#100DayProject: Watercolors-Week 4

“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”-Roy T. Bennett

Welcome to the fourth week of my #100DayProject. Before we get to the watercolors, I want to share with you a moment of self-discovery I had this morning while journaling. Although I’ve had similar “aha” moments in the past, this time it feels a bit deeper. Maybe you’ll relate.

As a parent we want our kids to have the very best lives. We want them to thrive and be happy. Both my kids are struggling. My son still deals with the effects of two major accidents and my daughter has serious mental health struggles. This has taken from my kids “normal” teenage milestones like getting their driver’s license or attending prom. The picture I had of their teenage years is nothing like what we are experiencing and it breaks my heart. I often don’t know what to do.

These feelings have led me to internalize the belief that their struggles are entirely my fault. I tell myself that if I was a “better” mother they wouldn’t be facing such obstacles. I blame myself so deeply for everything that it’s become a catalyst for self-destructive behavior. I’m not eating right or caring for my body. I’m not nurturing my marriage or my friendships. I’m not even writing like I was.

I keep trying to restart everything, but I can’t seem to do it. This is where the big “aha” happened for me this morning. The reason I’m failing is I’ve decided I deserve to be punished. I failed as a mother and therefore I deserve to be miserable. After all, how can I be happy if my children are not? How can I continue to pursue my dreams when my kids are hurting? Isn’t that selfish? Isn’t that wrong?

Of course, it’s not. I need to lead my family by example. Taking care of my body and meeting my goals will inspire my family and give me more energy to face everything. Allowing the weight of the world to press me down doesn’t help anyone. It seems like such a simple thing to realize, but at the same time, it feels enormous. I’m not sure how to translate this into action yet, but it feels like a wobbly step in the right direction.

Now, let’s talk about watercolor! This week I focused on happiness and light—things I’m seeking to call into my life again. My painting time has become a great counterbalance to the heavy stuff I’ve been processing in my journal. My skill level has remained the same, but I’m okay with that. Right now it’s not about growth—it’s about survival and joy. 

I’d love to know if you can relate to my story or have a favorite painting or haiku. Thanks for following my blog and for always cheering me on. Happy Wednesday!

magical forest
dancing brightly in my dreams
help me stand taller

golden shiny sun
deep within my mystic core
heal my broken heart

budding shamrock luck
shimmy shimmy sway and shake
boogie down spring street

blurry-eyed flowers
wake from their long winter rest
see them jump and play

68 thoughts on “#100DayProject: Watercolors-Week 4

    • Thanks for the hugs. It really is hard to know what is the right thing to do for them. I know this is their path, but damn, I sure wish it was an easier one. I’m glad you like my little watercolor trees. I like them too.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Number 1, both haiku and painting.

    I sympathize with your frustrations. Last week for me was all about the eldest getting re-traumatized by the threat of school violence only three years since the last very real encounter. Just when you think you are making progress, it seems like life throws a setback in your direction. But then, things like the same daughter getting accepted to an arts-focused high school this week almost seem like karma decided to rebalance the equation.

    It was Alan Watts who reminded me, “this too shall pass”; both good and bad happen, often like a pendulum.

    Strength onto you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much Michael for the kind words and the wise advice. I’m so sorry that happened to your daughter. Gun violence is something this generation is very worried about and for good reason. It’s quite terrible.

      I say “this too shall pass” to myself all the time. I even made myself a leather bracelet with it stamped on it. I know the road both my teens are on will even out at some point, but I sure wish something wonderful would happen soon. They/we need a break.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes do it. Being positive helps all around you. Does your man feel like he could have been a better father too? Being a family and share thoughts will help. Painting and photography will bring positivity. Sending 🤗🤗🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, yes. My husband is blaming himself too. He’s working too much to avoid all the feelings he doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to face (his normal way of coping). This is probably the hardest moment our family has faced and I know I’ve got to be the one to turn things around. I’ve always been the one to set the tone…but I’m so very tired. I appreciate the kind words and the hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My mom sometimes gets like you do and tries to eliminate my stress and when she can’t, she sets depressed herself which isn’t fair and it stresses me out because then she’s grumpy or flustered.

    Once your kids get older, they have their own souls, likes and dislikes and it’s hard to tell them wrong and right. They get their own ideas. You can lead them by being yourself, but it’s very hard to change and fix it. I doubt your daughter thinks you’re a bad mother. I’d never consider my mom a bad mom. Maybe stressful and other things, but she’s not bad.

    And, the watercolors are amazing and so are the poems. I like the shamrock poem, but I like the painting of the sun! It’s so cute and it makes me feel like I’m getting a nice, comforting hug. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have no idea how nice it is to hear your words and perspective. I shared my “aha” moment with my daughter today and she was so happy about it. I didn’t realize that me stressing about her stress causes her more stress…although I suppose I should have.

      I’m so happy you like my little watercolor paintings, espcially that my sun makes you think of a nice, comforting hug. That made my day!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Loved the different shades of wildflowers and the multicoloured waves – beautifully painted! 🙂
    Glad you’re slowly working through it as a family together & not burdening it all on your own shoulders. Can be real tempting to attribute any problems as your own failings & super difficult to climb out of that rut when self-doubt strikes. Definitely needed this motivational reminder for the future! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes yes yes to this! “After all, how can I be happy if my children are not? How can I continue to pursue my dreams when my kids are hurting? Isn’t that selfish? Isn’t that wrong?

    Of course, it’s not. I need to lead my family by example.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for sharing your story with such vulnerability and honesty. It takes a lot of courage to confront our own self-destructive beliefs and patterns. Your realization that taking care of yourself will inspire your family and give you more energy to face everything is truly powerful. You are a strong and loving mother who is doing her best, and that is more than enough.

    I’m glad that watercolor painting has become a source of joy and light for you during this challenging time. Keep nurturing your creativity and finding moments of happiness wherever you can. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself, and celebrate each small step in the right direction. Your journey towards healing and growth is inspiring, and I wish you all the best on your #100DayProject.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for such thoughtful and kind words. I love my children fiercely and I know we will all get through this difficult time. Both of my kids are incredible humans who will find their own path in the world. I only wish we could fast forward past the hard parts, but that’s not how it works.

      Thank you for seeing me and for giving me such wonderful words of encouragement. I’m going to keep writing, taking photos, and painting. May you have a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nicole. Yes, this wasn’t one of my happier posts and it is easier said than done. For sure. It’s really rough over here right now, but there are still so many moments of joy. Yesterday my daughter modeled for me for next week’s photo assignment—sidelight. We had the absolute best time! She finally saw how beautiful she is!! It felt like the biggest moment and it filled me with tremendous hope. I’m really hoping I can start showing myself a bit of love too, because I have a lot of things I want to do in life. All I ever wanted growing up was to see my mom happy. I want to give that to my kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am hoping time heals things for both of your kids and I am glad you came to the realization that you need to take care of yourself. I hate that you are in the luck of it right now, and I look forward to when this hard period is something you gain distance from in the rearview mirror.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Because of stuff I’m having to check for new posts manually…

    What a beautiful companionship, your paintings, your words. I did the paintings first, then words.

    Your honesty so much lets me see more of myself. You write good. I trust what you say. That counts for everything. And your paintings, they just showed me Light. Even wrote a shy poem in response. (Permission PLEASE to use that flower painting on my blog so folk can see for themselves with my poem.) Please.

    And you’re right. Your sadness will not lessen anyone else’s. But your happiness just might. That will become your gift to them. Like the Sun is to us all. Your paintings show that perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Neil! Your comments always brighten my day. You absolutely can use my painting for a poem. I’m very excited to read it!

      I love what you said, “Your sadness will not lessen anyone else’s. But your happiness just might.” Perfectly said. I’m going to hang onto that thought when the darkness feels thick around here. I need to find a way to be the sun and shine my happy rays through it all, even when it feels impossible. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. OK, while I’m on a roll. Permission to use the sunny Sun painting as well. Less words yet but I know the sentiment invoked. Thanks again. You’re letting me appreciate some aspects of me I’d let go to sleep. smile

    words shouldn’t ‘say’, they should ‘do’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “You’re letting me appreciate some aspects of me I’d let go to sleep”—wow. That’s an enormous compliment. You may use my sun painting as well. I’m very excited to see what you do with both. Thank you for showing me such kindness.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry to hear of your troubles. And while it shall pass, I would remind you that wallowing only makes it worse. If you are stuck in the mud, you must make progress, no matter how slow or you will never be free.

    My wife and I have been married 37 years. Our five children are all adults. It was never easy. And we had a four-year gap between the first two boys and the second two boys. And I know I was different with each pair. And the outcomes from those differences tell me that it is 70% them and some percent outside influences. We have a small but important influence.

    So forgive yourself and enjoy life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “wallowing only makes it worse”—you are so right, Will. I’ve been slowly walking through the thickness and lately I think it all just got to me. I’m going to keep moving forward, even if the pace is slow.

      Thank you for sharing with me about your family. I need to hear those stories. Yes, I know that a lot of what happens now is on them. I have some influence, but the world does too. Their experiences shape who they will be and I need to start really just appreciating the journey and all we’ve been through together. The daily grind really does remove perspective.

      “So forgive yourself and enjoy life.” I’ll do my best! Thank you.


  10. oh this is delightful, Bridget; it’s brightened my day; I love that reference to Spring Street: that’s where I live, and I love these gorgeous water colours but #3, of course is my favourite 🙂 take it easy on yourself, Bridget: you are a good person; and please remember what Buddha said — it helps me in dark moments — if you have compassion for others but none for yourself, then your compassion is incomplete

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad you liked my paintings and found them delightful! Spring street was one of my favorite lines 🙂 Oh, I love that Buddha quote. I’m writing it on a post-it note right now to keep beside my computer. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. beautiful write it’s,” Accept yourself,love yourself,and keep moving forward.
    If you want to fly, you have give up what weigh down.”
    Thank you for sharing your story. Sorry for you disturbed.
    You are a strong and loving mother who is doing best, and that is more then enough. Your realisation that taking care of yourself will inspire your family.
    Iam so happy to your watercolour # 2 Sun painting.
    “Golden shiny sun
    deep within my mystic core
    heal my broken heart” ! Very inspiring words written in. I much like & love.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Bridgette, I sincerely hope you take your ‘aha’ moment to heart. As you said, it is the first wobbly step in the right direction. I encourage you to remind yourself often of your ‘aha’ moment and continue in the right direction, regardless of how uncertain you may feel. Remember to love yourself, to do something special for yourself; when you do, you will find those wobbly steps aren’t as frightening as you first thought.

    In keeping with everything you wrote today, I think painting #4 reflects your thoughts beautifully.

    Blessings on you always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. I’ve had these “aha” moments before, but it seems like this time something different has clicked for me. I don’t think I realized how deeply I was hurting and how much I was punishing myself. Time to change the narrative and be kinder to me. May this feeling stay 🙂

      I’m glad you like my flower painting and haiku. I appreciate your blessings ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I relate and I love your honesty so much. I felt (and still feel sometimes) the same way when my mom died. The most important task I ever had (no kids) and I failed at it. (She died) What right did I have to joy, to growth to move on when she couldn’t? Once I realized that was what was in my way, it helped so much. You are right, the best thing we can do to take care of those we love is to thrive ourselves. I think everything else flows from that. ❤️
    PS I love the flowers waking up. It’s spring!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is such a truly heartfelt and honest piece. I’m so glad you had your aha moment. It’s wonderful that you realised that for what it is – a valuable piece of advice for yourself. It’s so important to look after ourselves even though our children are suffering. For them to see us not coping or not looking after ourselves only serves to make them more anxious and unhappy. I hadn’t realised about your son’s accidents – that’s bound to take quite some time to get over – perhaps, not one of those things you can forget but maybe, come to terms with and accept.

    Also, I know how much you care and worry about your daughter, but she, as well as you, will benefit from you taking care of yourself. If you neglect yourself, this might shake the strong foundation she has in you. I know from my own daughter that she worried about me terribly when I was mentally unwell and treating myself in appalling ways, and she is now so relieved that I am better and have the calm and strength to support her in all that she’s going through at the moment, too. I thought I was a bad mum at the time, and she’s been thinking the same thing about my granddaughter, but we are all doing our very best not to blame ourselves and rather to nurture ourselves so we can be fully there for our children.

    Onto your gorgeous paintings, I love #2, the beautiful sun whose rays are falling on and brightening all in their path. And I love the haiku of #1, as the words seem so appropriate. I’m so glad you’re getting so much joy from your painting. It’s a win-win – you enjoy your painting sessions, and we all get to have that joy by seeing your work, haikus included.

    Please, do try to look after yourself, my dear sweet friend; you need all the self-love and strength you can get right now. Sending loving thoughts to you and your family and big comforting hugs for you, too. Xxx 💖🥰💖 P.S. Apologies for my long ‘essay’. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Ellie for always being so incredibly giving and thoughtful with your comments. I quite love your essays.

      “If you neglect yourself, this might shake the strong foundation she has in you.” This is exactly the thing I need to keep reminding myself. I’m doing really well with my own mental health (considering all the stuff going on), but I’ve taken to binge eating and rarely exercising anymore. My body hurts from the neglect and she deserves to see me thriving in every way. I’m doing my best to stay grounded, but I can do more. She deserves a solid and happy mom. Lead by example. I’m trying.

      I’m so glad you like my paintings. Today I painted with my 4-year-old nephew and it was quite a different experience! I let him paint my hands and we made quite a fun mess. It made me realize I should get messy more often too 🙂

      Thanks again for your strong belief in me and such loving comments. You have no idea how much it means to me.❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Sending hugs, Bridgette. I think any good parent would feel like you do, but you’re right, you have to lead by example, taking care of yourself. We’ve all heard that we can’t care for someone else if we don’t care for ourselves in the first place. And the magical forest resonates with the backpacking and camping that we do. 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so happy my magical forest resonated with you! Yes, the best thing I can do right now is show my daughter and son how to thrive in the thick of everything. I think I’d slipped into some kind of martyr mode without noticing it—feeling like I needed to suffer too. It’s time to brush those feelings off and step fully into myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It takes a LOT of strength to share your struggles in the open. Thank you for doing so…your journey can help others to navigate a similar struggle, and hopefully you and others will find help and support through the comments. 💞 Living in penance is not the example you want to show for your kids, whether its something you’re responsible for or not. Trying to break out of that “I need to pay for that” mindset is extremely difficult…I struggle with a similar need to atone. By taking baby steps to live your best life is the best example you can give for your kids. Thank you for sharing both the dark and the light in this post and your watercolors are beautifully done 💞💞💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Dawn. That need to atone and punish ourselves for our shortcomings is enormous, but it doesn’t ultimately serve us in the long run. I’m doing my best to put that mindset aside and show my kids the beauty and happiness of the world. Yield kindness as my weapon. Thank you for the kind words of support and for enjoying my paintings. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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