Wednesday, September 28, 2011

being seen

me by Cowgirl

I wasn't planning on writing this ... I am in the midst of packing for yes, another quickie art retreat trip and I am feeling a tad guilty for all this pleasure heaped upon my faded and chipped plate. But as I ready myself - lists for the Husband made, plans for Cowgirl in place, dog walker for Mr. Moose scheduled - I struggle with the anxiety that travel and new places and faces evokes within me. This gathering will be much smaller than Squam and while I thrive on intimate, I also squirm at the sense there will be no place for me to hide.

Being seen is uncomfortable for me and yet I crave it. For so much of my life I felt unseen and misunderstood although in hindsight I have to wonder if perhaps I let myself be misrepresented? When the name-callers bruised my tender child self did I speak back? Of course not. I gathered all their words and wounds and patched together a crazy coat of false identity. The task of my adult life has been to shift through all the notions I have about myself and toss away those that are no longer true or blatantly false.

My word for 2011 is Shine and I'm not sure how well I've embraced that concept. There still is a layer of scum clouding my perception of myself. But I had a mini-epiphany at Squam while listening to Jen Lee talk about the care and keeping of our creative selves. Hearing Jen tell her about her experiences, I realized that it is impossible for me to truly see another until I can clearly see myself. And part of that process is putting forth for others my true, shiny, vulnerable and uniquely-flawed-and-therefore-beautiful-and-imperfectly-perfect self.

There is a vulnerability in letting others see me; we talked about this in Jen's workshop. It's scary stuff to put one's tender self out there and perhaps be ridiculed or disregarded. But to hold back is to devalue myself. I think the thing about being seen is it hurts more when we refuse to see, honor and befriend ourselves.

me - holding onto Squam

So as I pack, I am aware of not packing a mask or a uniform or a disguise - not to be dwelling upon who it is I want others to think I am, but to just be myself. Comfortable, eccentric, sometimes mismatchy, but cherished, honored, resilient and wiser for all my experiences. Still unfolding, still in process and hopefully sitting more comfortably in the mystery of not knowing, but trusting. Trusting myself to be my own best friend.


  1. Hiding was one of my favourite pastimes and when I went on retreat in July 2010 that was one of my first instincts. How wonderful you get to "go" again and so soon! What struck me is how many people and how much planning it takes to replace "you" if only for a few days. Isn't it astonishing how much one woman does and does without thinking much about it? Enjoy the wonderful weather you are headed to (I think I remember where it is you are going). I am glad you had a rock fairy by proxy at Squam!

  2. I see you!! You are beautiful, wise, poetess, kind, passionate, joy warrior, bear mother, goddess!!
    Have a fabulous fearless painting adventure! :)

  3. what a beautiful, honest, moving post! I identify with so many of the things you wrote, and am hard at work on my own process of "sifting and tossing". It does take courage to shine. The courage of a post like this reminds us all that we are not alone. thanks.

  4. have a wonderful time in sedona, lis. i'm not sure if you know, but you won a give away on my blog so i will be sending you some goodies very soon! i can't wait to hear about your retreat this weekend. remember: you are strong and beautiful and very loved.

  5. Be your beautiful and shining self! Enjoy!

  6. Seeing you is always a great pleasure! Can't wait to hear about this adventure:)

  7. Have an amazing adventure. Love your writing and understand and identify with it.

    Just be YOU.

  8. You shine so much more than you probably know. Your openness, honesty, and welcoming heart, a wonderful light to be around as you also bring out those traits in others. I can't wait to hear about your adventures in Sedona!

    Bunny hugs :)
    ~Brandi Marie

  9. Hope you are having a wonderful time! Or had a wonderful time . . . whatever the case may be :) And happy birthday to your Cowgirl! Seven is such a wonderful age!


  10. I just love this post. Thanks for writing it.