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A New Start, Art Therapy

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It’s been two years since my last entry…not that anyone is really reading. But I like to amuse myself. A whirlwind happened in this span of time. I feel like I was caught up in the craziness that was in my husband’s head. For married couples out there, know that when one of you have no idea what you want in life, you tend to drag your significant other along that path too. I think it’s safe to say that no spouse should be chasing the other around the world until he or she finds themselves.

At some point, reasoning appeared. Let me explain. It didn’t take me very long to totally breakdown living in a foreign country, and feeling abandoned by my husband, who basically felt like he was living his new life sans his wife. Besides having very few friends, all that I knew about my life simply fell away between the borders of US and South America. My profession, which I worked so hard to achieve, gone. My social networks gone. My children, gone. My entertain equated to internet television, and even Netflix has its limits.

I felt I had made a very bad decision for myself. So desperate to spend quality time with my spouse, I agreed to everything without thinking it through. It ultimately became my fault, because I made the decision to move on my own free will, and if I complained, well, it was my choice right? So at this point, we could start pointing fingers. But let’s not. Let’s forward into two years, and see where I am now.

I am back in the US, although not California, which would have been my choice, but not financially. I settled on the city I have been talking about for a long time. Unsure of why, but maybe because my father spent a lot of time in this state of Texas. I chose Austin for diversity and promise for my future. It’s a lot of pressure for a growing city, but I hope it meets me in the middle.

I still don’t have the ability to go back to work and I am working toward getting licensed. But I have the kind of freedom I did not have in Colombia. I can leave my house and get things done, and basically have some semblance of a life that doesn’t involve a couch and a remote control. I can get my own groceries, and drive to places. That’s a biggie. I don’t have to be in constant fear for my safety while walking alone. I think that was the hurdle I was never able to overcome in Colombia. As women, we are victims just by being the fairer sex. If men don’t admit it, they know it innately. It’s a historical fact.

During the past two years, every time I stood up for myself and asked for things I wanted in my life, things have worked out. It’s unnatural for any human to succumb to silence. It just takes longer for women to realize that pleasing or loving does not mean one should sacrifice her needs. This is something my father taught me without knowing. Having only a male role model did wonders for my self-esteem. But my past mistakes only confirms that our desire to love and give is innate. It’s undoubtedly a blessing and a curse. The Universe does not define gender. It only hears the hearts of humans. If we don’t ask what we want, we don’t get it. It’s as simple as that.

To make matters worst, just after my last hopeful entry, I was afflicted with Bells Palsy. It happened right after a dental procedure I felt forced to do because I was moving to Colombia. I have never really recovered from it. I not only had to adjust to my new environment, I now had a physically debilitating condition. My facial paralysis kept me from doing things I took for granted, like smiling (this is huge), and chewing, and rinsing my mouth, and not having a constant pressure on my face, and now looking a little angry all the time. Despite having all my essentials needs met, these past two years has been one of the worst times in my life since the turmoil from my first divorce. It was that event, and all my childhood traumas rolled into one enormous snow ball. I started to really doubt that I would have any more strength in me to just survive another day. It was a contradiction. I was far from suffering, and yet I felt that I was. On the surface, I had no reason to feel the way I did.

Does this sound familiar to you? I am certain I am not alone. But here’s what happened in the middle of my despair. I found my voice again, and with it came some real independent thought. Stripping me of all what I thought love and relationships were “supposed” to be. My girlish fantasies at best, and what brought me down to zero in the end. And realizing I could still rebuild in the second half of my life. Let’s face it, a lot can still happen after 50. My elixir was creativity.

Throwing myself into the creative process healed me in a way I cannot explain. All that art therapy I learned about was never understood until now. I was so deep into the depths of my well of despair, there was no climbing out. Nothing could save me but myself. You could have thrown me a hundred life lines, and I would have cut them with my own scissors. I asked the Universe for salvation, and it showed me how through my hands.

I acknowledged this to my husband the other day, how liberating it has been for me to have this voice that says, you can make whatever the you want, and it will still be beautiful. But not only that…I believed I had original thought before, but it was full of hubris in the past. But I know better. This original voice is infectious. This ability transcends from my creative work into other areas of design, cooking, organization, even in the way I look at nature has changed. It’s my found treasure, and it was inside of me all along. I feel like I can accomplish almost anything, including not limited to defining my own self worth through the love of my spouse.

How did the spark of creativity even happen? I had this repeated affirmation while in Colombia…”I am only going to surround myself with beautiful things.” That was it. I started acting on it, and the Universe heard me. We planned a long trip to Europe, where I included learning things off my Craft Bucket List. Hat Making was at the top of my list. I have wanted to learn this since I was in Fashion Design school in my twenties. But weighed down with little kids at that time, I barely had the strength to get as far as I did in the program. I had forgotten that if given the chance, I knew I was going to be a really good milliner someday.

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