Breaking Up With Fear

It’s time we had a talk and I think you know what I’m going to say. You’ve been with me for months, and as I got weaker you got stronger. As my body grew more brittle, your grasp got tighter. You told me the world was dangerous and something to fear. You told me it’s better not to try, because then when I fail less people will notice. You told me all of these lies, and I believed you.

So no, you cannot stay with me any longer. No you cannot be a part of my growing process. No you cannot see me as I relearn the things I love. I am better off without you. The only thing you promised was a life without regret. But that is a life without living.

I want to sing louder so they can hear my mistakes. I want to paint bolder so that they may question my skills. I want to be bigger so that they may question my competency. For all of the doubt that the world may have against me, it sure as hell will not come from me. No longer will I be my biggest enemy because you told me it’s the path to protection. I am burden free. I have someone who loves the light that was given to me. To shine upon the faces of others that may travel alongside me. I have found my PURPOSE and cannot let it go. So fear, you have been near my heart for so long, and  you probably think I can’t live without you. All I can say is… don’t blink.

Etsy Art

After my last post, and in an effort to believe in my art more fully, I’ve decided to attach a link to my current art pieces. Please do not see this as an attempt to sell my pieces. I would really like to share a part of what makes me happy. It is still difficult to see my work and try not to compare it to truly talented artists. I am still working on being able to appreciate my art alongside others’ pieces. All of my insecure being is saying DON’T PUBLISH!! I think there is comfort in being anonymous especially when my work is attached. Then if people don’t like it, it really can’t be connected to me personally. Anyway, enjoy or don’t. There’s really nothing to fear anymore.

Magnolia Black Art

If you do enjoy my art, thank you for taking the time to look.

Capitalism Kills Creativity

I am a jealous artist. If I was a “real” artist I would never claim to be one…or so I’ve been told. I am a jealous artist. I feel unseen and after walking to the ledge my mind demands approval. 

I started painting because I loved art. I still love art now, but things are somehow different. Now that it is my hand trying to recreate the myths of reality, my hand carving a canvas with memories, the relationship has become pain and shame. Pain that my hand can never keep up with my eyes. Shame that I even spoke up about it at all. I wouldn’t have to have any great works if I never claimed this role. Hmmm, something feels off about calling a hobby a role. Since when did anything exciting become mandatory? If I gave it up forever than two versions of myself would suffer: the one with a natural love and the one that capitalism created. 

Capitalism watered me among rays of competition and a poverty mindset. If they succeed then I cannot. This thought is ridiculous and I get that, but my mind cannot rip out the roots no matter how aware I am of it. Rather than celebrate those who see the world and wish to shape it with creativity as partners in crime, I’ve been taught to strike them while they are low. Make sure to get ahead! In this dog-eat-dog world, you only have yourself to trust…and blame.

But is this true? I’d like to believe that even my seven year old self would be able to smell something fishy about this concept. If all we can trust is ourselves, then how do we treat the same person when things do not go according to plan? I am not a gladiator. I do not fight to the death unless someone is stealing my pizza. I want to be better and do better than what capitalism taught me. How can I unlearn that monetizing my hobbies is the best use of my time? How can I unlearn that only the ruthless survive? How can I open my mouth and express the discontent of these teachings in the hopes that others are able to wake up and walk alongside me?

The answers seem limitless and unattainable at the same time. They seem large, yet simple. The only action I feel comfortable pursuing is the act of trying. I can try (not my best), but with intentionality. Act because there is a purpose guided by mindfulness and a spirit of health. I doesn’t feel good to be trapped in a merry go round of creative death. In a path less taken, I want to see more.

 

 

 

 

Moonchild

I feel an emptiness

The flowers are out, the garden dry

And I am worrying about the emptiness within me

Is is selfish to wonder?

Am I selfish to wish to see my smiling face in the mirror?

Maybe I’m the most generous person in the world

I could be doing all of this to make your day better

I don’t want to make it any harder

Or give any reason for you to hate me

My existence can cause me trouble

But I’ll be damned if it inconveniences your life

*

Maybe I’m strong for getting up in the morning

On days when I say nothing matters

On days when I honestly don’t give a damn

Can it be brave if all I did was walk outside?

It’s too late to put proper pants on but maybe I can open the blinds

It’s too late to have a long phone conversation, but maybe I can hug my cozy companion

*

It won’t always be too late

It can’t always be this hard

Because change is constant

I can trust that the situation will always continue to morph like a butterfly trapped in metamorphosis

*

The dark thin wings

The flutter to stay alive

In awe of the eternal

Lead Us, Mary

As Mary Oliver’s poem “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches” was read aloud, her perceived cadence and tenderness was displayed. Her words remain tender and gentle as they challenged the reader to acknowledge honesty within its being. Viewing the world as entertainment is a novice yet culturally-relevant perspective for many in the Western world. We spend our lives as observers. Look how we document our triumphs and heartbreak but on social media systems to produce a semblance of human connection. Our connection becomes artificial, cold and yet we wonder why we all cry out in existential crises. Where is the meaning, we say. Where is the purpose? A large world of social beings screaming from a lack of social connection. Forget social, grieve for the lack of spiritual connection that exists in our world. How sad it must seem for our man-made systems to be so backward. Mary Oliver describes our crises as missions. Our busy bodies are kept in movement as we look for our souls. Souls that are boundless are lost. They have traveled far without their keepers to watch over them. Can we be angry at the flower that left in search of water?

1-800-273-8255

I watched a Ted talk today about suicide. I had typed ‘existential’ into the search bar looking for something that could bring insight into whatever crisis I am currently experiencing.

It’s interesting when people talk about suicide, all of a sudden thoughts no longer focus on yourself. I think of the people that aid in preventing suicide or those who have lost loved ones to the tragic act. Depression can make our brains so focused on the iron-hot pain that we are not able to stop and look outwardly. We cannot look out at all those who genuinely love us. Instead, we believe depression when it puts us down. Tells us to stop trying. Tells us there is not enough strength or power in the world to make it better.

I bring this up to say that sometimes it is really hard. Some days are better than others. Some days life seems worth experiencing because what would happen to our dreams if we never let them free? If we never let our younger selves rejoice in our accomplishments and relationships made, then what was the point of dreaming it in the first place?

But on the gray days, I see a world of hate and people who are more than happy to spread it. I see death, hurt and anger as it spreads like a filth among humanity. On these days, I am not sure what constitutes enough. On these days, I ask myself how we can possibly come back from it. On these days, I want to give up. For the selfish act of pain management. And if we are truly extinct after our last breath then do the consequences truly matter? Though I do believe there is somewhere to go after we die, how easy it could be to just believe in nothing.

I acknowledge that these thoughts may be triggering and my intention in sharing is to voice the normality in which these thoughts occur. It frightens me that I could be having lunch with friends, have one thought and immediately dive into something darker. It feels like my brain has been hijacked and I am only hoping that the soul inside can hold on until the sun comes out. I don’t know where to go from this, only to grip tight and wait for the light so that I may rest. Unfortunately, I know that depression is a cycle. Hopefully one day I can have a better response when it comes back around. A response that tells it to go to hell.

I’m sure there is a piece of my depression that deserves comfort and understanding, but I am not there yet.

“Man Box”

I am a part of a church. That church has a craft group that crochets blankets for the homeless.

Today we were celebrating our 50th blanket. We huddled around small tables eating pizza and connecting over yarn horror stories. As it happens, there were some men in our midst and they silently hovered off to the side watching us do life together. We could tell that their observations were from curiosity and invited them to join us. There was clear hesitation, but one of our pastors sat down and asked us to show him how to crochet. It is an exciting time when someone new wants to learn about one of your hobbies. The motherly instincts took over as this baby bird of a man was nearing the limb, and had hesitation in his eyes.

As we showed him how to hold the yarn, manipulate it between his fingers, and showered him with encouragements, another man with caution in his eyes meandered over. Without pause, he was shocked to find this man, his peer, crocheting. His ego, and I am assuming, was screaming: THIS IS WOMEN’S WORK! The “real man” jokes flowed from this creature. He “joked” about dragging this pastor outside to throw a football around; because this is what will redeem him.

I consider myself a forward thinking young woman, as well as someone who doesn’t have time for interactions like these. I turn to this creature preaching on masculinity and barter the definitions of what is masculine and feminine. Is it a crazy idea that these two concepts can exist in harmony? When he left the table, the pastor and another male peer could see by my face that I was not enthused. (There is something to be said about poking fun at someone for trying something new, especially when they have a smile on their face). So the male creature’s counterparts explained that crochet or even yarn for that matter aren’t usual expressions of masculinity. One of the men said “It’s not very manly to sit here and work with yarn.” This social map of gender has been taught to us our entire lives, it’s no wonder people in their 30s and 40s still harbor uncomfortable feelings when blurring the gender lines.

The pastor, seeing my energy for the topic, graciously explained how he discusses masculinity with younger boys. He mentioned the “man box.” In this box are activities that are strictly enforced for men. If anything outside of the box is suggested, they must be ignored or shaken off. This box is very real for men of all ages and because of the social consequences, reactions similar to that from the shocked creature are not rare.

All this is to say…. the man box is real. It is inside many of us, constricting the activities that we are allowed to participate in. The good news is that the pastor thoroughly enjoyed learning how to create something with his hands and decided to practice more at home. Yarn will save the world!