Those of you who know me in person, know that this hasn't been the easiest summer for me. Emotionally, there have been several family matters that have been taxing for me. I was raised to be a nurturer, and nurture I must. Even when I am not physically with my family members, I feel the worry and want to take care of things for them. I do not feel rested, in fact, I feel less rested than I did in June when school ended.
Yesterday it was a scorcher (again) and I spent some quality time with the new Where Women Create and Studios magazines. I LOVE these magazines, and spending time in a cushy, air-conditioned chair at Barnes and Nobel reading them is heaven on earth for me. I find them totally and completely inspiring. After enjoying them, I started some negative self-talk on the way home. Why is it that these women can find the time to do that which I so desire? The simple answer is that they devote time to developing their passions. I ask myself why I have such trouble giving myself permission to play as they do. I look back at my New Year's goals and my beginning of summer journal entries for perhaps the past eight years and I see the same thing. I write about spending time creating, giving time to myself, dedicating time to refilling the well so that I have more to give. Yet, here I am, at the end of another summer. Exhausted again. Still.
I think that there may be two important reasons why I seem unable to begin the life I crave. The biggest reason is fear. Whenever I sit with a blank piece of watercolor paper, or even a clean page in a sketchbook, I hear a voice in my head that says, "Your brother is the artist." I feel simply terrified to put a mark on the page. It is fear that the comments are right. That I will put marks that will verify my fear. That I will put marks on the page that will tell me that my dream of being an artist is unattainable. I have sketchbooks that I purchased when I was a teenager that only have one or two sketches in them. I look at them now and I see an ability to draw, but they were put aside because they met with lukewarm praise from those most influential in my life. Perhaps they were afraid I might follow my passions toward an "unmarketable" or "frivolous" career choice? Perhaps my brother was better than I, but my ability was never really recognized. In fact, I feel it was discouraged.
The second reason is my understanding of responsibility. I was taught that it is my responsibility to take care of family, home, and everybody but myself. I was taught that self-care is selfish and a waste of time. If that is your core belief, how does one justify time spent doing something just for enjoyment? You don't. You can't justify it. Not if those are your core beliefs.
So, I understand that this is what is at the heart of my procrastination and frustration. Where does one go from here? I am 51 years old. Isn't it time for me to start living the life I want to live? Unfortunately, those around me are accustomed to me giving to them and caring for them; and they are not very happy when I express a desire to do for myself. This has recently caused much difficulty in my home life. I'm not sure where this will end or lead, but I do feel I am finally at a point in my life where the well is empty. I feel that I cannot give more to those unhappy with me until I refill the well by living the life that meets my needs.
I also believe that it is this unfulfilled need that I try to fill with food. I don't wonder, I know, that I would physically be a very different person if I made the life change I crave. I know that my appearance is a direct result of putting myself aside, basically since I was a very young child.
I know from past experience that my resolve toward change can be manipulated by guilt and threats. Unhappy people sometimes will do anything they can to keep change from occurring. I really need support from others to help me stay strong in my quest. Since those discouraging this change are closest to me, I cannot look to them for support. I understand this now, and realize that the lack of support (and outright saboutage) has been a critical piece in changing my life. Where does one look to find the support I need?
Be grateful and see the beauty in each day!