Thursday, February 01, 2007

Forty-Six years ago, on February 1st, 1961, I got on a plane at then Idylwild, now JFK Airport, and my life changed forever....this was a little under five months before I would turn twenty-nine (29) and I had reached a very serious and terrible crossroads....I was depressed beyond belief---suicidally so---and I felt my only hope was to come to Los Angeles and go to a doctor I had met almost three years before who I hoped would help me save my life.It was the right move, for sure, cause I am still here, now, a little under five months before turning seventy-six (76) years old....And that move and that doctor was a big part of why I am still here, (though one other major therapy was to come along 9 years later and help me to continue to "keep on Keeping on" and to survive and thrive....). But I would be less than honest if I didn't say that there were other low lows over these forty-six years....lows which took me back to that place of suicidal feelings, and this journey through the weeds continued and Thank God, there were other milestone-'life saving' things that took place that made it possible for me to continue the journey....and that journey and that struggle goes on for me, and I think will go on for me as long as there is breath in my body....

If I found out anything through this journey, it is that I am a survivor, and just when you think you have come through the weeds onto clear and flat ground, more weeds seem to spring up to remind you that this journey is not over yet. A couple of good things to find out, I guess.

Of course there were "highs"...without them I don't think I could have gone on at all (I sure could use a couple of those highs right now, I tell you....)...but not just 'gone on', but gone on to create all sorts of positive and life affirming things...What has always 'saved' me is my creativity. That's the thing that has brought me the most joy and the greatest feeling of truly being alive. Relationships...yes, of course. Friendships....beautiful ones that absolutely have kept me alive. But, tapping into that part of me that needs expression wether through music, writing, painting, photography, singing....the creative spirit that lives within and must be given it's voice----and this is still the answer for me, even on the brink of seventy six. Lord, it never ends! Well, to be more exact, it never ends till it is over...till the 'Fat Lady Sings' the saying goes.....

Meanwhile, I honor this day because though I traveled 3000 miles to find the answers, of course, taking myself with me, it was probably the best and most important plane ride I have ever taken in my whole life. I remember that I got into a conversation with the man sitting next to me who, it turned out, was part of The Theatre Guild, a very famous theatrical Broadway Producing group that I was completely familiar with, because they produced some of the most famous and successful shows on Broadway starting a little before I was born....I took this as a positive sign that I was doing the right thing. I can't even explain that, but that's what I felt.

That I would actually be 'playing' on Broadway, a little over two and a half years later....believe me, not in my wildest dreams on that first day of February, 1961 would I have believed that could happen. I was just hoping to get through the next couple of hours once on that plane, you know? With Philip Langner sitting next to me, somehow it gave me the feeling that I was not leaving everything behind, but that I was going somewhere where just maybe, things would be possible again....(He was a lot younger than in this picture....remember it was forty-six years ago....) He had no idea what sitting next to him meant to me...but it was important and in all the years I have been traveling and taking planes, and there have been many many planes, there are maybe two strangers that I sat next to that had real significance for me....and here it is all these years later and I still remember the first of these important strangers and what he looked like and the suit he had on and the glasses he wore. A Very Powerful Memory.

Terri from Island Life wrote a post the other day asking the question did we think there were good years and bad years....and I said I thought there was a balance of each....some good and some bad in each year....but I would have to say that 1960 to 1961 was a pretty bad dark year for me....that certainly changed with stepping onto that plane in New York....Those very bad suicidal feelings didn't go away in an afternoon, or a day or a week. But taking that big step of getting on that plane and moving from one coast to another and going into therapy with that particular doctor, brought me to a different place entirely. It was a time of growth. Real growth coming out of the feeling that if I didn't do something, I was a goner. There was this shift just by the fact that I took some kind of step to change some things in me, if I could. That in itself was probably the most important thing about February 1st, 1961. I began a new journey that truly did change my life. And of course there are other important dates like that, changing dates because of one step I took to possibly change something in my life that needed changing at the time....but that is a post or two for another time. Today I just want to remember and honor this journey that began 46 years ago on this very date. And above is one of the paintings that I created which holds many of the feelings I have mentioned in this post....but one word I have not actually used very much in this post but it certainly applies---And that word is 'Hope'. This painting is filled with that, to me, and that is what February 1st means to me, too.....

More To Come......

had this to say:

It's always interesting to find out what other's turning points in their life are. Depression is certainly one that I can empathize and relate to. I'm glad you pulled through and that you keep on -- because you add to my life infinitely. I so much enjoy your posts and hope to one day get to meet you.


Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 5:03:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

You know how much I am in love with that painting, right? Naomi, this was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing so much of who you are an amazing spirit, and I am so thankful that you embarked on that journey all those years ago. It made you (in part) who you are today, and for that, I am thankful!!

Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 5:17:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I think we all have dark days, some worse than others of course. I'm glad you made that decision to get on that plane too! You have had a very interesting life and have given so much. Your talents are so many!! You are truly blessed.

I think the hope heart picture is a perfect start for this month!!
Take care dear Naomi. xxxx

Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 5:27:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Your candor is amazing, Naomi, and I am pleased that you shared so much of your self with us. It may help someone who is in a similar struggle; to see how life can and does get better, and how even when there are bad times, life is worth it.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 5:56:00 PM PST 

Anonymous LYN M.
had this to say:


Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:06:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I'm so glad you got on that plane when you did!!
You are an inspiration!
Please don't let any down times ever rob you of your survival spirit. You are tough, amazing, multi-talented, strong, and tender all at the same time. How many people have all that in one package??!!
Happy Anniversary!! What a great day to remember!

Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 9:01:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I like this painting very much. I can see the sunlight in your heart.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 11:42:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

This is a very powerful post and I can certainly identify with your feeling of being in the weeds and then just when you think you are on open ground there are more weeds! It's a bit like that for me now actually. Getting over my separation has been harder than I thought it would be and I am still very much mourning that loss and what feels to me like a massive failure. Life is like a ploughed field isn't it? Full of ups and downs adn a heck of a bumpy ride LOL!

I love your picture. I think it is wonderful how something so lovely can come from such a dark point in your life. I hope you get through this patch of weeds soon. I'm rooting for you :-) (bad pun I know but hopefully it made you smile!).

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 1:38:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I loved this story. I think that it is good to recognise and celebrate milestones in our lives it just reminds us which directions we were coming from and where we ended up.

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 2:23:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I read through this post and then when I got to the bottom and saw your was like in the movies, that last lingering shot where everything comes together. The painting says it all so beautifully (not that your words didn't, they did, you are a very talented writer also).

I can certainly relate to good years & bad, but I think the main thing is that we're all still here to hope and to inspire each other. You certainly inspire me.

If I could mow down those weeds for you, I certainly would!!! All the best to your Naomi, and thank you again for a beautiful post.

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 3:28:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

This post is certainly a statement of your strength, and willingness to reach out for help. Something we all need at times in our life.

I'm glad you are still here Naomi.. or I would never have had a chance to meet you in cyberspace!! I would never have seen your wonderful garden, meet your wonderful friends, or see your sweet sweet Sweetie! All of which has been a great experience!

I hope you are not in the "weeds" right now.. if so, I hope the weeds part soon!

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 5:11:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Happy Anniversary! Your so talkative and this was a very personal and readable post! The Hope Heart Picture was just lovely - thanks for sharing it all.
What a great start to Feb and I wish you the best for the first weekend too:-)

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 6:30:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

That was a beautiful and candid post. You are an inspirtation to me.
Happy Anniversary!
I feel like heading over with my weed wacker and clearing a path for you.
Hugs and take care.
Love, Raggedy

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 6:52:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I can also relate to the depression thingy. I've encountered it when I was around 19-ish. I was also somewhat suicidal that time.

Happy Anniversary to you and I am very much happy to have met a woman like you with such caliber. You certainly give inspirations to everyone.

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 11:26:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I for one am very very glad you got on that plane, my life has been all the richer for having met such a fun, creative,fasinating, generous person.
Happy anniversary Aunty Em !!

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 12:39:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Wonderful post Naomi! Happy Anniversary on your journey of Hope! I love that painting, it really says it all!

Hugs to you my friend!

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 12:52:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Wonderful post and thanks for being so open and sharing. I love that first picture. I like to see the objects in photos that date the cars.

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 3:58:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a nice remembrance! Life isn't always kind to us but it makes us stronger.

Luv the painting too!

Friday, February 2, 2007 at 7:49:00 PM PST 

Anonymous the fat lady
had this to say:

Happy Aniversary, Naomi! You may have some exhilerating highs coming up. Wouldn't that be fun!

ps--I ain't singing any time soon!!!

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 3:33:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

For me it's always a comfort to read that other women than me also went through this deep black tunnel with no energy left and what is called depression. And it's so true, what safed me too was my creativity, my painting and sculpturing. It really was a pitty that I didn't know anything about blogging at this time but I also think it didn't exist like today. It would have helped too, I am sure because I love writing too !

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 3:50:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ( a few days late ) Naomi!!! Let me say, I'm glad you made that trip - and have shared sO much of your journey with us! Depression is SUCH a hard thing to cope with -- but thankfully there is SO much help out there for it! You are very strong to have found your help back in the day when help was NOT so easy to find! Kudos to you! AND to your doc!

Now... the thing that brought me over here today! I was running around visiting photo hunts today and came across this MOST AMAZING flower and knew I had to come share it with you!!! So, please DO go visit this page! You will LOVE it!

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 8:27:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for sharing with us.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 8:34:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I had no idea my post of the other day would bring forth this post in you. We're all connected in one way or another, aren't we?
What impresses me the most, Naomi, is that YOU took that first step. (which as survivors, we ALL need to do) Nobody did it FOR you. So happy anniversary to you!
And the man on the plane....I love the saying, "Strangers are only angels in disguise." I think it's fair to say, he was.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 12:52:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hello darling Naomi.

Thank you for your email. I'm just seeing weeds at the moment, no idea why.

And I just adore that painting, it's my absolute favourite - it says so much in such a beautiful way.


Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 1:28:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

This is an amazing and powerful memory you relate today. I very much enjoyed your honesty and the poignancy with which you bared your soul to us.

Beautiful painting too.

Cheers and take care of yourself, please?

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 2:12:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I think your painting is an excellent summary of this post: hope

Hope you will be along for a long time


Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 2:57:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

You are so courageous on so many levels, Naomi. First, you had the courage to pick yourself up and completely change your life on the other side of the continent. Most other folks would just as soon have stayed put due to fear and inertia. But you went.

Second, you shared your struggles when many others would simply remain silent. I have no words to express how deeply appreciative I am that you've written this. Anyone who's been there will see your words and realize that it CAN get better, than they HAVE the ability to fight through.

You sure did. And we all benefit because of your courage.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 7:59:00 PM PST 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

Sometimes the moments that touch us and change us the most are not that monumental and large. Sometimes they are simply the words of a person sitting next to us on a plane or an unexpected phone call from a friend.

I love your painting... the puzzle that is the heart and putting all those pieces back together.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 9:53:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I just wrote a long comment to this post... then Blogger made me sign in again, so I don't know if it went through or not!!

Basically I said that I loved reading it, how those seemingly small decisions change our lives forever, how I can relate to the depression and how happy I am that your life turned around!

Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 5:56:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

That was a very powerful post and I do relate to your feelings about ending it all and the battle to not give up. Depression is powerful. On July 20, 2005, I seriously considered ending my life. The thoughts had kind of flickered off and on but not real seriously but that day, I confronted them very directly. I imagined that i had actually done it and shot myself and then the aftermath of how my family would live with that, what it would do to them, and I knew no matter how I disappointed them with anything else I ever did, nothing would be as bad as if I really did that but I do remember the date and consider it the day I died and was reborn as someone who would do what I had to do-- whether it pleased others or not

Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 8:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, I totally get it.
I can't help but think of CA as this open place that allows a lot more options... a freedom of opportunity here, so that people can find those puzzle pieces that connect it all together.
Love that painting, and so happy to have "met" you.
~S :)

Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 3:33:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I'm so glad you found art to express all aspects of your feelings and the support of creative people. I had a clinical depression in 1969. I didn't have sucidal thoughts, I just wanted someone to rescue me and put me in a hospital and give me something to make me better! They didn't have the anti-depressants that they have today. It was a non-situational depression that I now think was part of a long standing issue with thyroiditis.
Everyone should know that this to will pass!

Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 7:24:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

This is a very beautiful, brave and meaningful post, my dear Naomi. Happy Anniversary on your journey to Life. You certainly inspire me and others friends, too. Thanks for sharing your memories!

Monday, February 5, 2007 at 7:45:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

This post is life affirming. Thank you for sharing it. I believe it takes a lot of courage to admit to lows of such depth, asking for help also shows courage and a depth of character. I am so glad you made it through. The puzzle pieces of that heart are symbolic to me. Each of us is a puzzle piece in the heart of another. We never know whose life we might impact and change, nor whose life might alter our own. The best we can do is to be there to add one more piece of the puzzle to another person's heart and help them on their journey. You have no idea how many people your writing and your art touch, giving them peace, hope, or just something to fill the empty space inside. You needed to survive, you had so much to share and I am glad you made it. :-)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 8:27:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I love that painting. Knowing what you've told me about this journey, I totally see the significance of it. It takes strength to show our vulnerable side to others. I look forward to reading more about this.

ps...I'm sorry it's taken me so long to come by. I was in a very self-absorbed funk.

Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 2:24:00 AM PST 

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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