The title of this post comes from a song by one of my favorite bands, Over The Rhine.
I have been thinking a lot about fear lately, and how easy it is to fill myself with a diet of "What if?" "What will people think?" and "I could never do that, I shouldn't even try." Who are these voices in my head, and when did they arrive? I don't remember being a particularly fearful child. I look at Little C and she's not afraid of much. (Except for the horses up the street, that is. We were walking by them the other day, and stopped to say hi. Little C confided, "Mama, I'm a little bit afraid!") She certainly isn't afraid of what anyone thinks, or how she'll be perceived. I have such a strong need to be approved of by others, and I find that for me this manifests itself as frustration and even anger when I am confronted with someone who thinks differently from me. My friend Sarah and I were just talking about this phenomenon, and how powerfully it has a particular hold on women. She appropriately named it "approval addiction." Um, yeah. Hi, my name is Caren, and I'm addicted to approval.
My husband, Papa D talks to me about "taking myself seriously." He sees in me a fear of failure that results in avoidance of trying anything new. He encourages me to spend more time being creative, but it is so hard for me to think of myself as a creative person. Somehow the twisted line of thinking in my brain says, "If I'm creative, then I have something to offer and if I have something to offer, I'd better get off my butt! No, it's much more comfy here on my little perch where I can just feel sorry for myself for not being creative, and be quietly critical of others who are more adventurous than I."
Why am I rambling on about this? Because I want to go public with my little addiction, and I want to state for the record that I refuse to listen to those voices in my head any longer. As the song title says, "I will not eat the darkness!" This life is too beautiful and brief to waste time seeking approval from others and being afraid. So here's to the beginning of a celebration of creativity, mine and yours, too. Join me in delighting in the small things and being willing to look a little foolish every now and again.
In this spirit I'm sharing with you some new pictures that I've taken with
my my mom's new camera. ;) I am trying to practice gratitude instead of self-pity and self-hatred. Having a camera in my hand is a good tool in this project, because it helps me look for beauty in the ordinary stuff of daily life.
Edited to add: After publishing this post, I was doing some internet research on Candlemas, a Christian and Pagan holiday which is celebrated today.
February 2 is one of the great cross-quarter days which make up the wheel of the year. It falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring.
Appropriately, today is a warm, sunny day, melting much of the slush and ice that resulted from yesterday's snow/sleet. In addition to marking the new season, Candlemas marks the Feast of St. Brigid, a pagan goddess of fertility and fire, and a Christian Saint who founded the first convent in Ireland. In reading about her, I came across this paragraph, which is especially interesting to me as I just wrote the above post about committing myself to creative expression.
Brigid is the goddess of creative inspiration as well as reproductive fertility. This is a good time for sharing creative work, or, if you don't think of yourself as especially creative, an idea that worked or a plan that materialized. Thank the Goddess for her inspiration, perhaps by dedicating a future work to her.
Happy Candlemas to you all, and may the fire of the light of Christ burn brightly in your homes all year!