Speaking of what people think of me, I’ve been going through a few challenges in the last couple of weeks regarding this. Back to the subject of boundaries again.
I can’t say what these challenges are exactly, but I got to the point where I was considering taking an eight-week boundaries workshop with Molly Davis, a coach I follow on Instagram. I would do it if it wasn’t so expensive. It’s about $250 a week. For that, you get a ton of one-on-one coaching, plus a whole lot more. It’s worth it. I just don’t have that kind of dough, Joe.
I did take the free introductory course she offers, and I learned a lot. It was seriously enlightening, and I recommend it. It took off a significant amount of pressure I put on myself and relieved me of some guilt I felt about not being able to put my boundaries in during all the times I needed to. Apparently, it’s natural not to. It’s actually hard-wired into our brains to care what people think about us. Once upon a time, it was a question of survival and a matter of life and death!
All that being said, protecting ourselves is easier said than done. I have often pleased others to the point of massively fucking myself over. It hasn’t been good. It’s not just about saying “no” to people. I have straight-up lied (mostly to myself), put myself in situations with unsafe people, and all but thrown out my integrity only to save face.
This lack of self-care stems from a lack of self-love and lack of self-worth. When you’re raised in an environment where you aren’t valued for shit, this is what you get used to. It’s taken years of therapy just to get myself to a point where I no longer hate myself, let alone love myself. I am still working on self-love. It’s not easy, but I swear I’ve come a long way.
Since dealing with some of these recent debacles, I’ve been able to do several things over the last week that I hadn’t given myself credit for until now.
First off, I was able to summon my adult self in the first situation that fell onto my plate. Despite how deeply it affected me and what a huge loss it is, I am proud of myself for how I responded. I’ve since been working, keeping myself busy, and reflecting on how I reacted. I think I navigated it in a healthy way.
I haven’t only been working on my art. For the first time in many years, I wound up setting up my drums. I didn’t think I would be able to find the room, but I was able to cram them into a space in my garage where I keep all my art storage. It’s very tight, but it works. And I have even played them a little.
I’m also working on my old family album picture paintings. I may have mentioned that I’m titling this series Discarded Snapshots. Here’s the second one in the series that I just finished called Disorderly Conduct:
In the midst of all this, something else came to bite me in the ass. It’s a slightly different scenario, but repeated haunting shit from the past all the same. Dealing with this seemed to be even more complex than the first situation, perhaps because of the added stress, I’m not sure, but I noticed I was starting to crack.
At first, I thought I had stood up for myself. I thought I’d protected myself this time around. But, alas, I failed. Again. It’s a thirty-year battle with this person. I seem to get amnesia about how controlling they are. I forgive, allow stuff, miss them, and begin it all over again. And whether or not they are a true bully, they are unsafe to have in my life. They play havoc on my emotions and exhaust me. The problem is, I love them. So, I’m going through another loss and am kicking myself for being vulnerable and getting hurt. Yet again.
I normally view vulnerability as an asset. It just doesn’t feel like it when the person taking advantage of it doesn’t value such things or thinks emotions are weak. It just makes you feel like they’ve triumphed and you’ve lost. But I’ll get over it in time.
But anyway. I’m trying…
Once I get my confidence back, as I was thinking about this before all this shit happened, I would like to start creating some kind of curriculum for artists to manage their goals. It’s been on my mind for a long time.
I can’t/won’t give instruction on how to paint as many artists do on YouTube and Instagram, but I know a lot about getting organized and taking steps to be successful.
Now, maybe it doesn’t look like I’m successful. I don’t announce my every accomplishment ya know. I don’t toot my horn very often, and that’s very much on purpose. I don’t have a huge Instagram following either, but what do those numbers mean anyway? I have a lot of thoughts on that.
Somehow, I have a thirty-year art career despite never attending school. And apparently, people say I have my own distinct “thing,” if you know what I mean. So, how did I do it? And how do I concoct a mentoring-type curriculum about it all without sounding or looking cocky? Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it? But I think I’m going to start working on it. I’m going to try.