“You are very pretty.”
My dad and I were in the breakfast room, a soft yellow tiny rectangle of a dark room with one high window, just off the kitchen in a very old house in a very old neighborhood in the small town where my family lived for the 10 most important years of my life. The “formative” years. I must have been about 7 years old. I suddenly felt shy and giddy and loved.
Dad was a handsome man and quite the charmer. His smile lit a room and his laughter and voice came out with a sonic boom, deep and rich. I adored him. I danced with him standing on his shoes, I (along with my baby sister) lost countless games of Monopoly, Go Fish and Concentration to him. I watched him work at his watch bench and in his garage electronics lab. I wanted to be him.
“Show me how to use the oscillator, Daddy.”
“Because you are a girl.”
I pouted as I left the garage and went back into the house to complain to my Mama. My young self was furious. I loved science and math and Dad had so many gadgets and experiences. I studied his flight manuals and books on weather when he learned to fly. He had his own plane! But I got airsick.
LIfe took me on a path to becoming a teacher of art. A painter. An artist. A far cry from the scientist I thought I might like to be. The veterinarian I couldn’t be because of the blood and the cutting.
And yet, there is so much about art that suits my geeky brain. Chemistry! which I nearly flunked in high school, fascinates me now as applied to color. I paint dogs and animals, the things I love and once thought I’d help save. I still teach, which means I must continue to learn.
Recently I began a series of self portraits. Not so flattering, up-close facial expressions. The reaction to them has been universal.
“But, you are so pretty. Why would you do that?”
Because I am much, so much, more.
I am an artist, a teacher, part-time writer, wife and sister who sings in the car and dances in chairs, who lives where dogs rule and purple, teal and orange commune in complete harmonious bliss.
Adele has taken classes with Valley.