Sometimes thoughts can’t be numbered.

What my concentration has been consumed by for the last week:

-how I operate

-how that differs from how I thought I operate

-which relationships fill me

-which relationships are worth my time

-how I communicate

-how I should communicate

-how should my time be spent

-why are my lows low

-what amount of the low depend on me

and other ambitious introspective musings, some with resolutions, some just as recognized open ends.

I’m by and large appreciative of this last week, even though it’s a lack in traditional lists, because I feel like I’m starting to feel like myself again. Which is the happiest bit of sunshine I could wish for.

I probably won’t explain all of the mentioned bullets, but I will go into them a little.

Since I’ve been home from Italy, I haven’t felt at peace in Atlanta. A lot has had to do with not feeling like I have a placebut also, this summer I recognized myself as an artist. Have I called myself an artist before? Yes. But before this summer, I felt like I was lying a little by calling myself an artist. Creative? Always. But an artist? Not really.

Then I spent two months with seventy people who saw their opportunity the same way I did. For two months I lived in unavoidable community with some of the most genuine people I’ve ever known. We talked about life, art, food, hearts, the future. They saw me. They didn’t run when what they saw was unexpected. And I aimed to do the same.

We lived at the top of a hill overlooking Tuscany. Honestly, very few people could live there and not be inspired.

But at the same time as inspiration was flowing and freely found, so was instruction and encouragement. I had an incredible professor who excited and inspired me. Julie loves what she does and is incredible at sharing it. And her goal was to help us create what we wanted to create.

That kind of freedom is not as commonly found in art school as you would expect.

I had free range of a paper studio and an instructor excited to help me experiment. I had the time to be immersed in this process, and the excitement to want to be there at all hours.

This acceptedness, encouragement, and freedom lead to understandable excitement: for my friendships, for my identity, for the future, opportunities, art to come, new ideas, etc.

And then I came home. And my new friends who I bonded so tightly with went home. Around the country.

And then my emotional high shifted to one of my lowest lows.

And I couldn’t understand why. What happened? How did I go from some of the happiest and fulfilling weeks of my life, to some of the loneliest and lowest months?

Do I have an all-encomapassing answer? No.

I have a lot of little answers. A lot of seemingly unrelated situations and unintentional hurts that multiplied under other unrelated interactions. I had my feelings hurt. I doubted my motivation for my current degree. I doubted my understanding of my faith. I doubted lots of things. I had an awful schedule. I had no time for creative exploration. People were human and I was astonished, as if I’d never been human in my life. Add to that seasonal swings and … KABLAM.

Some of my answers were easy to get to. Some weren’t. Without explaining every detail of the last few months, some of my realizations (some I’d known and simply forgotten, some I’d assumed didn’t matter, some were new):

-I’m an introvert. I love to be with groups of people, but I recharge by myself. Yet sometimes that leads me to isolating myself. And then being surprised by the cycle of : recharging : isolating : ignoring : being ignored : feeling alone : low

-Some people are fulfilled by large amounts of time with large groups. That’s not me. I need to spend time with people, yes. Should I go to parties? Sure. But I need to know that I’m known.

-To know that I’m known: I have to be honest. Honest with myself. Honest with others. Honest with God.

-And that means having time in small groups and one on one with people.

-Yes we are made for community. But parties aren’t community. Community is knowing each other, loving each other, and not running from each other.

-I want to build/rebuild my relationships around that idea. I want to pursue others like I want to be pursued.

-My schedule is hugely limited from now until May; I need to be responsible with my time for school and work so that I have time for people and time to create and time to be filled.

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