November 13 2017

How to Get Back into your Creative Life After a Break

Life Happens

We all have things that happen to us that slow our creativity down, or that put a halt to our creativity. I fell behind in my journaling, planning, and overall creative “things,” back in July when my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 aggressive cancer (chemo wouldn’t help and surgery wasn’t an option–so it was just a matter of quality of life during the time he had left), and Mr. Rockstar was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I tried to stay creative. I tried to journal. To Plan. To finish out #onebookjuly2017 and #campnanowrimo. But my emotions, thoughts…my mental state was all over the place. Insert Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, along with the roller coaster of emotions that come with finding out your Dad has inoperable and non-treatable stage 4 cancer, and your husband has a disease that isn’t curable either–I was a wreck!

Still, I tried to maintain some sort of routine, some sort of balance. I tried to be creative. And someday’s I managed to journal, plan, write, art… Other days–I barely seemed to function. The worse my Dad got the worse my emotional state became. My emotions were all over the place. I started grieving well before my Dad died on October 5th. But his death, and my Mom’s subsequent hospitalization (she was admitted into the very same ICU ward as my Dad–within an hour or so of his death she was up there a few rooms down from where he was (he was still in the room, they were kind enough to allow my Mom to say goodbye, for all of us to say goodbye). The doctor’s and nurses all knew who I was–first time they’d had that happen, and they were absolutely wonderful to us.

Fast forward a week, my Mom was in the hospital 8 nights and 9 days. So I was at the hospital for approximately 10 days, because I’d been there the night before when my Dad was helicoptered from their local hospital to the one in Charleston to ICU. By the time my Mom was released I’d already taken care of my Dad’s cremation, and a lot of paperwork for things like insurance, etc. I was on the ball in regards to taking care of my Mom. I was not, however, doing very well in the taking time to grieve for my Dad, taking care of myself (not really), much less housework, planning, journaling, filming videos for Patreon or YouTube, etc. I did manage to do a few loads of laundry somewhere in there so I had some clean clothes to wear when I went back to the hospital (my husband convinced me to go home with him to take a shower and get some sleep–I hadn’t slept but about 3 hours in about 3 days). (I’m sure I was in definite need of a shower by then.) Continue reading

July 16 2017

A real hero

My Daddy

When I was 7 years old my daddy died. He was 31, my mom was 28, and my younger brother was 4 years old. We were all devastated. I retreated into a shell. I took to books, writing in my pink dairy, and talking to my daddy in my dreams. My brother became glued to my mom.

When my mom met the man who was to become our (step)dad I wasn’t sure about the whole “new” dad thing. I already had a daddy. He was in Heaven with the angels and God and I was just waiting to be with him, or for him to come back to us.

But he was such a gentle soul, this big and tall bear of a man. He never tried to take my daddy’s place. He stood by the car as he waited for us when we visited my daddy’s graveside. He talked to us not at us, listened to us–really listened, and he genuinely loved us like we were his own children. We couldn’t have asked for a better dad, and my mom couldn’t have asked for a better husband.

Now it’s forty-one years later, in May my mom and this gentle bear of a man were married 41 years, and I am heartbroken… I am losing another father, this time it isn’t unexpected like my daddy’s death (car accident). This time it’s cancer. Aggressive cancer that has taken over my dad’s body and reduced him to a shell of the man he once was physically. And I can tell he hates it. This strong man that I love and who has been a real hero in every way that a person can be a hero, has been reduced to being a victim of extremely aggressive cancer and all that that entails. I am devastated. My mom. My children. My nephews. My brother. Our family is devastated. My mom is losing another husband. We are losing another father. My children and nephews are losing their grandfather, and my grandson is losing his great grandfather–his Papa. His siblings. They are a close knit family and they stick by each other through thick and thin. We are all helpless, and feeling every single bit of that helplessness down to our core.

I have been blessed to have had three wonderful parents. My Daddy, my Mom, and my Dad. My Dad has taught me so very much about life, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and he is and will always be a hero to me. My father is dying of cancer. It’s basically a matter of when, no matter how much of a fighter my dad is, the cancer has taken over. I truly wish there was going to be a happy recovery story. I wish that Cancer didn’t suck. Like most people, just hearing the word “Cancer” made me cringe. It’s one of those words that leaves a bitter aftertaste when you say it. And now the man who has been a real life hero to me, to my children, to our family is dying of Cancer. I am past the denial. The diagnosis a few weeks ago was bad enough, and then the news that it was inoperable, but since then my dad has went downhill quickly. It’s like his body sighed and said… “okay, we’re done fighting…let’s rest now.” Only my dad is fighting it.  Is that worse or better? It’s heartbreaking is what it is. I want him to be well. I want him to get a shot. To take a pill. To  get some damn help and get better. But I’m not sure that’s going to happen, and today I realized that. Reality set in and it  sucks beyond words. I know that my words will not do him justice, but I feel like so many people shy away from the truth of what happens when someone becomes chronically ill, when cancer sets in. My mom took care of my disabled grandfather for over a decade and in the end cancer got him as well. We are not alone. I will never be alone. My daddy, my grandparents, my family, my dad, my mom, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my friends,  are with me. We’ve all been through something, and because death is inevitable will all go through things in life that are heartbreaking. My dad would not want all this attention. He loves me and is proud of me, proud that I am who I am and that I doing something with my life that makes me happy, but he really wouldn’t want all the attention. He’s a humble and proud man.

Doug (my son), Maria (my daughter), Viktor (my grandson), my Mom, my Dad, Me, and Mr. Rockstar.

My Dad is such a wonderful person. He’s laid back. Generous. Compassionate. Hardworking. Honest. Honorable. Loyal. My Dad has taught me so much about life, love, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and so many other things. Things like,  I am stronger than I think, worth more than I think, smarter than I thought, and I can do anything I put my mind to. That though there are some things that are not probable, there are very few things that are impossible if I put my mind to it. He is one of my biggest fans, my strongest supporters, and I would not be the person I am today without him.

I have not given up hope that today was just a setback, but I am realistic enough and tough enough to know that it might not be a setback. A few weeks ago my dad was tired, and he’d lost weight but he could stand and walk on his own. A few weeks ago, my dad could still walk without assistance. A couple of weeks ago my dad was still able to do all of those things. Today broke my heart and I’m not going to show the photos I took today right now. Maybe later. Right now I can’t bear to look at them. I’ve finally stopped crying. Am I crying because I know I’m losing my Dad? Yes. Am I crying because my mom is losing another husband? Yes. Am I crying for all that my Dad is going through and will go through? Yes. Am I crying because of all our family is going to endure? Yes.  My Dad knows he is dying. Most of us, my family, have now accepted that he is dying. Reality is setting in, or has set in. Have we given up? No. Has my Dad given up? No, I don’t think so–it’s not in his nature to give up. BUT I do know that right now I have a chance to tell my Dad how very much I love him, what a wonderful and amazing father he has been, how grateful I am that he came into our lives. We were blessed the day he and my mom met, the day they married (or as my brother said back then, “we’re getting married.”

Dad, Jacob, and Jimmy

For 41 years, my dad has done his best by all of us. I’m thankful for the blessings that he’s brought to us. I know he knows that I love him, but I’m not sure he knows just how very much I appreciate him, how much I value him as a person not just a dad. This is my chance to do that. To honor him with my words, although my words do not do justice to this man–my dad is a real life hero. He is a hero to me and he always will be.

I know the struggle has only just begun, not just for my dad but for all of us. Everyone who is close to my dad. I reach out across the divide of miles, things that keep us busy or keep us from reaching out to one another to say: “Life ain’t always peaches and cream, baby. You gotta make it happen if you want it.” I can hear him saying that to me throughout the years. I can also hear him telling me “there’s no such thing as can’t.” And my favorite, “You catch a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar.” He’s right.

My dad is a hero to me, and many others, and he always will be. Right now I have a chance to tell him and show him how very much I love him, how very much I appreciate all that he has done for us. And how very proud I am to call him Dad.

My Dad and my grandson.

 

September 19 2016

Week 3 of Finding Water: A Sense of Support

finding-water-julia-cameron-960x288Uncovering a Sense of Support
Critical to any creative journey is sense of creative support. You must practice discernment, weeding out that which does not serve and watering the shoots you want to foster.  This week’s tasks invite you to consciously interact with those who are positive on your behalf. Reaching out to others for their belief, you will also reach within and steady your personal confidence. If you had the faith what might you try” This week’s explorations will lead you into knowing your own mind.

When I first saw this chapter (my first attempt at Finding Water), I wasn’t thrilled about it–this time, however, things have changed. Cameron talks about having a network of friends and family there to be supportive. She calls these supportive people in your life Believing Mirrors. Accordingly, they reflect back to you the beautiful being that you are when you aren’t able to see it yourself. And through their own beauty they inspire you and speak the words you were thinking, but hadn’t formed yet or the words that you’re afraid to say. In turn, you will reflect the amazing creative beings that they are and that you are yourself–without having to actually work hard at it, which is what we do when we’re doing it alone. In a group setting, this multiplies. Cameron states that “creativity occurs in clusters,” and I agree with her. Over the past month I’ve found this to be true myself.

This week has been chaotic, especially the weekend. I’ve been busy with family, as well as personal and creative projects. I missed doing Morning/Evening pages more than once this week. I had to split my Artist Date into two different things because of time and obligations, but I ended up having much more fun than I might have had I just done what I had originally planned for my Artist Date. For more about what I did for my walk and my Artist Date I’ve included the video for this week.

Truth is, with each passing week I’ve realized that 1. I need to prepare for my Artist Date better. 2. I need to make the time for my Morning/Evening pages. 3. I need to ask for help more. I know that things are getting better, I can feel it inside and out, but it’s slow going and I’m not the most patient of people–What? Me? Nope, I’m not. It’s one of my flaws.

I prefer to do things on my own, I don’t like asking for help, nor do I like feeling like I’m not able to do things myself… so asking for help is difficult, but not impossible. Over the past few years, I’ve had to ask for help from family and friends much more than I wanted but it helped me, and made me feel good–I have people I can ask for help. Over the past month, I’ve realized (thanks to our group, Destination Me) that I am not out here alone, and it’s alright to ask for help. 😀

Overall, this was a much better week, and a much better experience, than I thought it would be. Now, I’m off to address thank you cards.