Hi, my sweet taters. :)
I’m in a steep learning curve over here what with the hour long bus ride to get *anywhere* I need to be and the long hours all by my lonesome, the new space to ramble around in and the sometimes overwhelming sense of coasting and feeling a bit cut adrift.
I had an epiphany this week while I was doing some art journaling at my new little art table in the new place; I justify my existence through service to loved ones. Lacking the opportunity to cook for, tidy up for, be there for loved ones, I feel bereft of purpose. I feel as though I have no reason to get up in the morning.
This is not a good thing. Created in part by an upbringing that didn’t encourage self-actualization, self-care, self ANYTHING and a culture in which women exist to please their men and raise their children, this hyperfocus on the Other is not serving me well at this time.
My life, your life, our lives have value even if all we ever do is take care of ourselves. If all we ever do is eat, sleep, and meander through life, that’s valuable. Seeking pleasure, finding beauty, that’s purpose enough for a lifetime.
I know this in my head but it’s taking a while for it to trickle down into the part of me that only knows how to ORBIT the suns in my life. I have no idea how to be my own sun.
I’m a huge fan of faking it ’till I make it, so this is what I’m doing:
1) Whatever I want within the boundaries of my obligations and responsibilities. That means if I want to go have a reuben sandwich for dinner, I do. If I want to make a big pot of soup that only I will eat, I do. If I want to go wandering around a mall, I do. If I want to heed my bodies desire for a day free of bus trips, I stay home. If I want to go splash around in the creek at midnight, I do that thing.
The voices in my head talk to me a lot about what’s proper, needful, appropriate, etc. and I just shoo those voices away. This is my life. I’m my own sun. I get to choose.
2) Basic self-care. Mammograms and bone density tests. Blood work. Dental care. Fall clothes shopping. Eating breakfast. Getting good sleep. Treating myself as though I am my own child. Cajoling myself into doing the things that are needful for my vitality and well being.
3) Arranging my space with no thought with regards to who else might occupy it. This is my first ever solo residence. I have voices in my head that tell me it isn’t appropriate to have my bed in the middle of this space, but fuck that. I am not folding up a heavy pine futon every day just in case someone pops in for coffee. My space, my rules. The bed is the main piece of furniture in my space. It’s where I sleep, lounge, read, journal, watch crap on Netflix…it is my little vortex of personal power. Anyone who comes over and has a problem with it shouldn’t be here to begin with. Also, my kitchen features an art table, not a kitchen table. Sure, I could clear it off when I’m done arting and put everything away but I know myself. I know that if everything is ‘away’, I will not use it. So it’s all out there. Paint, brushes, markers, substrates, in the kitchen. Every time I go in there to make a cup of coffee or a meal, my eyes survey *my domain* and it is good.
4) Solitude. Easing into it. Getting used to it. The temptation is to fill every single day with social time so that I don’t feel lonely. I am bucking against that easy fix. What I want to do is to grow accustomed to being in my own company (without filling it with garbage t.v. or other distractions) that I am completely comfortable. That will probably take time. I have never lived alone (ever!) and I have always had other people to orbit around and serve. While it is difficult not to feel desolately lonely at times, I know that the only way through that is THROUGH it. Besides, social time usually means spending moolah and I want to be extremely careful with and mindful of where my resources are going.
5) Art just for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t snap a photo and share it, but it does mean that I intend to fill my time with art that isn’t for a class I’m teaching. This is difficult because it is completely self-fulfilling. It doesn’t serve anyone but me. That’s hard for me. I will have to keep practicing at it until I get into the habit. There’s a spread on my art table right now that I started this morning that has no purpose, no theme, no reason for being except that I felt like creating it. That’s a good start. More of that, please.
6) Staying open. My ex and I do not have closure. We are not finished. We’re still in therapy together and we still spend a lot of time together. This may be the beginning of something better than what we had before or it may be the tying up of all our loose ends. I won’t know until I know and while I despise uncertainty and while the temptation is to amputate, my therapist assures me that it isn’t healthy to do that, and I am right to trust the process. Stay open. Hope when I hope. Despair when I despair. Be fully in it without trying to fix everything all at once.
7) Staying guarded. Guarded against boundary crossing. Guarded against making decisions that won’t serve me in the long run. Guarded against slipping in my self-care. Guarded against using work (and service) to distract myself from loneliness. When I’m lonely, I should sit in my loneliness. I should embrace it. Make friends with it.
They say that grieving people often throw themselves into work to distract themselves from what they are feeling. It is a way of coping. It is also a great way to prolong the process. So, I’m working, but I’m also taking downtime. I’m not adding MORE work just for the sake of staying busy.
This is where I am right now. Learning how to be my own sun. Learning how to stop orbiting around other people. Learning to derive my purpose from my own life rather than being hyper-focused on the lives of others. It isn’t easy. I feel like I’m digging new neural pathways in my brain. I feel like way out of my comfort zone.
But I also feel like I’m growing. I feel like there’s forward movement. I feel hopeful that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now and that it will lead me to a better life than I had before.
In Other News
I’m participating in a couple of blog hops this month. The first went live yesterday, and it’s all about mandalas!
The second will be up on September 14th and, along with a giveaway, will be about facing the blank canvas. People are already hopping and giving stuff away, so start here and hop your way through!
The third is a LIFE BOOK 2015 GIVEAWAY post. YES! SQUEE! That will be on September 15th.
And that’s it for me for now. Talk soon? *Smooches*
P.S. Radiant starts on October 1st!!