Wausau Art Festival, 2012
I cried today. Twice.
Let me explain.
When I woke up this morning I saw my partner had posted a long forgotten interview he found stuffed in a virtual folder somewhere is cyberspace. He posted the article and picture of me on my business’ Facebook and Google Plus pages – straight hair and all.
I found myself reflecting on how overwhelmingly significant the moment was for me as a woman, as a mother and as a painter. The tears startled me as they burst out.
That was the first set of tears.
It had nothing to do with the straight hair.
I cried as I though of how significant this moment was for me as a creative child making my way through an often indifferent Universe. That moment in time, captured on such a temporary medium, was a reminder of what the Universe expected – demanded – of me: Be a woman. Be a mother. Be a painter.
They were tears of gratitude at the moment.
In truth, the Universe doesn’t care about much. It only cares about the path it wants for itself and for us. We either conform or it beats us about like a tiny pea pod in a summer storm. All the while it is pelting us with regrets, lost moments and overlooked opportunities.
“Learn the lesson! Learn the lesson! Learn the lesson! Oh, and don’t make that mistake again,” being the Universal mantra. The ability for life’s bountiful harvest to come to fruition depends on our own ability to learn and live forward and not backwards.
The photo was taken in 2007 at the ArtStreet event by Green Bay Press-Gazette writer and photographer Warren Gerds and was attached to a wonderful article. The picture shows Tina Quigley, the Executive Director of Arts Events Inc, presenting the “Best of Show” award to me.
My wonderfully supportive, and beautiful niece, Betsy Bemmer enthusiastically jumps alongside and shares in my surprise and joy.
That summer had been difficult.
I had two very young twin boys at home, it was my second year on the show circuit and the weather had been wet all season. Two weeks prior to ArtStreet I was working the Festival of Arts in Oconomowoc, WI and they allowed the artists to evacuate early due to heavy rains and flooding.
As any art carnie will tell you – that never happens. Needless to say I didn’t make any sales at that show.
Me at the Bike Art Gallery.
At home there was no sincere support for me as an artist and except for a few diehard cheerleaders I was very much emotionally and spiritually alone.I was feeling knocked down and defeated. Really, I had gone to this show just wanting to get it over with and just go home.
I was finished.
When it happened, I was as surprised as anyone.
Tina showed up in my booth with an award. A Best of Show award!
Yes, the look on my face in that picture is surprise, joy and relief. It was the validation that I so desperately needed at that time. That award meant more to me than the $500 prize that came with it. It was encouragement and validation for what I had put all my passion into. Someone else recognized that my work stood out and had value. I wasn’t a hobbyist or a failure or living a pipe dream.
The Universe knew what I needed and gave it to me. I’m grateful. Thinking of it makes me tear up again.
It was a reminder of where I have been and where I am going to. A reminder of how blessed my life has been because I am willing to make sacrifices to do what I love and to follow my Vision.
It was a reminder of how important it is to have a partner in your life that believes in you and supports you. As I was telling my partner all this, I cried again. He patiently, quietly waited for me to explain through haltingly happy breaths.
Now that hair made me cry.
So the day ended the same way it started – with tears.
Tears of joy, happiness and strength that the Universe has allowed – encouraged, forced – me to embrace my Vision and gave me a partner to remind me that what I need and wants matters.
Like the article, my partner helped me find the truth again. Be a woman. Be a mother. Be a painter.
I had forgotten that too.