Friday, February 17, 2012

My Right Brain

I was not a noteworthy student when I was younger.  The trilogy of sassy mouth, undiagnosed ADHD and Catholic school yielded a lot of "needs to improve" report cards.  Math and Science were unbearable, English no fun because the nuns did not appreciate the candor in my stories.  "Why can't you just follow directions?" my Dad would beg me.  "Because it's boring and  it doesn't make me laugh." was my response.  "If you just try, you would get this." Dad would say as the numbers did the conga on the paper in front of me, trapped helplessly between my drawings of evil nuns and mermaids happily swimming in an ocean free of algebra.

Traditional school.  It's not for everyone.

When the screws were applied and tightened as I entered my nursing school prerequisites, I stepped up.  Repeating essentially every math and science class I did poorly in during high school was something I can remember like it was yesterday.  Tears splotching my algebra homework as Bill sat across from me at our kitchen table with the patience of a saint; trying to help me understand as the numbers did the conga between drawings of the dream garden I wanted to make someday and baby name ideas for the little person growing inside my belly.  Even in college, I couldn't stop my pencil from straying to the margins and sketching my dreams.

The fact that I graduated in the top 10 of my nursing class told me that I did have it in me to succeed in school.  The idea of more math, science, and God help me; management classes told me that I would be perfectly content without a Masters or even a Bachelors in Nursing.   There's a reason they hire Diploma nurses, and it's because we hit the ground running and  kick ass on the floor, always.  I will never be ashamed of not having 13 acronyms after my name, and am often skeptical of the nurses that do.  In a crisis, give me a fellow RN that knows her stuff, not someone that can spew theory while a patient dies in front of them.

Which brings me here.

To the blank screen begging to be filled with my beloved words and ideas and freestyle grammar.  My love of writing is quickly becoming a necessity as I struggle to find meaning in nursing circa Obamacare, 2012.  I want, no, I crave a place that lets me unload and empty all the thoughts that act like conga numbers in my head.  This is my margin.  My sketch pad.  My happy place.

My friend Moe did not sparkle on the academic front in high school either.  She took the road less traveled and went to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.  My dream college.  Together we share a love of creativity, art and all the things the Right Brain handles.  Melissa is far, far more advanced than I in the art world, having built her own photography business with a loyal following for the last 13 years.

Melissa has a successful career, but last year, she had an epiphany.  She did some searching and stripped her soul down to the core and decided that Professional photography was not all she wanted to accomplish in life. As a result she took a sabbatical from her business and is now experimenting in all things art to find a new passion.  To say I am envious is an understatement, but I have learned that you can be envious and still love someone at the same time, so I rejoice with her over every "a-ha moment" and laugh with her over every failure.  She is sketching in her margins, too.  I have no doubt that she will end up in a better place.

I love to make jewelry, and a few years back I made a lot of it.  That is, until people pissed me off and I stopped.  Making and re-making something 5 times over because someone couldn't articulate what they wanted frustrated the hell out of me, and even worse, making a custom order of something I loathed gave me a pounding headache.  People thinking I would repair things they broke for free (even if I hadn't made it) sent me over the edge completely, and I packed all my stuff away. Last  summer my industrious husband took my box of sterling findings and beads to the "cash for silver" place and netted over a grand, while I fretted that my jewelry days would never come back.  I missed my right brain activities.

My garden, taking and editing pictures, redecorating my home, and Pinterest inspired projects comfort me while I struggle to find my place in the grown up world.   My birthday trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts inspired me to keep searching until I find the things that satisfy the creative bones in my body.  My friend's gift of the Voodoo doll above that has "magical powers to inspire creativity" made me smile and promise myself not to give up on my dream of being a published writer.  And last night, as I made a resin pendant in a jewelry workshop with Melissa, I realized that there is a great big world of untapped art that I need to experience.  In the workshop, they encouraged you to make a small charm called a Patera using a word from a transfer sheet.  I mentally disposed of "love" "dream" "wish" and, with a nod to the nuns who wanted me to "just conform", chose this:

I then laughed to myself as I thought of the million things I wanted to  put in one of these pendants as I sat there faced with the limited paper and transfers offered to us.  I realized at the moment that I am not done with jewelry after all.

Nursing is an art, I truly believe that.  Once I struggled through the equations and Kreb's cycle and acid-base balances of a blood gas,  I shelved them and concentrated on the part that involves caring, inspiring, teaching and love.  This is an art I will never fully leave, but one that I need to back away from for a bit to make room for the things that will make me whole.

I love my right brain.  I rely on Bill for the left brain stuff, so I am essentially all set.  Now I just need to find my path, one little step at a time.


Birgit Kerr said...

May I recommend art journaling! It's free, it's messy, it's as cheap or expensive as you want it to be and the point is the creative process, the release of what's going on inside, rather than the end result! It's very freeing and it could also be a way for you to release all those frustrations that for now have to be censored! As well as express the colorful artist in you! And art journaling has only ONE rule ... that there are NO RULES! Perfect for you, right? ;)

~Kim~ said...

B I am intrigued. Can you help me look into something like that? Is it in an older blog post of yours? It sounds like something I would love.

Birgit Kerr said...

I have an art journaling board on my pinterest. It includes a lot of inspiration, but also some videos from start to finish for a page. I seem to remember that there are also some links to Artjournaling 101, beginners guides etc.

Birgit Kerr said...

Here's the board:

Here are some to start you off:

Tons of mixed media tutorials here.

I've been doing her She Art Online Workshop, which is great fun and I learned SO much about hands on mixed media!

Here's an art journaling 101:

Tons of little videos here to give you ideas:

And I have tons more on my pinterest board :)

Anonymous said...

Birgit, I'm going right to your board after I post here. Kim, Birgit is so right! art journaling would be right up your ally and you could do it here at my table and drink wine with me. Maybe Birgit would like to come too?

~Kim~ said...

We'd have to fly her in from Arizona, so I say we drug me up properly and fly out there to her. We need some sun. OK B? :) We can bunk with the twins.

Beth said...

Luna Conception!

Aunt Beth said...

Ha! and so it began.