What would it feel like if you painted your dining room walls pink and put all your art supplies into the China cabinet? What if instead of making your bed, you sketched and painted and wrote love notes on your clothes? And what if you brought that color and love out into the world? What if YOU were the person everyone was waiting for? You were the party, the sunshine, what would that feel like?
Lately I have been spending my time journaling in a 99 cent composition notebook, writing about the life I wish I had. The one with color and glitter and happiness and the words ‘If only,” wasn’t part of my mantra. IF only people weren’t so critical. IF only people didn’t look at me oddly when I wear bright colors. IF only I had permission to live daily as I want to, with glitter and pink hearts on my face.
After the “IF only,” I think there is something wrong with me for not wanting earth tones. Even now when I leave my home and studio (my colorful, safe, world) and go out into the general population, something that only happens when I run out of food, I look at girls around me for an idea of what people wear: natural colors, healthy and styled hair. Eating lunch out is particularly insightful because I see corporate people. There’s a world, that while it dominates our culture, I never am in. It’s like a zoo and lunchtime is when they are allowed out of their cage. And here is the shocker - girls in business attire these days for women are tasteful black dresses and stilettos. When did this become normal? Heels so gorgeous and high my lower back hurts just looking at them. And every women standing in line around me for lunch is wearing them.
So I compare myself to them. How could I not? Teal sweatpants and a hoodie that is the color of grass. Knitted clogs on my feet. My clothes are clean but not wrinkle free. Though I was happy when I left the house, colorful and comfortable, I now feel under dressed.
I know what stilettos do to the back; I wore them for 15 years. I watch as the girl in front of me tilts her foot and rests it on its side, a sign that she is relieving the pressure that is stinging her lower back, something that happens in heels when you stand in one place for too long. Thus, the illusion is broken. She looks great, coiffed, seemingly put together. And that’s what we want, right? For everyone to think we know what we are doing, that our head isn’t swimming with insecurities, and that sickness and death cannot touch us. But I bet when this girl gets home tonight she will take off her clingy black pencil skirt and four inch heels and put on soft cotton teal pants and purple fleece socks and wish she could wear them all day.
It is the fear of what other women think of us that keeps us in our place. Men don’t give me nearly as many disapproving looks as women when I wear unexpected things. If a guy thinks you are pretty, you could be wearing a paper bag from the grocery store and they will hit on you. If I am dressed exceptionally outside the box and they think I am weird, then I will be ignored. However, when dressed this way ,women will never ignore me. The ones with an artsy soul will smile but the ones without will glare. If you are not secure with yourself, this silent judgement will hurt. If you are looking to others for validation about worth, this can destroy you.
THIS is what keeps women in impossible black heels that hurt, and keeps them from bringing their creative side out of hiding and into their lives. This fear of what other people will do when they look at you stops you from experimenting, expressing, and inventing yourself. And that to me is sad.
But what if Crayola Hair was accepted? Really accepted? Not just in stores like Hot Topic but everywhere. What if when you went grocery shopping there were more people with hot pink hair than brown and blond? What if everyone had glitter on their cheeks? Would you feel more comfortable with your pink hair and glittered face? If you wanted to stand out, you’d have to wear a giant pink bow or a necklace made out of LED lights that blinked. When everyone around you is colorful, earth tones will stick out. What does this tell you?
If you attend an art retreat, ink-stained hands are normal. No one wants to put on gloves while they are spraying onto stencils when they are caught up in the flow of creation, and at lunch gathered around a table, ten women eating sandwiches with Andirondak sprays in dark purple all over their hands, no one glares. Take those same women and put them in a Starbucks sipping Mocha Lattes, each with purple stained hands, and the corporate girls in black heels will disapprove.
Lesson: GYPSY ART GIRLS NEED TO REMEMBER WHO THEY ARE EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT WITH THEIR TRIBE. In our society, earth tones dominate so your neon pink will stand out. This doesn’t mean you have to tone down. On the contrary:
#1 You Are An Ambassador of Color
You are an example of the FREE life. The one in which you do not have to tilt your foot to the side to ease pain off your lower back to give the illusion to others that you have it all together. Your color says you have it all together, that you know what you want to do with your life. That you have PERMISSION to live in a way that makes you happy. Browns make you sad. Waking up to pink hair and allowing Alcohol Ink stains on your hands because you made a most beautiful painting last night, this shows a successful life. Glossy hair is not important, not to you. More important is the feeling you get creating. And your ink stained hands prove this.
And by giving yourself permission to live colorfully, you GIVE PERMISSION TO OTHERS. You are planting a seed of freedom into every person who sees you. Gypsy Art Girls need to show up in the world IN ALL THEIR SPLENDOR as an example for everyone who feels stuck, for who brown makes them feel sad. That is what a Carnival is - Blowing into town and waking up the sleeping people and creating a space for them to live larger and more authentically.
More like themselves.