Post-carrying Day 22
I was right last night. The Fear WAS staring me in the face AND I did need some time with it. It WAS big.
Here's what I wrote about it this morning:
"I am afraid. I am afraid I am not an artist. Will never be an artist. I am afraid I am kidding myself that I have a purpose. So many times I've thought I found my purpose and worked very hard to bring whatever that is into fruition and all those times, life knocked me back on my ass and said "what the hell were you thinking?" So I don't trust my judgement about what my purpose is anymore.
"I've been filled with passion and worked very hard before and now I feel with the prayerflags, with my art, I am sitting again at the foot of the mountain. All my bags packed but this mountain has never allowed me to summit. And I question whether I want to even bother again trying.
"So I sit here, cowering and crying and tired and scared.
"That is why I haven't got prices up on my website and that is why I haven't contacted galleries or shows.
"God, Universe, Spirit Source of Life, do I have a purpose? and what is it? Is it just to be a wife and mom? which are great. but what about who I am? Can't I be someone who does or makes or be's something unique in this world that finds a place somewhere? And if not, why did you plant in me this longing, this hunger in me for such purpose? Is my purpose to always be seeking a purpose, never satisfied? I am afraid that is so."
So, there it is. The BIG Fear. Fortunately I have a great friend in Carol and after reading this to her, we talked. Here is what I learned:
#1 Since Carol has known me (18 years) and before (since I can remember actually), I have struggled to become, to BE an artist. I have not made much money, though I have made some, yet I always, always make art and it moves out into the world. It is what I do. It is who I am. I paint. I create. I can't not be an artist.
#2 I am NOT a businesswoman. It is AS important to know who one is NOT as it is to know who one IS. I am NOT a production artist. NOT a commercial artist. I AM a professional artist and so will sell my works. However, selling online will have to be done in a way that works for me, which means it may simply involve e-mailing me if you see something of mine you like and want to buy and we'll negotiate that way for now. Yes, there is practice in Trust in this. (Prices WILL be posted).
#3 Pretty and Beautiful are NOT the same. My art is NOT pretty. Once in a while one will be pretty, but likely that piece doesn't hold the Beauty that un-pretty pieces do. My art tends to be beautiful in that you can look at it and then look again and see something different. It usually isn't my images you see but your own interpretation of images. And they likely won't often match your couch.
#4 I AM a painter. I paint with acrylics and I paint with fibers. With both mediums, I apply color to create shape or mood or thoughts on the "canvas." Right now my primary medium is Fiber. Creating prayer flags and Fiber collages are the clearest form of allowing the Source to flow and express through me that I have ever experienced. They are spiritual as well as artistic practice. I will still paint with acrylics but my focus for now needs to be the prayer flags and fiber collage.
#5 I climbed Mt. Shasta when I was 34, with a 72 lb. pack on my back and I weighed 104 lbs. myself. I know how to climb mountains. One step at a time. Incredibly focused and incredibly present. Making certain always to take care of water and nutrition needs all along the way. Listening. Watching. Knowing. Trusting. And Learning. I can climb this mountain that stands before me now. This mountain of my purpose. But I needed to drop a little excess weight in the bags, the weight of expectation that I "should" be a commercial artist, that I "should" approach my art like a business, that I "should" make pretty pictures, that I "should" always be an acrylic painter primarily.
This was huge. HUGE. HHHHUUUUUGGGGEEEE. And now admitting it is ginormous. And so in the same instant, ... it becomes not-so huge anymore. I have a clearer sense of who I am, who I am not and how to proceed in the direction of my purpose. This is liberating. I've been terrified of admitting to myself that fiber collage is my primary medium for "painting." I've been mortified that I might not be someone who paints pretty paintings. I LOVE pretty paintings. But I do not generally paint them myself. I am looking for REAL paintings, the BEAUTIFUL that is sometimes not pretty at all, sometimes it can be but not usuallly.
My next step today was beginning the clearing of my studio of things gathered through the years that I will never work on. Wish I had "7 lifetimes," as Carol said, "but I don't," as we talked about this. It is an outward, physical expression of clearing my bags as I climb the mountain. Letting go of internal AND external "stuff," that have been burdening and blocking me on my journey to finding the mountain, let alone climbing it. So I began....