Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mural I painted on friends door.

The weather has finally normalized and I have some energy back.

My latest Artist's Way revelations: I realized this morning that I avoid creating because it stresses me out. I feel anxious and tense and I don't like that feeling. It stresses me out because I, more often than not, don't know what I am doing, I am learning as I go along and I am afraid of making mistakes, doing it wrong , messing it up. So I think of something else to do. Go out, watch tv, read a book, look at a book with other people's art to get ideas, anything other than creating myself. Oh, and go out to buy some art supplies for some new project that I am going to start. Then after buying it I just feel more overwhelmed because I have one more project to do that I don't really know how to do. Somehow, I have to stop this crazymaking behaviour and I am not sure where to start to stop it.

I visit Pat Winter's blog because what she does is so beautiful and speaks to my soul. It is calming and uplifting at the same time. It makes my heart sing and I want to be that. I want to be lace and flowers, delicate and beautiful colours and textures. I want to be birds and beads and beautiful emboidery stitches and silk ribbon flowers and beautiful embellishments and fibers and braid and trims. I want to create the beauty she creates with ease. I want to have all the things she has collected to create like she creates.

I want to make my apartment beautiful with lace and delicate china and cut embroidery linens.

I want to paint beautiful watercolour pictures of faeries and mushrooms and flowers and butterflies and birds and ladybugs and rabbits and hedgehogs and dragonflys and spiders. I want to create English Country Gardens in watercolours and fabrics and threads and in my apartment.

This is my heart, this is my home, I think -delicate, nature, craftsmanship.

This big fat person I have become is not me. I am the small, trim person I was when I was a child, a teen, a young adult before life turned me into this. My timidity, and my belief that I was wrong, my need to please out of fear, led me down a road of unconsciousness and nothingness, anxiety and fear until nothing about me was right. Until the belief that I did not makes mistakes, I am a mistake, paralyzed me so I struggle to be creative. I struggle to do anything that is a risk. Because when you are a mistake nothing you do is right.

This is the bare nitty gritty of my struggle.

My demons are my dad and my ex-husband who controlled me with fear and the constant threat of violence. I was never hit, I didn't need to be. The threat was enough. The constant simmering rage, the evil eye my dad perfected that told me I was less than nothing. My mother in her way was a demon because although she protected me she didn't stand up for me or support me in what was important to me. I don't blame her for this, it's just a fact. My workmates at the shelter are also my demons, they did not support me. My brother who laughed at me because I wanted to go to a charm to school to learn how to put on make-up and all that girly stuff. My brother hated me and stole my identity because I couldn't outshine him by being smart in school and being a star in my own right. I was just not allowed to shine because it would hurt his feelings. This came about because my dad picked on him and not me so my mother over-compensated and my dad picking on him was why he hated me.

My angels were my dad when he gave me all his art supplies before he died. There was no one I can think of when I was a child. I mostly remember indifference except when my parents bought me Prismacolour pencil crayons (which I still have), they were a very expensive luxury back then and a book called It's Fun To Draw. But none of it was nurtured so it didn't grow.

Another angel was Mr. Mac who was my boss at a drug store where I worked when I was in my teens. He let me do displays in the store and the windows.

As an adult, Rosalie and Carol encouraged me. But the damage was already done so I found it difficult to hear them. Carol bought a lot of the jewellery I made and little treasure bags and she paid me to paint a mural of a mermaid on her bathroom door. I owe Carol a lot and I owe her an apology. I want to make amends to her. I have actually thought about her a lot lately. I cut her out of my life over a small imagined slight when I was so messed up and full of anger.

My childhood accomplishments were drawing a large picture copied from the inside cover of an encyclopedia - but then I ruined it trying to paint it. I wrote a newsletter for the Black Dagger Club that my friends and I created. I wrote plays with friends and put them on in school assembly. I made a collage book about cars for one of my classes at school. The teacher said he was going to put it into a competition but when I asked about it a few weeks later he just brushed it off and said he changed his mind or something. I don't think I ever got it back. While I was making it my Mom said, "you're spending an awful lot of time on that," in a way that suggested it was silly to spend so much time on it. And the last thing is that I was a faery in a grade one play - if that's an accomplishment!

Five favourite childhood foods:

fish and chips at the beach
Bon Ton Bakery cakes
grandma's homemade brown bread and melted cheddar
angel food cake
mom's shortbread and peanut butter cookies
ice cream

Friends who nuture

Rosalie, Gill, Shirley

I wrote this poem on August 11th, 2002. I guess it says it all. Sometimes I think that some of the things I have written are an exaggeration of reality but then I wonder, how could I write it if I didn't feel it?


My tiny being was shattered
The first time my tiny ears
Were splintered by the
Raging storm that was
My father's voice

My tiny being was puzzled
The first time my large
Bright baby brown eyes
Saw contempt mirrored
I my father's eyes

My little being went into hiding
When my toys were hidden
All traces of play
Wiped from my hands, face and home
To meet my father's approval

My little being learned how to please
Being angry wasn't nice so I was
"Smartened up" in a "pretty" dress
Long blonde hair shiny and neat
A cute smile to soothe my father's wrath

My child being learned to be invisible
Because being too smart, too talented
Too noisy, too funny,
Too passionate, too strong
Threatened my father's kingdom

Me teen being fragmented
University, art school, charm school
Adventure, travel, driving
Being independent and creative
Didn't fit my father's definition of woman

My woman being left
When my adult eyes were blurred
As the fist of my knight
Hit the wall and I heard
The rage of my father's voice ring in my ears

My woman and child trapped by
What came before
A prisoner bound in denial and "love"
My intelligent, talented, charming knight
Like my father, didn't know the meaning of love

My baby, child, teen, woman
Shattered, splintered, fragmented, hidden
Frozen in the shadow of the contemptuous eyes
The raging voice, the pounding fist of
My father and my knight in shining armour

These are the things the Artist's Way brings up. These things don't hold the emotion for me that they used to but the old engrained feeling of fear and anxiety are harder to overcome because I have lived with them since I was a small child and I don't know any different. I have to find feelings that I don't know. Even identifying the feelings of fear and anxiety are difficult because they are just there as part of who I am. When they intensify, they become overwhelming. This is all new stuff that I identified in my morning pages today. The other problem I have is being numbed out. That is a whole other post.


  1. Good job with the remembering, releasing, and honesty! Sounds like you have a vision for where you want your art to go--as they say, if you can imagine it, you can become it. I like your mermaid.

  2. Wow that mermaid is so beautiful!
    I know what you mean about not creating because it can be stressful, what will I make? What will I say? What will it look like? the negative talk starts so I end up staring at the blank canvas or page and nothing is expressed or realeased. I felt trapped and frustrated for many years not creating what i wanted. That is why I started to blog, to be accountable. But still I struggle with that negative voice inside. I too wasn't nurtured as a child in creativity, but now I have friends and myself and my children who nurture me, feed me that love I needed as a child and that is OK. The hard part is learning to allow the love in, accepting it.
    One thing that has worked for me lately is to keep doing as much as I can at every opportunity keep the momentum and to play, make it fun, just throw the paint, use glitter to make it pretty or what ever takes your fancy.I have created some great journal pages with this process and it was in the making not the end result that was the great part!
    I must say that your art is very good and you have produced some gorgeous things, feminine, delicate and portraying are creating those things. You must have so many beautiful pieces of art work, very inspiring!

  3. I do understand some of this... After what happened to me it took a long time for the memory to fade. It no longer hurts and I have dealt with it but fear does indeed live on. I want to be thinner and fitter but am terrified of being so. Even as large as I am, I still get some interest. I remember what it was like when I was thinner and I look at the amount of attention my boss who is a few years older in our male-dominated workplace gets. I don't miss being wolf whistled as i go about my business. For me to be thin would take a lot of sustained courage.

  4. ((hugs))

    Thank you for your honesty and for sharing this part of your journey. This last chapter or so has, I think, dredged up a lot of hurtful stuff for all of us. We may have processed the raw emotion from those childhood hurts - to the point that we cope and go about our daily business - but they are still there and are contributing to what we think of ourselves and our work...

    I'm glad the pages are helping you find this stuff...