Creating my reality

My brain likes routine and predictability. But if my routine gets too predictable then it rebels. So, is there a happy medium? Is there a way that I can challenge myself enough to make my life interesting without sending my mind into 24 hour thought overdrive? If there is, I haven’t found that place. The past few weeks my brain hasn’t been able to focus on any one thing for too long. I have a lot to do in a short amount of time, but I brought it on myself. I decided to do an art show. I put the deposit down on a gallery space and reserved 3 hours for 1 night. But, I haven’t created one piece of art yet for the show. I am going to create it all by July 25th, exactly 2 months from today. Am I crazy? I am wondering this, as I spend every spare moment working on my art. It is going to be a show celebrating the power in women. So, I am going to draw and paint my interpretation of a modern Queen that represents the modern powerful woman.

I don’t have to do this. I am not getting paid to do an art show, in fact it is going to cost me money. My husband said that maybe I will cover some costs by selling some art at the show. The weird thing is, until he said that I didn’t even thinking of selling my art. I was focussing on the show, what I am going to create and what it is going to mean. The fact that so many people have already said they want to come is reward enough for me. My art show is my end goal right now, I haven’t thought of what I am going to do after that. There is no ultimate plan. I am just going to see where this takes me.

This fact makes my brain short circuit, because my brain likes certainty. It wants a clear sensible path and a known future. It wants me to tell it, ‘well after this art show I am going to ……’ What? I don’t know, so my brain is trying to make sense of it. Just seeing where this takes me means that I am open to life, open to opinions, open to change my mind and my direction. Seeing what happens means that I am living in the moment and then deciding what my next move is. Seeing what happens means I am vulnerable. My brain is trying to protect me by slowing me down, giving me known distractions like ‘Don’t you want to take a vacation with this money instead of doing an art show?’, or ‘I feel fat, shouldn’t I be going to the gym instead of sitting all day creating art?’ My brain is babbling in my ear all day trying to get my back to my familiar pattern so it can relax.

I hear the noise, I acknowledge it, it is there even now as I write this. Am I going to give into it? No! I will do my best to soothe my fears, and to allow some familiar routines to still be in my life. I will still go to the gym, but I won’t run out the door like a crazed maniac at 7:00 AM on a Saturday and stay at the gym for 3 hours like I used to. There is nothing wrong with doing that, early morning workouts are great, but if the intent behind it is avoidance, then I have to be aware of that. I can’t let my fearful thoughts take over. I can’t let them distract me from my goal.

My brain is wired for survival. As long as I am surviving it doesn’t see the need to push the boundaries beyond that. In fact, pushing boundaries that could threaten my comfort is a red flag to my brain. I gave my money as a nonrefundable deposit to a gallery that in exactly 2 months my art that I haven’t created yet will be hanging on the walls. My brain is going haywire. This action has so many red flags, and so much caution tape that my brain is screaming at me, ‘What the #@%& are you doing?’

I am challenging myself. I am seeing what I am capable of. I am pushing my boundaries and seeing how it feels. I am learning about myself. What can I accomplish when I set a deadline? What can I make happen that is just for me? I know I can meet deadlines and accomplish some really tough assignments as I have proven that at my finance job. I know I am a dependable loving and loyal partner as I have proven that in my marriage. I know that I am a giving, supportive and loving mother as I have proven that to my daughter. I know that I am a good friend, and I try to be there when my friends need me and encourage them to fulfill their own dreams. I know all these things about myself in relation to others. These are all things I do for other people. But what will happen if I take that same energy and do something for myself? I don’t know the answer to that question yet. I don’t know if I am a loyal and supportive friend to myself yet. I don’t know if I will have the same ‘you can do it’ attitude when it comes to me, as I do for other people. Is there a part of me that believes that everyone else is capable and deserving of following their dreams except for me? I have lived my life to this point in a supportive role, supporting other’s success, and being happy for them when they do succeed. Meanwhile, I have kept my own dreams a secret.

I started drawing women when I was a young girl. I couldn’t control the reality of the world around me at the time, but I could create a fantasy world where women were beautiful, kind and powerful. I created beauty amongst abuse, chaos and cruelty. This was my escape, but it was also my power. I created an alternate world where I could exist and be safe, and that is powerful.

It is scary to show this world to others because then it will no longer be my secret escape. But, I am working on letting myself know, that it will be ok. I can still escape there, but now other people can too.

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  1. Oh I know how this is.. my brain works the same way. I’m reading the book Dare to Lead by Brené Brown and I am learning that so much of this is vulnerability. You’re the best as always, thank you for sharing.

    1. Isn’t it hard to have that chatter warning us at every step? A lot of people have been telling me about Brene Brown lately, I should check that book out. For now, I am just ignoring the chatter, but it is still there.. Always good to hear from you Laura! Love, Peta

  2. You have spoken on my life. To the T. Art show in August… no art!! Missed my book deadline TWICE! And that f@&%ing chatter seems a bit louder by the hour!

    Best Wishes and Happy Healing 😘

    1. OMG, too funny! I am so glad that you said this! Isn’t it maddening. It is like having someone nagging at you 24/7! I am so glad I am not alone! Good luck on your show!

  3. Morning 🙃
    I believe the struggle for all of us is that we need to balance that voice in our head… listening to much and you won’t do anything kinda like a fig tree that doesn’t produce.. you die. Not listening at all is also dangerous because it can provide information that can be useful in making an decision.
    What is a girl to do??!

    Stop, no really stop and take a moment to see if this is something that is rewarding your authentic self. If it is.. go for it.

    From what I am reading, doing this art show is.. you never even thought about selling a piece you just desired to create.

    Enjoy it!
    We were born to create💋


    1. Good point Tonia, I agree it is a balance of listening but not getting too wrapped up on your thoughts. I know this is always been something that I have wanted to do, but did not make it a priority in my life. There was always a reason to do something else rather than work on my art, but now it is all I want to do. It is time, and I feel it! Thanks for your insightful words!

  4. It’s impressive you’ve signed up for the art show; KUDOS! Are you familiar with Ruth Soukup’s new book “Do It Scared”? It’s been an eye opener for me; perhaps it might help you as well.

    1. Thanks Sandra. I will have to check that book. That sounds perfect for what I am going through. It has been such a time of growth, because I realize that I can do it scared but I can also do it sad, tired, angry, and all the other emotions that get in my way. I can keep moving forward no matter what! Have a great week!

  5. We are geared and genetically made to love security and certainty. That is part of the reason we have that little negative gremlin in our heads that tell us to be wary of change and risk. Good post!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. That little gremlin is just there to keep us safe, I get it. Sometimes we just have to let it know that we are ok, and we can handle it. Or let it talk, and do it anyway, and it will stop talking once it sees that we can handle it all and we are not threatened.

  6. I call this “monkey brain” it is when all that chatter just takes over and you can’t move forward. Good for your husband to point out that you are a true artist and selling your art is the next step. Just go for it!

    1. Thanks Karen, yes indeed ‘monkey brain’ has gotten the better of me many times. I try and control it by taking one step at a time, and letting go of the things I have no control of. I am slowly letting myself be immersed in the art, and getting ready for the show rather than spending time thinking about what could go wrong. It doesn’t help me at all to do that.

  7. Hi Peta: I understand this feeling as relates to writing. There are a million ways we can avoid the harder tasks to take the easier route. Although I must say, I’ve never considered 3 hours at the gym, the easier route! Great article and very insightful. I enjoyed it.
    Thank you, LeAna

    1. Ha Ha! yes, 3 hours at the gym is probably not considered the easier route by most, but I used to call the gym my home away from home. I was basically hiding out there so I didn’t have to deal with things. If I was working out, I was doing something productive so I would feel ok about it, but deep down I knew I was just avoiding.

  8. I do this to myself all the time and in the end, I always seem to make the deadline. Best of luck with the show, I have a feeling you will meet your deadline.

    1. The deadline helps to make it a reality. It makes me focus my energy better. I am just taking it one day at a time, and planning to have everything ready by July 25th. This is my first show, so I am sure I will learn a lot for next time. Thanks for your encouragement.

  9. The noise in my head eventually lessened, and it will for you too. Just keep moving forward with you passion for writing and art. You are courageous Peta😍

    1. Thanks Cindy, it is definitely lessening and actually saying nicer things to me. In the past it was like a running commentary on everything I was doing wrong, but I have made a conscious effort to stop myself when that starts. It is a journey, but I am getting there! Love, Peta