|Jack Skellington, the purse.|
No longer one to look back on the year behind and find its faults, I am also no longer one to set impossible goals because the calendar says January 1. I do, however, have a specific question: am I, a genuine senior citizen, able to carry, happily and unapologetically, my new Jack Skellington purse to the cardiologist, etc., or do I want to keep trying for invisibility?
Jack's round face fronts a roomy bandbox-style bag with a cross-body length strap. There are four little metal feet on the bottom to keep it up out of the sludge - or germs.
In her Artist Success newsletter, Lesley Riley reminds us that life is one long continuum. She suggests that the New Year is not necessarily more auspicious as the opportunity for a fresh start than any other day, and offers three questions to act as compasses. The middle one, the one that spoke most vehemently to me, was, "...which ideas, which dreams hold the most meaning for me?" Regardless of our age, do we want to dribble away our time and creative energy on things about which we feel lukewarm? Also regardless of age, there are only so many things we can do well, so much focus to give to one or two projects. It matters that we make our time here count, however we define that.
Which brings me back to Mr. Skellington and who we believe ourselves to be, how old thought patterns and stored misinformation undermine authenticity, how to get over our own damn selves.
Having felt odd ("other") my whole life, I have also spent way too much of this fleeting existence trying to pass for regular. The gift of Jack's big, decidedly "other" head is an opportunity to meet truths about myself and my comfort levels. I do not have the answer today and I have begun to lay the diplomatic groundwork for whatever I decide. I often say, when I ask a favor of my son, knowing it may not fit with his plans but that he may squirm his way into doing it so as to be agreeable, "There is no wrong choice." We need to leave clearly marked, safe exits for us, for those around us. Choice allows dignity, being backed into a corner does not.
Whether Jack becomes a studio companion - and has already started nagging for other Nightmare Before Christmas gear to keep him company - or an age-defying fashion statement is really not the issue, though following an old pattern, I tried to turn it into one. I am at my best when I am comfortable in my otherness, without wearing the sandwich board that proclaims it. As soon as I begin to speak, a cloud of odd otherness starts seeping into the room. It can't be helped. The Jack purse was, obviously, chosen with much thought. We have a lot in common.
(Lesley Riley requests that, when sharing newsletter information, bloggers include the following, which I do with gratitude for her continuing, generous sharing of inspiration: Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit ; www.ArtistSuccess.com.)