I’ve had a few days away from blogging during this month’s September blogging challenge as my energy has been taken up with weather and family and personal happenings.
As soon as it became obvious Hurricane Irma would mean evacuations for some of my family members – including my 88-year-old mother who lives in an assisted living facility on an island off the Atlantic coast – weather once again became a focus for me.
These days I give myself a lot of room, a lot of space, a lot of permission, a lot of grace, to release things, or back away from things, when that’s what I need to do for my self-care, my joy, my well-being, and/or my life-stuff-happenings.
Before deciding to do the blogging challenge, I gave myself lots of gentle permission to skip days if needed, or stop altogether… just taking it day-by-day for myself. And that’s what I’m doing.
Today I’m still texting and talking with family and friends who are in the path of, or being impacted by, the storm. I’m still keeping an eye on the weather news. I’m still wondering how our weather here will be effected. We don’t get hurricanes where I live, but our weather can be impacted by them (with rain, high winds, tornadoes) and sometimes we’ll end up with a tropical storm or tropical depression from a once-hurricane… and that’s looking increasingly possible for us with Irma.
What’s going on with the weather is very much on my mind and in my heart.
But I’m back to the blog (at least for today), and I’m posting something about today’s nudge/prompt:
Share something you’ve created that feels like it’s a part of your autobiography.
There are several different things that fall into this category for me – things I’ve written, things I’ve painted, things I’ve made – but the first two things that immediately jumped to my mind are two particular paintings. I couldn’t quickly find a photo of the full canvas for the first one, so I’m going to share a bit about the other one.
The photo was taken at the beginning of February 2015. Some of the painting was done in the weeks of January and first few days of February that year, but most of the many layers and components of the painting were painted in 2014 over a period that spanned much of that year.
That year was a year of dealing with the grief of my father’s death in 2013, and the change and grief of my mother’s move several hundred miles away and her entry into the world of an assisted living facility, and the grief of the changes in some family relationships.
That year was a year of a long physical recovery after a fall in January 2014 injured my right hand (and I’m right-handed) and my leg.
That year was a year of facing more losses-to-come as my beloved brother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. (He passed away 14 months ago.)
Painting, and especially painting on canvas as I stood in front of my table-top easel, was (as it continues to be) solace for me and joy for me… even though sometimes there were so many emotions and tears spilling from me that didn’t exactly feel joyful. Still, though, painting was where I turned. Painting was one of the main things helping me keep myself together.
There was a period of time that year when I couldn’t do much painting because of my hand injury. During that time, I tried to paint with my left hand, or tried to find some way to hold my brush for at least a little while, or sometimes just painted with my fingers.
It was a few months before I could actually wrap my fingers around a brush (or pen or pencil) again, but still I found a way to paint. And once my hand was recovered enough to hold objects like paintbrushes again, I painted more and more.
This painting is autobiographical for me because it encompasses all of that for me: the memories, the grief, the injury, the tears, the trying to heal (emotionally and physically), the processing of all the feelings, the trying to be okay in the midst of everything, the giving myself permission to paint just because I love it and no matter how it looks, and the wanting to believe that all will be well.
The paintings I do on the canvases at my table-top easel are intuitive paintings, and I just let myself do whatever comes. Whatever color seems to want to be painted. However and whichever way the brush (or my fingers or whatever) seem to want to move.
I don’t paint at the canvas for the painting to look a certain way.
I paint at the canvas for the process of it, for the doing of it, and for joy of it (even if I’m releasing some tough emotions at the time).
This painting holds the energy of that time, that year, in my life. It holds my energy. It holds my tears and my hopes.
And that’s why it feels like it’s part of my autobiography.