Every year, right around Samhain, when it begins to get dark and cold I begin to think about introspection. Now when I say think, I mean I literally think about it, not that I sit down and dive deep inside myself necessarily.
"Heart Driven": Work in Progress.
I suffered through a terrible bought of Autumn Apathy this year, which has never happened to me before. Seriously, I barely wanted to do anything at all, much less share it here. That whole 'effort' thing sounded so unappealing and all I really wanted to do was sleep in a puddle of warm sunshine and stay there for at least the next 6 years. My Halloween party happened because it's what I do, my pumpkins were carved because it's what I do. There was no real thrill there in my bones, no tingle like there normally is. I chalked some of the really blank spots up to worrying myself ragged over loved ones effected by Sandy but if I'm really honest, a lot of it had crept in and taken hold before that. There were things I went and did that I really enjoyed, like going home to NJ for a few days, going to the Renaissance Festival not once but twice and taking part in the Color Run in Charlotte, NC.
But, even as I enjoyed those events, anyone close to me could tell I wasn't feeling like myself because there was something missing from most of these expeditions; my camera. Which, to the outside observer, probably seems like no big deal but to those that know me well is a big glaring sign that something's amiss with me. Being one of the most photographically motivated people I know, my camera is like my hand when it comes to events, trips and memory making. It goes everywhere with me. Into stinky abandoned buildings, on carnival rides, out to sea whale watching, to game nights, birthday galas, festivals and on quiet trips of contemplation in to the woods. My camera is so much a part of me that it sometimes drives my lover insane, like when I can't lay in the damn hammock and just watch the shooting stars - oh no, I have to fiddle with the camera and get grumpy that I can't get the shot and finally give up 20 minutes later when we're both annoyed and want to go inside. (That absolutely happened.) He's actually joked that if we ever have a kid, it won't know what my face looks like because I'll be too busy taking a million pictures of it. And if I do ever emerge from behind the lens, it will think I'm a stranger. So, my absent camera was a big red flag that everyone seems to have noticed but me.
Despite the apathy and glaring red flag, I signed up to jump in to part two of the Fearless Painting Adventure with Dirty Footprints Studio, DEEP. Throughout the course of the journey, myself and my Fearless painting sisters all seem to have been struck by a bit of malaise, mayhem and melancholy. Things have gone topsy turvey in so many lives, so many of us have fallen behind the prompts, so many are fixated on one that they just can't move out of as they explore the deeper aspects of a painting they created. Some, like myself, are on top of the paintings, going DEEP, flinging paint, getting dirty and tearful and joyous in a great bi-polar cacophony of creative process but are so bogged down and tired that the paintings are taking all we have and we haven't been sharing our journey or even really reflecting on them after. And while it pains me to be so far behind with the sharing and I am, I admit, worried, about sharing the processes that have grown a bit cold in my memory - I feel it's such an integral part of this process that I need to do it before the class is over. But, while I feel a tug of longing and a tug of guilt, I'm working to be kind to myself throughout - to let the tired and the apathy and all the feelings I'm dredging up work through me and having this tremendous group of kindred spirits going through the same sort of journey has helped me to find comfort within this space.
And in this space, where the DEEP paintings and drawings are causing the apathy to begin to flake away, I've noticed for the very first time I'm not just thinking about introspection during this time of the year, I'm actually turning inwards of my own unconscious volition. Things are bubbling to the surface and adding that to my work related stress is enough to knock me out at least until the Solstice, possibly longer. But, I wouldn't give up the emotions and feelings for anything because I finally feel like I'm really getting to know my real self, the one I gave up back in my teens, again. My intuition and I are getting reacquainted and I'm finally focusing on the most important person in my life for a change - myself. While there will be shit to trudge through, changes to make, people to confront, cut out or pull closer I feel for the first time, that the dark half of the Wheel of the Year has really caught me up in it's cycle and that all the extraneous, fun stuff that I normally do for Harvest just wasn't what I needed to focus on this year. Hence, the apathy.
P.S. (and this is a bit of a rant) This isn't too say that all of my moodiness and grumpiness is a thing of transformation and self healing. A lot of it is being caused by my job, which while it pays the bills that I need it to, drives me to a place of feeling stuck and hopeless because I've been unable to find anything else and have been unable to attend any small business classes to really get my art going because they are way out of my budget. So many people like to tell me 'You should just be happy that you HAVE a job' in that condescending manner of theirs and while, yes I am grateful to be able to pay my bills, I don't believe anyone should be taken advantage of or made to feel uncomfortable because their boss is a fucking incompetent closed-minded moron. Currently, I am a part timer doing a full timer's work and that coupled with the constant ignorant bullshit my boss throws out while shopping online instead of doing her friggen job on top of people constantly accusing me of taking their money when they over-drafted their damn accounts because they can't manage their funds has driven me to the point of coming home most nights, sitting on the couch and crying before I make dinner and pass out, with barely a smile or a snuggle for my husband or our fur babies. So yes, helpful assholes, I'm completely thrilled. And for those other helpful assholes, yes. I am looking for something else, but I don't want to make less or work overnights and never see my husband - part of the thing that's pissing me off so badly now is that our schedules are nearly opposite so if I want to spend time with him, everything else I want to do falls by the wayside - art, spirituality, cleaning the house, playing with the dog, seeing friends. And, I'd love to quit my job and paint full time, to display in the galleries and coffee shops downtown and vend at shows, but whenever I ask other artists how they went about getting themselves set up with the licensing, paperwork and taxes everyone is very shut lipped. I don't know if it's like a secret cult and they don't want to let me in or what down here, but it's very frustrating. And on top of that, when I contacted the Small Business Association down here, rather than a person emailing me back they sent me an electronic reply saying 'Hey! Come to our $120 8 hour class on Tuesday, which you can neither afford nor get time off for!' (ok, I may be embellishing, but dammit, this is so frustrating. ARRRGG! (rant over. Sorry, loves. but if anyone in the SC area can help with me understand this license/tax/legalese stuff, my heart would be forever grateful.)