Backburner

I am negotiating space between what i used to do and what i do now. a lot of things fall between, i think that’s what is described as the cracks.

summary: i’ve got a lot going on and the parts I am not going to address are those day to day items that fall in the cracks.

is that incorrect? does it make sense? i’m referring to basic motivational needs; food, sleep, care, driving, cleaning, bathing, importing/exporting (costco and winco and the corner store).

I DON’T CARE, I’M TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THINGS.

I used to be a painter, like, all damn day long: when all of you were sleeping and also when i didn’t want to paint and also when i wanted to paint and also when i felt irritated or lost or stupid or broke or embarrassed and also when I felt focused and blew my own mind. really, I just was a full time painter.

Now I am a student. I feel an immense pressure to make sure that what I am pursuing has a validity that makes up for what I have walked away from.

SNOOZE.

I really love going to math class. I feel like ramona quimby every time I pull out my pink pearl eraser. I have a pencil sharpener that someone asked to borrow from me FOR THE FIRST TIME and it was a connection. Math is riddles, and i’m starting to understand them. When I solve quadratics I find myself making notes that translate into painting exercises. my focus is nursing but my heart keeps conceptualizing.

this confuses me. I’m working to be a nurse but my mind maps aren’t giving up on themselves. 

sometimes on thursdays I get a day to paint. It feels like everything, those hours, but within an accumulation of minutes the day is gone. 

I really love painting. I’m not gonna argue this point because I’ve been exemplifying that since before I even lost my virginity. I think I painted about that, less love involved.... 

When I started school I said goodbye to life as a full time painter. It felt good and exciting. It felt like shit and a breakup, “we aren’t good for each other right now. I want the best for you. I think we will probably make out a few times before I stop answering your calls."

i gave up painting much the way i gave up smoking: abruptly and yet till later. 

sometimes I love something a lot and decide it’s best to step away for awhile in pursuit of something I want as well. I did that with step aerobics, I did that with abusive men, I did that with this weird app that tracks how much or how little toast I eat, I did that with Coke Zero. 

you might say, “smoking is terrible and should be given up forever” and i say “potato”.

you might say, “painting is wonderful and shouldn’t skip a beat” and i say “tomato”.

i love a lot of healthy things and unhealthy things at the same time. I hope that makes me human but maybe it just means i haven’t read enough self help books, written by other humans who have read more self help books than I?

I think a more accurate description of giving anything up is to set it aside.

Setting smoking aside went a lot like this: 

 -no, i don’t want to.

-okay, i will join this tobacco cessation group.

its okay to be the only 33 year old in a room full of baby boomers. 

-i don’t even smoke anymore but i hate everything.

-oh, i’m pregnant, what a convenient surprise!

-i’m a good person now.

 - gonna leave the group stealth - ish.

-my life is clearly on track.

-for now.

i consciously chose to leave behind something I relied on for calm and pleasure ( despite all the research that says cigarettes are the antithesis to calm and pleasure). I believed the reward would be positively weighted.

cessating anything is quite lonely. cessation is a discipline. it is saying goodbye everyday to an inanimate object/action that cares nothing for the formalities. But, setting aside painting is surprisingly more complex.

For one, I don’t have a painting cessation group to attend. No Debbies and Rogers to share craving stories with while we roll stress stones between our fingers. No worksheets. No affirmations. 

no surprise biological responsibility to hold me accountable and reward me with a love/joy reward. 

painting isn’t stigmatized so it doesn’t hold a morality bias over my conscience. 

i consciously chose to leave behind something I relied on for calm and pleasure; ( despite research pointing to how painting elicits calm and pleasure. just didn't paint about it.). I believe the reward will be positively weighted. 

This is when I stop talking about smoking and speak entirely about painting. 

mainly because they aren’t the same thing but also because I started smoking again so painting is really hanging out there by itself like a lone ranger. 

HA! i bet you were proud of me there for a minute, examine that.

Nowadays my studio is often  a parking lot for somebody’s inflatable horse or car, a grocery cart filled with plastic strawberries and plastic toast. I kick all of these things out on thursdays to mix the wrong color and then try again for the right color. I stare at unfinished pieces that have missed their deadlines and live in an unworked limbo.

I am as new to my pieces as the eighteen year old that first started down this path. 

this is embarrassing.

or

this is humbling.

painting now, It is a privilege; a release, a discovery, fun?

what a mindfuck, to return to the why i started.  

I want to cultivate that. 

I want to reach that vocation I care deeply about, to serve as a hospice nurse. In doing so I will free up space and time to indulge a release such as painting.

meanwhile, in the cracks, I have those weird vivid dreams that make me that think I did something awful/extraordinary when I did neither. I go running and swimming and smoke a cigarette in the parking lot with the chlorine radiating off of me or at the trailhead while an app reads the stats back to me. I don't know what the hell i'm doing. I'm just a human that wakes up at an ungodly hour and makes decisions before and after a late breakfast after a late night. 

new mantra: gonna do this thing so i can do that other thing.