It has been a good week. Regardless of uncertainties that hold me tight and never let go, I find myself in good sorts.
I had the pleasure of getting ice cream with a long-time friend of my parents. He eagerly sought me out and noticeably enjoyed himself. He asked and listened and repeatedly cursed my father for not telling him more about my life. He spoke of my mother in the way a daughter could only dream of. Saying things like, “she was a mother to everyone. Whether they wanted it or not”. My heart was warmed and full. He told me how my mom loved my dad with a fierceness. And made him overcome his fear of intimacy. I have this image of these two people laughing, enjoying, loving each other so fully. Seriously, they are wearing the most fantastic vintage clothing and laughing. Always laughing. I wouldn’t change that for the world. And after a mere hour of conversation, he saw my incessant need for seriousness and shook his head. “You have the rest of your life!” The words, though, that stung sounded something like, “you are your toughest critic. You will have to overcome that your whole life.” In one hour. And suddenly a rush of surrender and freedom. A deep breath of truth. A reminder that it’s ok to let go.
You know, people often respond to my studying fashion design with an “oh how fun”. And each time it hurts. It is fun. But, I work my butt off. There’s something really unsettling about the way I assume people are measuring my intelligence with this small confession of my chosen field. I have really identified with one of my favorite authors, Julia Cameron, because she intimately describes her life as an artist. There are, without fail, serious demons that come with the territory. “Can I do it? Is it beautiful? Does it matter? Will it last? Am I crazy?” It takes only a few words to affirm or deny these questions.
The people that I am attracted to most: Pete Seeger, Frida Kahlo, Bill Cunningham, Georgia O’Keefe, and more recently Mary Lee Bendolph (Gee’s Bend quilter) are the kind of people that pursue their art whole heartedly. They create because they need to, because they love it, and aren’t concerned with the outcome or self recognition.
Oh, to create because it satisfies something in me that nothing else can.