Alright, my friends, I have decided it’s time to stop making excuses. As hard as it is for me to step up and agree to participate in something, I am actually going to say ‘yes’ this time. Right now, I rarely leave the house and unfortunately, I’m beginning to prefer being home to being ‘out in the world’. Even though I find staying home for inordinate amounts of time quite enjoyable, it’s not healthy. People need people. And today, while I was in the middle of viewing another episode of ‘Community’, a show I absolutely love and just discovered, one of my tribe members called and left a message. In the message, she asked if I’d be interested in rejoining the art gallery and told me it’s time to ‘put down the pen’ and ‘pick up the paintbrush’. Sigh. I love my ‘pen’ (which is actually a keyboard and so much better than a pen), and I already made a commitment to post on my blog daily for 365 days straight.
This commitment I made to myself, to write every single day for a year, is exceptionally hard! I’ve never been a ‘long term’ person with regard to anything aside from relationships. Some days, writing is a breeze and the words fly off my fingertips with ease. On other days, like today, I continually pause as I struggle to find the words. Ack! Where have they gone?! Each day, I devote between 3-5 hours to writing. I’d like to whittle those down a bit but I’m afraid any whittling will negatively impact me and what I ultimately produce for you readers. I cannot tell you how many nights I think about taking a shortcut because I’m so incredibly tired and I’d love to get to bed at a decent hour, but it doesn’t feel right. It feels like I’m cutting corners or ‘cheating’ and my guilt complex just won’t allow it. So why on earth, when I’m overwhelmed enough with the blog, am I agreeing to another commitment?
It’s simple. On top of writing each day, I also read about 1-3 hours per night, and the last couple of self-help books I’ve read have stressed how important it is to ‘be around people’ and ‘be of service’. I have to agree. We need to ‘be around people’, isolation isn’t good for human beings. We weren’t designed to be alone in this great, big world. I also think ‘being of service’ is good for the soul. To do things for others without expecting anything in return is extremely gratifying. I’d be lying If I didn’t also mention that this decision (to agree to more commitments) wasn’t also influenced by the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey as well as the book by Shonda Rhimes, “Year of Yes”. By the way, they are both so, so good! If you ever decide to watch “Yes Man” and you cannot handle the ‘dirty stuff’, skip over the part with the old lady in the apartment; otherwise, the rest is pretty harmless.
I guess in a way, I’m doing my own version of “Yes Man”. I have decided that I’m going to force myself out of my comfort zone and stop saying ‘NO’ whenever people ask me to do or join something (unless it’s a nudist colony or something pervy). I’ve missed out on so many opportunities because I just didn’t want to be bothered in the past. And the most current request, to rejoin the gallery, is going to require quite a bit of my time. Since it is an artist-run gallery, I cannot simply drop off my paintings and return home afterward. Oh, no. I wish that was the case but it’s not. On top of membership fees and monthly ‘display’ fees, I will be required to docent when needed (work for free) and bring food (to give to the attendees) for the first Friday event each month. I know it doesn’t seem like much but this is going to affect my sleep schedule and that’s a big one in my book.
My sleep schedule is sacred! Any time I schedule an appointment or meet up with a friend or make any commitment, I request ‘the afternoon’. I know it seems ridiculous, but I’m a night owl and rarely get to sleep before two or three o’clock in the morning, so if I have to wake up ‘early’ (before noon), it really throws me off. That’s what happened today. My husband had a procedure at the hospital and I had to drop him off beforehand and pick him up afterward and I’ve been walking around like a zombie ever since the alarm went off at 7:30 this morning. I develop a ‘brain fog’ that never seems to clear when I don’t get adequate rest. As hard as I try to go to bed at a decent hour, I just cannot seem to do it. No matter how many Melatonin I take, I have a hard time ‘shutting off’ my thoughts. Some nights aren’t too bad, but if something’s ‘eating at me’, forget about it.
Sad to say, but most nights ‘something’ is eating at me or troubling me. If it’s not finances (do we have enough to pay the bills this month?), my husband (is he upset with me?), or my kids (are they doing ok?), it’s work, coworkers, friends, ongoing house projects, my mom, my siblings, my dog, my neighbors, Covid-19, my kidney, the survival of the 3 amigos (hummingbirds), the guy that honked at me when I didn’t accelerate fast enough when the light changed at the intersection, the lady that flipped me off in the Safeway parking lot, homeless people, foster kids, abused or neglected children, abused or neglected animals, the price of dry cleaning, the mistreatment of the Uighurs in China, people going hungry, racism, consumerism, child soldiers, my mortality, people that deny the Holocaust, the breaching of the Capitol Building, all the hatred and intolerance, single-use plastic, my fat arms, bull-fighting. Oh, Lord! See what I mean?
Where was I? That was one heck of a rabbit hole I traveled down. I nearly got lost! Oh, yes, I was talking about ‘commitments’. Yes, I am going to start stepping up and getting out of my comfort zone. No more excuses! As happy as I am with my current ‘lifestyle’, which requires very little effort at the moment, I need to do more. If I feel physically well enough, there isn’t any reason I cannot lend a hand to others and make a greater contribution to the community I reside in. I do treasure sleeping in and feeling adequately rested so I can function better overall; however, if I have to get up ‘early’ once in a while in order to help out the gallery, it’s not going to kill me. Honestly, the hardest part is going to be actually painting again (aka putting brush to canvas). I haven’t painted since May of last year! And if I’m going to bring some of my work to put on display, I’ve got to get cracking!
Those paintings aren’t going to paint themselves! And I am waaaaaay out of practice!! People have told me I do nice work (I think they mean it) but the process of painting for me is very different from writing. Painting feels more like a chore, while writing feels less inhibited and more joyful. It’s also easier to fix my mistakes when I write. But you know those two self-help books I mentioned earlier? They also talk about ‘sharing your gifts’ on top of ‘being around people’ and ‘being of service’. If I were to stop painting altogether, I think it would not only be a huge waste of money (since I spent a near-fortune on art supplies), it would also be a waste of my talent. Please, please, do not mistake that statement for arrogance. I am an amateur at best! That doesn’t mean with practice, I cannot improve. But I have yet to do anything ‘of note’. I just feel like my ability to paint is ‘a gift’ and for me not to do so would be wasteful.
I still have never sold any of my work although I don’t seem to have any trouble giving it away. Most people will gladly take anything off your hands if it’s free, unless it’s ‘free’ or unsolicited advice. You can keep that (to yourself)! But a ‘free’ painting? Sure! I’ve given so many away that I’ve lost count. However, I cannot continue to do that if I ever want to have anything to display at the gallery. Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for tonight. My brain is fried and my eyes are dried out and my bed is calling, so I’d better go. Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading my blog. I love to write and I try to infuse humor into everything I do and I hope I was able to make you smile. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.