Saturday, February 22, 2014
Pride & Pain
It still took me four days to muster the courage to call the lady. Teaching is WAY out of my comfort zone and totally intimidates me. As an artist, you have total control over your medium, the outcome of a project, and who sees it. But teaching involves… people. And people are a total wildcard to us introverts. I suppose I didn't realize just how uncomfortable that makes me until I was dialing the phone.
A week later, I'm sitting in the home of a lovely woman, teaching her eight year old grandson his first private art lesson. I realize pretty quickly that I have no idea what I'm doing. "How the hell am I going to fill up an hour?!?!" I still don't know how I did. We talked mostly. I asked him about his favorite cartoon and video game characters, what sort of things he already likes to draw, what sorts of things he might want to learn. I was flying by the seat of my pants, and to my surprise, even enjoying it. For a cautious, calculated person - this sure was new!
Sometimes I like to think that when he died, our souls infused with one another - leaving parts of him in me. He had this solid, confident air about him when working with people. I'm convinced this is one of his qualities that I somehow gained. The old me before he died would have been too nervous and panicked to even be able to enjoy being this far out of my comfort zone. But with this kid, I was solid and calm as ever. Without all the nerves rushing through me, I was able to think things through better. Instead of worrying about what I didn't know, I was thinking about how much I was learning from this experience… and that was pretty exciting.
I left feeling really proud of myself. I felt empowered… which is a big deal. So much of my power was taken away when he died. Not being able to function fully, forgetting everything all the time, gaining weight, always trying to anticipate emotional swings (with no luck). And of course not having my partner there by my side to help me feel strong. Any time I've done something on my own since he died - even the tiniest of things - the feeling of empowerment has been incredible.
Of course as always happens with any exciting moment now, the pendulum swung to the other side too. Drew was trained to be a flight instructor, and was planning to work as an instructor soon. As I drove home, tears came to my eyes when I imagined coming home to him… we would talk about how cool it was that we were both instructors now, him teaching his passion of flying, and me teaching my passion of art. It would have been beautiful to share that together. But, I also know that I probably never would have done any of this had my life not been so completely uprooted by his death. So even though it is always bittersweet - there is a strange comfort in knowing that he now brings every good thing into my life.