I’ve been working hard this past year to not be so critical of my creative attempts. It has been difficult to let go of that voice that says rubbish, not good enough, or start over. Playing with craft, whatever medium it is, for just the sake of playing is not my strong suit. I like goals, boundaries, rules and coloring inside the lines. As a child, I loved to go make things in the mud. That same child also ran inside multiple times in the day to “clean up”. There are too many crafts that capture my admiration and inspire me until the hours of the day have melted. The year is nearly gone. I have semi retired from working in the conventional sense. Work that gave my life meaning and repetition, but also took a toll on my body and my personal relationships. I do miss it. Leaving that safe space and releasing worry and the desire to please, I have made ten or so quilts- handquilting them all, completed two older oils and put them on the wall, begun to watercolor again, and am attempting to collage and sketch with less of a demand to perfection. My short stories and poetry may again be published. It is very much a “return” to an earlier personhood- a personality that was put “on hold”. The house is messier than I prefer but very comfortable. The garden has weeds in it more often than it used to. The animals are getting more attention, as are relationships. I do still worry. Did I leave my profession too soon? Will the economy have a meltdown? Will a visitor look at my home and think, wow, dusty? Will my art ever be good enough? But that critical voice has a counterpoint finally that reminds me, there are only so many days to this life and each one should be spent carefully and with full intent. So, hello 2020- come on in. Let this new year be a better year of relationship to all the ways the heart feels joy. And if possibly, let it be open to community where playing and messiness is welcome.
I recently went to see the movie “Dark Waters”. If you haven’t yet, please do and soon. The story is based on the real struggle of a lawyer against Dupont- a struggle that continues on many fronts but largely away from public view. It’s not exciting news. It’s difficult and depressing and mind boggling astounding. The thought that this company knew that some of its product line was hazardous to all, knew for decades, and yet continued to put on the happy face while collecting billions. That was the hardest thing for me to get past. After all, companies are made of human beings. Sigh. And if there is even one company that would be willing to count income over lives, then there are surely others. Oversight is largely by the companies themselves. I haven’t had a teflon pan in ages. Telfon though is still in production and still used in other items. This is just one such chemical that pervades our lives. There are many, many more that should be removed from production. I much more skeptical that the packaging and wrapping could ever be without cost. Over time, I have tried to reduce my plastics in general. No one needs microplastics. No one needs this continued production of things that will continue to haunt our environment for decades to come.
Recently my youngest sister posted yet another ode to the greatness of her father, and how much she missed him. He passed away of cancer, painfully and in my mind the painful part was rightfully so. I left home at 13 due to this man’s abuse. The abuse was physical, mental and sexual. Social workers and cops knew our address growing up. The last time he punched me, I left to never come back. I lived initally at a friend’s home, then the street briefly, then at an Aunt’s, and finally was shuttled off to live with my Grandparents. They were appalled that I had run away and never dived into the mess of why. I barely knew them as they had moved South to Texas years ago. At that time, my youngest sister, half sister, was only two years old. I later returned to that home to find my middle sister was being abused, more subtle this time around but even so enough to force my stepfather and mother to let her come to live with my grandparents. My Mother seemed actually relieved blaming my middle sister for the obvious petting and flirting. In my absence, my youngest sister had learnt to villify me- calling me bad, not being able to talk with her on the phone, and no longer being allowed to play with her. It was a painful time. For years I had very little contact with this youngest sister even though I had reached our several times, and now it is via social media and little else. She has no idea really of the why I left. She knows that both her parents had addiction issues with most of the blame seemingly placed on Mom. I cringe everytime I see the celebration of this man’s birthday, his death idolized, his relationship with this sister placed on a pedestal and so far I have bit my tongue. In the meantime, the players are mostly gone- my Mother to her alcoholism, my sister to one bad relationship after another and evenutal death due to drugs. In my own life, intimate relationships have been downright difficult even close friendships. I know that this abuse has shadowed a good deal of my life and am blessed to now have a good relationship, and no addiction issues- though in that case, I censor every glass of wine and re-examine all holiday blues….