23 June 2011

On Joy

Of course I was apprehensive signing up for an art retreat with mother sick. I have signed up before and cancelled, enjoyed or had sick anxiety. So why would I take a chance? Because of the possibility of joy... I decided to attend the Gilded Life Art of Spring Event in June, 2011. Large group. 35 people.  Shiver. By the time it started, that number swelled to 55. Gulp.

There are three reasons I spend time alone and recoil from groups. First, I am an introvert. Not to be confused with shy, I enjoy quiet and solitude. I gain energy from it. I process, think and grow relationships in the space alone.

Secondly, I am sensitive. I cannot make small talk and often don't like what I hear during it. I want to connect or would rather beahome, alone, with all that yarn and Bravo tv.

Lesa Dailey's Bird sample for our class.

Lastly, when I am with people and connect, I do enjoy it, laugh and have fun. However, later and for DAYS I go back over every single thing I said, and did and punish myself. The Great Critic takes the joy retroactively out of the event, which is brilliant because I (a) lose any good stuff that came from the previous occasion and (b) am prevented from wanting to do that again.

Charlotte Perez pieces on display for vendor night.
Jo said when I criticize myself remember that is what I am thinking and not what is in other people's heads. I will have to remember that. And when I don't I can be miserable with my own thoughts and give myself a bad time for forgetting stuff and not using all that expensive therapy...Yes, The Great Critic is that good.

During the Art of Spring, I saw many women, all with stories, often sad, scars (I am drawn to scars, I seek scars), and I saw them living anyway.

Delicious Lulu Kellogg
Lulu, Heather, Jackie and Charlotte then became my teachers that weekend and today. Each with their own transformations from tragedy, what worse thing could happen to anyone than Charlotte? She describes herself as a grieving mother. And yet, vibrant, vivacious and vital, she throws that red-lipped mouth open and laughs. She lives her life, she lives her grief...Any. Way. I need to get alive like that.

The ever-shining Charlotte Perez

All of us were there, drawn together to get busy with our hands surrounded by beauty, cheering each other on, creating like women do. Special. Funny. Raw.

Shea and Debbie took very good care of us. Fed us. Surprised us. Played mama to us mamas who know how to appreciate some tender care.

Shea Fragoso with Madam Charlotte

I had such fun. But I did punish myself.

I can only try to do more of one and less of the other...

Heather Ales and I

Mainly, I realize my own story is rich, the landscape of my life, but, like LuLu, Heather, Jackie and Charlotte, it need not be an obstacle, just the vehicle to here. And if my pain is acknowledged, if I am validated, valued and loved, I can have great joy, not just alone but in the company of others.

Shea's blingy bracelet we learned in class. And yes, that is one big effin' diamond Lady Shea...
So, here's to us, we tired givers, we funny lovers, we powdered and accessorized women, we Gilded Girls who carry on and on.

I can shine too.
I know you will let me.
I just have to let me.


  1. Shine the eff on, Bird.

  2. I'm glad you chose to come.
    I also hope you choose to shine.

  3. Your pictures are lovely and it looks like a very good day was had by all. Your words touched me, and I thank you for giving me the name Great Critic. I have a a similar introverted streak and am forever wishing when I do go out that I had said or done or worn something else. I took the Enneagram personality test decades ago and am type 1, described as the judge or reformer - "voices critical of yourself and others constantly chatter in your head" and in my case these seeds were planted in childhood by a parent who could not be pleased, coupled with crippling self awareness. My Great Critic chatters endlessly. Understanding this has helped minimally, and I can easily criticize myself right now for dwelling on what I am unable to change, and for failing to live happily now, with what is, 50 some years on, knowing how short this life can be. The waste of time and the self cruelty are very frustrating.
    So I loved this post, I'm cheering you on, I loved the things you said and the things you made. I'm hoping we all let ourselves shine a bit more.

  4. I like the way Jemellia put it! Makes me laugh, and she is absolutely right. :)

  5. I don't care how you feel, pink Robin. You ALWAYS shine in my life. I'm so happy to see that beautiful smile of yours. Miss ya like caraaazy! <3

  6. Robin,
    You sparkle without even knowing it. You are a very "whole person," though you may not always see it. We all learn from you.
    P.S. Been busy. Very grateful for your last wise email.

  7. Do you know how blessed I am to have met you? You are SO lovely and YOU have enriched MY life by your warmth and smile and what you posses inside. I look forward to seeing you at another art event again my beautiful friend!

    Much Love,

  8. You are so beautiful and wonderful! I barely know you and I adore you!

  9. I feel satisfied, rapturous and oh so "JOY"-ful that you attended the "Gilded" event.......yet,......I have wept today. I marvel at your insight, your strength, your vigor. I am in awe of your compassion and affection. You continue to touch the very depth of so many that idolize and adore you. I am certain I speak for others as I express how fortunate we all are to know you........Te Quiero Mucho Mi Amor !!!!

  10. You are such a spot of joy when I am around you. Please don't think about wanting to change anything! I heart you in so many ways! Just still wish OK was closer to TX...ok...not a good description...OKC closer to HOU, better? You are so strong in your words..remember that each time you doubt. Look at your words & know they touch all of us! That was such a great weekend. Fingers crossed for another...somewhere....Hugs girl!

  11. Robin you are one of a kind! You keep us all in stitches when you are around. Thank you for being you! We would not want it any other way girl!

    Love all your wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing them..........


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