How do we engage ourselves, know who we are, what we want to do, be, when we grow up or any other time? When I was young I thought of my life as an out-of-body experience. In the world of Meyers-Briggs (did you know they’re WOMEN? – I didn’t until recently – I assumed that only men could make those formulas) I am an INFP and very into the “F.” So all that hiding in plain sight I did in my birth family was mirrored – think Narcissus – by my roots of shame. I may have looked like a tree – or a stump according to my parents – but all I see now is how powerful the law of attraction is. If gravity holds us in our seats, the law of attraction gets us what we ask for. I was the kid my parents asked for, maybe you were too.
It takes years of courage to know who we are and what to do about it. Often others know who we are way before we do but are at a loss for what to do about it. In 1990 I was deep into photographic processes. Hours in the darkroom mixing paper, chemicals and film finally produced what I found to be an excitingly deep and surprising outcome.
I became enamored of the process, got some proficiency and got a body of work together which I took around to photography galleries. One said,”It’s too beautiful, I’ll never sell it.” Another, “It’s too processed.” Women loved it. Men didn’t.
So it’s like a Buddhist story I tell about a farmer whose son is everything to him. The son goes to war, the son dies, the farmer is nothing. The son comes back, the farmer has everything. Ilusions. The farmer has an illusion. When I discovered the process I thought I was so cool, I thought, “this is who I am.” No one was doing anything like it. Great. Then when it didn’t shake the world, I felt like a fool, a shit, not an artist, not worthy.
It’s taken years just to love it again. Without the need for it to go anywhere. – Oh, I should say that it did win a spot at the Corcoran Gallery in the Smithsonian. And I thought that was so cool. I thought it would go on from there. I thought, I thought. But it didn’t and I still love the work and I still love the process and I think I’m cool.