From the moment I started down this path a few weeks ago, my decision weighed on me like a giant albatross around my neck. But unlike the ancient mariner, my burden was an invisible one. No one understood why I had been walking hunched over these past few weeks, my gait unsteady, dragged down by an unseen obligation. There was no rotting carcass swaying on my chest to explain why I was so out of sorts. Perhaps that would have been easier.
As I lumbered back to my apartment each evening after work, I felt thick. So many times I wanted to give up, quit, throw it all away. What did it mean, anyway? Would anyone even know if I just chucked it all out the window? Who would care? I would take in a sharp breath just before putting the key in the lock… and turn.
I stopped returning phone calls. When I did respond to emails, it was always to say that I had some errands to run, a project for work to finish, a family obligation. I can’t see you right now. I’d love to, but I have to do this thing. Soon, though, I promise.
But somehow, in spite of this all, every time I wanted to admit defeat and curl up into a tight ball on the kitchen floor, my head resting in a bowl of half-eaten cat food, I would hear a voice inside me. And the voice – which oddly enough sounded not like my own, but like that of Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life – would say, “But, Jenny, you gave them your word.”
My word.
I did, didn’t I? And a woman without her word is not much of a woman at all. So I kept on, pursuing to the next stop. Which led me here. You brought me through and out. And for giving me the strength and courage to persevere, I have no way to repay you, other than to fulfill my destiny and give you this:

Wild Horses

25 Responses to “Weight”

  1. shari Says:

    ***time passes, waiting for the perfect comment to make itself known in my cerebrum***
    Nope, that’s all I got: “Wow!”

  2. jaymarie Says:

    jenny –
    i want to be just like you.
    congrats for sticking it through to the end.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Ah, there is still a future for you in the vast world of commissioned paint-by-number art! Congrats! It looks great!

  4. romy Says:

    jenny, you are an inspiration to womankind the world over. nay, to humankind. congrats on achieving your goal. equui aversi boni sunt.

  5. asia Says:

    what can I say?? you inspire me.

  6. hooizz Says:

    can we change your blog byline to be, ‘daily musings of a newly employed amateur paint-by-numbererer’? ha!
    looks fantabulous.

  7. jenny Says:

    S: You’re too funny – thanks!
    J: Ooh, be careful what you wish for… paint-by-numbers addiction can be hard to manage. ;)
    K: I’m quitting my job today based on your comment.
    R: e pluribus unum. I think you said something dirty about a horse. So, thanks!
    A: But don’t you see? It’s all of you who inspire me! These wild horses would not have been possible w/o your support.
    H: Hey – not a bad idea. That tagline is sorely outdated, anyway…

  8. Tracy Kaply Says:

    Well done, you!

  9. Camilla Says:

    It’s beautiful, Jenny. I suggest framed posters of it for holiday gifts.

  10. The Scarlett Says:

    Well done, Jenny, well done. And documenting your progress as you did was genius. It reminds me of when my late mother decided to do this really complicated series of ‘The Four Seasons’ with all of these teeny, tiny bits … and how I have no idea what became of those four paintings that she worked so hard to complete and that I know at one point were framed and graced her bedroom walls.
    Hmmmmmmm… I have a mystery on my hands!

  11. rarity Says:

    Ahhh! I was so worried – what on earth could it be that had you plagued so for the past few weeks (about the alle time I’ve “known” you…)
    I had turned half away and dared peek only with one eye when I carefully clicked the link… and then: Ha ha ha!
    Very funny!
    And on the art work: good for you, well done!

  12. jill Says:

    Blood, tears, sweat, angst, paint. Your word is merely the whipped cream on top, this is what makes you a woman. For some it’s in the back seat of a car. For others, it happens at the cardboard canvas. Congratulations, my friend. Congratulations.

  13. number4of5 Says:

    You got urself some purty horses ma’am.
    The fifth and sixth ones without the eye painted-in are kind of scary looking. Was that bothering you while you were painting? Reminds me of that scene in the Godfather.

  14. StationeryQueen Says:

    YAY! How pretty!
    And damn that Mrs. Garrett!!!!!!

  15. Nina Says:

    Have you considered basket-weaving (as a next venture)?
    Fantastic! And you appear to have stayed within the lines, though truthfully, who can tell…
    I want to see a photo of this framed and hanging in your home. Prominently. Pronto!

  16. Roy Says:

    I don’t see how you do it. Every time I rest my head in a half-eaten bowl of cat food, the cat just stands there, hands on hips, clearing her throat, until I get sufficiently annoyed to sit up and let her eat. I’m not getting enough sleep, but the cat is slimming down nicely.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    I’m joining in on the congratulations. Your determination is inspiring. Why I don’t see it as madness… at all… Really.
    Just kidding. You’re no quitter. Michael’s gives you a crafty challenge and you more than take it on. And that is why I am so very proud to call you my friend.

  18. jenny Says:

    Geez! I’d better not wait until the end of the day to respond to comments again. But before I respond, I was a little shocked that no one commented on the hidden Vanilla Ice lyric in my post. Perhaps there are no true music fans in the crowd…
    Trust me, friends, considering that the high-end of the appropriate age category for this paint by number was 12 yrs old, I can’t accept too much praise. But a couple quick notes:
    Tracy – Hey! Thanks,you!
    Camilla – Okay, so xmas shopping for Camilla? DONE!
    Scarlett – what a sweet story – I sure hope you find those paintings!
    Rarity – don’t be ascared! Just some little old horses!
    Jill – Whipped cream, sweat, back seat of a car… every time I try to think of an appropriate response, it takes a sharp turn for the vulgar, and I’m just not that kind of girl. At least not on this blog…
    4of5 – I know!! I didn’t realize how creepy it was until I looked at the whole series. Kind of like a dead fish.
    SQ – “Tootie!!!”
    Nina – you’re not the boss of me.
    Roy – Ha. Your cat has hips.
    Viv – if I had known you were so impressed by craftiness, I would’ve made you a god’s eye out of popsicle sticks years ago! Thanks, kid.

  19. Jessica Says:

    HAH! Jenny, you had me at first…as I read, I thought – “whoa, what is she talkin’ about?”
    Great job, dear.

  20. Rich Says:

    That white horse seems overly friendly. the next scene may not be g rated.

  21. TCho Says:

    OMG. I’m impressed. I thought you were getting so frustrated that you were just painting wherever. But this looks great. You’re like that guy on PBS with the big afro (is he still on?)

  22. gillespie Says:

    Damn it!! I was totally thinking Vanilla Ice when I read “pursuing to the next block,” but I didn’t think that was really what you were going for!! Now that I know it WAS what you were going for, I don’t feel like such a dork…wait, maybe I feel like more of a dork…actually, now I don’t know. Thanks a lot, Jenny!!

  23. patricia Says:

    Oooh. Pretty! But I think the white one needs a horn. Every princess deserves her own unicorn. Am I wrong?

  24. Fiorello La Guardia Says:

    Oh-fer-pete’s-sake…I skip Jen’s blog for a day,and then see that I am being led to believe that she is going to throw herself out the window? WHEW…imagine my relief when I saw the photos of the paint by number horses begin to unfold.
    Oh, this was tooooo upsetting – have to go to the couch to watch TCM – mindless sweetness so that I can forget my distress!
    You are going to have it framed, right?
    And congrats on finishing the wild-eyed stallions!

  25. spinner8 Says:

    Wow pretty much sums it up.