Volunteered at Foo Fest yesterday - the annual food, art, music festival put on by AS220 in Providence. I didn't do very much, I manned the volunteer/info booth just outside the gate on Washington and Empire. Because of my station I got to meet 100s of people from teens to men and women in the70s and 80s who attended the event. And out the thousands who went thru that gate only one young man caused any trouble - everyone else was pleasant and a pleasure to be around. After 10:00 the crowd did turn the event and surrounding streets into a contained measure of drunken, reveling chaos.
Foo was a fantastic experience, way out of my comfort zone and nothing I could have possibly imagined myself being a part of just a few years ago. A few years ago RSD was taking over my body and I felt like I was drowing in pain and seizures and medications. I didn't have a car, I didn't have hardly any help, I was heartbroken, horribly sick - it was an aweful time. And even though I lived in a well populated area, I wouldn't see anyone for days or weeks at a time. I did have some people in my life and sporatic contact but I felt completely isolated and alone. A few years before that I spent my time acting out of chaos and hoping other people would recognize my real value - for years I drank, smoked and wasted myself on stupid things that I actually thought made me look confident. I was invested in nothing and was delusional enough to pretend all my pretense was everything that made me worthwhile.
Back then I never would have thought I'd have the opportunity to go places, meet people, take classes, work out and lose weight (okay, that still hasn't happened yet), let alone painting the work I'm painting now - for the first time in my life I feel reasonably free. I'm not constrained by a family that never wanted me to begin with, I'm not hollowed out by a broken heart any longer, my art work is big and bold and expressive. Because I'm not hiding or hidden away, because I've taken charge, set goals and am the most active participant in my own life - I feel independant and stronger than I've ever felt.
So, as I sat there at Foo answering questions and handing out volunteer info, chatting with a charming 16 year old and watching the drunken revelers march by I realized (and this may be premature) but I feel my life may be developing into the life I always wanted.