Thursday has passed and I haven’t cooked my home baked blog dish for the week. It’s already Friday and I haven’t got a plate ready, have barely any ingredients to cook with —a fairly empty pantry in fact. But who is waiting or even hungry? I am.
I had made Thursday the deadline. Making rules, goals and structure for myself is an old strategy, often the first on hand. I need to be self-directed though since I am not an employee, or a student with assignments, nor working towards an exhibition, nothing special, just everyday life and what is there and enters from morning to night and during sleep.
Goals are good, they give direction and add fire to the stride. I may get too mired down in doubts and worries otherwise. But I’ve also learned that if I clutch the goals too tightly, grit my teeth too hard (an involuntary reaction) they hurt and the fire won’t burn, only smoke, stinging my eyes and making me sit down, exhausted.
I’ve discovered this slowly, and sometimes through a lot of frustration, that for the creative process to flow, it is not so good to aim straight down the line. That’s the mental equivalent of powerlines running through country. A wide swathe of nothing much growing and straight as far as the eye can see.
I’ve learned that’s it’s okay to get lost in the thicket, to follow little trails, sometimes in the opposite direction. They can lead to a complete standstill and loss of direction but right there underfoot might be a fragile pink flower growing, with only one stem and no leaves. Although these wide power line ribbons through the forests can surely be helpful when seriously lost.
Maybe it is rather a commitment than a deadline. What does that word commitment mean? Pointing to the word, a right mouse click (isn’t it wonderful), and up pop synonyms. These are my choice from the list offered: promise, obligation, dedication, loyalty. Yes, I’ll use all these in my new dish.
I almost lost of all of these ingredients the other week. It was fear that emptied my pantry. I had a large dose of it and it made me want to re-call the blog vessel that I had launched so determinately. Such a strong wind blowing, the sails got frayed. I feared that to write so personally and so home-baked wasn’t safe and that it needed towing home.
Some of my friends had said, ‘you are so brave’. That made me think that there was something to be afraid off. When I asked one person what he meant, he said, ‘it seems so exposing, and transparent and may show up any falsehood there is.’ My heart beat a bit faster then. No-one wants to be seen a fool, or making claims that are not true, deluded and all on paper for the world to see. Another one said, ‘I wouldn’t think I’d have something to say.’ A companion from Melbourne, wrote an encouraging email and related a brave act to the card in the Tarot: ‘I’m thinking about the ‘0’ (zero) card in the tarot, The Fool. Leaping with faith and the absence of fear; exploring new terrain from innocence and instinct, to experience.’
I remember that card, a youngish figure, head held high, takes a step from the edge of a plateau into the void. He ignores his feet and the ground underneath them or where this will land him. Maybe many a step taken are pure folly. The fool didn’t listen when his/her parents called out, ‘watch where you go’. I am not sure about my relationship with the fool but my friend also reminded me of two TED talks by Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability, the power to dare greatly.
These talks are well worth watching. Brene Brown, a researcher into vulnerability and shame also says that empathy is the antidote for the conditions in which shame grow. I guess it starts with empathy with self. She is also funny. Reminded by my friend I watched them again. In the clip she describes her response after her successful first TED talk, as having a vulnerability hang over. I had to laugh. My little blog vessel, only read by a small number of people, most of them friends, but out there in the public domain, caused just that— a vulnerability hang-over.
I found an image that I made a year or two ago that expresses the pleading of the child. A child shamed perhaps. The disembodied head of stern parent, inner parent by now, the rules, looks at the child, the good girl kneeling. She herself looks at the viewer, arms outstretched for protection, for a cloak perhaps, to cover her from head to toe, or a reassuring gesture. Safety lay in hiding. It is so uncomfortable to feel exposed, but hiding is not an option either.
So many ingredients, not clearly defined, found their way into cooking this dish. The regularity of going to hospital once a week, which kick-started this project, is thankfully not one of them. This may leave greater room to meander and to choose but not lesser commitment.
The pantry is filling up again and one of the yummy surprises that I found have been your comments. I didn’t reply on the blog because I didn’t know how I’d go—with life and blog-writing. Now that I feel more used to it I’ll gladly will reply to your comments.