Wondering why I’ve been talking so much about change recently?  Well, it’s been a process of changes in my home and business life.  It gets me thinking that nothing is permenant or “forever.”

Been organizing and down-sizing myself and my life.  Going through all my possessions.  Viewing every digital photo I’ve taken since 2003.  Pondering why I haven’t edited much of my body of work until now, and find that I am amazed by the images on my computer screen.  Puzzled to why I am struggling as and artist, yet my work is beautiful.  Maybe, it’s my most challenging paradigm to change.

How could it be that someone who was terrified of the family and the kids at school, now is capable of creating positive messages and beautiful artwork?  It comes down to self-esteem.  There, I’ve said it!  I am having difficulty moving past the pain and anguish of being different when I was young, and not being supported by the adults in my life.  I talk a lot about change, because I know that it is the only constant in our lives.  We are constantly changing.  The landscape outside is constantly changing.  Our thoughts are continually changing.

The media talks about bullying.  I lived the nightmare.  I’ve worked hard to embrace it, and allow myself to become more of a person because of it.  I remember the threats by other kids at Jr High, followed by the terror of being home.  I was unable to make myself invisible enough, so that they would leave me alone.  I remember the words “ugly dog” being yelled across the cafeteria, because I liked a boy.  Or, being threatened of being stuffed in a garbage can by a classmate.  It never stopped.  It hurt.  It cut.  I didn’t know how to take it, and didn’t understand it.

Why couldn’t I become invisible enough for them to leave me alone?

At home, I was supposed to be the Honor Society student, and not speak unless spoken to.  I remember trying to express myself once (4th grade), and it came out in a way that my mom didn’t approve of.  I remember the sting of the slap across the face, and the comment “Don’t ever speak to me that way young lady!”  I didn’t speak again.  I withdrew.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t understand, and the only safe avenue I had just closed.  Then, there was no one, until a met a girl in 9th grade.  She told me that I could write poetry.  It became a way to express myself, without anyone judging me.  I hid it.  Not even my mom knew that I wrote (as far as I knew).

I still wasn’t invisible, but I had an outlet for my pain and fear.

In high school, I had a teacher that changed my life.  I took creative writing from Ms. Watson.  She published one of my poems in the school paper.  She offered to help me publish a children’s story that I wrote and illustrated.  My senior year, I was on the paper staff, and she made me a co-sports editor.  I may have felt like an outsider, but this was something that I could focus my attention on.  Another teacher (though I cannot remember her name) encouraged me in the area of art.  She entered a painting I did in class into a district show.  I still have the painting in my portfolio.

I had friends in high school, though inside I always felt that I wasn’t worthy of having them.  I always felt like I was an outsider.  I didn’t talk to anyone about my home life.  I focused on school and competitive swimming.  They were the only constant things in my life, and they weren’t people who could hurt me further. . .

I feel the need to stop now.  I’ve opened the old wounds, and need to let them heal a bit before moving forward further.

Love & Light. . .Karen

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