“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

9.05.2013

that hopeless moment



beginner's mind  just words.  that moment when you sit on the chair and you think i've done this before, i can do this again, but you want to go right from zero to masterpiece with no loosening up, no practice, never mind that you know you can't get there from here without taking the top off the car and letting the wind mess up your hair and letting it stay that way for however long it needs to be tangled. that  moment.

the one where tears just show up out of wherever they've been hiding and you actually cry over beginning again, never mind how deep down excited you are about it all.  that moment when you think - no, that moment when you know  you can't do this, that you are all just words and surface, and old  surface at that, and you're sitting at the table you made room for in your tiniest of spaces and there's a brush in your hand and no matter what you put on the canvas it is just the awfullest ever, and self talk starts creeping in.  that  moment.  you are too old,  the voice inside you whispers, you are silly for thinking you could start again, no one will care about these pieces, you don't even know what you want to say, it was just a stupid thought you had and you should never have said it aloud, much less believed it yourself.

that  moment.

and while you're sitting at that table, feeling hopeless and way too old and thinking nothing but a package of m&ms will help, the girl across the street pulls up with a couple of boys, she all sixteen and black and beautiful, lovely late afternoon sunlight sliding across her face, she with her whole life ahead of her, the boys all white and thinking they are men, tshirts with the sleeves torn off, football player arms and strength and all showing off, these still young boys, not quite men, and you say a little prayer for her, that she will not let them take away her dreams.  so easy to let that happen at sixteen.

and you look back at all your  bad decisions and all the good ones, too, though today even the good ones feel like a necklace of albatrosses, but, no longer being sixteen, you reach way down into your almost giving up soul, and find a bit of wisdom, a bit of something you have learned, and you just stop.  you clean the brushes and you close up all the paint, and you tell yourself you need a brighter lamp and you put that on the list for tomorrow morning.  you remind yourself that today counted, that putting brushes and paint on canvas is where you start.  you tell yourself you need more gesso to cover up the mistakes, knowing you will let bits of those mistakes stay, and you add that to tomorrow's list.

and so it begins.
again.
i remember this moment from years gone by.
over and over.
it's the first day of school every time.

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12 comments:

  1. yes, baby steps, just getting the brushes out and sitting in front of the canvas, step one. so good that we can begin again and again.
    xoxoxo

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    1. you grow older and you think all the baby steps are done. ha! baby steps again means we are still learning. a good thing. :)

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  2. it is the first day of school, every time we open our heart, our minds, our souls and let these little pieces of us out.

    it will always be the first day of school.

    but i sit here, looking at a painting that i do care about, that says something different to me every time i look at it, and i know, KNOW, that you are good. really good.

    i can't wait to see what else you have to say, what else you come up with.

    xoxo

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    1. thank you thank you thank you. for everything. for always being there. for the bird and for the jingle jangles. :)

      xoxo

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  3. Oh we are never too old. We are evolving and changing all our lives and sometimes just being in the moment and doing everything and nothing is a life lesson. I wouldn't trade this age for the world. It's been when I've been content and settled and happy.

    loved this post, and I hope you will again sit with brushes and soon inspiration will reveal itself.

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    1. karen - thank you. i will sit with the brushes again today. :) (and i almost tagged this post as diananyad. because, you know.)

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  4. you can do it again! And you will. At the beginning of each painting I feel that feeling of "can I do this?" And I remind myself that it's never about the end result, not about a masterpiece, it's about the process. What I gain along the way. That is why I do it. The end result goes off into the world (or in my closet), but it's the process, the mistakes and the lessons that stay with me.
    beautiful post. here's to beginnings!

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    1. it's true. it's about the process, and in more truth, it's for me. i always forget it's the painting part i like the best, not the end product. thank you - as always - for being such an inspiration. xoxo

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  5. ....'self talk starts creeping in. that moment. you are too old, the voice inside you whispers, you are silly for thinking you could start again, no one will care about these pieces, you don't even know what you want to say, it was just a stupid thought you had and you should never have said it aloud, much less believed it yourself.
    that moment.'
    of late, it seems like all my moments are THAT MOMENT! perhaps you softened
    it somewhat for me, as i try to find direction. perhaps i can believe in me.
    for that, as always i am grateful.
    In fondest always, Tilda


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  6. Oh WOW, I have been feeling like this, and you have expressed it perfectly here. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for every single word and the imagery too. It is (indeed) the first day of school every time. Somewhere away up the trail and around the bend, I will look at what I managed to create this time around and be amazed. For now, I am just plain old shaky and dubious .

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    1. i am smiling because i know. i know. but this morning i tackled it big - big canvas. loose ideas. we will see. xoxo

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  7. First day of school... YES. This is how I feel. I don't know how to draw. What makes me think I can put lines on paper and make it look like something recognizable? Where does the first line even go??? I am riddled with uncertainty, and self doubt. And I don't fully trust myself that I will keep drawing. I've given up on so many things so easily. But there was something so very exciting about the first day of school. The newness of it all. I'll stay with that.

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