it’s a typically soggy march morning here on the west coast. but i’ve been noticing little bits of oh so welcome green sprouting up everywhere. it might just be new moss rooting itself in my front lawn but i’m ok with that. spring is my favourite season. i love the slow anticipation of watching things bud and swell, bursting out of their old colours and into their new.
today, i’m making a paper frog. these are not words i’ve ever put together in a sentence to describe my day before. i’m not even really into frogs. but i’m imagining a cocky green one reclining on the roof of this oh so sweet fantasy paper mache castle i’m building for my art portfolio. when i described the project to my admissions advisor, she responded, ‘well, that will add a divergent element to your portfolio.’ i’m not sure how i feel about the word divergent…
one of the things i noticed about the art displayed along the hallways of the university is that it’s almost all ‘edgy’. i get that. i appreciate edgy, in fact have spent years chasing edgy and still revisit it often. nothing beats the chain-smoking, hell blazing cool of john constantine, the irish swag of the boon dock saints or the shrewd, swash buckling charm of captain jack sparrow. i’m all over that kind of cool. philosophically speaking, of course.
and yet here i am, spinning fairy tales out of shredded bits of cellulose.
i’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be who we are. the older i get, the more i realize being who i am doesn’t mean being defined by just one thing. i spent my 20’s as the punk rock girlfriend of a chinese gang leader. by 30, i’d married a devoutly dedicated evangelical and was well on the way to’ 5 kids. in my 40’s, much to the dismay of the devout evangelical, i enjoyed a whole lot of good vodka and live music at the little restaurant i owned with some friends. but now at 50, i’m a bit confused. who is this strange cross breed building whimsical golden vined fairy castles, learning about string theory and physics and for the first time in 5 decades, appreciating the elegance and creative power of math?
and the best i can conclude is that i am the sum of all the above. the good, the bad and ugly – the rebel, idealist and dreamer. authenticity is not a single digit number but an equation made up of all our variables. it’s tempting sometimes to edit out pieces of ourselves, to pretend that we are or we aren’t, trying to cover our embarrassingly insistent divergences. but they force themselves out, unapologetic and naked, pressing us into our own unique and glorious definition of ‘real’.
it’s evening now, and i’m writing from the quiet of my room. acrosss the hall there’s a not quite finished, chain smoking, bad ass toad with a gold tooth and celtic tattoo perched on the edge of my sugar sweet castle.
it’s been a very good day in fairyland.