here I am again

beach find

I have struggled, like many, for many different reasons, over the last several years. It’s been hard to be creative, hard to assert my voice, hard to do the things beyond what I’m responsible for. This is a weird age, folks. This mid-50s.

I’m still a worker, and will be for a long time. I’ve gone back to school. I’m not a grandparent. My kids don’t need me in the way that young kids do (they’re in their late 20s). I’m trying to reconnect with people I’ve quietly but not purposely disconnected from. I think I closed in on myself for a bit, and I hope they’ll have me again. I hope the world will have me again, or at least let me tiptoe around it a bit, gain my footing.

My late 40s were a burst of freedom and creativity. And by burst I mean small burst, as I’m not a go-big-or-go-home kind of person anyway. I traveled a little, I read more, I wrote some, I made some art just for me, I fell in love with film photography.

But the political climate, the state of world affairs, the heaviness of human life, all of these things have converged and I’ve muted myself. What does my voice matter? What could I possibly create that has worth in times of what feels like such human suffering?

I am extraordinarily sensitive. I was ridiculed for my sensitivity when I was young. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to “overcome” being sensitive—I now know the folly in that. But what I do know how to do in times of difficulty is work, and that’s what I’ve done. Is it partly avoidance? Sure. Self preservation? That, too. Me busy is me not overwhelming myself with the sadness of the world. But, that ignores the parts that are still beautiful; the tiny fact that there is a woodpecker who is insistent upon interrupting my afternoons by knocking at my roof, gutters, and windows. That in my backyard the lilac bush is greening and will soon flower. That I can now walk the Lake Michigan shoreline for miles after the high water devastation of just a few years ago. That there is still meaning, that people are still doing meaningful things. Life in the crazy and unknowable world keeps going on. Us sensitive folks have to find new ways to live within the change and weirdness and uncertainty.

I have to find ways to reconcile my need to know what’s around the corner. I have to approach new things with curiosity, rather than control. I remember when I was open to new experiences, and I have to do that again. I really will try.

While I’m trying, I am giving myself little projects. Art postcards are so doable, fun. I persuaded a friend to join me in a call and response art project, which was exciting and delightful and just enough of a push to get my creative juices flowing again.

Summer feels like the time to be more creative, to me, anyway, and it’s just around the corner. Maybe it’s the longer days and the color and the warmth of the sun on my skin, just the lifting of darkness. I don’t know. But I’ve got to shake off the malaise and find joy and beauty where it exists, create for the joy of creating, and not get mired in worry that my voice is not worthy, or useful. Maybe it’s someone else’s spark to creativity or call to action?

I still have this blog, and while I don’t really know where it’s heading, I’m going to try to pay it some attention. Just for me, maybe. Or you, if you’re still reading.

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