Thursday confessional

This was originally meant to be a Patreon-only post, but I’ve thought about it and decided it might do me good to have it public, for now. This post isn’t about art; it’s meant to be part of a process wherein I’m trying to remove the roadblocks getting in the way of me doing art this month. It’s going to be a pretty personal post, too, with some heavy stuff, so please do skip it if you like.

Here is a partial list of what I am carrying at the moment:

  1. We are in difficult financial straits. We do not yet have enough money for next month’s rent + utility bills (I think we will just barely make rent, but I’m unsure about the utilities) while I wait for some invoices to be paid. It’s an uncomfortable place to be in.
  2. My partner has been very unwell lately. Well, we have both been unwell, but it’s harder when it’s the person you love, and you can’t help.
  3. The government agency that was meant to help us since my partner can’t work due to her illness… they’ve been screwing us around for the past three months. First they lost our information in their system, then they misclassified our file for two months so it wasn’t even touched by any evaluator, then they lost a form we submitted to them in person ages ago. Dealing with this agency has been very traumatic and it’s exacerbated by knowing that our ability to pay rent consistently hinges on their evaluation of our claim. You know it’s bad when dealing with an agency has necessitated calls to suicide hotlines right after — several times.
  4. I’ve received unsettling news about certain parts of the industry within which I work and it’s been very discouraging to evaluate my future prospects in light of that information.
  5. My partner’s mother has been diagnosed with cancer. I’m the bridge/mediator between them.
  6. The worsening political crisis in my homeland means I regularly have nightmares of my mother or other members of my immediate family getting killed. That scenario is not as improbable as one might think. Not at all.
  7. It’s November, which means it’s the fifth anniversary of when I lost my home because of my relationship with another woman. Which means the trauma is hitting me especially hard this month.
  8. My beloved country is falling into terrible patterns eerily reminiscent of the days before martial law.
  9. The world is falling apart.

I write this down so that I can see it and acknowledge that all of this is very real weight.

The way my brain works, even carrying all of this I find ways to blame myself for not being better; for not working everyday; for not being well. For having to use all my energy to simply keep myself alive and more or less healthy, when I feel I should instead be churning out paintings one after another — I’m weeks behind on most of my work, I’m just exceedingly fortunate that my clients are patient and believe my art is worth the wait. For finding these things difficult to carry, and exhausting. For being human and having limits. For (in my mind) failing.

I am doing my best. I say this, again, so that I can see it — as if by saying it I make it more believable. I am doing my best and that will have to be enough, for all that I feel it isn’t — because there really is nothing more to give, when I’m already giving everything I can. And by saying this perhaps I can believe it; perhaps I can believe that other people, the kind patrons who’ve supported me all this time, the friends who’ve always had my back, will forgive me for it; perhaps I can believe (however slowly) that I can forgive myself.

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