...serenity in motion
Here it is, the first week of January and I am sitting in a seat of worry. Shel Silverstien called them the “What If’s”, and they are circling around me. I would like to think that there are artists out there who never sit in the lonely room with those but I’m sure I really don’t know any.
What if I need to get a real job? This one sits like a lump of coal in the bottom of my belly. Working for someone else would be easier, not like when I had the uncertainty of youth. I’m old enough now that I would know how to ask questions and make better decisions. The thought of having someone pay my bills for me, i.e.; taxes, insurance and a 401k is warming on one level. The thought of having to give up my art practice makes tears well up in my eyes. I can feel them gathering as I write this. Who knew I would love doing art so much?
What if I can’t get my work in the right place ever again? Boy, this one really sucks. I am always worried about this one. Artists and friends tell me that what I do is very special and amazing but, that isn’t always enough. I want to paint what I choose, and I don’t want to keep what I paint. I’d like to be able to afford to give it away but that isn’t something that is reasonable currently. I imagine all of my inventory rising up and swallowing me, never selling… This one can keep me up at night.
What if I am nothing but an expensive hobbyist? Wow the guilt of me dragging my husband into deep debt and us dying there. He reassures me that every time I wallow in worry like this, something breaks loose. He held my hand, kissed my cheek and said this happens every time. What a jewel he is, I know I am lucky to have him.
It is the new year, and we are encouraged to make a resolution. Every year it is the same, I won’t give this up. I had a pretty good year, and I did sell. I found new markets, new collectors (Thank you all) and made new connections and friends, lots of friends. I know that this is what I want, and I also know my husband is right. I look at my records and the new choices I have made to keep going and recognize that it will be alright. It has been so far, I just need to keep the faith. I also need to recognize that there are others, like me who are trying not to listen to the “What if’s”. So, if you are laying there at night listening to them, play a book on tape or a tv show on your phone. It tends to drown them out.
Whatif by Shel Silverstein
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!