Because Bruce

A painting I did about three weeks ago. The phrase on it is inspired by a line from Bruce Springsteen’s song “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).

Sandy that waitress I was seeingĀ lost her desire for me
I spoke with her last night, she said she won’t set herself on fire for me anymore

It’s one of my favorite pieces.

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Residency – Week of 4/9/18

My Artist Residency in Motherhood is not only about the things I create. But also about changing my mindset.

It’s about not thinking that having children means I don’t have needs that also matter. Not thinking that I have to always set aside the things that feed my soul.

Each week I track the things I do and work on that I count as part of my residency. This week included the following:

  • Adjusting my goals. I planned out goals for the next three months and had to adjust them a bit. I think I aimed too big at first. I’m currently focused on continuing to create each day, posting more, honoring a more consistent writing practice, applying for a local residency I’d love to get, as well as a few other manageable things.
  • Writing a post for an art project. I completed a story with my art that I plan to share (!) and wrote out a little something to post with it.
  • Lots of embroidery. I have been learning lots of new stitches and am incorporating them into an art piece I’ve planned. It’s been exciting to get started on that.
  • An art walk. Yesterday the tiny town I live in hosted an art walk which included a local gallery offering opportunities to try various art techniques. I got out for an hour on my own (thank fuck) and tried oil paints, gouache, casein (a milk-based paint), acrylic textures, as well as carving out my own stamp for print-making. (See photo above.)

I love looking back at each week and seeing progress. However small.

It’s good for my soul.

Since I’ve Been Gone . . .

Anxiety 1

It’s been a long while since posting publicly. I’ve been busy with . . .

  • Continuing to regularly attend therapy and all that entails.
  • Struggling to navigate the abysmal mental healthcare options in this country. And particularly in the state in which I live.
  • Worrying about money. A lot. Especially in terms of feeling like there are no real options available to me for treatment.
  • Learning what self-care looks like and why it’s so important.
  • Refusing to be completely limited by the options I can afford (which aren’t many) and pursuing other options as I can. This typically entails lots of google searching and cobbling together natural and/or low cost ideas.
  • Trying medication that didn’t work and now forcing myself to not be disheartened. Or afraid of trying something different.
  • Feeling a bit more hopeful about the future, even as I still struggle with the past. Even as I still have to work at accepting that my future isn’t going to look much the way I envisioned it.
  • Forgiving myself.
  • Trying to work on self-discipline. More on that when I actually acheive some.
  • My anxiety has, in many ways, worsened. Apparently that’s a thing that frequently occurs as depression gets better. That’s also a thing that blows.

But what I’m most excited about is that late last year I began a self-imposed Artist Residency in Motherhood.

It really, in the beginning, centered around my writing. But my words just wouldn’t come. After tackling so many scary truths from my past through my writing, I began to feel, once I finished writing about them, as if I had nothing left to say.

As if perhaps my past was all that defined me.

I felt no creative pull. At all.

And then, in December, after a very special person spent time schooling me on creativity and the ways in which we fill our creative wells, I randomly used my kid’s Crayola watercolors to paint the image above.

It was a quiet few moments.

Free from anxiety.

And I’ve not stopped since. Though I have moved on from Crayolas.

So I’m looking forward to being a bit brave again. And exploring creativity and mental illness and the ways in which women (particularly mothers) feel free, or not, to express themselves.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow.