Saturday, August 23, 2014

#CWBMGH…or, Chicks with Balls Multi-Generational Hell

Karen’s time to shine by Judy Takács

I have coined a new acronym phrase which will become as popular as YOLO, LOL and WTF…and possibly more useful to “our” generation.

Here are some possible ways to use it in conversation:

“Sorry I snapped at you, I’m going through some CWBMGH right now.”

“No way can I be a trustee on your board this year, I’ve got some serious CWBMGH going on.”

“I’ll get this project finished for her…the CWBMGH in her life is very intense right now.”

And online, a simple CWBMGH in your facebook status might get you all kinds of heart symbols, love, hugs, thoughts and prayers. Put a sweet picture (old or young) with it and your “likes” will go into the 3 digits. #Hashtag it and support for you may go viral.

And, with this simple acronym, you don’t have to spell out the dirty details and undermine the dignity of those you love.

CWBMGH is shorthand hashtag lingo for…

“My aging mom is in the hospital, hooked up, taped, poked and prodded, helpless and hating life while my seventeen year old is avoiding me and being secretive. His grades are falling, he’s stopped taking his meds and we have college applications to fill out.”

It’s a simple way to say…

“My dad has fallen again and broken a hip this time. It’s time to move him to nursing care from the 4 bedroom family home where he’s lived for the past 50 years. It’s also time to move my daughter into her dorm halfway across the country for the start of her freshman year.”

It’s a way to tell people…

“I just had my third baby, Three under four, and my brother is coming out of rehab …again, and my mom is going back into chemo…again! And my husband might get laid off.”

It’s many more possible worst-case scenarios multiplied and tumbling down on you from multiple generations. All the people you care about need you…now. And you fantasize about the Zen-like calm and peaceful acceptance you’d have if only you had ONE of these issues at a time. You’d be the uplifting princess of joy your people need you to be…guiltless and giddy with only ONE major job to do.

Instead you’re going through CWBMGH. And you’re perpetually torn.

Who should you be “there for”?

I got to know Karen during a very intense CWBMGH time for her. As Karen prepared to send her only child off to college, she was also facing the end of her twenty year marriage, all the while providing the sole emotional support for a mentally challenged hospitalized adult brother.  Another blow came with the unexpected death of her Mother with whom she had just started to forge a relationship, after mental illness and addiction had left her vacant during most of Karen’s childhood.

Karen is an artist and all-round creative soul who runs the absolutely delightful and expertly arranged gift shop at BAYarts. She has put together amazing silent auction offerings for many Cleveland area arts organizations; Zygote Press, CAN Journal and for BAYart’s amazing gala under the stars, Moondance.  (Tickets on sale NOW!) She is immersed in the local art scenes of Gordon Square and Collinwood and has also curated some insightful art shows, choosing and exhibiting the work of artists she selected, under the umbrella of a provocative theme. 

And she throws an amazing Oscar party every year that has become a Bay Village tradition.

During this CWBMGH time, she channeled all the loss, and painted desolate landscapes with lonely little empty houses…and sought the comfort of her loyal, supportive and wonderful network of friends.

Though, I only knew Karen from the Cleveland facebook art community at this point, I  saw how loved she was by her network of west side friends. And how, even during this terrible time for her, she was actively engaged in forcing the return of joy into her life. I could see that Karen was an energetic dynamo who doesn’t sit and wait for other people to make her happy.

Then, during the summer of 2012, I taught a portrait class at BAYarts. (I’m teaching it again actually, only two spots left, sign up now!) And, even though Karen’s work was not portrait based, she signed up for the class as a new adventure. As I got to know her over the six week course, she confirmed what I already knew; Karen was a Chick with Balls.

It was more than a year before the posing date was arranged, but well worth the wait. Karen chose disco balls because of the fabulous Oscar Party she throws and her willingness to “embarrass herself on a dance floor” (Karen’s words, not mine…I think she ROCKS) whenever the opportunity arises.  Even with her tumultuous life, she never skipped throwing the yearly gala, and has not stopped dancing.

I knew that disco balls were the perfect choice because, now that she has emerged from her year (or more) from hell, it is truly Karen’s time to shine.