some thoughts on guilt and inspirations

Jan 25, 2008 | Life in Progress

it’s funny how one day i’m creating an affirmation painting (this one made for an upcoming project), and the next day i find myself on the edge of having the blues. i haven’t felt much like doing anything this week – except abandoning the to-do list all together and eating and watching tv. do you ever have weeks like this where you just feel blah?

i’ve barely been in the studio since before the holidays and i’m aching to get in there and get my hands messy and wet with paint color. i have visions of new girls, new hair, new ideas. out with the old and in with the new. i’m ready for a bit of a change. yep. but inside the depth of that change, i’m just hanging out. not much production going on this week. and what i find fascinating is the self-imposed guilt i have about it. about not being productive. about not painting. about not sticking to my goals. and on and on.

i was never a girl who carried much guilt – especially when it’s an external source/person imposing the guilt. but this guilt i’m feeling is completely internal and irrational, too. it’s unfamiliar territory and i’m learning what a pesky little bugger it can be. guilt. shame. perfectionism. it all streams together and i don’t like it at all. there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve disappointed yourself and in turn disappointed those around you. i keep asking for reassurance from john about it. and this is driving both of us nuts.

we’re all just people, i suppose. figuring it out. breathing in the daily trials and joys and lessons and heartbreak and triumphs. in my wanderings this week on the internet, i found this lovely woman (who is helping me spread some very cool kindness in the coming weeks) and her new project that has me all sorts of inspired. i also found this portlander (via friend mati rose) whose lists and portland mentions are making me happy. and jen lemen – oh how i want to meet this woman. i’m just going to put it out there. yep.

ps – thank you for celebrating with me in my last post (sincerely)… feels joyous to be able to announce big plans and dreams and even worries in this space and for it all to be received inside the arms of grace and community.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (13 comments)
  1. Tinniegirl

    Every time I read through your old posts I find just the words I need. It’s been such a gift to find your blog and enjoy it over the last 12 months. Thanks so much for all your words and thoughts.

  2. Tif

    I saw your stuff on ETSY and I had to check out your blog. I love your work. The colors are gorgeous and the painting just make me smile!

  3. Kat Candler

    I hear you on the guilt thing. I had my own “I’m such a disappointment” day last week. Someone inspired it. And then others squashed the whole idea of it Grrr to guilt. And grr to people making you feel 10 inches tall.

  4. katydiddy

    I think Julia Cameron said that these dark, difficult periods usually proceed a jump forward in your art. You are about to become even better (if that’s possible!). Wait for it. It’s coming.

  5. Kel

    Kelly, oh I know this feeling SO well! I am in kind of a slump at the moment myself – anything I think about doing seems too hard. I try and remind myself that fields need to lie fallow to produce crops, artists too need to lie fallow to produce art. Especially in January!

  6. Colorsonmymind

    I love the girls you mention and the projects too. Such amazing creative juice flowing amongst this blogging community. Just amazing.

    I love your new girl. I would love to have a print in my home:)

  7. Sherry

    Kelly, I go through spells like this all the time. And I’ve found that going to the bottom — the time where I feel like doing nothing but eating, reading, good for my soul. I can’t always be “up” and busy. I need those “quiet” times to be reflective, to give my spirit a chance to replenish — and when I am well and truly ready to get back to whatever it is — I get there with a whole spirit. It took me going through something as drastic as cancer treatment to recognize and understand it – but eventually I got the message!! 🙂

  8. Stacie

    I have been going to my studio and playing on the computer, watching Jane Austin movies and doing everything in my power not to work on jewelry. I have to get going…I have a busy year and I need to get cranking on inventory…but chocolate, chi tea and diversions are taking over…
    And it isn’t as if I don’t love my work…I just look at my supplies and feel little inspiration.
    It has been bugging me too…not so much in a guilty way…I am just doing what I feel like and hopeful it will change….soon.

  9. stacy kathryn

    I know that guilt…I am constantly reminding myself that it is OK to not get everything done on my to do list and to just chill. I think it is the feeling of not producing that starts to make me feel stalled a little. Hopefully it will pass soon…although my little guilt voice comes back often.

  10. Christianne

    Yes, I certainly have those days where sitting on the couch, eating junk and watching a good movie are all I feel I can muster!

    So sorry to hear you’re feeling this way. It sounds like you’ve got a sense of the source of it, and I love how this indicates your own ability to be self-aware even in seasons of distraction and pain.

    As I was reading, I began wondering if the hesitation to step into that studio and get paint all over your beautiful self has something to do with embarking on something new with your art — exploring new designs, hairdos, lovely ladies to paint, and in new ways you haven’t explored before. Maybe there are questions like, How will it turn out? Will it be beautiful? Will others feel these new ladies’ spirits in the same way they felt them before with the other girls? Will I?

    Wherever you are, I want you to know that you are utterly beautiful.

  11. Deirdre

    I’ve been feeling the same way this week. My to-do list was getting done – I was so proud of myself – and then it all stopped. It’s an effort to even look at the list right now. Maybe it’s the weather? I’m sure this bit of blues will lift. Until then cuddle up with a doggie and a husband and watch a good movie. Be good to yourself and take this moment to recharge. Call it self-care and kick the guilt to the curb. xoxo

  12. Cindy In Carolina

    It’s ok to watch TV and eat….chocolate maybe. If your mind and body are saying do it then I think you should listen. myabe you need to start in your studio by putting things in order a little bit, just going in mine and see the colors, doodads and whatnots makes me want to do something in there. So I guess I’m saying take little steps towards work. Read your article in CPS last night. Enjoyed it very much!

  13. kelly

    oh…i was like this the last 4 months of 2007. guilt isn’t an easy thing to deal with. take time to calm you mind down, maybe you simply need a rest. you had a big year lastyear. listen to your body and slowly put yourself back in the studio.

    can’t wait to hear what the news is and i love the colors of this painting.


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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