Saturday, November 14, 2009

Joy Diet Update: Play and Laughter!

Again things have been quite busy for me and I apologize that I have not posted in a while. Trying to prepare for holiday shows and my design clients really keep me hopping with things to do. As a matter of fact, it seems I was too busy for one of my "followers" of this blog who decided to unfollow me within the last 48 hours. But to my faithful followers I am BACK and I here is my report on the Joy Diet from the past two weeks!

Joy Diet: Play

The author asks in this chapter- what did you you do on the evening of 9/11? 9/11 was one of the United States' severe crises, which divides our lives between the before and after.

I had to think about this one a bit. I remember working my good government job being told to leave immediately, jumping on one of the first metro trains out of Washington, DC heading home and sitting by the television all day and all night. I tried desparately to call members of my family to see if they were alright.

Was this a defining moment? No not really. 911 was indeed one of the most scariest times I have experienced. But did it define what I should be doing? I don't know except worrying and fretting over the lives of my family members.

Fast forward to the summer of 2005. The defining moment for me to change careers and focus on something else came when one of my colleagues, a young newly married, healthy looking, 27 year old, training program professional on a detail assignment from Georgia, on my good government job, suddenly dropped dead while talking to her supervisor in the office directly across mine.

Wow! It hit me like a ton of bricks! At that moment the role and the act I was playing in my career: working hard, playing the right game, speaking the right way, dressing the right way, joining the right professional development groups, be seen at the right places, make sure I was working on projects that "matter to the office", climbing that so called ladder of success, making that job more important than anything on the planet, kissing #$%, traveling all over, making others look good, taking insults, being disrespected, questioned, spied on, did not matter anymore....

Within two years I went on to a new career and started the art of doll making and mixed media shortly thereafter.

Fast forward 2009- not just 2009 but November 2009. Well this was an interesting chapter to read. Why you ask? Because it just fell into some reflection I was having in particular about my doll making career. It appears I have had to "play" alot of "games" lately. Mostly the game of playing a "victim" to gallery owners who make decisions without my knowledge or simply disrespect my doll work. This game has been quite interesting because of their sweet and in some cases sour role they play to make me feel one way or the other about my doll art or simply withholding information that eventually becomes public knowledge.

Without going into detail about these "incidences" I have had to make a tough decision about whether or not to continue to move forward with doll making. I began to doubt myself and my abilities. I reasoned that these incidences have not made me what do you say? Feel good. Is this the game I signed up for and want to continue to play as a creative entrepreneur?

But what about the overall direction of the doll making career? How do I strategize to determine if there is improvement needed, a new set of gallery partners? Do I work with galleries at all or simply begin the online selling world of Etsy or reconfigure my website to be more of a shopping cart? I DO know that the same team I have had in the past year is now no more. Also, I am doing a lot of reflection on the role I have played in this art career, how cut throat it is and whether or not the art itself continues to bring me joy.

I look at myself as an OOKA doll artist. Nothing else. I do not do rag dolls, I do not do children's dolls. I take my art seriously and only wanted presented in respectable places as well as honored for what it is. Yes, some don't get it; don't think it meets some "standard" of ethnic doll making. Some think it is "voodoo" or whatever. But guess what? I woke up this morning and determined that I don't care. I am going to continue to blossom shine, and make dolls that collectors will appreciate.

I am reminded of a recent tweet by Iyanla Vanzant which goes like this:
"As you run your race in life,don't worry about the other runners. Stay focused and you'll pass them. Competition isn't the way to victory."


Okay this chapter is right up my alley. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to LAUGH! I think because I was raised by a father who is so funny. Laughter always permeated our household growing up. My sister and I love to laugh about silly things, also things that are not apparent to everyone else. I guess it is this "twin" thing we have.

To be honest laughter is something I can find everyday. My business partner, my fellow artists at Passageways, my husband, my cat, my brother, father, sister, brother, television- there is a lot in life that people experience or I watch that makes me laugh.

The hardest thing that I find trouble with laughing at is myself. As many of my close friends and family know, I take myself way too seriously! This is where the Joy Diet got me. How do I find humor in myself? If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. This is something I intend on meditating on.


Ginny said...

I am so glad that you are going to continue to make your dolls. I bet that it felt great to come to a solid decision after all of your soul searching.

I wish I could tell you how to laugh at yourself. I am not good in that area either. But I am going to bring lots of laughter into my life and maybe by doing that I will be able to let go and laugh at myself as well.

Anonymous said...

AMEN my sistah....! Wonderful post and wonderful insight. How to laugh at yourself...hmmm...having trouble with that one...I'll let you know if I come up with something.

becky n said...

Sherry, there is a lot that I connect with in your post. My work is something that I find I have a hard time getting others to take seriously - "It's just painted rocks!" As though the surface we use for our art is what gives it validity. I've decided that it doesn't matter what some people think - but then I sometimes get into a funk when I want to be acknowledged for doing something a little different.

Your dolls are so wonderful. Good for you for deciding that they have worth on their own.

And it's great that you have the habit of laughter. The laughing at yourself might come more easily when you're not feeling like you have to defend yourself so vigorously.