I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now.

(title: lyrics from Bittersweet Symphony. Obviously.)

I've definitely been in a mood lately. Solemn. Serious. Contemplative. Pensive.

"Pensive" was the word used to describe the mood Colin, myself, and two of our friends were in one night shortly before we officially broke up as friends. It was clear we'd passed the point of reconciliation, but none of us were yet admitting out loud that it was over and done with. A 5th friend had us over for dinner and had briefly left the room. We were left in silence, none of us willing to be the first to make noise. The oldest and wisest among us finally broke the silence with, "My, don't we all seem pensive this evening." It's the last thing I actually remember hearing him say. And that was five years ago now.

The word has stuck with me.

Taking a longer break than usual between collections has had an interesting (if not entirely positive) effect on me. I had an incredibly weird year last year, and I wanted time to process it. I think I miscalculated something. The lack of creating seems to have made it harder to process anything. And it should have been obvious. I am nothing if not one who processes life through art.

A few nights ago I had a not-so-great training session at Krav Maga. I've been going four nights a week. It's tiring. It's especially tiring after 2 hours on a Monday, especially when that two hours extends to nearly three. It was an advanced class, my arms were shaking from the first class, and mental exhaustion was overtaking me. I was having trouble grasping a technique. My partner seemed annoyed with me. Instructors began hovering around me with intent to help and from my perspective, they looked annoyed and frustrated too. I wasn't getting it. Just last week I had been asked to help demonstrate something to the rest of the class after performing it well in front of my teacher, and now I was watching all confidence he had in me drain from his eyes.

Or at least that's how I saw it. Nothing worked. No one was able to help me. I just sucked. And I began to panic. I had to seriously talk myself down. I was momentarily convinced I would either drop dead to the ground from exhaustion or burst into tears in front of ten giant men. All I had to do was survive until class was over, then I could get outside to die or cry, or both.

I survived, barely. Having left on such a low note, I only had a few choices available to remedy my situation. A) I would definitely show up to class the next day, and B) I was going to sign up for belt testing in June.

It was a very get-back-on-the-horse sort of situation. It was hard not to see this as a metaphor for life. There are people whose lives seem to vacillate between bad and worse, a reflection of their choices and outlook. People who fall and cry, and slowly climb back to the place they were right before falling, never higher, never daring to reach beyond misery.

I am not one of those people. I stubbornly refuse.

My life might have lows, but it will be filled with mostly highs, mostly great, wondrous, impossible highs and I am going to make sure of it.

So now my personal art season begins again. I will be unveiling the first new painting of my 2012 collection this Saturday. It's great, the perfect painting to start my "new" year, to show you who I am and who I've become over the last year.

For all my pensiveness, this collection is surprisingly positive. I would even say uplifting. Perhaps my way of dealing with myself was to reach inside and pull out every single bit of who I wanted to be. I don't often explore darkness, which isn't a sign that it doesn't exist within me. In fact, I think I make my art very intentionally positive as some sort of cure or medicine for things that I fear. I paint what I want the universe to look like, the way I know deep down that it is, that it must be.

I want to always create beauty. I want to always be surrounded by it. I do not believe that the world could ever have too much of it. There are plenty of other people who put darkness into the world, either with their art or with their lives. They can have it.

If my dharma, my purpose in life, is nothing more than creating instances of beauty whenever and wherever I can, I would feel truly honored indeed.