I have been on a theme in my life. Uncovering my authentic self. This has been going on since, at age 37, I quit my government job and became an art student.
The question is why wasn’t I my true self, and why did I have to go find me?
I have been peeling away the masks and costumes and finally, I think (I hope), I have come to the childhood experience that moved me away from who I was and into what others expected me to be.
I know that my childhood experiences created sets of beliefs about myself, and those beliefs created habits and patterns of behaviour that sometimes served me and sometimes harmed me. This one did both.
I am the oldest child in my family. You who are the oldest, you know what I am about to say. At 3 years old my identity was changed, from just ‘Cathy’ to ‘The Big Sister’. How I understood this was not my parents’ fault or intention. It was simply that, at 3, things were one way or another. There was nothing in between. I had been ‘Cathy’. Now I wasn’t.
Here is what I understood, the beliefs that I created. I could not longer be just me. I could no longer be intent and focused on what interested me alone, so deeply focused that the outside world disappeared. I could no longer play. I had to be responsible. I had to keep my sister safe. To keep her safe, I had to choose what my sister needed over what I needed and wanted. I had to have a wide awareness that included more than what I wanted to do for myself. I had to give away a piece of everything I received, including giving away myself. Nothing was mine alone.
When I read this last paragraph, my mind judges and says I am complaining and being selfish.
Yes I am. It is my self I lost, and my self I am reclaiming. Through these drawings, I am claiming what gives me joy. Reconnecting me to my heart. Reconnecting to what is important to me. Being Cat. Artist. Writer. An individual, authentically me. Loving my self. And when I love my self, it is easy to love others.
The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC. The show runs to November 26th. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th. Come and join me! https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/