I am Different Now


Last month I stepped into Dell Children’s Medical Center for the first time in 3 years. I caught a glimpse of The Superhero Mural out of the corner of my eye. I was punched in the gut a little. Not in a bad way. It was an “oh my gosh I’m feeling a thing” kind of way. There was something different. Something I couldn’t put my finger on. Admittedly I was caught off guard. Between Spring of 2019 and Summer of 2020, I stared at this piece in one form or another every day. How was I was feeling this only now? I had made this, yet felt as if I was seeing it for the very first time. Later after my meeting, I returned to the amphitheater. The hospital was quiet. No sun was coming in the skylights. “Are you different now?” I asked. I knew the answer before I finished the question. “You’re different,” it whispered.

It is still amazing to me how much an artwork is personalized to the person viewing it. If 100 people look at an artwork, they will see no fewer than 100 works. I realize now this is true for versions of people as well. It is almost hard to conceive of how much the 2024 version of me has changed in comparison to the 2020 one. When this photo was taken, my ego was thrilled at what I'd accomplished, but I think my spirit might have been a little toasted (or a lot). I knew I was in an unsustainable loop, yet it persistently felt like my spirit and work were diametrically opposed. You can't create what you can't imagine, and I simply couldn't imagine having a business with a meaningful spiritual core. 

Raising children is (in some ways) like making Art. They both bring ideas, stories and energies to the surface that are time to go. I often witnessed this as an Art teacher. Students taking an Art class don't expect to have hard stuff emerge amidst drawing strokes. It can really catch one of guard when that happens. Similarly, I think most parents are broadsided by what comes up when their kids come onto the human scene. We're ready to be tired, nervous and out of our comfort zone. Less so to have all our life wounds front and center amidst it all. I recorded a podcast episode on this similarity called Art Baby. I do believe most would agree, that great Art and great Parenting often feels like a tornado. The stuff that isn't rooted deeply in the ground simply has to go. In the words of Arthur Golden: Everything was torn from my life except that which could not be torn.

The heart of the house is the first things exposed when tornado comes in and blows the walls down. Brene Brown alluded to this when she famously said: “Having a child is like wearing your heart outside of your body.” I would also add that making sincere art is like wearing your heart outside your body too. Or for me it once had been the case. As I sat with the Dell Superhero Mural last week, I realized I had been walled off from my own work without realizing it for years. It was only then I experienced one of the greatest gifts. I got to feel the energy in my own art again.

I don’t know what the future holds for my work, but I know I am different now. I know everything going forward will be absolutely different too. I am excited and honored to share that journey with you.




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