“You’re weird,” my parents would often say. I never got insulted, nor were my feelings hurt.
It was true.
I never wanted to be like everyone else; I just wanted to be me. I wasn’t going to change.
My poor parents sent me to ballet class in hopes that I’d learn to be graceful. I think that grace and delicateness thing backfired; I was the only little girl who couldn’t jump rope forwards, only backwards , which I’m sure provided entertainment to the audience during the recital. I’d break things that normally shouldn’t break, like keys in locks, for example.
My interests in things as a little kid were kind of “out there.” I remember being fascinated with the macabre and reading magazines about people being attacked by sharks and in awe of them as they showed their huge bite marks. At the age of 10 I was going through Stephen King books like no one’s business. I’d often go to the library and research things I had seen on “In Search of,” (Gosh, I loved that show; Stonehenge is one of my bucket list places to visit.) I loved walking through old graveyards in NYC. ( although I have to admit, the cemetary I visited in Salem Massachusetts was pretty cool too) I badgered my Father to take me to the Ancient Egyptian wing at the MET when I was seven. My Mom then questioned why I decided to mummify all my dolls in toilet paper and then decorate empty boxes as sarcophagi.
All I can say is, “My poor parents.” And the art thing: I couldn’t get enough of it. In the 70’s my Dad took me to the MoMA. I think I was about 8 or so. Minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art were at their heights. Dad saw a pile of debris and a door on the floor in one of the exhibit galleries. “You call that art?” he asked. I’ll never forget that. And, the color field paintings of Mark Rothko and readymade sculptures of Marcel Duchamp- I think– blew his mind. Thank goodness my parents were open minded like that. Quite often, they’d just shake their heads and say, “Marci, you are weird.” To which I replied, “Thank you!”
I think by the time I graduated Penn State with my BFA, they embraced and supported my weirdness. Dad would come with me to the museums and we’d walk about NYC looking for out-of-the-ordinary things. He’d appease me and come with me to my favorite art store, Pearl Paint, where “the people with green hair worked.” Little by little I was finding my tribe. When it was time to have my MFA show, Dad was my assistant all the way. He schlepped all of my pieces into NYC and helped me install. He was weird too, but in a geeky sciencey technology sort of way.
We just kind of understood each other.
Funny how that weirdness thing works.