Monday, September 21, 2015

Creating Our Own Affirmations

I love words. I love colors, and images, too. And I remember a few years ago seeing message art, the homey looking signs with uplifting messages about life and love and laughter, etc. Those seemed unique, at the time, even quaint in their gentle way of setting a positive tone. Now, a visit to any big box store, a casual Pinterest session, and I am overwhelmed by a tidal wave of what I call bossy art. Pithy, lengthy, saccharinely sweet, bossy art. "Today Is A Good Day For A Good Day," boldly plastered to a living room wall. Good grief, more like. It's just so... so, shallow, so trite. Banal. Stale. It's become proof positive that you can have too much of a good thing. And it isn't even that any one of the messages is overdone, it's just the sheer quantity of all those signs, pillows, tattoos, adhesive wall clings, coffee mugs, toothbrushes, bumper-stickers, beach towels and yoga mats is too much. Has it reached our t.p., yet? Seems to me, I have seen paper towels with lines of cheery pronouncements deftly stamped in petroleum ink. The long ones are hard to navigate, and instead of feeling uplifted or encouraged, I want to reach for an ibuprofen. The ones I am most weary of have ten different fonts, enough to possibly induce seizures, and every conceivable aspiration, whimsical twirl and flourish ever dreamt of, an exhaustive laundry list of good living assertions. Some make too many demands, I feel chastised, like if I brought that pillow into my home it would censure and lecture me every waking moment: Dream Big, But Play Fair, Be wild, and Dance Like Today is The First Day of The Rest of Your Tomorrows. And Floss. Did You Finish Your Taxes? Love is Good. It's like a beating to the soul! An export factory country across the ocean is churning out millions of these, to reprove and improve us, and I can't take it any more!

When I wanted to buy a carry case for crafting projects, I was dismayed by the choices. Every one of them had something to tell me... how to live, how to love, what to do at the Eiffel Tower, where to keep my dreams and virtues, on and on. Exhausting, intrusive, calligraphied bossy art. I chose the size, and shape case I liked and closed my eyes to the litany stamped on every square inch of it. If bossy art is a cliche, I decided to hit back with another artsy cliche: Decoupage! I have a box full of catalog images I like, snippets I collected years ago, before Maria was born. I brought the box out, and a few other catalogs, and started laying down the Mod Podge! The more I covered, the better I felt. Scissors and sticky fingers, clipping out textures and forms. Soon, I was seeing places I like, colors, shapes, ideas, sentiments, that I chose. I wasn't obsessing, I wasn't trying to make it a signature statement about me and my beliefs... I was enjoying the casual assumption that some pretty images were gathered together for the sole purpose of making this case my own. That was fun. I love the sheep, and the turkey standing by the sled. I love that pretty pictures I've cut and hoarded away for all these years are out of the box, and being carried around, purposefully, for me to enjoy.

Here is my own wordy message, to me: Make your own affirmations, find them in the chard from the garden, in the rainstorm, in beautiful colors, favorite cups and bowls, meaningful moments of the day. I want to remember to let the words and feelings and ideas that inspire me come from within, from being still, from thinking for myself. Yes, I take inspiration in your art, in other ideas, and phrases, but it's a good idea to make room for an inner voice, and new messages. I want to take care that I don't impose a style, or a mandate, on our points of view and emotions. Life cannot always live by an agenda hanging on the wall, we should enjoy the change of phrase, the new season, different expressions. When I am tired of pommes and poires, I will lay down a new affirmation to enjoy~


Jennifer said...

Yes, so many -- too many -- cheery, shouting, bossy signs/words/cups out there. I love what you've done and look forward to seeing it evolve; if you managed to not get any cat hairs in there (I can't seem to ModPodge without picking up every bit o' lint in the land) then you've really outdone yourself!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

You're so right! How did I possibly manage to keep this fur and feather-free??
Mister Foo even walked across it when the glue was wet... of course! Cats.

Anonymous said...

I had to smother laughter (Roaring laughter when in the office attracts unwanted attention...), when I read that "Bossy Art Montage". I am so tempted to print THAT out, in fluffy font, and huge letters, then underneath, in tiny print, 'Or, just be yourself.'. And yes, I love that idea of chard. I find inspiration in fall leaves, so I guess I 'get' it... Oh, cats. Yes, your helper, whether you want it, or more likely when you don't. Heh.


April, Jennifer, Carol said...

isn't it the truth. as if i didn't/don't have enough words running through my brain at all times of the day telling/reminding me what to do ... do i really need a constant onslaught of more? no. no i do not. -jennifer

Judy in KY said...

I love decoupage. I was doing it for a while before we moved, and I'm going to start again. I brought with me a box of bits and pieces to use.