Spilling to a stranger and art-making have a lot in common. I rarely spill to strangers any more simply because I make time for creativity, daily. Spilling my guts to a stranger and spilling art onto my craft table are both very cathartic!
Whenever I really need to let something emotional out verbally the right person presents themselves for said spilling. At the exact time I am in need of free flowing emotional expression a person appears as an angel or some sort of messenger waiting to listen to what is most heavily on my mind.
There have been times in my life these human angels present themselves to me and my heart becomes less burdened for having crossed their path. Then there were times I was sitting next to someone on an airplane as their messenger or angel, listening without judgement, nodding in agreement. Then other extreme times when I have spilled too much over-burdening the unprepared messenger or inexperienced angel. Thankfully through daily practise of expressing my emotions through art-making those heavy days are gone. Oddly, my art is bright and cheery now as a result of working through the darkness. My stranger spilling days are lessened immensely and my art-making increased.
I don’t look for these spilling opportunities, they just happen. Today for instance…
Walking down the main floor hallway of our apartment building, on my way to the drug store, two young sisters flew passed me in the opposite direction; their beloved Shitzu close at their heels. I asked, “How was your Halloween?” “Good”, they chimed, as most children typically will to every adult inquiry. “Your dog dresses for Halloween every day.” I added, trying to get them to talk, but they just looked at each other, then nodded, and continued running away from me. I said hello to their parents, and the mom stopped me to compliment me on my coat. “Thank you so much. You have made my day.” I said. “It is really stylish and beautiful” she continued, complimenting me again. “You have no idea how much your compliment means to me right now. This coat is 16 years old and I don’t have a lot of money these days to spend on fashion.” I spilled, both with an ounce of pride and of shame.
The young women’s husband listened to us both exchange stories of past losses and similarities and of present life challenges. We intertwined our stories and our lives speaking of children and marriages and fashion and parents and divorce as if we were the best of friends. “Do you have any children?” she inquired. (A natural question I have learned to work my way through, with great effort, over the years.) Yes, I have two sons, 25 and 28.” “Are they married.” “No. Well, one is getting married this Saturday, and I am not invited.” I spilled. “Oh.” she said “That’s not right.” “I know, but it’s ok.” I reassured her, knowing full well it was I who needed reassuring, despite the untruth of my words.
Life can be tough. These days are challenging me in ways I never dreamed would be my life. It is in these moments of spilling with a stranger that free me of holding in and on to what hurts me. By letting the hurt out, just a little at a time, I can continue on a bit further on my journey toward brighter days.
I found out more about my neighbour in these 15 minutes we shared today than I did saying hello in passing for 8 years. I nearly asked her name several times but anonymity aids in these unique cathartic spilling exchanges.
Her parting words to me were, “You are still blooming.” My heart was up-lifted and my soul unburdened and I felt freed of the challenges I live with in today. For the rest of my afternoon and evening I felt calmed because I had shared a bit of myself with someone who for the moment accepted me and seemed to understand me. I felt blessed to have shared these moments with this woman and her husband, blessed in ways they will never know. I appreciated their warmth and caring. I am so glad I stopped to say, “Hello”. I am so glad I expressed my vulnerability and allowed myself to spill, just a little, just enough so they could help me to clean it up.