It’s been several months since I’ve drawn anything just for my own pleasure. No. I take that back. It’s been a long while since I’ve drawn anything without some purpose behind it. My fingers, wrists, joints are cold, as if tiny icebergs have grown inside, and I have to make an extra effort to rub my hands awake. Yet this is nothing entirely new. I’ve always had problems with my hands. My latest artist’s block has been more of an emotional one — I was cut off from my passionate side, just felt drained of my own desires and filled with other people’s problems. I feel the need sometimes to make people around me happy. I live for making smiles. I want to be the friend who inspires you. I want to be the girl you’re proud of, the one you’ll sing about. I want to be the favorite because I’m the best! Oh, it can be a selfish thing, yet I honestly do love to please. There’s a wonderful pleasure about it, and I don’t do nice things just to make myself feel good, it just feels right to be able to do something for someone else that they cannot do for themselves. I like to do things I wish someone would do for me, usually something they are not expecting someone else to do for them. Call it generating good karma, but really it’s all about the pleasure of kindness. It can be contagious. It can inspire other people to do the same thing. Yet I have to remember to do things for myself as well. My love is never short on supply, yet I need recharging and re-connecting into the source that inspires me to love.
Several times this year I’ve been accused of not living up to being a being of love. I should not have listened to that, but when you love some people unconditionally due to bonds of blood, or simply because they are a fellow human being, such an accusation can throw me into a dark corner. I can really doubt myself unfairly. The worst thing is when I am repeatedly criticized by a family member. I always want to please my family, no matter who the relative is, I just want them to be proud of me. I will go out of my way, even make promises I can’t live up to, and make outrageous goals that will take me much longer and be too hard for me to meet within the amount of time I thought I could do it, just to impress upon people I love I truly love them — show them that they are incredibly important to me — in epic proportions.
I think this stems from not being able to please my father, a man who has never told me he loves me (he never told my mother he loved her either), and despite my every effort to make him comfortable and happy, he complains about me at me. It used to not be that bad, but now that he’s in a veteran’s home facing his twilight, he wants to be left alone. I’m the only one he has left who regularly comes around to check on him, do favors for him, call on him, and basically wait on him no matter how much he complains. I know he is in emotional pain, so… I am patient. I do my best to understand, let him be, ignore his words, tell him “okay.” Yet over these last few months, the stress has been taking too much of a toll on me. No matter how brave of a front I put on, my heart wants to give out. It is as if my father wants me to give up on him. I will not repeat the things he calls me, nor will I tell you what he has said about my life, and what he thinks will become of me, because what he says is not true, but when it is repeated over and over again, it’s a beating I take. The wounds tend to stick to me. I begin to really miss my mother. I wish my brother would come out of hiding and help me out. I don’t want to stand by being the only offspring this old man has left who cares. It sucks.
Now you can see why I got lost for a while. I can get consumed with worry over someone I love, I forget myself. Sometimes it takes other people who truly love me to nudge me out of that stupor. Those people remind me I’m not the only one who loves. They tell me I am loved back and don’t you dare forget! So come back out to play. Take your shoes off, Val. Put your sarong on. Go dance in the rain or sword-fight with your shadow! It’s never too late to dream all over again.
It usually happens that way. Unexpected. A match struck in the dark and a candle is lit and hope burns my heart warm. Before long I’ve got my pencil out and the figures tumble out. Usually they are of women, nubile goddesses, sometimes sad or just calm, brooding, serious, all beauties, damsels and dames rescuing me from depression. They may not have stories attached to them, but someday I will pin a purpose to them. Perhaps their purpose is just to bring me peace, that I don’t have to draw with a purpose… the only purpose is to draw.
What do they say to you?