Tag: setbacks

missing days

It had been my goal to blog every single day remaining in 2015, but i missed two days for no reason other than overwhelm. In eight days, i am going to have an appointment about a hysterectomy and now i’ve discovered there is a serious issue with my hips that has been causing much of my pain walking, sitting, standing and generally moving. i knew i had a problem with my legs, that is what drove me to the doctor because i was desperate with pain and my right leg to stop farting off and not working, but really thought there would be a non-surgical option – “if you just do exercise a, you will get all better.”  Alas, that is not the case. So i will definitely have one, maybe two and possibly even three surgeries this winter.  If it weren’t for friends, i would have fallen into a puddle of self-pity.

Oh, but there have been miracles this holiday season.  For a week, i have help with the chores of life and business, and it has been delightful, but this temporary relief has explained why i struggle so much alone.  Having someone here to see the difficulty i have just standing up and walking much less trying to get serious work done, the pain i am in, my distracted focus, had the unexpected effect of making me understand i can be intensely cruel to myself. Friends have been saying this a lot, commanding me to “Stop insulting my friend this way!” when i go on a tear about how awful or lazy i am. However, it is different when someone sees you 24/7.  So much denial exists when i am alone; i can tell myself that i ought to be able to overcome anything, when i fail it feels like torment.  Looking about the house to see that which i have not finished, those jobs that i cannot manage, i give myself no quarter.  It has only through other, more compassionate eyes, that i can see, ‘Ah, yes, there is a reason for this.’ and ‘Oh, maybe this is not failure so much as a setback.’

In the next few months, i intend to get myself sorted – which, i can’t believe it so i will type it out again, will involve another surgery at least, but probably more than one.  The past twelve months have made me confront the limitations of my body in ways that i don’t particularly enjoy. However, denial has stopped working.  In order to be a fierce, strong woman i have to reclaim some health first.

Still, i cannot complain that much.  This year has been a miracle too. i have learned so much about myself, i have come so far from where i started this journey eight years ago.  The fact that i have gone through this financial and physical crisis without getting self-destructive is remarkable.  However, the biggest lesson needs to come to me in 2016: how to forgive myself for my weakness, how to forgive myself for what i see as failure (by redefining both failure and success?), and most of all, how to regard myself with confidence and treat myself with compassion.

From there, i believe the other things i need – better financial stability, a way to make my art feed me, writing a new story for myself – will fall into place.

As for tonight, the lesson is: i can fuck up and be forgiven. This is really miraculous for me.  Already i had learned that a tremendous amount of physical limitations and emotional chaos could be processed by others and they could still love me, but this kind of subtlety had been suggested but not proven. Yet here it is, proven tonight: i can make thoughtless mistakes, apologize from the heart, and be not only forgiven but still loved.

If another can do that kindness for me, then shouldn’t i aspire to do the same for myself?

a few reversals

I should have taken pictures of them. Visually, the remains were quite interesting. Two platters cracked during cooling in the kiln – one on Tuesday, one this morning – for reasons I cannot begin to identify.  There did not appear to be any fault inherent in either, they just fell to pieces.  One had been underglazed with a design of a hundred “loves” interlocking with each other.  The second bore a similar design with “hope” emblazoned across.

Each snapped into half a dozen pieces, when they were cool enough not to effect another pot – because they both banged into others that were in a perfect state.  Another, “peace,” came out undamaged only adding to the mystery.

If I am honest, the fact that they said hope and love bothered me more than losing pieces.  For example, when I lost the first platter, I also lost four casserole dishes, mostly due to my own clumsiness.  It left me muttering bad words, but beyond the instantaneous reaction, I was able to cope.  So, I had some practice with loss.  Still – “Hope” and “faith” – well, those are hard things to see smashed into bits.

10414910_10203104942895966_2449259623964739159_nOn Tuesday, after it was clear that I could not be trusted with bone dry pots, I responded by starting to sculpt a dragon.  At first, I thought it would be a more serious or inspirational form, but as she started to come together, I realized she was going to be a dragon and fighting it would be absolutely futile.  And she is a fine dragon.  A happy one.

Yesterday, I sat for a day at the Belfast Harbor Artisans – it always makes me feel better when I get a chance to talk to my customers, to be a part of the world beyond my studio.

On the way home, I took my car to the wonderful local garage to address the screaming sound that was coming from the back of the car.  I found out today that I need new rear breaks, with a few other bits in addition.  I was already struggling to pay bills and get things done – living right on the edge of function and dissolution – and this feels like one reversal more than I particularly want to deal with at this juncture.  Today is supposed to be my day off, so I have thrown it into poetry (Maya Angelou died yesterday, too, leading me to a grief that I did not expect would be so deep and poignant) and laundry.  My body is thrilled to have a chance to rest. For whatever reason, I just could not face the thought of throwing or sculpting or firing.  I needed a day ‘off.’

Now that I have reached the point that the blog should have a snappy conclusion, I don’t know what to say about the cracked plates or the destroyed casserole dishes or my car’s breaks. I don’t have any idea what importance these reversals should have – if any – in the way I think about what I am doing.

All I know, in this exact moment, is that I am grateful I had enough hope and love to spare for those platters.

visually