because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Unapologetically Ambitious

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This 9×12 multimedia original features acrylic paint, vintage papers, colored pencils and oil pastels. Click on the photo to see more of my work.

A few months back, my son came home, and I had him to myself for seven glorious hours.

I reserved time at Radio Social, a cool local club where we bowled and played Jenga with oversized rectangular blocks. I took him to get a haircut and non-essential provisions at Target. Over flautas and a brisket burrito, we smiled and laughed – and I was just so thankful to be alive.

“I’m proud of you,” my son said. “You never give up.”

After he left, I thought about his words. When I was bedridden and suffering from the prolonged symptoms of post acute withdrawal syndrome, I wanted to quit. I didn’t think I would ever heal.

Four and a half years later, I am so glad that I held on.

It stuns me how the trajectory of my life completely changed when I got sick. When I was cognitively scrambled ~ unable to read or write or do very much at all ~ I had to dig deep and find something to pass the hours.

I continue to be amazed that people are buying my art, that the things I do and say influence others ~ and most importantly, that I have people in my life that I care about and who care about me.

And yet.

There’s still so much I want to accomplish.

Now that I am mostly healed from my iatrogenic injury, I’m aware that time is short and I want to make a difference.

I’ve always been ambitious.

When I was a wee thing, I painted rocks, put them in a bag, and set out to show them to my neighbors. One woman was particularly kind. Mrs. Silverman turned over each painted rock in her hands and insisted in paying me a quarter for one of my creations. I remember being shocked about being offered money ~ and also feeling proud. Feeling confident, I wandered up and down the street, trying to sell my wares. My efforts were partially motivated by a desire for financial independence ~ my parents wouldn’t buy me that Tiffany Taylor doll, and I had to figure out how to get her somehow. But more than the doll, I had a profound need for people to see what I’d done.

I wanted the recognition.

I needed it.

These days, little has changed.

As one of my former students said in one of his recent blog posts: “I just want to make stuff and I want people to see it.”

Thank you for putting it out there, Kurt Indovina.

I’m internally motivated, yes.

But I also like a little validation.

That’s a lie.

I like to receive a lot of validation.

Creating art in isolation gets lonely, which is why I’m so appreciative when people leave a comment or hit LIKE, or interact with me when I am LIVE on Facebook.

So I’m owning it unapologetically.

I’m a creative.

An artist and a writer. A teacher & an activist.

And a wanna-be superstar.

I want my family to be proud of me.

And I want to be remembered as a prolific artist who made the world a little more beautiful, one painting at a time.

What do you want to be remembered for?

5 thoughts on “Unapologetically Ambitious

  1. We all need validation in one way or another. I’m so glad Cal said what he did. If I’m remembering right, he sort of withdrew from you for a while after the divorce, so I’m doubly glad every time I read about something you and he did together. Likes and kudos from the rest of us are important, but those from him are without a doubt the most important of all.

    1. You are remembering correctly, David…or at least it felt like my son withdrew a bit post-divorce. Who knows? perhaps it was just normal male separation from his mother which is, of course, appropriate. I definitely feel rather floaty these days when it comes to validation. I receive very little. mostly because I don’t have anyone around in person to supply any real words of affirmation. I’m so grateful to my online friends who tune in when I’m LIVE and continue to give me feedback. I really need it!

  2. I’d like to be remembered as one who validated the work of a creative, motivated, superstar artist who maybe doesn’t realize how much she makes the world better for all of us.

    1. As usual, thank you Brian, for being so incredibly supportive! I truly appreciate all you have done to help me build my confidence over the last few years. 🙂

      1. Dad and I love you

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