Sometimes words don't come. Will you settle for these photos, then, of a passionate dive into my art journal? I love the textures and energy that developed in this page, born of india ink, newspaper, washi tape, collage, acrylic and watercolor paints, and dinosaurs.
Have a beautiful week!
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes, from children to elders to friends and family to strangers, to that horribly cruel voice that lives inside our heads. Bullies spread violence in ways physical, mental, verbal: any way they can.
Darling, you are beautiful. And I love you, you, whoever you are, however imperfect, however much you hurt – I love you, endlessly, forever, unconditionally. I am proud of you and envy your bravery, your perseverance, your resilience.
You are not – you are never, ever, ever – alone. I am wrapping you in my arms and squeezing you tight, praying that you find happiness and self love and people who light up your life. And I know you will. Because you are who you are: deserving, good, whole, enough, and you have a shiny, glowing, radiant, brilliant soul. You are loved (so, so loved!). And you will find your way through this. I will be next to you, cheering, all the way. Promise.
Last week, at six in the morning, I suddenly awoke, convinced I had slept through the entire day. The dawn was just breaking, my room a deep indigo, everything around me still. And in this moment, alone with the slowly fading embrace of darkness and the tendrils of pink cotton candy that emerged in the sky, I felt whole and wise and part of something big and wonderful and loving.
As the sun rose, I decided to hold this moment for the whole year,
What will this bring, I wonder? Have you chosen your word for the year yet?
After yesterday's post, I went back to my art journal to finish up the Valentine's spread. You can see the process above: add some text to balance out the page, define the woman, and use a wash of warm brown watercolor to tie the page together. Tada - it's finished!
Some more details:
Wishing you the most beautiful day, sweets. All my love!
I intended to post this self-made art-journal-time-lapse on Valentine's day, but with classes and work, I missed my own deadline by just an hour. Let's just agree, then, to extend the holiday through the weekend. I'll be sending sweet thoughts and lots of love to you!
I'll share the final product soon – already it has changed quite a bit. That urge to fix just one more thing rarely goes away!
Update: See the finished spread here!
Every once in a while, my eyes are suddenly opened to life lessons that I have a sneaking suspicion most other people have already learned. For example: today, with astonishing clarity, a phrase I have heard and read hundreds of times just made sense.
I cannot control others' happiness, and others cannot control my own.
More often than not, I feel deep guilt and obligation when others are down, frustrated, or angry. My body tenses, I experience a wave of overwhelming concern and worry passing over me, and I feel that my very top priority has suddenly become to lift their spirits at any cost.
Perhaps it is because I understand what deep sadness feels like and I have great compassion and empathy for those who are struggling that I do this. But perhaps it is a lingering side effect of, as a child, bearing the blame for my father's deep unhappiness – and the learned assumption I had great power in stirring unpleasant emotions in others.
Now I tread carefully, trying to please others often at the sake of my own happiness. Indeed, often it is only when others are content that I feel safe, and safety at a human level is a higher priority than joy.
The amount of energy needed not only to be on guard around others' emotions but to bear the heavy responsibility of keeping them happy is exhausting, and I find myself resentful of the unrecognized sacrifices I make to please others, even when they are completely unaware of my motivations.
I deserve to recognize my own dreams and chase them in spite of others' feelings, and I deserve happiness without fear of their disappointment. I will release this unnecessary burden into the cold February wind and commit myself to my own happiness, knowing that it is all that I have the power to control. And indeed, I will do my very best to ignore the gremlin in my mind that tells me this is selfish.
And most importantly, I will remind myself that my existence does not determine the happiness or anger of others: I am good enough, I am whole. And I don't need to make others happy at the expense of my own happiness in order to prove it.
* Washi tape is from Cute Tape.