Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Everyday Notions: {Fragile and Tough}

Ok folks, are you ready for a real challenge?! This one was pretty tough for me. There's a chapter in Foolsgold about looking for something in your life that's both very fragile and super tough at the same time. Paradoxical. Deeply rooted.
So the challenge is to make a collage or other piece of art that holds things both fragile and tough. These could be images that have symbolic meaning for you or actual objects. Susan says, "This frees you to dig something out that needs to go. It might be something within yourself. A habit, a fear, an idea, a belief. What do you need to let go in your life to make space for something new? "

As I mentioned, this was really difficult to wrap my head around. Finally it solidified in my mind that being a mother/a parent is so very fragile ( ego, patience, worries) and yet so tough (finding strength you never even knew you had). I liked the idea and with it the image of an egg continually came in to my mind. Especially the saying, "A Good Egg". It's always been one of my favorites. So what is it that I need to "dig out" and let go of? Control....the notion that as a mother I have control over my children and their destiny.

Many of you know that I have an autistic almost 4 year old son. The idea that I want to control his life is overwhelming. I wish the autism away every day, but will that make a difference? Absolutely not. What I need to let go of is trying to have control over the situation. Having a special needs child I am so extremely fragile and vulnerable, yet at the same time tough as nails trying to be his voice and advocate. I do what I can and that's enough...it has to be.

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say here, but I know that I expressed it as I made the piece of art above. The mother's hand and her two "good eggs". Nurturing and fighting for the future of her children. The leaves representing their growth and potential. For some reason making this piece of art jerked something loose in my psyche because I've had an increased sensitivity and moodiness today. I'm not used to making and sharing such personal pieces.

Well, I'd love to see you give it a go...even if it's just in your head. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

34 comments:

Carolyn said...

I think you`ve captured your fragile / tough situation which you`re feeling , very well. It says to me , that you can try to protect them all you can , but you have no control over their actions. What they decide , they have to learn from it . Like we did , when we were growing up .Only you can guide them and advise them , hoping they`ll make good decisions , with out smothering them . I know all mothers feel very protective of their children and want the best for them .No matter how much people tell you , you`re a good mother , self doubt still creeps in now and again . As there`s no real book to tell you how to be a good parent , it`s a learning process all your life . I hope i`ve explained it ok Kari ! and not offended anyone by my thoughts ! as i`m not a mother myself ( nor will i be )

Ele said...

Wow! So meaningful and beautiful at the same time. You captured the essence of motherhood. I do not know what it's like to raise an autistic child, but I'm sure this "truth" for you is magnified. I can only try to imagine. I know how hard it has been for me to know that I cannot control destiny, or face reality FOR my children. Ever day, we try as best as we can and then ...keep going.

Thank you for sharing.
Ele

Jamie said...

You did a lot of good, profound, hard work with this one Kari. I really like it. Sincerely, Jamie

She Who Flies said...

I love reading your blog and have been doing it since soon after it's birth, but I have to say this particular post could be your best ever! I'm certainly very moved by it and your honesty. Your collage captured it all beautifully. I wish you continued heart-centered strength. Hugs,

Sugar Bear said...

Wow, that piece is so beautiful and the meaning behind it is so raw and true. I applaud you putting yourself out there.
Karla

sharon said...

That was an amazing entry in your blog Kari. You were able to capture your thoughts and the essence or motherhood so well. As the mother of a 23 and 25 year old I can tell you that I still deal with the desire to make everything in their lives perfect. We all know that can't happen. My daughter's name is the same as yours, even spelled the same. You sound like a wonderful mother and person and can't wait to meet you at Silver Bella.
sharon

Kimla Kay said...

So powerful and profound! Your images speak volumes. Awesome work, Kari.

Mystele said...

You are such a wonderful thinker. I so enjoy reading your blog...through you, God encourages me to reach for beauty in life. Deciding that what you're handed is really meant for you- your piece of the story that no one else can write, even though it may hurt and be burdensome, is one of the most beautiful values we can pass on. Thank you so much for letting us see how you work out your life choices through your art. I can't wait to work on this project!

Twinkle Pink said...

This is such an extremely poignant post and the piece of art powerful.

I can certainly feel your strength to protect your precious load -

best wishes Ginny

Lori said...

Kari, this piece is very lovely and the symbolism beautifully expressed...i hope you feel better soon, i just got over a patch of the "blues"...this too shall pass, right?

g said...

first time to your blog. The art you just did is gorgeous!! absolutely.

being a mom does that to every woman (i think??) regardless of whether the child is special needs...I know as a mom of 3 every day I wish i could control some things (2 of them are teens! 16 and 13)but i know i can't NOR really would I want to. I want them to make their own choices and i always tell them, "there is no right and wrong...there are only consequences."

g

Anonymous said...

I have a 6 yr old Autistic daughter so I can kind of identify with that. She's low functioning, we're talking about still has to wear diapers & non-verbal, motor planning problems, she was adopted at 1 yr old, so there may be other issues, like, MR, we won't know until she is older. If I made a collage it would probably be scrambled eggs 'cause that is how I feel most of the time. I'm afraid this Autism thing has zapped me, our marriage, our lives. It is extremely exhausting, especially if you have a screecher/screamer like ours - even the school wants her out of there 'cause of it! She does it all the time, happy, mad, excited...it is an all-purpose thing. She is basically happy all the time (still the high pitched shrieking, loud grunts - most likely a stimming thing) so that is good. The bad thing is that I wish someone else would take over her care...especially the times she is smearing feces all over herself or the blood from her frequent nose bleeds 'cause she can't keep her finger out of her nose...yes, exhausting, like having a very, very willful & permanent infant.

Merci-Notes said...

Beautifully Done!
A mothers love needs to be strong and yet open to the little arms and hearts. I love this piece...Your two good eggs!!! Perfect!
Hugs,
Maryp.s...Love your haircut!

jessi nagy said...

this is just beautiful kari! I can relate to this so well. I willhave to figure out some sort of project to do. good job!
jessi nagy

www.scrappyjessi.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I am artsymama's dad

Having a son/grandson with autism is very tough and a lot of hard work --- we all wish that one day he will wake up totally normal and the autusm will be gone --- but that is not possible ---at the same time he is a very special gift to me and gives me more in return than i could ever express in words --- he is fragile and vulnerable but so are we --- the question that i constantly ask myself almost every day is whether or not i am doing everything possible to make him as successful in his life as he can possibly be --- am i giving as much as i can to help him as well as his mom and dad --- i come up with an answer of yes and that makes me feel very very good!!!!

Jill said...

Kari,
I am speechless...the thought and the message behind this beautiful piece of art is extraordinary... amazing...
Wow...fabulous...
Now I have to go think...

"Maggie" said...

What a special post and I as a mother understand the need for wanting to be in control of your child''s life so they are always protected. I have found that is not always the case. I do not know what you go through daily but but I do believe you are doing the very best that you can and there isn't anything you won't be able to see through. Not having a child with autism, I still struggle with the very same questions on a daily basis. Have I given my child all that I can give, done the very best for them that I can?

Lovely collage and I look so forward to meeting you at Silver Bella. Donna says I must seek you out! :)

Cabs said...

Fabulous.... thanks sooo much for sharing.
The piece says so much!

Michelle Devine said...

Oh my!! You spoke the words that were in my head. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is hard to share something so personal. But you did it beautifully. I to have an autistic son. He is 9 now and is so fragile to me yet it is the autism that is so tough. Thanks for the challenge.

Lisa Boston said...

Kari - I love this piece and completely can identify with what you are trying to voice with it. I feel so lucky to be your friend. Also - your dad is amazing!!!

Elizabeth said...

Kari - I just wrote a little piece about fireflies and my son now 11 - went out for a walk under the moonlight - almost full and had some powerful feelings about nature and motherhood and how hard it is to be a mother of - in my case - a little angel - and they all are - found myself over here and I'm pretty overwhelmed with a kind of amazement at IT ALL - I love your collage, your caring honesty and that of the other commentators - and I will take on that challenge... I did do a photo in a post called - white rock on black rock - that seems to fall into the range of fragile and tough... I am rambling and most moved by this gift of depth and real caring -

Kari... my heart is bigger now...

xox - eb.

Ellen said...

I wish I could express myself the way you can Kari. It's in my head but the words can't come out the right way.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, sometimes live isn't easy at all.
Your in my heart.

Ann(i)e said...

wow, this post, this piece of art, your words are all so powerful and moving!!!
you truly inspire my dear!!!
xoxo

Garden girl said...

oh tough, toughie here with this one...off to give it lots of thought. I like the way you suggest that you can think of the picture in your head if you cant collage it...that takes the pressure of it and allows the pure creative spark to take over!

Carolyn said...

Hi Kari !
thanks so much for the comments , it was really sweet of you , even though they were gifts from me !
I`ll send you the pattern you liked, along with a page from the book - not a problem , don`t say no ! You`re truly inspiring , for sharing with eveyone , and letting us read this personal notion .
ps - you can delete this if you wish , i`m at work - and we`re quite , so i just decided to send you this message . ;o) x

katydiddy said...

Wonderful post. I think every mother can identify with what you are saying. Take care of yourself today. You may be tough, but you are also fragile too-not just as a mother, but as a person. Hugs.

Hennifer said...

Funny you picked motherhood. My immediate first though upon seeing the challenge for today was actually my children. Their resilience (sp?) gives them a "toughness" we lose as adults and the fragility is of course obvious.

I have been reading your blog for sometime and while I am not usually turned on by vintage and such I find your work speaks to me often and is a beauty I don't find typically appealing. That is supposed to be compliment but not sure it is coming out as such.

Great work

Michelle (a.k.a. la vie en rose) said...

thank you for sharing this with us...very, very powerful words...

Bonnie said...

It's beautiful Kari-the artwork and the meaning and thoughts that went into it. Being a mother is tough, I can't imagine being a mother of a child with special needs. It is wonderful when you can share your thoughts and feelings through your artwork with other people and what I always try to remember is that no matter what situation one is in...you are never alone..there is always someone else in the world going through a very similar thing and you never have to feel alone. What your dad wrote was very touching too, how sweet and lovely that you have the support and strength from those around you and from your loved ones.Keep up the good work and I love your challenge, I just don't have the time for it right now, but I am following it and musing over it internally everyday!

Donna said...

Ya know, Kari, it is very difficult and not your way to share such personal things. Especially not your style to express the difficulty of those things. I understand because I'm the same way. I think it's good for people like us who tend to be private about our own struggles to open up and share them with the world occasionally. It's actually liberating and we find out that what we've expressed moves and touches people. I think your piece is mesmerizing. Bold and powerful...soft and sweet. Perfect.

Donna said...

You have such a special, meaningful way of expressing yourself. I have a special needs daughter who is almost 23 and I totally can relate to your thoughts. I so want to protect her and worry about her future always. I always wish she were normal, that her meds would make her more so...but I know she is the way she is. I love her dearly but wish her life could be easier. Her disability and everything that goes along with it is so totally exhausting and controlling to our whole family but I'm not sure I know who I would be without her. I'm sorry, I'm rambling. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your precious artwork with us. You are very inspiring.

Donna

Andrea S. said...

I am so touched by this post. I don't know you well, but I know you are a wonderful mother.

Christi Snow said...

Kari, I had a precious little one in my arms yesterday when I read this so I couldn't comment, but I had to come back. This piece is amazing! Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but your symbolism is breathtaking!!! Thank you for sharing your art and the story behind it because it makes it so much more. You continue to be an inspiration!!!!!! smiles...

Vickie said...

Kari, I love the use of the hand and eggs! Such a timely post too. It really is hard to realize we can only do so much and the rest is up to them. Even as they get to be adults these feelings often persist. As long as we stand back when we need to, I believe it's all good.