I began this painting after spending time reflecting on my amazing friends and family members who have embraced middle-age and are starting grand new adventures. They are mighty women of tremendous talent, drive, intelligence, creativity and spirit and they have big dreams. Some have the support of husbands and family, some do not. Some have health issues and financial struggles,while others have good health and financial freedom. Some have already reached their goals while others are just taking their first tentative steps, but they all have one thing in common. Despite being bombarded with negative self talk, naysayers, or people who are resistant to their growth, they are doing it anyway. These are women who have come full circle and are embracing it head on.
I believe, from birth, the bits and pieces of us are designed to fit together for maximum joy and potential. If we are lucky, this shiny fresh start is nurtured with great love and care and we become the brightest and most confident version of ourselves.
But all too often, as we are happy with our wonderful, shiny selves, the world begins to whisper to us. It cuts us down and says, “ You’re too loud….You’re too quiet…..You’re too messy…….you’re too shy.…..you’re too sensitive,….too aggressive…… too emotional….. too masculine….. too feminine….. too disabled,…..too short…..too fat ….too skinny….too tall….too dumb….too smart…..too confident….too shiny…..too old…..too young. You are not popular enough, athletic enough, rich enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or brave enough, Or, you are too popular, too pretty, too successful, too accomplished. Too much yet not enough. After time, the message sinks in: “You are too….You” So, we take all our shiny pieces that make us special and we hide them away to avoid being too much of anything.
Sadly, some of us get stuck here. We lose sight of what makes us unique and we keep our true selves tucked away; allowing the world to tell us who we should be. But many, if we are lucky, do not. We reject the world’s definition of us and embrace our true selves. We silence those voices and we strive to be the person we are created to be. We stumble and make mistakes, and face challenges, but we shine as best we can. We are productive and lead the happy lives we were created to live. We are full of energy and ideas and sparkle! And the world approves. And all is well….
Until it’s not. Just when we get think we have it all figured out, life gets more complicated and the voices of the world become loud again. To drown them out, we begin to neglect those amazing pieces of us and get caught up in the success of our jobs, children, spouses, home, friendships, schools, and extended family. Once again, we begin to believe that we are not enough. The world tells us to be more and we fear we don’t have the time, talent, energy, money, looks, or strong enough relationships to keep up with those have-it-all-together-people who seem to do life perfectly. So we work harder and if we are not careful, we become depleted and exhausted. To various degrees, we lose our sparkle and begin to feel empty because we forgot to nurture those things that make us uniquely special.
This is a dangerous place. If we remain empty and detached from ourselves for too long, something or someone will fill that void and whisper to us what we should be instead of who we are. Unless we practice radical self care and tend to our depletedness, we will get stuck here, believing the lie that our best days are behind us.
My dear friends and I are saying Hell No to this! Here is where we take a giant, deep breath. We aggressively silence those voices of untruth, we regroup, refresh and reconnect with those things that bring us joy. We surround ourselves with people who make us feel most alive and purge ourselves of anyone who is weighing us down. We quiet the voices that tell us who we are supposed to be rather than celebrate who we are. Once again, we walk ourselves back to the shiny, this time stronger, wiser, braver….full of excitement and potential. ….
(And yes, better prepared, for the next time the cycle starts all over again.)
30 x 24 x 2
Mixed Media on Wrapped Canvas