Thursday, August 5, 2010

Permission

Today I'm going to a party to say goodbye to a co-worker. After seven years, she's leaving us to go back to school and pursue a career. Good on her.

Whenever someone leaves, and it's really infrequent, it makes me question my life a little bit. Where am I going? Is this what I want to be doing? In many ways, yes. I work at home and I watch TV. Closed captioning is a good job, and it's a necessary service for the Deaf.

But... still. Sometimes I feel like my inner artist isn't being heard. I'm always so impressed with people who uproot their lives and incomes to follow a dream career. It's definitely not playing it safe.

I've plugged a couple new pages into my graphic novel. Still haven't gotten around to deciding how honest to get. Mostly it's the family stuff that is holding me back. My extended family all want me to reconcile with my father. Yes, I'm estranged from him, and with good reason. It's just too hard on me to maintain a relationship with someone who's mentally ill and who has a substance abuse problem he doesn't want to acknowledge. Plus many other issues.

So, to be honest in my graphic novel would be alienating to a number of people. It's probably be therapeutic, but my dad goes off the deep end if if thinks I so much as mentioned to someone he owes me money, never mind what he'd do if he saw an illustrated catalogue of all his abuse. But it's not his reaction I'd be worried about. I just don't want his side of the family to hate me for it.

I can only imagine how I'd feel if I learned my brother was abusive and had terrorized his children. It'd really, really hurt. I'd probably not want to believe it. I'd probably wish they'd work it out so everything could be fine. It's only natural they want to believe he wasn't so bad, or that he's changed (again).

I've been told stories about Grandpa being a difficult man. My aunts would tell me he was difficult and they would share stories to paint a picture of his stubborn and gruff personality. And I hear them and I think but do not say that it sounds like a mild case. I hold back the stories of my father that would curl their hair. And even when I allow myself to tell a couple of them, I see the shock register, and then the denial set in. And again I'm encouraged to work things out.

I know they love me. I love them, too. I suppose, though, that part of being an adult is accepting that you can't expect validation for your feelings, even if you need it. That you have to be strong in your convictions that you're doing the right things for yourself and handle it with grace when your loved ones disagree. I'm still working on that one. Probably will be for awhile.

And in the meantime, I'll be trying to give myself permission to tell my story.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the best way to write (or write and draw) something so personal is to do it solely for yourself. That's not to say that it's something you'll never get published, but, for now -- and throughout the creative process -- don't think about the implications of the work, and just express yourself. In the end, you'll have created something deeply meaningful, emotionally cathartic and true, and you'll feel rewarded for it, no matter what you decide to do with the finished work.

    THEN you can be pragmatic. For now, just be an artist.

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