Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Things That Go Bump In The Middle of the Night

I woke up in the middle of the night and walked face first into the door jamb.

I shook my disoriented head, said "ouch" and continued on to the bathroom. I still don't know why I headed for the hard corner of wood instead of the opening. I could see it. But something about my middle of the night mind/body connection was not working.

I've been trying to figure out what this all means. Of course it has to mean something, right? I tried to find omens and symbolism in the why and how of it all.

Isn't that just like an artist? Looking for signs from the universe as to what it all means. In essence, art is the making of meaning of life. We live our lives, and then we interpret them through art.

That is our bread and butter.

Would it be easy for me to deduce that I was clumsy? That I should not wake up in the middle of the night and so deny myself any beverages before bed lest I have to peepee? That this was proof that I am a hard sleeper and why I have trouble falling asleep sometimes and waking up sometimes. Could I take this to mean that I am somehow faulty? Strange?
Different from others? Unworthy of independence? Unworthy of a relationship so no one else must be subjected to my sleepy clutziness?

Are any of you scratching your heads? Did I take it too far?

You bet your sweet patootie I did. I walked into the wall by accident, maybe because I didn't wait long enough before getting out of bed, I don't know. But that's pretty much it.

My mistake or accident or booboo is not some statement on the worth of my being.

How many times do we take our flaws to mean that we just aren't good enough, that there is something inherently wrong with us. How often are we afraid to face the page or the canvas or the audience and be confronted with our inadequacies?

Everybody messes up. Everybody is imperfect. Everybody loses sometimes. Why is it so hard to accept this.

Sometimes I wonder if this is an artist thing, since we are made so vulnerable by putting our inner selves on display in our art. Sometimes I wonder if this is a woman thing... always so concerned with what people think. It could quite possible be a human thing, just our insecure social animal way of being.

I have talked to some athletes, though, and I think they get a lesson in the practice of learning their sport that non athletes have to struggle through on their own. We can't always win. And rather than that being a declaration about our inadequacies, losing is actually PART OF THE GAME.

When we attempt to block ourselves from all failure, to shelter our kids from all possible pains, to hide every last flaw so no one has to know that we are not perfect... we are doing ourselves, our children, and the world a disservice.

How do we win if we are not willing to lose? How do we learn if we are not willing to make mistakes? How do we explore if we are not willing to be lost?

Here I am, still making meaning of my bump in the dark. I make it symbolic of internal struggles I am going through. I try to find the lesson in the weirdness and pain.

Maybe it's because I am still trying to get through this dark, and still trying to understand the more intangible bumps that I get all the time.


Anonymous said...

I've missed you...I've been away far too long...I love this are so right on the money with how we equate worth with faults...I do it often and this was a nice reminder not made meaning out of something few would have thought twice about...that's beauty in my eyes

Kate Lord Brown said...

'Faulty ... different ... strange?' It's definitely what makes us artists Rowena (my fave quote from my mother-in-law 'Neither of my children married normal people ..' meant in a good way (I think), as in 'special') x

Anonymous said...

I not only only about the bumps in the middle of the night, but that no one will believe me when I try to explain.

Or that the bump is what I was along.

Sugar Jones said...

I just went through this really cool process with a friend of mine called EFT. We are working on breaking down the subconscious demons that make me worry about what others might think of my art. After one session, I spent two days throwing almost all of my photos on line. There would be a million up but Flickr has a limit unless you go pro... which I'll do once I can scrape $25 together... but the point is that my thoughts of not being good enough that were programmed into me without my permission were holding me back. How awesome that you are calling it and willing to make "mistakes" for the sake of creativity.

Unknown said...

words of wisdom my friend. i've needed them myself this week as my heart has been a bit bruised in the process of life.

Shonda Little said...

holy shit, that's a goose egg. my kids often suffer from their clumsy genes I sadly passed on to them. if child protective custody came by during a particularly accident-prone week, i wouldn't be able to convince them that i wasn't mommy dearest.

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