Allow me to dust off the cobwebs for some realness.

In order to be able to see the light, one must experience a little bit of darkness. One shouldn’t exist without the other, at least, that’s the way I feel.

For the past couple of months I have been living in the dark. In a more simplified way, you could say I was (am?) in a state of depression. It took me a while to recognize its presence, but once I realized it was there, it loomed like my shadow, even when the sun was its brightest. Getting out of bed required effort, I wanted to sleep a lot and the fog has lingered for weeks.

It took a while for me to recognize but once but I did it was pretty easy to accept, but my awareness of it only reinforced just how much I didn’t like it and I needed to do something about it.

I have always been a pretty emotionally driven person. My exterior wall is built with fun imagery, dirty jokes, my harmonious home life and what you get to see with your eyes. But the truth is that all of that fluff and fun is the bouncy house exterior to the wall I have guarding the inside. I don’t drop the walls very often and if you have had a chance to really peek inside my windows, I am a person full of drawers. You can imagine how I felt when I saw a sculpture of Salvador Dali’s “woman aflame” for the first time. It is to this day one of, if not my favorite pieces of art. She resonates something in me. (Note to self: find a replica)

photo by eyj1001 on flickr - click to see on his page

photo by eyj1001 on flickr


Each drawer represents a compartment of my life. I fill it with ideas, people, feelings, relationships, the things I hold closest and sometimes the things I need to put away. Some of those drawers are mint and functional, some are missing their handles or are stuck. It is probably with good reason that they are, some drawers are meant to stay shut.

I have been checked out for quite a while now. I tend to be one of those people that don’t like to burden others with my goings on. Save for Josh and a couple friends who actually took the time to ask, I have been relatively mum about the whole thing. Everyone has their “things” and I like to try and figure out what those “things” are instead of going on and on about it while trying to find them. If that makes sense.

So I retreated within myself to do some searching and trying to find what it was that ailed me.

I love Josh with everything in me, he is part of the threads that weave every fiber of my being. He has listened, encouraged, held, spoke and supported. We have done all the things partners should do but I also knew that the constant state of venting needed to be directed elsewhere, in neutral ground where I can see a little clearer.

I went to talk to someone about it. It was a short-lived round of therapy since a lot of that immediately gravitated toward medication. Well that and I seemed to be coming to conclusions on my own. Let me make it abundantly clear that I am not against the idea of medication if it would help. I get that people need it to function and if it works for others then awesome for them. I just know I am hypersensitive and I would probably get all the side effects. My gut told me that path wasn’t the best one for me… the last thing I need is for something to make me heavier and kill my sex drive. That within itself would only bum me the hell out even more.

With that said, I have been looking for pieces in order to make my picture feel whole again. A different path so to speak.

One thing that was pointed out to me, and was totally true, is that I seem to spend a lot of time doing for others and not doing enough for myself. I am the anchor of the home, the show scheduler, the cook, the mother, the wife, the nurturer and giver. You have no idea just how fast it happens and next thing you know, you have let your self go to the wayside We live in a society where it is engrained into our heads that the act of doing for yourself is an act of selfishness. “Selfish” is so far from who I am or ever want to be. Maybe it is the minuscule shred left of my Catholic upbringing, who knows, but guilt and the constant state of apology for doing for myself is something I need to shed.

Then there is the state of my personal relationships with people. I have been spending so much time hanging on to friendships who have given me little to nothing in such a long time. Yet I hang on and for what? The calls that never come, the messages never returned, the unreciprocated question that we all need to hear: “Hey, how are YOU?”. The constant state of disappointment. It’s a gut wrenching to know and feel like you have done nothing wrong yet you’re now an afterthought in the inevitable show of growing apart. The connection being clipped like a thread. A swift kick to the balls is what it is… and while I don’t have balls, I can imagine it hurts like a motherfucker. Just like losing people you thought better of.

In any event, it has been a process and will continue to be. For those of you who know the feeling, depression travels time like dog years. These things are slow and take time.

And if you’ve made it this far, I owe you a cookie…

Which brings me to my “AH HA!” moment.

When it comes to life and the interest of self preservation I have always made it a point to remember one thing: “Learn and master the art of saying NO. The sooner you learn how to say no, the happier you will be”. I have said it a lot and for the most part, that shit holds tried and true. But something hit me in the past couple of weeks  that made me look at that from another perspective. I have been so caught up in the constant state of “no” that I am also forgetting that there are so many things I want and need to say “yes” to. Saying “yes” has brought me so many rewarding experiences and I have been denying myself the chance at potentially wonderful opportunities out of fear. Because while I can dish a “hell no” like the best of them, I don’t have the skin to hear it back and that’s just not how it works.

So I have embarked on saying “yes” more.

Yes to forcing myself out of the house.

Yes to invites.

Yes to experiencing new things and people.

Yes to honoring my feelings and needs for a change.

Yes to finally growing a fucking pair and putting myself out there more.

Yes to giving my energy to those who want and appreciate it.

Yes to contacting galleries and trying to get my voice heard (and being incredibly surprised at the responses!!).

Yes to treating myself better.

Yes to wanting what I think I am deserving of.

Yes to knocking on doors, answering doors and walking through them.

And yes to taking dives off the cliff even if you know there may be rocks the bottom.

Yes. A thousand times YES.


5 Responses to The Art Of Saying Yes

  1. Colleen says:

    I always appreciate you sharing these posts of the insights to your life and where you are. I know we’ve never really been close or hung out on a regular basis but you and your family are in my thoughts quite a bit.

    I’m not a very public person with my life and what is going on, and I don’t always reach out to people on a regular basis, but just know that I think you are an awesome, amazing and strong person to deal what you have been dealing with.

    I think as an artist type, we all tend to internalize things a lot, plus being a mother adds another layer of shit to the ever surmounting pile of stuff that we feel we need to do to abide by societies norms. Taking those first steps to break those norms is quite difficult, but once you can get started down that road, each step gets a bit easier.

    Keep your chin up and though we don’t talk much, I’m still over here in your corner cheering for you.

  2. Gena says:

    You owe me a cookie. I like chocolate chip. 🙂

    And boy, do I get this, especially the reluctance to think about oneself (one’s self?). Funny that I read an article earlier today about the benefits of saying yes to things you would normally avoid, and how, even if you don’t end up enjoying all of it, it expands your world and makes you bolder. That and your post have given me a lot to think about.

    I hope that saying yes will help improve your mood very soon. It may seem weird to you, but you’re a huge inspiration as an artist and all around cool person to me. I had been wondering how you were doing since you hadn’t posted here recently, but was afraid to contact you, being I’m just a rando from the internet.

    • Ivonne says:

      I’m a chocolate chip girl too but it better have nuts. 😉

      The “yes” thing makes sense. Just took me a while to figure that one out.

      Mood seems to be improving. Pairing it with dietary overhaul and herbs via my Tibetan guy, I feel clearer in the head. I think a lot of it is a hormonal imbalance which I am working on fixing via alternative methods.

      Don’t be afraid to contact me, I don’t bite. You can always drop me a comment here or via email at beansandink at gmail dot com

  3. Anna says:

    Ivonne, I’m just another random reader here, but I want to thank you for sharing your stories and your life with us. I have always appreciated how honest you are. It’s rare to find writers who tell it like it is. Most try to sugar coat everything (mmm, sugar), but you just speak your mind, and I really admire that. Plus, you’re an awesome artist! Hope you are on your way to finding your light. Sending positive thoughts your way!

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