Initially, I was sort of lost when the Superhero Unfolding Initiation Station was put on hiatus due to Covid-19. Unemployed... dream project on pause... I felt sad, disconnected and adrift. This, however, did not last long. I started to think about what I could bring forward during this time, since I am not a first responder nor am I a medical professional. And then, it hit me. I can bring forth the resilience and joy that got me through some of the toughest times in my life. Something sweet, fun, simple and true.
So, I started making inspirational signs for my neighborhood and seeking out venues to install them. The first group to respond was the First Presbyterian Church and Hope Counseling on B Street in Petaluma. I installed a number of signs there yesterday.
This group of signs includes the Petaluma Art Chicks. The little yellow chick is called Chick P. He is a cross over character with the Superhero Unfolding project. I think of him as "Petaluma's first completely unofficial, unsanctioned, unconventional and unstoppable Superhero!" He is an amalgamation of Petaluma's agricultural past, the tenacity, strength and bravery of a vulnerable chick entering into an unknown world and everyone's love for emojis.
I am looking for more venues and working on new signs and characters.
Today's confession: I started making these signs because I felt that I had something to say and to share that was important. Something that would offer an alternative to doom and gloom and fear, in a way that was fun, simple, and easily accessible to all. My goal was to inspire a smile and perhaps a bit of reflection on oneself and the situation that we are in. I am not afraid of being viewed as a simple-minded fool making colorful cartoons for other's amusement. My fear is that I will fail to communicate clearly the ideals of self-love, appreciation and personal empowerment. Or, that I will wish to manipulate the message somehow to gain wider acceptance. Something like the self editing that I have practiced most of my life.
Today's insight: Creativity arises from need. The need for me to create, and the need for that which is created. Which, leads me to a Rilke quote... "A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity. In this nature of its origin lies the judgment of it: there is no other."
Being born the second child, I am keenly aware of the role that competition, comparison and expectations can play in a developing self-image. The last time a teacher asked me why I couldn't be more like my sister, clearly implying that I was not measuring up to her as an ideal, I answered, "Because I am not her."
I discovered that what was clearly obvious to me, that I was not my sister, was also the source of my childhood problems. I was expected to me someone that I was not. To act in a way that was other than what I felt. When I expressed a contrary opinion, I was told that I had no right to feel that way. No "right." As a child I was confused. I felt alone and unloved. I sought praise and care. So, I adapted to fit in. I abandoned my vulnerability, originality and quirk. And, instead of thriving, I became self-conscious, insecure, afraid and ashamed. I kept myself from expressing who I was and what I longed for.
It has taken me a long time to understand that I am ALWAYS the one getting in my own way. That, my thoughts about myself limit my actions and options. I can choose to let fear, insecurity and judgement rob me of joy and opportunities, or not. And, if I feel the need to create inspirational signs of sweet little bird emojis in green shoes, so be it!