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Friday, September 20, 2013


I did some freelance work for a woman who did feng shui.  She came to my house and pointed at the walls and said “single, single, single!”  She explained that all my pictures were individuals, and if I wanted to invite a relationship into my life I should hang things in pairs.  I refrained from telling her just hanging the pictures up was a step better than their previous positions of being stacked up or leaned up against the walls.

Anyway, I rearranged my pictures and put a red sheet on the bed like she suggested because, well, why not?  That was a long time ago, and the pictures are mostly back to individuals or leaning or in stacks, but I have managed some groups.  Let’s face it, I like individuals.  Sometimes I like being individuals together with someone else, but I suppose that isn’t always the best way to have a relationship.

I see a lot of old married people at work.  They come to church and hobble down the stairs together.  It’s sweet to see them helping each other out, and I wonder who’s going to help me hobble around when I’m old.  I’ve argued for a ramp and got a grip bar put into the bathroom, but those kinds of things just aren’t the same as someone being there to catch you when you fall.

I was going to get married when I was 20, but we fought about my name.  I had long-held opinions on women’s names, ever since I handed my mom mail addressed to her as Mrs. L. Hensley.  Her first name isn’t L and neither of her parents were a Hensley.  None of that address referred to Mom as an actual human in her own right, and my 5 yr. old self was offended.  My opinion didn’t change in the 15 years leading up to planning my own nuptials.  I would not be someone’s possession and lose my personal identity.

Ironically, my former fiancé eventually married someone else who kept her name.  The ladies who hobble into church are proud to have their husband’s names.  Maybe I was just ahead of my time or maybe I’m just not cut out for “togetherness”, but when I later divorced someone else, I was glad I didn’t have his name.  It wasn’t mine, and I didn’t want anything to connect me to him as I moved into my future.

The word for the week is “together”, but I keep thinking about my life-long fight to be independent.  Free to think my thoughts, have my opinions, do what I want, leave my messes where I want to leave them, and lean my paintings against the wall in the order of completion or what I feel like looking at for now.

At the same time, I’d like someone else around who wouldn’t want to make me sacrifice any of those things.  Well, I guess I could hang pictures and pick up some of my projects if that meant I wouldn’t be subjected to their messes.  And then someday we’d get old and one or the other of us would help the other up and down steps.


  1. Hi Linda, I'm home from my holiday and smiled to see your post pop up. Keep hanging those pictures any which way you like ;0)Enjoy the weekend, Jane x

  2. This is a wonderful painting, Linda. And to top it off with such frank thoughts about independence makes for a great read. Thanks!

  3. Sweet illustration, very appropriate.
    I've been intrigued with feng shui, but have just been too lazy to do anything about it with my own surroundings. I wonder if there's something to it.
    I think wherever we are in our lives, we always wonder about the contrasting side of things.

  4. I have the husband together part. But I long for a tight female friendship. I always feel like I'm on a different planet than my female friends.

  5. I tend to think things have meaning if you put meaning to them. Or maybe looking at pairs of pictures reminds us about pairing people? I'm thankful that I've been lucky to have good male and female friends, but so far haven't won the lottery with relationships. I also have to admit I can't sit around and talk about shoes with girlfriends, but thankfully there will always be people around with more interesting topics to talk about. Have I mentioned lately that I appreciate my blog buddies? Thanks for the comments everybody!

  6. Fall Greetings, Linda!
    I've been 'partnered' this time for twenty-plus years and sticking with it has taught me that the price of partnership is often compromise (and occasionally downright sacrifice). But I remind myself that those requirements of Togetherness are a two-way street, and I suspect (though not often admit) that I can be difficult to live with too. :-)

    I like to think that my partner and I are like two large stones that have been tumbled long distances together down a riverbed, and most of our sharp edges have been knocked and worn off. When I'm true to myself, the 'essential' parts of me remain, and only the superfluous habits get rubbed off. I think I'm a more balanced, open person for being in a partnership, but I know relationships are not everyone's path, especially long-term ones. Perhaps you get your Relationship 101 lessons in your job these days??? I'm not surprised that Eastern religions and philosophies say that Relationship is the steepest path to enlightenment!

    I DID get more art made (and more Loud Music listened to) when I lived alone though: still working on my career/work habits vs relationship balance. I think I'm really a lone wolf by nature, and find it's so easy to get distracted when there's another person to juggle life with. Good thing we're Infinite Beings since there's SO much to learn in life...

    I appreciate you too, Linda! And your beautiful artwork reminds me that Christmas is practically around the corner...oh no, Mr. Bill!

  7. I suspect you're right Susan, I am getting Relationship 101 lessons at work these days. Actually, I've been thinking that I've been doing advanced placement courses. I guess the reward is that I get to go home to dog, and she doesn't care about my rough edges :)

    In the end, I think it doesn't really matter how many paintings we make. What matters is how we colored the world for the people around us. Okay, and making art too.

  8. Very sweet story, Linda.

    By the way, I believe that "feng shui" is Chinese for "bullshit."

  9. Thanks for making me smile Josh, but hey, a paying customer is always golden :)

  10. I can totally relate to what you write in this email. I have never had to give up my name - could never see that happen either. Of course I am a man and not suppose to, but then I don't why it should be any different for women. But yes, it's a fine act to fine the balance between independence and togetherness. For me it definitely makes it easier to be in a relationship when I am much away - for both of us actually.

  11. Lovely flowers, and your post hits WAY too close to home. From the pictures leaning against the wall, to the singular pictures & my recent single status, to the name thing.....we seem to be cut from the same piece of cloth. :)

  12. There's a breath through those flowers, a musical quality to each petal, ranged against the next. And your thoughts on Together - ring true in so many ways. What's the point in being together at all, if you're not one hundred percent yourself? Be well.

  13. Isn't the name thing strange? Clearly it goes way way back to a time when women weren't considered people in their own right. Which is more of our history than not... crazy! These days it's just a chore, as far as I can tell - they make it difficult for you if you DON'T change your name because you have to prove you're married and so forth. But of course so many more women are keeping their names now.

    I don't put much stock in feng shui but I think if you believe it makes a difference, then maybe it will. I love the red flowers! Such beautiful lines.

  14. Thanks everybody! I don't know that I believe very much in feng shui either Cindy, but I agree with your thought that if you think it makes a difference, maybe it will? At least looking at pairs of paintings reminded me of why I hung them in pairs. Here's to hoping everyone finds happiness as individuals and maybe as half of pairs!

  15. Linda, I think your confrontation with a Feng Shui enthusiast is interesting. I always draw pairs, preferably with babies or whole life cycles. How funny.
    Maybe this Feng Shui lady has given you some ideas, like an illustration of a large fish, divided over 3 or 5 individual frames.
    Anyway, don't loose your individuality nor your lovely illustration style.