Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21 2009

As I have said, I bought the AW and worked through it sixteen years ago. I bought it on August 2, 1993 when I was visiting my Mom in White Rock. I was on vacation and what I jokingly called my Vision Quest - the first time I had gone on a driving vacation by myself. (Don't ever joke around about a Vision Quest). After I left my Mom's my plan was to visit my cousin on Quadra Island and then to my daughter's in Vancouver and back to my Mom's. Everything went according to plan but I never saw my Mom alive again. I found her dead in her apartment at 2am in the morning - after I had called her and got no answer, I drove from Vancouver to White Rock to see if she was okay. That was on August 11, 1993. My Mom's death was the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it. It's a very long story but the gist is that where I worked, a new Director started at this time and she and I didn't see eye to eye. Six months later, in a state of complete exhaustion and emotional distress, I resigned from my position. My integrity was as stake. There was a lot more to it, involving the Women's Shelter where I had worked for six years prior to this position and where I was told I was admired and was a mentor to some of the other women, gave 150 percent, etc., etc.,. As they were involved in my position, I asked for their support, and because they were busy covering their butts they did not support me in any visible way, only behind closed doors. Needless to say I was devastated by what felt like a betrayal. I hate talking about this stuff because it is truly over and done with now but for many years after, I was broken by it. The reason I am telling this is because it is part of why my artist child is afraid to be visible and why I have a hard time believing people when they say positive things about me and my work.

I had spent nine years, since my separation/divorce from my husband of twenty-two years, rebuilding my life from being a wife/mother to earning a degree in social work. I was finding my voice for the first time in my life and finding my way in the professional world of employment. I didn't understand workplace politics and was not equipped to deal with them and I naively thought that women would support each other and believed the feminine principle that everyone was equal and working in teh field I was in that there would be understanding and support.

I was also emotionally exhausted from dealing with my granddaughter having leukemia, losing my dad, almost dying from spinal meningitis, etc., etc., and just picking myself up and moving on. It finally caught up with me with my Mom's death and my job problems at the same time and my brother telling me three days after my Mom's death that he was sick of hearing my name.

And now on to safety. I hadn't realized it, but as long as my Mom was alive I felt safe. She was my safe person, she kept us safe from my dad who was a very angry man. He mellowed out when he got older but was very scarey when we were young. He didn't hit us but there was always tension in our home and we walked on eggshells afraid of setting him off. I felt as long as my Mom was there I had somewhere to go if something bad happened to me. Then something bad happened and she wasn't there anymore. (I was 53 at the time but your Mom is always your Mom).

So, finding my voice meant my husband left, finding my voice meant I had to leave my job, finding my voice meant my Mom and Dad moved away after we moved back to Canada from England (another story). So along with some other stuff my voice became a very scarey thing to use.

So, as JC says, most of the time when we are blocked in an area of our life, it is because we feel safer that way. I have been and am still somewhat blocked because my voice is a dangerous thing. I have been and am still somewhat blocked because I needed to be, I had to protect myself. I felt I had been rejected by the world, that nothing that I did was worth anything and so what was the point in doing anything any more. I was so full of pain, I couldn't face being rejected or hurt one more time.

Although I felt something inside of me broke - like a wild horse is broken - and didn't know how to fix it, there was a part of me that was so determined to find myself and know who I AM before I left this world, that I kept trying and fighting to find something in me that I could hold onto (or something out there that I could hold on to). In my life there has never been anyone who believed in me or championed me or recognized anything special in me and so that has been a difficult thing for me to find.

My demons were not people who put me down or told me my art was no good, that I would never be an artist, there was just never any support for it. INDIFFERENCE! And indifference is how I have come to feel about my accomplishments, my art, my life.

Again, going back to safety, after my Mom's death and leaving my job, I was so burned out that I couldn't work any more. Consequently, I had to sell my house and eventually lost pretty much everything. Losing control of your life really teaches you that there is no such thing as safety and life can change in an instant and that other people have the power to take your life away from you, so all you can do is live every day as best you can and find joy in small things.

Art is your voice, expressing your soul, so it really is necessary to feel safe in exposing it. It makes you vulnerable, because when your art is criticized your core, your soul-self is being criticized.

So, a really long post today, but I had to get that out. When I did the Artist's Way starting on August 2nd, 1993, I was at the beginning of my "Vision Quest" that well and truly turned out to be a VQ. Now sixteen years later, for the first time, I really feel like I have come out the other side of a very long, dark, hellish tunnel.

My blog is a place to have a voice and I feel some sense of safety here. If you have read this far, thanks for caring.


  1. A very powerful post delivered by a very powerful voice! You have my admiration for being such a strong and wonderful woman.

    If you'll allow me to say this to you:
    You're SAFE here among your fellow creatives.
    And I BELIEVE in you and your art.

    Go, go fly high and reach the stars! ;)

  2. I'm sorry I'm just getting to this today...I missed it yesterday....

    I second both Rose and HJ -- I truly do *hear* your beautiful, strong voice and yes...Sister, you are very, very safe here...

    This was such a powerful post -- you have been through so much and yet have emerged with grace and courage and a will to find the goodness in all of it...

    BELIEVE ME -- you are an inspiration and I thank Goddess for the day we *met*...