Carpe Diem

Sometimes life kicks you in the face and you fall over and have to curl up and lick your wounds. Sometimes it just keeps kicking you and at some point you get up and kick back. That’s where I’m at now.

Two days ago, we sent Tamlorn for cremation. We took all your beautiful sendings with us in a box.

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This is how mothers say goodbye – on their knees.

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Yesterday we learned that our donor’s circumstances have changed and he’s no longer going to be part of our process.

Today I picked up Tamlorn’s ashes from the funeral company.

Tomorrow I’m going back in to the local welfare centre again to beg for help with these ongoing debt issues that no one ever returns calls about.

And I’m fighting back.

I’m sleeping. I’m cooking meals. I’m energised and throwing myself into life. I’ve started the new term of art college. I used the holiday to catch up on all the homework so I’m ready and focused. Things are different now I’m in second year subjects. This week I’ve actually felt like this isn’t a crazy waste of time. I’m getting some support for the kind of art that is meaningful to me, learning useful things about the history of art where I can place my own stress and ambivalence into context. I have a new sense of hope that there is a place for me and what I do in the art world, somewhere.

I am currently doing prep work for a gathering tomorrow of the potential board for the HVNSA and DI networks I’ve been care taking through my business. And I am excited! I’ve been reading a couple of books; Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie, and Be a Changemaker by Laurie Ann Thompson. Social entrepreneur… it’s not a word I’m familiar with. I have painstakingly gathered business skills in my face painting business over the last couple of years. I am not good at marketing myself. I am good at giving things away for free to vulnerable people. But now at least, I can manage invoicing, tax, record keeping, and the basic admin of a business. And I am finding words for my passion for people, and models for what I’ve been trying to do. I feel less alone and bewildered and overwhelmed. The other board members are good people, conversations with them imbue me with hope about what we can do together. I am realising that what I most need at the moment is not to be doing this alone.

So, I’m burning with passion and my mind is clear and alert. I’m confident and imaginative and enthusiastic. I know this energy can’t last. No matter the cause, at some point the body needs to rest, the mind to recharge. That’s okay, I can do that. I’m astonished by my current state, grateful and relieved. I did not expect this. This has been an incredibly hard year. I’m determined to live fully, to embrace what I have and do what I can. I’m reaching out to country and interstate people about going and giving my talks – I’ve decided to offer some for free and ask for help to cover travel costs. I want to be out there, I want to be doing what I love, helping people. I don’t have a little baby in my arms, I may not even be able to try and get pregnant again this year while we look for and build a relationship with another donor. So I have a lot of love in my heart and there’s a lot of people out there who need a bit of love.

And when the night falls on my heart again and that flame of hope goes out… I want you to remember that one is not good and the other bad, one is not real and the other a lie. Pain, sorrow, anguish. They are as real and necessary and sane a response to my life as my current zeal. I am reminded of something I wrote a long time ago in Traumatic replay:

When awful things are happening I feel awful. I feel numb. I feel furious. I fight like hell. I feel strong. I feel helpless. I feel vindicated. And other people say things to me like “How are you still going?”, with respect.

When nothing awful is happening I still feel awful, numb, furious, but I have nothing to fight. I feel weak, helpless, stupid, pathetic, and full of self loathing. And other people say things to me like “What is wrong with you?”, with contempt.

Remember this day, tomorrow when I am broken again. They go together, the flying and the falling. This is the fire – I am forged strong, but I am also consumed and devoured by it. This is my life, ending one minute at a time. Carpe diem.

5 thoughts on “Carpe Diem

  1. Keep fighting the good fight. We’re all here for you, supporting you, cheering you on. Life sucks sometimes, but tough times dont last forever. Xoxo

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  2. Your response to life is rich and varied Sarah as only an artist can!
    – my response just to one thought: You say ‘… there is a place in the art world somewhere’ – I do understand what is commonly called ‘finding your feet’ -which is great. On the other hand, I think, as you are going a path least travelled or not yet travelled at all, and through your rich awareness, you are cutting the thorny shrubbery with every step and create a path, a place not yet seen, not yet been. (I know there are aspects to your studies to do with technical and history knowledge I don’t know much about at all – that give you more contour and that’s fine, but I thought Ishare my reaction anyway. Best wishes!

    Btw I have had a similar aha-moment recently when I read, a poem starts wth a vagueness… and finds its thought (or not). Isn’t that beautiful. When I was young, I used to reply to the question wht I wanted to do/become “I could paint an abstract picture of it…” – only in my late forties I found that was actually AN ANSWER, not an eccentric rebuff/deflection. There we go.

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    • I know – I’m not explaining it well yet. The language isn’t fitting the experience. Creatively lost is one thing, exploring, adventuring, even falling down the rabbit hole. But what I’m struggling with is something more profound and destructive. Crumpled beneath a war zone, people fighting so loudly I’m overwhelmed by them and can’t find any quiet space for my own thoughts. I can’t place myself, the landscape is in such flux that ‘up’ is not the not the same direction 2 minutes in a row. This is the public art world. It’s bright, shiny, noisy, and pressing so close I can’t breathe. At the same time, it’s empty, brittle, vicious, sharp. It’s a knife in my cheek and an empty desert with no company and no life and where home cannot be found in any direction.

      The private art world, that’s something else. It’s totally solitary also, but dark. Velvet soft, there’s a wind that speaks to me. I don’t walk anywhere in that world, I fly, I cannot but fly. I create, and it’s as simple as breathing. It’s full of my inhabitants, mangled, demonic, angelic, or empty of everything. There’s no names there, but there’s great power. And it vanishes like water through sand, leaving no trace but art, ink on my skin.

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      • oh, I think you are explaining and explorint very well! As I see it, without any art background (apart from psychodrama training) – it is the combination of exploring with awareness the jungle that is Life – and i rare moments then the 360-degree-vision that is unexplored within…

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