I just read this article: RIGHT HERE. In fact, I’ve read several in the past week that were lists of this or that empowerment, strength, courage, etc. With each new one I read, I find myself thinking either I’m naive, or I am this, or I am becoming this already, or even I’ve surpassed this.
Now, I know I’m far from perfect because I know what goes on in my head and am sometimes quite surprised about what comes out of my mouth, but my curiosity lies in my blind spots. Am I seeing myself clearly? Am I measuring my self-value and self-worth accurately and if so, against what scale am I placing the measuring stick? Am I comparing myself to others? Am I looking at my previous bodies of work and realizing how far I’ve come?
I spent three months this past winter, holed up and sleeping. I called it my hibernation, but I was trying to come to terms with the loss of my identity as a mother to a boy I love deeply but whom I couldn’t protect any longer. I hid in my own thoughts, avoided contact with people unless they darkened my doorstep. I went through daily motions without passion or conviction. I spent a lot of time contemplating my own identity.
Before the boy came to live with me, I was wild, scattered, driven to succeed at nothing and everything at the same time. I lacked focus, direction, but most of all, I was missing a sense of responsibility as an anchor. I was adrift without anchor.
After he came to live with me, I gladly gave up so much of who I was that I turned into a fierce Mother Bear who defended her cub so viciously that nobody could harm him. He opened my eyes to just how much sacrifice a mother makes for her offspring. It was during this time that I realized the damage I’d caused my own mother. THIS happened.
But then, like a thief in the night, he vanished without even a goodbye. I realized, as I visited an old friend tonight, how much that still hurt, but I discovered something far more valuable.
As I was telling the story of his childish and shady betrayal, I let it go. I looked at the last six weeks of my life and realized that his leaving gave me yet another gift. It allowed me to reevaluate who I wanted to be now that I’m “grown up” (I still can’t say that with a straight face.)
I said, in my daily conversations with my ceiling, “I am a writer.” And poems, stories, articles, and slogans came gushing out of me as if in a torrent of violent overflow. Lyrics fell from my fingertips as if a different entity had taken up my pen for me. Words dripped from my pencil which allowed me to assemble my work into a Kindle BOOK. I felt astonishment, but considered it a stroke of lucky happiness, finally.
I pondered to myself out loud, talking to the ceiling, but not really. “I am an artist.” BANG! ZAP! BOOM! (Really, that was the kids playing basketball outside!) I was informed of an art gallery requesting pieces for a set up based on Identity. I submitted a couple of pieces and I was on display a few Saturday’s later. When I say that, know that one of the pieces I was showing was a nude of myself. I really mean *I* was on display! I got asked to do a solo show on June 20th in Knoxville, TN AND to give two workshops. Then I got asked to donate for a great cause pride event called Art OUT, so I’m doing that too. I was quite pleased with the success of my declaration. I find myself throwing hours and hours into writing and art.
I spoke to my ceiling again (Yes, I know. Maybe my ceiling is magic, right? Only it happens when I’m not home too.) I said, “I really dig music. I should make some.” My friend, Professor Pudgytums in New York, sent me a pair of headphones (REALLY NICE ONES, THANK YOU!) and said, “Do it.” I made MUSIC. I’m working on a new song with the super talented Laura Davis. She calls me up and asks, “Hey, do you want to make music tomorrow?” Sure, why not. Every chance I get, I’m willing to go create.
This whole time, I’m thinking to myself. Are you sure? Are you really doing this? Are you having fun? Are you following your dreams? Are you living your passion? Are you accepting the…Let’s just say, I’m asking myself a lot of self-check questions in a day to see if I’m meeting my own personal standards and level of expected integrity for the day. Did I put in every bit of effort I could to make this world a bit better? A bit more beautiful? Okay then, carry on.
But with all the questions, I didn’t know if I had fallen off the cliff of self-identity, if I were pushed, or if I willingly had spread my wings to fly. I felt uncertainty and self-doubt start to creep in. I hate those more than I hate questions. Instead, my pastor, unbeknownst to him my questions and struggles, posted THIS LINK on his Facebook page.
“The smartest, most interesting, most dynamic, most impactful people … lived to figure it out. At some point in their lives, they realized that carefully crafted plans … often don’t hold up… Sometimes, the only way to discover who you are or what life you should lead is to do less planning and more living — to burst the double bubble of comfort and convention and just do stuff, even if you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead, because you don’t know precisely where it’s going to lead.
This might sound risky — and you know what? It is. It’s really risky. But the greater risk is to choose false certainty over genuine ambiguity. The greater risk is to fear failure more than mediocrity. The greater risk is to pursue a path only because it’s the first path you decided to pursue.”—Daniel H Pink
Quite frankly, I’m a bit scared to talk to my ceiling again because I’m beginning to think there is a power greater than me making sure I have the best life possible. In the meantime, I’ll just keep making art, writing, drawing, dancing, laughing, and drinking copious amounts of Kawphy because that’s what writer/artist/lyricists do and I am happy doing what makes my spirit sing with wild abandon.