life

You can’t take it with you

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You cant take it with you - KellyLTaylor

It doesn’t really ever stop. It doesn’t go away. The hurt. The empty space.

And you never stop being a widow.

Even if after only a year you think you’re stuck (and wonder about the possibility that you may be holding him back from somewhere he’s supposed to move on to) and you push yourself to let go of some things and move forward. Even if you allow yourself to be manipulated by someone who says your grief is unhealthy and calls you “Courtney Love” and says you weren’t really a widow because you weren’t legally married in an attempt to dismantle your very identity and discount your experiences but at the same time convinces you he loves you and wants to be with you (despite his wife’s objections!) Even if you don’t talk about it, trying to avoid triggering this narcissistic new boyfriend who’s jealous of the dead guy. It’s all still there.

Even when three years goes by after you’ve eliminated the narcissist who tried his best to replace the dearest sweetest most brilliant person in the world and left you even more scarred and scared but in different ways, it’s still there. But now you’re free to express yourself without censorship.

Even when five years goes by, the shock of finding the dearest sweetest most brilliant person in the world hanging from a carefully constructed rope never leaves. It washes over you still sometimes in a giant wave that disrupts the current moment, makes you drop what you’re doing and work to wrap your head around it once again. The images don’t erase themselves. And you don’t want them to. In that image there is also incredible peace on his face. He was calm, his body relaxed. He stopped the hurt.

And you never stop being a widow.

 

Whoosh….

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Sometimes it still hits me. Like out of nowhere. I think of him, I feel him. My heart stops for a second. I remember he’s gone.

Five years later and still.

I wonder if that will ever stop. But I don’t really want it to.

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Jeff Taylor, maker of wondrous things, May 2012

This guy’s got bells!

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Why am I such a misfit?

Too timid for the cool kids; too weird for the mainstream. Wondering where my work truely fits in.

Perhaps I don’t let myself say what is fighting to come out, programmed to censor myself, preoccupied with what others will think and say, struggling against some expected confines of what a woman my age should be (whatever the fuck that is) that I absorbed along the way. Worried about embarrassing my sons with my subject matter (But they’ve told me they don’t care if I paint dolls with vaginas!)

Scarred and scared from the manipulation and betrayal of a most recent relationship (But I kicked his ass out! I was triumphant! But the damage remains.) Semi-paralyzed with anxiety, doubt, insecurity…   Fuck that! I’ve got “bells” too! I’m gonna put on my happy clown face and paint them!

The shirt, in process

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The shirt. His shirt. The shirt he wore the first time I laid eyes on him. The time I fell madly in love with him, when I felt as if I’d found something I’d been looking for all my life. When I stopped looking and it walked in the door of the gallery with a big warm smile, carrying a newly finished sculpture. I think I stopped breathing

 

The shirt in process-KellyLTaylor

 

the jacket

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He was beautiful and brilliant and funny. That jacket still feels like him. Even though it’s gone through the wash. I can’t wear it. It feels too heavy.

 

jacket-kellyltaylor
Jacket, oil on canvas, life-sized

 

I’m in A&U Magazine!

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“Her series of still lifes are a case in point, “full of texture and shadows, sad and happy at the same time.” A cherub gambols amid toys. A stuffed animal bunny poses with a skull. Her paintings seem to understand ephemera as treasure. There are no people represented, except indirectly, and so there are people everywhere. These are strange, unexpected communities, where the softness of life coexists with the hard and mechanical, where loss is palpable, but so is survival, and where difference becomes a risk worth taking.”

Read the full article, written by my dear friend Chael Needle, here…

http://www.aumag.org/2017/01/16/kelly-l-taylor-artist/

 

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Everybody’s Got One – oil on canvas

119 in Dog Years

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Ever had that faithful friend who was so in-tune with your feelings, the quiet companion who just watched you, followed you around, sat by you if you were feeling bad, was ever-ready to join in on your playful mood. That was Shep – a black lab/shepherd mix we found as a puppy.

Someone had dumped him and three puppy siblings out in the country. They were living in a drain pipe next to the railroad tracks. That was almost seventeen years ago.

Fox and I drove by and saw them. I immediately pulled the car over and two of the puppies bounded over to see me. Shep was a little more shy. And then the last puppy was too scared to even come out of the drain pipe. We had to come back later with something to bribe her out with.

We took the four puppies home and immediately fell in love, knowing we couldn’t possibly keep all four! Shep was the one who followed Fox around. Fox, my son, was almost two years old at the time and he and Shep were pretty close in size. Shep was the one who chose us. And we fell in love with his warm brown eyes and his temperament  – playful but not too wild, precocious but not too troublesome, attentive, and so darn sweet.

Shep and the boys quickly became inseparable. All three would lay on the carpet in the living room watching cartoons. Shep learned to tell time by Nathan’s comings and goings – the early morning rush to the school bus and the afternoon walk down the street back home after school. Shep would watch by the window and always greeted us at the door when we came home. He was a constant presence, a comfort. For almost seventeen years.

Shep was a member of the family. And yesterday we sat with him as a family and said goodbye. His eyes now old and slightly cloudy, his muzzle gray, we talked to him and petted him while he quietly slipped away.

Now there’s a gapping whole where he once occupied our lives. Rationally, we know that dogs can’t live forever. He was 119 in dog years! But our hearts are broken.

Farewell, Shep.