Friday, August 24, 2018

Pleased to meet me

It's none of your business how I live my life. I come here to talk about my art and painting. I share my new works with you, recap my Tuesday Studio videos, share interviews, exciting news and let you know where you can see and buy my work or how you can now buy me a cup of coffee in support of my working vision and all the things I share freely on social media channels.

Everything I share is mostly couched in art. It is the studio blog after all and that makes sense. However, sometimes I get tired of just sticking to the facts and the limits of our relationship here. 

I remember once I wrote my Grandma Chapman a letter when I was probably 14 or 15 alluding to the fact that I didn't want a superficial relationship with her anymore. I didn't want to tell her about the weather in Fayetteville and ask her how it was down in North Little Rock. Had it rained? Was it humid there too? I wanted to share my real life with her. I wanted to share when I was mad at my father (her son) or that I had been smoking cigarettes at lunch and after school and when did she start smoking anyway? And there's this boy I like but he's all wrong for me... I wanted to cut the shit so to speak. 

I want to do that with you too. I want to do that with myself as well. 

I've been having a hard time and not just because we need to move from this flat. I have been having a hard time for years.

I pause here because that feels like a heavy statement. I have been having a hard time for years. Yes, me. The one that wishes that you are happy, well, and inspired at the end of each video visit. The one that tells you to keep fighting at the end of most blogs. These are like affirmations that I put out to the world but it is also what I need to hear. I want to be well, happy, and inspired. I want to keep fighting.

So while I have been having a hard time for years, I have also been doing things to help me have a less of a hard time. These things include yoga, meditation, relaxation exercises, affirmations, chanting, counselors, life coaches, shamans, Chinese medicine doctors, western doctors, an outpatient chronic pain clinic for fibromyalgia, masseuses, healers, reaching out to close friends, walking, exercise, writing, making art, volunteering, flirting with and sometimes committing to sober living sometimes for years and sometimes for months, and generally trying to moving forward.

I have also done plenty of things to only exacerbate my hard times over the years, you know like those classics of being angry, drinking too much, eating too much, loving too much, needing too much, and changing too much to please others, numbing myself out, isolating, and living in denial all the while doubting myself, feeling low, and fearing the world.

I remember in my twenties when I was living in Oregon and I was having debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, my brother Sean told me to look inside myself for the answers rather than outside. This sentence written in a letter that took a week to reach me mostly just pissed me off at the time because I couldn't really grasp the concept.

The answers are within but I have needed a lot of help and time to find them there. It's none of your business how I live my life. I come here to talk about my art and painting. I also come here to share my humanity and connect with you. For the past eight weeks and four days, I have made a concerted effort to practice yoga along with meditation (sometimes twice a day). I have been practicing both off and on for decades but this time has felt a bit different, somehow more internalised, connected, and helpful than in times before and I am grateful.

This is setting the stage for better thinking and feeling states and I need this as we look for a place to live and as we move into autumn and winter in Scotland. I have also been listening to Russell Brand's latest book Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions. I like the way he presents the 12 steps in a very relatable way. Mr. Brand can be a polarising celebrity with an egocentric shamanistic vibe (but damn, his impressive vocabulary is certainly something to aspire to). Whatever you think of him, I think he is hitting the right tone with this book in order to connect with many who have been lost when it comes to traditional recovery literature. I can make this statement with some strange and small degree of experience, as once upon a time I was in training to become a chemical dependency counselor in Oregon before I nipped that idea in the bud so I could stop worrying about my drinking, enjoy the music scene, and focus on my art - I am confident I made the right choice. Anyway, some of you might enjoy the book, I am still working my way through it.

I sent this blog post to a dear friend to read before I published it. Am I saying anything wrong? Am I going to be misunderstood? Am I going to be painted into a corner? Am I going to get in trouble? 

The answer is no.

I just want you to know me. I want to share a new baseline understanding. I want to be more of a whole person in this world and that can only be a good thing.

My name is Megan Chapman and I bet we have a lot in common.

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  1. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. Being able to love and respect the darker aspect of ourselves (Jung's shadow) is so very important to the alchemy of becoming authentic and whole. Understanding paradox and seeing duality as contrasts of the same energy rather than conflicting. Have you read the book "Outrageous Openness" by Tosha Silver? It was a bit of a game changer for me. Sending good vibes that everything falls into place with finding a new abode and that you can hold space for everything that you're feeling and experiencing.


    1. Thank you, Amy for reading and for your comment. I love the way you put it, "the alchemy of becoming authentic and whole." Beautiful! Yes! I will look up the book, as it sounds great- thank you. Thanks too for the vibes and support. I appreciate you.

  2. I fought depression for most of my life...but it also brought me, eventually, to art as a way of life. I blog, too, have done for longer than I care to admit. The tagline for that blog is, 'a mixture of art and thought, with a little bit of real life on the side'. People get what they get, on my blog. Mostly, it's art...occasionally, it's not...mostly, it's a mixture of all three, art, thought and life, with the focus on process. Your blog, your rules. I recovered from the depression, the struggle is with ME, a much harder task master. It goes on...I go on... you will too x.

    1. Thanks for reading and for sharing your experience here. I appreciate your empathy and inturn you have mine. I like your "Your blog, your rules" policy.:) Glad to hear you recovered from the Depression, so sorry about the ME. I have had friends that suffered with it and I know it's serious business. I hope you continue to move forward in art and life. That's my plan too. x

  3. Thank you for opening this topic for discussion, Megan. I have a broken brain and am SO tired of explaining how that manifests/affects my everyday life. And yet I do - over and over again. Because if I think - feck it - I get distain from folks who think I am drunk, or have to deal with medical professionals who treat me as a neurotic woman unless I trot my story out. It took years for me to get a diagnosis - only NOW do folks believe there is something wrong with me. I am constantly in a state of rage. It adds even more exhaustion to the exhausted state that is 'normal' for what ails me lol.

    Ironically, the trope of 'tortured creative' really doesn't cut it in real life lol. Furthermore, I tend not to talk about it as I don't want to feel like I need to apologise for being ill. I don't really see why I should try to not appear to be affected by my long list of symptoms so as not to cause discomfort to others. Is that a womanly thing? The need to apologise for being not-normal lol?

    I for one, do not want to 'embrace' my illness. I am furious and want my old life back. All the meditation and mindfulness in the world won't change that - and after years of living with this - nor do I want to try and change it just to be 'normal' . It puts fire in my belly .

    Keep on doing your thing and I will too - it irritates the hell out of those who want everyone to be 'normal' - much love and best wishes for a new abode xx


    1. Aw, Elaine! Thank you for sharing your story and frustrations. You have my complete empathy. Much love and wishes for peace as you navigate this broken brain dance. You are not alone. I get the not wanting to embrace your illness. I really do. Thanks again for continued support and comments- it means a lot to me. Take care. x