I intentionally poked the bear. I wanted to stir it up, get it roaring fiercely at me, threatening to destroy me. My only comfort this time? That I did it on purpose.
Before, I didn’t realize I was poking the bear until it was too late. And then I’d suffer. Over and over again it’d happen. And each time I’d find myself in the place of roaring fear, a place I call Doom, unsure of exactly how I wandered into this territory once again.
But now I have a theory. When I do THIS, then THAT happens.
THE FIRST POKE
The first poke is when I start once again to push forward on my art with diligence. The first signs of the bear waking are discomfort and doubt. It’s as if a layer of the dust on the cave floor has been disturbed and is now clouding the air.
As I continue in creating art, I half heartedly wave my hands around to clear the air. Then I try wishing those feelings back down into hibernation mode. But they continue to rise, transforming into fear and shame. As the beast continues to rise even more, I slow down on the work even more. Soon I begin to shove my art aside. I sleep in. I forget about it.
Next thing you know, I’m frozen with fear in the land of Doom and the work is completely forgotten.
All I can do now is focus on my job and take care of the dog. I’m in survival mode and my art has been relegated to a luxurious indulgence.
Eventually I begin to recover and function again. It feels like I’m the one waking up now, out of hibernation mode. At some point I remember the work I’m creating and wonder if I’ll ever finish anything. Ambivalence says, Why bother? You never will.
But at some point I tentatively pick up my art again.
Where was I, I ask myself. Oh yes. That’s right. Then I read a little more of what I last wrote. Oh! This is pretty good. Why did I stop?
I’m tired of stopping. I really hate Doom. And now I have more than a theory. I have a solution.
See, the last time I was in that frozen, deep dark awful place, a little light came in and I began to see. I dug in and explored the land I was in. What I found was a terrified little girl who was all alone.
She had lost her childlike heart.
She believed that since she was all alone, she’d never be able to keep a roof over her head or pay all her bills unless she was always working at her job or thinking about working at her job. On top of that, she was completely certain of one thing.
Art will never pay. It will always threaten her existence.
But she’s just a little girl. She doesn’t know much. And the truth is, without her childlike heart, she’d become incredibly… childish.
Besides, I know more than she does. I’m the grownup! Yes, it’s true. I’m a single woman. I do not have wealthy parents or uncles to bail me out. BUT I do have a big huge God who cares for me and watches over me.
I am not alone.
Just before my mom died, we had a whole month of rich, lovely time together. But there was one distinctive, weighted moment, saturated with truth and life. We were all alone, just us two. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You must do what is important. Only you know what it is. I think it’s your writing, your musical, your art. But only you know. Do it. Do what is important.”
I believed her. I believe her now. I know what is important. My art is important.
MY ART IS IMPORTANT!
It’s time for this little-girl-fear to be put in its proper place. I need to test my theory and address that childish part of me that is suffocating what is amazing and glorious in me.
THE SECOND POKE
So I poked the bear. I have moved from working on and off, to working steadily on my creative work in my messy, unique way. After a bit, I started feeling those feelings. Discomfort, doubt, some fear and a little shame.
Uh oh, I thought. What’s happening?
You see when you’re in the thrall of your work, you forget things! But then I remembered.
Oh yeah! I poked the bear!
Once I remembered that I did this on purpose and had both theory and solution to back me up, I got excited. I spoke firmly to that childish girl. I corrected her, told her that she believed in a lie. Then I told her the truth. She was not on her own. She objected and freaked out a bit more. So I shushed her and put her on a time out.
And if you think I’m being figurative, you’re wrong. She’s there, in my heart and mind, but she responds like an obedient, trusting dog when I Shush! her firmly enough, with real firm truth.
And then I continued on with my work, my art. With diligence. Why? Because my art is important.
She’ll start to freak out again. But I’ll catch her before she goes hog-wild. Or I suppose, to keep up the simile… bear-wild! Eventually, she’ll start to trust me and believe that I’m the one with the truth, not her.
After all, I am the grownup.
Here’s to growing up even more,
Do you have a question for me? Write it in the REPLY box and post it to me in the Comments section!
Carla Porter writes, sings, designs architectural interiors and loves God, all in Los Angeles, California.
© 2016, Carla Porter and Whisper of Grace, all rights reserved.
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