Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! and a look back at 2013.

Wow, wow, wow. What a year! I lived so many amazing moments it feels like three years in one.
2013 started with me crying in a bed. Or that is how it felt to me. I was in a job situation where no matter how hard I worked I knew I wasn't wanted. I was grieving for my very beloved Uncle Tom who had a heart attack at 65.

I was sobbing into a pillow Dec 31, 2012 wondering why I was so upset. Wondering why I couldn't stop crying. I had a job. An apartment. Friends. A great supportive family. But you know what? I wasn't living life my way. I was doing things right. Losing weight. Eating right. Working hard. And it wasn't enough. I am known for drastic moves. I am not one who can manipulate anything cause if I am not happy I can't hide it. I was very hurt that not everyone in the world loves me. So I freaked out. I sold off half my stuff. Sent the rest to my parents house.

This led to an amazing 8 months of learning. Of healing. To letting go. Things weren't too drastic. I knew I needed money and that I didn't want to take unemployment. So with the help over over 130+ friends and family I raised money on Kickstarter to travel "Walk with ME." I walked with 21 people in LA and 24 people starting in Boston, going to Gloucester, then to NYC, Pittsburgh, PA, Washington DC area, Asheville, and Durham, NC, a stop in Greenville to see my friend Todd and his wife Carol, and then to Athens Georgia to make some awesome posters for three weeks.

This trip was nothing short of amazing. For how smooth it went. For the love I felt with all of the friends I got to reconnect with along the way. For free meals, free coaches, free BEDS(!)...for FINALLY learning how to say thank you when I couldn't repay what I was given. For finally learning to be vulnerable. For learning that when things go wrong it doesn't mean something is ruined. So many lessons were learned on this trip. I landed in Boston hours before the bombing. I walked through the glass in Watertown where the bombers tried in vain to escape the authorities. I went to the finish line holding Alison's hand. I read Opal books. I got to see so many old friends. I went to the Smithsonian museums for the first time and Uncle Tom was there in the caverns of an old Chinese urn. I discovered the Cloisters and public gardens surrounding it in NYC, a magical place. I got upset at hippies for being so aimless in Asheville. I fell in love with Pittsburgh where I went to the Mattress Factory and Conflict Kitchen. I met cute boys in a couple cities. I drank too much and  met Michael Stipe.
With all of this, I made my first Artist Book chronicling the whole darn thing.

What I have never mentioned till now...is that I took Uncle Tom, literally, along the whole way. He was in my backback, some of his remains in a white box hoofed it from city to city.

After the craziness of all this travel and I will say, the fatigue of this travel I found my way to Minnesota to fall deeply asleep in my parent's basement for a couple weeks. While finishing up the "Walk with ME" book. Which was printed June 2013 with the amazing help of Alen. Who made this project feel and look professional. I showed the work at Fox Egg Gallery, along with the posters and monotypes I had made. It was all a successful ordeal though not at all lucrative. I made back the money I spent on pritnting the books. Even Steven as they say. I paid Alen what I could.

I then directed and produced my first performance piece to be performed in an honest to goodness theater! Highways. Hanna, Julia, and I performed LABOR-ation. A great piece about what I have learned the past year. Leaving my job, to find out what is out there beyond the 9 to 5.

I had planned the trip to Minnesota to overlap with the birth of my first niece or nephew....and Oliver came out a few days "late" but in time for me to spend about 5 days with him after he was born. I was holding him just hours after he was born. Sitting there smelling his new born smell, which is so sweet and addictive, I know I am now bonded to him for life. What a little gift to my family this boy is. I get to hold him, kiss him and laugh with him....singing songs to make him smile or look very serious. I love him bunches. So along with all this great art stuff was the momentous occasion of becoming an auntie or tanta as they say in German.

With a dwindling checking account, I headed to Half Moon Bay, CA. Where Laura McHugh is starting an artist residency out of her house near the beach. I spent a lovely 2.5 months working on visual art while taking walks with local Half Moon Bay-ers. In the first 3 weeks there, I trained and successfully ran a half marathon (actually 13.5 miles as the route was measured wrong).The mayor almost went for a walk with me. I walked with 11 amazing people and made 4 good looking paintings and another series of monotypes. I slept in. I meditated.

I took a trip to NYC for the Creative Time Summit. Which mostly caused me to have a panic attack. I met some inspiring folks though. And Jamie, who I walked with in LA, got to eat meals and visit museums together.

Then to finish the year, I spent 10 days doing a Vipassana meditation retreat. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I learned an amazing breathing technique and an amazing meditation technique. For the first seven days I was so inside myself...the inside became outside. I didn't speak to others except to the teacher twice. I then had a very intense meditation experience and broke silence cause I thought I was going a bit cuckoo. I then held it together to finish the ten days.

I like to make grand statements and sparkling metaphors. It seems the important lessons are hard to put into words. I found that failure was the best teacher and led to the most amazing year. That grief was essential to my letting go of the normal and going for my dreams. That following our dreams is in one way a lot easier than I thought it would be and in other way much harder. I had to let go of where I am from to find myself and then learned that having a loving family is nothing to reject.

After sitting with myself for 10 days I learned, we go from love to hate within ourselves. That usually it isn't those around you that are causing emotions but rather your mind. Your mind is fed by what you eat and how you live. So if you are upset, depressed, or annoyed look at what you are eating/doing. Looking for the divine is the important part. Believing that there is more than meets the eye is extremely important. I learned how to calm down after 6 days of anxiety, or thoughts looping through and letting go of them. I came out of it a lot calmer and very disorientated.

After stripping down reality, and meeting a higher energy. I came back down and read The Goldfinch. I searched for the quote about failure in the book and I can't find it right now. But I did find this one...which I think my life revolves around a bit, "We have art in order not to die from the truth."  -Nietzsche Our reality is raw and overwhelming and we find ways to make it palatable. That is art.

I have proclaimed 2014 the year of the Inner Thigh. Where I continue to seek the spiritual in the everyday. Where I have a base of who I am down and now I go in for the detail. Where I will work on my core physically and spiritually. I am hoping to let more love in. As this year I have experienced love with so many old friends and my family. And I learned that abuse comes from someone else's need to be understood and not understanding that "understood" comes from within.

In 2014, I am saving up for a trip to Santiago, Spain. Or rather to the border of Spain and France, so that I can walk the Camino, a pilgrimage that takes a month to traverse. There are always more answers to be found. and heck if i don't like a challenge! I am researching when the next holy Year is...as I may want to wait to walk until then.

 In 2014, I will be open to a new life in LA. I hope to go to the Huntington Gardens and sketch every weekend. I am hoping to have a calm loving life with my awesome art friends around. I hope to not drink. Eat more veggies. Love my body whatever size it is. Run some more 5Ks. Find a gallery to show my next series of drawings. And realize how awesome my life is, over and over and over again. Now I have to go play with my nephew while I can.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful reflections, Paige. You've learned and accomplished so much! I wish you a great 2014!