Identify your Identity - week 2 of Walking in this World by Julia Cameron
The first fill-in-the-blank—
“When I was a child I dreamed of growing up to be_________________”
—had me stumped.
I wanted to be a cowgirl, a princess, a horse, Snow White or just be friends with all the animals in the woods. I filled in the blank and thought, “what does that have to do with being an artist?”
Frustrated over even one small task, I went to that dark place of self-doubt. Am I an artist—a painter—because I’m too lazy to follow through with a good education to become a doctor or scientist or therapist?
I have responsibilities; a husband, children, a home. How does a ‘starving artist’ contribute financially to a family? Am I patient enough? What will it take to convince myself that I am an artist? Do I dare?
In the process of Life over several years, I was slowly disappearing. I was Alice, getting smaller and smaller. Lately, I have been asking the question, “who am I?” I want somebody to tell me, but I probably wouldn’t listen.
As suggested in the book, I took a long walk. I thought about the things that make me happy—that make my heart sing.
books movies The Raven
letterpress printing typography
paper pencil charcoal
color/textures/patterns (all the senses)
the way a baby smells
stories whoppers pretend make-believe
animals and nature (birds, feathers, shells)
science biology medicine
angels (having them) demons (rebuking them)
dogs winged horses
grunge rock and roll classical music the blues
the way things feel in my hands
comfort food Chocolate (capital ‘C’)
imagination dreams logic
science fiction The Illustrated Man
bones skeletons forensic sciences
Flower Power peace signs hippies
eagles grizzly bears howling at the moon
This process that I am following (for a week and a half so far) is painful. Feelings are beginning to stir. Some of them are starting to surface, startling me into the realization:
I didn’t dream of of growing up to be an Artist. But I have always been a Dreamer. I was born from an alternate universe. I see things in patterns and textures through the colors of rose-colored lenses.
So yesterday, I blurted out to my artist friend, “I am a dreamer!” And immediately I felt foolish. I don’t have enough energy to be manic/depressive (only moderately active/very sad). I think I’m going crazy. (My good friend is an artist so she gets me. What a relief.)
Today, on a walk to the beach, I asked for some help and guidance as I rallied against the gusting wind. The wind practically blew my earrings off. Rusty’s long collie fur coat was plastered to his lean body. We became separated and he couldn’t hear me call. The wind took my voice in the opposite direction. So I trudged to a place downwind and called again. He heard me this time. Together as we leaned into the wind, we caught sight of a bald eagle, sitting on the edge of the beach just a few yards away. The eagle flew up above us and stayed there as we walked back to the Jeep.
I took it as a sign. I am a Dreamer. But even though my head may be in the clouds, my feet are planted on the ground. I’m not crazy—just going through A Change. There’s a small still voice that I can hear if I am in the right place. I can balk or rage against the the process. Or I can unfurl my wings and soar.