Not that long ago, I wrote about having space in my life. For about 6 years we lived life in perpetual survival mode which leaves little space to be creative. I have slowly been coming out of that for a few years now. This week marked a big milestone for us. Gavyn made it an entire year without needing to see his neurosurgeon! This Tuesday I took him in for a normal yearly check up and he looked amazing. I felt a wave of new breath fill my lungs and a burden lift from my shoulders when we looked at his brain scan. It was an incredible feeling.

With the new found space I gave myself permission to sign up for a monthly art class. It is 4 hours, once a month, that is now set aside for me to learn a new art technique from Kel Rohlf. Today was my first class! By the end of the class I realized that art journaling will help me process things in a way blogging won’t be able to. There was something about creating something visually beautiful that engaged my mind to deal with some ugly ghosts.

The prompt I gravitated towards was: If my journal were a playground I would…

As I journaled about that idea I started to realize how much shame I carry. It is these little, medium, and large rocks that sit tucked in the bottom of my baggage. You know, the baggage we all carry with us through life. Weird shame from when you were a kid, things that people say that get distorted in your brain and stick to you like a nasty booger. For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that I was never to be more talented than my older brothers. I remember making art projects and trying to not make it as well as my brother did. Where did that shame come from? I don’t think I know. Then there are the big stones of shame. The ones from the circumstances leading up to and around Gavyn’s birth. I try to fight the guilt and shame of blaming myself for his illness, but I carry it with me always.

What do I do with this? Not just this revelation but this actual mess? I cannot clean it up as quickly and easily as I did my paint brushes today. There is no water to rinse this off with and go about my day. It will take more digging and exploring, and lets face it, more getting dirty than getting clean. It would be easy to pack it back away and leave it for another year, but this year I’m supposed to be brave. (deep sigh) Let’s be brave and figure this shame thing out…