Friday, September 18, 2009

Depression and Anxiety are my Special Needs Children

(This is a reposting from February 2008. I'd like critiquing in the comments, please.)

Movies I watch can inspire me to write or paint or sculpt.

But some only create the longing for it, and not the release – like the nightmares where you can’t scream but know that if you try with all that is in you, you could make enough noise to cast your voice out among the billions who also trudge this land.

There’s an ache – when I feel unable to create my art -- a loneliness that wiggles inside my brain so that it hurts, and my throat so that I cannot communicate.

My fingers are frozen at the page, clamped desperately around the pen. My breath stops as I wait for the timid kernel of inspiration to share itself through me – but alas, it is not Inspiration or Idea or even Plot Device that appears … it is: Clamminess, Brick Wall, Pettiness, Fatigue, and Not Good Enough.

The metallic sour taste of lethargy and self- judgment sit with me when the longing to create art is strongest. I’ve sat with and asked these soul-sucking companions why they visit. I sometimes get a response and sometimes not.

I wonder how to get rid of them – like they are the slugs on my sugar snap peas that eat holes before I get a taste.

But perhaps I should simply share space with these evil shadows of myself and honor their place in my house. What if I extended love to them, accepted them and knew there was an ancient lesson they came to teach me, if only I would listen -- like the hundreds of thousands of families with special needs children?

Depression and Anxiety are my special needs children. I court them, suckle them and find their triggers to tantrums. I sit with Depression and rock him to sleep with haunting music lilting from the iTunes across the room; I coax Anxiety out to play -- break out the glue and treeless paper and collage until she is more grounded.

I discover their strengths and weaknesses and take time out for myself when they become too much for me to bear alone. I nurture myself with popcorn and movies under the feather blanket, hot tea with a friend, or an afternoon alone at a coffee shop with my laptop and latte. And I think. I take time to Feel.

When I do this -- when I give myself permission to emote -- only then am I open enough to welcome ideas and plans and as-of-yet formless characters into the sacred circle I have created for them. Only then am I able and willing to give birth to their stories.

But that’s not right either. I am always willing. That yearning and longing to write and to create are always there. But maybe the readiness is not.

Maybe I must coddle my children, Depression and Anxiety before I can create. But … I don’t believe that one must be depressed or suffer anxiety attacks in order to create art. Art lives in us, we breathe it as air and it binds to the molecules within us. We bleed our art. We are art.

Perhaps I don’t need to be depressed to create art, but that if I am struggling with it at some particular time, I must sit with it first before I attempt to express an emotion I do not yet understand. Only if I take time to nurture myself, to Think, to Feel, to ask Depression why he had another nightmare, to ask Anxiety why she cried today when the house was a mess – maybe then I can unfreeze my fingers and find my voice and let it roar with all the passion and longing and creativity I have.
And then, I can create. I can write, paint and sculpt. I can communicate and breathe and love myself again. All the parts of me. Even the shadowy parts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lost Camera

I have mis-placed my camera, as well as a few odd assortments that I think are probably all together in a cloth grocery bag in some random place ... like the vet's office.

My camera's been missing for a couple of weeks now and I keep telling myself that that is why I have not posted any blog posts. I like to add pictures to them, and without camera ... well, I can't post, right?

So, it is time to break out Paul's awesome but way too complicated huge camera and use that. No more excuses for not posting!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

School Set-Up

So the next few days are planned to the hilt.

I'm going to the library this afternoon to make returns and pick up some new books I can use with Aubrey's main lessons.

Tomorrow we are going to Home Depot to pick up some masonite and chalkboard paint to make ourselves a few chalkboards and paintboards. (And then we'll make them!)

Monday I'll clean out and organize the learning closet (for all our supplies and such) and clear off ALL the workable surfaces. (Read table-tops: the bar, the craft table in the office, the dining room table and the coffee table.)

(I also need to write something for the critique group. Whups. How am I going to fit that in?)

Tuesday we start. The first two weeks will be light duty until we get all of our supplies and things start flowing.

Here's our first term weekly schedule:

Sunday~ write a letter, quiet time, pay bills, reading and handwork.
Monday~ Main Lesson, Gymnastics class, chores, Nana comes over.
Tuesday~ Main Lesson, Swim lessons for Robert and Ballet for Aubrey.
Wednesday~ Computer Art class for Robert, Spanish, Handwork, Water Safety class, chores.
Thursday~ Main Lesson, Daddy Day, Chess class.
Friday~ Main Lesson follow-up, Painting, Handwork, finish up chores for the week and visit friends!
Saturday~ SpiralScouts or Library Trip.

Field trips will fit into there as they come.

Our DAILY RHYTHM will hopefully (snicker) look like this:

  • take care of animals (feed, let chickens out of coop, etc.)
  • make breakfast
  • eat breakfast at 8am with Daddy before he heads to work
  • clean up
  • get dressed and brush teeth
  • take a walk (bring dogs ... and maybe a Bengal cat if we get one -- they like to take walks on a leash, too!)
  • Circle Time:
    • each light a candle
    • read a poem I've found for the day or week
    • recorder practice and mini-lesson (10 minutes)
    • math exercise (one or two)
  • Main Lesson (bring snack out to them when they're set up and working)
  • clean up
  • fix lunch and eat together (maybe read a chapter book to them during lunch if there's time)
  • afternoon movement class (gymnastics, swimming, water safety or ballet)
  • free time and snack
  • chores
  • check on animal needs (food, water, play, training)
  • make dinner
  • eat dinner together
  • bedtime ritual: (starting around 7:00 p.m.)
    • bathing
    • brushing teeth
    • reading together
    • reading silently individually
    • lights out
      • Robert 8:30 p.m.
      • Aubrey 9:00 p.m.