”It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and then we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.” ~ Wendell Berry
I posted that quote on my personal Facebook page yesterday. Unless you have been there or are currently there, that quote won’t mean so much to you. It means a whole heck of a lot to me.
The past three years have been some of the hardest ones I’ve ever come out the other side of! I worked in the corporate world for all my life, starting out at 18 years old as a Secretary. I worked my way up to Office Manager and did that for many years. Then in 2010 after 22 years of corporate life, I quit. I’d planned on moving to New Mexico but those plans were not to be. The guy whom I’d known for 15 years stationed in Alamogordo with the Air Force just suddenly disappeared (months later I found out it was for health reasons but at the time, I had no clue). I was two days before leaving, had sold or given away most of my things, had subletted my apartment, moved everything else in storage, had said good-bye to my family and friends, had an awesomely high paying job already secured (would have been the best one of my professional career)….then it all fell apart. Again – TWO DAYS before I was to drive the 20 hours to get there.
What was to happen after that was chaos, hurt, anger, depression, and basically having myself an unplanned sabbatical. This had come after a divorce, thus the need for the move. God had other plans for me though I thought it was the end. Somehow, I worked through it. I began my own business. It was to be a green cleaning business. It started out really well but I wasn’t happy in it, still I was not where I was meant to be but I was meant to be there at that time. If I even thought of going back to a “typical job”, I physically became ill. I couldn’t do it.
Then, I was back on my feet. Through this cleaning business. I had tons of work going on and things were finally looking up. During this, I realized I was paying more for my apartment per month than a house payment would be. I’d always wanted to have my own fixer-upper cottage. And, I found one. I could see all kinds of possibilities for it but it needed A LOT of work. Still, I could see something so beautiful about the potential. I bought it and WORKED HARD on it. I did most of the work myself, but then suddenly my business wasn’t doing so well. I had been requested to take on some foreclosure work and the work needed in these houses weren’t things I could do very much of myself, so I had to hire those jobs out to subcontractors. This went “ok” at first. Then, everything fell apart again. I wasn’t sure what I could do differently. I couldn’t go out and “fix” what was wrong that the subcontractors did. I could ask and ask and ask of them to go fix it so they could get paid but in many cases it didn’t happen….or it didn’t happen satisfactorily. At this point, I had to regroup. In the meantime, my little house I’d put 110% into was still having issues upon issues. To make a long story of the house short, I had to get out of it due to some structural issues which would cost more than I had, not to mention make the house cost more that it was worth to sell in the future. I tried to work with the sellers on restructuring the price due to the issues on it, but they wouldn’t budge. They would let me free of the contract, if I were to move out in two weeks. This turned my life upside down, as you can imagine.
Somehow, though, when I moved back to my hometown everything started getting better. I had begun a new path of business and dropped the cleaning and foreclosure work. Now, things feel right. I don’t think I’ll be doing what I’m doing for a long length of time but I’m content in it while I get where I need to be. I have goals for my life and I’m working toward them.
Which brings me to my reason for explaining all that…I love to paint. It is my therapy. It is my happiness. It is my heart and soul. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I WILL do. I won a contest with a painting, I’ve sold my paintings all over the world, I’ve had a publicist contact me for using some of my artwork in a book, I’ve had one of my paintings featured in a famous musician’s dinner party, I’ve had a gaming company contact me for use of my paintings in their game, I’ve had one of my paintings used as the artwork for an up and coming band, I’ve painted Christmas ornaments for Liz Claiborne customers at Macy’s, I have some of my paintings featured in a local restaurant…and much more. So why is it that I can’t seem to think I’ll make it as an artist? With all those things behind me and so many more ahead, I need to start believing in myself.
During all these thoughts, I then stumbled upon this quote, “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ~Robert Hughes
I will never have perfect confidence, I’ll always be unsure of my creative work. Creating is personal to me. It comes from deep within and presents itself in a form of which all the world can view. My art makes me vulnerable and a tad paranoid in a twisted sort of way. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s a really, really good thing.