Last year I started July with a commitment. I was signed up to attend a local Typography and Lettering conference. I just sold my car to pay of bills and debts. I was slowly recovering from what I thought then was "rock bottom". (That was not rock bottom. Rock bottom is where I am now, totally empty, totally functioning on faith alone.)
The commitment I made was to my art. I promised myself that for every single day until the end of the year I would make one creative piece -- a painting, a calligraphy or lettering piece, a poem. I called it the Second-Half Sprint, buoyed up by the dose of breathing space afforded by the car sale, and the relief of having paid off one of my two credit cards in full.
I kept at it but did not get to the finish line. Dayjob projects came in and the art-making fell to the wayside. Bills were paid. There was food on the table. I was able to replenish art materials. But no art was being made. Very little and very small, if any.
Still I made enough for me to learn from. And some of the pieces I made then became shop pieces this year that then got sold. The pieces I made also became show pieces -- helping to spread the presence and visibility of my art. It also gained me a certain forward movement which eventually proved crucial when I had to take certain steps this year that led to the opening of the shops.
Now it is July again. I made commitments again because mid-years feel as hopeful for change and shifts as new years. And yesterday I started off by failing to do the first-day's work for both the Watercolor Month 31-day Painting and Camp NaNoWriMo.
But it wasn't too bad. It was because I spent all daytime out of the house. In the morning I sent off orders through the post office. Traffic was slow so travel to the post office was slow. My sister came with me and had asked me to accompany her on her day's errands and I thought, why not? I won't be going out over the weekend (I couldn't afford it). And during times when I am at my most lacking and poorest, I make it a point to do acts of generosity in whatever way I can. My mindset is that the spirit of giving, especially from my state of having nothing, will then encourage the spirit of generosity in others so I may, in turn, receive the help I need in whatever way.
We visited an aunt and she made us lunch and we spent some time catching up on news and the usual family gossip. It was light-hearted, and I believe secretly welcome and comforting for each one of us. Another small act of generosity -- this in terms of time and attention, also of peace and consolation and some form of unspoken forgiveness.
This aunt is also a dressmaker, and my sister had her measurements taken for future pieces to be made.
After the visit we scoured the thrift shops in the old neighbourhood. My sister needed clothes for work because everything she owned was at least six years old if not older, and were ready to fall apart at the seams. She got lovely dresses for only Php65 (or about $1.50). She offered to buy me a dress but I did not think I needed one yet. So many things being waited for to move before I can take the necessary steps, like buying clothes if I will end up having to go back to employment.
Somewhere along the way I did spend some money -- I bought pan de coco (coconut-filled bread) and spanish bread (sweet butter filled bread) from the still-going-strong 100-year old bakery where our father used to buy bread when we were children and the family still lived in the same neighbourhood. I spent Php34 (about $0.75). Delightfully delicious!
The thrift shopping took all afternoon, and then the trip back to our own current neighbourhood took time because of the late afternoon traffic.
Then the fatigue crashed and all I could do was wash up, have dinner, and settle with a book for the rest of the evening. There was no writing or painting. But I felt good, somehow. The day did not feel wasted. I can catch up on the Watercolor Month and Camp NaNoWriMo today.