Memories, Hoarding and Inertia

My mind is stuffed full, like a closet
and everything inside is tied with thread.
Every time I cut one loose,
I feel like I’m falling apart.

studio3I think I figured out why I never go up in my studio/ workspace/ whatever you want to call it. I knew there was fear; I knew there was shame, but I didn’t exactly remember why (and I was afraid to remember) and I told myself I’d already worked it out previously and the fear was just a hang-over with no current basis in fact.

I was wrong. You wake up, you go to sleep…You wake up, you go to sleep…. My insight, clearness, awakeness is this fragile little thing that runs like hell as soon as the hand slaps the water (My friend says since I am Pisces, when the hand slaps the water I dive deep down). Down to the bottom, remembering the light on the surface of the water, making up stories and just trying to swim.

Anyway, back to the studio. I am writing this because I have a broken creativity and maybe this writing will help someone else who is trying to heal that piece of themselves, or at least make them feel less alone. So, I went up today. I told myself “You just have to go up. That’s it… you don’t have to do anything or stay there if you don’t want to”. I went up and opened the door. I stood inside the room and started to feel panicky. I breathed and told myself “It’s okay. You’re ok. Its going to be okay” and felt kind of silly saying it, silly that I was feeling so much panic to be here – a place that *should* bring joy. Writing this, I realize this is part of the problem. My unrealistic expectation of what things *should* be rather than accepting what is.

I started with papers because there were so many of them. Scraps of ideas, tons of them, music and books I’d heard about on NPR that I wanted to check out (25 years ago!), doodles, notes of never-ending chores that followed from house to house, drawing paper, homemade paper, collage scrap, bits of conversation, maps, cards and correspondence, templates, patterns. I make a separate pile of all of my mom’s cards and letters because it is too painful to look at them again anytime soon. I made a pile for “life scraps” for maybe an altered book project and realized that my work often involves these biographical pieces to inform them like “Damaged Goods” (my Rosemont experience with adolescent girls who had a dual-diagnosis of mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction). taken to seclusionAnd partly because of that, I save almost everything that could possibly have any art value. RAW MATERIAL. Which is fine and good and I don’t exactly consider myself a hoarder, more of an art hoarder, and I’m okay with that.

GAC damaged goods


Except. It is all past now. Before, the present was in my studio with me and it was a happy, making place and now there are only cobwebs and dusty papers to keep me company. Old project ideas mock me. A long-ago life presents itself and it is at once, important and totally irrelevant to now. I can’t sit with this. I see the projects my grand-daughter and I did last summer and I start to cry. Because I miss her and because I miss me. Creative me. There is a lot of grief in this room. And I think, “No wonder I don’t come up here”! I am more fragile than I admit. I am coming to realize that I am not this invincible, strong woman I want to be. I am easily damaged and healing requires very honest, intensive, gentle, healing time.

I am going up again. soon. I am going to take Fear and her doll, Fear Jr. up to my sewing room. I am going to sew my Fear doll and take her with me everywhere. Maybe taking that internal fearfulness and giving it is form will help me make peace with fear.

Fear and Fear Jr. in progress20170618_115618


9 Responses to “Memories, Hoarding and Inertia”

  1. pamela978 Says:

    Dear Eileen, I hope you are able to go to your studio again soon. I am a Pisces, too…the Buddhists say we create our own reality. Today I was avoiding, too. But I did go, and spent a few hours working on three things…I haven’t been back to look yet, but I hope when I do, I hope I can convince myself that the process is more important than the product…you, too.

  2. eileen2000 Says:

    thanks, Pamela. I did go up again, a few times, and I have been bringing stuff I’m working on back and forth which makes it feel more “lived in”. And you are right, the process is the main thing.

  3. ilonca84 Says:

    Eileen I didn’t know that you have a WordPress blog too–so awesome!!! Follow mine too if ya want, yayyyyyy! You are so creative! I miss sitting with you at Sangha, but I’ll never forget that group, that’s for sure! Sending much love from Utah! –Ilona

  4. eileen2000 Says:

    wonderful! I’ll check it out on my next days off.

  5. Genie Geer Says:

    Another soul-sister found! I was going to ask if you know Pamela Hastings and there she is! What serendipity! Are your dolls still in process? Excellent idea for those. Peace and good vibes from Dallas.

    • eileen2000 Says:

      How wonderful! How did you find me here? I am currently enrolled in Barb Kobe’s year-long Transformative Healing Doll class (a friend of Pamela’s) and have several dolls in progress. I (infrequently) post process shots and other creative junk on my Instagram. My name there is e_mcgarvey. Happy creating! eileen

      • Genie Geer Says:

        Hi! Updating my blog/stats I found yours as a follower from some time ago, and figured I better check it out! I will definitely look you up on IG. I’m @genieArtyology. See you!

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