Take Another Step

I do have more to tell about my brother’s story, but today I need to return to my present day life for some discussion.

Yesterday was terrible. I went to a place I have not visited in a while – a place of shame, guilt, regret, and sorrow. Why did I go back there? I’m not entirely sure, but I have some guesses.

First – I’ve been doing a lot, relatively, anyway. All of the hours outside my home seem to take a toll on me, even if I enjoy them.

Second – My mom was pushing boundaries, and I let a little guilt wash over me. I recognized it though, and did something new. I reached out to my brothers to confirm her story, and was pleasantly surprised to get some support. They supported me in my decision to no longer be the ‘Family Savior’, and to let my Mom be a grown-up all on her own. They added strength to my boundary and allowed me to re-establish it.

Third – My oldest brother came for a visit. To my house. He drove 2 hours to come see my daughter’s performance, so I invited to my house for dinner. I wanted him to come – this was not out of guilt. I wanted it to be a natural, normal thing. But it wasn’t.

I reverted to my old ways of thinking/behaving/responding. I felt jealous of him and his career success. I felt I had to compete with him, and prove to him I was not ‘just a girl’ or ‘just a Mom’ but something more, someone as  intelligent and as capable as him. I talked endlessly about projects at work, using words like ‘teleconference’ and ‘University contracts’ to sound impressive. I told him I read Scientific American Mind for pleasure, and explained some research to him, and felt great when he had not heard of it. I told him I am planning to go back to school to get my Master’s Degree, but I wasn’t sure what to get it in yet, as I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet, but feel like I have a chance to start over and “do it right this time’.

But then, then I showed him some of my artwork. I showed him the one piece I finished last year, and all the ones I had started, but never finished. He held my drawings in his hand and stared deeply for quite some time, before he looked right at me and said, “Wow. These are amazing. God gave you this talent and you are not using it. No wonder you feel unfulfilled, to have this inside of you. You need to find a way to use this artistic talent to make a difference – find something that has meaning to you, and then you’ll have no problem finishing them. Maybe start by illustrating your blog? Or contact a magazine. Illustrate the stories that no one else can. You need to show the world your talent and let them be in awe. Use your art to tell your story and help others that are hurting. You can be someone’s light at the end of a dark tunnel and guide them – because you got through it.”

I just said, “Oh”.

I was speechless. I was seeking his approval, and here it was, but not in the way I expected or ever even hoped for.

So now what? Well yesterday, was a recovery day. I never really woke up. I kept telling the kids to wait just a bit longer for breakfast as they banged on my door, until I saw it was  nearly noon. Then their friends came and invited them over to play, so they all left. I made it down to the couch, and twilight slept some more. My mind was numb, my head was hurting. But I saw images. I saw images that I had never let myself see before. Images I was too afraid to face. Images I now want to draw. Images from a fractured soul. I have never dared to convey meaning in my art, only copying photos to refine my technical skill. What if I drew what I see when I close my eyes?

Would the world want to see that?

I think I have to find out.



10 thoughts on “Take Another Step

  1. You didn’t take a step back, you did a re-think. Sometimes you need to see how far you’ve come, but it isn’t possible without looking back to where you were. You had a major shift in your world, and it takes time to process.

  2. Thank you for the reminder. I have hardly touched my camera lately. I needed a reminder that there are pictures that only I see. I hope you share some when you are ready. I look forward to seeing them.

    • Definitely, go out and capture those pictures. A momentary snapshot of magic, joy, sorrow, whatever you see. I have so much inspiration right now I can barely see anything else except everything I hope to one day draw.

  3. I don’t think this was a step-back at all. This sounds like a step out. Out of previous comfort zones into some normal interactions. Your brother gave you some ‘you go girl’ you didn’t expect and you need time to process. Nothing wrong with that. I hope you take is words to heart. I hope you decide to share some of your art.

    Truth? We do not need to compete with our siblings on their ground to be validated.

    • Thank you Valentine. I have tears in my eyes at the support from kind strangers. I am trembling at my new direction. Acceptance is so new to me. And although I did look back, you are right, I did not step back.I’m standing on solid ground and overcome with the joy of possibilities.

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