Tuesday, September 16, 2008

cracked open


So much unfolded on my retreat that I’m overwhelmed when I think about trying to write about it in one fell swoop. Plus it would be one long boring post, so I’ll just start writing and see what comes out…

I was so excited *!SO EXCITED!* that I didn’t think twice. Until I got into my car and pointed the wheel northwest…then I realized that I had never actually met one soul there and I got nervous. My first meal there, I walked into the cafeteria with my head high and a smile on my face (it felt like my first day at a new high school), and got a tray full of yummy food and sat at a table all by myself. By the end of the night I had made some fast friends and had fallen in love with Jonatha Brooke while she played by the bon fire.


I painted and learned new techniques and looked within and watched carefully and listened closely. I stretched emotionally and physically (holy cow, that was a loooong walk to the cafeteria for a pregnant girl—like 20 minutes through the woods—both ways, three times a day!). I dug deep and pieces of me are changed—hopefully permanently.

see beauty everywhere

On the last day I got “cracked open” as Jen Gray put it, and during the Superhero class while I was working with the sweetest partner ever, I was supposed to be talking about someone I admire and listing reasons why I admire them. One of the people I chose was my husband and I started crying when I was talking about his character and why he is what he is to me. For the rest of the day I was a bit more fragile. That night was the Squam Craft Fair and lots of the people who were selling their beautiful things had attended SAW, but I walked through the aisle and came to an artist who was new to me. I was taken back by his colors and subject matter and his paintings felt like some of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Then I looked down on the table and there was one painting laying there and when I took it in, I started weeping. I took off to the bathroom to get a hold of myself, and after I was composed decided to return to get his information and as soon as I saw the painting again I started. Crying. Again. The humiliation! Rory (the artist) gently said, “Why are you crying?” and I may have gotten out something like, “…it’s so beautiful…the colors…your brush strokes…I can’t…it makes me cry…” while fanning my face and pointing to my heart that was hurting and mumbling apologies for my embarrassing behavior and pointing out that I’m hormonal with two babies inside me. After getting a few things out of me while I wrote my information for his mailing list he asked me why I have a hard time calling myself an artist and I gestured toward his painting and said through tears, “Because I can’t do this.” He started talking about creative expression and how all art is different and that I am an artist even if I don’t express myself the same way he does. He was very sweet and wise and was the perfect ending to all I had learned about myself during the previous few days.

rain on squam lake

So here’s to my new adventure as an artist! I suppose I was born one and will always be one. Let’s see what unfolds as I choose to stop listening to my gremlins and become the artist I’ve always wanted to be.


The Whole Self said...


you were one of my most favorite parts of my squam trip. really.

you rock.


Dini said...

I remember seeing the fairy you painted for your daughter (the one without a face for so long) and I felt the same way about your artwork. The colors you picked were so beautiful. Yes, you are an artist. I had to giggle about all that crying though. I was the same way with each of my pregnancies. Oh..and Jonatha Brooke is amazing. She was half of the group The Story. You should get their CD "The Angel in the House". The songs are beautiful, especially "So Much Mine". I'm glad you had a wonderful (yet tearful) time!

Jen Lynn said...

I remember watching you draw a picture in high school once and sitting in awe of how easy you made it look.

I'm always so impressed with the billions of ways artists can express
themselves. I love looking at your blog for that reason. It's so beautiful.

Boho Girl said...

okay, so i weeped buckets of tears reading this.

i missed you as soon as i knew you had left.

you were one of my favorite magical pieces of our time there. i just wish we had more time...but i know we will again.

all it took was a look in your eyes and i knew you saw me and i saw you.

you are the real deal.


kristen said...

i love you and am blessed that we became friends. how lucky i am to have met you, yay me!

girl, you are such an artist - we are your believing mirrors so you won't forget. xo

jenica said...

i cried reading all of this. you ARE an artist through and through. i learned so much from you. thank you for sharing so much with me. i miss you already.


jenica said...

i cried reading all of this. you ARE an artist through and through. i learned so much from you. thank you for sharing so much with me. i miss you already.


kelly rae said...

your spirit was bright.
i didn't get much time with you, but i felt your warmth...
and you ARE an artist.

andrea said...

and once again, i am completely in love with you.

Anonymous said...

oh you BEAUTIFUL girl! I don't know that I have ever read a better description of how hard it is to "cross the line" and know that you are an artist as we get no "certificates of authenticity" (hmm, note to self: next year, hand out notes of authenticity--- but wait, NO-- THERE'S NO NEED!! You did it!)

And, Dave sent your post on to Rory and I know he will love it so much. I feel better now as he is my nephew and I was feeling a bit, you know, "nepotism' having him at the Fair-- but SO glad I did! he is pure magic, for sure.

And? He is the father to two little boys a 2year old and a 4 month old . . his wife broke her foot on Thursday so he almost didn't come, but rallied nevertheless-- so it really is so cool that you tuned in to him . .

I cannot tell you how radiant you are-- there are no words!

Bisous, Elizabeth

matirose said...

oh brittany!
you have arrived. yes. welcome!
it was pure delight to meet you (and 4+5 in belly)!
mati rose

jin said...

i was also tearful reading this and remembering your bright shiny eyes and your warm sweet smile...
You are adorable and i was so happy that we paired up for that exercise - will never forget it actually.
I was blown away by your Squam journal - can't wait to see more.
(Will be sending pics soon from the craft fair night.)
THANK YOU for our special time together, and what we shared.

Beth said...

I have read your blog for a long time and just now clicked on your link to realize that not only was I at SAW with you, but that you were in the superhero class with me on saturday....I was the one in tears most of the time {on the couch with the YES rock}...I knew you as the one with two babies, yet didn't know who you were, blog wise.....thump on the head to me !!!

anyhow, so glad to have been in your presence !!!!

eb said...

sweet blessings to you dear one...

xox - eb.

liz elayne lamoreux said...

i love your gentle truth in this post...how you let us in to the vulnerable moments of your experience.

you are such a beautiful, bright soul. my experience at SAW was fuller because of your smiling face. i am really looking forward to getting to know you a bit more here in blog world...i can't wait to see what unfolds for you!

Kara said...

I'm so glad you're over your insecurities. I have a feeling your work is going to be even better now (if that is possible)! I've always been one of your biggest fans, but I'm glad you have so many more now :0) xoxoxoxo

Kathleen said...

i cried the first time i read this.
and even more the second time...

i am glad you had such a magical time. i wish i could have been there to feel it for myself. instead i have been reading everyones' blogs and checking out their flickr sites!
next time. i am so there...

also. CONGRATULATIONS! i didn't know you are having twins! woot! woot!

lucky babies...
lucky parents.

thank you for sharing your experience. xo

Judy Wise said...

Do you feel the love? It is all around you. The spirit of Squam is alive. xo

Shelby said...

All I can say, is , "Curses Raina!" Isn't that the name of the cleaning lady that threw away your pen and ink drawing of the Grapes?

I'd love to have an "early" Brittany

brittany said...

you guys are the best.


Wendy said...

I love you friend!! If only I could be half the artist you are. By all means post a copy of the picture that brought you to tears.

Anonymous said...

Britt - It's funny reading this post because I have always always thought of you as an artist. And a great one. Love you and miss you so very much -


Red Seaglass said...

Of course you are an artist, you little nerd!! I know you are because of the pen and paper drawing you did during a lunch break at a temp job during the summer in high school. You were bored and did the "sketch". I found it in the trash at home. I still have it - 15 yrs later!! - because the picture makes me feel. I don't even know WHAT it makes me feel. But I stare at it all the time still. This, and a million other examples, make you an artist. STOP DOUBTING!!!! Oh ya, and also, I love you...

Carrie Ann said...


Thea Coughlin said...

You are an artist baby.

And I am so freakin thrilled I got to hug you so many times, and be near you. You are divine and such a delightful energy.

I see you as an artist. It sounds like you have crossed the road to accepting and believing this yourself.

It is scary but oh so worth it.

Just remember you are not alone.

Love you baby

jan said...

just stumbled across your blog and thought I'd say hi since we have something in common: I had 3 children also when I had twins..to make 5! It's exciting! I have boy, girl, boy, girl, boy! And I must recommend a book: "Ready or Not, Here We Come."