Stepping Away

It has been two months since I last wrote on these pages. I considered labeling this post as “Running Out Of Words”, but the truth is I haven’t. I think maybe I was too sad to share, or that what I felt was far too personal. As I mentioned in a previous blog this was never intended to be such a personal and revealing account of my life. I began it in a search for self fulfillment, a way of forcing myself to tend to my own needs after a lifetime of being everything for everyone else. It has also had unintended consequences, one of those being that some people who read what I write think they know me. Yes, there have been very deep heartfelt thoughts on these pages, and a very personal glimpse into my life, but there is much more to me than what you might read and assume. I also discovered that there are two people “looking” for me on a website that reveals people who are searching for you. I have no way of knowing if it is as I suspect a sales pitch to get me to purchase “Protection”, or if someone has garnered enough information from the web to decide to look further. Either way it creeps me out. One of the names is of a woman, the other a man. I looked them up. The male exists, has a Facebook page, and I have no idea who he is or why he would look me up. Like I said, creepy. The female lives in Florida, and until recently I knew no one living there. That one is unnerving for me, especially in these days of identity theft.

As for my sadness, four months have passed since my Dad passed. There is still an aching hole that will take some time to heal. I think I realize that it never will, because it’s right next to the one that has been there for eight years, the one created by losing my Mom. That post would be titled, “Running Out Of Words”, because sometimes it hurts too much to be crafted into a coherent sentence.

People say, “Life moves on.” and it does. I’m going to be a grandmother. The immense joy that the news brought to my heart is again difficult to put into words. I will of course unfortunately have to be a grandma from the other side of the country, but these days of social media make that a much easier pill to swallow, and I can guarantee that my daughter and son in law will get to know the postman very personally.

Finally there is this, the much promised return to what this was all meant to be about…art. Our dear friends and former Chicago neighbors are themselves relatively new grandparents. Their new joy lives even further than mine, he resides in New Zealand. Our daughters grew up together, and will now be moms within a year of each other. Life does move on. While looking at Facebook I came across a photo on Nicole’s page that stirred something in me that hasn’t been there in some time. It is a photo of her baby and his father. The baby is beyond adorable, the word (as weird as it is) that comes to my mind is “scrumptious”. He is so damn cute I could eat him up, but it was John, and the look of love and tenderness that really spoke to me. I’ve never met John, but that photo speaks volumes, and it gave me something I needed, a reason to paint. Congratulations to Nicole and to John, and thank you for giving me the inspiration I so desperately needed. (It will FINALLY make its way to you. Promised weeks ago, but I found myself hearing the call of “not good enough” yet again. Having to remind myself that it’s not meant to be a Xerox copy, but a piece of art. I’m sending it today in order to shut off the voice in my head before I ruin it!)

In full disclosure I need the art police here to demand that I put down the brush. I’ve retouched this painting six times since I started photographing it…sick, just sick…

So, a return to art, and a return to writing. The first hurdle is behind me. I know it won’t be the only one, but it feels good to begin again. My life moving on.

for nicky


OK, I admit it. I took the photo of the painting no less than a dozen times. Why? Because I started finding fault with it and “fixing” it. Memo to the voice in my head…SHUT UP! Oh no, I hearing it again….I need to fill in John’s beard a little, fix the baby’s hairline, darken the ear on one side, ….help!

For Mom

It’s early evening here in Temecula and I haven’t attempted anything new for the day. Busy work in the garage, and to be honest a little stressed about stuff I can’t seem to let go of. There is also this, I know I mentioned it earlier in the month, but today is the sixth anniversary of my Mom’s passing. Never an easy day. I inherited “not good enough” from her. She never realized how fantastic she was. I am hoping that this project will eventually free me from myself, and maybe in some way she will gain something through me. I also realize that my daughter has a hint of the “not good enough” and I want to vanish it from her life too.

Speaking of “not good enough”, I mentioned it last night, and boy was it back this morning. I worked on Kelsey this morning because I wasn’t happy about it last night. The other issue is that I wait so long in the day to work that by the time I’m finishing up its dark outside, and I’m tired, and I don’t work with enough light…excuses, excuses, but all true. The stuff I can’t let go of? Perfectionism. I wrote last night of how Kelsey’s portrait didn’t give me any trouble. That was then, this is now. I worked that little baby’s portrait over and over, I almost ruined it by dropping a big blob of water on her poor little face. I finally put it down. I spoke to my daughter Jessica about it later in the morning. She said, “Mom, if they just wanted a picture they’d take one.” She’s right. I need to get it through my stubborn Irish skull that I’m not a Xerox machine (if you are too young to know what that is, google it!) I am an artist, I am evoking a feeling, or an essence, not a Sear’s portrait. I took on the garage stuff today because I needed to shake this off. I was doing so well, progressing and feeling confident. I’m not sure what happened that set me back…ding! Light bulb just went off. Most of the art I have been producing these last few months wasn’t for anyone. There were one or two pieces for Dan and Theresa, but they are like my other halves. It is because it is for someone else. My new family. Do I think they are going to get the portraits and put a big red check in the middle, or publish a bad review in the local paper, of course not. But I’m me, and I want them to love the portraits of their children. I’m sure they will, because this isn’t about them, it’s about me and my issues. I’m sure I’m slightly insane, and that all will be well. I just have to remember that “not good enough” is very sneaky, and will find the crack in the door if I leave it open even the slightest bit.

Two hours later…

I talked to Dan about how I was feeling, and of course his words pretty much echoed Jessica’s. I was in fear of being judged, thus the “revisiting”. Finally I just began to cry. It’s a hard enough day, and I make it harder on myself. In the midst of all of it another light bulb moment. There is always a root for every problem, and sometimes the person who planted it doesn’t even realize they are doing it. When I was a little girl, and had already begun to show talent, my dad handed me a photo of John Kennedy and asked me to draw it for him. In my recollection I was around five, but at the very least I was seven, because I still remember where I was sitting when he asked. He walked away and I cried because I didn’t know how to draw that picture and I didn’t want to let him down. Who knows what he was thinking. It’s a sad memory, but Dan said at least now I know where my lack of confidence started. Maybe I should rename the blog “365 Days to Psycho Analyze Yourself”, lots of stuff going on in my head these days. I want to say right now to my two children, if I have ever said something that made you think you weren’t good enough, I’m sorry. You have both always been amazing and the joy of my life.

Tonight, something for my mother. When she died her coffin was covered in yellow roses ordered by my dad. I don’t remember yellow roses being her favorite flower, they are his. I know that because my mom told me so. I remember lilacs, and that she smelled like Heaven Scent when I was young. I had some small pieces of wood, left overs from something, they aren’t even cut straight. Lilacs in acrylic on wood. Love you Mom.

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