I wonder if Freda Kahlo taught me something about art? Not how to daub oil on canvass or turn a drawn line into story ….but how to keep your art within, until it is ready to form itself. When you hit a bump (or gaping whole in her case) how not to gossip, or wail about it, but to let it out in your own personal form of art. When travelling around, and visiting galleries, buildings whose walls are open street side expressions of self, or to even see a woman, with bright red thread, forming a curling petal, the needle piercing the cloth and the cursory tug then measured pull, I am in awe of the power of the own faith in their own ‘voice’. It is this voice I am wanting to unleash in myself.
Sometimes, when I sit in fear. Not physical, endangering fear, but the kind of fear that scouts ahead to your future and returns with unspecified, blanket tales of doom. The former is welcomed (crucial), the latter is that part of me I try not to foster. The ‘play with the devil you know’ voice that doesn’t want bad or better, but to just stay the same. I have always loathed ‘sameness’. Now, this is both true, and false. It is true because I have a set childhood default that tells me I mustn’t copy my older siblings or they’ll ball me out about it…translating in life as a need to always TRY and be original. But mostly failing (little in life is truly original). This leads me to do things that the majority wouldn’t, but also leaves me with a sense of never quite achieving because someone is always doing better than me. Or, sometimes, not even bothering to start something because someone has already done it. The other side to me likes to rack up a certain amount of ‘knowns’ before I even contemplate taking on something new. This is frustrating. It cages me. I miss opportunities. Fear, fixes in front of my eyes like a pair of snow goggles. Blocks out the light, or the truth. When I witness myself in this state, it then gathers momentum as ‘grumpy ass’ (the fear scout) tells me over and over that I am ‘never going to achieve all that I want to and I’ll always be an underachieving looser’. As you can see, this voice I have is not the most helpful. And supportive? yeah, about as much as an old bra.
So, what do I do in these moments? Those times when I have woken up into the great life I have created for myself, but see it through a hall of mirrors that has distorted everything? Making it wrong, contorted, enlarging minute details and misshaping massive ones? Sometimes, I sit in it. I look at emails, do a little research, take barely noticeable steps toward that I which long for. I feel the nauseating, crushing flutter and bottlenecking of energy in my gut. I take a shower, run, make tea, distract myself with a peek at Facebook…hoping for a ‘good day’ quote or story. All the while I will be asking, over and over, what are you doing today? what are you going to do to make it better? why don’t you know what you don’t know yet? where are you going to go? why aren’t you perfect? I brush my teeth, dress, breath, feel the grey mush it is all creating within me and grab my keys and go out the door.
As I gather momentum in the other field. The field of hope, faith, gratitude. ‘Fear Scout’ (I sometimes endearingly call, Grumpy Ass) starts to get drowned out. Once I feel at a point of strength and perhaps balance. Is it balance? I wonder if Fear Scout has any valid points. It usually has. The fault is mostly with its delivery.
So, I try and turn around ‘why are you so useless?’ ( a very helpful statement, right!?) and see that perhaps I have been burying my head in the sand. Not giving energy to making my dreams reality. See, If I wait until my self esteem is strong and I have full faith in my abilities I will be breathing my last breath, perhaps. I see I’ve not been doing all I can. Perhaps I’ve been lying on the ground too long since the last imaginary butt kicking. It’s time to get up.
What will I do? I honestly don’t have a clue. The GOAL looks all consuming and MASSIVE. How can I possibly get, there?
And today, do you know what the answer is? I haven’t a bloody clue. I haven’t a CLUE! Do I ever have a clue? Rarely!
All I know is I need to acknowledge that I need to do SOMETHING. My goal is to write a book. I can see it, feel the flexible, satin cover in my hand, smell the fresh cut pages. But not only one, in the other hand is a hard-backed book, thick and delightfully weighty. I want them so much, feel the frustration of this expression, held up at the lights, waiting for green, it almost makes me sick. Fear commingles with frustration.
I am TRYING to make it happen. But at the same time…I see that I am NOT.
I travelled to Mexico. Land of colour and expression with the hope I’d be detonated, exploded into artistic action. I’m still waiting.
So, dear reader, what of this post today? I have no moral of the tale to tell. No wonderful conclusion to fill you with hope or cheer. As I sit in a cafe, anonymous in a foreign land. Every table fronted by a human, locked into their personal heaven, or hell. Every table with a vertical silver screen, emblazoned with a lit silver apple. A solitary bite taken from its shoulder. Every table with a human, doing their best. Pushing ‘something’ forward into their reality. The hoped for clarity. The strategy or ‘answer’ I hoped to find as I removed petals of words and placed them in my bitten apple, chased devil dogs of possibility down alleys made of tissues formed of protein in my head, they seem to converge on a no man’s land of tumbleweed. Not even the breeze whispers a guiding light. I see the word ‘CREAR’ written on the wall behind me. The word scribbled above an exhibition of artist works; a black and white photo of a skateboarder hanging, mid-air over the edge of a ramp. A lithograph of a man, eyes skyward. A faceless human in a metal welders mask. A rising moon, painted on a section of door frame. Flaking paint, delicate, fragile like the decaying wing of a butterfly. A wind farm, pictured in a gathering storm. Crear. It is a Spanish word. It translates in English, as to ‘create, invent, or cause to exist’.
Creativity amongst the monotony of daily routine. The nub where fear and, perceived, safety threaten to snuff out the light with a stained pillow. This is where you choose to take your power and the path to where you are creating what you want.
Perhaps it isn’t for us to know? The Future. But dreams cannot exist on faith alone. Action is needed. A plan of sorts. Even if it is just having the courage to look at what the ‘fear scout’ has written on his clipboard.
I want to some day (soon!) prove that you don’t have to experience the tortured life that Frida experienced, that never managed to snuff her spirit, to express yourself. But she’s there, along with the graffiti artists, the singers, the people I pass on the streets wearing their art just by choosing what they wore today. Those that will be themselves despite what others may say, do or think.
One day, perhaps I will believe what I have to say needs to find it’s voice. I’ll give my imagination space to create. Ha, though I wonder will it ever, when I feel that even writing this makes me ashamed of my self-created, ‘privileged’ angst. I feel this especially when I walk past people whose lives are lived on cold pavements, and under empty boxes reeking of piss. When I see that, I know I (thankfully) don’t even have the slightest idea what feeling lost is like?!
Right now, I’m looking for the track to step back on and the ‘zoom-out’ button. The big picture shows that my life is pretty darn good. This is just one of those microfiche moments when I am forced to acknowledge that in this area of my experience something needs to change.
Have you found your voice? What did you do to reach this point and free yourself? Perhaps there never was any ‘freeing’ to be done in your life? Please share your story in the comments below.
Perhaps…this could be one answer..? http://zenhabits.net/impossible/