It's been an interesting year for so many reasons, but one of the catalysts this past year has been going to counseling. I will continue going to counseling for the rest of my life, it has been that beneficial to me. I am ready, I think, to put a little more time between visits, but for me, it will be a thing to keep checking in with.
I have always felt I am a very transparent person. I connect well with people and don't really find it hard to make friends with people. I can talk surface, I can talk deep (my preference). I love finding out who people are, what makes them tick, why they do the things they do. I believe I am full of empathy, and I struggle sometimes because I can always see BOTH sides and *FEEEEEEEL* both sides. People that aren't like me interpret that as me being ambivalent about truth. I'm not. I do think that people generally, with a lot of exceptions obviously, aren't out to be assholes. They are that way or said that thing or behaved that way for a REASON. I feel pretty skilled intuitively and usually can figure out the WHY.
So here's the thing.
Knowing WHY doesn't make it okay.
That's what I have been wrestling with. That's what I had to pay someone to tell me. ha. I try so hard to understand other people, that I actually am NOT being transparent with my own self. When I feel angry about something, my first response is, WHY did they do that? Well, that's why they did that and I would feel that way too if that was why I did it too. So I get it. They just need more grace, I can't be mad. It is what it is. Everyone's doing their best.
I'm working really hard to make room for my own emotions in all of this. And it's been a life changer. Do you know what has happened? The more I dig out my own self, the more art is coming out. It's crazy to me, but it really shouldn't be all that surprising.
I used to paint all. the. time. I would sketch and draw and paint and fiddle around with anything that was in that creative realm. When life got hard, I put it aside because it took so much mental and emotional energy to deal with life. I shouldn't have done that. If I had only turned to it, maybe my recovery journey would have been easier? I remember doing a painting for my sister. I spent hours on it--when Ryan was working, when the kids were in bed, when the house was cleaned, when the laundry was done. (Want to guess how long it took me to finish when those were the requirements to even pick up the brush?) Every time I would hit... that point--which I have since realized is called "flow" by some people... I would cry until it was time to put it all away for the night. I didn't get it, but it felt good. Even afterward, when I would think about those moments painting, I would cry talking about it. It was embarrassing. I didn't get it.
Now I get it. I can't paint unless I'm tapping into my emotions. When I cover them up, when I deny they exist, when I pretend they are something other than what they are, it takes so much emotional and mental energy to manage ... I have nothing left.
So, I am not picking up where I left off. I am picking it back up as a more mature person. I'm picking it up as someone who understands why they need it, not just dabbling because it's fun. I get it now. It's how I cope with the world. It's how I find the good, the true, and the beautiful. It's how I contemplate the glory of God. It's how I process and make room for myself in my own life. This time, I know that I cannot wait until the time is right and the conditions are perfect. I realize I can lose it, so this time I can cherish it and feed it so it grows.
And this all sounds so melodramatic, but I mean every word of it.