Saturday, August 3, 2013

Inner Excavations Week 3

I 'finished' my spread for week 3 of Inner Excavations today.  Finished gets quotation marks, because I'm thinking I may add a little bit of personal writing in there now that I've photographed it.

I'm a little behind, thanks to my fabulous trip to Ohio and the horrible amount of overtime I've been working since then...but that's ok, it's not a race, right?

This chapter, entitled "I gather..." deals with the things that we collect.  Maybe you saw my cheating post from yesterday...the post I posted so I could post SOMETHING.  Well it was fifteen minutes till midnight when I started that post and wrote in in all of five minutes, so I thought I should go back and re-read it because I doubt the intelligence of my brain when it's almost midnight and I try to use said brain for thinking...

I laughed as I was looking at it this morning, because despite the fact that it was a post for the sake of posting, there is a lot of real life truth going on in the picture in that post.  And by that I mean, WOW what a mess...

But I also mean, in that messy picture, there was a lot of meaning for me.

Someone once told me that the reason I collected my various creative hobbies was because I didn't have anything better to do.  He said that I did these things because I didn't have a life.  Egads, it broke my heart when he said that.  At the time , I did what I always did: I wrote a poem about it.

I'm tired of writing pretty words 
and making pretty pictures to pass the time.
I think I must create these things 
to forget myself and that I mind
that I can't feel like others do,
and only to forget a moment.
Things will never be as they once were.
The time for it is lost to me and can't be found again.
I think I finally understand 
actions I could not comprehend before.
To be loved is not enough, 
a person needs to feel it.
My heart refuses to understand.
And friendship isn't going to fix it
and I long for someone to hold my hand
without having to believe it's pity, 
without having to believe it's a lie.
But that never comes.
So I keep writing lines 
and I keep making marks on blank pages
to pass the precious time.
I wish he hadn't said what he did 
because he ruined my words 
and he ruined my pictures
by telling me the truth:
that I wish I didn't have to write
and I wish I didn't have to make marks
but that's all I have.
Even though that's not a life, 
that's all I have.

I don't know if the person who said those things to me realized what he set off in my brain.  I don't think it was said with malice.  It was just an offhand statement.  But for a long time after that, it was hard to do anything creative.  I guess I resented my artistic side.  Because my brain kept adding things to what he'd said: If you were pretty, if you were thin, if you were more interesting, people would want to be around you and you'd have better things to do than waste your life sloshing paint or sewing toys or crocheting scarves.  My brain kept telling me that the only reason I wanted to be creative was to make up for what I lacked in other areas.

But because I don't listen to my jerk brain for long when it starts spouting crap like that, I decided to grab my brushes and an art journal and figure out the real reason I wanted to be creative.

And what I figured out is that I LIKE to be creative.  It makes me HAPPY.  I can't sit there in front of a television for hours a day like 'normal' people do.  I couldn't stand that!  It's not relaxing to me.  It does nothing for me but waste time.  And yeah, maybe I 'waste' time doing my creative stuff.  But here's the clincher...WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE?  At least when I MAKE something, there's an end result!  There's something that I can look at and say "I did that, it made me happy to do that, and I grew as a person while I was doing it".

The over-analyzer in my brain knows that maybe there's a little bit of truth in the statement that I wouldn't do these creative things if I had a life.  Or, more correctly, if I had a different life.  I have a life.  If I had a different life though, in all honesty, I probably wouldn't be least not as much as I am now.

The big issue for me is kids.  I don't have kids.  It's just not in the cards for me.  I've talked about it before, so I won't go into detail in that regard, but I will say this: If I had kids (a kid, whatever) I probably wouldn't be so creative or at least wouldn't spend so much time with it.  Not because I wouldn't have as much time, although clearly that's a factor...but it's more about the fact that kids are...proof that you were here.  They're your legacy to the world.  When you die, there will be someone to remember you, because you were their mom or dad.  I don't have that.  I'm never gonna have that.  So how will anybody remember me?  Sure I have nephews and nieces and co-workers and all that, but how much easier will it be to remember me when you're looking at a 6 foot long crochet snake that I made?  And you'd know more about me...clearly, that I'm fun...and that I really LOVE my nephew (because I DID NOT want to crochet a 6 foot long snake...but I did...because he asked for it, and I love him...).

I art journal in case this technology is not available at the time of my inevitable demise....

It's the same with art journaling.  If at some point I die...and they haven't perfected Futurama technology ( know, that whole 'living head in a jar' thing...) my art is still gonna be there.  For someone to look at and say, "so that's who she was and how she felt"...

To quote Edna St. Vincent Millay:  "This book, when I am dead, will be a little faint perfume of me.  People who knew me well will say: "She really used to think that way.""

In the end, you want to know what I really gather?

"I gather wisdom"  

I gather wisdom.  It's not always like picking's not all beauty and fun and good times.  I think it's more like mining's dark, its dangerous, sometimes people die, and there are times when you question whether all that effort is really worth it.  But, you know, there's tremendous value in wisdom...infinitely more than there is in diamonds...

Dylusions over washi tape and using stencils.  Then craft acrylic and black sharpie for lettering.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that there will be an end result.  I do enjoy the immediate benefits of the self-knowledge I gain every time I work in one of my journals.  But there's accumulated value as well.  One day, I know I am going to feel like a complete person.  The complete person I choose to be.  And I learn more and more about the person I want to be, the person I'm ACTUALLY BECOMING every time I let myself do something creative.

I think this is quite a comical looking owl for such a serious topic, but hey, I am an mish mash of all kinds of stuff, it's ok if the cartoonish owl represents something deep and meaningful!

Going back to the moral of the I think I "wouldn't art journal if I had a life"?  Not really.  In fact, I honestly believe the art journaling is helping me create a life...helping me reclaim my right to my own life...helping me to live the life that I choose.  


  1. Good gosh, sweet tea 😊you are a great writer, a very artistic witty human being with all sorts of talent, and that IS your life. I'm sure you are much more love able than you think you are. People probably tell you every day and your heart just doesn't hear it. I enjoy your wit, humor and art, now be nice o yourself and enjoy it all, as well!xoxo

    1. are too kind my darlin'... Thank you for all the loving! You made my heart go all fluttery! :)

      I am definitely lucky in that I have all my internet gals for support and encouragement. There are a few people in my daily non-internet life who are that way as well, but they are a cherished FEW. If it weren't for you gals online, I don't know what I'd do!

      I promise that I will be nice to myself (because I am pretty fabulous after all...I mean how could Sweet Tea not be fabulous, right?!?) :) Big squishes!

  2. Sweets, I love you so much. Just like you, I have no 2-legged children, mine all have 4 legs. So I feel your pain. But please understand, your legacy will live on Your art speaks volumes, it will always live on. Your talent never ceases to amaze me.

    Now this I say because I love you always. Change your profile pic to the Futurama Jar... please! Hugs, Pamikins

    1. I love you too, my Pamikins! Thanks for the good words and the compliments and all the loving. I bet you didn't know it but you keep me pulled together sometimes...Thank you for that. <3

      Also, don't let me forget, and I will change my profile picture just for you!

  3. I'm loving your owl! As for writing, well sometimes writing for the sake of writing can sometimes lead to so spilling that we needed to do anyway. Your life is in your creativity as a lot of our lives are. The thing is that we who let our creativity out to play scares the hell out of those who want to suck up more of our time than we want to donate. They feel intimidated by the fierceness that this creativity shows in us because they, on the other hand, don't have the drive or the self~esteem to do what their hearts call for them to do. Don't allow what others say to you intimidate you,,,,let your fierceness show. Be the creative that you are meant to be. PLAY!!!!

    1. Thanks Sheila! I feel the same way about writing...if I didn't spill out the bad stuff, it would get stuck in my brain and it would be all I thought about. But once I put it down on paper or type it out in a blog post, it doesn't own a space in my brain anymore! And I get the added bonus...the best bonus ever...of hearing the wisdom of beautiful people such as yourself!

      I think you are right that creativity scares people and that they are intimidated by it. I wish, wish, wish that everyone could find something that makes them feel as good as I do when I'm making art or working with my hands creatively in some other way. There is a feeling of wholeness that happens that no one could ever question if they felt it for themselves. It makes me sad that not everyone gets to experience husband claims his comes from video games, but I find that highly suspect...

      Thanks again for all your kind words and I promise I will let my fierceness show and not be intimidated! And I will always, always, always PLAY!!! <3

  4. You write very well, SweetRed! Your wisdom most definitely shines through. We are ALL entitled to whatever version of life we want, and shouldn't judge another's choices! And I have found that children don't always bring what you'd think. We still have to find our own identity/life separate from them. Because they leave, and sometimes don't return. Keep on livin' Girl!

    1. Thank you Cindy! I like to write a lot, and it makes me feel really good when someone compliments my writing. I just wish that wisdom would come through in real life conversations sometimes! (I may have to start telling people to give me five minutes so I can compose a response! :D)

      You are right about having children not being what you think it is...I am getting to see that with my little sister, who had her first baby in October of last year. So I know that those preconceived notions will get ya every time!

      I know that a child would change things in many ways, and a lot of the time, I'm good with the way things are...just every once in a while (I think it's that darn internal clock) I get upset over not really having a choice in the matter. Before I found out that kids were not a possibility for me, it was never something I thought I wanted...or at least it wasn't my life's dream like it is for some people...but after I found out it couldn't happen, when the choice got taken away...that's when I started having a hard time with it. The option was there before, and then it wasn't.

      I do realize though that I have a gigantic child who will never grow the form of a husband...that lives with me and that I constantly mother... "No, my dear husband, I do not know where you put your glasses...I do not wear your glasses...I swear if I walk in that room and find your glasses..." I think that I do get some aspects of being a mother anyway... :)

  5. Sweet, your owl is perfect. Someone told me once they could drown in serious. I think the owl is represents the other side of you. You have a very reflective side and a funny, joyful side. Your writing today shows your reflective side and your owl balances you out with the joyful side.

    I've been where you are. I thought I was nothing if I wasn't a mother. Guess what? I was wrong. I am & you are enough just exactly the way we are. Nurturing is not about raising a child. You nurture people by being kind to them. You nurtured me by sending me a lovely face you drew. It is a very real part of you. When you make an honest comment about my work, I feel cared for. I tried to be super woman to make up for not being a mom. I ended up tired, resentful and depressed. Today, I create art. Am I going to be famous for it... probably not. Here is what someone told me about my art. My co-worker said, "I'm so happy you are back to doing your art. I can see the joy and the happiness in you. I love that you are so excited about someone bringing you old sheet music that they were going to throw away. I can see and hear your joy." What a compliment. Don't let anyone take your joy from you. If creating a painting or knitting a sweater gives you joy then grab is with both hands. I have a friend who does not know what makes her happy. She works and cleans house. She is not happy or content with herself. I thank God for my love of creating. It is the best gift he has given me. If you like to create, then do it... and never let anyone tell you anything different. Some people golf, some play tennis, some sing... you create things out of your imagination..... that is a huge gift. I wish I was there to huge you. You are loved, Sweet.

    1. Thank you, thank you, my Boo. You make me feel so good and you always give me such a big make me know that I am on the right track. That's such a beautiful gift to me.

      At first, I felt that way too, about not being a mother meant being nothing and trying to be super woman to make up for it. And just like you, I found out that I was not super woman either! :) (I do not look good in those spandex undies she has to wear!)
      Even though I am not a mother or super woman, I am learning to be ok with that...still learning, but I'm getting there!

      I like what you said: whatever gives joy "grab it with both hands". I need to remember that! Sometimes I look at people I know and wonder how they can go through life, when their day is only work, clean, sleep, repeat. I don't know how a person could live that way. We just get just one go around and I wouldn't want to waste it! You are right that creating things, or even just having and using our imagination, is a humongous gift!

      I'm so happy we have art in our lives, you and me, not only because of the joy it brings us, but because it is the thing that connected us. If it weren't for that shared love, we probably never would have gotten to know each other, and I don't want to be in a world where we are not friends! I love you, my Boo. <3 <3 <3

  6. I adore your owl! it is sooooo cute :) I say keep being creative, if it makes YOU feel good then who the hell cares what anyone else's opinion is? Do what makes you happy, it's your life. xxx

    1. Thank you! And RIGHT ON! That's the best advise: do what makes you happy. I'm gonna do it! <3

  7. Wow Sweet, I recognise so much in what you write and also wish I could write my feelings as well as you do. Your eloquence is so powerful to the reader. I swear you could write a novel & it would be a best seller. Most of the best authors draw on their own life experences you know ;)
    The above comments all say what I would if I knew the words, but I will add a quote I love, & used a while ago, 'Wasted time doing what you love, is not wasted time'
    Have a super Sunday :0)

    1. Thanks Mo! I think the writing is just like the art journaling...let it all pour out and then figure out the pieces that make it come together later (and then cover up the really bad parts and try again! :D)

      I will have to start working on my novel...I don't know what it would be about...a five hundred page book on the usefulness of art journaling... :) I don't know... I'll have to think about it and let you know what I come up with...

      I remember that quote, I liked it so much when you used it...I am going to put it in my quote file, so I won't ever forget it. I definitely love art journaling, so it can't be a waste of time!

      Hope your Sunday is going smashingly too! <3

  8. love the Millay quote!

    and yes, be creative because you love it and that is enough, damn it.

    1. Thanks so much! (Millay is my absolute favorite poet ever, hands down, no question, a million times over, I love her SOOOOOO much!)

      You gals are making me feel all "I'm creative! Hear me ROAR!" and I love you for it! <3 :)

  9. Besides, if you didn't art journal, you wouldn't have met ME! ;-)

    1. And my Raine is super important and special and I love her!!! So I'm definitely happy I art journal! <3

  10. Wow. I'm so surprised at what people who don't realize they're creative beings will say to people who do realize they're creative beings. Just being so unaware of your own creative nature that you're able to say something like that... and yes, that would have stuck in my head too and grown like poison ivy if I didn't cut it back right away. I also believe that once you recognize your own creativity, there's simply no going back to any other kind of life. You have a life, a richly rewarding and creative one (which you would have even if you had kids). It's not just a part of you, it IS you.

    I love what you say here.... "I think it's more like mining's dark, its dangerous, sometimes people die, and there are times when you question whether all that effort is really worth it." <3

    1. You hit it on the head, I think...when you realize you're creative, you can't go HAVE to keep creating. There's no other option! I've been out of commission the past couple days, not able to do anything major, and I'm practically insane at this point!

      And I like that you said "people who don't realize they're creative beings"...because I absolutely believe that every person has the capacity for being creative, whether it's art, music, gardening, woodworking, or a million other things that use that creative spark in some way. I really have pity for people who don't use their creativity and imagination in some way...I think their lives must be so boring! It would be like having the ability to see color and choosing to only see black and's functional and can even be beautiful at times, but you'd be missing out on so much! <3

  11. Dear Sweets, Once again your insight and creativity are so incredible. I so love and adore who you are and what you say and create. I adore the art you have sent to me and it has a special place, not only on the wall in my new apartment, but inside my heart. We who create are the lucky, blessed ones. If it were not for creating something that I perceive as beautiful I surely would have died when my Love died three years ago. Art has opened up a whole world of wonderful places and people. I love it that we have become special friends, I love what you said to Pamikins that you would not want to live in a world where we are not friends. Your art and your words are your legacy, Sweets. You have touched the hearts of many people with your words and your art. Never let anyone make you feel that that is any less of a life than the one they have chosen to lead. You are a wonderful, spirited, creative young woman with many wonderful gifts that you share with your heart with others. I love you dearly and am so blessed that our paths have crossed. Thank you for trusting us and sharing your journey with us. Many hugs and much love....Cheryl

    1. Oh, my Cheryl! You are so dear to me. You make me know that I am loved and that is not something that comes easily to me. You are so right that we are lucky who get to create. I feel the same way as you, I think: that if it weren't for finding the art, I would be dead now. If not literally, then surely in my heart and soul. I surely would not be the person I am now. I would not have my dear friends, who mean so very much to me. I would be an empty shell of a person. I'm so grateful to you and the other gals for helping me to come back to life, and for sharing who you are with me, and for letting me know that I am on the right path. I wish I could give you real life squishes and would be smothered with loving if I could! I love you, my Cheryl. <3 <3 <3


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