It’s Be Brave Friday and I’m trying to be brave and post a little painting.
Be Brave Friday usually features art because I have a lot of negative scripts in my mind from my childhood and my mom insisting that nobody in our family had ‘an artistic bone in their body.’ She was a lovely mom! She just… I was a kid who listened to those sorts of things and even though art was my favorite thing to do? Well, I figured she was right.
One of the first steps in being brave is acknowledging your fear so I should probably admit what I’m afraid of (in a personal sense not a world sense)
1. Not doing enough to help the world
2. Actually hurting instead of helping
3. Sucking at things but thinking I’m good at them.
4. Showing art (You all know that).
5. Not being there when the people I love need me.
6. Not being a writer anymore.
How about you? How are you feeling? Being brave? Admitting what you’re afraid of? I’m rooting for you. You’ve got this.
BRAVE THING I’M DOING
Pretty soon, I’m going to have a Teachable class all about the scene. It’s going to be pretty cheap and hopefully you’ll sign up and like it. You can also get access if you sign up for the $5 level for my Patreon. That link is behind the jump.
Hey! It’s Be Brave Friday, the day when I try to be brave myself and when I hope that you are trying too. Remember, being brave makes us stronger even as it makes us more vulnerable.
For me, being brave is often showing my art, but this week, podcaster, Sara Crawford introduced me as “writer, podcaster, and painter.” And that? It basically made my heart lift up into the air, winged and joyous.
So, be brave. You’ve got this. Bring that joy to your heart.
As you know (hopefully) BE BRAVE FRIDAY started over on my Facebook and it’s because I am afraid to share my art because (cough) I have issues. I know! Stunning revelation right there, right?
Anyways, I had an epiphany last night that so many of my paintings have ghost women in them. And I realized that they have ghost women in them is because I waffle all the time between:
Afraid of being seen.
Tired of not being seen.
If you are a woman or a member of an oppressed group, you probably know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about:
Going into a conference as a speaker and everyone assuming the guy with you is the talent.
Being at a board meeting and saying something and everyone ignores your suggestion until Chad says the exact same thing two minutes later and everyone is like, “Wow. Right, Chad. Good idea, Chad.”
Trying to talk in a Zoom meeting and everyone just talking over you. Actually that goes for everyone.
And then there are the times you don’t want to be seen because it feels dangerous to be seen, to be known, to be noticed, in a society that can be full of trolls and drama and violence. If you have never felt that way, I am so happy for you.
But anyways. I think I am tired of being a ghost but sometimes it’s just so hard to be brave and materialize.
I hope you are brave today and all days and seen when you want to be seen.
WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!
Over on Facebook, I do a think called BE BRAVE FRIDAY because I’m trying to be a human being who:
Does things that I’m afraid to do (in little and big ways)
One of those things was podcasting and now we have over 202,000 downloads of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE. I was afraid to do that because I have sloshy-s’s and have been tormented and bullied about my voice for a long, long time.
Another thing that I’m afraid to do is share my art. That’s for a bunch of complicated reasons, but it just makes me feel really vulnerable. So, now I’m sharing it.
Here’s today’s post.
It’s Be Brave Friday
Today, I watched many of my friends be brave and say that they’ve or their family has had Covid-19. They shouldn’t have to be brave to say that. Society needs to love instead of ostracize. We need to work together to build the communities we want to be a part to of. That building should be about love and access not shame and fear.
Today, I also chanted under my breath while I was working, “I’m good. I’m good. I’m good. I’m good.”
And I’m thinking this probably means that I’m not so good? But I am still lucky and blessed to be alive, to have shelter and food, to have people that I get to love. I hope you get those things to. I hope you hold them close to you – those blessings.
Here’s this week’s painting. I hope you are being brave and true. I hope you can chant to yourself the stories you want to hear and live the stories you want to inhabit. Love to all of you. <3
Dogs are Smarter Than People
WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE
I make a big deal about being brave. That’s because I have a lot of anxiety about certain things:
LIST OF BIG THINGS I HAVE MAJOR ANXIETY ABOUT
Being in videos
Dead clowns reanimating.
People I love dying.
Anyway, I’m pretty open about the things that make me nervous and over on Facebook, I’ve been having Be Brave Fridays where I do something that I am uncomfortable about and encourage others to be brave, too.
So, what I’m really uncomfortable about is showing my art. That’s because of a couple things:
It’s really personal
I’m not trained
As I told a lovely woman that I met on Friday night, “My mom was amazing, but she had really defined notions of what our family could and couldn’t do.”
The lady said, “Oh, I get this. My mother is the same way. I get this.”
According to my Mother, If we were going to create things, it was supposed to be:
She said to me on multiple occasions when I was little, “Nobody in this family has an artistic bone in their body. None of us can draw a straight line.”
But I really wanted to draw straight lines and make comics and paintings. I knew there was no point though.
None of us can draw a straight line.
I spent years and years wishing I could draw or paint. I spent years and years wishing I could make images without words.
Not an artistic bone.
When I was divorcing, I gave in and bought paint. I would stay up late into the night, painting. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was the only way I could think to get my emotions out into the world so that they wouldn’t fester inside of me.
It didn’t matter that they sucked because nobody would see them. I would paint over canvasses because I didn’t have enough money to buy more canvas. I would paint on newspaper pages (not a good idea), on the backs of old-fashioned notebooks, on anything.
Not an artistic bone in my body?
It seemed pretty true.
I became a writer and I wrote novels, but sometimes I would still get these images in my head. I would need to get them out.
So, I’d trudge down into the basement and paint.
It’s cold in the basement. The kitty litter box is in the basement. It’s easy to hide down in that basement. I hid.
Sometimes when I get stuck in a story, or can’t work out its theme, I paint.
Sometimes when I get lost inside my emotions, I paint.
A woman said to me on Friday, “You wrote all these books, too? I have never met anyone who is good at both before.”
And I laughed and was all self-disparaging and said, “You still haven’t.”
She gave me a look and said, “Oh, honey. Yes, I have.”
Oh, honey. Yes, I have.
Even writing that now? It makes me get all teary-eyed.
Painting is the places inside of me where I can’t make words work, where I can’t get things to express themselves via writing, so I have to go deeper.
There are places that are deeper than words.
It’s hard to show that to the world especially when:
You haven’t been trained
Nobody in your family can draw a straight line
There’s not an artistic bone in your body.
You live in a world where being vulnerable and authentic is often derided and scorned.
I started Be Brave Fridays because I was tired of hiding. I posted paintings even though I was positive not one single person would be kind. But people were kind and one person, Aymie Walsh (co-owner of CoeSpace in Bangor) sent me a message and asked me if I wanted to be in an Art Walk.
An Art Walk is a thing where people go from site to site and check out different artists. It all takes place during a set time period in a location like a city or downtown.
When Aymie sent me that message? I thought she might be punking me. I texted my daughter and she said, “Do it! Do it! Do it!”
My daughter is the bravest human I know. She’s faced all her fears now. She’s a field artillery officer. She went to Harvard. She’s jumped off buildings. She’s survived me being her mother.
So, I said yes.
I said yes even though I kept hearing those phrases, wrapping themselves around my heart, over and over again.
Nobody in this family has an artistic bone in their body. None of us can draw a straight line.
I was an anxious wreck all last Friday. I had one of those existential life crisis moments where I didn’t know why I bothered to exist at all. I was a punk all day. I had so many fears.
Then we put up all my paintings on the beautiful white walls of CoeSpace. And something inside me shattered.
This could not be real.
I expected nobody to come. I expected people to mock me to my face. I expected to hear those same sentences only slightly twisted around.
You don’ t have an artistic bone in your body. You can’t even draw a straight line.
What are you trying to do?
Here’s the thing though. Nobody said those words to me.
But here’s the bigger thing. Even if they had said those words? They don’t get to make those words real. Only I get to make those words real. Only I get to have that power over who I am and what I want to be.
That’s something I have to learn over and over again in my life. That’s something that I have to remember and paint through because that realization? It’s a heart realization. It’s a soul realization. And it’s too big for words.
There are much better things to tell ourselves, to sing into our stories, and to bind our hearts with.
Oh, honey. Yes, you have.
Those words made me braver. Aymie made me braver. My poor, sweet family that dealt with me all day? They made me braver.
I want you to be brave, too. Go after the person you want to be, okay? Sing out your story in the melodies that you want to hear. Become.