Friday, June 12, 2015

on longing and motivation....

last week, when i reintroduced myself and talked a bit about our move from new orleans to miami last year, i mentioned that i don't like it here, could give you a million reasons why not, but that i didn't want to talk about it...and i don't.

but i need to talk about it just a little, because what i DO want to talk about is staying motivated when you work for yourself. 
and it seems that for me, at least, surroundings play a very important role in my motivation.

 this is what i was surrounded by in new orleans:

this is what i am surrounded by now:

i'm just going to be brutally honest with you: every morning i've woken up here, i've wanted to set myself on fire. 

i"m not only having a hard time coping and adjusting, but staying motivated and inspired.

i have been struggling, struggling, struggling for over a year now...even though i have the one thing i have ALWAYS wanted my entire life: my own studio and the ability to work from home.

this is the only good picture i have of my space, so yeah, i'm posting it again...

ahhhh...the dream!!! it came true!!! 
now what?

this is a normal day for me lately:
i wander around. i clean. i wander around. i watch tv. i look at my work desk. i wander around. i pet my cats. i water my plants. i work a little. i wander around some more. i wait for my mister to get home because he's the only person i ever see or talk to. sad, i know. but true....

i don't avoid the studio, but i haven't really been able to loose myself in there either.
i call it my sanctuary, but the truth is, i avoid it.
a lot.

i don't work.
not like i used to.

 i was an artist in a mad, creative frenzy once upon a time.
i wouldn't answer the phone.
i didn't check my email.
i hardly every socialized.

i wanted to create!!!!

i HAD to create!!!!

now... meh.

i know why i'm behaving this way, yet i am finding it difficult to stop.
difficult to break the cycle.

see, back in new orleans, if i was feeling like i needed inspiration, or just to re charge ye olde batteries, there were many things i could do; many places i could go. 

i could literally walk out my front door and stroll over to the garden district and admire the amazingly beautiful architecture. i could walk down magazine street and window shop or chat with friends. i could pop over to the art supply store and pick up some new brushes or just chat with the folks who worked there.
and so on and so on.

here, i am stuck inside this house.
there isn't a magazine street. or a garden district.
the art supply store is a 45 minute drive in bumper to bumper traffic and 15 mile an hours school zones - on a good day!!
there isn't any beautiful architecture.
(see above photos of the lovely strip malls)
i feel like my soul is being ripped out of my body one tiny piece at a time.

there aren't any independent businesses.
the park across the street is the size of a postage stamp and whenever i've gone over there to just walk around for a few minutes, people stare and point and laugh at me.
why? i have no idea, but it happens every single time and it makes me uncomfortable, so i stopped going.

we have a lovely home...

but no matter how lovely our new home is....
i feel trapped here with no way to re charge my batteries. 

the closest thing i have to anything lovely is our own back yard, which i have started letting grow wild ( from the carefully trimmed box shrubs the former owners admired) and filled with butterfly bushes and nectar plants.
gimme ALL the plants!!! 
it is my only sanctuary.

but it's not enough.

i'm still looking. searching. for that connection. my people. my places.
and i know, deep in my heart, that it is unlikely that i will find them here.
yet, still i search.
because i'm not really the type to give up.

but, i feel like i'm constantly opening the refrigerator door and searching for something to eat even though i know there is no food in the house.

this is my life now.

and i need to fix it.

i need to stop searching. 
i need to get to work.

i have a plan. things i want to do. things i need to do. 
truly, i am happiest when i am making my art.
it's who i am.
i don't even know how i would describe myself if i couldn't use the term "artist".
my whole being lights up when i talk about my work (even though the mister's eyes glaze over when i do so.  lol!!)

art is who i am.

but i am failing miserably at staying focused on that art.

i have GOT to find a way to get motivated again.
GOT to!!! 

so, i'm there anyone out there in a similar situation?
are you happy where you live, or are you just putting up with it?
 if you are in the suburbs, and not a suburban person, per se, how do you cope?
 are you older - like me - and find it difficult to make new friends you have things in common with? do you feel that your surroundings don't speak to you?
that you are alone in an area you can't relate to?

what do you do? 

how do you cope with a situation that isn't working for you?
 how do you accept that things are no longer what you are used to?
how do you stay motivated and focused when you feel alone and  incomplete?
that you aren't being nurtured artistically or emotionally?

how do i immerse myself in my art again and accept that things in other areas of my life will get better?

i guess i have some work to do and things to think about...or should i just STOP thinking all together and just DO?
that seems to be the best option, sometimes.
but it's been very hard for me to turn some of this stuff off.

so, this is me, ,trying to figure it all out....



FairiesNest said...

My best friend and I call this artistic procrastination. We all get it from time to time no matter where we live. We know we' love our work and we want to work but we find a million reasons not to start. Mine is particularly bad in the summer because I'm stuck inside because of the heat and my allergies and yes, it sucks. Perhaps you could take a class? It's a good way to get inspired or just meet people. I've met some great folks through my yoga class and going gets me out of the house too. iMy friend, a wonderful artist, started a pottery class recently and it has made her feel like painting again. Take mini vacations whenever you can, a long weekend away might help you recharge too. Good luck to you dear, your latest work has been so lovely!

ellen lankford said...

hi amberling,

since i was forced to retire due to ill health (& soulless co-worker bitches who ran me off) i do not see anyone. my older brother moved in with me after a couple of heart attacks and a nervous breakdown. he rants and raves, but thankfully no longer talks about killing himself…i called 911 once, and it really pissed him off…"i'm not going to kill myself, it's just something people say". he was scared i was going to have him committed. so yeah. that, and his addiction to prescription pain pills, which he needs due to back reconstruction, but he eats them like Pez. he's the only person i see, i am on strong pain medication myself, thus can not drive, even if i were able to. it is murder on my knees. so i don't do lunch with my friends. i have never even laid eyes on one grand nephew, and the other i've seen once. i can't get my nieces on the phone, and chat with my younger brother between 2 and 8 minutes a day. the worst thing, though, is BOREDOM!

as for ideas on how to make friends…i had a co-worker once whose sister had many friends all over the world, many of whom were quite wealthy. every time she travelled, she would go to an AA meeting. she was not an alcoholic. she rarely even had a glass of wine. she just recognized that she was a codependent, and this was a good way to meet friends and lovers of similar codependency. i think she was a lawyer. anyway, as i don't think you're a co-dependent…hmmm. how to find amber a friend. you could join the church of ladder day saints. they have their own version of the Bible, where an old geezer married a zillion young girls b/c an invisible golden tablet he carried in his hat told him to. i think an angel named Megatron gave it to him. or….you could spend time taking classes at Home Depot, on how to do your own pipe cutting and cabinet welding. you could meet what the young folk call "Haus Fraus" there. but you could have lunch with them, and invite them over and let them be jealous of your crib. then, there's your love of plants. are there any gardening clubs in Dade County? i bet you can find lots, from the "Tea Rose Lovers Society" to the "Liriope Addicts Swap Meet". i like this gardening idea. there's also something called "Home Extension" or some such, that has classes as well. i once met a Master Gardener who worked for them. i met her at the pool where i was taking swimming lessons….hey, swimming! or some other little low impact sport! do you know how to swim? i didn't until i took classes when i was about 41. i made two good friends there. lots of lunches and movies, cookouts, and other stuff. one was from India, he was an engineer and quite interesting. he had an arranged marriage and everything. maybe you can glean something from my mad ramblings. good luck, sweetie. just give it time. maybe volunteer somewhere. put yourself out there!!!

i love you lots,

Amber Leilani said...

thank you so much, cynthia!
i know we all get it and i have had it before, but it's been really hard here, feeling cut off from everything i know! i am trying MeetUp tonight...trying to find people with similar interests. and i've thought about taking a yoga class myself. i'm not good at it and i have wrist issues, but i do enjoy it. the mister and i both are trying to get out more and see what the area has to offer. it's hot , but i guess we are sort of used to that! lol!!
thank you again for all the lovely words!!

Amber Leilani said...

you are making me laugh so hard Ellen!!! xoxo