Tag: hard work

The first good day in so long…

studio1_8162014I woke up today at 7:30 am and emerged from bed without massive pain or weakness.  Darwin was willing to go for a walk with me – his normal reticence to have me go long distances had subsided. (The dog has watched me fall one too many times.)

I was able to move through some other issues – advertised the rooms I have for DSCN5425rent, got flyers printed for Lessons for Luddites, and generally started creeping forward a bit.  Movement was such a blessing after this time of suffering.

By 9:30, I opened up the studio.  Instead of launching into throwing immediately, I started a project that was suggested to me in the spring: I moved some shelves around in the studio to create more room. 10559691_285107358340983_3120328998300752607_n Thankfully, they were all on wheels, so the job wasn’t too onerous.  Still, dusty job and a lot of effort for me right now.

The whole time I worked, I felt like life was more possible, as though this might work out.  There is something very satisfying about getting space in order.  I started daydreaming:  maybe I will be able to pay my bills, perhaps I will be able to heat my house this winter after all.

Before I left for the day, I threw six lovely bowls – at least four of which are for the Blue Heron in Bangor, Maine.  And I kept feeling happy and joyous, right up until I stopped creating.  Suddenly the pain caught up with me, like I was tackled down to the ground.  As I brought in the signs, I realized some checks I was expecting haven’t yet arrived – and won’t be for nearly what I had hoped – and suddenly, anxiety and loneliness began to howl through me again.

Something happens to me when the art ends – I more vulnerable to any form of distress.  Left to myself, I have a huge amount of free floating anxiety and depression rattling around in my brain.  Loneliness – as a friend told me the other day – can become quite an existential problem.  I have to agree.

Still, I am trying to hold the demons at bay by remembering: this was such a good day.  The first good day in so long.

steadfastness

Sometime around the fourth inch of snow of this current snowstorm, I started to lose my resolve. All I wanted was to hide.  Instead of putting on my boots and heading to the studio, I curled up with a good book and the animals, tucked under the blankets, simultaneously overwhelmed and grieved by the amount of work.  Too much of this winter has been spent hiding.

red and white bowls
red and white bowls

Both the list of all I have to do and the absolute mystery of how it will get done quickly with the foul weather and the limits of my two hands keep plaguing me.  The fear that this is what defeat feels like wandered through my heart over and over.  Perhaps, I have been too stubborn to notice it as failure has crept up behind me. How do I stay steadfast to my dreams when I am caught in this cold, lonely, confused insecurity? Even today, I know I should be grateful.  Thank God, most days this question doesn’t plague me.  As I have talked about before, I find myself fortified by art.  When I stand before the wheel, or the easel, it restores me and aligns me with a great feeling of purpose.  The ability to make new and better pots and paintings and poems somewhat insulates me from rejection.  Even when I cannot soothe myself with creating, a certain amount of strength dwells within me.  When confronted by others, I can muster some defiance in the face of predictions of doom. Another’s negativity might effect me, frustrate me or dishearten me, but it rarely unseats me entirely. No, what makes me falter are the churning doubts that echo through my skull when I am alone.  The dark and the cold don’t help. Tomorrow night, they predict another terrible storm. Then another a couple of days later. This huge mount of work that I must do continues to grow larger – for which I am wildly grateful and a bit intimidated. However, even during this snow-drenched day, I have found a comfort beyond these words and the few sketches I have put to paper.  I focus on one sentiment, which I have clung to for the past two days like a mantra: I can only do what I can do.  If I look deep into myself – from how my flesh manages in this moment, to what tenacity and inspiration dwell within my spirit, to how well I can navigate the frozen world outside – and I am doing the most that I can manage, then that is all that matters.  That has to be enough.  If I am being true to what I can do, then the pain of deadlines and pressures and stress becomes self-imposed. I am whipping myself for things I cannot alter and honestly the masochism of self-hatred long ago lost its appeal. So I am letting myself feel rotten without pushing myself to end up feeling even worse.  I sigh with the dog when we go outside for a walk only to crunch and slide on ice and snow.  And, after I am done writing, I will curl up with either Rumi or HG Wells and spend the evening in the embrace of their words. It will all be okay, even if my steadfastness feels like discipline right now rather than emotion.