Tuesday, September 28, 2010

lessons learned

Yes, another Sqwam post...


- sometimes desperation leads us to do great things
- it's ok to ask for help
- asking for help does not make you weak
- there are many beautiful, loving souls in the world
- the art becomes secondary to the people you meet
- we are all more alike than different
- I am not worthless
- I am not alone
- I can paint on canvas
- I can talk to people without bursting into flames, melting or other such nonsense
- once I stop being so self-critical there is alot of room in my brain for other things
- I must push through fear and anxiety, not run away, to move forward
- next time I will bring gloves
- next time I will also pack my leggings and striped knee socks
- there will be a next time!!!

and sometimes you have to be impulsive, tear off your shoes and socks...

...and go jump in a lake!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

more thoughts of Squam

I could go on and on and tell you how beautiful Squam Lake is, how yummy the food was, how wonderful my teachers were...blah blah blah...but all that feels pretty generic right now. You can read about all that stuff somewhere else if you want to. I want to talk about how Squam made me FEEL.

For a long time I hadn't felt much of anything except sad, depressed and disconnected so real feelings are a pretty big deal for me. I usually spend my time trying not to be noticed, keeping my mouth shut and never asking for help or showing any sign of weakness. In my past experience being noticed or showing weakness equaled being a target, a victim and I really try to avoid that path.

Why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with Squam? It has everything to do with Squam and the ways my experiences there cracked my protective shell, allowing so much pain, lonliness and sadness to pour out and so much love, caring, support and understanding to flow in. For whatever reason something in me felt that this was a safe place, a place where asking for help and being vulnerable were ok and those things I had fought so hard against were the very things that drew me to others and others to me. I was safe letting others know my pain and sadness and it wasn't used against me.Instead I was offered understanding and comfort. I was safe asking for help and others were eager to assist. I even allowed people to hug me and felt comfortable with that because I did not feel judged. Maybe it's being naive or wishful thinking but I felt people saw me for the person I am inside not what I am on the outside.

For a few days I was able to let go of the feelings of disgust and self hatred that I usually carry. I learned that when I am not living in my head and berating myself I can be a real, engaged human being who just may have something to offer the world. I cried alot while at Squam, multiple times a day but they were not tears of sadness. Instead, tears of cleansing, release, letting go. I left behind my feelings of regret about the past and took away feelings of hope for the future.

None of this would have been possible without all the wonderful, loving souls I met. Each and every one of you played a part. Thank you.

Michelle and Elizabeth

some of the wonderful women of Eldorado without whom I would not have survived

When I tried to tell my husband all about my Squam experience I could only cry alot and get out a few words because there was no way to explain to someone who was not there how amazing it was. He came to the conclusion that I had a good time. Talk about an understatement...

I know this is rambling and a bit disorganized but hey, that's me.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I am not really sure what to say about my time attending Squam Art Workshops so I have excerpted some of the comments I left on a Yahoo message board

I went to Squam a terrified, very depressed, anxiety-ridden,sad, lonely person, desperate to save my life. I was already dead inside and detached from everyone and everything around me.

There is so much to say about my experience at Squam but I still do not have the words to describe how I feel. I can only say that I met so many wonderful people, people who embraced me with their arms and their hearts.

I left Squam having hope and the knowledge that I am not alone. I will hold these things in my heart to carry me through the bad days as I know many still lie ahead. I also know I have good days in my future as well, thanks to all of you.

A million thank yous and hugs to Elizabeth and Michelle for taking me in as a "sister", to Peg for being there the moment I registered and all the moments thereafter and to the wonderful women of ElDorado who listened, understood and accepted me as I am. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I would like each and every person who was involved in Fall Squam 2010 to know that they were all part of the collective goodness and love and light that made my time there the healing experience it was.

I'm sure I will have more to say but for now here are a few pictures.

sunrise over Squam Lake
the cabin I shared with some of the kindest and most understanding women I have ever met

evening approaches

As I return to my everyday life I hold my memories of Squam tightly.