This face seems like an oracle. I felt I was making a flower. A wavy vein of gold, a stem, grows up from the bottom of the page which was turned into a marsh or a lake by watercolors. This is a mask, isn’t it? If it weren’t a flower, it could be a sun. Do you see anger? Dormant power? Something ancient and unruly? Some power from the past that wants to speak?
Gorilla Guy next to a tombstone that says “Loving.” A young woman running towards him. The red boots are so alive. Husband… speaking up and free…Bill says I’m often not honest with him…. I often don’t know how I feel. But we have had a “growth period” where I did feel angry…expressing it and opening one of those fields where you don’t know if you’ll survive the conversation…feeling words that could hurt or be my truth that could not find the words to reach his ears…but then we fell back into grace. We are now at our best, and communication is good even though my husband and I speak different emotional languages. Our experience of the world is so different. Yet here we are…We’re held together by this stuff. Stronger, faster, for the toughest job on Planet Earth. When I pulled the picture, I didn’t think of Bill, only did so after it was in the collage. The picture makes me feel bittersweet with awareness of impermanence. Bill and I have more years behind us than we do in front of us. I want to be and feel as authentic as I possibly can with him.
One thing that I realize…one of those personality things in yourself that’s like the sand in the oyster…that I am a people pleaser. I’m really good at not being real. Partly because I was taught to be polite, no matter what, and that the one of the worse things to do is to bring attention to yourself by “being rude.” When I feel I have caused friction, I’m paralyzed. And in disagreements, it is so easy to see the other’s person side and logic …especially when they let you know what you have done (usually unconsciously) has been wrong personally to them, or just as a social faux pas. Not speaking exclusively of husbands here. So, I play it very safe, and in doing so, I know I sometimes come off as distant or a little too precious.
The red boots though…I look at this and think health and spontaneity. Aliveness that I would love to have more often. (I also am a firm believer of a few days like the one I spent today. Slow, reading in pjs). I have been having huge issues with my legs. Never a flexible person (that’s telling), my muscles are stiffening more and my pelvis is a bit out of kilter, stubborning so, so I have a form of sciatica…I HAVE to do yoga or Pilates, which I have been more faithful to the last few months than ever…but I want to look at this as a metaphor too, in the hopes that if I heal the “stuck” energy, my legs will heal.
So… authenticity for me is to not be afraid to express myself! Or at least in searching for the courage to do so, or asking for guidance in meditation and prayer to find ways that doors can open for me when I feel I can’t. Or don’t have access to the words that need to be spoken. I go mute. That’s why Josephine Baker showed up! Taking joy in expression and feeling free. I want to sing in my life.
And the blonde chick? It’s the same message. Here is a woman who is the total opposite of how I feel about myself. I’m so not a blonde, and her expression of femininity is in another universe than the one I live in. Yes she’s idealized and probably air brushed…that’s not what I am talking about. I love the fancifulness of the dress and shoes. Authenticity and expression… I should honor the freak in me.
Below her are the bathers. This was the first picture I tore. Water is very healing for me, though I’m not a strong swimmer, I love to be in it if I feel safe. Steamy baths. Or by the water. Walks next to the ocean. I feel a longing when I see this, especially the little girl in the red cap. To be authentic is to be vulnerable? I wonder where the boat might take her?
I am working on contemplative practices, as well as those that require an active imagination. I chose her… it might be Kwan Lin and the Buddha… because it reminded me of the Virgin and the Child (and the Smithsonian magazine said that its artist was influenced by Madonnas) Authenticity equals finding silence and non-duality in consciousness down to the core of my being. I love the bird…rising from the crown chakra like the Holy Spirit.
The background on which these images rest is very alive. A pond with tules growing from it. A wild garden, or wilderness full of color and light. Engrossing rainbow, grounded in flight, becoming.
What light is coming through the cracks? I need to allow for mystery to speak to me in its way so that the work goes beyond the funnel of thought and words, but my deepening my authenticity seems to reside on saying my truth and expressing it as I accept I won’t always fit in.