Monday, July 28, 2008

When The Inner Child Attacks, or Rockstar Breakdown

I have to say how much I want to get rid of that rockstar post. I have to tell you how much I am confronted by it. This is a totally unexpected development. I did not realize how difficult it would be to declare myself great, and how accustomed I am to looking at the negative in myself. And then, after a rather uncomfortable experience at my part time job yesterday afternoon, I have found myself spiraling a bit into a funk of non-rockstar-ness, of suckitude, if you will.

I have been working, for a long time, on focusing on the positive aspects of life. I actively look for the grace in every day living, while trying to minimize all the things that suck. It has helped a tremendous amount to pay attention to the positive, the happies.


I still have the litany of negative running through my head. All the things I should be but I am not. All the fears. All the yucks. All the scared little girl whimpers... they are still whimpering as soon as I move on from the joy of "dancing" salsa with my three year old.

I debated not posting about this. I have thought a few times about focusing only on the positive things on this blog, only the lovelies, only the grace, only the successes in living the creative life. But after spending my funkydunk night surfing all the inspirational, beautiful, crafty creative life blogs, I have decided that I don't want to just show my successes on this creative journey of mine.

I am a teacher. Even if I am no longer teaching in the schools, I have found that I am a teacher by nature. It is a good thing. I am happy to be so. I enjoy helping people. As a teacher, I could fill my blog with creative activities and tutorials, and give my readers instructions on how to live this creative life... but as a person who is on this journey also, I am discovering that it is not the MAKING of art that is the difficult part of being an artist, it is the struggle with the self.

And perhaps, what I am discovering also, is that it is not the piece of art itself that is the point of art, perhaps not even the process of making art, but actually the point of art is what is going on inside of the person who is making that art. Maybe that is what makes art special for the audience, even, that keyhole into the struggles and joys of another human being.

So here I am, broken open a little, and being transparent to you, because I know that these struggles are not only vital to being a rockstar, but also to being an artist. I struggle with feelings of worth, even if my logical mind KNOWS that I am worth it. My logical mind KNOWS who I am. My logical mind KNOWS that it is a good thing. This is not about my logical mind, it is about the smaller part of me, hiding and ignored.

The little girl inside of me is much like my three year old son before nap time, when told he could not keep the blankets and pillows in front of the door anymore. It was not a good place to make a fort, even if the cool stormy air came through the screen. He had to help me clean it up. He could not go out in the rain before nap. My three year old son pouted, then his lip trembled. His heart broke open and he cried for comfort, first for his pacifier, and then he denied he wanted it, then for his papa, and he just cried. He had no logic for his feelings. It was all emotion. It was all wants denied and feeling powerless.

How does one comfort a small child when he is in that place? I took my son on my lap and cuddled him, told him I was sorry he was sad, I understood his pain. I gave him a drink of water and took him up to bed for rest. He is sleeping now. I know he will be better when he wakes up and will be ready for more adventures.

How does one comfort that inner small child, when the world does not go the way that you want it to and your logical mind is drowned out by inexplicable smallness? Who is there for cuddling? What comforts you? Do you allow yourself to be sad? Do you understand your own sadness and allow it? Do you let yourself get the rest you so desperately need so you can continue on your adventures?

These are questions I must ask myself as I ask you. And because I am on this creative life journey, I am going to give myself a creative project to deal with it. Play along if you need it.

ACTIVITY: Find a spot that comforts you. Your bed, the bath, the garden, a sunny window, a cozy cafe. Take out your journal and a pen you love to write with.

Close your eyes and spend a few moments just breathing. Take deep breaths. Focus on your environment, the sounds and smells and everything around you, then let it go. Take more deep breaths. Focus on your body. Relax your body, part by part, from your toes to your head. Take more deep breaths. Focus on your emotions. Allow them to come up. Allow yourself to feel them. Allow yourself to be those emotions. Then let them go.

Now, open your eyes and write. No one has to see it. Just write. Write without stopping. Write whatever comes. Random words even if they make no sense. Just let it out. You do not have to ever read it again. You do not have to show it to anyone. Whatever comes out is fine. As are you. It is all okay.


Anonymous said...

Plenty of days I feel I should dump all my art supplies and manuscripts in the dumpster and be done with the craziness. I should quit deluding myself that I can make anything. It's a tough journey--glad to see you're making it too.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Stick with it Rowena! There are so many times I've thought it would be easier on everyone if I gave up writing - but easy isn't best. It is this process, this journey (which at times can feel like a rollercoaster) that gives our work resonance and depth. Sounds to me like you are doing a great job of being a Mom/Artist - remember the zen thing: fall down seven times, stand up eight. Best wishes x

Jena Strong said...

Good for you for not taking it down. if this is what you're up to, then you're up to it! (Did I just write that?)

D'Arcy said...

I read your rockstar post yesterday, I must have missed it on vacation or something. I thought of the things to put there, and then I thought, no, I can't say that!! No, I'm probably not really that good at that!

What the hell is it with us?!!!!

You've hit on something really important and we all need more positive self talk. I LOVE that you put your list out there! I thank you for putting your list out there!

Robynsart said...

I too have been struggling with this... with trying to be 100% positive. But, I'm learning to accept the bad with the good. Thank you so much for your writings and your experiences.

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