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Posts tagged ‘milestones’

The Dream & The Death

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Today is a very big day. In just a few hours, I will be loading up nine of my large framed photos and delivering them safely to the local hospital for my first solo art exhibition. It is a lifelong dream come true. And mostly, it has been incredible. I told my counselor the other day that it feels like a dream… that it feels like I got dropped into someone else’s life all of the sudden and that I got really lucky, because their life happens to be all the things that I always wanted my own life to be. Like, hey, I could get used to this!

But of course, it’s not ALL the things I wanted my life to be. We all know that. He is not here. I may 100% believe that he can see everything I’m doing and he is working overtime to help align things and forge this new path for me… but that doesn’t change the fact that he cannot stand next to me for this moment.

It is especially bittersweet because I was here to see him reach his greatest dreams. After years of hard work – after the two of us sitting on my couch night after night while he taught me more than I ever thought I’d know about helicopters – he finished flight school and got his flight instructor certification. I watched him transform from a someone who was very scared of actually accomplishing his dreams to someone who was totally committed to achieving them. I remember how incredible it was to stand by his side for that. To watch him so fully step into himself was one of the greatest honors of my young life.

In the past few weeks, I am realizing that the journey I have been on for the past two years – since he died – has actually been the same journey I watched him go through in our 3 years together. Not the grief part per say, but all the rest. Grappling with the fear of fully committing myself to my dreams of being a successful artist. Having all I needed in place and lined up before me and still being afraid to step through that open door. Afraid to fail. Afraid of what people would think. Afraid to lose more pieces of my old life and therefore him. Man, stepping through that door is freakin’ scary no matter HOW bright it looks. It feels selfish. And that voice pops up again and again saying “WHO do you think YOU are? Sit back down”. When you add his loss into that equation, it makes it even more complicated.

Because here’s the thing… this is all happening because he died. All of the choices I have made – quitting my job, moving away, starting over – all the imagery I have created, all the words I have written, all the opportunities that have come into my life. All of it – every single piece – is in my life because he is dead. His death has been the wellspring of everything beautiful in the past two years of my life. And that feels really weird. To be SO grateful for things that are happening because he is dead. It makes you feel like you are being grateful that this person is dead. Logically of course you are not – you are grateful for the gifts that came out of that death – but it feels weird. And I don’t quite know what to do with that. I would give anything to have him back here, but for the first time since he died – that wish also involves erasing a new part of myself and my life that means a lot to me and brings me much joy. It’s a lot to have rolling around in an already-analytical mind, I tell ya!

imageSo as I pack up all my photos and head out to set up my first show – I know, it’s going to be pretty emotional. I have been imagining it for days now… hanging the last photo up on the wall. Stepping down and walking back to take it all in for the first time. To look on the entire past two years of my life captured through these photos. My entire private world of grief literally up on the wall for all the world to see. It’s going to make me really sad. It’s also going to make me really happy and really proud and really satisfied. It’s going to be all those emotions – the painful and the positive, the dream and the death, all mixed together. But the best part is that I know I am stepping into the next big chapter of something that he began with me. He bought me my first real camera. And many of the lenses I still use today. He was there for the first juried show I had work in. And somehow, he is still very much here for this next leg of my journey…

He is here in that fact that his parents will be the ones helping me hang my show up today. They have been on this journey with me every step of the way – extending his love through their own hearts. He is here in every photo, in every emotion held within my images, in every story I tell. Really, very truly, he made every single one of those photographs with me. It’s been a collaboration beyond anything we could have made before he crossed over.

So there we three will stand today. And the tears they will come. We will cry because of what is in front of us. Because of this awesome accomplishment and this work we are all so proud of. And we will also cry for who is not beside us. For who should be beside us. And for who we are looking back at in those images before us. Damn it all, I’m crying already!

Healing Milestones

photoI’m just a day away from selling at my first art festival… and my emotions are all over the place. I’m SO excited, this is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl. Every summer, I went to a myriad of art festivals and left each one with a calling in my heart. I watched artists at their booths and talked to them and stood in awe of their work.. listening all the while to the whispers in my own soul of how badly I wanted to be one of them. And tomorrow, I will finally be stepping behind the booth with my own creations.

I’ve been hard at work the past month to get ready – and as I’m getting the final touches done on my booth setup and inventory, I’m in awe. I’m looking down at all these lovelies and thinking “did this actually come out of me?” Really… they are not mine as much as they are gifts to me in my dark night. I’ve just been trying to survive my emotions this past year, and looking for hope wherever I could find it. I believe each thing I’ve made was given to me to help carry me through the loss of my fiancé – to give me hope and joy and courage. To help me tell our story – an artist and a pilot – two lovers of nature, adventure, flight, creativity and so much more. There are small things that tell this story in each thing I make. They restore me daily. What magic to be able to share them with others and hope that they find their own healing, courage, and hope in them!

It is bittersweet of course, which is where my all-over-the-place emotions are coming from. I am both so excited and at the same time utterly heartbroken. To know that he should be here for this. To know how proud he would be and that he’d be by my side helping me out. There is absolutely no way around the deep sadness that this brings to the occasion. I’ve shed a lot of tears in the past few days… but felt a lot of excitement too. Tomorrow, I’m just going to focus on enjoying the moment with good friends and family around to support me. I know he’d kick my ass if I let his absence get in my way, after all! Here’s to a new adventures. Its going to be exciting. A little bit sad too, but mostly… exciting!!!

Milestones and Melt Downs

What a day. I never fathomed a person could go through so many emotions in 24 hours. Two important things happened today. 1) I had the most major melt down I have had since the day Drew died. 2) I had my very first sale on my Etsy shop!!! I HUGE milestone for me that I have dreamed of for many years! Our buyer is going to be getting this adorable little needle felted toadstool in a bottle very soon at her door! So that’s the short-n-sweet of my day. If you’d like to read the knitty-gritty, there is plenty more below… I don’t often post journal-entry type stuff cuz it’s pretty raw and messy… but I dunno, what the hell. I hope you enjoy the drama more than I did ;)

I barely eat breakfast…
I have a 10 o’clock appt with my therapist. I’m empty. Then the Rihanna song comes on in the car… “Bulletproof, Got nothing to lose…” I’ve always liked this song, its empowering. And then for the first time I realize in the chorus she is screaming the word “Titanium”. As soon as the word hits my ears I just explode into this tsunami of shock. That was the word he used to describe me in an early journal entry he wrote, just before we began dating… “I love the way her eyes light up and the curve of her eyebrows when she laughs. She’s got a creative streak a mile wide, wider actually. And her character is stronger than friggen titanium. And that’s why I fell hard for her”. That word – titanium – has become part of my identity since he died.

Tears are rocketing from my eyes and I am screaming at the music, at God, at the universe, at Drew, at my dead parents, at my whole life… screaming at the air that is coming out of me. My eyes are so blurry I can barely see the road. I don’t even try to hold it together. I just scream-cry like a crazy person thru the entire song as Rihanna belts out “titaniuuuuum” at me over and over. Its horrible – but its exactly the amount of horrible emotion that this deserves. And I know it. This is the first time I have totally lost it since the day he died. I have lost it a little, and cried many many times – but nothing like this.

And then the song was over, I pull myself together enough to call my therapist to let her know (still half crying) that I am running a little late. She asks if she can make me some green tea. I love her for that. Like, deeply feel connected to her over the idea that while I am driving there she is making me a cup of green tea. It is something to hold on to, to get me where I need to go.

Therapy goes well – filling her in on some of the positives from the past few days does help to pull me out of the pit I am in.
When I leave, still very emotional and very torn apart missing him, but now I have some spunk in me. Now I have some drive and determination. She tells me before I go that the first thing I am to do is to go eat some frozen yogurt. I smile. And I go do just that.
While I’m at the yogurt place,
I make a few calls. Then I check my email for something and I realize I have a few emails from Etsy. Hm. I open the first one and low and behold it is the moment I have dreamed of – my first first Etsy sale! Talk about an emotional day. I am instantly crying right there in the yogurt shop, but smiling all the while. I am thinking of how dearly I want to be able to call him and tell him about it – but knowing also that he is right there with me sharing the experience somehow. I just know it. I call his mom and a few friends to share the wonderful news. I am beaming. His mom and I both agree Drew is smiling down at me and is thrilled from afar. Not only is this a huge positive just for today, it’s been a dream of mine for many many years. Best of all, my buyer is one of you! And that support means the world to me. So thank you Laura!

And so now it is the end of a long day…
I plummet back into dispair quickly after work. Really barely make it through work today and decide finally that I cannot survive work right now. I am taking more time off. I call my brother in the evening, and it does help to pull me out of the pit. Somehow, he always is able to pull me out – even just a little. Thank you bro. I still only eat a pathetic amount of food all day. But hey, at least it’s something. And it leaves room to drink more calories in dark beer – so that’s a bonus. Rock bottom so enormous high and back down again. Now, just past midnight, after taking my first bubble bath in well over a month and talking to one of my best friends.. I think I am finally somewhere in the middle.. in a small little space of peace. And so that is why I will say… goodnight my friends. Thank you for reading. And sweet dreams. <3

 

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