creating a beautiful life

You were given life; it is your duty... to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight
— elizabeth gilbert

I bought these boots last year at Target. They were a purely indulgent purchase because I simply loved their shiny redness. Though I agonized a bit over whether or not they were my style and whether or not I needed them and what in the world I would wear them with, I honored my desire and bought the damn red boots. I wore them yesterday because it was raining and I knew they would keep my feet dry. I jumped in puddles with them and I told myself that even if the boots had no purpose than to just be shiny and red, they were wonderful and it is wonderful that I own them. Everything doesn't have to have a purpose. 

Some years ago, I got lost in function over style, in survival over thriving, in hiding rather than shining. In some ways I am still there. I don't know how to dig out of what I have let my home become. It's not all bad. My bedroom is lovely, it is my haven. The rest of my home is broken and dreary. I told someone recently that I gave up on it some time ago. 

I let myself believe that I didn't deserve better, that I couldn't create beauty within the walls of this twenty-two year old mobile home showing all of the wear of tear of eleven people living here full time. My energy is spent. Resources have not been utilized well. Now I am at a loss. I dream of living somewhere else. Most days I have to convince myself that is ok to want more, to crave beauty. I feel guilty for having not done better here. I feel I have let my children down by not pursing beauty for beauty's sake.

I am embarrassed of where and how I live. I don't invite anyone over because I don't anyone to see the great divide between this person who is capable and able, who is creative and intelligent and the home that she lives in.  There are holes in the wallboard because mobile homes don't come with real walls or real door frames. Almost every door is wonky or broken. I removed the carpet and linoleum years ago because it was just that dirty. Carpet can only take so many spills and kids throwing up and leaky diapers. It can only be cleaned so much. Our flooring is the sub-flooring which thankfully is good quality but still, I have no real flooring in any room of the house except my bedroom. There are holes in the floor too in places where water has leaked in at the door

I tell myself that none of that matters. I tell myself to decorate around it, let beauty transform it. I judge myself for not being better at this, for not knowing how. I am freaking artist! Why is this so difficult? 

When I cleaned out my mother's house this Spring I discovered all the ways that she put beauty into her life. She had little gatherings of things everywhere. A bookcase full of angels because she loved angels and people always gave her angel figurines. She would fill bottles with colored water and seashells. This little jar with artificial rose petals inside sat in her bathroom. Her home always felt cluttered to me. It was. It was cluttered in love and her little beautiful things. 

My little mama has been present with me for the past few weeks. It is as if she is still alive and needs me. I catch myself thinking, "I need to finish this because I need to go check on mom and put her medicine in her pill box." It was so hard when she was alive and sick and there was just so much going on for me personally. I tried to do it all but I feel like I failed miserably because I couldn't be there equally for everyone. I was angry because I was feeling like I just wanted it to be my turn. My self care was so depleted and I knew I needed to do something for myself but didn't see how I could and then I was just angry. 

Mom died seventeen months ago. In all this time, I haven't felt her presence at all. I haven't had conversations with her. My energy has been turned toward seeing if there was anything of me left. Now that I am feeling so sure, so focused, so settled into my being, she is showing up in my thoughts. Why and why in this way? Why is she showing up still needing me? What is the message here?

I don't have answers to those questions and I really don't know why this blog post has taken this turn. This certainly is not what I sat down to write. I planned on writing about jumping in puddles with my red, shiny boots. 

There is no reason for my owning those boots other than they make me happy. It is OK to be happy. It is OK to have beauty in my life. 

My journey as an artist has been burdened with this struggle of thought. I question the paradox of being a creator whose life doesn't reflect her creativity. Why do I create if my own life is void of my creativity? What is the purpose in collecting these paintings, these creative expressions in the corners of the bedroom? 

I am painting a picture here that is a starker contrast that what it is in reality but it is not far from it. I feel the difference very deeply. I want a clean slate, a do-over, a fresh start and I feel guilty for wanting something somewhere else when I haven't created it here. I worry that I haven't given my children a home to be proud of and what that has taught them about life, about creating home for themselves. I probably worry too much. 

My words are growing thin. I am tired. I have sat here for a long time this morning chasing myself and my feelings. In this moment, I remind myself that I am still in some level of physical detox which will wreak havoc on my emotions. I am also reminding myself to pay attention to these words because there are elements of truth here that I need to deal with. 

Maybe it is time to paint. It is definitely time to paint.