Monday, January 30, 2006

One of the most fearful things about being a person who has suffered with chronic depression is the possibility of it’s full force return. That several year period was the hardest, most painful time of my life. I almost didn’t make it. I have down days now, sometimes a string of them, and when they come the thought that I won’t come out of it this time is in the corner of my mind. Thankfully, I always do.

One of the big issues I am dealing with now, and not very well, is the issue of control. I don’t like feeling out of control. It is one of the most uncomfortable feelings I experience. If I don’t know exactly what to do or look like I know what to do, I feel really horrible. I live my life in the public this way making sure I appear to be in control of myself. Controlled, collected. The fear of looking stupid (or possibly even BEING stupid) keeps me in the place of control. It is a bad place to be and I have been there my whole life learning early that if I stayed in that place I wouldn’t be hurt or ridiculed, both of which I got dished out a lot of growing up.

This new painting is making me feel really out of control because I have hit the wall already. I have no idea where to go or what to do next. I have reached a place where I have to force myself to grow and the fear of not being capable of growing makes me want to run the other way. My fear of being a failure hinders me from doing many things, like facing the work again and sitting in the discomfort.

In a way, there is a sort of arrogance and pride in this control thing, in not wanting folks to see you be human and to make mistakes. It isn’t just fear, it is wanting to be like God who does all things perfectly and never fails in anything He sets His mind to do. We lie to ourselves when we tell ourselves that we have control. We don’t have any control over anything. It is an illusion.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Atlanta excursion

We returned monday from a short trip to Atlanta to see family and friends. The appeal of traveling is wearing for me. Atlanta doesn’t hold a lot of reasons other than my sister and her kids for me to return, but Craig was born and raised there and obviously has much more invested. Starting with the failure of a family member to book us a hotel room and great difficulty finding one, we stayed one night at a dump where the rooms were freshly painted causing us both massive headaches. We moved the next day thankfully having found better quarters.

By the time sunday rolled around after too much socializing, most of which was enjoyable, mind you, a depressing bit of news from my sister and hard to handle in-laws, I was getting sick. Literally. I wanted to go home. I think even Craig did and he is the most social creature I know.
We did go to a friend’s gallery openning saturday night. It was a group show and although most of the work was pretty uncompelling to me, there was this painting by James McLaughlin Way called "25 Hands". Yeah, another horse painting, but the thing about this one way that it is HUGE. It has to be something like 60′ x 30′. That’s FEET. Beautiful and I always love to see things painted big.

Also as we were in the hotel room one night PBS had a piece on Sunny Taylor. Amazing. Have a look if you want to stop complaining and get a kick in the tail.
Home now. And after much wrestling, "Jeff" is finally birthed……..

Friday, January 06, 2006

Jeff in progress

Some of you have asked about ‘Vincent’ and why the painting isn’t up on the site. I now need a new digital camera running somewhere in the $500-$600 range. Oh boy. So, I haven’t been able to get it on site. The painting hangs on the wall close to my easel to remind me that I did it and I did it well. As I begin working on the Jeff Buckley piece by sketching in the face, getting a likeness, I can look across the room and see ‘Vincent’, a great source of pain and of progress in my artistic life. I keep telling myself I can do it. I know I can.

I have been addressing some goals for the next year and thinking hard about my call in life and how to go about it. These are difficult things for someone who fears failure, who fears not being able to make it in the end. But because of the encouragement of my amazing husband and my amazing friend, I actually put a lot on paper. Somehow things look less frightening written down. I suppose the solidifying that words bring does feel uncomfortable, like starting a journey somewhere you haven’t been before, but not like echoes in your own head that go nowhere.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I had a friend inform me recently that I have an intimidating presence to certain types of people and that I do not "appear" friendly or "open" to approach. Though all sorts of folks approach me and speak to me often, it seems to her that christian women in particular judge me by how I "appear" to be. Apparently I don’t have the "presence" of a christian woman, whatever that is. No fake smiles, big hair, jumpers and eight kids……. What? Isn’t that what they look for?…

I came from almost 25 years of atheism with a distain for christian people. I found them to be the most judgmental and critical of all people insisting that their way was the only way and "shame on you" if you didn’t agree. I found them to be deeply angry, fearful of uniqueness, individuality and disagreement of any sort. It was very difficult to adjust when I did become a follower of Christ. Unfortunately, I discovered that my assessment was mostly correct. The painful judgement and stressed conformity I encountered in the church as a new believer was hard to take. If not for the presence and persistence of the Holy Spirit, I would have left the church completely. And I have at times not attended church for long stretches.

Maybe those early experiences created a guardedness in the presence of christians that I don’t have when in the company of others. I can say that thinking on this really makes me angry and reminds me with force to fight against the ways that I judge others before even speaking to them. I want to shave my head so they can see my skull tattoo…….