Be Whatever You Want

“The beautiful thing about art is that it can be whatever you want”. ~Amanda Palmer

I think I grew up thinking I could only express myself by emulating specific accepted mediums, not that anyone put that on me, it was just some sort of paradigm I always had. I worked very hard within that paradigm. I worked at folk music, cartooning, I worked at talking and singing in front of people, I worked at what I should look and like and think and what other people should look and like and think

I became utterly, awfully self aware of this fact for a few years while I lived in Lansing, Michigan. Lansing was this giant sand trap of trying to explain myself to anyone and everyone and to myself. The more I tried to explain myself the less sense I made. There were moments of beauty and discovery in this, but by in large it was really very depressing.

So I changed my scene, and moved to Eugene with it’s beautiful people and it’s way of not looking at anything too terribly hard, and enjoying most things, and immediately found out that what I thought I would be doing wasn’t what I would be doing.

Which worked out, I worked with it, I didn’t know what to do, but it was fine. It was new, it wouldn’t happen all at once, and hell if I knew what “it” even was.

I got a boyfriend, a day job, and a set of true geek friends. I thought maybe I’d immerse myself completely into the genre specific interests I’d dabbled in but didn’t have a community for, and somewhere along the way I’d find my voice in it all, my explaination perfectly worded.

I had a plan. But then my reader died.

I think everyone has this reader that they write for. A viewer for their paintings. A critic and a friend for those 2 AM calls with writer’s block. Mine had flaming red hair and a way of understanding everything I did, even if he didn’t like it. He was a true friend, loved the world with the same fervor, and probably more than one person’s reader. When he died, I remembered the other readers that had left me, and they crashed over me like a wave. Loss is an unkind teacher.

My then boyfriend, now husband, is uniquely equipped to help me in a lot of ways. One of which was to stand by me through the darkness and helping me find the lightswitch for myself. Because, I am my own reader.

I think part of my problem is that I grew up in this religious idea that God is judging everything I do. Which is true, but not in the way that I thought. God created me with things to say and thoughts to think, and to generally be joyful. He created me to be me, and to listen to the spark of divinity he put inside me, that breath of life, that has something uniquely me to say. His requirement is that I invest my talents. MY talents, not someone’s idea of my talents.

I took bookbinding classes, and learned how to make wire armature for papier mache, and took over an entire room in my house, and now it’s just a matter of shutting my ears that have been so well trained for approval and experimenting with joy.

I’m just starting with this, and it’s not so easy. Or rather it’s too easy. There’s this balance of I still need to go to work and pay my bills, I need to not leave my crafting crap all over the house, my husband needs to be fed, my friends need attention, and I’m trying to lose 100 lbs. But it shouldn’t matter, because joy is a decision… at least I think so this week. Ask me again next week.

But I’m on this experiment with joy that I’m hoping will make room and prioritize everything as I go.

So, I’ll be journaling for me. Sometimes publicly, sometimes just for me. I’ll be posting things I’m doing and ideas I’m thinking, struggles I’m facing. I don’t even care that everyone’s doing it… because it’s not for you, it’s for me.

I’m going to be selfishly generous with joy.

~A.C.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Candice
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 06:46:53

    That was beautiful! You write so well. I found myself nodding to what you were saying and thinking, “yeah, exactly that — what she said!” Thank you so much for sharing this. I miss you. I miss this.

    *hugs*
    Candice

    Reply

  2. moderatelyinconclusive
    Dec 22, 2009 @ 05:21:36

    I have a very private journal, and then one that I keep a bit more public. It’s kind of like having dual personalities. For the longest time I wasn’t sure I wanted a public blog about any of my health stuff, but finally decided it was time to open up with it and be honest to myself and accepting instead of feeling as though I have to hide who I really am. My health problems are part of me, sure I have my crafty side, my artistic side, my crazy side….but why not show them ALL off in one blog. It’s kind of like coming out of the closet for me…..odd I know.

    Reply

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