Monday, April 03, 2006

Right Where We Left Off

If I remember correctly, when we left off, before I had my emotional meltdown over the weekend, I had promised you some pics of my art journal. The one positive point of not posting them on Friday is that now you get 7 days instead of 5. Below are the creations I've been working on over the past week (can you believe it's been a week already!!)

I am really enjoying the art journal aspect of this challenge and I never dreamed I would. Each day I get to try something new and different--a new technique, a new color scheme, a new image idea. And although there have been some mistakes (my stamping ability needs some serious tweaking--If you have any ideas please pass them along) and some less than desirable outcomes, I've used this as an opportunity to learn, embrace the imperfections, and layer until I get to where I want to be. I love being able to tape down bits and pieces of paper, layer upon layer, until I have a sort of paper collage. I wish I could give you some better close ups so that you can really get the full effect. The process of layering paint, paper, tape, and words to make a collective whole seems to speak to my spirit and I find myself leaning more and more towards that style.

I also owe you a Grateful Friday post...

  • my new favorite comedy, Bottle Rocket
  • the release of journalist Jill Carroll
  • my niece Kalysta's 6th birthday
  • feeling sore from a week's worth of yoga--the good kind of sore, the kind that lets me know I'm doing something right and getting stronger and more flexible in the process
  • the arrival of my first round of Netflix movies
  • Il Postino
  • discovering the incredible music of Inara George, Tegan and Sara, Patty Griffin, Brandi Carlile, and Susie Suh
  • all things art journal related including...scraps of colored paper, masking tape, paper doilies, and cosmetic sponges
  • the May issue of Body+Soul magazine which has several articles I'm looking forward to reading including one about mindful walking (I thought about you Wenda), one about creating a soul garden ( I though about your beautiful backyard Yoli), one about transforming anger by Jennifer Louden, one about yoga (I need that during this 21 day challenge), and one about reducing the sugar in your diet (I thought about you again Wenda, and you too acumamakiki)
  • the creation of Sunday Scribblings...which I didn't partake in this week but I'm looking forward to becoming a regular participant
  • and of course I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers and comments and e-mails over this past weekend. It was one of the darkest weekends of my life and you will never, never know how much I appreciate the support. Every single one of you are a gift to me. I was speechless and tearful when I finally came back to the computer after taking most of the weekend off and found so many loving comments awaiting my hungry, bruised soul. Thank you for your compassion and your concern. Thank you for reaching out to me when I needed it so terribly. Thank you for reminding me of my good and my value. Thank you for holding me in your hearts. Thank you for the prayers, the love, the poems, the multiple e-mails and comments. Thank you for affirming my parenting and reminding me that doing the right thing sometimes sucks. Thank you for reminding me to nurture myself and offer myself forgiveness and gentleness. Thank you for sharing all of your experiences so that I will know I'm not alone. My cup runneth over.
Finally, there is one last issue I want to address. When reading the comments from the post I wrote yesterday to Britton I found a comment left by an anonymous reader that really stung. Because it was left anonymously I can't address the issues with them one-on-one so I will have to do so here. Until I address it I don't think I will be able to release it and it will continue to torture me. I am thinned skin and a perfectionistic people pleaser so comments that come across as being shameful really do grab a hold of me.

First let me just say I hear you. Second, let me clarify a few things. When Britton opened his car door he wasn't in the front seat. I never said he was. He was in the back, buckled in his car seat where he always is (he still sits in one of those huge, bulky seats that I swear weighs more than I do, not the smaller booster-seat type jobs.) You are right, I am responsible for Britton's welfare and I should have locked his door so that this never would have been an issue. I do take full responsibility for that. Up to this point it had never been an issue because he wasn't developmentally or physically able to open the car door (he's only two) and the fact that he is now able to do this sneaked up on me. I will admit locking his car door will be a habit I'll have to develop, one that I'm not currently used to. I do admit to raising my voice at him when it happened because I was scared to death for his life and fear sometimes causes one to yell. I have apologized to him for that. You're right, this was my fault and I had no right to take that out on him or let my fear shame him. However, Britton did get reprimanded for the action because although I am the parent and it is my responsibility to protect him and keep him from harm it is never okay for him to mess with the car handle while we are in motion regardless of whether there are child safety locks or not. There will be times he'll be in other vehicles and the driver of that vehicle may fail to lock the door just as I did Friday. He needs to know he can not try to open the doors period. As for "getting a clue," I wish all of life's lessons (especially those concerning parenting) came easily and that I never had to learn one the hard way. This is one I learned the hard way. As much as I push myself to be perfect, I'm not and very often I make mistakes and need to get a clue. Your comment bothered me because it didn't feel like helpful, constructive criticism. It felt like shame. I can't speak for others but generally when someone wants to get a point across I respond better when there is less shame and more grace. Shame usually has the opposite effect and actually shuts me down. And shaming someone just doesn't seem like an effective form of communication. I hope that after reading yesterday's post you took a little more away with you other than the fact that I made a mistake and failed to lock my son's door. That was my fault. Like I said, I'm willing to own that. I never intended to leave the impression that I blamed Britton for that or that I thought it was his fault/responsibility.

There. I felt I needed to say that or else I might take on the shame and god knows I didn't need to do that, especially not right now. Yesterday's post was very difficult and that one comment felt like being kicked when I was already down. Because I really put a lot of focus on using my blog as a place to share my life/experience with openness and honesty, and because I use it as a source for connecting with others who desire the same, I didn't want this one anonymous comment to shut me down and cause me to second guessing my blogging. Now that I've addressed it and clarified some things I can let it go. I just hate feeling like someone totally missed me. Not feeling seen and heard sucks, even if it was only one commenter out of many.

Well, I'm off to create today's art journal page and do a little yoga. LOVE YA!


Blogger yaya said...

The way you parent is your way and no one elses - your art is beautiful, congratulations on finding a part of your authentic self

9:27 PM  
Blogger mati rose said...

hello miss artist!
i love these. especially the yellow one with birds:)
gosh, as much as "comments" can make you feel gleeful, they can hurt too, eh? i hope you continue being honest and authentic to yourself in this forum!

9:46 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

your response to that anonymous commenter was full of grace and maturity.

wow this has been a BIG last few days for you and i could really see that in your gorgeous journal entries, as well as your "spilling open" of words.

awe~inspiring you are.

i am glad you are finding comfort in all of us...because we really, really dig you. ;-)

10:32 PM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

i double what bohemian girl said... i didn't read the anonymous comment, but your response is better than that person deserved. britton is a lucky boy. he will grow up knowing exhilaration and freedom whereas the child of that discompassionate anonymous commenter will probably grow up with guilt and a life sucked bone dry from striving for perfection. (to that person i say: don't MAKE me get out of my CAR!)
and ps. when i was 5, our old car had a habit of swinging open unpredictably no matter how hard mom shut it. i lived to tell about a number of left turns when the door swung open and my mom grabbed me with her right hand in classic mother-bear mode before i flew out of the car. life happens.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Michelle, first of all, your journal pages are BEAUTIFUL!! I want to hold that book and touch the pages -- think how wonderful it will to have that journal and more like it that I'm sure will follow, in years to come! Second, I can't even believe that some anonymous meanie left you that comment. It's so obvious what a wonderful mother you are. I just wanted to kick that person in the shins (that's my automatic response to mean people, not to actually kick them in the shins, but to want to.) I've seen NO nasty little snipes like that since I started reading blogs, and have been amazed by the emotional support. But I guess the nasty people of the world are everywhere, even here. Don't let them get to you!

12:09 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

You go, Michelle! You got through a rough period with grace, and you took some difficult (and can I say lousy?) criticism and fired right back. Good for you. And BEAUTIFUL artwork!

1:00 AM  
Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

la vie est rose, life is sweet; Michelle your life is belle! You are belle and your art!!! is bella too! Is there anything you cannot do? You amaze me!

2:57 AM  
Anonymous Tickled Pink said...

Your journal pages have inspired me; thanks for sharing them. It sounds like you are doing all the right things for yourself one day at a time despite having a full life. You're a great role model, and from reading a few comments you're helping others, in addition to me, do the hard work to make changes in their lives too.

It's sad that someone took the opportunity to criticize you at a vulnerable moment. Talking about the hard work, and inevitable disappointments of motherhood is hard enough without that. Keep remembering Maya Angelou's words: The truth will set you free.

Many blessings, Nicole

4:37 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

#1 thanks for sharing your journal...
you are such a natural...i love the pages! the colors! the words!

#2 thanks for recommending more music..i can't wait to check them out :)

#3 don't second guess yourself regarding blogging your true feelings because of what one anonymous person said...thats the reason they posted anonymous...your true friends would leave their name even if they felt they had something hard to say...


5:04 AM  
Blogger EmergingCrone said...

I rarely read other comments - but your long response to anonymous made me want to go read what s/he said... My intention for putting it here in my comment is to bring it into the open... I can feel the sting of the words... but it is daylight now... and this is what I am hearing...

Anonymous said...
Letting your child open the car doors while in motion is irresponsible... They do have child safety locks on most rear car doors, and sitting a child in the front seat is equally irresponsible. That was something you yelled at your child for...yet was really your fault. Get a clue lady.

Well - my first thought was this person could not possibly be a regular reader of your blog. If s/he were a regular reader - he would know what a tender person you are, how you think deeply, feel deeply, sense deeply and suffer deeply... OK so this person who doesn't know you makes this parental judegement statement about a woman she know little about... Second thought is - this comment says more about the person who said it than you... I wonder where in the life of anonymous did s/he act in a way that is irresponsible... where does anonymous feel clueless and where does anonymous yell at others for things that s/he shuld own... and then DUH! (***slaps forehedad***) right here in this comment...

What anonymous said to you was:
it sounded a lot like yelling to me
anonymous needs to own his or her own stuff (fault)
anonymous is clueless...

You have been a screen for someone else's projection... It doesn't mean their words have no truth or no value and it doesn't mean their words have truth and/or value - it just means that the comment says WAY MORE about the poster than it does about you... It is his/her shadow projecting his/her disowned, unloved, unrecognized parts onto you...

Michelle... you are mending the world in the mending our yourself and for that I am grateful... as a mended, responsible adult, you are fully engaged in the act of mothering your child and teaching him the ways of these complex creatures known as women... he will not go out into the world fearing and hating women - he will be FASCINATED by their beauty, grace, and power - and he will want to be in union with one someday...

You are a gift and you are honestly and openly sharing the gift with others.

Julie in Virginia

5:18 AM  
Anonymous beansprout said...

Your art journal is beautiful. Glad to hear that your enjoying the process and discovering your own style. And you did a great job of addressing the hurtful is important that the people realise the impact that heir words and judgments have. You're doing great!

5:20 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I love your art journal. Thanks for sharing. I have to admit that I've been lazy with mine and did it digi. But I am doing it.

Glad to hear you are feeling better. Sorry you had to endure such an insensitive comment, but you handled it well. Never put too much stock in anonymous comments.


5:52 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

I love your journal pages although I won't allow myself to look to closely for fear that I might want to copy your style. I ripped out a page last week (day 6) which in turn ripped my favorite pages and now, I've had to start over, which I'm still in the process of doing.

I'm always angry when someone comments anonymously and then, is mean. It's chicken and it's passive aggressive. I have no problem with saying what you think; we put ourselves out there and we're open to criticism, even when it stings. But as you so eloquently said, there's a way to do it with grace and respect for another person.
I'll be really honest here, I've wanted to comment anonymously on this one particular blog (no one anyone here would ever be reading btw) because I wanted to be snarky, etc. but I haven't. I can't tell you HOW glad I am that I never have. Your anon commenter taught me a great lesson in the reasons I already knew.

5:52 AM  
Blogger The Whole Self said...

you just keep doing your thing!

6:10 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Your journal pages were so inspiring to me. I haven't been doing visual journaling lately because I feel like they never represent what I'm going for. I'm a writer, not an artist...but, maybe my imperfections here can nourish me. Your willingness to discuss your process has opened up a corner of thought for me today. Thanks for this post.

7:02 AM  
Blogger lovegreendog said...

"this is a gift i give to myself"
i love that, and that you share it.

i thought i was the only one listening to and telling everyone about Brandi Carlile,

what great lists you have

i'm glad you adressed the ac, and you are releasing it, good for you
your words are eloquent

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Charmaine said...

I love the journal pages. How do you all make them so pretty like that? Where do you get such great ideas and supplies? Is it a kit? I think it's beautiful Makes me want to journal more -- and actually spend time on it!

That anonymous comment was left right before mine and I couldn't believe my eyes while reading it. I think addressing it up front, for everyone to read, is the best way to confront such issues. I've had a similar experience and it was hard not to let it sting so much.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I love the new issue of body and soul, it does have so many great articles, I'm sorry you have to feel like you have to explain yourself to that annonymous poster, they were really just trying to be hurtful I think. If it helps any, Jack trys to open his door all the time, before he could reach with his hand he would do it with his foot, then we discovered the child lock in our car. I think it's a really common thing. I'm sorry that post was so hurtful, you are a loving mom and deserve only love and encouragment!!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I love your journal pages, Michelle! Day 4 just made my heart sing because it feels like you captured a corner of spring and spread it across the pages.

And I'm impressed with how graciously you addressed the cowardly anonymous comment left on your last post. My instinctive response to such a comment left with no name or way to contact the commentor would have been more along the lines of "eat shit and die". Your way is probably healthier. :-)

7:51 AM  
Blogger PJ said...

LOVE luv! your art pages!!! Good your colors and style.
I know you must react to that one comment, but personally you gave him/her WAY too much time...a person without empathy is a very hardened person (from the way they were brought up!!) Don't let those people have power...ignoring (I understand you couldn't) would have busted their hardened bubble!
Glad they are just SO let the rest of us live!!! ;)
you go girl!!! Can't wait to see more that form of art!!

7:57 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

Your art journal is amazing!! So beautiful!!

As for the car door...does it have child locks? Then the door cannot be opened form the inside (I would not have thought of that either, a friend pointed it out to me!)

Sometimes, bad things happen no matter how careful we are or how much we love and care for our children. We are human and so are they. We all make mistakes and no one should judge you.

8:13 AM  
Blogger M said...

I love your journal pages!! Especially the colourson Day 5 and the style on Day 6. I'm so getting inspired to start my own artistic journal. Are you using a basic sketchbook or something with thicker paper? Any ideas or suggestions for getting started or should I just dive in and see what happens!?! It looks like fun!
And like some of the other comments have said, please don't second guess your honesty and using this space as a place to say anything you want or need...we are all here to support you, and kick those 'annoymous' idiots to the curb for you!!

9:52 AM  
Blogger mayseek life said...

it is filling to read your writing.. i get stirred with memories of parenting youngsters, inspired with the joy of expressing visions, and on and on!i loved seeing ilpostino(mentioned in your grateful list) and have the cd with lovely music and poetry readings of Pablo Neruda to remind me of the movie.italian cinema is the best!!!!have you seen Cinema Paradiso?

10:37 AM  
Blogger ArtsyMama said...

LOVE your art journal pages. Wow're a natural:) They're amazing! So glad you're enjoying the challenge. Take care of yourself.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Server Girl said...

first off...let me say...I love these art journals...they are so amazing...i wish i had time to take part...i think i may just do my own...Such a cool creative thing. I have not read your blog in a few days and can't believe all the stuff that has happened. you need to just forget about that anonymous comment...what a jack ass person...apparently they have no self control or were just really trying to piss you off. I can't stand people who kick others when u obviously felt bad about it. Kids get hurt all the wasn't your fault...Ugh...that comment irritated me too.. Glad to see that your week is getting better!!! :)

10:59 AM  
Blogger melba said...

I knew your art journal pages would be beautiful. Can't wait to see more. It is exciting to see you open up with art and try something new.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Irene said...

I am amazed by your art work and by your boundless love for your child.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are fantastic! Love, love, love your pages!!! Can't wait to see more,

1:18 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I really love your art journals! All so different, and all so good.:)

I really wish that anon hadn't hurt you so much! They weren't offering anything helpful. That wasn't what they wanted at all. They just wanted to be hurtful. I call these people minions. Don't let them swipe anymore of your energy. They love to do that. It makes them feel powerful.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved, loved, LOVED your pages...especially day 5! One of these days I'll scan in and post the mendhi I had done when I was married. I love the way you used those images!

As far as the negative comment, someone has to be LOOKING for an excuse to pick THAT, of all things, out of your post. You are a good mother. We're all here for you. :)

3:57 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

I missed a lot over the last few days it looks like...I hope you're feeling better...

If my kids threw a tantrum or were bad in public, our excursion was over no discussion no matter what we were doing.

Now that my kids have grown into adults; they are shocked when their bad childhood behavior comes up in discussion. And they always ask me; Did I really do that? Did you punish me?

Being reprimanded or rewarded for the small daily stuff we do is what helps us learn and grow and to know right from wrong....

And, if we never made any mistakes in life; we would never learn a thing would we?

You're a great parent; don't doubt your instincts as a mother.

I love your Art journal, it's beautiful and you are beautiful. Thank you for sharing :O)

4:07 PM  
Blogger art and soul said...

i love you art journal and i have also been dying to dig in and start one. sometimes i take everything out so that my work table is covered in blank books, scraps, snippets and treasures, then i just can't get past the mess! thanks for sharing and giving inspiration for me to actually ge to it!

5:57 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

I knew you'd love 'bottlerocket'.

and-- yay for you and the art journal! yay yay yay!

2:23 AM  
Blogger Wenda said...

Way to say it, Michelle, and I like the art journal, too.

10:00 PM  
Blogger lela said...

love the journal pages!

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Those art journal pages are exquisite, Michelle. And you handled the anonymous commenter beautifully...and I haven't even read the post yet about whatever happened...even so, that was a beautifully honest reply. I agree, shame has no place here (or on any of our blogs)...good for you for reminding the commenter of that.

3:56 AM  
Blogger BohemeMama said...

Whoever wrote that to you needs to simmer do the best you can, and as the Great Maya Angelou says, "When you know better you do better." Two years old or 20, there will always be surprises that keep us on our toes.
I love your art.

7:03 AM  

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