Ambivalence. Such a pretty word.
The Oxford English Dictionary has this to say about it:
The state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone:
the law’s ambivalence about the importance of a victim’s identity
government ambivalence towards the arts
Dictionary definitions never quite do justice to words like this. There’s such a mingling of emotions here that are reminiscent of nostalgia, hope, fear, curiosity, doubt and many more so that to define it one really needs to be feeling it rather than explaining it.
It’s a word I hold perhaps a bit too close to my heart.
Lately I find myself looking at several directions I’d like to explore with my life and my work, and knowing that I need to make a few choices (not least a pathway to be exploring) or risk a lot of happiness and satisfaction.
A lot of the work I’ve been making lately has been using a visual vocabulary I am familiar with but also feel I may have outgrown slightly. Fun as a lot of this work is, it also feels more like I am back in my family home, some time around 1995, practicing arpeggios on my piano, rather than making up my own tunes as a fully fledged adult. There’s a set of motions I am going through because I am used to them and because they’re expected. Maybe they are surplus to my needs right now.
It’s an okay place to be. It means I am growing a bit as an artist. I think it also means I haven’t found the stop I need to get off at yet (if there is such a thing). There are elements I want to carry forward from this phase, but there are things I want to leave behind and other things I need to focus on.
Ambivalence. A beautiful if slightly frustrating feeling to be experiencing. A transient stage and a sign of things shifting. A welcome visitor. A reminder to check my road map. All very useful. All kind of nervy. All good.