It’s August folks and I am about seven days away from a full-on, end-of-summer panic. (I’ve been daydreaming about how awesome next summer’s going to be for about two weeks now.)
Summer is my season. June is my favorite month, and I even see that as romantically bittersweet because it’s ‘the beginning of the end’. Really; in my fantasy land I’d spend every June day blowing bubbles in a field and lounging near a sparkling body of water while laughing gaily with an ever-so-slightly-open-mouthed smile.
On chilly, stormy days, I’d sit near an open window with an organic cotton, beach-colored throw almost covering my perfect pedicure while sipping a La Croix Sparkling Coconut Water and reading old, hardcover books, or writing out my deepest thoughts on saving the world. Some days I’d sketch the ‘essence’ of a particularly sentimental tree in my Moleskine with my Copic drawing pens.
Every day would end with a bonfire and an off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirt. My diet would consist of fresh fruit, grilled vegetables and meat, punctuated with an occasional Rocket Pop or Dark Chocolate Klondike – and maybe a funnel cake delicately torn into bite-sized morsels by thumb and index finger-tip with partially extended pinky while wistfully frolicking at a charming, old-fashioned street fair.
I’d wear the perfect outfit to every outdoor concert and spend hours on end waxing poetic about clouds and sunsets and children’s laughter.
[insert empathetic mind-wanderings here]
The reality is that this summer in particular, has been disappointing. Circumstances conspired. Attitudes faltered. Countless ‘cheap-chic’, spring wardrobe-lifting shopping efforts dragged into numerous summer attempts, and nearly all resulted in thankfulness for well-planned-ahead “free returns”.
I ended up thoroughly immersed in the hopeful plans and hopelessly missing the realities of community pools, dollar-store sketchbooks, discount flip-flops, backyard barbecues and all the blissful pleasure of watching lightning bugs from the second-hand patio furniture. I did manage to squeeze in a few Klondikes. ;)
My tragedy of pride (or “taking the high ground”, if you prefer) in March – the heartbreaking decision to distance myself from a dishonest ‘business partner’ instead of moving forward with WIP Arts in some-form-is-better-than-none fashion – really set me back. I’m an optimistic person, but I take things seriously and I take them to heart. I can make allowances for another’s naivety and I have no qualms about a certain amount of selfishness – it’s akin to self-preservation (Hey, human nature, good to see you again!) – but even “you’re too kind, WIPjenni” (shoutout to Bootleggers Media) has limits and draws a very heavy, very dark line at publicly being called a “loser” for putting ethics ahead of financial gain.
There have been more than several false starts since I first realized that encouraging and creating opportunities for EVERYone to experience some sort of ‘artistic’ expression and appreciation was something I needed to do, but there does come a point where tenacity leads into the distinct impression that one’s barking up the wrong tree.
I’m still not utterly convinced, (tenacity is a tough nut to crack), but I’m pretty confident that White Oak is the wrong tree for me.
They (the all-knowing “they”) say that setting clear goals is the key to achieving success; well, kids, my main goal has been very community-centric all along. Pretty much since my 6th birthday party when all my friends left because I insisted on a “democratic vote” to decide which game we should play. (It was an election year and my Libra cusp demands a nod to fairness. What can I say?)
Now here’s the 2016-Summer-Down-the-Drain Epiphany… it turns out there’s an “I” in “community” and that’s all most folks can see! I have love for all the letters.
I’m not without personal motivation, though. My “I” is the feeling of accomplishment; the satisfaction in helping/making/inspiring/enabling someone else to experience something good and positive. Putting a smile on someone’s face is joyous for me. When that smile comes from some new knowledge or perspective, my joy becomes downright rapturous. And like all things that feel so gosh-darn good, it’s a little addictive.
My drive toward that satisfaction can be interpreted as condescending, aggressive, or plain old snobby, and let’s face it, none of us enjoy being ‘spoken down to’. But the thing is, my gentle readers, that’s not where it comes from AT ALL. As far as I can tell, it comes from a deep-down urge to share. I want to share. I need to share. My enthusiasm, intelligence and that cumbersome tenacity create a perfect storm of near-desperation for understanding. Honest, it’s like a I need a fix. A big, juicy hit of “Oh, yeah, I get it!”.
That’s where I’m coming from. That’s why I’m almost certain that if a community wants an all-welcoming, all-sorts-of-options, creative enjoyment space, they wouldn’t avoid or ostracize the person trying to do it because they “use big words”* and see more value in sharing understanding than building a bank balance (or getting praised); the community might just step up and pitch in. The reality is, their “I”s are bigger than their stomachs and my “I” can see its own limitations.
“Sure, but what does all that have to do with summer or days and dollars?”, I hear you mutter.
Well, the summer days flashed by while I was reordering my priorities to try and earn some shekels with my own creativity, learning how to communicate with smaller words and abridged passions on other people’s soapboxes, and largely dealing with the mounting trials and tribulations of each passing year.
And a good many of them were spent cursing Amazon.com’s inability to offer “free returns” on off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirts. ;)
*I don’t start off with “big words”, I just end up trying ALL the words to reach that ever-elusive understanding.
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