brave heart

Monday, July 9, 2012

double mock orange

When we were children, 
we used to think that when we were grown-up 
we would no longer be vulnerable. 
But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... 
To be alive is to be vulnerable.

Madeleine L'Engle

I knew if I allowed my fear to overtake me my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe, I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid. 

Cheryl Strayed - p. 51 Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail - a fantastic book !!

Every time I show up at the canvas, I am riddled with self-doubt, my inner-critic and the risk of failing. I want so badly to create something that I love, and often have an idea of what that may look like, and have to throw any preconceived ideas out the window and let come what may.

This vulnerability and risk-taking on the canvas mirrors that of my own life and my constant striving towards alignment and authenticity. I am in the middle of a painful and growing moment right now going through a divorce and rebuilding my identity: my art is healing that piece and informing what I paint too.

Mati Rose - from a great interview at Brene Brown's Ordinary Courage blog

I must constantly remind myself that both fear & vulnerability are such universal emotions. I take great comfort in Mati's first paragraph - because that's exactly what happens to me ... to all of us I suspect. I finished my last, my 12th, collage illustration last night. 12 illustrations in less than 30 days & with other stuff, projects & life thrown into that timeline mix. With maybe an hour left to go I wanted to cry so badly. I felt so exhausted, mentally exhausted. Tired of the big brass band & cheerleading team in my head hollering & doing back flips, smashing the cymbals, blowing the trombone trying with all their might to continually chase away demon girl and her pal Perfect. Away from me while I worked ... and I finished 

+ I'm reasonably* happy with the finished products ;-)
* note to self you are never happy with anything in the beginning

 I know in my heart ... that my heart is brave.

A fantastic Brene Brown TED talk The Price of Invulnerability watch it here  LOVE her !


  1. Susan, after reading this entire post I found myself with tears in my eyes! Congratulations on finishing your collages! I know they are wonderful without even laying my eyes on them. God bless you, my friend.

  2. Never doubted it for a minute !

  3. This post had my heart with the Madeline L'Engle quote. It has been so long since I've read any of her work. Gorgeous photos. Thank you for this post.

  4. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.


Hey ! We LOVE comments here at 29 Black Street.
Thanks for stopping by.