Today is my last day with clients at my art therapy studio.
It's unbelievable how much my studio holds. I’ve met with over 100 clients there. It saw tears. It heard laughter. It witnessed rage.
It also held all of my emotions too. The relief of walking into a calm space that always remained the same. The concern I had for clients. The excitement I had whenever a new client was about to start. My brainstorming as I planned various art directives. The exhaustion. The satisfaction. All of the ups and downs.
It also provided me with a place to leave it all. Even during the pandemic when I couldn’t see clients, I could still go to my studio to meet with them virtually. As I began to see clients again, we could safely space out in the large room or take a walk to the local park.
In so many ways I was doused with luck. I would say blessings, but that word has lost its punch in our culture. It now sounds empty and hollow.
I want something deep and abiding. I want to acknowledge that something outside myself also provided for me. It was not me alone that made my studio work. It was like every time a problem presented itself, a solution also emerged as well. I was well taken care of, far outside of anything I deserved or merited.
My studio provided me with my closest friend in Tucson. She is a painter just down the hallway. We saw other tenants come and go. Sometimes, a tenant would alter our shared space (which I had designed with furniture, art, plants, and other beloved items) when they needed it for groups. They tried their best to put things back where they belonged, but my friend always secretly came in behind them and put them back so it wouldn’t bother me. It’s like she knew my autistic needs without me even having to voice them.
Another gift undeserved: a friend who sees me.
My studio also gave me so much flexibility and space for creativity. I rented my space from an artist collective. I originally just intended to rent one room, but I expanded with time. I used an extra room for groups. I moved my piano into another. I installed a window AC unit in one room, paid a friend to cut a vent in the wall, and then pumped the cool air into my main room. Another room I turned into my organized storage room.
The space was such a gift to me. And yet, there was always an uneasiness. Since it was a shared space, there was always some unknown. For a brief period, some individuals rented one of the rooms and slept there at night. At another time, the roof leaked. I always worried who might randomly enter the space and cause my therapy dog Egon to bark.
And yet, it all worked out. It provided me a haven and ultimately served its purpose for me and my clients.
I am saying goodbye now because I have new dreams in my life. I want to live with my husband. I am ready to leave the desert. My body yearns for the green and lushness of the forest. I have known this for quite some time, and it is finally happening.
So I say goodbye to my protective space. My mystical space. My honored space. Cherished space. Beloved space. There just isn’t quite the word for all that it did for me.