Saturday, February 4, 2012

Buried Child

"Buried Child" 2007
Acrylic, Ink, Joint Compound, Screws on Gypsum
Kim Barry

Maybe I had it easier as the baby of the family. . .  ok, I had it a lot easier in learning to  do my own thing.  When the real life Flying Nun marries the real life Mickey Rourke, pops out a few spawn, and tries to make a go of it as a family Oral Roberts would envy, there is much more crazy to focus on than the daily adventures of the smallest member.  I liked it that way.

The freedom to experience the world that was, from my & my friends' perspective, a HUGE, twenty city block playground for our taking and, as we grew into teens, the city itself was immeasurably influential. Oh, and we took it by storm.

As an adult, I have reflected more than once on the massive contrast between the breathing room of my own youth versus the restricted realities of many today.  When we are children, the impulses  and instincts we naturally gravitate towards reveal so much more about who we are and will become than any conditioning and social etiquette could ever dictate or, hopefully, override. I was lucky to have the space to figure it out myself a little more than most though not completely unscathed.

I have watched and experienced parents, teachers, television, and societal circles attempt, on various levels, to re-mold and re-create a most self conscious culture striving to fit in before knowing what exactly they are fitting in to with all the best intentions in the world.  The goal being the the action, not the place and position.

Even with having a pretty strong will and direct sense of my desires, the first few years of my adult life was a struggle in living in the moment amongst my comrades of this shared reality. For all my conviction, doubt set in as to how practical dreams were. People around  me were  dropping off daily in to some branded perspective that pushes the real imaginary words of - "safety," "practical," and "social acceptance" AND they wanted everyone to come with them into the Cave of Dull-life.  As it turns out, it never seems to stick for me, though, I did give it my best, neauveau yuppie effort, at one point.

Feeling like the Last Mohican, I was lucky to re-enter the magical kingdom of childhood wanderlust by taking a position as an art director for a camp this past summer.  The complete imagination, natural confidence,  and constant straight forward conversation those children had inspired in me the beauty of life all over again. As I watched and encouraged their instincts, the younger the child, the less of an effect my words  had one way or the other.  They knew they were doing exactly what they needed to do AND they knew it was awesome.  No one had to tell them that. It was like I was surrounded by 30 mini Van Wilders.  I dug it.

As children get older, the results of critical, controlling, and re-directive words visibly take a toll as self consciousness creeps in. Many become unsure of their natural abilities of using their own head and hands. I thought- This is how people, when they reach "that age," ask the question, "What do I do with my life? I don't know!!!! Who is going to tell me who I am and what my purpose is? Friends? Parents? Snooky? Anderson Cooper?  They have forgotten to be themselves and trust it.  Do they know they just unconsciously signed a deal with the devil in order to fit in, gain acceptance from those that think it's needed (eff em. these people are lame. trust me),  and prove how worthy they are of praise, envy, and desire for a McMansion and newly plumped up fish lips?

For all my outward convictions, I was caught up, too. Who isn't? But at some point in your life when your true self can't take it anymore and will fight to get out no matter how many meds, therapists, cool cars, and hot chicks/men you attempt to combat it with, there's the rub. There's the choice. You can choose to change and become the real you at any time. Sure there are consequences. Sometimes big. I lost everything materially that was the product of my Great Fake Pyramid. I lost some people's respect, admiration, and envy for things I had attained that didn't really matter. It is not easy to let go when you are dug in, I know. As for me, it was the singularly best choice I ever made.
But, it doesn't have to be so dramatic. Lesson- leave the children alone. They know a hell of a lot more than adult egos care to handle.

 Avoid the Buried Child Syndrome
You are beautiful as is

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