When I read Rena's comments on my last posting, my initial instincts were to just delete the whole post. But then I realized that would also delete her comments. And that seemed wrong. The correct thing to do is to just apologize: "Rena, I am sorry. You are completely correct in your reply. I did not mean to accuse you of anything and I agree with you on your statements about Zentangle and patterns and everything." Rena's response to my inner-middle-child whining was not only a very positively written reality check, but a really interesting biography. I won't try to explain what led up to the post - it's irrelevant - just that I shouldn't have taken my feelings out on another person. Again, I really am sorry.

It is interesting how, when we know we have done something wrong, the Universe has a way of punishing us - or perhaps, allowing us to punish our selves? I was driving home today on I-89 from the dentist's where I had just had a filling replaced. Half my face was numb and as I drove along, I was thinking about what to say as response to Rena and also to my sister who is very angry and hurt that I did not discuss my feelings about a trip to India this fall that I decided not to take. As I drove along, I noticed a big, black pickup truck with a ladder on top coming up the on-ramp. I moved to the left lane as it merged onto the highway. I started to return to the right lane, but the truck had not yet sped up, so I stayed where I was.  All of a sudden, the large, metal ladder FLEW off the top of the truck and swung around into the left lane. As it hit the road it spun like a merry-go-round all over the lanes. I swerved toward the break down lane to try to avoid it, but the truck had pulled over when it realized it had lost its ladder. As I tried to avoid the truck, the spinning ladder hit my left wheel (which has a weird brown burn mark now). All this took three seconds, but as I passed the truck and realized I was OK, it also hit me that if I had pulled back into the right lane behind the truck when I normally would have ... well, that ladder would have gone straight through my windshield. Perhaps it's a good thing my head was already numb. But now, as I write this, the numb is gone and my tooth is throbbing and I realize it will be a bit difficult to focus on my work right now. And, as is my habit, I tend to think too much. And so, in an attempt at an apology to my sister, who says I don't tell her what I'm thinking, here are my thoughts...

In general, I tend to keep my true opinions to myself. You know the saying about Square Pegs and Round Holes? Well, I'm not even a "peg" never mind a round one. I've always felt like Gonzo (the Muppet!) - tolerated as the kind-of-cute, eccentric, artsy creature who adds a little color, but the one that nobody really pays much attention to. I don't mean this as a self-pity thing - I've worked hard to blend into the woodwork! But all of a sudden, people are listening to me! You all are reading my blog, taking my classes and reading my books! It is very exciting and horrifying at the same time. Does this make any sense to anyone? I feel like I have to be "ON" all the time. I have to be more careful what I say and suddenly I am a role model. Me? I think I mention in the book that I am such a severe introvert that the test I took didn't have a number high enough to rate me. :-)

At the book signing party on Friday (which was great by the way) there was a really shy girl whose mother said she had just stumbled across Zentangle the week before and had brought some sketches to show me. They were good, a sampler of tangles and such. But the girl turned pale under her freckles when her mother went on to tell me that she suffered from anxiety and her therapist had been thrilled to hear about Zentangle and how it was helping the girl. I think I shocked the girl when I looked at her and said "That's how I discovered Zentangle too. I suffered from really bad anxiety and panic attacks and tangling helped me feel calmer." Talking to her reminded me why I felt I needed to step away from my comfortable, shadowy, safe wall and start teaching people how to do this tangling thing. I realized that so many of us have that "Gonzo" part - whether it's the shame of feeling out of control, or thinking we aren't creative. We get tied up telling ourselves our own "story"- "I can't do this because when I was a kid..." And you can spend all the time you want telling yourself positive affirmations... but when you actually DO something that proves to you that you were wrong - and you can look at it and realize being wrong can actually be a really good, freeing thing - then you can write a new story and change your reality (and freak people out around you!)

And THAT is what Zentangle does. It constantly reminds you that what you are thinking is less important than what your hand is showing you. Its not even really about art. It's a feeling of AHA! and it's kind of more spiritual. You not only see patterns all around you, but you start to notice PEOPLE around you who desperately need to know this AHA! thing too. I think that is why the whole concept of Zentangle has been spreading like wildfire in the past year.

So this long-winded ramble is my explanation. I kind of want to remind people that I'm still me, Sandy, but I'm rewriting my "story", stepping away from my "wall", reaching out to people, trying to speak up, and making completely new mistakes. I do appreciate people correcting my mistakes and I hope everyone remembers that it is NEVER my intention to hurt anyone's feelings no matter what stupid blunder appears on the surface. My husband will probably say I shouldn't have posted this... but the pain in my tooth has stopped and I am going to interpret that as a sign from the Universe that my apology has been accepted. ;-D

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