The Artist's Way
Tonight, I find that I'm tired and there's a little me sitting on my shoulder saying, "it's okay, so what if you don't check in? Just go to sleep, it'll be fine." You see who won, obviously not the little me on my shoulder because here I am.
Week three is an emotional week. The author talks a lot about anger, synchronicity and finally growth. She says, "Growth is an erratic forward movement; two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself. You are capable of great things on Tuesday, but on Wednesday you may slide backward. This is normal. Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting."
When I began this process, had I known then what I know now, I don't know that I would have committed to such a public forum. I must say though that I appreciate that the comments have been few and those that I have received have been kind. Maybe many of you are adhering to the old saying, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. If that's true, thank you.
I have thought all day about my check in this evening. It didn't help that I was in a car all day with nothing more to do than a little knitting. The fact of the matter is that I would rather keep it all to myself, but I committed to sharing, so I will.
Although the morning pages and the artists dates are the backbone of our journey, the exercises are very much an important part of the process as well. This week, one of the exercises that I did was on page 73. It has to do with detective work. The questions seem simple enough, my favorite childhood toy was....my favorite childhood game and so on. As I answered the questions, I suddenly realized that in my mind my childhood ended at 14. In the blink of an eye I went from being a child to operating as an adult. An example; I came home from school one day to find my mother on the floor of the bathroom. I took her to the doctor and he said that rather than calling an ambulance, I should drive her to the hospital and he would meet us there. Inside I was screaming that I was only fifteen and only had a driving permit, but I remember feeling that my role was crucial in saving my mother, so off we went. I came home that evening feeling so overwhelmed. I had an eleven year old brother and he needed care. So that night I began to play the role of the adult. I sat the table for breakfast and made pancake batter that could easily be cooked the following morning. She was in the hospital for a month.
Each night we would go to visit our mother. No one asked how we were getting there or how we were getting home. One day my brother asked what we would do if we were stopped. In my innocent way of thinking I told him that we would tell the truth, we were alone, our mother was in the hospital and we wanted to see her. Now as an adult I know that had this happened, we would have ended up in foster care so fast our heads would have spun. We had a mother who was incapable of taking care of us and a father who wouldn't.
The only birthday I have ever mourned was when I turned twenty. This would seem strange to most, I'm sure, but I remember being so excited about becoming a teenager. Although the thirteenth birthday marks the official beginning of the teenage years, nothing really starts to happen for a few more years, finally being able to wear makeup, getting a driver's licence and being able to date. The years that should have been filled with such happy milestones and thoughts of where I would like to go to college were spent watching my father lie to a judge and say that my mother had caused him such mental upset that it had rendered him ill all while she laid in a hospital bed. Worrying about getting snow tires off the car so that we wouldn't get a ticket that we had no extra money to pay and finally spending so much time being treated for ulcers because the burden of it all was so overwhelming.
With my new found revelations, I have experienced quite a bit of anger this week, but I have also found a tremendous amount of compassion for that child who did the best she could. Yes, I was still a child that only acted as an adult because there was nothing else I could do. How grateful I am that that period is over.
What does this all mean? I really don't know. Maybe it's just another step, maybe it's something more, I don't know. One thing I do know is that I am hardly unique in my experiences and I know that there are those who have experienced far graver situations than I have. My prayer tonight is that if this is you, you will be able to find the same compassion for yourself that I have. A child may be able to act as an adult, but they are still very much a child.
And so we move on to week four. This week we will work toward recovering a sense of integrity and discovering a new self awareness. One of the most important tasks this week is reading deprivation. I will challenge you one further, turn off the television. I know from my past experience that week four is a powerful week.
Thank you for coming by this evening.