Oh, Mae West, how I wish I’d known you…

original“Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven’t tried before”, she said.

She sounds like me, totally resistant to treading the same path, always looking for new experiences, unable to commit to a true path, even in evils.

I’m doing the 3rd chapter of The Artist’s Way and it is about recovering power and healing the childhood hurts that exist within us.  I find this, on page 68, talking about the fear of punishment:

“Many artists begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It’s no longer worth the trouble. To therapists, this sudden surge of disinterest (“It doesn’t matter”) is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.”


A wise friend of mine told me yesterday that both she and I are adjusting to being “visible” again, putting ourselves out there where we can be seen and judged. My son recently asked me why I never send writing to magazines and such, only enter contests and classes.  I know why I do. If I have to rush to a deadline, or submit to a crazy set of protocols or be a student, I can make the result not matter, still be part of my learning. I’m not ready to take the training wheels off, for some reason. So instead I leap from activity to activity, trying out the new activities…instead of focusing on one or two and seeing it to the end point. It’s like when I did pottery classes and pulled up cylinders, only to cut every single one in half to see how even I’d made it, never seeing the piece to its final stages.

All of this is a part of the recovery I am working on – the recovery of self-esteem after the loss of my job in horrible disarray after my diagnosis of MS and later breakdown, the recovery of my soul after a long time ignoring it and covering it over with iron and glass, the recovery of the ability to accept love, maybe even return it, after marital and familial wounds. Been hurt, yes, still smarting, yes. It’s gone far enough I do not allow myself a moment’s pride in what I have accomplished. I need to get past this.

I’d like to sit with Mae, have a cigar, talk about where she really was about this evils thing,intardaetà and whether her tough exterior covered a world of hurt and self-doubt, and how she pulled her spirit out of that and moved on.

2 thoughts on “Oh, Mae West, how I wish I’d known you…

  1. shewrite63

    I’m glad to hear you’re participating in The Artist’s Way. It has been over 10 years since my first attempt. I took away some good advice from it though and still use it to this day. I love the concept of the artist’s date, getting out, exploring and obtaining a little something, a souvenir that will prime those creative juices again.

    Mae West sounds like an inspiration and cautionary role model ;o) I think artists and women of a certain age (a-hem) deserve the opportunity to reinvent, to re-create from who they were, who they are and who they want to be. That’s one way of getting over past hurts and moving on.


  2. Carol

    Couldn’t have said it all better myself, DA. Wonder how many women get caught in the same trap. How many times have I not put my work into a show? How many times have I gone running off to try a new approach or method rather than working through the one I am starting to make progress in? How many times have I criticized someone else’s work only to be too afraid to face the possibility of having someone criticize mine? And, anger; anger is a whole other story….


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