Choose Expectancy...Still Learning

Recently, I read a story about a teacher who wrote down all the negative things occurring in her students’ lives.  She crumpled them up, and hung them over the door as a reminder to be kind to others for we don’t know what they are going through.  

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in being kind.  However, all I saw was a bag of doom and gloom hanging overhead, and I thought to myself, “What a depressing way to start the day.”  A constant reminder of the negativities of life.  Do we really have to remind ourselves of others’ misfortunes to be kind?  

For every difficulty, there is something positive to be learned.  Strength, courage, opportunities come from adversity.  The old saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.” is true.  

Perhaps, if we took those negative things listed in the bag of doom and gloom and found the positive in those situations we would all be a little happier.   We would begin to expect what can be done in spite of our circumstances.  

“What you think, feel and do is what you see, hear and attract.”-James Altucher

What you believe about yourself has lasting effects on your future.  Your future and all it entails.  Your health, your income, your overall success in life, are based entirely on what you think will happen.  If we start seeing what our circumstances have to offer us, we stop the limitations.  

Start expecting more.  Expect the positive.  As an artist, though this applies to everyone, expect the day to go smoothly.  Expect the talent to come.  Expect you can.

“One will never get more than he thinks he can.”-Bruce Lee

Turn the difficulty into an opportunity.  Fill the bag with blessings and hang that overhead.  Expect to be blessed when you enter the room and blessed when you leave.  

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Choose Speech, today's that day

Here we go again.  The topic of moving to an abundant mentality and the choices you make to get there.  Have you ever heard the saying, “The words you speak become the house you live in.”?  Well, there’s truth to that.  Studies have proven that your subconscious mind interprets what it hears literally.  In other words, your mind and body will follow where your words lead.  

Being an artist, I am constantly bombarded with negativity from others.  From criticism regarding the artwork itself, to ridiculing my career choice, to all out negative judgements about my intelligence and net worth.  Just this weekend, I was subjected to: “There’s no money in that.”  “Sounds like a lot of work.  It wouldn’t be worth it.”  “That won’t sell here in St. Louis.”  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  Of course, there were many people complementing me on my work, talent and courage, too. 

However, none of the positive complements can I quote verbatim.  That’s because positive and negative memories are handled by different parts of the brain.  Everyone’s brain.  Artist.  Accountant.  Athlete.  A negative memory takes up more space; therefore, we remember the negative more than the positive.

Knowing that our minds naturally gravitate toward the negative and that our lives will follow, it is important to combat the negative, no matter where it comes from, with positive thoughts and positive speech.  Positive language about you, your journey, your dreams help you to rise.  Rise to the challenges of life.  Rise to meet your dreams.  Just plain rise.  Negative language, as one would deduce, works exactly in the opposite way.

Since all brains work the same, the optimist has either learned positive self-talk along the way or according to some studies was born that way.  The optimist will distance herself from negative life situations and tend to congratulate herself on positive life occurrences.  Pessimists will dismiss their positive life occurrences as dumb luck, diminishing their efforts.  Pessimists love being the victim.  Optimists love being the victor.  

Self-talk, whether it comes out of your mouth or it stays in your head…affects your perspective.  Regardless of genetics, it is possible to move from being the victim to being the victor.  Positive self-speech can hep you push toward becoming the victor.  It’s a choice.  It takes work but it will be worth it.  There’s money in it. 

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Now at CAM in StL

Per usual, before I exit my car, I adjust the rearview mirror, ask myself…”Which face shall I wear today?”  Lipstick.  Today, I wear lipstick. Pink Rosette.  I apply; exit the car; and head to the museum.  The door is heavy.  I pick through the complimentary brochures, and climb the stairs.

I am alone; though, I can hear a tour guide educate his followers on the floor below.

It’s a handful of photographs by Vashon High Schoolers.  All in a row along one wall.  Beautiful souls caught by the lens of a camera.

The photography on view, this photography, is a partnership between CAM (Contemporary Art Museum) and VHS, led by St. Louis based artist, Tiffany Sutton.  According to the CAM pamphlet, the exhibit is a collection of the selfie composed of “deliberate creative choices.”  The exhibit is an exploration into the “multitude of personalities” each student, each photographer, each and every person has.  In that we can relate.  However, for me to know or compare my experiences to these souls would futile.  I don’t know.  

Yet, here I stand in front of a photo of a girl.  She wears a pinkish head wrap and a military uniform.  “Do you see the child inside?  Do you see my wild side?” I love the contrast between what I assume is her everyday attire or the attire of her heritage and the uniform of America.  Two in one.  I want to know more.  More about her and more about Vashon High School.  I’ll have to research that.  I read the card.  Her name is Kayla Green.  I want to know more about who made the creative choice in this portrait/selfie.  Was it the subject’s, Kayla’s, or the photographer’s, Nicholas Allen’s?

I move on.  It’s another image of Kayla.  Military gear sans head wrap.  The next…Kayla in street clothes only.  She had a read head scarf.  Bright almost neon orange nails.  Very long.  “A woman who hides her fears, holds in her tears?”  Both of these photos were take by Allen as well.  I want to know more of the Kayla I see.  All three of the Kaylas I see.

The next photo I see is one of Allen.  Nick in Blue.  It, however, was taken by Kayla.  The subject has become the photographer.  Nick has cleverly been divided between light and shadow, hinting at contrasting personalities. “Can you see my dreams?  Can you hear my screams?”  Was the creative play on light and dark his decision or hers?  Who chose blue?  I want to know.  

Backing up, I examine all the photos.  All are intriguing.  Creative.  Thought provoking.  I am no longer alone.  A crowd has formed.  My thoughts are now being influenced by what others say; therefore, it’s time to leave.  

I reach for the door.  It is still heavy.  I exit.  Now outside, I turn back.  “I feel as if I am on the outside, lookin in.  Look at me…who do you see?”  I check my reflection in the window.  My lipstick is gone.  “Who do you see?”

“I have many faces.”  Funny the author is unknown though the poem can be found at poetryoflife.com.

ArtReach: Vashon through a Lens, installation view. Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 17-August 18, 2019. Photo: Dusty Kessler.

ArtReach: Vashon through a Lens, installation view. Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 17-August 18, 2019. Photo: Dusty Kessler.

Jamijna Westbrook,  Donyae , 2019. Digital photograph. Courtesy the artist.

Jamijna Westbrook, Donyae, 2019. Digital photograph. Courtesy the artist.