REPORT A PROBLEM
I hate worrying about money. Mostly, I hate it because I don't know if I need to. Small-I mean teensy-- pay check due to lack of clients can throw off my equilibrium, cause me to suffer anxiety. I do a quick scan through all the money I'm spending (just essentials, mostly.) Then I have the confusing alter fact that I have my rainy day, inheritance fund. I'm uncomfortable not worrying about it--as in shouldn't I be looking for another job? Aren't I putting energy into my new business? Isn't that enough? But the checkbook says No! Get Busy.
I'm losing my hair. I think this statement could have been accurate a couple years ago, but it's only now after rather severe loss that there is no denying it. With aging skin and loss of beauty, how important is loss of hair? Well, lately it's my primary focus when I look in the mirror. Like, oh yeah, definitely, confirmed. Then I think. I can live without hair. I can get a wig, or I can embrace baldness with courage. I can rejoice in not spending time sculpting it into the right shape. I can become a monk! Maybe serendipitous.
Nothing will happen unless you make it happen. What are you waiting for? You've got tons of ideas, and fellows to encourage you. You've got the privilege of having your own space to do whatever you want to do. Some of your ideas are too zany, stupid, weird, and they will fail. So what? You have to be the leader. You have to Do stuff and make it exciting. You've been waiting for things to calm, for things to be in their places, for teachers to teach and you were going to watch. Enough. Get the plan. Do stuff now.
My little cat is adding joy to my life. He's costing me sleep but the cost is worth it. Whenever I'm sitting down, he jumps in my lap and settles himself. One stroke of my hand starts his purring. He greets me at the door when I return from work, and when he's bored, he follows me around like a puppy. I am not alone in my house any more. There's another being that shares this space, communicates with me, shows me love and affection. My focus is less about my todo list. Can't wait for walks on a leash
I accepted you and loved you my entire life. I shrugged off your self absorption, your lack of reciprocity, your finagling to orchestrate family events. All the while, I never judged you accurately or negatively. Not that I didn't notice, but I was conditioned to ignore it, because, it was too hurtful to see the truth. I spent a lot of energy shielding myself from it; the fact that our relationship was so imbalanced, with me on the short end. If not for Dad's death, I wonder if I never would have seen the real you. Just so you know.
I miss Dad. Especially when I start to make a good meal, I want to call him up and ask him over. He never said no. I am realizing how burdensome loneliness can be and I know he must have suffered from it after mom died. He wasn't proud of me. He cringed at me liberalism. Challenged my thinking and once just about disowned me, accusing me of being a "SOCIALIST." His was not unconditional love. He was born in the era of Horacial Alger's stories. Dad respected the best and the brightest and wealth. A twice divorced daughter disappointed.
Continue. It will all be fine. Stop thinking that you're being examined and judged. Keep the mantra: Steady preparation is a noble occupation. Why do you have to impose some irrelevant calendar on your progress? Whose loss is it if it takes you longer to accomplish your goal than others? At least you have in mind enjoying the present and the journey. So the development has authenticity, not a frantic background toward some finish line. I am walking the talk. Enjoying the moment. I have to step into the leader role more fervently. Start the project. Hope for the best.
The view from my foyer towards the street, contains a joke--a perfectly mounded pot of chrysanthemums in a clever rust color that almost fools the eye into believing they're alive. The analogy that comes to my mind is that of mascara on my 61 year old eye lashes. It's a statement that, Hey, I'm still in the game, still trying, however futile. It's also a statement about my embracing slackerhood. I refuse to make the game more important than my dreams. I'm not about appearances anymore, I'm about showing up (sort of) and doing work that's important. Or trying.
Appearances were the ultimate concern of my family. Knowing the right, understated elegance to project confidence and assurance in a situation. Oh, the shopping, the preening, the make-up and god forbid, the pimple. Here is the undermining message that one learns in such a household: That your appearance supersedes you in importance. That showing up in the right clothes IS the testament to your belonging. That your role as an ornament in life is your strongest suit. By focusing on the garb, my parents didn't counsel about character issues like relationship building, apologies, trust, friendship. Such an impoverished upbringing.
A boyfriend from the past, forty years past, stopped by the shop today. I read an email from him a month ago, explaining that he'd be in town again and would like to stop by and visit me; said he wanted to play his guitar for me. I didn't respond...which is a response, isn't it? So I wasn't really thrilled that he ignored my ignore. So, he did bring his guitar and did play it. How do you do a serenade? Pssch. I was glad new friend was there and that she didn't leave, even if it was awkward.
Focus! This is not a laid back Friday. No! It's a get it all--I mean all accomplished Friday. None of that...well I'll have time this weekend, what's the difference? No. Flyer, calendar on the website, Paypal on it, too. This right now, with the coffee in front of the 100 words, choosing your intention, this is the only relaxed part of the day. You are on. Now. And get a flu shot. Barriers are not paying attention to the day slipping by, beautiful weather calling you out. Some insignificant factor that causes derailment. frustration with computer: Seek help.
Just today, I'm feeling that my life has gotten small and tedious and difficult. I'm having to face facts that I really have to tackle the stuff I hate doing, stuff I can't do. Up against the wall now with internet anxiety. Here it is, the beautiful fall season and all I think about is the damn to-do list. No job jail anymore but since the grass in my life is always greener elsewhere, again: remember how great it was to walk away from duties at the end of the week and not give it a thought until Monday?
My old friend of forty years ago visited me recently at my new establishment. He kindly shared his observations and suggestions via email. Then he generously offered to pay for new signage and other things. He didn't make a big deal about it, just get it done and send him the bill. Really! How generous. Now, my inner warrior says two things: 1)Where are the strings attached (WHY?) and 2)don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Then I thought, no one in my family--cousins, son, sister, nieces...no one stood up to support me in this.
I'm finally reading a book. Why has it taken me so long to do something I used to enjoy? Is it the time factor? or that I can't sit still long enough? Or is it my mental capacity is diminishing? Also, it might be my audible books which dictate the stories I'm absorbing through a different means. I use those audible books to motivate me to clean house or rake or anything mundane that could be made fun with story. Reading "Tell the Wolves I'm Home." Terri recommended, then also had idea to develop book discussion group at studio. Yes!
Still working out my grief. I had a working vision to draw in art therapy. A self portrait of me with a bouquet of flowers, except most have dropped to the ground. So it looks and felt bereft as I drew it. Family: gone. I reflected to therapist...if I had to catch someone up to date on my life...it would seem that I must be a monster. No husbands, no son to speak of, no sister, no nieces. Where and why and how did it come to be? The question that hits me is...it must be me.
Phone calls between me and my past husband are labored. There are only cats and computers to share. I can feel his boredom and his sense of being lost. Maybe that's a bit of projection. The world is a big place, a lifetime is a long time so in relation to such vastness we are small and insignificant. Especially when we are alone, not engaged with or witnessed by anyone. We are a grain of sand, a bit of dust in the universe. Maybe the sense is sadness for the days passing by without joy and happiness in the them.
Aging brain or accomplished wisdom? Of course I choose wisdom, but I sense it's more the former. i.e. In years past, I had the sense that I existed through the eyes of other people; an ever present sense that unless my thoughts, feelings, events were spilled onto someone else as a witness, they didn't count. Or, that I couldn't process them. This was an ego starvation state. It seems weird now; actually pathetic. But bonding among females took place through problem sharing. I'm so over it. Urge to share? Now, I can settle myself with "I don't need attention."
Today was my first "Chamber Chat." The Chamber of Commerce meets every month at 8:00am, to greet each other and remind each other that they exist and need support. They were all welcoming and supportive. I said my three lines (we get 15 seconds apiece) well; a quote from Piccasso about art and an invitation to come and visit. Today, I deposited checks from a variety of income sources into a variety of accounts. It looks like I will survive. I have no big dreams for wealth. I can forgo travel and furniture and clothes. I'm happy with security.
It's the perfect gray, drizzling, cold autumn afternoon to stay cozy and reach for a book. It's delightful to feel the freedom of no plans, no expectations. From my window, beyond this computer screen, there is a golden oak tree among the unturned trees. Even in the gloom its color radiates and spreads cheer. Love that. I also love the singing sound of the steady soft rain on the roof. Funny how the weather defines the comforts of the day. I'm on my own mini vacation in the comfort of my house. There is nothing to disturb me. Michigan autumn.
It's as if I have two cats. One is a wild beast that reacts to any movement like a hunter. He has a will as strong as a survivor instinct. if I shoo him away from a table as he reaches to play with a plant, he returns to the table in defiance--more than once! The other cat seeks me out when in need of comfort; sweetly strives to get as close to my cheek has he can to muzzle my face. Mornings, he quietly walks on the bed and settles in the crook of my neck, and purrs.
I had a dream about family; first dream in about six months. We were all at some public hostel. Every time I'd run into one of my nieces or grand niece, I'd feel unsure of what to do; what was expected of me? Am I still family, or a harmless stranger, or a malevolent being to them? I'd tiptoe around, nod and go my own way. There was effort to get a child to the YMCA. The Y was sending a car, which would be waiting at a busy intersection of two highways. The plan seemed dangerous, reckless and curious.
Today I paid my house insurance bill, $752. I paid a similar amount for the new building, then there's health insurance, professional liability insurance, car insurance. I spend more money insuring I'll survive some supposed impending disaster than I do on food or any other comforts. When the biggest proportion of money is spent propping up the belief that I need to pay because something awful could happen, it warps the mind, doesn't it? It infuriate my mind. I want to opt out --put all that money in a fund for vacation...take my chances, stick it to the man.
After watercolor class, Kathy and I walked to lunch down 12 Mile about 3/4 of a mile to the new diner. Next to it, McCourt's Music Shop had a sign taped to a sidewalked piano: "Free for taking." During lunch, we convinced ourselves it was meant for the studio. We were barely able to nudge it at first. But once inertia was overcome, we powerfully pushed that mighty piano down the sidewalk. Winded and huffing only 2 blocks later, we wouldn't be deterred. With the help of several citizens over bumps, over the threshold, we now have a piano!
I have a new zest for studio. I think the perfect match is to have it become a co-op. Then more people would have ideas, stay at the studio and keep it open when I can't be there. All could benefit by selling their work there, by teaching classes there. Of course, I wouldn't get to rule, only vote. I want it to be more than a space for a few artists to work. Do I get to set the mission?: getting people to explore the satisfaction of creation. Pretty simple. I'd like not being so responsible for success.
I saw movie, "Enough Said" today: realistic scenes of how unwittingly, we break each other's hearts. And how goodbyes are so often just unravelings instead of decisions and acknowledgments of endings. The movie took me back to when Sis left for college, when I left for college. How there wasn't a proper goodbye, and yet a little world had ended. Mom couldn't pretend an "I'll miss you routine" since she had told me she couldn't wait till I left. What's a 17 year old to do with that? No wonder I felt dumped on the curb. History. Life is sad.
Today is mask making day at the studio. No one has signed up for the event. But there I will be, with my cider and pretzels, my plaster and armature, my enthusiasm for as long as it lasts. Nothing is really happening at the studio. No one comes. I can't figure out how to advertise, except facebook. I'm so fortunate that I don't have to pay anyone rent, or I'd be sunk. Now the task is patience and niche building. I just started in August. less than 3 months ago. It's way too early to do anything but continue on.
ENDED: Dad's good natured teasing and social finesse. His tenacity in cooking, golfing, learning, accomplishing. His political and personal judging and labeling. Mom's artistic prose, her disciplined hours of inner expression, her smirks of disdain, cold reticence toward me, my constant striving to pretend a Donna Reed relationship. Pasthusband's invisible electric fence of unspoken boundaries and expectations: inside graced with adoration, sudden banishes outside and unworthy of love; despicable. Sister's friendship based on mutual acceptance until we didn't accept anymore; I didn't accept her disapproval of me. Son's gradual wall of insulation now includes me and we are separated. RELATIONSHIPS.
Is this wisdom? The fact that by a certain age, you learn that you have to carry your burdens along with your hopes. That you know the sorrow will always be under your skin; it won't stop you but it's not ever going to leave you. That the accumulation of knowledge or friends or skills is not nearly the final goal. It was just a path to intersect with life. The goal will modify the people, the atmosphere and monetary reward, but it's just a way to focus each day as one conscious being filtering events as part of karma.
There is no hurry. There's just day by day, do your thing. Enjoy the day and stay on the path you've chosen. I'm happy to have my own business and no one riding me about numbers, customers, progress and profits. Maybe my lackadaisical attitude will be my demise? But I don't think so. I think. what I'm offering is a welcoming: come back to yourself - kind of experience. Thus, a frenzied pace, nervous space wouldn't work. Just do right by the vision and keep going. It's fun. It feels like home. Like my parent's basement creative life, but upstairs, storefront.
Went to a conference today. It was presented by our military to help counselors be better in tuned to the lives of service men and women. The warriors were really valiant. I admired their wanting to share their lives so that others can learn. So many people, like myself, are insulated from the military, and are clueless about the sacrifices and hardships. I think that a cultural awareness, sensitivity training regarding their subgroup would be a great addition to school curriculum. I learned about the anxiety both pre and post deployment and about conflict of family mission with military mission.
Black cats screech through the night
as all the kiddies tromp through wet streets
willing to face frightful
ghosts and ghouls, and dark, cold puddles
that insult the feet of kids on the
move for treats.
Yeah, no, that's enough work. Goes too slow for a day like today, when I seem to be on track with my todo list. I brough Ronin to the studio. Thought he could be a studio cat. This is the fourth time. He settled down faster; one hour this time. But he's in a deep crevice; unreachable. Why bother? He is not happy here.
The Tip Jar