I have an exhibit coming up in January and was recently asked by the gallery director what the title of my exhibit will be. Duh? You would think that a person who has spent most of her life in the creative field would be more imaginative in this respect. Uh, my name? The types of paintings I’ll exhibit? I finally landed on the title: Introspection.
Introspection seems to represent what we do at the end of the year and the beginning of the new year. How were things? What did we learn? What do we hope for the new year?
Let’s face it. It’s been a difficult year. Most of us did not expect to still be dealing with a world pandemic. Wild weather and climate change. Economic and world political disputes.
This led me to contemplate my Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread series of paintings. I plan to include several of these pieces in the upcoming exhibit. Many of them represent the theme of being alone. Eating alone or limited to a close group of friends and family.
Some people seem to have handled being alone better than others. For an artist, this is a normal state to reach down deep to access my thoughts and determine how best to express them. I enjoy the time with my thoughts and am not lonely, just alone.
Other creative people – dancers, musicians, those who work in large studio groups – thrive on the lively input of many minds. What looks to me like chaos is their life blood. With theaters shuttered and musical venues closed, I can only sympathize.
For me, being alone whether spending time in the studio, reading, taking a walk in the woods, or even attending a movie or performance alone is an enjoyable experience. It doesn’t really matter who I’m with or how many people are around me.
But being lonely is no fun for anyone. And, yes, I’ve been there, too. This is a much more nobody likes me emotional state. You can be surrounded by people and yet still feel hollow and disconnected.
This has been a difficult couple of years for everyone and the holiday season is an especially emotional time. Maybe you’ve been separated from your family and friends. You’ve been working from home and don’t have any work buddies to pal around with. Maybe you’ve moved and don’t have any friends in your new city. I’m not a psychologist but I do know that people are not going to knock on your door. As a friend told me a long time ago; there are always people like you (in the area); you just have to go out and find them.
Even if you live in as unpopulated an area as I do (and it would be difficult to find many counties in the Eastern part of the United States with a more sparse population than mine), there are still some people like you out there. Go to the library, join a club, start your own club. What special interests do you have? Hiking, biking, fishing, playing ball? Maybe you like to volunteer at the animal shelter or help others. Young people who are new to a city or area often reach out through online groups to plan activities.
Whoever you are out there, I hope that you can enjoy the holidays. That you’re not alone or lonely. Let us all hold higher aspirations for a new year.