This chapter is called Recovering Your Identity, which was interesting to me because as I read it, it felt like it was all about boundaries! I guess that makes sense... what you want, what you don’t want. What’s okay and not okay is defining.
Continuing to protect your recovering artist is still important. Julia counsels against people who are toxic to your creativity: the Drama Queens and the Crazymakers. Ugh! I have been (in the past) a magnet for such types. You know, the people who suck you into their crazy!!!
Perhaps you can’t relate to this at all and all your friends, co-workers and family members are of the sane variety. In which case, you would have no idea about people who suck up your time and energy and expect you to be there for them every time they create a whirlwind of misplaced drama.
That’s so fabulous because if that is the case, you don’t have to look yourself in the mirror and say what no one has been honest enough to tell you: you’re crazy too! Yup! That’s what Julia says. If you are locked in a dance with a drama queen or crazy maker, you are getting something out of it. In the case of your art/creativity, it’s the convenient excuse of not dealing with your own shit/fear/resistance to being a creative being.
Anyhoo... so as not to point fingers at anyone but myself, let’s look closely at the case study of Ria Sharon. Like I mentioned in the brief synopsis of my life, my family was super supportive. If I have to be brutally honest with myself on this point, I could say that I created a whole lot of crazy in in the last six years. If I had chosen not to blow up my marriage, well, I could have spent a lot more time pursuing my art instead of worrying about how to feed my kids and keep the lights on.
Don’t get me wrong. I can’t imagine being where I am today creatively if not for what’s happened in the last six years, either. And yes, my kids are fed and the lights remain on. But I find it healthy to try different perspectives on just to keep my side of the street clean, so to speak.
Back to boundaries. Here’s a great exercise I learned from Julia and the armadillo (obscure animal medicine reference): Draw a circle. Inside the circle write down what you want to invite into your life and what you want to keep out. Here’s mine from a couple years back.
People who know me would probably say I am quite boundaried, actually. I’m constantly examining this in-and-out-of-the-circle dynamic. What’s okay and what’s not okay. I think it’s the J in my INTJ personality type.
Anyway... try it. For me, doing these exercises somewhat regularly gives me some guidance. As a pleaser and all that, my knee jerk is always yes. So it’s helpful to check in with my circles to remind myself when it’s really okay to say no -- and in so doing, protect my time, my energy and my creativity.
p.s. The print above was inspired by my reflection of boundaries. I decided to submit it to Minted for the West Elm Art Challenge -- since that meets all my art boundary criteria! :)