Making Art

First of all – since my husband so very kindly shared this on facebook already – the broom has been found.  It was right behind the very desk that I typed the missing broom post at.  It was leaning against the wall.  If I’d simply turned around, I would have seen it.

I suppose there is an entire post or commentary there:  what we need (or want) is often right there with us, but we keep searching far and wide for it, unaware of it’s proximity.

But, that’s not what today’s post is about.

Today, I want to take a moment to reflect on an important lesson I have learned (am learning) this week.  It’s a bit about who I am, where I belong, and what I need to be doing…

The world is a mighty big place.  There are a lot of things wrong in it.  There are a lot of things right about it.  There are unlimited causes to fight for.  Injustices that are great and small.  Some exist on a world scale and some are in our own homes.  Some we know about because they are “in our face” on the news, in social media, in conversation at every turn.  Some we never hear about for whatever reason.  Some we embrace and some we ignore.

Sometimes we choose to fight for a cause because it is deeply personal for us.  It affects us directly or someone we know.

We might be drawn to an issue for reasons we don’t understand.

In any case, I believe it is important to work for social justice – to stand for something – to work towards making the world a better place.  For everyone.

I try to do that in my own little way.  I often believe that I don’t do enough. That I should be doing more and trying harder.

But, we can’t all do great and powerful things.  We aren’t all going to make the news carrying protest signs.  We can’t all be heroes (for lack of a better word).

Kudos to those who do.  We need heroes.

It’s equally important to have those who work behind the lines.  Those who do the little things that make a difference.  Some will never be known for the work they did – a  small act of kindness that multiplied into something much more for example.  Every person plays their part – the laundry always has to be done, the dishes washed, the trash picked up, and the meals prepared.  I don’t know that there is any honest work that should be downplayed or deemed less important than any other.

My lesson this week is as follows…

I “jumped” into social media this week and made a statement.  The issue, the statement, the consequences or lack thereof aren’t really relevant to this discussion.  I don’t regret doing so.  But, I am suffering the consequences.  Maybe suffering isn’t the correct word.  Perhaps I should say, I am experiencing the consequences.  Old wounds have been opened and I am dealing with old hurts and pain that I thought I had already dealt with and put to rest.  This isn’t totally a bad thing.  I believe that we need to deal with our emotions and feelings in order to grow and fully develop.

I’m just weary, anxious and somewhat depressed. I’m tired and stressed.  Dealing with the emotions (mine and others) is exhausting.  Thinking carefully about what I want to say and making sure it is clear and to the point – and that it won’t be misunderstood.  Considering both sides of the situation and being considerate and compassionate about those involved.  Playing nice when others don’t.  Letting the angry words go because I understand the anger is rooted in hurt and pain. Dealing with the frustration when someone can’t see that their words are unfair and just plain mean.

Sometimes something will seem so obvious to me – and it seems like nobody else can see it.  I try hard to be open to the fact that they are thinking the same of me.

I’m feeling out of place, exposed and vulnerable.

I just want to wrap myself in a safe cocoon.

I just want to go into my studio and make something.

And that, more and more, seems to be where I belong. Behind the scenes making art. A more solitary existence.  Speaking through my work.  Sometimes it makes a statement.  Sometimes it illustrates a story.  Sometimes it makes me feel better.  Sometimes it makes a point.  Sometimes it just is…

I’ve been told that I write well.  That I speak well.  That I argue/discuss/debate well.  Maybe so.  I don’t know for sure.

I do know that just because you can do something – doesn’t mean that you necessarily should.

Just because you can say something – doesn’t mean that you should.

And it doesn’t mean that I never will again.

But for right now, I’m going to go into my studio and make some art.

Packaging

  • I’ve struggled with whether to write this post or not.  With how to word it so as not to offend anyone.  Considering all the possibilities of what might go wrong, whether it needs to be said or not, does it matter…

But, the thoughts just keep swirling in my head, refusing to be quieted.  It’s my blog, my little space in the world, and nobody has to read it or like it, but maybe I’m not the only one feeling this way.

Here goes…

What I’d like to say is please don’t package me.  Don’t look at me and make assumptions about who I am and stick me in a box and put a label on me.

I’m a complex person – because I’m a human being.  It just goes with the territory.  I make decisions, I change my mind, I make mistakes, I try to learn from them and I dream of a better world, but live in this one.

I am not a Democrat or a Republican or any other “party” for that matter.  I make my own decisions and prefer not to follow the crowd.  I don’t even know for sure what those party labels mean anymore.  So many issues and so many decisions – how can it all fit under one umbrella.

I guess I’m not a liberal or a conservative either.  I’m uncomfortable choosing one or the other.  Once again, it depends on the issue, the facts, my belief system and how it all fits into the very real world we live in.

I am a follower of Christ although I am not actively involved in a worship community.  I’ve become uncomfortable with the “Christian” label for much the same reason as any other.  So many extremes within the “Christian” community and a lot of directions and movements that don’t appeal to me.  I’ve chosen to go back to the Bible and my understanding of Jesus’ teachings and make my own way from there.

Here’s the tricky one – skin color.  White, black, brown, yellow, red, or whatever.  I’m an artist.  Two of those aren’t even a color and they are all wildly inaccurate depictions anyway.  Millions of people in each group and one label to identify them all?  What the hell?  That’s a pretty simplistic view of the world isn’t it?  White culture.  What does that even mean?  Black culture?  Same issue.  Who made up those categories and made it the standard by which we identify each other?

I suppose that it would make life easier if we could categorize everyone so easily and know what someone believes, thinks and how they will act based on appearance.  I’ve never found it to be true though.

I live in a manufactured home community out in the country in Texas…the South.  I’m a stay-at-home Mom and homeschool.  What assumptions are often made about me?  I’m an uneducated redneck because I live in a “trailer”.  I’m a religious, right-wing zealot because I homeschool.  I’m a back-to-earth, hippy, granola mom because I stay at home with my kids.  Or, my personal favorite, a gun-toting, survivalist, racist because I live in the country, in Texas.  These have all happened, for real.

Maybe it would make more sense to get to know me rather than stick a label on me and call it done.  Let me help you out…

  • I live where I live because it worked out economically and fits in with the lifestyle choices we make.  In short, we’ve got a big-ass house that we can make the payments on.
  • I stay at home because I love my kids, and my husband and I felt that it was the right choice for our family.  No judgment from me if you work outside the home.  Your life, your choices…we all need to make decisions that work for us.
  •  I homeschool for a number or personal reasons…it works for my kids’ learning styles, our family, and fits in with the lifestyle choices we’ve made.
  • I’ve got two Bachelor’s degrees and started on my Master’s.  I’d probably still be in college if I could.
  • I’ve got a garden and we eat a reasonably healthy diet. Nothing extreme though.  I’m not a good enough gardener that we could ever live off the land.  And I’m not sure that I could ever give up Cheetos or Oreos forever.

I could go on, but maybe I’ve made my point.  Let me sum it up for you…

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by for dinner.  I don’t care what “color” you are, where or who you worship (or if you worship at all), where you come from, what you wear (I prefer some garb of some kind please) your occupation, your life-style choices, your economic level, your political affiliations, your mental health diagnosis, your heritage, your decorating scheme, your gun-carrying status (or lack thereof), or your dietary restrictions (just let me know ahead of time).  If I’ve left anything out, let me know.

I do expect two things:  Respect and kindness for me and everyone else around the table, and lively discussion that does not degenerate into labeling, name-calling, belittling or generalizations.

I don’t hate anybody.  I also don’t love everybody (I know I’m supposed to, but I haven’t gotten there yet).  And honestly, there’s some people I don’t like very much.  I don’t feel the need to apologize for anything someone else has done, but I will empathize with your hurt.  I will try to apologize when I screw up if I realize I did so.  If not, please tell me what’s wrong so we can work it out.

That’s the best place to start…me and you.  One on one.  One discussion and one friendship at a time.  I can’t fix the whole world.  Nobody can.  But we can each work together.  Just don’t stick me in a box and put a label on me…and I’ll try to treat you with the same courtesy.

What I believe…

To continue with the “rabbit trail” post from yesterday; I have given some thought(s) to what this blog might be about.  Still no definitive answers, but here we go with a bit of wandering.

I usually avoid confrontation if at all possible.  I’m just not into drama for the sake of being dramatic   (Actor friends, you know I’m not talking about you, right?).  There are certainly some things worth being emotional about: The world is an imperfect place full of imperfect people.  Against my usual inclination, today I became involved in an online thread about homosexuality.  I’m all for spirited discussions, but this particular thread turned into an argumentative, personal attack.  I have friends who are gay, and friends who are not, and conservative friends who believe it’s a sin, liberal friends who don’t.  They are all my friends.  For the most part, I would prefer not to know anyone’s sexual orientation…just not that interested in what’s going on in that respect.  It is a big issue for folks and I’m not altogether sure why.  There are a lot of problems in this world of ours – things we can all agree need to be solved:  homelessness, hunger, loneliness, and the list goes on.   If it is a sin, (and I personally don’t believe it is) then it’s not my business.   We all make our own choices based on our beliefs, needs, and understanding of the Bible.    I’ve read the Bible and don’t personally believe there is a definitive answer to be found there. Who’s right and who’s wrong?  What if we spent more time in conversation with God and worked at becoming the person God envisioned and created us to be?  What if we came to understand that the one yelling the loudest and longest wasn’t necessarily right.  If everyone walks away angry and hurt than no one “won”.  Simplistic to be sure, but I’m a fan of simplicity.

I guess my point with this post is:

1.  I believe in a world where folks can get along despite their differences.

2.  I don’t want to hide who I am because that would be dishonest and just not very interesting.  I will always try to be respectful in expressing my opinions.

3.  I am a follower of Christ although somewhat disillusioned with organized religion.

3.  I definitely don’t want to be insulated from the world and only involve myself with people who think the way I think, do the stuff I do, and believe what I believe.

4.  It is a big and glorious world full of beliefs, opinions, creativity, and different types of people. I believe we can learn from each other and make the world a better place.

5.  I don’t want to force my opinion on anyone or create conflict.  I am just not interested in anger dwelling here.

To sum it all up, I’m finding my way as a blogger and a human-being.  It’s a long road and blogging is a new trip for me.  I’m in it for the journey and not the destination!