Getting the Answers

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You will always get the answers to your questions, but you do not always get them right away. There is a reason for that and it is simply, you are not ready to hear the answers. We all experience things both good and bad that just didn’t clearly make sense and we ask why. Why did that happen and how. The bad things though, they tend linger and scar us and sometimes paralyze us from moving on in parts of our lives.

That happened to me. Many years ago. Many many years ago, I was in a relationship with a very good guy. I liked him, I loved him and at one point thought I could do this life sharing thing. It didn’t work out; not because of a lack of trying. It was difficult for me to understand why this relationship went to the dumps. Being the type of person I am, I internalized and analyzed my actions over the past six – seven years to see what specifically led to this point. What made this worse is that the person that could have given me answers was pretending that I did not exist and that the last few years did not exist. What I experienced seemed unreal but the pain  was an acknowledgement that it was very real. I needed answers so I could move one. I needed something to make the last few years of my life make sense.

I didn’t get an answer and that “not knowing” molded how I lived for many years. It molded how I related and didn’t relate to people. Years of negative energy boxed inside of me becasue, ” I needed to know.” Until I realized I could not continue to live that way. I had to learn how to be okay not knowing. That happened through meditation and prayer. It happened through writing and drawing. I can remember one day waking up smiling and feeling that cloud gone. That was a miraculous day.

It has been a few years since I was released from the challenges of that situation but just a week ago, I got answers to my initial questions. I think I needed to mentally and spiritually be where I am now to accept and even understand the answers that I received. If I would of heard these answers when I wanted them, I would not have accepted it.

So I get it. Answers come when they need to and I will never rush them again and never allow not knowing to stop me from living fully.

Empty Canvas…Not

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I use to abhor standing in front of a blank canvas and making that decision. What will be the first color or mark that goes on that clean and empty space? Will that first mark be the dooming mark of creative disaster or will it be the beginning of a masterpiece?

That feeling is there every time I start a painting, but after years of painting I now understand that I have the tools and know-how to make a mistake turn into something beautiful or even better; turn what looks like a mistake into a new unexplored place, which may change what and how I paint from the moment I placed that mark on the canvas. Starting a new painting is a challenging and beautiful experience. However, all paintings do not start with a blank canvas.

A couple of weeks ago, I stood in front of an old painting of mine that I always thought needed more. I stared at it for years (8 to be exact) before inspiration hit. There were some parts I covered with white primer and redrew, but most of it needed a layer or two of paint, crayons, markers and voilà, it became this great painting that I proudly shared with others. The core of the painting was still the same, but the accents and the little bit of redraw made it something to look at.

Sometimes people refer to Detroit as a blank canvas and some people react to it and mark on this city like a blank canvas; as though nothing existed before they made their strokes.  Some mark on this city because they do not care about this place, or themselves really, but others mark on this city because they are misinformed. These people come and create, not taking in consideration that art (people, history, ideas, direction, life) already exist in this place and in their ignorance, they cover and destroy the beauty that attracted them to this city in the first place.  Without a thought, removing memories, people and color; misguidedly making a beautiful canvas of uniqueness into one that is no more than a dull shade of gray.  There are things happening in this city that are so wonderful and I am excited to see them grow, but I have a desire to still see the core of this city’s being through the beautiful colors and lines that we Detroiters, old and new, are making.

What I am asking as an artist and a Detroiter is that we honor what is already here as we create. Let us be honest when something needs to be redone and removed, but always do it as betterment of the city and not for the betterment of an individual. Let us include those that have been here and plan with them in mind as well as those that are coming. Let us not look at this city as a blank canvas but a beautiful opportunity to make life wonderful for the 700,000 who have made this home for decades and for the many more who will make Detroit their home in the near future.