I had hoped that my four year exile to India would help allieviate some of my “love language obligations” and in a way it did. It also exacerbated the root of the issue and threw me into a state of limbo. I had less obligations, which I thought would allow me more free time to chase my pursuits, however…India has no concept of time,privacy, silence or efficiency. I also had gone to India with the person I felt most obligated to and since she has a soft spot for neglected animals (which India is full of) and a career that she loves and has her constantly traveling; guess who was once again nurturing abandoned cats and dogs? Yep! ME! To add insult to injury she started helping animal rescues in India where I was doing the fostering and she was getting the praise.
to make it even worse she started supporting local artist. That hurt! It hurt because that is my passion, it is what my soul longs to do on a daily basis…Create! Outside of a brief stint at it in 2006-8 in Vermont where I actually had shows, sold my work, was published in a journal, had a mentor and interest from New York Galleries. I have done nothing. I don’t have time (nor do I stay put in one area for very long so, I am constantly having to start over, meet the right people, find my niche in the market (if any) while setting up households. Sometimes it has been easy and sometimes just impossible.
The Arts, dying or thriving, has been my life blood. It is also the easiest and quickest way for me to attain that meditative “Zen Brain” state. I firmly believe that your God-given talent is your easy access pass to meditation. Making this correlation between talent and meditational state had been my original intention for the Stara Planina Center in Bulgaria.Somehow, it got a bit wonky. Now…S and I have discussed this…actually it was more along the lines of a Clash between Titans but I think we have it worked out.
I had one other eye-opener while in India…I had donated much of my art supplies and old canvases/paintings to some of these artists that she had been supporting A). I was moving on and didn’t want old hopes, squashed dreams and fears to keep me stuck in a place I long to move away from. And… B). Things aren’t as easily aquired there as here and rather than throw them into the trash I would give them to someone that could use them. I understood that they would probably be covered with gesso and repainted. I was ok with that. What transpired is they cut my paintings from their wooden frames and placed them in the bottoms of wooden trays and topped it with glass. They were very pretty trays but it was passed off as completely their work, I wasn’t mentioned, I wasn’t offered payment. They even expected me to pay full price for one of the trays that featured my painting.
I did donate them….but as an artist I would never take someone else’s work, incorporate it with mine and pass it off as my own. I would have first asked if I could use their work and acknowledge that artist as a collaborator and offer a portion of the profit made. I was livid. I also realized this happens to me frequently. Helping other people only to be taken advantage of…sucks! Why do I constantly put me on the back burner? Why am I always there to support others but they don’t support me? Why do I waste my time helping other people achieve goals but never put that determination, talent, and skillset into action to achieve my own?
Here is the shocking epiphany…I was raised to believe that by putting myself first I am a horribly selfish person. In otherwords…I am unworthy of acheiving success. If I achieve success than I am detracting from someone else’s potential success and I am therefore a bad person. What kind of fucked up logic is that? Me on my own, just being me, doing what I do isn’t valid enough so I knock myself out trying to be everything that everyone else expects me to be. It has gotten me nothing but frustration, dissatisfaction and the utter feeling of defeat. It is also going to change. If I put in a 1/3 of the time that I have spent on other people’s projects I could be an unstoppable force and there is more than enough success to go around.
Lots of lessons learned in India…now I just need to put them into practice.
Photo: Soar. taken by Pamela in Goa, India