I have been struggling for weeks to write this blog. So much has happened since my last blog entry that it makes me think when there is too much to say, nothing seems to want to come out. It is also likely due to the fact that some recent events have been life changing and subject to much reflection. Like a bear, most of November and December were spent in my lair resting and thinking of the next chapter of my life.
The second part of 2022 was marked by change. My youngest Mathias left for Toronto with their partner Avery and began to study at York University. They are both really enjoying their time in Toronto. Also, Alex left for France to do his Master’s in Besançon, a beautiful small city in the eastern part of France, close to the Swiss border. I became an empty nester, notwithstanding my two dogs who have a way to keep me busy with long walks and trips to the Pet Value at the end of our street.
In October, I had the opportunity to go to France and see Alex and my son Loic who lives in Geneva. While it was a wonderful trip in that I had the chance to spend time with them and visit amazing sites, on the health side, my body decided to change register and move away from whispering in my ear to a loud and unavoidable scream to stop and listen.
After a health scare in France, my anxiety reached a level that I had rarely seen and I just could not bring it down with any of the techniques that I have learned over the years. Anxiety is most often like the unwanted cousin who comes to the family gatherings unannounced, stays for weeks on end and is totally oblivious to the noise and damage that he or she inflicts to others. This time around, it was like my mind had become the crashing place for a dozen or so of these cousins. I had become dysfunctional for parts of the day and just needed to stop. And that is what I did. Less than 24 hours after landing in Ottawa, I was in my doctor’s office, telling her how bad things were and how I needed to stop my activities and get better. Now, when your GP tells you ‘this has been a long time coming’, it kind of tells you a lot about my ability to listen to my body. It was a very-eye opening experience. Ouch.
And so, I did stop and it was the best decision of my life. For most of November and December, I got better physically and gradually my anxiety, through medication, rest, and therapy, went down. I watched SO many Christmas movies during this time - if you want recommendations for this upcoming Christmas, hit me up - I will gladly share the best and the worst. I must say that the worst Christmas movie I saw is probably the best, as it became an experience in itself.
Perhaps it took me such a long time to write this blog because, while I have been vocal about my anxiety in this blog before, there is a difference between saying I have anxiety and saying my anxiety is out of control and I can’t continue like this. This being said, the love and support that I have received from my friends and family has been wonderful and has led to conversations that I don’t think would have occurred otherwise. We should never underestimate the power of vulnerability and simply being human on others. Our world is in a sad state of affairs, where people are afraid of showing their weakness and insecurities. Knowing that, I think we need to be self-aware of how we interact with each other and how we show up. We - the older generation - also need to learn from the younger generation who are so much more open and transparent in this regard… and so much more welcoming and inclusive.
On the artistic front, these events led me to take two months off from painting - I just didn’t have it in me. But now, I am feeling better in so many ways. I have started to paint and creativity is through the roof. I have completed 5 paintings and have 3-4 on the go. So look out for new paintings on my website. At the moment, I am painting a lot of trees and landscapes. That is what makes me the happiest 🙂.
Last year, I joined Art Lending of Ottawa. This is a coop of artists that has 4 shows per year and where you can rent art for three months at a time. This is a great way to try art in your home and see if you like it. I sold two paintings and currently have one that is rented out. I find this is a great way to purchase larger pieces. I also sold my first painting through a gallery and participated in a small artwork show in a gallery in Perth, Ontario.
You may wonder, as mentioned above, what are some of my life changing decisions that I have made. Well, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I want to spend my life and the space that art will take will expand significantly, with the goal of becoming my main activity over the medium term. Life is about choice, and this morning, I was talking to my son who is currently in France about that. He simply said, we need to make decisions that will nourish our happiness. When our compass is our soul, inner peace and happiness, I just think that you can’t go wrong. So much wisdom in this smart 22-year-old, but I may be biased 🙂
So, I am back, and slinging paint!! I promise that it won’t take 7 months for my next blog - please make sure you keep me accountable!
Thank you for sharing so openly Mireille, meeting you in 2017 seems like a lifetime ago and although you inspired me then, it was in a very different work focused context. Now your words and actions are inspiring in a much more fundamental and human way. All the best for 2023.
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