Sometimes you have to tryout a new you to discover what is real and authentic. We can engage in pretending, not out of fear or accommodation, but out of the courage to get off automatic pilot and try out new behaviours.
Harriet Lerner (quoted on Splash, Brene Brown’s blog)
This quote resonates with me. In Nepal it is easier to try out different MEs, to work out what is authentic and what is a habitual response. What is based on warped beliefs I have about myself and what I can or can’t do. For various real and imagined reasons, I felt less free to do that where we raised our girls.
It feels easier somewhere that doesn’t trigger the old knee jerk behaviours and where no-one expects them.
And it seems easier in a place where there is a history of overcoming challenges, initially on treks, in surprising ways. I can more clearly and quickly spot unhelpful reactions and try new ones with less fear of failure or real or imagined scepticism. I can experiment with different ways of being as I work out what is authentic and wholehearted.
I’d have found it harder to return to my old town and hang up my shingle as an artist. The feeling of pretending, still strong even in a new place where I am a rank (and itinerant) outsider, would have been harder to overcome. Here, many people work and live as artists and there is more openness about that vocation.
I still feel strange when I meet someone and they ask what I do. It feels like pretending when I answer that I…um…work with polymer to make jewellery and um…other…stuff…pieces. Sometimes I get there but still pre-empt the A word with apologies and self deprecation, but more often now I just spit it out and see what happens. Delight and interest usually. And a conversation about creativity and the source of inspiration and how to make it work and making the most of whatever time we have. Often going with my own vulnerability seems like a short cut to really connecting with someone else about their own journey.
Saying I am working on pieces for an exhibition next year still freaks me out a bit but now that some of those pieces are starting to take shape and that threads and ideas are hinting they may come together, I am more comfortable saying that too. Here are a couple of photos of work in progress-more to come!
PS Thank you to all you gorgeous people who make comments. You have no idea how nice it is to get these. I don’t know who looks at this blog and it is wonderful to hear from those who do. It is sort of scary putting it out there so comments are lovely!