|A watercolor I did of Maui, Hawaii|
As most of you know by now, I come from a pretty artistic family. My dad paints, my sister, Jen, paints, and my Aunt Jane is photograher. I, myself, have always painted here and there, but not consistently. The problem is twofold: 1) I am a perfectionist, so I will noodle something to death before I'm really satisfied with it, and 2) I'm not good enough for anything to ever turn out the way I want it to. So, unfortunately, painting is not all that relaxing for me, and therefore has infrequently been one of my creative outlets. My best outlet turns out to be --you guessed it -- writing. And I also do a lot of various physical activities, which gets out my pent up anxiety and stuff. But before I found these personal vehicles, I searched high and low for something to free my many emotions (and there are many!), and here are a few of my most ridiculous avenues to inner peace:
Right after I graduated college and was working in Los Angeles, I began seeing a therapist named Babs. Babs worked out of her house, which was a lovely little cottage and all, but what was really disconcerting was the fact that she chain smoked and had a very lazy glass eye. She would have a giant bowl of Malboro Reds out on the coffee table, and during our sessions together I would maniacally smoke cigarettes with her, mostly out of nervousness that I would inadvertently make eye contact with her bad eye. Meanwhile, her husband was a recluse and lived at home, and as we were talking he would pace back and forth outside the glass doors of her office. It was really disturbing! Babs informed me that I was not allowed to raise my voice so as not to agitate the odd little guy. I would have to whisper my deepest troubles to her, "My boss is a cocksucker and my boyfriend broke up with me and I think I'm having panic attacks." In response, Babs would whisper back, "Ssshhh."
After Babs, and actually that terrible breakup that I mentioned above, I decided I would give Buddhism a try. I really wanted to want nothing and to not get attached to people or emotions or things, but after trying to be perfectly zen for a day, I actually started to crave fine leather goods and fancy Starbucks lattes with froufy names. It was as if I was a rebellious child, who when they are told they can't have something, just start wanting it more. Subsequently, I went with a friend to hear Thich Nhat Han (a Vietnamese monk) speak, and after three grueling hours of sitting cross-legged on a metal folding chair and listening to such heavily-accented and inaudible words they sounded like nothing more than ice crunching, I made up my mind that I was not, and could not be, a Buddhist.
After my Buddhist phase, I met a woman named Diane who did craniosacral therapy. I'm still not exactly sure what this is, but I think it moves the fluid between your bones around or something. She was a very nice lady, but when she told me she had visited Venus the previous Tuesday, I began to wonder if something may be awry. Then, after one of my sessions with her I actually hallucinated that Diane was a giant deer with antlers growing out of the top of her head. At this point, I was the one who fled.
A few months later friend of mine suggested I to go to this guy who did past life regressions. I walked into his office and before I could say anything at all, the diminutive older man told me that I have a strong personality, a love for the color blue, and a fear of air. Hmmm...the first two, yes, but a fear of air??? He proceeded to hypnotise me and we discovered that in a past life I was an American Indian man with a mullet that wore paper bags on his feet instead of shoes. Okay, WHAT? I do not make this shit up, although I am preeettttty skeptical about the validity of this deduction. After the session was over I practically tripped over his gargantuan desk in my hurry to bolt, saying, "I'll call you next week..." with, of course, no intention of ever doing so, but who should be walking in right at that moment but my boss and the secretary he was having an affair with?! Talk about awkward! Apparently, they believed they were soul mates and wanted to find each other in past existences, but I quit that job shortly thereafter, so I'll never know if they found the answer they were looking for.
I've tried acupuncture (effective, but boring), color therapy (pretty!), God knows what and you name it, but for the the most part these days I stick with writing, exercise, and imagery (but that's a whole other blog entirely!). And as for painting, maybe I'll go back to it one day, or maybe not, but I'll always be drawn to the arts, and to the artists I know and love with my heart.
And besides, this blog is probably better than any portrait I could do of myself, or of anyone for that matter. I never could paint people.