Sunday, June 3, 2007

Connect the Dots... of Your Life

Dotty is a fragmented Muse. Pieces of her life are scattered all over the universe. There are so many missing parts of her that she is out of touch, disconnected....

Are you connected? ...dangling?
...working at cross purposes? ...odd woman out? Where does today find you? I was visiting Jane Wynn's Studio yesterday. Her At Arms Length... post hit home with me and offered some very poetic musings about quiting art!!?!?!? It really started me thinking...

I actually quit my art and most my life for more than two years. I am just rousing myself out of this blackness. Why would someone who was living her dreams do that, you ask?

I had no idea what was happening to me, or even that something had happened, until I was talking to my dear friend Terrie last week. It suddenly became crystal clear, like I was coming out of a thick, dense fog or waking from a coma, that I had given up being who I was meant to be. I was in shock, horrified at what I had allowed to happen to me. I believed that I was more emotionally connected than that.

The why is not an easy story to tell. In October of 2004 I was doing a mural in CA when I came down from the ladder to get fresh paint. When I attempted to climb the ladder again, my left leg would not go. My brain thought my leg was climbing, but I could not physically get my leg to move. It was a bizarre sensation. I sat on the floor a few minutes and tried again. I still could not climb the ladder. I cleaned up for the day thinking I was over tired from the trip and the pressure to complete the mural quickly. The next day was the same. So I had to abandon the job for the time being.

After returning to my home in Florida, things did not improve. I could not walk very well. I did OK on flat surfaces, but if I tried to step up a curb or stair, I had to do it with my right leg only. I fell down a lot!! I also tried to skip and my right leg could, but my left leg no... My skipper was broken, I joked to friends...but I knew something was badly wrong.

So I headed to Atlanta where my spine doctors are. I spent about 3 months going through scans, x-rays, electric nerve (shock) tests (trust me electrocution is painful), needles in my leg tests, etc.... In the end, I sat in a room with my medical "team" - orthopedic surgeons, neurologist, neurosurgeon, etc. who told me I had an inoperable cyst on my spine at the base of my brain that was causing mixed signals from my nerves to my brain and back. They had no solution except - this is the really bad part - when I became paralyzed, they might operate. I didn't hear anything else after that.

What I did know was that paralysis would be from my neck down and that meant that I would stop breathing. If I did become paralyzed I would not be able to punch an emergency call button around my neck or get to the phone. I would just die slowly. Now I lived alone in my beautiful beach house at the time. So I was scared I would die and nobody would find me for weeks. This was my mental picture. My mental state was much worse than that.

I went home to die...I expected to die...I waited to die!!! I had actually become paralyzed from the moment my medical team told me my diagnosis w/o a prognosis. Mental paralysis is very potent because it is not visible on the surface. You can appear to function without really participating in your life. I had no conscious awareness of this nor did I or connect the dots until the conversation with Terrie. She said, I "went in my house and locked myself in for two years." I said, "I did??" Ohhhhh, "Yes, I did!!!" Her statement opened my eyes instantly... I have been paralyzed by fear for over two years. I was flooded with emotion and then clarity...

A conversation with my son Chip on Mother's Day started my journey to awareness when he said, "I am angry with you because you did all this work to make a name for yourself and then you didn't follow through. You stopped when you should have been capitalizing on your fame!!!" It hurt, but I realized he was right. At the time I had no conscious understanding of how this happened, but I became aware that it has happened.

I believe the mental paralysis was some form of depression. It was so deeply rooted and had such a fierce hold on me that I became powerless to fight it. I talked to friends, paid the bills, functioned somewhat, but also made some terrible, life-altering decisions. I closed my studio, quit teaching and painting, moved back to Georgia to be closer to doctors, resumed a toxic relationship just not to be alone.... I have been asleep for more than two years. And it has just about cost me everything...

But I am determined to claim my place in my creative life once again... I have already begun... It is not too late for me to recapture the specialness of my art and my life... Knowing can resolve so much for me... I have walked through the fear and now am walking/sprinting out of the fear... It no longer holds me prisoner... I am no longer waiting to die... And if I do, I will go doing what I was meant to do...

Thank you Chip and Terrie for providing the shock I needed to see what was happening and how I ended up where I am today - on the edge... picking up the pieces to connect the dots of my life...

Today's aMUSEment - Face your fears...
U Be Creative Today!

9 comments:

andrea said...

What a powerful post to read on first visiting your blog! I look forward to more.

kelly said...

oh my goodness...what i ride you have been on! thanks for sharing this. it is amazing how our minds can control our everymove. hang in there and keep working! this really is a powerful post...thanks!

marita said...

don't be too hard on yourself by thinking your descisions as 'terrible'. you've made them following the circomstances you were in. not such a bad thing and okay if you regret them afterwards. your blog says it after all ...'a creative spirit'...THAT IS POWERFUL! i send you all my strenght from afar.

see you there! said...

I'm stunned. You've been giving me art inspiration all along and now here you are giving me life inspiration.

It seems to me, a new friend to be sure, that perhaps you needed that black time to more clearly see the color life has to offer. The path you are on *now* is the path that is important.

((Hugs))

Darla

tongue in cheek said...

It sounds as if you have taken many steps forward since you realized what you were doing in fear.

I pray each step moves you to your heart's desire and that you are well.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Angela said...

I just wanted to stop by and say that you do wonderful work. I love this post!
*HUGS*

lost son said...

Hard to read this as a child and have no idea that any of this has happened.

susanna said...

I had no idea you were going through this! I can understand why you would want to withdraw from your life. You were shown a frightening future - of course you'd want to hide away from that. I'm glad that you are coming back into your Life, the Life that you really want. You already know that you can achieve success because you've had it and two years isn't that long ago. Keep your positive outlook. :)

mytimetoblossom said...

Thank you for such a touching and inspirational story.

There was an error in this gadget