Asleep at the wheel.


I’ve been awake since 3am, my mind churning. Every single cell in my body is yelling “Stop! Turn around! Go back!

On November 20th, I finished my job at the smoothie bar and health food store. I quit with the intention of following my passion, my art.

Do you know how much art I’ve done since then? One piece. One 8×10 commission for Christmas. That was almost 4 weeks ago. Sure the client loved it, but what happened to art every day? What happened to pursuing my dream?

Instead, I’ve been positively overwhelmed with website work. Not to blame my clients – I took on these sites. I love my clients – they are sweet, wonderful people with a lot to offer the world. I’m thrilled to be helping them shine their lights.

But I’ve been spending 10 hours a day on the computer working for them. I made a semi-unconscious decision that I would put my art aside until I’d finished these sites, and built myself a little nest egg of money.

But these sites aren’t being completed as fast as I’d originally thought. Some look like they’re going to stretch out over months. Part of me wants to whine and say I didn’t see it coming, but I did. I was just asleep at the wheel, as I too often am.

I got out of bed at 3am to write this in my journal – Art is the most important thing to me in the entire world. It is my passion. Nothing else. End of story.

Sometimes I fall asleep.

Sometimes we all do. I was lulled by the siren call of money, of safety. But not of love. Oh sure, designing web sites is fun. But some of the tech administration work I’m doing? It bores me to tears. My body has been aching, exhausted. It let me know almost 2 weeks ago that I was going the wrong way, as it always does.

My question is – why am I going down this path? Why did I fall asleep? Why did I stop paying attention?

I know I go to sleep when I’m scared. When I can’t handle something, I shut off. If I look back through my life, I can see it time and again. I think I was overwhelmed by the possibilities. You know the phrase that freedom is more frightening than any prison? It’s more true than I think we’d all like to admit.

I suddenly had total freedom and I successfully got rid of it in record time. If I put as much energy into growing my art career as I do avoiding it, I’d be a millionaire. Now that’s something to think about.

If I put as much energy into my own marketing as I do other people’s, I’d be a millionaire.

So why don’t I?

Ahh, that’s a loaded question. I don’t seem to know the answer yet. I keep trying to find it and then it hides behind a hedge, or pops down a secret tunnel. It doesn’t want to be found, this block of mine. It wants to keep on hiding. Maybe that’s part of it – the need to hide.

But I feel like there’s something deeper than that, a resistance to owning my own power. Part of me doesn’t want to take responsibility for this art thing. Part of me doesn’t want to take responsibility, period. Not that that’s a sin – a lot of people go their whole lives without ever taking responsibility for it.

I also know that the only way forward is by taking responsibility for my life and no longer feeling like a “victim of circumstance.” I come by it honestly – it’s been drilled into my head since I became sick – so I’m trying not to be ashamed of something I was taught to believe. But it doesn’t feel good to think of yourself as a victim, someone who has no control over their own life. It’s not the most empowering way to see yourself – needy, small, dependent. Yet there’s comfort in it because it’s known, it’s safe.

And with all of these questions tumbling around my head, it’s no wonder I’ve been up since 3am.

Notes on Comments – This is my stuff. We’ve all got stuff, we’re all working on our stuff. I would love to hear it if you’ve ever felt like this, or been in a similar situation, or maybe you’re feeling like this right now. I’d really love to hear about it.

However, this is one of those things where I need to work through it on my own and advice just gets me more stuck because then I think I “should do it that way.” When I’m ready for advice, I’ll be sure to let you know. For now, I think I just need some camaraderie on this tough road we travel through our stuck, patterns and ick.