Tag Archives: fear

Tough Choices

It’s Wednesday and Wednesday is the day I’m supposed to come up with a blog post. I made a commitment and I am trying to keep it, but this week, it feels impossible. Everyone knows what happened in the world since my last blog post. Terrorists attacked Paris. They killed more than a hundred and twenty people and injured over four hundred. That was five days ago and Facebook is still full of posts from people going back and forth over the issue of the United States taking in Syrian refugees. It breaks my heart and it makes me angry and it makes me wonder if humanity is worth saving at all.

I don’t understand how anyone can blame all Muslims for what a few extremists have done. I don’t understand how anyone can turn away innocent widows and orphans who are running from the same people who carried out the attacks in Paris. Do they think all danger comes from outside our borders? Do they think denying these people refuge will make us safer?

People, we are not safe. We are fragile beings. We live in a dangerous world and not one of us is getting out of here alive. Does that mean we have to live in fear? I believe we are called to live in love, not fear. I believe we came to this place to learn how to choose love instead of fear. If you barricade yourself inside a bunker and surround yourself with guns, you are still going to die. We all are.

While we are here, we have choices. Every one of them is the choice between love and fear. Fear will tell you it can save you, but it can’t. All it can do is make living feel like dying, day after day after day. I have visited that place and I don’t want to live there. I have a choice and I choose love.

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Waiting for Dawn

Wednesdays come and Wednesdays go, but this has not been my best Wednesday ever. It started too early, for starters. I didn’t plan to wake up at three o’clock in the morning. I didn’t want to wake up at three o’clock in the morning. I’m not sure why I woke up at three o’clock in the morning, but once I was awake, I couldn’t get back to sleep. I gave up after a half-hour in which my dark bedroom just seemed to get darker and darker.

If you have never been afraid of the dark, you will not understand how heavily the darkness weighs on a person like me. I guess everyone is afraid of something. What is it for you? Deep water? Spiders? Clowns? Whatever it is, just imagine how you feel when you see that thing and you will have some idea of what happens to me when I have to face a dark room. I know it’s not a particularly rational reaction. Please don’t tell me there’s nothing in the dark that’s not there when it’s light. Believe me, I’ve heard it. It’s a big, fat lie. My fear is there and it’s as real as that spider crawling up your arm.

I may be a bit touchy about this subject. The point is, it was dark and I needed light. I couldn’t just turn on the bedroom light. My husband didn’t need to get up until five-thirty, so I couldn’t shine a big light in his face at three-thirty. I grabbed a flashlight and headed for the bedroom door. Once I had it shut behind me, I turned on the bathroom light. Then I turned on the kitchen light. Then I turned on the living room light. I put water on to heat for coffee and I grabbed the notebook in which I write my morning pages. Any time after midnight is, technically, morning.

I wrote. It helped. I drank coffee and wrote some more. I listed the things I could do that would make me feel better, like Sweatin’ to the Oldies and accomplishing things I had been putting off. I knew I would be okay once the sun came up, so I just kept writing to keep the darkness at bay. It’s always peeking in the windows and trying to get past the weatherstripping. Not on my watch, darkness!

I finished my morning pages and then I updated all my iPad games. I squished monsters in Springfield, I picked apples in Ponyville and I hatched out a Spunge or two in My Singing Monsters. I found hidden objects in Pearl’s Peril and Mirrors of Albion. I caught up with all my friends on Facebook. That doesn’t take long at four o’clock in the morning, if one has done it the night before. I went to Words with Friends to see if any of my Friends had come up with any Words. I am currently playing nine games, but seven of them are with my daughter, who rarely takes her turn. My other friend never fails, though, so I had two games to update. I had no vowels on one and almost no consonants on the other, but that just keeps things interesting, right?

When I ran out of games to update, I decided I might as well get my word count for NaNoWriMo. My novel might have taken a dark turn at that point if my novel made any linear sense at all, but it doesn’t, so that wasn’t a problem. Two thousand words later, the sun was up and I had survived the scary darkness, one more time.
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In your face, darkness! The sun always rises.

A New Goal

I’ve been thinking about new goals for my second blog year and I’ve decided that fifty things in a year is a pretty reasonable goal. The difference, this year, is that I want to do fifty paintings. That will average out to about one per week and that seems doable. I may not do one every single week. That would be ideal, but I will consider the challenge met if I do fifty before I turn sixty-one, even if I end up cramming half of them into the last few weeks before my birthday.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be doing other creative things. I hope I will be doing lots of different things, but I want to put some real time and effort into learning to paint. I’m a little bit afraid of this commitment. I fear I might paint and paint and paint and never improve. It’s that fear that has stopped me, every other time I’ve thought about learning to paint. I don’t want to let it stop me this time. No one is born knowing how to hold a brush or mix colors. There are things that can be learned, but not if I stop trying after one disappointing attempt.

I want to learn what I can learn. Maybe it will be a little; maybe it will be a lot. I’ll never know if I don’t try. I will have to tell the perfectionist part of me to hush up and let me try. I’ve been wanting to paint since I was a teenager and I have let a lot of years go by without giving myself permission to start out by doing it badly. I have to start where I am, with tools and desire, but no skills. I have to practice. If it were possible to acquire skills just by reading books and magazines about painting, I would have mad skills already.

No, I’m going to have to actually pick up a brush and paint. That’s what I want to do in my sixty-first year. I want to thumb my nose at the fear of painting badly, and just paint anyway. I want to keep painting, even when the painting in front of me doesn’t look anything like the actual thing I’m trying to paint or the imaginary masterpiece in my head.

Which is definitely the case with this first painting of my sixty-first year. I was at the grocery store and I went into the produce department and picked up the first pretty fruit that caught my eye: two colorful mangoes. I took them home and set them up on a piece of hand-dyed blue fabric and I tried to capture them on canvas with acrylic paints. Here it is. It’s a painting. I painted.

Mangoes

Mangoes


On the upside, I have finished using these mangoes as models. Now we can eat them.