Cut From the Same Cloth

I am really pleased to have had my first illustrated essay published on Longreads –  see it in situ here.

Illustrations for this were created in the same way as the drawings I’ve been doing for my graphic memoir-in-progress, Satin and Tat – a pencil crayon sketch, scanned in and then coloured digitally. Still really loving my Surfacebook laptop and the option to draw directly onto the screen in this way.

Longreads

Myfanwy Tristram | Longreads | September 2019 | 14 minutes (3,863 words)

A clatter at the door. A small package plops through our letterbox.

It’s come a long way. I can see that by the sticky labels, foreign postmarks, and scrawled scripts of postal workers around the world.

I text my daughter: 'Your wig has arrived from Japan.' After a moment, I text again: 'A phrase I never thought I’d find myself typing.'

This was never in the parenting manual.

But back to the housework.

I enter my bedroom to find the area around the mirror overrun with her makeup, her dirty laundry in pools on the floor. That girl leaves a trail of destruction.

Admittedly, this is not a remarkable complaint for any mother of a teen. Where mine differs from the grumbles of parents through the ages is that among the detritus to be picked up and put away are:

Wig caps, tossed aside and draped wherever they may landfake eyelashes, like furry caterpillars on the bathroom sinkand the endless, infuriating, discarded colored Band-Aids that I seem to find everywhere - stuck to my work clothes, on the soles of my shoes, under the sofa... even deep in my own bedThis last year has been a revelation as my daughter blossoms into her own, rather extreme, sense of style. Liberated from parental tastes by pocket money and cash earned from neighborhood dog walking, she trawls the thrift shops and returns home triumphant with unusual clothing. She’s 14. Still in need of parental comfort, food, finances, but beginning the process of becoming her own standalone self. And what a self it is.She’s pushing her school’s uniform rules to the limits. "Light" makeup is permitted... but here we have bright red eyeshadow and black lips. Skirt rolled up to be as short as possible. Shoes must be black. Fortunately, Doc Martens are black..once you've gone over the stitching with a Sharpie. Clip-on horns - well, hair clips are allowed. Hair has to be a "natural" color so she dyed it jet black. First day of the hols and out came the bleach and crazy color. The blazer is compulsory, but stays scrunched up in the backpack until she's in the school gates. Tights with "accidental" ripped holes [Close up on eye and nose] Band-Aid "Bean brow" - half shaved off Stickers or painted motifs Tip of the nose colored red (quite cute)Trouble is...I can’t really complain, because at age 14, I was also breaking the school rules.

In fact, when regarding my wayward, outrageously dressed girl, I find myself experiencing a peculiar combination of pride and envy.

Both may be…

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