|"Together", from my art journals.|
My instinct like an introvert is so strong to turn inwards.
I have deliberately stepped back from any possible in- person connection for years. I've lived my life as a solitary bird... and mind you, I really LOVE and find profound joy and peace in that! The more the years passed by, the more I've stepped back from any connection, my husband and family included (just for you to get the idea, the best, richest, most inspiring conversations ever, I have with my husband... via email! LOL).
Being an artist, and seeing and feeling what others seemed to be unable to see and feel, has always looked like the worst and scariest of nightmares to me since I was very young- people around me really didn't "get me". I believe this strengthened my need for solitude, and for finding a spiritual connection with Nature and the "Universe" rather than a physical connection with anyone around me.
After years and years of questions, pain, struggles with the world and its patterns, I've started becoming aware that I hadn't to find the answers outside, they already dwelled inside of me, in my perfectly beautiful "imperfection". Buried under layers of social superimposition, lied the real magic- surprisingly, I could make it visible thanks to my given artistic abilities and my strong sensitivity /introversion.
I discovered all of that thanks to my blog (I had totally ignored the existence of blogs until I was in my half thirties, and discovered them just after a great pain due to a broken, special friendship) and to those precious, heart- warming, online connections, inspired readings, artists insights, opinions and share of feelings that like-minded people were so courageous to offer online. That way, I've started to learn that there were many other people just like me, with the same feelings, struggling for the very same reasons, and trying to survive in a world of extroverts that celebrates extroversion and social connection as the only and right way to be. The fact that I work from home and spill my heart out onto canvas, paper, my art journals, a magazine article or a blog post, or though my lens, doesn't mean I don't feel a strong connection with the rest of the human beings, actually being the contrary. I just and simply feel this connection in more of a spiritual, rather than physical, form- and bring to the world the beauty and magic I see, for anyone to partake of it and be inspired by, my own way- simply being what I truly am and doing what is calling me loudly.
After I started dicovering the online community of my kindred- spirits, I've gradually (if not out of the blue) became conscious of what made me come alive, what kept me alive, what was calling me, and it definitely was my art, my creativity, my introversion. It may sound odd, but even if I've always needed my art and creativity like breathing, I wasn't conscious of that until my mid thirties. And the more I stepped back from extroversion, from in- person connections, the more I caged myself in my "den" doing what made me feel happy, well- the more my work kind of exploded, showing beauty, inspiration, freedom, joy. I have feared for many years that connection with others could affect my art, my creativity, my well being. And the "essence" of my being an artist.
|"Solitary bird", from my art journals.|
The internet gave me the opportunity to remain very much of an introvert (in spite of what I've written before, put the word hermit here), and reach out for other kindred souls at the same time. Also because I believe that the true essence of everything is spiritual, so this has always been very natural for me. And I can tell you those online connections I made, become crucial for one that used to lack connection in her offline life, in her unexisting community. My blog and those people I now call friends, scattered around the globe, unexpectedly and quickly became my safety net, my steam, my tribe, and there was no need (no room, either) for in-person connections, also because those I had previously had were so heartbreaking (not that I tell the contrary, mostly because of my strong sensitivity).
After 4 intense years of spiritual journey and growth, both in my personal and professional life, I have finally realized that I have so much to offer through in- person connections, too. My heart now is full, big, and eventually... ready.
The cracks in this life, as the quote by Leonard Cohen splendidly states, have allowed the light to get in. Without those cracks, and the consequent fractures they caused deeply in my heart and soul, there wouldn't have been any light, any growth, any blooming.
I'm sure of that, because I've made wonderful art/photographs that way (and my husband made me notice that too the other day). The more I felt broken, the more I felt the pain, the more I was able to produce beautiful work.
I now have much space in my heart to be filled with in- person connections. Some of those hurtful cracks are still there, and the only way for them to be filled is with the beauty of physical connection. Opening my heart to something new (and oh, soooo scary!) doesn't mean my work will loose its magic- it can become even more inspired, more vibrant, more powerful- bringing into the world new thoughts, ideas, feelings, vulnerability, not only filtered through my own heart+ mind, but through the mind and heart of someone else, through the sweetness of our connection; through our laughter, shared grief, even hugs and facial expressions. Yes, I have to learn to accept more faces that don't have a smile painted across their mouths (... also because I don't always have it, either!).
So here I am, on my journey, fully embracing my vulnerability, my imperfection and inspiring others to do the same. And trying my best to embrace their own vulnerability and imperfection as well.
After all, what if all stones were perfect, rounded pebbles? There wouldn't be the thrill (and beauty and magic) of finding a heart- shaped rock!!