Friday, November 18, 2011

On The Edge Connections

As usual I woke up around 4:30 AM, and began reading with the television on in the back ground. I love documentaries! I am a people person, so any of them that focus on the human dynamic catches my attention. I often find connections which makes sense of my own past. Hmm, maybe there is a documentary on this. 'Picture This' follows fashion model Sara Ziff as she chronicles the life of a model. My opinion is she does it to prove that models are not just dumb stiff bodies.

In doing so models are interviewed on the issues of sex exploitation and being degraded by the industry. One model mentions a 'famous creepy photographer who makes the whole photography session sexual'. But if you want to get in or be noticed models have put up with his antics. Many have complained publicly. They don't mention names, but I Googled 'famous photographer who uses sex with models' and only one name popped up. He is all over the web. You know me, sexual predators get my goat. Bahhhhhh.

In reading many pieces about this man I stumbled upon something which sparked a memory. I cannot get right down to it without writing it out, so bare with me. I might make sense, and I might not.

“It was comedy,” said Mr. Richardson. “We’d be in Miami shooting beauty pictures for some magazine, and my dad would be yelling at the editor: ‘Terry’s going to do what he wants-and if you’re going to get in the way, we’re going to get on a plane and go home!’ And we were just so broke, I was like, ‘ Noooo , we’re in a hotel ! It’s free food and free drinks and I want to stay!’ Dad was really into tantrums and trying to emotionally devastate people. The 60′s was a different time. You could get away with these incredible scenes.”

For a spell, his dad was living in Terry’s studio apartment. “And I would just go to sleep on people’s couches every night, because I just couldn’t handle sleeping in a bed with my dad every night,” Mr. Richardson said. “I’d come home and he’d be wearing my clothes and hanging out with my friends.”

- 'Terry Richardson's Dark Room' New York Observer, Phoebe Eaton, 2004

After reading this article, especially this section I made a connection. A mom and my life connection. During my first marriage, we were renting a portion of a house in a prestigious part of town. Life was good for the early eighties. Of course now I see it was all a bad phase of the decent into abuse and a wild party life. An escape from my own family upheavals.

Back when my ex cheated on me one too many times. I know how can once not be enough? I just did not know about everything he was doing until I returned from a trip visiting friends at Baylor. It was finished, he was gone, his stuff was on the curb and then my mom calls. If I had access to a video camera I am sure the out takes would be pretty hysterical.

I invited her to come visit me. She was crying, like always, saying "this was it, she was leaving my dad for good." I knew she never would, but felt she needed a sort of vaca from the house. I hated that house, so if I could leave and feel better, than it would work for mom.

A week goes by, yeah a week, and I come home for lunch after complaining to my friends she was still there, to find the house full of firemen. She had my jewelry on, was dressed to the tee and had made lunch and coffee for them all. I was introduced as her 'single and available' daughter. I rolled my eyes. Inside I was screaming, but outside I let it go.

Is this the right time to begin screaming and throw her out I thought to myself. My roommate came home and was surprised by the scene as well. I had thought this girl was fantastic. She was hip and introduced me to all the right people. It was all part of the eighties scene really. Yes, really. I was going to the Stark Club, hanging with wealthy people who recognized my talent,  had gotten me on stage, but my mom was a mess. My roommate proceeds to tell me my mom has told the world she has won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Yeah.

But she also began telling everyone someone was watching her and the light bulbs had cameras in them. I never said this story had a good ending. I am not sure why I had not seen the signs. Growing up she suffered from horrible depression and checked out often. Was it the chaos of my upbringing that made me shut out the signs of craziness? I am sure it was now. I was running, she was slowly descending into madness. I might be making light of it now, but when I read about dysfunctional families like Terry Richardson, I can see why he is a mess.

My mother just wanted to be noticed. She spent her whole life in the shadow of others and I saw the web of lies and stories she created, not to mention the hypochondria, it was her way of trying to make a life she never got to have. I see how Mr. Richardson's father in a sense was doing the same thing. My mom just wanted to have what I had. Actually what I had at that time was only youth, and what a waste of youth it was. Thankfully I eventually recognized all the fuel being thrown into my fire of life needed to be extinguished. Before everything blew up in my face.

My mother sadly refused to get the help from medical professionals, until she fell, just after my daughter passed away. She remained locked up, I blame my father and his back woods ignorance for this one, in that dark house. It was too late by then, but I hoped for a few weeks she really enjoyed herself. At my rented house of course. As far as Mr. Richardson is concerned, and solely my opinion, he refers to himself as a caricature, and obviously feels his actions toward other human beings are perfectly normal.

Deeper connection made, at least in my mind.  Some people just never see the chaos of their past, and how it trickles down into their own personal choices. They never wake up, or maybe they know what is going on, but make a choice to call it their own while eyes wide shut.

I read that creative people feel keeping themselves on some kind of edge keeps the juices flowing. Always looking for that next high. Are they just ringmasters looking for an audience. No connection in that for me. Well, maybe a tiny one.

Oh, why was the fire department called when my mom came for a visit? She was cooking me lunch and caught our high tech stove on fire. The smoke alarm went off and she called 911.


Jim K. said...

Wow, there's a novel
goin' on there.

Seems life is about taking hits
and moving on, doesn't it?
I remember similar events among
some friends in the 80s. Was it
age-related, or was it the 80s
as well?

Anonymous said...

I do think much good art grows from family drama. When I am on super-edge, though, absolutely nothing flows.

Chef E said...

Jim- LOL I always thought my life was too boring for that :) However I did begin one, which will come after the zombie story, 'Taking Cover' which has parallels to my life, but mostly fiction...

F&M- now just reading your 'sea' makes me want to dive into a poem!

Agreed on the later, this is why I chose not to take anti-depressants, but then was told I did not have depression, but a mild ADD and PSTD from all the happenings over the years, especially Ane, rape and other...It's all a battle at times, but all good mostly :)