I was driving home from town one day last week when I remembered a fantasy I used to have before I met Jon, before my life as an artist.
In my fantasy I lived with my dog in a small house or apartment. I work a retail job, with no expectations, but one where I see new people everyday. I have a routine where I walk my dog before and after work, make myself small easy meals and read while I’m eating. At night I read or watch a movie and go to bed when I’m tired. I go to yoga once a week and out with one or two good friends on my days off.
I hadn’t thought about that fantasy in a long time. And I think it came to me because I needed to get back to work. I hadn’t worked in two weeks because of the Open House and I was feeling it. Making my art is no longer a choice. It’s a necessity. If I don’t get to work I start to go a little crazy. I get tense, irritable, and short-tempered. Being unfulfilled in this way makes me either lash out or shut down.
I think that’s what my old fantasy was. A shutting down. It was lonelier to be in a marriage with someone who didn’t know me than to be alone. So in my fantasy I was alone. And it’s easier to have a life with no expectations of satisfaction or happiness than to feel the constant pain of not being fulfilled.
Thinking of it now I wonder why my fantasy didn’t go in the other direction. Why I didn’t imagine myself as a successful artist in a loving relationship, which is what I really wanted. I guess it’s because I was afraid to be honest with myself even in my own dreams. I took what I thought was the easy way out, but what I now know is a slow death of self. A life that gets smaller and smaller till there’s no me left.
I’m just grateful that my fantasy didn’t come true. Maybe there was something stronger inside of me working against it. The artist and lover that I really am, showed her face. Showed her whole naked body and soul. And buried that fantasy when a good man, who seemed to know more about me than I knew about myself, offered me a studio barn to do my work in. And I said yes. And my life became my new fantasy, one I didn’t dare to imagine, but now dare to live.