You need to take up some space, part 1.

You need to take up some space, part 1.

“You need to take up some space.”

A co-worker left me this note over a year ago when I was still working at the chocolate factory. I was a bit different back then, and definitely did not ask for clarification on what the note meant. But like Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The way this note made me feel has stuck with me. I was uncomfortable, to be frank, because I didn’t like being noticed enough to warrant this written observation about who I was or how I lived my life. The important part here, after we cut back all of the justification: I felt uncomfortable being noticed.

I’m surprised by this revelation, because I’ve always felt this insatiable desire to be adored. The ringing mantra in my head throughout much of my life has been “but what about me?”

Oh, Mary is great at art? What about me?
Oh, she’s been through so much. What about me?
They had a girls’ night? What about me?
Another inside joke. What about me?

I’ve felt like an outsider looking through a glass for much of my life. Standing back, desperate to be invited to the other side of the glass. And when I wasn’t invited, adopting a sort of Grinch-y stand-back-and-judge-mercilessly guise. The “what about me”s became bitter and resentful instead of sad and vulnerable. My hurt turned quickly to anger, and I grew more isolated in my little bubble.

I ended up quitting that job for two reasons. One was to pursue my art more fully. Yay. But, the other was truly because I couldn’t cope with the feelings of resentment and isolation that I felt around my co-workers, a jolly bunch that always seemed to love each other endlessly. I felt like I didn’t belong there, that I wasn’t wanted there, and so I spent most of my working hours preferring to be alone with my headphones plugged in, ignoring them all. I was hurt, I was angry, and I was so tired of feeling worthless.

I’m pretty sure they were all innocent in this, and I was projecting a lot of my own issues onto well-meaning individuals. But one of those coworkers saw me, and took the time to write a note.

“You need to take up some space.”

This entire experience comes to mind when I reflect on my art’s development over 2017. That's where we pick up in part 2!! 

In the meantime, please comment and tell me what changes you've seen in my art over 2017. 

You need to take up some space, part 2.

You need to take up some space, part 2.

Guest Artist Series: Hogan Burleigh, The Ink-Stained Minstrel, "Finding Your Joy"

Guest Artist Series: Hogan Burleigh, The Ink-Stained Minstrel, "Finding Your Joy"