Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ch-ch-ch-changes...Turn and face the strange...

It may seem like this title is a wink to the late David Bowie, whom while I appreciated what he brought to music and the screen, I'm not particularly a fan of, but it's not. Not really anyway, beyond the fact those words of that song do strike a chord.
These have truly been "strange" times for me.
Last year, I completed the second book in the Bimini series. It's held its own for the most part on sales though I have done little to no marketing for it. That's not bragging, but merely giving a testament to how lazy I can truly be when I want.
Something happened after the second book was released; or I guess instead of "something", you could say, NOTHING happened. By nothing I mean that almost from the moment the second book went live on Amazon, every bit of creative energy and inspiration went out of me.
At first, I thought maybe this was because I exhausted my brain getting that project wrapped up so I could start a third, unrelated book- which I did... but one can only stare at a blank screen for so long before you give up and move on. Which is what I tried to.
I'm wholly a creative person... if I'm not writing, I'm painting, if I'm not painting, I'm refinishing some odd piece of furniture in my home, if I'm not doing those things, I might be tinkering on my 100 year old, out of tune piano just for the sake of doing something that feeds my soul. Sometimes I etch glass or work with clay... you get the point. Suddenly... there was nothing there. Nothing in my head, nothing in my heart. I wasn't depressed or in crisis... in a sense I was just "nothing". I'd wake up and look at some of the unfinished art projects laying around and be like, "meh, who cares."
It was literally the first time in my life where my hands weren't in something. No wood stain under my nails, no paint on my face, no clay colored skin...
It affected me on a professional level, as well. I started turning down clients, preferring to pretty much stay in solitude and cringing if I had to interact with anyone. I even stopped practicing my spirituality.
Though I had no idea what the problem was, I knew myself well enough to know this behavior was not normal for me. This sense of nothingness consumed me. I understood it wasn't normal on a rational level but on a base physical level, I felt powerless to stop it. I even tried fighting it by forcing myself to sit in front of a blank canvas, or a blank word document. I did this a lot, in the beginning- thinking if I just made myself do it, I'd get over the block. But, I didn't.
Pretty soon, I started blaming my lack of creative expression or will to produce on different things. "The house is a wreck, so I can't work because I'm smothering..." (I don't handle clutter well and am admittedly somewhat OCD)
"The dogs are barking, I can't work with this noise..."
The list goes on.
But finally, one day, it happened. I heard that internal voice after months of total silence. I heard it say in its most hood voice, "Girrrrl..." And then everything that had been nothing inside me, broke loose. That inner voice, some call it our higher self, let me have it for about two days solid.
It might sound a little nutty, but it's no less true. This inner me pointed out things I'd been refusing to see. It pointed out how I'd started to go way off track long before the second book was released. It pointed out how I'd given a particular person so much of my energy and power that even when they exited my life, I was still pouring unnecessary time and effort into feelings of betrayal and distrust. This person was like family and they'd done me horribly wrong, but in reality, that was her bad... it was mine for allowing it to fester inside me for so long after she'd gone. In the midst of that, I'd also allowed myself to get bullied into things that didn't serve my greater good, but was the path of least resistance. I saw clearly, for the first time in a long time, how I'd LET myself get off my path and overly consumed by other people's issues, or expectations of me. It wasn't their fault. They were just doing what people do. It was mine. I hadn't realized until that moment how emotionally overloaded I'd become and why the "nothingness" had no choice but to take over, flipping the switch on everything.
I realized also, that there were certain friendships or relationships I'd done a great disservice to because of this. I had been approaching them from a place of ego. Ego on some people wears well. On me, not so much. When I choose to live in my ego, things tend to go horribly wrong, so I learned a long time ago to try to check this aspect of self. But that had fallen by the wayside, as well, along with all the years of grueling self-work. All because I allowed myself to put my time, energy and focus into matters that didn't really deserve or serve my greater purpose.
It reminded me, and I think I genuinely needed the reminder- that everyone we meet has something to teach us, even if those lessons are a bitch and make us confront the darker side of who we are when no one (but ourselves) is looking. And how sometimes, we'll even turn a blind eye to our own insight because being confronted with our darker self makes us as uncomfortable as it would make others if they were to see who we are behind the pleasant mask most of us wear for the sake of society.
Once all this became clear for me, the words returned, the music started playing and the connectedness I'd always felt for humanity, nature and self came back, also.
Has it been easy? No. But, I think maybe, just maybe, I needed to let myself go sideways in order to get back to where I needed to be and move beyond. Growth is change and change can be very strange.

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