Love is the most important thing. I love my husband and my daughter, they are my core, they are my earth. Without them I feel like I would be floating in the air. They tether me to the ground, and bring me back down from the clouds. I tend to live in my head and in my thoughts a lot of the time. I used to spend much of my time thinking about the way things ‘should’ be, according to me. Then I would try to make my thoughts my reality. I would argue with people that didn’t agree with me. What I didn’t realize at the time was that in doing this, I wasn’t allowing the people around me to have their own emotions. Their emotions weren’t in line with how I wanted things to go, so their emotions were wrong. I lived much of my life this way. And it worked for me for a long time. Life was a game of navigating obstacles and people to get the result I wanted. And if I didn’t get my desired result, I walked away.
I am self sufficient. I learned to be at a young age because I had to be. No one was looking out for me in my childhood home. I grew up around chaos and abuse, and an ‘every man for himself’ mentality. I competed with my 5 siblings for affection, approval and resources. I learned the way to behave to get what I needed to take care of myself. This atmosphere was in contradiction to my innate personality so I spent much of my young life in confusion. But I was not allowed to ask questions of my parents. To escape my confusion I created my own world with my art. I created a world of beautiful, kind loving women by drawing them. Maybe these women were the mother that I wanted but never had. Maybe these women were me, and the person that I wanted to be. I didn’t give too much thought to it at the time. But when I drew my women as a teenager I could escape into their world.
I gave up drawing as I got older and I became someone that I didn’t like. I became judgmental, hard, and unsympathetic. I became a person that believed in scarcity again. In other words, if I didn’t carve out my place and grab what I could, there wasn’t going to be enough for me. I became desperate in my relationships and in my life. I didn’t have time to draw, I had to go make money and get what I could while I could. And it worked. I experienced success in making money. I bought the house and car I wanted. I took vacations that I only used to dream about. I did it. And the way I did it worked. My scarcity mentality, and closing off my feelings got me where I said I wanted to be. I set a goal, I achieved my goal so why wasn’t I happy? I threw my artistic world away because I didn’t see its value, and in its place I accumulated material things. I got pleasure, and still do get pleasure from material things. But my dissatisfaction and sadness that crept slowly and steadily into my life told a different story. A story that eventually I couldn’t ignore.
I grew up near San Francisco around wealth. I moved to Portland Oregon when my daughter was a baby because I didn’t want that life. I didn’t want the life of chasing money. But then I ended up chasing money in Portland. I did the same thing, but just in a different city. I would have moments that I would look in the mirror and say, “What are you doing? This isn’t the plan” . But then I would just keep going forward, not knowing how to change. I moved to Portland to pursue my art and a more meaningful life, but I didn’t think it was going to take me 20 years to get there.
A year ago I started drawing my women again after a long absence. A year ago, once again I went to them for answers because I was confused. I was confused as to why I felt so sad when I had achieved everything I had set out to achieve. Whenever I would start to feel sad or disconnected instead of going down that path, I would remove myself from the situation and draw. There is something meditative about putting my pencil to paper and creating something. I spent whole weekends drawing for no one but me. I drew one woman after another and each represented an emotion, a time, a place. One by one my women were physical evidence of my emotions over the years, and my dreams for the future. I was once again lost in my fantasy world high above the confusion of earth.
My friends have been telling me lately that I am gifted, or that I have a talent for drawing. I don’t know how to react to that. I never thought of it that way. I draw my women not to get praise, but to escape. I purposely didn’t choose art as a career because I didn’t want to be told how to draw. It would be the same as someone telling me how to dream. Plus I didn’t want my fantasy world taken away from me. That is a world that no one could touch but me. It is beautiful, pure, and serene there. I am beautiful and untouchable there.
It has been quite a journey, and when I look back on myself the only emotion I feel is sadness. I feel sad for the person that I was because I was so lost. I didn’t even know I was lost, that is how lost I was. I was trying to gain the approval of people I didn’t even respect, I was constantly trying to prove that I was good enough and had something to offer, I hid my emotions and faked my way through the day. Why? Why did I do this? The sad thing is, I didn’t know there was an alternative. I didn’t know I could be honest, and tell my truth and do my art and still live a productive life. I thought it was one or the other. I didn’t know how to integrate my worlds.
I am slowly learning that I can have and live in both of my worlds. And I can invite my friends into my fantasy world of my magical women, and they can experience it with me. This is something I never thought possible. It had always been my sacred world that I protected and rarely showed to anyone. But, it brings me such joy that other people find happiness in this world too. The world that was created out of the imagination of a young girl who was confused about the chaos and hurt around her and wanted escape to beauty.
My creative world is my world in the clouds, in the air, away from earth and the hurt of life. I still live there, but now I live on earth too.