Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What the #@$%* was My Mom Thinking?!

I'm on the right. My sister, Karin, the actress, is hamming it up on the left. No, we weren't conjoined twins (only Photoshop'd that way). We aren't even twins, just cruelly forced to dress that way on many occasions. We had a great Aunt who loved to sew. Maybe she was a compulsive sewer and couldn't stop at one outfit, I don't know. My mother forced us to wear the many identical sets of dresses my great aunt made and it was torture. I'm surprised my sister and I get along so well today. And especially surprised that I don't need years of therapy to deal with any kind of identity crisis.

Karin is visiting BC right now. My plans of bringing Type A structure and organization to my life have been temporarily put on hold. Because when someone comes here on vacation, I go on vacation. Even though much of my life is like a vacation, I have an amazing talent to be able to go on vacation from vacation. What can I say, it's a gift I possess. We actually haven't done anything or gone anywhere, we just drink fancy coffees and sit around.

My sister brought up a memory we'd both like to forget. I was probably 9 or 10 and she 11 or 12 when we ganged up on my best friend, bullied her and made her cry. Bullying wasn't typical of me during childhood. I was pathologically shy and always on the verge of being bullied at any moment, but then there was usually someone who looked like more of a victim than me, and so I was used only as an alternate, when the other victims weren't around, either having spontaneous nosebleeds or at accordion lessons.

But during THAT day, Karin, psychologically tortured my best friend and I acted as an accomplice. We told her she could never go home. Karin, with her natural acting ability, had my friend convinced and so frightened she tried to escape and then Karin sat on her. This I didn't remember, the sitting on my friend. Today, Karin feels a lot of remorse for this. Luckily my friend, even after being sat on by members of my family, is still a very close friend of mine. She phoned yesterday, and we talked (and yes, laughed) about that day, (she has strong memories of the incident as well) .

As an artist, this made me think about how much of our lives, our childhood and memories we put in our art and how when we do this authentically, it makes for richer art. Karin has just been been nominated for a Dora award (comparable to the Tony awards for theatre in Toronto) for her performance in the play, Breakfast, a play she co-created with the group The Independent Aunties. In one major scene, she sits on someone and yes, it was inspired by that childhood memory. But in the play, the outcome is positive, maybe that's her Atonement for bullying my friend.

As for my art, well, I'm on vacation. But on Etsy, I've noticed some creepy twin art, like this and this. And now I resume my vacation. See you soon!


andrea said...

Those Spectral Twins are irresistably creepy! This is a great post, I love the way you draw the tangents in, and now I want to phone my friend Fionna (who lives in Bath, UK) and ask her if she forgives me for making her cry when we were kids. I suspect that, as a world-class 10K runner, a chartered accountant and successful parent of two adorable kids, it's no longer on her emotional radar. I can only hope... :)

Ellen said...

Andrea: maybe it's because of all your bullying she felt the need to overcompensate, you're the reason for all that success! Go Andrea! :)

dinahmow said...

Hmmm...after surviving some of the things done to me as a kid, I should be sorting out the sub-prime mess, kicking Mugabe's butt and winning the Archibald Prize.But, no, so I guess that blows your theory out the window.

Melody said...

That picture of your sister and you is priceless. My sister and I are only 15 months apart and my mom used to dress us very similar too. Big print dresses with pink nylons....ok my mom did not have alot of fashion sense. Thanks for sharing another great post.
p.s. That Shining Movie Necklace Creepy Twins Pendant on Etsy was disturbing to even look at never mind buy.

Ellen said...

Dinah: Why no Dinah, I think you could do all those things! However, like me, maybe you feel no need to be so ostentatious. (well, that's what I keep telling myself anyway, nothing like a good dose of denial to start the day).

Melody: You know the pain then! I remember wearing pink wooly leotards where the butt part went halfway down my thighs and they were soooo uncomfortable!

The Shining pendant is super creepy, but I have to admit, the idea of it makes me laugh, it's such a strange thing for someone to make.

katie jane said...

Hi Ellen! I have visited your blog before, but never left a comment, not knowing that we would meet this way. I love the post about William and his windmills!

You are so funny and this bit with your sister made me laugh.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I will be back to yours again.

ingrid.randoja said...

Creepy sister images are always arresting. I remember those dresses and poses well. Thank goodness I was the butch sister who always wore football jerseys and avoided the trap!


Ellen said...

Katie: hi! thanks for stopping by. Isn't that windmill video inspirational though. I just love it.

Ingi: That's because you weren't the "mistakes" like Karin and I, born so close together. Cut off trackpant shorts over trackpants? you had a style all your own sis!

patricia said...

As adorable as you two look in that photo, the conjoined twins thing is kinda creepy. Makes me think of 'Geek Love'.

Congrats to Karin for the nomination! (Bummer she didn't win – I checked the site as soon as I read about it).

My mom used to dress me and my sister in the same clothes, and she's five years older than me! Boy were we ever embarrassed about that.

Oh, and regarding Karin's acting abilities...I still remember a time in high school when she came up to me in a hell of a state, telling me that she didn't know what to do, because she was pregnant. I totally believed her, the little devil!! I'm telling ya – she should have won that award!

Ellen said...

patricia: before I finished reading your entire comment I thought WTF?! Karin was pregnant in high school?!
Yep, she's a talented one, she did the same about me being adopted, very convincing (I still need my revenge...)