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.