Musings, activities, and life of an art and quilt enthusiast.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Being Honest and Different
I now call myself an artist and maker. Disclaimer: This label does not mean that I support myself with my art or quilts. Nor does being an artist mean to me that the art one makes is good. Being an artist to me means trying to make images with meaning, and if I'm lucky, to others as well. I have sold a few pieces. That always makes me feel validated, but I'm not making a lot of money and that's ok. I just want to make meaning.
During my teaching career there was a lot of emphasis on perception. Perception is everything I was told. I tried my best to present my best to the public and to the kids I taught. I could relate to the trials of some the most challenging home lives of my students. But I never understood why. It wasn't until I started asking questions from older family members that I learned the truth. My Dad was emotionally and physically abusive to my older brothers. I was in kindergarten when the youngest brother married and left home. I had no idea. I had a completely different experience growing up. But yes, Dad could be scary.
My Dad died when I as ten years old. Soon after my Mom and I moved away from the country to a different school. I was bullied a bit. We didn't have that label then. I just shrugged it off and did my best to work on my music and from time to time some art scribbles. I did have friends so none of it was very traumatic. But I always felt I was holding back information. I had a very serious interior life but never shared this side. Like most kids, I just wanted to fit in.
As a young adult with this background, choosing a spouse can be problematic. Fast forward 17 years after finding things weren't working, we split up. I wish I had understood that my early home life had started seeping through that marriage. I didn't understand those early experiences until two years ago. (I'm 58)
It's a good idea to work with a good therapist. While facing the truth is tough. Hiding your life experiences is not good for anybody. I even developed asthma and throat symptoms that I associate with not telling the whole truth. Ignorance is not bliss.
Brene Brown has written a good book about vulnerability. I'm doing my best through my art and quilts to speak the truth and be vulnerable. The quilt at the top of this post has symbols in Morse Code. It spells "Love Transforms." I know this is true.