Rage Dragon

On Wednesday I spent a significant portion of my music therapy session throwing an extremely loud temper tantrum on drums and cymbal. (The cymbal is seriously the best instrument ever, you should check it out! – especially if you have anger issues. Just … give everyone else around you earplugs.) Wakana supported me on keyboard and drums. I had a blast, banging crashing screaming wailing shouting “Go away!” It was fantastic!

When I finished (I wasn’t really finished, but things were slowing down a bit and it was a good time to take a break. I don’t know if I’ll ever be finished with this temper tantrum!) Wakana looked me in the eye and said, “Ziya, you have got a ton of rage!” As I spoke I felt like laughing, crying, and tantruming again all at the same time; it took all my effort to speak coherently. Yeah, of course I’ve got a lot of rage.

And I’ve been sitting on top of it for a lifetime.

I gotta get this stuff … you know, strong language is allowed on WordPress. I doubt people would really mind reading “shit” from time to time. You’re typing it. Great!

I gotta get this shit out of me! It’s causing me constant back pain! I’m wasting so much energy trying to keep it down. No wonder I’m so anxious, I’m afraid I’m going to explode! And I really really really don’t want this to end with me hurting myself. I can’t hurt other people either. There has got to be another way!

Art. My ideal would be to go in a place where I could smash things, maybe things made of colored ceramic or glass. Then, after I’d smashed things, I’d put the pieces back together into something beautiful.

Or a room where I could throw red paint everywhere, okay, maybe other colors too. I could roll in it and crash into the wall, smear it all over the place with the biggest broadest strokes my body can do.

I was considering getting a giant roll of art paper and finger paints to simulate the second option at home, but the rolls I’ve been able to find (so far) are too expensive.

So, for now, I’ve contented myself with coloring a dragon. It was drawn by Rachael Mayo. Her artwork is gorgeously complex, so it will probably take me a few coloring sessions to finish. Here’s what I’ve done so far; I’m working with colored pencils because they give me the most control.


The Wyvern


“Wyverns are michievous, vicious, and malevolent creatures believed to cause disease and death.”

a not-so-friendly dragon from Northern Europe, Greece and Ethiopia

thanks to Ralph Masiello’s Dragon Drawing Book for step-by-step instructions on how to draw this creature

Mushussu-Sirrush: Babylonian Dragon of Chaos

It’s 15 years to the day since my father died from cancer. I … have been trying not to think about it too much.

When I do think about it, I’m sad. I miss him. I mourn for the relationship we could have had, now that I’m an adult. I mourn for all the things he has missed and is going to miss: graduations and my (someday) wedding, for example. Meeting Banji and Fox – I think they would have gotten along with him rather well.

I’m also angry. I’m angry that I keep repeating the same response I had when I first learned he had died: I freeze, unable to think or move, feeling empty. The emptiness is the worst. I’m not angry at myself for doing it. I’m angry about the harmful impact it has had on my life.

I’m also angry and sad that my (someday) children will never meet one of their grandfathers. I never met one of mine, and I still feel like something is missing. At least I have some vague, but fond memories of my very limited time with the grandfather who died when I was in preschool. The one I never met is like a hole in my life. My children haven’t even been born yet and that same hole is in their lives, too.

The anger I feel now is not rage. It’s that cold, calm, simmering anger that often masquerades as sorrow. A tense feeling that something is not right; some injustice has been done. It’s far more dangerous than if I wanted to stomp around screaming and breaking things. I probably won’t express it; it will just eat away at me.

But I’m used to it. We can sit here, side by side.

I struggle to remind myself that Dad is the one whose life ended on that day. My life changed drastically, but I continue to live.

And live I have. I’ve done a lot of awesome things. I’ll do even more.

I’ve done things I might not have been able to do, had he been around to think he had a say in the matter.

So why does the title of this post reference chaos?

I’ve had a fairly awesome book for some time now: Ralph Masiello’s Dragon Drawing Book: Become an artist step-by-step. Today I decided to make my first attempt at drawing one of the dragons – admittedly, as a way of shutting out the world and doing something for myself that required relatively little verbal thought. It worked fairly well.

As I flipped through the book, the dragon that called out to me most was Mushussu, also called Sirrush: the Babylonian dragon of chaos. I like its mischievous grin and, well,

My first attempt. I loved the look of the dragon's face, but I hadn't given myself enough room to draw the flame, etc. so I started over.

My first attempt. I loved the look of the dragon’s face, but I hadn’t given myself enough room to draw the flame, etc. so I started over.

There’s been a lot of chaos in my life. Dad and his side of the family certainly contributed quite a bit of it. Their actions toward and the direct effects of their actions on me did not make for the most stable, healthy childhood and adolescence. They also hurt Mom in ways that created more chaos for me; her stress became my stress and our relationship has always been at least a little strained.

My second attempt. Once again, I didn't have enough room to draw the legs. So I switched to a bigger piece of paper and started over.

My second attempt. Once again, I didn’t have enough room to draw the legs. So I switched to a bigger piece of paper and started over.

Sometimes it feels like chaos runs my life. My room’s a mess; I often can’t find the thing I need. Interactions with people I care about often feel chaotic. The world, crowded places, and the sounds of life (especially unwanted background music) are chaotic. My brain …

I frantically do stupid things, often harmful things, to try and control things I can’t. To find a small bit of calm. To organize my brain enough to do the things you keep asking of me …

I mean, to function.

My first successful drawing of a dragon's entire body.

My first successful drawing of a dragon’s entire body.

I can’t even control my pencil as well as I’d like; I try to draw the shape I see in the book, but my pencil goes some weird direction that is not what I intended. I have to erase, try again, really concentrate …

I added "fish scales" by drawing "U" a plethora of times.

I added “fish scales” by drawing “U” a plethora of times.

And at the end of the day, it feels like none of it matters. I’m still hurting. I have vague ideas of what I want for the future, but I’m not entirely sure I see them happening. I don’t know if I can. Everything is a grey blur.

Mushussu-Sirrush, dragon of chaos. Drawn in mechanical pencil. Colored with oil pastels.

Mushussu-Sirrush, dragon of chaos. Drawn in mechanical pencil. Colored with oil pastels.

Is it so much to ask, to just have one day to sit here and cry?