I haven't written as much as I had hoped. I've been busy doing, learning, and seeing so many things. The processing and sharing parts have always been the most difficult for me.
But as I have been quite forced to slow down, it might be a good time for that.
I'm sitting here in my cave (I've been in the basement for the last two months of my stay and my inner hermit loves it. So when I say the word "cave," I say it with fondness.) with my third giant mug of tea for the day. Norma and I both caught a nasty cold bug in the last half of our time in England, so I am fighting it off with rest, tea, and an overwhelmingly fragrant amount of hippy juice. (I'm a bit of an essential oil freak. Still a bit of a novice, but I'm getting there.) If I could smell right now, I could tell you that my room is a fantastic mixture of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and peppermint. It's fantastic.
So sickness, plus probably shin splints and maybe a pulled tendon in my left leg and a pulled tendon in my right foot is what has made me finally chill out a bit. (I think I need to start paying attention to my limits a bit more.)
I have learned so much about art, God, myself, and just about life in my time here. It has felt like information through a firehose and I have been desperately trying to keep up with it. In the last couple of weeks though, I became really sluggish and withdrawn. My heart wasn't in the painting or in doing anything really, and I felt like my brain was shutting down. Too much to handle. Too much to process.
I feel like, for the first time, I have really discovered what I am meant for; what I am supposed to "do when I grow up." Anytime someone would ask me, I would say something with art or music, but I don't really know what. But behind the answer would be a sinking feeling that I would never really accomplish that, because I'm not smart or talented enough to actually do anything with it.
Now I know that it takes perseverance. It takes pushing past incredible fear to learn and be humble. To walk through the stumbling stages where you may have the desire, passion, and talent; but you still have no idea what the hell you are doing and it takes hard work. Hard work that you can't skip over, because with whatever you are learning and want to become great at, you also have to become a person who can be responsible to wield that great talent.
So many times (let's admit it, all the time) I want to take the easy road. "I want what I want and I want it right now." But no one wants to deal with a spoiled toddler who is good at everything.
And I don't have to be good at everything. I am made to need people.
I am terrible at reading maps. Seriously. It's not even funny. I can look at a map and think that I have it totally and logically figured out, but be going in the opposite direction. What is funny, it that I have a fantastic sense of direction as long as I don't look at a map at all. Whatever.
I hate math. Hate it. Ask me to do anything beyond basic daily arithmetic and I will have to relearn it for the millionth time, and I will feel like I am dying the whole time.
I really hate anything that makes me have to memorize tiny facts about tiny details and has sooooo many rules.
Obviously, there are many things that I just have to learn, but I can be ok knowing that there are a plethora of people who are much much better at those things than I am.
I have been a "right brain thinker" living in and trying to stuff myself into the mold of a left brained world. I have been making myself feel guilty for not being like everyone else. And that's just silly.
It's ok for me to be slightly (maybe an understatement) dramatic, and passionate; and to get really, really, really, really, really, excited about color and light and music. To be so moved by surrounding beauty and want to capture it and take part in the creating of it.
I was moved to tears and was in complete rapture at seeing beautiful works of art in the Musee D'Orsay and the Louvre, seeing some of my hero's artistical journeys, and being amazed at how they were all constantly learning and changing and growing.
So many times I have hit a road block and thought, "well, that's it, I'm done, I have failed," and have become so caught up in that one thing that I ceased to live.
This year as I turned the very old(ha!) age of 25, I dealt with so much less of the birthday melancholy that I usually have and realized that I am learning (slowly, with many reminders) to let go of my perfectionistic mentality and accept whatever is in the moment.
I'm sure I could have accomplished much more by now, but I haven't.
I can either mope about that or move on. And be better.
I can let my mistakes inform my current decisions.
I have to change my behavior to get different results.
I can hit road blocks and work though them with a balance of perseverance and work, and knowing my limitations and resting.
I can stop beating my fists against a brick wall till I bleed and and then complain that my hands hurt.
I'm pretty sure no one but my mom is still reading (hi mom!), but I've still got more to verbally vomit. It's good for me, so no offense taken if you have had your fill of all the inner workings of Katina's brain.
I've been working on living a healthier lifestyle and have lost a lot of weight over the past two years. It has been so great and I have discovered new hobbies and things to love; activities that I always said "I'll do x, or do this more when I've lost this much weight," but I've just been doing them and have had so much fun and have become more myself than ever: hiking, rock climbing, kickboxing, yoga, running, dancing…I just want to keep getting better at these things and add to the list.
But I have had a hard time recently in focusing on the end goal: being healthy, instead of just getting results. I was so caught up in losing weight and getting stronger and faster at the beginning of my time here that I was pushing past my limits, running through injuries and making them worse and I wasn't eating enough.
I lost almost 15 pounds in a little under a month and that is waaaay to fast for me.
I was honestly becoming a bit anorexic, which is kind of hard for me to say.
What am I afraid of? Like anyone, I want to be wanted and this (my weight), is the obstacle, so if I get rid of that it will solve my problems. Gah. So much misplaced hope. So much pride in my own achievements... And so much thankfulness for injuries that force me to rest and stop to realize what I am striving for.
We are all works in progress are we not? Struggling to improve and achieve and impress and feeling alone while we do it, only to have the rug pulled out from under our feet and only then do we realize that the image we are working for might not be so important, and the masks we put on aren't quite so comfortable, or that the walls we put up aren't as protective as they are isolating.
I am a stubborn, proud, insecure, fearful, sometimes careless, sometimes too cautious, creative, spirited, joyful, wild, introspective, adrenaline seeking, independent, innapropriate creature.
We are unique. We all have strengths. We all have limitations. (I keep using that word. I shy away from saying "weakness." Ugh.) We all have weaknesses. I have weaknesses. But what's great is that when I am weak, when I allow myself to be weak and vulnerable (gosh that's a scary word), Jesus shows himself to be my strength every time. I am made to need him. I am made to need people.
When I let go of all the striving, that is where I find rest.
That has been one of the major lessons from this time…to abide in Him. The God who loves me.
When everything feels a bit out of control…so dark and unknown, I can rest in him knowing that whatever comes next, it will be out of his love for me.
Knowing His love has been and will be my greatest adventure.
I'm hanging onto that as my time here is coming to an end and I could very easily get caught up in the worrying about what I am going to do with this. There has to be purpose in it. I have found that this art thing is something I can do, something I love. I feel the weight of carrying on with it, to improve and grow and keep figuring it out, and not to waste any talent that I have been given.
But just as coming out here was a step of faith for me, so is going home. I have learned so much, have been blessed to see so many amazing things. It has been a time of much hard work and some hardships, and a time of rest. The rest came because of drawing near to Christ.
As I am continuing on, I feel I am walking (limping) out with my palms turned up and saying, "here's all I am and what I have, take it and use me for whatever you will!"
Anyway…Sorry for all the disconnected ramblings…my brain feels like a jumbly-wumbly mess.
I'm just trying to get some of it out so it's not spinning around so much. Plus, if my messy transparency can help anyone in the same jumbly state, then we're both the better for it. :)
From a slightly-less-dizzy-but-still-sneezy-and-limpy