wallflower

in my head, i want to start running, slim down, get fit, be healthy. and then the voice comes–“you can’t run. what would people think as you galumphed by, with your thick ankles and your stooped shoulders, face beet red from exertion. who do you think you are? you’ll just give up anyway, after looking stupid for a few days. it will all end in humiliation.”

in my head, i want to be cute and perky and stylish, with great skin and hair. and then the voice comes–“you’re as homely as ever, with your too-pink skin tone that no makeup can tame, and your fat cheeks, and that nose that you used to wear the clothes pin on, hoping to make it thinner–too bad that never worked. makeup can’t cover all that you want to hide.”

in my head, i want to be outdoorsy, go hiking, take my dog and my little family on mountain trails, visit all of the places that people come from states away to see, which are very nearly right in my own back yard. and then the voice comes–“seriously? you on a hiking trail? remember the last time, when the dog pulled hard and you fell down the hill? remember that failure. it’s who you are. it’s what you are all about. you are a homebody, a softbody, an out-of-shape office worker. live with it.”

in my head, i want to be sexy, funny, attractive. i want to radiate energy and humor and love. and then the voice comes–“negative nellie is at it again, fighting against her true nature, wanting to get lively. what a joke. you always fall back down in a heap, lower than ever. give it up. the energy expended just to fail isn’t worth it. you’ll always be a wallflower, just like dad said.”

how do i combat the voice? i suppose the first step is just to do something. if i want to run, maybe i’d better just start. but as soon as i have the thought, the embarrassment that is sure to come from failure rises up in my chest and throat, pulling me even farther back into my sedentary life, into depression that i know always lurks close at my heels. maybe i can outrun the depression, if only i just try.

but i am afraid that it will just be one more thing that doesn’t work. just another way to fall.

i read on one of my favorite blogs about the thought that wild animals have no concept of giving up. they simply don’t give up. and then there’s me, feeling like giving up before i even try.

i used to consider myself a wild thing.

but now i’m tired. because it’s all gone wrong so many times before.

and god didn’t give me an answer. and oh, how many times i knocked.

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mentors

“…one thing they don’t tell you ’bout the blues when you got ’em– you keep on fallin’, ’cause there ain’t no bottom; there ain’t no end…” ~emmylou harris

my mentors right now (little do they know…) are emmylou harris, pema chodron, alisa burke and carla sonheim. emmylou because her lyrics matter, and because once i hear them, i am reminded that i’m not alone in this. pema because her threads of wisdom and her gentle humor hold me upright, and are teaching me to just drop it (a lesson that may just keep me going). alisa because her art and story give me hope that everyday women can move forward, and that small goals are a good start.  carla because her happy, joyful art increases the size of my heart, and inspires me to just draw and enjoy it.

i am reading. i am painting and drawing. i am staying afloat.

a person with depression

i’ve come to understand that even when i am not in a depressed state, i am still a person with depression. i have been struggling with that idea, hoping that it just isn’t true, feeling like i’m setting myself up for some type of negative self-fulfilling prophecy. but, given that i’ve gone in and out of quite severe, and frequent, states of depression for nearly thirty years, i am accepting the fact that no matter what i do, medication, meditation, prayer, diet, exercise, changing my social habits, etc., even on a good day, i remain a person with depression.

so, there is the acceptance. now, how to proceed from here? there’s the baggage. now what?

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Review: An Altar In the World

51iFYQU0dsLi’m nearly through this book twice now, and can’t begin to say what a beautifully written, inspiring book it is. i’ve never read any other books by Barbara Brown Taylor, but know that her earlier book called “Leaving Church” was wildly popular.

“An Altar in the World” is definitely one i can place onto my shelf of game-changers. i’ve highlighted so many passages in this book, so many gems of inspiration, and it’s difficult to pick out just one to call my favorite. but, i will force myself to choose one, only in order to show how amazing this book is:

“Properly attended to, even a saltmarsh mosquito is capable of evoking reverence. See those white and black striped stockings on legs thinner than a needle? Where in those legs is there room for knees? And yet see how they bend, as the bug lowers herself to your flesh. Soon you and she will be blood kin. Your itch is the price of her life. Swat her if you must, but not without telling her she is beautiful first.”

is that not exquisite? and that’s just a tiny piece of what this book has to offer. it’s such a beautiful, thoughtful lesson in learning to worship and serve in the daily, mundane bits and pieces of our lives. i would venture to say that this is probably the absolute best, most beautifully written, most inspiring, and most fundamentally helpful book i have ever read.

i’d recommend this book to absolutely anyone. it is a book on faith, and the author is christian, but she includes so many varied and beautiful practices and quotations from different world religions (and the non-religious) that i’d even recommend the book to the non-religious. it’s just such a full, delectable, all-accepting, uplifting read, that i’d recommend it to anyone.

Review: Raw Art Journaling

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i wrote this review last year, but i’m going to be listing (and tweaking) my old amazon reviews here on the blog for some of my favorite books.

Raw Art Journaling” offers a straightforward  approachable introduction to art journaling, and encourages the reader to just get the feelings out on the page. this book taught me that it’s ok to just start dabbling, because it’s MY journal, and my very own personal creative outlet.

it’s a lovely book by an inspiring author, and i also enjoy reading the author’s blog here. Quinn is a very creative, genuine writer, and of course a great artist as well!

putting on shoes

epiphanies are great an all, but the lessons they teach are still a daily venture. we can’t feel badly about ourselves if the revelation doesn’t instantly and permanently alter the way we act, feel or live. just like putting on shoes, it may be necessary to step into that epiphany daily, one foot at a time.

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on changing the game, and a review: “creating time”

CreatingTime_cvr2.inddcreating time” by marney k. makridakis was a book that i picked up at the library, after reading about it on amazon.com. the amazon reviews were splendid, and the book seemed to have a great mix of art and self-help, two of my favorite reading genres. 😉

after finding it at the library (which was rather a shock, as my local library’s selection isn’t always geared toward my tastes), i snatched it up, brought it home, and…let it sit. i looked over the first few pages, and didn’t feel like it was going to live up to  my original expectations. a week later, i picked it up again, thinking i just need to give the book a chance.

and wow, i am so glad that i did. this book is a game changer.

the primary life lesson i’m taking away from this book is the comparison of kairos versus chronos. based on marney’s descriptions of the two, chronos is clock time. it’s essentially watching the clock, racing the clock, beating the clock, cheating the clock, all of those things we do to control time, when in the end, that kind of time effectively rules us. or rules me, anyway, as i feel insanely and unreasonably controlled by literal, chronological time.

it stresses me out to no end.

conversely, kairos is the essense of time, the substance of time, the kind of time that is full and spilling over, whether with fun, emotion, fulfillment, feeling, or all of the above. it’s the time that truly matters. 

as i’m applying the principles from “creating time,” i’m noticing that my stress and depression are generally a result of my lack of control over  chronos. and on the other hand, when i’m feeling content and full of life, i’m floating along with kairos. 

in an attempt to truly understand these two senses of time, i’ve decided, at least in the beginning, to compartmentalize the two. when i’m consciously dedicating myself to kairos, my time is slower, fuller, and feels like it is enough. and when i forget to maintain that sense of kairos, and accidentally switch into chronos, or “clock mode,” i feel like i am being cheated out of time, like there isn’t enough, like it’s racing through my fingers like sand. chronos brings me back to a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that i cannot stop or control.

and in order to change this game, in order to step out of the depression that so often takes hold of me, i have found that living in and moving with the essence of time that is kairos is going to be a lifelong tool that will help me keep the clay beneath me.

i have got to change the way i play this game, and measuring my live in kairos and love, rather than in the tickety-tock of the slave-maker, is going to be the first major, conscious step i take in creating that change.

i’d recommend “creating time” to anyone who loves art (even a little bit), and who feels like there is never, ever enough time.