...more than that really...
I wept hard
in those great gulps that feel like they are choking you.
The air smelled acrid and automotive.
It was supposed to smell like sawdust and creativity.
That's what I wanted it to smell like.
But now the place where I painted was filled with Mr. Jenny's jeepster...
...and my paints and brushes had mostly been hauled off and donated to the school.
"Don't get rid of those things," Mr. Jenny told me. "You'll paint again. You'll feel better."
I just kept crying.
And finally I mumbled, "I don't want to paint again. I'm tired of reinventing myself. I'm too tired to reinvent what I love doing again."
I loved painting those signs, you know?
And before that I loved painting tattoo style furniture.
And before that I loved painting for my wholesale business.
And before that I loved painting on barnwood for art shows.
Each time illness found me again, I put my brushes away.
And cried in sorrow.
And waited a few years before I reinvented what and how I was doing something I loved.
This time was no exception.
So I felt sorry for myself.
And cried myself sick.
It's crazy how time seems to repeat itself.
How events seem to spin around and around in dizzying similarity the older you get.
No matter how hard you resist.
After I dutifully drank the ice water Mr. Jenny gave me.
And dried my eyes.
And composed my emotions.
And gave myself the 'it could certainly be worse' pep talk.
And the stern, grammatically awkward warning, 'If I do what I always do, I get what I always got.'
After all that,
I continued to clean out the garage cupboards.
I found the primed and lettered board for a sign I'd never quite gotten to.
The pencil lines were faint but I could just make out the words.
"This little light of mine...
I'm gonna let it shine..."
I threw the board on the donate pile and went inside.
Today, though, I find myself thinking about the words to that old song.
"This little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine..."
The lyrics don't go, "I'm gonna let it shine when things are easy peasy for me."
It's not, 'I'm gonna let it shine when life is treating me well."
These are declarative statement.
There is no question marks after them.
They don't have a footnote with a whine attached.
I wrote out those words on a mustard yellow painted board because they spoke to me.
And I'm just going to give them a little time so they can speak to me again.
But in the meantime, I'm just going to shine.
In a tiny way.
And perhaps in a way that only my heart can see.