And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom...
When I lived in San Francisco, having moved there from New York knowing basically no one and having basically nothing, I kept a little piece of paper with that Anais Nin quote scrawled on it in one of the photo compartments of my wallet. Every time I opened the wallet for coffee money, or my MUNI ticket, or directions to yet another address I had never been to before, the quote would be the first thing I saw. There were wonderful, exuberant, crazy-electric-alive days spent in that city in those couple short years, but there were also intensely painful and lonely days when I could not for the life of me remember why I had found it necessary to go so far away and be so alone. When I just couldn't stand being brave for one more minute. And in those times, the quote was a comfort.
Today I had a meeting with some teachers at a local school who want me to paint their little kindergarten playground. There's a big stretch of blacktop to work with - we're thinking some hopscotch and 4 Square, but also a number snake, perhaps, and an alphabet train. And some creative patterns made of shapes and colors. And maybe a trail of footprints. Oh, and also two wall murals on brick. I should stress that the whole thing could not be more laid back; the folks at the school are lovely and welcoming and I am convinced that they will be genuinely pleased with just about anything I can do out there.
Nevertheless, I left the meeting having a bit of an out of body experience and drove the whole way home whispering to myself about remaining tight in the bud versus blossoming. I'm not entirely sure at this point, but I think? That when there's some major project to do involving cans of paint and some degree of creative talent? And the people organizing the project settle on that YOU are the person for the job, and then they pay you and you put your name on it and lots and lots of people see the finished job? That maybe that makes you a Real Artist. Hence the whispering in the car, and the feeling in over my head, and the reminding myself that I have only been asked to paint some shapes on pavement, which is very much within my capacities.
To stay comfortable here is not an option. Must fling self into deep end and trust that staying dry on the edge would be worse. Must. Fling. Self. In.