Flying Girl is Not Quite There, or Wishes
Golden Fluid Acrylic, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen, on paper, 5x8"
Here, I imagine FG trying to reach that city over there on the horizon... maybe the calmer island connected with the bridge. But the point is, she's still trying to get there, and unable to put down her load of good things. She sends ahead her good wishes, her dreams, hopes, intentions.
This is how I am feeling lately. Feeling the heavy load and the light hope, the distant objective, within sight finally, and the swirling seas, the swirling air.
I argue with myself about this feeling.
It isn't just about the destination, it's about the journey. I keep trying to remember this. At every moment we are trying to get somewhere else we have already arrived at our present location.
I took yesterday off... no blogging, no writing, no painting even. I read Twilight instead. Even with Twilight, I tried to keep my head from wanting to fix what is wrong with the book (oy, the perfect this and the perfect that-- like Disney for vampires) and instead just enjoy what is right(I prefer rash Jacob to perfect Edward). I also was not feeling well, and I chose to relax and enjoy instead of work and/or feel sorry for myself.
Today, I'm trying to get back on track. Today, I am hoping my novel will be gotten to (please stay asleep, chil'ren) and I will be able to focus on things I've been avoiding.
It helped to look at Jamie's interpretation of the next chapter of 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. She's about Bolstering Your Staying Power... something I am always struggling with. It's so easy to get distracted... especially when you are already afraid of whatever it is you're supposed to be going after.
She asked the question "What helps you to be brave?" So thinking about the answer, I have realized the things that help me to be brave are also the things that help center me, ground me.
1. To Do lists! You wanna know how I pulled myself out of PPD? To Do lists... or atleast, they kept me from disappearing all together. To Do lists and Did Done lists. And when I was at my worst, I made lists of all the things, no matter how tiny and seemingly trivial that I had accomplished that day, from taking a shower to making a meal to writing 5 thousand words in my novel. Set my goals, break them down into steps, and then honor what I have done, even those things I didn't think to put on my list. If I am really down, I tend to lose my lists, which means i need them even more. When I am accomplishing things, I feel better. Productivity makes me feel good. I'm trying to figure out why... and how I can stop the reverse from happening (low productivity= low self esteem), but until then, here's where it is.
2. A creative community and the people saying "YES YOU CAN!" Sometimes that is a community in real life, sometimes its on line. A dialog between creatives. Feedback from people who believe in you. I could wish that I had more real life friends like this in my immediate neighborhood, but I am glad I still have my long distance friends and my internet friends so that I can keep up the conversation even when I am alone.
3. Other people's art/words/paths. Reading how other people reach their goals buoys my belief that it is possible... especially if they are not too far from where I am, if i feel like I can be like them. Not superstars, just regular artists. Also looking at art, finding art I love, it makes me want to be a part of that, be a part of that conversation. Or reading my favorite authors, whether fiction or non fiction. Oh yeah, and listening to music. I don't do that enough, but it really helps.
4. Somethings I have not been doing lately, also... journaling, both written and visual. Writing or visualizing my goals. Pinning down the amorphous ideas into something I can tangibly understand. Very Valuable. Knowing what you want specifically is the first battle.
As I think about these ideas that keep me going and help me be brave, I think about the students I used to teach. I see that I need the same things I needed to give them.
In order to feel up to challenges, they had to feel like they were CAPABLE of doing them. They had to have a solid understanding of where they were, and then they had to have the steps outlined for them so they could climb to the next level. They had to be given the scaffolding of skills that would get them there. Not a ten page essay on Hamlet the first day in tenth grade. An understanding of outlining, a discussion on soliloquy, a journal full of ruminations on motivation, short essays that they learn to critique themselves, and so on.
If you want to get to the top of a 100 foot monolith, and you see no way up, and you don't have the ability to fly like Flying Girl, or the skills of rock climbing (which you could conceivably learn) then you need to see that there is a path. What if instead of expecting ourselves to fly to that monolith, we laid ourselves a nice little scaffolding. What if we planted our beams, set our bracings, laid down our platforms, raised our ladders, and continued to do this until we got to the top.
That may be hard work, but it's not a miraculous task achieved only by the privileged and unearthly.