Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to home improvement projects. Today on the blog, we are taking an up-close look at one of the art pieces in the “Sit a Spell–a SassyHat Exhibit” at One Acre Cafe in Johnson City, Tennessee + finding out why I created it.
Before I delve further into the inspirations and the whys for my paintings and the meanings of them + why I sign my art SassyHat, I need to make a few confessions because in order to fully understand my art (for me to fully understand my own art), I must get it all out on the table (well, the blog).
I have come to realize the following: It is never easy to admit inadequacies…imperfections. It is never easy to admit lack of knowledge or coolness. It is never easy to leave a secure job and follow the dream. It is easy to judge others (by our own set of standards). It is easy to find excuses when we do not like something or we just don’t want to do something (instead of just telling the truth). It is easy to dislike (hate) those who are “different” from ourselves.
However, if we truly want to be happy…if we truly want to be free from the burden of self-doubt…if we truly want to live by the quotes and Scriptures we post on social media–we have to overcome our fears of rejection, failure, those who are “different” from us, and what people think of us. Now, it is easy (really, really easy) to say “I don’t let what people say bother me.” or “My faith is greater than my fear.”–Yes, it is easy to post (repost, regram, retweet) quotes about believing she could, so she did and about confidence being something you create within yourself….Yes, it is easy to change our profile pictures to support this cause or that cause (without ever getting our hands dirty or letting go of a dollar). Bless our souls! It is easy preaching, but hard living.
Now, confession time.
- I am not a trained artist, and I did not study art in college; however, I did take a couple of required fine art electives. (I’m totally admitting that I lack knowledge and training. I am admitting I am self-taught, and I watch a lot of artists on YouTube.)
- I do not know fancy, schmancy art jargon, but I do know how to use Google and a thesaurus.
- My degree is in German and International Business, and I taught English, German, Spanish, and Latin for many years (from private to public + homeschooled my daughter her last couple of years of high school). I do not have the time or enough coffee to explain how I went from International Business to teacher to artist *wink* (I admit I walked away from a secure job to pursue art.)
- I grew up on a small farm in the middle of nowhere in Mississippi. For a long time, I was embarrassed (perhaps ashamed) of being from the country and all the things my parents made and did for my siblings and myself (like my mom making a lot of my clothes and my dad repurposing my brother’s old bike into a bike for me). I didn’t learn this shame until I went to school in town with all the kids from town. The teasing by my fellow students and even the teachers was endless; however, my parents encouraged me, and my creative adventures gave me a break from the realities of the world. What were these creative adventures? Well, just to name one–back in my early elementary school days, I had a pet rock business. I painted and named over 50 rocks…sold a few on the school bus and the playground. I was doing pretty well until the school bus and playground rules changed, and those changes pretty much shut my small business down *wink* I admit I am no longer embarrassed of my roots. Instead, I am embarrassed for the ones who bullied me and called me names. AND if they are reading this, I beg them to use a thesaurus or Google to find more creative names for me *giggles*
- I still have no idea what I am doing or what I want to do with my life, but art gives me the freedom to recreate myself with every brushstroke and to tell stories I am afraid to speak.
Now, my “confessions” were not written for sympathy or to imply that being bullied shaped my character. They were listed to show the power of personal struggle and to explain why I am still afraid to write the story (the emotion, the sadness I feel when I witness hate).
Why did I create Story of Personal Struggle + why is it so happy and fun (when struggles are the exact opposite of happy and fun)? Those questions aren’t as easy to answer as I would like for them to be because I fear bullies (cyberbullies, Facebook trolls, the “cool” kids from high school that still might find me and make fun of me and tell me that my ideas are stupid and I am a weirdo and I am going to hell because I “support” something they don’t believe in….I digress.) Where was I? Oh, yes. Why did I create Story of Personal Struggle?
Well, because we (as a society) must stop categorizing personal struggles, we must stop comparing personal struggles, we must stop dismissing someone’s personal struggle because we don’t understand it or we just want to state a generic solution (like “all lives matter”–when in reality “no lives matter because it is simply “life”–we must treasure a life before we can treasure lives), because I am tired of the mean and hateful things people say on social media (especially Facebook), because R. deserves the chance to work out her own identity without being bullied or hateful things being said to her, and because we cannot change the world by screaming at people and telling them they are going to hell because of this or that.
Bless! I could go on all day about why I created Story of Personal Struggle and the people who inspired it, but I want y’all to sit a spell and look carefully at it and discuss it with your friends over a good pot of coffee. I want y’all to open your hearts to every life (start with one person who is a different religion than you or a different race and/or ethnicity than you…build that one life into two lives…into three…into four…until you begin to see and understand through their eyes and hearts–until you truly understand the stories of those personal struggles).
Why is this art piece so happy and fun? Because there is hope of a brighter future. Because the world needs more color and fun. Because the world needs more happy, loving people (not those who say they are happy or post they are happy, but ones who are truly happy and loving–those who have accepted the world is made up of different colors, different sounds, different ideas….).
Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we took an up-close look at Story of Personal Struggle and chatted about why I created it. To be honest, it was not easy trying to put my creation into words….I struggled trying to explain the purpose….Even now, I am wondering how many of my Facebook friends will read this and “unfriend” me…how many messages I will get asking me my political views….Well, bless it! I will just send them right back to Story of Personal Struggle and see if they can answer their own questions *wink*
**p.s. Be sure to come back tomorrow to find out why I sign my art SassyHat and to take an up-close look at The Story Grows.