“You have everything you need to begin.”
I read the words once, twice, three times and my soul uttered an inaudible yes. This is just what someone might need to hear. The words simmered all day, and I considered just how it might encourage a person just waiting for the right sign. I thought all day about the depths of the sentence and I never once considered how maybe it was only for me.
I’ve been in the midst of an internal battle, to write or not to write. The question itself is foolishness, is it not? Honestly, the only problem here is why I’m still asking that question.
I can give you approximately 400 answers, none of of them very good. I’m not writing because I’m painting like a madwoman. I’m painting the best art I’ve ever made. I’m not writing because I have three children and my baby has made it her mission to solely interrupt the consistency of my beloved sleep. Because homeschooling and motherhood and life are wonderful, brain-numbing challenge that requires my all. Because, I need a succession of stillness and silence for words to form in any remotely eloquent way and because three children are so very loud. Because I want a new name for the space where I write and share online, but can’t think of a single thing. And perhaps, if I’m being honest, I’ll throw in the good old standby, but what would I write anyway?
No need to appease these excuses with any response. They are valid, but not good enough to stop me. Except, sometimes they do.
I had a dream a few weeks ago, starring the faces of some majorly influential people in my life standing in a room. I could only make out one thing from a single person, these words, “Now is the time. We need your voice.” I still feel the emotion and poignancy with which they were said. Dreams are annoying, sometimes, because most of the time they are bizarre madness, but every once in a while, they are very important. I’m not saying that my words are the missing piece to a great puzzle or that I should have a spot reserved on a bookshelf next to the greats. I do know, as I’ve always known that words are a gift I’ve been given. When I was younger I said them all, so I’m told., I filled notebooks with stories, poems, and journal entries. I destroyed trees in college with endless papers and an English degree. Now I think more than speak, because my children are always talking.
Words are power and life. Words hold create hope in the darkest places, a pause in the rush of life, truth in the midst of madness. Always words.
2015 has launched me into what might be my most creative year yet. I’m pushing past the limitations that I carried for so long as an artist. I can not even begin to explain this renaissance of art, so I’ll let my paintings speak for themselves. I’ve always found that the ebb and flow of my creative energy is either writing or painting and for so long I’ve let that become the final word. However, in this season, the more I paint, the more I unblock all the thoughts just floating in the damned waters.
I wrote a short story for children in December. It’s not only for children, because I think certain messages span all stages of life. I poured some energy into further steps for it, but I didn’t feel like it was time. I’ve learned strongly to trust that inner voice. I have it close by for safe keeping. I started another story, but maybe it was just an exercise. So much of what we think is important is just an exercise for something else. I suppose all of life is that way.
What I’ve learned already in two months from pushing past all the things I thought I could never paint was that I actually could, if I tried. You can do hard things. I tell my kids everyday. And every time I do, I’m reminding myself, because being a mother is a lot of hard things all day long. I was forever terrified of painting people. So, I never did. Now I love it. I was terrified of faces, I only painted them from the back, which also lends to the feeling of thought and reflection. One day, though, I woke up and knew I was going to paint a face. It took so many tries, but I did it. Last week, I finished another painting with a face that made me jump up and down with delight, right in my kitchen. It’s a far cry from the Mona Lisa and her eyes are closed, but chasing down your limitations is magical thing. I don’t know what flying feels like, but I imagine it’s similar.
The thing is, I’ve lived and breathed certain creative dreams for so long, many fall aside, serving as stepping stones and they are important. Only now am I seeing a mere glimpse of where it has brought me. Not in a way that I know exactly where I’m going, because I have no idea, but in seeing how important it is to bear the heavy dreams we carry. When they feel so heavy. When they feel impossible. When they feel ridiculous. Those things you carry that light a fire in your soul, don’t let them go. Don’t.
You have all you need to begin.
I thought it about 200 times before I realized that it was for me. I don’t need to know what book I will write before I start writing. Oh that taunting idea. I don’t need to know, but I have to write. Words to share here. Words for the safety of my journal.
Tonight it may be foolish to admit to anyone who will read this, but if I can paint a face, then perhaps I can write and paint together. Perhaps the two will fuel each other. Even if my baby won’t sleep. Even if silent minutes must be seized.
And perhaps, you can do that very hard, challenging thing too.
I have no idea where this year will lead me, where these dreams will take me, but if my dreams are uttering the message and the art is rushing from my fingertips, then why not.