Month 4: Creativity
I began collaging as a repressed, queer suburban teenager. I cut up my Teen Vogue issues and taped them together on poster paper. My favorite were the spreads at the end of every issue that featured artsy adolescents in their bedrooms surrounded by guitars, photos, hat collections, and the like (they were usually the offspring of some celebrity or designer, of course). I then mounted the assortments of dresses, interior decor, accessories, and portraits around my room framed with stained wooden panels I found in the basement. Satisfied with the visuals I surrounded myself with, I faced the world.
I use art to explore my femininity. Growing up in the birthplace of suburbia was pretty isolating but through collage I could express my identity as a baby femme in the making. I am a self-taught artist who continues to make my collages by hand. My dream is for my work to be in the magazines I haven't stopped flipping through since adolescence. In 2018 my work was featured in publications for the first time!
I’m also a therapist who loves supporting femmes to be bold and take up the space that you want to. I’m a firm believer of using adulthood to embody the dream of your younger self. Quite simply, the early activities in which we felt most in our bodies and most free to express ourselves can continue to give us the most sense of meaning. What do you remember being praised for? What do you remember being good at? What did you create for yourself because you didn’t see yourself in what was around you? What helps you get your emotions out so that you feel better afterwards? What brings you joy? What did you do to feel more connected to loved ones? What memories are these things (making music, cooking, knitting, sewing) tied to?
So many of the clients that I work with, and indeed femmes in general, are such brilliant, inspiring, creative people. Pursuing your artistry can not only be an opportunity for tremendous self growth, it can also connect us in community and to our history. Art and the joy it provides is movement building. It offers collective representation, vitality, cultural preservation and evolution, and celebration of ourselves as the beautiful queers we are. In a society in which art and artisanship, particularly of queers, people of color, people with disabilities, and trans people is undervalued, supporting each other with the hurdles of creating is all the more beneficial to our mental health and livelihoods.
Therefore, 2019 is getting kicked off with the theme Creativity so that the energy of a new year can foster growth in pursuing your passion. You don’t have to put your work out there to be an artist, however because my therapy practice is all about femmes thriving, this month’s focus is on how putting things out there for an audience can impact mental health. We’ll look at our identities as artists and our relationships to success and failure, capitalism and representation, to help work through the imposter syndrome and criticism that can hinder our sense of self as creative femmes.