Journey Through The Grey: There And Not Quite Back Again
Days used to exist when the soft glow of morning peeked through the curtains, straining to make sense of pencil lines and graphite smudges on the once pristine white paper taped to my work desk. When each breath of crisp spring air was as rejuvenating, as the magick of Cerridwin’s cauldron, and the crows would dance and spiral over my path as they escorted me from Union Station to Grant Park. And nights were gentle and serene lying beside my loved one, spending hours talking of the fantastic images waiting to be conjured to life in artistic ritual.
Today the curtains are always closed, secreting me and my art from the light of the sun. Days begin just before noon; often partaking in the nectar of modern day (coffee) and lounging in front of the television watching the lives of strangers fall to ruins before live studio audiences. Most evenings spent watching the same old movies my eyes have seen a hundred times, and then off to bed to begin the same boring routine over again the next day.
So, what is my point, you may be beginning to wonder? Why would anyone care what goes on in my daily life? Things aren’t always so easy to write, and beginning with ‘Hello, my name is…’ isn’t always the way to go.
People, it seems, never write about living in the grey. What I mean to say here is that I have noticed that most people have a tendency to write only after they have come out of the grey, looking back on their experiences and praising that they are no longer at that time in their life. Notice that I have not written: ‘Then one day I awoke to the dismal grey of morning, the sunlight seemingly uninterested in what new puzzle the lines on the white paper purveyed…and that in my heart of hearts I could only begin to guess that something was wrong’?
As of yet there is no happy or unhappy ending, as I am still in the middle of this experience. And to note, I will use my lack of creativity as an example because it is who and what I am, not merely an artist, but a creative. Creativity and imagination are my magicks, not alchemy, or ESP, or clairvoyance…my rituals are of a different nature, my tools of a different sort.
I used to be that sort of creative and imaginative person who had no troubles visioning what few others could, or learning the narratives to unwritten works. And at this time I also had a fancy for the craft, and a fear of it too. Yet I prevailed, working my way up the ranks of written knowledge, learning about Wicca first, and spiraling out from there into other ideals and sects.
And it was at this time that, with the help and assurance of my loved one, began looking into enrolling in college. And yes, things were not so chipper at this time, which I believe was the beginning of walking into the grey. My sister had moved out of state (we were the closest siblings) , my best friend had developed some unsavory habits resulting in the end of our 4yr friendship, my parents had separated just after my graduation (both in their 60’s) , and I had been heartbroken over the end of a long relationship (the first of a grown up relationship who also happened to be the first person I realized I really loved) . And my loyal companion and bedmate (a doxie) had just passed away.
To say that I was deeply depressed would be an understatement. I had no money for school at the time, so I looked for work, and it was there I met my current and forever love who unknowingly began to help me pick up all the little pieces I had lost in the span of a year, and just as unknowingly I had begun to do the same for him. And it was around this time that I began to wane in my creativeness, no longer wanting to make art, yet unable to travel without my seasoned sketchbook. And at home, unable to bear the remains of my former pieces, I slaughtered canvas after canvas, and shredded or burnt the rest of my sculptures and sketchbooks.
Entering into school was hard, as I began to make excuses not to go as the first day neared. I had done a few simple drawings, after my love had discovered what I was and insisted that I draw. And for a time I was happy, but as college approached I began to shrink back into myself. I was timid, but over time I developed a focus and a love for the line and general atmosphere, and great love and respect for my peers and instructors. Things began to look up, and I even helped my love realize that he wasn’t happy in his field of study and gave him the courage to change. We committed and bought a puppy into our lives…a mixture of absolute love and monsterness.
Then my mother, who had been miserable living with my oldest sister, decided to move back home, and within a year of doing so my sister Jo (who had been closest to me) followed suit and returned to the nest (I haven’t yet left) with her dog. With the spiritual head back home, as welcomed as she was accepted back, I could no longer carry on my learning of the craft. I still continued to read into the area, as I still do, but was now unable to practice what was preached.
Things in my relationship soured only once, my rock (as I have always seen him) no longer there for me to lean on, I began failing out of school. Distracted and unwilling to work, I came crashing down.
We were able to work things out, and together we got back up on our feet. I would do surprisingly well in school, yet was always lacking that finished touch. I had also quit my former job and after being unemployed for 3 months had finally found another. But unable to pay for the upcoming semester I took a break from school.
What was meant to be a semester off turned into a little over a year off. I had promised myself and my love I would work on my skills, and yet I was still unmotivated to do so. When I was able to go back in, I was no longer on the up and up, no more displays in the hall decorated with my artwork, no more extended discussions on my critiques. ‘You already pinpointed what you need to work on…so why not just do it?’ my instructors would say.
Indeed, why not? I still don’t have an answer. Just a little over a year left until I am a graduate now, and I am still in this grey area.
I see now, that my creative abilities and sense of magick are one and the same, for what I have waned in one area I have waned in the other. I have lost my soul pieces as any shaman would say, and even now I have had no luck in attaining any of them back. Is it merely that I am unmotivated, too lazy to do? Am I fearful? Am I willing?
To this day, I have never been unable to journey anywhere without my seasoned sketchbook…or as I like to imagine, my artistic grimorie. I have never been unable to stop imagining…seeing those awe inspiring images just behind my eyelids…nor unable to unravel the mysterious narratives of things lacking written words to pass along their stories and knowledge. I know that the magicks I have always had are still here…yet I am unable to access them to their full potential.
Despite my lack of want for being artistic I do still try, not always at the insistence of my love. I still imagine, and I still sketch, dance, sing…however I can no longer bring myself to do it daily. This is an obstacle I have now dealt with for the past five and a half years of my being, and is something I do not want to carry over into the rest of my adulthood.
So you see, why there is no resolution yet, and why I have begun this the way that I have? Reading or experiencing this in the now is different from the was. I have a ways to go…and for the moment I feel that this is something I myself am not big enough to get over. The hurtles, so to speak, have gotten higher than I can jump, but I have heart that some day I will be not as I was or am…but slightly off the middle.
….To those of you in the grey,