At this time a year ago, this website and blog did not exist. A year ago, life was humming along with normal, predictable meanderings on the path (whatever that “path” was in my head at the time), then off the path into the weeds. Hack and stumble my way back onto the path. Angst and mental hand wringing about my Art. The usual.
A year ago at this time, during this yearly visit with my sister and her family in Virginia, my brother-in-law did not know he had cancer. But within a couple of weeks he did. Ten weeks after that he was gone.
It’s still hard to get my head around this immovable, lives forever altered, fact. I mean, we all know death is coming, but the tendency is to think of it as an event “out there” somewhere in the future. Surely not now.
As I type, my sister and I sit under the Big Art Piece we made over the holidays. So much has happened since last spring. So much change, and at the same time so little change. Some things are very, very different, much has stayed the same. The same work events have come and gone, the seasons have passed the same (albeit a little warmer and weirder), most life patterns and habits have stayed relatively the same. But someone from my immediate family is…just gone, and that alters, in unseen ways, even those things that haven’t changed.
Being here with Tina, for another annual March visit, has been a trigger of emotions for both of us. Obviously, a very different spectrum for her. Unavoidable though, and OK too. We are still enjoying our time together, just having to navigate forward and through as well.
I’m not sure I would have ever been able to muster up the courage to start this blog if it hadn’t been for the unexpected and abrupt end of Scott’s time here. Maybe I would have. Eventually. It’s so, so easy to say “tomorrow.” I’ll do this thing I really want to do, next week. I’ll make this good-for-me-healthy change the first of next month. Later, not now. It can wait.
You know what? It’s cliché, but everything I’ve ever done that has been worthwhile, that has made me grow in some way, has been hard. Challenging. Not comfy and cozy (sometimes this has been by choice, sometimes not). So, this week a reminder to myself to pay attention to the discomfort, pay attention to the feelings and things I’m avoiding, putting off or numbing. Feel them, confront them. Move through them. Sit with the feelings of discomfort and make them my friends. Or at least acquaintances. What can they teach me? What are they saying that I’ve not been listening to?
Let go of the latest rock. Stop clinging. As they say, feel the fear and do it anyway.
Almost six months ago I started writing this blog. It’s been six months! I have an archive for Pete’s sake. Who would have thought? Seriously, if you had told me a year ago that I would have a blog up in six months, I would have laughed. Yeah, right. I’m not a writer.
(I still don’t consider myself a writer…I think of myself as a visual artist who likes to write).
This visit to my sister’s also reminds me that I moved through all that fear and vulnerability and started writing and sharing my stories and my art anyway. Another lesson from this past year to advocate: Share Your Shit! You are kick-ass at something (whether you’re creative, a maker, organizer, leader, innovator, caregiver, whatever), or maybe you aren’t so kick-ass at your Thing (yet), but you love what you do. Don’t sit on your gifts. Share your passion. And for the love of God, don’t wait!
We watched one of Brené Brown’s TED videos the other night. What she has researched, learned, and shares about vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame is so encouraging. I share it below in case it will be encouraging to you too.
— Brené Brown