The Sleeping Man

I wanted to write this before I forget.

-On a side note, I would love to know when I reached that age where you start forgetting things. I’m twenty-three and I feel like a damn old lady sometimes..but that is a rant for another day.

My daddy and I are extremely close. As close as we are, we rarely talk on the phone for more than a few minutes. That’s just not how we are. One of the main reasons I need to come see my parents every few months is because that’s when my dad and I have our Talks. The big, monumental, this just mentally kicked you on your ass and then slapped your mama Talks. This last trip home was no exception to this.

We were driving into the City (New York) for a Rena-Daddy day (what we’ve called it since I was little.. basically a day where it was just the two of us either going to the movies, or the mall, or for pizza, etc) when he first explained the Sleeping Man to me. My dad and I both have a form of depression, as does my older cousin, her mother, and my grandmother. It’s never been officially diagnosed, but there’s been reference to a “family disease” on more than one occasion and I know enough about psychiatry to know what I have. It’s not a constant depressive state, it spikes when things get rough and we get stuck.

My dad finally gave our stuck-ness a name. “It’s like we have a sort of form of schizophrenia” he said to me as we drove over the GW Bridge. “There is who we think of as ourselves, the person who has all these ideas and all these things we want to do, all this ambition, and then there’s what we become when the Sleeping Man takes over. He’s who makes it all stop. He’s the voice telling you ‘Oh, I’ll do it after this TV show’ or ‘Maybe I should finish that next season’. The Sleeping Man makes us into toxic people. He puts us almost into a stasis so that we can’t move forward with our lives. Our lives become a constant battle against the Sleeping Man to accomplish what we want. We constantly fight that urge to get stuck, to stop, to fall into a status where nothing can touch us, but things that don’t adapt and change are eventually destroyed.”

There was more, but you get the gist of it.

From our Sleeping Man discussion we walked to one of my favorite places on Earth, the Museum of Modern Art. Inside those walls are the oldest of my old friends, from Starry Night to The Dance to Red Studio to the giant water lily canvases that first convinced me to love art. We hadn’t planned to go…we just kind of ended up there on a whim. By chance the weekend before a new timed show had opened on the upper floor. Timed shows mean more for the price of admission, so we moaned and groaned and said we would only see it if it was absolutely spectacular or one of our old friends.

Well, it was both. I have worshipped Henri Matisse as an artist and a man for many years. I love him because even as his body failed him he continued to work. He adapted, changing from medium to medium instead of giving up and settling into what old age would mean for his arthritic body. When the man could not hold a brush he held scissors and cut paper shapes out, then used a pointer to direct where the shapes would go on his piece.

What was held within the MoMA’s walls was not A Matisse show, it was THE Matisse show. All of his cut paper pieces under one roof; things I had seen in art history and in books suddenly in front of my eyes. I could go on about this show for hours…but this is normally a BDSM based blog and I worry about boring you with my vanilla life away from my Dom.

I will mention that all four of the Blue Nudes were there. Under one roof. On one wall. I may have cried.

Afterward, my daddy and I stumbled out of the show speechless. I immediately texted my Dom to see if I could purchase the book from the show, something I almost never do, and hugged it like a precious treasure once it was in my possession. My dad and I are both artists. We both have the sleeping man and we were both at low points before my visit. Seeing that show, seeing the art that we both new and loved in front of us, was like taking a baseball bat to the Sleeping Man. I remembered why I made art.

I also came to the realization as we left the museum that while I loved drawing and painting it wasn’t enough to help me shake my moods. I needed wet clay on my hands. I needed the wheel, my tools, glazes. I needed the heat of the kiln and the feel of bisqued clay as I tried to cover it in the perfect glazes, concocting like a mad scientist. I need long nights lost in the studio, dancing to music blasted through headphones as I thrust clay through slap rollers and make characters appear from a block of while goo. I needed my world back in order to get the release I associate with producing artwork. I needed the studio to produce again.

I don’t know how Kane does what he does…how he knows me so well. That evening after returning home from the city I received a text from him informing me that my schedule would be changing; that even though I was not working full time I would be having eight hour work days. I would spend time doing Lyft or nannying, or whatever I had that day, and the remainder of the eight hours would be spent in the studio. It would be treated as a job. I was to go to the studio every day and create. He had me make up a list of supplies to get started again, and informed me that this would be put into place very soon. I wanted to cry.

The Sleeping Man can be conquered. I’m determined to prove that.

And now I need to pack. This is my last evening at my parent’s home. I fly back on a 7:30 a.m. flight, it’s 1 a.m. now and I have nothing packed.

Nothing like cutting it close đŸ˜›

Yours feeling much better

~Rena

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