Tuesday, January 29, 2013

a lifetime of work

A few years ago I started "the big clean up". What that meant is I started purging the copious amounts of stuff that I had, especially my fabric collection. Well this past summer and fall I went on a fabric shopping binge thinking that I felt well enough to sew, create etc. Why be so conscious of everything that was coming into this house when I thought I'd actually have the time to "do it all". In the back of my mind I thought that perhaps I was jinxing myself. I was right... here I am doing it all over again, but this time, every thing's gotta go.

Tonight I sat on my study/sewing room floor going through teaching paper and art therapy articles. My history of coordinating college programs, teaching at the college and my own work was all tossed into the recycle bin. Of course, I put aside any art & addiction articles for my colleagues, hoping it would be of use for someone, but everything else: all the PowerPoint's I made up, handouts, exams, copies of useful tips and articles all gone. I also came across articles I've either written or was mentioned in. My work and art work have appeared in many local newspapers, pride guides, new-age local magazines etc. Each time I'd ask ma belle (who happened to be witnessing this also from the floor) to take out her reading glasses so she could see my name in small print either at the back of a college brochure (a program I coordinated in 2005/06) or my name appearing under the art listings. I also coordinated the pride art show the year I was on the pride committee. All of this work, a lifetime of being active in my community, pushing art forward be it in mental health (I coordinated a few arts & mental health programs for which an article appeared) or art in pride. All of that work...

I've finished for the day not only because I'm physically tired but because watching all of this being tossed out, rendered useless is emotionally taxing. Ma belle never knew me as a college teacher. She met me after I left, knowing I had no more stamina to teach. She was seeing another side that she never had the privilege of knowing. I always wanted to touch peoples' lives and I hope I did. Actually, today I heard I did - I received a letter from one of my clients (my coworker delivered it during her visit today). He shared just how touched he was to have me as his primary counsellor highlighting how he didn't feel judged for everything I heard about him. Why would I? I've received plenty of judgement for how I've lived my life - too many people judge me - some don't even know me (you know, all those homophobic, racist, sexist folks in the universe). I am writing this client back. It's my goal to write something for each of my recent ones - but this one in particular needs a little more from me, and I'm working on giving it to him. What an honour to have been part of their journeys....