Learning from a Master

“If you hear a voice within you say “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent van Gogh

I am sure we hear this voice all the time. In fact I just spent a day trying fight past those words just so I could get done real words down on my page.

This Spring, F and I had a rare trip together without Little Bee. Of
course I missed her, but she was in good hands. My mother took care of her for two nights while we adventured through the city of Amsterdam. Pure heaven to be free of little feet for a few days! The freedom was good for my creating soul and I did lots of writing while free of household worries and to-do lists. And the long wine filled dinners with my handsome date, helped a bit too!

We visited the Van Gogh museum and I learned so much about this amazing artist that I have loved for so long. The thing that remained with me was his determination to get better. He refused to believe that he could not paint. His early works were highly criticised, but he kept on at it until finally he was a master. He maintained that the more he did the unfamiliar, the better he would get. The only way was up, basically.

Now why do I want to be perfect the first time? What makes me so special that I don’t need to practise?

The masters of creativity were great because they believed that they could succeed through hard work and determination.

And they never listened to the voices that told them that this plan wouldn’t work.

Hats

There is a lovely, little place in my head that remains forever muddled. That is because it is the real me. I don’t mind being a bit muddled. But lately, it has become a thing.

On the outside I have a great husband, a beautiful daughter and another baby on the way. I am a teacher taking time off to raise my kids. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, an in-law, a sister. I am a lot of things I didn’t use to be.

I used to be just a girl trying to figure it all out. Just me, on my own. Responsible for just myself. And that muddled, little place that was the real me was still a little hard to figure out, but I think I was getting there. But lately, all these other hats have made it even trickier to get to that little part that is the old me. So forgive me if sometimes I don’t act like I used to.
It’s just that I am finding my way past all the hats.

The one where she realised the beginning of a truth…..

I did start writing yesterday.  And it felt great, kind of.

And then I read this post by Autumn.  It was about being authentic and being yourself and letting it all shine out, even if you might not please everyone with the outcome.  And I wondered if I too was writing what I think people wanted to read about.  A story that had a good plot and interesting characters and those kinds of things that check boxes.

Autumn wondered if writing was best coming from a raw, gritty place deep inside.  From the things we don’t let out or let shine in case of offending others.  It was a great post and really struck something inside me.

There is a reason I started writing in the first place.  I was once a lonely, scared eleven year old girl who felt invisible.  I had a home life that felt out of control and the only safe place was my room, with my pen and a notebook.  Writing was the only way out of a life that I didn’t really think I was destined for.  I wanted more and I wanted out.  So I wrote about the person I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live.  I wanted to be far away from the sadness and the anger at my home.  Writing was my way of coping with everything else that was out of my hands.

I guess I did escape it all, but in the process lost the real part of my writing.  As soon as I was “happy”, then I stopped writing about the raw stuff that made me write in the first place.

If i find the spirit of the girl who started writing in the first place, I might be able to access what I need to be writing about.  It might be amazing, but it might not be the kind of thing that everyone (by this I mean, my family) will want to read.

But I said I would try not to be a people pleaser any more and I guess this is part of the way forward.

So, back to the drawing board I go.  See you in a few…

The one where she was flawed and it was okay.

Today I want to be accepted as the flawed human being that I am.

Little Bee is allowed to be her 2 years and 9 months old self…with her tantrums, and her wanting to “do it by myself” and then spilling it everywhere, and her bursts of tears when she drops her Bedtime Baby over the side of the bed, and her not wanting to share her snacks or her toys and being so tired after a day in the sun that she just collapses in a heap of tears on my lap before bed, wailing, “It’s been a long day, Mama, and I am too tired to sleep!”…and there isn’t even any need to forgive her or allow her because all these things mean that she is just doing her job as a human.  She is learning and growing and changing.  Just as she should.

When is the cut off point?  Apparently there is a point when we are all supposed to be done with the growing.  When we are all supposed to be in good moods all of the time, patient, kind to every living being, never snapping, and of course never frustrated!  If we are upset, we shouldn’t show it, we should deal with it in a quiet and sensible way.  And definitely no tantrums.

I can’t do it.  I just can’t.

I am just not able to be calm and collected all the time.  I freak out, I worry, I am too blunt with people, I cry a bunch, I am selfish,  I feel guilty about so many things, and I am very moody and yes, I go to that angry place and yell a bit too.  If the world doesn’t allow me to be this way, then I can’t share all the wonderful things about me either.  My passion for the people I love and the work that I do, my loyalty, my creativity, my kindness and my quirky, a little nutty and completely cheerful side.

If you let me be flawed and if I let me be flawed, and if I can let it all gush instead of trying to be sensible and quiet, then maybe my gifts will come tumbling out too.

Good Girls

In my dreams I was a cool, daring girl who said no to the teacher and went on wild and exciting adventures.  I vowed to myself that when I grew up, when I could escape, I would be that girl.

I wanted to disobey the rules but I just couldn’t.  I don’t even know why?  Was I worried that all of a sudden someone would punish me?  Yes, I guess I was.  People who follow rules are somehow praised by parents and teachers and all the people who influence our early life.  All I wanted was for people to praise me and tell me that I was a good girl.  Good Girl, Nice Girl.  Follow all the rules and use perfect punctuation.

And so I grew into a Nice Girl.  I am sort of interesting and quirky, but never enough to tip the boat.  I guess I am afraid I might fall out into that big mass of water…the unknown.  The unwritten.  I want to be out there, swimming in the ocean, but every time I try, I end up clinging to the boat, afraid that once I jump in, I won’t be able to swim.

Maybe the water will be so beautiful, I may never need the boat again……Maybe punctuation doesn’t matter as much.  As I thought. It did.

Trying to write a tale

Friends and friends to be,

I am beginning a new journey….would you like to join?  I am a writer trying to share her words with the world.  The only problem, I haven’t worked up enough courage to actually share it!! Silly, that I can sit here and write a blog post about not being able to write a word.  But that is the paradox of me.

I can, but I can’t.

I want to, but I don’t.

I am passionate, but I sit back.

I care, but I give up.

I have strength and power, but I am weak.

But maybe soon, I will be scared, but I will put it out there anyway.

I sometimes think I am so unique.  That all these personalities and opposing forces inside me make me so different from everyone out there, and if I could only figure out who I am and what I stand for, I will be able to write what I want to say.

Has it even occurred to me that actually everyone is doing the same and then building a cover, a mask, a layer of designer clothes and pretty makeup just to hide that one thing that makes us all the same? Why am I trying so hard to present a person who is fully formed and has the answer to everything, who is brave enough to share words with the world?  I could just present the little mess that is me and figure it out as I go.

So here you are and here I am.

Hello.