So I did a thing yesterday…….I have long loved to draw and also finally took some beginning painting classes several years ago, which I also loved. And work got busier and busier, and so I didn’t devote much time to painting, or writing – two of my deepest passions.
I have a friend who I used to work with who came over to my house a few months ago, saw my paintings, and turned me on to a local art association. Why not, I thought? So, I joined, and found out that if you are a member, you can participate in their art shows. So….
Yesterday they had an art show, and I signed up for it, got ready for it, and was there as a “participant artist” (how thrilled was I to have that on my ID badge????) I have to say, it was both anxiety producing and exciting – sometime it can be difficult for me to distinguish between those two feelings. But, I had committed and there I was. I hung up my paintings with great excitement, trying not to look too closely too soon at the other art, as I can get into negatively comparing myself to others (that infernal jury in my head). And there I was, paintings hung up for all to see. I cannot really adequately describe the feelings of watching people stop by and look at my paintings. I feel as if they were gazing into a piece of my soul. But, why not? If I don’t do this now, when will I ever do this? (This is but a sample of the self talk that I engaged in to keep myself from tearing the paintings down and running out of there, afraid to be seen as an imposter artist.) And I stayed….. for the whole thing.
Several people came up to me and expressed a liking for my art, which I really appreciated. One woman really wanted one of my paintings, but did not have the funds at this time. I gave her my email so that we can talk about it more. Although I don’t want to devalue my paintings and how much I put into them, it also means a lot to me to have someone really connect with one of my paintings (which she did) and have it really mean something to them. This makes me very willing to negotiate, as I would love for her to have this painting that has so touched her. She gave me a gift letting me know that.
I didn’t sell any of my paintings at the show, and that was ok. It was my goal to simply show up and have my paintings and me be a part of it. To finally validate that part of me that has been shoved aside (as has my writing) for so long because life, work, etc…all got in the way and took all my time. The other artists there were lovely, supportive and welcoming, which I also appreciated. (I had let people know that this was my first show.)
I came home, and the buzzing and vibration inside me was amazing to feel and experience. So this was what really being alive in the moment (and validating who I was and what I loved) felt like? This feeling was what I had, in various ways and forms, stuffed down for so very long. But, it was still there. It is still here today inside me…the excitement about having expressed, to the world, a piece of who I truly am…that I allowed myself to be vulnerable and exposed (as I do in with this blog). That I not only survived, but felt such a deep aliveness and connection to the parts of me inside that I have kept hidden and quiet for so very long.
I did it. I showed up for myself. I took that little girl inside me in hand, the little girl who always loved to draw, and showed her paintings to the world. And let her know that she was worth it. That she deserved to be seen. I also let her know that she deserves to be heard with every post on this blog. I am feeling so very exposed. And more alive than I have felt in a very long time. I was telling friends that I feel as if I had walked out onto the diving board and was about to jump off from a very high place….scared, but also realizing that I could not, would not turn back. It was time to leap. So I leaped.
And I am so grateful that I did. So very, very grateful.
To top it off, I was texting with another dear friend who I used to work with and she, for the first time, expressed that she would love to have one of my paintings. I never knew…And was so happy to hear that. She did not want a “friend price” and told me not to dare to “go low” with the price. And so, she decided on a painting that spoke to her, and has already put down a deposit on it! I sold a painting yesterday after all, just not in the way that I had thought it might happen. You never know what the Universe may have in store for you, if you stay open to it all.
I went to the Farmers’ Market this morning and bought myself some beautiful flowers. I wanted to be careful and aware of one of my patterns to sometimes sabotage myself or punish myself somehow for daring to allow myself to be seen. I did the opposite. I got flowers. I met a friend for coffee…another dear friend who came to the art show to support me.
I recently did another thing….I submitted photos of several of my paintings to a magazine. I actually did this, mistakenly thinking that this was connected to the art association that I had joined. It was not. There are no mistakes. I got an email that the magazine accepted one of my paintings for their September issue! I am still in the process of letting that sink in!
Here I sit, vibrating with the energy of life. How interesting to have this happen after retirement and after my career, but yet at the beginning of the rest of my life. My head is buzzing, my insides are vibrating, my energy level is difficult to contain.
I realize that it is never, ever too late to come home to yourself. I am still here, still alive – in fact, more than ever! And so I say to all of us women “of a certain age”…come join me. We have much life yet to live. The road home is there in front of us. Yes, there is pain and loss and many other parts of aging that are painful and difficult, and we must feel those things as well – as they are part of life. And there is much life left to live. Take my hand …. let’s support and hold each other along the way….. We are still here, we are still alive, we still have much left to give and to live. We are not dead yet…..not quite yet…..!