my . artist run website

Return to Broke-open Art Blog

Day 42


So, I was standing in line waiting to get a cup of coffee and something I wouldn't have to refridgerate or heat up for lunch (been so busy living fully that grocery shopping has fallen sadly behind,...) when the gentleman infront of me completed his order and turned to ask about the chair I'd seen him glance at a few times. Funny, he needed to order his coffee before he asked about it. Anyway, I told him my quick story about the chair. He'd started as if he had a story written in his head already, "So, you make a lot of little things you carry around with you?" 

Hahaha, "Well, I AM and artist and I did paint this," answering but not buying into whatever story, "and I take it wherever I go."

Head-cocked to the side like my little dog when he hears a significant word, "Really...why is that." 

"Well, I discovered I carry a lot of Fear within me and so I created this chair as a symbol of that and I have to carry it everywhere until I no longer need to carry the Fear."

He was a rather handsome man in his late 30s I'd say. Very well dressed. Very professional-looking. He looked me in the eyes, "reached up and very gently but with a strength cupped my arm with his hand, "that is so beautiful." he said.

"Thank you." I said. And he turned to pick up his coffee and make room for me to order.


Later I was telling my husband the story and then I said, "you know, nobody touches eachother anymore in our culture. I think we're afraid to touch. It was so nice. Such a warm gestrure." Then it occurred to me to add, "but of course, he may have seen me as a gray-haired old grandma so I was safe!" My husband and I both roared with laughter at this. When we stopped, he said, "Well at least you can laugh about it." 

"Yeah, well, I think I have to."


Still, whatever the motivation or "story" for the man, the gesture was very sweet, and rare anymore in our world. I feel very gifted by the experiences the FCP is giving me. The encounters with people. The responses. The connections. It's good for me. My Fear of visibility used to make me so very shy and so very sad really. Lonely and feeling like I was a failure and would always fail at life. Sometimes I was aware of these feelings but sometimes they were buried deep beneath the masks or dramas I created to hide Fears. Sometimes I was only aware of the sadness. Sometimes my sadness became anger directed at whomever or whatever I wanted to be responsible other than me for my misery. This project, better than any therapy I've had, is drawing not only my Fear out of me; but is also drawing ME out of myself as a result.


I think it's partly because I have something in common with everyone. My chair is a difference. It sets me apart. I think we all feel we are different from others or we Fear we are different from others in some way. Sure everyone is at 7 billion different places in their self-acceptance, but even if one has experienced enlightenment, if they are human, they at sometime or another felt -- apart from. Different. And suffered a little or a lot because of it. The chair is perhaps my symbol of the human condition I find myself in. And don't we all encounter eachother in the same condition?


I just realized, I don't dye my hair and it is quite gray (started  graying at 18). The last time I was waiting for a plane, there were a couple hundred people at the gate and several dozen women in their 40's - 70's I'd say and out of all, only 3 women had visibly gray hair. It is so common to color now. The Fear of aging, or looking as if we are aging is a big one. Though I don't color, I know the Fear. I just choose to practice living as my first focus rather than avoiding aging. BTW, my gray hair also stands out as a difference I suppose. Something that makes me apart from. And I do feel the challenge of being different in this but it is all part of the big Fear I carry in the chair. Just having gray hair wouldn't be the metaphor the chair is though, who wants to turn to the woman in line and ask, "so, what's with the gray hair?"


It is good to be able to laugh.