Angela Bocage


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the depression category.

Roe v. Wade anniversary

When I was at the end of seventh grade, I spent an amazing summer in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. A little over a year after my mother died in spring of sixth grade in Cammack Village, Arkansas, I’d spent seventh grade at George B. Dealey elementary after moving to Dallas to live with my father. There, where the seventh graders were royalty, the year passed in a whirlwind of getting a new turquoise stingray bike to ride to school and family errands and such, singing in the chorus, finally having some pretty clothes, racking up record-setting points in the reading competition, getting my period, being asked to do art for various teachers and getting to get out of all sorts of tedious activities to do so, getting crushes on both genders, having great friendships and adventures, including an awesome wilderness education week in Athens, Texas, I’ll never forget, and culminating in triumphs of both acting in the leading comedienne role and doing lots and lots of scenic and promotional and program art for the year’s play. It was such a blessing after all the excitement that that first summer after my world turned upside down I got to live in the peace and beauty of my grandmother’s shadow, her lovely old home (with the first air conditioning system ever built in Arkadelphia, a hundred years old, its mysteries housed in its own tiny cottage by the rear of the house, but working so wonderfully well!), the quiet genteel streets of a little town that believed passionately in learning and rang with church bells…but in which I’d not yet experienced the hateful side of religion. There was only kindness in the little Episcopal church we attended, a pioneer in integration, only the sunshine, its warmth bringing out the smells of candles, flowers, and old, old books. In the beautiful old fashioned public library, a hushed and cool retreat with polished wooden floors, high ceilings, and secret passages (my grandmother volunteered there as a part-time librarian so I was delighted to explore with impunity), I discovered the Lord of the Rings trilogy in one huge dusty-black volume with thrillingly arcane sigils like a silvery-red eye and was flat out gone all summer into that road novel of all road novels; the landscape covered by the hobbits wasn’t, after all, all that unlike the gentle verdant hills and forests and rivers and towns of southern Arkansas. What made me think of all this today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I used a clunky old blue and white bicycle in Arkadelphia, not the sleek speedy one I had at home. If, riding around with my friends Anne and Sharon, or exploring some promising haunted house with my friend John for some vampire play we were writing, or just walking in the twilight to think about what I wanted to do with the life ahead of me, with art, learning, writing, exploring relationships, I’d happened on the wrong person, and been raped–it wasn’t quite 1972 yet. Would my two wonderful children have ever come into the world, would I have gotten an education, would I have been sent away, or would an unsterile back-alley procedure have ended my life? My nascent depression wasn’t treated then, and the treatments that existed were frequently as bad as the illness–would I have committed suicide, or spent my life in an institution? For some reason, even after all the years of thinking I’ve done about why women’s reproductive lives aren’t free, I never thought quite this way, never thought, this could have happened to me. Our mothers, our grandmothers, I always said. But it wasn’t quite 1972 yet the summer I discovered sexual feelings, the summer Anne and Sharon would tell me men and boys were always looking at my rather fine new breasts. This anniversary, I did the math, and I’m so thankful for my children and my life. We cannot deny the future to the girls in seventh grade, or second grade, or entering adulthood today. To think otherwise is female sexual slavery as surely as it has ever existed in the world.

Advertisements

More on Nikki Craft…

I just read a splendid article about the mechanisms of discrediting feminist writing (Over Her Dead Body: How Ariel Levy Smears the Ashes of Andrea Dworkin, by Julian Real at http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/levy/index.html )   because thinking about how much I like my praying mantises and miss my times with Nikki Craft prompted me to look up some websites by and about her. Although it was a painful and difficult time, memories of Nikki are mostly so joyful and full of energy and hope. I remember sitting with her and some other young women in her beautiful artful rented room in a house in Santa Cruz, where there was a little stepladder up to her bed, I assume thoughtfully placed there so her little dog Casper wouldn’t have to jump up and down. How funny she was in her observations of the some of the ludicrous goings-on in Santa Cruz at the time. But how ardently she spoke against cruelty to animals, how she lived her compassion with Casper, and how cogently she linked her witness of  mass murdered dogs in a field to the murders of women we seemed to hear about every other week back then. She was the kindest, most passionate, most friendly individual I’d ever met at my work on the school newspaper, City on a Hill Press.

Most of the people working there when I first started in 1977 or 1978 were really scary to me, a very sheltered Southern girl who’d never been out after ten p.m. except to church events before coming to the University. They were also, compared to me, extremely affluent, well-traveled, with experience of the world and a lot more choices. I was just an illustrator and paste-up person, working there to afford rent, cheap film series, the occasional record, used (yup, they were vinyl then) at Logos. I had to drop out of school repeatedly to pay for school; cleaning houses,  cleaning the machines at the Wrigley plant or graveshifting packing tea boxes at Lipton, eventually getting what I thought was the greatest gig ever, selling tickets at the Del Mar theater, which meant that by local convention I could attend any film in the area free–yes, even at the arthouses, hallelujah! Other students had internships at museums or national magazines; my first summer in college I’d made change from a booth at the boardwalk arcade because I was too clumsy on the machines that sold tickets to the rides. Boy, was I an idiot–depressed, isolated, and of the world outside my devout theoretical universe (I coulda told you reams about the history of the Christian Church and the labyrinthine eddies of its doctrinal samba-dancin’ over the centuries!) I knew so so little. The guys (mostly guys) who did writing & editing were every bit as sure they came from a different and superior universe from me as I was.

Knowing and working with Nikki changed my life. Even after the young woman had a firebrand reputation, even after she’d become a lightning rod in the debate between people who cared about women’s lives and the men who loved their porn, she was able to walk into the offices of City on a Hill Press–testosterone central–and charm all the guys immediately with her genuine friendliness, humor, precious little white dog, and killer shoulder massages. I was gobsmacked at her elan! Oh, but like the thing with the vinyl, I guess I gotta explain that everybody gave everybody shoulder massages in those days. Just not always on first meeting! And before desktop publishing, y’all, layout and pasteup people were extremely grateful for Nikki’s. And she was drop dead gorgeous with those huge clear eyes and glossy dark hair, whether she was wearing claystained sweat pants and a bandana on her head or a funky crazy sparkly Myth California gown. She inspired me to read, read, read, read, Susan Griffin and Mary Daly and the Take Back the Night anthology and take a class in lesbian literature…I’ll continue this sometime, but I have to wake up early for work now, so that’s just a few random memories of a shrewd and sneaky saint of my early life! Definitely, definitely check out the Julian Real article. Apparently Ms. Nikki Craft was also an inspiration to that author.


On eyelashes, part III; and getting my butt kicked…

In previous posts on the fringe, the lovely femmey fringe that we peek out from under or bat to express our various selves, I’m sure I’ve mentioned Diorshow mascara. My teenage correspondent and I have now gotten ourselves some of their new flavor, Diorshow Blackout. Today was my first experience with it, and it was sure enough beautiful, deeply black, very lengthening. Like its progenitor, it also sure enough dematerialized after a morning of hard work in a very warm law office. However, it did not flake or crumble into my sensitive easily-inflamed eyes, nor was it stiff or spidery. I’m certainly going to give it another go.

Before I leave this subject for the moment, just want to mention two hallowed principles of mascara that I have always ignored: wiping the wand before application, and making sure each tube of mascara you obtain is then tossed out after six months. I say, no no no–because while those principles no doubt sell more mascara, I’ve never had any harm from old stuff. Perhaps I just use it a lot and it’s always run out before six months? No, don’t think so, because none of the lovely wands of Diorshow I sometimes find in purses I haven’t used in a while 😉 have never harmed my eyes either…and they are rather touchy, irritable eyes. And wiping the mascara off the wand before using it? Redonkulous! The stuff’s supposed to get on your eyelashes, and all those stiff little bristles are designed to comb it through! (I feel such outrage when confronted by baldfaced lies, can’t you tell?) Also, the glorpier it is when extracted from the tube, the better the brush is for resting gently for a moment at the very base of your lashes where they’re thickest, wiggling minutely back and forth until it’s stuck in them, and then sweeping all that glorp out to the ends for gorgeous black curving fringe.

On why I’m not the best makeup reviewer/blogger today….let’s review, now, some of the symptoms of depression. There’s sleep trouble, either doing it too much or too little. Eating troubles, likewise. Feeling worthless, or to put it in mundane terms, like you’re not doing a very good job as a mom, a racing-pig trainer, a manicurist, a competitive swimmer or whatever your passion is, and like you’re not doing very well for your children, or racing pigs, or manicure customers, or swimming coach, even though you love them very much. And loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities; which means, say, that even though you absolutely love going out on the balcony of your Venetian palazzo to blow soap bubbles of an evening, you suddenly notice several sunsets have passed without their wobbly rainbow shiny fragility floating out over the canal and you just don’t have the energy to care too much. It’s a mysterious and no doubt cyclical girly-thing and will no doubt be over any day now. Meanwhile, some sleep is in order…



%d bloggers like this: