Archive for October, 2008

My experiment in positive thinking.

So technically, last night was a complete bust. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, it was the local chamber of commerce business awards, and I was one of chosen artists to show my work there. It sounded like a great idea, but unfortunately, we didn’t account for the way people moved around the space, and the fact that most of them didn’t even notice that there were artists there. They were mostly interested in getting alcohol, getting food, and networking. Which is fine, because that’s basically why they were there. It just kind of sucked for us.

So instead, I decided to make the night an experiment. What would happen if I didn’t immediately give up, and stayed in the game the whole time? What would happen if I looked for the positive instead of the negative?

Let me tell you – the difference was like night and day. I blew my own mind.

From the beginning, I could have viewed things as either really good, or really bad. First, there were supposed to be 4 artists, two in each alcove. Well one artist dropped out, so I was left alone. I could have been annoyed because I had to be alone. Instead, I decided to view it as an opportunity – less direct competition, and I could spread my work out better, have a nicer layout.

Once I was done setting up, I went to get a coffee, kill some time. There was a trio of men ahead of me in line, ordering 5 cappucinos. As it turns out, cappucinos are the most time-consuming drink to make ever (I now have total sympathy for anyone who works in Starbucks, etc. Man. I did not realize what a pain in the ass your job was.) The men insisted I go in front of them, but I had half an hour to burn, so I told them it was okay. Besides, they were cool guys, so I spent most of the time talking to them. Fifteen minutes and one very apologetic barista later, we finally got our drinks, and the men in front of me insisted on buying me mine because I had to wait so long. I could have complained about the wait, but really – free coffee people.

Once the night started though, there was a period of about 5 minutes when I thought “Holy crap. I am screwed.” The way everything was set up, the crowd was bottlenecking at the bar about 10 feet from me, but not really coming any further. I was getting essentially no traffic, except for the people who came in the back door. It was then that I decided instead of giving up, I was going to stay positive and focused, with an attitude of “I never know who is gonna walk past me.”

In direct contrast, although the other two artists got ten times the foot traffic I did, I got the vibe that they’d given up. Especially when one of them came up to me and said, “Oh my god, just kill me now.” Helpful.

By the end of the night, I’d gotten 4 potential leads for commissions – one from one of the men who bought me coffee, one from a local business owner, one from the wife of one of the big winery owners, and an almost definite one from the bartenders (who were my favourite people of the whole night). Oh yeah, and the local country club invited me to show my work there. Which is hardcore exclusive, and you only get in by  invitation from the general manager. I’ve been told its the best place in town to sell your art.

Take that negativity – my positive thinking kicked your ass.


October 31, 2008 at 8:56 am 1 comment

Today is going to be fun.

So today is the St. Catharines-Thorold Business Chamber Achievement Awards. They needed 4 artists as entertainment for the reception and networking time, and sent out a call for entries to the whole region.

Somehow, I got picked. The gods must have been smiling on me that day.

So 3pm I go down for set up. Until then, I’m going to spend my time beautifying, and trying not to squeal with excitement. I love talking to people about my art. I’m such a loser. (smile)

The really dorky part of me, that kind of sounds like an hyperactive golden retriever, is going “Omg! Omg! I get to meet new people! New friends! Omg! Omg!”

Seriously, if people could live in my head for a day, they’d come out seriously warped. And with an  odd aversion to golden retrievers.

Woof woof.

October 30, 2008 at 10:37 am 2 comments

Always listen to the happy 93 year old.

She probably knows something you don’t.

I met the most marvelous woman this weekend. (This is what I was going to talk about yesterday, before self doubt won out. I feel better today though, thank God.)

Charlotte is her name, and art is her game. This woman has come every single Saturday to the Queen Street arts festival, rain or shine, and stayed all day to sell her art. She is 93 years old, and has more life than most 20 year olds. The twinkle in her eye could blind you.

And you know when you meet a 93 year old with a bum hip who spends her Saturdays outdoors in the freezing cold, and walks around with a grin the size of your head on her face…well, you know when she talks, you’d better be listening. Cus she definitely knows something you don’t. Here are some of the wonderful gems she shared with me that day:

“Paint with joy, always. Look at it as an adventure – sit down, start painting and just see where it takes you. Enjoy the process. The product is great, but the process, the 3-4 hours lost in total bliss – that’s the important part. ”

“Wake up every day and say to yourself, ‘Today is a wonderful day! I wonder what adventures will happen?'”

“Look for the beauty in life. No matter where you go, look for the beautiful in the every day.”

“If you want to do something, decide that you’ll do it, and you will. Anything is possible.”

“Enjoy life, because it’s amazing. It has so many gifts for you every day.”

“Do what brings you joy. Life will follow you.”

I was so honoured to have met this beautiful soul. I only hope that I can be be so happy, joyful and marvelous when I’m 93. I mean, she has an email address, for pete’s sake. How many other 93 year olds do you know with email addresses? She was simply amazing. I can’t even describe to you how much I loved this woman.

And then right before I left, when I went to say goodbye, she took my arm, looked me in the eye and said, “You’re going to go far. Your artwork is beautiful. You will go far.”

Yeah, I nearly died. That was the one of the kindest compliments I have ever been paid, and by someone with so much life experience and happiness.

I’ll be listening to this woman’s advice, that’s for damn sure.

October 28, 2008 at 4:49 pm 1 comment

This was going to be a happy post.

Okay, so today I was going to blog about how many awesome people I met at this past Saturday’s Queen Street Arts Festival. I was going to tell you about Charlotte, the 93 year old artist who was the happiest, most wonderful person I have ever met. I was going to get all excited and dorky over the amazing conversations I had about life and change and art.

But right now, I seriously don’t feel like it. Right now, I’m kind of sulking. Except by sulking, I mean I’m internally freaking out, and have no idea what to do about it.

I woke up freaking out. No particular reason why, nothing happened. Just woke up, and was like “Whoa. Jesus. Everything is scary.” Except I know that this is a “Yeah, I’m running away from a leaf” moment.

So I know that I’m having a meltdown over nothing. And I’ve tried meditating and calming down, and I’m cool for like, 10 minutes, and then I’m back to feeling like the world is out to get me again. I’m right back to going “Omg, but what if (fill in the big scary blank)?!??!”

And I’ve been mulling it over, and I think that I know what it is – I’m feeling very “But what if everyone hates me?”

“What if, when I emailed that person I admire, they just wished I would go away?”

“What if, when I tried to help Person B, I just annoyed them considerably instead?”

“What if my blog sucks and everyone who reads it thinks I’m a moron?”

“What if everyone thinks I’m sharing my past just to get attention and sympathy?”

“What if everyone thinks I’m a horrible person?”

And I think that’s really what it comes down to – people judging me, and deciding, wow, she sucks. Because its happened a lot in the past (Any kind of emotional abuse, you get attacked a lot over nothing.) So I’ve figured out what triggered the freak out, where its coming from, and that its there, but basically, I’m still freaking out.

So what now? A conversation with the fear is in order I think. And if I ask it what it needs, it overwhelmingly tells me, it just wants to feel loved. It needs some reassurance that, no, the world does not hate you. It wants to feel safe, and protected. And its afraid that if I go around, sharing big scary stuff about being sick, and going through some major issues, that everyone is gonna hate on me. That they’re going to shun me, and ignore me and maybe even attack me.

To be honest – I don’t have a reassuring answer to any of that. Maybe that’s why I’m still freaking out.

October 27, 2008 at 2:59 pm 1 comment

This is why I usually make lists…

Because I often forget something ridiculously vital. Like yesterday.

Yesterday was the very last Queen Street Arts Festival in Niagara Falls (insert super sad face here). It was raining buckets, so we were holding it inside, in an old club. I remembered it being kind of dark in there, so I thought I’d be clever and bring lights from another indoor art festival I did.

My Dad:  “Okay, Sarah, this light’s ready and plugged in…Where are the light bulbs?”

Me: “Shit.”

Dad: “What do you mean, ‘Shit’?” (all the while starting to laugh, because he knows perfectly well what I’ve done.)

Me: “I didn’t bring any?”

Dad: “You realize that this is going down in the annals of Lacy history, right?”

Me: “Shut up.”

I had to listen to light jokes for the next half hour.

But this is why I probably should have made a list.

(P.S. There will be a longer post tomorrow about yesterdays art festival. Because it was awesome. But this event made me laugh, so I thought I’d share it, so that you can all laugh at my embarrassing tendency to forget things too.)

October 26, 2008 at 9:18 am 1 comment

Rant: Its not my fault you’re stupid.

The past few Saturdays I’ve been doing all day art festivals, in downtown Niagara Falls. They’re a lot of fun, if a bit chilly.

I guess my mother told one of her acquaintances about it, and said acquaintance (lets call her Donna) was all, “Oh yeah! I’d love to go! I will definitely go this Saturday!”

So last Saturday came and went. No sign of Donna.

My mum saw Donna this week. Donna was all sad because she went to the festival but she didn’t see me there. And this kind of confused me, because, well, its only one street. And I’m in front of the frigging post office, next to a  big flower pot. Its not like I’m dressed in camo, and hiding behind trees. I’m right there.

But then Donna dropped this gem – “Oh, but we only walked on one side of the street, because the other side was in the shade and really cold.”

Well, Donna, I think you have your answer.

October 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

Scary, emotional, vulnerable stuff.

I’m pretty torn about today’s topic. I’ve been pondering for a while about whether I should write about this or not, and whether I’ll be doing it for the right reasons. I was afraid that maybe I would be doing it for attention or sympathy or even approval. I eventually decided though, that even if I was doing it for those reasons, I’m also talking about it because it might help someone else. I decided that potentially helping someone else was more important than not writing about it because of self esteem issues in my part.

Okay, so here goes.

Two and a half years ago, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Seriously, just typing that is scary. If my ex or his family read this, they would probably definitely bring a storm of fury down on me. And that alone has been enough to deter me. I was so afraid of what they, or others, might say about me.

Here’s the thing though – silence suffocates. Silence means that there is something to be ashamed of, and there is not. Shame only perpetuates the problem.

I’m not going to go into details about the relationship – suffice it to say that I left with all the feelings of worthlessness and shame that every other person who has suffered abuse leaves with. Spilling the details isn’t important to what I want to share.

What I want to share is the healing.

The end of the relationship was ugly (did you expect anything less?). I was blamed for pretty much everything. If you listened to my ex, you’d think I was the devil incarnate. And because I was in such a horrible, icky place emotionally, I believed him. I lapped up every word. I believed that I was a terrible person, and that I was worthless. And I was desperate for him to come back to me, and make me worth something again.

Since that time, I have carried around the guilt of having (supposedly) ruined someone’s life. I have been angry at myself for ending up in an emotionally abusive relationship. I have been ashamed of my actions, and my former desperate need for him to come back. I have harboured a secret belief that I am a terrible person. All of these things have weighed upon me immeasurably.

Today, some of that weight was lifted.

On Monday, I was having a meltdown moment. I am the kind of person who is constantly struggling against her feelings, in the hope that if I struggle hard enough, they’ll go away already (this technique fails 100% of the time, by the way. I’m just a slow learner). So I decided to browse the blog, written by Havi Brooks. I guess the Universe heard my pain, because everything I read made me feel better. I took her advice, and stopped struggling against my pain. I embraced it, and let myself feel like crap. That crappy feeling – it totally started dissolving.

Now if this wasn’t an awesomely amazing huge shift for me already, today it got better. Today, I stopped the shame. I was so angry at myself for needing my ex, that I never listened to the pain underneath – the little girl inside who was sad, lonely and feeling unloved. The girl who, more than anything in this world, just wanted to be loved. So today, I apologized to that little girl for not listening to her. I apologized for ignoring her pain, for abandoning her, and for blaming and judging her. I promised to stop. I promised to love her.

And a rift inside me was healed. Just like that.

The rift that had caused me so much pain for over 2 years just disappeared. I felt whole again. And that’s a pretty powerful thing to feel.

I hope that in writing about this, I can help someone who is in the same situation. I hope that they can see that healing is possible, that self-forgiveness is possible. That a life beyond abuse is possible. We are all so much more than our past and our pain. We are so much more than what our past has defined us as.

We can blossom. We can shine. We can create a life worth living.

October 23, 2008 at 7:14 pm 1 comment

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