This summer I took a brutal cross cultural course as part of my master’s program. The class required 15 – 20 hours of reading per week along with several projects. It was exhausting. However, there was one project that I really got into: the cultural self-portrait. We had to create some type of art project that captured who we are and all of our identities.
I think we can all agree that I should continue to focus on psychology instead of art.
I am madly in love with the night sky. I have been since I was little. As a teenager my favorite chore was cleaning the kitchen because part of the job was taking the trash out. I would wait until everyone was in bed then walk barefoot down the driveway, listening to the crickets, breathing the country air and watching the stars in wonder. I still feel the most at peace under a big Texas night sky and I find myself drawn to it more when life becomes chaotic. So, for my self-portrait I created a sky. I filled it with stars that I labeled with titles such as student, mom, intern, or friend. I added race, gender, religion and orientation. I filled the whole canvas with stars of different sizes then added a window to demonstrate that most people have a very limited view of who I am. As I worked on my project, I thought a lot about which labels deserved the biggest stars in my life. I also noticed that some stars were differently sized than they would have been at another point in my life. Some parts of me have shined brighter, or had a spotlight thrust on them, this year while others have faded out.
I dislike the idea of summarizing the year in four photos and one cliché word or a listing of all my annual accomplishments. That doesn’t seem to fit. The sky however, has enough room for all the stars in all their phases. This year my faith flickered but is growing stronger again now. The advocate side of me shown brighter but not because I wanted it to, it’s just that sometimes the choice to remain silent is the equivalent of letting the darkness win. Fostering has faded for the moment because of other obligations but student is going strong for one more semester. I developed a pretty mean roundhouse at MMA. I gave up on some toxic relationships but found true friends in other places. There were times this year when the storms hid the stars and I felt like there was nothing left of me. There were other times when the night was clear and the world felt alive.
Like any night, some parts of 2014 were darker than others. That’s life. That’s every year. I’m actually hopeful for 2015, especially for the exciting plans that we have for summer. I know that there will be challenges. I will be embarking on a new career in the fall. The oilfield is pretty shaky right now which is great for gas prices but uncomfortable when your husband is a driller. Alyssa’s seizures have been pretty well controlled for a little while now so hopefully we can maintain that. Noah fully expects to have his Iron Man prototype up and running just as soon as we buy him a welder. I have a few more sweet months before my baby heads to school in the fall. No matter what lies ahead though, no matter how clear the skies or how dark the storms, I know the stars will keep on shining.
Happy New Year!