forgetting

liam_flying_grass_500.jpg
Flying Liam, Canon Eos

“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
Henry Miller

Sometimes I wonder if the folks who read this journal might believe that I have a certain kind of life, maybe even a charmed life? one that is brimming with celebration, laughter, beautiful friends, few worries. In a way, this is true. (There are so many ways to tell a story) And yet, it is also a choice, what I choose to tell.

What is the story we want to tell about our life?
What are the stories we want to remember when we’re old?

This journal is often the place of forgetting for me. The place where I am reminded (through sharing) of the beauty of the world, of the colors and brilliant landscapes, of the talent and wisdom of artists, writers and friends.

I’ve kept journals for most of my life, and most of them are downright depressing. They are wrought with struggle, confusion, insecurity and sharp pain. They are utterly excruciating to read now. (I’m sure you all have similar journals?!) It seems that I was only inspired to write when I was going through something really painful, so that is what I am left with – a collection of painful stories. It doesn’t really tell the whole truth. (Were my 20’s that bad?)

Several years ago, I decided to keep a visual journal, one with few words, but full of photographs, quotes, tickets stubs, candy wrappers, wishes, drawings and love notes. It became a quilt of my experience, and told a completely different story. These journals are more like footprints of my life (without the judgment and cynicism of the moment) simply tracks, things that passed through. It gave texture to my remembering. It felt wider and more full. It allowed for more joy.

The heartfelt venting, the rants, the spills. This is all good stuff and I still do this. It clears the air. Sometimes we must start there.

But I am learning, (through a personal essay class with the brilliant Laurie Wagner) that somewhere deep inside, perhaps just a little bit deeper, is a story that is even more interesting to tell. It might not be pretty, but it might tell a whole truth, a wider truth, a more beautiful truth, however painful.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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15 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    It’s actually comforting to know that everyone goes through those tough times, but it’s also a great thing to hear (and understand) that those tough times aren’t what completely define us as people. It really is an entire tapestry of feelings and experiences…

  2. jo anne

    another beautiful post. thank you for sharing. have a wonderful day:).

  3. stefanie

    You are so right!

  4. nea

    Ironically, I was just thinking about the few weblogs I read, thinking that you all have charmed lives, full of celebration, laughter, beautiful friends, etc. I could hardly believe my eyes as I read this post! I don’t really believe that though…we all have charmed lives if we choose to…and all can be filled with celebration, laugher, and beautiful friends, even if the only beautiful friend you have is yourself. I enjoy your posts and photographs. I hope to purchase a necklace in the future…I am at the end of a year long student teaching stint and can’t afford to breathe right now. Soon, I too will be a Superhero! Smiles!

  5. rachael

    oh yeah… I used to fill journal after journal with every angsty thought I ever had. Every heartbreak. Every tragedy. My paintings were dark & sorrowful. It wasn’t that I was a sad person, or that my life was incredibly tragic. It was just easier to tell the dark & brooding stories of my life than the joyful ones. I’ve been trying to tell more truthful stories, the beautiful bits.
    I’m supposed to have a show in a local gallery in September. I expressed my concern that I wouldn’t have enough for the show to a friend of mine recently.
    She said, “What do you mean? You’ve got plenty of work for the show! Relax.”
    I said, “Yeah… but it just isn’t ME anymore.”
    I’m determined to fill the room with bright & beautiful things. Smiling portraits & laughing faces. We’ll see… but yes, It really IS how you choose to see & how you chose to live.
    Beautiful picture. 🙂

  6. Julia

    I think your insight is right on the money. It seems that so many of us express only the good and cheerful side of ourselves, lest be we thought of as negative, whiney people. But I think the old adage about “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” is what really defines character. We all have a dark side, with secrets and regrets, and I never met anyone who didn’t have a skeleton, (or 2) somewhere in their closets. I think the cool thing about you, and this blog, is that you make the choice to celebrate and share the laughter, friends, beauty and joy with others. We all have our demons, and problems, but with your great photos and well crafted words, you give all of us who read your blog, a much needed “spiritual kick in the pants.” For that, I really look forward to checking in on your site each day. Thanks

  7. emilia

    that was the most amazing thing i’ve ever read and so unbelievably true.

  8. Jen

    Wow, what a beautiful entry. There is so much honesty in your writing. I love that picture, there’s something very human about it. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  9. ags

    You inspire me. I love to come here, it’s an escape, in a way.
    I once read a quote that said something along the lines of “Appreciation is the beginning of wisdom”. It’s so true, for me it is often forcing myself to see the world from a different perspecitve. It’s too easy to focus on the small negativities. And it’s so good to be reminded that life is too short to waste it like that.
    PS This said, don’t read my latest entry on the sneakers that I’ve boungh too small 🙂 I like to whine and make things bigger than they are – sometimes.

  10. Adina

    That is exactly what I was thinking about these past few days. You find these extatic, always happy, always up, all sunshine weblogs. It is a matter of personal decision, but they sound a little bit false to me…they do not capture the beauty of life- this miraculous blend of both highs and lows, suceeding each other, or, more often than not, intimately interrelating…

  11. ani

    I can very much relate. I just choose right now to write down about the positive aspects. I can’t bear to look at my journal from my early twenties any longer.

  12. pt*:)

    I really want to respond to this most profound post, as I can so relate to it, but the words are quite stuck in me this moment. However, I’ll try! (heh!)
    This one revelation puts into words what has perplexed me for the years I’ve been keeping a blog. It couldn’t have come from anyone as eloquently as it has from you.
    And, on some level, your words have heartened me to continue the path I take my blog, especially when the stories want to come out and be heard. To some who read, I think it disturbs them, but to me, the stories, they just are. I accept them, whether simple or confounding, which is why I can tell them.
    We all have our stories. We choose, and staying true to that choice, is strength, not a cry for pity or attention. And, above all, we can only hope we are respected in using our voice.
    Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to say this because I feel a little foolish saying this in your comments*:)

  13. azura

    loved this post and had to recomend this site to 5 good friends.

  14. annie

    That photo of Flying Liam is amazing. Did you give a copy to his parents? It’s an award winner in my opinion!

  15. Ilsa

    I ceremoniously write the worst bits down, seal them in an envelope, write a message on the outside reminding myself that some things are too heavy to carry around all the time. The envelope then goes in something akin to your cigar box. I call it the Oubliette. The good bits I hold close and spread around everywhere.
    I like your journal.

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