Yesterday, I mentioned that I was reading The Sound of Paper (SoP for short) by Julia Cameron (who most people know from her book The Artist's Way), and that I had started doing morning pages. A little haphazardly, but they've been happening...don't judge, man...
So I've been doing these morning pages (only three times) and I had this great epiphany...crazy...
I used to write a lot... that was my creative release, but I let it fall by the wayside a little after I discovered art journaling. So all of my 'breakthrough' type things have happened while I was working on a journal page. And so then I start a little bit of writing, and three days later...KABLAMO...mental breakthrough. What the heck? Oh, every creative thing in the world, this is why I will do you all at some point...and a lot of you, more than once...but I digress...
So, my epiphany...it was about Leonard, who I've written about/done pages about many times, and that whole situation...it's sort of a conversation with him/myself. For anyone who doesn't know, Leonard was a very dear friend of mine who committed suicide.
I'm just going to type out what I wrote for the morning pages, word for word (with quotation marks, just so you know where it begins and ends)...it'll be easier for me that way...and you can see my stream of consciousness that way too...so here you go:
"It suddenly occurred to me that you are the defining moment in my life. How, if anyone wanted to really know me, I could not avoid mentioning you. How, if I had to describe myself, I'd be lying if I never said your name. The person I am right now is impossible without you.
I'm stuck in the moment I found out about what you'd done. I can't seem to move forward. And I don't want to move forward, but I do at the same time. I think if I let myself move on, then I'll have to accept that I'll never see you again, that you are lost forever. And I don't want to believe that. I don't know if I can accept that and be ok mentally afterward. I don't know if I could live with that as my reality.
At the same time, I don't want to go all Miss Havisham either, sitting at home alone in my wedding dress waiting for a man who isn't coming back. I don't want to shed tears for the rest of my life, not on a hopeless cause. I don't want my life defined by you not being here. I don't want my life defined by your death. Especially since your life was not defined by your death.
Your life was defined by your living. You were good and funny and kind; you were so many beautiful things. Bad things too...and that's as it should be. You were just a man...a good man...but only a man. So all your bad decisions were just bumps on the road. It's the good you did, the sweet and wonderful ways you had about you...those are what defined your life.
And I think that's what I deserve as well. I deserve for my life to be defined by the things I've done and not done, by things I will do or won't.
So I think it's time. It's time for me to really accept that you're not coming back. It's time to let myself believe the truth, no matter how painful: that you are gone.
It doesn't mean I love you any less. It doesn't mean you weren't important. It also doesn't mean I'll ever stop being sad, blaming myself, or missing you like hell. It doesn't mean that I'll ever forget you.
It just means that I deserve to have a chance at happiness and that I deserve to define my own life."
And so that's the epiphany I had while writing my morning pages.
I think that the art journals have let me get out a lot of sadness and a lot of grief. I needed to have that happen...to put my emotions on a page and know that they were real and ok. It seems like there are a lot of mourning pages in my art journals...and that's ok. They served a worthwhile purpose for me, letting me feel my feelings and letting me honor someone very important to me. Maybe at some point there will be more sad pages when I need them to happen.
But the morning pages, the writing, it's my logical side shining through when I need to be more reasonable. My emotional side would have me mourn for the rest of my life. Because how can I ever stop loving someone once I really felt true love? But the thing is, there's a difference between loving and honoring someone and becoming obsessed...thank you to my mom for putting it into the right words for me.
There is a psychological/behavioral condition known as ' The Havisham Effect' (Miss Havisham is a character in Great Expectations...google the book for more info on her character, if you are so inclined) where a person who suffers from longing for a lost love develops a physically addictive relationship with that feeling, in the same way as someone who is addicted to gambling or drugs, because it triggers the same neural reward centers. From what I understand, it basically has to do with how memories of people we love make us happy, then, because we no longer have them in our lives, we feel deep sadness...the two things circle around to the point where the brain confuses the two and we become addicted to that feeling. It makes sense in a way, but how messed up is that?!?
I don't want to become addicted to...or if it's already happened, stay addicted to...my grief. I don't want to be inundated by sadness for whatever amount of time I have left...because that is not a life, and I value my life too highly to let it wither away like that.
So I'm letting go, because it's time. I accept that he's not coming back. I accept that what time we had together was beautiful, but it's over now. And I accept that, even when it doesn't seem like it, every day I wake up is a chance to be happy again and the opportunity to define my own life on my own terms. I can't tell you how much easier I can breath after realizing all of this.
I made a page in one of my art journals today:
I didn't start out with the intention for this page to happen, I was just trying to finish another page in my oldest (one of the two that have crappy paper) art journal. But somehow this image happened, and I really, really, really love it. To me, it looks like I'm letting all of the obsessively bad stuff I've been feeling float off into the cosmos (how's that for hippy dippy). I don't need to feel those sad things to honor or to love. I see that now. I see it. It looks like letting go.