a dream dies at nautilus teachings

my favorite flower
           my favorite flower

1976-I am alone in a house of shadows. Anger, violence, hatred all gone.
I begin to have a teenage life filled with first kiss, first dance and playing softball. My best friend is still Pam and I am happy. I paint my room yellows and oranges, have pretty daisy wallpaper but I still live in deep darkness. At night I place albums upon my record player so I can drift off to sleep to Barry Manilow, The Bee Gees, Air Supply…The small light illuminates my room enough for me to know I am safe. Raggedy Ann and Andy are still tucked in beside me to give me a connected feeling to the world outside. On nights when I am startled awake from nightmares I plan my exit. Keeping my breathing low and staying completely still I perspire as I plan to make a bed with buttons that will automatically drop me down a slide which leads to my under the sea world filled with my fish friends and wise old Mr. Hawksbill. My world of blues, turquoise, dandelion, lavender and peach. I am going to survive this.
I put pen to paper
And write all my thoughts
The ones I can’t say
For they are too full of hate
I doodle pictures of places
I see in my head
From dark corners
And closets
I write about love
I write about faith
I ask God questions
And I wait
In darkness each night
For answers to come to me
In my dreams.
1976 leads to 1977 and a change in High Schools. I change from public to private. The move is a good one. I am allowed to blossom in my art. I love my high school years because I am consumed in developing the social me. I push my underwater world into the dark billowed chambers of my heart, and walk hesitantly into being a teenager. I am quiet and shy. I stay a few steps back from all the crowds, smiling when they all smile, cheering on my team alone from the bleacher sideline and watching my mother continue her success in working. My dad is gaining his own recognition in the company he works for and most Friday nights he takes mom and I out to dinner. My brothers are now off on their own, so my parents social life is full of trips to the symphony, nights out with friends, church functions and travel.
Their faith is strong and their conversations begin to turn towards their retirement. My mom takes gourmet cooking classes and starts a neighborhood girls night out club. My dad starts studying wine and they take trips to wine country and boxes arrive at our door from all their journeys. They travel to Europe and spend time with their grandchildren. Life is spectacular for mom and dad.
While all of this is going on, I am trying to figure out where I fit in. I spend weekends in my room painting my walls with bright colors, adding lines which run all around in funny dips and loops. My palette grows some apricot, mangos and mustards. I try my hand at sports and find I can play a mean game of softball. Not once do I look into the bleachers and see my parents face. My games are always right after school, so both of them have to work. I understand this, but I still feel alone. I need my waving seagrasses to keep me company on the field as I am playing.

acceptance of self
                          acceptance of self

2010-Studio-Tall, wooden, narrow. 5’ x 18” stood this canvas. Beautiful cobalt blue waters and soft baby blue skies float behind the tall carnation and valentine pink flamingo. All around her are waving soft kiwi grasses. Today I felt like I was given “Legs.” I’m growing up. I feel God’s love as I place upon the cobalt blue waters and pool blue sky. Peace fills me. I am about to embark on a new journey.
1980-In the spring of 1980 I apply to the Art Institute of San Francisco and am accepted! I am so excited when I sit down at our Friday dinner with my letter and the news.
“What’s up Sher?” asked my dad, “let the cat out of the bag.”
“Well, I applied to the Art Institute in San Francisco and was accepted!”
My dads face turned pale and my mother beamed with pride.
“That’s not happening Sheri,” continued my father, “how are you going to pay for it? If you want to go to college I will pick the one you go to and you will get a degree in business.”
Inside my tummy turns a squall
Yet my heart inside heard natures call
To ride with the wind
Across the sea
And confront the dreams
Inside of me
Out here I whisper
To the wind
All of my secrets
And my sins
I chat with God and release my soul
To travel the right path
And embrace my goals.
I want to set my colors free
I want to create
And show the real me
My boat has turned round
It’s going to the wrong port
And I cannot make a sound
I don’t have a voice
I cannot say a word,
I will stay
In cornered silence within
His world
“But Dad, I want to be an artist, I want to go in to advertising and design,” I cry.
“Sheri, this is not up for discussion, I am paying for this and you will do as I say,” says my father.
My mother pleads with my father for a short time but we know we cannot win.

always my fathers words
                      always my fathers words

In the fall of 1980 I will be attending college in another state.
Oh Mr. Hawksbille
I need you once more
I am drowning on the deep
Navy ocean floor
My fish friends are gone
My “fin” has been shed
But I want to come back
My colors need to be fed
The air up here
Is crowded with words
“do this, do that
My way – or go…”
Oh Mr. Hawksbill
I’m jumping in feet first
Rescue me
Give me the palette
I knew as a child
I will draw from it now
For I can’t see the sunshine
I need yellows to breath
And your soothing blue hues
To know I am alive.

mommy wants art school
                    mommy wants art school