Artist Date -first week of December

Per Julia Cameron’s book ” Its never too late to begin again”, I started writing the morning pages 6 days ago. The second item recommended by her in the process of knowing oneself is to have an artistic date with oneself. Take off on something that brings out the child inside a person. Its easy to wish an artist date and think about things I did as a child but have not been doing for a long time now.

Smiling, feeling free, no burdens or very few, jumping for joy when a happy something happened( I find it very difficult to jump now with my creaking knees) and so many more things. 

Feeling overwhelmed with the artist date, I decide to google it and look for ideas and there are so many sites that give out ideas- most of them doable. 

Started the clock at 12:15 pm yesterday and decided to stop at 1:15 pm- one hour. I took off to my office garden where  I keep a few plants on the balcony of the third floor which is the only outdoor space on the floor. Cut off a few withered rose flowers, trimmed some plants and cleaned up some flower pots. This is a date without social media or a phone- so I went without any electronic media to document my date. Fifteen minutes later,  I was done. 

What would I do for the other 45 minutes  ? I thought of the stacks of yarn sitting under my office desk and decided to start a crochet project. I have not been able to crochet for more than a year now- I can’t think of starting a project with an unhappy frame of mind. So I took up the book which I got a couple of years back – All American crochet Afghans- edited by Laura Scott and started off on a beginner project- by the time two rows were done, my 45 minutes had passed and without a care in my mind.

This artist date stuff seems to work. 

My inner censor

I am reading ” It’s never too late to begin again” by Julia Cameron recommended by a blogger whose writing I love so much- Molly Stevens.

I have had at least 3 blog posts started but not completed. I have carted all my yarn to my office, so I can keep my fingers busy and not stress over what might have been ( readers will know what I mean). In many unknown ways, my not going to do my Master’s has affected me- the first being my weight gain of over 10 kilos( 22 pounds) and my don’t care less attitude. There have been other stresses all of my own creation and nothing seems to count any more. I don’t have that positive attitude I used to have before that said I can do anything. Everything I try an inner censor comes and says – Oh, what’s the point ?”

Julia says that during work, there have always been colleagues who were critical of our work but as we near retirement, there is another stronger critic, our inner censor. In the chapter two, she says, when we say

” I’d love to design clothes” 

Censor says ” You can’t -you are too old to learn fashion design.

“I’d really love to design clothes”

Censor ” You are not fashionable. 

I’d really like to try, says you. 

Censor : ” What a terrible waste of money”.

” I can afford it”

Censor : You really are a fool

From Julia Cameron’s ” Its never too late to begin again”.

I have an inner censor too. The conversations in my head go on like this :

“I really want to study further, become somebody, make a few publications, become famous. I want to be able to go to my college reunions or school reunions as “somebody”.

Censor : You can’t do it. See what happened last time- you tried to get the visa and the visa woman rejected you. You had all the documents, the money everything in place, but she rejected you. You can’t do anything right. 

” I think I should try again. After all, they are holding my admission for me. Or I should apply to Harvard this time. If someone wants something strongly, the whole universe conspires to give him that said somebody famous. So I should try again.

Censor: No point trying. Even God is not in support of this venture. Your husband will be alone when you go.

” I’ll try to go for the summer course and come back after the summer”.

Censor: Even that won’t work. Just watch how you bungle even such a small thing up.

This weekend, I picked this book up again. I didn’t complete the first reading, though the book has been with me for ages, ever since the library bought it for me. Even reading a book has become a chore these days. If you ask me, am I depressed? Not outright but inside there is a deep, gnawing hurt that doesn’t seem to be going away. I pretend everything is ok and the tears don’t fall anymore but it is there.

Julia tells us to “shrink one’s censor”- describe it, how old is it, what does it look like, what are some of its favorite remarks, or even sketch it. Julia recommends that we name our Censor and this way, we can have conversations with a real named person and make a joke of it, if you will. 

I like this strategy. Over the weekend, an old senior plagued my dreams- her stinker and the way she bullied people around our hostel as Hygiene Secretary came back to me. I decided to name my censor ” Banani” and it is an apt name for my censor is not one- there seems to be a multitude of them, a veritable forest. “Banani” means forests. 

From the book :

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced”. -VINCENT VAN GOGH

What are things I cannot do ?or says Banani?

Banani says : 

” You cannot crochet again. Your left thenar area hurts so much.

” You cannot lose weight. You cannot control your appetite, even gluttony.”

” You daughters will not get married.”

” You will never return to your home country”.