Don’t Panic!

I am not panicking. My screen is red and I click the minimize button so I don’t have to see the market going down. The market doesn’t like uncertainty, and the coronavirus is an uncertain entity. But, I have been through this before. In 2008 my manager called a meeting and went over the procedures we would follow if our company dissolved due to the financial crisis. So, I have gotten a tough skin over the years, and one thing I have learned is that the market will rebound we just have to hang on, no matter how hard that is.

It is kind of what I am doing now in my life. My emotions swing like a pendulum on a hour to hour basis. Some days I wake up full of energy and hope, ready to take on the world only to find myself crying in the bathroom at work by noon. But for the first time in a long time, I am letting my emotions out. I have held everything in for so long. In my marriage, I felt like if I expressed my true feelings it always ended up in an argument that made me feel worse. So, I was better off just keeping everything inside and turning off my emotions the best I could.

But how can I rebuild on a faulty foundation? I can’t ! I have to start from the bottom and feel all those emotions that I hadn’t felt over the years when I was disconnected from them. I have to clear them out of me, so I have room for new emotions and new ideas. Moving on isn’t just a straight line up, it is going 3 steps forward, and 2 back. It is a learning and holding on of what is important to me, and a letting go of what I thought was important but really wasn’t. It is a relearning of who I am.

I started by expressing myself through my art, and it has been an amazing journey. Emotions come to me as curves on a page. When I start a drawing it is always with one singular line of how the whole image will look. From that singular line I build a recognizable image of a woman, but really it is the curvature of the lines that are my art. Those lines represent my emotions, almost like a computer read out of a cardiology machine.

The recent Queens I painted are different for me because they are black, white and gray. They are not like the colorful ones I have created up until now. I had an image in my head that when I start something new I see it in black and white because it is fuzzy and unclear. They gray part of the painting is the gray area of not knowing. The last thing I add are the expressions of the women. And I wanted their expressions to be tough, and in your face because that is the attitude I need to follow my heart.

After I finished the paintings I just stared at them. They are alive to me, and I talk to them. I will be sad to sell them at my show, and I hope that whoever buys them, buys both of them because they are meant to be together. I will be sad, but just like the emotions that created them have to be let go, so do they. Art is something to be shared, in hopes that someone else will look at my paintings and understand. It is all about connection with others, and if I don’t let go, I can’t connect.

This is my second major art show in Los Angeles. I was so humbled and appreciative when RAW Artists reached out to me to be a part of their Holiday Showcase in December, but when they called me back for their Premiere Showcase on March 18th, I felt beyond honored. Becoming a RAW artist is not just displaying my art. They have meetings with us, give us marketing education and support, and we have an assigned showcase director that helps us every step of the way. I did my first 3 art shows completely by myself so to have help feels amazing. And to have them so excited for me to be a part of their community feels so good. This is the reward for all the hours spent at my kitchen table drawing for no one but me.

I guess the weird part about it is, I wasn’t looking for a reward. I just needed to express myself and wanted others to connect with it. That is why sometimes I just stop in my tracks and look around me and say, Really? Is this really my life? If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be doing art shows in Los Angeles I would have thought you were completely insane. It wasn’t even on my radar. I was too busy trying to make it through the day without having an emotional breakdown.

Holding my emotions in took a lot of energy, and a toll on my life. When I was holding them in, I wasn’t present for myself or anyone else. My mouth was moving, my eyes were open, I was going about my day but I wasn’t there. My goal was to get home to the couch and my cats with as little damage to myself as possible. I was living my life on the defense. Defending against anyone who wanted to really get to know me. I didn’t want them to know me, I just wanted them to like me.

Luckily now there are more good days than bad, and I am slowly inching forward to emotional stability. I will be officially divorced in a couple of months. This is another example of something that if you told me 5 years ago that I would be happy about I would have thought you were completely insane. I didn’t want to be divorced. I liked being married, and I loved my family. I felt the most peace when my husband, daughter and our 2 cats were hanging in our living room watching a movie and making fun of it. We had a lot of love, I didn’t want to lose it. I fought with every fiber in my being to keep us together. But, as I have said, the universe had different plans for me. I wasn’t happy about the new plans at first and I fought hard against them. But, I am learning to accept that the path I am currently on is the right one for me. I will be happy to officially end what was so painful to me. There is no winner or loser, or right or wrong, it is just time to move on.

I hope next week is calmer for me, but if it isn’t, that is ok. I know I will be able to handle whatever comes my way. And I know that it is in my pain that beauty is created.