2016 was a challenging year--for many personal reasons and otherwise. As an artist, it has always been my tendency to confront life’s struggles and emotional upheavals with art. If I can transform uncertainty into some thing, I am better for it. So, last year feeling anxious, stressed, and a little crazy, I began to sew my wings. I needed my wings to fly above what I perceived to be obstructions. I decided to incorporate these blockages into the piece. I sewed X’s inside squares like wrong answers in the Family Feud game show.I could hear that negating buzzer and picture a red X every time I thought about what I wanted to do with my life and what I wanted from it. “It’s not going to happen--can’t happen--forget about it” echoed in my head sinking me further into despair. So, I sewed my wings flying over these X’s to symbolize my freedom from their obstruction.
Then, a strange thing happened. I’m sewing my blockages, my “NO’s”, and I began to realize that these X’s aren’t really blockages. Any mathematician will tell you that you must solve for X. X is the answer-the unknown-the mystery. And while I was chuckling to myself about these rows of mysteries under my wings, I realized that X is also the crossroads. X was not just an unknown, X are many unknowns--many directions, many choices. When I started making this piece, I thought I had to sew wings to overcome these obstructions in my life, but what became clear through the actual making of the piece is that I have to change the way that I interpret these roadblocks. In fact, I must go through them.
When I shared my revelations with my Mom, she said, “You know, X also marks the spot. It’s where the treasure lies.” I think she’s right. Struggles can actually become treasure, and soaring through them rather than above them is the only way to find out. Here’s to fearless flying!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.