Embrace Life For All It Is

We have all experienced pain at times and we have all harbored that pain in a sacred place. Putting it away.. deep, deep, deep inside of us in a dark corner of our souls. We have held on to those things and are often reminded of them by song, certain atmospheres and various scenes, smells or sounds. Some never deal with these things and others find creative outlets to release or pour their pain or even joy into these creations they have constructed out of nothing. Allowing them the sense of letting go.

Tonight, I was so tired I couldn’t stay up through a movie and then as soon as I laid to rest for the night I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts started racing through my head and ideas started coming to me. So many things I wish to share and I am trying to remind myself that I have a life time to share them. I do not have to cram it all into this one show.

I have a house of great company and instead of waking them up by my inability to sleep I started our campfire again and now here I sit…. working on a part of my senior show by campfire light. It is quite whimsical and magical all at the same time. The crackling of the flames coming off the burning wood and the nice taste of a cold beverage. The stars illuminating the sky and just the joy of embracing the nature I am surrounded by. I didn’t get up to ramble but to try and catch my thoughts so they do not slip away before I wake.

Over the last couple of years I have done great research on various things and one being the soul. I have researched behavior and studied behaviors of others. I have delved deeply into psychology, spirituality and the pure existence of life, of nature, of us. A lot of what is rooted deep in my soul are memories, nightmares, and pain. And often I try and step outside of myself to observe the feelings I have felt and tried to figure out ways of expressing these experiences I have had. This is hard from time to time and others it seems to go smoothly when I am able to utilize symbolism into my pieces. So far it has always been nature and the nature of things or the life processes of nature; that I have referred too.

I have realized that of many things in life that we are in constant search of who we are. An identity. A place where we belong. Thinking there is this one certain place for us. That things will better if we go some where else. Life is interesting. The things I have learned through out my time thus far is that we are human beings, bound to make mistakes. But if we are able to find that peace within ourselves we must firstly, forgive ourselves and ask God to help us find forgiveness within in order to proceed to the next part of our journey. If we are still in pain we must then forgive those who have caused us pain. Then we must start again. Begin again. Once we have achieved those things, life will start to fall in place.

Everyone of us has a purpose in life. To some it is more apparent and others it hasn’t been presented yet or they just haven’t listened close enough. We must quiet ourselves inside to listen. Be mindful of where we are and who we are. We must listen to what is inside and what it is telling us.

This thing called life is one ride. Embrace all of it. The pain. The joy. The heartache and sadness. The happiness. There is so much to be grateful for in life. But we seem to forget. We can choose to look negative upon our situations…. or we can choose to find light and positive outlooks upon our situations. We are ultimately the holder of that place.

For now, I am going to go. I have some things to work on and get out before I forget.

Peace and love be with all of my dear friendships.

Shanna Mae


Sometimes We Forget To Begin.

When I was a small child I had dreams of being a singer, a writer, an artist, a figure skater, a gymnast, a mother and an explorer. Through out childhood I invented things, collected things, and created things. I would run and jump and laugh and play. Spending hours on the beach picking rocks with my grandma. Collecting unique agates, fossil rocks, shells, pieces of wood and shore tumbled glass. Wandering up the big rock, picking blueberries. Driving around in that old blue tin car. Building houses out of the freshly cut green grass. Digging through the junk yards, looking for unique old junk that became treasures. Listening to my grandma sing to the birds and listening to that thing that would sing when you walked passed the hutch in the kitchen. Listening to Bible stories while spending the night at her house. Putting on plays with the neighbor kids and writing stories and illustrating creativity.

Life was simple. Innocent. Free.

As I grew older I kept sketchbooks upon sketchbooks, journals upon journals and notebooks filled of doodles over notes from classes. I would day dream in class on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even though being artistic and creative was who I was inside and the only thing that made me feel whole; it felt far fetched, impossible and unrealistic to live a financially stable life. I didn’t want to do anything else so 1st career choice: Full-time Waitress/Bartender. A year after graduating I decided I needed to have an education and although I had been discouraged from being an artist I started with general studies, which then through out the last ten years have gone from the typical AAS degree, to a a AA in Visual Arts, to a Business Office Certificate, to a Business degree, to a Medical Assistant degree, to a Graphic Design degree to finally a BFA in Studio Art with a goal of becoming an Art Therapist some day. The time came in life when I had never felt so low in life, so unfulfilled, so incomplete, so far from myself. Once I divulged into my creativity I quickly started to feel complete and life started to have meaning outside of being a mother. Things became so clear and started making sense in my mind.

Now over the past two years I am nearing the end of my educational requirements for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. It is about damn time; it only took me 10 years. The last two years…… I look back and feel a wide variety of emotions. I felt every kind of feeling and emotion a person could feel. Physically and mentally. Exhaustion. Pain. Happiness. Sadness. Fear. Anxiety. Joy. and on and on and on. Today, I sit here working towards my last HUGE semester despite the one requirement next semester and I feel BLAH! I for the first time since I followed my heart have questioned my purpose, my journey, my intentions, and heart. Why am I doing this? Why am I an artist? What am I supposed to do next?

I have felt stuck, unmotivated and uninspired. I have felt scared??? It is a sure possibility. But of what? A year ago I had my Senior Exhibit all planned out and the exact purpose and meaning behind it. Now all I can do is go into this deep panic attack with a sudden feeling of suffocating. I question myself as to why? I have never felt more happiness and joy inside or even love for myself. This path has helped me grow immensely and change me in ways I never imagined and allowed me to feel things I never knew I could feel. I have attempted to analyze my thoughts and behaviors through out the last 7 years of my life, along with all the actions. I have started to come to the realization that maybe…. just maybe… I am afraid of succeeding or completing something. I start them and then don’t want to finish because it brings you to the next thing. The next journey in life and right now I have no idea what that journey is at the moment because of the last year of nonstop running my body and health into the ground to complete those 47 credits, put in the 20 hours of work in 2 days and be a full time mom—being there for her EVERY morning, EVERY day, EVERY night. Plus serving on committees and helping others and the million other tasks I took on. I am not complaining about any of this and most definitely not about being a mom. My daughter is the main reason I work myself so hard. But things have become to complex and overwhelming and I still haven’t slowed down. I just want to find peace inside and be able to sit and just be. So I lost my goal following school and have had to resort to dealing with life one day at a time and not making any big plans after this.

I guess my point is a long time ago I had a million dreams. But some always more prominent than others and that was being an artist and a mother. Here I am; an Artist and a Mother. And now I am scared to allow myself to succeed. I know I can make it and know I have what it takes. So why do I stall and why do I allow things to cripple my creativity? Why am I so afraid of sharing art that represents such painful memories? Afraid of feeling naked. Ahhhh, life. Some days you suck.

Here’s to creating. Here’s to sharing. Here’s to showing what you have taught me. Here’s to stripping me of my energy.

Sometimes we forget where to begin and forget to begin at that. We lose focus. We lose energy. Sometimes we wish we could do it all over again as well. But we do not have that option. Sometimes we constantly search for solidarity and answers to questions we have and suddenly realize that maybe we have the answers already right there in front of us. Yet those answers and research bring us to more deeper rooted Things that were more the core root and the original research was only what put the icing on the cake.

Senior Show update:
October 31-November 22.
Opening reception to be announced.
Mark your calendars.

If you do not hear from me in the next two months; do not be alarmed. I am still alive but living, breathing and consuming art, emotions, feelings, and life.