Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Messy Bits


The other day someone asked me if I was depressed, they said they'd read my blog and I sounded down. Sure I get down...and about once a month I take a ride on the hormone roller coaster and get really, really down, but depressed? Certainly not.

I love my life. I am married to the exact right person for me. We have such camaraderie between us, such good humour, and such a rigorous, flexible, tough working he makes my toes curl up when he smiles at me (which my Uncle Lorn always said was THE SIGN). Even on the worst of days, it is pretty darn awesome that we just get to be together. These two sons of mine, they have exceeded my expectation in every way of what it would be and how it would feel to be a parent. I marvel at them. I am life-drunk on the impossible sweetness of watching each of them become themselves. I am so very honoured to be their mom. Even on the most challenging days, there are always moments that pierce me through with deep gratitude for who I am and what I have. Friends, family, health, abilities, a comfy, comfy cocoon of a home, a future full of possibilities in a safe country...these are no small blessings, and I feel their heft in my hand, their piercing sweetness, my own intoxicating luck every single day...even on the tough days.

So I am definitely not depressed, but this does not mean that I don't get down. I get angsty, anxious, moody, impatient, bored and plain old fashioned cranky...human, I get human. I work hard -very, very, sweat-on-the-brow hard to behave in measured, generous, positive and kind ways towards the people around me, especially my children, no matter what I am feeling on the inside. I don't always succeed...but I succeed most of the time. I also work hard to cultivate the calm, confident, optimistic bits inside of me...through the books I read, art, the friends I keep and the way I allow my thought processes to unfold about any given event. I am working hard, always, like Rocky training for the fight, because it doesn't come naturally to me. I am wired for anxiety, neurologically and chemically, but as I've said before, I am also wired for tenacity and hope. I can do better, and I do better because I can.

But does this mean I shouldn't or can't talk about the messy bits? I know people that think that admitting to the fear and the frustration just gives it more legitimacy. These are the "never complain" people. They keep calm and carry on, they certainly don't or can't talk about the ugly stuff. I am not one of these people. If I bottle up my anxieties, they grow. The internal pressure rises. The confusion and angst gains momentum, fears loom larger and larger. If I talk, journal, blog or art out the things that are bothering me, the very second they hit the paper or escape my mouth, they diminish. I gain immediate calm and perspective. I can begin to problem solve.

Moral of the story: I need to KVETCH! I just do.

Now, I could certainly just keep this fear sharing private, but I also think that there are many people like me out there, and that when we all share it creates a sense of community and a mutual lightening of loads. I love real stories from real people. I want to know about and celebrate the good stuff, but I am interested in the awkward, and the struggle, and the unresolved, because that is wherein the life and the growth occurs.

So I share my down moments on this blog, and I share my frustration over situations that are not fixable, like my sons' struggles at school, which are only likely to intensify as they approach the teen years, no matter what therapies and accommodations we have in place. I am not looking for solutions or pity, just a release of anxiety and a realignment of perspective, and maybe to inspire, amuse or comfort someone else out there whose life is also imperfect, just as others have done for me. But I promise it won't all be angst, there will be art and cupcakes too, chiaroscuro, remember?

So in the spirit of revealing the messy bits, the opening photo is of my family room coffee table. Uh huh, quit judging. It took me 10 minutes to find my patch cord this morning. It was under all of that stuff on the coffee table of course. I wanted to photograph this:

A small canvas, a bit of collage and underpainting and wires attached with brads. I am truly obsessed with this wire idea, but can't seem to find wires of just the right gauge and finish to match what's in my head around here, thus a big art output slowdown. This canvas is at that "Oh no, what was I thinking?" stage, but I have dug into the problem solving part of the process. What will bring it towards the feeling I want to evoke? It is like a puzzle and I am slowly finding the right pieces and fitting them together...much like in life I guess. Art reflecting life and life reflecting art, O what a wonderful circle!


  1. Beautiful, wonderful, right on, amazingly articulated post. Love it. I am right with you. I would never in a million years have thought you were depressed by reading your blog. Human, real, feelingful, yes/depressed, no. I love reading about all the messy bit and happy bits, all the bits, you know? That is real and true and does help one to sort out their own stuff.
    Oh and this new canvas with the wire and those colors, WOW! Can't wait to see more.
    You rock E. Keep writing and living and telling your truth, PLEASE.

  2. yeah, you go girl! I agree with you whole-heartedly. I am one of those people who has and does bottle up stuff. And you know what it lead to? A 3-month crying spell while in bed. Not very productive, I'd say. I also need to let out the anxieties too. I keep a lot to myself, even with a I think blogging is good for me!

  3. Whenever I read your blog, I feel uplifted, like I should try to be more postive, like you! You have ample reason to whine, or have off days, but you don't let yourself stay down for long, and maybe you're living the smile and you'll be happy philosophy. I know when I am really in the pits, I make myself smile and it's odd, how the brain thinks oh, I must be happy now! I think it's wonderful that we have our little pockets of messiness here on the interwebs, or as I like to call it being truthful, honest and real.
    I love you just the way you are. I love that you channel all the stuff that you want not to think or feel into such lovely works of art. The new stuff is amazing. I had a wire idea, I have lots of different gauges, from beading. Try the craft store bead stuff aisle if you need thinner gauge stuff, it comes from super fine to pretty stiff.
    What is is about your blues? They are so pretty. And the texture. Well. I have some art homework to do, been having more ideas, something sneaky popped into my head today amid my chores and I ran off to pound a few things out. I'll drop some hints on the ning soon!
    Keep writing, painting and being all you can be!

  4. The Christmas plates are still out... I LOVE those plates... I was sad at the thought of them going away until next year..:)

  5. I find you to be a very strong woman, Evangeline. Yet, I too sensed maybe a bit of anxiety. I get very anxious too. Glad to know that it isn't anything to worry about.

  6. you better keep sharing!!!! your sharing means a lot to me, and my trouble talking about the 'ugly stuff' does impede the lightening of the load bits. i have gotten odd reactions to doing so on the web, which have caused me to turtle a bit, but also have had amazing supportive reactions in nerd and gerd fighteria.

    mel was talking about your art when she said "What is is about your blues? They are so pretty" but i think it applies just as well to what you called the ugly in the process even if not all of the process feels so pretty or happy or tidy.

  7. gorgeous. i love your messy posts.i too feel the ommunity in our little blog worlds and the words we share. all of it. it all helps.

    thanks for sharing it; i love it all!

  8. I tell ya, I have the very best and kindest of people commenting on my blog. As always, your support and perspective mean so much to me. Thanks. <3

    And yes, the Christmas plates are still out! :) We just liked them too much to put them away. Of course now that the snow has melted, a change of theme may be required...

  9. Loved your well written, well thought post. I think most people appreciate it if you show you are human, too. It helps to connect. How much people share of their darkness, that's an individual decision, I guess.

  10. Catching up. An absolutely gorgeous post. I agree with Seren quoting the ever spot on Mel commenting about your art. If I could articulate my down periods as eloquently as you do, oh best beloved writer, I might do more. Mine are like "grouchy! crabby! scared! Crap!" so I tend to abstain. Perhaps I should try harder - do a post on my ning page or summat. I'll put it on the to do list. Or I'll just come over here and read and feel my heart expand - ahhhhhhh. deb


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