Tiny Shards of Plastic in My Heart

I hear a thump and a cry. Heart racing: too much food in Billy’s bowl, “good job Fiona, I’m just going to put a little back”. Open lid of dog food container, putting back food, THUMP. That’s when I hear it. Four feet away, look: Jack’s on floor prone, crying. “Fuck, are you O.K.?” Examine. Feel lump on back of head. I’m scared. I’m not scared. Read lots of books. There are lots of blood vessels in toddler heads. Causes lump to rise quickly, produce large amounts of blood. It’s O.K. and not a big deal unless your kids loses consciousness. He cries. I hold. I rock. I apply ice. Fiona cries. Holds Blue Blue sucking her thumb on the couch. “No, we can’t meet you at the park today. Uggh, tomorrow” Play the excavator song. Sit on chair with Jack, apply ice. Give Jack and Fiona each a cookie. Paint my body orange and blue. Put a picture of my painted breast on facebook. Worry I’ll never get a job as a teacher. Worried I’ll have a breakdown. Babies go to nap. Go straight to studio. Paint. Feeling better. Can’t help it if I’m an artist. Can’t help it if I value art. Can’t help it if I don’t give a fuck. Can’t help if I express. Can’t help it if I’m sensitive, tender hearted and cry. Don’t wanna help it. Don’t wanna change it. I show Jack and Fiona the pictures of me in Mexico with horses and alligators and turtles in the ocean. With little tiny dogs in mens pockets. At the beach, at the beach, at the beach.I think how they are looking at me, smiling on the sand, in the dunes, in the dessert, by the ocean bright red hair and a smile. The East Bay. There is a point at which we break. A point in a moment, in a day, in a lifetime when we need to rest our minds, escape from the mouse trap. But there are those who sit and laugh at the dumbest stuff. They take importance of material things, not on deep emotions and empathy. Dogs require empathy, even though they only live a short time I think we need to understand they run on instinct, not material attachments. Impulse. Destruction. I’m emotional about my dog. And Jacks head and Fiona’s cough. I’m acting out by painting my boobs orange and blue and putting pictures on facebook. My dog fucked up again. My kids have had their own emotional struggles I’ve had to give myself, my gut, my heart, my reserves to be there for, to consul, to love, to feel. And I have. Every minute of every day, and I’m grateful and proud and know I’ve done the right thing 100% as a mother and a wife. It takes every morsel of strength I have to raise twins. It’s all right at the center of my chest, like pain and love. It carries from inside out and as it comes in and out I take in the world and all it’s pain too and sometimes it’s too much. Then I realize I’ve been away from my studio for too long. I go in and release the accident, the cough, the outburst. I paint my body blue and orange and take pictures and post it on facebook, I paint on four canvases I’ve been working on, I write. And as naptime starts to wind down and come to an end I feel a bit better, a bit more relaxed, and ready to jump into the mess. To start little by little picking up the cheerios, tomatoes, plastic spoons; which reminds me of the RaceTrack beach we ventured to the other day. We brought buckets to collect shells. Red, yellow, blue, tiny little pieces of plastic, caps and tops and plastic strings, plastic flossers, we collected them as I wondered, did they come from that giant garbage pile of trash in the ocean? And now here, at home as I raise my family and my garbage pail fills with plastic every day, every day. I feel ashamed.  I must change.  

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About Jenny Hynes

I am a painter, housewife, and mother of twins