I can honestly say why I was so silent, though. Not to make light of the current situation in the South but to use the appropriate weather analogy: once the tornado blows through, we open up our eyes rather cautiously and take a peek around to make sure 1) it's over and 2) we're safe and then we just stand there, silent, taking it all in.
My best guess is that's about where I'm at. I think I'm still reeling from having jumped off that bridge - reeling in wonder, awe, and, gasp!, strength. (Go for it: gasp again. I'll wait.)
Standing out in front of actual people (and not just the supportive ones) and showing them my work and saying "yes, I painted all these myself" or just simply "thank you" when given a compliment, was one of the bravest things I've done. Dealing with personal issues in a therapist's office is noble and courageous, but actually standing out in the line of perceived possible fire - that takes guts.
And it took guts that I wasn't sure I had or even knew how to have.
I've learned lately, however, that the kind of courage required to do something such as place one's heart in the middle of a target isn't something that's necessarily found in heaps and gobs inside one's heart and soul. And I'm not even sure if it's something to be found, exactly.
Because I had to create it. Each step I took in prepping, drawing, painting, dreaming was like pushing a little bit of brave dirt into a pile. Committing to the show and keeping that commitment created another little bit of brave dirt. Packing the art pieces, getting into the car and driving to the expo - no matter how much I wanted to drive the other way and no matter how hard I sobbed during that drive - all little bits of brave dirt that, combined with the other piles I'd made, began to build and build and build.
Until I had a mountain to stand on. A mountain I alone had built and that was for me alone to stand on. And at that expo, I stood. And the longer I stood, the easier it became to be brave.
I've come to realize that "brave" isn't something people feel. Ever. Mel Gibson Braveheart or not. It's something people do.
And the bravest people aren't those who valiantly slay fire-breathing dragons on occassion. They are the people who quietly tackle the every day, ordinary beasts of getting out of bed, taking care of their children, keeping their commitments, doing well by themselves and by others. The bravest are the ones who face down their own fears each day, no matter how little and insignificant those fears might seem to others.
As the next step in facing down my own fears when it comes to my art, I give you :
my etsy shop. (ta da!)
You should go there now. No, now. Seriously. No, no, I don't mind. I'll wait.
So far I have listed six pieces with more to come. I'm delighted to share with you that I sold two pieces at the expo and have since received a few requests for custom pieces as well as other works that I am honored and humbled to have even been considered for.
Really, I'm simply astounded by what can be found out there when you're expecting the worst but are determined to create courage in the face of it.
(And I casually lean over and whisper to your hearts : *you should try it*.)