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Friday, September 18, 2020

Keeping Hope Alive

Six years ago...
Six years ago (today) I visited the Home and Studio of Nicolai Fechin, in Taos New Mexico. I’d been there before but this time something was different. As I stood in Fechin's Studio I was overcome with a feeling…it was hope. I wanted to keep that feeling alive. I was at a pivotal point in my life and I was struggling. I had to make changes. The choice was mine and so was the work. Where would I begin? I felt inspired and overwhelmed at the same time. What would I do?

Teaching and painting has always been a place where I felt at home, assured and strong. Over the next couple weeks an idea kept growing into a tangible reality. I was seeing myself and my future differently and I liked it! I felt more in control of my life than I had in decades. I decided it was time to tell my husband my plan. I announced to Mike I was going to get a Studio. He looked at me kind of funny and said “it’s not that easy”. He didn’t know I had a plan. I proceeded to show him. I had mapped out what I needed to do. I knew how much I could afford with my current income (workshop and painting sales), the size, general location, insurance, utilities, business license...

Within weeks I found a space and signed a 3 year lease. Over the next 2 months I hired a crew and remodel the commercial space for my Studio. I bought construction materials, carpet, furniture, lighting, shelving, sink...and took care of all the legal business requirements. I also butted heads with my husband on what I wanted. He had a few different ideas for my Studio. For the first time I wasn't backing down on what I wanted. We bounced around ideas but the final say was mine. It was the biggest thing I had ever done personally and financially. Talk about life changing! I was making my voice heard.

This isn't where the story ends... it's where it begins. My Studio didn't make me…I made it. The reason my life changed is because I made healthy decisions for my life. Not one decision...many! The way I felt 6 years ago was unbearable. I reached a point that I couldn't move forward until I found the strength to ask for help (part of my life I will keep private). I called our pastor. He referred me to a professional counselor. She was great! She listened, acknowledged hurt, cruelty... she advised, taught me healthy coping skills...and I trusted her. I thank God for putting her in my life for that brief period.

I'm not immune to bad days and 2020 has tested us all. Feeling sad, anxious, angry or tearful in uncertain times is normal…to an extent. But what's normal or depression is different. I’m not here to offer counseling. I am here to say life can be better. Many people are suffering in silence. Some to avoid abuse, some to avoid being called weak. If you're struggling you're not alone. Find the strength to reach out for help through: counseling, church, friends, Help Lines...

Hugs,
Brenda


Today I have a voice, a studio and... HOPE ❤️

Work of Nicolai Fechin
Museum, Home and Studio of Nicolai Fechin

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I think many are teetering on the edge of something that can feel very scary and unsure these days. Thanks for the reminder that talking to someone can help.

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    1. Hi,Some days I write because I feel others need to hear they are not alone. Sending hugs

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  2. Inspiring and encouraging! Thank you! I have a hard time imagining that I could someday reach the point with my art that I could afford a studio, but we all start somewhere, and it is encouraging to read about someone else taking a stand and making something happen! My husband always says to our kids, "Don't fuss--make something happen!" That's what you did. I need to "make something happen" in taking the next step with my art. Love you work!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us Brenda. It is most inspiring. Blessings!

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    1. Trish,
      Thank you. People often say I was successful because life was easy. Quite the opposite! I learned to push through when things were tough.

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  4. I so admire you, thank you for sharing! The hardest thing to admit is that sometimes we dont have all the tools we need for coping especially these days. HUGs!!

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    1. Hey Karla, I lack many tools! But I'm thankful I can reach out to others who do. You don't have to do it alone.
      Love ya!

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  5. Thank you for sharing part of your journey with us. I appreciate your transparency. Too many people think that it is weakness to admit that we don't have all the answers. I think it shows strength to realize that and reach out to someone who can help you make sense out of what is happening so that you can make the best decision. Love your art and your thoughts. Sharon

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    1. Sharon,
      Your words show understand and compassion.
      Thank you❤️

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  6. If one doesn't have money and has an antagonistic family one needs to seek self belief. I had professionals who were highly critical as well. Perseverance takes many different roads, some roads are very rocky. Love yourself; it took me many, many decades to learn how to do this. Now I have found personal freedom I can persevere with art - at the kitchen table :)
    Thank you for your story Brenda. I like the way your story began with a personal feeling. I like the way you could include your husband in your story; beautiful.
    All the best.

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    1. Sandi,
      Yes, self belief and value in ones self comes first. Sadly those who should cherish and protect us are often the perpetrators.
      Be well,
      Brenda

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  7. Thank you for discussing reality... I do too, because if we only present the buffed and shiny parts then others really compare themselves to the not-true version of ourselves. Therapy, sobriety, and a strong spiritual path (in my case Buddhist) all allowed me to find a way forward, and there were many helping hands along the way... but I had to say I was drowning before anyone could help. I have a supportive husband and we can say how we are feeling to each other without being judged, which helps immensely. I will add one caveat -- If you find you have an arse in your universe that doesn't support or tries to kick you when you are down, move on... or don't share your life with them if it is a brother (my case) or parent.

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  8. Katie,
    Thanks for sharing your path, I agree with your caveat! Sadly it’s the people who should be our protectors and nutures that do the most damage.
    Hugs,
    Brenda

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  9. All your loyal fans (like me) have followed your journey for years. You have bared your soul to us several times over the years and the has made all of find you more dear and special than ever. As many have said in comments before me...it is brave to open up and share vulnerability. Your art continues to re-awaken us and inspire us and so does your journey. As part of the 75 day challenge gang who followed you to Dillmans in Wisconsin all those years ago, I keep that memory in my heart. Can't wait to hear more about the studio and how it's playing out in the days and weeks ahead. Only the best. Ginny

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    1. Ginny,
      Thank you for your kind words. I remember the workshop at Dillman’s and even remember where you sat😁
      The pandemic has give me more time in the studio. I have a few big projects in the works! I’m looking forward to sharing what’s been going on behind the scenes.
      Be well❤️
      Brenda

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  10. Inspiring story...thanks for sharing it, Brenda. xo

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