How Do We Transition Along with this Crazy Ass World?

What do we do in a world where logical reason and human decency don't seem to be the norm anymore?  

Was it ever the norm to begin with, or have we just been living in denial?

 

On Monday, we returned from the beach.  Rolling up to the house after a weekend of surfing is always a bittersweet moment. I’m happy to be home, but usually the Zen bliss I receive from surfing wears off pretty quickly after getting back to the valley.  Especially when I’m running down the street fussing at a very pissy young man for not cleaning up after his dogs, who habitually crap right in the middle of the sidewalk in front of my house.   Welcome home. 

My tolerance level has bottomed out.  It might be that I’m at my busiest time at work, it’s the end of the school year, and I have a show next week.  Whatever the case may be, I’m already feeling frazzled and I haven’t even gotten to the show yet.  I’m doomed!  It’s all terrible!  How ever will I pull through? 

Yeah yeah yeah.  Blah blah blah.  Bitch bitch bitch.  I know myself well enough to realize that I’m in a negative mind set and it’s going to take some work to get out.  Combine all of the small things with what is going on in our political environment right now and it’s a surprise that we’re not all bat shit crazy. 

I’m finding myself in a place of extreme frustration and agitation.  I feel that my rights as a woman are threatened, the world is literally dying, that life is hard and that’s just the way it is.  It made me feel worse after I tried to cheer up my daughter by telling her that life being hard is not abnormal.  That life’s a bitch and it’s how you handle it that matters.  Well that is definitely NOT what she wanted to hear.  I might as well have killed her puppy.

I told her that she has to take the beauty as it come and accept the chaos along the way. I told her that it won’t get easier, she is not unique in the struggle and that she has to choose how she handles it.  Yeah…she didn’t like any of that. 

But here’s the deal: We have to accept what life throws at us and simply deal with the onslaught.  We have to face the fact that the world is in a moment of transition, we are not in control, that we as a people have weaknesses and it is not ok to sweep those weaknesses under the carpet just because we don’t want to look at them. 

We can pretend to have it all together.  We can pretend to be strong.  We can pretend to be macho.  It’s all bullshit.  I mean, how many people do you know who really, honestly, have it all together?  I’m going to go ahead and say I know two people in my life who have mastered Zen and the Art of Living.  That would be my Father and my Husband.  (Yes, I’m aware that I married my Father.)

The rest of us?  We’re hot mess sundaes with moments of clarity sprinkled on top.  Half the time, I have no idea what the hell is happening.  The other half, I seem to have an ok grip.  But life sure makes it hard to remain in a state of sanity. Why?  Life!  That’s why!

Here is a taste of what I’m talking about: 

  • Friend #1 just wants to take her dog for a damn walk.  She has a big ole Pitbull, but that doesn’t stop the skeezy men who hang out in the park across from her house from ogling and making unwelcome comments.  She doesn’t feel safe walking her fucking Pitbull.

    • Friend #2 needed a roommate, found one, allowed him to move in and he immediately went fucking crazy, refuses to pay rent, or leave, and makes her feel so threatened that she is now living at a neighbor’s house as she awaits a court date.

      • Friend #3 had to go to court to figure out a co-parenting schedule with the Dad, who has not paid a penny in child support, but still felt the need to drag her to court.

        • Not to mention the five different long-term couples we are friends with who have all had total relationship breakdowns within the past year.  Couples dropping like flies around here! 

          • Oh…and the small thing that’s happening to women’s rights presently…I mean how are we all not 100% cray cray at this point?  

           

          Need further evidence?  Here’s a sampling of the first three posts on my Facebook timeline right now:

          • From simple anger: “Growling. Vague book style. Growl with me please. Life is not fair & mean people suck. That is all. Grrrrrrrrr.”

            • To trying to make light: “What the hell is going on?? If my mind wasn’t so blown I’d be able to think of the punch line but there are so many jokes I can barely separate them all.” 

              • To resigning oneself to a global realization: “Worldwide embarrassment.”


              What the hell IS going on?  Is the wisdom I’m trying to give to my daughter doing more damage than good?  Is it just me, or does the shit storm just keep getting more extreme?  I’m finding it harder and harder to keep my cool.  Maybe I shouldn’t.  Perhaps the time has come to ditch all of my pre-conceived notions of how “normal life” works.  To be honest, normalcy got thrown out the window when I realized how naïve I’ve been my whole life in thinking that men and women are equals. (The fact that we don’t receive equal pay blew my mind. Insert eye roll here.) 

              So, what do we do?  Ditch our lives, head to D.C. and protest?  Drag out crazy roommates by the hair?  Shame dead beat dads on social media?  I’ve always been one to take the peaceful route, but frankly, I’m feeling pretty done being polite.  You can ask the guy who I chased down the street demanding that he clean up his dog crap.  He looked at me like I was the asshole. 

              I’m done being quiet.  IT’S NOT OK.  None of it.  I’m not sure what to do but protest in my own way, which today means breaking my own rule of using only one bad word per blog post.  I can talk about meditation and exercise, getting outside and practicing acceptance.  That doesn’t seem to be scratching my itch lately.  Everything feels broken.

              I apologize for being such a downer today but that’s where I’m at.  I don’t know what the answer is.  I think I’ll go do some Yoga.  Om fucking Shanti.

               

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

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              Tiara is my Super Power: The Strange Ways I Stay Calm

              I’m standing on the corner of Stay Calm and Freak Out trying to decide which way I’m going to go. 

               

              I know which way I’d like to go and I’m attempting to remind myself that I always feel like this before a show.  So, you know what that means…


              …It’s full on TIARA TIME! 

               

              Oh yeah.  I was standing in my studio right after kid #1 came in sick, and a half-hour later, kid #2 came in panicked and crying, and I thought to myself, “when did life get so chaotic?”  Then I saw the sparkling tiara sitting on my shelf.  I don’t know what it is, but that tiara makes me feel like a gad damn Wonder Woman.  I wore it the rest of my day and at the dinner table.  I have to love my family for not even mentioning it. 

              Today, I’ve got to be in go mode.  I have to get the house ready to be cleaned, go to Trader Joes for cookies and cider, Office Depot for a new receipt book, get the Christmas decorations out of the garage (omg I hope the box is easy to find), and start transforming my house into a gallery. Oh!  And I’ve got to write this blog post.   (Thanks for helping me suss out today’s to do list.)  

              Did I mention that I’m fighting off a migraine, whatever illness the kids have brought in, and haven’t felt so tired since having a baby? 

              This is how tired I’ve been:  I went to the ocean over the weekend.  I surfed Friday and had a blast.  Saturday morning, I woke up to find a cold and windy beach but still, it was totally surfable.  I watched my hubbie and his BFF paddle out...and promptly fell asleep in the van.  Like the dead.  

              Hubbie woke me when they got out.  I said hello, and fell asleep again.  We left the beach and went to BFF’s house where we ate and I passed out on the sofa.  Hubbie woke me and moved me back into the van where I slept until 8:00am the next morning.  Sunday, we took at redwood hike, which was lovely, and then headed home where I was in bed by 9:00pm.  I guess I needed the rest.

              It’s been an exhausting couple of months.  Some of the most physically and emotionally exhausting since giving birth.  Before a show, I traditionally get crazy nervous anyway, but now, I’m heading into the show already feeling somewhat compromised.  I just keep telling my body to pretty please hold off on getting sick until Sunday evening.  

              I am reminding myself that my holiday sale is filled with art all about joy, love, and laughter.  Plus, I’ve decided to display my series called, A Lovely Mess, which I have not shown locally.  A Lovely Mess is a visual description of the chaos of life, and the beauty that hides within, if we’re willing to look for it.

              A good reminder.

              I am so blessed in this life.  I am surrounded by natural beauty and amazing people.  I have a home, a car, too many clothes, and access to art, music, and the ocean.  I love playing records and paint-dancing in the studio.  I love surfing.  I have a beautiful family, and the added bonus that we all like each other a whole lot (well…most of the time…they are teenagers after all…).  

               

              There are people in this world with real problems…like no access to clean water problems…and here I am whining about being nervous before a dang art show. 

               

              I know that my feelings of anxiety are valid and deserve attention, but today, as I stand on the corner of Stay Calm and Freak Out, I find myself feeling guilty about feeling anxious.  There are people in this world with real problems…like no access to clean water problems…and here I am whining about being nervous before a dang art show. 

              My feelings are real and should not be dismissed but I have to wonder, when did I get so self-centered?  Is it the culture that we’ve been raised in?  We live in an incredible land of privilege.  My guess is that even some people who live on welfare have it pretty decent when compared to a lot of the world.  And yet, I would also guess that we are one of the most stressed out societies on the planet.

               

              I wish this holiday, beyond all else, that I could just flip a switch and make the anxiety disappear.

               

              I wish this holiday, beyond all else, that I could just flip a switch and make the anxiety disappear.  I often think about the old crusty surfer that I met on the beach one day who, with a twinkle in his eye, told me that, “stress is optional”.  It doesn’t feel optional.  How does that happen?  How do I get there?  Teach me, Oh Crusty One.

              So, great…now I’m feeling anxious over feeling anxious.  Dang, the hamster is running early this morning.  But I have hope.  I have hope because right when I wrote the sentence about the hamster, I pictured it in my mind, aimlessly running in the wheel, but this time, the hamster in my head has a fucking tiara on. 

              My wish this holiday season is that everyone can drop a little joy into their stress filled days.  That when our families start getting under our skin, we can picture them wearing tutus and tiaras.  When traffic, shopping, wrapping and unwrapping makes us think of pollution, waste and debris, we can also see the sparkle of the season and remember how freaking lucky we are to be born here, and not Syria.    

              That the dark side of life is only one side, and we can choose to focus on the light and joyous side, and simultaneously live in a way that doesn’t feed the dark.  What a gift that would be. 

              Do you ever have guilt about feeling anxious or stressed?  In the comments below, I’d love to hear one way you could shift that perspective.    

              And look, I know I’m a silly human.  I mean, who the hell puts on a tiara when they’re feeling stressed to the max.  Apparently, I do…and guess what…it’s all good.

                

              Marigny Goodyear Art Tiara Therapy

               

              The photo at top is one of my little relief surfboard paintings I've created, for the holidays.  They simply represent joy, positivity, optimism.  This one is Psychedelic Sea Stars, 8"x10", Acrylic on Canvas, Framed $280.  

               

              CLICK HERE to learn more and join the waitlist to get early access to my online holiday pop up sale.  Give a one-of-a-kind gift of love, laughter and joy and receive a FREE GIFT FROM ME when you order.

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

              Gratitude & Reassurance from the Universe...in a Bowling Alley

              Sometimes the Universe lets me know I’m on the right track, by simply making me smile.

              I cannot believe the holidays are here.  That’s it.  2020 will be here before we know it.  It’s just a stone’s throw away. I find that by the time Thanksgiving hits, the holiday whirlwind sweeps me up and pitches me out into the new year before I’ve even had time to look around and see what the hell just happened.

              Well, that’s what it feels like anyway.  Thankfully, due to the recent transition tornado that hit my life about six weeks ago, I’ve already been in whirlwind mode, and so I’m feeling strong and prepared today.  I’m already in crazy town!  Whatchoo gonna do now, Universe?

              You know what the Universe did this week?  Gave me a big ole pat on the back.  It said, “Girl, you’re doing so well.  You’re being of service in a time of need in a big way, and I see you.” 

              The message came while listening to oldies, in lane one of a bowling alley with carpeted wall decor.  No kidding. 

               

              How did the Universe tell me this?  The message came while listening to oldies, in lane one of a bowling alley with carpeted wall decor.  No kidding. 

              I haven’t bowled in…well…I can’t remember the last time.  I used to love it.  In high school, my friends and I would clown car it in a station wagon to the Bowl-A-Rama where we would play “Mellow Yellow” and “Secret Agent Man” on the juke box, and bowl with an extreme amount of silliness…usually ending with someone getting injured.  (I’m looking at you Eliot.  I will never understand how one pulls a groin bowling.)  Good times.

              This past Sunday, we were invited to join a group of friends for a few games.  I was tired AF, and have turned down many a plan lately.  However, bowling?  Now that sounded like something I could socialize for.

              Game one, first thing that happened is that I bowled three strikes in the first three frames.  Wa-Wa-What?! I have never in my life done that and chalked it up to someone needing to get a “turkey” right before Thanksgiving.  But it didn’t stop there.  I continued to bowl the best score of my life in that first game.  A 145, to be exact. 

              I was pretty proud, but knew it was a fluke when first frame of game two, I got a gutter ball.  Woops.  But then…spare…spare….spare…strike…spare...holy crap what is happening?  Game two, I bowled a 136.

              Game three, I thought for sure my arm would be tired, but no, I bowled a 155, including a strike and spare in the last frame.  My lowest score of 136 was even 20 points above the next high score.  In short, I killed it.  I blew everyone away, every game.  Even my hubbie, whom I have NEVER beat in bowling.  Never. Not in the 14 years we’ve been together.

               

              There, sitting in lane one, I felt as though the Universe was patting me on the back saying, “For right now, you’re a gad damn winner.”

               

              Over the past month, I have been exhausted to the point of freaking out in front of my family at the breakfast table, repeatedly crying in my studio, and hysterically laughing at the prospect of what the hell could possibly happen next.  There, sitting in lane one, I felt as though the Universe was patting me on the back saying, “For right now, you’re a gad damn winner.”

              I say that in jest, but I’ve really been thinking about it.  I have written in the past about paying attention to the signs on our paths.  How if we look around and observe, we will be able to tell if we are where we need to be, or if we have decided to detour and go off-roading (which can be fun, but not so good on the shocks).

              While I have not been questioning the decisions made in the past six weeks per se, I admit that when times are overwhelming, it’s easy for doubt to creep in.  On Sunday, I felt that the Universe was giving me a reassuring pep talk and saying, “You’ve been working hard.  You’re doing awesome.  Here’s something fun to smile big about.”

              I mean, my highest ever bowling score was like a 110.  I was always stoked when I broke 100.  But a 155?  That’s some higher power shit right there. 

              Thursday is Thanksgiving which has a complicated history that hasn’t been presented all that accurately.  But, no matter the origin story, it has become a time for family and friends to get together, and for all of us to reflect on the things that we are grateful for. 

              So…I am grateful for my incredibly supportive, patient, and giving family and friends.  I am grateful to be of service to someone I deeply care for, when they need it most.  I am grateful for the ups in life, but also for the downs, as they amplify the ups when they come, and teach me profound lessons while they are present. 

              I am grateful to live in an absolutely gorgeous place where the mountains take my breath away and the ocean continues to teach me about myself.  I am grateful for my simple home that keeps me warm and dry.  I am grateful that I am tuned in to the Universe and can hear the direction that comes my way.

              And I am incredibly grateful for YOU.  THANK YOU for being on this crazy, beautiful, artventure with me.  I love this community and I know that we will all continue to inspire each other as we move into 2020. 

              In the comments below, I’d love for you to tell me three things you are grateful for. 

              Aw crap…here come the tears again.  So be it.  I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with love, laughter, joy…and pie so good, it makes you cry. 

               

              Love & light always,

              Marigny

               

              The photo at top is one of my little relief surfboard paintings I'm making for the holidays.  They simply represent joy, positivity, optimism.  This one is Del Norte, 8"x8", Acrylic on Canvas, $160.  

              CLICK HERE to learn more and join the waitlist to get early access to my online holiday pop up sale,  Give a one-of-a-kind gift of love, laughter and joy and receive a FREE GIFT FROM ME when you order.

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

              How Not to Turn Crazy This Holiday Season

              The holidays can turn me into a stark raving mad stress machine!  Making self-care a priority enables me to enjoy the holidays, while lowering my stress.   

              Maybe it’s the need to fit in all the events.  Or maybe there’s pressure to decorate the house so that it looks as good as the neighbors’.  Quite possibly there is financial stress in finding extra cash for presents.  Maybe you just don’t want to see your in-laws... 

              Whatever the case may be, I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!  “Like what?” you may ask.  The stress. The pressure.  The overwhelm. The Christmas carols.  All of it.  All the things that come with the holidays.

              This time of year, I am particularly prone to “hamster wheel brain” and “chicken with my head cut off syndrome”.  I mean, let’s be honest here, I’m prone to it all year long.  So, add in multiple deadlines, revenue goals, holiday cards (both personal and professional), Christmas gift shopping, all the events and parties, and the one enjoyable task on my holiday to do list, pie baking, and I am ripe for anxiety overload. 

              Not to mention that as the holidays approach, people seem to have an increased level of road rage…or is it just me?

              Yesterday, an hour before my weekly Yoga class, I thought to myself, “I definitely don’t have time for Yoga this week!”  So that meant that I DEFINITELY had to go.  I’m glad I did.  Self-care is important this time of year and I mustn’t let that go slack, that’s for damn sure. 

              So, there I was getting my Om on, and I announced to my Yoga community that I was having my locals’ holiday art sale.  I was explaining that this year, my holiday art is focused on positivity and the things that bring me love, laughter, and joy, and immediately I felt a shift in my stress level.

              Just talking about the art that I’m creating for the holidays (both my local in person sale and my online holiday pop up), created a sense of ease.  It was as if I reminded myself what I was proactively doing in order to take care of myself and keep overwhelm at bay. 

               

              What we focus on is what we create more of.

               

              With that reminder, I was able to let go and completely drop in to my Yoga practice and man, what an amazing class it was.  (Props to Melissa Cooley here in Talent, Oregon at Om Sweet Om Yoga Studio.  If you are looking for a Yoga teacher in the Talent, OR area, go to her.  She’s one of the best.)  I came back home feeling totally refreshed and I dove into the studio, where I am completely behind, but I no longer felt as stressed about it as I did when I left to go to class.

              I’ve talked about this before, but saying things out loud is powerful.  By just announcing my intention of my holiday art to a group of 10 people, I reminded myself of what I am attempting to create for the holidays.  Art that brings love, laughter, and joy.  I mean, if I’m focusing on that, I won’t give my brain much time to starting looking around for things to stress about.

               

              Last week I talked about being pro-active in our self-care heading into the holiday season, and here I am, one week later, already needing a reminder myself.

               

              Last week I talked about being pro-active in our self-care heading into the holiday season, and here I am, one week later, already needing a reminder myself.  What we focus on is what we create more of.  I could focus on the stress and tap into a never-ending stress Mobius within myself, or, I can focus on this art.  This beautiful art that makes me smile and reminds me of how I want to live: In love, with lots of laughter and infinite joy.

              So, with that, I’m back into the studio this morning.  I have art to make for you and for myself.  I want to head into the holidays with a stream of positive cosmic dust in my wake. I am a pie baking, positivity seeking, optimism comet!  I can do this.  So can you.  Let’s continue into this holiday season with happiness and bring that into the new year.

              I'd like to know where, in the busiest of times, you go for solace.  Tell me in the comments below.  

              I’ll be going to Yoga, taking my walks, and keeping up with my daily breathing and meditation practices.  After all, this is the time of year when pie and cookies are a food group, and family and friends make time for each other. Why choose stress?

               

              The image at top is one of my little surfboard relief paintings.  It’s a little shiny as it’s awaiting it’s finishing coat, but it makes me smile never-the-less and reminds me of the joy and creativity that surfing sparks within.  This one is called "Three Dollar Board", 8”x10”, Acrylic on Canvas.  

              CLICK HERE to get on the waitlist, get early access to my online holiday pop up sale and give a one-of-a-kind gift of love, laughter and joy and receive a free gift from me when you order.

                

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

              Warding Off Holiday Stress by Creating Joyful Art

              When holiday stress threatens my sanity, I search for inspiration in what brings me joy. 

              And with a strike of lightening and a crash of thunder, the holidays arrived. 

              Ok ok…it’s not THAT dramatic.  But does anyone else feel like the anxiety tornado triples in size this time of year?  I suppose I could talk about all the things I usually talk about starting around Thanksgiving…gratitude, self-care, being of service, and yes, all of those things are important.

              But I also talk about those things all year long and frankly, I’m a little tired of listening to myself.  Sometimes I feel like all I do is bitch, forgive myself for bitching, come up with strategies so there is less to bitch about, repeat.

              I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some fun!  The holidays are here.  My local’s only holiday sale, and my online holiday pop up sale are both in 3 weeks, and I have a lot to do.  I was going to make a shit ton of Love Clubs for the sale, but to be honest, I’m kind of tired about thinking about how women don’t feel safe in the world.  Yes, they’re funny, but also not at all (plus I have enough of them pre-made already to offer, and I’m going to have a “build your own” custom Love Club option at the local’s sale). 

               

              Love, laughs, and joy is all I want to surround myself with right now. 

               

              Instead, I’m focusing on joy.  What brings me joy without question every single time?  Surfing.  So, for my holiday sale, I’m making a series of (I hope) fifteen surfboard relief paintings based on my old sketches of surfboard art that I did years ago in the mornings between dropping my kiddo off at school, and heading into work.

              For months, I sat and drew surfboard art.  It was (and still is) a dream job of mine.  By the time I stopped, I probably had something like 40 different designs, from abstract, to ocean life inspired.  I knew that I would do something with them one day and it seems that now is the time. I went way back into my Instagram feed and chose the 15 most “liked” designs to use for the project. 

              These relief paintings are a new style for me.  As you know, I love changing things up and keeping myself interested.  I didn’t think that just painting the surfboards on a canvas would make the impact that I wanted them to make.  I want them to POP off the canvas, literally. 

              So, I am using a light acrylic molding paste to actually build the surfboard on the canvas so that they are three dimensional.  Each surf board is given a few layers of the paste so that they are noticeably built up off the canvas.  I sand and shape them by hand.  No molds are used.  Each is unique. 

              Then I paint my design on the board. I was adding complex backgrounds but quickly realized that the surfboard itself was the star of the show, and was more powerful of an image with solid color backgrounds.  So, solid colors backgrounds it is, with a few subtle additions here and there.

              They are charming and they make me smile. The art that I will offer at the beginning of December, both at my local’s only holiday sale and my online holiday pop up sale, are focusing on the bright side of life.  Heart Flower paintings for love, Love Clubs for laughs, and Surfboards for joy. 

               

              Love, laughs, and joy is all I want to surround myself with right now.  I want reminders of the light.  I need to be nurtured by positivity.  My art for the holidays is all about that nurturing, especially heading into the new year.

               

              And with that, I have to go and do stuff.  I know it’s a short blog today, but time is of the essence and I have SO MUCH to do. 

              Are you starting to feel that “holiday dread”?  In the comments, tell me one thing that you could do for yourself during this season that would help you sustain your energy and positive attitude.  It ain’t all poinsettias and gingerbread men, no matter what the Costco display says. 

              Love and light to you,

              Marigny

               

              The image at top is a grouping of the surfboard designs that I would sketch, sitting in a cafe early in the morning, before heading into my jobby-job.  

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

               

               

              Four Reasons to Speak Your Truth, No Matter What Others Think

              We fear speaking our truths because of rejection, judgement, and being misunderstood, but in fact, hiding our truths is far more damaging than speaking them.

               

              Last week I sent out a questionnaire to you, My Fellow Artventurer.  I asked about fears and/or challenges that you have surrounding speaking your truth, finding peace within your life, and living with an anxious mind. 

              I received many different answers to the “finding peace” and “living with an anxious mind questions”, but the question, “when it comes to speaking your truth, what is your greatest fear or challenge,” resulted in one common answer: you’re afraid to speak your truth because of the reaction you’ll receive from others.

              This answer came in a few different forms:

              “I worry what people will think of me.”

              “The truth can hurt others.”

              “Being misunderstood by the listener.”

              “Judgement and rejection.”

              “No one listens.”

              “That the other person will get mad/yell at me.”

              “Being rejected or not understood." 

              “The truth—and I—will be received poorly.”

              “Being rejected or told I’m not worth it.” 

              “Rejection and misunderstanding.”

              Holy Moly.  Quite the common thread.  I TOTALLY 100% resonate with these answers as I lived the majority of my life scared to death of what others thought of me.  So much so, that I didn’t show my true self, I didn’t state my true needs, and I made decisions based on what I thought “you” wanted me to do (without asking you, of course). 

              Never-the-less, once again this questionnaire has shown me how alike we are, and that my fears are not unique.  It has really made me ponder why is it, exactly, that we fear the reaction of others as much as we do. 

              I remember when I was a teenager, I was at a restaurant and really wanted to order meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but ordered a burger instead because I was scared of what the other kids at the table would think of my comfort food craving.  If I didn’t even order the food I wanted based on fear of judgement, you can imagine what the other decisions in my life were like.

              When I was in my late 30s, I decided to start writing this blog about being an artist.  If you go back to the beginning, my blogs were about my process in the studio and the projects I was currently working on.  Then I began to speak freely about the challenges of living with anxiety, loneliness, insecurities, all of the emotions that I had felt all through my life and squirreled away into a great big hole within, too afraid of what it would mean if I expressed how I really felt inside.

              Then I dropped my truth bomb about being an alcoholic and promiscuous teen and what that had done to my emotional and mental health as I grew into a woman.  It was that essay that unlocked the power of speaking my truth. 

              First off, I found out I was not alone.  Talk about a shocker.  Women from all over the world reached out to me, not only to say that they too felt what I felt, but also to thank me for having the courage to speak up about an uncomfortable topic.  They called me strong.  They thanked me for offering a way to talk to our children and stop the cycle of girls growing into women who feel that they have nothing to offer men beyond their sex.  I now realize that none of us are alone.

              Number two, I discovered that speaking my truth gives me confidence, and that makes me want to do it more.  My life changed that day I began hearing from my readers.  I felt seen, maybe for the first time.  And that was not the fault of my loved ones who support me no matter what.  They were always there.  But I learned that my silence was me hiding, and that’s why I had not been seen before.

              Thirdly, I discovered that I had been living dishonestly.  You know what the opposite of truth is, right?  Yup…a lie.  I had to admit that me not speaking my truths was just as damaging as me telling lies.  I was scared of the outcome of telling others how I felt, and so I created my truth based on what I thought “you” wanted me to say.  The damage that was created within my life by not speaking my truths was hard for me to look at, but existed none-the-less.

              Fourth, I realized that what others think and say about me is NONE OF MY DAMN BUSINESS.  I mean that.  You might be saying, “Of course it’s my business!  It’s about me!” and I suppose if others are slandering me to a point that it’s effecting my home life or career, then yes, that is my business.  But otherwise, everyone has an opinion and the opinions of others are not here to serve me.  My mental health is too important to be stifled by worry about what others think about me.

               

              The fact is the damage that I inflicted upon myself by not speaking my truths, was FAR WORSE than the damage that anyone else’s opinion ever inflicted upon me.

               

              Damn…I wish I had learned that lesson when I was in my teens, or twenties, or earlier in my thirties for that matter.  The fact is the damage that I inflicted upon myself by not speaking my truths, was FAR WORSE than the damage that anyone else’s opinion ever inflicted upon me.  I was my own bully.  I allowed the infinite “what if” scenarios to be the decision makers. 

              And far worse, I made my decisions based on what I thought you wanted me to do without even asking you, therefore, I decided that I knew what you were thinking! If I think about it, that’s pretty fucking arrogant. I mean, who am I to know what anyone is thinking.  What…I’m some omnipotent being who can read minds?  No...I thought everyone thought like I did, and I was extremely judgmental. 

              Funny, huh?  I was terrified of the judgements of others, but really it was me that thought I knew everything.  And worse, when it blew back in my face, I blamed you for not acting how I thought you would.

              *Deep sigh.  I’m still learning.  Apparently, a lot of us are.  I would like to continue talking about the importance of speaking our truths as I can see that many of us live in self-imposed prisons that we have judged and sentenced ourselves to. 

              I’d like to investigate what allowed me to change this behavior.  What was it that made me feel safe to do so?  Is there a way for us to learn how before we create damage within our lives that can’t be undone (AKA hitting rock bottom…)?

              Let’s try this…for one week, so until my next blog post, let’s all commit to speaking at least one small truth a day.  This could be when your partner says, “what do you want to watch tonight?” and you say, “I don’t care,” when in reality you want to watch Legally Blond for the one hundredth time. It could be asking for someone else to make dinner on Wednesday, instead of slogging into the kitchen to make dinner, all the while hiding resentment towards the bottomless mouth holes that are your family.  (Come on…we’ve all felt it…)

              In the comments below, I want to hear one baby truth bomb that you’ll drop this week. 

              These examples may seem small, but in my past, I would harbor an incredible amount of anger around these types of daily scenarios.  If we can’t learn to communicate our truths in these simple ways, what’s the likelihood we’ll do it when big stuff comes up? 

              We must start by starting, and so, let’s begin.

                

              My Reclaimed Hearts series is now available on my website.  These paintings are all about the healing and strength that I gained by speaking my truth.  I have learned that my feelings count, and that I owe it to myself and my loved ones to express it, even when it seems hard.  Learn more about these paintings and give yourself a reminder of the importance of speaking our truths by Clicking Here. 

               

              The painting at top is from the Reclaimed Hearts series. Diving Heart 8, 6”x6”, acrylic & paper on canvas with a 1.5” gallery wrap profile.  $120

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

              Thank God for This Particular Anxiety Symptom

              In times of crisis, I have discovered that my anxiety can actually be quite helpful.

               

              Today my heart is bursting at the seams with love.  In a time of crisis, I have witnessed my community come together in an incredible way.  As one who has always been a bit wary of “the kindness of strangers”, I have met people as recently as this morning who have shown me such an amazing outpouring of generosity and kindness, that I was holding back tears while walking to my car.

              Ok, maybe I'm not holding them back anymore.  It’s been a week of keeping it all together, and yesterday, I finally broke down, releasing all of my emotions surrounding a very sensitive situation.  Now, the flood gates are opening and the smallest kindness is enough to make me straight up ugly cry. 

              I usually like to talk about my anxiety and the situations that exacerbate it as specifically as possible.  I don’t have that luxury in this particular situation, due to other people being involved, but I will say that I have learned some important things about my community and about my anxiety, especially when applied to times of crisis.  

               

              In a time where “community” has become difficult to cultivate, this past week I learned that I have one that will stand up and be there for each other, no matter how difficult the situation. 

               

              Community wise, the short of it is that in a time where “community” has become difficult to cultivate, this past week I learned that I have one that will stand up and be there for each other, no matter how difficult the situation.   We have all come together in a rare and powerful way and I am grateful beyond words to know that exists.  It has been witnessed and commented on by many and I am blown away by the help that we have given to each other.  OMG what a blessing.

              Anxiety wise, I have a few observations.  One is that my anxiety can help me be a strong mother fucker when I need to be.  I spend much of my time thinking about how to deal with what I assume to be weakness when it comes to living with anxiety. 

               

              Anxiety often tells me that I don’t do enough and I don’t do good enough. 

               

              Anxiety often tells me that I don’t do enough and I don’t do good enough. In turn, I am extremely detail oriented and so paranoid about doing right by myself and others, that I will work myself to the bone to make sure that I am giving one million percent of myself, at all times. It’s an excellent way to burn out, and something that I have become aware of overtime, and that I am careful to check myself on when practicing self-care.

              This month, I’ve been discussing how my series of paintings, Reclaimed Hearts, and sub series, A Lovely Mess, address finding the light in the darkest of situations.  This mindset is allowing me to find a benefit within this particular anxiety symptom:  I am a rock star in a crisis.

              Over the past week, I have held myself, and others, together.  I have organized a tremendous amount of information, moved my office, and re-organized my home.  I have implemented a way of streamlining all of the new moving parts within my household.  I have still managed to grocery shop, cook for my family, keep up with my business, and most importantly, I have made time to practice self-care during it all. 

              I have stayed calm and collected during all of this.  Yesterday, I finally cried, but it was a good cry.  It was a “oh everything is going to be ok” cry. 

              I recalled when my best friend had her first baby, extremely prematurely.  She had to go to the NICU every day for weeks to care for her little one.  She put one foot in front of the other and got what needed to get done, done.  When she finally got her daughter home, she called me and said, “Well…that was REALLY hard,” and finally was able to exhale.

              That’s where I feel I am today.  Exhaling.  Hard. 

               

              Today, I am thankful for my anxiety. 

               

              Today, I am thankful for my anxiety.  I am thankful that the sometimes-manic perfectionism helped me stay organized so I could walk clearly through the unbelievable chaos.  I am grateful that, for every negative thought I have about myself and my anxiety, that I am able to see how those same characteristics make me solid in times of crisis, when others are having trouble seeing the road ahead.

              And I am crying right at this very moment thinking about my community.  I know now that I am not and will never be 100% alone.  There will always be others looking out for me and my family.  That we are a village who will sacrifice and make what needs to happen, happen, despite inconveniences and situations that are beyond our control.  We came together.  We are creating order within the chaos. And we are doing that because we have love in our hearts for each other.

              My to do list over the past week has not yet stopped growing, unfortunately, and I still have art to make for the holidays.  Life doesn’t stop for crisis, but I am part of a team of people who are all propping each other up until the storm passes, and the seas are calm again.  We have each other’s backs, and that is a light brightly outshining the darkness.  The darkness is no match for the outpouring of love that I have witnessed, and for that, oh man, I am thankful.  Onward.

              In the comments below, I’d love to know one thing that is helpful for you, in the midst of a crisis.  Much love and peace to you.

               

              The painting at top is from my Reclaimed Hearts, series and is titled, Night Rainbow, (24x24, Acrylic & Paper on Canvas, $1200). This is a nod to one of my favorite children's books by Cooper Edens called, If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow. Edens also suggests, "If there is no happy ending, make one out of cookie dough." This week, I am grateful for the Night Rainbow that is my community. 

               

              To learn more about Reclaimed Hearts, and to get on the waitlist and receive a discount code for the November original art sale, CLICK HERE

               

              I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.