October 6, 2006

Where she lives


Ballerina artist
Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.

Typically, when I write a blog entry, I start with the topic and go from there. When I'm done writing, I'll go find a photo that will go with it, or I'll take one if I need one. Or perhaps I'll steal one from someone else's page, maybe yours! The point is, usually the photo comes last, as an accompaniment to the writing.

This morning as I was leaving for work, Schuyler was drawing with her big markers, wearing her little ballerina outfit that she inexplicably puts on when she's playing around the apartment. I have no idea what the appeal might be, particularly since she doesn't really dance around much when she wears it. Anyway, she was drawing quietly with her markers, and I thought it was cute so I took a few photos on my way out the door.

It wasn't until later, after I loaded the photos into my computer, that I saw what I had captured, and knew that I wanted to write about it.

Anyone who has ever met Schuyler and spent any time with her knows how sociable she is. She is outgoing and friendly and not one bit shy. It's almost scary sometimes, how warm and happy and turned-up-to-eleven she can be.

But Schuyler lives most of her life inside her head. It's not so pervasive as it was when she was younger. She can make herself more clearly understood now, she has options she didn't have before. But she only makes those connections when it suits her, and much of the time, it doesn't.

Strangely, this is a side of Schuyler that I understand completely. When she disappears inside her own head like she's doing in that photo, I get it. It's not because of her monster, not entirely. I think she retreats there because it's a place where she makes sense. Schuyler is a social creature, but she is also a very internal one, a person who can be totally alone in a crowded room. I watch her withdraw, not out of sadness or anger or stress, but simply because that's where she lives, inside herself. And I get it, because it's where I live, too.

Tomorrow, she and I will spend the day at home together, and I know that like on most days we have, we'll spend part of it just sitting together. She'll draw or play with her dolls, making them speak to each other in her strange moonman language (she never uses her device to make them talk; she tried that early on, making her dinosaurs say "I love you" to each other, but that didn't last) while I write. We'll do that for hours, and we'll never say a word, and it'll be perfect.

I guess I like that shot because I take a lot of photos of Schuyler that show the vibrant part of her personality, but I feel like a real photographer when I take one that shows her where she lives, inside that strange and broken and beautiful head.

16 comments:

Sage Tyrtle said...

Okay, I'm about as butch as you can get these days (as in, people mistake me for a man) but when I was seven, I wore a blue ballerina outfit every single day, 24 hours a day, for two months straight. It made me feel like the Empress of the Universe. (Yeah, even then - it was all about the power.)

Amy said...

Rob... that was a beautiful entry. And I do love the comment about the dinosaurs saying "I love you" to each other. Precious.

Rob said...

I got a photo of it when it happened.

alaska kim said...

She is such a pretty little girl. Always has been.

annelynn said...

You take the loveliest pictures. It's a beautiful entry as well - I get it too, because my head is also where I live.

Anonymous said...

I've always lived in my head as well. When my mom had her psychiatry phase in the 80's, she took me to see one thinking there might be something wrong. Apparently, it's very common in only children. And, I would imagine, Schuyler's head is way more fun than anything the real world has to offer.

Kiki said...

This entry has helped me tonight. My boyfriend is an only child with Asperger Syndrome (self-diagnosed) and what I call selective mutism (he has yet to acknowledge it). He is currently in one of his silent phases, triggered by an emotional upset, which pains me to no end. I have no idea if when he comes out of it, we will still be together or not. I don't know if he's left me. Were I to ask him, to try to force him to speak, he would only become more anxious and would retreat more deeply inside himself.

Thank you for this entry. It has given me another way to look at things.

K PS Schuyler is so beautiful.

Joan said...

Yes, I relate so completely, I 'live in my head', and rarely feel the need to talk. (Yet I have my journal writing....) And yes, I'm an 'only child'.

Again, a wonderful entry, thanks!

lilymoonchild said...

Huh, based on everyone's comments, seems like Schuyler's a little more like the rest of us (or we're more like her?) than we might have thought.

That's an awesome picture Rob. Thanks for sharing!

Tammy said...

Beautiful photo and entry. I like the way that you describe her "living inside her head". I hope to one day read a book published by Schuyler.
Off topic, I saw this and wondered if you'd seen it.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15065046/

fifi said...

Artistic activity is very empowering, and yet, bizzarely, relaxing, like a meditation. If you are immersed in it, you don't feel time passing. Too many people dismiss it, saying "I can't draw", once they've left childhood behind. I hope Schuyler will not experience that loss, that inhibition of expression, as she grows up. With you around, I'm guessing she'll always be an artist. Whatever she's wearing.

nico said...

It's nice to be inside one's own head for company sometimes.

I feel that the world expects near constant social activity/interaction and constant chatter, and introspection or time with oneself is a sign of some horrible flaw. Not the case, however. (and that most people talk too much and listen not enough. I need a "you talk too much" shirt for some people.

I was a pretty introspective, "in my own head" kind of kid. I was social when I felt I needed it, and quite ok when I needed time alone.

Kat said...

I bet the world inside her head is a marvellous place.

I really hope I get to meet Schuyler someday.

Bozoette said...

I, too, have a rich inner life. It's where I'm most comfortable, inside my head. Sometimes I feel like I have to be careful or I'll get lost in there and turn into one of those crazy old ladies who walk around muttering to themselves. Oh wait.

Anonymous said...

great photo. i can just picture you two together, both of you doing your "thing" and just hanging out.

cool entry.

Dawn Masshole said...

Nice pic :) Markers do rule ! 2 favorite things as a child Drawing&Bugs , Hmmm, still likem'BOTH! And, "Whats in a childs head" is their own and thats ok... < it changes an awful lot anyways - maybe she'll be an ARTIST ! She'd honestly come by it ... she looks happy.