Success is Being Able to Not be Afraid Successfully

For several nights, for several reasons, this has been the look on my face as I lay awake and thinking about… far too much and not enough.  It has also shown a bit about how I know that there are still pieces of the woman I was the day I was raped by my (now ex) husband.

Yesterday a friend posted a link to an absolutely wonderful project endeavor: Project Unbreakable.  It is my plan this weekend to add my voice to the project.  It is a voice that has felt so frozen and paralyzed… but doesn’t want to be afraid anymore. As cheesy as it sounds, I have learned through these years just how much success is the ability to not be afraid successfully… even if you are.

So many people have approached me over these years and said how strong I am.  So many people have said that they value my dedication to this city, my goals, my passions, my art, and…

But I feel like a phony sometimes.

People handle their pain in their own way.  It is not ours to tell them that their way is wrong or right.  It is, however, our duty as people to be there for them or not if they extend their hearts to us… respecting the ways that they would like us to do that.

Monday I nearly didn’t go out.  I was invited to attend a mini conference.  I have been feeling physically dreadful for the past few weeks.  Feeling physically ill does not necessarily make for the happiest of Jenas.  I have been on a fair amount of personal quarantine this week as I cope with it.

Going to that conference made me remember my strength.  I was just.. me.  Little did I know that doing just that was enough to be remembered in a substantial way I would find out later this week.  It is humbling to even think about… and perhaps, nearly as scary.

I think about those people who believe in me.  About the strangers that have me in confidence.  Of the new faces I met because I decided to shove the pain to the side and just… wake up and walk out there.

You motivate me.

You give me hope.

You give me strength.

 So why am I so damn scared sometimes?

A couple of wonderful things came into view this week.  Reminders of all the impact I have done.  Reminders that that girl laying in bed sick and scared is also bold and brazen and confident and… strong.  Reminders that… the scars are still there but they are not to be afraid of.

This is my day.

This is my year.

The scared girl doesn’t need to be forgotten.  She needs to be remembered as she is the reason why the strong one that exists is here in the first place.

 

Editors side note: the movie images used in this post are from a movie which I knew would become one of my favorites before it came out.  It was, as fate would have it, a movie my ex husband would refuse to watch with me.  I didn’t end up watching it until after he was no longer around physically.  Perhaps that was a little sign in itself.

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Design: United in Color We Stand

Originally I started to draft this post for a client that I regularly contribute pieces about colorful experiences and how they impact our everyday.  Today, however, media is frowning against anyone talking about anything regarding 9/11 on a brand format.  Rather than face a media frenzy about it, I decided to not publish the piece for the client.  However, as I’m not a complete fan of censorship and feel that the piece still deserves light, here is a slightly modified version of the article not posted and my take on  design and its importance with relation to a major event in the headlines-

I remember that fateful day now twelve years ago, I want to put my heart out to all those who were lost and for the vibrant colors extinguished by the events that happened September 11, 2001.

In reflection of these events, let us turn to the colors that helped make headlines and assist into the impact of getting messages like “United We Stand.”

Color and composition are an integral factor of design.  Whether it’s showcasing a tragic event or otherwise, design execution can make your audience remember or forget.

Today we remember the events and the great design elements.  The presence of bold or muted colors or absence of color at all can make or break a design.  In examples taken from a wonderful showcase on http://www.poynter.org, we take you on a journey through time, color, and textual composition.

The first example above demonstrates how minimalist design can still be tremendously impactful.  Old Glory is hinted at as “The Desert Sun” drops its three bold colors into this powerful cover. The next time you look at a box of colors and only find a small sampling to choose from, do not fret as you may have everything you need.

Matching shades of a similar color can also convey depth in your design.  The cover for “The Courier News” piece highlights that in four shades of blue as each box present in the images represents the lost towers.

Lastly, “The Daily News” showed a bit more somber look at the decade past with their cover.  Using its bright orange and simplistic dark color contrast of the buildings, one could detect a sense of sadness.  Even without the words “We will not forget,” the viewer is taken back into a time machine remembering that fateful day.

How will you remain united today?  Will you be bold enough to stand up and show your colors in design and composition to greatly impact your audience? To those amazing visual artists and to those whom are commemorated today with these images, I salute you.  Thank you for being brave enough to use your talents to make an impact.. even if it is a controversial one.

The book of Jena-sis: What’s God got to do got to do with it

And now for a reading from the book of “Jena-sis:”

Once upon another life in a land far far away from where I currently reside, I grew up Catholic.  My parents would like to believe that things I was taught by this exposure to ten years of Catholic schooling would be the best thing that they ever did for me. Some may say that’s part of why there has been as much “wrong” with me.

Religion has been popping up all over in my daily endeavors as of late.  As the book of testament would tell you to “Keep Holy the Sabbath” I figured what better day than a Sunday to talk about it?

There are quite a few reasons why “my path has been led astray” from what my parents attempted to instill in me all those years ago.  Many of them are based within the foundations I was taught by said religion is the very reason as to why someone should be religious in the first place.

Religion taught me about the bad people do as hypocrisy ran rampant amongst those who attended or found themselves “at the house of the lord”… almost as much as it did the good that resides in people.  That is, not to say that there aren’t genuine hearts that attend religious functions. But, like the rest of the world, I have come to understand that there are fewer and farther in between.  And, more so, that those who do good for others generally have an agenda a majority of the time.

Religion taught me there was very little that was actually wrong.  It showed me ten important things that were to serve as life reminders of the correct path… but that following these ten important “laws” did not matter anyway as all of the wrong I did would be quickly excused in a matter of moments as long as I sat in a box and told a stranger who technically couldn’t tell anyone about it anyway.

Religion did teach me some wonderful things that I wonder where I would be had I not gone to all those aerobic Sunday meetings of sit, stand, kneel.

Catholicism taught me about the real life application of the world itself being a stage.  (This was later re-confirmed as I found myself with copies of Shakespeare books.)  “Fame” was something completely attainable.  I could stand up in front of an audience and force them to listen just by being in the right place at the right time.  It also taught me about elaborate storytelling as talks about a man being swallowed by a whale heightened my imagination as I saw that so many people can actually believe things to be facts no matter how ludicrous things are.  One could argue that I therefore learned about marketing, manipulation, charm, charisma…

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In other words, religion taught me sin and how to get away with it without the worry of actual recourse for my actions.  There was very little I could have learned from attending church on a Sunday and receiving a sacrament that I honestly didn’t understand at that age anyway, that I couldn’t have gotten had I had parents that showed me… books, the news (not just Fox News although my father regularly watches) on tv and taken me outside a bit to different diverse neighborhoods to expose me to world experiences.

Why, as a parent would I want my children to attend church to learn all these things rather than allow them to experience the world more naturally and learn these same lessons in the real world where they could then learn tangible approaches to these forms of people and… maybe actually learn that actions should always be accountable?

There are many other reasons as to why I’m opposed to the exposure of religion to youth.  I won’t dive into all of them with this entry as some items are…  a bit far away down the rabbit hole personal wise than I feel comfortable “confessing” in this box of text to strangers.  However, the main reason why I do not believe in following in my parents footsteps is that, with the knowledge I have obtained from personally going this path and seeing truth outside of it, it is that the mind is simply not developed enough to understand the complexity of a potential “higher being” whether its “God” or aliens, especially at that young of an age.

The word “God” is not a basic concept just as the word “love” is not.  Telling kids to read from the best selling book in the world and that these things are fact while a giant band plays on stage might make them excited and happy to attend but it doesn’t necessarily teach them things beyond using a scapegoat to get out of their actions the moment they do “wrong.”  Giving children material things or taking them to places like Disneyland (which I admittedly have done both of) doesn’t make or show a child the true meaning of “love.”  It is far more than that.

If anything religious could be said that could explain how I would even consider a religious context from a book being introduced to my children, it would be this passage found, ironically, in an interpreted version of suppressed text from the Gospel of Thomas, a text outside of the canon dictated by the Vatican:

“The Kingdom of God is inside/within you (and all about you), not in buildings/mansions of wood and stone. (When I am gone) Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me.”

If my children want to seek out some “higher being” as a purpose for their lives, I want them to be wise enough and old enough that they can understand its complexity.  I also personally feel that they will not find these answers without questioning the world around them… outside of a church.  You may believe that all the answers you desire are found within those walls but, as I have found, the only answers that matter or should hold any sort of weight are the ones learned from the within the heart.

Simply (my interpretation)-

“To find the world and all its answers, find yourself first and you will have all that you need.  Nothing will ever fulfill you like yourself.”