Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Upside of Down

"The Upside of Down" 5"x 7" oil on gessobord, ©2014 Tina M Welter, my first album of songs.
"The Upside of Down" 5"x 7" oil on gessobord, ©2014
Today I want to share with you my scariest goal ever.  Boy, I hope I don't regret this.

I had an experience that really spoke to my heart when I was about nine.  I was a big fan of Karen Carpenter and loved to hear her music on the radio.  I was alone in the kitchen one summer evening listening to "On Top of the World" (1973) it made me so happy, I just had to go outside and sing. I used to make up songs all the time when I was a kid and I decided right then that the best thing in the world I could ever do was to sing my songs on the radio and make people feel happy.

I never completely forgot this dream, but as I got older I could see it wasn't that simple to do.  Add to that being super shy and doubting my ability, I didn't tell anyone what I wanted.  I would make up songs on the piano, but I didn't know how to write them down properly.   I was taking piano lessons, but not composition. I didn't really believe that I could learn to do such a thing. 

I mentioned in a recent post that both my parents passed away within a year of each other, my Dad in 2012 and my Mom in 2013. They weren't just my parents, I felt they were two of my dearest friends. They were people I felt really safe with and whom I knew would always love me.  I dreaded the day they would die. When that day finally came, it was just as bad as I imagined it. Worse.  I didn't know the emotional pain would be so intense and last so long.  I didn't know I would wake up in the middle of the night for months with that pain of missing them. 

Experiencing Grief is hard for anyone and it has been a long process for me. I discovered that when I was having a really hard time, writing music seemed to help, either take me out of the pain or help me process by clarifying what I was feeling into words. 

Last year, January 2014, I made a promise to myself, I was going to complete those songs for each stage of grief I had experienced and dedicate the album to my parents.  It was a huge goal.  I had just finished two on-line courses, one on song lyric writing and the other on how to use a DAW (digital audio workstation) to record and mix music. Years later, technology was finally made up for my limitations in music making!

The question is, should I ever share this album?  

I went round and round in my mind about this decision, and I found three reasons to share.

1-I want to show that I am not just telling people to face their inner 'fraidy cat, that I am actually willing to do it myself. I have improved on facing the fear of sharing my artwork, but sharing my music terrifies me to the core. I feel like I am such a beginner and I know I am so far from knowing what I am doing. Since it is such a personal project, being open to possible criticism feels extra risky!

2-Reading about other people's experiences with grief on the facebook page "Second Chances" has been helpful to me, so I thought perhaps I could do the same for other people in my own way.

3-I have also discovered that as I am beginning to feel better, it is easy to run out of steam on a big project like this and by telling other people, it helps me be more accountable to finish it.

It's been a year since I set my goal and how am I doing?   I have completed the painting for the the album cover and I have the title, "The Upside of Down." I have about three songs close to being finished, three more roughed out and number seven, the last step, isn't written at all.  I'm not sure I've really experienced that step long enough yet so that I can write about it.

If there is interest, I will commit to sharing the songs as I complete them with those who have subscribed to my "Confessions of a 'Fraidy Cat newsletter.  Baby steps, right?  Let me know if you are interested in hearing them by signing up, or by commenting here or on facebook.

Facing the fear...
>^-^<  Tina  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Got Anxiety? Find a Friend!

"Best Friends" 8"x 10" oil on gessobord, ©2015 Tina M Welter  Grey and White cats together on flowered pillow and red violet background with hearts.
"Best Friends" 8"x 10" oil on gessobord, ©2015
This post is in honor of those friendships and loves that push us to go beyond what we think we can do ourselves.

I mentioned in my original 'Fraidy Cat post  how "love doesn't cast out all fear, but it helps."  I really wanted to illustrate how much that has been true for me.

Here is a list of examples of fear producing situations I know I faced because of Jeff.

- Facing the anxiety of boxing up all my belongings.   
   (I had never moved everything I owned before.)
- Driving a stick-shift truck and facing the uncertainty of using a clutch on a hill.
- Driving all the way to Alaska with no cell phones or GPS.
- Practice calling people I don't know well on the telephone.
   (I had a terrible phobia of this when we were first married- goofy, I know!)
- How to take action when you want a really big dream to come true.
- How to face disapproval of your dreams from others.
- Selling our first house.
- Moving to Montana and living in the woods with all those trees and bears. 
   (I'm serious, the trees used to make me feel claustrophobic!)
- Learn all about living off grid and generating our own electricity.
- Facing the fear of drinking lake water.
- Practicing how to have faith and move forward by letting go.
- Learning how to make stained glass art.
- Moving to the mountains of New Mexico. 
- Learning I could drive 700 miles successfully by myself.
- Building a house from scratch on bare land.
- Learning how to snowboard.
- How to organize, produce, and perform in our own play.
- Facing my fear of flying.
- How to let go of a dream that we have worked 15 years to achieve.
  ( face the fear of change and let go again.)
- Living in a foreign country and trying to learn the language.
- Dealing with my insecurities to keep writing music and painting.

It's not that Jeff isn't afraid, but it usually hits him later than sooner and by that time I can encourage him.  The idea is to help each other and eventually both of us feel better. 

I heartily recommend to anyone who is looking to overcome a fear, find a friend or someone you trust, who is a little bit less afraid than you are that you can be accountable to. This has made all the difference in the world for me to really dig deep and get the motivation and practice I needed in facing my fears.

So, when facing anxiety, keep these three things in mind: 

1.  Anxiety? Find a friend who is a little bit less afraid than you are! (click bird to tweet) Tweet: Anxiety?Find a friend who is a little bit less afraid than you are! #fraidycat #creativeanxiety @TinaWelter

2. Be willing to try.  Jeff always told me that my willingness to try always made a difference.   I know that mindset does help me. I am often frightened, but usually willing to try.
3. Bonus!  Keep in mind that this is one way the questionable habit of people pleasing can actually be useful!  :0

Happy Valentine's day Jeff,  

I know I would have lived a completely different life without you. 

>^-^<   Tina 

If you would like to purchase a print or greeting card of "Best Friends" for yourself, please click here to visit my Fine Art America site.

Why does it seem that I don't learn I am capable from my successes?  

I delve into this question in my "Confessions of a 'Fraidy Cat" newsletter from last week, "Walking the Tightrope?"  If you would like to read what my answer was, fill out the subscription box on the right and I will send you last week's issue.

'Fraidy Cat Walks the Mental Tightrope" original drawing ©2015 Tina M Welter  Cat walking over a shark tank on a tightrope.
'Fraidy Cat Walks the Mental Tightrope" ©2015