Everytime I think I have moved forward and allowed the past to fall away, I am reminded that I have not yet succeeded completely. Not 100% and I am knocked back down. I realize again and again how much this is a process. And how important the process is, because without it, I’ll fall apart again. The importance in the small, tiny, microscopic even sometimes, steps that we take forward, however slowly they may be or however feeble and fragile they may feel.
Having something hit you square in the chest, where it feels like your breath has been knocked out of you out of nowhere.
The body is an incredible thing. I can feel immediately the physical sensations of an experience. I didn’t used to, or at least, I didn’t used to be aware of them. Now I can follow them as they arise. And I can watch them arise slowly, up through my chest and shoulders, setting on fire everything it passes, and watch as they flow out of my eyes. I can’t stop it, and I don’t want to. I watch where it goes. And then I go and grab a cup of water. I know it is about to come out onto the canvas.
As I cry and start to paint, I’m trying to cover up the previous painting with a dark blue. Then I reach for the white paint and start to draw on top of it. But strangely, despite the fact that I have wiped the brush over and over, each time I lay a brush stroke onto the canvas, water comes out of the brush and it streaks across. There is nothing to do but laugh here. These are the metaphorical tears, right?
They’re not my tears dropping onto the canvas, they are just the paintbrushes coming to life, feeling my tears and anguish, and expressing them on the paper for me. Or that’s how I like to interpret it. At least that makes my current state of HOT MESS seem slightly more poetic.
My body feels so much like a fucking jumble of nonsense and pain. But I keep painting. I don’t really like what’s coming out or how it’s coming out, to me it looks ugly. Ughhh. I can’t even harness my pain for some beautiful art – isn’t that where every artist gets their inspiration and genius?!! WHYYYY, why is this so ugly? Because it feels so ugly inside.
What is not, is not. What is not, cannot be. And as much as I might want it to be, I don’t have that power. If I keep wanting what is not, then that makes me a fucking crazy person. But letting go is not easy.
I keep painting, putting paint onto paper, it doesn’t even feel like there is really any direction. And slowly, I start to feel a chilly calmness dripping at first over my body. Draping my arms, and then my legs, then my heart, and my head. Calmness that is so welcomed. It took about 10 minutes or less. That is progress.
If you can’t fly, then run.
If you can’t run, then walk.
If you can’t walk, then crawl.
But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Progress from the hours, or days even that it used to take before – months, sometimes to pull myself back out each time something knocked be down into that black hole. Before, this would have been cause for breakdown, for crawling under covers and not coming out for days – for as long as I could manage to push off the world. But now, I’ll get up, I’ll get ready, and I’ll go meet my date for dinner and a show.