Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dispatch from the Edge of the Storm

It has been a really long while since I've felt, physically and emotionally, like exposing myself to the glare of living out in the world.  After a while, invisibility becomes comfortable, peaceful.  But it is time to re-emerge and give life another try.

Beginning around October, I began struggling with a huge fibro fatigue flare and when it rains, its pours.  My hands started to fail me (ongoing severe tendonitis and swelling) and six new fibromas were discovered in my feet.  I completely lost the will to create.  It was all I could do to continue teaching; sometimes it would take the entire weekend to recover from one three-hour session with my students.  Out of desperate necessity, I shunted all my energies into basic survival.  And, as a result, my art simply withered up and disappeared.  For at least two months, I produced nothing.  I would sit at my studio table, hoping for inspiration but the mental and physical energy required to drive creative endeavors just didn't exist.

Slowly, oh ever so slowly, my energy has crept back.  But I discovered that the long absence from art-making had dulled my creative faculties.  So I began with nothing more than painting serendipity papers.  Some days, I spent only ten to fifteen minutes in the studio, making random marks.  A few days were spent only looking at paints, appreciating color combinations, considering applications.  I did a lot of reading.  I had to nurture my creative self like a fragile new flower. 

I'm still not 100 percent.  If I want to have a sustainable level of energy throughout the day, I have to very closely monitor the balance between energy output and reinvigorating self care (and down time.)  It is frustrating; I have many outstanding commitments that have not received my attention in a long while.  However, I am trying to take small steps and as I try to journey forward, I hope those around me can be patient with my inch-by-inch progress.  The light out here in the world seems awfully bright.

Thank you to everyone who has offered up words of comfort and support, waited steadfastly for me to decide to rejoin the world, and who has cheered me on in good times and bad.  You are all deeply appreciated!


Terri Kahrs said...

Welcome back, Michelle! Taking time to heal and survive was the best thing you could do. Of course, I missed you terribly, but knew that you were struggling with your health and would return when you were ready. Take baby steps towards the light, and know that I'm here if you'd like to "talk". Hugs, Terri xoxo

Jill said...

One small step at a time, you're getting there - take care.

sharon said...

Missed you sooo much Michelle, and felt sad knowing your struggles. I am so glad you are on your way back, and you , and only you knows what is best. Do what you have to, we will always be here!
Love your image today on your post....just beautiful!

McMGrad89 said...

Well, I seem to have wandered down an Internet path and landed on this article. I started at a link Marit sent me as part of her FEATURING staff. I then began reading your more recent posts and then an article about kidney stones (something I can completely relate to) and finally on this article. Although I have no experience with your condition I do have lots of experience with life taking over and preventing creativity. I guess I will also have to just pick up the pen and just start doodling again.

I enjoyed editing your article on FEATURING. Best wishes for health and creativity, Annemarie

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