl with giant pink bows and braids, whose skin just so happened to be a dark chocolate brown.

“They tease me too, ya know. But I don’t let it get to me. I know there’s still nice people out there.”

I hugged her.

She knew I was hurting and she sensed it on me. Her friendship was like a warm blanket after being left in the cold.

She told me stories of how they made fun of her hair, called her horrible names, and sometimes even threw things at her.

Even though we went to a diverse school, it didn’t matter. She still got picked on for being the darker-skinned girl.

Her story from back then breaks my heart to this day. (But I’ll have you know that beautiful little girl grew on to be an award-winning gymnast, graduating at the top of her class.)

Why is it that we as humans feel the need to categorize and label so much? Even those of us that don’t do it much are still guilty of it some of the time. If we’re all humans, then what is the need?

My fear is its something deeply-rooted in the blood that’s been spilled in this country, and many others. The blood that later, nations were built on top of.

I’m not sure where or how or why the first racist(s) began. Too much has been buried, written over, and smudged out.

We need to help end this kind of irrational fear and prejudice right now. If we sit idly by and pretend everything is dandy, there will be more women like Sandra Bland.

The black women I grew up knowing we’re not the horrible stereotypes you see portrayed on television. They were strong, nurturing, caring, powerful women that I admire.

One of those women took me in and tried to legally adopt me when she found out I was being beaten mercilessly at home. (Long story for another day.)

Another is a well-known musician that is part of this site’s success story. She still reads here to this day.

One is a grandmother. Someone who I consider family. She has been a mother figure to me since my own passed.

I could keep going.

Now do any of these sound like an “angry black woman” or “ghetto bird” to you?! Or any of the other disgusting terms I’ve seen thrown around so lightly on the internet recently?

I didn’t think so.

Now, can we start uplifting these women instead?

 

The Writing on the Wall

Sometimes you can have a close friend, and still not know everything about them.

The Writing on the Wall

In today’s rapidly changing society, we are starting to dialogue about gender equality. No matter what side of the fence you stand on, both sides can mostly agree we’ve made some positive strides as a human race.

This is why the story I’m about to tell you troubles me. It all seems like something that would happen back in 1950, or at least twenty years ago, but it hasn’t.

Just a week ago today I found out my neighbor and close friend was a victim of spousal abuse. I had noticed subtle signs of marital problems with them before. However, there was nothing much to indicate her husband had been abusing her.

So why is it that I feel so guilty?

Perhaps the few hints that were shown, I should have added up.

Not Exactly Coffee Chat

I remember one early evening when our kids had just gotten home from school. My son and her daughter often played together. The little ones have been friends since we first moved in, when they were both just toddlers.

The night had begun to set in, and it was nearing dinner time. Her husband, for the first time ever, was visibly uncomfortable by my presence. I could tell he wanted me to leave. I started to corral my happily-hyper son, but anyone that knows me, knows that can take a while sometimes.

As I gathered my son’s things, I heard my friend’s husband yapping off something in the back of the apartment. He was on the phone. His voice read as obviously angry about something, but I’m still not sure what it was. He blurted out:

“Yeah, it’s like a friggin’ daycare here some days. Everybody just drops their kids off.”

I was insulted by this comment, but I said nothing. My neighbor “made eyes” at me as he said it. She knew I heard and gave me a look of “Ignore him”. Still, I couldn’t ignore him. I never “dropped my kid off” there like he said. Maybe he was confusing me with some of the other children’s parents she babysits. Whatever the case was, his comment pissed me off. So I said goodbye to my friend, hugged her and told her we’d see her in the morning when the children go out to school together.

My hands turned the doorknob to leave and behind me I heard:

Make me coffee! C’man!”

It shocked me at first because I thought it was directed at me. When I turned back to my neighbor to realize it was her being bossed around, my shock didn’t fade.

I could tell she was embarrassed that this happened in front of me. Somehow, she winged it anyway and continued to “serve” him, but not without throwing a little sass his way. I think she had more-so added the sass because I was there.

When I left, that was my first time realizing something wasn’t quite right in their marriage. He appeared to be very controlling of her, and this was the first I had seen of it. This wasn’t just your average “Make me dinner, honey” request. This was flat out “Do this or there will be consequences” and I should have noticed it then.

The thing is, this man never quite sat right with me in the first place. There were times he made the women in my building feel uncomfortable. None of the men here liked him either. One night, when he got a little inappropriate with me, another neighbor/friend got involved and told him to back off. He never bothered me after that, but I’ve kept an eye on him ever since.

I never allowed my son to go there by himself. I always tagged along, because that’s just how I am. I can tend to be the trust no one, over-protective type.

Lately, I haven’t allowed my son over there at all. Ever since I first noticed her husband was “off” which has been about two years now, that’s been reason enough to keep him away. It sucks that the kids have to suffer, but I always still welcome them to play at my apartment.

What’s Going On Here?

Then, last week I found out.

I kind of stumbled on the truth, actually.

There’s been a lot of police activity in our development lately so I asked my neighbor if she knew anything. This normally would be common conversation between us, but when I asked, she started to cry.

“Me.”

“What?!”

“You asked why the cops have been here. It’s me.” She said.

I already knew the rest of what she was going to say before she said it. What hurt was I had no idea just how bad it was. She had caught him cheating. They proceeded to get into an argument over his phone. When she went to take the phone from him, he beat her—severely.

She showed me the bruises that were hidden by her shirt. There were watermelon-sized welts in three or more places on her torso and upper thighs. She had bruises up and down her legs. The entire time she described the horrific scenario to me I couldn’t help but notice the cut across the bridge of her nose. I had noticed it when we first started talking too, but now it was like it was staring at me.

I’ve been here before. This road looks familiar.

Back Then

My sister’s father used to enjoy beating on my 5’3”, 110lb. mother. There’s a reason I’ll never refer to him as my step-father.

Let’s just say their time together didn’t end well. If my family had not intervened in their situation, my younger sister may not be here today.

I know how this story ends, and it’s not pretty. That asshole almost killed my mother and sister. I was only seven years old at the time. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do.

I vowed to myself then, I would never let that happen again.

I failed to see the writing on the wall, at first. Perhaps it’s because the wall was covered in stained blood and masked with perfectly groomed, cookie-cutter wallpaper. But oh, I see so clearly now.

Never Again

The proper authorities have been notified. My friend is taking the steps toward a divorce, while filing for sole custody of their daughter. Up until now, she’s been a stay-at-home mom. She doesn’t drive. She’s an immigrant, from humble beginnings, with not much knowledge on how our legal system works. He left her with nothing. He hasn’t contacted their daughter. He’s not allowed to set foot in our building.

That hasn’t stopped him from threatening her, though. He said he was going to “get even” with her for contacting police. He’s angry that he may lose his job. After all, that would make him look bad with his shiny, new blonde.

I’m keeping an eye out. I’m staying alert. I’m aware that helping my friend also puts me in danger. I know that I’m also a mother and need to be careful.

This is mostly what my family has told me.

“Stay out of it. Don’t get involved.”

I can’t stay out of it.

I made a promise to that seven year old girl.

I’ll never stay out of it again.