Chicken, Old McDonald series, house paint and acrylic on board. http://www.carolineallen.com
I’m a visual artist and novelist. I’ve also been an international psychic. For more than a decade, I made a living as a psychic in Seattle, channeling messages for people all over the world. For years, I’ve kept the writing coaching side and journalist side of me separate from this mystical side. I’ve kept my channeling abilities secret on Facebook, on Twitter, with new writing clients, with a lot of people, institutions and industries.
Right now, as I move to get my novels published, a series called EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER, I’m finding this hiding of my mysticism is not helping. In fact, it’s harming me. The protagonist, who grows up within each book, has mystical visions. Still, I guess I felt it was okay if the mysticism appeared in a literary context, but to openly admit to everyone that I was a psychic, well that will just scare off the mainstream publishing industry, which I felt couldn’t possibly honor in real life how much goes on beyond the flesh.
I find this process of healing around voice, around being who we truly are, to be so surprisingly unending. Hadn’t I proved I owned my alternative self by being a professional psychic for a decade? Hadn’t I proved it by owning it to most people I know. So what if I didn’t own it with publishers, or on Facebook. I’ve owned it elsewhere. Apparently this isn’t enough. Even posting a blog about being an international psychic on my writing website makes me nervous. Will mainstream publishers think I’m too kookie? Will the novelist clients I have who don’t know I’m a psychic drop me? Will they dismiss me? Think I’m wacked?
Even as I write this, I realize I’m not telling the whole truth. I didn’t used to be a psychic. I still AM. I just now got off the phone with a long-time client who is in the hospital. I channeled his spirit guides for him. Obviously, I haven’t fully owned how alternative I am. Why do I care so much what the mainstream thinks of me? And anyway, do they really like me more when I hide my mysticism? I bet not.
It’s also to do with owning being a visual artist. When I was little, my visual self was shouted down by my parents. You’re not the artist, your brother is. You’re not an artist, your sister is. Even writing this, I can feel the heavy load of depression like thick molasses around me. I was a little girl; what defense did I have against it? Even though I won prizes in the small-town community where I grew up, I stopped doing art at 12. I caved. I took ART back up again officially at age 40. Being in my power when I was a child evoked abuse.
Not just with visual art, but with my voice, and my ability to see other worlds, being in my power meant real fear of violence. Now at 49, the fear still hinders me. I want to own all of myself. I send out my queries and chapters to agents. But, then a terror overcomes me; my precious books out in the world. Dear God! They will KILL me for speaking my truth. Run! Hide!
Two weeks ago, I broke out into a full-body rash. A therapist helped me realize the source of the terror — the real, alternative, colorful, other-worldly me exposed to everyone. Of course this terror goes further back than my own life, than my own parents, back generations, further back into past lives, where we were burned, or hanged or beaten for being women of power who dared to show it.
Feel the fear and do it anyway, my shrink tells me. Okay, I will. I’ll curl up in a ball, hold the edge of my desk to stop myself from passing out. I will break out into plague-like boils. But I will keep seeking an agent for my novels. I will keep painting. I will expose myself as a psychic. I will own my ever-loving self.