Nadir

I’ve been feeling so ambivalent about this space, this blog and everything to do with it lately. I guess in many ways, this blog symbolizes the whole of my creative work and world, so it’s not all that surprising that I’ve kept my distance. Some of you may know or have guessed that this past year has been pretty dark time for me. I haven’t shown very much of that here — I’ve felt ashamed to, really — even as there was less and less of me to hold together, I have tried to put a brave (smiling) face on and “be professional” in my art/work relationships. But after months of stressing over the fall/winter/spring, tearing my hair out about what-am-I-doing and where-am-I-going with all of this, I finally had a moment of clarity a couple of months ago: I could see suddenly how much of my suffering was self-perpetuated. So I gave myself permission to just drop the expectations and walk away from it all for a while. Scary stuff, that. (Sounds a lot like giving up, or running away…) Despite that internal judgement, I can see that it’s been a good move for me. I’ve felt a lot more spacious and even happy since then. But what does that mean? What have I been doing so wrong in my work, that when I try, I fall apart? It turns out I may have no idea how to do what I love and make a living, or how to be who I am in this world that feels so flawed and fucked up. I have felt sometimes that I may have also lost even the sense of just what it is that I love, too…

One morning I found a bee taking shelter from the rain, tucked into this sunflower

But that sense has been creeping back…

I have little glimpses.

Not enough to name, or hold, or understand… but flashes. Flickers, like fireflies blinking on and off mysteriously over the marsh, like so many glowing, solemn eyes.

Maybe that can be enough?

(Enough for what??)

But all these thoughts and feelings and ideas, they seem far too vast and intangible to write about. So I have mostly stayed away.

It’s seeming to me now that perhaps I need to learn a whole new way of living, of being. In my moments of buoyancy lately I’ve noticed I still have this lingering thought that “soon I will get back to my normal life, the way things were.” But gee, Anna… what the hell is normal, and do I really want the state that had come to pass as normal, for me? When was this mythical time of ‘before’ that you’re pining after? Before feelings of despair and anxiety shrouded the world with so many “Danger-Do-Not-Enter” signs? Can I even remember a time in my adult life that was free from those feelings? (No.) This winter was certainly some kind of nadir in the trajectory, but nothing new, per se.

You know, I am actually glad to have bottomed out so painfully… otherwise I think I could have gone on in that desensitized state indefinitely. Slowing leaking air and deflating a little more every day, and just thinking hey, that’s just life.

Ah, right. So why am I back here writing today? Because the kinds words of a fellow traveler this morning jolted my self perception seriously for a second, with their incongruity. She thinks I’m sort of awesome. How is it that I can feel like such a sack of shit so much of the time, and out there somewhere, there’s this fine human being thinking that I’m doing something right?

Sometimes I just don’t understand life at all.

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4 Responses

  1. a-mazing. awe-some…as in your honesty and courage and clarity are a-fillin’ me with some awe!

    i have often felt like you: “It’s seeming to me now that perhaps I need to learn a whole new way of living, of being.” time to renovate, self!

    and then i remember (well, sometimes i remember) that my way of being is always changing and shifting, no matter how much i want to maintain this way or let go of that way. it comes and goes, we’re happy, we’re sad, we feel complete, we feel lost. my work now is to remember that i have felt happy and complete at some point. sometimes i can shift my perspective and recall those feelings. sometimes i can do something to trigger that shift. and often i can’t. but it will come around again and it will pass. and so on and so forth…on and on and on down the tumbly road!

  2. You ARE awesome! And I hope you know how much you inspire me to let loose and just *try* something, rather than worry about the outcome. Hard to do, but so worth it.

  3. I completely resonate with you. It really is hard to “be online” during times of struggle to share your life and work when things seem dark, and the path is unclear. I was in a very low place last year around this time… and I’m still searching for the breadcrumbs that will lead me back into a meaningful creative practice. Thanks for posting this – I hope you will continue sharing as you find your new way. I’m listening!

  4. Ahh girl – you are so beautiful in every way, inside and out. You see beauty in small things and you lead others to see/feel/smell/taste it too. If that is the only thing that one does in one’s life, then so be it – but that is a BIG only. Most people go through their life not really paying attention, not seeing, not really feeling, not really using their senses and emotions. Perhaps your job in life is to be the catalyst for others, to encourage, to lead, to demonstrate the really important things – like beauty in people and in our world. You have chosen a difficult path, one not followed by most people. Don’t despair. Be Happy with your life. You are an important person doing very important things. We love you, we need you to be you.

    Love Dad

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