A Christmas Miracle

Silence. 9×12 inches. Watercolor on paper. $100

I lost my voice again, just like I did after my solo show. In fact, I lost it three days ago, which hopefully means I’ll get it back in another 3 or so? This tends to last a week. And yes, I’ve hosted a party and shown art at an Open House without my voice. I gesture a lot, I occasionally scribble notes, but mostly I take a minimalist approach to communication – which is quite peaceful and refreshing. The only thing that’s truly awkward is when people assume I’m deaf. No, I don’t sign – but I am good at being rather argumentative in seven other languages. Each language comes with its own personality. All of mine always want to have the last word. And you know what? That’s quite a waste of energy. This is what I’ve learned lately, and what I hope I will be able to change from now on. This forced silence has made me think a lot about communication that is truly necessary and interactions that are simply not. My new resolution is to stick to what’s important. If I’ve written you a note on the back of an envelope and pretty much shoved it in your face these past few days, know that conversations with you are high on my list of priorities.

And since I’m thinking about my limited energy and how best to use it, I think this whole year – my first year in business – has been an exercise in learning what is worth doing and what not. My expectations might have been a bit too high for myself this first year, when I’ve so much still to get used to and figure out. Sometimes I get these moments of panic where I’m wondering how I dare live like this and why I think I can make this all work. I’m getting better at talking myself down from the ledge, though. I’m getting better at seeing that I’m accomplishing a lot, that I do have support, and that I’m learning and growing. Again, just like not every interaction is worth it, not every event or project I throw my heart and soul into is a fruitful one. But I’m learning which ones to invest in and which ones to let go.

Also, I was able to raise $100 for Star of Hope this Christmas with my house portraits, and that makes me very happy. They buy meals for the homeless, and $100 can feed about 40 people.

And in a few days, hopefully, after a little more silence and introspection, I will be able to speak out loud the things that are truly important, and hopefully zip the lip when tempted to engage in useless arguments. The things that are really important, and that can’t even be scribbled on the back of an envelope, by the way, are often canine words of endearment. One morning I’ll wake up and say “good morning, mama dog!” And that will be a good day.

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