Category Archives: Life goes on

What are you so angry about?

I usually like to keep my posts about the art, but I recently had an epiphany and felt the need to share. I have been angry most of my adult life. Not that I ran around angry all the time, but it was always there, boiling just beneath the surface. I always blamed it on other people and their behavior. My ex, my family, people in traffic, etc, etc.

Since 2007, I’ve been on a search for inner peace. It’s been a long decade of reading tons of self help books, learning to meditate daily, creating art from my soul and self care. I’ve lost several friends along the way. Mainly because they weren’t comfortable with my changes and the fact that I was now standing up for myself. They didn’t like the “healthy” Paula.

I once had a shaman tell me that some people are like rocks in a backpack. Sometimes on the trail of life, we have to empty the rocks out of our backpack so we can lighten our load and be happy. Let’s just say my backpack was HEAVY with rocks. Not just people, but situations, memories and regrets. However, even after I dropped the rocks on the side of the trail, the anger was still there.

It’s been a long road and I finally feel like I’m moving on to the next decade of my life. The epiphany happened recently, after watching a video on facebook, of all places! Here’s the link: I highly recommend you WATCH this video!
https://www.facebook.com/comedien.voix.doublage/videos/10206832718043784/?hc_ref=OTHER&pnref=story

After I watched it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s so crazy obvious to me now! I have been angry at my 15 year old self for DECADES! I have been mad at myself for all the stupid choices I made, for not just saying NO to that 17 year old boy who got me pregnant. First of all, NO to sex, and then later, NO to marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, everything that happened in my life HAD to happen. If not, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That said, I’ve been carrying this anger around all this time. All the resentment for how my life “could’ve” been or “should’ve” been.

It is what it is.

How can I still be angry at that young girl who was just looking for love and attention? I can’t. The fire has been extinguished. The anger is now sadness. Not a depressed sadness, but a melancholy sadness for all the anger I inflicted on my family and friends and everyone around me.

BUT, it’s OK! I finally GET IT! Now I move on to forgiveness. I have often wondered why, after forgiving literally EVERYONE who ever did me wrong, why was I STILL angry? It’s time to forgive myself. It’s time to tell that 15 year old girl that still lives within me, you’re ok, you’re loved, you’re FORGIVEN.

I will leave you with a work in progress, “The Best of Everything”.

"The Best of Everything", acrylic on 12" vinyl record, work in progress

“The Best of Everything”, acrylic on 12″ vinyl record, work in progress

The Down Side

"In Anticipation of Spring", 12 x 12" oil on canvas, available for $215

“In Anticipation of Spring”, 12 x 12″ oil on canvas, available for $215. Completed last week!

I never got around to posting my second blog last week. Turns out I have an eye infection that has now spread to both eyes. Other than our show on Friday night, I’ve been at home in bed, resting. What a weekend it was! We had a GREAT Sunlight show on Friday night in Rio Rancho! Lots of email addresses collected, lots of compliments, lots of friends showed up, lots of tips and happy listeners and then the down side.

An email on Monday morning telling us we had significant complaints from regular customers. We never received a straight answer on what the complaints were, just something about the “type of music” expected being something other than what we played. Too many original songs? They didn’t like that one folk song we altered to include our LGBT friends? They didn’t like the song “Wonder” about Democrats and the GOP finding peace?

We may never know exactly. That is the life of an artist. If you don’t have a very thick skin, you may as well pack up and go home now. I must admit, it gets hard to keep on going when a “GREAT” show gets you fired from a regular paying gig.

I’m taken back to the Four Agreements, 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, 4) Always do your best. 1) We kept our word and played 3 hours of music and acted professionally, 2) I can’t take it personally that a couple of their regulars didn’t like our song selection, 3) I shouldn’t assume anything without having all the information, ie actual complaints made, 4) I KNOW we did our best and played our hearts out! Lesson learned; always listen to your gut! We had once decided we wouldn’t play late night gigs in bars. Not doing that again.

Hoping my eyes will heal soon so I can paint! It is getting better, slowly but surely, but still sensitive to light and hard to focus on anything without tears.  So much gratitude for my eyesight, you never really miss something until it’s not working right. Sickness is nothing but a reminder to be grateful for all the blessings in life.

One of Those Days

Even self employed artists have days like this. Nothing to do with my work, it’s a personal family thing. Even so, we all have days when we feel like we should have just stayed in bed. That’s how this day started. It’s all come out for the best in the end, as it usually does, but not before this day became one of those days.

I have a recent goal to blog every weekday. Days like today usually play havoc with goals like that. However, I am determined to see this goal through at LEAST a month before I take a day off. Really, I don’t want to take any day off. Hence, I sit here writing this right now.

I’m one of those people who beats themselves up if I don’t reach my goals. I know it’s silly, considering how many of my goals and dreams I’ve actually reached! I guess it’s my drive and self abuse that has brought me here. Though I know this, it’s still a struggle to give myself a break every once in a while.

Yesterday, I was all about getting my work done! I even went to a networking luncheon for two hours. Today, I was lucky I made it to the post office. There is also band practice this evening.

Since I don’t have any new photos to share with you all, I will share something from the catalog. This is one of my favorites, painted in 2015. This original painting is still available in my Etsy shop. The photo and caption are linked to the listing as well. “Radiate Love” reminds me to keep the love light shining no matter what happens in day to day life. Don’t sweat the small stuff as they say, because it’s all small stuff.

“After Funk”

It happens every time. Inspiration. Flurry of activity. Everything done and posted and blogged about. Funk. I call it the “After Funk”, after I’ve worn myself out with inspiration and feeding my muse with creativity, I get into this “funk”.

What’s next?

Should I go back to painting?

Should I make more dolls?

Should I, should I, should I? I have lots of things on my “to do” list, but I’m not sure what to do next.

I spent the morning cleaning up my sewing mess. Pins scattered, threads hanging out EVERYWHERE! Every flat surface covered with remnants and disorder.

There is a roll of primed canvas in the corner calling out my name. I HAD to have it when I found it for $6 at that flea market in Phoenix. Now it sits, sending guilt my way.

Remember me? Remember all the paintings you were going to make?

Then I get sucked back in to Facebook and lose days. NOT THIS TIME!

Time to meditate, take it easy on myself, get all that “work” done. Tax forms to the accountant, listing digital prints in my Etsy shop. Doctor appointment and walking the dogs in the afternoon.

Eventually, my muse will say, “OK, it’s time to get back to being inspired!” Or, work until inspiration comes. It always comes. 🙂

Living My Life Backwards

Aaron and Paula hiking in the Cibola forest

My husband Aaron and I during our most recent hike in the Cibola National forest, NM

I have always done things backwards. When I was 16 I gave birth to my first son, THEN I got married when he was 4 months old. Divorced by age 25, I found the love of my life when I was 26. Graduated college at the age of 30. Raised all three of my sons by the age of 42. Now at almost 43, I’m living the life of a 20 something! Playing music and making art, no worries in the world. Traveling, taking risks, life is good.

I have often heard people say “youth is wasted on the young”. I agree! When I was in my 20s I was so serious about everything. There was no time for fun and games! Now that I’m in my 40s, my body doesn’t always agree with the active life I lead. If only I could have appreciated my young body instead of being so self condemning. Looking back it’s always easy to see your mistakes and misperceptions. Do you think that will stop me? Heck NO!

A few years ago at one of my art shows, I met an 80 something woman who was such an inspiration. She told me how her “kids” were disgusted with her for acting like she was in her 20s. She was enjoying her golden years, taking trips around the world by herself, but her kids were worried for her safety. I mentioned something about “growing old gracefully” and she corrected me by saying, “I have no intention of growing old gracefully, my goal is to grow young disgracefully”.

Her statement has stuck with me all these years. That is exactly my intention! I plan on using up this body completely, and enjoying every minute of it! I have had many senior citizen friends throughout my life. I LOVE old people! They aren’t afraid of what other people think about them. They do what they want, when they want, and how they want. They have so many great stories to tell. The healthy ones stay active, live life to it’s fullest! It’s the key to a long, happy life, staying active.

My dad never made it to his senior years, he died the day before his 65th birthday. I plan to live way past that, but you never really know when it will be your time to go! My dad was another role model for this way of life. To celebrate his 50th birthday, he went skydiving! Not long after that, he cashed in his retirement fund, bought an RV and traveled around the country for 2 years until the money ran out. Looking back, I’m so happy he did that! He eventually went back to teaching, but he never got to enjoy his actual retirement because he died 2 months before he was set to retire.

view from the top, aspens changing color

View from the top of the mountain, looking across to the opposite peak where the Aspens are changing colors

That’s why my husband and I are working on a plan to put our belongings into storage, buy an RV, and travel around the country, playing music and selling art as we go. We may even backpack across Europe, after we hike the Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles long!) LIVING LIFE TO IT’S FULLEST! EVERYDAY! THAT is what life is all about. Stepping out of the comfort zone of a boring, everyday life and doing the things you have always dreamed of doing. NOW, before it’s too late. Life is too short to spend it saying “someday”. NOW is the only time you ever really have.

Wake Up Call!

The past couple of weeks have been quite a doosy! (sp?) During the last week of March, on Tuesday/Wednesday I started having heart palpitations that really freaked me out! I have had them before, but usually just once in a great long while. Last week they started and didn’t let up. I had a bit of stress on Thursday and started having chest pains. Even more freaked out, I told my husband who immediately took me to the emergency room. Because we don’t have health insurance, we have to go to the local University hospital. This is an awful place to go to the ER! I figured with chest pains I would get back to see a Doctor right away, WRONG! It was over 12 hours before I was finally lead back to a bed at 4am in the morning. They ran every test possible and apparently my heart is healthy, thank God, but they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Now, for those of you who don’t know it, my dad died almost 4 years ago of a heart attack. He was only 64 years old. His first heart attack hit when he was 59. So, needless to say, I was a bit shaken. Perhaps I have always had a fear that this would happen to me, perhaps I caused it with my worry. Or perhaps I have inherited my father’s heart issues. We still don’t know. I go back tomorrow to get a mobile heart monitor which I will wear for 2 weeks. After that I will go back for another echo cardiogram stress test. Update: I now have my heart monitor and will be wearing it for 4 weeks, not two.

This scare was my wake up call. I have always been pretty healthy, last time my cholesterol was checked it was 93 for crying out loud! Of course that was 5 years ago and I have since turned 40. After my gall bladder surgery 2 years ago, we stopped eating so much meat, in fact, we usually eat vegetarian and recently switched to organic fruits and veggies. I have slacked off on my exercise routine lately and we have been doing a bit more social drinking than usual. However, as of that visit to the ER, I am back to my regular exercise schedule and eating right. The Dr. also suggested meditation which I have tried to do regularly, but now I’m back to everyday with that as well. Working on staying stress free as it seems stress makes it worse. Now that I’m wearing the heart monitor in my everyday life, it’s interesting to see how often my heart rate goes up.

Once again, I have been reminded of the brevity of this life. My sense of urgency has been renewed and I am working on getting back on track with certain goals I made for my art. Recently, I have slacked on those goals and let everything slide. NO MORE! It’s time to live my life to it’s absolute fullest!

If they could see me now…

Today is one of those days. Actually, it’s been one of those days for the past month. 2012 started out full of energy and positive outlooks, but by the middle of January, I fell into the deep pit of lethargy and self pity. I am pretty good at faking it, my outer demeanor is usually pretty happy. Unless you live with me. Then you know the real me. The insecure, scared, never lives up to her own expectations, hypocritical me.

I have been thinking about writing a blog about this for weeks. Knowing that if I could just get this dark side of myself out in the open and expose her weaknesses then maybe, just maybe, I could get past this “phase” of the moon (or sun or whatever universal force is weighing me down). I don’t like to be this way, I feel like I’ve gone back into the body of that teenage mom I once was, the one who had no self confidence and hid out in her living room watching TV all day and night because her life was such a mess. That teenage mom who could totally relate to the Jerry Springer show and even contemplated going on the show at one point! I KNOW I’m not that person anymore, but every once in a long while, she comes back to haunt me. WHY?

These are the days I wish THOSE people could get a peak into my life. You know THOSE people, the ones who go on and on about how lucky I am to be living my dream, spending my days painting and creating and BEING and ARTIST. They always say it like it’s all fun and games, like I have some rich husband (for those who don’t know, I’m married to a musician!) who pays for everything and I never have to worry about ANYTHING. Well folks, newsflash, it’s not all fun and games and I spend more time worrying and beating myself up than I do painting. In fact, I spend a LOT of my time painting AND beating myself up. At the same time! That’s the real reason why most of my paintings are so upbeat and happy….I’m trying to convince MYSELF! It’s the cheapest form of therapy I know!

To be fair, that isn’t always the case, I am happy more than I’m not, I’m just exaggerating because it’s been this way for a month and it feels like forever! I used to feel like this a LOT more than I have in the past four years. Strangely enough, it was the death of my dad that made me a more happy person. Sure, I grieved for years, but his death made me appreciate everything more. It reminded me how short life is and how we only get this one chance in our lives to DO something.

The issue now is, I feel like I’m slipping back in to the old me and I don’t know how to stop it. Painting gives me a temporary reprieve but unfortunately, I cannot spend 24 hours a day painting. I don’t know, now I just feel like I’m whining. My mom would tell me I’m depressed and it runs in the family and I should just admit to the fact that I can’t escape it. FOOEY! I don’t believe that!

See….just writing this post has already made me feel better. Looking at myself from the outside in reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for AND that I am merely human. GASP! I admitted it! I am merely human. 🙂