Original Painting by Natasha Reilly, Copyright 2013.
I lost my voice.
Like vapor, it simply disappeared into the atmosphere. I called to it, prayed, searched the streets, cleaned out all the closets, looked under the bed but found nothing.
I lost my creative voice and I feared it was gone forever.
First, I got sad – I’m talking eat an entire box of chocolate chip cookies sad. Then I was terrified – hide under the covers, life is devoid of music and meaning terrified.
What would I do?
And then I got mad, pick up the paintbrushes, break out the drums and beat them mad. Anger can be a truly constructive emotion if it is used properly. (It took me years to see that but now when I feel that swell of anger, I channel it.) I grab my paintbrush or my pencils and go nuts on paper or canvas, sometimes even fabric.
‘Stop over-thinking,’ I shouted within my own head. Over-thinking is like that little abs machine advertised on late night infomercials that says it’s tightening your abs for you while you do nothing. It made me believe that I had actually been doing something when all I had been doing was sitting on my duff thinking about creating – in other words, I was doing nothing. I needed to move to action. I needed to just begin.
Paintbrush in hand, I dove in. I was very calm at first. Like meeting someone for the first time, I put my best for forward and greeted the canvas – polite, quiet brush strokes and that was when I heard it.
“This is crap. Where’s YOUR voice!? STOP thinking about what others want! STOP thinking about what might look “pretty.” Throw the paint around. Lose yourself! Don’t create to be liked, create to be YOU Damnit!”
My voice is not quiet and polite.
Anger flooded me again.
So I moved my brush with more force. I stopped “trying” to be anyone other than me and that thought hit me like a locomotive.
I’ve spent SO much of my life doing the “right” thing or creating what others wanted because I thought that was the path to love. I won’t be abandoned by family or friends if I make something that someone likes because then they will see I’m worth having around – look at what nice things I can bring to their life. Yes, then I will be loved. Thing is – I don’t want to be loved because I give people what they want. People rarely even know what they really want and when they get it they often realize they didn’t really want it to begin with. They wanted or needed something else –something that inspires them, challenges them, etc. But this is not about them. This is about me.
Anger. Embarrassment. Foolishness. Feelings of Failure.
I painted with a feverish fury. I was moving along the page when suddenly I felt myself “dancing”. It was as though I’d stepped out of the middle of a wild hurricane and stepped onto a stage. There was grace and focused strength in my movements. My hand extended – the paintbrush a mere extension of my heart –I realized I was dancing along the canvas. Another powerful wave of emotion hit me.
I love dance. I have always loved dance. Though I was in shows when I was younger I did not dance to be seen, I danced because it made me feel alive. It connected me to my breath, my fiery heart, my passionate soul. Dance was a way for me to tell the story of my life – joy and pain – with my entire being. When I would dance every part of me was connected, grounded and soaring at the same time!
Release. Let Go. Joy. Truth.
As the paintbrush danced, I began to laugh out loud. “This is me!” I shouted the no one other than me. It id not matter if anyone ever saw this painting, I made this for me and in doing so, I reconnected with something inside that was lost and scared and huddled in the corner of my being – I connected with me. I made something for me not for monetary gain. I did not make it for any other reason than to hear the sound of my own voice again – a voice that dances across the canvas of life.
I sat with this painting for a long time last night. There’s so much inside it. I don’t know if it’s finished and I don’t need to know. All I know is I wanted to share not for approval but connection. I wanted YOU to know that if you feel lost, DO something. Just begin and you will find yourself. You don’t have to finish it all right now. Just start. This is my start. It’s a work in progress, just like me.
I love me. I love what’s within me. I’m a creation of the Universe FILLED with all these amazing gifts – we all are. And when we let those gifts explode like confetti and rain down upon the world around us, we are not beings seeking love we are love.