I've got no strings...

I don’t EVER watch Disney movies. I’m sure I may have seen one or two when I was a child, however, I’m not particularly fond of them and I’ve made absolutely no effort to share Walt’s creative genius with my son. Yet – given my life as it is right now (I suppose) – I have Pinocchio’s “I’ve got no strings” song stuck in my head. AND I’m not particularly happy about that!

The song goes:

I’ve got no strings
To tie me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings
But now I’m free
There are no strings on me

Today I feel as though half of my “strings” are cut, because in my mind I’m only half respectable – half befriended – half healthy – half married – half smart – half a child – half a believer – and half loved. And although I’m okay with the fact I’ll never be able to re-tie ANY of my severed strings (and given the chance, I probably wouldn‘t want to), I’m still petrified by the thought that one day I’ll be completely free.

I suppose I’m in this frame of mind because my mother is dying. Not this very minute, mind you – but even so EVERY minute I’m acutely aware that it is imminent. She’s currently in a half-well/half-ill state that makes her (and my father) hopeful that she’ll recover and return to her old normal self. But I and her doctors know she won’t. It’s this “gray area” that she’s hovering in that has me thinking of my life…

…and my own gray areas.

Here are just some examples of MY gray areas:

I’m a dutiful “band mom“. I make Rice Krispy treats, organize fund raisers, and tend to marching band related boo boos with Band-Aids and kisses. But earlier this year as I was sitting in a mall food court with my sister, a young man walked by – dressed all in black – with tons of piercing – and a Mohawk! I looked at my sister and said “THAT’S what I am inside.” Everyday I hover between the person I WANT to be – and the person I’m forced to be.

And…well…next birthday I’ll be 49 years old. But in my mind I’m a teenager, with dreams still yet to fulfill.

What about the fact that I have over 100 MySpace friends, yet I feel completely alone? I drift friendless in life while I make idle chatter with people who mean little to me.

In case you didn’t know – I have Fibromyalgia. That makes me disabled according to the State of New Jersey; however, to others I don’t look terribly “sick”. It makes me ache like I have the flu each day of my life, but I can‘t ever hope for it to run its course. I’m exhausted every waking minute, but sleep won’t help. I’d like to give up on life and spend the remainder of it in bed, but love for my family demands that I overcome my pain. So each day I hover between the world of the victim, and that of a survivor.

And I suppose being separated from my husband this year after 20 years has placed me a unique gray area – marriage purgatory. I’m legally married, yet completely on my own. And while I rarely rely on someone for comfort or support – now that I truly need it…it just isn’t there. I choke on the word “husband” (even with an “ex” attached to it) when I have to use it in a sentence, but gleefully spit out “single” when the need arises! I live in a swirl of happy hopeful moments for my future – followed by the realization that I’m presently part of a huge failure.

Even though I have an I.Q. of 141, I can’t concentrate for more than 10 minutes because for some reason once I form a thought it takes on a rubbery consistency and just bounces around aimlessly in my head. If my writings make it seem as though I CAN concentrate – then you’ve never seen me create one. It is a very long and fragmented process! Being an adult with a genius I.Q. AND A.D.D. makes this particular gray area nearly indescribable – something like fleeting brilliant moments consistently bogged down by clutter – think of fireworks in the middle of a monsoon!

I’m the youngest child in my family. As the “baby” I’ve mostly enjoyed a responsibility free existence all my life. But as my mother and father age I’ve slowly taken on the role of THEIR parent. I know that this is a way of life for nearly everyone my age, but as desperately as I want to hang on to the fact that I’m the “baby”, I know I’m responsible for their lives – their health – and their problems. And way too soon – their funerals.

You know – I consider myself extremely spiritual – but honestly, I have no idea what controls my life (that’s probably because my life has almost never been in control). I’ve tried to adopt different religions as my own – but refuse to accept that ANY god would impose ridiculous rules on everyday life, then punish me severely if I failed to adhere to even one! So I continue to search for an ultimate truth, while realistically I know that there is none.

For the very first time in my life I’m in a “casual” relationship. Casual dating skipped my generation. As teenagers you “went together”, and if it worked out you got married. And I DID that – TWICE! So imagine my shock when I realized that I’d now have to not only date again – but get used to an alien form of dating that involved little, if any, commitment. Of course, I fucked this up, and for the first time in a very long time…I’m crazy in love. But he doesn‘t love me back. And because of that, something that should be terribly pleasant is actually terribly painful.

So you see – my life is one big gray area! There is no black or white – right or wrong. And each morning I wake to hover in my own gray state until it’s time for me to go back to sleep and dream of something better.

In a related story (bear with me – it IS related) let me tell you about my tattoo. No – really – I do have one. It is a yin and yang. I won’t tell you where it is, because that isn’t important. I waited a very long time to get it; because I wanted to make sure something that permanent TRULY represented me and my life. When I got it, I believed that life WAS black and white – good and bad – no gray whatsoever. But lately I’ve realized that those tiny circles inside the black and white ARE my gray areas. There IS no absolute ecstasy or agony – just a string of gray.

And speaking of strings – I suppose I’ll just have to leave those still connected to me alone for now – and wait for life to either tug on them – or cut me free.

I've got no strings...

Donna Dart

Blenheim, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

It’s tough being between two worlds.


change life

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10% off

for joining the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.