adoption, art, artist, Bayou City Art Festival, c.s.ellington, family, healing, loss, love, painter, personal, relationships, subconscious

The Auspicious Invitation

This painting, my newest abstract art, is titled "The Auspicious Invitation" Auspicious meaning conducive to success; favorable. It was my title piece for Bayou City Art Festival.

This painting, my newest abstract art, is titled “The Auspicious Invitation” Auspicious meaning conducive to success; favorable. It was my title piece for Bayou City Art Festival.

My feelings of abandonment are subtle. I see it in relationships. I can’t say I feel overwhelmingly abandoned, it is subtle. Like a ghost from the past. I am glad to be adopted, grateful. It is the only way I can imagine my life. It feels safe. And yet I am caught in between worlds where I sometimes feel both inside and outside of two families and, occasionally, the population at large.

I can’t imagine my life any other way. I have strong peace and intuition that the path of my life is intentional and has brought me, moment by moment, where I am meant to be in this life. But it has not been without scars. Most of the scars I did not understand until I reached my mid-thirties, I only saw the effects of them. For adoption is celebrated, and rightfully so, but it is celebrated most often with exclusion of a grieving process I believe is healthy to foster.

Most of my life I had questions. I had questions it was difficult to find answers for. I had no “hall of mirrors” to look into, as an online article I read this morning described. It is the best online article I have read on the topic of adoption: Let there be no question, I am happy to be adopted. That is not the issue. The issue is integrating a life that is complex, one that begins with one family and transfers to another.

If I had my choice to change the adoption, I would not change it. I feel my adoption was providential.

I recently received an invitation to Bayou City Art Festival. I gathered everything together and planned my travels. I brought every piece of art I could find. I painted more. I rested because, I knew that with the size of this art festival, it had the potential to be more overwhelming than any other I had attended.

It is a good thing I rested. So much happened during this weekend, where would I begin? I remember feeling tired and alone as I was loading in by myself, something I see most people don’t do. I stayed with my friend, Adriana Whitney, and her family that night. I remember, the next morning, being inside of my tent and, as I lowered the front wall, my mentor and inadvertent art teacher from Santa Fe was standing inches across from me on the other side. It was with great depth those next moments unfolded. I could not have imagined, seven years ago, I would become a painter and be at this Bayou City Art Festival with my friend.

That was the high of the event. The low was realizing that I was in the jewel of art festivals in this part of the country, yet the “Rising Talent” division under which I had applied had been placed outside of most foot traffic. The primary path of the festival was configured in a figure eight. From in front of my tent, I could see visitors four layers deep on the primary path. By 4:00 on Saturday, I felt alone and helpless.

I began to feel a deep sense of loneliness. Those closest to me in my life were not there. I was discouraged. By 5:30, I visited the VIP tent and asked for a beer. They were out of beer but had Malbec. I took two and I smiled and said, “If I could carry three, I would.” And then, I walked slowly down the path, a glass of wine in each hand. I was feeling very anonymous and alone, which is not entirely uncommon for me and I was feeling kind of at peace with it until a metal sculptor caught sight of me and smiled.

The artists I met understand this lifestyle. It can be an emotional roller coaster, I have been told. Sunday brought an art auction across the path from “Rising Talent” and foot traffic to the center of the figure eight was increased, even with a fraction of the foot traffic of the outside path.

For all the friends I have, sometimes I feel very alone .. like an outsider. I think some of that comes from having lived many places. I think, also, it comes from having been adopted. Adoption is more complex than even I understand. Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong in this world. At birth, I was a disruption. I know this. I have been told this directly. I was bad news, to some, and those people around me wished I would just go away. It becomes more complex knowing my birthmother wanted to keep me, but she was 16. I stayed in an orphanage for two weeks before I found a home. And then my new family welcomed me. They would not always understand me, but they love me.

And I was thinking, this morning, how art has been particularly healing in my life. Art is of the soul. And the people who have been drawn to my art have validated my presence in this world. Creating art and sharing my art has strengthened my confidence. Thank you to those of you who have met me at art festivals and have been so kind. You make a difference in my life.




8 thoughts on “The Auspicious Invitation

  1. My best work comes after, or even during, a period of emotional upheaval. When we suffer, we seek protection and those of us who are introverted seek that protection from within. We burrow deep inside of ourselves and in that burrowing, in that angst, we often mine into a seam of diamonds or gold or even previously undiscovered valuable sparklies. It is that other-worldliness (whether from adoption or just an inherent sense of not-belonging) that makes us examine the simplest things from every perspective, and we MUST put our discoveries on canvas or paper or in a statue or a poem or music. Being different is a way of life. It can be lonely in a vague sense, but there is much wealth in aloneness. You have such a rich tapestry of life experiences from which to draw. The lows are what make the highs so magical. Protect those lows just as you relish the highs – they are all what make you the artist that you are. Weave that anonymity and unbelonging onto the beautiful loom of your life. A masterpiece is in progress for you, Camille.

    Posted by Patricia Spivey aka Fish | April 2, 2014, 12:47 pm
    • Patricia, your writing is outrageous fantastic wonderful. You have a gift for putting these lovely thoughts to words. Eloquent. Thank you for this. I think of this like you do. In the aloneness I have felt, I rarely feel lonely. I don’t fully know how it is possible but a feeling of loneliness has happened but a few times in my life. I have a rich inner world and I know I have countless friends and a supportive expanded family caring for me greatly. It’s a complex life. I wouldn’t trade it. I am happy to be your friend, Patricia. Thank you for this comment.

      Posted by csellington | April 9, 2014, 10:50 am
  2. I hate that you feel so alone so often. I am not good a texting I’d rather talk. I can never know what it feels like to be adopted even though I know you wouldn’t change anything I want you to really let it sink in how many people are touched by you. Through your spirit & presence & you just being you. We have a lot more in comon I think than I thought. Talking about what you shared. Just please know what a special person you are & you’re never really alone. I know I’m always rooting for you! I’m great at choosing friends bad at choosing men up until Eric. Lol. I won’t even reread this because I won’t send it if I do so here goes. Love ya 🙂

    Posted by Jenni Bryant | April 4, 2014, 12:28 am
    • HI Jenni, … in my life I have relocated too often for my preference. I found myself saying it was like I travelled through life as a tourist – for example, not seeing people I knew at the grocery store … feeling anonymous. It was different from the life I wanted but I found some peace with it and it was just the reality of my life. I changed that but changing that takes time. I am beginning to see people I know at the grocery store! Thx for your comment. I am rarely lonely. I don’t cope with it well .. .like the three times it has happened. See you Saturday. I have a great community of friends and family. It was layers deep, what happened at Bayou City. My friend, April, helped me put the art and panels in the red van and she offered to drive to Houston to help with setup. I maybe should have taken her up on it but it was probably meant for me to feel that myriad of feelings I felt, layers deep.

      Posted by csellington | April 9, 2014, 11:01 am
      • Things are usually happen for a reason in my experience. I’m such a terrible writer. I know what you mean about being alone & being lonely. I’m so blessed to have you & Brian in my life I feel like I’ve found two special people who “get” that artist part of me no one else does. I’m so happy for you selling The Auspicious Invitation but they really got a steal. I mean that as a compliment. It’s truly amazing work. I can’t wait to see you & give you a big hug. 🙂

        Posted by Jenni Bryant | April 9, 2014, 1:19 pm
  3. You put into words, such beautifully put words, what I can not. I love what you wrote & identify so much with a lot of it. Thank you. <3

    Posted by Jenni Bryant | April 4, 2014, 1:00 pm
  4. I know and understand the lonely/lost/abandoned feelings that you have because I have been there – but for somewhat different reasons. I also know that my life path has been very different from what I had intended. I frequently pose the question “Why am I here?” and have patiently waited for an audible answer which has yet to come. As I have matured, I have come to realize that waiting for my “audible answer” was not what I should have been doing but, rather, I should have been looking to my life experiences, no matter how bad, and gaining wisdom and knowledge from them and appreciating whatever circumstances I might be in as a “hands on life classroom”. I am learning to live in the “present”.
    I now wake up each day not knowing what today may hold but opening my mind and eyes to all of the possibilities that are laid out in front of me. I see myself as so blessed and fortunate to be in a buffet of possibilities from which I may pick and choose at will. And for that I am thankful.
    It is as if life is a treasure hunt with endless possibilities! And happily one of the treasures that I have been blessed with is you, Camille! I wish you peace, love and a sense of purpose and belonging for I am just beginning to discover them and they are wonderful.

    Posted by curtisnwla | April 6, 2014, 12:18 pm
    • My life is open. I have given it away. I have told God to take the whole thing and do with it as he wishes. I have touching memories of the past but I love living in the now. I believe the depth of feeling both highs and lows are immensely valuable. I create from it. I connect with others through it. I am building my community and am beginning to see what I have looked for for many years. Thank you for being my dear friend and for caring so greatly about my life. Thx for commenting, Curtis. See you Saturday morning. Thx for your help @ Makers Fair.

      Posted by csellington | April 9, 2014, 11:10 am

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