As the completion of this doll got closer and closer, I was both excited for the end and apprehensive. I found myself tweaking and tweaking and tweaking: "Oh, I should change this bit" or "Maybe I need to go a little darker here". Finally I had to ask myself whether it really needed changing or if I was putting off being done. And if I was putting it off, then why?
I took myself through the process: Did I not want to finish it? No, I was more than ready for it to be done. Was I worried it wouldn't be received well? No, I'm pretty zen when it comes to how a doll resonates. Was I worried it wouldn't sell? No, I detached myself from the sales part of this years ago. So what was the problem??
It came down to putting myself out there...opening myself up to conversation...conversations that were going to be hard. The normal protocol for auctioning off a doll is to go on the doll boards and announce your sale. It used to be something I looked forward to; interacting with other collectors, proudly showing off my new "baby". But I hadn't visited any of them for ages and the idea of dealing with hundreds of people literally petrified me.
I'm an introvert naturally. I relish my quiet time. It's how I recharge and get into my creative space. Since my trauma I've become even more so. With so much going on under the surface, interacting with people has become taxing and the larger the group, the faster I drain. I'm good for short bursts. I can even make you believe that I'm "normal", that I have it all together, that I've "healed". But the truth is that after an hour or two, my insides start screaming and I want to hide under the blankets and never come out.
However there was no getting around it. If I really was going to get back into painting, I would have to interact in my once happy place. So in preparation, I visited the largest doll forum last week. I hesitantly logged in and when the large pink logo filled my screen, I burst into tears. I used to spend so much time in this place; oogling dolls, joking with friends, discussing the latest releases. And each time I'd get off the computer and relate the daily goings on to my husband. It was ritual. It was comforting. And that part was now impossible.
I scrolled through a few posts, lurked a little, smiled a little and closed the page as quickly as possible.
Tonight I mustered up enough strength to post a little blurb about returning to painting and share my auction. I haven't been able to return though. I figured I'd give myself the night and try again in the morning. The responses I did see were all very sweet and welcoming. I didn't expect anything less, not because I'm so great but because doll people are some of the nicest I've ever had the pleasure to be around so of course they'd be nothing but gracious. I just couldn't go back.
I sit here as the tears roll down my face and wonder: how can something that makes you so happy also bring so much pain? And when will it stop? God, please, make it stop.