Friday, May 23, 2008

Kind People Rule

This blog entry would have been called Mean People Suck if I had written it anytime in the previous two weeks, during which I encountered vicious and sneaky meanness masquerading as help. This nastiness created doubt—in myself and my work. Julia Cameron says that for an artist, entertaining the first doubt is like an alcoholic taking the first drink. If that’s true I went on a doubt bender.

Thankfully, today I finally feel free of this nasty web of negativity. But getting my optimism and good spirits back wasn’t easy. I had to acknowledge to myself that I was hurt. I had to be extra kind and gentle with myself. I had to (gasp!) ask for help, and then accept it. To reaffirm my faith in humanity, I’d like to share a few examples of the kindness that has helped me to heal.

1) My Artist Friends

They listened, sympathized and encouraged. Then they invited me to create a collage. Making any kind of visual art intimidates me, but with my friends there, all working quietly, I dove in, ripping out pictures, playing around with them, immersing myself in the moment. The result was a beautiful collage, full of life and color that literally brightened up my house, and by extension, my mood. God bless the artists!

2) Leslie, Owner of The Bead Garden

Encouraged by my collage experiment, I visited a bead store, to try to make something out of three small white shells I found on the beach. They already had perfect little holes, as if God had intended them to be worn. I’d never made a piece of jewelry, but the idea enchanted me.

The store itself was magical-a place where pretty shiny things get made. Beads of every size, shape, and color glimmered at me appetizingly. Sparkling glass beads from the Czech Republic covered an entire wall in garnet, tangerine, amber, dusty rose. Sea treasures gathered on another—smooth pebbles of coral, spiny shells. Turquoise, rose and purple marbles called to embrace my wrist, dangle from my ears.

Leslie looked at my shells, listened to my ideas, made suggestions. Together we picked out flower coral, chocolate-brown beads, and silver wire to complement the shells. I strung it, Leslie fixed on the clasps and voila—a necklace was born! I raced home to my writing, wearing my treasure and bursting with creative energy.

3) Kathy, Beautician and Friend

I stopped in to Eterna Bella to buy some moisturizer, and received a rousing pep talk (in Spanish!) about how yes it hurts when people are mean, but we have to learn from the experience and sigue adelante (keep moving forward.) Kathy knows my book is going to be a success, and gave me solid reasons to support her belief. I left with a huge boost of energy, morale, and gratitude.

With the help of these and many other kind people, I’m back on the wagon of optimism and faith, and I intend to stay there.

10 comments:

Kelly said...

My Dear Joolie-

As one of the sweetest people I have known, I am so saddened to hear that people were mean to you. How can people be mean to someone so generous of heart and such willingness to share a smile? Who knows why people react negatively to positiveness. A wise friend once told me that when you have a strong reaction to someone whether negative or positive it is usually a reflection of how you are feeling about yourself. I often keep this in mind not only when others are reacting negatively to me but also helps keep my own negativity in check. I happen to find you incredibly inspiring and have always suspected you were as awesome as you are becoming. Be positive. There is a special light in you that is reflected in all you do. I can't wait to read your book!

Kel

sulu-design said...

Since the encounters with ugly attitudes have subsided, I'll comment instead on how wonderful it is that you've found support in so many fabulous places. Sometimes a stranger (like the woman at the bead shop) can offer just what you need - a little friendly positivity that can turn the day around. And you know I'm psyched you made a necklace!

Kelly said...

Post a picture of the necklace!

Historical Geek said...

I really liked this blog entry because it reflects my own struggles at work. I have been searching for answers to why I feel so negative about teaching and my students this year. The most helpful assistants often turn up in unlikely places. For example, after a hard day at school I anxiously check the time, praying for the moment when I can leave. I rush out of the building to catch ther earliest train home. Upon arriving home, I cut up some cheese and crackers and sit an watch T.V. This serves as an escape - usually I'll watch Judge Judy yell at people in a way I wish I could. But once in a while, during a commercial break, I'll give in to my curiosity and see what zany wackyness Oprah is up to. Well it just happened that a women was talking about how much she hated her job, as a teacher. Man O'War! She sounded just like me. It was fantastic because Oprah had this guy on who was there to help. I can't believe I am saying this, but for the first time I realized why Oprah is so very powerful - her show empowered me. Wierd huh? A little emasculating too. But very refreshing.

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I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
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