Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Remembering to Fly

The she remembered that she too, could fly.
Words & stock photo collage by Victoria Lynn Hall*

41 years ago today, John Lennon was murdered.  Unlike the day George Harrison died, I don't remember that day.  I was just a kid and the adults in my life tended to at least try to keep me from knowing unpleasant things.  I always found out eventually though and would feel blindsided, stupid, foolish, disoriented...and many other things when the truth would shatter the comfortable lies I was told.  I became hypervigilant and distrustful and committed myself to learning and knowing all I could so I could be prepared instead of caught off guard and having to endure everything that came with being "the last to know."

My refuge was music.  It kept me company while I hid in the safety of being alone.  Most of my best childhood memories are of me in my room, singing along to my stereo and dancing - imagining that the musicians I admired were there singing and playing and dancing with me.

The Beatles were my favorite band.  I stole their albums so often from my older brother or sister's rooms that my parents bought me my own copies just to keep the peace among us.

I don't remember the exact moment that I learned of John Lennon's death but I do remember making a somewhat conscious decision that I would not let it sink in.  For once I was adopting the example that the adults in my life set for me and choosing to deny a reality that I wasn't comfortable dealing with.  No matter what was true in "the real world", when I put on my Beatles records, John Lennon was there, singing and dancing with me, and that's where I needed him to be.

I often repeat this quote by artist, Lynda Barry:

“We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay.”

There is such a thing as healthy escapism.  Or just taking some time away from the stressful and depressing aspects of reality to indulge in the reality of things that bring you solace, joy and/or inspiration.  If you do that too much or do it in a way that just numbs you, it's not good for you but not doing that enough can be detrimental as well.  Knowing we can always retreat to our imagination - whether it is through music & dance, other forms of art, meditative practices, or any number of other enjoyable activities - is what enables us to face the dark, difficult or stressful realities of life.  

In fact, I often wonder if it is because I have my imagination to retreat to that I am able to accept some of the truths that others seem reluctant to see.  What I do know for sure is that when I find myself getting depressed by the problems in my life or in the world, remembering to put on some music and dance - to give myself that time to just let things go and fly above it all - is a very effective way of practicing self care.

If you share my collage, please credit me, Victoria Lynn Hall and link back to this post if possible.  You can also find and share it on the Facebook Page.

* Collage photo credits

Dancer with cat - mehdi lamaaffar

Sky with plane - Leio McLaren

Plants - Cherry Laithang

Butterflies and Bird Stock Image elements were purchased from Dreamstime

Tuesday, December 7, 2021



She may have been shipwrecked but she was still the captain of her soul.
Words and stock photo collage by Victoria Lynn Hall*

I was reminded recently of how far I've come, mentally and emotionally, and it made me realize that I had been judging my mental health to some extent by my outer circumstances.  Before the pandemic I had made some significant strides in my healing but since then I've been feeling stalled and stranded.  But I've only been feeling that way because I was thinking that way.  Because I was thinking in terms of what I expected my life to look like when I was more healed and not in terms of what it actually feels like.

I think this latest collage I created (above) really captures how I feel about my healing journey now.  Yes, certain aspects of my life have stalled or stopped and the world around me often feels chaotic and messy.  But I also feel incredibly blessed by all the beauty and wonder that surrounds me and I am able to allow myself to feel the joy that comes from that while still facing the continuing challenges of life.  I am able to have moments of peace even when I am in conflict with other people.  I am able to have moments of laughter even when I am also grieving my losses.  And I am able to recognize that even when things aren't going well, I can still be well; that my mental health is not at the mercy of my day to day circumstances.

That is truly something to treasure.

If you share my collage, please credit me, Victoria Lynn Hall and link back to this post if possible.  You can also find and share it on the Facebook Page.

* Collage photo credits

Ship & scenery by Stephen Leonardi

Woman reading in chair by Nadia Sitova

Lighthouse by Stefan Cosma

Trunk by Andrej Antic

Whale Tail from a Photo by Phoebe Dill

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Keep Going

Her magic words were, "Keep going."
words & stock photo collage by Victoria Lynn Hall*

Perseverance is something I really began to grasp the value of when I began painting.  I imagine that even if we had been able to watch the old masters paint, their paintings wouldn't have looked very masterful halfway or even three quarters or more the way through.  Sometimes, when I paint, I don't like what I'm painting until the last brushstroke.  

Having perspective also matters.  You can't judge the progress of a painting close up.  You have to step back, tilt your head, maybe squint your eyes to get a feeling for how it is going and where you want to take it from there.

As I said in my, "Don't Give Up" post, not quitting doesn't mean we stubbornly plod along no matter what happens.  Sometimes we have to go where the footholds are and take a different route than we thought we would, sometimes we have to go back to the drawing board and start over, sometimes we end up somewhere we never expected to be.  Sometimes we know we've arrived only when we see the view open up before us, making us glad we didn't give up before we took that last careful step.  And next time we make a climb, we remember that even when things look rough, we can and will climb out of it if we just find a way to keep going.

If you share the image above, I hope you will credit me, Victoria Lynn Hall and link back to this page.  You can also find it on the IBelieveInArt Facebook Page.

*Stock Photo Credits

Woman rock climbing: Dylan Siebelink

Mountain Goat: Elena Duvernay

Night Sky: mohammad alizade

Friday, December 3, 2021

Roots & Wings

Give a child roots and wings is what they say
Forgetting that children were born with these things
For long ago theirs were taken away
- Words & Collage by Victoria Lynn Hall*

I always feel like I shouldn't write about children because I've never had any.  But then I remember I used to be a child.  I have trouble recalling my childhood sometimes but lately, whenever I'm doing some healing work, it seems like I recover a memory; like it has been sitting there patiently, waiting for me to recall it and rewrite its story.

Recently I remembered a time when I was putting on a concert for my family and some relatives that were visiting.  I was probably around 4 or 5 years old but even then I was very serious.  I planned that concert for a couple of days, knew the lyrics to Proud Mary by heart and had worked out the dance routine to go with them.  I don't remember being nervous or self conscious as the time came to perform but it wasn't long after I started, when the adults watching began laughing at me, that I suddenly felt embarrassed and shy and angry.  I stormed off in the middle of the performance like a true diva.  I don't remember if the adults tried to console me or if they'd uttered that line I do remember being told repeatedly as a child and all the years after, "You're being too sensitive."  But the damage was done.  There would be no more living room concerts.

Now I can look back and see what might have been funny about a 5 year old who was pretending to be Tina Turner and forgive the adults that were there for not taking me seriously.  Still, I wonder what might have been different if they had.  If they'd seen in me what I saw in myself at that time and encouraged me.  

Not that they never encouraged me.  I was given dance classes and even some music lessons but as much as I enjoyed them, they always gave me the distinct message that I was not good enough to be a dancer or be a musician rather than helping me to use the basic talent and passion I had to be whatever I wanted to make of myself.

But the 5 year old girl had already known how to do that.  She'd seen one Tina Turner performance and thought, "I can do that" - not like Tina, of course (nobody else could be Tina) - but in her own way.  And it's taken me this long to remember she was right.

The saying goes, "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings."

But I don't think we have to give children these things.  I think they are born knowing where they are truly rooted and how to fly.  I think the best, and probably most difficult thing we can do for them, is not let the world or ourselves take that knowledge away.

* If you share my photo collage/meme above, please credit me, Victoria Lynn Hall and link to this page if possible.

Here are the credits/links for the stock photos I used:

Background by Nathan Anderson

Moon by Ganapathy Kumar

Roots by Clint McKoy

Girl with wings by Piotr Wilk