I am _________ .

i-am

Last year, early on in my therapy, my therapist asked me to finish that sentence.. I am _______.

I couldn’t do it. My eyes started to well. It was so simple but I had nothing to give. No kind word, no little comfort.. I had no words. I am nothing. That is probably how I would have finished that sentence in that moment.

As I have grown deeper into my center this simple sentence has become much easier to finish. One word I have struggled with though in terms of finishing that sentence though is artist. There is a lot of opinions out there about art, is good?, is it bad?.. I knew I was not good enough. I did not deserve the title. I was afraid that if I said out loud “I am an artist!” the art police would show up at my front door and hall me away for being an absolute phony!

You know what the worst part of that is, I think back over the years about some of the labels I allowed to be placed upon me (either by myself or others) that I willingly accepted.. Slut, Liar, Bitch, Sinner, Unworthy, Unlovable, Ugly, Stupid, Not-Good-Enough. It was so easy for me to accept these labels as part of my I am ________, but I would not allow myself to have this. Which is really amazing when you consider I have been creating art since I was old enough to hold a paint brush.

So I create in private where it is safe and no one can see and judge. I may talk about the fact that I like to paint with people but that does not mean I will ever share my creations with them.

My soul friend asked me for an original piece. She collects art and has a stunning gallery wall in her home. Normally I would be reluctant, intimidated.. In the past when this kind of request has been made of me it was with a specific subject in mind.. “paint me a picture of this..”. I can’t do that. I can only create what I personally feel inspired by. I know my friend understands that because she is an artist as well, an artist with words. I would never expect her to create something real on command because I know that is not how it works.

So she left it open to me, anything I want to make, and the result is my very favorite piece I have ever made. I am calling it Balance.

balance-jb-originalbalance-jb-original-1

Color in balance with absence of color, the male energy of the triangle balanced by the female energy of the orchids, order and chaos all in balance in one space because everything is able to exist at the same time. Balance.

I have created a lot of art in my  life and I have a different relationship with each piece but this one is special. This one is my validation. I looked at it once complete and said out loud in my living room for Todd, and Lucy, and the whole Universe to hear and bear witness – I AM AN ARTIST!

I hope it means as much to my friend as it does to me. This piece came out exactly like I wanted it to. That is a really amazing feeling for me because there was a time where my brain and my hands did not communicate that well. I had all these exciting ideas that I wanted to create but I was not able to express what was in my head the way I wanted to with my hands.. This is exactly how I envisioned this piece. I did it.

I am an artist for me and me alone, I always have been. I am grateful to be secure enough in myself to be able to say now without vulnerability, I am an artist.

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Desiderata

desiderata

 

In a Ben Gibbard lyric he talks about feeling discouraged by a lack of color, I have felt downhearted lately for this reason. The lack of color I refer to is my inspiration, it has gone missing. The world is such a noisy busy place and so often I feel lost in the bustle. The more time I spend out in the commotion the less I am able to hear myself. The artist in me is completely stifled by the deafening clamor of people buzzing around me, pulling me this way and that. It is a trade-off I suppose, I love the connection to the world and to people but I also feel a strong urge to withdrawal for the sake of self-preservation.

With the holidays and work being busy it has felt like I have been trapped in a room with no exit for weeks. It is a bright room filled with all kinds of odd sounds, ringing, doors slamming, multiple people talking over all at once each one competing to be the loudest. It is a room of constant stimulation and I have been standing in the middle juggling. Today I escaped! I found the exit and fled as fast as I could.

Todd has been out-of-town for a week, returning tomorrow. With this I spent most of last week at my parents house for the holiday. Their house is entirely too crowded. 5 adults (including me) 2 children, a dog and a cat. By the time I am done at work and get over there my energy level is running on fumes just to be bombarded by even more stimulus the moment I walk in the door. Make no mistake, children are energy siphons.

This morning I got up early and drove home to the solitude and silence of my empty house. I spent the first three hours taking in the quiet and calm of my sleepy home as I washed dishes and put away Christmas presents.

Once my chores were finished I spent a little time online ordering some odds and ends for the wedding. I spent the rest of my afternoon sipping tea and coloring while When Harry met Sally played low in the background. For my birthday my brother bought me a new coloring book and some new pencils. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this before but I have quite a large coloring book collection. It was of the things I do to relax when I need to unwind. It is the closest I have been able to come to any artistic outlet of late because any creative insight I have has been buried under responsibility and structure. I have not even had the want to write, which is unlike me.

This evening one of my girlfriends and I went out for dinner and drinks. With the holidays keeping us both preoccupied we had not seen each other since before my birthday. When she came over the first thing she did was present me with my birthday gift and she did well. She is paying for us to do a painting session together.

The artist or whomever runs the event comes to one of our local bars and guides us as we paint whatever the chosen piece is. Although it is a predetermined piece we will be working on I am still excited to get a brush in my hand, a glass of wine in the other and create. The fact that my girlfriend will be working alongside me is an incredible bonus. I have heard about these events and always wanted to go to one, I am thrilled to have the chance. The one I think we will be going to is actually at one of our favorite bars, Red Light Red Light, and therefore is within walking distance of my girlfriends house, extra added bonus.

Today was a good day that is ending with some Simon and Garfunkel along with an over due unburdening of my emotions. I feel still again, I can hear my own voice and soon I know my inspiration will dig out from under the burdens that have kept it tied down and it will once again pour out of me onto whatever medium it chooses.