To be writing, isn’t the only thing I wish to increase after the move. During these last months I’ve realized one thing after the other which I either want to go back to and start over with, or develop more of into my life.
To the further, I count that I want to catch up taking photos again and make my own images with them as a base. I began to do that when the burn-out was at its worst, and thus could neither read nor write. I’ve never been able to draw or paint with my hands, so when I discovered all the possibilities I could find on the internet with photo programs and editing programs, it felt like a pure blessing. And I found a way to express my creativity, now when the words were gone.
Sometime later I was seated in a Church for a couple of years. Not in the church per se but we were a group of people that rented a bit of space there in order to go together, learn, and get jobs. At first, I was supposed to do the homepage for us, but after a while, since we had this connection with people in the Church, I was asked to make posters for the Sunday sermon for them.
To my own surprise – I became really good at it! I realized I have “an eye” for visual things. Maybe the first posters didn’t appear amazing, but obviously, I was good enough for the Church people to give me free hand to do however I wanted. And as time passed by, I got more and more praise for my work.
My creativity flourished in this. Got to do not only posters for the Sunday sermons, concerts and such, but also folders -among other a 2-months regular information folder, I created some adds for “real” papers, and so on. Yes! I became really good at it!
Already before this period in my life, I liked to visit exhibitions showing photos or paintings. So it was obvious, when I in 2013 met a woman who was not only a colleague of mine but also a painter and a photographer, that we became friends. Through her, I met other painters and find new galleries which I went to when I could. I felt very inspired by it all.
But all the other time, I was very alone. My daughters and older friends were living in another town. Since being incomer in this town, I had no old connections at all. No childhood friends, no school friends, prior to the actual job situation no old work buddies either. I moved to that town in 2006 due to a job offer, and never “fit in”. It’s one of those places where the oldies live by: “If you’re not born here, you don’t belong here.” (And they don’t have to be old, to think that.)
Well, apart from having my art-friends – who mostly were incomers themselves – I had yet a couple of friends and colleagues that were not artists, but after my retirement, they all faded away. All except one, my very best friend! He and I still have contact, despite 120 kilometers distance between us. Mostly iMessage or mail. Occasionally meeting each other, and I’m really happy about that. Let’s just call him R.
Simultaneously my own image-making was growing better and better, and I started to dream. We were hanging out in the church’s cafeteria, which also had a gallery with various kind of artists. Maybe I could…? What about my images! Many people liked them! And I…
It never went that way! I had this burnout lingering on. All my images were on the computer, many of them on old photos, small and with low resolution. It would be expensive to print and frame, so… I never came around. Not there and then…
Finally, I retired. Got even more lonely. A couple of afternoons a week I visited my former office, not being in the church anymore, and had coffee with R and some of the others. I loved those afternoons! We talked and we laughed a lot! But, that was about it! Otherwise I was home. Alone. And lost something.
I don’t mean I lost friends, and I did meet people. Not every day perhaps, but enough. I think I kind of lost myself!
Or rather: I had lost myself way earlier, and now it started to appear. To make me feel! Sounds ridiculous, I know! But it was lots and lots of old stress that came forward. I lost energy. I thought I would bike long, long tours during the summer, but I had lost the go. The little I had… and I was tired. Always tired. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t write. Couldn’t take photos, even less make images. Mostly I just vegetated. Did what I had to do, and went downtown to the office those afternoons…
Found that the nearby church where I lived then, had a meditation group once every other Wednesday evening. Guess that was my rescue, besides R and the others at the office.
I got myself weekly talking hours with the female deacon. (Sometimes I still miss her, like now.) Attended to afternoon gatherings at the parish house once in a while. Was even at the Christmas Concert in the church hall. Way too many people, but wonderful music with choirs and all.
Then the meditation evenings. Especially the coffee time afterward with the discussion of all and everything. There was an agenda on what topic we should go about, but it didn’t feel like an agenda. I felt as a freedom of speech!
And we spoke!
It was wonderful! The first time I was there, I happened to be seated beside an old retired teacher in religion, philosophy, and psychology. Among other items, we talked about – Plato. It was … ecstatic!!!
I realized, like in a flash later that evening, I was utterly stressed from being under-stimulated! I had for so long missed having intellectual, intelligent conversations with sincere people, about topics that matter!!! And when I finally, after a little more than a year at that place ,was moving home, back here, to my own town, I was sad because I would never meet these people again.
I had during these sessions experienced that there were people, strangers in a way, that had come to like me, maybe even love me! They gathered around me when I came, talked to me, cared, kind of mentally embraced me. They said they would miss me when I moved away, and wanted me to come visiting them sometime. But I knew it would probably never happen.
It never does, does it?
Now I’m here. Two years later. At home!
It has taken two years to heal and I’m not yet finished healing. But slowly it’s getting better! One baby-step at a time!
It is not only those eleven years in that town that has made impacts on me. Many in bad ways, but also some good. Nevertheless, there are many more issues that are way older than that. And some of those I’ve written myself free from when I wrote about Mom. (See category “Down Memory Lane”)
Some, maybe I will never even remember…
Recently I surprised myself again when I suddenly opened one of my coloring apps and started coloring! Next step will maybe be to takes photos again. Making images from scratch! 😀
And of course the writing!!!
It is getting better, even with baby-steps. Isn’t it?