Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday's Mental Musings...I am who I am...

There was a time not too long ago when I spent too much of my energy trying to prove myself to those who had already pre-determined my worth based on the color of my skin, the texture of my hair or my social and financial status. I wanted others to see me for who I was and I did all I could to break any illusions that contradicted the truth of my personal history. Then I stopped; it was tiresome trying to change the understanding and prejudices of others. Instead I invested that energy on researching my family so to validate the history I had been given and defending all my life. I hoped that by finding those who came before me I could cement a defensive line against those who daily asked me to prove that I belonged.

I sat with family elders recalling stories that confirmed the facts proved by the unearthed documents and records and by doing so recalled stories of my own. I spent hours scanning and printing photos of people whose faces and features varied in their familiarity and by gathering them together drew the line from them to me further defining my truth. This personal journey became validation for me and me alone so rather than carry my papers with me to prove who I am I began to make art, a journey I am still on.

As I draw line and cut fabric to create collages I find myself less defensive and more accepting of the ignorance of others. I find myself full with the knowledge that behind me are ancestors of both greatness and humble origins and that because of them I am here and I belong regardless of the opinion of others.

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