When my daughter was teeny-tiny, she loved to show us all the letters of the alphabet she knew (courtesy of Sesame Street). She was so little, she wasn’t even speaking in complete sentences yet.
One day, my husband pointed to the letter “Q” and she said, “O!” He said, “No, that’s a ‘Q’–see the little tail?”
She slapped her forehead and exclaimed, “Forgot!”
Last evening I came home grumpy and depressed after a less-than-stellar workout in Tae Kwon Do last night. Once again, I’d flooded with the impulse to simply leave. Once again, I was embarrassed I’d even felt like that.
Last night I dreamed was I back in a school room, teaching a class, only to have them mutiny halfway through. The students started yelling at me, “You can’t teach worth beans!!” (Or words to that effect.) Other teachers joined in. It was excruciating. I remember thinking in the dream, “They’re right–who am I to tell them anything?!”
In the wee hours, I woke up in distress over various little matters that seemed urgent at 4 a.m. I actually made a list of them. (And as I look over the list, well, maybe some of them are a little urgent. Like asking that guy who’s going to cut down some of our trees if he’s actually ever done that before.)
At any rate, this morningI was exhausted and crabby and thinking of all the things I’m doing wrong. I thought of all the things I’ve tried to fix all those wrong things. None of them are working.
Where is my magic fix??!!
And suddenly, like little Robin, I wanted to slap my forehead and exclaim, “Forgot!”
There is no magic fix!!
I can remember the day I made a decision to become an artist. I can remember how powerful I felt after that. I can remember the successes I had once I realized I only had to decide to do it.
I forgot the parts that were still hard.
I forgot that there were still setbacks, disappointments, outright failures, even back in my “full steam ahead” days.
That day of declaration wasn’t my magic fix. It was the first decision of many, many smaller decisions. Weekly, daily, sometimes minute-by-minute decisions. The decision to simply refuse to give up, to refuse to give in.
What kept me going was my decision to keep going.
So here I am this morning, remembering that.
There is no magic fix. No treatment, no therapy, no pills. (Well, I am lovin’ ibuprofen lately….) No magic press release, no magic show or exhibition.
Just little steps every day. Cherishing the ones that move me forward. Letting go of the ones that don’t work out.
Practicing my forms. Making my artwork. Working through the physical roadblocks. Writing my way through the mental roadblocks.
There is only the decision that this is important to me: Continuing to study the martial arts. This is what I want to do: Make and sell my art. This is how I want to live my life: Stay active, make art, be with people I love and respect. Breathe. Breathe!!
There are strategies and coping skills that help me persevere–this blog, going to class, taking commissions and making commitments for my artwork. Going to the doctor when the discomfort interferes too much, wearing the damn air cast, taking the occasional aspirin-or-aspirin-substitute. Learning to belay until I can actually climb again. Remembering my horse is still out there somewhere.
But what will ultimately keep me on my path is remembering:
I have to choose this.
I have to choose this, over and over. Every single day. Sometimes many times a day.
The power is in the choosing. And it’s never-ending.