Washing my Buttons

For the past few days I’ve been on the shit-train.  Ya know, the place where whatever thought comes into your head it’s negative.  For much of my life I lived on the shit-train, now I only go for a ride once in a while.

So this weekend, it was, WHAT IF WE DON’T SELL THE HOUSE?  WHAT IF NO ONE COMES TO THE ART SHOW?  WHAT IF IT RAINS? WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO FINISH MY WORK!  WHAT IF NO ONE EVER BUYS MY WORK AGAIN?  ETC ETC  it inevitably goes to I’M FAT AND I HAVE NO FRIENDS.

I know If I can think, WHAT IF NO ONE BUYS THE HOUSE, I can just as easily think, WHAT IF TEN PEOPLE WANT TO BUY THE HOUSE AND THERE’S A BIDDING WAR?  or WHAT IF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE  COME TO THE SHOW AND IT’S A BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND AND EVERYONE HAS A GREAT TIME AND EVERY ARTIST SELLS ALL THEIR WORK!

This morning I decided to get off the shit-train.  I’d get up early and get to my studio and start working on a streaming piece for the show…..but first I had to write out invitations and  go to the post office (YOU BETTER GET THOSE INVITATIONS FOR THE SHOW IN THE MAIL IT’S PROBABLY TOO LATE ALREADY)  and write a press release for the show (actually Jon wrote it, I just sat next to him and gave him the details, it would have taken me an hour to do what he did it in 10 minutes ,bless his writers fingers) and email it to all the papers (PROBABLY TOO LATE FOR THAT TOO MARIA) then I made a fire in my studio because it’s COLD and RAINY and is going to be COLD and RAINY ALL WEEK. On the way out,  I took my cup of  dirty red  buttons back to the house to soak in warm soapy water so I could use  them on my quilt.(THE ONE YOU’VE BEEN WORKING ON FOR A REALLY LONG TIME MARIA)   By now it was time for lunch and my bookkeeper called and said she needed some important paperwork (THAT YOU FORGOT TO BRING TO HER LAST WEEK WHEN YOU WERE IN TOWN MARIA) and could I bring it to her.  So I ate some cold noodles and checked the fire in my studio, (WHICH NEVER TOOK BECAUSE YOU PROBABLY DID SOMETHING WRONG).  On the way out I saw the unopened  Christiane Northrup CD The Power of Joy on the table near my door.  It’s an hour round trip to my bookkeepers, this was just what I needed.

So I took all Christiane’s tips about thinking good thoughts  and imagining the stuff that happens in our bodies when we do.  I took the dogs for a walk and let Lenore joyously romp through the mud hole instead of yelling at her to get out.   And I thought I might not get to my studio today, but it’s ok, I’ll still have enough time to finish my work for the show.

One foot off the train.

Now I’m going to go do a dance (because as Christiane says, dancing works better than sugar or drugs)  then try to  joyously  have  both my feet on the platform when the shit-train leaves the station.

46 Responses to “Washing my Buttons”

  1. Suzanne Tate says:

    I love the way you just lay it all out. I guess you can take some solace in the fact that there is no one’s station that has not been visited by the shit-train. See, if you are born into a certain family thought-pattern, the shit-train is one of the first things taught to you….how to jump onto it, how to make the most of the ride and, most important how very hard it is to get off at ANY station. After all, there’s a certain degree of safety on the shit-train. The long ride teaches you to cling to the worst because then you’ll be prepared when it comes, as we all know it inevitably will.

    So today you turned it around and got off the train; maybe not for the last time, but you’re getting closer. I salute you.

  2. Kim Gifford says:

    I love you Maria, this made me laugh out loud. It sounds like your head and my head have been in the same place and I am happy to join you in getting off the shit train. My inevitable conclusion is not only I’m fat and have no friends, but I’m fat, have no friends and no one will ever love me! It’s nice to hear I’m not alone, but even better what other people do to conquer it. Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday!

  3. Julie Vogen says:

    I loved your blog about the shit train Maria….I have that negative thinking also and try to shoo it out of my head and think more positively. Sometimes its easier than other times. But I like the vision of the shit train pulling out of the station with all of my negative thoughts onboard and me standing on the platform. When I was a child I used to take the train to my grandparents who lived on a farm in Fort Dodge, IA and they would meet me at the station. I was always happy to be there as those are the only happy memories I have of my childhood.

  4. Jennifer P says:

    This is a truly great little entry. Mostly because I am on the same train today…. I had an attitude adjustment after reading this. THANKS!!!

  5. Janet says:

    LOL Eckhart Tolle says who rules, you or your mind? Its so easy to get to that place of overwhelm and takes lots of effort to get off the train. Good job of self-care! Janet

  6. likeablegirl says:

    I’m a reformed ‘What If-er’. And I’ll tell you something that my husband said once (when I was kinda freaking out in similar what-if fashion) – and it gets me off the shit train promptly. He asked me:
    “How often do the things you’re what-if’ing happen exactly as you’ve what-if’d them?”

    What if no one shows up to the art show? He would respond with ‘How often has no one shown up to your art show?’. Basically – he’d punch what-if in the throat with common sense. It’s part of why I married him. Sensible ass.

  7. nancy bariluksmith says:

    You rock Maria no matter what train your on!!!

  8. Dona Reed says:

    Maria, your sharing about the shit train was what I needed today. I have older and wise neighbor on the Hudson River that said stand or sit on the river and drop those thoughts into it and watch it go down the river. I see my neighbor’s standing silently, and I bet that’s what they are doing. I got to be at your last Art Show and met you, Jon the dogs and donkeys. It was a joy for me. I regret I can’t attend this years but won’t let anything stand in my way in the future. I felt for you at the auction yesterday and being with Rocky. We are kindred spirits. Love, Dona, a watercolor artist.
    Lives part of the year in the Adirondack Park.

  9. Hazel says:

    Hugs to you, Maria. Too many of us have ridden that train more often than we can count! I wish I’d read your post earlier since I’ve been on that train for a few days now. Something to do with the full moon or the cold, wet, grey weather? My worst time is at night…I’ll wake up and beat myself up for hours…then the next day I’m too tired to think positive thoughts and on it goes.

    Bad thoughts are a bad habit and a lazy habit to boot! It’s easy to get into that rut and s-l-i-d-e all the way down… I finally realized that I never worry about the right things anyway! LOL

    My best cure is to let Mother Nature heal me…to get outside and just BE and observe, and forget myself and my pity party.

    A big laugh and a (((group hug))) since we’ve found ourselves on the same train. Let’s all get off at the next stop. ;-)

    (Off to check out the Christiane Northrup CD…thanks! And I love your cheery red buttons.)

  10. Susan Morrison says:

    Dear Maria,

    I had to laugh & sigh a little when I read your blog. Why would you want to torture yourself with all this self doubt? I just try to remember that our lives are as good or as bad as we want it to be. I know it sounds trite but happiness is what you make it.

  11. Laura says:

    My dear cousin, you never cease to amaze me. I love reading your posts.

  12. Sharon Donovan says:

    You Dear sweet girl. I think this was one of the best post ever. You always seem so perfectly together. It made me feel that if someone like you has these feelings too maybe Im not doing so bad after all. Thanks

  13. Mimi says:

    Bravo!

  14. Talitha says:

    Powerful! You captured it. Thank you.

  15. Cindy Chambers says:

    Hey Maria, Take the Love Train instead! (Remember that song?)
    Shit. I love it when you swear. :)

  16. Veronica says:

    Maria, I love you. It is not easy to be human, is it? A hug for you, dear heart.

  17. Terry says:

    Love this entry. Honest and funny. Thank you.

  18. Elise says:

    Thanks Maria for your honesty. Your blog entry about “the shit train” made me laugh. Today for me was a shit train kinda day and after reading what you wrote I had to laugh. I am often reminded by my husband that 90% of what I worry about never comes to fruition and in the meanwhile I have made myself nuts and have also wasted a considerable amount of time on nothing.

  19. JoAnne Schnyder says:

    We’ve all gone for a ride (or two, or twenty) on this train. Likable Girl, I like you husband’s way of thinking!

  20. Leah says:

    I LOVED this post Maria. I guess I’ve been on the shit train so long that I didn’t realize that I could get off!!! Thanks for waking me up. :)

  21. Susan Smith says:

    Ha! This made me laugh out loud – my family rode the shit train at a discount because they were frequent riders! :-) It took me years (and two really outstanding therapists) to de-train and stay off. I empathize with you – even the most accomplished people I know (and you’re among them) occasionally boards the train. Roger is a big what if-er: “What if everyone hates my poems?” (he’s been published a number of times and he’s considered the “poet laureate” of the local poetry group – so someone likes them!). “What if nobody comes to my art opening?” (he sold many of the works he exhibited and was asked to leave the show up for an additional number of weeks). “What if everyone hates my music?” (his first-ever blues CD sold out). I have a feeling that sometimes the what-ifs serve to drive him. Perhaps they drive you, too, to some degree. But, your wonderful former boyfriend, friends, fellow artists and people who meet you and enjoy your mind and your work are there to assure you that it’s fine to remain in the station when the shit train pulls out.

  22. Karen says:

    Maria, Emerson wrote
    “SOME OF YOUR HURTS YOU HAVE CURED
    AND THE SHARPEST YOU STILL HAVE SURVIVED
    BUT WHAT TORMENTS OF GRIEF YOU ENDURED
    FROM THE EVIL WHICh NEVER ARRIVED.”
    Always helps me-wishing you sunshine on your shoulder:)

  23. 2 Punk Dogs says:

    My father is the king of negative thinking. Next time he starts up I’m going to have to remind him that he wouldn’t have bought a farm 40+ years ago and planted thousands of trees and plants if he really belived all of the negative crap that he worries about. I don’t know how many people thought he was crazy to buy the field across the street and plant it, especially as my parents live on the edge of the suburbs and Dad was working in an office at the time. He’s out in his field, his favorite place in the world, every day because he took a chance years ago and it worked out.

  24. Christine says:

    I’m on the train. Maybe we could meet for a coffee at the same stop?

  25. Jill says:

    I laughed. I cried. I laughed again. And thought of the old children’s song (“Nobody loves me. Everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms. . .” Thanks for sharing this. My shit train usually rolls through the station at 2 or 3 in the morning.

  26. Leslie says:

    Maria, you are an absolute facia belle!!!! This has to be your best post ever…..and thank you for sharing this intimate piece of your heart and soul. I know yesterday was a full moon, so I was chalking up some of my shit-train riding over the past week to loony lunar forces beyond my control…..it was awful. I felt like there’s been an anvil of intrusive, negative thoughts completely suffocating my gray matter. Reading this post was actually comforting….those feelings always make one feel like “it’s just me, everyone else is okay.” You’re simply the best….thank you for this little gift.

  27. Nancy says:

    This just about made me cry! It is so funny, but so true, how we badmouth ourselves!! PS I’ll have to try dancing…

    Nancy

  28. Lynn Dean says:

    Received your invitation in the mail today and just the thought of returning to Bedlam Farm and the Pig Barn Gallery Show was enough to brighten a dreary day for me! I know how much work goes into something like this. I also know how wonderful it was to be there for the first show and how much I’m looking forward to this one…

  29. Maria says:

    Can’t wait to see you again Lynn

  30. Maria says:

    I know that one Jill. Hard to stay off of.

  31. Maria says:

    Yes, just get off!

  32. Maria says:

    Yeah for him! More of that.

  33. Annie Bancroft says:

    I am embarrassed to admit that I did not know creative artists-poets have WORRIES as common place as the dreaded WHAT-IF’S!! And likeable girl’s husband IS sensible! I’ll try both the dancing and the questioning back at the what-ifs. Annie

  34. Maria says:

    Yes, the Love Train, Or the Soul Train as someone on facebook reminded me with a youtube video! And how about a the Peace Train? So many good trains to board.

  35. Maria says:

    Then this was a good post to write, thanks Sharon.

  36. Maria says:

    I’ll try that next time Dona.

  37. Cathy Hoff says:

    Excellent! I’ve been on that train quite a few times. Do you, by and chance, need buttons? I inherited a bunch of old ones (and not so old ones) from my mom. Let me know.

    Cath

  38. Karyn says:

    oH mY! I’m behind in my ‘post’ reading these days but I have to say this – Maria, I think there’s a folk song in this post somewhere!

    Thank you for making my evening. You’re the best! Karyn

  39. Holly Mo says:

    Oh Maria, just getting caught up and have to let you know that I get it!! You articulated your feelings beautifully – and it would seem, the feelings of so many others (myself included).
    My mother is the engineer of the shit train and I rode it my whole life. When I met my husband 6 years ago, he helped me to see what life could be like off of the train. It is only recently that I have gotten off the train (although the 3 AM one still stops often enough).
    Life is good. I am good. Love is everywhere.

  40. Maria says:

    Yeah! Holly!!

  41. barbara says:

    Thanks Maria — for adding a new word to my vocabulary — shit-train.
    I get on my shit-train ever so often. Maybe by giving it a name I will realize where my thoughts are — enabling me to jump off the moving train — landing in a bed of lovely wildflowers. — barbara

  42. Maria says:

    I like the bed of wildflowers idea Barbara

  43. Lorie Hyten says:

    Maria,
    Your post opened my heart a bit this evening when I needed it. A littler earlier I commiserated with a friend…we have both been on the shit train lately, but knowing you aren’t riding alone helps a lot, as does knowing when you do step off someone will be there to grab your hand.

    Thanks.
    Lorie

  44. janelle says:

    thank you! this was exactly what i needed to read….been on a week-long shit train ride…feeling alone and tired and scared…this made me feel like i am not alone and that all feelings are normal and okay. and now it’s time to step off and find my grounding and move on. thanks, maria!

  45. Maria says:

    You are so not alone Janelle, Glad you stepped off.

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