The art I've scattered throughout this post is stuff I've done since I moved into my new apartment. It's here so I can break up all the text, but I also want to show off a bit. :)
I've been working on having less of a reflexive 'on Facebook all the time' kind of life, and more of a 'in my life without a screen between me and it' kind of life. It's been going well in that I my laptop lives in a corner of my living room, and when I feel like maybe I should mindlessly surf Facebook, I go stand in front of my easel instead. It's still a kind of screen time, but instead of engaging a screen full of curated and/or triggering posts and invitations to my inner comparison monster to come out and play, I engage the screen of my mind - that space in my head that opens up onto my internal landscape when I close my eyes.
Those of you who know me know that things have been rather challenging for me for the last few years. I hung on to some things I shouldn't have (a relationship that wasn't right for me no matter how right I believed it was), let go of some things I shouldn't have (self-respect, a vision of myself as capable, self-care, being in my own life), and adjusted and adapted as necessary - sometimes in ways that served me, and sometimes in ways that didn't. I'm coming out on the other side of all this now - slowly, laboriously, and with much therapy - but I am still not out of the woods. I'm still in love with someone who isn't ready/willing to partner me, BUT I don't reach out to him every second of every day anymore, and in fact, I'm about to embark on a two month blackout with him - no contact - to see if I can move my heart a tick closer to letting go for good.
There's a lot of shame in all this. There's nothing more pathetic than a woman who can't let go of a man that doesn't want her - at least, that's what my inner mean girl tells me. My therapist would argue that I've been fed so many mixed messages that it is no bloody wonder I find it difficult to move on, and I know this to be true in my head, but my innards are very self-denigrating about the whole thing - so much so that I find it enormously difficult to be open about it. Loving someone who OBVIOUSLY LOVES YOU but doesn't want to be with you except in the most casual, uncommitted way is hard enough without adding the judgement of others to the pile on that is an already craptacular situation, so I went dark, for the most part, and that made writing hard. It made arting hard. It was/is isolating. It sucked mooseballs.
Open is better.
So, this is me. Coming out with it in the hopes that I can come back to writing in a way that serves me.
I'm in love with someone - and have been for twelve years - despite the fact that this guy wants nothing to do with a long term, committed relationship - not because he's an asshole but because he has issues he can't grapple with within the context of a long term committed relationship - and I am ashamed about it. I am ashamed about it, and I've been mean to myself about it. I've been fighting for this relationship since March of 2013 - the first time he broke up with me - and instead of holding my head high and moving on, I have been holding on, nursing hope, waiting (sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently), cycling in and out of all the various stages of grief...
I want you to understand where I'm at right now:
I want to get on with it. I want to forget him. I want to move on. I want to heal. I don't want to be subject to the highs and lows that come with mixed messages and unrequited feelings. I want to be firmly planted in my own life. I want to know that I exist even when he isn't looking. I want to orbit my own sun.
That's where I am right now, and no, this doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with art journaling or mixed media art, but in truth, it has everything to do with it. It has everything to do with the way I started to get bigger and shinier and more likely to stand up for myself once I started to run my own business and connect with myself through self-inquiry and art. Even though I have this shitty inner mean girl who tells me I suck and I should be ashamed, the truth is the opposite. I have been working on this at my own pace with the help of my therapist, and I have not fallen apart. I have not quit my business. I have not stopped taking care of myself. I have not collapsed in a heap of useless. I have dealt with a continuous game of 'come here, go away' for *twelve years* with grace. I have stood up for what's best for our family for *twelve years*. I have been present to the people I love to the best of my ability for *twelve years*. As life threw me curve balls - my father's death, losing my hobbit hole - I rose to the occasion. I have been there to take phone calls from kids in crisis. I have *shown up*.
And I'm still here.
So, yes. I have some shame about loving someone who is fundamentally bad for me. But I am easing gently into pride over how I keep making and remaking my life in the face of some pretty outrageous challenges. I have friends who know the whole truth about what I've been dealing with and they are a little bit freaked that I'm not completely batshit. They are a little bit in awe of my resilience. And I am, too. I wonder sometimes if I'm just going to fall apart one of these days, completely, irrevocably - but I don't think I will. I think I'll keep meeting life from a place of deep peace. I think I'll keep on rising to whatever occasion presents itself. I'll keep writing curriculum. I'll keep making art. I'll keep investing in myself. I'll keep doing my dishes and walking my dog and taking care of myself.
I'll keep on keeping on, but here's a thing I need: I need to be able to talk about it. I need to stop avoiding the blog because I feel ashamed. I need to come out of the closet.
Yes, I picked a Sunday to do so. No one reads blogs on Sunday, right? It's okay, though. I did this for me. I did this so I could get back on the horse. Writing is important to me. It feeds my creative spirit. It jump starts my art practice. It is something I *need* so that I can continue the good work of healing.
My life is a beautiful mess. It is not a curated show for the masses. I'm not here to sell you my lifestyle so you'll buy my classes. I have nothing easy to offer you or promises to make. I'm in it, and some days it feels like shit's creek and other times it feels like sanctuary.
However it feels, I want to be willing to meet myself where I am, both here and in the pages of my art journal, my written journal, on canvas.
I want to know I exist when no one is looking. I want to learn how to orbit my own sun.
Your eyes on this page are all the encouragement I need. Thank you.