Happier Days

Happier days are indeed here!

But…

The challenge is cleaning up the mess that’s left behind from days past.  The actual mess that exists in my home from the days that clear thought and any hope of organization were impossible.  The multitude of things left undone because I simply couldn’t deal with any of it.  And, worst of all, the guilt and self-recrimination.  The constant little (but loud) voice in my head that keeps saying “What’s wrong with you.  You are the worst housekeeper ever. Why can’t you keep up with things?  Everyone else can!”

I’m trying to replace the voice with a more positive message.  It’s hard.  And I wonder where the negative messages originated.  Are they literal messages from my childhood?  Am I repeating something that I’ve heard before?  Are they actually my thoughts?  In any case, why is it so hard to be nice to myself?

But, enough of the negative.

Art work has been made – remember the little canvases?

IMAG1045IMAG1048I placed them in a old drawer that I find at a vintage (junk) store.  I wish I could take a better photo because the canvases are very textural and “damaged”.  I didn’t really plan this one out.  Just stared at it a lot and rearranged them…and painted on them some more.  Then last night I started looking at some paper from my stash and decided on houses again.  Then when I was putting everything up for the night…I saw the drawer and it was a done deal.  I like the simplicity of the design and the calming colors.  I like the neatness in the drawer.  Everything all tidy and peaceful.

Hmmmm.  Art imitating what I’d like for my life.  Peaceful, tidy, calm, simple?  I love the way my art can speak more clearly what’s in my head.  How it can become the truth that I am seeking.  How my art can answer questions and clear away the confusion that I am feeling.  Maybe I need to be making more art.

Just write

IMAG0799So, I haven’t written here in a couple of days.  It’s not because I’ve been too busy.  Just my normal busy.

But, I’ve been feeling pretty sad.  Not because of anything in particular that’s happened.  Just sad.

And when I get sad, I get quiet.   Until I’m not quiet and then I’m normally yelling and screaming about whatever is really bothering me.  The thing that even I didn’t realize was bothering me.  Until I started yelling.

Mental illness, crazy, anxiety, depression, chemical imbalance…I don’t care what it is called.  Labels don’t matter.  The ups and downs are what is frustrating.  My family looking at me with concern…walking on eggshells until the yelling part hits.  Not knowing what might trigger the outburst. Days where I’m “together” woman followed by days when I just want to take a nap…all day.

It has gotten better….way better.  I’ve had some pretty magnificent mood swings in the past.

But there has to be a better way.  A way to work through whatever is going on without the yelling.  (Not that yelling isn’t appropriate sometimes…toilet paper on the bathroom counter instead of on the toilet paper dispenser thingie, for instance.)

What might be bothering me?

The house.  I’m still doing the “20” list.  I’ve even taken it a step further.  I assigned each room(s) a day of the week and then I actually typed out a general list of what should be done in each room to pull it together.  That daily list gets copied over to my “20” list each morning. IMAG0795IMAG0796 (1)

I didn’t use to be a totally disorganized person.  Now, I find that I can be easily distracted by something (anything that I’d rather be doing than housework).  Then I realize a couple of weeks have gone by and I never got around to dusting the living room (for example).  Or, I’ll open the fridge and gaze upon a science fair project.  That would actually work for us since we homeschool, but is probably not a good idea on a regular basis.

Having a list gives me focus and the satisfaction of crossing a completed item off the list.  And last night, the kitchen looked great.  Family even washed their own dishes at the end of the evening instead of piling them in the already towering pile.

As I’m writing, I’m thinking about other things that have been going on lately.  The house is what I’ve talked about mostly, but there have been other things as well.  I think the house is just representative of how I feel my life is going.  It’s just a glaringly visible picture of how the inside of my “head” feels.  Of how “out of control” my life seems right now.

And this blog is one of the places I’ve been working things out for myself.  I’m not okay with things being just okay anymore.  I want GREAT!  A great life.  Not “a drifting along with the current” life.  I want to make choices that change things for the better. If I don’t know how to fix a problem, I want to have the courage to figure out how to do so.  And, if I problem truly doesn’t have a solution, I want the strength to ride it out.

The house isn’t the whole problem.  It’s a symptom.

And I’m glad I started writing here today because I feel a lot better.  Laying things out in black & white is good for a visual person like myself.

Just to keep the “positive” mood going – here is a gratitude list for today.

  1. The kitchen is clean!
  2. Our chicks are happy and healthy in their new completed coop my family built.
  3. I have two art projects going.
  4. Our trash can is less than half full because we started recycling again.
  5. Our second car is paid off because of a new part-time job.
  6. I got 15,000 steps on my fitbit yesterday.
  7. I don’t have a huge pile of lost socks anymore.
  8. My whole family will be together under one roof tomorrow night.
  9. I am reading a book just for fun.
  10. I have 3 full boxes to donate to the thrift store.
  11. We have enough food ’til payday (and some after that).
  12. I wrote this blog post and I feel better.

Studio Re-do

Because my whole house is in perfect order and clean (HA) I decided to take apart my studio and re-do it.

Here’s what it used to look like:

Everything in one place! Studio redesign

And now:IMAG0773IMAG0775 (1)IMAG0774

I moved out the big black cabinet because my daughter needed the storage in her room AND I like to be able to see everything. If I can’t see it I tend to forget about it.

I also built a separate desk out of a long table and an old door to use as a journaling and art card station.  That stuff tends to spread out and stay out.  Now I can work as time allows and the big table is freed up for other projects.

It’s not quite as “pretty” as the previous configuration, but I like it.  I believe it is more practical and will be more functional.

I’m finding that I’m less and less concerned with the overall appearance and tidiness of the studio.  I think that it has something to do with my attitude and confidence with “being an artist”  rather than “looking like an artist”.

It’s a shift in thinking that I’ve been working on.  Before I used to think about how to be an artist.  Now, I’m thinking less and doing more.  I’ve really been working on looking ahead and not looking left or right. (I’m stealing that terminology from a blog I read, but I can’t remember which one and I can’t locate it to properly credit it.  My apologies and thanks to whoever wrote it in the first place).  It’s all about looking in the direction you wish to move rather than concerning yourself so much with what others around you are doing.

Anyway, I’m worrying less about what other artists are doing to be artists and finding my own way.

Now, what to do?  Deal with the piles of stuff leftover from cleaning the studio or make some art?

Maybe a little of both.

The Interruptions

interruption
[ ìntə rúpshən ]
NOUN
a pause, break, or temporary halt in an ongoing activity or process
I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again…and probably again and again…
“Sometimes the interruptions are the work that needs to be done.”
You know that day (or week) when you have a plan to get it all together, and then life happens.  The unplanned for thing(s) that you couldn’t have expected, but probably should have.
Illness, injury,  a forgotten appointment, a friend in need –  you know, the next door neighbor in her 70’s whose roof got seriously damaged during a storm and another storm is on its way.
That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.  The things you need to do.  The things you want to do.  But, in the back of your mind you’re thinking:  but I have a list.  A list of things I’m going to work on today.  I’m going to do those things and cross them off and everything is going to be all better.
Except that’s not life.  It’s certainly not the life you are trying to get your life together in order to live.
I want to clear my clutter and organize my life so that life’s happenings aren’t seen as interruptions.  So that I can focus on doing what needs to be done without feeling like I don’t have time.
I want to be the person who is there for someone who needs them.  The person who isn’t half-way present.  I don’t want to feel like the work I need to do is an interruption.
Sorry for this hastily written blog.  I’ve only got a minute to jot this down, but I suspect that I’m not the only person who struggles with this.  I hope it doesn’t sound as much like a rant as I suspect it does. it’s meant to be more of a “share”.  I am frustrated – with myself mostly.
I want faster progress.  I want improvement now.  It’s been a busy week – full of life (interruptions).
Peace.