“How boring the world would be without different ways of seeing the same thing.”
Saturday was a big day for our family. It was my mom’s very first art exhibit. My mom is a talented and gifted artist. She works in many mediums and likes to add more mediums as she learns more and needs to express her art in new ways. My mom is also a gifted dyslexic thinker and ADHD focuser and uses those talents to be the great artist she is today.
Once all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the event was over and I had a moment to take it all in sitting in her art exhibit, I could see her story and journey in life all right there on the walls around us. JoDee has always been a storyteller who gets that gift from her side of the family, and art has always been her combination of expression, connection, way of working through something and her healing practice. Seeing her entire art collection here in one place, I can really see her story unfold and you can witness her healing through the years.
One of the things that my mom’s art teaches me is that people can experience great traumas in life. And not have those traumas define you. I have watched her resurrect pain she has hidden away, stand in that pain and then weave a life forward that includes the story of that trauma.
For me her art is about resilience, storytelling, expression and release. Because I have been around for the making of so many of these pieces, I can recall all of the story that went into making those pieces. How she had to find just the right fabric or wood to represent something. It was all in an effort to place into the world an object that represented the place she was at in her healing journey. As she created, she got out the emotions that didn’t have words, just feeling and I can see it in each piece now.
Part of my story is the fact that I was raised and taught that creating art is a waste of time, laziness, selfish, and not productive. While I now respect a persons right to that opinion, that is not my perspective and I find that belief discriminatory. It discriminates by projecting that we all need to think the same and be the same and there is no value in the diversity of thinking. Because this belief was pushed onto me and my mom, I spent many years thinking less of my mom and judging her as not being good enough because she was an artist and not some high powered business professional. Judging her like that is on my list of things I would change if I could go back in time. I was wrong. My mom could not stop being an artist and seeing the world this way and needing to express herself in this manner, any more than change her height. Almost all of my mom’s seven siblings are or were artists. She is who she is through and through.
In this moment it is so powerful to see her standing strong and proud of her art. This is the moment for me where she has closed the circle on the years of oppression placed on her by other people’s need for control and their fears. I am excited to see what type of art she starts to create from this new space.
People often ask me why I do what I do and why it is so important to me. This is why. Being a spotted zebra in a world that wants to you only be striped has it’s challenges. Knowing that there are other spotted zebras and that they think, grow, struggle, and succeed like you changes how you engage with the world and how you see yourself. Hope, love confidence and compassion live in that space. We all deserve to feel love for ourselves and who we are.
Next time you catch your judge thinking, “Why are they doing that, I don’t get it.” Smile and know that you don’t have to get it. If it is not hurting anyone, it matters to the person doing it and that is enough. It makes them happy. And right now, I think the world could use some happier people.
If you have a chance to support someone’s art, do so.
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach, and Speaker