Posted on
maybe it’s because i’m a capricorn but the thing i always struggle with when it comes to my concept of myself is that i look at myself through a lens of judgment. i don’t think it used to be this way, but these days i find myself hearing a voice in my head that can give me a very concise criticism about everything i do. this ranges from the work i do on art, the work i do elsewhere, my relationships and even, my attempts at self love and self care.

i did my best to stay offline this past week, but i was also dealing with a sore wrist so i didn’t get as much done in the way of chores and creativity. the very first day i realized this was going to be the case this week, i recognized that internal judgement bubbling to the surface of my mind again. with my goal this week being self love, i knew that meant every aspect of myself. even the judgemental voice coming from within.
Hermann Hesse talks about the two aspects living within ourselves, our human self and the wolf. the wolf snarls but still deserves love. taming our internal wolf is a forever battle once he’s been discovered. taming means acceptance, not subservience. this wolf will always be determined to undermine any anger you try to face it with. it is a difficult task to do it, but treating this part of myself with kindness is always fulfilling.

so i told that voice it was okay that we weren’t being productive this week, that, well, that was kind of the point. so i said to my wolf, what shall we do instead? 
i made tasty meals for the first time in weeks, i did my makeup, i watched lots of bad movies with my partner, i posted my first tiktok, i took on a new freelance client, i started a new personal project and made gluten free chocolate chip cookies for the first time ever. they are delicious. but most of all, i’ve been in touch with myself. i stayed up all night and listened to music that made me cry and i sat inside my feelings. i really, really felt them. and held them inside myself with care, and love, like i would for my dear friends. i told myself it was okay to feel. it’s just so hard being this transparent with myself, just because those feelings can lead to some pretty dark places, and sometimes i’m not able to close the doors.

i know for some people self love includes grand gestures for themselves, and i want to be able to do that for myself one day. but right now, i’m battling an inability to do most things because i am so harsh on myself. so i’m working though this. today i painted my internal wolf, and gave him the respect that i deserve. respect and love are interchangeable i think. i’ve been able to openly communicate my needs with my partner while i navigate my internal self. i’m practicing self love in the form of no judgement every day now. it starts with myself doing it, recognizing it’s happening, accepting the feeling, and allowing myself to move past it. the wolf may snarl, his fur may stand up on his spine, but he’s laying comfortably at my feet now instead of trying to eat me. so that’s nice. 

i wanted to talk a little about my approach with this painting, since it was quite different for me. i felt a lot of pressure for this painting because i’ve painted it the day of this exhibition, which is very unlike me. i saw myself wanting to give into the negative self talk and allow myself to believe i was incapable, but i reminded myself that today is about self love. so i just did what i wanted. no pressure. i began to clean up some emails, discovered my old livejournal, and began reading some old writing. i felt myself getting in touch with myself, and relaxing inside my head. i had my paints out and ready to go, and began putting water on the paper. i focused on my emotions, instead of my painting. i followed my brush to the pigment, the water, the paper. i didn’t question anything. once i was happy with the background layer, i stepped away from it for awhile while i let it dry. i came back to this blog post, which i began writing yesterday and knew i was gonna paint a wolf. i am really happy with how he turned out. the leaves at the top sort of mimic his ears which is cute.  

there is nothing wrong with struggling with self love. there is nothing wrong with being open about it, either. we are all human, going through our lives as best as we can. being honest with ourselves about how we feel can be one of the most difficult things we ever do, but with honesty comes trust, and then love. and once you find that internal acceptance, it’s just a matter of putting it into practice. my self love rises and falls like the tide, but regardless of how far i’ve waded in, i always know it’s there.

Liked it? Take a second to support Watercolors with Charlie on Patreon!

One Reply to “The Internal Wolf”

  1. I loved your writing and your wolf. I noticed a face above his eyes. Was that intentional? Such a cheerful face.

    The harmony of this painting is like so many fine works you have given life to in the past, I was taken aback with your comment of length of time from conception to finish. Your talents abound, Charlie Darling.

    Never forget to love yourself first. You have so many wonderful qualities and such love to give. I hope you receive the joy, love and kindness others share with you, too. Hugs and Kisses, Daughter mine. 🌹🌹🌹

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *