I want to acknowledge that there’s a lot of heaviness out there. To everyone affected by the pandemic, wildfires, Hurricane Laura, the continuing injustices, and daily struggles of life that exist everywhere. I see you. Being human is hard. I’m sending you big virtual hugs.
2020 has been a tough year for so many of us, myself included. I wake up most days feeling like someone turned up the gravity dial. Everything feels heavier. I've been finding time here and there to create art. Gone are the days where I had 8 or more hours to paint. I woke up everyday and poured myself into my art, and into my work. I was building my dream of being an artist. I haven't let go of that dream but, I have had to shift my focus. When quarantine started, schools closed. As a mom of two boys, I found myself teaching via the online school system. My work had to fit into shorter hours. My focus became keeping my family safe, happy and healthy. This summer I took on doing some PSA mural projects urging people to wear a mask when out. Doing these murals lifted me up, gave me purpose. I was still getting paid to create art, and I was helping communities.
The months passed by, and pre-March seems like a lifetime ago. I jokingly refer to it as "the time before", in chats with friends. I miss the the times before all of this dearly. The first 6 months I held out hope that any day now, everything would return back to normal.
I scoured headlines, reading all the news I could in those first few months. I kept searching for hope. I felt anxious, not knowing how to move past the uncertainty of everything 2020 was throwing my way. When would it end? When would things return to normal?
Summer passed without our normal vacations and trips to museums. We went out to the beach for a socially distanced trip out. However my new med, made me light sensitive and I spent a week recovering from the intense sunburn. It felt like punishment for even going out. Our memories were made mostly indoors this year. We took a few hiking trips in the mountains. Summer was over and it felt like a small blip in the groundhog's day of monotony that is Covid Quarantine. I stopped being able to read the news headlines sometime during the summer. The world seemed to be on fire. My heart hurt watching the extreme violence. Seeing the divide online only further disturbed me. I held my babies tight and cried, a whole lot over the summer. This reality wasn't the one I imagined for any of us. I shut off my devices and focused harder on what I could manage in my home.
Last week my children returned to school online. Instead of waving goodbye to them as they boarded the bus to school. I took on the task of being their teacher, and keeping them home to keep our household safe. This decision was what was best for my family. However, prior to this, I felt things would return to normal. Now I had begun to realize, this is what it is, and I needed to continue to adapt. A part of me is grieving, because I feel like I am letting go of what I've built. The dream I was working toward has been put on the shelf. I'll get back to it, as I refuse to give up, but first I must figure out how to balance school for them, and art for me. I'll keep creating, but you'll probably see less art out of me, as I've lost my flow state. Painters need long days and lots of solitude. That's gone, I tried staying up nights, but not sleeping, makes my emotions harder to regulate. My health, and my emotional state need to be well, for myself and my family. So staying up nights is not a good solution for me. I am working within very small windows of time. I'm sad, and I am upset about it sometimes, but I can't be like that all day, everyday. So I am meditating, shifting my focus and getting therapy to help manage.
I know I am not the only one struggling. I am sharing this, so those that care, are aware ,that I haven't quit. I've just adapted to my current situation, which I think we are all doing, and that can be really hard. Changes are hard, especially when we didn't expect them, plan for them, or know how to best navigate things. Take care of yourself, first, then help others around if and when you can. I want to really thank those of you who have reached out. I see you. I appreciate you. Thank you. Your friendship and encouragement have meant the world to me. Hang in there. Things can't be bad forever. This too shall pass.