Two trajectories are defining my days – one pulling me forward to my work, and the other pulling me down and away.
The first: I let go of rules I’d made about how to have a studio in my home and asked my brother to put up drywall over my (plaster) foyer walls. Such permissions sound simple in retrospect; this one took more than two years. And it closely followed December 11, the anniversary of my mother’s death. Now, with wall space in addition to my huge table (the envy of all), I have a workable studio. A few days ago and perhaps synchronously, I was notified that my work will be shown at Gallery Korea in 2011.
At the same time, I feel a malaise that I attribute to a kind of middle-age exhaustion. I’ve read that this time of life can bring a loss of optimism, idealism, possibility. I’m struggling with that, because those qualities are fundamental to my character. I feel betrayed, confused, and frightened by how unfamiliar I can seem to myself. I’m disallowing my natural responses to the world. They cost too much, cause too much disappointment. The tide and the odds are pushing too hard against me. The word jaded comes to mind, but I reject it. Tired, yes; beat up, sometimes; down, often. Those are passing; jadedness seems permanent.
Interestingly, my malaise lifted temporarily while watching In Treatment a couple of nights ago. The premise of psychotherapy is that each person’s pain is valid, that the moment-by-moment events of a life have weight, and that it is worthwhile – arguably necessary – to look at them. I’m grateful for the reminder that my sensitivities are intact, if clouded over, for now.