Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's not JUST about the art

Alright friends...usually I just post art, and completely art related things. But I've been thinking lately - and this could be a scary concept if it's not put down on paper in the form of an illustration! :) But I thought I would share my thoughts here.... after all, what is a blog for, if not to share?
So, it's not a surprise. I occasionally suffer with anxiety.....I say 'suffer' and it makes it sound like a disease.....let's rephrase....I occasionally have to DEAL with anxiety...much better! And much more suited to how I actually feel about it. It's a rather large annoyance. And I know I'm not the only one. Something about the creative mind and anxious tendencies seem to go hand in hand. Not ALL of my artist friends deal with this but I would say a fair share of them do.
Now, most of the time I feel fantastic, extraordinary, and exceptionally great. But take me out of my comfort zone and it's like feeding Gremlins after midnight! - It's an all around bad idea! And I so badly wish this wasn't the case. I can see myself doing great things and I have this vision of myself and who I want to be and how I want to feel...but some days it's nothing but a fight. I've become quite excellent at sabotaging myself - I've just about mastered it. And I can do this so easily because I know it's easier to believe negative things about yourself when you struggle than it is to believe the good. It just doesn't make sense. You would think that you shouldn't have to fight so hard to make yourself believe the good things about yourself.
So here is what I know.....Anxiety is a BIG DUMB UGLY PUSS INFESTED LIAR....thats right...I said it! It's a really gross visual but for the amount of times it's made me literally riddled with fear and adrenaline and sick to my stomache, the description fits perfectly! Once anxiety has crept up in there, deposited the negative seed, telling you things you can't do, it is the biggest fight of your life trying to eliminate it, or in the very least quarantine it and every feeling that becomes associated with it. You can see how one might become exhausted if this were to go on for a lengthy period of time. I have dealt with these garbage lies on and off for about 8 years now. Just when you think you've got the hang of it and evicted the whole thing from your life, it rears it's ugly head and changes the game once more.
Recently we moved to a new city. The months leading up to this move weren't, in any way, easy! And that's not just coming from someone who deals with anxiety....it would have been a gong show for anyone of sound mind! But we did it. I learned new things every day and to say I was 'tested' a lot of the time would be a rather large understatement. I did things on my own I never thought I would have to deal with in a million years but I did. I made sure I did what I had to do for my family. I took on the responsibilities so no one else would have to. I was a grown up! ...so now...months later...why does the whole thing freak me out? I feel like as far as I'm able to go on the 'positive' end of the scale, I have to make up for it by taking myself equally down the other (negative) end of the scale. I 'get' balance in life....but that kind of stuff shouldn't be the things requiring a seesaw and a graph.
These days I get nervous to go places alone. It's like I need my husband there just in case....why? I never had to worry about that before! I would drive wherever my little heart needed to go and it was never a big deal. I had the confidence and security to know I was fine. What happened to that? And when I start to worry about where those things went, It snowballs into other things. I worry about 'what if I regress to the point of being a recluse? What if I get so scared I just can't even get in the car anymore? What if something happens to me while I'm out? What if my anxiety becomes to be so much that it interferes with my husbands work/school? What if I'm not reliable to my friends or family?' ....notice a pattern here? Those two little words are enough to bring everything crashing in on you. Everything you ever believed in can be completely obliterated with those two eensy teensy little words.....what....if....
UNLESS..... :)
You can manage to build a defense against them. There are 2 other words that are trying to take over in the competitive rankings for 'Worlds Most Powerful Words" .......so.......what.....!!!! By saying those two tiny words in the immediate aftermath of a 'what if' statement, you can blow it right out of the water! 'So What' makes your 'what if' statements look like and otter wearing underpants - completely ridiculous and almost comical, if you have that kind of sense of humour!
The things I seem to be most afraid of are all things I know better than to worry about. Anxiety causes you to spend too much time on the problem rather than bothering about an actual solution. And I'm tired of being my own problem....I need to get out of my own way!
Now, here comes the cliche.......Art has been my therapy. How many people say that? It is one of the statements in this world that I know to be the most true. For as dark as my thoughts have been some days and for as hopeless as I've sometimes felt, my brightly coloured fantasy illustrations have done nothing short of a full out rescue mission. When you see my creations you might think about how fun they are, or pretty, or colourful, or happy. This is the world I create for myself. The one I ACTUALLY believe in. It makes me happy to be surrounded by the colours. They're physical reminders of how beautiful my true self sees things - myself...this world....and everything in it. And I thank my other artist friends for doing much the same for me. They've created pieces of art that are more than 'cartoons' or 'something funny', or 'colours on paper'. They've created an entire universe for people like me to wander around in and find themselves. It truly is a Wonderful and Beautiful World (Louis always said it best!)
So I want to say, I'm thankful for my husband for being one of my many rocks - he is the biggest one I know. He's supported me and told me things I knew were true even when I couldn't get my own mind to listen. I thank all of my family for supporting me through everything and never giving up on me. They see me for who I am. I thank my friends for being that blanket of support, even if they didn't know they were sewn into it at the time. And I thank my artist friends, for helping me create a beautiful and wondrous world of things some may think are mythical - when in fact the rest of us know how truly real it all is. It's more than JUST art...it's everything we are!

I wake up every morning, and no matter how tough some days seem, I know there are better ones coming, and I am ALWAYS grateful for the gifts I have in this life and all the things I haven't yet discovered in this pretty painting! ....just thought I would share :)


  1. hi sweet girl,
    Thanks for sharing with us. I think you are afraid to go out alone because you are in a new location & don't know your way around well yet. You don't feel the familiarity of living rhere for years & it makes you apprehensive.
    hang in there,

  2. The Devine Mrs. 'M': I think that there are lots of people out there that suffer from anxiety in the same way that you do. Its a perfect reflection of personal power that you manage it so beautifully with your art work.

    I love that you were bold in this blog...it was just the type of thing that I wanted to read this morning! Keep it up!


  3. Bridget - you are right. And I know those apprehensions escalate into something bigger than they really need to be. I'm glad I wrote this. It's like it was bumbling around inside of me and I had had enough and needed to let it out! I will make it through this just fine because my support system is incredible!
    Hollie, thanks so much for writing that. You are right - there are tons of people that deal with this. There is a forum I go to now and again about anxiety and all of those fun things. There are LOTS of people who are so much worse of with it than I am so I try to offer what support I can. Ultimately, I know this doesn't last forever. It IS because things are new for me now and I'm stronger than all of that garbage! :) Reigning in your own thoughts is sometimes a full time job....its ridiculous! lol!

  4. Girl- you are amazing, strong and inspirational. Thank you for sharing your struggles and strengths.

  5. Thank you Miss Alex! :) I think it's something not a lot of people talk about - a lot of the time out of embarrassment. I don't think this makes me less credible, or less competent, and I surely don't see it as making me a weak person - though there are some days I may feel like this, big picture, I know I'm not. If anything it's made me strong. I've learned things differently than a lot of other people have had to. Ultimately I'm in the same race as everyone else and I may not start out at the front but I bet you anything, I'll get there eventually! Just takes me a little longer sometimes! lol!
    Speaking of strong and inspirational - YOU are much the same! To just decide that you're going to take up running...and not because you like it...just to prove that you can...that's something I can't see myself doing! lol! I think what you're doing is fantastic. Keeping healthy and fit and setting a HUGE goal for yourself. You should be very proud! :) Bravo!!! :)