Artists have a unique way of expressing themselves to others. We are sensitive and astute, and can easily communicate our thoughts and feelings through visual imagery. And when two artists share mutual respect and admiration for one another, we can’t help but use our art to convey our feelings of appreciation.
Have you ever had someone in your life who just saw you clearly and completely? You may not have been the best of friends. You may have come from different worlds, and you may not have even had that much in common. But for whatever reason, this person recognized your deeply nuanced traits that no one else seemed to notice or care about.
College challenged me socially. Although I was always putting myself in social situations, I often felt very lonely and misunderstood. There were really only one or two people who truly “knew” me during that time. One of these people was (and still is) my college roommate, Molly McIntyre.
I think when you live with someone, they end up knowing you in a way others never will. They see everything, warts and all, whether they are actively paying attention or not. People living together are witnesses to each other’s lives. The mundane, day-to-day stuff becomes a series of unassuming, dull and bright moments for each person to not only observe, but also participate in. Two roommates with completely separate lives going to the grocery store together becomes a sacred occasion.
For sensitive and observant artists like Molly and myself, the minutest details of a person’s essence rarely go by unnoticed. Because we lived together, we noticed everything about each other, and unknowingly (or sometimes knowingly) stored it away for future creative use. That’s just what artists do.
Molly and I were very different from one another in college. She listened to Sleater-Kinney and The Misfits, and I listened to Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple. We also made completely different kinds of art. We lived together for three years in college, but then took separate paths in our fourth year. There was no dramatic fallout and no particular reason, except for the fact that we were just so different. She moved in one direction, and I moved in another, and we never really kept in very close touch.
If you love pop music, or if you hate it, check out my article MY TOP 11 OVERLOOKED, EMPOWERING FEMALE POP SINGERS.
Left: Alanis Morissette, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie album cover. Right: Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out album cover. These two albums were the soundtrack of our lives freshman year, 1998-99.
BRILLIANTLY TALENTED ARTIST
Molly is an incredible person and artist. I still keep a bag of some of the artwork she created in college (I would shamelessly beg her to let me have certain finished pieces, and she generously, and without thought, would happily hand it over to me). I even wrote a blog post featuring her work back in 2017 called FOUND ART. She is a very kind, deep, interesting, thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent, and brilliantly talented artist.
One of my all-time favorite Molly art creations from college. She made this multi-fold cutout drawing featuring all of the characters in her life, with me here on the end. She actually got this dead accurate. I always wore my silly Bullwinkle slippers in our freezing apartment, with hooded sweatshirts, and always something ridiculous on my head. She captured my essence with endearing accuracy.
LIVING SEPARATE LIVES
I would reach out to Molly from time to time over the years and it was always lovely. Every once in awhile, we would show up at each other’s art openings, or exchange an email or two back and forth. Her enthusiastic responses to my outreaches made me so happy. I just thought she was the greatest, and we always shared such a respect for each other’s artwork. I felt very supported by her, even through those short snippets of contact.
Molly and I at Site:Brooklyn Gallery, April, 2018. I was so happy to see her when she showed up at my art opening with her adorable son. I would have done the same for her.
PODCAST RECORDING WITH MOLLY
In February of 2021 I decided to start a podcast. I immediately knew I wanted to have conversations with women / females / goddesses for this project, and Molly was one of the first people on my list.
I recently recorded my podcast conversation with Molly, and I think it was a bit cathartic for us both.
Over the course of our hour-long conversation, we had a great catch up and discussed our views of each other during our college years. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I apparently had somewhat of a positive impact on her life when we were roommates. She generously conveyed this to me during our conversation, and this was such a gift to hear. I really had no idea and always assumed Molly viewed me as everyone else did (and still does to some extent)—an intense and dramatic handful. She may have still viewed me in this way, but it sounds like she saw some good stuff too.
MOLLY’S POST-PODCAST ART
On the day following our podcast recording, I wasn’t exactly sure if Molly had enjoyed herself during our talk. I was mostly just happy I didn’t make too much of an ass of myself in front of her (I think). We had a brief email exchange back and forth about how we both had fun catching up, and that was that.
Then, Molly shared with me a comic she made about us following our podcast chat. I think we were both still processing our thoughts about it, and as artists do, when we don’t know what to say, we turn our feelings into art.
With Molly’s permission, I am so happy to share with you her brilliant comic.
Her memories of our college years are uncanny, and I have the exact same ones. This comic is like a highlight reel from that time, which she incisively captured with heart and depth. She truly knows me, and she apparently never thought of me nearly as critically as I thought of myself. Below are the frames from her memory, shared from her perspective, about us.
Her last frame where she says, “For some reason we felt safe with each other,” is so true. We could be in a group setting with new faces and strangers all around, but if Molly was in the mix, I knew I would be okay. I knew she wouldn’t tease me or dismiss me, and if I wanted to go home at any time, she’d most likely come with me. I’m so happy to know that she felt safe with me as well. We were so different, but yet, still kind of made up of the same fabric of sensitivity, depth, and openness.
BADASS SUCCESSFUL GODDESS
Molly’s art has a way of capturing the most intimate details of an experience, and yet her messages are so universal in feeling. Her vibe is raw and relatable and real. Maybe this is why she is a SUPER BADASS successful illustrator, living with her totes adorbs family in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been featured in Bitch Magazine, Everyday Feminism, Scary Mommy, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, and more. Her art is also featured in the “Survival” episode of the Netflix series Worn Stories (holy shit, she’s a big deal!), released on April 1, 2021.
Even though Molly and I’s catch-ups have always been so brief over the years, they have also been impactful for us both. I do hope these mini (or maybe not-so-mini) reunions continue for a lifetime. Some people drift in and out of our lives every five years or so, but that doesn’t make those folks any less important or meaningful. I love having Molly in my life, even if for now it’s at a distance, and I am so glad I had the courage (shameless desperation) to reach out and make contact.
The Goddess Attainable Podcast is now live and I hope you look for and listen to my conversation with Molly, Episode #7. Pop Music, Feminism, Art, and Relationships. She’s a fascinating cat, and she will inspire you from afar.
Do you have someone in your life who really “knows” you? Are you still in touch with an old roommate or buddy, and do you still share memories? I wish this for everyone since it’s such a special thing.
This post is dedicated to Molly 🙂
Molly (her knee on the right) and my other roommates got me an Entenmann’s cake from the grocery store for my birthday one year. I was so lucky to be surrounded by such kind women who cared enough to make me feel special.