My career as an artist has taken me on a journey of rediscovering my true self, the person I was before life came along and convinced me that what I was, wasn’t good enough. I was born in 1966 and grew up in the 1970’s during a time when the fashion was mini skirts, go-go boots and bell bottom jeans. While I had the “Shirley Temple” thing going on (see above), this was the “cool” hair:
When I was a little girl I wanted to be Cher more than anything in the world! Cher would swing that gorgeous, silky hair around and I was so jealous of her! I would sometimes wrap a towel around my head and pretend it was long silky hair and throw it over my shoulder!
I don’t know when I decided that my hair was defective, but I know that for most of my life I’ve battled those wild curls, and I’ve tried desperately to tame them.
My husband calls me “The Wild One.” That “wildness” has often landed me in trouble more than a few times. I’m not rebellious or wild in a “law breaking” way; it’s more that I don’t always fit in the box that society tries to put me in. Eventually, I end up just breaking out of the box and causing all kinds of problems.
As a child, I was a “right-brained” person living in a “left-brained” world. I was the kid that couldn’t keep her room clean, couldn’t keep my locker organized, struggled with schedules, couldn’t sit in study hall, etc… My mom was frustrated, my teachers were frustrated and I was frustrated with myself. When I was that little girl in the picture above, I colored on my bedroom wall with crayons. It’s a good thing my mom bought the story that “Susie”, my imaginary friend, did it. Otherwise, I would have been in big trouble! She let me off the hook that time.
As an adult, I continued to struggle. I was depressed and never satisfied with my life unless I had some creative project going. People would say, “She’s creative” in a not-so-nice sounding way. A way that made me feel like being creative was a bad thing and that something was wrong with me.
It wasn’t until my 40th birthday and a major mid-life crisis that I began to give in to my creative/wild nature. I began to understand why I didn’t fit all the time and why it was causing me to be depressed and unsettled. I was trying to tame my “wildness” instead of letting go and running with the wind. I was trying to please people instead of being who I was created to be. This was a revelation that changed my life.
When we moved to NYC, I knew that my battle with my curls was over! It’s so humid, and I’m now spending time in subway tunnels that feel like saunas. No! No matter how many products I use, I can no longer hold back the curls. So, instead I decided to nourish my curls, care for them, condition them, and help them do what they naturally do. That’s what I’ve done with my creative self. I’ve nourished it, fed it, taken care and protected it over the past decade.
A few days ago, I stumbled on the picture of me above, taken when I was about 3 years old. I looked at her and thought, “Hey, I know you! I miss you!” The curls are a metaphor. They are my wild side, my creative self, my messy self that can’t be tamed. Allowing myself to become an artist has led me back to that curly haired little girl who colored on the wall, only now I don’t have to blame “Susie.” It’s taken me 47 years to find that little girl again, but I’m so glad I did!