on disappointment and self-definition

December 20, 2010 Candace Morris 6 Comments

This year didn't go quite how I expected it to.  Of course one can never fully prepare for:
  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Friends moving 
  • Cancer
  • Rejection
  • Transition
  • Disappointment
  • Failed dreams
but even with that understanding, I can't help but leave this year feeling disappointed somehow.  In her wisdom, my sister says that's the way things go...everyone has their onslaught of bad thing after bad thing and then things begin to turn around and life becomes easy and the good sticks around for a while.  I feel that things are starting to settle, but I am straining my neck to see the part where the good sticks.  It still seems unattainable, precarious despite there having been so much good recently.

For the last few months, I've given myself a lot of leeway regarding maintaining my artist lifestyle amidst full-time work.  But this last week, I've been increasingly disappointed in myself for ____.  I don't know what.  Maybe not having enough energy, not taking care of myself enough, not calling my friends enough, not giving enough...but mainly, for not writing enough, for not shooting photographs enough.  Today, I am sick of this disappointment.  I want to dig deep and remember my wise, capable self.  Today's mantra is this..."Self, I trust you with myself."  

I took myself to coffee yesterday morning and while I thought I was going to read some of my favorite poets (recently Hughes and Arnold), I actually found myself reading my own journal.  I forgot that one of the most beneficial things about journaling in the first place is re-reading your own thoughts...remembering as only you can where you have been and what have you processed.  Remembering that you have been amazing and will be again.  

Just as I was bemoaning the loss of my art, I stumbled upon something I had written a few weeks ago.  It soothed my soul.  Imagine, myself taking care of myself...this may sound basic to you, but I firmly believe that the ability to comfort oneself is not easy to come by. 

2 November 2010
11:01 p.m.

"Thinking about art/self-perception.  This summer, I felt as though I came into something as a writer - in that, I WROTE.  I saw that to BE a writer, one must ACTUALLY do it.  It was good, so satisfying and good.  Thinking about now.  I've not written in days/months/years it seems.  Does this negate all I came to this last summer?  I mean to ponder the notion of self-titles, of the DOING to being an artist.  Is it as important or more/less so than simply the BEING an artist?  Can it be so tied to producing?  My gut says an emphatic "no."  The doing NEVER matters as much as the being, but how to wrap my soul around the principle?  Or is it a matter of timing?  Can I have been because I DID and now am a writer even if I am not currently doing it?  Is Dillard only a writer when she is working on something?  No.  She has done it in the past...there are tangible evidences of her having written.  Does this undo her self-definition going forward?  Does it matter then if I do it often? How often...every day? Every second?  No, of course, no.  So what matter is time, then?  Is it even important to still title myself as an artist?  And if so, to whom?  I KNOW no one else cares how I title myself (and if they do, it doesn't matter, MY self-definition is not their business). I feel my soul here jerk, because I did fight so hard to find that definition.  That I am now willing to let it be whatever it becomes, does that negate the past work?  Is writing so true to my essence that it doesn't matter HOW I label it? 

The DOING.  I think it must not matter as it used to.
It's just...only ever...
                                   THE BEING.

for me.
for now."

And so the truth is that I am done being disappointed in myself.  I cannot do what I used to do when I was home all day.  Who even says I am supposed to?

where she may have sat

"There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again"
T.S. Eliot

And. So. It. Goes.

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