I’m sure many readers will resonate with this week’s guest Barbara Carter, living with a burst of creativity inside and not knowing how to express it – life always gets in the way!
BARBARA CARTER was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is a visual artist and writer and is currently working on a series of memoirs focusing not only on her personal journey but highlighting important issues such as: anxiety, depression, loss and grief and the not so great ways of dealing with inner pain. Also living with a narcissistic mother. Barbara has an amazing ability to shed light on the sometimes dark subject matter with her ability to use humor. She also instructs art classes and offers guidance in writing memoir. The focus of her work is on examining the past in order to heal and move on.
My story is about learning how to follow my inner voice/intuition/soul.
As a child, I loved colouring books. At about the age of 10, I learned how to draw. There were no art classes taught in the schools I attended, so I was very much on my own. Later, in my teens, I purchased how-to art instruction books to help me learn more.
My dream at that time was to become an artist.
I was also drawn to writing, especially poetry and song lyrics.
But I felt I had to choose one or the other, that I couldn’t do both.
Living outside a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada life didn’t work out as I’d planned. No one encouraged me to pursue creative avenues and I lost hope, ending up on a self-destructive path.
After years of spiraling more and more out of control, I eventually managed to do what everyone else around me was doing: get married and have children.
Giving up on my earlier dreams, I tried desperately to suppress my inner voice, to deny my desire to create. I struggled to become what I thought I was supposed to be: to fit in and just be considered normal!
During this period, I’d stumbled upon quilting. I made necessary items for our home, such as quilts, chair cushions, curtains, etc. But it wasn’t enough. There was still this longing inside, a need to create my own images.
I had no money for art supplies, so one day, in a flash of inspiration I made use of the only materials I had on hand: fabric, thread, and needle.
My earlier creations were black, white and gray, the colours I’d been using just before giving up on my dream of becoming an artist.
When I first began creating my fabric images, I didn’t realize that I lacked joy and colour in my art, as I did in my life.
I was a shy, insecure young woman who didn’t know how to achieve the life I wanted. I had no idea that my images were anything more than a “picture” to hang on the wall, because I, as a person, didn’t realize I had anything of value to say.
Over time, I grew as an artist by my commitment to step out of my comfort zone, to contact strangers, to ask questions, and to seek answers. As I did this, my confidence also grew.
On that journey, I met many amazing people and learned how to show my art in galleries. It all seemed like a dream come true.
Skip ahead many more years to my mid-forties. My desire to write became overwhelming, and I felt that if I didn’t get whatever was inside of me out, I would literally lose my mind.
So I began to write, having no idea of how to properly go about doing it.
Once again, I simply followed my inner desire/voice.
After years of secretly writing on my own, I signed up for a creative writing course, and it was there that the voice of my child-self first emerged. She was a strong, powerful voice, pouring out thoughts and feelings that I had no idea were even inside of me.
As an adult I had blocked out who I’d been as a child, especially how I’d thought and felt growing up. Until I began writing, I had relied on the facts and the memories of others.
My first memoir, Floating in Saltwater, contains stories of my childhood, the lessons I learned, the questions I asked, the messages about life I received and the struggle to trust my inner voice.
My second memoir, Balancing Act, is about my early teen years, my struggle to fit in, and my need to find love, happiness, and freedom. It expresses how I dealt with an over-controlling mother, my anxiety, depression, the loss of young love, and the steps that led to a nervous breakdown at the age of 15.
I continue to follow my inner guidance and plan to write and release a series of memoirs that deal with various stages and issues in life. I hope that my journey, my words, can heal others on their own journey, and to encourage them to trust their intuition/inner voice, to find love and happiness, joy and peace, to address and finally, to lay their past wounds to rest.
Find me on Facebook at: Barbara Carter Author
Barbara’s Web Page: http://www.barbaracarterartist.com/index.html
I think Barbara proves what we all know, that until you’ve experienced life, had the knocks, the highs and the lows you are not as well equipped to write and share that pain and laughter with the world. You have more to give to your books and what they tell the world. As the daughter of a narcissistic mother, I can relate to so much of what you say Barbara. Thank you for being my guest this week.