In the past few weeks, I have felt the impetus to express myself. It’s as though I am coming up for air after being under murky water for a very long time. Yet, today I feel so completely hopeful that I can reveal it’s me, the artist, who has been posting this week, trying to maintain anonymity. That was originally what the Terrain Project was about, anonymous vignettes from the wonderful women who allowed me to record their stories, thoughts, feelings, even portions of their faces. I am so grateful for this opportunity.
Today I want to share a bit more about me because I feel that possibly other women may be feel these sorts of feelings too.
This past year was a treacherous, emotional journey where I learned a great deal about my evolving self. The big point is perhaps that I am evolving into my best self, the one who was always there already, but the one I never actually listened to before. The internal self who always encouraged me and told me that of course I could accomplish anything I tried to do. Yet, instead, until now I have spent a lifetime of self-sabotage. (Such a beautiful word, sabotage, for such a destructive act, ah the French language…)
After receiving my teaching credential, I got a job right away. After teaching in elementary school for a year, I got my dream teaching job. It was perfect for the first few years. At around year eleven of this teaching position, for some inexplicable reason, things didn’t fit anymore. My life imploded slowly and quietly. Menopause? Maybe, I don’t know. The teaching job was the first to go. In my 12th year of teaching art in high school, I had the student from hell. When it came time to renew my teaching contract I quit. Like dominoes, everything fell in a perfect sequence from that catalyst. Next, marriage over. Our house? Ah well, our house was the perfect metaphor for our crumbling marriage. One day a large crack appeared in the ceiling…and get this, it was in the one room where I spent the bulk of my time – no of course not the kitchen. It was in my art studio. More to the point, it was my husband who found the tiny Grand Canyon in our ceiling. After several expert opinions told us our foundation needed major work, we sold our house.
I moved to a rural area and purchased a lovely little house in May. I paid cash and initially felt financially savvy. Each summer evening, I enjoyed my glass of wine out on the terrace, watching the star-filled night sky.
After meeting several people, I realized I had moved to a rather racist little pocket in California. Having never lived alone before and unable to connect with anyone in my new town, I was miserable. Over the next few months, my flame started to go out. I got a dog and she saved me. (Yes, I admit it, that earlier post about the dog was me.) I’ll spare you the bitter details of my five-month trail of living in hillbillyville.
Today is a new day. I sold my beautiful house in the redneck town. Deciding to travel light from here on, I sold everything I could and gave nearly everything else away. I decided that stuff was no longer important. It’s people relationships that really matter to me now. Everything I own is in a 10’ x 10’ storage space, awaiting my next home.
I moved in with family for now until I land. These are some of the kindest people I know. They welcomed me back with open arms. Just to clarify, this is my husband’s family. I’m getting my confidence back and my internal flame is growing again. Living with my mother-in-law does this every time. She nourishes my spirit in ways I cannot verbalize as the closest thing to a saint I will ever meet. Yet, even better, she’s human, with the same questions and foibles the rest of us have. The big difference? She approaches life from the POV of love and sees the best in everyone. That kind of stuff seems to rub off. Despite the potentially tumultuous times we live in, I am feeling hopeful. I am making new choices for myself, choices that are based out of self-love and forgiveness instead of self-loathing and resentment. I feel like I am making all of the right turns now.
So what’s next? I have chosen to make two big changes in my life. I will be completing my Master’s degree in art starting in the fall of 2017 so I can teach art in college and I am letting new people into my life. I am excited in anticipation of upcoming adventures!
© 2016 The Terrain Project.