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.