Thursday, September 27, 2012

Keys


Lately I have a thing for keys. Random. Just like most of my thoughts. There is something changing in me. I feel like I am slowly unlocking a very bright and colorful room in my heart. Room that has been closed for many years, maybe even my whole life. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling and every time I feel this pull or push I stop breathing, I listen. I try to hear what it is that my heart is saying but there is silence. I am not ready to hear the whisper. Wherever I go I keep noticing pictures of keys, painting of keys, I even bought a few metal keys you would normally use in some crafty way. They have ribbons on them. Something is calling me. There is a lock somewhere within my heart and I know these keys are the ones that will open it. I just have this overwhelming feeling. It’s coming. The whisper will get louder and I will hear. And this time I will follow it. I will persevere. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fears - the squeaky, annoying voice


There are two  things that I know about myself very well. I am strong. Strong enough to concur anything that life throws at me with a smile on my face and random thoughts of the true purpose in any crappy situation. I am courages. Courage is what drives me. Courage is what sets me apart from others. I make mistakes and courageously tackle the outcomes. I make risky decisions just to challenge the faith. But as strong and as courageous I am  I am not fearless. I push though life with passion until the squeaky, annoying voice in my head presents me with some random fear. ‘You can’t do it’ ‘You are not that great’ ‘You are full of it’ ‘You are not enough’. Fear is what stopped me from following the whispers of my soul when I graduated high school and pushed me through boring business school instead of letting me surrender to my calling and create art. This fear lasted for over a decade. That squeaky, annoying (almost like Karen from Will & Grace) voice kept shouting ‘You are not an artist, you just wish you were!’. Let’s stop here for a moment. What did I just say? ‘I wish I was...’ You don’t wish to be a lawyer if you don’t like stuffy court rooms, you don’t wish to be a gardener if you don’t like flowers, you don’t wish to be a farmer if you love living in a city, you don’t wish to be a car mechanic if you don’t like the smell of metal and grease (ewww). You don’t wish to be someone you are not. You can only wish to be who your soul screams to be. You can only wish to be the answer to all the whispers and dreams. And when you are who you were created to be you are always enough, you are in peace, you are fearless. 
After reading Kelly Rae Robert’s post about fears that make our hearts cringe I was able to reasonably name a few I was facing these days but I knew that the day was coming when all the fears were going to take over my heart and mind and I was going to start doubting myself as an artist. I knew that was going to be the best day to go through this exercise. And I didn’t have to wait too long. 4 days after reading Kelly’s post, on a pretty Sunday evening the dark clouds creeped in and all the ‘flying high’ with my course-mates was gone. I went into hiding behind a wall of self doubt. 
My strength and courage were gone. I went to bed pouting and had a very random conversation with my husband:
M: I’m not an artist any more. I changed my mind!
J: Baby only an artist would say such thing! Get some sleep.
Sleep was the last thing I wanted. My heart was broken. I was giving up again. My heart was racing. I felt stupid and silly. What was I thinking jumping up and down, playing with my brushes, feeling sixteen again? It’s a good thing I realized my silliness in time... 
The morning came way too quickly. I wasn’t ready to wake up and face the failure of my short lived dream. James cuddled me and asked:
J: Where is all that self doubt coming from?
M: (Tears taking over my whole face) It starts in my tummy then goes through my heart. Or maybe the other way around. And I..
J: You know that’s something only true artist would say! And only a real artist would wear the socks you are wearing.
M: Huh?

I knew the time came when my heart was ready for me to face my fears. I was ready to write them down. I was ready to counter them with my courage and strength. I sat at my ‘artist desk’ and grabbed a heart I made months ago. Hmm that’s a good start... Now write! Use the ugly color pen - you don’t like your fears...
The first thought that came to my mind after writing it all down was “I seriously want to SLAP you now!” Where is all this coming from? Is there any confidence hiding within that self doubting you? Uh I got angry. Let me walk away for a second. (an hour thanks to the traffic!). Now sit down and read it again. Is this who you are? I know you are not! I know you are so much better, so much happier, so much more than that! Raspberry? Really?

Before I knew I was leaning over an almost finished piece of artwork with lots of color and a new tree. Holly molly I actually used that scrap  bark I thought was trash - it was broken, pathetic... It grew strong in my piece. It was reborn. I let go. I’m not sure whether my face was covered with paint or tears or both. My heart was racing once again. My hands were shaking. My hair was covered in glue. My poor hair, there is no hope for it. I stepped away. 
I am bigger than my fears.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Giving up what you love for what you love more


Have you ever felt like you wanted to let something go for something you loved even more? Our hearts are so huge and our lives are so long we think we have space for everything we love in it. But then there are moments when we realize that it’s time to make a change, to close one little door and open another one that will bring so much into our lives. So often we are stubborn about locking that door and throwing away the key. We are afraid of the change and we want others to change for us so we can stay in our cozy environment. This year was going to be a year of changes for me and I knew that would challenge me to close many doors. I promised myself that every decision I’ll make will be based on the feeling of I really want to do it because I love something/someone more than I love this. I won’t go over the long list of all the things I’ve changed in my life but I would like to share one of the most recent ones. To some of you it may seem silly, to me it was a decision I contemplated on for a long time.
Our house was divided. Our friend John mentioned it in his speech during our wedding (awesome speech!!!). He said the opposites attract (I know there will be a blog post about that in a near future) and asked all of our Seminoles friends to do the chop. Ugh I cringed a bit hahahah. Then he asked all the Gators fans to chomp. Yeah baby!!! I did the chomp with a bittersweet feeling. My sweet Gators will always be in my heart behind a door that I just closed. The last couple of football seasons were sort of torturous for me and James. We even got into huge argument ones because the Noles hurt my RB. I hid James’s bottle opener that played that ‘ugly Noles’ song and he kept changing the channel away from the Gators games. We even bickered about our Gators and Seminoles Christmas ornaments – which one will be hanging higher, which one will be more visible. We don’t have kids yet but we already argued about which team they will follow. Not to make it sound like we fought tons about it but we definitely bickered quite a bit. Healthy bickering type. The Gators were my thing, I loved the orange and blue, I loved the idea of painting little Albert on our kids faces. I loved James more. I loved how his eyes lit up when Noles scored a TD. I loved seeing him all excited when our friend’s 3 year old daughter did the chop. I loved his kid like excitement every Christmas when his mom and I bought him tons of Noles gear. I loved all those moments and it was breaking my heart that I could not share them with him. I gave up the Gators that I loved for James and our life together that I loved more. I decided to tell him that on our wedding day with his wedding gift. He was happy but I don’t think either of us realized then how it was going to impact our life together.
As a part of the wedding gift I bough James two tickets to the FSU-Clemson game in Tallahassee which we attended yesterday. This weekend, for the first time since we’ve met, we enjoyed a college football game together. We drove to Tallahassee on Friday and I have to say I was a bit skeptical about my ability not to roll my eyes every time I saw a Noles sticker on a car. Well what helped was the smile challenge. My subconscious tricked me that day! I challenged myself to smile every time I saw a red car and since 70% of Noles fans drive red cars I smiled pretty much every time I saw the team logo. Why did I pick the red? Tricky tricky subconscious! It is my favorite color after all! James showed me around that day, took me to the places he used to hang out at, and drove me by his old apartment. I learned so much about my husband and his partying abilities hahah By the time we were going to the stadium on Saturday I forgot that Gators played that day (shame on me I don’t even know who they played), I stopped noticing that everyone was shouting spelling f-l-o-r-i-d-a s-t-a-t-e every five minutes and I caught myself enjoying the cowgirl hat with a Seminoles logo James bought me that day. James was SO pumped. I was pumped. We were pumped together. His eyes sparkled! I love when he’s so excited that his eyes sparkle! The game was intense and there were times we thought the Noles were going to disappoint that day but at the end they won the game. And somehow I felt like I won something great too.
The whole thing made me consider giving up on many other things in my life. Replacing them with others that I know I will love more and that would bring endless opportunities. Somehow between shouting f-l-o-r-i-d-a s-t-a-t-e, chopping, wearing that silly hat and wanting a Seminoles sticker on my face I became brave. Brave enough to close the doors that once brought possibilities into my life but now were just holding me back.
This year’s challenge continues. It is, after all, a big year of changes!
It doesn't take much to make him smile :)

I made it official. Good bye Gators.

It was an awesome speach

Chomp Chomp

Surprise groom's cake
Wedding pics were taken by my talented friend Lauren

He's a very happy man



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Youth.


I’ve been thinking about creating a blog series for some time now. Something that will be meaningful to me and would make me feels whole. And I realized that I just don’t feel ‘whole’ at all. There are so many ‘mes’ these days and they are all competing against each other.  And just like that I decided that every two weeks I will pick one word that I want to describe me, that I know that already describes a big part of me and I will live this word to the fullest. The idea made my heart jump and my feet did the happy dance. It felt right.
 I sat quietly today thinking of what words I would like to be described by. I wrote down so many. Encouraging – yes I love to encourage others. Loving, carrying. Smart. Unique. The list kept getting longer…  And then I thought of my grandpa who so many compare me to saying ‘you definitely are as quirky as your grandpa’. Quirky. I like it. My grandpa may appear quirky and funny and silly and I couldn’t pin point to what it is that makes my grandpa such a special person. He brings this ‘something’ into the room. He makes everyone smile. I looked through some pictures I took of him recently and it became all so clear to me. My grandpa is 72 years old and he’s the most youthful person I know.  
Youth (def.) The state or quality of being young, esp. as associated with vigor, freshness, or immaturity.
I asked my husband ‘Am I youthful?’ He said ‘You are very youthful. You are a 5 year old trapped in a 31 year olds body’. I pouted, stated I was not 5 and started dancing to the chicken dance playing on my iPod. James rolled his eyes and said ‘Yeah that’s my point’. Ok so maybe I am 5 in my heart.  I got used to living in the grown up’s body and it’s so comfortable here. I go to work, pay the bills, do all the grown up things that others do and it’s all so easy and familiar. I took a few minutes to think about how often I suppress ‘youthful me’ so I don’t sound silly or crazy. I am afraid to be described as crazy yet all my friends that know me already know that I am not so very normal. They all have experienced my silly faces, my childish sayings, jumping in the puddles of water on the streets in my red rain boots, dancing chicken dance whenever I hear it. They all love me for who I am so why am I so afraid to be me. The youthful me.
If I asked my grandpa how he does it he would say ‘I just live life to the fullest’ and I know that he does. He doesn’t care about what others think of him as long as they know him as a good man with admirable morals. When I saw him in August he wanted me to take a picture of him while I was running crazy with my camera around his house. He was standing on the grassy patio and before I was able to snap the shot he was up in the air with a huge smile on his face screaming ‘yyyyyaaaayyyyyy’. This picture is priceless! My grandpa in his undies (short shorts) was tanning on his favorite swing and listening to the radio before I took it. He looked peaceful, calm, relaxed, and almost lazy. Nothing indicated the upcoming explosion of youthfulness and energy that happened the moment I took this picture. The aftermath was even greater. My grandpa started laughing really hard and proceeded to telling us a joke. If you knew him you would know that he knows millions of jokes. He starts laughing while he’s telling them and it’s so hard to follow because he laughs so hard. It all happened in less than 5 minutes. I saw him sitting quietly, I saw him jumping, screaming, I saw him telling a joke and laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe and tears started pouring down his face.  In just five minutes I went from saying ‘uh and oh’ exploring my grandparent’s house to feeling overwhelmed with his energy and laughing with him. I’m not even sure what we were really laughing about. I loved the feeling. In my head I was 5 again twirling behind my grandparent’s house in a long ruffley dress. The youthful me sneaked out from the deep corner of my heart and took over my grown up body.
I want to remember that feeling. I want to be that person. I want to be described as this person. I want to let the youthful me come out from hiding and bravely show itself to everyone.
Youthfulness (def.) having a vitality or freshness of youth.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Smile


Dear you. I like when you smile. You are smiling now. You used to always smile. Let’s practice smiling today. I challenge you to smile every time you see a red car today. You will see a lot of them driving to Florida. Look up. Wait. Good job smiling at that car. Doesn’t is feel good? Now continue throughout the day. Before you know you will have a permanent grin on your pretty face and your chipmunk chicks will be hurting. Isn’t it how you used to do it? Practice, practice, practice. 
I CHALLENGE YOU.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling amazing.


Good morning. How did you sleep last night? Did you sleep last night? How much fun was it yesterday? There is still so much paint on your hands. I especially love the mellow yellow. Bright, happy yellow. Look at you breathing freely and deeply. You poured all your heart, all your soul into that one painting last night. All of it. And you still have so much more in your heart. Go ahead. Grab that blank canvas. I’ll see you later.