I logged on to my blog page proper this morning, the first time I have done so in an age. It lifted my spirits, those colours, that whimsy. It lifted my spirits and it helped remind me how much I have been over-complicating things, second guessing my reasons for doing pretty much everything, pretty much all the time.
I wrote this excerpt down the other day, a quotation from James Baldwin:
...this collision between one's image of oneself and what one actually is, is always painful, and there are two things you can do about it; you can confront the collision head-on and try and become what you really are, or you can retreat and try to remain what you thought you were, which is a fantasy, in which you will certainly perish.
I think it is in the same piece that he discusses how it is not the opinions of other people about who we are that is our problem, it is the opinions we have believed about who we are. They are what destroy us. Which is something we all know, is something we would all likely agree with. I would, I do. But I find myself also understanding it again, anew, differently. Not deeper, perhaps, but wider. The condensed version is that some experiences I have had recently have shown me once again how very tightly I hold my enthusiasms in, how very much I fear they are mistakes, nonsenses, pointless daydreams of silliness. That I equate all that with inevitable rejection, and that it affects absolutely everything I do. Absolutely everything. That I go through life with my breath held in, perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop; in my longing for connection I have made myself a prisoner of my own timidity, even while I imagine myself as bold and brave creative adventurer.
So, confronting the collision head on, I'm painting, colouring, journaling, creating my way into visibility. My home, it is as bland as I, and so I believe if I move past the reluctance to show myself to be an indescribably infantile boorish clod, not even really think about it at all, just make and change and decorate what I have the time and funds to decorate, in ways to lift my spirits and brighten my days. Tant pis to resale value and good taste and restraint and holding in one's breath.
In retrospect, the weekly creative challenges were an attempt to impose creativity on myself, a nice but fatally flawed idea. This is, instead, an attempt to impose myself on creativity. Not one holistic authentic unchangeable self, but the self of that moment, of that space in that time. The one who adored orange that day, or painted twigs in doll's heads another. I'll update at least once a week with progress on whatever I am currently working on. There's no timeline or list of projects - though I have a tonne of ideas and new things I am learning or doing already, as witness the photographs above. I can guarantee much colour and many whimsies.
Did you know that the term 'sea-change' is from Shakespeare, and describes the physical change in a body that is swallowed by the sea and is consumed, transformed by her? You probably knew that; I didn't know that. Perhaps I need to kill off some of the habits of personality I have developed over the years in order to make room for some more useful others to grow. Perhaps painting mirrors yellow isn't about painting mirrors at all, but about self-acceptance through the compass of delight. And if I am to write on creating maps of longing as I promised (and I am), then I needs must be bold in creating my own.