Am I Not Seeing The Big Picture
Originally, I wasn't planning on sharing this picture of me because I thought it was of the lame-needs-to-be-kept-tucked-away-for-forever variety, but my brother's reaction after I showed it to him on my camera made me reconsider. It was maybe a week ago when I showed Daniel this photo, shortly after I got my haircut, and he said "Ahwww," when he saw it. My brother is a man of few words and chooses his words carefully to express what he's really thinking (at least this is my opinion of him), but the fact that he actually reacted that way meant a lot to me. So, maybe there's something about this picture worth sharing after all.
That quick interaction with my brother got me thinking: "What else is there about me that I have trouble seeing the good in?" I'm not just talking about appearances like cutting my hair a shorter length or recently losing more 5lbs. (by the way, I lost five pounds!). But what about me as a person and an artist am I not seeing the whole picture of? Yeah, maybe I do have a nice smile and though I consider my eyes too tiny for my big head, they may appear as kind to any welcoming stranger. But I don't like to examine these good things about me because I am someone who tends to focus heavily on the bad.
I have been through an emotional roller coaster these past two weeks. I have lost my job, lost a big part of myself in my personal life, and I can feel that naggy inner voice telling me, "You will never be enough. It will always be like this for you." Even though I've been hit hard with emotions, I don't feel so incredibly overwhelmed for once. Yes, I am still anxious and I am still worried if everything will ever truly work out (but does anything ever truly work out?), I feel like I am holding onto this hope that everything will be okay. I only know this because I have been through similar circumstances in the past. Maybe they were more like obstacles because I had to relay through them as if they were an Olympic sport. I had to come out of it stronger and number one, or at least that's what my mind told me, and I am still surprised I am not worn out in my heart and soul.
In the past, I wouldn't allow myself to see the "white light at the end of the tunnel," I would beat myself and give in to that voice that resides beneath the thinnest layer of my skin. I am sometimes wary of talking about my anxiety or depression, but I think this is something that's common between artists. However, I am defined by more than just my art. I am a person who feels so much of everything happening around her and this is the first time where I am actually questioning why I'm not feeling as upset as I should be? Have I shut down? No, I haven't. I'm very much aware of what's happening in my life, but there's something I feel so strongly at my core, and that is hope.
I was having a conversation with my friend recently about how all of the negative thoughts and emotions we go through in the past may have had to happen so we can deal with them and come out stronger. Example: I used to think super negatively, and I mean n-e-g-a-t-i-v-e! And there were times where I wouldn't voice any of those thoughts because part of me felt like I had no right to think that way or I should count my blessings because there are others who are suffering way more than I am, but I couldn't help but feel those emotions. Those negative thoughts were eating away at me and it took me a long time to realize that I needed to voice those thoughts so I can clear them out of me. I'm not talking about writing the thoughts out or typing them, but sometimes verbally saying what I felt is what helped me come of it. It's like saying those thoughts made me more present to the good that resides within me that I've refused to see for a while.
Now, with some hard work, I've cleared out many of those negative thoughts and learned to quiet that inner voice, waiting to tear me down. It was through the help of my faith that got me through those times where no one understood me because maybe my anxiety was too much or they weren't sure how to handle what I felt, but I always knew in my heart that I was always heard and I never felt so safe. I sometimes forget to rely on that, my faith and my belief (I think that's something that some artists keep to themselves because it lives inside them when they're working in their art - whether if it's God or a spiritual connection - it's there and it's what gets us through). But my faith is what got me through as an artist and a person. My heart was so heavy but now it's not, at least not really. Don't get me wrong, I still feel sad and anxious and I think those feelings aren't ever going to go away, but for once I feel so hopeful and uplifted that I can really get through this. I have the strength to do so. I have the beauty to do so. I have the faith to do so, too, because I actually listened to that presence and I let it consume me in the best possible way to clean me out of my negativity.
So, maybe instead of focusing on the bad and letting it out when I'm feeling those funky moments, I need to concentrate on the bigger picture and actually see the good and beauty that lies deep with in. I need to see that I can do good, even it's just by talking to people or through my art. Baby steps. Self-discovery is a journey.