Trudi is shy, and a little in awe of the people around her. She is an innocent, and easily startled. She is whimsical and disarming, her eyes change back and forth between green and blue, and her colors change to blend in with the landscape, or people that she is around, or her mood. She is a late blooming artist, she is bohemian and bookish, and you would most likely find her sitting in a corner of a cafe writing for hours over endless cappuccinos, oblivious to the world around her, with a pile of books beside her, her journal, and a fistful of colored pens.
She has an Irish Wolfhound named Danny Boy, and she sings the song to him as they are both prone to melancholia. She has a black and white cat named Gertrude and a goldfish named Alice. She bought beta fish before Alice but they tended to jump ship and Gertrude ate them. This was not a good thing.
Trudi likes girls, not boys, but she is too shy and afraid to let anyone know. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it but she has had such a hard time fitting in her whole life that she doesn’t want to add one more thing to the list. She thinks it doesn’t really matter because no one could possibly love her, especially what with the Irish Wolfhound who takes up most of her double bed, and Gertrude who likes to sleep on her head, and Alice whom she talks out loud to all day long, and that she sings a lot, off key but with gusto. She is absolutely certain that no woman would love her.
She misses the horses she grew up on and she wants cowboy boots, turquoise, and a cowboy hat, but she figures she has to have a horse to have those. This is a great disappointment to her. But she did get the little vintage camper that she has wanted for ages, and obsessed about, and spent too much money on, but fixed up really cute. The thing is it sits in her back yard and she sits in it out there and dreams of all the places she doesn’t go.
The only trip Trudi ever took — and this surprised everyone who knew her — was to New York to see an Andy Warhol exhibit. She bought lots of posters and excitedly took them home but they didn’t go with her vintage furniture which she got at those old grandmother’s antiques kinds of shops and even if they looked a little oldish and maybe a tad frayed here and there she loved all of her old furnishings and whatnots dearly. She was an orphan who grew up in a foster home that had plastic on the furniture and plastic runners in the hallways and she was often scolded for touching the nice things. This depressed her and she swore one day she would have a house she could really LIVE in. And that’s what she got. But the Andy Warhol pictures didn’t fit so she rolled them up and put them in the back of the closet. Disappointed that she couldn’t hang them she walked around for days pretending to be in one of those posters. She imagined Warhol painting her but she wasn’t a soup can. In the end she thought this was a very dark and disturbing period of her life and told no one about it. She burned the posters late one day in the rusty trash can in the alley after it got dark and promptly forgot about it.
Trudi was soon into her Barbra Streisand phase and watched Funny Girl a lot, bought all of the albums, every single one, real albums, not cd’s, it was back in the day, and she sang all the songs over and over — she knew all of the words to every single song that Barbra ever sang, ever — and she was thrilled that her nose was a little crookedy if not quite having the flair that Barbra’s has. This phase lasted a very long time. A very long time. (She especially loved the song, “I’d Rather Be Blue” from Funny Girl and even bought roller skates to skate around on her hardwood floors while she was singing it. Sadly she came to a bad end one day and her Barbra phase was over. She burned the roller skates in the rusty trash can in the alley after dark. There was a full moon. She felt wistful, and wondered if she could really give Barbra up, but she was still badly bruised and her elbow was broken and she didn’t think she could take any chances.
When Trudi was diagnosed as bipolar at 50 her life made a lot more sense to her, but it was a rather disconcerting diagnosis and didn’t really seem to stop the erratic and sometimes startling behavior. Her bipolary bits just wouldn’t behave, medication and all.
If anyone could love anyone like her she would be startled to pieces, she told me, but she longed for someone to love her just like the rest of us do in our secret hearts.
I can’t wait for her to see who shows up tomorrow, and to learn what story she brings with her, and I have no idea what her hair color will be or if she sings in tune, but I do know that she will love Trudi for all of who she is, and she will teach her the bossa nova, and buy her those turquoise cowboy boots and a palomino horse named Betty Sue. It will be the greatest time of Trudi’s life, and her life will only just be beginning. She didn’t know that this was possible after fifty, but the other ladies here have taught her a few things and now she practically feels like a spring chicken at 56.
Trudi is now up at Society 6 on art prints of various sizes and types and a whole host of products and there is a big sale this week! $5 off and free shipping. The Ladies over there are having so much fun! Click on Trudi’s poster at the top of this entry to visit all of the ladies and Tallulah and Georgia too!
(As I move back into my work with The 100 Ladies Project I am going to republish their stories here. They first appeared on the original Maitri’s Heart blog at blogspot.com and are part of an upcoming book dedicated to helping women around the world love and accept themselves. I lost all of the originals in the fire, but fortunately I have the digital images of the originals and some will go up in my new Society 6 shop.)