I try to turn problems into opportunities. Sadness into lessons. Hurts into motivation. Negatives into positives.
I try to tell my daughter that old saying about life giving you lemons then make some lemonade. She said that if life doesn’t give you some sugar too, you’re gonna have some shitty lemonade. SHE IS SO RIGHT! So, what I’ve found is that there is plenty of sugar in life, you just have to make sure you remember that when it’s pouring lemons!
I used to beat myself up all the time. Then fifteen years ago I decided to take positive steps to believing I had superpowers and was worthy of love and happiness.
I had hit a pretty good stride with all of that, then some bad stuff happened around 2010 and lasted for a while and then another hard thing happened in 2011 that called a lot of things into question for me. About who I was. What I was capable of. What I should let go of or hang on to. I kept working hard at bringing myself out of that dark pit of despair and decided I was going to learn whatever it was these lessons were going to teach me. And I feel much more back in balance again. It helped when I focused my energy OUTWARD. When I stopped thinking of just how things were affecting me and how they hurt me. Sure, I had to do some triage first and get some intensive care out of the way, but once I was no longer spilling my guts everywhere, I could then see more than just my own pain. And more importantly, I could see beauty again.
The truth is, the world is full of chaos and we can’t do much about it. We can’t stop waves from washing over towns or people from driving like shitheads on the beltway – but we CAN control how we react to things. There will always be good times to come. But there will also always be tough times, too.
I like to think of it like other types of practice and exercise. A wave can knock you over but the better the swimmer you are the more quickly you can recover and the more likely you can swim back to shore.
My recovery from self loathing and low self esteem started with belly dancing classes. Since then I have picked art back up, started photography, theatre and visual art journaling and writing stories. All of those things helped me see inside myself and express it in a way that helps me heal.
Below are some early photos, digital collages and art I never would have done if I hadn’t started believing that I was capable of doing something worthwhile in this world.
PS – there is no HeatherBartlettArt anymore. It’s all under Heather Brooks or Heather Hardy (my fiance’s last name). Though after all it has taken to get my name back in order after my divorce, I’m not a 100% sure I will change it again.