Last night I did this self-portrait. Sometimes when I can’t find the words for what I want to express I turn to photography. It’s like if I can capture what I’m feeling in a concrete way then maybe I can see it, confront it, and cage it. After I finished I felt better, but still a little shattered. I slept, heavy sleep…the kind that makes you wonder whether the dream is real or the waking is the dream. I dreamt that God had a nervous breakdown and ended up an artist living in middle America, creating clay figures of the people he imagined fought the cosmic battle of good and evil. He was lonely, but content until one day a few of the people he thought he’d only imagined came to his door. They saw the table of clay figures…a table which stretched on and on with faces filled with hope, revenge, gentleness and rage. God, still unable to admit to himself who he really was, assumed that he was perhaps psychic, just a small poet re-creating small-scale worlds and voices. In a fit of loneliness he sculpted a small child…a little girl that he wished could have been his daughter and a few moments later she walked in, laughingly reminding him that he’d forgotten breakfast again. He realized it then. That he was God. That what he’d tried to escape from before he’d simply recreated again. That he was who he was and that it was good. Then he took all the figures, dipping them in water, returning them to clay, reshaping the clay ball that they had all come from. When he was done he felt a profound sense of calm. He walked out of the studio and into nothingness. And it was good.
There was something to that dream that made me feel calm. I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time. Maybe it was a reminder that I’d once believed that everything happened for a reason. Maybe it was a sense that there is no death, only change. Maybe it was this new and alien feeling I had that perhaps God was real. Maybe it was the codeine in the cough syrup.
Whatever it was, I feel better. I think I’m on my way back out. I can see the light.
PS. Thank you so much to everyone for your support. I can’t tell you what it means to me to know that I’m not alone.
45 thoughts on “Broken”
Read comments below or add one.
geez….making my dream about chasing kids, who turned into fish, out of my pool seem real shallow….
glad you are finding what you need…
Jenny – that picture is so beautiful. I’m glad you’re finding your way out. So much beauty doesn’t deserve to be locked away in dark places.
Wow. What a photograph. What a dream. Just wow.
There will be hugs waiting for you in Chicago next week. (and also? alcohol. ;))
Maybe… in your dream God was actually you, feeling responsible for Hailey and for creating her. Or not.
Beautiful post and completely captivating picture. I’ve only been staring at it for like 10 minutes now.
Glad you’re feeling better. There is a God and I am convinced that you are one of His favorite children.
Very cool picture, but it reminds me of one of those people in that Tom Cruise movie who could predict what was going to happen in the future. Which is kind of freaky with the rest of your post. But! I miss you and support you and hope that you feel better.
Welcome back, my friend.
Even broken, you’re still awesome.
I just dream about Harry and Voldemort. But your dream sounded a bit more important.
Holy crap that’s a awesome thing you did with the photo. If you stare at it a little bit, it looks like the dark is creeping in. You are an artist. Maybe your dream was trying to tell you that you didn’t have to be stressed, because you are who you are. Denying it isn’t effective. Acceptance is release?
You are so beautiful. Inside and out.
Hang in there. I am glad to hear you say you are on the upswing.
I, for one, need your sharp wit. You help me make it through the day.
Welcome back — glad to hear you are getting better. It’s nice to hear your imagination speak out once again. I wish my dreams had the same sense of calm.
Wow. I am so glad you are on your way back. We have missed you.
Is the new look in the picture an illusion or is it in honor of Terry?
Red – It’s the magic of photoshop. Although I am considering a bit of a change…
I’m just glad to hear you’re allright. Take all the time you need.
Codeine dreams are insane though, I’ve had some of those.
Fantastic picture! Fantastic post! Glad to hear you are climbing out.
Well I’m sure glad that dream made you feel better, it made me feel very anxious. Thanks alot!
I think there may be something wrong with your camera.
What a beautiful photo.
And I admire your courage – allowing so many sides of you to be seen.
stunning photo, my dear.
I have to agree with Red – thought you may be showing support for CancerDiva.
And if you do go for a change – you should get a pink wig too. I keep saying that’d be fab on CancerDiva and almost as good on you!
You are an amazing writer. What a beautiful soul.
I totally and completly get what your saying
glad your feelin better. or soon are to feel better
cool dream. as for the portrait, i’m thinking hellraiser. but that’s jsut me.
oh, sister. what a brave girl you are. and what a well we all find ourselves at the bottom of sometimes. it’s a dark shadow in the journey, isn’t it, but there is always light around the corner. (god, this almost made me want to puke from the zenness but i mean it, i mean it so much)
Just catching up. I’ve been traveling – and now am sick.
I’m so glad you have your own space Jenny. I feel like I can get to know more of you here.
See you soon.
did you shave your head? just curious
and have i told you lately that i LOVE you!? no? well i love me some jenny!
and i’m thinking houston is in my very near future – wanna get a drink?
And that dream was really intense. Wow.
I’m glad you’re feeling a little better.
That’s it. Speechless.
Glad you’re feeling on an upswing. Beautiful picture and thoughts.
I think I only dreamed about Harry P for the last few days. Kinda shallow, huh?
Beautiful. Picture. Dream. You.
I hope you keep believing.
I am staggered. Wow. Beautiful.
My beloved Aunt Beth said it’s always okay to go down into “that pit.” But you can only stay for 15 minutes. Life is waiting for you.
I’ve missed you.
Cool a puzzle! The key is to start with the corners.
Where’s the acerbic wit and the random four-letter words I’ve come to love? Speaking as a man who gets “closed days,” I can tell you the only cure for the empties is to immediately make fun of A) people with mullets, B) Michael Bay, C) people who think Britney is actually singing live at her concerts and D) Michael Bay with a mullet waving a lighter at a Britney concert.
Such an awesome photograph. You need to photograph your haunted dollhouse with some cool effects as well. Glad you are seeing the light. Most def. not alone. You know all the women I’ve met that are worth knowing get the blues. The self awareness makes them (us) funny, but it can also be painful at times.
Jen, you are truly amazing and artistic, even when .. whatever it is… gets you down. You are really an inspiration, I wish I were half has clever, witty and beautiful, but without the codeine. Why does it seem that when you go down, you write the most incredible stuff? The spirits are within you, no doubt. They seem to like to come out at those times. Weird and wonderful, but I wish you didn’t have to suffer along the way.
This image, and these words, might just be the most powerful things I’ve ever seen on Teh Internets.
Follow the light, friend.
hmmmmm . . .codine . . . .
beautiful, mysterious, enchanting, engaging, hypnotic, optimistic photo – a reminder, if such werwe needed, of your many faceted super awesomeness!
My dreams fucking suck compared to yours. You’re all poetry and my husband’s all ass-kicking adventure and I’m just dull.
Jenny, I hope that more peace comes to you. You are a beautiful spirit and a beautiful artist.
thank you for sharing this
I really enjoyed it – alot
This dream is…amazing. I actually think this could make a great short story (I started reading your blog from the beginning, so if you did this already or something then I feel foolish).
By comparison, my most recent dream was of me, my friends, the military, and the Roman army, all fighting dinosaurs. I believe that would make a less great short story (though I still believe it is an awesome dream)
Whatever it was in that dream that made you feel better, you deserved it.This emptiness shit keeps happening to me too: I care about pretty much nothing, (apart from your blog) and think nothing.All there is in my mind is a mild wish that i was still the person that i used to be.Usually I’ll get a bit better; then worse.If God exists then he definitely cares about you, just like me and everyone else here do.I’ve gotten better now and evidently you have too.I hope you stay that way.
Your blog’s awesome and I wish you were my mother.
So I know this blog is a million years old but I had to share that I adore this dream.
So, today is my day to read through your years of blogging. It’s been recommended and kind of a daunting task since there are 6 years to go through. But the last two posts really spoke to me in a way I was hoping it would based on recommendations and a couple of months of twitter voyeurism.
I often feel like this – really down – really sapped – really depressed.
Then things like your dream and art, or for me a conversation or a craft thing or a story or a inspiration google search or music find does. . . I become alive again.
I asked my own husband last night if I was bi-polar (my first husband was, so this seemed like a silly and incorrect question). He told me no – but I feel that in my head. I don’t know much more about you and I’m learning, but just wanted to thank you for making me not feel alone – even 6 years ago.
it’s good to know that what happens in my head isn’t total made up crap.
Anyway – on to the next years. . . I’m really looking forward to it.
and oh – btw – I no longer feel like my own writing is so scattered. It actually makes a lot of sense. And so do you. I feel like these two posts gave me permission to continue to write what is happening, what I’m thinking, what I can’t get out of my brain rather than guessing all the time if it’s appropriate to post. Writing it makes me feel sane, well, and real. finally.