Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some imaginary shopping then on to other things

My latest creation, besides all the stories in my head. Maybe it's because I'm so wisely abstaining from unnecessary materialistic consumption that I'm currently preoccupied with materialistic consumption. Coach, Kate Spade, Jimmy Choo, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie...Oh well, this little miracle of computing technology cost me nothing but time.

On to other things, I'm recovering from a mild case of bronchitus and instead of taking things in my stride I've been busy making a lot of trouble for myself by feeling this is not fair, I should not be feeling this way. And so the resume I've been updating has become a testament to my disappointing career, all the things I'd planned to do by now and didn't. A news report connecting Asians who turn red from alcohol (like I do) and an illness I'd rather not cope with has had me lamenting my heritage. Having trouble falling sleep because of coughing, reason enough to wake up in a bad mood.

Then there's people who've hurt us in the past, people who are so wounded they're always ready to strike, and are still around to potentially hurt us again. There's a person like this in my women's circle, who I myself brought in because I felt sorry for her. And by the time I realized how toxic she could be she'd already become part of the group, bringing into it an element of competitiveness and judgment not there before. I'd brought an office friend, a frenemy, into my comfortable circle of support. But trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and knowing she wanted to be taken seriously as an artist, I tried to help her as much as possible. I introduced her to the owner of a gallery I myself hoped to get into. After telling me (for the second time) he liked my work and might include some of it in an upcoming show he then told her, as gentlemanly as possible, that hers was not quite right for his gallery. She argued with him for ten minutes, looked around his gallery, then argued with him another ten minutes. And though I tried to make her feel better at the time, I also sensed (but tried to tell myself otherwise) that she hoped I wouldn't get in either. (I didn't, quite possibly because I came in there with her.) Still, I've learned to (reluctantly) accept her as part of the group. We'll never be close but we can at least be civil to one another. But Monday, during dinner with nearly everyone, feeling tired and cranky, I had to practically pinch my forearms to keep myself from shouting, shut up! shut up! Shut the f---- up you self absorbed b-----. I've heard these stories how many times now!? Shut up!

Was this the bronchitis speaking? Or a lingering resentment towards someone I'm working to develop more compassion towards but who I too often instead think of as a difficult and monumental b----?, I have to say I'm not sure. According to Judith Orloff the point of having emotions is to learn how to transform them. Frustration into patience, anxiety into calm, fear into courage. I have to remember that I learned to forgive my father who did and said far worse things to my siblings and I, always deliberately, than anything this woman has ever done unconsciously. However much he hurt me, I got over it. I healed. And I am who I am today thanks in part to him.

So, I confided these lingering bad feelings I still carry, along with my other worries, to L. yesterday. I felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed to admit to them but she only said (and I'm about to cry here) that I'm a friend she will carry in her heart forever. No telling me, oh, get over it already. No judgment whatsoever. Just love, support and respect. Then she treated me to dinner.

My circle of support remains unbroken. Thank you L., I love you, too.


  1. Very heart warming! Although you may feel frustrated by your feelings, sharing them gives those of us who read about it hope that perhaps we can find the strength to deal with the people we don't want to deal with, or illnesses, our heritage, etc. Thanks for sharing. Despite feeling down, you still managed to be uplifting! And congrats for having such an awesome friend!

  2. Thank you Embee! I wasn't sure whether to post this one or not but now I'm glad I did. The best way to deal with pain and difficulty, I think, is to use the experience to help others.

  3. It is so much easier knowing what we should do with our emotions than actually doing it.
    And that is why friends who love and accept you – no matter what – are essential.

  4. Unconditional love is really tough to maintain when we are around people who are flailing at others because they don't have it and even more so when it takes us back to our childhood where did didn't get enough of it.

  5. Beth - yes, and I'm so grateful for L. and all the other people who, even if they don't always understand me, love me anyway.

    Butler and Bagman - You're so right, though I wish it was easier.

  6. Once again, very candid and interesting... it's not easy what you do, admitting to feeling the things most keep to themselves while not sounding self absorbed. Reading that balance of lightness and depth is satisfying and thought-provoking. Also, L's unconditional love and acceptance is the most potent of therapies; simple, yet with profound impact.

  7. Hi, Cheryl
    Returning your visit to mine.
    I looked at your website, too. Great artwork! OMGoodness, I bet you had a good giggle at some of the stuff on mine.

  8. Sparkle Mirror - a very deep and sincere thank you. It's difficult to gage the effect of one's words sometimes and feedback like that is deeply gratifying.

    Pat - Welcome! Thank you for liking my work. And goodness no! I thought your work was charming.

  9. Your post shows me that despite all the morass that surrounds us, we CAN change, we CAN heal ourselves, and we can be the better people we want to be. We´re always confronted by the gap between what we would like and what we actually achieve. Artists live close to their emotions and often express what the rest of us wish we could say or do. Here your compassion leads to understanding. Persevere. Even on your ¨bad¨days, your gift for words inspires others, including me!

  10. Your post shows me that despite all the morass that surrounds us, we CAN change, we CAN heal ourselves, and we can be the better people we want to be. We´re always confronted by the gap between what we would like and what we actually achieve. Artists live close to their emotions and often express what the rest of us wish we could say or do. Here your compassion leads to understanding. Persevere. Even on your ¨bad¨days, your gift for words inspires others, including me!

  11. Hi Cheryl, thanks for stopping by my blog. SOunds like you have a fab friend in L. Glad you're keeping your chin up :-)

  12. Beth - Thank you! Your understanding and encouragement means a lot to me.

    Tam - Your welcome and thank you!

  13. Hi Cheryl, thank you for visiting. I've enjoyed reading your blog and liked your candid approach. Yes, you know who are your true friends are so let the frenemy bubble away to herself. Best, C.

  14. Love your illustrations! Ever thought of designing blog banners, etc.? As for the negative-energy person, sounds like she falls into the "victim" category and revels in it. We all are either survivors or victims in this life. Those who complain and do nothing to change things (i.e. that woman) usually like playing the role of victim. Some people remain victims their entire lives, purely by choice. It is sad, but there's nothing you can do more than you already have. And you did the right thing, even though it was personally uncomfortable for you. If I were you, I'd go back to that gallery owner and talk to him over coffee about YOUR work. I'm sure he won't hold it against you for that woman's bad behaviour. Your work speaks for itself and I'm sure he wouldn't have made encouraging remarks to you previously if he weren't interested. Try again! You have real talent!

  15. Paris Parfait - Thank you! And yes, I want to do everything, blog banners, etc. I always have to keep my mind busy with something creative.

    And thank you so much for understanding. That means a lot to me. Usually, if a person proves to be an unfriend like she is I just walk away but in this case I can't. So in the grand scheme of things it's not a bad thing because I've been forced to use view the
    situation as a learning experience. And I have definitely learned a lot about tolerance, maturity and the value of true friendship.

    And yes, you're right about speaking to the gallery again. It doesn't hurt to try again.

  16. Oh my friend what a shame you feel so out of sorts. Re turning red from drink, I'm not Asian but it only takes two sips of something alcoholic to make my cheeks flame - it's very inconvenient.

    Hope you feel back to a better spring like state very soon

  17. French Fancy - Thank you! It's taking a bit longer than I would have hoped, but I am getting better at least.

  18. You just did what they called "talking cure".
    (although it's in a form of writing..)

    I hope this form of therapy works for you. If after ending the post you just did helps you relieved some of the pains and negative feelings inside, then it's safe to say, talking cure works..

    hope you're feeling OK now.. have a nice weekend ahead.


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