One summer when I was a child, I created a collection of paper dolls.  I handed crafted each doll..flat, so I could dress them with the tabbed clothing I would also fashion. I cut their hair into thick strands, realistic I felt, but durable. I made them a little apartment out of a shoe box. I made sheets and curtains, a carpet…everything a modest home might have.I had a slew of barbie dolls I could have played with, but I loved the making of my was more fun than the actual playing with them. The dolls were mine, my own creation.

I can still remember how I was, where I was when I made them.  Alone in the basement of my childhood home. I loved our basement…all our toys, crafts, and books were there, along with my brothers’ rooms. We had a low circular coffee table, I would kneel at it, supplies spread around me, lots of working space. To this day I love working low to the ground, if only I could find that table again.

What I remember also, was how I felt when I was alone.  How I loved it.  Aloneless came easily, welcomed even.  It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the company of others.  I did then, and I do now.  But as I child, I tagged along.  I guess we all tag along as kids…look for the action, feel compelled to be included. Only I always felt awkward.  My sister was so much better at the social end of life.  If it weren’t for her, if I weren’t her twin…I fear I would have had few friends of my own.  …I’m not sure I would have minded that too much.

My life as a child was absolutely influenced by the the fact that my father was in the military.  At a very young age, I learned the rules that governed our family…1) never be an inconvenience 2) appearances are everything. They served me well. Truly.  As a kid who moved frequently these lessons applied directly to fitting in quickly. But the girl who fit in quickly, was never really me. Who I was..was the quiet girl in the basement making beautiful dolls out of paper.

Last night, I spent a quiet evening painting watercolor portraits. The house was lit by a single lamp and my computer screen.  I painted, Luka curled safely on her bed, and I wanted nothing to be different.

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