I sat down today. I made myself sit down today before my flight. I’m going on vacation for two weeks. I should be more excited about this than I think I am. I like to think there was a time when I would get super excited about travel, before any trip, but in reality, I think I always am nervous and stressed before any trip. Am I forgetting something? Will I remember all the details of my itinerary? Is it going to be a good time? And more recently, I’m feeling the discomfort of having to let go of my routine for awhile. There is great comfort in routine. It allows me to remove stressful decisions from my life, or at least minimize them. But vacation is a whole different ball game. How will I adapt?
I don’t think I ever appreciated routine but I do think my body craves it. I find myself wondering where and how I’ll be able to get enough exercise. I notice a marked difference on days I don’t get exercise.
I turned my attention to the canvas. Same process – meditate, and then sit down at desk.
What did I even paint? I have no fucking idea, but it kind of looked like a wave in the ocean, spraying in its golden ratio shape, the shape of a shell. I had tried a few times before to create waves and failed miserably so I covered it up. But today, today, somehow whatever I painted, turned out kind of looking like a wave. Nice!
While I was painting, I randomly started to hum Greensleeves. What the fuck? Ya, I thought the same thing when I realized it. I had to play it once I became aware of it. As I painted, it brought up memories. Well, one memory. All of a sudden, I was once again aware of that memory that I sometimes conjure up, or that pops up of its own accord in my life. Greensleeves was the song I sang at an all-state competition in middle school when I was in choir. It was the first solo I’d ever done – it was in a room in front of just one judge, but it was a solo nonetheless. I was terrified, and I cried afterwards. The judge was kind, she calmed me down and made me feel better. And she gave me high enough ranks to get a medal! I don’t even know what the final score was, did I get a gold? Silver? Were those even the rankings? It didn’t matter. I got something that wasn’t just for participation – or maybe it was, but I won it on my own. I came home and told my mom. She gave me a hug and said “I’m so proud of you.” That is the first time I can remember my mom ever telling me she was proud of me. I don’t know, it might also be the last time she said. I’m sure she’s said it other times but that is the only time I can remember. It felt so good that it hurt to hear, and I cried. I was overcome with emotion.
That memory has been conjured up multiple times in the past. What was more surprising was that the next song that auto-played on youtube was Pachelbel – Canon in D minor. As a child, we had a tape that had that song in it, backed by the sound of ocean waves hitting the shore. I LOVED listening to it. So calm, so soothing. When it played, it felt like things would be ok.
At the time of course, I just thought I liked it. But looking back today, it hit me just how important that song was for me. It was a moment of safety in an otherwise dark and terrifyingly uncertain childhood. Tears welled up in my eyes.
I often think about that kid, that mini version of me that doesn’t feel like a past version of me at all. I still feel like that stubborn, intensely angry 5 year old, the scared shitless 8,9,10 year old struggling to stay afloat, to do whatever it took to be good. To be good enough, good enough to stop the fighting. It was never enough. But listening to Pachelbel helped soothe me, put me to sleep, and make me feel ok.
Also – this is unrelated, or maybe it is related. I don’t know, but it came to my mind so I’ll say it. It was pointed out to me gently by a friend that I have a tendency to say “we” when I’m talking about things that “I” believe or that pertain to me (if you’ve read my past posts, you might have noticed this as well). “Well, I guess we’re all just peeling back the layers of the onion.” – No, I AM just peeling back the layers of the onion. Or, “It’s funny how we do this.” – implying the general, collective “we” of society. But really, do I know what “we” do? Or do I just know what “I” do and think?
Why do I keep trying to speak for other people?
I don’t think I’m trying to speak for other people based on my experience. I think I’m just trying to hide behind the “we”. It’s safe, I don’t have to take responsibility for my own thoughts. As long as one other person believes it too, I am safe. No original thought because someone might hear what “I” have to say and think I’m stupid.
Here “I” am. And maybe I am stupid. And that’s ok, because without risking stupidity, I can’t create.