Saturday, October 23, 2021

Connection / 37 years ago / Turning Points

There was a turning point in my life 37 years ago in October when I looked out from the porch of what was to become my new home and saw those brilliant fall colors.  There was only one tree at that time, a much smaller version but just as radiant.  

Unknowingly, I had turned down a dead-end street when I was a young girl which led me to years of despair, bringing me to a point where I both hoped that I would die and hoped that something would happen so that I could live in a different way.  The turning point began with an outburst of rage on my 35th birthday and a decision to leave a marriage of 8 years that I had entered into believing that I needed to be married to survive in the world.  It is occurring to me now that finding my identity as an artist in 1980 and that moment of rage in October 1984 were the beginning of the end of the eating disorder that had shadowed my life from the age of 10 when I went on my first diet.  Upon leaving that marriage, I entered into 6 years of astonishing creativity in which I completed 200 drawings and paintings.   

After almost exactly three years of thriving alone, amazed that I could support myself as a medical transcriptionist while living the creative life I had only dreamed of, there was another turning point in which I heard an Indigenous woman, in her late 20s and learning to read and a member of a small support group I had joined, speak of knowing that she was loved unconditionally by something that she couldn't see.  She trusted something that she couldn't see.  She had a relationship with something that she couldn't see.  There was a light around her that I had not seen in anyone before in my entire life.  The light was real.  I experienced that light and was changed in that moment.  She had suffered from an eating disorder far worse than mine.  She had been free of it for 6 months at that time.  I knew that freedom was possible for me as well.

The video that was brought to my attention this early morning carries the message that it's not just that the Navajo need the internet -- the internet needs the Navajo.  What I had needed all my life was brought to me by an Indigenous woman.



October 2021 has brought a new turning point.  Something moved me to begin at one end of my small condominium and take an inventory of all my belongings.  I looked closely at everything, sorted, organized, and found those belongings that I was ready to let go of -- belongings I had needed for so long but no longer needed to possess because I had finally let them enter my heart -- a place where they now live.  Among those belongings were framed drawings and paintings that have been stored in my walk-in closet and my bedroom for 37 years.  I took them to the Assistance League, a local thrift store that uses the proceeds of its sales to help those in need in our community.  Yesterday I was overjoyed to find a kind comment by a woman who had bought two of my paintings from the thrift store, did some googling and found my blog:

"Though I don’t know you, best wishes for your 72nd year of making a difference upon this earth. I am writing because I have recently acquired from the Assistance League two of your earlier paintings and I am so happy to sit at my dining room table and enjoy your definite style and detail. When I bought them, I didn’t know they were done by a local artist - that discovery has made my acquisition even more special. As of today, the 21st, there remains one more of your work on display at the Assistance League if you’re so inclined to check it out.
Thank you."

Speaking of turning points, December 8, 2006, was the day I started blogging.  I had been reading Robin and Roger's blog and commenting there and was inspired to start my own blog.  In the last 15 years (!) I've become a part of a small community of kindred spirits, near and far, and for that I couldn't be more grateful.  


Anonymous said...

This is such a beautiful story of your turning point, your renewal, your life changing moments. I love the story of your creative art spark. What a loving, kind and thoughtful note from the person who bought your artwork at the thrift store.
It touches me deeply to know that you started blogging after reading our blog so long ago. I'm glad we've connected here in blog land and have stayed in touch all these years, am.

37paddington said...

I am so moved by this point, and gratified to learn more of your journey, your creative arc, your coming into your own power inspired by a woman who had light around her. And how much more wonderful could it be that your paintings were acquired by someone who appreciates them so deeply that she took the effort to find you and reach out to you to let you know how much joy you had brought to her life. This post brings joy to mine. Thank you for sharing it.

Tara said...

Must be something in the air. One of my neighbors (and a friend) has been going through her condo as well, off-loading things she doesn't want or need anymore. I have received a nice piece of pottery and a warm winter jacket from her.

Isn't it just a marvel to find out that you don't need to be married to make it in the world? We can direct our own lives on our own. I, too, found that out when I left my first husband after 11 years of marriage. I felt to liberated, and I did just fine on my own. Actually, it felt great to be in full control of my finances and spend according to my values and needs.

Pearls of wisdom come, again and again, as we move through life.

I, too, started blogging because of Roger and Robin. Funny thing!

Pixie said...

It's amazing the effect we can have on others. I've met people/patients who twinkle. It's lovely meeting people like that.

I keep wanting to make art but always put other things first and then I think, when I retire. Except tomorrow is not a sure thing for any of us.

I'm tired and not making much sense. I'm glad you left your marriage, glad you got better, glad you make art and glad you blog:)

beth coyote said...

Yes, our small community of fellow travelers. So good to have you on the journey.

Elizabeth said...

What a fascinating post! You are and inspiration.