Monday, May 10, 2010

Blame it on the Antibiotics... part 2

When I read Rena's comments on my last posting, my initial instincts were to just delete the whole post. But then I realized that would also delete her comments. And that seemed wrong. The correct thing to do is to just apologize: "Rena, I am sorry. You are completely correct in your reply. I did not mean to accuse you of anything and I agree with you on your statements about Zentangle and patterns and everything." Rena's response to my inner-middle-child whining was not only a very positively written reality check, but a really interesting biography. I won't try to explain what led up to the post - it's irrelevant - just that I shouldn't have taken my feelings out on another person. Again, I really am sorry.

It is interesting how, when we know we have done something wrong, the Universe has a way of punishing us - or perhaps, allowing us to punish our selves? I was driving home today on I-89 from the dentist's where I had just had a filling replaced. Half my face was numb and as I drove along, I was thinking about what to say as response to Rena and also to my sister who is very angry and hurt that I did not discuss my feelings about a trip to India this fall that I decided not to take. As I drove along, I noticed a big, black pickup truck with a ladder on top coming up the on-ramp. I moved to the left lane as it merged onto the highway. I started to return to the right lane, but the truck had not yet sped up, so I stayed where I was.  All of a sudden, the large, metal ladder FLEW off the top of the truck and swung around into the left lane. As it hit the road it spun like a merry-go-round all over the lanes. I swerved toward the break down lane to try to avoid it, but the truck had pulled over when it realized it had lost its ladder. As I tried to avoid the truck, the spinning ladder hit my left wheel (which has a weird brown burn mark now). All this took three seconds, but as I passed the truck and realized I was OK, it also hit me that if I had pulled back into the right lane behind the truck when I normally would have ... well, that ladder would have gone straight through my windshield. Perhaps it's a good thing my head was already numb. But now, as I write this, the numb is gone and my tooth is throbbing and I realize it will be a bit difficult to focus on my work right now. And, as is my habit, I tend to think too much. And so, in an attempt at an apology to my sister, who says I don't tell her what I'm thinking, here are my thoughts...

In general, I tend to keep my true opinions to myself. You know the saying about Square Pegs and Round Holes? Well, I'm not even a "peg" never mind a round one. I've always felt like Gonzo (the Muppet!) - tolerated as the kind-of-cute, eccentric, artsy creature who adds a little color, but the one that nobody really pays much attention to. I don't mean this as a self-pity thing - I've worked hard to blend into the woodwork! But all of a sudden, people are listening to me! You all are reading my blog, taking my classes and reading my books! It is very exciting and horrifying at the same time. Does this make any sense to anyone? I feel like I have to be "ON" all the time. I have to be more careful what I say and suddenly I am a role model. Me? I think I mention in the book that I am such a severe introvert that the test I took didn't have a number high enough to rate me. :-)

At the book signing party on Friday (which was great by the way) there was a really shy girl whose mother said she had just stumbled across Zentangle the week before and had brought some sketches to show me. They were good, a sampler of tangles and such. But the girl turned pale under her freckles when her mother went on to tell me that she suffered from anxiety and her therapist had been thrilled to hear about Zentangle and how it was helping the girl. I think I shocked the girl when I looked at her and said "That's how I discovered Zentangle too. I suffered from really bad anxiety and panic attacks and tangling helped me feel calmer." Talking to her reminded me why I felt I needed to step away from my comfortable, shadowy, safe wall and start teaching people how to do this tangling thing. I realized that so many of us have that "Gonzo" part - whether it's the shame of feeling out of control, or thinking we aren't creative. We get tied up telling ourselves our own "story"- "I can't do this because when I was a kid..." And you can spend all the time you want telling yourself positive affirmations... but when you actually DO something that proves to you that you were wrong - and you can look at it and realize being wrong can actually be a really good, freeing thing - then you can write a new story and change your reality (and freak people out around you!)

And THAT is what Zentangle does. It constantly reminds you that what you are thinking is less important than what your hand is showing you. Its not even really about art. It's a feeling of AHA! and it's kind of more spiritual. You not only see patterns all around you, but you start to notice PEOPLE around you who desperately need to know this AHA! thing too. I think that is why the whole concept of Zentangle has been spreading like wildfire in the past year.

So this long-winded ramble is my explanation. I kind of want to remind people that I'm still me, Sandy, but I'm rewriting my "story", stepping away from my "wall", reaching out to people, trying to speak up, and making completely new mistakes. I do appreciate people correcting my mistakes and I hope everyone remembers that it is NEVER my intention to hurt anyone's feelings no matter what stupid blunder appears on the surface. My husband will probably say I shouldn't have posted this... but the pain in my tooth has stopped and I am going to interpret that as a sign from the Universe that my apology has been accepted. ;-D


  1. Wow. I do think I like you. A lot. LOL. Since I have been a lurker forever and a day, I thought I would just say this is one of the best posts you have written ... and I am glad you wrote the first post. In all honesty, I don't really understand the 'copyright' (per se) of zentangles. I use them in my scrapbooking and I post those online. I don't credit anyone ... but I worry about it too.

  2. Sandy! This is another wonderful post. I like the "new you". I top the Meyers-Briggs scale at 100% introvert - INFP - so I understand how difficult it is to lay out your feelings to the world. It's obvious that your guardian angel is right there with you! I too thought that your first post was excellent - and I almost responded to it - but pulled back before I hit 'send'. To many people Zentangles are doodles - but the term Zentangles is just such a great name for the doodles! I would take the training if I could afford to - I know that many people are in the same boat - money is just not there for travel and classes. Keep on posting these insightful thoughts - they help us all !

  3. Whoa! I'm so glad you came out of that near accident safe and sound. I shudder to think of the possibilities!

    I'm another of the introverts. I was so bad at one point that I had trouble leaving my home. I had found other methods of living with my anxiety over the years, but zentangling is one I latched onto as soon as I discovered it, and it has been a blessing.

    This is a wonderful post, and I think you've hit on an unexpected side-effect of tangling. That's the sharing and sense of community.

    I don't know if this takes any of the pressure off, but I think the zentangle community is more like a circle than a triangle. You are a hub, central to our learning, but you are one of us, among us, not stuck out there alone at the top of the pyramid. It's a different vibe.

    I've been wondering when we would have some sparks over the question of creative rights in zentangling. For the most part, it has been for personal relaxation and enjoyment, but more people are using it for commercial work, now. More questions on the subject will arise, and I'm hoping zentanglers as a whole will keep it civil.

    As with the tangling itself, you've just shown us how something that makes us anxious, can be taken under control, and worked toward a positive experience.

    Thank you, Sandy.

  4. So thankful that your car accident wasn't that bad. Geez!

    I'm very much an introvert and Zentangles have really helped me. I get bored watching TV and it gives me something to "do" and I feel like I've accomplished something. Right now I'm working on a Zentangle paper house. It's small. I won't be able to take a picture of it, but once it's done, I'll scan it as it looks flat.

    Also, watching TV, I see patterns in so many places! It's really amazing!

    Above all, just be yourself. I've been a "people pleaser" my whole life and it has gotten me nowhere, except people taking advantage of me. Sure I make mistakes, but I'm only human. Thanks so much for your inspiration!

  5. Oh my god, I'm so glad you're OK!

    Amazing post. Well done.

  6. I'm glad too that you're OK!

    Love this post - it speaks to me as this is exactly what I am experiencing now - anxiety, panic attacks, self-doubt....and Zentangle has been my life line. It has allowed me to express myself some days and just shut off on others. I love it and we all love you Sandy!

  7. Relief, I was thinking crash, bang! I think I understand.. we get a bit protective of our pieces of treasure. What I love about zentangles is the sharing so thank you for your inspiration and sharing your thoughts and tangles.

  8. What a beautifully written and courageous post! Count me in as another Tangled Introvert. It appears there are quite a few of us!

    I'm finding that with age, what other people think of me matters less and less, but that I try harder to be worthy of good thoughts. One of life's little puzzles.

  9. This post is so brave! I can relate to most everything you wrote - apart from the ladder-incident! So glad you're fine! Real honesty is hard (I personally think the way a lot of people are 'being honest' is overrated and more about spouting opinions than getting to what matters...)! My hat off to you - very beautiful writing!

  10. kudos ... never feel threatened - your tangles are fabulous and very much yours ... the teacher that allows the student to jump from their back and become who they are is the GREAT teacher ...

    Rena wrote a wonderful reply to you and kudos to her too ...

    honestly ... a dialogue between the two of you that is worthy of an example in 'how to do it right' ...

    congrats to both of you ... sincerely >>> Gina
    ps ... introverts rock !

  11. imitation is the greatest form of flattery...I don't think Rena did anything 'wrong'. So glad to read her comment and your post. Your book should be arriving in my mail box today! Yippee!

  12. Thank you for being real!!!! I am an introvert too! Big hug to you!

  13. So my blog reading really does have a positive side. Besides overwhelming me with creative ideas, it shows me that I am not alone in my feelings. The comment about not even being a "peg" - no way could anyone have expressed that better.

  14. Hi! I just found your blog because I just purchased your book and I have to tell you this is a well written post- hope you leave it up. I think you are very brave to admit you apologize and regret the last post, but can also see where the first post came from too. I look forward to returning to your blog again and I can't wait to devour your book!!

  15. Praise God you're safe. This post is so brave. Being different is rewarding but difficult. Things just come out all wrong sometimes. Zentangle is such a blessing for calming and cheering up. BTW-I ordered your book. It's awesome! Love it!

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