My first display- part 1

Avoiding pigeon-holes

Back in November of last year I was walking through our local library. I noticed original art of a surprisingly ethnic type, on display. There were some rappers, a black Jesus and other pieces. They were well done, just seemingly out-of-place. But it hit me, why shouldn’t my art be in a display case too?

I went to the information desk to find out who was in charge of the showcases. I was directed upstairs to a large office with lots of…books…everywhere. As I waited for the nimble office dweller, I thought about my art. Sometimes it feels as if African-American artists are required to do “ethnic art.” As I look online and in galleries for black artists, I see tribal influenced works, urban scenes, musical and erotic pieces. They are often bold, exaggerated or colorful.

I’m not sure my stuff really fits into any of those categories. Actually, if you didn’t know I was African-American, would my art tell you? Should it? Well, I’ve always seen my race and culture as just two of the factors that define me, not even the most important. Really the strongest visual theme in my art seems to be my identity as a women, and my concern for other women.

Display at Lewisville Public LibraryMarch 2013

Display at Lewisville Public Library
March 2013

Hey, perhaps there are lots of artists of color that I haven’t discovered, simply because their work is not ethnic in a traditional sense. Well, not liking to be pigeon-holed myself, I’ll try not to have preconceived expectations for artists of color. Instead,

I can simply enjoy the diversity their experiences bring to the canvas or potter’s wheel.

Taking a deeper look

Cassatt Mary The Cup of Tea 1880

Cassatt Mary The Cup of Tea 1880 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well folks, allow me to update you on my journey.

My art work is progressing nicely. I tried drawing on black paper, rather than white and gosh, I think I like black paper more. The art seems to have more depth on the black background. I’m trying to build up a collection of 20 works that I feel very proud of. I’ve got about 13 at this point. I have a very critical eye. To provide some balance, I’m looking for an art buddy who can critique some of my work. Kinda scary, but I think I’m ready for that.

I’ve gotten back in the groove of writing my book! My goal is to write 500 words a day.  That doesn’t seem overwhelming. And if I stick to the schedule, I’ll be finished with the draft in 90 days.  That will be wonderful!

I read an article that said if we logged all we did in a day over a period of days, we would discover that we have a lot more free time than we thought. Another article talked about creating a daily log of what you do.  I think that would be very effective. I don’t think I’ll find a lot of free time, necessarily.  I think I’ll find wasted time! Well, I might try it. The next step would be to set a routine that helps me achieve my art, writing and spiritual goals.

I signed up to attend a women’s business lunch with a business coach as the speaker. The night before I felt myself becoming anxious.  I told my husband.  I don’t think he realized how serious I was. I couldn’t fall asleep. Then the next morning when it was time to get up, I really, really didn’t want to.  It wasn’t just that I was tired. It was a sense of dread. I said to myself, “Is this an anxiety attack?!”  I’ve experienced that dread several times over the years. I just thought I was being “weird.”   I think I have a high level of anxiety when I go some place new and when I have to drive someplace new.  But the real question I asked myself is why did I think I would be able to go? I signed up and paid for this lunch and started researching the speaker. Everything was peachy. Well, needless to say, my husband was not too pleased with me that day.

I told myself to shake it off.  I had signed up for a free marketing event a month ago and it would occur the week after I missed the lunch. Early the morning of the event I was easily able to talk myself out of going.   Next came the guilt and negative self-talk: “How are you going to promote a book if you can’t leave your house?? You’re wasting your time. You’re gonna fail.”  Then I said, “Wait, stop.  Just stop. Don’t say mean things to yourself.  You hit a rough patch, but you can talk with God and your therapist and figure out what’s really going on. And then you will overcome it.”

I think I have an idea of what’s going on. I think it has to do with a lack of a sense of self-worth. And some of the lack of self-worth comes from believing I still have to prove something, I still have to earn something. Instead of just operating in the fact that Jesus did it all. He shed His blood for me. He sent me the Comforter. My worth is without question. I have power. I have gifts. I’m ok!

I just need to relax, breath, repeat my positive affirmations, have a cup of tea…

Mother’s Day musings

There were so many wishes for a Happy Mother’s Day last Sunday.  I hope yours was.

Most of us realize that Mother’s Day is not happy for everyone. It could be that you had a trying relationship with your mother, it could be that your mother is gone – temporarily or permanently. It could be that you wanted to be a mother and are not.

My mother passed away 10 years ago.  All that remains are great memories and her funny sayings. My children live in different states, pursuing their lives.  I used to let Mother’s Day really bring me down.  I tried to ignore it. I tried to ignore my sadness. I’d spend the day with mother-like figures in my life or with young mom’s.

This year I’m looking at things differently. Instead of thinking about what I’m missing, I’m thinking of all I have. And maybe that’s because of all I would have lost if my suicidal thoughts had become a reality. I have 8 kooky, rebellious, clever, beautiful children. I have a husband I love dearly and who loves me almost as much (hehehe.) I’ve traveled around our country seeing so many beautiful places and meeting intriguing people. I’ve even had the experience of being a “rich American” in a developing nation but we called it a third world nation back then.

My health has managed to remain relatively good. I have learned from and been a blessing to hundreds of folks in my professional career. And now as I move into the second half of my time here on earth, I feel I have the opportunity to start fresh. To rethink how I will perceive my environment and to tell myself great things about ME.

I’ve learned that being thankful could pull me out of a blue funk. Saying thank you to God redirects my thinking. It puts my focus back on Him, rather than me. Perhaps my most often repeated scripture is Philippians 4:8 “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.” – Holman Christian Standard Bible. God is true, honorable, just…so I dwell on Him.

I remember my mother saying “Thank you, Jesus” every time she came back in the house.  I thought it was kinda cute back then. Now I have a better understanding of the dangers and struggles she might have faced as a single mother. I have a better appreciation of the simplest things and situations He’s given me and protected me from.

Thank you, Jesus.