Tag: hopelessness

quick and dirty

reachingout_qadFor two days, i have been utterly unable. Yesterday, it took all i had to put up the open flag and sit here in the studio.  Stuck in my comfy chair for hours, i drew with a cheap pen on cheaper paper – a fairly primal purging of image and idea.  Even at that level of semi-solid, i still managed to miss a friend visiting because i went to the bathroom. While i was able to chat with some wonderful people, there were no sales and simply staying awake had taken so much from me that my legs wobbled beneath my girth.

By the time five pm came around, i was ready for bed. i tried, very hard, to get some cleaning done, but could not move my limbs in a coordinated manner. Breaking three things in less than ten minutes, i surrendered.  Coordination and grace have become fantasies when i am in that much pain and that exhausted. So, instead of useful, tangible progress on the problems of my life, i created more of this quick and dirty drawing while i waited for the sheets, quilt and mattress pad to finish in the washer and dryer.

i keep hoping that things will get better. i repeat “All will be well”; i meditate for over an hour a day trying to keep the wolves at bay.  Maybe this weekend, i whisper to myself, i will make a big sale. If i advertise here, then i will maybe get a bump on my online sales. Perhaps that website or this commission will come through.  This job might be the one that i take, which will make the forsaking of art sit with greater comfort inside my heart. Most of the time, i am able to convince myself to keep going with these quiet reassurances.

Only, the past two days, i have been struggling so hard to move and breathe – i got stuck in my bra this morning, because i could not lift my left arm in or out – that all hope transformed into delusion.

praying_qadYesterday, i noticed the trees behind my house are turning autumn colors. They have always been particularly easy trees, ready to shed their greens at the first quick breath of cool air, but their eagerness feels even more like betrayal this year. Today, the wind and the rain smell of autumn, and i feel the urge to grab the clock off the wall and smite it against the cement floor.  i would hold off fall with a sword. Time, as always, shows no regard for my needs or wants and just keeps charging on like an angry, blind rhinoceros.

i wish i could explain it to myself, why i struggle with such desperate, perilous despair.  Even though i have been assured that this is incorrect, even irrational, i perceive myself as particularly week and unadaptable. Would someone else be crumbling like this?  Would their loved ones praise them for having such reasonable mental breakdowns or would they be praised for holding their head up and taking life’s blows on the chin?

i face major life changes, yes. i am falling apart physically, without doubt. That each of those feeds off the other, too, cannot be disputed although an engaging debate like the chicken and the egg could take place. i was already a broken unit before i decided to pursue art with all i had. Then, using all i had, which so clearly wasn’t enough, i wound up becoming more broken. However, i refuse to give myself permission to have myself days like today and yesterday.  i hate myself for falling apart, which does nothing to keep me active and healthy, but instead fills me with shame and graceless resentment.  i draw to stop thinking about my situation, or myself.  Only, even that desperate art reminds me of how futile this situation is: fall is coming, i cannot stop time, and i am dissolving.

As much as i hate to tell you this: i have nothing to give the world today. No strength, no inspiration. Indeed, i think with this blog, i will have used up my full allotment of words for the day.  Once more, i will use all that i have to make useless art – hoping beyond hope, this madness that drives my heartbeat, that somewhere in word or line, i will find that one thing that can save me.

art or death

I lost my zen during a phone conversation.  Now I don’t mean that I ranted and cursed, but I let someone else’s prophecies into my heart for a moment. They insinuated their way into me like smoke does the lungs. The sensation felt both familiar and disheartening – because I had been doing so much better disarming this fiercenessparticular button.  A year ago, maybe even six months, those statements would have made me wildly insecure and led me to tears – but today, I reacted with defiance. Art or death, because quitting is not an option. Nor is being immobilized by negativity or fear.

Still not the reactions I want to arise from such stimuli, but they were better than falling into despair.

The button that was pushed – which wound up being hit for the second time in three days –  is hopelessness.  The overwhelming verbal waves that everything I – and in both cases the people talking to me – hope for and dream of is impossible. Their art could never support them. Financial situations will never improve.  Our chance for making art and writing has expired.  There is no adaptation to improve this situation.  Conversations even went into the realms of how foolish I am to continue with whatever medium the speaker finds problematical and how vulnerable and irrelevant we all are.

And, on a certain level, those things are real and possible. Economies and people suffer.  Art is in a state of chaos, change and redefinition.  Hence the button being there.  Committing to this life is often a difficult choice.

However, when I am alone, with nothing but my words or art, those voices no longer torment me.  They used to arise spontaneously and hold me captive for hours. They held me up by my arms and toyed with me like a cat does a mouse, all glee and sadism. Thank God, if they appear at all now, they float away without leaving the marks of their claws.

The change was not spontaneous, but rather deliberate retraining using all the tools that meditation, therapy, hope and faith have given me.  Also, this has been an act of surrender: I know I cannot control whether people buy my art, or my house, or support me as a human being.  These glories cannot be forced.  However, I also do not know that I will fail.  I have to surrender to my absolute and unavoidable ignorance of the future.  As my past has faded away to an echo of what it once was, the future too has become something completely unreal.  This realization has, finally, worked its way into my being, all the way down into my bones.

However, it must not be in the marrow yet, because I still fell off my zen.  One of my biggest challenges continues to be standing up against someone else’s insistence that their imaginings, their perception, their dread, and their judgment are the absolute truth.  People can project a staggering amount of emotion onto others, particularly when they are scared, discouraged or feeling doomed.

My impulse is to walk away from such prophets; to protect myself from the power of their woeful certainty.  But, after I let the waves of defensiveness pass this afternoon another thought arouse within me: I wonder if they are relying on me to change their mind?